Christian Living

Bible Translation Wars

bible wars

 

As we continue our Bible Origin series this post focuses on various bible translations. Please reserve judgment until you read the post all the way through, as it may surprise you. This being a blog post and not a text book, we’re barely scratching the surface of a plethora of historical facts concerning how we’ve received the bibles we have today. There will be more along this vein in later posts.

 

The original bible texts were penned in Hebrew, Greek and some Aramaic.

 

The King James Version (KJV) translation of the Bible used 7 texts from which to translate the New Testament scriptures. They were the 5 editions of Erasmus, the 1550 edition of Stephanus, and the 1598 edition of Beza. Those were the seven printed Greek texts that the King James translators used between 1604 and 1611 to produce the New Testament of the King James Version of the bible. Erasmus only had between six and twelve manuscripts from which to draw. Today we have over 5700 ancient manuscripts from which to translate the New Testament. The KJV translation became known as the textus receptus (received text). So from the 1600’s to the late 1800’s that was pretty much the text that was used, even though it had a very small early manuscript tradition behind it.

 

As better manuscripts from the early centuries were found, naturally there was a drive to create increasingly critical editions of the scriptures which rigidly scrutinize earlier, more accurate manuscripts. We now use much earlier manuscripts than what the King James translators used.

 

Erasmus wanted to use Vaticanus, one of the oldest manuscripts of the Greek Bible of both Old and New Testaments, which is one of the four great uncial codices and is largely extant today. It was written on 759 leaves of vellum in uncial script. Through paleographic dating it has been determined to be from the 4th century AD. But Erastus was unable to access it, because it was in Rome, housed at the Vatican, which is where it gets its name Vaticanus. Viewing it was reserved for a narrowly select group who were at the top of the religious hierarchy: the religious pontiffs of Roman Catholicism which acted as a ruling body wed to the government. The manuscripts used to translate into the King James Version were documents about 1200 years later than the ones available to us today. But just because we now have those many older manuscripts available to us, in no way guarantees the integrity of the translators of modern versions of the scriptures. Granted, some of them have unscrupulous agendas, whether those working on the new translations are aware of it or not.

 

Any translation you pick up whether King James, American Standard, Holman Christian Standard, English Standard Version, or a host of others, there are going to be a few words that you disagree with. When translating from Greek, Aramaic and especially Hebrew, some meanings are extremely difficult to convey in English. But there are many dozens of other translations in other languages around the world, of which we have no idea how accurate they are because we do not speak that language and must rely on linguistic scholars to compare them. There is an Arabic bible translated from the Van Dyke text, but how many of us speak Arabic and have the ability to judge its accuracy? One thing is certain: God superintended the writing of His words. The bible is God breathed. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV

By the way, in the above verse the NIV uses the more literal, more accurate translation of “God Breathed” in place of “by inspiration of God,” because they didn’t understand it, so they changed it. Today we know it means that God literally spoke the words of the bible through His Spirit. In other places it’s the other way around where the King James translation is more accurate than the NIV’s.

 

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “ 2 Peter 1:21 KJV

 

So let’s take the above verse as an example to point out a fact. Do you see those three words in italics? In the King James as well as in most all other translations, the italics indicate that those particular words do not appear in the manuscripts that were used to translate into English. But reading the text we see that it helps convey the true meaning of the text, as it specifies that it was the “holy men of God” who were “moved”. In no way does it change the meaning, rather it expounds the meaning. But then, when other transitions do the same thing many of the “King James only” advocates yell “foul!”

 

There are several fine newer translations that take into consideration not only the earliest Greek texts, but also the texts of earlier codices penned in various languages, including the Arabic, which was the language of the business world in the Apostles’ day; much like English is the prominent language of business today.

 

There also exists what are called AMPLIFIED translations. They don’t claim to be word for word verbatim of the original manuscripts. They write it in words they hope will help today’s readers understand the original writer’s intent. But they don’t always get it right, and that’s why amplified versions can be very detrimental when read by those who are reading the bible for the very first time. A case in point which I strenuously warn against for first time studiers is the “Good News” or “New Living” bible translations.

 

I’d like to inject here the necessity of using more than one translation when studying the bible. Even more importantly, we are to study prayerfully, in communication with the Lord. God through His Spirit is the literal author of the book, and He dwells within believers. Jesus promises that His Spirit will lead us into all truth. The Spirit renders the true meaning of any translation of scripture to those who are seeking God with all of their heart (In a later post I will point out the specific books that people claim are God’s word but are not). If one is not a believer they need only ask God to reveal truth to them as they read, and the Spirit will help them understand too! Only for them, He will do so from without, rather than from within. The Holy Spirit even moves upon unbelievers to set up circumstances as God wills, as demonstrated in the Old Testament. In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was used to testify of the one true living God and he was definitely an unbelieving pagan.

