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  1. #1
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    Stop Sugarcoating The Bible

    I posted this a few days ago, but it seems to have disappeared. This message was a great encouragement to me, may it be to you.

    My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible

    By Steven James, Special to CNN

    (CNN) – The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.

    Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.

    For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.

    And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.

    And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)


    The point?

    God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.

    Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).

    And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.



    I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.

    God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.

    And that’s what he gives us throughout Scripture, telling the stories of people who struggled with the same issues, questions and temptations we face today.

    Peter struggled with doubt, and we hear all about it.

    Elijah dealt with depression; Naomi raged with bitterness against God; Hannah struggled for years under the burden of her unanswered prayers.

    David had an affair and then arranged to have his lover’s husband killed. Noah was a drunk, Abraham a liar, Moses a murderer. Job came to a place where he found it necessary to make a covenant with his eyes not to lust after young girls (Job 31:1).

    It’s easy to make “Bible heroes” (as Protestants might say) or “saints” (as Catholics might refer to them) out to be bigger than life, immune from the temptations that everyone faces.

    I find it encouraging that Jesus never came across as pietistic. In fact, he was never accused of being too religious; instead he partied so much that he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19).

    Jesus never said, “The Kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends.” He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited.

    This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about partying with Jesus. And that’s why they missed out.

    That’s why we miss out.

    According to Jesus, the truly spiritual life is one marked by freedom rather than compulsion (John 8:36), love rather than ritual (Mark 12:30-33) and peace rather than guilt (John 14:27). Jesus saves us from the dry, dusty duties of religion and frees us to cut loose and celebrate.

    I don’t believe we’ll ever recognize our need for the light until we’ve seen the depth of the darkness. So God wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with us about life and temptation and forgiveness. And grace.

    Only when the Bible seems relevant to us (which it is), only when the characters seem real to us (which they were), only then will the message of redemption become personal for us (which it was always meant to be).

    We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives.

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steven James.

    (and mine)
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  2. #2
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    Hello Coconut.

    Powerful thread coconut.

    The Scripture combined with the Holy Spirit reveals all about mankind.

    16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these
    are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

    18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

    20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

    21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

    23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

    24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

    26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Scripture does not pull punches, the scripture deals with the fatal condition mankind
    has directly, the sinful nature. It also displays God's powerful reconciliation of mankind
    to God only through Jesus Christ.

    I love your threads coconut, thanks.
    Last edited by David777; 03-12-12 at 03:25 PM.
    Deal with it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coconut View Post
    And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.”

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steven James.

    (and mine)
    In 1 Sam 25 (KJV) this phrase is used in reference to Nabal's workers. Do these demeaning words indicate God's attitude toward those men, or is it merely a recording of the young, fiery warrior David's attitude?

    SLE
    I want to be a coin in God's pocket that He can spend any way He wishes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritLedEd View Post
    In 1 Sam 25 (KJV) this phrase is used in reference to Nabal's workers. Do these demeaning words indicate God's attitude toward those men, or is it merely a recording of the young, fiery warrior David's attitude?

    SLE
    Maybe the simple 'demeaning' is David needed no demoting. :angel:

    I would`nt expect a man who spent the greater part of his early life alone in the fields, conversing with dumb sheep, to sound like he was raised by King James` wise men.
    Last edited by Coconut; 03-14-12 at 10:15 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Oh wow! I am printing this bad boy up!

    For so long I have been telling this to people
    who are close friends and church members.
    A couple times I asked a question at youth group
    that went something like this:

    "How come David had so many wives? Did God approve
    of that?"

    or

    "Why was I born into the dysfunctional family I have
    if God knows my entire future?"

