Do you want to read the Bible more than you have in the past? If so, you’re not alone. Have you been successful in reading the Bible more often? Then you are nearly alone. That’s very sad. Especially when you see what’s coming in this article and in the rest of the series We’re going to continue looking at the Barna Research study commissioned by the American Bible Society. The study is titled: State of the Bible 2017: Top Findings. If you haven’t read it yet, the first article is Searching for hope – but not finding it? The entire series (still being written at this time) is called State of the Bible. There are seven sections in the detailed findings. We’re going to look at the first one in this article – Bible Engagement Most Americans Desire Greater Bible Use This is one of the most interesting findings in Section 1 of the study. More than half of all adults wish they read the Bible more often (58%). This is down slightly from 2016 (61%). Each segment expresses a desire for more Bible reading, in fact, one in five Skeptics (22%) and one in five non-Christians (21%) wish they read or listened to […]
When we want something to happen but it doesn’t, sometimes we say “God is sitting this one out”. But is it really true that God is sitting it out? Is it ever true?
When we don’t get what we want, it’s east to blame it on God. We just claim that God is sitting it out. It’s easier that saying that maybe it’s our fault.
Ge 37:9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
Cool. Maybe. Depends on what it means. Why would the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bow down to someone – even if it was possible?
Maybe it would be good to put some context around this. It’s from Genesis – chapter 37. It was said by Joseph – you know – the kid with the coat of many colors. Why are we looking at this? Because of a question that came up in a class – about what the sun and moon represent. Were they about Joseph’s father and mother? Or did they represent something else entirely? And, if it’s not about Joseph’s parents, then doesn’t that even put the eleven stars into doubt – were they really about his brothers? Let’s find out.
… That’s why Christians call the Friday commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion Good Friday – not “horrible friday”. One more time – not because of the way Jesus died, but because of the fact that we made Jesus’ death necessary by our own actions. It’s Good Friday, because that death is what saves us from God’s judgement.
“The results show that Americans overwhelmingly believe the Bible is a source of hope and a force for good even as they express growing concern for our nation’s morals.”
This is an interesting quote. The bottom line is that “many” Americans are searching for something that Americans “overwhelmingly” believe is in the Bible. However, even as that’s happening, they also think the country is going downhill. What does that mean?
Genesis – including the creation account – was written by Moses. It was the beginning. If we don’t believe it, then we’re calling it a lie. And once we begin to call God a liar, how can we all of a sudden claim to believe anything at all that He says? If we can’t accept the things are are plainly visible, how can we begin to accept the things that aren’t visible at all – let alone the things that will happen in the future?
I do know now, after these past 7 years. Some of it was for others, based on feedback I’ve received. Some of it was certainly for me. The cost has been high. And yet, looking at the image at the top, I realize that when we’re talking about this particular cost, it’s really not necessary to blow up the budget – because the budget is way bigger than we can even begin to realize.
What I’m looking at for this topic is the kind of slavery we allow to come on ourselves. It starts as something “innocent”, or so we think. It’s a thrill, or so we think, We can control it, or so we think. Then it ruins our lives, maybe even in spite of what we think. It could be nearly anything – work, money, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography – you name it, we can become addicted to it. Those are the kinds of things Paul was talking about in Galatians.
Increasingly, with the god of money taking over. We are killing off the physical bees, and therefore the physical honey. We are also putting the physical cows, and therefore the physical milk, in danger. Because of our increasing preference for the god of money over the God of the Bible, we are also destroying the things that are behind the deeper meaning of a land flowing with milk and honey. Because of the god of money, we are willing to destroy the wonderful things given to us in the beginning – during creation – those things that sustain life and make it good. The things that used to make the U.S. a land flowing with milk and honey, but seem to be going in the direction of stopping the flow.
Eighteen times in the Bible, we read about a “land flowing with milk and honey”. … I mean – it’s not like the land was literally flowing with milk and honey. That would be one heck of a lot of cows and bees – and all that milk and honey – plus everything else that would go along with all that. Yuck. It would’ve been a horrible mess. Obviously, this wasn’t meant to be taken literally. So we have yet one more reason to wonder – what was the thing about milk and honey?
Any attempt to say that we must have faith and do stuff above and beyond that to earn our salvation – it takes away from Jesus’ death, as I mentioned – but it also takes away our only means to judge for ourselves whether or not our faith is real. By saying that faith alone isn’t enough – people are taking away our ability to stand firm in our belief – before we die / before it’s too late – whether or not our faith is real and therefore whether or not we are saved.
The concern here is that when we say things like we “know” certain things because the Bible says so, we run the risk of turning people off to the message we are trying to give. Something that was meant to be caring and loving can be construed as something that sounds uncaring and insensitive. I think we need to remember that we believe God meets us where we are, and so when we talk with others who faith isn’t as strong as our or maybe have no faith at all, we also need to meet them where they are – not where we are.
Given that I’m a “lowly mortal” and not perfect – I need to be sure you get this next part. What is suggested here is only a possibility – a possible explanation of why we might perceive these 11 dimensions. I make no statement as to what God actually did, does or will do. It’s an explanation of how the Bible and science might be much more in line than many people think – as opposed to the all too easy position to take that the Bible and science are totally at odds with each other.
One of the warnings we get from Jesus is this – Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Like I said – the question of who gets credit for “evolution” – whether it’s atheistic or theistic evolution – is a huge deal. Who gets the credit, from your point of view?
In the days of Noah, people were evil in their hearts. Tell me – how great is the evil in our hearts when even our talk of religion – what’s supposed to be our beliefs about God – turns into the kinds of things it is today? How much evil does it take for one Catholic to call another Catholic equal to a jihadist? How much evil does it take to have some Catholics call other Christians equal to a jihadist?