Saturday, May 24, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 19 and 20: Eager and Sincere

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words eager and sincere.


There are a number of Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible that are translated into the NIV as eager. It seems, though, that Greek or Hebrew words translated fall into one of two specific uses of eager: 1) to be hasty 2) to be zealous. Generally speaking, when eagerness is used to represent being hasty it is used in a pejorative context; when it is used to represent being zealous it is in a positive context. The concept of being hasty (eager), in both the old and new testaments, is used often regarding the pursuit of money:

  • Proverbs 28:20, 22-"A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished...A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware of the poverty that awaits him"
  • 1 Timothy 6:10- "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs"
More specifically, the Greek word used in 1 Timothy 6, oregō, means " to stretch one's self out in order to touch or to grasp something, to reach after or desire something". I can't help but think of Smeagol/Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and his "eagerness" for the ring ( warning: this scene is somewhat graphic):


  Contrast that with the use of the word eager when it is implying spiritual zeal (making a clear distinction between appropriate zeal and overbearing zealotry). This manifestation of eagerness is noted multiple times in the Bible:

  • 2 Chronicles 15:15- "All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side."
  • Psalm 78: 34-"Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again."
  • Titus 2:14-" who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
  • 1 Peter 3: 13-"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?"
Eagerness is an attitude, but what we direct our eagerness towards, be it ourselves and money or doing good and serving God, is crucial.


The use of the word sincere in the Bible seems to be focused in what sincerity is not--it is not hypocritical and it is not feigned. Interestingly, other versions use the phrase "without hypocrisy" or similar phrasing in place of sincere. There are many aspects of how we lives where sincerity is key:

  • in our love (Romans 12:9, 2 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22)
  • in our devotion (2 Corinthians 11:3)
  • faith (1 Timothy 1:5)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 17 and 18: Hospitality and Perfect

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words/concepts of hospitality and perfection.


The words hospitality or hospitable are mentioned in the Bible fewer than 10 times and only in the New Testament. The word in Greek that is translated to hospitality it s philoxenia, which means lover of strangers. Despite being mentioned only a few times in the Bible, it is an important concept mentioned by Paul, Peter, John, Luke, and the writer of the Hebrews. In both 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8, Paul notes it as a qualification for elders. It is also "commanded" multiple times:

  • Romans 12:13-practice hospitality
  • Hebrews 3:2-don't forget to show hospitality
  • 1 Peter 4:9-offer hospitality without grumbling
  • 3 John 1:8- show hospitality to work together in the truth
The 3 John passage is a key point. Hospitality allows Christians to work together in the church--both through hospitality shown to other Christians and to those outside the church.

Earlier this year, I read a book by Rosaria Butterfield called The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Butterfield was formerly an atheist, lesbian, women's studies professor at Syracuse who converted to Christianity. Her path to accepting Christ was a long and winding one, but she noted in her book that the genuine hospitality of the people who shared Christ had a big impact on her. It was a hospitality akin to the hospitality that she experienced and lived it in her own life within the community of like-minded individuals she engaged with as a liberal academic. Hospitality is just as much about inviting people into your life as it is about inviting people into your home, and genuine hospitality can have a profound impact.


The world "perfect" is probably one of the most frustrating and misconstrued words in the English language. We have our own preconceived notions of perfection that are, more often than not, unattainable. We often think of perfection in the context of the attributes we like, not the attributes we have. The word "perfect" in the original Hebrew or Greek in the Bible usually means something more along the lines of "complete", "sound", or " whole".

Much of the Bible's use of the word "perfect" relates to who God is or the completeness of His character.  In the Old Testament, aspects and workings of God are called perfect:

  • His works (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • His way (2 Samuel 22:31 and Psalm 18:30)
  • His law (Psalm 19:7)
  • His faithfulness (Isaiah 25:1)
  • His beauty (Psalm 50:2)
God's perfection and the perfection of  His character is also highlighted in the New Testament:
  • His will (Romans 12:2)
  • His power over our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • His gifts (James 1:17)
  • His law (James 1:25)
  • His love that drives out fear (I John 4:8)
You might be thinking, "thanks, Captain Obvious, of course God is perfect. What about us?". The book of Hebrews especially talks about how we are perfect (complete) because of God. Particularly, chapter 10 verse 14 which says that we're perfect by His sacrifice.

Thinking about perfection with the understanding of its true meaning,completeness, I can't help but think of the saccharin sweet line from the movie Jerry Maguire:

 To be sure, that line may be sweet (even in a vomit inducing manner, but I'm not a particularly mushy person) but no person every completes us...or makes us perfect. God is the only one who can do that. We're whole because of Him. We're perfect because of Him. Whatever we think we lack, with our incomplete understanding of true perfection, is really what completes us because of His sacrifice. We were created in His image. Therefore, we are the image of perfection.

Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

 Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

 Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness

Words 9 and 10: Goodness and Pride

Words 11 and 12: Self-Control and Self-Discipline

Words 13 and 14: Joy and Gluttony

Words 15 and 16: Submission and Persecution

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 15 and 16: Submission and Persecution

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words/concepts of submission and persecution.


Submission or some variation of the word appears in the Bible a few dozen times. In the Old Testament, there are specific examples to people submitting to other people (e.g. all of Pharoah's people were to submit to Joseph when he was placed in charge-Genesis 41:40), and there are examples or commands for people to submit to God.

