Tag Archives: Scripture

Learn to Pray

Leran to Pray

Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under God, God's Will, Gratitude, Jesus, Joy, Praise, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Thankfulness

Does archeology help or hinder trust in the Bible?

I’m not a big science buff but did find this article by Eric Metaxas of BreakPoint rather interesting. There is a link at the end of the article if you want to read more.
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Archaeological finds that claim to de-bunk the Bible are sure to make headlines. But what about all the other archaeological evidence?    

Recently, two researchers from Tel Aviv University made headlines when they claimed that the Bible’s historicity was undermined by, of all things, camel bones.

Eric Metaxas

Eric Metaxas

The camel bones in question were discovered in ancient copper mines south of the Dead Sea. After dating the bones to the tenth century before Christ, the researchers concluded that the stories of Abraham and other patriarchs possessing camels 1,000 years earlier could not have been true.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good headline? As Todd Bolen of the Master’s College told Christianity Today, their conclusion, based on a single finding, was definitely “an overreach.”

And Titus Kennedy of Biola pointed out that “a camel is mentioned in a list of domesticated animals from Ugarit, dating to the Old Babylonian period,” which ran from 1950-1600 BC, around the time of the biblical patriarchs.

Speaking of facts, in the latest issue of Biblical Archeology Review, Lawrence Mykytiuk of Purdue asks and answers the question “how many people in the Hebrew Bible have been confirmed archaeologically?’

The conservative answer is at least fifty.

The most famous of these is King David who, until relatively recently was believed by many scholars to either be a “shadowy, perhaps mythical ancestor” or a “literary creation of later biblical authors and editors.”

All of this changed, however, in 1993 when archaeologists found a stele dating from the ninth century B.C., commissioned by the king of Damascus with the inscription “House of David.” The issue of David’s historicity was laid to rest.

In addition to David, archeologists have been able to independently corroborate the existence of kings such as Hezekiah. The water tunnel he used during the Assyrian siege, described in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, has been discovered in Jerusalem.

Confirmation isn’t limited to those described as doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. Eight of the northern kingdom’s kings—including the notorious Ahab and Jeroboam II, whose reign was denounced by Hosea and Amos—have been verified archaeologically.

Nor is independent corroboration limited to the kings of Judah and Israel. The existence of numerous pagan kings mentioned in the Bible has been verified by archeologists. Some of them, such as Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Cyrus the Great of Persia, are prominent figures in world history.

Others are not. Second Kings and Isaiah both mention Adrammelech, the son and murderer of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The Bible tells us he then fled and never took over as king. Cuneiform inscriptions confirm the biblical tale.

Even the Iron Age equivalents of middle-level bureaucrats mentioned in Scripture have been independently verified.

Make no bones about it: The Bible is easily the most verified book of antiquity—and not just its historical figures, but the copies of the manuscripts themselves. It’s not even close. For instance, the oldest surviving copies of works we have by Herodotus, Plato and even Homer only date back to the early middle ages—some 800 and 1,300 hundred years after they were written.

In contrast, as Frederick Kenyon of the British Museum put it, “the interval … between the dates of the original composition [of the New Testament] and the earliest extant evidence [is] so small as to be in fact negligible.”

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You can find other similar resources at the bottom of the article as it appeared on the BreakPoint Web site by clicking here.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture

God is the larger context

story of god“When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.”
~ Eugene Peterson
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, God, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Surrender

A True Child of God

Clear Winter Nights - book cover“‘The Word’s powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword. Even the long lists of names remind you of the faithfulness of God, from generation to generation…’

‘Trusting Jesus and being a true child of God meant that whatever God said about His Son, He could say about me. He loved me…Not because I was smart or special or had great talents or gifts. It wasn’t because I was living the ‘good Christian life’ I was trying so hard to get right. He just looked at me and loved me. He delighted in me like a father delighting in his children. It suddenly all made sense…’

‘And I saw how deep my sin was. How foolish I was to try and fix myself. How silly my attempts at being a good man looked compared to King Jesus. And then I saw grace. I could look through Jesus’s righteousness and hear God say, ‘You are My beloved son…In you I am well pleased.’ And here I hadn’t even done anything.’”

~ Excerpted from Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Children of God, Christ, Christianity, God, Grace, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture

Waiting…

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But those who wait on the Lord
will find new strength.

They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

~ Isaiah 40:31

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Why studying God matters

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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You have already won a victory

Boat

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
~ 1 John 4:4 (NLT)

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adversity, Christianity, Divine presence, Encouragement, Faith, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Trusting God

Place it before God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
~ Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

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May we give ourselves fully to God this day and the process of transformation He longs to accomplish in each of us!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Discipleship, God, God's Will, Morphing, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

As you read your Bible… don’t lose Jesus!

CautionAre you on the “read through the Bible in a year” bandwagon? It is that time of year when we amp up new strategies with our diets, our exercise, our finances and our Bible reading. But be careful!

Now, before I go any further let me be clear that I am all for new strategies with a new year. Some bemoan that such efforts are worthless since they seldom last the whole year but one report indicated that nearly half of all resolutions are kept for six months. That same report states…

“People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

Better to try, and fall short than not try at all!

But before you get too gung-ho about a new Bible reading strategy – which my wife and I are doing – let me offer you this caution.

It’s not about more Bible knowledge or principles to follow as much as it’s about a closer relationship with Jesus.

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.” ~ John 5:39-40 (The Message)

It is entirely possible – and way too prevalent – to know the Scriptures but not know Jesus.

In Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley makes this observation about the early church:

“It was led by men and women who were fueled not by what they believed, but by what they had seen. That simple fact sets the church apart from every other religious movement in the history of the world. After all, it wasn’t the teaching of Jesus that sent his followers to the streets. It was his resurrection… The men and women who made up the nucleus of the church weren’t simply believers in an abstract philosophy or even faithful followers of a great leader; they were eyewitnesses of an event.”

That “event” was Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the same Spirit that raised Jesus to life again is available to bring us alive to God in new and life-giving ways.

May our Bible reading lead us closer to Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Resurrection, Scripture

Cultivate Thankfulness

Definition: to prepare and use for the raising of crops; to loosen or break up the soil; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care or study.

Synonyms: acquire, develop, form.

We regularly cultivate things such as:

  • Relationships
  • Gardens
  • Health
  • Resources
  • Careers
  • Ideas

But have you ever considered what it would look like to cultivate thankfulness?

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~ Colossians 3:15-17 (The Message)

From what Paul mentions here, to cultivate thankfulness involves at least three things.

The first is the Word of Christ. The narratives of Jesus; the Bible; Scripture. And what great imagery Eugene Peterson uses here – letting it have the run of the house.

The second is to instruct and direct one another. It’s something we do together.

The third is to sing about it. Other versions refer to this as psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

I could elaborate on each of these elements but… I’m not going to; at least not now. But I will encourage and challenge you to wrestle with what all of this means by inviting the Spirit of God to bring it to life for you.

As we enter into another week of celebrating Thanksgiving, what better to occupy our minds than what it means to “cultivate thankfulness“?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Gratitude, involvement with the church, Praise, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual growth, Thankfulness