Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why No Answers When We Pray?

(Isaiah 59:1-2)

(outline by Pastor George Ragsdale)

I. Asking amiss (with wrong motives)
A. James 4:3
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

B. 1 John 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that HE hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.

II. Selfishness
A. James 4:3
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss (wrong motives), that ye may consume (spend) it upon your lusts (pleasures).

III. Unbelief
A. Mark 11:24
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

IV. Discord with spouse
A. 1 Peter 3:7
…that your prayers be not hindered.

V. Hypocrisy
A. Matthew 6:5
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

VI. Sin: living an unrighteous life
A. Psalm 34:15-17
15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

VII. Ingratitude
A. Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing (don’t be anxious about anything): but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

A. “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” (Psalm 5:1-3)

B. “Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” (Psalm 42:8)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Obsolete, archaic language in the KJV

The King James Version Bible was written in Early Modern English, which was used from the late 1400's till about 1650.

The KJV is the first Bible I ever read cover-to-cover. I started reading it in 5th or 6th grade on my own at home. It confused me when it talked about "divers places." I didn't know why the Bible was talking about SCUBA divers. Many years later, I learned that was the Early Modern English spelling for "diverse."

The KJV is still the most poetic version, IMO. However, it uses archaic words that we no longer use today, as well as words that mean something different today. There are many words in the KJV today that do not convey the meaning to the modern reader that the original writers intended to express. When the KJV came out in 1611, it was sixteenth century English at its best. Through the years many words and expressions have become ambiguous or misleading.

Those who state that the KJV is the 'only' acceptable version of the Bible apparently ignore the fact that there are many translations in different languages around the world other than in English. If the KJV is the only acceptable version, then we need to burn all those translations in other languages that were translated by missionaries, etc., and let all those other people who don't speak English go without a Bible in their own language. Not to mention that Jesus did not speak King James English.

Here is a list of some of the archaic words used in the KJV and what those words really mean:

The word ADMIRE, or ADMIRATION, was used in 1611 to denote wonder or astonishment, without any implication of praise or approval. That is why John in Rev. 17:6 looks at the great Whore, which is the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and “wondered with great admiration.” Of course, John did not admire this wicked woman, but he was amazed and wondered. The NIV says,” I was greatly astonished.” The KJV conveys the wrong meaning here and in other places where these words are used.

AFFINITY means nearness of kin or mutual attraction today. The Hebrew word translated “affinity” by the KJV means, “relationship by marriage, especially by a father and a son-in-law.” In 2 Chronicles 18:1 Jehoshaphat “joined affinity with Ahab.” In Ezra 9:14 the KJV says, “Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations.” The NASB says “intermarry” or “allied himself by marriage.” The reader of the KJV will miss part of the meaning in these verses while the NASB makes it clear.

AGAINST today means opposite or confronting. Notice how it is used in the KJV. In Genesis 43:25, “against Joseph came” and Exodus 7:15 it says, “against he come” and in II Kings 16:11, “against king Ahaz came.” In Numbers 25:4 it says, “Take the heads of the people and hang them up before the LORD against the sun.” Over and over the KJV uses the word “against” when another word would give a clearer meaning for the modern reader. The NIV and the NASB usually say “for” or “before” in these passages.

AGONE is an outdated word for “ago.” In I Samuel the Egyptian said, “Three days agone I fell sick.”(30:13) The NASB says, “I fell sick three days ago.”

ALLEGE today means merely to assert. In the sixteenth century it meant to produce evidence and to prove. In Acts 17, Paul for three Sabbaths reasoned with the Jews out of the Scriptures. Verse 3 says, “Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.” Does anyone believe that Paul only asserted but did not prove and give evidence for what he said? The NASB says, “Explaining and giving evidence.”

ALWAY appears 23 times in the KJV and “always” 62 times. Today we always add the “s.” In Titus 1:12 Paul said, “The Cretians are alway liars.” Matthew 28:20 says, “Lo, I am with you alway.”

ANGLE meant “fishhook” to the KJV translators. “All they who cast angle into the brooks” means “all those who cast a hook into the Nile.” (Isa. 19:8 NIV) The KJV turned around and translated the same word as “hook” in Job 41:1. “Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?”

