Death of James

Brother of Jesus, Leader of the Church of Jerusalem

James the brother of Jesus was not a believer of Jesus as the Son of God until after Jesus was resurrected.  James was a devout man who was also known as James the Just.  Clement of Alexandria and Hegsippus both wrote epithets that refer to James as the Just. He was a devout man who demanded the respect of both Christian and Jewish leaders. 

Once converted, James is believed to have worked, in the early church at Jerusalem, with the Apostle Peter (Cephas).  The Encyclopedia Britannica explains the James the brother of Jesus may have been a natural fill-in for the martyr James of the son of Zebedee (Acts 12:2). James appears in the book of the Acts of the Apostles to have been an influential member of the church Council in Jerusalem.  Paul the Apostle received council from James when he returned to Jerusalem.  Paul lists James and Cephas at pillars of the church in Jerusalem.  Peter also when he had been released from Prison in Acts 12 told them to go and tell James.  Peter’s singling out of James puts an emphases of the importance of James to the church in Jerusalem.  

James died around 62 A.D.  Christian Historians put his death in Jerusalem where he was martyred for his faith in Jesus as the Son of God.  Eusebius, a 4th Century Christian and historian chronicles 3 different sources of the death of James.  Clement of Alexandria, Hegesippus, and Josephus all have a different version of the martyrdom of James.  Hegesippus’ version is the one Eusebius judges as most correct.

  1. AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent. (24) Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest. [i]

Tradition holds that James was brought to the temple and confronted on whether he believed that Jesus was the messiah.  James’ stance of belief that Jesus was indeed the Son of God infuriated the Sanhedrin and James was pushed of a high place of the Synagogue and then stoned.  It is reported that James prayed for his attackers in the same way that Jesus did, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  Then his head was caved in by a club. 

James the brother of Jesus had once doubted Jesus as the messiah.  He probably felt at one time that he was crazy and was ashamed to call him his brother.  This James who believed and followed the Law of Moses to the last dash and the last dot of ink had given his life for his belief.  A belief that Jesus is indeed the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world.


[i] “Josephus on James.” Dr. Beth Elise Whitaker, 11 Apr. 2013, pages.uncc.edu/james-tabor/ancient-judaism/josephus-james/.

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Luke 15:11-32 – What About My Child?

Ref: Luke 15:11-32

I spoke with a friend a day or two ago.  She was concerned because her son was getting old enough to leave the fold now.  She was concerned with the usual things that we as parents get concerned about.  If you have lived through this, or are currently going through this situation, then you know what I am talking about.  This is a heart wrenching time for a parent.  It has been 18 years where the mom and dad have been caring for the needs of their child.  They have tried hard to prepare them for this inevitable day.  All their hopes and aspirations are tied up in the fruition of the life of labor and love they have poured into their little baby, who is now a young adult.  Have they been good parents?

What if their young one fails?  How will they be able to help?  Will their child ask for help?  Did I prepare them enough for them to be successful? But probably the most heart wrenching question for a Christian parent is, “Will they continue in their faith?” Will they walk away from God and never return?

In a study done by Lifeway Research, author Ed Stetzer, relays that 70 percent of high school students who attended church on a regular basis, for at least one year, will stop going to church during their years of higher education.  There are allot of reasons for this, but most do not intentionally stop going to church.  That is, it is not that they could not wait to get away from their oppressive Christian parents so that they could leave their archaic religion.  Most just get caught up in their new busy life.  Juggling of study, school, work, and the development of new friendships distract them from their previous priorities.  Some will get distracted for a while, maybe some for several years, but most will eventually return.  Probably when they start their own families.  There are a few who will get distracted far beyond measure.  Some will forsake their childhood upbringing in favor of some college professor’s views, or do the world views on life, sex, and politics that permeate the college campuses. We can find throughout scripture examples to prove that the Lord does not abandon his children.

In Luke chapter 15 we find the story of the prodigal son.  In this story the youngest son makes a plea for his half of the inheritance and leaves home.  This rebellious son then squanders his fortunes in a foreign land and winds up being homeless and penniless.  After much soul searching he decides to return home and beg forgiveness in hopes that he can work on the family estate as a hired hand.  When he returns his father is overjoyed.  The father’s love overflows from deep in his heart and he rejoices over the return of his son with a great feast and a party.  The oldest son, who remained obedient is put off with this forgiveness his younger sibling received.  He is caught up in his own selfish interests to see the miracle that has happened.

This story has many different points at which we can tear it apart and find some universal truth or a great life application.  I have many times used this parable as a part of my testimony, because I was also a wayward son who had returned.  If you are not familiar with this story it can be found in Luke 15:11-32.

Here in this passage we see a man that did everything right.  He raised his kids in a God-fearing home.  He taught them the value of good hard work. He taught them about the Lord.  He taught him the customs of their people, and how to be good men.  He instructed them in the way of their faith.  Yet one of his children fell away.  This is the case for many of us parents. 

