Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name?

The LORD knows I don't like controversy. 

I can debate topics all day long, but I simply do not relish being at odds with anyone. I'd much rather avoid issues that seem to lead into arguments that can not be settled peaceably.

However, a recent discovery keeps pushing me in that direction.

Bible Gateway no longer offers the NIV 1984 version of God's Word. 
They list the NIRV, the NIV 2011, and the  NIV-UK. 

"What's the big deal?" you might ask. 

At first I asked myself the same question and carried on as usual.

Until I was searching for the verse that calls us to keep our eyes on Jesus. 

I typed "author and perfecter" into the search box. 

Keyword search results 
0 results

I thought I'd lost my mind until I remembered the change mentioned above. 

No problem. I'll just look in my concordance and find 'author'.

Nope, 'author' isn't there. Okay, I'll try 'perfecter'. Ah, there it is. 

I opened my Bible to read Hebrews 12:2 and was blessed.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

The tidbit of frustration I'd felt took me back to Bible Gateway to see how it appeared in the NIV 2011 version. 

I was rocked.

"fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NIV, 2011  (emphasis mine)

I checked a few other translations.

"Jesus, the author and finisher" KJV and NKJV

"Jesus, the founder and perfecter"  ESV

"Jesus, the author and perfecter"  NASB

I see an 'author' or 'founder' as a far superior position than a 'pioneer'. Yet this is how the NIV, 2011 describes my Lord, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:6-8

No matter how strong and brave all the pioneers of history are, they cannot lay claim to creating the world they explored and settled. They may have affected history, but they did not orchestrate its every event. The creation and maintenance of the world is the work of God and God alone. 

Christ declares His own position, far super to any 'pioneer', when He states, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

I'm not a Bible scholar, but if this one comparison displays the kind of changes between the way the 1984 and 2011 versions of the NIV treat my Savior, I don't want anything to do with the newbie.

All gracious comments will receive gracious responses.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Start the week with Brilliance

Attribute to the LORD
majesty and strength
the honor owed His Name.

Worship the LORD in the brilliance of His Holiness.

The voice of the LORD

  • is above the oceans
  • is strong
  • is glorious
  • destroys obstacles in its way
  • bursts forth in flashes
  • disrupts dry lands
  • fells great trees
  • makes forests naked.

The voice of His worshippers cry, "Glory!"


  • is exalted above the torrents of life
  • reigns as monarch forever
  • empowers His people
  • bestows peace on His own.

Thank you, Father, that all of Your 

  • beauty
  • glory
  • power
  • purpose
  • tempered
  • applied

to my life that I might rest in peace. Amen

Psalm 29  (NIV, 1984)

A psalm of David.

Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
    Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
    the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Run of the mill?

I'm guessing these kinds of things happen to other ladies. Well, maybe men experience them too. I can only speak for myself, but I hope I'm not alone.

It was a better than normal day that went up hill. 

The Holy Spirit blessed me with inspiration for dinner and the music my Honey chose was superb. The meal was bathed in candle light and, dare I say, romance reigned. 

The atmosphere continued through clean up and meaningful conversation. I recognized it as one of those isolated and delightful evenings that I wish would last forever. It was a sure set up for physical intimacy.

I was the first to slip into bed, snuggling in with joy and expectation.

My Honey appeared, leaned down to kiss me knowingly, and then straightened up.

"I need to tell you this," were the opening words he delivered with warm sincerity.

I locked my loving eyes on his face as I prepared to hear his heart.

"Dinner tonight was really delicious, extra special."

I was warmed by his thoughtful appreciation, a rare bit of sweet talk.

(NB  My Honey is a wonderful man, but we've been married nearly 45 years and there's a lot that gets communicated without words.)

He continued with my enthralled attention.

"You know, your cooking used to be run of the mill, but tonight's meal was outstanding."


I did my best to keep a straight face. I really did. Honest!

He finished everything he wanted to say and kept his passion-filled eyes fixed on me.

I exerted every ounce of self-control I could find and said, "Thank you, Honey."

. . .

He must have detected a small crack in my facade. 

He got a quizzical look on his face and flatly said, "What."

I couldn't sustain the act and giggled out, "Run of the mill? Run of the mill? That's how you described my cooking. Run of the mill."

What followed were choppy, mostly humorous attempts to smooth over the breach. Mutual merriment filled the entire interchange. Guffaws outdid belly laughs.

Thankfully the mood wasn't lost completely.   [wink, wink]

I rejoice that God inserted our funny bones in just the right place. 

"The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."  Isaiah 51:11

Monday, March 18, 2013

David . . . perfect?

I started reading Psalm 26 for my morning devotions and stopped to compare David's life with his opinion of himself.

"Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Test me, O LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth."  verses 1,2

My mind chewed on the seeming contradictions.

BlameLESS? NEVER wavered?

ALWAYS mindful of God's love?
Walked CONTINUALLY in God's truth?

My mind rang with 'Who did David think he was?' 

I read on.

"I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORDproclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells."  verses 6-8

Ah ha, now I understand. David knew he was stained with sin. 

That's why he had to go to the temple to follow the Old Testament standards for purification and restoration; a blood sacrifice according to God's precepts. Once he was ceremonially cleansed David praised God and declared his great love for His Deliverer and the place that His glory inhabits.

It is on this basis that David rejoices in the expectation that he will reside in God's presence.

"My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the LORD." verse 12

Hallelujah! I don't have to be perfect either.

The New Testament brings the Gospel news. 

