Before I start my ramblings today I want to share a story about how God shows himself to us and gives us exactly what we need when we need it. Three months ago today we laid my sweet daddy’s earthly body to rest right next to my momma. Yesterday I received a call from the cemetery saying that my dad’s marker had been placed. I had not been to the cemetery since the day of the funeral so today I decided to go out and see the marker. As I was driving to the cemetery I was thinking about the day of my dad’s funeral and the days before that when he lay unresponsive in his bed while my sister, brother, and I surrounded him, held his hands, and talked to him telling him it was OK to go and be with mom that we would be OK. I knew I was going to cry when I got to the cemetery, I was already starting in the car.
As I turned onto the little road that leads to the cemetery a song came on the radio, I realized that it was the exact same song that came on the morning I was on my way to be with my dad the day he passed away. The song that I have come to associate with my dad’s passing and God’s way of telling me that it was time for my dad to come Home; Building 429’s “Where I Belong” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMbZF5nkdss). The song says “All I know is not I’m not home yet, this is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus, this is not where I belong” I knew that morning that this song was meant for me and was meant to let me know that my sweet daddy was heading to where he belonged. So, I believe that hearing that song on the way into the cemetery today was God’s way of reminding me that my daddy was not at that cemetery, My daddy is with Him, right where he belongs. So I got out of my car with tears rolling down my cheeks and the chorus of the song in my head. I found my momma and daddy’s grave and saw his marker and the tears flowed, not for my dad but for me because I miss them both so much. I spent a little alone time just sitting and thinking and crying. The chorus of the song never left my head. After a few minutes I left, I got in my car and when I turned it on I was blessed to hear on the radio MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII) and I smiled because that song has always made me think of my momma and her reaction to Jesus when she arrived in Heaven and now I imagined my dad’s reaction to Jesus when he arrived and my mom and dad’s reunion as well. I again felt that this song greeted me for a reason, that God was telling me about the great rejoicing that took place in heaven when my dad arrived. I immediately thought about the picture we chose for the front of my dad’s memorial cards and I pictured Jesus hugging my dad and welcoming him Home while my momma anxiously awaited her turn to greet him. Fresh new tears began rolling down my cheeks but this time they were tears of joy.
Ok, on to what I feel has been laid on my heart to write about today. This desire to learn more and dig deeper into God’s word has made me feel almost like a brand new Christian, I feel like I have sort of hit a restart button on my faith, it used to be I would think about or question something and just figure out my own interpretation of the answer or pawn it off as one of those great mysteries that would never be solved until I could talk to God and ask Him. Well, last night my husband and I went to church, this is the first time I have been since I hit that restart button, and I was looking forward to the sermon. I was ready to write down any of the verses the pastor mentioned and then look them up in my Bible and find the life application to go with those verses, I was all set to learn more about the Bible. So the pastor begins his sermon and he starts talking about Biblical worldview vs a “regular” worldview. He started talking about how a biblical worldview was very different than today’s cultural worldview. I knew that, and then he started talking about those differences and I began to get a little worried. I began to realize that my current worldview falls more inline with today’s cultural worldview instead of more inline with the Biblical worldview. This concerned and confused me, was I a hypocrite? Here I am writing about living and obeying God’s word and then come to find out I’m not even doing a good job of it myself, and worse yet… I thought I was! I mean I don’t condone cussing and drinking and all that kind of stuff. Ask any of my kids, they will tell you, that even at 25, 22, and almost 20 years old, I still tell them to watch their mouth and I do not condone a lot of drinking. Having a drink every now and again is not a big deal but drunkenness is different.
I sat in church thinking those are different than the big moral issues facing our country and our world and my view on those issues. This made me start thinking about what does it take then to really be a Christian? What does the Bible say I need to do in order be a good Christian? I also started thinking about the fact that my husband and I have had many conversations regarding some controversial issues and what the Bible says about them. I have even gone so far as to question whether or not somewhere along the way, through the thousands and thousands of translations of the Bible that have taken place that maybe somewhere along the way, man decided to add in their own feelings about certain subjects that they were uncomfortable with. I mean the Bible is the word of God but God Himself didn’t physically write the words, man did and while God is perfect, man is nowhere near it, so isn’t it possible that there could be some bias in there somewhere? Maybe somewhere along the line someone got confused about a certain word to translate and just did the best they could?
I knew that this was not something I would get a clear cut answer on so I decided that I would just do my best to trust God and try to line my views up with His because He is the only one who knows the answer. I thought I was done with this because there was no real way for me to find an answer.
This morning I wake up all ready and excited to jump into day 2 of my reading plan for being a confident leader for my upcoming Bible study. So I take out my iPad and I read the verses for today and the devotional, which was great. Then I pull out my Life Application Bible and look up the verses so I can read the application part. As I am reading John 15:1-11 (my assigned passage for my reading plan) I start reading the application parts about Jesus being the vine, God the gardener, and us the branches - John 15:5 kind of stands out to me - it says “I am the vine; you are the branches, if you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing. I read the passage and am reading the application parts and it tells me what it means to “remain in Christ, things like believing that He is the Son of God, receiving Him as my savior and Lord, doing what God says, continuing to believe in the gospel, and relating in love to the community of believers.
The notes also then go on to tell me that Galatians 5:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:5-8 also describe additional qualities of Christian character. I think to myself that this could be part of what I was thinking and wondering about last night – what exactly do I need to be doing in order to be a good Christian? So I looked up both of those verses and they were good but not exactly what I was thinking they would be, they were very similar to John 15:5. I flipped to the front of 2 Peter and read the life application introduction that said this was Peter’s final letter before he was killed for his faith and that it was a letter of warning about different things including false teachers, and shortsightedness in the Christian life. It said that this letter was addressed “To those who, through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, have received a faith as precious as ours” (2 Peter 1:1) and that the letter, even though was written a very long time ago could be a letter written to modern day Christians because the warnings were the same. From this introduction I decided to go back and read the entire book of 2 Peter. As I was reading I came across the following verse and immediately felt like I had received an answer to my concern about the Bible translations and someone getting it wrong along the way –
2 Peter 1:20-21 says “Above all you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Now I know that this verse is talking about prophets and the words of prophets but the concern is the same. People back then could have been concerned that the prophets were putting their own “spin” on things, just like I was concerned about the people translating the Bible including their own bias, but this verse spoke to my heart and made me realize that not only were the prophets carried along by the Holy Spirit but the translators of the Bible must have been as well. God knew that the Bible would be considered his word so surely He would use the Holy Spirit to carry those who were writing and translating it.
Father God, please help me to change my worldview from that which is culturally popular to that which aligns with Your word. Help me to separate myself from the popular view and surround myself in the Your word and to live my life as an example of Your love.
In Jesus Holy name