Abundant Life

Is COVID19 God’s Judgement?

Short answer is no.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to John and learn more.

There is an interesting comment on the YouTube page:

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7 Please interpret”

Answer: “I make peace and create evil.” God does not “create evil.” That would be against His character and contradict the fact that He is love. Love and evil are mutually exclusive. This is the common Semitic idiom of permission, in which God (or anyone else) is said to actively do something that they were only related to in some way. In this case, God gave people free will, and also gave them laws, rules and norms that made a distinction between good and evil. Thus, when spirit beings or humans did evil of their own freewill, by the idiom God was said to have caused it. [For more on the idiom of permission, see commentary on Romans 9:18].

I’m bringing this up because this is an excellent resource for anyone who would like to study the Bible in more depth and learn what it says as a whole as opposed to hearing snippets taken out of context in traditional churches in order to promote agendas. (Gee – sounds like our political environment, too. Everyone has an agenda – don’t forget that. My agenda is to promote TRUTH).

This resource is the “Revised English Version of the Old/New Testament” and goes through the Bible, book by book, translating from the oldest versions of the Bible available. I can especially appreciate this because every translation of the Bible that comes out seems to be get further and further from the true meaning of the Bible. Remember the childhood game of telling a person a secret, and then they tell someone, then they tell someone so that by the time it gets to the last person, it’s no longer the same secret but something else entirely? I believe the modern day Bible is something like that.

Here’s an introduction from the Review English Version website:

“Introduction

The Revised English Version® (REV®) is a new Bible translation produced by Spirit & Truth Fellowship International®. The REV translation project began by using the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901 as a base text. Work began on this translation in the year 2000, and the first edition was released and printed in 2013. It is titled the Revised English Version because it is a translation of the ancient texts into English, and yet while it has much in common with other modern English versions, it also has significant differences.

In light of the continually increasing number of biblical manuscripts that contribute to our knowledge of the original text, there is a need for newer versions of the Bible to reflect these discoveries and the advancement in textual studies of the Bible. For example, the number of Greek New Testament manuscripts that the translators of the King James Version had to work from was quite small—a couple dozen at best—compared to the more than 5,700 manuscripts we have available today, thanks to the work of archaeologists and historians. In addition, the oldest Hebrew Old Testament manuscript before the mid-twentieth century AD was from the ninth century AD. But since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts now predate the birth of Jesus Christ and the writing of the New Testament.

Furthermore, with the discovery of more secular manuscripts from the biblical time period, our knowledge of the biblical vocabulary continues to develop. Also, the English language continues to change, making older terminology and expressions obsolete and confusing. For example, at the time the King James Bible was written, “by and by,” meant “immediately” but now it means “after a while” (Matt. 13:21). This is well known, and modern versions read “immediately” or an equivalent.

The REV is designed to be a more literal translation whenever the literal rendering can be accurately reflected and understood in modern English vernacular. However, there are times when the REV has departed from a strict literal translation in order to make good sense in English. Strictly literal translations can be more difficult than helpful at times because the mechanics of Greek and Hebrew differ dramatically from English. In addition to grammatical and syntactical differences, idiomatic expressions are rarely cross-lingual as well. In any translation, the objective is to communicate the meaning of the original language in the receptor language. Therefore, if a literal translation obstructs this goal, a more functionally equivalent expression is employed in the REV.

With so many other modern English versions of the Bible on the market today, the reader might wonder what differences in the REV make it worth reading compared to another popular English version. Since the beginning, the goal for translating the REV has been to produce a translation of the Bible that more closely represents biblical truth and textual accuracy than any other translation currently available. When translating from a foreign language, a person must correctly understand the meaning of the original text in order to be able to translate it correctly. Therefore, when it comes to a religious text, such as the Bible, the theology of the translator always affects the way he or she translates the Greek or Hebrew into English. In other words, the degree to which the Bible is accurately translated then is dependent upon the degree to which the translator accurately understands what the Bible means beyond attempting to identify merely an equivalent word in English. The fact is, every translation reflects the theology of the translator, sometimes more or less depending on the methods used for interpreting the Bible.

And so, producing a new translation of the Bible is always met with criticism due to the vast array of differing theologies throughout Christianity. But several reasons have eclipsed these concerns and have warranted the need for the REV. First and by far foremost, when concentrating on helping followers of the Lord Jesus Christ learn and grow in the Word of Truth, readers of the Bible are better served by reading a version that is accurate theologically instead of having to make mental corrections or skirt around verses that are translated with an alternate theology in mind. Ultimately, the goal of the REV translation is that, as much as possible, the Bible can simply be read and believed without the reader being burdened by having to cope with the inaccurate theological biases of most translators.

