Followers Bible Quotes

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My reading list grows exponentially. Every time I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Anonymous (Life Application Study Bible: NIV)
Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: For wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
Unconditional love is an illogical notion, but such a great and powerful one.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
When you are posessed by evil spirits, it is crafty manipulations that you follow; but when you are posessed by the Holy Spirit of God, it is wise discretions you pursue!
Israelmore Ayivor
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. [Psalms 23]
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
There's a beauty to forgiveness, especially forgiveness that goes beyond rationality. Unconditional love is an illogical notion, but such a great & powerful one
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
I am officially Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
Grace will follow us even when we are going the wrong way
Ricky Maye (An Emerging Spirituality)
I've rarely said the word "Lord," unless it's followed by "of the Rings.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
[The Bible] has to be interpreted. And if it isn’t interpreted, then it can’t be put into action. So if we are serious about following God, then we have to interpret the Bible. It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says. We must first make decisions about what it means at this time, in this place, for these people.
Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith)
Some folks may be really bummed to find that "God bless America" does not appear in the Bible. So often we do things that make sense to us and ask God to bless our actions and come alongside our plans, rather than looking at the things God promises to bless and acting alongside of them. For we know that God's blessing will inevitably follow if we are with the poor, the merciful, the hungry, the persecuted, the peacemakers. But sometimes we'd rather have a God who conforms to our logic than conform our logic to the God whose wisdom is a stumbling block to the world of smart bombs and military intelligence.
Shane Claiborne (Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals)
I'm still agnostic. But in the words of Elton Richards, I'm now a reverant agnostic. Which isn't an oxymoron, I swear. I now believe that whether or not there's a God, there is such a thing as sacredness. Life is sacred. The Sabbath can be a sacred day. Prayer can be a sacred ritual. There is something transcendent, beyond the everyday. It's possible that humans created this sacredness ourselves, but that doesn't take away from its power or importance.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
I thought religion would make me live with my head in the clouds, but as often as not, it grounds me in this world.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Here are a few important principles to remember with regard to the giving and receiving between males and females. When a male demands, a female reacts; she doesn’t respond. When a male gives, a female responds. When a male commits, a female submits. Nothing is more precious to a female than a committed male. Nothing is no more depressing to a female than an uncommitted male. Here’s the secret, guys: If you want a submitted female, be a committed male. It’s that simple. When a male abuses, a female refuses. Whenever a man abuses a woman, she refuses to respond. When a male shares, a female cares. If you find a man who is willing to share with the woman in his life, you will find a woman who is willing to care for her man. When a male leads, a female follows. When a man carries out his God-given responsibility for leadership, a woman responds by following his lead. Leadership does not mean being bossy, always telling others what to do. No, leadership means going ahead, not putting others in the front. Good leaders lead by example, not by decree. Jesus led by example, and so did Moses, Peter, Paul, and all the other great leaders in the Bible. Leading by example means doing ourselves the things we wish others to do.
Myles Munroe (The Purpose and Power of Love & Marriage)
It is also worth noting that one can obtain a Ph.D. in any branch of science for no other purpose than to make cynical use of scientific language in an effort to rationalize the glaring inadequacies of tbe Bible. A handful of Christians appear to have done this; some have even obtained their degrees from reputable universities. No doubt, others will follow in their footsteps. While such people are technically "scientists," they are not behaving like scientists. They simply are not engaged in an honest inquiry into the nature of the universe. And their proclamations about God and the failures of Darwinism do not in the least signify that there is a legitimate scientific controversy about evolution.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
When you follow your heart, you should have no regrets. When you follow someone elses, those regrets may lose your heart.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
This is what the Sabbath should feel like. A pause. Not just a minor pause, but a major pause. Not just lowering the volume, but a muting. As the famous rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel put it, the Sabbath is a sanctuary in time.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
I love it when the Bible gives Emily Post-like tips that are both wise and easy to follow.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
It's a different way of looking at the world. Your life isn't about rights. It's about responsibilities."--Mr Bill Berkowitz
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Sometimes miracles occur only when you jump in.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
In trying to avoid one sin I've committed another.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
There is no higher “law” to be obeyed than the law of love. That, at the end of the day, is what it means to follow Jesus.
Peter Enns (The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It)
It is not difficult to see that if everyone were to follow Paul’s personal example of celibacy, his idea of holiness, and his dream of celibate society, the human race would in no time be wiped off the face of the Earth.
Danail Hristov
. . . my obsession with gratefulness. I can't stop. Just now, I press the elevator button and am thankful that it arrives quickly. I get onto the elevator and am thankful that the elevator cable didn't snap and plummet me to the basement. I go to the fifth floor and am thankful that I didn't have to stop on the second or third or fourth floor. I get out and am thankful that Julie left the door unlocked so I don't have to rummage for my King Kong key ring. I walk in, and am thankful that Jasper is home and healthy and stuffing his face with pineapple wedges. And on and on. I'm actually muttering to myself, 'Thank you. . .thank you. . . thank you.' It's an odd way to live. But also kind of great and powerful. I've never before been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Behavior shapes emotions.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
...trust in Creation which is made fresh daily and doesn’t suffer in translation. This God does not work in especially mysterious ways. The sun here rises and sets at six exactly. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly. A bird raises its brood in the forest and a greenheart tree will only grow from a greenheart seed. He brings drought sometimes followed by torrential rains and if these things aren’t always what I had in mind, they aren’t my punishment either. They’re rewards, let’s say for the patience of a seed.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
It comes back to the old question: How can the Bible be so wise in some places and so barbaric in others? And why should we put any faith in a book that includes such brutality?
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
What seems terrible at first may turn out to be a great thing. You can't predict.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
God's plans and dreams for us always point to our success. No matter how much we need to learn along the way, He always desires our good. He is not only faithful, He is infinitely wise.
Darren Wilson (Finding God in the Bible: What Crazy Prophets, Fickle Followers and Dangerous Outlaws Reveal about Friendship with God)
The whole bible is the working out of the relationship between God and man. God is not a dictator barking out orders and demanding silent obedience. Were it so, there would be no relationship at all. No real relationship goes just one way. There are always two active parties. We must have reverence and awe for God, and honor for the chain of tradition. But that doesn't mean we can't use new information to help us read the holy texts in new ways.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Jealousy is a useless, time-wasting emotion that's eating me alive.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
It is rare to find an established community of Christians that encourages radical expressions of following Jesus. The natural conservatism of institutions is deeply rooted in the desire to survive, and that desire colors and limits the way they read the Bible and how they see God functioning in the world.
Michael Spencer (Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality)
The Qur'an follows on from the two Revelations that preceded it and is not only free from contradictions in its narrations, the sign of the various human manipulations to be found in the Gospels, but provides a quality all of its own for those who examine it objectively and in the light of science i.e. its complete agreement with modern scientific data.
Maurice Bucaille (The Bible, the Qur'an, and Science: The Holy Scriptures Examined in the Light of Modern Knowledge)
I thought it was always safe to do right. The Bible, in bidding us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, said nothing about color, and I should try to follow out the teachings of that good book.
Levi Coffin (Reminiscences)
The year showed me beyond a doubt that everyone practices cafeteria religion... But the important lesson was this: there's nothing wrong with choosing. Cafeterias aren't bad per se... the key is in choosing the right dishes. You need to pick the nurturing ones (compassion), the healthy ones (love thy neighbor), not the bitter ones.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
We were in darkness when we were outside of the knowledge of Jesus and when we were not followers of Him. Yet now that we have this knowledge of Jesus Christ and this relationship with Him, we have become light and we are to live as light.
Todd Coburn (Reflection of the Son)
The Bible is right: A deluge of images does encourage idolatry. Look at the cults of personality in America today. Look at Hollywood. Look at Washington. I'd like to see the next presidential race be run according to Second Commandment principles. No commercials. A radio-only debate. We need an ugly president. I know we're missing out on some potential Abe Lincolns because they'd look gawky and gangly on TV.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Nobody had planted these flowers, I felt sure, nor harvested them either; these were works that the Lord had gone ahead and finished on His own. He must have lacked faith in mankind's follow-through capabilities, on the day he created flowers.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
Jesus came to serve, and He wants you to follow His example.
Jim George
You tell them you have a hunger and a thirst. You don't sit at the same table but you have a hunger and a thirst.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
The key is to pump up your righteous anger and mute your petty resentment. I'll be happy if I can get that balance to fifty-fifty.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
At some point in this generation, "Take up your cross and follow me" changed into, "Come to Jesus and he'll make your life better.
E. Randolph Richards (Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible)
Rules are in every company for everyone to follow. Eh, except salespeople." -- Jeffrey Gitomer
Jeffrey Gitomer (The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource, Revised Edition)
Ezekiel and his fellow prophets have become my heroes. They were fearless. They literalized metaphors. They turned their lives into protest pieces. They proved that, in the name of truth, sometimes you can't be afraid to take a left turn from polite society and look absurd.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Unfortunately, identifying Ramses II as the pharaoh of the Exodus, which is the identification most frequently found in both scholarly and popular books, does not work if one also wishes to follow the chronology presented in the Bible.
Eric H. Cline (1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed)
There’s a great episode of The Office in which this strategy lands Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute in a lake during a sales trip, Michael shouting, “The machine knows!” as he follows the GPS instructions and drives his SUV off the road into the water. I’ve watched a lot of good people drive their lives, their families, their churches, their communities, even their countries into a lake, shouting, “The Bible knows!” all the way down.
Rachel Held Evans (Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again)
God stipulates in the Bible that Jesus Followers are to love and serve everyone regardless of their faith or lack of it. But, this does not require us to honour and respect their Biblically-heinous cultural practises like multiculturalism does!
Gary Patton
Satanists are encouraged to indulge in the seven deadly sins, as they need hurt no one; they were only invented by the Christian Church to insure guilt on the part of its followers. The Christian Church knows that it is impossible for anyone to avoid committing these sins, as they are all things which we, being human, most naturally do. After inevitably committing these sins financial offerings to the church in order to "pay off" God are employed as a sop to the parishioner's conscience!
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
Instead of following your heart, you are choosing to lead to lead it. The world says to follow your heart, but if you are not it, then someone or something else is. The Bible says that "the heart is more deceitful than all else" (Jeremiah 17:9), and it will always pursue that which feels right at the moment.
Stephen Kendrick (The Love Dare)
...a deep and even paranoid suspicion continues to disparage higher criticism of the Bible, as if someone could publish a paper that would unravel God. (p. 151)
Robin R. Meyers (Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus)
A believer twists the Bible to fit his or her lifestyle. A follower works to make his or her lifestyle resemble the teachings of the Bible.
Jarrid Wilson (Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity)
Don't compare yourself to other Christians. Compare yourself to Christ. He is the one you follow. He is the one other Christians too follow".
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
Chase, we don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible was inspired by God, but it was written, translated, and interpreted by imperfect people just like us. This means that the passing of this sacred scripture from generation to generation and from culture to culture has been a bit like the “telephone game” you play at school. After thousands of years, it’s impossible to judge the original spirit of some scripture. We believe that when in doubt, mercy triumphs judgment. So your parents are Christians who study and pray and then carefully choose what we follow in the Bible, based on whether or not it matches our understanding of Jesus’s overall message.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed)
Evangelical Christians need to notice..., that the Reformation said 'Scripture Alone' and not 'the Revelation of God in Christ Alone'. If you do not have the view of the Scriptures that the Reformers had, you really have no content in the word 'Christ' - and this is the modern drift in theology. Modern theology uses the word without content because 'Christ' is cut away from the Scriptures. The Reformation followed the teaching of Christ Himself in linking the revelation Christ gave of God to the revelation of the written Scriptures.
Francis A. Schaeffer (Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought)
Men that had understanding of the times." 1 Chr. 12:32 I cannot doubt that this sentence, like every sentence in Scripture was written for our learning. These men of Issachar are set before us as a pattern to be imitated, and an example to be followed, for it is a most important thing to understand the times in which we live, and to understand what those times require. Next to our Bibles and our own hearts, our Lord would have us study our own times.
J.C. Ryle (Holiness)
The willingness to walk away, above all other factors, does more to tell a woman of your high value than any amount of money can. You must be prepared to follow through and to fully believe that you’ll never see or hear from her again, because women instinctively know when you’re faking.
Roosh V. (Bang: The Pickup Bible That Helps You Get More Lays)
All my life I'd been a believing Christian. ... But that instant in the ER--the instant Annette [his wife] died--I seemed to feel my religious faith die, too. As I thought more about it in the bleak days and weeks that followed, I decided the Bible had gotten it exactly backward. Maybe God hadn't created us in His image; maybe we'd created god in our image.
William M. Bass
As grandma said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
We’re at different places on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the Bible. We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts. We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
When I get it home and start to read it, the first thing I notice is that Warren has copyrighted the phrase “Purpose-driven.” It has a little ® after it. This makes me angry. Did Jesus copyright “Turn the Other Cheek”®? Did Moses trademark “Let My People Go?”™
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Instead, I remembered that in the Bible, Jesus promised his followers that they would be provided with everything they needed, everything they “needed,” but not necessarily everything they wanted.
José N. Harris (MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love)
Pious prophets have taught man to fear Satan. But what of terms like "God fearing"? If God is so merciful, why do people have to fear him? Are we to believe there is nowhere we can turn to escape fear? If you have to fear God, why not be "Satan fearing" and at least have the fun that being God fearing denies you? Without such wholesale fear religionists would have had nothing with which to wield power over their followers.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
You must not suppose that I would like you to profess religion without possessing it. A hypocrite is in my opinion one of the most detestable of beings. my opinion is, that every one should honestly and carefully investigate the Bible; and if he can believe it to be the word of God, to follow its teachings." - Brevet Major Thomas J. Jackson (1 March 1851)
James I. Robertson Jr. (Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend)
As we follow Christ in the counsel of the Holy Spirit, resting in the love of our Abba, we no longer fear—for there is no fear in love. We do not fear slippery slopes, we do not fear each other, we do not fear change, and we do not fear our own selves or what other people can do to us.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
How can we pick and choose which parts of the Bible to follow? One thing is God’s will and another is just cultural differences? What if it’s all cultural? What if homosexuality or saving yourself for marriage is as outdated as women staying silent in church or Leviticus forbidding tattoos?
Trevor D. Richardson (Dystopia Boy: The Unauthorized Files)
Many Christians have been taught that the Bible is Truth downloaded from heaven, God’s rulebook, a heavenly instructional manual—follow the directions and out pops a true believer; deviate from the script and God will come crashing down on you with full force. If anyone challenges this view, the faithful are taught to “defend the Bible” against these anti-God attacks. Problem solved. That is, until you actually read the Bible. Then you see that this rulebook view of the Bible is like a knockoff Chanel handbag—fine as long as it’s kept at a distance, away from curious and probing eyes.
Peter Enns (The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It)
Bear one another’s burdens, the Bible says. It is a lesson about pain that we all can agree on. Some of us will not see pain as a gift; some will always accuse God of being unfair for allowing it. But, the fact is, pain and suffering are here among us, and we need to respond in some way. The response Jesus gave was to bear the burdens of those he touched. To live in the world as his body, his emotional incarnation, we must follow his example. The image of the body accurately portrays how God is working in the world. Sometimes he does enter in, occasionally by performing miracles, and often by giving supernatural strength to those in need. But mainly he relies on us, his agents, to do his work in the world.We are asked to live out the life of Christ in the world, not just to refer back to it or describe it.We announce his message, work for justice, pray for mercy . . . and suffer with the sufferers.
