My Best Bible Study Idea Ever!

I just had a Bible study idea, and I’m kind of excited about it, so I thought I would share it with you.

I thought it would be helpful to have a Bible on file that I could directly type my questions, research, and thoughts into. Right now, I’m writing in the margins sometimes, but there just isn’t enough room, and I don’t always keep a pen handy, lol.

I think it would be neat to keep it digitally instead of in a hard copy so that I can update it year after year, as I learn new things or find better research.

I looked for DOC files of the Bible for download and only found the NIV. I prefer more literal translations, so I’m just going to go to Bible Gateway every time I start a new chapter and copy and paste it into a new file.

I’m going to bold print all of the scripture, and then when I make notes in it (right in between the verses), I’m going to normalize the text that I type.

I figured it would also be interesting to copy/paste other translations sometimes, or the original Hebrew or Greek, or Strong’s Concordance notes, etc. Pictures would even be helpful sometimes! There are just so many cool things a person could do!

If several of us decide to do this, maybe we can compare notes someday. 

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8 False Assumptions about Torah-Observant Believers

torah-89074_1280Some of these were my own knee-jerk assumptions when I found out that my dad had become Torah-observant. Others are remarks that I have received from others who thought they knew what I believed before they looked into it for themselves. ALL of my friends who have since looked into it have realized that I am not a heretic. Some of them have come to the understanding that living by God’s instructions cannot possibly be bad for us. Others still believe that I am holding myself to an unnecessary, burdensome standard. I urge you to look into these matters and decide for yourself.

False Assumption #1. You are relying on works for salvation.

No. No I’m not. My salvation is 100% dependent on the fact that Christ lived a perfect life and died for my sins. In fact, I have never met a single Torah-observant believer who thinks that salvation can be earned.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

#2. You place more value in the Old Testament than in the New.

Not true. I regard them equally. I believe that both testaments contain godly instructions for living that are applicable to all men.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

#3. You think you have secret knowledge.

The Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) contains the standards of righteousness given by God to His covenant people. These instructions make up the oldest religion in the world – the Father’s religion. These instructions have been available and accessible to everyone who grew up with a Bible in their home. Anyone who has ever read the Torah has read that it is a blessing because the Father says so Himself:

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16

#4. You are disrespecting Christ’s sacrifice.

By refraining from what He came to save us from (sin) and by following His righteous example?

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1, 2

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I John 2:6

#5. You think you are Jewish.

Not a member of the tribe of Judah specifically (a Jew), but part of Israel in general. All who enter into the marriage covenant (the members of the bride of Christ) are born again to become part of spiritual Israel. It doesn’t matter whether we were originally part of the lost 10 tribes that He came to restore, or whether we were strangers who have been adopted into the commonwealth of Israel. We are born again; we are grafted in (to Israel).

“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” Isaiah 56:6-8

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Ephesians 2:12

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” Romans 11:17, 18

#6. You think you are better than other Christians.

My obedience has nothing to do with other Christians and everything to do with pleasing God. Do you refrain from committing adultery because you are trying to earn your salvation or because you are trying to boast in righteousness? No. For the same reason that you choose to remain faithful to your spouse, I choose to remain faithful to my God. Love.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

#7. Your obedience to Torah makes you judgmental.

I insist that I am less judgmental than I have ever been. I realize that all Christians who are still eating bacon are doing so because they have no idea that the Father gave them good instructions and desires for them to choose physical life over death in the here and now (and not just eternal, spiritual life). I know they aren’t rebelling against God’s instructions on purpose because I used to be in the same boat. Using the same exact reasoning, I understand that homosexuals, fornicators, thieves, drunkards, false witnesses, and even those who are worshiping other gods have no idea that our Father loves them and has given them instructions for their own good.

“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

I think that most people have this idea that the Christian God makes up silly rules for no other reason than to control and restrict them. (This is the same image that mainstream Christians have of parts of the Torah that don’t make sense to them.)

Part of the reason that folks have this idea is because of the Pharisees, the Catholics, and other denominations over the years that have gone to great lengths to control and oppress the people through their mad-made restrictions, pronouncing eternal consequences upon the heads of the “heretics.” What they don’t understand is that God’s instructions have never been burdensome – only beneficial. The reason it’s so hard to correct this perception is because folks don’t read their Bibles with open eyes (if they even read them at all), and because they don’t trust the Old Testament enough to give His instructions a sporting chance (to discover that they are a blessing and easy to follow).