We can teach, and discipline, and hold our breath till we are blue in the face, but some of our children will go away form their faith.  We can do everything right.  Still our loved one abandons the truth and rebels against God.  I should also mention that we can do everything wrong, and yet our child finds God.  The point here is that faith is a personal decision.  Our job is to pray for them, teach them, and reinforce the instructions of life and hope in Christ.  Teach them the wisdom of knowing God and the advantages of living a godly lifestyle.  We are to give them an understanding of God that they can use in life’s decisions.  But the decision is up to them.  Each man (woman) is responsible to God for themselves.  This is why the father rejoiced. 

The father in Luke 15 knew when his son asked for his share of the inheritance and left that he was already lost before his feet his the road.  He also knew that he could not stop him.  He knew that while his son was in rebellion that he was already dead spiritually.  I am sure that his heart was broken.  Something that we cannot miss though.  The father knew his son had to make the decisions. 

When his youngest son asked for the money his father did not argue with him.  His father could have told him, that money is not yours yet, you do not have a right to it.  His father could have drilled him with all kinds of questions, he could told him how foolish he was, and what a bad son he is.  He could have struck out in anger.  The father had all of the authority and right to do any or all of these things.  Instead he listened.  He gave his son an opportunity to learn a life lesson that his son needed. 

This father also trusted God to return his son to his faith. The father knew that the son in his heart did believe in God and that this little light of faith would be used by God to steer him home.  I am sure he held onto Proverbs 22:6.  The father had hope.  He knew that God loved his son also, just as much as he did.  He knew that God would not abandon his son.

This hope is evident in verse 20 of Luke 15.  It says, “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him.” This father was looking for the return of his son.  He expected the Lord to deliver his son.  He rose up and looked for him every day!  We don’t know how long the timeframe is of the story, but it was long enough for the son to lose his inheritance, take a slum job, deal with starvation, and finally repent.  The son swallowed his pride and came with full intention of making things write with his father no matter what the consequences. 

This story can tell us so much about the love of God.  When the son returned the father did not care where he had been, or what he had done.  He only say his son.  His baby was coming home.  I think about this and I think about my own son.  He is a grown man, but every time I look at him, I still see the little infant that I held for the first time at his birth.  I know the heart of God by this memory.  With all that I love my son and no matter what he has done or where he has been, I still see this little baby in my hands.  That I like to think is the way that God sees each of us.  This father in our story just saw his baby, crying and beaten up by life, returning home.  This father who loved his son, put his arms around him.  Nothing else mattered. 

This is what Jesus made possible.  No matter how far we go.  No matter what we have done. No matter how rebellious we have been.  Jesus made a path home for us, for our children.  Have hope in the Lord.  Your heavenly Father has not abandoned you, and will not abandon your son or daughter.  Yes there are some hard lessons in life to learn.  No we cannot shelter our children from consequences of their own decisions.  However; we can have confidence that the Lord will never leave or forsake them.

Exodus 20: What do the 10 Commandments Mean for the Christian?

Exodus 20: What do the 10 Commandments Mean for the Christian?


              It is true the Law cannot make one righteous.  Neither does the keeping of the Law sustain our salvation.  However, Paul on several occasions states that we should not let Grace be an occasion for sin.  In other words we should not let our freedoms be taken to far, and thus make the reason for our Grace be lost.  Turning to Exodus 20 we can get a good understanding of the 10 Commandments and how we can apply them in our Christian lives, not for salvation or works of justification, but because scripture says that we should do works of righteousness. James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  How we choose to live out this freedom that has been given us in Jesus Christ is a direct reflection of the heart.  These are just short paragraphs to get you thinking.

The first commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”(.3) is a pretty straight forward translation.  The Hebrew words used here are quite easily put to the English text of the King James Version.  The word “gods” is the plural form of Elohim.  This word indicates that there will be no other rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, works or special possessions of God. The word “before” is the Hebrew word paniym, which means face and is used here to indicate “before my face”, or “in from of” or “in presence of”.  So the command is quite clear, Thou (you) shalt (will not) have anything that has authority over you before me.  A Christian should not let anything interfere with the sovereignty of God over their lives.  No other authority is to reign supreme over the Word of God.  No government, carrier, relationship, or other aspect of our lives should be allowed to stop us from obeying the Word of the Lord.  We should live outward lives that indicate who has supreme authority over our lives.  That supreme authority is God Himself.

The second commandment “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (v.4) When looking at this commandment we can see that the meaning “to cut or engrave”. Specifically it comes from the Hebrew pecel (peh’-sel) meaning idol or image. So the understanding is that we are not to make any image as an idol.  The command goes on to include any likeness of anything that is in heaven, or in the earth, or in the sea, in fact it goes so far to say not even under the earth.  Nothing should be made that is to appear to represent God, or any other idol.  One should note that an idol is something that is obsessed over. We cannot use anything made by hands or in creation to represent God for worship of any kind.  Our affections should be solely placed on God, nothing should be used to represent God, because we run the risk of worshiping what is created rather than the creator.  We do not bow to crosses, the Eucharist, or to anything other than God himself. God will not share his worship with anything else.

