Thursday, October 31, 2013

KJV of the Bible

This epic movie captures the viewers fascination with an honest glimpse of a darker time of the human condition. The true tale of saints and sinners, power and passion, and WHY and by WHOM the grand translation of Holy Scripture into the King James Version came to be. The movie was released in 2011 as a "celebration" of the KJV Bible's 400th anniversary of being in print. This docu-drama is narrated by John Rhys-Davies  who takes us on a historical survey of the years preceding 1611 and the political and religious landscape which confronted the new King. The story follows James I from his birth to his ultimate ascension to the English throne. Particular focus is placed on how the KJV Bible influenced the strategy of James to unify his kingdom both politically and religiously. It was filmed on location in England and Scotland with scenes inside Westminster Abbey and Oxford College and into a few of the actual rooms where the translators labored. John Rhys-Davies exudes energy and vigor in his lively narration. His booming, deep voice adds to the grandeur of the story. At one point he climbs up into the pulpit of a centuries-old church to read from the pages of the King James Bible.  The historical content is minimized to fit the budget of time and funds, however, the truth is that Puritans and Anglicans worked together on the various translation committees, and without emphasis in the film, the Puritans were in fact a decided minority. The important history of the bible was not included in this film. By 500 BC, the 39 books of the Old Testament were completed and preserved on ancient Hebrew animal skin scrolls 150 feet long.   Then a few centuries before Christ, the Jewish historical books known as the Apocrypha were completed and written in the Greek language. The King James Version and most every other version of the Bible included the Apocrypha until just after the Civil War ended. In 1880 the KJV of the Bible dropped the Apocrypha. The myth that the Roman Catholic Church wrote the Apocrypha is not historically accurate. On the island of Iona, in 563 AD, a man named Columba started a Bible College.  It was a non-Catholic source of evangelical Bible teaching for 700 years. The students of this college were called "Culdees" which means certain stranger.  The Culdees were a secret society of believers, a remnant of the true Christian faith prior to the Protestant Reformation. By 500 AD the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages.  In 600 AD the only organized church, the Catholic Church restricted the language of the Bible to only be available to the public in Latin.    One of the primary reasons the KJV Bible was written was part of the plot of James to overthrow the King and his Parliament. The creation of KJV included the poetic style of the English language and Western Culture. In the film, James was not a manipulated royal puppet nor was he the saint many have made him out to be.  The truth is that James was an intelligent human being with strength, vision and a determination that exceeded his idiosyncrasies and helped offset his faults. In other words he was an above average human, with self-centered goals.  Our God is King of the Universe and He is entirely aware of who He shall use to confound the wise. He uses weak people, smart people, and driven people to accomplish His purposes. He demonstrates throughout history that in our weakness, He is strong.  

The oldest copies of the New testament that exist today are: The Codex Alexandrius and they can be found in the British Museum Library in London. .

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hear my Prayer

Bonhoeffer, a German pastor was hiding Jews and was arrested on April 5, 1943. The authorities could not determine how deeply involved he was so they held Bonhoffer without charges or trial and it seemed possible he eventually might be released. During his time in prison, he wrote a series of remarkable, often heartbreaking, letters. Bonhoeffer saddens us with the hopeful tone of his early letters and then awes us by the serenity with which he faces the prospect of his own death.  The film tells the story, but the scattershot fashion of the film depletes the impact of this man's dramatic faith. Knowing the true facts ahead of time, the viewer can tell precisely what is going on and how all the characters and situations relate to one another.   The final scenes that leads up to Bonhoeffer's execution are done in a way that stirs the soul. In October 1944, the Nazis finally uncovered evidence that revealed the extent of Bonhoeffer's involvement in protecting Jews. He was tried and sentenced to death. He was hanged on April 9, 1945, just a month before Germany surrendered (May 8th). A doctor at Flossenburg prison, who witnessed the execution, described it thus :
"Through the half-open door in one room of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.
We do not get all of this in the movie, but we do see Bonhoeffer walking naked to the gallows. The scene in the concentration camp dehumanizing about the victims--They appear in black and white and they are so emaciated, so unhuman. In this scene, Bonhoeffer, is achingly human--pale, naked, and defenseless. Yet he carries himself with a poise and a calm that draws pity from the vile Nazi prosecutor who realizes his own bloodthirst. We view and are equally humbled by the dignity and serenity that is portrayed here.  The writer Andrew Delbanco said that, "belief is really not an option for thinking people today." Never mind anything else about this provocative statement; consider just this aspect : Dietrich Bonhoeffer faced death "knowing God heard his prayer" and so died in peace. His life and his death still speak to us today. How will those who believe in nothing, who are certain of nothing, face their imminent deaths? Most importantly, how will the watching world be impacted by your trust in God? How will your quiet confidence that God listens to your prayers be known? "Hear my prayer O God, may my life reflect your peace, your grace, your mercy. I trust in Your promises Lord, and my hope remains in the unseen reality of Your faithful love and eternal resting place." AMEN