ANON means “soon” or “presently” in my dictionary today. The Greek word translated “anon” means “immediately” or “straightway.” The KJV can be misleading here. For example, in Mark 1:30, when Jesus entered Peter’s house they immediately tell Him about the sick mother-in-law. However, the KJV says that “anon” they told Him. This makes it sound like they waited awhile. The stony ground hearer, in the parable of the sower, heard the word and “anon with joy receiveth it.” (Matt. 13:20-21) The Greek says he received it immediately while the KJV makes it sound like he might have waited awhile. I realize this is no big deal. But the point I want to make is that throughout the KJV, in small things as well as the big, the reader is being misled.

APOTHECARY appears six times in the KJV. The word means one who prepares and sells drugs for medicine. However, the Hebrew word means “perfumer.” The NASB always says “perfumer.”

ARMHOLE is used for “armpit” in the KJV. In Ezekiel 13:18 it says, “Sew pillows to all armholes.” In Jeremiah 38:12 it says, “Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords.” The NASB says, “Now put these worn-out clothes and rags under your armpits under the ropes.” Anyone can see that “armpit” is better than “armhole.” I am not sure what an “armhole” is, unless it is a hole in your arm.

AT is used in an obsolete way in Exodus 19:15. It says, “Come not at your wives.” Numbers 6:6 tells the nazarite, “he shall come at no dead body.” The Hebrew means don’t come near your wives or near any dead body. I give only two examples here, but many times the KJV uses “at” in the obsolete sense.

AWAY WITH is an old expression used in Isaiah 1:13. “I cannot away with.” The Hebrew means tolerate or endure. The NASB says, “I cannot endure.” This expression, which we never use today, makes it harder for the reader to see that God cannot endure false religion.

BAKEMEATS is used in Genesis 40:17, where the chief baker was carrying “all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh.” This simply means all sorts of food prepared by a baker, (which usually contained no meat). It has little to do with the modern conception of baked meats.

BEAST is used in the KJV as a general term for all living creatures other than man. The word “animal” is not used in the KJV. The word “reptile” does not appear, since it is was not in current use then. The word “beast” is used in the book of Revelation to refer to the holy living creatures around the throne of God. (4:6,7,8) Remarkably, the same word is used to refer to the wicked “beast” that rises out of the sea, and the “beast” that rises out of the bottomless pit. (13:1,11; 17:8) There are two different Greek words used in these passages. One means “living creatures” and the other means “wild beasts.” The KJV makes no distinction. The NASB does.

BESOM is an outdated word for broom. In Isaiah 14:23, God says of Babylon, “I will sweep it with the besom of destruction.”

BETHINK THEMSELVES is used in I Kings 8:47, “Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land.” The NASB says, “If they take thought in the land.”

BETIMES means early or in time. However, the Hebrew word the KJV translates as “betimes” actually means diligent or persistent. In II Chronicles 36:15 when the Lord sent messengers “betimes,” it means He sent them persistently. In Proverbs 13:24 the KJV says chasten him “betimes.” It actually means to “discipline him diligently.” The reader should research every verse where the word is used before he assumes he knows the meaning of it.

BEWRAY is an obsolete word which meant to reveal or disclose. In Matthew 26:73, Peter was told, “thy speech bewrayeth thee.” The NIV says, “Your accent gives you away.” I believe “bewray” is used about four times in the KJV.

BLOW UP is used in the KJV sometimes instead of simply “blow.” In Psalm 81:3, it says, “Blow up the trumpet.” Today “blow up” means to explode or inflate.

BOLLED is used in the KJV in Exodus 9:31. It says “the flax was bolled.” The Hebrew word means bud or bloom. Of course, the NASB or the NIV brings this out.

BOTCH, as used by the KJV, is an archaic word that means boils or sores, as the “botch of Egypt”, etc.

