Monday, November 1, 2010

A Diet of Worms? Hardly....Just Remember the "V" Sound

Worms Cathedral….Just the name alone doesn’t sound very religious or very soul soothing, does it?

The place IS very historic and as far as cathedrals go, and it is beautiful.

The name comes from the Latin Borbetomagus which means “settlement in a watery area” which eventually morphed to Vormatia……

Vormatia. Now when you realize that you don’t pronounce the “W” when saying the word “Worms” and you substitute a “V” sound as in Vorms it all makes sense……

Actually….it should be pronounced “Varms”

There are no worms and there never were any. :)

In fact, Worms Cathedral is also known at St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Worms Cathedral…consecrated in 1110…. is known as an Imperial Cathedral which means it was built under the reign of an emperor. The building is unique in that it has two quires or choirs… at each end of the nave. The second choir was set aside for the emperor to attend church.

The oldest section of the cathedral….the east choir… an example of an architectural trick. The walls are straight on the outside of the building but are rounded on the inside.

Speaking of emperors there are a few royal members buried at Worms Cathedral……

*Conrad I and II, the Dukes of Carinthia

*Conrad, Duke of Lorraine

*Queen Matilda, consort of Henry I of France (she was also the daughter of Conrad II the Holy Roman Emperor

Sadly the original windows were destroyed in 1943 by the bombs of World War II, but over time during the 1960s they were all replaced.

The major historical significance of the Worms Cathedral is that it was the location for the Diet of Worms in April 1521.

Ugh. Again, it doesn’t sound too appealing, right?

The Diet of Worms was called by the Holy Roman Emperor who was actually the German king, Charles V. It is helpful to understand a Diet was a general assembly of the Imperial states of the Holy Roman Empire. So, a diet is a formally called meeting. There were many different diets that took place at Worms Cathedral, so like many treaties that share the same name it is important to know which year you are talking about.

The Diet of Worms in 1521 is significant in church history became it the meeting where Martin Luther was required to answer the papal bull of Pope Leo X.

A bull is simply a form of communication sent out by the Pope, and this particular bull……also referred to as Exsurge Domine (Arise O’ Lord) denounced Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on the Power and Effacy of Indulgences Luther had nailed to the door at Wittenberg (again, the “W” is pronounced with a “V” sound).

The whole “nail” thing is still argued by historians…..we aren’t sure if Luther really nailed his theses to the door, but church doors were commonly used as bulletin boards at that time and the story does make sense.

….and what happened to Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms? A formal statement was issued condemning Martin Luther, but he was allowed to leave Worms without being arrested. It was commonly known, however, that at some point he would be arrested and punished.

His supporters hid him away at Wartburg Castle (again…..remember the “V” sound) and while there Luther began his German translation of the Bible.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jeremiah's Confessions

I receive an email everyday from Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day and along with an entymology.

Today’s word was jeremiad which means a prolonged lamentation or complaint; also : a cautionary or angry harangue.

The email goes on to explain:

Jeremiah was a naysayer. That Jewish prophet, who lived from about 650 to 570 BC, spent his days lambasting the Hebrews for their false worship and social injustice and denouncing the king for his selfishness, materialism, and inequities. When not calling on his people to quit their wicked ways, he was lamenting his own lot; a portion of the Old Testament's Book of Jeremiah is devoted to his "confessions," a series of lamentations on the hardships endured by a prophet with an unpopular message. Nowadays, English speakers use "Jeremiah" for a pessimistic person and "jeremiad" for the way these Jeremiahs carry on. The word "jeremiad" was actually borrowed from the French, who coined it as "jérémiade."

Now…..regarding those confessions of Jeremiah. He’s not confessing all….telling us his sins. He is sharing the struggle of his soul……similar to those dialogues we all have with God and with ourselves regarding how we relate to God and if we are on the right path for God’s will or not.

These verses are usually noted as Jeremiah’s Confessions and can be found at the following links:

Jeremiah 11: 18

Jeremiah 12: 6

Jeremiah 15: 10-21

Jeremiah 17: 14-18

Jeremiah 18: 18-23

Jeremiah 20: 7-18

The picture with this post is Jeremiah as he appears on the Sistene Chapel by Michelangelo….

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cha cha cha Changes

Though I was in the fourth grade in 1972 I remember vividly the song Changes performed by David Bowie being played on Atlanta radio stations over and over…..I believe my sister and I had the single, and even today it’s still played on various classic rock stations.
Believe it or not Changes is one of David Bowie’s best known songs, but it failed to make the Top 40. In the book Strange Fascination-David Bowie: The Definitive Story, David Buckley reports the lyrics are often seen as a manifesto for his chameleonic personality throughout the 1970s. I can understand this as it seemed Bowie remade himself everytime you saw him during the 70s and 80s, but John Mendelsohn wrote in a Rolling Stone article from 1972 that the song could be construed as a young man’s attempt to reckon how he’ll react when it’s his time to be on the maligned side of the generation.

