How Did we Get the Bible?    

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Throughout the centuries there have been skeptics and mockers of the Bible, and none so vehement as the French philosopher Voltaire. He applied his gift of writing in an attempt to demolish Christianity, believing that when people became enlightened they would no longer believe in God, or the Bible or their need for salvation through Jesus Christ. He is quoted as saying of Christ, “Curse the wretch!” Obviously Voltaire had some serious anger issues, not to mention a tad bit of arrogance. He boasted, “In twenty years, Christ will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear.”

Voltaire died in 1778, and since his death, millions upon millions of Bibles have been printed and sold throughout the entire world. This man who said that he would expose the Bible and that it would be buried in obscurity is dead and gone, but the Word of God stands forever. Ironically, sometime after his death, Voltaire’s house was purchased by the Geneva Bible Society and was used as a warehouse for Bibles. The Holy Scriptures survived Voltaire, and they will continue to survive despite modern-day critics and outspoken atheists.

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Peter described the Bible as “living and enduring” (1 Peter 1:23). Isaiah penned, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8). The Bible is an indestructible book. Many besides Voltaire have attempted to do away with it. In AD 303, the Roman emperor Diocletian issued an imperial decree that every Bible should be destroyed. Many Bibles were burned and Christians were put to death for having them in their possession, yet this holy book endured! Even in the Middle Ages, when the Bible was kept from the common people, men such as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale risked their lives to translate the Scriptures so that all could have access to reading it.

Modern-day critics of the Bible question its accuracy, and claim that it couldn’t possibly be the same document as the original manuscripts. Perhaps you have wondered how we can know that the Bible is true, accurate, and infallible. In this blog for next several weeks, we will investigate the process of how we got what we know today as the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. We will also look at the questions some people have about errors or contradictions. Why is it important for us to investigate the veracity of the Bible? Because it claims to be the very words of God, and if it is, then we must lean our whole life into it. It is our foundation, and we must be able to stand on it with confidence.

I hope you will join me for the next few weeks as we look at how the Bible came together and why we rely on it as the true word of God on which we find the foundation of our faith.

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This series is an excerpt from my book, Becoming a Woman of the Word – Knowing, Loving and Living the Bible. For the next few weeks I am offering the book as our $5 special for the month (while supplies last – limit 10 per customer). Click Here for more details. 

Healthy Self Talk

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What are the voices that tend to creep into your mind? Maybe it’s the voice of fear that whispers, “What if ……happens?” Or perhaps it’s the voice of self-doubt which scolds you and says, “You’ve made so many stupid mistakes – you can’t do anything right.” Maybe it’s the voice that continually beats you up in your brain sniveling, “You’re not smart thin enough, you’re not good enough, you never do enough.” The voices we hear come in many forms and fashions, but we don’t have to allow them to grow into weeds and overtake our minds. Instead we can pull them out by the roots and replace these thoughts with the seeds of truth.

Whether we are weeding a garden or weeding out the negative thoughts in our brains, we can apply the three R’s: Recognize, Root out and Replace. It’s amazing how quickly a weed can grow in our minds without us even realizing it. When it comes to the real flower garden in front of our house, I literally think weeds pop up overnight. Given a few days, and some of those pesky plants can grow to become the size of small trees! So we must be vigilant and alert, recognizing weeds at the point when they first appear. The apostle Peter wrote, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).”

It’s inevitable – doubts, discouragement and lies will pop into our heads. How do we recognize them? We need to take a moment to consider our own personal reoccurring thoughts – the ones that seem to grow in our own garden. For me personally, I struggled many years with self-doubt in every area of my life, from my physical appearance to my capabilities to even my relationships. I first needed to recognize that these were unhealthy and destructive thoughts. They were doing more harm than good. Often we grow comfortable with our fears and doubts, and fail to identify them as weeds. We must recognize that they are not based on God’s truth, and have a negative drain on our lives. These negative thoughts also prevent good seeds from growing.

Stop for a moment and consider, what are some of the destructive voices you are allowing to grow in your mind? Once you begin to recognize your own personal brain-weeds, then it is time to root them out at the core. If you have ever tended a garden you know that if you just whack weeds off at the surface level, then they will return. We must dig them out from the roots! For me, at the core of my self-doubt was really the doubt the God loved me. I didn’t believe that He created me for a purpose and had equipped me with gifts and talents. It was time to weed out the deep roots of doubt.