BOWELS is used 28 times in the Old Testament. Sometimes the word is used literally as we would use it today. In II Samuel 20:10, Joab cut out the “bowels” of Amasa. The NASB says, “inward parts,” which sounds better. Also, the KJV uses the word “bowels” to denote the womb and the male organs. This can be mis-leading. In about 10 instances the word “bowels” is used for feelings and emotions. Examples: “My bowels are troubled.” (Lam. 1:20) “My bowels were moved for him.” (S.S. 5:4) The KJV says of Joseph that “his bowels did yearn upon his brother.” (Gen. 43:30) In eight passages in the New Testament the KJV uses “bowels” in the sense of affection or compassion. The Greek word does not refer to the intestines specifically, but to the “inward parts.” It is much like the word for heart, which can mean your blood pump, or it can mean “inward affection” or “sincere emotion” (As, “I love you with all my heart.”) In the English language of 1611, both “bowels” and “heart” had this double reference to physical organs and to emotions of which these organs were supposed to be the seat. Today only the word “heart” retains the double meaning. When Paul tells the Philippians that he longs for them “in bowels of Jesus Christ” (1:8), he means the affections of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 3:12, Paul talks about “bowels of mercies.” In I John 3:17 the KJV says, “shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him.” The book of Philemon uses “bowels” about three times. This book will mean more if you put “heart” in the place of “bowels.” In fact, most passages where the word “bowels” is used, will mean more if you will read them in the NIV or the NASB. The word “bowels” was a good word in 1611, but I would not recommend that you use it in polite society today. It is a very crude word now. It should be updated.

BULLOCK is used today only of bulls that have been castrated. In the KJV the word means a young bull. To use the word “bullock” today is a blatant mistranslation because the word means something different than it did in 1611. The Bible says the bull had to be without blemish to be offered to the Lord.

CARE, CAREFULNESS, CAREFUL are words that can be misunderstood by the readers of the KJV. They appear in the sense of anxiety or worry. Martha was “careful and troubled about many things.” (Luke 10:41) This means she was worried and upset. Paul told the Corinthians, “I would have you without carefulness.” (I Cor. 7:32) This means that Paul wanted them free from worry or anxiety. God does not want His children to worry. (Phil. 4:6 NASB) The reader can miss some blessings unless he refers to another version where these obsolete words are not used.

CARRIAGE in the KJV means that which is carried. Today it means a vehicle by which persons or things are carried, such as a horse and carriage. Some may read, “we took up our carriages and went to Jerusalem.”(Acts 21:15) and not understand the actual meaning, “that they took up their baggage.”

CERTIFY today means to attest or declare by a formal or legal certificate. The KJV uses the word “certify” when the meaning is simply to tell or to make known. Examples: “Esther certified the king thereof.” (Esther 2:22) In Galatians 1:11, Paul says, “I certify you brethren.” In neither case is there any implication of formal attestation. The Greek means “to make known” or “I would have you to know.”

CHOLER is an outdated word that once meant anger. In Daniel 8:7, “He was moved with choler.” In 11:11, “The king of the south shall be moved with choler.” The Hebrew word means he was enraged or moved with anger. We do not use the old word “choler” today. If you did, no one would know what you meant.

CLOSET is used several times in the KJV. The word once meant a private room but this is not the meaning today. Sometimes the KJV translators use “chamber” for the same word. The Greek word for “closet” means private room or storeroom. “Closet” is ambiguous in Matthew 6:6, where it says, “enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” The reader is misled in all other places where the word closet is used.

COLLEGE is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word which means the second quarter or district. The KJV says Huldah the prophetess “dwelt in Jerusalem in the college.” (II Kings 22:14; II Chron. 34:22) The NIV says, “in the Second District.”

(the above information is from HERE)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knowing God

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3)

"Unless God is revealed to us through personal experience, we can never really know God. Most of us know about God, but that is quite different from really knowing God. We learn about God through the agencies of the church, the Sunday School, the youth activities, the worship services. Many people stop in their quest for God at this point. It is one thing to be introduced to a person, but quite another thing to know Him personally." ("Day-By-Day with Billy Graham," Jan. 14 entry, published by World Wide Publications, copyright 1976 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.)

"Christianity has at its core a transaction between a person and God. A person who becomes a Christian moves from knowing about God distantly to knowing about him directly and intimately. Christianity is knowing God." (Tim Keller, How Can I Know God?)