The third commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (v.7)  This commandment is a warning that we should not take (bear), or lift up either literally or figuratively the name of the Lord.  The meaning is that we should revere the name of the Lord, and should not take it lightly.  We are not to frivolously use the name of the Lord to seal an oath, or to in effect evoke the Lord on our behalf.  God is not a djinn to be uses as we will or conjured up for our purposes. With this comes a sense of respect and personal accountability.  If we cannot use the Lord for an oath, then we must be honest and trustworthy in our speech and actions.  We are to have a name that brings respect to the Lord.  We are to honor the name of the Lord.  The end of this commandment is frightening.  The Lord says that He will defend His own name.  Anyone who disrespects Him will be held accountable to Him.  We should then live in truth and in Spirit giving honor and respect to the name of the Lord in our speech and our actions. 

The forth commandment “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” (v.8)  The Hebrew word for remember is zakar (za-kar’), and is used to cause to remember or as a memorial.  The later verses further explain that there were seven days that God used to create the earth, and on the last day, God rested.  This is a day to be kept in memorial of the provisions of God.  In six days he created everything that was needed to sustain his creation.  Then he rested.  God took a break for his labors because they were completed. The Sabbath is referred to in the Jewish culture as a

Holly day which means basically an intermission.  Much like where we get the word sabbatical. This is a time to get away from everything, to make a complete break to clear the mind, and spirit.  This is a time of renewal.  Even batteries need to be re-charged or replaced from time to time.  Jesus said that the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath.  God knows we need a time to recharge and get away from all or our labors and worried.  We need a time to clear our minds and to “just be still”.  We need time to relax and remember why we are working so hard.  Spend some downtime with the family.  Take time off from all work and all work related items.  Relax and enjoy the blessings the Lord has brought.  If not you will weary yourself and suffer burn out.  You will lose productivity.  You will lose your joy, and you relationship with Christ will suffer, along with your relationship with your church, family, and friends.  Your ministry will suffer if you do not take time away, and push the reset button.

The fifth commandment “Honor they father and thy mother.” (v.12). The word honour in is from the Hebrew kabad (kaw-bad’) and can be used in a positive or negative manner as most root words can.  Given the context of the verse, mainly, that it will add longevity to your life or a better quality of life, it can be understood that it is to be used in a positive manner.  So then it can be meaning to abound with, or to promote, be rich in, or to be honorable.  So then we are to treat our father and mother with abundant honor.  How then do we do this?  The showing of respect is the primary way that a king is honored.  Shows of respect mean; proper use of language in their presence, bringing of gifts, sharing of blessings from God (resources, food, income, health benefits, lodgings, etc…), spending time with them (sharing special moments, letters, birthdays, celebrations), showing affections towards them, respecting and supporting their decisions, understanding that without their guidance and provisions you would not be where you are today.  Showing honor is a lifestyle of respect and gratitude.

The sixth commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” (v.13)  The sixth commandment seems like such a simple statement.  Yet often times it is added to in order to say that capital punishment is not biblical.  However, this commandment says that you shall not “kill”.  The Hebrew word is ratach (rä·tsakh’) meaning to slay, or murder. To murder is to deprive of life according to the Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language 1828.  1 John 3:15 does specify that the application of this is more than just a physical act.  The writer tells us that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:” This is because God looks into the intentions of the heart.  Not only do I need to refrain from murdering someone in a physical sense, but I need to rebuke hatred in my own heart for others that may or may not have offended me. If I have allowed prejudice to establish a beachfront of sin in my heart, to hate, thus to be guilty of murder.  This commandment has nothing to do with the power or authority of the government or of law enforcement, but everything to do with love of others; instead of selfish hatreds.  

The seventh commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (v.14) This command is actually pretty straight forward. The word for adultery here is the primitive root na’aph (nä·af’) in Hebrew.  This word is “to commit adultery” it is usually meant from a man and always refers to the wife of another man.  It is a strong word and is associated with idolatry.  You will not worship (love, adore) another man’s wife.  Wow this is so beyond the physical act of sex with another man’s wife.  Now we can see why Jesus said that to look after another man’s wife in lust is to commit adultery.  That is because the original command actually says the same thing.  No looking at another man’s wife to worship her in your heart, to love her in an ungodly manner.  No actual sexual contact either. To do so you actually break not only this commandment, but the first, second, and tenth commandments as well.  How dangerous the lusts eyes and the desires of our hearts can be.

