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I'm doing a research paper on Proverbs and your blog popped up on Google. That's impressive that you're reading the Bible in a year, it's quite a work of literature, but remember to keep an open mind towards the context of all Bible passages. It's strange to me how Christians try to relate each and every verse to themselves in modern times, when the Bible's authors wrote and edited its different books thousands of years ago: Proverbs, for example, was written from about 400-200 B.C., and though they are the 'Proverbs of Solomon,' just like the Psalms of David, they were very likely not written by whom they're accredited to, just whom they were inspired by, to put it simply. Just a bit of history - enjoy your reading. =)

[sigh]

I am lagging behind a little. An incident in yesterday's Gospel reading struck me. Luke 4:

33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 "Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"

35 "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

This seems so simple and factual. Jesus just took it in his stride. It puzzles me that we do not seem to have much experience of demons. Or, maybe my experience is limited.

Do people have experiences of demons manifesting in their churches?

hi elizabeth....you speak about the books of the Bible being accreditted to whom they were inspired by :-) im ok with that cos they were all inspired by God, every last word....i pray that in your research of proverbs youl get sidetracked and delve more into the Bible and that God will reveal to you that its all true and all pertinent to you personally today, God bless you, stef.

Thanks for the beautiful pictures on nature, Mike, the sunset especially. I've always loved the sunset. There's nothing like a prayerful walk on the beach with the sunset on the background. It stills the soul and lifts you up the ground!!!

I've taken pictures of sunset in my travels----they may look slightly different but the beauty and grandeur is all the same.Like God whose presence never fades...

I also like the symbolic aspect of the sunset. While it signals the end of the day, it is a reminder that there is another tomorrow when the sun rises again to signal another day. The sunset and the sunrise, the Resurrection!

That's what I meant the last time I said not to be so much to be focused on the Crucifixion but on the Resurrection.

Oooops, something was lost on its way to being posted.

The last sentence should read---

The sunset and the sunrise, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Numbers 33:40-35:34

A quick observation: God is about “boundaries.” From the “…In the Beginning …” up until now, God has placed boundaries on everything He has created.

“ … So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it … "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear … The land produced vegetation plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. There was evening, and there was morning, a third day. God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years … God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. “(Genesis 1:4-18 NET.)

In everything God does, He assigns purpose and actions and when we fail to operate within those boundaries He has set because of who He is, The Master Craftsman, we are out of order, just as that vending machine is Out of Order when it fails to dispense our choice after having put our money in. Just as the bathroom, or car, or whatever has been designed for a specific purpose is Out of Order when it fails to operate within its purpose. Just as we are Our of Order when we don’t use a perfectly working tool/person/created thing in the manner it was designed to work—we have wandered into the realm of abuse.

If the purpose of a thing is not understood, abuse is inevitable—Myles Monroe.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Roslyn,

>>The sunset and the sunrise, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection>>

Thank you for this thought, it is powerful, WOW!!

The Bible states that the Lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the world, meaning that the plan of redemption was set before anything was ever created and the sunset and sunrise, or the “sonrise” and “sonset” hearled the plan of redemption on the “first day” of “In the beginning …” WOW!!!

God loved us, cared for us, planed for us before we were ever in existence. Hallelujah!!

I will leave for work, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, clicking my heels without the ruby slippers.

Again, grace and peace,
Ramona

I love the power of the leper's request to Jesus--"Lord, if you are willing..." and then Jesus' overwhelming response, "I am willing." Simple but powerful stuff that has inspired my prayers this morning. Blessings to all.

Glory and Might of God is revealed through all creation. Today, lyrics of a song struck me that mentioned that even Caesar of mighty Roman Empire could not own or contain the vast blue sky.

How silly human beings can be that they think owning a luxury car or gadget can add to their worth.

Our real worth is in Christ and as the children of God. God is the creator of Universe and of infinite things in it.

As to Elizabeth's posting: John's "sigh" says it all.

Very blessed this needy morning by Bible.org's commentary on yesterday's reading, Jesus and the demoniac. He is a Savior, and our deliverer. Do you need a deliverance today? I pray you and I seek Him for it. It's in His hand only.

Blessings to all.