What is at the root of the negative voices that pop into your head? Dig deep for a minute and consider the core. Dealing with the root system of the weeds in your mind, allows you to dig them out and then turn in a new direction. We must replace the old ugly weeds with healthy, vibrant truth. Where do we find that truth? The Bible reveals that God is love. His very nature is love. He is good, and He is faithful. He is able to do all things. Oh what powerful and life-changing seeds we plant in our brain when we know God’s word! I recommend choosing at least one verse to memorize in order to help you crowd out the weeds that want to grow in your mind. Ask God to lead you to just the right verse to help you.

Next week, I will give you some of my favorite verses which I have memorized to help me plant seeds of faith and strength in my mind.

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This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women  on sale this month for $5!

Guest Blogger Shelley S. Cramm

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This week, I’ve invited my friend Shelley S. Cramm to be our guest blogger. I know you will love what she has to share. Shelley is the author of devotions for NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, and has found the Word of God to be completely useful and practical in her everyday life—not to mention delightfully fun! Her background includes work in architectural and garden design, as well as involvement in a local Toastmasters International club, Bible study groups, Moms in Prayer, and Moms of Preschoolers ministries. Inspiration to write a gardener’s Bible grew out of a routine of morning journaling and an enduring hope to finish up the laundry and get out to the garden. Shelley and her husband Topher have five children and live in Irving, Texas. For more information, visit www.gardeninDelight.com.

BLOOMING DESERTS

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As a garden writer, my favorite place to embrace and live out Positive Life Principles is in the garden, of course! The methodical pace of garden work seems to open up God’s ministry to my mind and moving forward in life, and God-sent glimpses of Scriptures or memories of Bible stories become my meditation. His Word breaks through mental burdens formed under the pressures of livelihoods or the sufferings of our loved ones to bring God’s hope, solace, and courage to carry on.

For example, recently I retreated to the backyard after our college daughter left for a summer camp job, one that will take her away for the whole season. I was prepared to mourn her loss when she left for freshman year, but now heartache unbalanced me all over again.  Will I be undone with such sadness every summer? We have more children; will all their departures distress me like this? Ugh. What a terrible system, I moaned. I took my protest to the garden (of course), to prepare a new bed for onions, wailing and murmuring at the whole process of life changes, not unlike the Israelites in the Sinai Desert (Numbers 11:4-10).

While gathering the gumption to wrestle the work of turning over soil and mixing in compost (first requiring the overturn of my compost heap—another ugh!), a simpler task caught my attention. I’ll quickly plant my order of autumn crocus bulbs, the flowers that spring up after hot summers in the dry lands of the Bible.

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

I hunted for some pots to plant them in, amused through my sorrow as I realized that with my forgetfulness in watering pots, these will soon resemble the parched Promised Land!  A small smile emerged and soon I remembered the joy God’s Word communicates in seeing a lifeless stretch of earth burst into bloom. Thoughts drifted to our daughter and the burst of life she embodies. Filled with dynamic beauty and enthusiasm, she brings energetic gladness wherever she goes. I thought about the families she would meet at camp, greeted by her joy…and in an instant I glimpsed her life’s charge, to bloom deserts! That is, to impart rejoicing into weary hearts. Suddenly I didn’t feel like crying any more. I was gently renewed, my heart built up in the thoughts of flowers soon to blossom and the beauty of our daughter’s budding life. The pots all planted, I left crying in the onion bed for another day.

In this manner, I have come to see my commonplace suburban plot set against the backdrop of the Bible lands; the garden I keep is common ground between my daily life and the epic tales of truth and wisdom in God’s Word, making the choice “to view life through the eyes of hope” an easy one!

Photo Caption: © 2012 Shelley S. Cramm  Autumn crocus planted in pots bring Isaiah’s rejoicing! Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

A portion of this blog was first published at www.gardenindelight.com/garden-gods-great-garden-stories/ on June 28, 2014.

For more on planting autumn crocus bulbs, see www.gardenindelight.com/plant-guide/autumn-crocus/

For more about her book, click here.