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three broken but powerful, living tools of God

Bethany Hamilton, Nick Vujicic, and Joni Eareckson Tada:

-All three have extreme physical handicaps.

Bethany Hamilton lost an arm due to a shark attack while surfing as a teenager.

Nick Vujicic was born without limbs.

Joni Eareckson Tada was paralyzed from the neck down during a diving accident as a teenager.

-All three have ministries where they have inspired, helped and motivated millions world-wide.

-All three have strong faith in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

-And none of them would have the powerful, moving, inspiring, motivating testimonies, ministries to others, and global impact that they have, if not for their extreme disabilities.

‎"Having one arm is the way He uses me." (Bethany Hamilton)

"The challenges in our lives are there to STRENGTHEN our CONVICTIONS. They are NOT there to run us over." (Nick Vujicic)

"Most of the verses written about praise in God's Word were voiced by people faced with crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other difficult situations." (Joni Eareckson Tada)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nick Vujicic: Born without limbs

Nick Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia with the rare Tetra-amelia disorder: limbless, missing both arms at shoulder level, and having one small foot with two toes protruding from his left thigh.

His life was filled with difficulties and hardships. One was not being able to attend a mainstream school because of his physical disability, as the law of Australia required, even though he was not mentally impaired. During his schooling, the laws were changed, and Nick was one of the first disabled students to be migrated to a mainstream school. He learned to write using the two toes on his left "foot," and a special device that slid onto his big toe to grip. He also learned to use a computer and type using the "heel and toe" method, as well as learning to do basic things such as throwing a tennis ball, answering the phone, shaving and get a glass of water.

Being bullied at his school, Nick grew extremely depressed, and by the age of eight, started contemplating suicide. After begging God to grow arms and legs, Nick eventually began to realize that his accomplishments were inspirational to many, and began to thank God he was alive. A key turning point in his life was when his mother showed him a newspaper article about a man dealing with severe disability. This led him to realize he wasn't the only one with major struggles.

Nick graduated from college at the age of 21 with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning.

Nick Vujicic - Fully living for Jesus Christ (Part 1 of 4)

Nick Vujicic - Fully living for Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 4)

Nick Vujicic - Fully living for Jesus Christ (Part 3 of 4)

Nick Vujicic - Fully living for Jesus Christ (Part 4 of 4)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution

"For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are You a Good Person?

Once again, I have not posted in a few months, largely because I've been busy. Hopefully, I will be posting more often in the near future. In any case, I ran across a well-made cartoon video which I wanted to share, so here it is:

Are You a Good Person?

Bulgarian subtitles (Добър човек ли сте?)

Italian subtitles (Sei una brava persona?)

Korean subtitles

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Witnessing and Discipleship

OK, so I have not posted any new articles in the last five months. I have been very busy, and financial situations and working long hours have been much of the reason that I have not posted anything new in quite a while.

Anyway, I wanted to attempt to address what I believe are two big problems in the Christian church today: (1) the lack of a desire for personal evangelism, and (2) the lack of discipling new believers.

The first point I just want to touch on briefly. It seems that most Christians (at least American Christians) are more interested in going to Christian concerts, or going to a “healing service,” or reading books on how God is going to prosper them and make them happier, than they are about the fact that people are dying and going to Hell every day.

A while back, I sent emails to the Pastors of all the churches in the area that I could find an email for, asking them if there was anyone at their church that I could go out witnessing with. Only one church answered me back, and that Pastor merely forwarded my email to the Youth Pastor. I ended up meeting with the Youth Pastor, and basically, he told me they already had a ‘youth evangelism’ program at their church, where they would invite young people to their church to play games, etc., and if I wanted to go out on the streets and do evangelism, I needed to go back to my own church and talk to my own Pastor about that. So, in other words, none of the churches in the area that I contacted were interested in going out soul winning with me.

A friend of mine (that I used to go witnessing with) would go various places to witness to people, and, though he would ask people in his church to go with him, usually the only one who would go with him was his dad.