Philip Yancey (Where Is God When It Hurts?)
We have more English Bibles than there are English-speaking people in the entire country.” Matron had turned from the window and followed his gaze. “Polish Bibles, Czech Bibles, Italian Bibles, French Bibles, Swedish Bibles. I think some are from your Sunday-school children. We need medicine and food. But we get Bibles.” Matron smiled. “I always wondered if the good people who send us Bibles really think that hookworm and hunger are healed by scripture? Our patients are illiterate.
Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone)
This is our part in spiritual war. We proclaim Christ's truth by praying it, speaking it and (undoubtedly most importantly) by demonstrating it. We are not to accept with sere pious resignation the evil aspects of our world as "coming from a father's hand." Rather, following the example of our Lord and Savior, and going forth with the confidence that he has in principle already defeated his (and our) foes, we are to revolt against the evil aspects of our world as coming from the devil's hand. Our revolt is to be broad--as broad as the evil we seek to confront, and as broad as the work of the cross we seek to proclaim. Wherever there is destruction, hated, apathy, injustice, pain or hopelessness, whether it concerns God's creation, a structural feature of society, or the physical, psychological or spiritual aspect of an individual, we are in word and deed to proclaim to the evil powers that be, "You are defeated." As Jesus did, we proclaim this by demonstrating it.
Gregory A. Boyd (God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict)
A lot of churchgoers in America think that merely believing God exists is enough to be saved, but the Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). In other words, it’s no great accomplishment to believe in God—even the devil knows that God is real. You have to do more than mentally acknowledge God’s existence; you have to submit yourself to Him.
Andrew Wommack (How to Find, Follow, Fulfill God's Will)
The character of Moses, as stated in the Bible, is the most horrid that can be imagined. If those accounts be true, he was the wretch that first began and carried on wars on the score or on the pretence of religion; and under that mask, or that infatuation, committed the most unexampled atrocities that are to be found in the history of any nation. Of which I will state only one instance: When the Jewish army returned from one of their plundering and murdering excursions, the account goes on as follows (Numbers xxxi. 13): 'And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp; and Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle; and Moses said unto them, 'Have ye saved all the women alive?' behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore, 'kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him; but all the women- children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for Yourselves.' Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than Moses, if this account be true. Here is an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters. Let any mother put herself in the situation of those mothers, one child murdered, another destined to violation, and herself in the hands of an executioner: let any daughter put herself in the situation of those daughters, destined as a prey to the murderers of a mother and a brother, and what will be their feelings? In short, the matters contained in this chapter, as well as in many other parts of the Bible, are too horrid for humanity to read, or for decency to hear.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
Almost unknowingly, we all have a tendency to redefine Christianity according to our own tastes, preferences, church traditions, and cultural norms. Slowly, subtly, we take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into someone with whom we are a little more comfortable. We
David Platt (Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.)
Go to the Bible looking for God. Find Him, and application will follow. But go looking for application, and you may miss both.
Trevin K. Wax (Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture)
our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. Christians are to be living epistles, written by God and read by men (2 Cor. 3:2).
Greg Laurie (Let God Change Your Life: How to Know and Follow Jesus)
The Bible is so strange, so utterly bizarre, no human brain could have come up with it.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible)
You cannot stop religion from evolving.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible)
You cannot successfully follow Jesus Christ unless you learn how to overcome fear through his name.John 14:1-4.
Felix Wantang (Face to Face Meetings with Jesus Christ 3: Revealing the End of the Age)
The outer affects the inner.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Dig your well for yourself, and also for the people who will follow along after you.
Jane Johnson (Mercy Like Morning)
What good is praying in public if you as an individual do not follow The Teachings of GOD'S Prophets in The Holy Bible ? Repent !
Errol Anthony Smythe.
can’t tell you where we got the idea that following Jesus is some kind of quick fix for all of our struggles, but it wasn’t from the Bible. No, the Scripture is like one big, unbroken story about people who decided to follow God and ended up failing almost as much as they succeeded.
Lecrae Moore (Unashamed)
Satan has certainly been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years. The false doctrine of Hell and the Devil has allowed the Protestant and Catholic Churches to flourish far too long. Without a devil to point their fingers at, religionists of the right hand path would have nothing with which to threaten their followers. "Satan leads you to temptation"; "Satan is the prince of evil"; "Satan is vicious, cruel, brutal," they warn. "If you give in to the temptations of the devil, you will surely suffer eternal damnation and roast in Hell." The semantic meaning of Satan is the "adversary" or "opposition" or the "accuser." The very word "devil" comes from the Indian devi which means "god." Satan represents opposition to all religions which serve to frustrate and condemn man for his natural instincts. He has been given an evil role simply because he represents the carnal, earthly, and mundane aspects of life.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
I don’t know 449 that much about the Bible, other than it was written thousands of years ago, which dilutes its relevance. However, I know its faithful followers tend to cherry-pick verses to suit their needs, the same way they cherry-pick words or scenes from other books to label obscene.
Ellen Hopkins (Rumble)
Each cherry took about three seconds to eat. Three seconds to eat, but at least five years in the making. It seemed unfair to the hard-working cherry tree. The least I could do was to devote my attention to the cherry in those three seconds, really appreciate the tartness of the skin and the faint crunching sound when I bite down. I guess it's called mindfulness. Or being in the moment, or making the mundane sacred. Whatever it is, I'm doing it more. Like the ridiculously extended thank-you list for my hummus, the fruit taboo made me more aware of the whole cherry process, the seed, the soil, the five years of watering and waiting. That's the paradox: I thought religion would make me live with my head in the clouds, but as often as not, it grounds me in this world.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Be the one whose Lord is Jesus and who takes His words as a final authority without any thought of controversy. True believers follow Jehovah, not only for what He does, but specially for who He is.
Israelmore Ayivor
The Bible isn’t a cookbook—deviate from the recipe and the soufflé falls flat. It’s not an owner’s manual—with detailed and complicated step-by-step instructions for using your brand-new all-in-one photocopier/FAX machine/scanner/microwave/DVR/home security system. It’s not a legal contract—make sure you read the fine print and follow every word or get ready to be cast into the dungeon. It’s not a manual of assembly—leave out a few bolts and the entire jungle gym collapses on your three-year-old.
Peter Enns (The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It)
As I was passing this man on the street, he looked at me, snarled, and gave me the finger. What was going through his mind? Does he hate shepherds? Or religion? Did he just read Richard Dawkins’s book?
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
The Bible says that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Well, trouble followed me like sharks trailing a slave ship. Even when I tried to get away it was there swirling in a vortex around me.
Adrian McKinty (The Dead Yard (Michael Forsythe #2))
Biblical theology must follow a method that reads the Bible on its own terms, following the Bible’s own internal contours and shape, in order to discover God’s unified plan as it is disclosed to us over time.
Peter J. Gentry (God's Kingdom through God's Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology)
What is missing in our time is not the willingness of God to act in biblical ways, but the willingness of his people to believe he is still the God of the Bible—and to act on that faith. To throw away fear, to stride against common wisdom, to risk all that we have and all that we are so we may follow only our simple belief that the God of the Scriptures is still alive and that he will still do what he says in his Word.
Wes Moore (Forcefully Advancing)
When we begin to reflect Christ, the Bible, when more understood as being centered around Christ, seems to be potentially every man's biography regarding God's promised experiences and truth for him - his individual, unique path of humbling oneself before the Lord and then being exalted by the Lord back into his true and righteous personhood. Many followers may speak of it merely to try to change other people (before changing themselves), but the prophets speak of it as a living word which miraculously tells their very own experiences.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Church controls what government doesn’t,” Mark elaborated. “And government controls churches through the 501(3)(C) tax exemption. Any church that fails to follow government mandate dictating what they can say and who to support loses their tax- exempt status. The churches have become the ‘great whore’ as the Bible6 predicted.
Cathy O'Brien (ACCESS DENIED For Reasons Of National Security: Documented Journey From CIA Mind Control Slave To U.S. Government Whistleblower)
In all these assaults on the senses there is a great wisdom — not only about the addictiveness of pleasures but about their ephemerality. The essence of addiction, after all, is that pleasure tends to desperate and leave the mind agitated, hungry for more. The idea that just one more dollar, one more dalliance, one more rung on the ladder will leave us feeling sated reflects a misunderstanding about human nature — a misunderstanding, moreover, that is built into human nature; we are designed to feel that the next great goal will bring bliss, and the bliss is designed to evaporate shortly after we get there. Natural selection has a malicious sense of humor; it leads us along with a series of promises and then keeps saying ‘Just kidding.’ As the Bible puts it, ‘All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.’ Remarkably, we go our whole lives without ever really catching on. The advice of the sages — that we refuse to play this game — is nothing less than an incitement to mutiny, to rebel against our creator. Sensual pleasures are the whip natural selection uses to control us to keep us in the thrall of its warped value system. To cultivate some indifference to them is one plausible route to liberation. While few of us can claim to have traveled far on this route, the proliferation of this scriptural advice suggests it has been followed some distance with some success.
Robert Wright (The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are - The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology)
In the world of the Bible, one’s identity and one’s vocation are all bound up in who one’s father is. Men are called “son of” all of their lives (for instance, “the sons of Zebedee” or “Joshua, the son of Nun”). There are no guidance counselors in ancient Canaan or first-century Capernaum, helping “teenagers” decide what they want “to be” when they “grow up.” A young man watches his father, learns from him, and follows in his vocational steps. This is why “the sons of Zebedee” are right there with their father when Jesus finds them, “in their boat mending the nets” (Mark 1:19-20). The inheritance was the engine of survival, passed from father to son, an economic pact between generations. To lose one’s inheritance was to pilfer for survival, to become someone’s slave.
Russell D. Moore (Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches)
In its place welled up that same dismay she'd known on her first viewing, some ten months past, of a naked man. Whose idea of good design was this? Why those awkward angles, and what could be the necessity for all that hair? If one believed, as the Bible and the Greek myths had it, that man had been created first and woman after, then one must conclude there had been some dramatic improvement in the process following that amateurish first attempt.
Cecilia Grant (A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family, #1))
The Bible is primarily a book not of information but of formation, not merely a book to be analyzed, scrutinized, and discussed but a sacred book to nurture us, to unify our hearts and minds, and to serve as a constant source of contemplation
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit)
If we build into ourselves a deep understanding and conviction that serving the needs of other human beings is the reason we profit, that the reason we earn money is because we are focused on serving the needs of other people, other people will see this. We must commit ourselves to these convictions. Then and only then will the money follow. The money comes automatically.
Daniel Lapin (Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
success is largely a matter of Avoiding the Most Likely Ways to Fail[d. ], and since every Bug advances us significantly along that path, we may hearken back to the advice given in the Preface and urge the following Policy: CHERISH YOUR BUGS. STUDY THEM But
John Gall (SYSTEMANTICS. THE SYSTEMS BIBLE)
He fathomed her, enclosed her. He did not see, or did not care to see, how her submissiveness moved and drew him, nor how now, through the steaming, suffocating baths of mist, she led him, and he followed, though the rainbows under the clear water were lost.
Sylvia Plath (Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams)
I picked up scallop shells in diverse colors and sizes — warm reds and yellows; cool, stippled grays — and reflected on the diversity of God’s creation, and what might be the use and meaning of his making so many varieties of a single thing. If he created scallops simply for our nourishment, why paint each shell with delicate and particular colors? And why, indeed, trouble making so many different things to nourish us, when in the Bible we read that a simple manna fed the Hebrews day following day? It came to me then that God must desire us to use each of our senses, to take delight in the varied tastes and sights and textures of his world.
Geraldine Brooks
The longer you look at the idea that we read the Bible to find new meanings, the sillier it becomes. We read and return to the Bible not (just) to find something new but to hear something old, not to discover something fresh but to be reminded of something ancient.
Scot McKnight (Praying with the Church: Following Jesus Daily, Hourly, Today)
Given our disagreements over some points of the Bible, denominations are good, not bad, because they allow each church to follow Jesus according to conscience, and they keep strife between Christians of different convictions at bay. But if those denominations become the ultimate focus of our loyalty, then they are terrible idols. Keep clear fences but keep them low, and shake hands over them often.
Mark Dever (The Unadjusted Gospel (Together for the Gospel))
The Bible is filled with discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable contradictions. Moses did not write the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not write the Gospels. There are other books that did not make it into the Bible that at one time or another were considered canonical—other Gospels, for example, allegedly written by Jesus’ followers Peter, Thomas, and Mary. The Exodus probably did not happen as described in the Old Testament. The conquest of the Promised Land is probably based on legend. The Gospels are at odds on numerous points and contain nonhistorical material. It is hard to know whether Moses ever existed and what, exactly, the historical Jesus taught. The historical narratives of the Old Testament are filled with legendary fabrications and the book of Acts in the New Testament contains historically unreliable information about the life and teachings of Paul. Many of the books of the New Testament are pseudonymous—written not by the apostles but by later writers claiming to be apostles. The list goes on.
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them))
If you read a map with directions to get somewhere but you don’t follow it, you shouldn’t get mad at God when you become spiritually lost. The Bible is a love letter from God. But if you don’t read it and believe it, you may wonder why you’ll walk through life feeling unloved.
Stephen Kendrick (The Resolution for Men)
Which leads to another question: When Matthew tells us that some of Jesus’s followers doubted, does this undermine the story, or is this the exact kind of honesty that reflects how people actually are? When each of the Gospel writers includes the part about the women being witnesses, why risk it? What a strange thing to include knowing it would discredit their story, unless women actually were the first witnesses.
Rob Bell (What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything)
But the fact is that the gospel demands everything of all of us. If someone thinks the gospel has slotted into their life quite easily, without causing any major adjustments to their lifestyle or aspirations, it is likely that they have not really started following Jesus at all.
Sam Allberry (Is God anti-gay?: And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction)
Many think Jesus came to earth so you and I can have a special kind of spiritual experience and then go merrily along, as long as we pray and read our Bibles and develop intimacy with the unseen God but ignore the others-oriented life of justice and love and peace that Jesus embodied.
Scot McKnight (One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow)
Here’s our problem today. Not only do we not like ultimatums, but we have too many Christians who have accepted Jesus into their hearts and who have been baptized and who have confessed their sins and who have joined the Church and who are in Bible studies and who are absolutely 100 percent convinced they are going to heaven, but who are not followers of Jesus. There are many who haven’t made it real. The mark of a follower of Jesus is following. The mark of a follower of Jesus is that she or he has given Jesus her or his heart. It’s that simple. It’s that demanding. It’s that serious. Jesus was a moral zealot and he expected his followers to become moral zealots too. He wanted them to live the Committed. Life.
Scot McKnight (One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow)
Look through the Bible and nowhere does Jesus say, “Worship me.” His call to us was “follow me.” There’s a big difference. By making Jesus out to be a hero, we miss the whole point. Jesus wasn’t saying, “I’m cool. Make statues of me; turn my birthday into a huge commercial holiday.” He was saying, “Here, look what is possible. Look what we humans are capable of.” Jesus is our brother, our legacy, the guy we’re supposed to emulate.
