The Snake Kills With Its Mouth

The title of this post is borrowed from Max Lucado in a devotional about the betrayal of Jesus by Judas and why Judas kissed Jesus in the garden. (as opposed to just pointing Him out to the guards who came to arrest Him.)

I was particularly impacted by finding that erroneous translation of the word phobeo (fear)which I mentioned in my last post. I wondered how many women, having read that book, had no idea it was wrong. How many did Bible studies around the book and still not realizing it was wrong. Not everyone has a Hebrew-Greek Keyword Bible and, in fact, many don’t know it even exists.

We are used to accepting whatever is taught to us, which is a dangerous position to be in unless it is solely the Bible. And even in that, I discovered there are some serious errors in the various translations. In some cases, verses are totally gone from the NIV that appear in the KJV. Of the many verses that are gone are: Matthew 17:21, Matthew 18:11 and Acts 8:37. In some cases the translations are radically different as in Hosea 11:12. Here is the King James Version: “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies and the house of Israel with deceit but Judah yet ruleth with God and is faithful with the saints.” I made bold what I want to draw your attention to. Now in the NIV it says: “Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, the house of Israel with deceit. And Judah is unruly against God and even against the faithful Holy One.” You can see that the two verses are opposite on that one point. There are more like that. Like Gen. 27:39-40 To God this makes a difference. He doesn’t like His Word being fooled around with. You can see this for yourself. Just go to a bookstore and take the two translations off the shelf and compare. If you are at a Barnes and Noble, you can sit comfortably with a cup of coffee and a pastry and do it. I have an NIV which I had for over ten years till I found out about the errors from my pastor and also my friend, Walter. I keep the NIV just for this purpose and also because it is a Thompson Chain Reference and the reference part and archaeology part in the back are useful. Eventually, I will buy the KJV of that one.

For the first thousand years of the New Testament church history, there was severe persecution but the Word of God continued to spread and be translated into different languages. Back then it took 10 months to copy the scroll by hand. This continued on till persecution decreased a little around the 15-1600s. The copies, which had been copied again and again over the years, were all collected from around the world to be studied. Mind you, none of the translators had seen each other. After 1,000 years or five generations the copies, which were about 5,000, were compared. With the exception of some spelling differences in Biblical names, the copies were all the SAME. It was during the translation into English that we got the King James Version in 1611. Tyndale translated the Bible in 1525.

We also need to be careful of the outside books we read and what message are they sending us, as in the case in point of my last post. Another well known Christian author has a chapter in her book about how to make love to God. It seems she is caught up in the sensual. She even posted, twice, a picture of her bed and spoke about how it’s worn in the center from lovemaking with her husband. Why this is in the public eye is beyond me. (I had subscribed to her blog, unsubscribed, subscribed again to see if she changed, and then ended up unsubscribing again.) I ended up throwing her book into the garbage when I later realized what I had bought. (sorry Ann Voskamp) She keeps writing and people keep buying and she has a huge following. The devil is deceptive in his seduction. You can actually read words that should set off immediate alarm bells but don’t. Your eyes might gloss over the words, there might be slight discomfort and it won’t be till someone else or God Himself throws it back into your face to really take a look at. I know this from experience. Sometimes He has to take me by the back of the neck and shove my face into whatever offensive worded book and say, “LOOK!” (No, He didn’t really get off His throne to come down here to do that to me. I mean it figuratively.)

The devil’s seduction can be real sneaky and, of course, be quite overt and why some Christians are ensnared by pornography is beyond me. Like Christ stopped existing for that moment in time while they are busy fulfilling their lusts. If God chose to take that person right then and there, they would have a whale of a time explaining to Him why their orgasm was more important than their salvation. That goes for both sexes. I wonder how many Christian women sneaked into an early showing of “Fifty Shades of Gray” when it was released. Christians, who want to keep themselves pure till marriage, might have a bit of a hard time if their imaginations were fueled by someone else writing about how to make love to God. Satan on the sidelines stoking the flames of desire. Yes, I know about Song of Solomon but it does not say that God is having sex with His creation.