It is our prayer that the REV translation will be a great blessing to all readers regardless of their personal theological beliefs. We desire for it to help those who are truly seeking to understand the Bible to be able to understand it on its own terms, free from the compulsion of centuries of Christian tradition that has affected nearly every modern English version.”

I pray this is a blessing to you and I pray you take advantage of this resource. Do you have faith-based questions? Are you seeking the truth? Then perhaps this will help.

God bless you and thanks for reading.

Abundant Life

God Gives People the Responsibility of Governing Themselves

Now more than ever it’s important to be involved, and/or at least aware, of what our government is doing, or trying to do. More and more I hear people say, “Oh, I don’t pay attention to politics.”

Truth moment – I used to be the same way.

I think people, as they get older, naturally start paying attention to government more because policies affect older people more. If we don’t pay attention to what our government officials are doing, then we wake up one day and realize that half our paychecks are being taken from us to pay for government programs that are inefficient and worthless or we have less freedoms to live our lives because an elected official makes decisions for us because they “know what’s best for the people.” *snort*

We have to pay attention and vote for the best person to represent US, the people. And if they aren’t representing the people, then we vote them out and get someone in there who will.

It amazes me that people like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, continually get voted back into office and for what? What have they accomplished other than pit people against each other and chip away at our rights?

(Or any government official for that matter, regardless of the party affiliate, who consistently does a bad job).

We, THE PEOPLE, have a responsibility of voting these power-hungry idiots OUT.

It’s time to wake up and #walkaway

Happy Sunday, by the way.

Abundant Life

Got Time on Your Hands? Make Your Relationships Stronger

Good Sunday evening, everyone.

We just got done watching this video from the Truth or Tradition YouTube channel and I thought I would share it. I think it’s a timely subject and one that a lot of us typically don’t take the time to think about or work on.

Since we have some time on our hands with our self quarantine, why not invest in building your relationship with your spouse and children? Spend some time together. Talk to each other. Make plans, play games … this is the perfect time to do the things with your family that you otherwise never have time for.

This is a stressful time for everyone but stay positive, pray often and remember – THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Stay healthy, friends.

Abundant Life

Spiritual Fads Are a Waste of Time

Breathwork, really? I guess this is the newest “fad” to try and find inner peace.

I have a theory – people are constantly searching for peace, meaning of life, purpose. I feel like “restless souls”, or people who feel the need to constantly move, whether that’s in their daily lives or physically move locations, are simply searching for … something.

I think that “something” is different for everyone and maybe most people can’t define it, but it makes me sad. So when I see videos like this one, I can’t help but roll my eyes because to me, it’s simply another “fad” where people are trying to once again, SEARCH for the elusive SOMETHING.

I believe that “something” is spiritual, in essence. People who don’t believe in a higher being, or have faith in something outside of themselves, are generally unhappy with themselves, with their lives and dissatisfied by life in general.

This is simply my opinion coming from a Christian who likes to observe people and analyze motivations. For example, why are some people into tarot cards? Or Scientology? Or witchcraft? Or any other beliefs outside Christianity? To me, the essence of those beliefs are not any more strange to believe in than the “fate” or messages from cards that a person randomly flips over, or from aliens or from a super natural power than it is to believe in a kind, loving God who started all of this by creating humans to inhabit a world He specifically made for humans. I just don’t understand – if people are willing to put so much FAITH in these alternate beliefs, then why NOT believe in God?

To me, people who participate in alternative rituals or beliefs are almost making a conscious effort NOT to believe in Christianity. As if they are saying, “Nope, I’m not believing in Christianity because it’s an old and antiquated way to believe and the majority of people are Christians and I’m enlightened and different and there MUST be something else out there that I will work hard to try and find just so I can prove EVERYONE else wrong.’

I’m not saying this to insult anyone who is not a Christian, believe what you want, it’s called free will, but as an observer of life and looking at these various “fads” and “religions” from the outside, it truly baffles me that people put so much time and effort into something other than Christianity.

What’s the end goal here? If you’re looking for peace or the meaning of life, or the purpose of YOUR life, the Bible has those answers. Are the answers not good enough? Do they not satisfy a deeply embedded need? Is it not enough? Is it too simple? Do people think it can’t surely be this simplistic and reject it to pursue new and different?

I truly want to know.

Matt talks about “hallucinogenic’ effects of breathwork whenever he would participate. Could it be simply that you’re depriving your brain of oxygen and that’s why you’re feeling this way and it has nothing to do with any spiritual experience? And the fact that he admits to feeling emotional at the retreat, where his wife was present, and not having that feeling when he tried it at home by himself. Could you have had that emotional experience because you heard your wife cry out and empathized with her struggles because you love her and that’s what we do when we love someone? Perhaps it had nothing to do with a spiritual experience and more to do with the fact that you were forced to still your mind and body and be more aware of your surroundings, your thoughts and feelings.