Well, Bowie’s certainly there by now, isn’t he? Born in 1947 he’s not exactly the younger generation anymore. He’s still producing music though and still changing with the times. He’s the same David Bowie….he’s just merely presenting himself using modern methods
Bowie has branched out as an actor over the years most recently playing the role of Nikola Tesla in The Prestige released in 2006. If you are a SpongeBob Squarepants fan you heard Bowie’s voice used for the role of “Lord Royal Highness” in the episode titled SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis. Many of my students came to school talking about the soundtrack to Shrek2 in 2004. They told me all about a great song titled Changes, a duet by Butterfly Boucher and SOME OLD GUY. They’d sing it over and over on the playground. They were amazed when I told them about “the old guy” and that I listened to the same song in 1972 or as one child remarked, “Oh, in the olden days.”

Changes….sometimes we do have to turn and face the strange.

Ecclesiastes 3, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. Perhaps it ranks right up at the top of meaningful text because it involves the concept of time…a concept which is always near and dear to the heart of any history teacher such as myself.

The passage reminds us everything has its own time during the span of our lives. Sadness, happiness, death, new life, planting and harvesting, love and hate, war and peace----they all have a place at one time or another in our lives since Scripture tells us God created those things to be appropriate in their time and for His purpose.

In order to experience these things we have to also experience change. You can’t get from death to healing without change. You can’t get from throwing stones to gathering stones without change. You can’t get from tearing down something to building something up without change. None of it will happen without change. Life can’t exist without change.

Even so, many of us spend a large amount of our time here on earth resisting change, including myself.

I actually hate change. Change is the unknown. Change is scary. Change is uncomfortable, but the Bible shows us that change is necessary, and my own life experiences have shown me this is true. You can probably think back on great and not so great changes in your own life and see that while there were negatives with the change there were also postive things as well even though it might take some time for those results to be seen.

Last Sunday’s Bible Study lesson involved Abram and changes he made in his life. It was titled “Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone”. Using Scripture from Genesis 12 and 13the lesson reminds us about God’s call to Abram to leave his homeland and his people in order to follow a promise God has made to him.

Genesis 12:4 explains Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.

Between verses one and four of Genesis 12 we see the Lord commands and Abram goes. He doesn’t question, he doesn’t do any research, he doesn’t argue, he doesn’t discuss God’s command with a focus group, and most importantly he doesn’t ignore God’s command. God said go, and Abram went.

We see that Lot goes with Abram with no reservations as well. This amazes me. How many of us would pack our things and move simply based on the fact a relative told us God had spoken to him and promised he would become the father of many nations?

The most interesting thing is the last part of verse four……Abram was 75 years old. This isn’t exactly a time in someone’s life when change is easy. Now I’ve never been 75. I hope I get to 75 and beyond, but one thing I know from being around many who are 75, 85, 95, and even one important lady in my life who made it to 102, change isn’t easy for these folks even though they have the most wisdom to provide regarding life.

Yet we see Abram at at 75 setting out on a journey that our lesson compared to what we know about Columbus and his journey to the New World. I’m not sure I really know what I would do if the Lord spoke to me today, and told me to tell my family to pack up because we have to go on journey.

How many of us truly like getting outside of our comfort zone?

As an educator I have survived a firestorm of change in the last ten years. American History is still American History, but due to needed reforms I go about teaching it differently than the teachers who taught me. Instead of just reading a textbook or “sit and get” type lessons where students listen to me, I provide guided situations where students uncover content on their own. I provide opportunities for students to be motivated and involved in the learning process through various strategies that hit on multiple intelligences and learning styles. I don’t demand that students meet me at my level…I hunker down and meet them where they are even if that means providing content five different ways.

Now, don’t for one minute think that I and my colleages accepted these types of changes willingly. Believe me when I tell you there was much gnashing of teeth, snarling, and to and froing. I’ve stamped my foot and kicked my fair share of door jams over the last few years because I hung onto the notion that patience was the watchword. At some point and time I would receive that group of students that would be successful simply because they did it my way. I didn’t want to change, but I’m awfully glad I did because the benefits were amazing.

Reasons for the changes weren’t merely because legislators and educrats up on high told me to. It wasn’t really due to the latest research or fad. The changes were necessary because our clientele---our students---had changed. You cannot use early twentieth century methods with early twenty-first century students. Folks today aren’t just merely the television generation. They are the instant and constant information generation via their cell phone, their Ipod, their video games, their Internet, and any other type of technology I could list.

