pecaspers: a Blog in transition

July 15, 2013

TMA Article – I Love the Bible

Filed under: Ministry,My Life in General,Tallassee Tribune drafts — pecaspers @ 3:00 PM

I love the Bible. Do you want to know why I love the Bible? I love the Bible because it tells me about God, and I love God. Do you want to know why I love God? I love God because He loved me first and because He is good and because He has revealed His goodness and love to me. Do you know how I came to know this? It’s in the Bible; see 1 John 4:19, Psalm 100:5, and Luke 10:21-24 for a sampling. I love the Bible.

There is no book like the Bible. The Bible is the number one best-selling book of all time. The Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in the world. (And any good translation goes back to the original languages, so please don’t give me any of that “it’s a translation of a translation of a translation” mess.) There are more ancient hand-written copies of the Bible, in whole or in part, than any other ancient book. Most ancient literary works exist in less than ten or twenty copies which date to a thousand or more years after they were originally written. There are over twenty-five thousand ancient biblical manuscripts (with that many copies, sorting out the copyist errors gets relatively easy), the time between the originals and existing copies being as short as forty years for some New Testament books. Why did ancient Jews and early Christians diligently copy and distribute their Scriptures? It’s because they loved the Bible. They loved the Bible because it told them about God.

I finished reading the Bible for the almost fourth time last week. I say almost fourth because one time it was The Daily Bible which arranges the Scriptures chronologically and blends redundant passages together; so that time doesn’t fully count. The translation I just finished was the 2007 edition of the English Standard Version. Do you know what I did this morning? I pulled out The Holman Illustrated Study Bible, and I started reading it. But I didn’t start in Genesis 1:1, I started with the Introduction because it’s a study Bible with lots of notes, so I wanted to know exactly where the translators and editors were coming from. Do you know why I did that? It’s because I love the Bible.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. I love the Bible. I love it because it tells me about God. And I love God. It’s not just instructions. It’s God’s story of how He created Man, of how Man rebelled against Him, of how He provided a way of salvation from our rebellion by punishing Himself in our place, of how He sent out His people to tell the world so that all might turn to Him and be saved, and of how He will come and judge the world and recreate a new home for His people to be with Him. So, I read and re-read and study and meditate on and pray through the Bible.

In this room with me, I have at least eight copies of different translations of the Bible in English, a Hebrew Old Testament, a Greek New Testament, and a small stack of The New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs from the Gideons. I have these to study from, to share, to give away, and a couple for sentimental reasons. I have them because I love the Bible. You probably have one or more copy of the Bible in your home, but do you love the Bible?

It’s not, “Do you have positive feelings about the Bible?” The question is this: Do you love the Bible? I’d be a bad husband to my wife if I never spent time with her; my love is evident in my actions. I’d be a bad father to my son if I never did anything with him and never said anything to him; my love is evident in my actions. God wrote a book. Do you love God? Have you read His book? Do you love His book? I love the Bible.

[Originally written as a Draft for the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance contributed article in the Tallassee Tribune in July 2012.]

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July 10, 2013

TMA Artical Draft – Crazy Talk

Filed under: Ministry,My Life in General,Tallassee Tribune drafts — pecaspers @ 12:00 PM

Have you ever said something then realized that it was a crazy thing to say? Maybe you hurt someone’s feelings, maybe you claimed something outrageous about yourself, maybe you stated something with authority that wasn’t accurate, or maybe you boasted of some future plan that you couldn’t possibly fulfill. I have done that sort of thing more often than I care to admit. I’ve probably done it more than I even realize. The good thing is that I’ve gotten pretty good at admitting my mistakes and eating crow (the secret is in the sauce).

Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff, but he never had to apologize for it. That’s because He was always right. One of my favorite crazy things Jesus said is in John 8:46. After calling a bunch of self-righteous folks liars and sons of the Devil, he says “Who among you can convict me of sin? If I tell you the truth, why don’t you believe Me?” (HCSB). The response back is that they call Him a demon-possessed half-breed and eventually go looking for rocks to throw at Him when He claims to be the I AM who existed before Abraham (see John 8:48-59).

Can you imagine what the response would be if you stood up before a bunch of people who did not like you and said “Tell me one thing I’ve ever done wrong?” Some would be dumbstruck by the absurdity, others would begin shouting grievances, others would sit down with a pen and paper and get back to you later, and at least one guy would go blog about it. It can be helpful and humbling to ask close friends to point out your blind spots, but you would be crazy to offer that sort of challenge to people who already hate you. Crazy, that is, unless you really are without any flaws. If you are perfect, if you have never made a mistake, if you do all things well and only say what God has told you to say, then you are confronting people with the stark difference between you and them, between you and everyone really.

The crowd in Jesus’ day didn’t like what they heard, but they couldn’t come up with an a single sin with which to convict him. In fact, the only thing they could get any traction with when they finally sought to put him to death was that He claimed to be God and King. The trouble is that He was–and is–God and King. He came back from the dead as a proof of all His claims.

It’s a good thing He did, too. When he sacrificed Himself, He made the way for me and you to be forgiven before God of all the crazy things we’ve said, done, and thought. Because of His victory over sin and death, we can have peace with God and with one another. So the next time you are on either the transmitting or receiving end of some crazy talk, remember the one who is without sin. His blood bought us reconciliation with God. And if we have been forgiven our foolish words, then we must also forgive others for theirs. Otherwise, what we’re saying is that their sin against us is bigger than ours against God. Now, that’s crazy.

[Draft for an article published in the Tallassee Tribune, July 9, 2013]

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