Pam Grout (E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality)
I think there's something to the idea that the divine dwells more easily in text than in images. Text allows for more abstract thought, more of a separation between you and the physical world, more room for you and God to meet in the middle. I find it hard enough to conceive of an infinite being. Imagine if those original scrolls came in the form of a graphic novel with pictures of the Lord? I'd never come close to communing with the divine.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
Do those people who hold up the Bible as an inspiration to moral rectitude have the slightest notion of what is actually written in it? The following offences merit the death penalty, according to Leviticus 20: cursing your parents; committing adultery; making love to your stepmother or your daughter-in-law; homosexuality; marrying a woman and her daughter; bestiality (and, to add injury to insult, the unfortunate beast is to be killed too).
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
the Bible (unlike the books on which other religions are based) is not about following moral examples. It is about a God of mercy and long-suffering, who continually works in and through us despite our constant resistance to his purposes. Ultimately, there is only one hero in this book, and he’s divine.
Timothy J. Keller (Judges For You (God's Word For You))
One of the saddest facts of the human condition is that most people follow the herd. Sometimes, of course, the herd is morally right. That, obviously, is the ideal. But most good is achieved by individuals who have the courage to part from the majority when it is morally wrong. In addition, people tend to act worse in groups than when alone. The herd, not to mention the mob, emboldens people to do bad things they would rarely do if they had no such support.
Dennis Prager (The Rational Bible: Exodus)
The author extols the power of having significant portions of God's Word read in public worship with the following analogy. He says that by reading a few short verses, we are like someone glimpsing nature through window from across the room. But by taking in more lengthy passages of Scripture, we are like someone who, intrigue, gets right next to the window to take in more of the view that it offers, basking in more of the arc of the whole the whole narrative.
N.T. Wright (Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense)
Ask Jesus to help you fully understand the joys of obedience. Also, ask Him how you can be a woman fully committed to obedience without slipping into a legalistic approach to life. We must always remember our goal is pursuing revelations of Him. Our focus can’t be just following rules but following Jesus Himself.
Lysa TerKeurst (Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl)
Hours before Washington’s inauguration was scheduled to take place, a special congressional committee decided that it might be fitting for the president to rest his hand on a Bible while taking the oath of office. Unfortunately, no one in Federal Hall had a copy of the Bible on hand. There followed a mad dash to find one.
Jill Lepore (These Truths: A History of the United States)
We have a set of rules for our faith, our sexuality, our marriages, our dating relationships, for choosing a church—nothing is off-limits. We tell ourselves to always do this, and never do that, and everything will turn out perfectly. Worse than that, we back up our rules with Bible verses and tell everyone else to follow them too.
Allison Fallon
The “Word of God” is not simply the Christian Bible but exists in a threefold form: “The Word” incarnate (Jesus Followers’ King), the word prophesied and proclaimed (Prophets), and the word in scripture (Bible). All three are the self-disclosure of God, The One & Only ...in three, distinct & unique Persons, Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
Gary Patton
While we watched without comprehension, she moved away to where none of us wanted to follow. Ruth May shrank back through the narrow passage between this brief fabric of light and all the rest of what there is for us: the long waiting. Now she will wait the rest of the time. It will be exactly as long as the time that passed before she was born.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
The clear message of the Bible is that there is nothing we can do to make our hearts clean before a holy God. We can work constantly, pray fervently, give extravagantly, and love sacrificially, but our hearts will still be stained by sin. This is why the Bible teaches that faith alone in Christ alone is the only way to salvation from sin. Faith is the anti-work. It’s the realization that there is nothing you can do but trust in what has been done for you in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Faith is the realization that God’s pleasure in you will never be based upon your performance for him. Instead, God’s pleasure in you will always be based upon Christ’s performance for you.
David Platt (What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me?)
It is the same for us all - 'whoever'. I am to deny myself, take up my cross and follow him. Every Christian is called to costly sacrifice. Denying yourself does not mean tweaking your behaviour here and there. It is saying 'no' to your deepest sense of who you are, for the sake of Christ. To take up a cross is to declare your life (as you have known it) forfeit. It is laying down your life for the very reason that your life, it turns out, is not yours at all. It belongs to Jesus. He made it. And through his death he has bought it. Ever since I have been open about my own experiences with homosexuality, a number of Christians have said something like this: 'the gospel must be harder for you than it is for me', as though I have more to give up than they do. But the fact is that the gospel demands everything out of all of us. If someone thinks the gospel has somehow slotted into their life quite easily, without causing any major adjustments to their lifestyle or aspirations, it is likely that they have not really started following Jesus at all.
Sam Allberry (Is God anti-gay?: And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction)
the adaptive nature of our brain inevitably follows that we, and only we can decide which part of our mind to cultivate, and which part to leave withering and decaying.
Yamada Takumi (The Speed Math Bible - Transform your brain into an electronic calculator and master the mathematical strategies to triumph in every challenge (The 101 bibles))
I love the way he talks. By the end, perhaps I’ll be able to speak in majestic food metaphors like Reverend Richards.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
People have gotten into the practice of following private religious hunches rather than learning of God from His Word; we have to try to help them unlearn the pride and, in some cases, the misconceptions about Scripture which gave rise to this attitude and to base there convictions henceforth not on what they feel but on what the Bible says…modern people think of all religions as equal and equivalent – they draw their ideas about God from pagan as well as Christian sources; we have to try to show people the uniqueness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s last word to man…people have ceased to recognize the reality of their own sinfulness, which imparts a degree of perversity and enmity against God to all that they think and do; it is our task to try to introduce people to this fact about themselves and so make them self-distrustful and open to correction by the Word of Christ…people today are in the habit of disassociating the thought of God’s goodness from that of His severity; we must seek to wean them from this habit, since nothing but misbelief is possible as long as that persists.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
You can know God intimately while acknowledging the mystery, even the absurdity, of such a notion. You can experience the proven neurological benefits of prayer even as you contemplate how science shows prayer's limitations. You can be part of the global body of people who follow God without turning off your brain or believing things that go against your conscience. You can read he Bible without having to brush off its ancient portrayal of science or its all-too-fruquent brutality. And you can meet a risen Son of God named Jesus while wondering how such a thing could ever be true.
Mike McHargue (Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science)
There is an old anecdote in which a mystic, an evangelical pastor and a fundamentalist preacher die on the same day and awake to find themselves by the pearly gates. Upon reaching the gates they are promptly greeted by Peter, who informs them that before entering heaven they must be interviewed by Jesus concerning the state of their doctrine. The first to be called forward is the mystic, who is quietly ushered into a room. Five hours later the mystic reappears with a smile, saying, ‘I thought I had got it all wrong.’ Then Peter signals to the evangelical pastor, who stands up and enters the room. After a full day has passed the pastor reappears with a frown and says to himself, ‘How could I have been so foolish!’ Finally Peter asks the fundamentalist to follow him. The fundamentalist picks up his well-worn Bible and walks into the room. A few days pass with no sign of the preacher, then finally the door swings open and Jesus himself appears, exclaiming, ‘How could I have got it all so wrong!
Peter Rollins (How (Not) to Speak of God: Marks of the Emerging Church)
But there shouldn’t be a clash between “God’s Truth” and “more loving.” In the Bible, Truth and Love are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. God’s Truth is all about God’s Love for us and the Love we ought to have for one another. We are being untrue to that Truth if we treat people unlovingly. And we are missing out on the full extent of that Love if we try to divorce it from Ultimate Truth. We Christians must work to repair this schism in the church. If the church is to survive much longer in our culture, it must teach and model the Christianity of Jesus—a faith that combines Truth and Love in the person of Jesus Christ, revealed to us in the Bible and lived out in the everyday lives of his followers. That is what we say we believe. It’s time we start acting like it.
Justin Lee (Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate)
What is a disciple? It is not a mindless follower. A disciple is a student. When Paul prohibits women teaching men, he (in the same breath) requires Christian women to be students of the Word "Let a woman learn..." (1 Tim 2:11). Because biblical learning is required of us, we ought not to be afraid of it. We must overcome our ignorance! We ought to read good, solid books on Christian doctrine. It is good for us! We must cultivate a taste for books that will build s up in the faith- not take us to fantasy land. Just read a page or two at a time if need be, and never at the expense of your Bible reading.
Nancy Wilson (The Fruit of Her Hands: Respect and the Christian Woman)
Curiously, only 13 percent of those surveyed could correctly identify the source of the following principle: “You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.” Fifty-four percent misattributed it to a variety of contemporary politicians and celebrities, including Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Bono. Let the record show that the actual source is the Bible—Proverbs 31: 8–9.[
Tom Krattenmaker (The Evangelicals You Don't Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians)
The book was commonly known as the Buggre Alle This Bible. The lengthy compositor's error, if such it may be called, occurs in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 48, verse five. 2. And bye the border of Dan, fromme the east side fo the west side, a portion for Afher. 3. And by the border of Afher, fromme the east side even untoe the west side, a portion for Naphtali. 4. And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side untoe the west side, a portion for Manaffeh. 5. Buggre Alle this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of typefettinge. Master Biltonn if no Gentelmann, and Master Scagges noe more than a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbefticke. I telle you, onne a daye laike thif Ennywone withe half and oz of Sense shoulde bee oute in the Sunneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the liuelong daie inn thif mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workefhoppe. @ *"Æ@;!* 6. And bye the border of Ephraim, from the east fide even untoe the west fide, a portion for Reuben.* * The Buggre Alle This Bible was also noteworthy for having twenty-seven verses in the third chapter of Genesis, instead of the more usual twenty-four. They followed verse 24, which in the King James version reads: "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life," and read: 25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying Where is the flaming sword which was given unto thee? 26 And the Angel said, I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my head next. 27 And the Lord did not ask him again.
Neil Gaiman
Those of us raised in the Christian tradition need to choose to either see God in Jesus or to continue to let the Bible define God. Our tradition says that Jesus is God. Maybe we should act as if we think he is instead of worshipping a book. Maybe we should be brave enough to admit that we are compelled to either become blinded ideologues or we need to forthrightly pick and choose what we follow in the Bible. Most Christians do that anyway, many just don’t admit it.
Frank Schaeffer (Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to give love, create beauty and find peace)
The image titled “The Homeless, Psalm 85:10,” featured on the cover of ELEMENTAL, can evoke multiple levels of response. They may include the spiritual in the form of a studied meditation upon the multidimensional qualities of the painting itself; or an extended contemplation of the scripture in the title, which in the King James Bible reads as follows: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The painting can also inspire a physical response in the form of tears as it calls to mind its more earth-bound aspects; namely, the very serious plight of those who truly are homeless in this world, whether born into such a condition, or forced into it by poverty or war.
Aberjhani (Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love)
Accordingly, my new version of what the Bible is about reads as follows: it is about the mystery by which the power of God works to form this world into the Holy City, the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Note, if you will, how much distance that puts between us and certain customary notions of the main subject of Scripture. It means that it is not about someplace else called heaven, nor about somebody at a distance called God. Rather, it is about this place here, in all its thisness and placiness, and about the intimate and immediate Holy One who, at no distance from us at all, moves mysteriously to make creation true both to itself and to him.
Robert Farrar Capon (Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus)
Ecclesiastes This is a book of the Old Testament. I don't believe I've ever read this section of the Bible - I know my Genesis pretty well and my Ten Commandments (I like lists), but I'm hazy on a lot of the other parts. Here, the Britannica provides a handy Cliff Notes version of Ecclesiastes: [the author's] observations on life convinced him that 'the race is not swift, nor the battle strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all' (9:11). Man's fate, the author maintains, does not depend on righteous or wicked conduct but is an inscrutable mystery that remains hidden in God (9:1). All attempts to penetrate this mystery and thereby gain the wisdom necessary to secure one's fate are 'vanity' or futile. In the face of such uncertainty, the author's counsel is to enjoy the good things that God provides while one has them to enjoy. This is great. I've accumulated hundreds of facts in the last seven thousand pages, but i've been craving profundity and perspective. Yes, there was that Dyer poem, but that was just cynical. This is the real thing: the deepest paragraph I've read so far in the encyclopedia. Instant wisdom. It couldn't be more true: the race does not go to the swift. How else to explain the mouth-breathing cretins I knew in high school who now have multimillion-dollar salaries? How else to explain my brilliant friends who are stuck selling wheatgrass juice at health food stores? How else to explain Vin Diesel's show business career? Yes, life is desperately, insanely, absurdly unfair. But Ecclesiastes offers exactly the correct reaction to that fact. There's nothing to be done about it, so enjoy what you can. Take pleasure in the small things - like, for me, Julie's laugh, some nice onion dip, the insanely comfortable beat-up leather chair in our living room. I keep thinking about Ecclesiastes in the days that follow. What if this is the best the encyclopedia has to offer? What if I found the meaning of life on page 347 of the E volume? The Britannica is not a traditional book, so there's no reason why the big revelation should be at the end.
A.J. Jacobs
Thus it will appear that we have placed and kept the Bible in the fore front of our work. It has been evangelization first, and civilization following along with it. This, it seems to us, is the true order. The civilization and the grand unification of the world is to be accomplished through faith in Christ. Hence it is written: ‘For it pleased God that in Him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself.
Stephen Return Riggs
Images are taking over, and writers are a dying breed. The Norman Mailers of today are reduced to writing pun-filled captions for paparazzi photos. Blogs--which were threatening enough to professional writers--are being replaced by video blogs. We writers need to embraced the Second Commandment as our rallying cry for the importance of words. In a literally biblical world, all publications would look like the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Or the way it used to look, anyway.
A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible)
And so we have one of the great ironies of the early Christian tradition. The profoundly Jewish religion of Jesus and his followers became the viciously anti-Jewish religion of later times, leading to the horrific persecutions of the Middle Ages and the pogroms and attempted genocides that have plagued the world down to recent times.6 Anti-Semitism as it has come down to us today is the history of specifically Christian reactions to non-Christian Jews. It is one of the least savory inventions of the early church.
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them))
For believers to "follow Jesus" implies, among other things, adopting the same attitude towards God's Word as Jesus had. Becoming like Christ involves accepting his example as one who reads the Bible. It means defining ourselves and our purpose in life in light of the Bible. Following Christ also means practicing what the Bible says. Simply put, we cannot truthfully say that we are followers of Jesus if we neglect or refuse to obey what the Bible tells us, or if we use it in self-serving ways that are not what God originally intended.
Ray Lubeck (Read the Bible for a Change: Understanding and Responding to God's Word)
Why weren't there any women in Jesus' gang?’ asked Winnifred. ‘Jesus' gang?’ echoed the vicar surprised. ‘Jesus never had a gang. Ah— you mean the Twelve.’ Winnifred nodded. The vicar looked perplexed. ‘Well, it wouldn't really have been appropriate, would it?’ ‘Why not?’ I asked. ‘It just wouldn't,’ replied the vicar, looking annoyed at my question. ‘But Jesus had a lot of girl friends,’ said Pearl. ‘He certainly didn't,’ replied the vicar, shocked. ‘But Vicar, what about Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus? The Bible says that Jesus loved them,’ insisted Pearl. ‘And then there was Mary Magdalene,’ I added. ‘She wanted to hug him in Joseph's garden when he had just come out of the tomb, but Jesus told her not to touch him.’ ‘Yes— well—’ said the vicar uncertainly. ‘They were good followers of Jesus and they loved him— as we should all love him. No more questions now. We will be starting the service shortly.’ ‘Not very helpful,’ I whispered to Winnifred. ‘If Jesus had had a few women in his group of twelve, it would be much easier to know how to live with them.