There is a lot of debate, especially in today's American culture, about the idea of "submission", especially in the context of a wife submitting to her husband. However, if you look at what the Hebrew and Greek words that are translate "submit" or some variation, it is clear that if someone is the one submitting, by definition, they are submitting of their own volition. They are choosing to submit; they are not being forces to submit. In Hebrew, the word raphac, often translated submit, means "to stamp oneself down; humble oneself". In Greek, the words "hypeikō" and "hypotassō" which mean to submit one's self. Again, the submissive person, by definition, is choosing to humble themselves. In the New Testament, there are many calls for submission to God or to others. Here are most of them:
  • To God (Hebrews 12:9)
  • To the political leaders (Romans 13:5, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 3:1)
  • To spiritual leadership (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5)
  • Women in the church setting (1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11)
  • Wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1)
Warning: I'm going to get on my soapbox here for a minute. One of the "submit" references that I didn't note above is found in Ephesians 5:21 where it reads, " submit to one another out of reverence for Christ". This verse comes right before one of the verses about wives submitting to their husbands. I think that verse gets ignored far too often. I'm not married, so while I don't ignore the verses about marriage in the Bible, I tend to focus on applying the verses that are relevant to me currently. The Ephesians 5:21 verse will be relevant always. For those who poo poo the idea women are to submit their husbands look past the greater call for all of us to choose to submit to one another because of our reverence for Christ.At the same time, even in Christian circles, Ephesians 5:22 is emphasized at the expense of Ephesians 5:21. We are to show deference to others--to everyone. Submission is not confine to relationship of marriage, but our relationships with everyone because of our relationship with Christ. Submission is not about gender equality. We are all equal in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29). It is our choice, but also our call, to submit to others, to be humble enough to look to serve others and put their needs before our own. It's not about being "subject" to a husband; it's about revering and loving Christ in such an overflowing way that we humble ourselves to serve and love others. OK, I'm off my soapbox.


Persecution is another concept that isn't discussed at length in the Old Testament, but it is interesting to note that the author of Hebrews, in the "hall of faith" chapter 11, notes that the great men and women of faith were persecuted. David and other psalmists pour out their hearts about persecution they faced  (9:13, 69:26, 119:157, 119:161),

Probably the most challenging verses on persecution is 2 Timothy 3:12 which says that everyone who wants to lead a godly life will be persecuted. I don't know that the reverse is then true too. If we aren't being persecuted, then does that mean we aren't leaving a godly life? I don't know if a lack of persecution means that I'm not living a godly life, or if it's more of a product of living in America where our spiritual lives are far  more comfortable than that of Christians in North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, etc.

Regardless, the Scriptures show that whatever persecution we face, good will come through it--we're blessed and rewarded (Matthew 5:11-12). There is also additional guidance for what to do when it comes:
  • pray for those who persecute (Matthew 5:44)
  • bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14)
  • endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12)
  • be faithful unto death (Revelation 2: 10)
Our faith and the promise of the kingdom are eternal things, but persecution is temporary and earthly. What a challenge for us as we strive to live godly lives.

Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

 Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

 Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness

Words 9 and 10: Goodness and Pride

Words 11 and 12: Self-Control and Self-Discipline

Words 13 and 14: Joy and Gluttony

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 13 and 14: Joy and Gluttony

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words joy and gluttony. I should note that when I made my list of 52 words at the beginning of the year, I formulated the list as words came to me, so there is no rhyme or reason to the order. Hence, I'm covering joy and gluttony in the same post, though perhaps a challenge at times for us as fallen, but forgiven, humans is that we find joy in gluttony.

The word joy, or some form of the word, appears in the Bible over 200 times. In the NIV, 25 different Hebrew words and 10 different Greek words are translated "joy". The definitions of many of these words centered around the concepts of exultation and gladness--stronger words than simply the emotion of happiness. During my study, there were two key things that jumped out to me: 1) the verbs associated with joy in the Old Testament 2) the adjectives associated with joy in the New Testament. As someone who isn't as demonstratively joyful as she could be, these challenged me.

In the Old Testament, the verbs associated with joy were quite demonstrative. Here are just a handful of examples:
  • shouted for joy (Ezra 3:12)
  • sing for joy (1 Chronicles 16:33)
  • ate/drank with great joy (1 Chronicles 29:22)
  • celebrated with joy (Ezra 6:16)
  • led with joy (Psalm 45:15)
  • filled with joy (Psalm 126:3)
While the Old Testament focused how joy might be manifested in our lives by our actions, the New Testament provides us with an understanding of the extent of joy we should seek in our lives. Multiple times the apostle John discusses the idea of complete of full measure of joy. In John 16:24, he quotes Jesus saying that asking anything in His name will lead to "your joy being complete". In John 17: 13, Jesus prays that the disciples might have a "full measure of joy". In 1 John 1:4, John writes the letter to make the joy of those who received the letter complete, and in 2 John 1:12, he says that he want to visit the recipients of the letter to make his joy complete. Paul similarly notes how specific people (Timothy-2 Timothy 1:4) or churches (the Macedonian church-2 Corinthians 8:2) can make people overflow or be filled with joy. It is a great and challenging lesson to learn that joy is not only an action or response to God, it's a relational term with our family in Christ. Those relationships can help us be joyful.

To my surprise, in the NIV, the word "glutton", "gluttons", or "gluttony" only appears 7 times. Perhaps, this stems in part to the fact that I wrongly thought that gluttony (seen as one of the seven deadly sins in some circles) was one the things listed by Solomon in Proverbs 6 as detestable to God. Gluttony is not listed in the Proverbs 6 passage, though later in the book (Proverbs 23:2) Solomon uses some hyperbole to make a point about gluttony saying, " put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony". This is similar to Jesus' message in the sermon on the mount when he talks about cutting off your hand or gouging out your eye if it causes you to sin (in context, commit adultery). Both of these strong statements point to the seriousness of  removing temptations that pull us away from God, whether its sexual sin or finding too much pleasure in physical food. The pleasures of this earth must be seen in an eternal context. They are temporary enjoyments that cannot give us meaningful fulfillment of complete joy.

  Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

 Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

 Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness

Words 9 and 10: Goodness and Pride

Words 11 and 12: Self-Control and Self-Discipline

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014:Words 11 and 12: Self-Control and Self-Discipline

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words self-control and self-discipline.


The words "self-control" or "self-controlled" are only mentioned 13 times in the Bible and only twice in the Old Testament--both in the book of Proverbs.Examining the original Hebrew Solomon used gave me a better understanding of what self-control really is. Proverbs 16:32 reads, "Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city."The Hebrew, mashal ruwach is translated as self-control in English. A literal translation of those Hebrew words in the second part of Proverbs 16:32 would read "he who reigns over his spirit than one who takes the city". I often understood "self-control" as having control over my actions, but it's really more internal than that. To be sure, having the self-control not to eat a second piece of chocolate cake or not to yell at someone who cut you off in traffic, is  indeed exercising self-control of one's actions. To have true reign over your spirit, however, means that you are able to squash the desire for a second piece of cake or that you are able to control your emotions in such a way that you do not have an emotional reaction to the driver who cut you off that might lead to the desire to yell at him or her. Exercising self-control is nipping our sinful desires in the bud.

In the New Testament, 5 of the 11 mentions of self-control/self-controlled are found in the book of Titus, and 4 of these come in the context of Paul's teaching to Titus to ensure that the church was of sound doctrine. In Titus 2, Paul encourages Titus to teach various groups within the church to be self-controlled, and in verse 11-12, Paul notes that the grace of God teaches us "to live self-controlled". The Greek word translated self-controlled--sōphronōs-- more literally means "of sound mind".

 It is a God of grace that teaches us to be of a mind and a spirit of self-control. It's not a God of overberance and spiritual micromanagement. Self-control is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23). To be self-controlled is not to be a robotic, self-killjoy, it is to reign over your own spirit as fruit of the Holy Spirit because you have allowed God's grace to teach you.


I was somewhat surprised to find that a form of the word "self-discipline" is only found in the Bible once, in 2 Timothy 1:7 where Paul notes that God gave us a Spirit of self-discipline. The root of the Greek word translated as self-discipline is the same as the one I noted above that is translated to self-controlled. Because there was only one use of  "self-discipline" in the Bible, I decided to expand my study this past week and also study the concept of discipline as it is portrayed in Scripture.

In the Old Testament especially, there is a clear message about our receptivity to discipline in our lives. In Proverbs, Solomon notes that a bad attitude toward discipline can lead to death (5:23), poverty and shame (13:18), and to despising self (15:32). On the other hand, several verses note that being receptive to discipline can lead to blessing:

  • Psalm 94:12-"Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law"
  • Job 5:17-"Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty"
  • Proverbs 10:17-"He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray".
  • Proverbs 12:1-"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid". 
  • Proverbs 19:20-"Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise".
Discipline is often cast in a negative light, but really it is helpful (albeit often painful) to enable us to become better people and followers of God.

In Hebrews 12, the author discuss God's discipline and how it comes because of the relationship that we have with Him--as His children. Just as earthly parents discipline their children because they love them and want them to grow and mature, so God disciplines us so that we grow and mature spiritually. This is what separates discipline from punishment. Discipline is rehabilitative; punishment is punitive.

Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

 Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

 Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness

Words 9 and 10: Goodness and Pride

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014:Words 9 and 10: Goodness and Pride

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words goodness and pride.


 One of the reasons I wanted to study the word "goodness" in the Bible was because I struggle to clearly distinguish between the ideas of goodness, kindness, and righteousness. If someone is good, how is that different from that person being kind or righteous? To be sure, if someone portrays any one of those attribute in their lives, they are likely going to display the others. They aren't exclusive of each other, but how are they different? My study showed me that goodness is truly an attribute of God, but that we have the opportunity to reflect that in our lives because of His Spirit. I've read the story of Moses and his encounter with God in Exodus 33 many times, but discovered something I hadn't realized before in verses 17-23 (emphasis mine):
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Notice that in verses 18 and 19, Moses asks for God to show His glory, and God responds by indicating that His goodness will pass in front of Moses. In verse 22, God says that He will allow His glory to pass by.   Interestingly, the Hebrew words Moses uses in the book of Exodus for "goodness" and "glory" are different words. This may all seem like abstract semantics, but in my quest to discover what goodness is, this helps to make it distinct from kindness. It makes it a truly godly attribute--as if God's goodness and glory are one in the same.

David notes God's goodness throughout the Psalms as well, as does Solomon in his dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 6:41). "Goodness" is in the NIV Old Testament only 12 times, and of those, 8 are from either David or Solomon.

In the New Testament, interestingly, like I discussed in my last post regarding the word "kindness", the word "goodness" does not appear in the Gospels either. However, it is mentioned other times in the New Testament, including twice being mentioned by Paul--in Ephesians 5 and Galatians 5--as a fruit of either light or the Spirit. It is something that God produces through us in our lives.


About a year ago, I read John Piper's book What Jesus Demands from the World which discusses 50+ things that Jesus "demanded" in the Gospels. One of the sections in that book--on pride and humility-- continues to challenge me. It made me realize that I struggle with a certain type of pride--unapplauded pride. As Piper writes in his book (a PDF version is found on his website here):
 Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, “I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much.” Self-pity says, “I deserve admiration because I have sacrificed so much.” Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak. Boasting sounds self-sufficient. Self-pity sounds self-sacrificing. The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire is not really for others to see them as helpless but as heroes. The need that self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride. 
I'll consider my spiritual toes stepped on with Piper's words. I do not want to, however, put Piper's words over God-breathed Scripture. Scripture has a lot to say on the topic of pride, too.The Old Testament writers identified that pride leads to bad things including downfall (2 Chronicles 26:16), disgrace (Psalm 11:22), destruction (Proverbs 16:18), and forgetting God (Deuteronomy 8:14). It almost sounds like a list of side effects for a drug, and perhaps, in some sense, it is. We often self-medicate with pride.