“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” I John 5:3

#8. You are behaving like the Pharisees.

Nope. Uh-uh. The Pharisees added and removed from the Torah, and this is the very reason that Jesus came down so hard on them. The Pharisees invented man-made restrictions in addition to God’s perfect instructions and created loopholes in some of God’s instructions that they didn’t want to keep. Jesus kept His FATHER’S instructions perfectly and openly rebelled against man-made traditions. This is precisely what I seek to do in my own life (although I am not brave enough to be so open in my rebellion against the man, lol).

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:13

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23

 

God Loves to Redeem

This is my God. He is all about redemption. If you are in any kind of bondage, it would be His great pleasure to rescue you.

“I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn,” Isaiah 57:18 NLT

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.” Isaiah 57:18 KJV

Can you see with your eyes and hear with your ears?

I know we have been trained to disassociate ourselves from Israel, but many of us, possibly even most of us (all of us?) belong to one of the lost 10 tribes that never returned from Assyrian captivity. We have been scattered among the nations, but now we are waking up. The Father is drawing us back to Him and His life-giving ways. We are the prodigal son, stirring ourselves, coming to our senses after a deep sleep.

So it’s kind of jarring when we realize that the following passage is being directed at us, you and me, and that it applies to us right now, in 2018, and not only to some long, lost nation that existed thousands of years ago that we don’t even associate ourselves with:

“Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:”

Jeremiah 5:21

Not Real Good with Words

Full Circle Homeschooling

The young man on my porch stammered as he tried to think of a way to begin a conversation. Finally, he just said, “I’m not real good with words…I just thought you might like to see this.” He handed me a DVD and walked away. As I turned the homemade disc over to read the writing, I saw that it was about the Bible. The DVD was the young man’s way of letting me know about Christ. I was struck by his willingness to obey God in spite of his perceived limitations. How many times have I shied away from witnessing to someone for the fear of not knowing all the answers? How many times have I refused to play the piano or sing in church for fear of messing up? How many lives might I have touched if only I were more sensitive to the prompting of the Holy…

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How Do You Personally Decide Which Doctrines Are Biblically Sound?

Take the poll, and then come back here for discussion.

For even more discussion, hop over to my FaceBook page.

Note: I tried to word the poll in a way that would apply to all people who have ever heard of the Bible, regardless of their opinions about it. I’m not asking which doctrines you believe are true (if any), or even if you think the Bible is true. I merely want to know how you decide if a doctrine is established by the writers of the Bible.

On a second line of thought,  do you think there are any doctrines that are suggested in one or two places in the Bible, yet are not upheld by the whole Bible? I am asking this question, not only of those who do not believe in the inerrant Word, but of those who are confused by a few [seemingly] contradictory passages.

Personally, I believe there are perfectly logical answers to clear up any confusion or so-called contradictions, but we may have to lay aside some commonly-held doctrines to remove the veil of darkness that disables us from seeing what should be the clear truth of the matter.

If a Sinner Can’t Be Saved, then Who Is Salvation for, Anyway?

If God’s instructions are obsolete, then Vicky Beeching is not trespassing them.

1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

Romans 4:15 “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.”

Christ came and sacrificed His life, because without Him paying the death penalty in my behalf, the curse of the Law would still very much be hanging over my head.

And you know what? The Law no longer hangs over Vicky’s head either, if she is a Redeemed person. And a Redeemed person is not a perfect one. By its very definition, a Redeemed person deserves the death penalty.

All men have sold themselves to sin (and death by extension). At some point, all Christians have realized their inability to get themselves out of that sin debt, and have put their faith in Christ who has purchased their eternal life back for them (in accordance with the blessings of the Law, which comes through obedience – not the individual Christian’s obedience, but Christ’s obedience).

Vicky most likely loves the Lord but doesn’t quite understand that He wants what’s best for her. She doesn’t quite understand that God’s instructions were given to her for her benefit, to keep her healthy, and to give her an abundant life in the here and now – until we enter the world to come. She doesn’t quite understand how to please Him, because if she did, she probably would. In fact, most Christians I know don’t know what exactly the Father wants, but if they did, they would obey Him in a heartbeat – at any cost.