 

On the other hand, for example, the most popular translation of scripture in America today is the New International Version (NIV), which many leading biblical scholars do not like. But because it is so popular, many contemporary bible scholars and theologians of Reformed Evangelical Christianity have been compelled to help the NIV readers understand what the original texts actually say. A case in point is that Dr. John MacArthur created an NIV study bible, and yet he speaks as if he does not like the NIV. He came out with an NIV bible that includes notations on every page which straightens out the misleading wording used in many places within the NIV. This is wise. If people are determined to read the NIV, then we need to have NIV’s that have notations explaining the true meaning of the text, rather than allowing fallacious thinking which can be derived from the translation itself.

 

There are Satanic and nefarious attempts to poison God’s word. Again, for the sake of example, I say that one of the driving forces behind some modern bible publishing firms is the attempt to create a more egalitarian view of scripture concerning gender roles, such as Zondervan. This is infection from the world. It was motivated by the age in which we live, with the majority of the populous wanting to embrace certain aspects of the demonic feminist movement. And there are other nefarious agendas as well.

 

Our goal should never be to condemn those who are seeking truth, and yet who may be misled by bad translations. They are reading what they believe to be the bible—they are seeking truth. Why not expound the truth to them rather than condemn them? Unless, of course, hatred and pride has so embittered our hearts that we no longer care about evangelizing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus went to where the sinners were. He met them at their level of understanding and lifted them with truth. We should do no less. Our motives come from the love of Christ, abhorring even the garment stained with sin, while holding aloft the truth as the Spirit has; revealed, superintended the writing of, and expounded through preaching and teaching.

 

Yes, we are angry at Satan and the twisted work he has perpetrated in our world. We hate falsehood and lies because of the souls it corrupts and deceives. We want to rescue those deluded souls, not see them condemned!  We always confront error head on with the truth, in the hopes that every soul will be saved, because we are driven by the Love of Christ (we don’t know who the chosen are). Let’s stop with the hate speech and bashing each other over the head because of what translation of scripture we like best. We need to come alongside, humbly, and take this case by case, verse by verse to teach sound doctrine, explaining the differences in wording through the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Trust me, I understand the fervor and the zeal of many, just like Jesus’ fervor when He cleared the temple of those with minds fixed on monetary gain. But love for His (and our) Father and His house of prayer, as well as Jesus’ love for the worshippers was His motivation in driving the vendors out with a whip (see Psalm 69:9).

 

Let’s not taint our witness and our testimony for Christ by acting in a worldly manner, while trying to proclaim our translation is the only correct one. God needs no help in preserving His word of truth. But He will use us to preach and teach accurate doctrine. His truth is shed abroad in our hearts along with His love, as the Spirit translates God’s word to us. Blessings!

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Dog & Butterfly

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I’m taking here a moment to appreciate life in all of its wondrous glories. So I’m calling this another interim post, as I continue preparing the next post in the Bible Origin series.

But first I hope to expound the wisdom of remembering that:

 

What we do today will definitely fashion our tomorrows.

 

On the other hand, we can become so caught up in preparing for our tomorrows that we can miss out on the joys of today, and that’s what this little tale is about. I hope you will have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Blessings!

A Moment of Life

 

There is no other day than today

No other moment as now 

I had to be reminded 

A puppy showed me how.

 

The sun rose to its mighty strength 

Warmly proclaimed its goodness

Blazing colors of infinite length

Dancing in its beams of gently falling light. 

 

Forest green and lime and jade 

Lemon yellows crashing 

Richest browns to ecru fade 

Against a shocking scarlet hue. 

 

The mighty canopy above  

Its bluest blue bequeathed 

Caressing billowy white with love 

Creating sculptures made of cotton.

 

Trees rose up all waving  

Their many arms outstretching 

Like yawns of comfort savoring 

The sun’s bright life rays catching. 

 

Melted into a grassy field, 

My mind beheld the flowers, 

To eyes the tender petals yield 

Their beauty, their visual powers. 

 

Then sprung yips of high delight 

A puppy bouncing into sight 

About the bladed carpet there

Chasing dreams without a care. 

 

An alary monarch  

Alit playful on his nose 

Humbly wearing that royal hue  

Waving flags of striking blue. 

 

Delighting in his youthful foray, 

That enchanted puppy squealed, 

As flitting off, the butterfly,  

Went zigging cross the field, 

With doggy pouncing, always late, 

Gleeful panting, effortless gait. 

 

Round about the romp persisted, 

The chase too cute to fathom, 

To join the lark I had resisted, 

Waves of gladness rolled in tandem. 

 

Aviary symphonies rose, 

Sprightly melodies fashioned, 

Tufted spectators cheering, 

Me loving where I’m stationed. 

 

I lived within that moment, 

An eon of life enjoyed, 

In just one moment of this day, 

A lifetime of thankful joy. 