I think breathwork is bogus, but I do appreciate, yet again, an attempt to MAKE people stop and disconnect with technology and appreciate stillness. I think anything that makes us do that is important, especially nowadays where it’s trendy to be “busy” and “connected” through all of these crazy social media outlets.

Don’t you find it ironic that we’re more “connected” than we’ve ever been in the history of man and yet so many people are lonely, sad and unhappy?

We are more connected to “each other through electronics” but more and more people are being persuaded to get away from God because it’s not “cool” to be a Christian and you must be crazy to believe in an invisible, all-knowing, and all-powerful creator.

You don’t think there is some correlation there? Because I do.

All I’m saying is, why not forego these crazy new spiritual “fads” and desperate attempts to create something that brings people peace and fulfillment and just go back to what has been available this entire time: God?

Just a thought.

Abundant Life

Freewill Explained

This teaching touched my heart at Bible study yesterday. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand freewill and how important it is to our every day lives, not just our spiritual lives.

Freewill is REAL and it’s IMPORTANT. Don’t blame God for the things that go wrong in your life. Own your decisions, whether they are good or bad, and accept that when bad things happen, they don’t stem from a loving God, they come from a dark, evil place.

Despite what some Christian circles preach, free will does exist; God doesn’t control the clothes you wear, the food you eat, or the decisions you make, whether good or bad. He also doesn’t pick and choose who gets saved, who rebels, who accepts Jesus and who doesn’t. If He did, everyone would be saved—because, as Scripture tells us, God “wants everyone to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) But because He respects the freedom of man to choose, God doesn’t force salvation on anyone; this is a pretty good indication that God isn’t controlling our lives. We’re calling the shots ourselves.

God is definitely involved in people’s lives, but He isn’t dictating everything that people do. He watches us, and sometimes He intervenes—but He isn’t controlling every movement of our lives.

Abundant Life, Daily Prompts

My Life: Day Seven

I’m attempting to force myself to write in my blog every day. I’ve gotten SO BAD at keeping up these past several years and someday I’ll be dead and then what?

I’ll be gone but hopefully not forgotten. (Feel free to use these prompts for your own writing).

Today’s prompt(s):

Prayer

How the Devil Derailed Prayer

For many Christians, prayer is not as important as it should be. Many Christians only pray before meals, before bed (when they are children), or in emergency situations. The concept of “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17 – ESV) is not a part of the lives of most Christians. How did the average Christian lifestyle drift so far from what the Bible says to do? The short answer is that most Christians are taught that everything that happens is God’s will, or “God is in control,” and that even Satan (if the Christian believes in Satan), has to ask God’s permission before he can act.

We all hate meaningless work, and that includes meaningless prayer. Good, solid, powerful, focused prayer takes a lot of work, a lot of time and mental energy. No one wants to make that effort if his or her prayer does not really make a difference. Unfortunately, that is what the teaching that “God is in control” does; it teaches that our prayers really do not make much, if any difference.

If everything that happens is God’s will, then God’s will gets done whether or not anyone prays. If prayer does not change anything, then what purpose does it serve? We have been told it demonstrates a person’s humility and obedience to God’s command to pray. Also, it has been used as a punishment for sinning (such as in the Roman Catholic Church when prayers are assigned as a penance for sin). Also, it has been said to be therapeutic because confession and prayer are “good for the soul.” It has also been taught that we pray to help align our own thinking with what God is doing, and to humbly accept the will of God.

The teaching that “God is in control” has, knowingly or unknowingly, adversely affected the prayer lives of millions of Christians. Many people are not motivated to pray because they have been told that God’s will comes to pass whether they pray or do not pray, while many others do not pray throughout the day simply because they have never seen that modeled for them by other Christians. Prayer changes things dramatically, and God needs us to ask in prayer, so He tells us again and again to pray. God is willing to do His part if we will do ours. Let’s not sit around complaining about how bad the world is; let’s do something about it! God wants us to do something, and a powerful thing we can do is to pray [Source]

Do you believe in prayer? Do YOU pray? What is the purpose of prayer? Does it help? Is God even listening?

I suppose, if you’re not a Christian, or believe in a higher being, this post is not for you. But if you’re grappling, reaching for something you can’t quite put your finger on but know it’s juuuust out of reach, let me see if I can help with that.

I’ve been a Christian for a very long time. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was in middle school.