The eight commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” (v.15) Now here is one that we always try to shorten, however; when we look at the Hebrew word use here we can see that there is no short order to this command.  Ganab (gä·nav’), the Hebrew root, means to thieve (literally or figuratively) by implication, to deceive, or carry away; to get by stealth or deception.  What then do we say to this? You will not practice theft either literally or figuratively by obtain by stealth or deception.  You cannot take what is not yours literally you cannot.  Neither can you take what is not yours through con, or ruse.  You cannot take what is not yours through deceptive trade practices.  You cannot be dishonest in your dealings would not be too far of a stretch.  I think it could be summed up as this, if you want it, work for it.  If you agree someone can earn a wage, then give them a fair wage.  If you work for a fair wage then give the work that is do.

The ninth commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” (v.16)  To bear here means to answer (respond, testify, speak, sing, cry, give).  The word for false is pretty simple and it means to lie (false, falsehood, falsely, vain, wrongfully, deceitful).  Finally we can see the word witness which in the Hebrew means to evidence either abstractly (conceptually), specifically (explicitly, practically) or in record (as a source).  This means you cannot lie about anyone, or any event either as a matter of oath, or as a matter of speculation.  Jesus put it this way, let your yes be yes and your no be no.  When you start to talk about things or people that you do not know you put yourself in danger of being judged in the same manner that you judged them.  If you have to give witness as a matter of record for a court or an incident at work then you should speak plainly, never speculate and only relay the facts.  You should avoid answering open ended questions, as these questions are designed to make you speculate.  Being a witness is to present the details as you saw them, not others.  Keep your conversation clean, no gossip.  Be honest in word and in deed.  Never lie and never listen to rumor, so you do not spread a lie and become a false witness.  Remember loose lips sink ships.  More than one church has been destroyed form the inside out because of rumors and innuendo.

The tenth commandment “Thou shalt not covet.” (v.17)  To covet is to from the root chamad (khä·mad) in Hebrew and means to desire (take pleasure in).  It is meant in a form that means to delight greatly or find desirable of precious. It can be used to mean delight, desire, or to lust after.  I think we all know what this means.  We can enjoy our neighbor’s good fortune, and celebrate with him in his blessings.  We are not to desire to have the blessings that he has though.  We should be content with what the Lord has blessed us with.  We do serve the same God and we can never be happy for others if we are always comparing what they have to what we do not. The verse gets pretty explanatory, you will not desire your neighbor’s wife, servants, his means of living, any of his possessions, or his lifestyle.  Ok that’s my neighbor’s stuff, what about the guy in TV?  What about the guy done the block?  Well lucky for us the definition of neighbor has already been litigated before the Messiah.  Take a look at Luke 10:25-37.  In there a lawyer sought to define what a neighbor was with Jesus.  Jesus put is simple, everyone is our neighbor and we are to show mercy to our neighbors.  We are then to be content with what we have.  We are not to look to anyone else but God. 

In summation I quote Romans 13:9. “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” We are to treat everyone as we want to be treated.  We are to love everyone as God loves us.  You see if I love someone, then I want the best for them.  I don’t desire to take what they have, because it makes them happy, and I love them and want to see their happiness. This is indeed to true sign of a believer, that we should love one another because God is love and everyone that loves is born again from God and knows God (1 John 4:7). 

Covetous Conversation: A Thought While Shopping

I was walking through Walmart about 2 days after Christmas, we needed some small food items, so I thought I would just kill some time while Dana Smith shopped. As I was walking I noticed a child and his mother, he was leading her by the hand and pointed to a toy that he wanted.

I thought how strange that this soon after Christmas they should be buying him a toy. Considering this I had to stop and evaluate my own reasons for looking around, when I really did not need anything. Was I too, just looking to consume something else that I did not need?

Then something else hit me. How often do I talk with others about things that I wish I had? How often do I look at someones car, or some other item for sell and say, wow I wish I had that? Maybe I don’t say it out loud, but I still say it in my heart. If so, then am I really believing that I have everything I could possibly need in Christ?

Covetousness can lead us into a form of idolatry. Idolatry is putting making a graven image (man-made) and making it more important than God. I know we all know the pitfall this can be. But let us consider the scripture on our words. 

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:5 KJV

You see our conversation reveals our hearts. Everyone knows this simple truth. If you have conversations with unbelievers or other believers and all you talk about is what you do not have, this is a tell-tale sign that you are not walking in the Spirit. It also tells others that either you are a hypocrite or that the Jesus thing is not all it’s cracked up to be.

We should guard our conversations. Lucky for us this verse shows us how to change our motivations in our heart. It says that we should be content because we know that Jesus said that HE will never leave us, or forsake us. This means that he is always looking out for our best interests. We can have confidence in him that we lack nothing that is needed. 