What you need to be wary of is anyone that preys on your emotions. The snake is still slithering out there and winding his way into your mind if you don’t have your guard up. Or helmet on. (Ephesians 6: 10-18) Any book that has you focusing too much on the past, when we are to look ahead to Jesus, or your emotions, which will keep you weak and ineffectual as a Christian, need to be avoided. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. (Eph. 6:10) Yes, many will go on about our lives being messy and, in some cases, tell us that Jesus gets in there with our mess. However, that is not really the case. He pulls us out of our mess, cleans us up and sets us on the narrow road. He does not wallow in it with us. I don’t want to stay in my mess. Do you? I want to get out of it and be holy, like God wants us to be. Be like Joseph (coat-of-many-colors) and run from sin and get as far away from it as possible. Run to Jesus who will handle this because only the power of the Holy Spirit can effect real change.

Guard your minds, guard your hearts because the devil is out there slithering and will kill with his mouth.

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Stop The Presses!

I got the book “The Uninvited” and I was all anxious to start reading it the next day. Curiosity got the best of me so I went and opened it up to a random spot, counting on God to guide me. Well, He did. But the results were not as I expected. I opened up to page 165 and began reading. It was fine. She was talking about the time Jesus went for a walk on the lake and the disciples were terrified and thought they saw a ghost. She mentions the Greek word “tarasso” which means “to set in motion what needs to remain still.” That’s true. I looked it up on an online lexicon. I went on to read some more, being intrigued,until I got to page 169.

Here is where it all changed. Referring again to the time Jesus walked on water, (That would be Mark 6:45.) Jesus says, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” Lysa worked out of a different translation and said that Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.” Same thing. But in the very next sentence she says: “The word used here means “don’t resist me.”And He climbed in the boat with them.” All right…something is off. I have a Hebrew-Greek Keyword Bible so I looked the verse up. The word “afraid” is underlined and has the number 5399. What that means is that when I look up (in the back of the Bible) in the New Testament (Greek) section what 5399 is, I will get the Greek word and all the possible meanings. The word in Greek is phobeo; to frighten, to be alarmed, to be in awe of, be afraid, fear, reverence. From Phobos–fear. To put in fear, terrify, frighten. (This is where we get all the words that end in phobia.) No where in the entire definition does it say anything about resist.

Being annoyed about this, I mentioned it to my son, David (a pastor), and he said to double check online by Googling the word and pick the lexicon definition that comes up. (to give the author the benefit of the doubt and also there might be some far-flung definition out there.) So I did. Same definition. Phobeo-to put to flight, to flee, to fear, to be struck by fear, to be alarmed…. You get the drift. So where on earth did Lysa TerKeurst come up with “don’t resist me”? Because it is wrong. Here is the lexicon: http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/phobeo.html

The Greek word for resist is anthistemi, which is pronounced anth-is-tay-mee. http://biblehub.com/greek/436.htm It means “I take a stand against, oppose, resist.” No where does that appear in the sentence where Jesus is telling his disciples not to be afraid.

I am greatly disappointed. If you quote scripture, and especially if it is the words of Jesus Christ, you better be right! And double check what you have written so there are no errors and you don’t lead someone astray. I am sorry I got excited about this book. I’m not even going to waste my time reading it. Because if there is one glaring error there might be more.

I should know better by now. Every time I read an excerpt from a book and get excited about it and then order it, I find it is not what I thought but a big disappointment. I apologize to all my readers for being misguided.

So I had to write this to inform anyone out there about it and I hope no one ordered the book.

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The Uninvited

That is the title of a book by Lysa TerKeurst. I had seen the title many times before but felt no interest in reading it until now. I don’t remember exactly from what devotional the excerpt from her book appeared but when I read it, I became intrigued. So, when a 20% off coupon for Barnes and Noble appeared in my inbox today, I went and ordered the book. Then I read a sample reading.