So, if the folks outside the school walls are looking for something particular does it make sense for me to say leave technology out and forgo various teaching methods because I’m not comfortable with them. Instead of merely leaving a child behind it’s more like I would be tuning the student out and off.

With that in mind do we tune people out and off due to a resistence in the church regarding change?

I think we do.

Over the last two thousand years there have been great upheavals and change in the church, and yet it’s still here. It’s not going away. Those changes were necessary to allow God’s plan to come to fruition.

Where would the Christian church be today if we still ignored Paul’s encouragement for congregational singing (Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19) and only opted for liturgical hymns sung by the special few who could sing in Latin?

Where would the church be today without the struggle that was created with the Protestant Reformation? Back then the slogan was “the reformed church, always being reformed by the church of God.”……always being changed by the church of God…..

Where would we be if Martin Luther had not prepared a Mass in German, so that ALL of the congregation could recite and sing the texts?

Where would we be without Charles Wesley’s hymns that actually provided a new focus….one that expressed personal feelings in the relationship with God as well as simple worship seen in much older church music?

Where would we be without Wesley’s new style of hymn and a period of history in America known as the Great Awakening which led to another distinct style of church music we know as gospel?

Thomas Aquinas said, “If the primary aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” Applying this idea to the church how sad it would be if in our zeal to not bend to the needs of congregants we run the ship aground.

In his book, A Church for the 21st Century, Leith Anderson questions the goal of a church. If the goal is to preserve everything in pristene condition then it will be “defensively protected.” However, if the goal is to go out and do something those involved will be willing to take the risk.

Change, of course, does not mean turning your back on the foundation of Christianity. There are certain things that cannot be denied or ignored. Much like my subject matter of American History…..I can’t change the events, but I can change the methods I use to convey the foundational doctrine (John 3:16). The New Testament provides for us two things Jesus told us the true purposes of the church. Those are the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20) These two things are paramount were until Christ returns. Over the years God’s people have stayed true to these purposes through ever changing styles and methods, but their eyes were always on the same common mission.

It’s clear to me from reading Acts 2 and listening to Bible scholars teach the text the church membership must be of one mind as the disciples were …..all together in one place. This is reemphasized at the end of the passage…..all the believers were together and had everything in common.

As believers we are all given the Holy Spirit, our guide to help us lead a Christian life. The Holy Spirit strengthens us, and it can be used to do things we have never done before. I’m just thinking that in order for the Holy Spirit to move within us we have to be open and willing for change to take place.

Are we, no matter our generational experiences, willing for that to happe

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grandmother's Hands

This post first appeared here in September, 2007…..HERE

Last night at church one of our associate pastors read the following poem. Even though it is about a grandmother’s hands I couldn’t help but think about my own mother and her hands. She passed away in July, 2006, and I think I miss her hands most of all…..They did so much for me.

The pastor had to stop a couple of times as he read the poem, and I simply lost it.

At first I thought, “Durn, why did you go and read that? I certainly didn’t need to cry.” However, after some reflection time I realized I should be grateful that the pastor did read the poem because anytime something can trigger a memory of Mother it is indeed time well spent....even if it is also a tearful time.

The only copy of the poem I could find has been altered a bit from the one the pastor read but the majority of it is intact.

Grandmother’s Hands

I saw my grandmother sitting alone staring at her hands. I thought something was wrong and asked her about it. Grandmother asked, “Have you ever really looked at your hands?”

Grandmother continued, “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout the years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled, and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.”

“They embraced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.”

“They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.”

“They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

“These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.”

I don’t think any Christian after reading this could ever look at their hands the same way again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Think My "Wanter" Is Stuck....AGAIN

This post first appeared here in August, 2009. Look for the link to the second part at the end. Both postings were written after hearing a great sermon from my pastor.

By Friday evening I was worn down…..Dear Daughter had had a bad case of the “wants” all afternoon. She wanted to talk to me which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but conversation isn’t all she wanted. She wanted a snack, she wanted to be taken out to eat, she wanted a replacement pet for our dear kitty that has gone missing, she wants her room painted, and she wants to decorate it in black and white (always wanted a black and white room).

Then she wanted to drive My car over to a friend’s house – seems the friend had wrecked her car and Dear Daughter wanted to see it. No, she didn’t get to go. Then she wanted another friend to come over and spend the night. I said yes. Then she wanted to go out to eat for dinner. I said no. Then there were the reminders about her class ring needing to be paid for, and I had forgotten to order her letter jacket (for golf) once again.

After dinner she wanted to drive MY car to get some cookies. We (by this time Dear Husband was home) said no.