However, I haven’t always understood what Christianity is/was. And a large part of that reason is due to the chaos and confusion that Satan has bestowed on our civilization over the many 1000’s of years. The more confused people are, the further they will get from Christ and the closer they get to Satan and his evil ways.

I don’t think people purposefully set out to live evil lives, I think everyone, on some level, either consciously, or subconsciously, wants to lead a good, wholesome life. But outside influences are sometimes too hard to resist.

The media is a huge one. Everyone takes everything they read/hear as gospel truth. Oh, so-and-so said it so it MUST be true. But, this big news site wrote it so it MUST be accurate.

That’s not even close to being true. Which is why I HIGHLY recommend that people stop and ask questions. THINK for yourselves. Do not be led around by the nose like a bunch of sheeple.

But that’s a post for another day.

Loved ones, friends, “successful” people who appear to have it all together and make unwise decisions but always seem to come out on top anyway – it’s just too tempting to mirror that person’s decisions in the hopes of obtaining the same things, are outside influences. Trying to emulate these people often leads to disappointment and resentment, which only leads us down yet another wrong path.

Prayer is necessary in that it helps guides us, it helps purge our souls and cleanse our consciousness. Prayer is a line to God – He’s someone to talk to, to vent to, to ask for guidance. But just like when we’re in a crowded room, with a ton of people, all talking at once, it’s hard to hear one individual voice. So we have to continuously pray and make our voice heard.

This crowded room could be unholy decisions you’ve made, or being around someone who is influencing you and directly you down an ungodly path. It could be evil spirits purposefully blocking your voice from being heard.

The more you live outside God’s commands, the further you get from God and the less God can protect you.

I  know that sounds all “hocus-pocus” but we ARE in a spiritual battle, every day. It’s real.

Are you lost? Do you feel hopeless? Is no one listening? Do you need help? Then pray to God. There is no right or wrong way to do it, you’re having a conversation with God. Unload on God, allow him to guide you and comfort you. Pray continuously. He may not hear you right away because of all the spiritual noise surrounding you, but don’t give up, He will hear and He will answer.

I hope this post blessed you in some way.

 

 

Abundant Life, Life

Christians Rejoice, There is a Life-Size Noah’s Ark

Have you guys heard about the life-size Noah’s Ark??

If not, watch this:

ark-beyond-lake

I LOVE that there is potential for more Christian-based structures/museums/educational opportunities in their future.  I just pray it happens.

And honestly, fellow Christians out there, we need to pray for this to not only happen, but to stay open. Because if you take the time to read some of the Facebook comments, or watch videos about this project either for/against it, they will make you both sad and alarm you.

The sheer hatred for this project is astounding, though not surprising, I suppose. Would the backlash be as severe if this was a Muslim-type structure? Why is Christianity such a BAD thing to so many people?

Because the Bible said this was going to happen. Are you really surprised? Christians and Christianity will only continue to grow more and more unpopular – this is exactly what happened in Noah’s day and age. And this is exactly WHY God flooded the Earth – to get rid of the evil and start over again. Only, we won’t start over with a flood, it will be Jesus Christ coming back to save us from ourselves.

In the meantime, there will be hatred. There will be insanely opinionated people who will try their best to make you feel stupid for believing in God, who will attempt to spout all sorts of nonsense about alternative beliefs and how they are so much smarter and believable than Christianity.

To which I say? YOU’RE WASTING YOUR BREATH. Go spew your ugly, hate-filled vile words to someone who cares what you think, because I don’t. You don’t like this Ark Encounter project? DON’T GO. You want to build a monument, or some historical project museum to your spaghetti monster or god(s), be my guest. It’s still a free country (somewhat). Will I like it? No. Will I care? No. You want to bow down to false idols and kiss Satan’s ass, I guess that’s your prerogative.

And how SAD would your life be if you DIDN’T believe in a higher power or have some hope to look forward to? I can’t even imagine how lost some people feel without Jesus Christ in their hearts.

But personally, I’m REJOICING in the fact that fellow Christians had the guts to build something like this and you bet your sweet tea we will go at some point. I’m tempted to wait until they build the Temple of Babylon and the other structures mentioned in the above video, but then again, I’m afraid that if I wait too long, something will fall through and they will be forced to close Noah’s Ark. I think it would be a fun road trip though – it’s eight hours East of where we live – doable but it will definitely take some planning.

Here are some interesting facts about the structure and hypotheses on how it might have logistically worked out.