Peter St. John (Gang Loyalty (Gang Books #4))
It's a shameful, wicked, abominable law, and I'll break it, for one, the first time I get a chance; and I hope I shall have a chance, I do! Things have got to a pretty pass, if a woman can't give a warm supper and a bed to poor, starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things!" ... "Now, John, I don't know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Jesus doesn't come asking if He can hang out with us. He commands us to follow Him. He has total authority and will settle for nothing less; He won't settle for being an accessory, an add- on, or a peaceful accompaniment to a nice life. No, He will rule and He will meddle.
Justin Buzzard (The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense out of Life)
That the writers of the Bible recognized a plurality of gods -- were polytheists -- is proved by the following 'And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us' (Gen. iii, 22). 'Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?' (Ex. xv, 11.) 'Among the gods, there is none like unto thee, O Lord' (Ps. Ixxxvi, 8). 'The Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods' (Ps. xcv, 3). 'Thou shalt not revile the gods' (Ex. xxii, 28). Monotheism, the doctrine of one god, is not merely the worship of one god, but the belief in the existence of one god only. Many were monotheistic in worship -- worshiped one god, their national deity -- while at the same time they were polytheistic in belief -- believed in the existence of many gods. The Jews who worshiped Jehovah have been called monotheists. And yet, for a thousand years, they believed in the existence of Kemosh, Baal, Moloch, Tammuz, and other deities. They believed that Jehovah was their national god and that they owed allegiance to him; just as the subjects of an earthly king profess their loyalty to him without denying the existence of other kings.
John E. Remsburg (The Christ)
And so of course we won't define 'biblical womanhood' well using a list of chores or a job description, a schedule or income level. After all, healthy God-glorifying homes look as different as the image bearers that entered into the covenant, biblical doesn't mean a baptized version of any culture, ancient or modern. No, I am a biblical woman because I live and move and have my being in the daily reality of being a follower of Jesus, living in the reality of being loved, in full trust of my Abba. I am a biblical woman because I follow in the footsteps of all the biblical women who cam before me. Biblical womanhood isn't so different from biblical personhood. Biblical personhood becomes a dead list of rules when it becomes a law to keep. If we have a long list of rules—Put others first! Be generous! Give money! Believe this! Do that!— it's a dead religion from a glorified rule book.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
We are committed to involving as many people as possible, as young as possible, as soon as possible. Sometimes too young and too soon! But we intentionally err on the side of too fast rather than too slow. We don’t wait until people feel “prepared” or “fully equipped.” Seriously, when is anyone ever completely prepared for ministry? Ministry makes people’s faith bigger. If you want to increase someone’s confidence in God, put him in a ministry position before he feels fully equipped. The messages your environments communicate have the potential to trump your primary message. If you don’t see a mess, if you aren’t bothered by clutter, you need to make sure there is someone around you who does see it and is bothered by it. An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins. The sermon begins in the parking lot. Assign responsibility, not tasks. At the end of the day, it’s application that makes all the difference. Truth isn’t helpful if no one understands or remembers it. If you want a church full of biblically educated believers, just teach what the Bible says. If you want to make a difference in your community and possibly the world, give people handles, next steps, and specific applications. Challenge them to do something. As we’ve all seen, it’s not safe to assume that people automatically know what to do with what they’ve been taught. They need specific direction. This is hard. This requires an extra step in preparation. But this is how you grow people. Your current template is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently getting. We must remove every possible obstacle from the path of the disinterested, suspicious, here-against-my-will, would-rather-be-somewhere-else, unchurched guests. The parking lot, hallways, auditorium, and stage must be obstacle-free zones. As a preacher, it’s my responsibility to offend people with the gospel. That’s one reason we work so hard not to offend them in the parking lot, the hallway, at check-in, or in the early portions of our service. We want people to come back the following week for another round of offending! Present the gospel in uncompromising terms, preach hard against sin, and tackle the most emotionally charged topics in culture, while providing an environment where unchurched people feel comfortable. The approach a church chooses trumps its purpose every time. Nothing says hypocrite faster than Christians expecting non-Christians to behave like Christians when half the Christians don’t act like it half the time. When you give non-Christians an out, they respond by leaning in. Especially if you invite them rather than expect them. There’s a big difference between being expected to do something and being invited to try something. There is an inexorable link between an organization’s vision and its appetite for improvement. Vision exposes what has yet to be accomplished. In this way, vision has the power to create a healthy sense of organizational discontent. A leader who continually keeps the vision out in front of his or her staff creates a thirst for improvement. Vision-centric churches expect change. Change is a means to an end. Change is critical to making what could and should be a reality. Write your vision in ink; everything else should be penciled in. Plans change. Vision remains the same. It is natural to assume that what worked in the past will always work. But, of course, that way of thinking is lethal. And the longer it goes unchallenged, the more difficult it is to identify and eradicate. Every innovation has an expiration date. The primary reason churches cling to outdated models and programs is that they lack leadership.
Andy Stanley (Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend)
It is now time for us to ask the personal question put to Jesus Christ by Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road, ‘What shall I do Lord?’ or the similar question asked by the Philippian jailer, ’What must I do to be saved?’ Clearly we must do something. Christianity is no mere passive acquiescence in a series of propositions, however true. We may believe in the deity and the salvation of Christ, and acknowledge ourselves to be sinners in need of his salvation, but this does not make us Christians. We have to make a personal response to Jesus Christ, committing ourselves unreservedly to him as our Savior and Lord … At its simplest Christ’s call was “Follow me.” He asked men and women for their personal allegiance. He invited them to learn from him, to obey his words and to identify themselves with his cause … Now there can be no following without a previous forsaking. To follow Christ is to renounce all lesser loyalties … let me be more explicit about the forsaking which cannot be separated from the following of Jesus Christ. First, there must be a renunciation of sin. This, in a word, is repentance. It is the first part of Christian conversion. It can in no circumstances be bypassed. Repentance and faith belong together. We cannot follow Christ without forsaking sin … Repentance is a definite turn from every thought, word, deed, and habit which is known to be wrong … There can be no compromise here. There may be sins in our lives which we do not think we could ever renounce, but we must be willing to let them go as we cry to God for deliverance from them. If you are in doubt regarding what is right and what is wrong, do not be too greatly influenced by the customs and conventions of Christians you may know. Go by the clear teaching of the Bible and by the prompting of your conscience, and Christ will gradually lead you further along the path of righteousness. When he puts his finger on anything, give it up. It may be some association or recreation, some literature we read, or some attitude of pride, jealousy or resentment, or an unforgiving spirit. Jesus told his followers to pluck out their eye and cut off their hand or foot if it caused them to sin. We are not to obey this with dead literalism, of course, and mutilate our bodies. It is a figure of speech for dealing ruthlessly with the avenues along which temptation comes to us.
John R.W. Stott (Basic Christianity)
For a moment or two before the spell took effect, he was aware of all the sounds around him: rain splashing on metal and leather, and running down canvas; horses shuffling and snorting; Englishmen singing and Scotsmen playing bagpipes; two Welsh soldiers arguing over the proper interpretation of a Bible passage; the Scottish captain, John Kincaid, entertaining the American savages and teaching them to drink tea (presumably with the idea that once a man had learnt to drink tea, the other habits and qualities that make up a Briton would naturally follow). Then silence. Men and horses began to disappear, few by few at first, and then more quickly – hundreds, thousands of them vanishing from sight. Great gaps appeared among the close-packed soldiers. A little further to the east an entire regiment was gone, leaving a hole the size of Hanover-square. Where, moments before, all had been life, conversation and activity, there was now nothing but the rain and the twilight and the waving stalks of rye. Strange wiped his mouth because he felt sick.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
The True Believer ignores anything that doesn't fit his belief system. Instead, he inevitably comes to hold those beliefs at a very profound level. They can become absolutely part of his identity. It is this that brings together the religious, the psychic, the cynic (as opposed to the open skeptic) and the narrow-minded of all kinds. It is something I encountered a lot among my fellow Christians. At one level it can be seen in the circular discussion which goes as follows: Why do you believe in the bible? Because it is Gods word. And why do you believe in God? Because of what it says in the bible. At a less obvious level, it can be seen in the following common exchange: Why do you believe Christianity is true? Because I have the experience of a personal relationship with God. So how do you know you're not fooling yourself? Because i know it is real. Even as an enthusiastic believer myself I could see this kind of tautology at work, and over time I realized that it is common to all forms of True Belief., regardless of the particular belief in question. The fact is, it's enormously difficult - and you need to be fantastically brave - to overcome the circularity of your own ideologies. But just because our identity might be tied up with what we believe, it doesn't make that belief any more correct. One wishes that True Believers of any sort would learn a little modesty in their convictions.
Derren Brown (Tricks of the Mind)
The history of the Jews is…intensely peculiar in the fact of having given the Western world its concept of origins and monotheism, its ethical traditions, and the founder of its prevailing religion, yet suffering dispersion, statelessness, and ceaseless persecution, and finally in our times nearly successful genocide, dramatically followed by fulfillment of the never-relinquished ream of return to their homeland. Viewing this strange and singular history one can not escape the impression that it must contain some special significance for the history of mankind, that in some way, whether one believes in divine purpose or inscrutable circumstance, the Jews have been singled out to carry the tale of human fate.
Barbara W. Tuchman (Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour)
Thee Temple is a church of only LEADERS, no followers. A radical step. Even thee Nazis, though they bred an elite of leaders, still wanted to control thee masses, lead them and entangle themselves with them. We want thee leaders alone. Fuck thee sleeping masses. We have no desire to be superior rulers of boring, dull masses of people who we despise. We want JUST leaders. A church full of leaders, only leaders and not leading anyone. Merely co- habiting. A separate existence for OUR satisfaction. Why waste all that time, energy and vision dealing with boring masses of people. We’ve got better things to do. Enjoying and stimulating ourselves. A self-centered religion instead of a crippling, selfless Christian ideal.
Genesis P-Orridge (Thee Psychick Bible: Thee Apocryphal Scriptures ov Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Thee Third Mind ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth)
once a person or a culture adopts the idea that this world is all there is, as is typical of myth, certain things follow regardless of the primitiveness or the modernity of the person or culture. Among these are the devaluing of individual persons, the loss of an interest in history, fascination with magic and the occult, and denial of individual responsibility. The opposites of these, among which are what we have taken to be the glories of modern Western culture, are the by-products of the biblical worldview. As that worldview is progressively lost among us, we are losing the by-products as well. Not realizing that they are by-products, we are surprised to see them go, but we have no real explanation for their departure.
John N. Oswalt (The Bible among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? (Ancient Context, Ancient Faith))
Every disciple is a believer, but not every believer is necessarily a disciple. Anything short of discipleship, however, is settling for less than what God really desires for us. Loving God more than anyone or anything else is the very foundation of being a disciple. If you want to live your Christian life to its fullest, then love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. Either you will have harmony with God and friction with people, or you will have harmony with people and friction with God. You become a disciple in the biblical sense only when you are totally and completely committed to Jesus Christ and His Word. As a true disciple, your life won’t only be characterized by practical results and a hunger for Scripture, but you also will have love for others — especially fellow believers. Without all of these characteristics, you can’t really claim to be His disciple. A person who has been with Jesus will boldly share his or her faith. A person who has been with Jesus will be a person of prayer. A person who has been with Jesus will be persecuted. If for you, the Christian life is all about feeling good and having everything go your way, then you won’t like being a disciple. Being a follower of Christ is the most joyful and exciting life there is. But it also can be the most challenging life there is. It’s a life lived out under the command of someone other than yourself. Most prayers are not answered because they are outside the will of God. Once we have discovered God’s will, we can then pray aggressively and confidently for it. We can pray, believing it will happen, because we know it is not something we have dreamed. A forgiven person will be a forgiving person. A true disciple will harbor no grudge toward another. The disciple knows it will hinder his or her prayer life and walk with God. It is far better to sit down for an hour and talk genuinely with one person than to rattle off trite clichés to scores of people. Attending more Bible studies, more prayer meetings, reading more Christian books, and listening to more teaching without an outlet for the truth will cause us to spiritually decay. We need to take what God has given us and use it constructively in the lives of others. You were placed on earth to know God. Everything else is secondary. The more we know God, the more we should want to make Him known to a lost world. Your life belongs to God. You don’t share your time and talents with Him; He shares them with you! He owns you and everything about you. You need to recognize and acknowledge that fact.
Greg Laurie (Start! to Follow: How to Be a Successful Follower of Jesus Christ)
The Jesus described in the Bible never uses the word religion to refer to what he came to establish, nor does he invite people to join a particular institution or organization. When he speaks of the "church," he is talking about the people who gather in his name, not the structure they meet in or the organization they belong to (see Matthew 18:15-20). And when he talks about connecting with God, he consistently speaks not of religion but of "faith" (Luke 7:50; John 3:14-16). Jesus never commands his followers to embrace detailed creeds or codes of conduct, and he never instructs his followers to participate in exhaustive religious rituals. His life's work was about undoing the knots that bound people to ritual and empty tradition.
Bruxy Cavey (The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus)
I've learned that God sometimes allows us to find ourselves in a place where we want something so bad that we can't see past it. Sometimes we can't even see God because of it. When we want something so bad, it's easy to mistake what we truly need for the thing we really want. When this sort of thing happens, and it seems to happen to everyone, I've found it's because what God has for us is obscured from view, just around another bend in the road. In the Bible, the people following God had the same problem I did. They swapped the real thing for an image of the real thing. We target the wrong thing and our misdirected life's goal ends up looking like a girl or a wide-brimmed hat or a golden calf. All along, what God really wants for us is something much different, something more tailored for us. [...] And when each of us looks back at all the turns and folds God has allowed in our lives, I don't think it looks like a series of folded-overs that have shaped our lives. Instead I think we'll conclude in the end that maybe we're all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better.
Bob Goff (Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World)
When a puppy reaches maturity is becomes a dog; when ice melts it is called water; when twelve months have been used up, we get a new calendar with the proper chronological name; when "magic" becomes scientific fact we refer to it as medicine, astronomy, etc. When one name is no longer appropriate for a given thing it is only logical to change it to a new on which better fits the subject. Why, then, do we not follow suit in the area of religion? Why continue to call a religion the same name when the tenets of that religions no longer fit the original one? Or, if the religion does preach the same things that it always has, but its followers practice nearly none of its teachings, why do they continue to call themselves by the name given to followers of that religion?
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Bible)
Dad handed me his empty glass and patted my shoulder. "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." Then he picked up his work gloves, shook off the dirt, and headed for the garage. "Wait!" I started to follow him but stopped when he didn't answer or even turn. "I guess that's a no." From that day on, Dad spoke in nothing but Bible verses. It was like living inside a sermon.
Jeri Smith-Ready (This Side of Salvation)
Calvin sets the absolute sovereignty of God and the infallibility of the Bible over against the pretended sovereignty and infallibility of the pope. Fearing God, he was fearless of man. The sense of God’s sovereignty fortified his followers against the tyranny of temporal sovereigns, and made them champions and promoters of civil and political liberty in France, Holland, England, and Scotland.
Philip Schaff (History Of The Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes In One))
In my life I have had the privilege and luck of meeting and interviewing a number of brave dissidents in many and various countries and societies. Very frequently, they can trace their careers (which partly “chose” them rather than being chosen by them) to an incident in early life where they felt obliged to make or take a stand. Sometimes, too, a precept is offered and takes root. Bertrand Russell in his Autobiography records that his rather fearsome Puritan grandmother “gave me a Bible with her favourite texts written on the fly-leaf. Among these was ‘Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.’ Her emphasis upon this text led me in later life to be not afraid of belonging to small minorities.” It’s rather affecting to find the future hammer of the Christians being “confirmed” in this way.