In a previous post I had mentioned that this was the start of another chapter in my journey with God and that it would entail more correction. Well, the image that most people think of when I say that (myself included!) is that it was going to be hard correction. What I learned today is: Never try to figure out what God has in mind till you get there because most likely you will be wrong. When I began to read the sample on of Lysa’s book on B and N’s site, this one sentence jabbed me right in the heart. She found herself with a big problem. She was due to leave on a flight and she realized she had forgotten to put her luggage in the trunk. I guess she thought her friend did it and her friend thought she did it. Either way, Lysa was in full panic mode. She called her friend who was going to try to get the luggage to her but there was only 15 minutes left before luggage would no longer be allowed on board. Lysa found an employee who handles luggage at the curbside check-in and told him her plight but he could not help her. She began berating herself for forgetting and calling herself names. The luggage handler suddenly turned around and said, “Not in my presence. Not in my presence will you talk about yourself that way. Absolutely not.” Lysa thought for a moment she was in the presence of an angel but she obviously was not. Those words hit me hard as if God had just said them to me. Tears welled up in my eyes like a cartoon character whose tears fill up half of her eyes before they spill over.

As I read further, Lysa described her young life with her emotionally absent father who was soon enough physically absent. He just packed up and left her and her mother. She suffered rejection because of that. Suddenly I was identifying with her more and more. The entire title of the book is, “Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely.” Because I suffered rejection from before I was born when I later found out from my human father who said my mother didn’t want to be pregnant with me because I ruined her figure. And further rejection at the hands of my brother and two sisters who had horribly abused me when I was very young. They were much older than me; like ten, fifteen and sixteen years older. My father was a tyrant and I never felt loved. Rejection followed me all of my life until Jesus revealed Himself to me much later and ten years after I had left a legalistic church.

The scene prior to that was of a time in her adult life when she is remodeling her kitchen and had a friend come over because she was seeking his advice. The ceiling was exposed and he could see that one of the beams only went three-quarters of the way across. In other words, it was not really supporting much and was nailed to another beam and that was unstable and the whole thing was likely to come apart. She described the boards that were barely hanging on as looking into herself. She said for years she was expecting stability from a broken identity. She went on to say that she heard people talk about putting their identity in Christ but when something felt threatening, she would revert back to old thought patterns of feeling unloved and unwanted. Standing underneath the broken boards told her why. She said, “I couldn’t keep my old broken beliefs, nail a little Jesus truth to the side, and expect stability.”

Ah! That was it! The correction God is going to undertake is the old belief systems. Horrible, lingering bits of belief that was ingrained in me during my 19 years in a horrific legalistic church called the Worldwide Church of god. I used small “g” because they don’t deserve the use of the Big G for their persecution and demeaning of women and children and who painted a picture of God as a mean, vindictive Person. (One time my car broke down in the middle of the road and I was told by the pastor at that time that God was punishing me for whatever sin or infraction the pastor thought I had committed. That’s just a minor example.) But the real culprit was my childhood which set the ground work for getting sucked into that church and staying way too long.

As much as I thought I had weeded out all that old garbage, I realized that some parts of it had still remained and this is now the correction coming my way. God is going to lovingly correct that image that had been painted in my mind. Make no mistake, I love God with all my heart and He knows it. I know He loves me more than I can possibly know this side of Heaven. Bits and pieces of some of the old beliefs have been showing up in this heart-rending trial of my son, David’s, health. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that satan has been doing his part throwing those beliefs in there. Because wherever Jesus is actually leading me will require that ALL the old garbage will gone for good! Satan is feeling threatened.

One more thing: I have a distinct feeling this is going to be a very intimate and personal thing between me and God. I will get to see Him in a whole new light. Because I have been so badly abused and rejected, His approach is going to be decidedly more loving and tender than how His creation has treated me. And…I think I will finally be healed if all that emotional pain. This is the start of something big. 😀 And He gets all the glory.

P.S. I have written another post about this book and would not recommend it. I may be completely wrong about a bunch of things.