Let our conversations so reflect the satisfaction we have in Christ. Let our mouths speak of the great and wondrous things he has done in creation, and in our very lives. Delivering us through storms, trial, and temptations. He keeps us from evil, sparing our hearts and minds of guilt and anguish. He was the one who sought us out, to deliver us from death, and restore a loving relationship with him. Life and I mean all of life is ours in him.

Influence of the Authorized Version

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Influence of the Authorized Version

400 years has passed since the King James, “Authorized Version”, translation of the Bible was released in 1611.  In all of the history of the world in print, there has been no other text, to have such an influence on the entire world.  Baylor University released this statement for an event they hosted to commemorate the King James Bible, “The need for such a celebration seemed obvious enough, given the translation’s vast importance in shaping Anglo-American culture and literature, language and politics” (Baylor University. N.p., 21 June 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.)

Indeed no other bible has so permeated history as the King James.  The King James Bible has become a household treasure.  Family bibles in the King James Version have been passed from generation to generation.  Songs have been written about it describing how families gather around the table to read from the Bible on a daily basis.  The King James Bible has been in hospitals to hearten the sick, funerals to encourage the mourning, and battlefields to strengthen the resolve of soldiers.  As the English language has gained dominance across the world as a “universal” language, so has the influence of King James spread and in turn changed the English language and its effect on the world.  “The language and imagery of the King James translation has had a remarkable influence on the English-speaking cultures and literature,”(Harry Ransom Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 24)

From the King James Bible we have received many new words and phrases into the English language.  These words and phrases have changed mankind’s perspective on life, God, and one another.  Some of these words include Long-suffering, Busybody, Ungodly, Brotherly, and Apostleship.  Some phrases introduced in to the common use that we still here today are such sayings as, “My brother’s keeper”, “No man can serve two masters”, and “Judge not that you be not judged”.

The sheer fact that it came into existence when it did is a testimony to the divine hand of God.  Just as the Roman roads assisted in the spread of the gospel to all corners of the ancient world, the English language and movable typeset printing have spread the King James translation to every country in the world today.  With this divine intervention the King James has influenced the way we look at our society to include, slavery, finances, leadership, language, and our relationship to God.  The King James version gave the individual believer direct access to the teachings of Jesus.  No other teacher in the history of the world has influenced mankind like the words Jesus spoke concerning love and the “be attitudes”.  No other individual is quoted more, not Shakespeare, Plato, nor Homer.

While there are no original texts of the bible, that is; there are no know surviving manuscripts that were penned by the original writers, there is sufficient evidence in history and archeology that the King James translation is true to the Greek texts and shows that God has preserved his word through the ages.

“Evidence for the Bible can take many forms.  There is, for instance, physical evidence.  We have copies of the manuscripts and throughout history these copies show that the Bible has been transmitted accurately.  Despite common skeptical claims that the Bible has often been changed through the centuries, the physical evidence tells another story.  The New Testament records are incredible accurate.  There are minor differences in manuscripts, called varants, but none of these variants impact or change the key Christian beliefs of claims.” (Focus on the Family. N.p., 24 Apr. 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.)

There are over 5000 copies of the New Testament and fragments that contain portions of the text that have been preserved through history.  While this may not seem like allot of references to base a good reconstruction of the text of the Bible; consider that there are less than 700 copies of Homer’s Iliad and far less of the writings of Aristotle. The sheer volume of texts available for comparison and contrast available to historically document the translation of the Bible is staggering in these terms. In addition, there were many eye witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection amongst the apostolic church who would have still been alive to repudiate the writings and letters passes through the early church.  There is no biblical record of any of the apostles locating in Alexandria.  Apollos is mentioned as coming from Alexandria and preaching an incorrect doctrine that had to be corrected by Aquila and Pricilla in Ephesus. (Acts 27.6)

The primary writings of the New Testament are from the Apostle Paul whose missionary headquarters were in Antioch.  Antioch is the location referred to in the New Testament as the 1st place in which the believers were 1st called Christians.  This is an important marker in history because when all of the text lineages are traced they come from one of two origins.  The two origins of publications are Antioch and Alexandria.  Other names for the Antioch text include the Byzantine text, Traditional Text, Apostolic Text, the Eastern text and the Textus Receptus or Latin “Received Text”.

The 1611 King James translation comes from a grouping of Greek texts commonly referred to as the Textus Receptus.  This text is commonly referred to as the “Received Text”.  The term Textus Receptus comes from Abraham Elzevir and Bonaventure in preface to a 1633 edition where they stated, “Textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum: in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus.”  Which means “so you hold the text, now received by all, in which nothing corrupt.” (“Main Page.” Textus Receptus RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.)