She argued. I blasted her. I had had it with the “Can I?”, “I want”, “Get me”, “Can you”, “Let me” direction of every single thing out her mouth since 3:30 that afternoon. I went through the long laundry list with her of everything she had wanted since she arrived home from school.

I ended my listing by telling her, “Sweetie, I think your “wanter” is stuck.”

Don’t we all do that, though? Think about all the things or situations you want right now. I bet we could fill up a page or two with all the things we want from the insignificant (removing a hangnail) to the very significant (world peace)…..from the small (a bracelet at the local department store) to the very large (a new car, a cruise, or a new home).

Yes, from time to time my “wanter” gets stuck. I get into an acquiring mode where I hunt and gather little treasures as I shop. My closest friends joke about my very large collection of jewelry, and I do seem to have a bunch of stuff. I eye my friends and their stuff, and from time to time I see something I covet and simply must acquire for myself.

Covet….now there’s a Bible term for you. Exodus 20:17 tells us in the big 10….You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t covet a friend’s possessions to the point that I might slip a lace napkin or silver creamer into my purse and walk away with it, but I do usually try to find where they got the item and attempt to purchase my own.

But is this a good habit to get into? Is the hunting and gathering of “stuff” a good thing?????

To covet means you have an uncontrolled desire to acquire. Notice I bolded “uncontrolled”……this is where the word covet takes a very negative turn and it’s the negative part of wanting something that the covet commandment addresses, and like all of God’s commandments there are very valid reasons why we need to keep our “wanter” from getting stuck.

Always wanting more causes fatigue. Proverbs 23:4 advises…Do not wear yourself out to be rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. This verse isn’t telling us that wealth is wrong….it’s telling us there is a smart way to riches and a not so smart way.

Always wanting more causes debt. For some reason our “wanters” get stuck and our wants exceed our needs and that leads to greed with a capital “G”. Ecclesiastes 5:11 states the truth…..The more money you have, the more money you spend…..

Always wanting more causes worry. This effect of a broken “wanter” would naturally follow debt, wouldn’t it? Greed leads to exceeding our needs and we can become overextended and exceed our finances as well.

Always wanting more can lead to conflict. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the desires that battle with you? … says James (4:1). Hmmmm….one of the leading causes of divorce involves money, doesn’t it?

Always wanting more can lead to dissatisfaction. You will never be satisified if you long to be rich. You will never get all you want….Ecclesiastes 5:10

No, I don’t take all the verses I’ve referred to here as a condemnation of being rich. These verses do not mean I should throw out everything I own, down-size my residence, or become complacent with a minimum wage occupation.


These verses refer to riches as in the over-acquiring of stuff and financial means. There is a fine line regarding being successful or having all you want, and you can cross that line very easily.

That is when our “wanter” gets stuck.

So, how do we unstick our “wanter”?

One way is by remembering the words of Jesus….A man’s true life is not made up of the things he owns, no matter how rich he may be……Luke 12:15

….and we need to learn how to be content. I address contentment in part two of this post found here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

13 Events in the Bible That Are Confirmed Elsewhere...

It often amazes me when people try to tell me the Bible is just a fairy tale. There are numerous events that can be found documented in other places.

Check these events out by following the links to other sources.

1. 1 Kings 14:25-26 advises in the fifth year of King Rehobaom, Shishak king of Egypt went to war against Jerusalem. He seized the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything. He took all the gold shields that Solomon had made. This campaign of Pharoh Shishak is also recorded on the walls of the Temple of Amun in Thebes, Egypt seen in the picture to the left.

2. During the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign a king of Assyria named Sennacherib attacked cities of Judah and captured them. When the King Hezekiah said, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me. Whatever you demand from me, I will pay” the Assyrian king demanded 11 tons of silver and one ton of gold. King Hezekiah had no choice but to strip the gold from the doors of the Lord’s sanctuary (see 2 Kings 18: 13-16). This entire episode is recorded on the Taylor Prism.

3. The Moab Revolt against Israel is found in 2 Kings 1:1 and 2 Kings 3:4-27. It is also recorded on the Mesha Stele.

4. The Fall of Samaria to Sargon II, King of Assyria is recorded on his palace walls, but it can also be found in 2 Kings 17: 3-6 and 2 Kings 18: 9-11.

5. Also on Sargon’s walls is the account of his defeat of Ashdod. It’s also found in Isaiah 20:1….In the year that the commander-in-chief, sent by Sargon, king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it.

6. The Lachish Reliefs. records the Siege of Lachish by Sennacherib just as 2 Kings 18: 14, 17……See number 2 above.

7. One day, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esar-haddon become king in his place…..states 2 Kings 19: 37. This account refers to the assassination of Sennacherib and is also recorded in the court records of his son Esarhaddon.