There is another (and very different) context in which the word "pride" is used--in the phrase "take pride". People often say they are proud of their children or proud of a family member's or friend's success. We even may have a sense of pride in something we have achieved personally. This is different than a sinful pride. In Scripture, the phrase "take pride" is used in 6 verses. As an example, Galatians 6:4 discusses how we should test our own actions so that we can "take pride" in ourselves without comparing ourselves to others. We are to "take pride" in ourselves, but only as part of a honest introspection. The Greek translated to the phrase "take pride" is kauchēma, which means to glory in or boast.  This is not the kind of  pride that Piper discusses in which we're seeking recognition from others for either our accomplishments or sacrifices. In this context, we can quietly glory in our spiritual growth. This provides a clear contrast from a pride that seeks a response from others.

  Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

 Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

 Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014:Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words kindness and faithfulness.


The word "kindness" is used dozens of times throughout the the Bible. In my study,  I found that there are three general contexts in which the word is used--God's kindness, others' kindness, and God's call to us to be kind. Many of the "big names" in the Old Testament expressed thankfulness for the kindness of God or others or they prayed for kindness to be shown to them:
  • Genesis 24- Abraham's servant prayed for God's kindness in finding a wife for Isaac, and God was kind in providing that this servant 
  • Genesis 32- Jacob prayed for God's kindness in re-uniting with his brother Esau
  • Genesis 39- Joseph was shown God's kindness
  • Joshua 2- Rahab, a prostitute, is noted for showing kindness to the Israelite spies
  • Ruth-Naomi and Boaz recognized both Ruth's and God's kindness
In the New Testament, I found it somewhat surprising is that the word "kindness" is not found in the Gospels, and that includes searching through three versions--the NIV, KJV, and ESV. The reason for this may be that the Greek word that is often translated "kindness" is "philadelphia" --brotherly love or kindness. In some instances, perhaps those who translated the Bible into English may have chosen to translate philadelphia into "love". This, however, does not mean that Jesus did not call people to be kind or that God's kindness is not recognized. In Paul's writings he frequently notes the kindness of God and our need to clothe ourselves with kindness (Galatians 5:22) or to produce the Spirit's fruit of kindness (Colossians 3:4).

The most challenging message of Paul in regards to God's kindness, at least to my heart, is that found in Romans 2 when Paul challenges those in the Roman church regarding their judgment of others for doing the same things that they themselves do. Paul writes in verses 3 and 4, "So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things , do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? "Contempt for God's kindness--that is a very strong phrase, but Paul notes that is what we do when we aren't introspective of our own hearts in relation to our judgment of the hearts of others.


The use of  "faithfulness/faithful" in Scripture center around either on God's faithfulness or His call for us to be faithful. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "aman" which means believe, assurance, or faithful is often translated as faithful. In the New Testament, the Greek word "pistos" which means faithful or believe is often translated "faithful". If one is faithful, it means you can believe what they say they are going to do--it's spiritual integrity.

Throughout the Old Testament, the writers note God's faithfulness in the context of His other, numerous virtues. In Deuteronomy 7:9, Moses writes how God is faithful in keeping His covenant of love. In the Psalms, David notes how God's works are faithful (Psalm 114:7 and Psalm 146:6). In Jeremiah 3:12, Jeremiah praises God's faithfulness in spite of Israel's lack of faithfulness. In Lamentations 3:22, Jeremiah again writes of the greatness of God's faithfulness--as faithful as the morning--and that His compassion never fail.

I found a common phrase in the book of Psalm--"faithful servants". David writes frequently of God's promises to His faithful servants. In Psalm 85:8, God promises peace to His faithful servants. In Psalm 148:14, His "faithful servants" are praised and deemed people close to God's heart. In Psalm 4:3, David writes that "faithful servants" are set apart for God. Faithfulness to God is important, but our understanding of our relation to God is equally important. We need to see ourselves as His servants.

There are also many times in the New Testament where the word "faithful" or "faithfulness" is used, but I'm only going to discuss one. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul writes, " No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted , He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it". It seems that this verse often gets interpreted in the context of trials, not temptations. People often say in reference to this verse that God won't give you more than you can handle. While I understand this verse to express God's faithfulness to us in giving us what we need,  it is about God's faithfulness to us when we face temptation, not trials. To be sure, we may face certain temptations when we face trials, but this verse is talking specifically about the temptation to sin, not facing trials. Perhaps, this is merely a semantic discussion, but I think it is important to see God's faithfulness in our spiritual battles with sin, not solely in our earthly (and spiritual) battles with trials. He is going to be faithful to us. In that vein, I feel the need to share this song, one of my favorites in my high school days:


  Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

 Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

 Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Prescience of Palin on President Obama's "Flexible" Leadership

As Russia invaded Ukraine, Governor Palin posted the following on her Facebook page. That's right; Prescient Palin strikes again!

During the 2008 election, Governor Palin was mocked for postulating that Russia may invade Ukraine if then Senator Obama was elected. As Tony Lee at Breitbart noted, during the 2008 election, some in the media called Palin's scenario "far-fetched". In reality, Governor Palin has proven prescient, almost clairvoyant, on many occasions from death panels to the Arab Spring to rare earth metals to quantitative easing to common core.  Just to name a few.