The Textus Receptus has been the standard for biblical translation for almost 2000 years. This grouping of manuscripts gains it name do to the fact that across all the texts samples used 95% of all the manuscripts used or referenced to the New Testament Greek Text are in basic agreement with the Textus Receptus.  There have also been many manuscripts found since the printing of the King James Bible.  The Dead Sea scrolls are one of the more famous findings.  It is reported that factual evidence of the Dead Sea scrolls in comparison to the King James translation is considered 98.33 percent pure. (United Church of God. N.p., 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017)

The King James Version of the Bible has been through time passed down through a divine lineage from the oral traditions of the ancient Hebrews and Greeks, to the modern King James translation as evidences through historical preservation and archeological evidence.  This versions rendition of the truths of God has shed more insight into man’s reason for existence.  The King James Bible has given the individual believe the knowledge and understanding of how to treat one another and how to relate to the God of the universe.

References

“Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin.” Harry Ransom Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/2012/kingjamesbible/&gt;.

“The Influence of the King James Version on English Literature.” The Influence of the King James Version on English Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <http://www.bible-researcher.com/mcafee4.html&gt;.

“How the King James Bible Changed the World.” Baylor Magazine, Summer 2011 | Baylor University. N.p., 21 June 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <http://www.baylor.edu/alumni/magazine/0904/news.php?action=story&story=95758&gt;.

News, Good. “What’s the Difference Between Various Bible Versions?” United Church of God. N.p., 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/whats-the-difference-between-various-bible-versions&gt;.

“How Do We Know the Bible Is True?” Focus on the Family. N.p., 24 Apr. 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. <http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/the-study-of-god/how-do-we-know-the-bible-is-true/how-do-we-know-bible-is-true&gt;.

“Main Page.” Textus Receptus RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. <http://textus-receptus.com/wiki/Main_Page&gt;.

Live for Today!?

Live for Today!

I remember when I was young, there was a movie out called Highlander.  One of the characters at one point yelled out, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away!”  When we look at the way life seems to work out, it’s not hard to understand what the character was meaning.  If I am going to die, I am going out with a bang!  I mean why not?  When we consider the wisdom in this phrase we must agree.  I have even spoke with some who quote the Bible where it says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)

I know of some who use this verse as an excuse to just give up on life. They have been diagnosed with a fatal illness, or have simply just given up.  Their hearts are defeated and so injured that they don’t care what tomorrow may bring, mainly because they have no hope in tomorrow.  Why should they take care of the things they need to, why pay bills, or seek out new relationships, or repair old ones, they are just going to die anyway.  I might as well as have a good time while I can, because the ride is going to end soon anyway.  Don’t bother slowing down or stopping the car, I will just jump from here and enjoy the breeze till I hit the pavement.  Adrian Rogers put it like this, “It is like a man who jumps form the top of a skyscraper and as he passes each floor he says, ‘Well so far, so good.’”

We are a worldwide society who is driven to possess more, covet what we cannot have, and to never be content with what we possess in our own two hands.  This attitude combined with the desperation of the sense that time is quickly running out drives us to desperate measures.  This builds up pressures from perceived failures and feeds the hunger to be remembered for something, even if it is bad.   So why not escape?  Especially if the Bible tells us that we don’t need to worry about tomorrow.  Why not go out in a bang?  Why not just drink all the alcohol I can?  Why not take all the drugs I can and party until I finally drop dead?  Then everyone will know… wow that guy really knew how to live! But really, no one wants to be that guy.

Deep inside we know that the “live for today” slogan is a lie.  Alcoholism does not hide the shame.  Drugs to not remove the hopelessness.  Buying everything we see does not fill the emptiness inside of us.  We cannot please ourselves or others enough to convince our hearts that we are “good” inside.  We know what we are like inside.  Jeremiah explains it like this, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). In truth, it does not take the Bible to tell us how wicked our hearts really are. We know who we really are.  There are only two people in the whole world that know what the very intentions of our heart is.  One is ourselves, the other is Jesus Christ.

In the book of Hebrews we read, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).  John describes Jesus as the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us.  This same Jesus, knows the very intentions of your heart.  He knows the selfish desires you have, how every “good” thing you have ever done in your life, was really another way to appease your own selfishness.

So then let’s take another look at this verse. , “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34).  We can agree on some things in looking at this verse.  It does talk about a person’s needs.  It also does say not to worry about tomorrow.  It also says that we have enough to worry about today.  There is enough to deal with today.

We can agree on those things.  However; we must be sure to never take one verse and use it to support our own materialist view of our situation.  We cannot use this verse especially to do evil and point the finger at God and say, “Hey, I just did what you told me to do!”  Pulling scripture out of context is dangerous to us.  You see if we look a few verses back, Jesus is talking to a specific audience.  Jesus is talking to his followers.  He is speaking to those who are seeking a real relationship with God.  He tells them first to seek God with the right intentions.  Don’t seek God for your own vanity.  Don’t seek God just for what you can get out of Him.  Be sincere when you seek God.