8. The prophets Nahum and Zephaniah (Zephaniah 2:13-15) predicted the Fall of Ninevah. The prediction was also recorded on the Tablet of Nabopolasar.

9. 2 Kings 24: 10-14 tells of the Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Bablyon. Of course it is also listed in the Babylonian Chronicles.

10. Ever hear of the Bablyonian Ration Records? They confirm the captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon. It is also mentioned in 2 Kings 24; 15-16.

11. The Fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians was mentioned in Daniel 5: 30-31...That very night Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was killed and Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of 62...the Babylonian Chronicles also provides the account.

12. Ezra 1:1-4 and Ezra 6:3-4 recounts how the captives in Babylon were freed by Cyrus the Great. Once again the Cyrus Cylinder provides an accounting as well.

13. The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give us the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The writings of Josephus,
Seutonius,Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, and Lucian mention Jesus as well.

This post first appeared here at “Got Bible?” in November, 2007.

If you are wondering why I’m re-posting past articles read the explanation HERE .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Being Thankful for My Southern Heritage

The following post first appeared here in March, 2007as part of a weekly blog activity I was taking part in called Sunday Seven. For this particular “Seven” I decided to discuss my Southern heritage. The picture that appeared with this post is my cousin Ray on his bike in front of my great grandmother’s home.

Here in the great state of Georgia it would seem that we are still trying to come to terms with our ugly past regarding slavery and our secession from the Union. Currently many African American groups are demanding that our General Assembly make a formal apology for slavery. It looks like a done deal and I have no problems with this at all. What I do take issue with is some of our Southern heritage groups have tried to retaliate by demanding their own month long observance for the history of their heritage. I could go on and on and on about this issue and how absurd it all is but I won’t. I would like to show in my seven though there is much more to southern heritage than some might imagine…..

1. I am thankful for my father who has researched our family back at least seven generations. There is something quite satisfying to know how you are connected to the early history of a place and to know that your children have that family history to hold on to and to pass on.

2. I am from a long line of English men and women who tilled the land. They arrived in South Carolina and at one point crossed the mountains into Georgia where they obtained land in the lottery. I know that they were made of much sterner stuff than I…..before the advent of superhighways and Wendy’s drive-thrus they trekked across mountains that I now vacation in and rent fancy cabins with fantastic views from my outdoor hot tub (not to mention the funnel cakes).

3. I’m thankful for my grandfather many times over named Isaac who fought in the American Revolution at the Battle of Cowpens and other places in the South. I’m also thankful for my ancestors who fought in the Civil War. Sadly I have no journals, letters, or other primary sources to let me know why they fought. Census reports from the years before the war do not indicate any slaves were owned so it can be concluded that they didn’t have a stake in the outcome of the war in that regard, however, they did fight for the south. Was it states rights? Was it hope that their fortunes would improve allowing them the same lifestyle of the minority wealthy planters? I’ll never know, but obviously they felt a certain way and made a stand and stuck to it. I guess all Americans must grapple with this problem since many of the architects of our liberty from English tyranny held slaves while stating all men are created equal. I guess you just have to put yourself in the context of the times.

4. I’m thankful for my Great-Uncle Homer who could always be counted on to gather up young and old alike following our dinner-on-the-ground during our annual family reunions. He would shoo us all into the church for singing. He couldn’t sing a lick but it was such fun to see how enthusiastic he was standing up and leading all of us while we melted in the hard backed pews since there was no air conditioning for the church back in the 70s. There were always plenty of the paper fans with funeral home advertisements on one side and pictures of Jesus on the other for us to revive one another with though.

5. I’m thankful that here in the south you can get away with more political “UN”correctness as far as talking about Jesus, the Bible, and other matters of church without offending anyone. I mean when you live in a small town and everyone goes to one of the three or four churches, well……it’s just not that big of a deal, you know. The biggest religious controversy is which denomination lets out first and takes up all the booths at the diner.

6. I’m thankful for the 89 acres that has been in my father’s family for three generations. The picture with this post was taken back in the 1960s on ‘the place”. The view is looking across the street from my grandfather's house to his mother's place. It was built in the late 1890s. Since my dad is now surrounded with country club communities I doubt it will stay that way for long, but my children enjoy walking over the same fields their grandparents, great-grandparents, their great-greats, and their great-great-greats planted, plowed, and harvested by hand…….no slaves, no workers----just them and a mule and a plow.