Another friend of mine goes with his wife every week (at a time when I’m working) to join with members of a certain local church to go witnessing to people downtown. Though the church has something like 1,000 or more members, only about 3-8 people from that church go downtown to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only three to eight people, out of more than a thousand? That is only a tiny percentage!

“…according to Zondervan Church Source, 97 percent of church members have no involvement in any sort of evangelism. A survey by Christianity Today found that only 1 percent of their readership had witnessed to someone “recently.” Does anything strike you as being wrong with this picture? This does not sound like the people I read about in the New Testament who had so much zeal that they were willing to die for our Lord.” (p. 55, “One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven,” by Mark Cahill.)

So, the first problem is that most American Christians are too involved with worldly issues; too interested in their own comfort, pleasure, wealth, luxury and materialism; too self-absorbed and selfishly interested in their own health and wealth to be overly concerned about the fact that most people in the world are on their way to Hell. They are willing to sit in a pew at their church for an hour to be entertained, but that is all.

The next problem goes one step beyond that.

The Bible says, "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

Notice that it doesn’t say, “Go and make converts,” but instead, “Go and make disciples.” The extremely small percentage of American Christians who are willing to go out and witness to the lost usually end up handing out gospel tracts, or standing on a corner and do street-preaching. They may talk to one or more persons for a short while. And they may even lead that person in a “prayer of salvation.” But after that, the person is usually left on their own.

If someone is led to Christ, they become ‘born again,’ as Jesus said in John 3:3. They become a brand new creation, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says. But if a mother has a baby, and she merely lays that baby down in the street somewhere and leaves it, how likely is it that the baby is going to survive on its own? Now, when a person surrenders their life to Christ so that their life is drastically transformed, God the Holy Spirit comes to live inside that person, and becomes a Guide and a Comforter and a Teacher for that person. So, indeed, a new Christian does have the Holy Spirit to help them. Nevertheless, God did not mean for Christians to lead someone to Christ and then just leave them. That’s why Matthew 28 says “go and make disciples.

If someone comes up to a professional artist and asks the artist, “How can I become an artist?” and the artist merely presents to that person the concept of how to paint a picture, a mere explanation like that is not going to help that person very much. He may try painting or drawing a few times and might get discouraged, since he has not had any training or support to be successful. On the other hand, if that professional artist takes the person “under his wing” as an apprentice, he will teach that person all he knows and give that person practical on-the-job training.

So the same is largely true of a brand new Christian. A well-meaning person may have given him a tract and explained the concept of getting saved. He may have even led him in the ‘Sinner’s Prayer,’ and then left. How successful will the new Christian be in his spiritual growth? He may even go to a church a few times but then may get discouraged and quit. What is missing? The answer: Discipleship. The soul winner should have invested much more time with the new Christian, invited him to a Bible Study, offered his phone number or email to answer any questions, invited him over to his house, etc., until that ‘baby Christian’ had matured. The soul winner should have helped him find a good church or invited him to his own church, and even made sure he had a way to get to the church. He should have sat with him in church, answered any questions the new Christian might have about the service, make sure he is enrolled in any discipleship class the church has (and, if the church does not have any discipleship class for new Christians, then one should be started), visited with him later or given him a phone call during the week, and made him feel welcome, loved and cared about.

Soul winning is more than just a numbers game. It has to do with the eternal future of a human being. Will the person wind up in Heaven or Hell? The soul winner should give 100%, starting from leading the lost person to salvation, to preparing and teaching the new Christian to go out and be a soul winner himself.

This may come as a shock, but a drug dealer can provide an example of how to disciple someone. First the drug dealer makes his potential convert a friend. He spends time with him, shows the person his lifestyle and a good time. Soon he introduces the person to drugs---just a little at first. He teaches him how to use the drugs, and soon the person is hooked. When the drugs get too expensive for the person, the drug dealer teaches the person how to sell drugs, thus making the person a fully educated drug dealer himself. Of course, this is a negative example, but if this plan of friendship, habit and education can be used for evil, why can’t it be used for good as well?

If the soul winner would follow similar steps with evangelism (i.e., friendship, caring, utilizing habit/routine and education, accompanied with lots of prayer), it seems that we would then have a lot more Christian soul winners, as well as full churches.