Reconcile – One Step Closer
now now now, baptism doesn’t save us … it’s just an outward demonstration of an inward transformation! romans 6! identifying with Christ’s burial & resurrection! let’s go!
on june 26th, 2011, chika nwachukwu, kathryn simmons, nina imo and 2 other women (i don’t have the list or clear pics forgive me lol smh) demonstrated their faith in Jesus Christ via baptism! the city @ good hope is excited to say “congratulations!”
Yeah the 5th gospel, talking about that Apocrypha. Let’s dig in.
Popular books & media, like the Da Vinci Code, have created this conventional thought that the church has either altered or hidden unspecified books of the Bible. Many people that I know will “amen” a Pastor and talk about how the Bible is the word of life, but at the same time, have deeply rooted doubts about the Bible.
I was one of those people.
One reason I refused to become a Christian was because I found it hard to believe that a book could be preserved by sinful man. If God had something to say why wouldn’t He just tell us directly?
That statement is felt by many, but few admit it.
Through actually reading the Bible for myself, my questions grew exponentially. I would ask people about the Bible, but they would just give me a “ya jus’ gotta have faith brotha” (which isn’t so bad of an answer, but I’ll get to that later). That wasn’t enough for someone who had little to no faith.
So what is the answer?
Well, the truth about these so-called altered, or hidden books, is that they aren’t altered or hidden. Some will say that the Catholic church hid them when, when in fact, they are extremely open about these books, like so. Also the idea of them being altered is very hard to prove. The Bible is the most preserved book of all time. Peep this helpful chart I found:
|Author||Date Written||Earliest Copy||Time Span||Copies (extent)|
|Herodotus (History)||480 – 425 BC||900 AD||1,300 years||8|
|Thucydides (History)||460 – 400 BC||900 AD||1,300 years||?|
|Aristotle (Philosopher)||384 – 322 BC||1,100 AD||1,400 years||5|
|Caesar (History)||100 – 44 BC||900 AD||1,000 years||10|
|Pliny (History)||61 – 113 AD||850 AD||750 years||7|
|Suetonius (Roman History)||70 – 140 AD||950 AD||800 years||?|
|Tacitus (Greek History)||100 AD||1,100 AD||1,000 years||20|
|Biblical Manuscripts: (note: these are individual manuscripts)|
|Magdalene Ms (Matthew 26)||1st century||50-60 AD||co-existant (?)|
|John Rylands (John)||90 AD||130 AD||40 years|
|Bodmer Papyrus II (John)||90 AD||150-200 AD||60-110 years|
|Chester Beatty Papyri (N.T.)||1st century||200 AD||150 years|
|Diatessaron by Tatian (Gospels)||1st century||200 AD||150 years|
|Codex Vaticanus (Bible)||1st century||325-350 AD||275-300 years|
|Codex Sinaiticus (Bible)||1st century||350 AD||300 years|
|Codex Alexandrinus (Bible)||1st century||400 AD||350 years|
(Total New Testament manuscripts = 5,300 Greek MSS, 10,000 Latin Vulgates, 9,300 others = 24,000 copies)(Total MSS compiled prior to 600 AD = 230)
Back to the faith thing.
“ya jus’ gotta have brotha” isn’t a bad answer because faith is not an abstract idea, but a measurable substance. Faith is measurable by actions. Faith is always directed towards something. Therefore, it is the validity of the object of your faith which is important. No validity, no faith. To have faith in something means that the object must have the power to uphold that faith. Like a belt buckle (object) and a strap (faith).
Kinda like Christ, right?
Jesus has the power to uphold our faith. No credible scholar would ever argue the existence of Jesus until this so called “post-modern era.” Post-modernism tells us to question everything & all truth is relative. This silly notion is fun to poke at, but I’ll stay on subject. The truth-statements by Jesus are astounding and worth checking out. Jesus said that he became sin on your behalf to pay the price for sins you committed, and if you believe in him you will have eternal life? Basically, Jesus said he wants to be your belt buckle.
If you are still a skeptic you can literally read the oldest known Bible manuscript for yourself here.