 

 

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Bible Origin Series

Create

 

The age in which we live is experiencing a full frontal onslaught against the authority and inerrancy of scripture, more than at any other time in history. God’s word is under constant assault with increasing intensity. How will our children answer when confronted with the objections of the world? Will they be prepared to answer the critics and make a strong defense of their faith? Will their faith weather the storms of horrendous negative peer pressure in college?

 

That is the reason why we’d like to provide you with some tools to help prepare you and your children, so that no matter what comes, your faith in the God of the Bible may stand firm. And so that you may:

 

“…Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you will be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.” 1st Peter 3:15 & 16 KJV & Study Bible

 

bible

 

In conjunction with the Bible Origin Series, and as a prelude to its exciting continuation, I was compelled to include some necessary truths. These are the very thoughts I’ve been wrestling with. The Spirit has laid them in my heart to study. So, after a tanker full of really good coffee, I went to work summarizing as briefly and concisely as possible, the issues that have been holding up the works, and I am presenting them in this post for your astute consideration.

 

Straight out of the starting gate I can tell you that in truest nerd fashion, science gets me all excited. I’ve made it a good habit to research everything that I am told, and put it under honest scrutiny, just as the Berean Christians did when Apostle Paul preached to them. It is wise to study the history surrounding not only events and documents of the past, but also the spiritual implications of things that have transpired long ago. Most interesting to me is when we can chart the formation of concepts, ideologies, and various religious practices, it provides insight that would have eluded us otherwise. I relate this not for the purpose of tooting my own horn, so to speak. Though, sometimes, I feel as if my head is swelling up with too much information or getting overheated, perhaps, until I think it’s going to burst. So let’s get to it.

 

On the subjects of providing scientific, archaeological, historic and other tangible proofs of God’s existence, and as for the Bible having Divine origins, we must consider the following before we continue.

 

  1. The existence of the God of the bible cannot be disproved by science.

Every such attempt has been dramatically debunked. The unbelieving world, under the influence of satanic deception, continues to perpetuate increasingly more fabrications (called theories) to explain away their own failures to disprove the existence of God.

  1. On the other hand, the existence of God cannot be proven to be true through science either.

I believe it should not even be attempted.  God has designed it that way for a purpose: That salvation may be by grace through faith. Scientific evidence can in no way bring a soul to saving faith in Christ Jesus. There are, however some very good organizations who have in  great detail scientifically disproven the claims asserted by atheistic and agnostic scientists. One that I can recommend is the Institute For Creation Research

Another I like is Cross Examined

Frank Turek is a wonderful Apologetics professor, besides he’s a funny guy and really cracks me up. You may want to check out some of his videos on Youtube.

I do give credit to and even applaud those Christians (apologists) who have made use of their scientific studies to help aid Christians whose faiths are faltering. Often, weakened faith results from un-surrendered pride of intellect, which was enervated via lies perpetuated by those who would have us believe they possess a superior intellect than we do. Or, perhaps the enemy has used a person’s circumstances to bring about their doubts. Superior intellect is the premise on which most anti-God scientists base their ludicrous theories. When Christian men of equal or greater (worldly) intellect disprove bogus scientific claims, the claimants of fallacious reasoning resort to name calling and attempts to demean or undermine the qualifications (intellect) of researchers who demonstrate truthful science, rather than using their own scientific method to attempt to disprove the science itself. That is a clear indication that they are already well aware of the inconsistencies of their own research and thinking.

The bible declares them to be “willfully ignorant” (Romans 2). NOTE: (We will see the bible’s meaning of “willfully ignorant” later in this post). Perhaps it is their innate sense of the ignorance they employ which drives these deceiving scientists to insist on their own intellectual superiority as a mask to cover their ineptness to disprove God?

 

As for Christians, nowhere in scriptures are we commanded to go forth and study the sciences to prove God’s existence. “For by grace you are saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8) It does not say that belief or faith comes through convincing scientific argument. Consider this next verse carefully.

For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1st Corinthians 1:21 KJV  (Emphasis mine)

 

If evidence beyond Creation, the bible, and that which the Holy Spirit of God has already provided is employed, belief is no longer by faith, but by extra evidence contrived by man. To demand more evidence is to have no faith. And yet faith is always rewarded with concrete factual assurances that our faith is not in vain. Where a soul employs saving faith, more evidence than anyone could ever need, or expect, is provided to that individual soul.

 

We are told by the Spirit of Christ that it is through the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and preaching, and teaching of the bible, that souls are saved.  We cannot prove the resurrection of Jesus by reason. And the resurrection of Jesus is the central truth of the gospel. Without it, everything else of the Christian faith is worthless and powerless. No man knows Jesus rose from the dead unless that man has trusted Him in complete helplessness of soul. “If thou shalt confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and shall believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9&10).

 

This “belief” is not an intellectual one. Intellectual belief can never produce moral and spiritual results. The devil has an intellectual belief in Christ as being Lord of creation, and belief in His resurrection.

 

“Belief with the intellect does not produce righteousness, belief with the heart does.”—G. Campbell Morgan.