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The wash cycle of life systematically swirls until the grime of guilt, shame and sorrow is lifted.  The dirt of darkness is loosened in the wash of admitting that something is wrong and my soul breathes easier and it survives another night.  With all self-talk stilled for months at a time, obediently I show up and trust that God is working in me even though my pause button is pushed.  I am acutely aware that too often I have chosen to remain tuned out to what the Spirit is saying.  The sparkle in my eyes that once accompanied the excited expectations for a new day with so much to be thankful for...that Barb spark went up in smoke! It vanished without a trace! Unknown hesitations, reservations, and reluctance suddenly replaced my previous explorations, anticipations and enthusiastic plans.   Despite the hard place in which I find myself today, I believe that after 37 years of living alone, God predestined me to marry the man He chose for me for His purpose, to fulfill His larger plan.
The transparency herein will hopefully encourage others to trust and obey and "Confess your doubts, your short comings, your unbelief to one another so that you can be healed." Only in obedience is a person blessed by God.  "Any of you who does NOT give up everything he has --- cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33  So, after my crisis of belief, "Lord is this what You really want for me?" Certain adjustments had to be made by me to accomodate my choice to walk in obedience.  Giving up my son, my friends, my home, my possessions, and my 5 year plan to move to Mexico alone was not easy.  At times I was filled with unbelief that God had actually spoken to me and encouraged me to get married.  For me it is most difficult to hold my tongue and hide my true feelings.  While trusting that God would provide oppotunities for service in Mexico, one year prior to retiring, my boss introduced me to the man I was to marry.  The GIVING UP of my independence, not so much my single life, was the most difficult for me.  After being on my own for nearly 4 decades, marriage was quite an adjustment!  Nothing was withheld from my fiance prior
to our wedding.  He had read my FAITH BLOG and he had also been a witness to my tough love for my son during our courtship.  He knew all about my past and how God had given me the strength to rise above, to forgive the unforgiveable, and to love the unlovable. Prior to our engagement, he knew I had given up building a part-time business in order to date him, and that I am a valued public speaker, a writer, a leader and a truth teller.  My GIFT is to encourage people! As a married woman I expected that my husband would verbally encourage me in the Word, and in my writing.  As it turns out, we cannot open the Word of God without opposing revelations as to its meaning and
application.  This has been a huge disappointment for me and I pray that God will HELP US articulate that which we were drawn to, what we respected and admired in one another. We must accept each other as the person God has fashioned us into becoming. As a single mother and career woman, it was necessary for me to be bold, to say what I mean, and mean what I say.  Being strong and holding onto my beliefs was paramount.  I had to offer hope by my example, and I had to sandwhich healthy criticism with praise.  Today when I speak, and when I write, I like to imagine that I am making direct eye contact with my listeners.  Before our wedding, my man read my blogs
with greatful tears in his eyes.  We have both had to adjust in many ways to a new life in Mexico which includes a new church, new friends, and the new routine of serving in our community, using our gifts.  It is my delight to witness my husband engaged in service. While living in Mexico I have encouraged him to develop relationships outside of "us" and we both have accepted the truth that spending time alone and time away from each other is healthy.   Early in our marriage a dread like glue had rendered me listless and physically weakened. WHY?   One reason was that my ability to walk had been impaired by a constant pain for the first ten months of our marriage. Secondly, I struggled with our differences in doctrine and his unwillingness to serve our God somehow in our community as he waited until I retired. I read the words of Oswald Smith, a missionary "I want Thy plan, O God, for my life.  