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Out The Other Side Part II

I had previously written a piece called Out The Other Side which spoke about going through a rough trial with my son and the wide expanse of grace once I was out the other side of it. First of all, the procedure on David’s heart was not successful. He did not meet the $3,000 highway-robbery deductible but hospital admissions let him in with just a down payment of $200 and they will bill him the rest. So for all of you out there who feel moved to help, please to go the GoFundMe page and donate whatever is in your heart. All donations will be greatly appreciated.  https://www.gofundme.com/help-our-ill-pastor

Now here is the part two to the post Out the Other Side. Once you go through something like this you might feel you have attained another “level” in your Christian growth and that’s very possible. BUT…with that comes a whole new ballgame of correction. Suddenly God has begun to show me even more garbage I have to get out of my life or fix. Now, grace be to God, it is truly the work of the Holy Spirit, lest any of us make a sorry attempt to boast. But we still have to acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, yield to God, and allow the Spirit to get to work. This is not as easy as it sounds, let me tell you. Here is where it gets tough and now I completely understand something Beth Moore said a long time ago. When a woman (and I am not sure if it was a friend of Beth’s, an associate, or someone just writing an article about her.) had asked Beth, upon looking at all the numerous books Beth had written, “How do you feel (or think) when you see all this?” (referring to the books she wrote all neatly arranged on her bookshelves in her office.) Beth replied, “One beatin’ after another.”
At first, I admired Beth for her honesty and I knew what she meant. However, now I understand her comment even more so.

Christians must withstand the correction of God which is for our own good, no matter how unpleasant it might be at the time. It is for our edification but also because we can’t be in the Kingdom of God with the mess we carry around. When we submit to His correction, it brings forth more fruit and also can bring forth more clarification of scripture that you have already read. The scripture does not necessarily have to do with being corrected, either. It can be on any topic that God wants to draw your attention to. And herein is the Pearl of Great Price. Well, more of it, that is.

You don’t want to lose the ground you have covered so it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you maintain your prayer life which is contact with God. Maintaining the position of constant prayer means just being in contact with him no matter what you are doing at the moment. You could be working on a household repair, grocery shopping, dealing with some difficulty or in regular prayer and Bible study.

Also, be warned that the enemy is now going to try more slithery forms of attack. They can be very subtle and he is not above using scripture against you. Keep your armor on! Ephesians 6:10-11 No matter what he throws at you, keep your eyes on the Lord who loves you more than you will ever know in this lifetime and who will never leave you. Be strong in the Lord and the Power of His might.

Above all, don’t resist the Lord’s correction. You’ll only get yourself into deeper trouble. That includes making excuses, lying to yourself by denying the sin, lying to God by doing the same and pointing the finger at someone else as if their bad behavior is the cause of your sin. The serpent in the Garden only slithered around the tree and spoke to Eve. He didn’t pull out a .45 and hold it to her head. Or Adam’s, for that matter. Or…believing the devil’s lie that you have time to repent because Christ is not returning right now. That gets you into deep trouble on two counts. One: you don’t know when your last day on earth really is and two: you are allowing Satan to build a stronghold inside your mind and heart which will take strong action on God’s part to fix. In other words, expect a good spanking.

I want to take this opportunity to offer up prayers for others. My sons David and Derek, who is facing financial and housing difficulties, my granddaughter, Alex, my sister-in-Christ Lene (leneinjapan blog) and her daughter who, at age 10 is experiencing emotional difficulties, my other sister-in-Christ, Won (who is from Korea) and is suffering with Lupus and all other Christians who are being persecuted and suffering. May our Lord and Savior heal them and rescue those who need rescuing. Thank you, Father.

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Why I Like Beth Moore

It seems ages ago that I became acquainted with her Bible studies. I was leaving a bookstore at the time and I can’t remember if it was the now-defunct Borders Bookstore or Barnes and Noble. The religion section was off to my left and someone was calling me over there. It was Jesus. But thinking it was my imagination, I left the store. I ended up going back because curiosity got the best of me. When I walked to that section the pull of Jesus was even stronger until, as I walked along the wall of books, the one book I needed to see jumped out at me. It was “Jesus – The One and Only.” It was a big book, a Bible study, written by Beth Moore. I took the book down off the shelf and I bought it. I am not sure if I bought it that day or had to wait till I had the money to buy it but I did eventually buy it. It was riveting and I found Beth Moore very human and I could identify with her. I absolutely loved the study about Jesus, my One and Only.