 

This saving faith is ‘certainty of the heart’ and it brings clarity about pure morality, and it precedes regeneration of life (it saves us, qualifying us for grace). By mankind’s absolute helpless dependence upon God, casting ourselves by faith into Christ, is received the inner spiritual witness that causes the soul to know for certain. Faith produces certainty—a certainty born of evidence provided by the unseen inner spiritual witness of God Himself, indwelling those who believe.

 

The resurrection is a fact that can in no way be proven, nor explained by reasoning, but must be accepted in, not intellectual assent alone, but also in faith. That faith is then rewarded by assurance that “He ever lives to make intercession for us.” We not only know it, we do not merely believe it—we have experienced Him and know for certain it is true: He lives!

 

The biblical “ignorance” in the Greek is the same word as “agnostic”. The same word in Latin is “ignoramus.” They mean the same thing: “The man who does not know.” But we can be sympathetic with the man who “cannot know” for he is forever bound to walk in the darkness of not knowing anything whatsoever of the eternal and the spiritual. How can we have anything but sympathy for such a one? Their entire life is predicated upon uncertainty in all things, and will be manifested in frustration, dissatisfaction with life, and will lack true, lasting purpose.

 

One who is spiritually blind, groping about in the dark, is far worse off than a person who is physically blind, and yet has spiritual sight. Spiritual sight is afforded through faith in God. And yet we can respect such a person who is honest enough to say he does not know. There is still hope for him. Unless, that is,  he has made his agnosticism a harbor of refuge and impertinence. If this is the case then all hope for him is lost, and his agnosticism has become a prison. But if he’s not done so, He may yet have faith bloom within him at some future time, that he may know the truth concerning the resurrection of Christ Jesus, as so receive inner eyes to see, and be forever certain. For this we earnestly pray.

 

Now, I can finally get back to sharing some absolutely amazing and incredible things about the Holy Bible. I eagerly anticipate providing some absolutely resounding proofs that the bible is divine in origin, and completely infallible, and authoritative. Some of it is guaranteed to be jaw dropping. It’s going to be an enlightening and a fun ride, so buckle up and be sure to watch for our next post.

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A Passion For Holiness

As time slips through my fingers, scorched by the hot irons of multitudinous responsibilities I juggle, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain three blogs. That’s why I am praying for guidance while rethinking which venue the Lord would have me focus upon. During the interim, as I seek the Lord’s direction, I decided to share here today my most recent Youtube video from my channel for extended friends and family, and that includes my church family. I call these little informal episodes of edifying  information, encouragement and bible teaching: “Coffee Talks”. That’s because I love discussing spiritual things over a good cup of coffee. If you believe becoming more like Jesus is important, this talk is for you.

Become Beautiful

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Love is Powerful

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The Everly Brothers hit the music charts with a wildly popular song titled LOVE HURTS. That was back in 1960. The haunting lyrics were first written in 1957 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

 

A year later Roy Orbison remade the song in his own distinct and endearing sound, bringing it into the top five on the Australian Single Play.

Image result for Roy Orbison

 

Then in 1975 the heavy metal band Nazareth re-popularized: Love Hurts. The song moans out words that expound the hazards a heart in love may encounter: Love hurts—Love scars—Love wounds and marks—Any heart not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain… And so on.

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Country artist Emmy Lou Harris also included it in her repertoire. The song Love Hurts has always resonated with us, because most everyone has at one time or another experienced the pain that love has the capacity to inflict.

 

This leads us to one irrefutable truth concerning love:  It wields tremendous power. It has the power to heal or to hurt, to sway, or to bring us in line—to kill, or to save. And it possesses many other dynamics as well. Of course there are also lots of other songs that elucidate Love’s dynamics, like The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News.

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While most folks equate these facts only with a romantic type of love, it is true of all kinds of love, such as paternal love, and even brotherly and social love. Who would be foolish enough to argue that the love of a mother is not scary powerful? The nature of paternal love can quickly become a protective juggernaut that is not to be taken lightly.

 

See the links at the end of this short piece for some exciting true stories of heroic mothers protecting their children.

 

Love has been the cause of many notorious actions, and notable deeds.

 

But there is absolutely nothing that can measure the lengths that a Father will go to in protecting his children.  You will also find the amazing story of a father’s love included in the links below.

Try to wrap your head around the fact that you and I have a Heavenly Father who feels more strongly for us that any human parent is capable. His love is exceedingly great. Imagine that every soul who has ever lived, all throughout history is your child! That’s the burden our Heavenly Father carries.

Oh, how many have turned their backs on our Heavenly Father and rebelled against Him? A rebellious child always brings deep, indescribable pain to their parents’ hearts. What about when one of our children is struck by a car and is killed? Or is diagnosed with cancer? Sent to prison? What if someone were to deliberately injure our child? Just think of the intensely strong feelings that would produce in us, and then multiply it by several billion. Actually, even that would not come close to the monolithic ache and power of God’s awesome love.