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
read the Bible daily? That means every day without fail. Each of us should say to ourselves,“No Bible, no breakfast. No read, no feed.” Be like Job, who “treasured the words of His mouth more than [his] necessary food” (Job 23:12, emphasis added). The key is to put your Bible before your belly—to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we are not “disciples” of Christ—disciplined to His Word—we will more than likely reproduce after our own kind. If we are worldly and undisciplined, our kids may grow up to follow our poor example of what a Christian should be. If we are hypocrites, we may just reproduce hypocrites. What greater parental betrayal could there be than to lead your children to hell? So esteem God’s Word more than your necessary food, and teach your kids to do the same.
Ray Comfort (How to Bring Your Children to Christ...& Keep Them There: Avoiding the Tragedy of False Conversion)
We Let the Boat Drift I set out for the pond, crossing the ravine where seedling pines start up like sparks between the disused rails of the Boston and Maine. The grass in the field would make a second crop if early autumn rains hadn't washed the goodness out. After the night's hard frost it makes a brittle rustling as I walk. The water is utterly still. Here and there a black twig sticks up. It's five years today, and even now I can't accept what cancer did to him -- not death so much as the annihilation of the whole man, sense by sense, thought by thought, hope by hope. Once we talked about the life to come. I took the Bible from the nightstand and offered John 14: "I go to prepare a place for you.""Fine. Good," he said. "But what about Matthew? 'You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'" And he wept. My neighbor honks and waves driving by. She counsels troubled students; keeps bees; her goats follow her to the mailbox. Last Sunday afternoon we went canoeing on the pond. Something terrible at school had shaken her. We talked quietly far from shore. The paddles rested across our laps; glittering drops fell randomly from their tips. The light around us seemed alive. A loon-itinerant- let us get quite close before it dove, coming up after a long time, and well away from humankind
Jane Kenyon (Otherwise: New and Selected Poems)
The Refuge is a mission center and Christian community dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other. We love to throw parties, tell stories, find hope, and practice the ways of Jesus as best we can. We’re all hurt or hungry in our own ways. We’re at different places on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the Bible. We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts. We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another. We all receive, we all give. We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberal, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, overeducated, undereducated, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving. Yet Christ’s love binds our differences together in unity. At The Refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.24
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
I think you have a great women's ministry when the women of your community fall wildly in love with Jesus. Church ladies like this are the overflow of women who are empowered to lead, to challenge, to seek justice and love mercy, to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth like our church mothers and fathers of the past. You have a great women's ministry when there is room for everyone. You have a great women's ministry when you have detoxed from the world's views and unattainable standards for women and begun to celebrate the everyday women of valor, sitting next to you, and when you encourage, affirm, and welcome the diversity of women—their lives, their voices, their experiences—to the community. You have a great women's ministry when your women are ministering—to the world, to the church, to one another—pouring out freely the grace they have received, however God has gifted them, including cooking and crafts, strategy and leadership.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
The late Francis Schaeffer, one of the wisest and most influential Christian thinkers of the twentieth century, warned of this exact trend just a few months before his death in 1984. In his book The Great Evangelical Disaster he included a section called “The Feminist Subversion,” in which he wrote: There is one final area that I would mention where evangelicals have, with tragic results, accommodated to the world spirit of this age. This has to do with the whole area of marriage, family, sexual morality, feminism, homosexuality, and divorce. . . . The key to understanding extreme feminism centers around the idea of total equality, or more properly the idea of equality without distinction. . . . the world spirit in our day would have us aspire to autonomous absolute freedom in the area of male and female relationships—to throw off all form and boundaries in these relationships and especially those boundaries taught in the Scriptures. . . . Some evangelical leaders, in fact, have changed their views about inerrancy as a direct consequence of trying to come to terms with feminism. There is no other word for this than accommodation. It is a direct and deliberate bending of the Bible to conform to the world spirit of our age at the point where the modern spirit conflicts with what the Bible teaches.2 My argument in the following pages demonstrates that what Schaeffer predicted so clearly twenty-two years ago is increasingly coming true in evangelicalism today. It is a deeply troubling trend.
Wayne Grudem (Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?)
I don’t know how I didn’t see it for so many years of Bible reading, but I didn’t.  Paul didn’t teach the Gentiles not to follow the law, he didn’t teach people not to have their sons circumcised (in fact he himself had Timothy circumcised in Acts 16:3).  And Paul himself kept the law.  Otherwise, James would have been telling Paul to lie about what he was doing.   So we traded Christmas for Sukkot, the true birth of Messiah during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a shadow picture of Him coming back to reign for a thousand years.  When we keep that feast, we are making a declaration that we believe He was, is, and is coming.  We keep Yom Kippur, which is a declaration that we believe that Yeshua is the salvation of the nation of Israel as a whole, that “all Israel shall be saved.”  We keep Yom Teruah, the day of Trumpets, which occurs on “the day and hour that no man knows” at the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon during the 7th biblical month of Tishri.  We traded Pentecost for Shavuot, the prophetic shadow picture of the spirit being poured out on the assembly, as we see in the book of Acts,  just as the law was given at Mt Sinai to the assembly, which according to Stephen was the true birth of the church (Acts 7:38) – not in Jerusalem, but at Sinai. We also traded Easter for Passover, the shadow picture of Messiah coming to die to restore us to right standing with God, in order to obey Him when He said, “from now on, do this in remembrance of Me.”  We traded Resurrection Sunday for First Fruits, the feast which served as a shadow of Messiah rising up out of the earth and ascending to be presented as a holy offering to the Father.  In Leviticus 23, these are called the Feasts of the LORD, and were to be celebrated by His people Israel forever, not just the Jews, but all those who are in covenant with Him. Just like at Mt Sinai, the descendants of Jacob plus the mixed multitude who came out of Egypt.    We learned from I John 3:4 that sin is defined as transgression of the law.  I John 1:10 says that if we claim we do not sin we are liars, so sin still exists, and that was written long after the death of the other apostles, including Paul.  I read what Peter said about Paul in 2 Peter 3:15-16 – that his writings were hard to understand and easily twisted.  And I began to see that Peter was right because the more I understood what everyone besides Paul was saying, the more I realized that the only way I could justify what I had been doing was with Paul’s writings.  I couldn’t use Yeshua (Jesus), Moses, John, Peter or any of the others to back up any of the doctrines I was taught – I had to ignore Yeshua almost entirely, or take Him out of context.  I decided that Yeshua, and not Paul, died for me, so I had to
Tyler Dawn Rosenquist (The Bridge: Crossing Over Into the Fullness of Covenant Life)
Layer upon layer it comes, dense and rich within the texts, echo upon echo, allusion and resonance tumbling over one another, so that for those with ears to hear it becomes un-missable, a crescendo of questions to which in the end there can be only one answer. Why are you speaking like this? Are you the one who is to come? Can anything good come out of Nazareth? What sign can you show us? Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners? Where did this man get all this wisdom? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Who are you? Why do you not follow the traditions? Do the authorities think he’s the Messiah? Can the Messiah come from Galilee? Why are you behaving unlawfully? Who then is this? Aren’t we right to say that you’re a Samaritan and have a demon? What do you say about him? By what right are you doing these things? Who is this Son of Man? Should we pay tribute to Caesar? And climactically: Are you the king of the Jews? What is truth? Where are you from? Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One? Then finally, too late for answers, but not too late for irony: Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! If you’re the Messiah, why don’t you come down from that cross? … And Jesus had his own questions. Who do you say I am? Do you believe in the Son of Man? Can you drink the cup I’m going to drink? How do the scribes say that the Messiah is David’s son? Couldn’t you keep watch with me for a single hour? And finally and horribly: My God, my God, why did you abandon me? … The reason there were so many questions, in both directions, was that–as historians have concluded for many years now–Jesus fitted no ready-made categories
N.T. Wright (Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters)
Whether in their policy of religious tolerance, devising a universal alphabet, maintaining relay stations, playing games, or printing almanacs, money, or astronomy charts, the rulers of the Mongol Empire displayed a persistent universalism. Because they had no system of their own to impose upon their subjects, they were willing to adopt and combine systems from everywhere. Without deep cultural preferences in these areas, the Mongols implemented pragmatic rather than ideological solutions. They searched for what worked best; and when they found it, they spread it to other countries. They did not have to worry whether their astronomy agreed with the precepts of the Bible, that their standards of writing followed the classical principles taught by the mandarins of China, or that Muslim imams disapproved of their printing and painting. The Mongols had the power, at least temporarily, to impose new international systems of technology, agriculture, and knowledge that superseded the predilections or prejudices of any single civilization; and in so doing, they broke the monopoly on thought exercised by local elites.
Jack Weatherford (Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World)
In Chapter One, I discussed four of the seven steps to answered prayer. The four steps already covered are as follows: 1.Decide what you want from God and find the scripture or scriptures that definitely promise you these things. 2.Ask God for the things you want and believe that you receive them. 3.Let every thought and desire affirm that you have what you asked for. 4.Guard against every evil thought that comes into your mind to try to make you doubt God’s Word. Step Number Five: Meditate on God’s Promises Step number five to receiving answered prayer is meditate constantly on the promises upon which you based the answer to your prayer. In other words, you must see yourself in possession of what you’ve asked for and make plans accordingly as if it were already a reality.   PROVERBS 4:20-22 20 My son, ATTEND TO MY WORDS; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.   God said, “My son, attend to my words . . .” (Prov. 4:20). God will make His Word good in your life if you’ll act on it.
Kenneth E. Hagin (Bible Prayer Study Course)
Why should men in the name of religion try to harmonize the contradictions that exist between Nature and a book? Why should philosophers be denounced for placing more reliance upon what they know than upon what they have been told? If there is a God, it is reasonably certain that he made the world, but it is by no means certain that he is the author of the bible. Why then should we not place greater confidence in Nature than in a book? And even if this God made not only the world but the book besides, it does not follow that the book is the best part of Creation, and the only part that we will be eternally punished for denying. It seems to me that it is quite as important to know something of the solar system, something of the physical history of this globe, as it is to know the adventures of Jonah or the diet of Ezekiel. (...) It seems to me that a belief in the great truths of science are fully as essential to salvation, as the creed of any church. We are taught that a man may be perfectly acceptable to God even if he denies the rotundity of the earth,(...) and yet, for failing to believe in the „scheme of salvation” another may be eternally lost.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Have you heard the songs they sing here in Kilanga?” he asked. “They’re very worshipful. It’s a grand way to begin a church service, singing a Congolese hymn to the rainfall on the seed yams. It’s quite easy to move from there to the parable of the mustard seed. Many parts of the Bible make good sense here, if only you change a few words.” He laughed. “And a lot of whole chapters, sure, you just have to throw away.” “Well, it’s every bit God’s word, isn’t it?” Leah said. “God’s word, brought to you by a crew of romantic idealists in a harsh desert culture eons ago, followed by a chain of translators two thousand years long." Leah stared at him. “Darling, did you think God wrote it all down in the English of King James himself?” “No, I guess not.” “Think of all the duties that were perfectly obvious to Paul or Matthew in that old Arabian desert that are pure nonsense to us now. All that foot washing, for example. Was it really for God’s glory, or just to keep the sand out of the house?” Leah sat narrow-eyed in her chair, for once stumped for the correct answer. “Oh, and the camel. Was it a camel that could pass through the eye of a needle more easily than a rich man? Or a coarse piece of yarn? The Hebrew words are the same, but which one did they mean? If it’s a camel, the rich man might as well not even try. But if it’s the yarn, he might well succeed with a lot of effort, you see?” He leaned forward toward Leah with his hands on his knees. “Och, I shouldn’t be messing about with your thinking this way, with your father out in the garden. But I’ll tell you a secret. “When I want to take God at his word exactly, I take a peep out the window at His Creation. Because that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day, without a lot of dubious middle managers.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
Rather than boasting a doctrinal statement, the Refuge extends an invitation: The Refuge is a mission center and Christian community dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other. We love to throw parties, tell stories, find hope, and practice the ways of Jesus as best we can. We’re all hurt or hungry in our own ways. We’re at different places on our journey but we share a guiding story, a sweeping epic drama called the Bible. We find faith as we follow Jesus and share a willingness to honestly wrestle with God and our questions and doubts. We find dignity as God’s image-bearers and strive to call out that dignity in one another. We all receive, we all give. We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberal, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, overeducated, undereducated, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving. Yet Christ’s love binds our differences together in unity. At The Refuge, everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.24 Imagine if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable. Imagine if every church became a place where we told one another the truth. We might just create sanctuary.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
Leaning toward a certain party is one thing (Matthew did it, Simon did it, and Jesus allowed it), but it is important to see that a partisan spirit can actually run against the Spirit of God. If there ever was a partisan crowd in the Bible, it was the crowd that pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus instead of Barabbas. Barabbas, a true criminal, went free while Jesus, an innocent man, was executed after having his impeccable character assassinated. This is the essence of partisanship. Partisans inflate the best features of their party while inflating the worst features, real or contrived, of the other party. They ignore the weaknesses of their own party while dismissing the other party’s strengths. I have good friends on both sides of the political aisle. I trust them. Many of them—on both sides—have a strong commitment to their faith. Because of this I grow perplexed when Christian men and women willingly participate in spin—ready, willing, and armed to follow the world in telling half-truths to promote their candidates, while telling more half-truths to demonize their opponents. Have we forgotten that a half-truth is the equivalent of a full lie? What’s more, political spin is polarizing even within the community of faith.