 There is  a sense of vindication when a woman so mocked by the media and the establishment's of both parties is proven right time and time again.  There is also a sense of a frustration and sadness that such a great nation lacks the leadership it needs. A Russia bold enough to invade Ukraine can only do so because of a vacuum of leadership in America. President Reagan famously won the Cold War with the USSR without firing a single shot because of his principled and strong leadership, not  "flexible" leadership that declares "happy hour" when the world is in chaos.

 Crossposted here, here, and here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014:Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words humility and compassion.

Humility (or Humble/Humbly)

Humility, in my humble opinion (pun intended), is an often misunderstood concept. Too often humility is perceived to be an attitude of self-debasement. The Scriptures seem to indicate, however, that humility really is recognizing our need for powerful, benevolent God and acting in such a way that we put others before ourselves. C.S. Lewis, I think, summarized it well when he said, "humility is not thinking less of yourself'; it is think of yourself less".

In the Old Testament, it is amazing to me how the Psalmists and Solomon in the book of Proverbs indicate what God does for those who humbly recognize who they are in comparison to God:
  • Psalm 18:27-"You [God] save the humble"
  • Psalm 25:9-"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way"
  • Psalm 147:6- "The Lord sustains the humble"
  • Psalm 149:4-"He crowns the humble with salvation"
  • Proverbs 3:34-"He mocks the proud mockers but gives grace to the humble"
  • Proverbs 11:2- "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom"
Although I did not share the complete verses in each of the above, most of them describe the contrast between pride and humility, which is important. God spiritually provides for those who yield to Him.

In the New Testament, the use of the words humility or humble is often a translation of the Greek word tapeinophrosynē or some variant of that word which provides a better picture of the concept of humility than simply the word humility. In Strong's Concordance,  this Greek word is defined as a "deep sense of one's [moral] littleness". If we are able to understand this and make this our attitude, it will influence how we  treat others.

While many of the verses in the Old Testament about humility note what God does for the humble, many of the verse in the New Testament about humility note how we live out humility in our own lives. In two verses, Colossians 3:12 and 1 Peter 5:5,  Paul and Peter both note how we are to clothe ourselves with humility--making that attitude part of our identity in Christ. The most challenging verse on humility to me, though, comes from Philippians 2, when Paul gives the ultimate example of humility-- Christ lowering himself to live life as a man and die on the cross for our sins. Christ has no littleness; He is the Son of God. He was willing, though, to take on that "littleness" because of His love for us. What a challenge to us to take on our own littleness and live humbly.


One of the most striking things about the word compassion in Scripture is that during the time in history when Scripture was written, people thought that such attitude/emotion-fueled action emanated from one's bowels or womb. One words in Hebrew translated to compassion in the Old Testament is "racham", meaning "womb" or "compassion", and one of the words in Greek is "splagchnizomai" meaning "to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)". Perhaps this sounds a bit gross and ignorant in light of today's understanding of biology and emotion, but at the same time, it is indicative of how deep our compassion should be.

In Psalm 103, David  beautifully describes God's compassion for us throughout the Psalm. In verse 4, David not only notes how God saves us from the pit, He crowns us with compassion. He not only saves us from destruction, he treats us as royalty.  In verse 8, David ties God's compassion to His grace, love, and patience. In verse 13, David writes of God's compassion for us in the context of a father's compassion.

In the book of Matthew, he notes multiple times that Jesus "had compassion" on the crowds and the sick. Compassion was not just an emotion. Jesus lived it. When He had compassion on the crowds who came to hear Him speak He fed them (Matthew 14:13-21). When He had compassion on the sick; He healed them (Matthew 20:29-34). This is the same kind of compassion we are to clothe ourselves (Colossians 3:12) with and live out in our lives (Ephesians 4:32).

Previous posts:

 Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

 Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works

In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words perseverance and works.


Interestingly, at least in the NIV, the word perseverance or any derivative of the word is only found in the New Testament. However, one of the most striking uses refers back to the Old Testament heroes who themselves persevered with faith. The designations of chapters and verses in the Bible were not found in the original text of Scripture, so there were not distinctions between Hebrews 11 and Hebrews 12. Hebrews 11 is often noted to be the "Hall of Faith" where the writer of Hebrews highlights the faithfulness of many--from Abel to the prophets. The first verse of Hebrews 12 then reads:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
That great cloud of witness are the men and women of faith referenced in the previous chapter. They are cheering us on in this race that we are to run with perseverance. I've read this verse dozens and dozens of time throughout my life. I even wrote it on the back of my hand the first time I ran a half marathon for motivation. However, something hit me differently this time. Previously I had read the verse that we must persevere through the entanglements of life and our sin, but the verse reads that we must get rid of those entanglements first, then we can persevere. We can do this because of the examples of those great clouds of witnesses referenced in Hebrews 11--witnesses that include a prostitute like Rahab and a doubter like Gideon--men and women who were themselves imperfect yet showed faith.

The study of perseverance also showed me that Paul, Peter, and James all characterized perseverance as a part of a process of maturing in our faith...and often occurs alongside trials and sufferings. Look at these three verses written by these men of faith. It is a process:
Paul in Romans 5:3-4: 
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope." 
James in James 1:3-4: 
"because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Peter in 2 Peter 1:5-7: 
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

In my study I focused on works primarily as a noun, rather than a verb. The idea of doing "works" or deeds has been the subject of much debate--even church splits-- throughout Christian history. We all seem to fall somewhere along the spectrum of thinking we can work our way to grace to thinking that we don't necessarily need to exhibit our faith demonstrably because of God's grace.