 

God’s love is pure and much higher than ours, and likewise the pain that His love produces in His own heart is greater than anything we could possibly fathom. It was this same paternal love that caused Father God to send His only begotten Son to die in our behalf—so that His created children could be saved.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1st John 4:9

 

The Author of Life willingly gave His life to save ours. In John 15:13 Jesus said, Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Not long after teaching this profound truth, Jesus stretched out His hands to be nailed to a cross beam and brutally suffered a horrendous death. He had the power to stop it—He could have wiped all mankind off the face of the earth and started over, with just a single word from His lips. But the power of His love held Him up on that cross. He endured it all. Besides, He knew He was going to rise again, and usher in a new path for you and I, that we may live forever with our awesome God in His new world of mansions, where even the streets are made of gold. Love has made a way.

 

Motherly Protection                                 A Father’s Love

 

Notation: For those waiting for the Bible Origins Series to continue I extend my apolgies for taking so long. I’m not going to offer excuses, but please know that God is working, and His timing is always right. Blessings!

 

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Foundation of Communication

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The Foundation of Communication

Is there someone you always seem to disagree with? You could be right. And we all love to believe we are right…right? But often we are wrong, and it takes a very mature, confident and wise person to admit when they are wrong. But usually it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about the truth coming into our lives to provide clarity, lead us toward success, bring happiness, and to benefit those we love.

 

If you are only concerned with being the one who is always correct in their understanding, you will never be considered a wise person. It is towards the goal of being and remaining wise people that I have included the following information that I gleaned from professionals in various fields: Psychologists, Sociologists, Ministers of Christ, best selling Authors, Scholars and Great orators. What I present here may sound too rudimentary and basic, because it is foundational to good communications skills. And yet, the majority of our populace appears to be ignorant of these simple facts.

 

Some of my most profitable friendships have been cultivated from what began as disagreements. Often, after truly listening to, and understanding a person I had formerly disagreed with, I had to say, “I was wrong and you were right.” Wow! The respect those simple words garner is amazing. People respect you and trust you a whole lot more if they have heard you say those words. When we can acknowledge the times we are wrong, people will realize we are genuine—the real deal. I have made lifelong friends who now serve as wise counselors for me, and me for them, simply by humbling ourselves enough to improve our communication skills and begin to really hear, listen and comprehend, and even experience the feelings of the other guy.

When being good listeners we employ everything at our disposal: Eyes, ears, minds, and also our hearts.

We must learn to respectfully ask questions. Ask for clarification! Don’t simply guess what they meant by what they said, ask them. We could simply ask, “What do you mean by that?” This leads both parties to clear communication. The very same people I formerly disagreed with have now come to me for advice and for counselling. Whereas before, we seemed to always be at loggerheads.

But first I had to learn how to keep my flapper shut long enough to allow the discernment that God’s Spirit offers, to lead me. You don’t have to answer right away! Sometimes you might want to wait until the next day to answer. Many things require no answer, no rebuttal, and no response at all.

 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” –Doug Larson

 

Whatever your occupation, you will become much more successful when you improve your communication skills. But we will never be good communicators until we learn how to listen and decipher what a person is really saying. All too often we only think we understand what is being spoken. One reason for this is that our minds tend to jump forward to what we believe they are saying, or are going to say, based on the first several words or the first few sentences. Multitudes of people either stop listening and/or interrupt the speaker before they’ve had a chance to lay a foundation for what they hope to relate. But the crux of what a person wants to communicate comes towards the END of their discourse—ALWAYS!

Usually people will automatically believe they disagree with what is said by certain people, because they have never really listened to them in the past. Instead of hearing the entire message and then mulling it over, they are forming a rebuttal while the speaker is still talking. They are convinced that the person is disagreeing with them. This reveals just how insecure they are with themselves. People fear being wrong, and they fear looking bad. Some folks are so insecure that they are shattered and feel devastated just because another person might know something they did not yet know, or the other guy had a better idea. Sadly, what people do in an attempt to avoid looking bad, actually has the opposite effect.

One of the ugliest blights upon the earth are people too arrogant to consider an idea that originated outside themselves. To the mature soul, memories of youthful arrogance are a source of stinging embarrassment.

 

I still love the following ancient little rhyme.

“A wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he saw the less he spoke. The less he spoke the more he heard. Now wasn’t that a wise old bird?”

 

Listening well is the first step in becoming a great communicator. It will help us not only in conversation, but it is also the cornerstone of learning to become a great public speaker. Listen and ask for clarification, understand, craft your answer well and then speak. It’s a simple formula that’s been around since before Plato and Socrates, and both of them knew and used this formula as they spoke to huge crowds, as well as in their writings.

 

“Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening.” –Jeanette Winterson

Listening is done with more than just the ears, also employed are the eyes and especially the mind. In fact, good listening is actually PERCEPTION.