7. Finally, I’m thankful for the heritage of food in the South. Cornbread, Vidalia Onions, creamed corn, fried okra, green beans, Cole slaw, fried apple pies, fried green tomatoes….I could go on and on…..all types of wonderful foods my ancestors never went to the store to buy….they raised it all themselves on the land and prepared it themselves.

It would seem that as I come to the end of this Sunday Seven focusing on heritage you could say mine is tied up in land and God. These are two of things that brought Englishmen to America, so how could my heritage be anything else. God and land…..God and country……God and the United States of America!

If you are wondering why I’m re-posting past articles read the explanation HERE

Thursday, April 1, 2010

50 Words Summarizing the Bible

This particular post first ran in April, 2007. If you wanted to complete a quick read of the Bible this would be it…….however, the longer version is much better.

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Joseph ruled
Jacob fooled
Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked
Prophets warned
Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

If you are wondering why I’m re-posting past writings click

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mulligan Season...

Over at History Is Elementary I’ve declared this spring to be the season of the mulligan – see my explanation here.

Basically, it means I will be re-posting past articles here at Got Bible? as well as History Is Elementary and Georgia on My Mind.

I’m doing this so I can concentrate on a book project with a looming deadline.

Don’t worry though….I’ll be checking in often….

Monday, March 1, 2010

Valley of Jehoshaphat

The Valley of Jehoshaphat is mentioned at Joel 3:2… and translates to “valley where Yahweh judged”. It is the place where the Lord summons the nation’s for judgment.
The Kidron Valley has been associated with the Valley of Jehoshaphat since the fourth century A.D. though there is no proof Joel was referring to any particular valley. Some scholars believe the place reference is merely symbolic.

The Book of Joel advises God promised all nations they would ultimately be called to God’s place of judgement.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Gethsemane, or the Mount of Olives, is generally associated with Jesus – the place where he prayed, his his agony took place, and here his arrest took place – Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32.

The Mount of Olives is along the main mountain range that happens to run north to south through central and southern Palestine.

With a name like Mount of Olives you would think olive trees would fill the hillside and you would be right. In fact, the word used for Gethsemane in Aramaic and Hebrew means “oil press” as in olive oil. Some of the trees that currently fill the area are over 900 years old, but it might be a little hard to locate an olive tree that would have been around when Jesus walked through Gethsemane.

Josephus, the ancient historian, advises in his work titled Wars the Roman general Titus performed some major tree cutting in the area around Jerusalem around 66-70 A.D. Therefore any trees that existed in the garden were taken down at that time.

The specific location Jesus visited in the area is not know exactly, but many scholars believe the garden was on the western slope between Jerusalem and Bethany.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The School of Tyrannus

Acts 19: 9 tells us…So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

The lecture of of Tyrannus. Hmmmm…..

Where was that?

What was that?

Who was Tyrannus?

Unfortunately, we aren’t very sure. There are no remains of the lecture hall, and we only have little hints from Scripture regarding Paul’s discussions there. The picture I’ve posted here shows some of the ruins that remain at Ephesus, but not the lecture hall.

Paul was in Ephesus around 52 AD during his third missionary journey. It made sense for Paul to journey there…..Ephesus was the capital of an Asian province and was a major population and trade center. He could reach many people there with his Good News. Acts 20:31 reminds us that Paul spent three years in Ephesus…..Remember for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears, and for two of the three years he lectured and debated in the school of Tyrannus per Acts 19:10….This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

Prior to having his discussions in the leture hall of Tyrannus, Paul had begun his ministry in a synagogue, but was soon forced out due to obstinate people, but why a school? The word used for school in the original Greek….schole….meant “leisure”. Not exactly my definition of school being an educator, but in Paul’s day discussions and debates were done during leisure time, and the word finally came to refer to a group of persons meeting for the purpose of having discussions or the place where the meeting was held. Schools during Paul’s time can be thought of as modern day literary or philosophy clubs.

The Greek manuscript of Acts, the Codex Beza, advises discussions were held between 11am and 4 pm…..the part of the day when men were expected to be conducting leisure activities….not work. During those hours men pursued their hobbies, they rested, or they took part in great discussions in a lecture hall or school, as it were.

During these discussions we know that Paul “reasoned” with others. Acts 17:17-18 states….So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this blabber trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

So….during his hours of leisure Paul was preaching or discussing the Good News. Perhaps Tyrannus allowed Paul the use of his building during the afternoon hours which was very advantageous in that the hours of 11 am to 4 pm would give him the largest audience possible, and it would afford Paul the morning hours to actually work at his trade which was tent-making.