"Works" translated from the original Hebrew or Greek in the Bible is often translated from two separate concepts of works. One of these concepts of works is in the sense of extraordinary works, miracles, or wonders. This is "pala" in Hebrews or "dynamis" in Greek. David often used the word "pala" in the Psalms to describe the works of God, including in Psalm 139:14 when he notes that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made". Similarly, the word "dynamis" is often used in the Gospels to detail Jesus' miracles, but the later books also use that Greek word to describe the way that God's power works in our lives through His Holy Spirit.

The other concept of "works" is in our occupation, work, or business. In Hebrew this is the word "melakah" and in Greek it is "ergon". When Moses wrote about God's creation of the world, he used the word "melakah".  When the Scripture mentions the Israelites building the tabernacle or temple, that is the word that is used. In the New Testament, "ergon" is used extensively, often translated as either "works" or "deeds". When Paul talks about being saved by grace through faith not by works, especially in the book of Romans, "ergon" is the word he uses. We cannot work to receive His grace; He gives it freely. What, then, are we to do? What about those works that "God prepared in advance for us to do", as Paul writes about in Ephesians 2?

Think about a role in your life that you may be passionate about--be it within your family or your career even-- a role as a wife, husband, mom, dad, aunt, teacher, health care researcher, or whatever it may be. A mom does not love her children--change their diapers, feed them, clothe them, etc-- to earn the "title" of mom. She is a mom, so she does those things for her children because she loves them.  A teacher who is passionate about her job doesn't spend extra time preparing lesson or tutoring students so that she earns the title of teacher, but because she is a teacher, she does those things. Why is it different for our faith? We do those "good deeds" not to earn the title of "Christian". Instead, because our "spiritual occupation", for lack of a better phrase, is that of Christian, we strive to do good things. Good deeds are the product of a Christian life, not the payment to earn the right to be called a Christian.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I pray that I am truly Spirit-focused in this endeavor and that anything I write as a result of this study is in line with the truth of God's Word.

Previous posts:

Introduction to the 52 Word Journey

Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Palin, McCain, and the Difference between Support and Agreement

Yesterday Governor Palin penned a post on her Facebook page expressing her support of Senator McCain in the face of censure by his own party in Arizona.  In many ways, it echoed the op-ed she wrote for the Arizona Central when she endorsed Senator McCain's re-election nearly four years ago. Governor Palin's support of Senator McCain shows far more of her character than of his merit. As Governor Palin wrote last night:
We live in a time of diminishing virtues because of societal influence towards total self-centeredness. This is unfortunate and makes raising families, conducting business, and governing that much more challenging. I know how important the virtue of loyalty is because in politics it’s pretty much nonexistent. I stand on that most important virtue and answer those asking today: “Yes, I am proud to have been asked to run with him in 2008, and he is my friend.”
If loyalty is essentially nonexistent in politics as Governor Palin notes, how would anyone know what it looks like? One needs to look no further than Governor Palin's own character and action over the years. Governor Palin has stood by Senator McCain's side since 2008, in spite of his often tepid support for her and his nonexistent defense of her when she was more or less accused of murdering his Arizona constituents in Tucson three years ago. Governor Palin's loyalty has been noted by many. For example, Governor Nikki Haley noted in her book about Governor Palin's continued support in the midst of allegations during Haley's gubernatorial campaign that she had an affair:
When allegations from Folks first surfaced, Haley remembers having Palin in her corner after just one phone call – a contrast to the way another supporter, Romney, had handled the news. “Sarah goes with her gut, and I love her for that,” she writes. “Mitt’s team [said] they were going to have a ‘Nikki Haley meeting’ the next morning to decide what to do next.”
Governor Palin again stood with Haley in May of 2012 when a South Carolina union leader beat a pinata with a picture of Governor Haley's face on it. This came even after Haley's silence when Governor Palin and the Tea Party was blamed for the Tucson shooting. Suffice it to say, Governor Palin's loyalty is because of who she is (her character), not because of who the others are. Support differs from complete agreement, however. Governor Palin has expressed disagreement with McCain either implicitly or explicitly multiple times. As she noted in her Facebook post,  Governor Palin parts ways with Senator McCain on ANWR and immigration. She has parted ways with him implicitly too. Her "Let Allah sort it out" approach to Syria is 180 degrees different than Senator McCain's neocon approach to Syria. In her vintage speech to a Tea Party rally in Iowa in September 2011, Governor Palin mocked Senator McCain, although not in name, for his reference to Tea Partiers as hobbits. To be sure, Governor Palin has her share of disagreements with Senator McCain, just as some supporters may disagree with her for supporting Senator McCain in this manner. That is the beauty of independence of thought--difference of opinion does negate support. As Governor Palin's brother Chuck Heath Jr. noted on his Facebook page today:

It can't be said much better than that. We don't have to always agree, but we all can learn a lesson in loyalty from the one political figure who personifies it.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Meet the "Kronies"--Brilliance in Highlighting "Crapitalism"

I don't know exactly how to characterize this, but there is a new campaign to highlight crony capitalism (or the portmanteau that I like to use--crapitalism) . This campaign--The Kronies-- uses youtube clips and specially designed 80s style action figures. Here's the introductory video:


 It hearkens me back to my childhood, but there's no particular protagonist action figure like Heman or She-rah. Instead there are guys like "Big G":

 Whatever this campaign is, they are taking aim at both political parties, which is a good thing. I'm sure the likes of Governor Palin, Peter Schewizer and Michelle Malkin, who have focused their careers around fighting cronyism, approve.