The first 3 chapters of Daniel are so nice and speak to remaining faithful to God in a crazy world. Let me introduce Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, young men taken as captives from their home in Judah to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel’s story: Danny and his buddies being trained to enter the royal service were told to eat of the king’s food. Knowing the king’s food would defile his body, Daniel spoke up and asked to refrain from the king’s food, he was asking to go against the king’s orders. Daniel was committed to honoring God with what he put into his body no matter what country he was in and no matter the consequences. By remaining obedient, Daniel and his boys became stronger than the other men. Later, Daniel was given discernment and wisdom when he was able to interpret King Nebedchanezzar’s dream. King Neb was so impressed by Daniel, he was moved to glorify God, “Truly your God is the God of gods…” and Daniel was elevated to a position of authority.
S, M, and A’s story: These dudes enraged this same King Neb when they refused to bow down to his statue. They refused to bow to any other than the one true God. In consequence, King Neb ordered they be thrown into a fiery furnace. But when King Neb looked into the furnace he not only saw the 3, but a 4th man who had the appearance of a god. All 3 men were delivered out of the fire safely, not a hair singed, and again because of a great display of faith and great work of God, King Neb glorified the Lord of Shadrak, Meshak, and Abednego.
Notice a pattern: Unshakable faith, God shows up and shows out, a pagan, prideful king was brought to glorify the holy and living God.
Having steadfast faith like these men had ain’t easy but there are some highlights that should bring you peace when you feel like you’re walking in the flames of the world’s opposition, trials, and temptation:
You’re Never alone…just like the faithful trio, find peace in the fact that we don’t walk alone. To those who believe in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit is within us to comfort, guide, and even pray for us.
He’s able…When trying to resist the world, God can provide deliverance from some of the hottest ‘furnaces’ or situations, believe that He can make a way. Have faith that He will make a way.
God will receive His glory…The faith that we display to the world should point them to a Higher Love. Has your faith ever brought an unbeliever to glorify God? In our faithfulness to God, refusing to go with the crowd and standing strong against the ways of the world, God will be faithful to us. And the manner and means that God will be faithful to us can bring others to glorify Him.
Our Reward… We can find peace in the fact that God will reward our faithfulness. Daniel received wisdom and discernment and all four men were elevated to positions of power in a foreign kingdom. I’m not saying that all will be rewarded with power, money or materials, in fact my faith may not be rewarded in this life. But I know for a fact that one day all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ will be rewarded with an eternal inheritance. Let that sink in because if you know what that inheritance is and if you think about the implications of something that’s going to last for an eternity, those words speak peace.
I was so encouraged by the faith these guys had, faith in the face of flames and later Daniel would have faith in the face of hungry lions. For us, the world is asking us to eat of sexual immorality, to bow and worship the “good life.” Be encouraged to have faith that swims against the strength of the world’s current. I pray strength for my brothers and sisters…
Arizona’s new law:
States that any person engaged in some form of lawful contact with a law enforcement officer may be asked to prove their lawful residence in the United States. If their legal presence cannot be determined then they may be subjected to fines, jail time, and action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
United States Citizens will be subject to checks on their right to be in this country based on nothing more than racial suspicions.
This law is meant to regulate the seemingly unchecked influx of Mexican immigrants.
Meaning, one ethnicity will be subjected to this new law, not one group of law breakers.
Citizens with illegal non-citizen residents will be subjected to the same sort of invasion, not on the basis of their breaking a law, but on the basis of the suspicion that their skin color may cast.
My Problem With This Law As a Dual Citizen
In the other Kingdom that I am a citizen of, we operate under a different political philosophy.
We realize that the non-citizens who live among us often have the potential to be our greatest allies, even the ones who are downright inimical.
We seek to show them the Path to citizenship so that they may join our ranks, and until they do, we show them love, kindness, and patience – the products of being a citizen in this Kingdom.
We understand that not all will be receptive and friendly to our Kingdom, but we rely on the King to weed those individuals out, understanding that we don’t have the insight to be the judge of that.
