7 Words

Is John 11:35 really the shortest verse in the Bible?350px-holy_bible-300x216

If you are familiar with the Bible I’m sure you’ve heard the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept” in John 11:35.

I had always thought that was the only verse in the Bible with only two words but recently learned that was not true. There is another verse with only two words.

You have to count characters to determine which is shortest. John 11:35 has two words and 10 characters. I Thessalonians 5:16 has two words and 14 characters.

So there you have it, John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible but you have to go to a character count tie-breaker for confirmation.

Contrasts are interesting

In addition to just the number of words I find the contrast in these two verses interesting.

In John 11:35 Jesus shows us He loved and felt grief just like we do. Lazarus, a close friend of His, had just died and a wave of grief just passed over Him like it does us when we grieve, so Jesus wept.

In I Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to “Rejoice always.” That seems to be in direct conflict or contrast with John 11:35, but is it really?

This does not mean to pray continuously but to pray persistently and consistently. Don’t just use prayer as a crutch or your “help line” when you have exhausted all of your own great, or not so great, ideas. Try it as a first resort. His ideas are greater than ours and prayer helps us learn what those are.

You Can Memorize Scripture

Three very short verses, seven words, and you thought you couldn’t memorize scripture. I am confident if you will just read these three verses a few more times you will have memorized three verses today.

7 Words Verses

 

God Does Not Do Coincidences

God does not do coincidences. He knew what He was doing when he inspired these verses as He did with all the other verses in the Bible. I am not an expositor of scripture and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I can draw a couple of thoughts from these three short verses of scripture that make sense to me.

As Christians, if we would practice praying without ceasing that would increase our chances of rejoicing always. If we rejoice always we will even be able to rejoice when a brother or sister in Christ leaves this world and takes up residence in their final home with Jesus. We know they are rejoicing and that helps us to rejoice. However we will also shed a few tears because we are sad they are no longer here with us and we do grieve.

In the end, as Christians, we do have the hope and promise we will see them again one day when we get home.

Do you share this hope?

If you don’t share this hope and would like to learn how you can visit Peace With God and satisfy your curiosity. What you learn there can allow you to begin rejoicing always. You just may be weeping for joy and praying without ceasing will become a real possibility.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 5/2/2015

Prayer and Politics

I have always heard and believed the old saying if you don’t vote then you have no right to complain when those elected don’t act in accordance with your beliefs. I still believe that but have come to a new understanding that goes a little deeper. I do vote whenever that privilege avails itself so I do maintain that “right” to complain.

My new understanding has come about over the past few weeks as I have tried to practice what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. There are many verses in the Bible that are hard for me to live by. In this sermon where Jesus says, “Love your enemies” and “pray for those who persecute you” those are some of the hardest.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love Your Enemies

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers,i what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This goes even deeper than the fact this will drive some of them crazy once they become aware you are doing so. Jesus sets a very high standard for us as Christians to aspire to. I fall short every day.

Prayer changes…

One thing I have learned about prayer over the years is it changes the person praying more than the one you are praying to. It is a little bit…ok…enormously presumptuous to think that I am going to change God’s mind about anything anyway. Prayer, if practiced regularly, will, however put my heart and mind more in sync with what God has in mind for me.

Meanwhile…back to my original topic

It has always been difficult to pray for those in leadership when I do not agree with their methods, decisions, or intentions as I understand them. I have prayed they would be removed or replaced but that is not what I am charged to do from God’s Word.

Recently, I have found a way to do this that has worked for me. Maybe I am a little slow to arrive at this truth but I am there now.

Here is how my prayer goes regarding those who God has placed in leadership roles over me.

Leaders Prayer

That’s it. It is pretty simple and yet it is sincere in that it is what I want our leaders to do. This is true regardless of whether it is a leader I happen to have voted for or agree with ideologically. I want all of those who represent us and are supposed to be leading us to make decisions based on the best interests of us. The fact I may disagree with their decisions and direction they are leading is irrelevant. It really is. That may be hard for some of you to believe but it is true.