May I be happy and contented whether in the homeland or the foreign field; whether married or alone, in happiness or sorrow; health or sickness; prosperity or adversity; I want Thy plan, O God for my life."  The truth is that my unstoppable, ever present Lord, hears my heart's cry and He knows that I am tired of putting on my armor, my helmet to allow only pure thinking, my shield against the enemies attack. My mind was like an endless traffic jam of scripture and denial about who I was in Christ, a cherished child of God, a daughter of the most High Priest.
My mind was STRONGLY held by negative and critical thoughts about our marriage!  I prayed "Lord, break the spiritual STRONG HOLD in my mind and heart, restore me." God answered me wtth a scripture. His command was that I hold captive every thought. Paul wrote about how people get easily get off track from listening and following God's ways.  "walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." Eph 4:17 ~ The battle is REAL and Satan had been blinding my mind and causing me to doubt and wonder IF Jesus had led me to Mexico, and IF God had equipped me to cast out the demons of doubt in me.
Lord, forgive me for my unbelief!  I must never again doubt the supremacy of Christ! The truth has always been that I am loved by Jesus Christ, my Lord!  Questioning whether or not God's grace is sufficient for me is the work of the devil!  Is not faith believing in what I cannot see? Has not God revealed Himself to me in Spirit? Nothing can change my believe in the trinity of Jesus Christ, as I am convinced that my Lord Jesus was with the Father in the beginning, and that He is the Alpha and the Omega.  He was sent down to earth to rescue me and I also believe that God came down in the flesh as Jesus, to die for me, and to pay for my past, present and future sins. I believe that Jesus showed Himself to His wondering, doubting disciples and that He shows Himself faithful to me by administering His peace when I have none. When Thomas saw the wounds in His hands he said “My Lord and my God.”
When the young rich ruler ASKED JESUS "What must I do to inherit the kingdom?" Jesus knew his heart, Jesus knew his attachment to his wealth, and Jesus knew that the Father had not enabled the young rich ruler to willingly accept His ways. "This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled them." The rich young ruler felt "sad" at the prospect of giving up all he had to follow Jesus, and so he chose his wealth over obedience to the requirement Jesus had given him.  When Jesus met the woman at the well and told her of all her unholy relationships, her reaction was different. She accepted the requirement Jesus gave her..."go and sin no more".  
Disobeying God's first commandment is to seek and value the advice of others above God's written word. Obedience to God produces joy and peace. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" Ez 18:4 ~ Soul is more than another word for a person, soul in various parts of the Bible refers to the realm of the mind and emotions of man. Sin corrupts the mind, confuses the emotions and thereby destroys the soul. People do not drop dead when they sin, but they do experience the death of a friendship. God says "He who sins against Me wrongs his own soul" Proverbs 8:36 ~ "Jesus asks His disciple Philip “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me. ... Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?" John 14:9   Have I ever recognized Jesus at work in my life, providing, blessing, teaching me through others?  All people who enter my life, including my husband entertain me like angels, and they minister to me through acts of kindness and words of encouragement.  Co-dependency is depending on people to meet the needs that only God can. The relationship that I have with my Father, with Jesus is authentic. I trust God, I pour out my thoughts in blogs, and on my devotional journal to the only audience I require. Jesus affirms me, He renews me, He heals me, and He provides for my every need.  My Father knows my needs even before I can figure out what they are.