Aslo, we know that our citizenship is not based on our actions. Citizenship was made possible by the Prince who paid and ensures that we may enter and remain forever.
We have relationship with the Prince, and through the Prince with the King, so we do things that please Him out of love; things that He’s indicated that He likes.
However, our ability to do those things has no influence on our standing as citizens. We stand secure by the work of the Prince, and are found approved as we have trust in Him.
In this kingdom there is no fear of the threat of deportation or aggression from the authority that granted us citizenship.
We have security.
You Can Join This Kingdom
You can join this kingdom where citizenship is secure and unquestioned, where growth is encouraged instead of doubt and fear.
The key to this kingdom is faith in the Son, namely, Jesus Christ.
He lives (currently)
He died: to satisfy the debt you owe God and to give you an excess of credit in God’s eyesight
He offers you eternal life (irrevocable citizenship) in His Father’s kingdom.
i stood in line patiently waiting for my turn when i noticed a woman to my left making hand gestures and extended her arm out forcefully into the direction of my head – as if she had thrown something at me. nervously, i flinched. i felt very uneasy as if a strange vibe had moved in and rubbed up against me. i put my head down. in fear.
she began to pace and she walked up to a woman who had been standing off to the side waiting for her order. she said to the woman in an intimidating manner “you gone buy me some chicken?” the woman said to her, “no. go back and stand where you were, away from me.” she smacked her lips and murmured something underneath her breath. in fear.
she began to do the same hand gestures she did towards me and extended her arms out as if she was throwing something in the direction of another frenchy’s customer, controlled by a drug that imprisoned her and locked her consciousness. i stood. in fear.
she turned her head over to catch a glimpse of me. and i caught a glimpse of her. i caught a face that was colored a deep, cognac brown decorated with eyes that were stretched wide open as if they were artificially placed on. her lips were leaning … her face was literally melting. her hair was curled and matted. her legs were big, wearing boots that looked as if they were for a man. she was in bad condition. in fear.
i quickly looked away. i hung my head down and afraid to look into her eyes again. i tried to stand firm in the atmosphere but i just couldn’t. turned to my right. walked out of frenchy’s. in fear.
she followed. doing her hand motions again, attempting to grab the air and threw it once again in my direction – i looked away. in fear.
i was too busy in my fear to look at her and pray for her forgetting that she is a child of God. i forgot that sin corrupted this world, she fell victim to it. the drugs of it. just as i have fallen victim to my sins. once enslaved by them. now i am free. so what makes her different?
“Just have faith!” “I have faith that I could make it happen.” “You’ve just got to believe.” I always hear that word “faith,” but I never could understand what they were talking about. What do you mean by “faith?” And where do I place my “faith.” In you? In me? In Wall Street? In my appearance? In my wealth? In my ability to overcome? Where?
Every human being has faith and places it somewhere. Let’s define faith has having trust in something or someone. Everybody trusts something or someone. In order to exist, you have to believe in something. It is foundational to human existence. People trust parents, people, drugs, family, sex, jobs, money, love, science, and so on. Since everybody trusts in something, the question now changes. Before it was “Do you have faith?” Now it is “Where do you place your faith?” Do you trust created things that fade away, get old, or runaway, or do you trust the One who is eternal in his power, splendor, and magnificence?
Faith cannot stand by itself. In order for faith to matter, it must be attached to a person or a thing that can deliver! For instance, what if the Indianapolis Colts were playing the Cleveland Browns, and you picked the Cleveland Browns to win because you had “faith.” I know that the Cleveland Browns haven’t won more than 6 games in the last two years, so I would pick Indianapolis and watch you lose the bet because the team you chose to put your trust in has no power. Whether you win the bet depends upon the team you picked. If you picked the losing team, I don’t care how much faith you have – you are a loser. But if you pick the winning team, with just a little faith – you are a winner. My salvation does not depend upon the amount of faith I have, but it depends upon the power of the one I have trusted. If I put a little faith in a big Jesus who has shown that he can beat death, hell, and the grave… (Matthew 17:20)
(Check for Part 2.)