“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” –Robert Baden-Powell

 

Notice how the way we feel towards a particular person or how we feel about any particular subject always throws a rusty wrench into the cogs of communicating. Our feelings should never enter into the equation of practicing good communication skills. Our feelings, if allowed, will stymie our understanding every time. If you’ve done much study of human behavior, you know how strong emotion and reason do not play well together. When communicating we want to allow intellect to rule over emotion. Powerful feelings can block a person’s access to higher reasoning and intellect which takes place in the frontal cortex of human brains.

 

“Never allow emotion to hijack what could have been a highly profitable conversation.”–SB

 

Good communication skills are a monolithic topic and there is much we could discuss. But these basics are an essential beginning point. Without them we would be dumber than a bucket full of hollow rocks. We would miss out on many blessings, friendships, and lose access to wisdom we could have made our own. That’s why it is my prayer that this little post will inspire folks to do some research, study, and learn how to become better listeners than we already are.

By the way, Jesus never has to worry about misunderstanding what another person says. He sees directly into every heart and He knows our motives and our every thought.

 

“Even before I have formed a word with my tongue, you, LORD, know it completely!” Psalm 139:4 

 

Blessings

 

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In the Custody of Humans

 

Gracie

Pictured is Gracie

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10

It is crucial for those who are seeking a pet to understand the commitment that they are making before taking on such an enduring responsibility.

Responsible pet care begins with a commitment that extends throughout the animal’s lifetime. If you are no longer able to provide proper care for your pet, often, putting the animal up for adoption and fully vetting each inquiry, is the best route to take. Abandoning your pet, and or surrendering their life to an Animal Control agency, is both heinous and cruel.

When caring for a pet, in addition to their physical health, we also have their emotional and psychological health to consider—similar to people.

For a moment, set your thinker on the psychological and emotional trauma of children whose parents have died. The damage is even worse when the child is simply unwanted, unloved, and given away. Those scars will endure a lifetime. The same holds true for dogs and cats and many other furry critters we love. They become attached to those whom they’ve grown dependent upon. Most creatures natural inclinations are to form family bonds. You are their family. For a dog, the family is the pack. Cats too, are more comfortable and at ease in a clowder. Groups of feral cats have been jokingly called prides, but that term still seems to stick in certain regions.

A very smart Golden Retriever named Harvey had a people daddy who was known as Ronnie March. The two would spend most of their days and nights together. After their daily, morning jog they would enjoy breakfast together in their dine-in kitchen. Then together, they would travel to Ronnie’s YouTube film set. Most evenings were spent snuggled up on a couch, watching television. The two were inseparable.

When Ronnie was killed in a car crash, Harvey was injured too. His master was gone, and Harvey understood that Ronnie was dead. They’d been together when it happened. Finally, Harvey’s two broken legs and two broken ribs healed. But this faithful golden retriever had other wounds of the heart that were much more severe than his physical injuries. Harvey exhibited such depression that he would refuse to eat, and he moaned and whined incessantly. He was a highly intelligent dog, and expertly street-wise. On the pair’s early morning jogs their normal route had crossed over a busy highway so that they could access a nearby park. During the four months after Ronnie passed, poor Harvey was so heavyhearted that he would go and stand in the middle of that same highway, as if he were attempting suicide. After those four months, Harvey died too. There was no reason found for Harvey’s death, but most people are convinced: He died from a broken heart.

Yet, animals are distinctly different creatures than people are. People were made in the very image of Creator God, and were given by God the responsibility to care for all of the earth and its many denizens.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Animal welfare is the ethical responsibility of ensuring animal well-being.” Animal well-being is the condition in which animals experience good health, are able to effectively cope with their environment, and are able to express a diversity of specie-typical behaviors.”—Dogs Naturally Magazine

It is my belief that animals also need a sense of belonging and lots of love.

Please! If you are having difficulty with offering proper care to your animals, there are lots of us out here who are willing to help. Be kind to animals.

Wait! I’ve heard a number of good people talking about how they love their pets more than they love people. It’s possible I may have said something similar in the past. But we definitely should not harbor, nor feed that attitude. Human life is above animal life, no matter how we may feel. Yes, people are often much more difficult to love, but that in no way negates God’s commands. Truth is never based upon feelings, but upon what God says. Continue to love your pets, but we must learn to love each other too.

There are many great reasons to get an animal companion as most already know, so I’m not going to bother listing them. There are also wrong reasons to obtain an animal, and I want to address just one. My apologies beforehand to my animal loving friends, but for just a moment I need to directly address some rather unscrupulous types.

To those who are involved with dog fighting, for fun, or for money, or for any other reason… Well, let me put it this way: “If I can’t whoop you myself, there’s plenty of others out here who will jump in to help me put you where you belong: Behind bars. Because we feel very strongly about this, and we will no longer tolerate your cruelty.”

To everyone else I say, let’s continue to be kind to animals, love them and especially love one another, just as Jesus commands.

