Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trusting the Bible


"For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the the heart."   ~Hebrews 4:12



One of my great loves is studying God's Word...the Bible.   I can't remember exactly what year I started, but about 8 or 9 years ago I began having a daily Bible study time every morning. I don't mean to sound overly dramatic...but to put it simply, it has changed my life...and all for good.  I strongly recommend it to anyone who desires to draw closer to God, to know more about Him and about his faithfulness, his sovereignty, his goodness, his mercy and love.  

However,  before I started studying, I did not have much interest, or frankly, much trust in what the Bible said.  I had been taught growing up that the Bible, although it was good, it contain errors, distortions and omissions.  Before I could truly start studying it, I had to address some of the doubts that I had.

Here are some of the things about the Bible that I learned:
1. Written in a 1500 year period.
 2. Written in different places...wilderness, dungeon, palace etc.
 3. Written in different times...war, peace, prosperity etc.
 4. Written by 40 authors who...
-lived over 15 centuries
-lived on 3 different continents...Asia, Africa, Europe.
-spoke different languages...Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
-came from every walk of life...kings, military leaders, philosophers,    poets, scholars, peasants, shepherds, tax collectors, etc.
 5. Written during different moods...joy, sorrow, despair, certainty, confusion and doubt.
6. Contains 66 different books that read as 1
7. Contains: History, Law, Science, Drama, Poetry, Songs, Biographies, personal            correspondences, Prophecy, and Philosophy. 
 8. Addresses hundreds of controversial topics from parenting to homosexuality and with        amazing harmony.             
9. Despite it's diversity it reveals one simple theme--God's redemption of Mankind.

How well is it preserved?  This is where the doubts come in.  For many years it was hand-copied, so how can you trust that it was done accurately?  Many believe that the words of scripture was changed, either added or omitted, to support a certain belief.  Is that true...do the facts support that?

Well, here are some facts... there are 5,656 manuscripts (hand-written copies) of the New Testament in Greek (original language of the NT) alone.  (Some of these manuscripts are just parts of the NT) There are many thousands of manuscripts in other languages too...Latin, Ethiopic, Slavic, Armenian, Arabic, Gothic, Persian and others.  Together they total over 19,000 manuscripts and combined with the Greek manuscripts it totals over 24,900 manuscripts.  It is the most frequently copied and widely circulated document of antiquity.  Nothing come close to it.  The second most preserved is Homer's Iliad with 643 manuscripts.  

These manuscripts have been studied, analyzed and compared.   In the book, Foundations for Biblical Interpretation, by D. Dockery, S. Kenneth, and S. Mathews (1994), they said, "...although there are certainly differences in many of the New Testament manuscripts, not one fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading."  May I also recommend the book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

Learning all of this was very helpful to me and helped me to trust it more.  But the real conviction came as I studied it and came to know more of our good and faithful God.  This is His holy word to us.  He would not allow it to become faulty.  Men over the ages have tried to destroy and corrupt it, but have failed. 

~"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand for ever." Isaiah 40:8
~"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."  Matt. 24:35
~"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 1Timothy 3:16

Monday, May 26, 2008

Truth


Who and what can we trust?

We can trust truth, but truth and honesty are becoming rare in our society today. Politicians distort or recreate facts and present them as truth. The media spins facts into their own politically correct version of truth. Many, if not most, college professors and unfortunately many high school teachers, comb through facts to pick those that will support their view of the world and especially America. And sadly, even in our churches, messages are preached that are 'listener-friendly'. If a message offends, it is left on the shelf and not taken to the pulpit.


Life can be hard and confusing...we need truth to guide us through. We need it, but sometimes I wonder if we really want it. It is a dangerous, but common belief that truth is not absolute. Truth varies and can be personalized for different individuals. I would agree that is true for opinions and emotions. But not for truth. Facts are facts and should not be recreated, spinned or omitted to serve some other agenda.