Numbers 33 (NKJV)
50
Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying,
51
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
52
then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places;
53
you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess.
54
And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers.
55
BUT IF YOU DO NOT DRIVE OUT THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND FROM BEFORE YOU, THEN IT SHALL BE THAT THOSE WHOM YOU LET REMAIN SHALL BE IRRITANTS IN YOUR EYES AND THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, AND THEY SHALL HARASS YOU IN THE LAND WHERE YOU DWELL.
56
Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’”

~~~
MY NOTE:
How serious am I about seeking the Lord and overcoming the "giants" in my life?

This reminds me of these verses:
a. I Corinthians 2 (Amplified)
12
Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us]
THAT WE MIGHT REALIZE AND COMPREHEND AND APPRECIATE THE GIFTS [OF DIVINE FAVOR AND BLESSING SO FREELY AND LAVISHLY] BESTOWED ON US BY GOD.

b. Ephesians 1 (Amplified)
3
May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)
WHO HAS BLESSED US IN CHRIST WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL (GIVEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT) BLESSING IN THE HEAVENLY REALM!

==> May we reach our full potential so as to accomplish on earth the victory that Jesus has already won and given to us!

Otherwise, we are doomed-- even as Christians-- to serve the masters we will not throw off

Numbers 35

I found these very interesting notes from the website titled, hebrew4christians.com regarding the following:

A)
the boundaries of the Promised Land obtained by the children of Israel

"The boundaries of the Promised Land are then given. Note that the borders do not correspond with the reality of any historical settlement of Israel, so the actual possession of the land by Israel is yet to be fulfilled...
This is significant, because it disproves the amillenial view that the Church has replaced Israel and that the promise of the land was fulfilled in ancient times."

B)
Cities of Refuge

" 'Cities of refuge' (arei miklat) are then designated as havens and places of exil for those involved in accidental manslaughter. Cities of refuge were places the Levites dwelled, since they were apportioned no territories in the Promised Land...
Interestingly, the refugee must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the Kohen Gadol (high priest), SHOWING A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DEATH OF THE PRIEST AS ATONEMENT FOR THE LOSS OF LIFE."

** This connection is another way God the Father laid the foundation of understanding for THE ULTIMATE PRIEST, JESUS, GAVE HIS LIFE to redeem our lives from sin and eath.

Luke 5 (NKJV)
20
When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

FAITH IS SUBSTANCE... in fact, I am sure it is THE MOST REAL SUBSTANCE in the universe.

Hebrews 11 (NKJV)
1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2
For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3
BY FAITH WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORLDS WERE FRAMED BY THE WORD OF GOD,
so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Hebrews 11 (Message)
1
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. IT'S OUR HANDLE ON WHAT WE CAN'T SEE.

2 Corinthians 4 (NKJV)
18
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

HOW DOES FAITH COME? Certainly, faith is a gift of God that we cannot earn or work up within ourselves.

Certainly, God's Word is key to HAVING AND DEVELOPING faith in our real, vital relationship with Jesus:

Romans 10 (NKJV)
17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

***
BE BLESSED this day. No matter how difficult or lonely a situation may appear... trust in the Lord and His Word.

Vance

Probably should clear up the [sigh]. I typed it because that is exactly how I reacted after reading elizabeth's post.

What I was thinking was - two yeears ago, that would have been me. I would have been more vulgar, meaner, and definately more condescending to the poor Christians that had to use the Bible as a crutch to get through life. In fact, in the "outside world" I was just that to many people that approached me.

The bible was gibberish to me then - antiquated, poorly written, with contadictory points - and worst af all were the bible thumpers that promoted it.

Two years ago, when I tried to prove the bible had contradictions - to get some Christians off my back - I think God removed some of the veil(s) before my eyes. Maybe he did this because as a formerly trained "research analyst" I was determined to look at the Bible as objectively and rigourously as I could over my study. Maybe in a half-hearted way I was truly seeking God. Whatever the reason - the Bible became more understandable to me at that time.

Post-Salvation, I believe God tore all the veils from before my eyes. I see the Bible as a remarkably consistent work that astounds me in its clarity and consistent message.

How does something like this happen?

I believe that when God is living inside you (Holy Spirit)that He teaches, molds, and reveals things to a "believer". At the very least, it is very clear to me (and most of my Christian friends) that my understanding and comprehension level of the Bible is much higher now, then it was pre-salvation.

Elizabeth's perceptions are correct to her, because she has not "turned back" to God. The Bible to her is all that she says it is, and will remain that way until she seeks God. For that we should all pray for her.