I have a number of her books now and she is far from perfect as any honest Christian can say about themselves. There have been plenty of negative things said about her and things taken out of context. I remember seeing a small section of one video of hers some time back and it was clearly an old one judging by the poor quality of it. But that one particular section made me frown and I was saddened by it.

Well, in my heart, I still wanted to like her and still bought her studies. The most recent one I have is called “Entrusted” which I have been going through slowly. In that study she totally admits to her own mistakes and past sins which have long ago been repented of. One of them now explains that video clip I saw. I will just write what she wrote here:
“I wanted to please people in the worst way and I do mean the whole lot of them. Every camp of Christianity. Every person I taught. My leaders, my friends, my coworkers, and God knows I wanted to please my mother.”

It was a people-pleasing addiction that she had to break with the help of God. And she did break it. I am not going to go into that old video at all. It’s in the past, but I want to illustrate that no true Christian is perfect and we all make mistakes. Whoever posted that video clip on their own website was looking for something to condemn her by. They should be more worried about what Jesus thinks of that than what Beth Moore might have said or did many years ago.

The never-ending spiral of people pleasing addiction can turn anyone to dust because people, as a whole, are selfish and there is no pleasing them. Because just when you think they might like you, they end up treating you with contempt. It is way, way better to please God and a much nicer experience. In pleasing people you might also compromise with your own core beliefs, as well, which puts you in more danger of displeasing God. Besides, if you stick to pleasing God He will take care of those others, as well.

So for the most part, I like Beth Moore because she writes really great Bible-based studies (I saw the one on the Patriarchs in Lifeway Bookstore that I really want to get!) and because she is very human and will admit to it. And it also takes a lot of courage to admit one’s mistakes in public. Most have trouble admitting their own secret sins to themselves, let alone open themselves up to public humiliation by admitting them in print.

The lesson learned is to be careful of what you read and believe about others unless they are glaringly a heretic and I can name a few who make my hair stand on end. But instead, have the mind of Christ and pray for His guidance. Pray for those who might have fallen off the narrow road that they might be brought back to Jesus. Sometimes it is just best to have tunnel vision with only seeing Jesus Christ standing at the end of it. God bless you all.

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Out The Other Side

Psalm 18:19- “He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me.”

My son, David, had his surgery on Tuesday, March 7th. He was awake for all of it and he felt some of it. It was painful. They had to burn one of the nerves causing the problems and it was in a tricky spot, right near an artery. He came out of it just fine, otherwise. It will be awhile before he heals. He’s very exhausted from it all. I praise God that David is still alive. Right now he’s home resting. He was not allowed to drive for two days. Tomorrow he might go back to work at his job. I pray God has him working full time as a pastor so he can quit his awful day job.

In the meantime, we all are thankful to God for His wonderful intervention in so many ways. Glory be to His Holy Name. He’s a great Dad and Friend.

The first thing I noticed in regards to myself was on Monday, the day before the operation. I was suddenly at peace. It was a wonderful peace and even though I had been through the emotional wringer, I knew David was going to be okay. Beth Moore one time stated in one of her books about going through a very rough trial and then coming out the other side to find oneself in a wide expanse of grace. That’s where I am right now. It’s like standing in a sunny meadow filled with the scent of wild flowers, a gentle breeze and hanging out with Jesus! And He’s standing there, just smiling, because He knows, more than anything, that I have wanted this; a secret desire of my heart. I finally have gotten to experience what I had read about and even mentioned in some prior posts. I can’t even explain the level of contentment I have right now but I feel something has definitely changed within me. I have to wait to see what fruit produces.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that I was under very, very heavy demonic attack, especially after that last post. In fact, everything hit the fan with other people that I love, including David, my other son, Derek and my good friend, Walter. The demonic attacks were so severe in my case that I remarked to David in an email that I guess I must have hit the nail on the head when I wrote that last post because satan was really angry.