I approach the Father with clean hands through the righteousness of Christ; His sinless life applied to my account through the shedding of His blood on Calvary and the ascending of His resurrected body to the Father's right hand.

It is on this basis that I come into His presence now and expect to dwell with Him eternally.

Thank You, God. Your Word is beautiful in its clarity and completeness, its thoroughness and consistency, its wisdom and power. Thank You for giving Your people the gift of understanding and assurance according to Your promises. Amen

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's forty years among friends?

Curt read the words, ". . . over forty years old."

My mind started to race. Gee, how long was that?

Well, I got married when I was  21 - about half.

Hey wait, we're in the 45th year of our marriage.

That's about the right time frame.

Hmmm, I've been married more than twice as long as I was single. 

Yes, more than 40 years is a good long stretch of time.

When we got married we bought a loaf of bread for about 22¢, a gallon of milk for about $1.20, and a gallon of gas for about 34¢. The rent on our nice one bedroom apartment was $130 a month. When we returned from our honeymoon we filled our kitchen cabinets for $35.

Now I've got some context to help my understanding, let me consider those four words again.

"For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old." Acts 4:22*

The four words grabbed my thoughts more fully. 

The man lived as an immobile cripple for about twice as long as I lived as a single lady. 

The man was carried every day to the temple gate for about as long as I've been married.

The man sat begging alms for about as long as it's been since I bought bread for 22¢.

Then, on THAT DAY . . . 
. . . the man was healed by the Loving and Sovereign LORD. 

The man walked and jumped and praised God's Holy Name all around Solomon's Colonnade. 

The man's wholeness and joy displayed the awesome power and intimate richness of God's loving kindness.

The man's healing provided undeniable evidence of the Gospel, inspired the testimonies of the disciples and curbed the attacks of the opposition.

Dear LORD, I want my life to serve You in this way. Please cause me to rest in your hands no matter the circumstances, the feelings, the time. Please allow me to walk and jump and praise Your Name for the healing You've granted my soul that You might be glorified and others come to know You. Thank you. Amen

*Gather rich blessings by reading through the account of the healing which begins in Acts 3.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Facing Death or Life?


God challenges His people to set aside the casual understandings we hear in the culture around us. As a matter of fact, the LORD says not to carry them forward by repeating them.

The example given is about fathers/parents being blamed for the attitudes and behaviors of their offspring. 

God claims every soul in every generation as His personal property.

God explains that each person/soul that sets itself up against Him will perish.

God proclaims that every misdeed among men is actually an offense against Him. As a matter of fact, the LORD says that such behavior, unconfessed and unrepented, kills.

The example given is about a husband and wife not keeping their word. 

God states that not keeping a commitment is the same as lying.

God explains that the result of consistent, arrogant disobedience is death.


Jesus reports that His role is to bring abundant life to those facing death.

Jesus declares that He is The Way, the only way to a joyous life now and forever. 

Ezekiel 18:1-4  (NIV1984)

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:
“‘The fathers eat sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son—both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.

Acts 5:1-11  (NIV1984)

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

John 10:10 B  (KJV)
I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 14:6  (NIV1984)
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ice Out gets Translated

We lived on a lake in Maine for 10 years. 

It was our annual custom to mark the date of Ice Out on our household calendar. 

Ice Out is the term used for the day the waters of a lake are freed from the straight jacket of winter's freezing clutches.

One of the reasons we took note of the event was that the water's dancing surface was a herald of spring. Somehow Ice Out released our hearts to run unhampered toward the delightful possibilities of the coming warm weather.

Now we live in an apartment in the city of Prague.

When I flipped the calendar page to March my thoughts went back to the days we turned our attention toward the hopeful occasion. I wondered what was happening back at our beloved Loon Pond as I looked out over our balcony at the cloud-filled skies. 

It had been many weeks since we'd seen clear blue. 

To be honest, the gray overcast is not my favorite scenery, but we're just beginning to adjust to our setting and the seasons are part of the package. 

Time to practice patience which is definitely not my strong suit. 

It took prayer and meditation on God's Truth to settle me back into His arms, yielded to His will, accepting the misty barrier between me and the sun.

On 3 March I rolled up the metal blinds over our balcony windows and was greeted with a blue-tinged arch as far as I could see. It was as if I had stepped out of a cave.

The feelings of joyful release burst over me as they had at Ice Out even though it was clouds that had disappeared instead of ice.

All I wanted to do was run downstairs and dance all over the city singing songs of freedom at the top of my lungs. 

I heard my heart declare in shameless awe, "Spring is coming."

That's the day I adopted the term Cloud Out for our life in Prague.

We've marked our calendar and intend to make it a tradition.

Cloud Out will be our annual reminder that as surely as God brings spring after winter, so will He bring heavenly rest after the pilgrim journey.

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  
1 Corinthians 13:12 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Titus 2:11-15

The grace of God saves and that is apparent to everyone.

The grace of God 
  • instructs us to defy wickedness and fascination with the world, and
  • guides us to pursue self-disciplined, virtuous, and holy living in these current evil times
as we are waiting for the ordained expectation = 
the triumphant return of our Almighty Maker and Deliverer, Messiah

  • the One who sacrificed Himself to redeem the Father's chosen ones from evil, and
  • cleanse those He's been given to make them His personal possession 

so that they would be enthusiastically dedicated to doing what is right.

The principles from verse 1 through 14 are what ought to be taught. 

We are to persuade and inspire with full authorization.

We are to exhort and admonish with full authorization.

We ought not allow anybody to treat us with contempt.

Titus 2:11-15  (NIV1984)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.