    Upon asking these questions they said they would
    get back with me with the answer. They never did.
    I have since left youth group, and its that rare time
    when I am glad I left. By studying with a strong Christian
    Zechariah, I have learned so much more than I would
    have in youth group. Sometimes answering my questions
    takes a long time, but I am willing to get down and
    dirty and answer the questions no one else will talk about.
    Don't know how to report a post? ---> http://www.talkjesus.com/support/44604-reporting-post-important-reminder.html#.UUPNsVeReSo

  6. #6
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    Oh wow! I am printing this bad boy up!
    That made me grin

    One of the biggest baddest masks in the kingdom is the one we put on, that makes us unable to look people square in the eye and say "I don`t know the answer to that"

    Repeat after me...:angel:

    Pride has many faces, God hates them all.
    Sing me a Song of Praise and Glory l Facebook

  7. #7
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    I don't know.

    We just had this discussion at home.

    I have practiced through the years to be Holy Spirit led, and to hear from God on a matter.

    In the Word of faith camp (Blab it and grab it prosperity) There are things we just don't know. I hate pat answers, and I you hear it from the pulpit all the time.

    We don't know a lot of things!!!!

    Why did my child die?

    "The Lord in his wisdom saw evil down the road, and in his love took your child early. We don't always understand God's purpose, but we can rest in the fact he knows best."

    "God needed an little angel on his worship team in heaven."

    Hogwash!!!

    God is not in the business of child murder, and the thief came to kill, and had a entrance somewhere to do so.

    We can look at all kinds of natural things and match scriptures up.

    You lived with someone, and were not married, so your child died because you were in sin.

    You did not go to church faithfully.

    The list goes on...........

    I personally have to hear from the Holy Spirit, or the answer will always be. I don't know. Nobody knows why the Child died unless God reveals all that led up to it.

    Its the same when others ask me if that is sin, or that is sin.
    I am not the judge, and why do you have to ask if it's OK?

    I am more interested in their heart, than I am with what their flesh is doing, or allowing.


    We need to walk by the Spirit, and stay connected to our father at all times, in that we can live life as we ought. We can then avoid the complication the rest of the World suffers.

    Our Lord came to give us LIFE!!!!! Not chains, and confusion.

    Jesus Is Lord.

  8. #8
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    There are those who say....
    It doesn't matter if you are a believing Christian or not, Jesus died to save EVERYONE.
    Then there are those who say, as long as you are a believing Christian it doesn't matter how you live, you're saved. His grace his sufficient.
    Then there are those who say we should immediately repent of every sin, and try at all costsnot to sin again.
    Finally you have the moderates, (I fall into this category) who say yes there is grace, but we shouldn't keep sinning to take advantage of it.

    Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

    Which brings us to the point of "willful sin". What is "willful sin"?

    Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,

    We all sin after we become believers. The difference is, we no longer WANT to sin. (Oh, sometimes we do want to sin in a moment of weakness) but we don't want sin to rule us, we don't want it to be our lifestyle. Before we were saved, we didn't care. Even Paul said....

    Romans 7:15 I don't realize what I'm doing. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 I don't do what I want to do, but I agree that God's standards are good. 17 So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them.

    He knew that he kept on sinning, but he didn't do so willingly. There are some who say, the fact that we keep on sinning means satan is ruling in our lives, I disagree. The fact that we no longer want to sin means Christ is ruling in our lives.

    I agree coconut, many pastors today are telling the people what they WANT to hear, rather than what they NEED to hear.
    Last edited by B-A-C; 03-19-12 at 04:06 PM.
    *- BAC -*

  9. #9
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    Man bloats the simple message of Christ to create something artificial.
    But Jesus gives us life by His words....

    something to think about. God's word has effect..... the effect does not come from us.

    that's why God's word it self is good and not the practical aproaches by which we may even try to fit in to God's mold.

    but in reality God's word is all we need.
    Last edited by jari; 03-19-12 at 05:20 PM.

  10. #10
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    Sometimes man bloats it.. true.
    Sometimes man over-simplfies it also.

    i.e. - God is Love.
    well, this is true, but it isn't the end of the story. That isn't all God is, and only knowing this won't save you.

    You are right though, we need God's Word, and not adding or taking away anything from it. This needs to be taken much more seriously than it often is...

    Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
    Rev 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
    *- BAC -*

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