Scott Sauls (Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides)
Probably nothing is more true of sinners today than that they think they are free. They see Christianity as some kind of bondage. It is all about rights: “No one is going to infringe on my rights. I can be what I want to be. I’m free to be myself.” You hear that inane statement again and again. Such people are not free. The Bible defines them as prisoners. Sin has indebted them to God, and it’s a debt they cannot pay. They are in bondage, and they are awaiting eternal death. According to Hebrews 2:15, Satan wields the power of death and holds captive “those who through fear of death [are] all their lifetime subject to bondage.” They are the children of wrath; Ephesians 2:2 calls them “sons of disobedience” who are under the power of, and in bondage to, their own sin. The divine sentence on them is incarceration for eternity in hell, where they will never die. The real Sovereign over them, the real Judge who has imprisoned them, called them guilty, and sentenced them to death, is God Himself. It is God who destroys both soul and body in hell. The sinner is a prisoner of Satan and sin, but more than that, he’s a prisoner of God, the eternal Executioner, who is holding him accountable and has him awaiting a horrific, unending death.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus)
Two centuries ago, the United States settled into a permanent political order, after fourteen years of violence and heated debate. Two centuries ago, France fell into ruinous disorder that ran its course for twenty-four years. In both countries there resounded much ardent talk of rights--rights natural, rights prescriptive. . . . [F]anatic ideology had begun to rage within France, so that not one of the liberties guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man could be enjoyed by France's citizens. One thinks of the words of Dostoievski: "To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism." . . . In striking contrast, the twenty-two senators and fifty-nine representatives who during the summer of 1789 debated the proposed seventeen amendments to the Constitution were men of much experience in representative government, experience acquired within the governments of their several states or, before 1776, in colonial assembles and in the practice of the law. Many had served in the army during the Revolution. They decidedly were political realists, aware of how difficult it is to govern men's passions and self-interest. . . . Among most of them, the term democracy was suspect. The War of Independence had sufficed them by way of revolution. . . . The purpose of law, they knew, is to keep the peace. To that end, compromises must be made among interests and among states. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists ranked historical experience higher than novel theory. They suffered from no itch to alter American society radically; they went for sound security. The amendments constituting what is called the Bill of Rights were not innovations, but rather restatements of principles at law long observed in Britain and in the thirteen colonies. . . . The Americans who approved the first ten amendments to their Constitution were no ideologues. Neither Voltaire nor Rousseau had any substantial following among them. Their political ideas, with few exceptions, were those of English Whigs. The typical textbook in American history used to inform us that Americans of the colonial years and the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras were ardent disciples of John Locke. This notion was the work of Charles A. Beard and Vernon L. Parrington, chiefly. It fitted well enough their liberal convictions, but . . . it has the disadvantage of being erroneous. . . . They had no set of philosophes inflicted upon them. Their morals they took, most of them, from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Their Bill of Rights made no reference whatever to political abstractions; the Constitution itself is perfectly innocent of speculative or theoretical political arguments, so far as its text is concerned. John Dickinson, James Madison, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, and other thoughtful delegates to the Convention in 1787 knew something of political theory, but they did not put political abstractions into the text of the Constitution. . . . Probably most members of the First Congress, being Christian communicants of one persuasion or another, would have been dubious about the doctrine that every man should freely indulge himself in whatever is not specifically prohibited by positive law and that the state should restrain only those actions patently "hurtful to society." Nor did Congress then find it necessary or desirable to justify civil liberties by an appeal to a rather vague concept of natural law . . . . Two centuries later, the provisions of the Bill of Rights endure--if sometimes strangely interpreted. Americans have known liberty under law, ordered liberty, for more than two centuries, while states that have embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with its pompous abstractions, have paid the penalty in blood.
Russell Kirk (Rights And Duties: Reflections On Our Conservative Constitution)
The last time I’d been unwell, suicidally depressed, whatever you want to call it, the reactions of my friends and family had fallen into several different camps: The Let’s Laugh It Off merchants: Claire was the leading light. They hoped that joking about my state of mind would reduce it to a manageable size. Most likely to say, ‘Feeling any mad urges to fling yourself into the sea?’ The Depression Deniers: they were the ones who took the position that since there was no such thing as depression, nothing could be wrong with me. Once upon a time I’d have belonged in that category myself. A subset of the Deniers was The Tough Love people. Most likely to say, ‘What have you got to be depressed about?’ The It’s All About Me bunch: they were the ones who wailed that I couldn’t kill myself because they’d miss me so much. More often than not, I’d end up comforting them. My sister Anna and her boyfriend, Angelo, flew three thousand miles from New York just so I could dry their tears. Most likely to say, ‘Have you any idea how many people love you?’ The Runaways: lots and lots of people just stopped ringing me. Most of them I didn’t care about, but one or two were important to me. Their absence was down to fear; they were terrified that whatever I had, it was catching. Most likely to say, ‘I feel so helpless … God, is that the time?’ Bronagh – though it hurt me too much at the time to really acknowledge it – was the number one offender. The Woo-Woo crew: i.e. those purveying alternative cures. And actually there were hundreds of them – urging me to do reiki, yoga, homeopathy, bible study, sufi dance, cold showers, meditation, EFT, hypnotherapy, hydrotherapy, silent retreats, sweat lodges, felting, fasting, angel channelling or eating only blue food. Everyone had a story about something that had cured their auntie/boss/boyfriend/next-door neighbour. But my sister Rachel was the worst – she had me plagued. Not a day passed that she didn’t send me a link to some swizzer. Followed by a phone call ten minutes later to make sure I’d made an appointment. (And I was so desperate that I even gave plenty of them a go.) Most likely to say, ‘This man’s a miracle worker.’ Followed by: ‘That’s why he’s so expensive. Miracles don’t come cheap.’ There was often cross-pollination between the different groupings. Sometimes the Let’s Laugh It Off merchants teamed up with the Tough Love people to tell me that recovering from depression is ‘simply mind over matter’. You just decide you’re better. (The way you would if you had emphysema.) Or an All About Me would ring a member of the Woo-Woo crew and sob and sob about how selfish I was being and the Woo-Woo crew person would agree because I had refused to cough up two grand for a sweat lodge in Wicklow. Or one of the Runaways would tiptoe back for a sneaky look at me, then commandeer a Denier into launching a two-pronged attack, telling me how well I seemed. And actually that was the worst thing anyone could have done to me, because you can only sound like a self-pitying malingerer if you protest, ‘But I don’t feel well. I feel wretched beyond description.’ Not one person who loved me understood how I’d felt. They hadn’t a clue and I didn’t blame them, because, until it had happened to me, I hadn’t a clue either.
Marian Keyes
In the stories of faith I grew up with, men were allowed a full range of emotion: King David, who calls on God to destroy his enemies. Absalom rising up against his father the king. Jonah stewing under his tree, looking out on the city God saved but he hates. Job crying out to God for his miserable fate. But the rage of good women in the Bible is all in the subtext. Nowhere is there an Eve angry for being removed from Eden and the loss of her two sons. Where is Esther, where is her horror and pain watching the genocide of her people? Or Ruth, who followed her miserable mother-in-law to a foreign land and had to listen to that lady bitching as if she felt nothing? The women allowed to have feelings in the Bible are always the villains. Michal sneering at David that he ought to put his clothes on and stop dancing like a naked fool. She is indicted for her words, but hadn’t she just been married, abandoned, and then taken back by this man? Used as a political pawn, then ignored for Bathsheba. Then there is Sarah, who beat her maidservant Hagar, blaming her for what should have rightly fallen on the shoulders of Abraham. And Job’s wife, who Biblical scholars condemn for telling her husband to curse God and die. But wasn’t she just wishing him a swift end to the suffering that they had walked through hand in hand?
Lyz Lenz (God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America)
Gen 22:11–16a The story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac is traced to E. It refers to the deity as Elohim in vv. 1,3,8, and 9. But, just as Abraham’s hand is raised with the knife to sacrifice Isaac, the text says that the angel of Yahweh stops him (v. 11). The verses in which Isaac is spared refer to the deity as Yahweh (vv. 11–14). These verses are followed by a report that the angel speaks a second time and says, “… because you did not withhold your son from me….” Thus the four verses which report that Isaac was not sacrificed involve both a contradiction and a change of the name of the deity. As extraordinary as it may seem, it has been suggested that in the original version of this story Isaac was actually sacrificed, and that the intervening four verses were added subsequently, when the notion of human sacrifice was rejected (perhaps by the person who combined J and E). Of course, the words “you did not withhold your son” might mean only that Abraham had been willing to sacrifice his son. But still it must be noted that the text concludes (v. 19), “And Abraham returned to his servants.” Isaac is not mentioned. Moreover, Isaac never again appears as a character in E. Interestingly, a later midrashic tradition developed this notion, that Isaac actually had been sacrificed. This tradition is discussed in S. Spiegel’s The Last Trial (New York: Schocken, 1969; Hebrew edition 1950).
Richard Elliott Friedman (Who Wrote the Bible?)
That peculiar feeling—it was only a feeling, you couldn’t describe it as an activity—that we used to call “Church.” The sweet corpsy smell, the rustle of Sunday dresses, the wheeze of the organ and the roaring voices, the spot of light from the hole in the window creeping slowly up the nave. In some way the grown-ups could put it across that this extraordinary performance was necessary. You took it for granted, just as you took the Bible, which you got in big doses in those days. There were texts on every wall and you knew whole chapters of the O.T. by heart. Even now my head’s stuffed full of bits out of the Bible. And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord. And Asher abode in his breaches. Followed them from Dan until thou come unto Beersheba. Smote him under the fifth rib, so that he died. You never understood it, you didn’t try to or want to, it was just a kind of medicine, a queer-tasting stuff that you had to swallow and knew to be in some way necessary. An extraordinary rigmarole about people with names like Shimei and Nebuchadnezzar and Ahithophel and Hash-badada; people with long stiff garments and Assyrian beards, riding up and down on camels among temples and cedar trees and doing extraordinary things. Sacrificing burnt offerings, walking about in fiery furnaces, getting nailed on crosses, getting swallowed by whales. And all mixed up with the sweet graveyard smell and the serge dresses and the wheeze of the organ.
George Orwell (Coming Up for Air)
FOR ALL COUPLES What aspects of your past did you hope remarriage would “cure”? Which of the following emotions have you felt in the past? Which still haunt you from time to time? Anger. Bitterness. Depression. Sadness. Longing. Hurt. Resentment. Guilt. Fear. Pain. Rejection. In what ways did you experience disillusionment, and at what point did you realize things weren’t working out like you expected? How have you adjusted your expectations? In what ways was your remarriage another loss for your children? How can you be sensitive to that loss without being guilt-ridden (or easily manipulated because you feel guilty)? Look again at the list of uncharted waters on page 19. Which of these represent areas of growth for you or your stepfamily? What areas do you consider to be the priority growth areas right now? In what ways have you or your stepfamily members experienced God’s leading or his healing hand? Be sure to share with your stepfamily how you see him at work in your lives. What Scriptures have been helpful or inspiring to you recently? If you haven’t been reading the Bible much lately, how can you begin to do so again? Share a time with your spouse when you weren’t sure the work was worth the effort. If that time is now, what do you need to help you stay determined? If you trusted God to bring you through, what would you be doing differently than you are now to work in that direction? Which, if any, of the Promised Land Payoffs have you experienced to some degree already?
Ron L. Deal (The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family)
What Kant took to be the necessary schemata of reality,' says a modern Freudian, 'are really only the necessary schemata of repression.' And an experimental psychologist adds that 'a sense of time can only exist where there is submission to reality.' To see everything as out of mere succession is to behave like a man drugged or insane. Literature and history, as we know them, are not like that; they must submit, be repressed. It is characteristic of the stage we are now at, I think, that the question of how far this submission ought to go--or, to put it the other way, how far one may cultivate fictional patterns or paradigms--is one which is debated, under various forms, by existentialist philosophers, by novelists and anti-novelists, by all who condemn the myths of historiography. It is a debate of fundamental interest, I think, and I shall discuss it in my fifth talk. Certainly, it seems, there must, even when we have achieved a modern degree of clerical scepticism, be some submission to the fictive patterns. For one thing, a systematic submission of this kind is almost another way of describing what we call 'form.' 'An inter-connexion of parts all mutually implied'; a duration (rather than a space) organizing the moment in terms of the end, giving meaning to the interval between tick and tock because we humanly do not want it to be an indeterminate interval between the tick of birth and the tock of death. That is a way of speaking in temporal terms of literary form. One thinks again of the Bible: of a beginning and an end (denied by the physicist Aristotle to the world) but humanly acceptable (and allowed by him to plots). Revelation, which epitomizes the Bible, puts our fate into a book, and calls it the book of life, which is the holy city. Revelation answers the command, 'write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter'--'what is past and passing and to come'--and the command to make these things interdependent. Our novels do likewise. Biology and cultural adaptation require it; the End is a fact of life and a fact of the imagination, working out from the middle, the human crisis. As the theologians say, we 'live from the End,' even if the world should be endless. We need ends and kairoi and the pleroma, even now when the history of the world has so terribly and so untidily expanded its endless successiveness. We re-create the horizons we have abolished, the structures that have collapsed; and we do so in terms of the old patterns, adapting them to our new worlds. Ends, for example, become a matter of images, figures for what does not exist except humanly. Our stories must recognize mere successiveness but not be merely successive; Ulysses, for example, may be said to unite the irreducible chronos of Dublin with the irreducible kairoi of Homer. In the middest, we look for a fullness of time, for beginning, middle, and end in concord. For concord or consonance really is the root of the matter, even in a world which thinks it can only be a fiction. The theologians revive typology, and are followed by the literary critics. We seek to repeat the performance of the New Testament, a book which rewrites and requites another book and achieves harmony with it rather than questioning its truth. One of the seminal remarks of modern literary thought was Eliot's observation that in the timeless order of literature this process is continued. Thus we secularize the principle which recurs from the New Testament through Alexandrian allegory and Renaissance Neo-Platonism to our own time. We achieve our secular concords of past and present and future, modifying the past and allowing for the future without falsifying our own moment of crisis. We need, and provide, fictions of concord.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
Author’s Note Caroline is a marriage of fact and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s fiction. I have knowingly departed from Wilder’s version of events only where the historical record stands in contradiction to her stories. Most prominently: Census records, as well as the Ingalls family Bible, demonstrate that Caroline Celestia Ingalls was born in Rutland Township, Montgomery County, Kansas on August 3, 1870. (Wilder, not anticipating writing a sequel to Little House in the Big Woods, set her first novel in 1873 and included her little sister. Consequently, when Wilder decided to continue her family’s saga by doubling back to earlier events, Carrie’s birth was omitted from Little House on the Prairie to avoid confusion.) No events corresponding to Wilder’s descriptions of a “war dance” in the chapter of Little House on the Prairie entitled “Indian War-Cry” are known to have occurred in the vicinity of Rutland Township during the Ingalls family’s residence there. Drum Creek, where Osage leaders met with federal Indian agents in the late summer of 1870 and agreed peaceably to sell their Kansas lands and relocate to present-day Oklahoma, was nearly twenty miles from the Ingalls claim. I have therefore adopted western scholar Frances Kay’s conjecture that Wilder’s family was frightened by the mourning songs sung by Osage women as they grieved the loss of their lands and ancestral graves in the days following the agreement. In this instance, like so many others involving the Osages, the Ingalls family’s reactions were entirely a product of their own deep prejudices and misconceptions.
Sarah Miller (Caroline: Little House, Revisited)
I'd be willing to bet that the notion of the end of time is more common today in the secular world than in the Christian. The Christian world makes it the object of meditation, but acts as if it may be projected into a dimension not measured by calendars. The secular world pretends to ignore the end of time, but is fundamentally obsessed by it. This is not a paradox, but a repetition of what transpired in the first thousand years of history. ... I will remind readers that the idea of the end of time comes out of one of the most ambiguous passages of John's text, chapter 20... This approach, which isn't only Augustine's but also the Church Fathers' as a whole, casts History as a journey forward—a notion alien to the pagan world. Even Hegel and Marx are indebted to this fundamental idea, which Pierre Teilhard de Chardin pursued. Christianity invented History, and it is in fact a modern incarnation of the Antichrist that denounces History as a disease. It's possible that secular historicism has understood history as infinitely perfectible—so that tomorrow we improve upon today, always and without reservation... But the entire secular world is not of the ideological view that through history we understand how to look at the regression and folly of history itself. There is, nonetheless, an originally Christian view of history whenever the signpost of Hope on this road is followed. The simple knowledge of how to judge history and its horrors is fundamentally Christian, whether the speaker is Emmanuel Mounier on tragic optimism or Gramsci on pessimism of reason and optimism of will.
Umberto Eco (Belief or Nonbelief?)