My little Maltese Yorkie “Gracie” has a shirt that says, “I’m not French, I just kiss that way.”

Until next time, blessings, and wet slobbery kisses to you from our furry friends!

Categories: Animal Companions--Pets, Christian Living, Community, People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Toxins Please

At present I am dealing with unexpected difficulties which preclude my studies. My wife is currently in the hospital with a deadly infection and your prayers for her are appreciated. We will continue with the Origin of the Bible series, but for the moment that’s on hold. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Meanwhile, I am posting another piece from my old files, though I had hoped to include more information… Perhaps this will suffice for now.

Detoxification 

Do you ever have sluggish days when you’re tired and feel like you have no energy?  Perhaps you suffer from dry skin? Maybe you swell up and retain fluids? These can serve as warning signs that our blood is full of toxins and/or that we are lacking certain vitamins and other essential nutrients.

Living in the 21st century our bodies will naturally pick up quite a few unnatural substances called “toxins.” This is especially so for those who do not take care to know what is in the foods (or nonfoods) they eat. These toxins weaken our body’s defense system against; diseases, viruses and infections, etc, and they put undue strain on our internal organs. Many of these toxins are carcinogenic. In short, they can really wreak havoc with our health.

That’s why it’s a good idea to detoxify our bodies regularly, using the formula’s God has made available to us throughout the earth’s highly complex biosphere. Here’s some that are easy to obtain.

 

  • Dandelion
  • Red Clover
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Burdock Root
  • Cilantro
  • Ground Ivy
  • Milk Thistle
  • Neem

 

Utilizing natural cleansing agents to aid your liver and kidneys in doing their jobs is a great idea. We know that these two organs filter and clean our blood. When these organs fail, such as suffering impaired renal function for example, we could have helped lift the burden off of these vital organs. Here’s some things that can assist us in doing that very thing. First we’ll list some foods.

 

  • Helpful fruits: lemon, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, etc…
  • Vegetables that detoxify our blood: garlic, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, alfalfa sprouts, soy, etc…

 

Here’s a few plants which I highly recommend that can be made into detoxing teas.

Aloe—Burdock Root—Hyssop—Ginko Biloba—Elderflower

 

While the health of the physical body remains vital, it is the mind and the heart which requires detoxification most often. These are the parts God looks at. Jesus often pinpoints the heart as the area where sin takes up residence. And He indicates the heart is the most important aspect of our being. It determines who we are and what we are like and represents the core of our being.

God’s word reveals the sinfulness of every human heart. Through the irises of faith, the bible acts as a cleansing tonic, washing away our fallacious thinking while renewing our minds. It leads us to the cure for every spiritual ailment.

The best habit a soul can develop is to meet with the Lord every morning for prayer and bible reading. As we confess our sins of the previous days, our consciences are cleansed, and God forgives us through faith in Jesus—this cleanses our entire being.

Yes, life on planet earth really contaminates us with everything that is toxic to our bodies and spirits. All sorts of dirt crowds into the hothouses of our steamy little minds, and that’s unhealthy. Let’s get cleaned up for the day. God Bless You!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Christian Living, Faith, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fear of Weakness

GraciePictured above is my 10 pound Morkie, “Gracie”. She has a very big, courageous & loving heart.

 

Asthenophobia is the fear of weakness, and it is a widespread psychological ailment which causes great harm to those who are affected by its false notions.

Before we proceed, I hope to assure each reader that this is an interim post. We will continue the series on the “Origin of the Bible.” But it is very lengthy, and so I’m offering other stuff (technical term?☺) in between the origin posts.

Wimpy Dogs

It took a few times to work it out, but eventually the realization struck that I was gaining discernment into some people’s psychological and emotional states by how they reacted to various types of dogs. There have been nearly a dozen instances. Like when a man showed disdain for a very small dog that was quivering. He so despised the poor little thing for its weakness, that it became evident something more was in play than simply a preference for more stalwart pets.  People possessing a character opposed to his, usually act in a caring manner—more inclined to protect the helpless little creature, even comfort it.

I supposed correctly that this man has a character flaw, and yet the root from which it thrives is where his psyche’ breaks down. He views weak areas in himself. Anytime he sees someone, even an animal that resembles what he believes to be inside himself—he wants to turn away, and if he cannot do so, he lashes out. He has a deep sense of inadequacy. Unable to love himself, he cannot love something that reminds him of his own weakness, ugliness or flaw. But this is on a subconscious level. The man has no idea that his dislike of things that appear weak stems from his low self-esteem.

There are millions of us out here that tend to automatically dislike such a man, and dismiss him from any future contact. But knowledge always changes our actions. Love changes our responses. God changes the way we interact with the world around us through the wisdom He teaches. Compassion is not only for the weak, but for all, even for those we think do not deserve it. Ah, I believe we’re now talking about mercy, which is grown from love.