 H/T Hot Air

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

As I noted two weeks ago, my Bible study plan this year is a weekly focus on one word found in Scripture. This is an endeavor I've entered prayerfully, and as I write these summaries every two weeks, I want to share what the Spirit has shown me as humbly as I can. I don't presume to be a Biblical scholar or a hermeneutical expert, and my summaries will not be exhaustive, simply brief summaries. I simply want to share what the Scripture has shown me.

The words that I have studied during these first two weeks of January are confidence and peace. The secular world portrays these attitudes or ideas differently than the Scriptures, so I have feared that I have not understood them as correctly as I should. This is why I chose these two words to kickoff this 2014 journey.


In the New International Version of the Bible, the word "confidence", or some variation of it, is used 18 times in the Old Testament and 19 times in the New Testament. There are multiple Hebrew words that are translated as "confidence", most intriguing to me were "batach" and "mibtach". Naturally, they both have similar meanings, batach focusing more on the aspect of trust while mibtach focusing more on seeing God, someone, or something as a refuge. The Old Testament use of the word "confidence" spans from Israel's or other nation's confidence in political or military leaders to a husband's confidence in the "woman of noble character" in Proverbs to David's confidence in God in the Psalms. However, the use of confidence in the Old Testament that spoke to my heart most were found in Isaiah. Perhaps it is due to my Midwestern roots, but Biblical agricultural analogies have always resonated with me. Isaiah 32:16-17 reads:
The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. 
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
What a message. A fertile field of God's righteousness will produce peaceful fruit leading to both quietness and confidence. I've always thought of confidence as loud, but it seems it is not. Isaiah is using the word "betach". There is a trust that comes from righteousness and peace.

In the New Testament, there are multiple Greek words that are translated as "confidence" in English. The word "parresia" was the most intriguing to me, meaning cheerful courage. Interestingly, it is also often used in reference to people speaking plainly, without ambiguity, but with boldness. Perhaps a little bit like Sara Bareilles's song "Brave", which was stuck in my head the whole week I was studying this word:

However, the use of word confidence in the New Testament is more often about being confident before God (I John 3:21) --coming before His throne--and in the face of persecution (Hebrews 10:32-35) than it is about trying to verbally right a wrong. So often the world attaches to the idea of confidence to self, when, in Scripture, the only use of the phrase "self-confidence" is in Nehemiah when the an enemy of Israel lost "self-confidence" when defeated by an Israel that put its trust in God. The Scriptures point to confidence as something we can have in coming before God and in being bold in this world because of Him.


For the word "peace", I used the English Standard Version. With the prevalence of the word (273 times in the Old Testament and 94 times in the New Testament) throughout the Bible it was easier to follow using the Lexiconc resource on During this week, I decided to focus on the peace in relation to God or a sense of personal peace, rather than to look at the verses that discuss peace surrounding the relationships between nations.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "shalowm" is generally translated as peace, meaning tranquility, prosperity, quietness. A large portion of the verses that use the word peace are in reference to "peace offerings" sacrificed to God, but there are other uses as well--especially in the Psalms. What intrigued me most is the verbs associated with peace:
Psalm 4:8- sleep/dwell in peace
Psalm 34:14-seek/pursue peace
Psalm 37:11- delight in peace
As I studied the Psalm 37 verse, it was especially interesting to look at what Hebrew word was translated into "delight"-the word is "anag" which means to be delicate or to be pampered. What a concept! To pamper yourself in peace because of God. I know it's certainly not something I do very well. It has given me a new view of peace. God's peace is a glass of red wine, a bubble bath, or a manicure for your spirit!

In the New Testament, the Greek word "eirene" (tranquility, harmony, security) is usually what is translated as peace. There are many interesting tidbits about the use of peace in the New Testament that I discovered during this week's journey:
  • Jesus told His disciples "peace be with you" three times in John 20 following His resurrection
  • There is an interesting thread in Romans connecting the Trinity and peace. Romans 5:1 which notes that we can have peace with God through Christ, and Romans 8:6 which notes that the mind of the Spirit is life and peace
  • There are over a dozen references to peace in the greetings and closings of Paul's letters to various churches
This is my Scripture word journey so far. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Obamacare: Meet the New Contractor, Same as the Old Contractor

The Obama administration will not renew the contract of CGI Group Inc, the Michelle Obama tied company that oversaw the failed website. Per Chicago Business:
CGI Group Inc., the company that built the federal Obamacare website, will be replaced next month when its contract with the U.S. government expires, a person familiar with the decision said. The Obama administration intends to sign a contract with Accenture Plc to complete unfinished work on and run the site, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision isn't public. Montreal-based CGI fell as much as 3.8 percent in New York trading.
Things can only get better, right? Well, perhaps not. The Chicago Business article continues:
The Oct. 1 debut of the insurance exchange serving 36 of the 50 U.S. states was plagued by delays, error messages and hang-ups that prevented people from completing applications. Accenture, the second-largest technology-consulting company, led construction of California's better-performing state system.
Through November the California exchanged netted more Obamacare enrollees than the federal exchange, but such numbers are more of a testament to the failure of the federal exchange than the success of the California exchange. The Accenture built California exchange is not without its problems. The Washington Examiner reported last month that seven in ten California doctors wanted to boycott the exchange. The California exchange website--Covered California-- is listing doctors who are not part of the exchange. Also, Covered California was found to be giving out health care consumer information without consent. Per the Daily Caller:
Widespread fears that Affordable Care Act exchanges would fail to guard customer information are already coming true in California, where the state exchange is giving selected insurance agents customer contact information, resulting in unwanted calls and emails to Californians who have checked out the exchange but declined to buy insurance. The Los Angeles Times’ Chad Terhune reports that Covered California, which Obamacare proponents have held up as a rare example of a functioning state health care exchange, provides names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of customers who did not ask to be contacted.
Furthermore, just last week Covered California extend their premium payment deadline per Tony Lee at Breitbart News:
"Covered California" announced the news as news outlets across California started reporting on residents who were unsure if they actually successfully enrolled in Obamacare or still had trouble finishing their applications because of website malfunctions. Many residents reported being "stuck" in the middle of the application process and not being able to get answers about whether their information had been successfully transmitted to insurance companies.
While the Obama administration may tout this contractor change as a means to improve their failing exchange, it is really just more of the same failure.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Governor Palin's Message: Self-Reliance, Not Selfies