[Note: Do I get it right all the time? Nope. I am still a sinner, and when my fellowship with God is off, or I depend on my own "smarts" to interpret the Bible - I get off track. That is when fellow Chrisitians, pastors, and the Holy Spirit come in to get one back on track. However, if you believe you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, you are connected strongly to God in fellowship, then why would it be impossible to see things more clearly (especially than a non-believer)than you could before salvation? Seems to me that would be part of the "sanctification" process a believer goes through until death.]

Andrew,

Demon manifestation has shown its head more in third world countries than in America. Or has it? Certainly one can be of the opinion that serial killers, child molestors, people with twisted anti-social mind sets, etc. may have been demonically influenced. The thought is they all do not have to be foaming at the mouth, raving mad men, spitting up green bile to be demonically influenced/possessed. [Note: gospel of John says Satan entered Judas and he seemed normal enough in the narrative.]

It was before my time at my church but some archeologist's from the local university brought a video from a "dig" and had before and after video of people that became (allegedly) possessed - with translations of their utterances. Two atheist professors who had viewed the presentation, went home prayed, read the Bible and came to accept Christ. One said, 'I just didn't believe in any kind of spirits until I saw that footage - it scared me!'

[note: I will ask to see if that stuff was ever archived or published anywhere.]

Also, the Catholic church, according to CBS News and some other wire sources, has re-instituted their Excorcism class at a pontifical university. The class was first re-started in 2004. So at least the Catholic church has the idea that demonic activity exists.

Link is from google cache as the newsite has expunged "old stories"

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:zYjr0VElX34J:www.wtkr.com/Global/story.asp%3FS%3D3974809+exorcism+Roman+Catholic+church+priests+recent+class&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3

I am not positive, but I believe that the teaching of the Bible is that a "true believer" can not be demonically possessed, but can be demonically influenced. The difference being "the taking over of one's body"?

>>Elizabeth's perceptions are correct to her, because she has not "turned back" to God.

We all see what we want. If you want to see the Bible as God's literal word and find salvation, then you will. If I want to read the Bible as a collection of stories, created and edited over hundreds of years, and as a window to ancient Israelite culture, I'll see it that way. I didn't say any of the Bible wasn't true or valuable to anyone. It certainly has some great lessons about human nature; I was just pointing out the context of Proverbs. When you say God tore the veils from your eyes, how did that change the context in which you viewed the Bible? I'm just curious, not meaning to offend, I like to understand where the religious are coming from since it's such a big part of our society.

"We all see what we want. If you want to see the Bible as God's literal word and find salvation, then you will. If I want to read the Bible as a collection of stories, created and edited over hundreds of years, and as a window to ancient Israelite culture, I'll see it that way."

EXACTLY. I do not disagree with any of above from your post. Except maybe the "literal" reference. I read the Bible in a "straightforward" manner. The Bible is literal in some places and it is also history, full of symbolism, metaphors, allegories, parables, poetry, etc. A straightforward reader studies the Bible and attempts to distinguish the different styles of writing.

I thought I was pretty clear in my post. Two years ago, I would have completely agreed with your point of view. When I tried to disprove the bible, I could not. One night, I decided to take a different tact. I took the "counter" position - read the Bible as if it were "truth" and read the Gospel of John three times.

I was stunned at what I read. If Jesus was God then I needed to pay attention to what He said in the Gospel. What he said was "accept him" and "believe in him" and you will have eternal life. The alternative was not very pleasant.

I prayed a lot, and when I truly turned back to God (something we have talked about the last few days in posts) and repented of my sins, and accepted Christ as my Savior and Redeemer, then I was born again (or from above), and the Holy Spirit entered into my body.

Your question of God tearing the veils from before my eyes? When a person becomes a "true believer" and is indwelt with the Holy Spirit they see the Bible differently. The words and message of God become clear. Before I was "saved" the bible seemed difficult to read, disjointed, contradictory, and just a bunch of antiquated writings that did not mean much to me in my life. Now it is much easier for me to read and comprehend, the message is clear and consistent, and God's intricate plan from the "beginning" is readily apparent.

I beleive the bible is authored by the Holy Spirit (only author), men just wrote the words. Paul talks about discernment through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in most of the 2nd chapter of 1Corinthians. An appropriate verse is below:

