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April 19, 2010
How to Study the Bible Part 1
 
This will be a 2 part series on how to study the Bible. The first thing we must recognize is the fact that the Bible differs from all other books. It differs in its claims. 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" The Bible is inspired of God and not of man. The word "inspired" here in this verse comes from the Greek words, "theos" which means God, and "pnein" which means to breath. Therefore, Scripture is a God breathed word. That is, it is as much the word of God as though God had spoken it with His own breath! Dr James H. Brooks estimates that the phrase "Thus saith the Lord" or its equivalent is used in the Old Testament 2000 times. The Bible differs from all other books when it comes to its Authorship. 2 Peter 1:21 says " 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." H.L Horace Lorenzo Hastings in his book "Will the Old Book Stand" Pg 21 writes the following: "The authorship of this book is wonderful. Here are words written by Kings, by Emperors, by Princes, by Poets, by Sages, by Philosophers, by Fishermen, by Statesmen; by men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, educated in the schools of Babylon, trained up at the feet of Rabbis in Jerusalem. It was written by men in exile, in the desert, in shepherds' tents, in "green pastures" and beside "still waters". Among its authors we find the taxpayer, the herdsmen, the gatherer of sycamore fruit; we find poor men, rich men, statesmen, preachers, exiles, captains, legislators, judges; men of every grade and class are represented in this wonderful volume, which is in reality a library, filled with history, genealogy, ethnology, law, ethics, prophecy, poetry, eloquence, medicine, sanitary science, political economy, and perfect rules for the conduct of personal and social life. But again, it required fifteen hundred years to write this book, and the man who wrote the closing pages of it had no communication with the man who commenced it. How did these men, writing independently, produce such a book? Other books get out of date when they are ten or twenty years old; but this book lives on through the ages, and keeps abreast of the mightiest thought and intellect of every age". In John 10:35 Christ regarded the Scriptures as a divine whole, not as merely partially inspired. Thirdly, the Bible differs from all other books when it comes to its standards. The Bible standard of life and morals is inestimably superior to that of any other system. Not only does it present us with a perfect moral code(Romans 7:21) but it also presents us with a perfect life as our example(1 Peter 2:21-22). No other book has ever been able to so this! Fourthly, the Bible differs from all other books when it comes to its Power. Hebrews 4:12 says " For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" Millions of lives have been transformed through the power of the Word. Inspiration of the Bible is not a theory but a fact! A realization of this fact will have a vast influence upon our attitude towards the Bible and consequently upon our lives. Psalm 119:11 says " Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." The Bible is able to keep us from sin! One famous author wrote " The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrine, and the test of experience"
 
April 4, 2010 
Memories of a Childhood
Growing up in my home country of New Zealand I remember vividly seeing so many sheep. Interestingly enough,there are more sheep in New Zealand than there are people! It is indeed a country known for its sheep industry. During the lambing season, thousands of baby lambs are born.Unfortunately, some lambs die at birth. Many mother sheep are also lost during lambing season; they die giving birth. In an attempt to save the orphaned lambs, the shepherds match baby lambs who have lost their mothers with mother sheep who have lost their lambs. It's not as easy as it sounds-a mother sheep won't accept a lamb and nurse it unless it is her own. How, then, do shepherds get a mother sheep to accept an orphaned lamb as her own? The process is as old as shepherding itself. The mother's own lamb, which has died, is skinned, and the skin of the dead lamb is draped over the living lamb as it is placed by the adoptive mother's side. The mother sheep then smells the skin and accepts the orphaned lamb as her own. This reminds us of what Jesus did for us on the cross. The Bible teaches us that we have been saved by the "blood of the Lamb" Revelation 7:14 Who is that Lamb? The Bible says in John 1:29 that when John saw Jesus approaching he cried "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He...has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" Ephesian 2:13-14. Because of Christ's blood, God accepts us as His own. Once we were orphans, but now we are God's adopted children. Friend, will you accept Jesus into your life? Have you been washed by the blood of the Lamb? Christ is calling you to come to Him! He longs to save you! One of my favorite Hymn writers was a man by the name of William Cowper. He wrote the well known Hymn "There is a Fountain" The first stanza reads: There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains! Lose all their guilty stains! And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains! Reader, do you long to lose all your guilty stains? Do you desire to be cleansed from all sin and filth? Jesus died for you! Accept Him into your life today.
 
March 20, 2010  

The Example of a Poet

Recently I have become fascinated and deeply intrigued with poetry and the life of poets. One particular person that stands out to me is the Italian Poet Tasso,(11 March 1544-25 April 1595) When Tasso reached the peak of his career, he was in a position to wreak revenge upon a man who had wronged him deeply years before. "I dont desire to plunder him," the poet said, "yet there is one thing I would like to take from him." "His honor, his wealth, his life?" Tasso was asked. "No," came the gentle reply. "What I desire to take from him I will try to gain by the exercise of kindness, patience and forbearance. I will take away his ill will." Firstly, Tasso's reply reminds me of the Apostle Paul's letter to the believers in Rome. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Roman 12:21. Often times when we are hurt by someone our initial reaction is to "get even". But at the end of the day the only person that really loses out is ourself. Nothing really changes. The situation or circumstances only continues to get worse. By overcoming evil with good, a definite change will take place on both parties that are hurt. Next time someone does evil or hurt you, try repaying that individual with love, patience, forgiveness and forbearance. Over a matter of time you will notice that his or her bitter feelings will be vanquished. Remember, love begets love. Secondly, Tasso's decision to "overcome evil with good" in order to take away the ill will of the one that wronged him is a perfect rendition of Jesus' ministry for you and I. Christ came into this world to conquer sin and save lost humanity. By shedding His blood on the cross he wants to take away our sin. As a matter of fact, Mathew 1:21 says "He shall save his people FROM their sins." Through the ministry of the cross and His interceeeding in the Holy of Holies, Christ longs to take away our sins that we may be a pure and righteous people awaiting for His soon return! 

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