"And this is what he says to all humanity: 'The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'"
Job 28:28 NLT
KJV. NIV. NLT. NKJV. The Message.
In my women's discipleship class we would have frequent discussions referencing various scripture (naturally...) and the ladies would quote a passage that meant something to them. Frequently I would hear two particular ladies say a passage from the bible then say "The Message". Now me, a bit slow at times, was thinking "What on earth?..." But after hearing it a few times I got it: The Message was the Bible translation they were reading from.
Now I was always a King James Version kind of girl - enjoying the olde world feel and sound of it. I would think of the Bible figures with their sandals and robes on, sitting on a big stone in the wilderness and such, holding a tablet of rough hewn rock speaking to the people. (How's that for imagery?) I was drifting in darkness because I couldn't really follow the meaning of what God had to say to me through His word. I was not reading my bible daily, nor was I taking classes or going to bible study regularly to gain a better understanding of God's truths. So in 2000 I bought a People's Parallel Edition Bible in King James Version & New Living Translation. I still kept reading the KJV though because the NLT seemed watered-down and not quite 'holy' enough for me. Well, one day I was reading and praying and came across Galatians 2:20 and I was so moved by what God was saying to me that I cried.
"I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in the earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." NLT
To me this passage so awesomely details the walk that we face daily. Having life and having it more abundantly is God's gift to us as believers through Christ Jesus. I promise you that I have read that passage before, but it had not resonated with me the same way. Then I understood why: it's all in the translation! I read the same scripture in KJV - a little heart prick. Then in the NKJV - eh, maybe a pinch that time. Then again in NLT - there it is! Light bulb moment!
Each of us has to find a Bible translation that works best for us. The Bible can't show you the path that God has for your life if you can't clearly understand it. You may have an electronic device or other item at home that you don't use to the fullest potential because you haven't figured out how to work it properly. God forbid you read the manual, right? (no pun intended) If you don't already have a Bible that you can read and understand, go out and get one. Plenty of Christian book stores and churches in the area that sell a number of options. Take it from me girls, read the Lord's manual for your life. It will make your walk as a Christian so much stronger. Amen!
Friday, May 25, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
John 15:5-8 NLT "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father."
Here is the Sunday morning routine: Wake up. Turn on the radio or TV to a gospel or preached word station. Turn on the coffee pot or tea kettle. Stand in the closet thinking about what to wear to church. Take a shower, coif the hair, get dressed. Start heading out the door. "Ooops!" you think, "What do I need to bring with me so I can do the "other stuff" I want to do after church?" Bring a change of clothes/ shoes/ etc. so that I won't go through the mall/ brunch/ dinner/ movies looking like I just left church... Could this be you? (*me: hand raised, looking at the floor in shame)
You've given your life to Christ, but are you living for Him?
Many of us shuttle through life desiring to put a check in each box:
- good job - check
- degree - check
- more degrees - check, check
- nice house - check
- nice car - check
- find a man - check (another topic for another time)
- go to church - check
We have a perceived sense of security in knowing that we have given our lives to Christ by being saved, going to church, maybe even going to bible study during the week. We really feel secure if we are tithing, let me tell you! Paying your weekly installment to get on the list, huh? Not quite ladies. Having things to do AC (after church) is not the problem; but living for all of the other things and not for God is. You must ask yourself "Am I living for Christ?" Do you live and breathe the fire God has placed in your heart or are you on auto-pilot? Have you recognized yet that God has planted in you a seed that he wants to cultivate, till, and prune so that you will bear much fruit? We are reminded of this in John 15:5 "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
Let's be clear and honest here, "remaining" in God can be a struggle. Everyday it is work - staying in touch with God and keeping the lines of communication open so that he stays in touch with you - not always easy. But is gets easier every day. You pray to God, you listen to what He is saying to you, and you look out for what He is showing you. He will show you how to live your life better by living for Him. As you accomplish your goals and set out through life you will begin to take advantage of the opportunities God gives you to witness for Him; whether it's at work, at school, in your social circles, or with your family. Be joyous and helpful in God's army! Smile at the lady in your office that is snippy to you. Wave every day to your neighbor who pretends not to see you. Forgive. Open your hand to give. Reach out to others. Allow the power of God's grace to work in you so that others will see and experience His goodness.
God, through Jesus Christ and with the power of the Holy Spirit, gives us assurance and purpose. Profess your faith ladies, you have nothing to be ashamed of!