We also know that due to his lectures at the school of Tyrannus Paul gained many contacts with officials in Ephesus that proved to be helpful to him. Acts 19:31 states….Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

Acts also clues us in to the fact that Paul didn’t only share the good news in the lecture hall of Tyrannus, but he also went “from house to house” and “with tears” per Acts 20:20, 31….You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house…So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I have never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

But of Tyrannus….who WAS he?

Some scholars believe he was a teacher or at least the owner of the school/lecture hall. Others have suggested he could have been the donor or the patron of the school…much like our tradition of naming buildings after the people who donate the money to pay for them.

The name “Tyrannus” brings a question to mind as well. The word means “tyrant”.

What mother in her right mind would name her little baby “Tyrant”?

It was certainly not a popular name during the first century, and this very fact has led scholars to believe Tyrannus was NOT his real name. Perhaps a group of students had nicknamed this particular teacher Tyrannus.

Hmmm….I’ve been called lots of things by students. I wonder if any of them ever thought I was a tyrant?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

13 Things the Bible Says About Work

Though we all have varying forms due to our situation we all have some sort of work we must deal with on a daily basis.

We have been focusing on what the Bible says about setting goals and life's big questions over the New Year at church....this is taken from my pastor's wonderful sermon series.....

1. Ecclesiastes 2:22….What does a man get for all of his hard work?

2. One type of worker is the lazy worker….The fool won’t work and almost starves, but feels it’s better to be lazy and barely get by than work hard….Ecclesiastes 4:5

3. The other type of worker is a workaholic….Here’s a man who is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard and denying himself any pleasure? This is useless…and a miserable way to live…Ecclesiastes 4:8

4. Workaholics must readjust their values….I’ve learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is better they envy the things their neighbors have…Ecclesiastes 4:4 So often we work to beat out the competition....our society actually rewards bad behavior....bad habits.

5. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?....Mark 8: 36

6. In spite of all our hard work, there’s nothing we can take with us?....Ecclesiastes 5:15 We should ask ourselves: Why am I working so hard? Is the pay off worth it? and Why do I think it will satisfy me?

7. All of us should enjoy our rewards. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift….Ecclesiastes 3:13

8. It’s better to have only a little, with peace of mind, than be busy all the time with both hands….Ecclesiastes 4:6

9. We have to limit our labor….Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself our with work…..Ecclesiastes 10:15 Work should follow an intention schedule, and we should stick to it.

10. You have six days in which to do your work, but the 7th day is to be a day of rest dedicated to Me….Exodus20: 9-10

11. It’s senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night….for God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest….Psalm 127:2

12. Anticipate God’s care…Trust God….Don’t worry, saying, “What shall we eat…or drink….or wear? For pagans, run after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows you need them….Matthew 6:31-32

13. Exchange your pressure for God’s peace….”Come to me, you who are tired from carrying your heavy loads and I will give you rest….The yoke I’ll give you is easy and the load I’ll put on you is light…..Matthew 11:28,30


Other bloggers participate in Thursday 13….you can find them here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless: Verse 60

This is the place where Saul camped before the battle of Gilboa mentioned at 1 Samuel 29:1…..The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. The Philistines at this point were being led by Saul’s enemy…..the future King David.

This could also be the fountain mentioned in Judges 7:1 as the Well of Harod

Other bloggers are participating in Wordless Wednesday. You can find them here

Monday, February 1, 2010

What's YOUR Jordan River?

The Jordan River is the longest and most important river in Palestine.

With Joshua as their leader the Israelites had to cross the Jordan River to achieve their goal of reaching the promised land.

Of course, my title does not really refer to the actual geographical Jordan River, but does refer to all of those little obstacles that get in our way as we attempt to live out the plan God's has for us.

Obstacles such as worrying about the future, paralyzing fear, hypothetical what if situations, procrastination, and so many other things tend to be our "River Jordans"?

Even reading the news can stimulate our fears concerning the future. Reading through the news this morning I saw that hundred of quakes have rattled Yellowstone and there is unrest in Iran. While these things concern me regarding the future I’m not going to allow them paralyze my actions. I have things to do…..I have a life to lead regardless of what might be going on in the world.

Joshua 1 explains that after Moses died the Lord instructed Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River. They had to cross the river to reach the Promised Land. As long as they remained along the banks the Israelites could never experience the life that God wanted them to have.

The people had all sorts of fears and hypothetical situations they worried about, but God doesn’t want us to worry about the future. Matthew 6:34 tells us…Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. Just simply looking about us at the marvels of nature we have to realize we are NOT in control. If we waste our time worrying about the future then we are attempting to control things. We are attempting to take overpower the Lord. That cannot be done.....