1Cor2:14
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."NIV

Elizabeth, I would not expect you to understand, just like I did not understand two years ago. Understanding will only come when you SINCERELY ask God to reveal the "truth to you". You must be seeking the answers only God can provide.

As for me, one of the blind men Jesus healed has a line that sums it all up. The temple priests were all over the poor guy - insulting him and doubting his story. At one point the guy just comes out with:

John 9:25
"...One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

BTW your comment about the Bible text being edited over hundreds of years should be revisited by you. Secular and theological scholars are in agreement that the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts do not have any significant editing. (Textual reliability is one of the first things I checked out in my search for "contradictions" in the Bible.)

We have no way of knowing the actual textual reliability, because the texts were written thousands of years ago.

I'm just wondering why you're Christian instead of any other religion. They all have similar points such as you make about their respective religion... all looking/preaching a divine truth. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, apparently. Do you not believe that God spoke to him?

And I said the Bible was very likely written and edited over many years because the Bible says it itself. There's a Bible verse for any point you want to prove; for example, I'm asking you these questions because it's a good idea to "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain widsom for the future." Pvs.19:20

I'm using Pvs. because it is a good example: "These are the other proverbs of Solomon that the officials of King Hezekiah of Judah copied." (Pvs. 25:1)

Wouldn't the Bible be fun to read in Hebrew, or even Greek? I just wonder how many meanings were obscured by being 'lost in translation.' It's interesting how so many people read the same book and interpret it so many different ways.

Elizabeth,

"We have no way of knowing the actual textual reliability, because the texts were written thousands of years ago."

I really think you should do some research on this topic.
======================================================
"all looking/preaching a divine truth."

Yet there is only one truth. There is no path to God, but there is a way. From Genesis to the Gospels, God is consistent in his message that it takes the shedding of innocent blood to atone for man's sinful nature - his turning from God. In the early days it was constant sacrificing of innocent animals, yet God promised a new covenant that would replace this system - it is built on the final and last sacrifice of an innocent - God himself. We can not earn our way into the presence of God, but we can be allowed there and have a restored relationship with the Father due to Christ's crucifixion. It is a gift from God because He so loved the World. We just have to accept that gift. No other religion believes/teaches that truth - all other religions are based on following some rules, teachings, or lifestyle and you can earn your way to God (heaven).

Christian God is a personal God. Only Chrisitanity proclaims that trait in God. What does a parent want from a child? Respect,acknowledgement, adoration (to a degree), love (both ways), a closeness, (in summary: a relationship) - How much more so does the Father in Heaven desire those things from us - his Creation. All we have to do is turn back to him, acknowledge our sinfulness, ask for forgiveness and believe in what He did for us and Accept His Son as our Savior.
======================================================
Joseph Smith? No, I do not believe God spoke to him. Mormon beliefs are quite different from Christian beliefs.
======================================================
"And I said the Bible was very likely written and edited over many years because the Bible says it itself. There's a Bible verse for any point you want to prove"

"Very likely"? I agree it was written over many years, but again, go do some research about the editing issue. Contact me, if you find you need some help.

Yes, I know people can use Bible Verses to prove any point that they want. The Bible is God's "Word" to us. When a verse is lifted to make a point - one should check the context of the verse. Also see if the interpretation is consistent with the message in the rest of the Bible. Takes a lot of work, and most people will not do these steps. I must admit - I am guilty of being lazy at times in these matters. Although yesterday, I did look to make sure of the context of Paul's discourse in 1cor2 before posting that verse.
======================================================
"Wouldn't the Bible be fun to read in Hebrew, or even Greek?"

Yes, and I would encourage everyone that is interested to check the Hebrew or Greek text before making a decision about a difficult passage. There are some great on-line tools that make this process a whole lot easier. You do not have to be fluent in the languages and/or a scholar to get something from looking at the Hebrew/Greek roots of the Bible.

I'm honestly not trying to argue to annoy, but you keep telling me to do research. I happen to be in an intensive religion class that is doing just that. And that is why I quoted Proverbs, the verse you might have overlooked. Anyhow, there are many, many references to the actual textual history and editing in the introductions to the NRSV, at least the New Oxford Annotated one that I'm using. It's quite interesting, I suggest you do some research. ;)