It is possible my prayers could help change their hearts but it is far more likely mine will be changed.

Not Silent

However, this does not mean I will be a silent observer when I believe decisions being made by those same leaders are ill-advised or are motivated by their own self interests. I am praying for them to make wise decisions and hope they do but I will speak out and share my thoughts and opinions when I don’t believe they did. I will work within our political process to get them removed and replaced by those who will make wise decisions. That is just part of my responsibility to be a good citizen.

Prayer in the Public Square

Contrary to what many want us to believe prayer does have a place in the public square. It is the only way this government, which was designed to serve and protect the people, will work. Anything else will result in chaos or something worse.

English: I took photo with Canon camera.
English: I took photo with Canon camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

 

 

Will you join me in prayer?

Until next time…

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“…I will listen to you.” God

I was reminded of a scripture verse recently upon our son’s graduation from high school. I used it in my graduation letter to him as well as his sister two years prior but this reminder made me think it was worth sharing here too. You, the reader, will be the judge of that so let me know what you think.

My blog is named Peculiar Perspective because I often see life sort of sideways and I think this is another example of that perspective. I think there will be others to come in the future where the more well-known scripture reference is followed by a truth or promise that does not get as much exposure.

If you have any knowledge of the Bible or grew up in church as I did I am sure you have heard the verse often used at graduation time, Jeremiah 29:11 which says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

But how often have you paid attention to the next verse which I see as being just as profound? Jeremiah 29:12 says,

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” 

Not only does God know the plans He has for us, and those are very good by the way, but He reminds and promises us in the next verse when we get confused or begin to doubt His plan for our lives if we will only talk to Him, He will listen.

How awesome is that? The creator of the universe will listen to me? Yes He will…If you know Him.

If you have children don’t you want them to talk to you and won’t you listen if they do? God longs for us to talk to Him in the same way.

Do YOU know HIM? If so this is just a reminder He is waiting to listen if you will just come to Him and talk to Him in prayer. The most often way you will hear from Him is reading His love letter to you, the Bible. 350px-holy_bible

If you don’t know Him yet, take a look here at Peace With God and learn how you can know Him today and then you can claim this promise too.

Until next time…

 

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What is it? Where did it come from? Who wrote it?

It is only natural for anyone to have questions about the Bible if you have not grown up with it and learned about it in addition to reading it as I did. I will forever be grateful to my parents for affording me that opportunity. I will tell them that when I see them again.

If your primary knowledge of the Bible is what you have read about it or heard someone else say about it then your knowledge of the Bible is weak and probably not accurate and definitely not complete. That last one puts you in the same boat as all of us. None of us have a complete knowledge of all the Bible contains. Continue reading What is it? Where did it come from? Who wrote it?

Have YOU Read It?

In this post, prior posts and probably future posts too you will see me reference the Bible. I don’t do this as any type of authority or Bible scholar. I do believe the Bible is inspired by God and it is His love letter to us. The principles and precepts taught in the Bible are the lens through which I see the world. If I am not quoting or referencing it explicitly it is still there in my thoughts and view of the world. If you don’t share this belief then I would not expect you to understand this perspective. It is really not possible for you to understand.

That does not mean that we cannot have a dialog on this subject or we have to just agree to disagree. Continue reading Have YOU Read It?

Don’t believe Phil…or me either

Unless you live under a rock you have heard about the GQ interview where Phil Robertson was asked for his beliefs about what sin was. If you want you can see the entire interview here What the Duck? Read it and draw your own conclusions regarding the attacks on Phil and response by the A&E Network and others.

That is really the point of this post…Get your information from the source and form your own conclusions. Don’t just accept what you hear any news organization or supposed experts or group say about anything. Chances are they are reliable sources but there is a better chance their information is slanted in favor or their own beliefs and life experiences or agenda.