Worry paralyzes our actions. It keeps us from doing what we should be doing.
Worry produces procrastination, yet Ecclesiastes 11:4 states….Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Procrastination comes in many forms but at it’s root is perfectionism. That’s it for me, anyway. I often keep from beginning something, completing something, even trying something new because I want it to be perfect the first time. Even this piece of writing is giving me fits because I want it to be perfect. I want to make my thoughts clear.

I want things to be done the right way at the right time, but that mindset is so flawed. Sometimes the perfect time just isn’t going to happen…..Sometimes I'm just not going to find the exact words I want.

We have to remember to plan our future….to plan our actions. Planning for the future is imperative. It IS where we are going to spend our time….in the future. God never did anything on a whim…..there is no spontaneity with God. He teaches us over and over that we should plan our work and work our plan. Joshua 1: 11…Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies read. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for you own. God had a plan for getting the Israelites across the Jordan River.

Sometimes we need to remember to let certain things go that hold us back. Joshua 1: 2-3 explains how God reminds Joshua that Moses is gone. They can’t sit by the river and worry. They have to move on. God tells Joshua….Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them – to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.

We can learn more about that God wants us to do if we stay in the word. Joshua was reminded of this. Joshua 1:8 states….Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Scripture will give us the guidance we need…..Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance…Proverbs 20:18 and Proverbs 16:9….In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

And of course, we have to build upon faith and remember that faith is an action. We have to be moving through our plans. We cannot allow fear to paralyze us. Joshua 1: 6-7, 9 explains….Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or left. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

We have to have courage…..courage that enables us to move even when we face fear.

Of course Joshua 3 explains how the priests at the direction of Joshua stepped out into the Jordan River on faith, and faith alone enabled them to cross the river on dry land. The text goes on to state that God had caused a dam to form up the river approximately seventeen miles…. and the Israelites were unaware.

Go ahead…..step out on faith. Stay in the Word…..make a plan with God…..step out into the waters of your own personal River Jordan and move on to your reward.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

13 Things the Bible Says Regarding Dieting

1. January.

The month of new beginnings and resolutions, however, the end of the month is upon us and I have to wonder….

How many of us have already broken our resolution to watch what we eat this year?

2. The Bible tells us many things about diets, but one thing it doesn’t say is we should fast in order to loose weight. While we do need to take care of our bodies and we do need to refrain from gluttony, that is no indicate that we are to fast in order to loose weight.

3. Fasting was used during ancient Israel to express grief. 1 Chronicles 10:12 explains the men of Gilead fasted after King Saul’s death to express their sadness and feelings of loss.

4. Fasting was used to recognize times when God delivered His people. Zecharia 8:19…This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

5. Times when God’s people were repenting and grieving for disobedience and sin also called for fasting…..Judges 20:26…then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening….. and 1 Samuel 7:6….When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.”

6. Fasting is also appropriate to exhibit our humility before the Lord…..
Levitcus 16:29 and Psalm 69:10….When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn…..

7. For those times we want guidance from the Lord fasting clears our senses and helps us to focus on Him.
Exodus 34:28 and 2 Chronicles 20:3-4

8. David fasted to show his repentance once he learned the child he conceived with Bathsheba in adultery would die….2 Samuel 12:16…David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.

9. Once Elijah warned Abhab concerning judgement against him for the murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21:27…When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted…) he was ready to fast to show his repentance.

10. Ezra fasted for travel mercies before journeying from Babylon to Jerusalem. He asked the Lord for His blessing, guidance, and safety …
Ezra 8:21.

11. Daniel fasted on the behalf of the Jewish nation in order to entreat God to restore them from exile in Babylon….
Daniel 9: 3-4.

12. Jesus also fasted at the start of his ministry ……Matthew 4:2….After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

13. Finally, Paul and Barnabas fasted when they were called by God to undertake a journey taking the Gospel to Asia Minor ….
Acts 13: 1-5

Other bloggers participate in Thursday 13….you can find them

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless: Verse 59

This picture is Merom in the Golan Heights in Galilee.

It is the place mentioned at Joshua 11: 1-7where Joshua led Israel to defeat a group of Canaanite tribes under King Jabin of Hazor in a surprise attack.

Other bloggers are participating in Wordless Wednesday. You can find them here

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless: Verse 58

This painting is King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba by Konrad Witz. He worked in the early 1400s, and few of his paintings survive.

King Solomon, of course, was the son of King David and Bathsheba….He was the 3rd king of the united Israel and was known for his great wisdom and construction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
This painting is from a panel from the Heilspiegel Alterpiece and can be seen at Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

Of course, in reality King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba would NOT have been dressed in clothing more typical of the Middle Ages….this IS typical of artist from the time period though….they often portrayed Biblical figures in settings and costume that was contemporary for the times.

Find other wordless images published by other bloggers here.
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