God already knows that things that you need.  You need, air to breath, food to eat, water to drink, and a place of refuge for rest and recuperation.  God knows these things and he provides those things already, as a gift.  It does not matter if you deserve it or not.  God in his mercy provides.  So when we go to God we don’t need to ask for what he is already providing.  We need to recognize that he has provided already and thank him for his provisions.  We also know that since he provided those things before we knew him, then we know that he will provide greater things know that we know him.

In this we are set free of worry for the things that we need to survive, because God is our provider.  We can have confidence in him.  Now that we are set free we can concentrate on what God needs us to do.  We can take full advantage of what we need to accomplish for the kingdom of Heaven, today.  Are we still suffering from diseases and poor decisions we made earlier in life… yes.  There are consequences to what we do.  Are we still suffering from the shame, regret, and hopelessness that when we die we are condemned to an eternity away from God and our loved ones, to suffer in hell?  No!

I mentioned earlier that John referred to Jesus as the Word of God that was made flesh and dwelt among us.  This means that God himself put on flesh and blood, and lived as one of us.  He knows what it is like to be hungry, and thirsty, and to be tired.  He knows what it is like to not have a place to lay his head at night.  He knows what it feels like when the cold wind blows, and you don’t have a jacket.  He knows what it is like to not have one red cent in your pocket.

He endured all the things we endured.  He wept when his friend Lazarus died.  He knows what if feels like to be betrayed by his closest friend.  He knows what if feels like to be abandoned by his family.  Jesus felt the injustice of being brought before a judge and being found guilty for a crime he did not commit.  He was even executed for things he did not do.  He was executed for things we did.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me.

Because of this sacrifice we have been set free of the curse of sin.  We no longer are stuck on the outside trying to appease God.  Jesus took care of that for us.  Now, we can not only speak to God, but we have been forgiven of everything we did.  All of those selfish things we did that hurt others, that hurt God have been forgiven and removed from us.  We can never be held accountable for those again.

Knowing this we are now set free.  Not only from the material, but in a very real spiritual side also.  We don’t need to worry if we are going to go to Heaven.  We don’t need to worry if we are good enough to pass the test.  You know why?  We don’t have to even take the test.  God provided all of that in Jesus Christ. So now we are set free to live life to the max!  Today we can take advantage of the gift that God has given us today!  We can lift up our heads, we can give thanks to Christ.  We now have a hope in not only this life, but in the life to come.  Because of this hope in Christ, for the life to come, we can take full advantage of today to honor God, like there is not tomorrow.  We need to live our lives like this is the only day we have to give thanks to God for what he has done.  There is an old country song by Garth Brooks that says If tomorrow never comes… Well, If tomorrow never comes, would you have done everything today that you could have to share the truth about Jesus with someone you love?

You see we don’t need to be anxious about food or clothing because life is more than just the material things in this world.  This present evil age would keep us distracted from that.  There are more pressing things that go on in this world, that are more important than our material needs.  There are allot of hurting people out there who need to hear about Jesus.

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 4

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 4

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:4) 

Forgive as we forgive.  We must realize that we are broken from our own sin.  It is a natural condition.  Romans 5:12 explains to us that sin came into the world and was passed down to every single man, woman, and child through the sin of one man.  This sin separated God from man and produced death in man.  In this manner, death has moved through all the generations of man, through one common ancestor.  Our sinfulness is more than that.

Not only do we have inherent sin, but; we also commit sin of our own.  You can try to say, “The Devil made me do it”, however; it was your own sinful nature.  This sin nature is driven out of selfishness.  Just as Adam chose to disobey God, so do we choose to disobey God.  This sin makes a separation between you and God (Isaiah 59.2).  WE forgive in recognition that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).

We must recognize that just as we needed forgiveness, so do others around us.  We cannot hold ourselves to one standard, and hold all others to another.  We are all in the same boat, as it were.  If we have been forgiven, of all that we have done. Forgiveness that includes the sin that was on us from generations past, and those of our own seeking.  In recognizing then, we are truly and completely clean of sin, and that we could not have cleansed ourselves no more than a pig can clean itself in the pen.  Knowing that we did not earn this cleansing by our own merit, because we cannot be good enough.  We cannot be good enough because even at our best, we are still in sin from Adam.  We have come to the understanding that without this forgiveness our sin is punishable by death. (Romans 5:12).

Even though we deserve the death penalty, we have been forgiven of all sin in Jesus Christ our Lord.  This was a gift from the Father, and is witnesses in the sealing of the Holy Spirit.  Through this grace, we have been justified by God, in the faith we have in Jesus.  (Galatians 3:11). In having a true understanding of this in our hearts, we cannot approach the Lord with our petitions if we are holding something against another.

To be unforgiving, especially after we received such a gift ourselves, is hypocrisy. This attitude is contrary to the heart of God, who wishes that all should come to repentance and not die (2 Peter 3:8-10).  Jesus himself said that you come to the altar and remember that someone has something against you, or it you have something against someone else; leave the altar.  Jesus said, leave your gift where it is and make things right between you and them.  Once you have addressed the issue with whom you have offended or who has offended you, then come back to the altar.  With a clean heart, offer your gift.  Do not offer a vain gift to the Lord.