He says to the king, in the north they have contempt for the king’s peace, they want to administer their own murders. If Norfolk cannot subdue them they will fall into their old savagery, where each eye or limb or life itself is costed out, and all flesh has a price. In our forefathers’ time a nobleman’s life was worth six times that of a man who followed the plough. The rich man can slaughter as he pleases, if his pocket can bear the fines, but the poor man cannot afford one murder across his lifetime. We repudiate this, he tells the king: we say a man of violence cannot go free because his cousin is the judge, no more than a wealthy sinner can make up for his sins by founding a monastery. Before God and the law, all men are equal. It takes a generation, he says, to reconcile heads and hearts. Englishmen of every shire are wedded to what their nurses told them. They do not like to think too hard, or disturb the plan of the world that exists inside their heads, and they will not accept change unless it puts them in better ease. But new times are coming. Gregory’s children—and, he adds quickly, your Majesty’s children yet to be born—will never have known their country in thrall to an old fraud in Rome. They will not put their faith in the teeth and bones of the dead, or in holy water, ashes and wax. When they can read the Bible for themselves, they will be closer to God than to their own skin. They will speak His language, and He theirs. They will see that a prince exists not to sit a horse in a plumed helmet, but—as your Majesty always says—to care for his subjects, body and soul. The scriptures enjoin obedience to earthly powers, and so we stick by our prince through thick and thin. We do not reject part of his polity. We take him as a whole, consider him God’s anointed, and suppose God is keeping an eye on him.
Hilary Mantel (The Mirror & the Light)
Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried." When she had finished, Rides the Wind demanded that she repeat it.Three times he asked her to repeat the passage. Then, setting the Bible aside, he took her hands in his own and said, never taking his eyes from hers, Where Walks the Fire goes,there will I go. Where Walks the Fire lodges, there will I lodge. Her people shall be my people. Her God shall be my God. Looking up,he said, "God who created all things.I thank you for sending Walks the Fire.I take her as my wife. I ask you to be pleased. You make all things.You make her heart sing for me.You make my heart answer back. You give your Son to die for us.We have no min-is-ter,but you know us.We are Lakota. We are husband and wife.We are yours.
Stephanie Grace Whitson (Walks The Fire (Prairie Winds, #1))
Religious intolerance is an idea that found its earliest expression in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew tribe depicts itself waging a campaign of genocide on the Palestinian peoples to steal their land. They justified this heinous behavior on the grounds that people not chosen by their god were wicked and therefore did not deserve to live or keep their land. In effect, the wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian peoples, eradicating their race with the Jew's own Final Solution, was the direct result of a policy of religious superiority and divine right. Joshua 6-11 tells the sad tale, and one needs only read it and consider the point of view of the Palestinians who were simply defending their wives and children and the homes they had built and the fields they had labored for. The actions of the Hebrews can easily be compared with the American genocide of its native peoples - or even, ironically, the Nazi Holocaust. With the radical advent of Christianity, this self-righteous intolerance was borrowed from the Jews, and a new twist was added. The conversion of infidels by any means possible became the newfound calling card of religious fervor, and this new experiment in human culture spread like wildfire. By its very nature, how could it not have? Islam followed suit, conquering half the world in brutal warfare and, much like its Christian counterpart, it developed a new and convenient survival characteristic: the destruction of all images and practices attributed to other religions. Muslims destroyed millions of statues and paintings in India and Africa, and forced conversion under pain of death (or by more subtle tricks: like taxing only non-Muslims), while the Catholic Church busily burned books along with pagans, shattering statues and defacing or destroying pagan art - or converting it to Christian use. Laws against pagan practices and heretics were in full force throughrout Europe by the sixth century, and as long as those laws were in place it was impossible for anyone to refuse the tenets of Christianity and expect to keep their property or their life. Similar persecution and harassment continues in Islamic countries even to this day, officially and unofficially.
Richard C. Carrier (Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism)
Take the oft-repeated injunction to get “its” and “it’s” straight. Everyone claims it’s remarkably easy to remember that “its” is possessive and “it’s” is a contraction. But logic tells us that in English, ’s attached to a noun signals possession: the dog’s dish, the cat’s toy, the lexicographer’s cry. So if English is logical, and there are simple rules to follow, why doesn’t “it’s” signal possession? We know that ’s also signals a contraction, but we don’t have any problems with differentiating between “the dog’s dish” and “the dog’s sleeping”—why should we suddenly have problems with “it’s dish” and “it’s sleeping”? This type of grammar often completely ignores hundreds (and, in some cases, well over a thousand) years of established use in English. For “it’s,” the rule is certainly easy to memorize, but it also ignores the history of “its” and “it’s.” At one point in time, “it” was its own possessive pronoun: the 1611 King James Bible reads, “That which groweth of it owne accord…thou shalt not reape”; Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, “It had it head bit off by it young.” They weren’t the first: the possessive “it” goes back to the fifteenth century. But around the time that Shakespeare was shuffling off this mortal coil, the possessive “it” began appearing as “it’s.” We’re not sure why the change happened, but some commentators guess that it was because “it” didn’t appear to be its own possessive pronoun, like “his” and “her,” but rather a bare pronoun in need of that possessive marker given to nouns: ’s. Sometimes this possessive appeared without punctuation as “its.” But the possessive “it’s” grew in popularity through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries until it was the dominant form of the word. It even survived into the nineteenth century: you’ll find it in the letters of Thomas Jefferson and Jane Austen and the speechwriting notes of Abraham Lincoln. This would be relatively simple were it not for the fact that “it’s” was also occasionally used as a contraction for “it is” or “it has” (“and it’s come to pass,” Shakespeare wrote in Henry VIII, 1.2.63). Some grammarians noticed and complained—not that the possessive “it’s” and the contractive “it’s” were confusing, but that the contractive “it’s” was a misuse and mistake for the contraction “ ’tis,” which was the more standard contraction of “it is.” This was a war that the pedants lost: “ ’tis” waned while “it’s” waxed.
Kory Stamper (Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries)
First, READ this book a chapter a day. We suggest at least five days a week for the next seven weeks, but whatever works for your schedule. Each chapter should only take you around ten minutes to read. Second, READ the Bible each day. Let the Word of God mold you into a person of prayer. We encourage you to read through the Gospel of Luke during these seven weeks and be studying it through the lens of what you can learn from Jesus about prayer. You are also encouraged to look up and study verses in each chapter that you are unfamiliar with that spark your interest. Third, PRAY every day. Prayer should be both scheduled and spontaneous. Choose a place and time when you can pray alone each day, preferably in the morning (Ps. 5:3). Write down specific needs and personal requests you’ll be targeting in prayer over the next few weeks, along with the following prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name, asking that You draw me into a closer, more personal relationship with You. Cleanse me of my sins and prepare my heart to pray in a way that pleases You. Help me know You and love You more this week. Use all the circumstances of my life to make me more like Jesus, and teach me how to pray more strategically and effectively in Your name, according to Your will and Your Word. Use my faith, my obedience, and my prayers this week for the benefit of others, for my good, and for Your glory. Amen. May we each experience the amazing power of God in our generation as a testimony of His goodness for His glory! My Scheduled Prayer Time ___:___ a.m./p.m. My Scheduled Prayer Place ________________________ My Prayer Targets Develop a specific, personalized, ongoing prayer list using one or more of the following questions: What are your top three biggest needs right now? What are the top three things you are most stressed about? What are three issues in your life that would take a miracle of God to resolve? What is something good and honorable that, if God provided it, would greatly benefit you, your family, and others? What is something you believe God may be leading you to do, but you need His clarity and direction on it? What is a need from someone you love that you’d like to start praying about? 1. ______________________________________________ 2. ______________________________________________ 3. ______________________________________________ 4. ______________________________________________ 5. ______________________________________________ 6. ______________________________________________
Stephen Kendrick (The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies)
Jonathan Trumbull, as Governor of Connecticut, in official proclamation: 'The examples of holy men teach us that we should seek Him with fasting and prayer, with penitent confession of our sins, and hope in His mercy through Jesus Christ the Great Redeemer.” Proclamation for a Day of Fasting and Prayer, March 9, 1774' Samuel Chase, while Chief Justice of Maryland,1799 (Runkel v Winemiller) wrote: 'By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion...' The Pennsylvania Supreme court held (Updegraph v The Commonwealth), 1824: 'Christianity, general Christianity, is and always has been a part of the common law...not Christianity founded on any particular religious tenets; not Christianity with an established church, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men...' In Massachusetts, the Constitution reads: 'Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.' Samuel Adams, as Governor of Massachusetts in a Proclamation for a Day of Fasting and Prayer, 1793: 'we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.' Judge Nathaniel Freeman, 1802. Instructed Massachusetts Grand Juries as follows: "The laws of the Christian system, as embraced by the Bible, must be respected as of high authority in all our courts... . [Our government] originating in the voluntary compact of a people who in that very instrument profess the Christian religion, it may be considered, not as republic Rome was, a Pagan, but a Christian republic." Josiah Bartlett, Governor of New Hampshire, in an official proclamation, urged: 'to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.' Chief Justice James Kent of New York, held in 1811 (People v Ruggles): '...whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government... We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity... Christianity in its enlarged sense, as a religion revealed and taught in the Bible, is part and parcel of the law of the land...
Samuel Adams
In a sense the rise of Anabaptism was no surprise. Most revolutionary movements produce a wing of radicals who feel called of God to reform the reformation. And that is what Anabaptism was, a voice calling the moderate reformers to strike even more deeply at the foundations of the old order. Like most counterculture movements, the Anabaptists lacked cohesiveness. No single body of doctrine and no unifying organization prevailed among them. Even the name Anabaptist was pinned on them by their enemies. It meant rebaptizer and was intended to associate the radicals with heretics in the early church and subject them to severe persecution. The move succeeded famously. Actually, the Anabaptists rejected all thoughts of rebaptism because they never considered the ceremonial sprinkling they received in infancy as valid baptism. They much preferred Baptists as a designation. To most of them, however, the fundamental issue was not baptism. It was the nature of the church and its relation to civil governments. They had come to their convictions like most other Protestants: through Scripture. Luther had taught that common people have a right to search the Bible for themselves. It had been his guide to salvation; why not theirs? As a result, little groups of Anabaptist believers gathered about their Bibles. They discovered a different world in the pages of the New Testament. They found no state-church alliance, no Christendom. Instead they discovered that the apostolic churches were companies of committed believers, communities of men and women who had freely and personally chosen to follow Jesus. And for the sixteenth century, that was a revolutionary idea. In spite of Luther’s stress on personal religion, Lutheran churches were established churches. They retained an ordained clergy who considered the whole population of a given territory members of their church. The churches looked to the state for salary and support. Official Protestantism seemed to differ little from official Catholicism. Anabaptists wanted to change all that. Their goal was the “restitution” of apostolic Christianity, a return to churches of true believers. In the early church, they said, men and women who had experienced personal spiritual regeneration were the only fit subjects for baptism. The apostolic churches knew nothing of the practice of baptizing infants. That tradition was simply a convenient device for perpetuating Christendom: nominal but spiritually impotent Christian society. The true church, the radicals insisted, is always a community of saints, dedicated disciples in a wicked world. Like the missionary monks of the Middle Ages, the Anabaptists wanted to shape society by their example of radical discipleship—if necessary, even by death. They steadfastly refused to be a part of worldly power including bearing arms, holding political office, and taking oaths. In the sixteenth century this independence from social and civic society was seen as inflammatory, revolutionary, or even treasonous.
Bruce L. Shelley (Church History in Plain Language)
Any Justification that does not lead to Biblical sanctification and mortification of sinful desires is a false justification no matter how many Solas you attach to it”. “See that your chief study be about the heart, that there God’s image may be planted, and his interest advanced, and the interest of the world and flesh subdued, and the love of every sin cast out, and the love of holiness succeed; and that you content not yourselves with seeming to do good in outward acts, when you are bad yourselves, and strangers to the great internal duties. The first and great work of a Christian is about his heart.” ~ Richard Baxter Never forget that truth is more important to the church than peace ~ JC Ryle "Truth demands confrontation. It must be loving confrontation, but there must be confrontation nonetheless.” ~ Francis Schaeffer I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order...when these are concerned, (neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction - to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon. ~ Martin Luther “Truth must be spoken, however it be taken.” ~ John Trapp “Hard words, if they be true, are better than soft words if they be false.” – C.H. Spurgeon “Oh my brethren, Bold hearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards” – CH Spurgeon “The Bible says Iron sharpens Iron, But if your words don't have any iron in them, you ain't sharpening anyone”. “Peace often comes as a result of conflict!” ~ Don P Mt 18:15-17 Rom 12:18 “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” ~ Martin Luther “The Scriptures argue and debate and dispute; they are full of polemics… We should always regret the necessity; but though we regret it and bemoan it, when we feel that a vital matter is at stake we must engage in argument. We must earnestly contend for the truth, and we are all called upon to do that by the New Testament.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans – Atonement and Justification) “It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher “Truth bites and it stings and it has a blade on it.” ~ Paul Washer Soft words produce hard hearts. Show me a church where soft words are preached and I will show you a church of hard hearts. Jeremiah said that the word of God is a hammer that shatters. Hard Preaching produces soft hearts. ~ J. MacArthur Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the spring follows the winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified, prepare the soul for glory. ~ Richard Sibbes “Cowards never won heaven. Do not claim that you are begotten of God and have His royal blood running in your veins unless you can prove your lineage by this heroic spirit: to dare to be holy in spite of men and devils.” ~ William Gurnall
Various
As Christians, we celebrate many holidays and memorials throughout the year. Some we decide to celebrate by referencing events in the Bible. Others are related to events in our personal lives. Still more are pushed upon by this World. There's nothing necessarily wrong with celebrating events that bring us joy or keep important parts of our lives in focus. As a Christian, it is important for me to follow Christ's words and teachings. I do not obey man's intepretations of God's word. I read it and follow it. Its that simple. I dont need an interpreter. Christ is my intermediary. Ive been blessed to have been given the gift of language and... in the Bible, when you read it in Aramaic, there is only ONE event, one memorial that Jesus asks us to remember and thus honor our Savior. And its not His birthday. We are upon that annual event this weekend. For Jesus "blessed and he broke and he said, “Take eat; this is my body, which is broken for your persons; thus you shall do for my Memorial." [1 Cor 11:24] Holidays can be fun times for families to get together and to celebrate life. This weekend lets not lose focus. For this is the one and ONLY holiday that our Christ commands us to memorialize. Its in his words. Its in the Bible. It was important enough for Him to spell it out. It should be important enough for us to listen. Above all other events in our lives, isn't Christ Jesus's sacrifice truly the most magnificent one? Lets remember our Savior and not allow the World to mislead us into over prioritizing any other day than when -He gave His life for us. Truly His act was a gift to mankind that remains matchless.