>>Yet there is only one truth. There is no path to God, but there is a way.

You say that coming from your religion, though. All the other religions proclaim different ways to the same thing: the 'divine' meaning, or search for the purpose and justification of human existance. I don't see why any religion is better than another; they all say they're right. Every one.

And as to the texts being written thousands of years ago, I had thought that was very common knowledge. When did you think they were written? At least 2000 years ago, some texts go back to the pre-exilic age and even pre-monarchy. I assure you, I have done much research on the subject; I believe if you knew the topics better you wouldn't simply tell me to go study. I'm not claiming to know everything, I'm simply saying what's in the Bible right now:

Pg 576 of the New Oxford Annotated Version, Third Edition (also online at http://www.anova.org/sev/):

From the intro the Chronicles 1: The Chronicler wrote during the Persian period (539-332 BCE).

Pg 775 (Psalms): ...suggest that they orginated in the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE. The majority... however, originated in the preexilic, monarchic period...

It goes on. It's all there, you can check online if you don't have this version. And among other things, I need more history to be able to even start to interpret the hermeneutics of the texts, as do we all.

Elizabeth,I don't know of anyother religion where God's son out of love chooses to die for his people so they can be saved...:))I'm sure you're not annoying anyone here so please don't hesitate to ask questions...You know God does say if you seek him with all your heart,you'll find him...your reading a book He wants all of us to read...I pray you get the answers you are looking for...just give God a chance,read the bible,ask God to show you the way,the path...whatever...don't really think it matters to God...all that matters is the truth...you really have nothing to loose if you try it.We blog daily on this site...I'm sure Mike and all the others would love to have you join us...Have a wonderful weekend and all the best in you research....hope you don't mind if I say "God bless you"....

Elizabeth,

You are not annoying me. I would expect you to defend a position you have obviously put some time and effort into formulating.

Also, I saw the Proverbs verse. I did not overlook anything you posted.
======================================================

I think there has been some miscommunication. I agree with you and your sources that the bible was written over 1500-1600 years and the time period was roughly 1500 B.C. to 100 A.D.

What I was suggesting you to research was your "editing" statement. Editing implies there were changes made in the original manuscripts - which if persistent over time couild certainly "skew" the meaning or message in the text. Is that what you meant?

If so,(I do not believe that to be the case), I will compose a bibliography (and hopefully links) to many different experts, secular and theological, that will provide a different sounding board for you than a textbook, professor, handouts, etc.

======================================================
"I don't see why any religion is better than another; they all say they're right. Every one."

I can sincerely say I will run a four minute mile tomorrow, but it will never happen. Sincerity has never been test for "truth". It is an emotional attribute.

All religions can not be right if their is contradiction amongst their core beliefs. Certainly we can eliminate some? All religions/faiths should be investigated thoroughly. Eternity is a long time. I think Christianity holds up well under such an investigation, other religions not so well.

You know two years ago - I was an atheist. Do you think I wanted to believe in Christ? I spent a great deal of my time trying to prove the Bible is contradictory and built on illusion? I could not do it. There would be millions of dollars in it as NO ONE has ever been able to successfully discredit the Bible.

The question is not "Am I right" about Christianity. It is "What if you are Wrong?". Assume for the moment that Jesus was God. Then there is no "lots of ways" to the same thing, there is only one way. You cannot earn your way to heaven or a higher plane of existence - it is a gift. One that has to be accepted.

Since Chrisitanity is the only religion that preaches salvation through grace, and all others preach a way "to earn" your way to God (or higher place or enlightenment etc.). Then one is right or the other, or both are incorrect.

I guess the easier starting place is the question: Is Jesus Deity? If he is, you need to rethink your position. If not, then Christianity could be certainly taken out of the hopper for selection as a valid religion. I made my decision, and I did not do it lightly.

======================================================

"I need more history to be able to even start to interpret the hermeneutics of the texts, as do we all."

Or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit :)


I was always convinced to the fact the history is a boring subject but it is never boring once you intend to go through it.

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