We must come to the Lord with the right heart, motivated by love and gratitude.  We cannot hold animosity.  To hold animosity means that we have judges ourselves to be more important than someone else.  We think too highly of ourselves in thinking that we deserve forgiveness but someone else does not.  In truth, no one DESERVES forgiveness, not you, not I.  Hypocrisy is as it’s heights in an unforgiving Christian. In fear and understanding, we humble ourselves before God.  We recognize that we needed his forgiveness, and so do others.  How can we who have been forgiven, not forgive other?  You may say, but I have not done the terrible things that they did to me, or to so and so.  That is not true.  Your sin had someone else tortured.  Your sin caused a mother to lose her child.  In fact she watched him being tortured, and beaten, and mocked.  She watched him shamed in public, and stung up to die.  Your sin caused a man to die.  How much worse can someone else do, then to kill someone either by malice of forethought or even by happenstance?

Forgiveness also does some other things.  Forgiveness sets the one who was wronged free from anger and resentment.  Forgiveness relieves victimization.  Forgiveness gives one the chance to renew their life.  Forgiveness causes a person to be stuck in the offence.  Forgiveness also reveals the nature of our own heart.  In order to love God with our whole heart, we must be able to love one another.  We are incapable of loving one another without being able to forgive one another.

And lead us not into temptation…

Part of this salvation provided by the Lord is Justification, which we covered already.  Now we move into the next portion, that of Sanctification.  Justification happened when we first believed on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Justification is passed to us through faith in the gospel message concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  God sees our faith in Jesus and is pleased with this faith.  We are then given a legal righteousness imputed to us for all time, which delivers us from the penalty of sin.

Sanctification is a present experiential or progressive work performed in us by the Holy Spirit, keeping us holy until the final phase of salvation.  Sanctification is then a process of spiritual growth in the Christian life where we are delivered from the power of sin in daily life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Looking again at this portion of the prayer recorded in Luke 11 where is says, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”, in this context, we see a great hope in living for Christ in our daily lives.  This is not some vain wish or aspiration, but; a real living hope!  This is voicing and expectation in dependency.  This statement gives recognition that we are dependent upon the very Spirit of God not only as a provider, but as a protector.

This is pleas has specific connotations. I am sure that you recall, if you have had a child, or know someone who has a toddler.  When the child gets old enough to walk, but not old enough to know better, which for some of us can last until the 40s. (LOL) The very safe environment of the family home can become a living hazard to the exploring babe.  A parent must safeguard the environment with outlet covers, door latches, and the sort.  Even then with all of those precautions, a parent must be ever vigilant for where the child is and what they are doing, especially if they are to quiet.  The attentive parent must from time to time, correct or avert the attention of the young one from things that may cause them harm.

This is the plea made here.  God keep a watch out for me God!  Keep me from the things that would harm me.  Even if I really think I want them.  Protect me not only from the temptation out there that is in this sinful age, but also from the lure to sin that I create in myself.  Don’t let me sin against you, safeguard me!  We must also realize that we are in a real spiritual battle.

There is a war going on in the spiritual realm.  In that realm, just as there are angels that are aligned with the Heavenly Father, there are fallen angels who fight against his will.  These fallen angels, known as demons, have a leader we know by the name of Satan, the devil, the Evil One. They make war against the lamb of God, Jesus. Since you are in the will of God and in the family of God the enemy will make war against you.

This evil is real and is powerful. Alone we cannot stand against such power.  However, our God is all-powerful, and in Him, we can stand against the Devil and his demons.  You see God is our salvation, and our protector from this present age and all the evil that it contains.  There is no enemy that can stand against us, because we can call on the name of Jesus.  This prayer is a seeking of the will of God in our lives.  Jesus then says in his model of prayer, that we should seek first the kingdom of heaven.

We should seek to do what is the will of God the Father in recognition of who He is, and what he had provided for us.  We must never forget that He did these things because of His great love for us as mankind and as individuals. We glorify Him, but in actuality we do this because He has glorified us first.  Not only that there is a future glorification to come that we cannot understand.

The final stage of salvation is glorification.  For a lot of us this happens when we die.  But there are some of us who may yet see the rapture of the church.  I say this because we are in the last days, and he is standing at the door ready to open it wide.  In this final glorification we will put on immortality.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:53-55 KJV).

Death shall be finally defeated.  We will have moral perfection and a resurrected body.  This is a promise made by God and this promise will be deliverance from the presence of sin.  You see we will be in the presence of God himself, and sin cannot enter into His presence.  There are allot more things that can be written, concerning this prayer.  I think to answer the question, is there more to this prayer than just being a model for prayer can be answered with a loud, resounding “YES!”  Thanks God! YES!