José N. Harris
Biblia pamoja na historia vinatwambia kuwa mitume kumi na wawili wa Yesu Kristo waliamua kufa kinyama kama mfalme wao alivyokufa, kwa sababu walikataa kukana imani yao juu ya Yesu Kristo. Mathayo alikufa kwa ajili ya Ukristo nchini Ethiopia kwa jeraha lililotokana na kisu kikali, Marko akavutwa na farasi katika mitaa ya Alexandria nchini Misri mpaka akafa, kwa sababu alikataa kukana jina la Yesu Kristo. Luka alinyongwa nchini Ugiriki kwa sababu ya kuhubiri Injili ya Yesu Kristo katika nchi ambapo watu hawakumtambua Yesu. Yohana alichemshwa katika pipa la mafuta ya moto katika kipindi cha mateso makubwa ya Wakristo nchini Roma, lakini kimiujiza akaponea chupuchupu, kabla ya kufungwa katika gereza la kisiwa cha Patmo (Ugiriki) ambapo ndipo alipoandika kitabu cha Ufunuo. Mtume Yohana baadaye aliachiwa huru na kurudi Uturuki, ambapo alimtumikia Bwana kama Askofu wa Edessa. Alikufa kwa uzee, akiwa mtume pekee aliyekufa kwa amani. Petro alisulubiwa kichwa chini miguu juu katika msalaba wa umbo la X kulingana na desturi za kikanisa za kipindi hicho, kwa sababu aliwaambia maadui zake ya kuwa alijisikia vibaya kufa kama alivyokufa mfalme wake Yesu Kristo. Yakobo ndugu yake na Yesu (Yakobo Mkubwa), kiongozi wa kanisa mjini Yerusalemu, alirushwa kutoka juu ya mnara wa kusini-mashariki wa hekalu aliloliongoza la Hekalu Takatifu (zaidi ya futi mia moja kwenda chini) na baadaye kupigwa kwa virungu mpaka akafa, alipokataa kukana imani yake juu ya Yesu Kristo. Yakobo mwana wa Zebedayo (Yakobo Mdogo) alikuwa mvuvi kabla Yesu Kristo hajamwita kuwa mchungaji wa Injili yake. Kama kiongozi wa kanisa hatimaye, Yakobo aliuwawa kwa kukatwa kichwa mjini Yerusalemu. Afisa wa Kirumi aliyemlinda Yakobo alishangaa sana jinsi Yakobo alivyolinda imani yake siku kesi yake iliposomwa. Baadaye afisa huyo alimsogelea Yakobo katika eneo la mauti. Nafsi yake ilipomsuta, alijitoa hatiani mbele ya hakimu kwa kumkubali Yesu Kristo kama kiongozi wa maisha yake; halafu akapiga magoti pembeni kwa Yakobo, ili na yeye akatwe kichwa kama mfuasi wa Yesu Kristo. Bartholomayo, ambaye pia alijulikana kama Nathanali, alikuwa mmisionari huko Asia. Alimshuhudia Yesu mfalme wa wafalme katika Uturuki ya leo. Bartholomayo aliteswa kwa sababu ya mahubiri yake huko Armenia, ambako inasemekana aliuwawa kwa kuchapwa bakora mbele ya halaiki ya watu iliyomdhihaki. Andrea alisulubiwa katika msalaba wa X huko Patras nchini Ugiriki. Baada ya kuchapwa bakora kinyama na walinzi saba, alifungwa mwili mzima kwenye msalaba ili ateseke zaidi. Wafuasi wake waliokuwepo katika eneo la tukio waliripoti ya kuwa, alipokuwa akipelekwa msalabani, Andrea aliusalimia msalaba huo kwa maneno yafuatayo: "Nimekuwa nikitamani sana na nimekuwa nikiitegemea sana saa hii ya furaha. Msalaba uliwekwa wakfu na Mwenyezi Mungu baada ya mwili wa Yesu Kristo kuning’inizwa juu yake." Aliendelea kuwahubiria maadui zake kwa siku mbili zaidi, akiwa msalabani, mpaka akaishiwa na nguvu na kuaga dunia. Tomaso alichomwa mkuki nchini India katika mojawapo ya safari zake za kimisionari akiwa na lengo la kuanzisha kanisa la Yesu Kristo katika bara la India. Mathiya alichaguliwa na mitume kuchukua nafasi ya Yuda Iskarioti, baada ya kifo cha Yuda katika dimbwi la damu nchini India. Taarifa kuhusiana na maisha na kifo cha Mathiya zinachanganya na hazijulikani sawasawa. Lakini ipo imani kwamba Mathiya alipigwa mawe na Wayahudi huko Yerusalemu, kisha akauwawa kwa kukatwa kichwa. Yuda Tadei, ndugu yake na Yesu, aliuwawa kwa mishale alipokataa kukana imani yake juu ya Yesu Kristo. Mitume walikuwa na imani kubwa kwa sababu walishuhudia ufufuo wa Yesu Kristo, na miujiza mingine. Biblia ni kiwanda cha imani. Tunapaswa kuiamini Biblia kama mitume walivyomwamini Yesu Kristo, kwa sababu Biblia iliandikwa na mitume.
Enock Maregesi
THE OBEDIENCE GAME DUGGAR KIDS GROW UP playing the Obedience Game. It’s sort of like Mother May I? except it has a few extra twists—and there’s no need to double-check with “Mother” because she (or Dad) is the one giving the orders. It’s one way Mom and Dad help the little kids in the family burn off extra energy some nights before we all put on our pajamas and gather for Bible time (more about that in chapter 8). To play the Obedience Game, the little kids all gather in the living room. After listening carefully to Mom’s or Dad’s instructions, they respond with “Yes, ma’am, I’d be happy to!” then run and quickly accomplish the tasks. For example, Mom might say, “Jennifer, go upstairs to the girls’ room, touch the foot of your bed, then come back downstairs and give Mom a high-five.” Jennifer answers with an energetic “Yes, ma’am, I’d be happy to!” and off she goes. Dad might say, “Johannah, run around the kitchen table three times, then touch the front doorknob and come back.” As Johannah stands up she says, “Yes, sir, I’d be happy to!” “Jackson, go touch the front door, then touch the back door, then touch the side door, and then come back.” Jackson, who loves to play army, stands at attention, then salutes and replies, “Yes, sir, I’d be happy to!” as he goes to complete his assignment at lightning speed. Sometimes spotters are sent along with the game player to make sure the directions are followed exactly. And of course, the faster the orders can be followed, the more applause the contestant gets when he or she slides back into the living room, out of breath and pleased with himself or herself for having complied flawlessly. All the younger Duggar kids love to play this game; it’s a way to make practicing obedience fun! THE FOUR POINTS OF OBEDIENCE THE GAME’S RULES (MADE up by our family) stem from our study of the four points of obedience, which Mom taught us when we were young. As a matter of fact, as we are writing this book she is currently teaching these points to our youngest siblings. Obedience must be: 1. Instant. We answer with an immediate, prompt “Yes ma’am!” or “Yes sir!” as we set out to obey. (This response is important to let the authority know you heard what he or she asked you to do and that you are going to get it done as soon as possible.) Delayed obedience is really disobedience. 2. Cheerful. No grumbling or complaining. Instead, we respond with a cheerful “I’d be happy to!” 3. Thorough. We do our best, complete the task as explained, and leave nothing out. No lazy shortcuts! 4. Unconditional. No excuses. No, “That’s not my job!” or “Can’t someone else do it? or “But . . .” THE HIDDEN GOAL WITH this fun, fast-paced game is that kids won’t need to be told more than once to do something. Mom would explain the deeper reason behind why she and Daddy desired for us to learn obedience. “Mom and Daddy won’t always be with you, but God will,” she says. “As we teach you to hear and obey our voice now, our prayer is that ultimately you will learn to hear and obey what God’s tells you to do through His Word.” In many families it seems that many of the goals of child training have been lost. Parents often expect their children to know what they should say and do, and then they’re shocked and react harshly when their sweet little two-year-old throws a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. This parental attitude probably stems from the belief that we are all born basically good deep down inside, but the truth is, we are all born with a sin nature. Think about it: You don’t have to teach a child to hit, scream, whine, disobey, or be selfish. It comes naturally. The Bible says that parents are to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Jill Duggar (Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships)
Sadly though, this side of heaven, we can only attempt to have a fore-shadow of the romance to come. Even the best marriages and the men and women who valiantly strive to follow the Bible’s model of marriage fall short. I am sure many of us have failed in obtaining the type of earthly relationship God planned and intended to display His love. Pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, sex outside of a marriage covenant, and love-less, dysfunctional marriages are just the beginning. Many have been abused, sold, objectified, molested, even raped. All manner of perversion and depravity have marred the beauty God intended. We are broken, injured, hurt, marginalized, left feeling like so much less than what God requires. If you are one broken, please hear this: It should not have been. It was not God’s way or His will that you were treated like anything less than His highly valued, flawless beauty—His beloved. If you are one who lost your way and engaged in things beneath your royal standing, He died, arose and lives to forgive and restore. Yes, we know a good and solid Biblical marriage gives the closest representation of godly intimacy. But let’s get real for a minute. So few of us have ever experienced that for ourselves or grew up in homes where that was our example, we desperately need to trust God for our own healing and restoration in this area before we can ever hope to experience it in our relationships. I am convinced God’s priority for us is to learn about spiritual intimacy with Him. He can restore marriages, liberate from sexual addictions, save spouses, give us a godly man. But I think, for the most part, those things happen after we realize and accept our need for Christ. His priority will always be our spirit intimately one with His, because He puts the spirit above the flesh. We have to lay our souls bare and ask for His touch. God alone can reclaim our perception of intimacy for His holy and righteous glory. He can restore our hearts and minds to righteousness, clean and pure so we might experience holy intimacy through the Spirit until we see Him face to face in glory.
Angie Nichols (Something Abundant)
In 1786, Jefferson, then the American ambassador to France, and Adams, then the American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the ambassador to Britain. The Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress’ vote to appease. During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the ambassador why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts. In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Qur’an that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.” For the following 15 years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. Most Americans do not know that the payments in ransom and Jizyah tribute amounted to 20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800. Not long after Jefferson’s inauguration as president in 1801, he dispatched a group of frigates to defend American interests in the Mediterranean, and informed Congress. Declaring that America was going to spend “millions for defense but not one cent for tribute,” Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying American Marines and many of America’s best warships to the Muslim Barbary Coast. The USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Philadelphia, USS Chesapeake, USS Argus, USS Syren and USS Intrepid all fought. In 1805, American Marines marched across the dessert from Egypt into Tripolitania, forcing the surrender of Tripoli and the freeing of all American slaves. During the Jefferson administration, the Muslim Barbary States, crumbled as a result of intense American naval bombardment and on shore raids by Marines. They finally agreed officially to abandon slavery and piracy. Jefferson’s victory over the Muslims lives on today in the Marine Hymn with the line “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country’s battles on the land as on the sea.” It wasn’t until 1815 that the problem was fully settled by the total defeat of all the Muslim slave trading pirates.
Walid Shoebat (God's War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible)
Jesus himself remains an enigma. There have been interesting attempts to uncover the figure of the ‘historical’ Jesus, a project that has become something of a scholarly industry. But the fact remains that the only Jesus we really know is the Jesus described in the New Testament, which was not interested in scientifically objective history. There are no other contemporary accounts of his mission and death. We cannot even be certain why he was crucified. The gospel accounts indicate that he was thought to be the king of the Jews. He was said to have predicted the imminent arrival of the kingdom of heaven, but also made it clear that it was not of this world. In the literature of the Late Second Temple period, there had been hints that a few people were expecting a righteous king of the House of David to establish an eternal kingdom, and this idea seems to have become more popular during the tense years leading up to the war. Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius all note the importance of revolutionary religiosity, both before and after the rebellion.2 There was now keen expectation in some circles of a meshiah (in Greek, christos), an ‘anointed’ king of the House of David, who would redeem Israel. We do not know whether Jesus claimed to be this messiah – the gospels are ambiguous on this point.3 Other people rather than Jesus himself may have made this claim on his behalf.4 But after his death some of his followers had seen him in visions that convinced them that he had been raised from the tomb – an event that heralded the general resurrection of all the righteous when God would inaugurate his rule on earth.5 Jesus and his disciples came from Galilee in northern Palestine. After his death they moved to Jerusalem, probably to be on hand when the kingdom arrived, since all the prophecies declared that the temple would be the pivot of the new world order.6 The leaders of their movement were known as ‘the Twelve’: in the kingdom, they would rule the twelve tribes of the reconstituted Israel.7 The members of the Jesus movement worshipped together every day in the temple,8 but they also met for communal meals, in which they affirmed their faith in the kingdom’s imminent arrival.9 They continued to live as devout, orthodox Jews. Like the Essenes, they had no private property, shared their goods equally, and dedicated their lives to the last days.10 It seems that Jesus had recommended voluntary poverty and special care for the poor; that loyalty to the group was to be valued more than family ties; and that evil should be met with non-violence and love.11 Christians should pay their taxes, respect the Roman authorities, and must not even contemplate armed struggle.12 Jesus’s followers continued to revere the Torah,13 keep the Sabbath,14 and the observance of the dietary laws was a matter of extreme importance to them.15 Like the great Pharisee Hillel, Jesus’s older contemporary, they taught a version of the Golden Rule, which they believed to be the bedrock of the Jewish faith: ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the message of the Law and the Prophets.
Karen Armstrong (The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World))
Adventists urged to study women’s ordination for themselves Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson appealed to members to study the Bible regarding the theology of ordination as the Church continues to examine the matter at Annual Council next month and at General Conference Session next year. Above, Wilson delivers the Sabbath sermon at Annual Council last year. [ANN file photo] President Wilson and TOSC chair Stele also ask for prayers for Holy Spirit to guide proceedings September 24, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, appealed to church members worldwide to earnestly read what the Bible says about women’s ordination and to pray that he and other church leaders humbly follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance on the matter. Church members wishing to understand what the Bible teaches on women’s ordination have no reason to worry about where to start, said Artur A. Stele, who oversaw an unprecedented, two-year study on women’s ordination as chair of the church-commissioned Theology of Ordination Study Committee. Stele, who echoed Wilson’s call for church members to read the Bible and pray on the issue, recommended reading the study’s three brief “Way Forward Statements,” which cite Bible texts and Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White to support each of the three positions on women’s ordination that emerged during the committee’s research. The results of the study will be discussed in October at the Annual Council, a major business meeting of church leaders. The Annual Council will then decide whether to ask the nearly 2,600 delegates of the world church to make a final call on women’s ordination in a vote at the General Conference Session next July. Wilson, speaking in an interview, urged each of the church’s 18 million members to prayerfully read the study materials, available on the website of the church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. "Look to see how the papers and presentations were based on an understanding of a clear reading of Scripture,” Wilson said in his office at General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. “The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that we are to take the Bible just as it reads,” he said. “And I would encourage each church member, and certainly each representative at the Annual Council and those who will be delegates to the General Conference Session, to prayerfully review those presentations and then ask the Holy Spirit to help them know God’s will.” The Spirit of Prophecy refers to the writings of White, who among her statements on how to read the Bible wrote in The Great Controversy (p. 598), “The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed.” “We don’t have the luxury of having the Urim and the Thummim,” Wilson said, in a nod to the stones that the Israelite high priest used in Old Testament times to learn God’s will. “Nor do we have a living prophet with us. So we must rely upon the Holy Spirit’s leading in our own Bible study as we review the plain teachings of Scripture.” He said world church leadership was committed to “a very open, fair, and careful process” on the issue of women’s ordination. Wilson added that the crucial question facing the church wasn’t whether women should be ordained but whether church members who disagreed with the final decision on ordination, whatever it might be, would be willing to set aside their differences to focus on the church’s 151-year mission: proclaiming Revelation 14 and the three angels’ messages that Jesus is coming soon. 3 Views on Women’s Ordination In an effort to better understand the Bible’s teaching on ordination, the church established the Theology of Ordination Study Committee, a group of 106 members commonly referred to by church leaders as TOSC. It was not organized
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