Saturday, August 25, 2012

Not From Concentrate - Complete & Unabridged

"Whoever, then, annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but, whoever keeps and teaches them, He shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven."
Matthew 5:19

When I go to the grocery store to buy orange juice, apple juice, or grape juice, I really try to buy the juices not made from a concentrated form of the juice.  I want the 100% pure orange juice - not something mixed with other juices - not something watered down, or broken down, or cut with other inferior products.

I want the good old 100% - no other version or reasonable facsimile will do!  I want the full impact of the pure with all the inherent benefits!

The same thing with my movies. Call me old fashioned, but I enjoy the original versions of the classic movies better than some of the popular contemporary re-makes. 

Perhaps they are made with a bigger budget, better sound effects, more amazing visual effects, and more grandiose marketing promises to deliver the story goods.  However, often the story suffers to accommodate the sensational.  The new seems like a cheap thrill of eye candy, lacking true heart - stripping the story of all the power once felt when viewing the original.

And, then there's literature!  When I want to read the classics, I want the complete and unabridged version - not the re-written for the modern audience or "dumbed down" version. 

Often, a new, abridged version spin on an old classic changes the story to some degree - and the meaning of the words written, altogether.  Something just feels missing in these "updated" versions.

Then, there's the issue concerning our modern legislature.  These "McServants" are often doing more to re-write history than to preserve the integrity of the original foundations laid . . .

Leaving us with a watered down Constitution that stands for nothing, but falls for everything.

In our text for today, there is the word "annul" which, in the Greek, is "luo".  This means, "to dissolve, to water down, to break down."  Our Lord warns us not to dissolve or water down His Word.  We are not to break it down so much that we change the meaning, that it loses its intent, its context.  He wants us to get the full benefits, the full impact in the reading and hearing of His Word.  He doesn't want us to miss a thing.  He doesn't want us to cut corners, to "dumb it down".  He wants us to embrace the full council of God, the mind of God!

So, we must make every effort when we are preaching, teaching, witnessing, sharing - to get it right.  When we feed our children, we give them nothing but the best - pure wholesome food.  The same with our Bible teaching, preaching, witnessing.  No cut corners, no revisonist history, no changing of meanings.  In getting it right, we need to properly study and apply the Word.  In order to do this, we must procure for ourselves the proper tools. 

A good "word for word" translation of the Bible is a good place to start. 

The translations that follow this principle is the King James Version, New King James Version, New American Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version.   "Thought for thought" translations such as the New International Version, New Living Translation, the Century English Version, and others, are fine - but, I prefer the word for word in my personal studies.

In addition to your Bibles, may I suggest the use of a concordance with the original languages dictionary included.   

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by Nelson Publishers,  or The Strong's New American Standard Bible Exhaustive Concordance by Zondervan Publishers are two of the best.  They both include Greek and Hebrew dictionaries with their original meanings, not a rewritten one.  With these tools we get the full benefit, the full impact of God's Word, based upon proper study of His Word, and not heresay.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." 
II Timothy 2:15  KJV

In the New American Standard Bible, this portion reads:

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of Truth."

When we get it right we can share it with others, we can teach others the right way, the correct way, which is the least we can do - and, nothing to be ashamed of.

 How do you read?  What do you think? 

Sharing Not From Concentrate with Spiritual Sundays.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jots & Tittles - A Hairy Subject

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say to you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled."

Matthew 5:17-18  KJV

The old joke goes, "God made a few perfect heads, and put hair on the rest."

This saying rings me comfort as well as a smile because - I am folically challenged!

I am not totally bald.  I do have hair that creates a sort of monk's tonsure.  It does go from ear to ear, but there's very little on top.  This little piece of fur that will not leave the top of my head, I affectionately call it, "The Little Engine that Could."

"I think I can . . . I think I can . . . I think I can . . . spread to the rest of Ed's scalp!"

Did you know that the average human head has over 100,000 strands of hair?

I know that I don't have that many on the top of my head, but I make up for it by growing a beard.  The average male beard has between 7,000 to 15,000 strands of hair.

I believe that my beard keeps my head on the level!

To explain hair loss, scientists calculate that fifty to a hundred hairs a day are lost or fall out.  I must've lost a decades worth overnight when I turned forty!

Matthew 10:30 says, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered."

God can count my hair on both His hands!

How do we know all this - where did we get all of this knowledge?  I Corinthians 12:8 says, "For to one is given by the Spirit the Word of Wisdom, to another the Word of Knowledge, by the same Spirit."

Scientists may think that they had discovered this, but it was our all knowing, all poweful God that granted this knowledge.  Sorry about that, Richard Dawkins!  We might as well ge this into our heads and hearts right how - God knows all because He created all.  Because He has set all things in motion, all things will be fulfilled.

Jesus was asked if He had come to destroy the law of the Old Testament.

Was He going to null and void the Scriptures and make something new and contrary to what had been preserved and passed down for so many generations?

Consider John 1:1:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

In John 1:3, he says, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made."

And, finally, in John 1:14 we read, "And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us."

So, in the beginning there was Jesus, Who made everything (set it in motion), and now dwells among us, and He is asked - will He destroy the law? 

In the Old Testament there are 23,148 Scriptures.  In the New Testament, there are 7,958 - between the two a grand total of 31,103 verses of Scripture that became Flesh - that are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ!  And He is asked if He is going to destroy the Old Testament!  That would be like cutting off His arms and legs! 

Let's revisit His answer:

"Think not (don't even think about it!) that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets (the Old Testament, my Foundation):  I am not come to destroy (make null and void), but to fulfill (carry it all out!).  For verily (truly) I say to you (pay attention to Me, now), till heaven and earth (all of My creation) pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all (all means all and that's all that all means!) be fulfilled (carried out).

In closing, let's look at the words, "jot" and "tittle".  

JOT - Greek - 'iota'; Hebrew - 'yod'; both meaning the smallest Hebrew letter - small, like a mustard seed.

TITTLE - Greek - 'keraia' meaning smallest stroke in a Hebrew letter.

It is like the dash ( - ) in this week's post title and the dashes used throughout this post.  'Keraia' comes from the Greek word, 'keras' which means - get this - A HAIR ON THE HEAD!!

Not one dot of an 'i', nor a cross of a 't' - not a single hair will be lost till Jesus fulfills every word in His Word!

Remember - since the return of Israel to their own nation in 1947, we are in the home stretch of prophecy fulfillment.  We are this close to 99.9% of Biblical prophecy already fulfilled - and the headlines bring the world closer to 100% everyday!  Knowing this, what is your decision for and about Jesus Christ?

It's time to be like a hair - stand up and be counted!

How do you read?  What do you think?

Sharing Jots & Tittles this week with:
Laura on Faith Filled Fridays at Beholding Glory
Charlotte on Spiritual Sundays
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