I once heard it said that "conservatives get mad when you lie to them, liberals get mad when you tell them the truth", (may have been Ronald Reagan, but I'm not sure). Looking beyond the politics of conservatism and liberalism, I think this often happens in our society, some of us feel happy and comfy living with distortions and falsehoods. It takes courage to seek, learn and accept truth. With truth comes responsibility and accountability. Often with truth comes a need for change and hard decision making.


This is not what I had intended to write in my post today...it's just what came out as I started typing. Should I post it? Yea, I guess so, there must be a reason for it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sleep-Over at Grandma's

What a great weekend I am having!
Friday, after my lovely bike ride, I attended the Preschool Graduation of my 2nd granddaughter, Julianna.  Here is a video of her special moment...

video
She is such a special little girl!  She was so excited and I am so grateful I was able to share the occasion with her!
After the graduation we all went to lunch at Ihop.  Not only was it Juliann's graduation, but it was also my daughter-in-law Shelly's birthday, so we were celebrating both!
After lunch, my daughter Rachel (who also took the day off work),  and I went shopping.  I had agreed to have all four kids over for a Sleep-Over.  We got home a bit late, and I had not told Gary they were coming.  When they all showed up  with sleeping bags in tow...he was a bit surprised!

We had a great time....


All four of them hanging out in the backyard.















The kids enjoyed taking a bath in Grandma's  oversized bathtub.























Julianna, Emily and Rider in their sleeping bags.
A pretty cool thing about Rider's sleeping bag...it was made by my mother for my son Adam (Rider's Dad) when he was a little boy.  The sleeping bad is made to look like a turtle, with the 'head' being a pillow.  Both the top and bottom are quilted, which my Mom did herself.  It was used by Adam and his brothers, and I have kept it all these years.  Rider enjoyed it and was excited to use something his dad had when he was little.






Saturday morning breakfast on the patio.











It was great to spend the time with them.  They are great kids!  But boy they can keep you 'hopping'!   That darn Garth Brooks song still keeps running through my mind..."I'm too young to feel this damn old"!

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Bike Ride


Today is friday and I have it off work-YEA!!  I am so excited!  I love days off!
I decided this morning I would start off my day with a bike ride.  About a month ago, my husband Gary purchased bikes for us.  We are not exactly what you would call 'athletic people' but since we have recently moved to a neighborhood where there are many bike & walking trails we decided it would be a fun thing to do.  Also, my son Adam and his wife got bikes for all of their family last Christmas and we are hoping to do some bike riding with them.  


This is a picture of Gary putting one of the bikes together.

They are nice bikes in a pretty green color, and of course they match.  We may be old and a bit pathetic looking when we ride, but our bikes will look cool!

We have gone for a few bike rides on saturday mornings which I have loved!



Anyway, today I decided to go by myself, and I learned a few lessons during my ride.  I would like to share them...
1.  You need to look up while riding.  During the first part of my ride I kept my eyes on the path I was on, but after awhile I realized I was missing the best part of the ride.  I told myself to look around...there was so much beauty I was missing by looking down.  The scenery around me was lovely and yet all I was seeing was pavement.  This is also true in life.  I am often looking at the 'path' I am on rather than the 'scenery' around me.  It's good to look down long enough to keep you on course, but how sad it is to miss all the good and enjoyable pleasures there are around you.  Even when the path became hard to travel...the view was still beautiful!
2. Know where you are going before you start.  I just took off this morning assuming it was going to be an easy ride.  I have driven past this bike path and it looks very easy.  However, there was more incline than I realized, and it ended up being much more physically challenging that what I expected.  It's good to take on challenges, both in bike riding and in life, but know your abilities and limits and choose appropriately.  It's ok to say 'no...I'm not ready yet'.
3. Face the truth...I am overweight and out of shape!   My heart was pounding and my breathing was not very 'lady-like'.  My head and chest hurt, my hands felt numb, and my knees starting screaming at me as if they were saying "what in the heck do you think you are doing"?

An old Garth Brook song kept running through my mind..."I'm to young to feel this damn old".