Here is the question and answer from the article

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Below is the passage from the Bible in I Corinthians 6:9-10 in the English Standard Version. You can see many other translations at the link above.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Go to the source

It looks like a pretty good paraphrase to me but don’t believe me either. Go the source; your Bible, or the link at the scripture reference above and read it for yourself.

I try to do this with anything I share on Facebook, twitter, Google+ or here in my blog. I click on the link and read or view the information being shared to make sure it is what I thought it would be because I don’t want to share anything I haven’t seen. When I am expressing my thoughts and perspective as I am now they are based on what I learned by going to the source and, of course, my beliefs.

My thoughts based on what I read

If you read the entire GQ article it appears to me that Phil was sharing the gospel with the reporter as he was showing him around his property. There are some things Phil said that are a little coarse but the reporter also used language in the article that Phil would not have used or approved if that was his place to approve it, which it wasn’t.

What GLAAD did was to pick out one of the sins listed, homosexuality, and focused on that when there were numerous examples of sin listed in the scripture Phil quoted from. What GLAAD and others either do not understand or choose to ignore is when a Christian is describing what sin is and who sinners are we always include ourselves in that list.

Lying is a sin just as stealing is a sin just as any sexual act outside the confines of marriage, which God defines as between a man and a woman, is sin, and that is where homosexuality and adultery come in.  If someone has an issue with that it is with God and not Phil Robertson.

What they do understand

People say they don’t read the Bible because it is too hard to understand. There are some parts that are hard to understand. However I believe it is what they do understand that really bothers them. They use the “too confusing” excuse to not read it for themselves. I believe if they did read it for themselves they might find there is more there they do understand and believe than they thought, and they will see that God offers forgiveness for any sin except the sin of disbelief.

There is a lot in the Bible I don’t understand. I do not claim to be an authority. That is where faith comes in. However, the things I do understand are very clear even when they do convict me of committing a sin or “step on my toes.” That doesn’t mean they are not valid or important or not applicable today because they are outdated. It means I need to change.

Get the facts

Those are some of my thoughts and my perspective on this subject but my challenge to anyone who is caught up in this “controversy” or whatever the controversy of the week is next week is to go to the source and then base your opinions on facts and not someone else’s interpretation.

Never Judge Someone by the Opinion of Others
Image courtesy of Billy Cox – Ziglar.com

For this one, don’t believe Phil. Don’t believe me. Don’t believe GLAAD, Don’t believe A&E. Read the article and read the Bible. I expect you will possess a different perspective after doing so.

If you really want to understand what Phil Robertson believes get his book unPhiltered, which was published after this article and controversy.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

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Do You Like the Bible?

Do you like the Bible?

I didn’t ask if you read the Bible or if you believe what the Bible says. I asked if you like the Bible. Think about that for a few seconds.

I recently discovered an author and speaker, Keith Ferrin, who suggests that many of us don’t really like the Bible. We read it out of an obligation or habit but we don’t really like it, not really. If that doesn’t apply to you or if you are completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus Christ through his love letter to you, the Bible, then there is no reason for you to read any further. Continue reading Do You Like the Bible?

Outrageously Good

 

The Outrageous Life

In the OUTRAGEOUS life Dwayne Morris challenges the reader, and himself as well I believe, to live the outrageous life that God has planned for us instead of settling for any plan we can devise and try to execute on our own. God’s plan is always better and we have to have the faith to trust God that his plan is the best for us. That statement sounds weird but it is how most of us live our lives, thinking we know better than God. This book WILL challenge you – so if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you look for something different. Continue reading Outrageously Good

Yes, No or Not Now

Need to be reminded

 

Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.

 

Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.

God, Not Listening?

Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers.  You might be wondering to yourself,

“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”

Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer.  I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.

Could our interpretation be wrong?

The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.

No

Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.

Yes

Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.

Not now

Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.

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How do I know what God is saying?

 

The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.

Don’t be anxious

It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV

The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about.  I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.

I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.

Sometimes our prayers change

You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.

Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.

His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013