In a press conference this morning to promote her upcoming show on the Sportsman Channel, Governor Palin took the opportunity to share her refreshing message of true female empowerment. As EOnline reports:
When E! News asked what Palin would like Amazing America to teach the young girls who tune in, Palin was quick to respond saying, "That they need to be, and can be, and have to power to be self-reliant. They can be independent and they too have equal opportunity to get out there and enjoy all that has been given to us here in America."
While Governor Palin's intention is, for the most part, to eschew politics, the show's cultural message will be 180 degree different than the liberal message of female empowerment through governmental reliance.  Instead the show will be a modern day, American culturally-based equivalent to Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Governor Palin will highlight the true promise zones of America--her people and their achievements. As USA Today reports:
Palin, wearing black except for flag-patterned high-heeled shoes, says it’s "not going to be some kind of fake scripted reality show" but will "showcase people, places and things in order to restore, fundamentally, what makes America great," including her own family. Red-state Americans live an organic lifestyle that’s not limited to urban "granola" fans. "Their dinner just happens to be wrapped in fur rather than cellophane. So be it that we go out and shoot our dinner first."
As for Governor Palin's additional message to young women, she also noted:
"I think this world would be better off having more young women holding a fish in a picture than holding their camera in front of a bathroom mirror, talking a selfie." The 2008 Vice Presidential candidate announced to a room full of reporters at the Television Critics Association Friday morning.


I tend to agree. Choose snapper over Snapchat and crappie over cropping.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

In Illinois, More Concealed Carry Applications on First Day than Obamacare Enrollees in First Two Months

Fox Chicago reports that more than 11,000 people have signed up for concealed carry permits in the first day of the online application process:
 Illinois officials say they've received more than 11,000 applications for concealed carry permits. 
The online application system to apply for permits was officially launched in Illinois on Sunday. On Monday, Illinois State Police said they had received 4,525 applications for concealed carry permits were received within 24 hours. The other 6,500 applications came from firearms instructors who the state let apply early for permits to help test the functionality of the online application system.
By comparison, in the first two months of Obamacare exchange online availability, only 7,000 Illinoisans had enrolled in the exchange.

After becoming the last state in the country to allow concealed carry, citizens of Illinois are ready to exercise their second amendment rights.

 Crossposted here, here, and here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014

Over the years I've tried a variety of approaches to Bible study. I've studied the Hebrew names of God, gone through programs where you read the whole Bible in a year, and studied books intermixed with Scripture from authors like John Piper and Beth Moore. This year I've decided to do something different. Sadly, when I've gone through a "Bible in a year"program, I've made it simply a reading that I can check off my "To Do" list rather than an in depth study where I can learn and apply to my life. Using books have been spiritually challenging, but I also wonder if  I've become somewhat lazy--letting someone else guide my personal study, rather than putting in the spiritual elbow grease needed to gain a better understanding of the Scripture so that I can strive to walk more closely in Christ's footsteps.

This year I have decided to do a word study of 52 words (one a week) to gain a better understanding of the God-breathed Scripture. I've always been fascinated by language, and often the meaning of words used by Biblical authors get lost in translation of the Scripture from Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek into English. As an example, in John 21 after Christ's resurrection, Christ asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter replied that yes, he did love Christ. Jesus asked Peter three times, and Peter said yes three times. Christ had the ability to know Peter's sincerity, but lost in the English translation is the fact that Jesus and Peter were using two different Greek words for love. Jesus was using agape, meaning unconditional love, while Peter was using philos, meaning a friendly or brotherly love. Jesus was indicating a deeper, stronger kind of love, but this isn't as clear in the English translation.

Several months ago during a Wednesday night Bible study, one of the ministers at the congregation I'm a part of suggested a website that was extremely helpful for Bible study on multiple levels--the Blue Letter Bible (there is also a very nice app available for iphones). One of the nice features available on both the site and app is a the "LexiConc" a hybrid lexicon concordance that notes the word used in the original Scriptural language, its meaning, and Scriptures where that same word is used. I hope to use this excellent resource throughout 2014 to help me gain a better understanding of Scripture and apply it to my life. Here are the 52 words that I intend to study, in no particular order. They are simply words (or phrases) that I want to understand more completely:
confidence, peace, perseverance, works, humility, compassion, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, pride, self-control, self-discipline, joy, gluttony, sexual immorality, submit, persecution, hospitality, perfect, eager, sincere, fear, justice,purity, worry, wisdom, servant, repent, confess,authority, temptation, disciples, fellowship, character, hope, zeal, gentleness, rights, freedom, generosity, encourage, unity, ambition, contentment, greed, patience, thankful, devotion, jealousy, complain, mercy, and ministry. 
I intend, Lord willing, to write up a summary blog post every two weeks throughout 2014 about the words I've studied over the previous weeks. I certainly do not presume to have the deepest knowledge of Scripture, nor the most discerning mind, but I embark on this journey as prayerfully and humbly as I can. I want to ensure that I am open to the full truth of God's Word and that anything I share--be it face-to-face or in cyberspace-- is in line with the Scripture.

God bless!