Please don’t take this as some sort of formula to psychoanalyze a person. There are several reasons why someone may respond in a similar manner to a tiny dog that trembles at shadows. We have healthy young men who are still trying to convince themselves they are real men. Walking down the sidewalk with a cute, but wimpy little dog is just not masculine. At this stage of their growth they avoid anything that might be construed as feminine. Toy dogs are for sissies, is the mindset. For such a young fellow, under the right circumstances his thinking will be outgrown, unless there comes a fracture in his identity, and then he may become like the first man.

When we begin to understand the difficulties people face on the inside of themselves, we can better perceive what is needed for their hearts to heal. My own response to the same dog was the opposite of that man I spoke of. The furry little ball of cuteness that he hated so much, drew me right to it. I picked him up and spoke softly to him, stroking its downy soft fur. By the way, I believe myself to be excedingly masculine. Mine was similar to a paternal reaction to the dog, because it was afraid, and yes, I began to not like that man at all. But then, the Lord began to show me this stuff, and everything turned around. Instead of disliking the man I began to pity him more than I did the dog. The unfortunate guy was miserable. Some past trauma had robbed him of a deep need of the heart: the ability to like and love himself.

Every good counselor, psychologist or social worker can tell you, “You cannot love others until you can love yourself.” Yes, there’s a lesser type of love we can have if we do not like who we are (by the way, that’s our cue to change). But it’s far from the kind of love God wants to make us capable of employing. When we don’t like ourselves, in every single one of our relationships we will eventually come to a barrier standing in the path of loving as we should.

Consider for a moment Jesus’ words “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” We cannot love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves. We’re not talking about egotism, or being prideful and arrogant. On the contrary, every soul was created by God, in His own image, and has tremendous value. We were created to love God and to love one another. When we don’t like who we are, we should go to God and ask Him to help us change. As we communicate with God we begin to understand how much He loves us, and that’s a huge boost to our sense of self-worth.

The world is filled with deluded people, not knowing their own worth, and the world perpetuates their fallacious thinking by putting them down ever further. Let’s not be a part of that cycle, creating injured souls. We are to be a part of God’s construction crew, building people up, rather than on the devil’s demolition squad, tearing them down. Be nice. Be loving and kind. Be the light of truth in this dark world where there’s already far too much hatred. It’s not easy sometimes, but that’s why we must also encourage one another as we work towards the time when hate shall be no more.

God Bless You!

With Eternity in View,

Sheldon

 

 

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Love is Powerful

love

The haunting lyrics were first written in 1957 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, and in 1960 The Everly Brothers recorded the song LOVE HURTS. It was included on their album titled A Date with the Everly Brothers.

A year later Roy Orbison remade the song with his distinct and endearing sounds, bringing it up to the top five on the Australian Single Play. Then in 1975 the heavy metal band Nazareth re-popularized Love Hurts, moaning words that expound the hazards a heart in love may encounter.

Love hurts—Love scars—Love wounds and marks—Any heart not tough or strong enough to take a lot of pain…

Country artist Emmy Lou Harris also included it in her repertoire. The song has always resonated with us because most everyone has at one time or another experienced the pain that love has the capacity to inflict.

This leads us to one irrefutable truth concerning LOVE:  It wields tremendous power—to heal or to hurt. To sway or to bring us in line. To kill or to save. And it possesses many different dynamics as well, as other songs elucidate, like The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News.

While most folks equate the facts of these songs only with romantic type love, it is also true of all kinds of love, such as paternal, brotherly and social love. Who would be foolish enough to argue that the love of a mother is not scary powerful? The nature of paternal love can quickly become a protective juggernaut not to be taken lightly. Motherly Protection 

But there is nothing, and I mean nothing that can measure the lengths a Father’s Love will go to in protecting his children.

You and I have a Heavenly Father who feels more strongly for us that any human parent is capable. Imagine that every soul who has ever lived is your child! Oh, how many have turned their backs and rebelled against Father God? A rebellious child always brings an indescribable heartache to their parents. What about when one of our children is struck by a car and killed, or is diagnosed with cancer? Sent to prison? What if someone were to deliberately injure our child?—just think of the strong feelings it would produce in us, and then multiply it by several billion. But even that wouldn’t come close to revealing the power of God’s awesome love.

God’s love is pure and much higher than ours, and likewise the pain that His love produces in His own heart is greater than anything we could possibly fathom. It was this same paternal love that caused Father God to send His only begotten Son to die in our behalf—so that His created children could be saved. The Author of Life willingly gave His life to save ours. Jesus said,

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

And then He stretched out His hands to be nailed to a cross beam and brutally suffered a horrendous death. He had the power to stop it—He could have wiped us all out and started over with just a single word from His lips. But the power of His love held Him up there to endure it all. Besides, He knew He would rise again and usher in a way for you and I to live forever with our heavenly Parent in His new world, a glorious place with mansions for each of us along a street of gold.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

Categories: Christian Living, Current Event, People, Romantic Love, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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