I also found it highly interesting that the creator of the Ark Encounter, Ken Ham, invited Bill Nye “the Science Guy” in for a tour and together, with their own film crews, toured the Ark and had “lively” discussions/debates with lots of “regular” folks along for the ride. I bet that was interesting as all get out. Because if you’re truly looking for the truth, then you NEED to hear all sides of an issue before coming to a foregone/logical conclusion. And maybe Mr. Ham didn’t do a good enough job of convincing some folks there about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or then again, maybe he was able to save some lost souls, who knows, but I love the fact that two sides of an issue came together, spoke their piece and there was no violence, just mutual respect for the other person’s beliefs.

I wish that would happen more often in our country, but it’s all about shutting each other up – it’s all about “free speech” and “free thinking” even though if you don’t believe the same as the people who spout this nonsense then they work very hard to belittle you and sometimes, use physical violence to bully you and silence you and your beliefs.

Yeah. That’s what “free speech” and “free thinking” is all about. It’s free as long as you think like they do, otherwise, SHUT UP, PEASANT. *snort*

There’s also a Creation Museum about 45 minutes from the Ark Encounter. If/when we go, I would like to visit that museum, too.

I LOVE that this type of stuff exists in our country, especially nowadays when Christianity has been whipped so many times in the past decade. It gives me hope that maybe it’s not as bad as the lop-sided media portrays it and that there are still believers out there not afraid to stand up and be Soldiers for Christ.

May God bless everyone, both believers and non-believers, and if you’re not a Christian, I challenge you to visit these places, find out what Christianity is about then make up your own mind – don’t listen to the naysayers and the lop-sided media, God created your mind and granted you the gift of free will, exercise those gifts and decide for yourself.

Abundant Life

The Heart is An Idol Factory

Idols – what do you think of when you read that word? Gold Academy Award statues? Stone structures that people bow down to and worship? Someone famous? Someone you look up to?

I mean sure, it’s all those things, but idols can mean anything that takes your focus, your energy away from God. I like when he talks about people’s reactions when they take something away that means something to them – I’ve seen what happens to people when you try and take something they highly value away from them – I’ve also experienced an unrealistic reaction in myself whenever we lose Internet, or something I’ve worked on doesn’t turn out the way I think it should.

For example, our boys. There was a time period when they were doing poorly in school, all they wanted to do was focus on their video games. We took their video games and computers away from them with the stipulation that they could get all of those things back after they brought their grades back up to an acceptable level. It was HARD. I felt so MEAN. And the boys HATED MY GUTS for about two months. But you know what? They brought their grades back up and they never allowed themselves to fall into that trap again.

But what I found most disturbing was their utter devastation when we took their stuff away from them. I had destroyed their worlds. They walked around like zombies for DAYS after we took their stuff – they simply didn’t know what to do with themselves when their entire (virtual) world was taken from them.

We had LONG talks about becoming obsessed with things, with STUFF, and the importance of forcing yourself to step back, take a breath and a break and to rejoin the human race.

They are both still very heavy into their virtual worlds today, but they aren’t quite AS obsessed as they were when they were younger. I would like to think some of our lectures sunk in but it’s most likely they have matured and grown and realized they have to participate in real life if they want to make a living and/or possibly, maybe, hopefully, some day acquire girlfriends/wives.

I find myself at an absolute loss when the power goes out and we lose Internet connection. I’m not into games like the boys, but I am pretty obsessed with my computer. I love to watch YouTube videos and spend an unhealthy amount of time watching videos. I do it for a few reasons: I like to shut my brain off and simply EXIST for a bit without having to think, two, they are entertaining and make me laugh and three, I love to people watch and watching videos is the perfect people-watching activity without coming off as creepy. lol

I have to FORCE myself to shut off my monitor and step away from my computer so I can get my chores done, cook dinners for my family, spend time with my family.

And that bothers me – when you have to FORCE yourself to stop doing something that’s a pretty good sign that that thing has taken on far more importance in your life than it should.

I’m a person who likes to be in complete control of my life and when I realize that some new hobby, or event, or activity has control over me, the stubborn part of me jumps out and I MAKE myself either stop doing that hobby, event, or activity or at least stop participating as often. It’s just not healthy to put all of your energies into one or two things.

Especially when it takes your time and focus away from God. Nothing is more important than God and if you can sit there and honestly list things that you do that takes your attention/focus/time away from God, then it’s time to reassess your priorities.

*Update: I found out today that the boys have been without Internet for four days now. Apparently, their Internet provider got struck by lightening and they lost their server, or whatever Internet providers have/do. I was surprised the boys were without Internet for so long and not over at our house mooching off our connection. In fact, when they came over for Sunday dinner, they both seemed very calm about the whole thing – accepting, in fact. I’m weirdly proud of them because to me, this means they are growing up.

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

Thanks for watching.

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