Right now I’m in my own little recovery mode but this is the first time I have had a sense of well being that has lasted for days. I can’t tell you how wonderful that is! I’m pretty tired and need to heal and recuperate a bit but I really want to get into some serious study and more memorization. I have this goal now to do more of that. I don’t know what God’s exact plans are for me, but I think things will start moving forward quite suddenly now. Right now, I am floating in this good feeling He has given me and I am so thankful to Him for it.

I pray that all of you experience this. It is wonderful.

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Radical Faith

What is radical faith? I hope to illustrate it here in this post. The reason I am writing this is because I am in a situation that requires it. I had previously written about my son, David, and how sick he is. He is going to undergo a procedure on his heart on March 7th, 2017. He is so ill he can barely make it through the day. Needless to say, I have been beseeching God for his healing every day. As I am going through this with him, I have often wondered as to the why of it, as most Christians often do when confronted with something catastrophic or life-threatening.

God does not do things willy-nilly and there is always a purpose for everything we go through. Of course, He wants us to draw near to Him, to be closer to Him. That’s a given. But what if there is something else brewing below the surface? What if He is using this particular trial to accomplish something great?
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20 KJV)
I bought a book by my favorite Christian author, Priscilla Shirer, titled “God Is Able.” It is perfect for this situation and any situation you find yourself in because she addresses everything you can possibly feel while going through it. I never once doubted God’ ability to heal. But she took it a step further and said He would do it, He would intercede on my son’s behalf, on your behalf for whatever you are going through because He is KIND. I also know this because Jesus said whatever we ask for in His Name, the Father will do it. Healing is in Jesus’ nature. He healed thousands when He walked the earth and many times more since then. And it is also stated in Matthew 8:17 “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias, the prophet, saying Himself took in our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”

Going back to what He might be working out in this case is most likely multifaceted. He is working something out in David and He is definitely working something out in me. Because, in spite of what people see on the outside, they will never see my interior life with God. It might manifest itself in some ways as it comes to the surface but the deep down thoughts of my heart are for His eyes only. What request of my heart is He about to grant using this health crisis my son is going through? [I also have another son, Derek, who desperately needs Divine Intervention and also healing at the same time, too. In fact, a complete spiritual overhaul and strengthening.]

First, let us look at two very prime examples of radical faith and what it can do. In both cases, it did not take an entire congregation praying for the person. It only took the faith of one. In Matthew 8:5-13 we read the story of the Roman Centurion who came to Christ to ask that his servant be healed. Christ was ready to go with him right then and there, but the Centurion tells Him that he is not worthy enough for Christ to enter his house. Instead, the Centurion says, “say the word and my servant will be healed.” He then uses himself as an example of one who orders commands and asks Christ to do the same. Jesus, astounded at this man’s faith, his radical faith, heals the servant immediately.

In Matthew 9:18-20 we read that Jesus is on his way to resurrect a young girl who is sick and will die. But as he is about to do this miracle, a woman who has bled for many, many years creeps up behind him, saying in her heart that if she can just touch the end of his cloak, she will be healed. No one else is paying attention to her, no one else is praying for her. She is alone in this with the exception of God, Himself, who is but a step away from her. So with her radical faith, she reaches out and touches his cloak. Jesus immediately feels it and turns to ask who touched him. His disciples tell him in disbelief how can he ask this when there is a crowd pressing up against him. It is then that the woman reveals herself and Jesus tells her that her faith has made her whole. She was healed at that instant.

So what I am praying for is David’s complete and total healing. But deep inside of me I want to be changed, radically changed. I want a faith so rock solid that nothing will shake me. Not only do I want to be a profitable servant, I want to be weapon in the Hands of my Almighty God and Savior. So while satan has been driving a knife into my heart, I want to take out my sword and cut his head off! I want God to use me in ways I never would think possible.

David’s healing will have a galvanizing affect on our little church as well as a riveting affect on those who don’t even believe. Because I know once he is healed, he will be an unstoppable warrior in the hands of God. Just as I will be, just as others will be. An unstoppable, fearless weapon.

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