But is it really any wonder that she doesn’t know better?

“Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” Ezekiel 22:26

Poor Vicky has been lied to by modern doctrine. The church no longer knows the true definition of sin, and satan has used the church to sell her (and everyone else) one big, fat lie. The lie that there is no standard for sin. The lie that if there ever was a standard for sin, our (unchanging) Father has changed His mind. The lie that the only thing He wants from us is to love the Father and our neighbor according to our OWN individual definitions of love and not God’s definition.

Well, Vicky is doing precisely what the church has taught her to do. She is loving people and God the way she thinks it’s okay to love. It’s not the correct way, but it’s all she knows. It’s really sad that she thinks that living in sin (by God’s definition) can in any way be good for her or be pleasing to the Father. But Vicky’s sin won’t prevent her from being Redeemed. (Not any more than a BLT will keep a Redeemed person out of the kingdom of God.)

So why worry about it then if she can get by with sin and still be Redeemed? Why even call sin out if a saved person can sin without losing her salvation? Well, what was the point of the Law to begin with? Surely God knew that none of us would keep it and earn our own eternal life. Surely He knew THAT from the very beginning. Surely He knew that Christ would have to live a perfect life and then die as our substitute. The truth is, He never expected anyone (except His own Son) to be able to keep it perfectly.

I can think of a few reasons why it was given.

1) Because they are HIS ways, and HIS people should want to know His righteousness.
2) Because He needed a standard by which to judge sin.
3) Because we needed a standard for meting out justice in the land of Israel (where God’s people ratified these Laws and agreed to live by them).
4) Because knowing what sin is helps us understand that we aren’t perfect – knowing what sin is helps us understand our need for a Savior.
5) Because children – immature believers (who don’t necessarily want to do what’s right) need instruction until they reach maturity (and now have the desire to do what’s right).
6) Because Christ’s sinless life was evidence to those around Him (and to those reading about Him) that He is the living Torah – the promised Redeemer who would do ALL His Father’s will.
7) Because God wanted us to know how to live happy, healthy lives. Remember, if we keep all of these instructions, they lead to eternal life. (That’s what Christ did FOR us.) So it follows then, that keeping as many as possible certainly lead to a more abundant life.

So what’s the big deal with sin? If I don’t believe that we will lose our salvation over it or that we can lose our ability to get saved over it, then why do I teach so much about the Law?

Because I want what God wants! And I know, that if you knew what He wanted, you would want that too! I want you to be happy and healthy, to understand that His ways are better, to understand that we ALL need a Redeemer, to stop pointing fingers at other sinners (who many times do not even know they are sinning). I want to see an increased desire among Christians to be part of the new covenant (in which He writes His Law on our hearts). I want holy spirit to give you the DESIRE to obey His righteousness.

So Vicky engages in homosexual activities. What’s going to happen to her? The wages of sin is death. Eternal death is what Christ came to Redeem us from. Eternal life is what He bought for us. This is the same life and death that the Father warned us about when He gave us His instructions. He said, do these things and live. If you rebel against my instructions, you will die. (If you don’t think it’s that simple, read Deuteronomy. Or read Genesis. The instructions to Adam are very similar and easy to understand.)

So what does this mean for Vicky? Instead of being excommunicated from the blood of Christ (which isn’t a thing), she will have other problems – health problems, emotional problems, hormonal problems – whatever it was that God was trying to prevent physically in our lives by instructing us not to commit homosexual acts, that’s what she’ll suffer from. If it’s true that the wages of sin is death, then somewhere, somehow, homosexuality works death in a person’s body. But don’t you dare forget that God is in the business of Redeeming us from eternal death. If He can redeem you from death by pork ingestion, He can redeem her from whatever death is at work in her body.

Maybe you think that Christ’s blood isn’t powerful enough to ransom a person who calls herself a homosexual? Or maybe you think she has to turn from her homosexuality before she can get saved? If that’s true, then God cannot save you either until you are willing to give up your bacon.

The fact is, salvation is not at all works-based. Read the book of Galatians. If we have to earn or maintain our salvation, then it is not a free gift. People sin. God saves.