Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Imagine Not Being Able to Read the Bible

The Big Idea: The Bible which used to be in Latin and Greek throughout the world, was put into our language because of daring Scripture spies who risked everything.

Imagine not being about to read the Bible!

Imagine not being able to read the Bible for yourself! Long, long ago, the average person did not know how to read the Bible, or anything else.

There were very few copies of the Bible available and what existed was in Latin or Greek.

My husband, raised in the Roman Catholic Church, recalls Latin masses. One of his neighbors brought the Sunday paper to church every Sunday and read during the service because he understood nothing spoken or read!

How do I know I’m not cursing myself?

The first 1500 years after Christ were like the neighbor's experience. The 2 ruling churches from the East (Orthodox, favoring Greek) and the West (Roman Catholic, favoring Latin) saw putting the Bible into the language of the people as suspect.

“They don’t have the clerical education to interpret it!”
Churches preached in Greek or Latin and offered communion, conducted baptisms and weddings as such.

But as a Muslim friend of mine puts it, “I have to read the Koran and pray in Arabic. How do I know I’m not cursing myself with the very words I speak?”

The Dark Ages were… well, dark

The Dark Ages (~500-1400 A.D.) had a grip of darkness over mankind. Life was hard and people died too easily. The Viking conquests, the Black Plague, and the Crusades were some time markers.

The Church, instead of bringing comfort and hope to the masses, bickered and controlled Sovereigns and money. And they preached in a language people did not understand.

But God always keeps a remnant! Not silent, God works through humble people with a passion for Him.

The next month we'll briefly look at those who risked even life to make God known. Single minded in their fervor, they tried to get the Bible into the language of the people.

These folks are why we have the Bible in our hands today.

Daring Scripture Spies

As we look at the lives of these Scripture Spies, they share these five traits in varying degrees.

 1. A longing for the average Joe to know God

2. Compelled by God to change people’s lives

3. Challenging the status quo

4. In danger, hunted down, life threatened

5. Instrumental in pointing people to know God 

Bonus: Influencer on thousands through the centuries


Up next: First Prize goes to the Oxford man!
Previous post: The most remarkable after death appearances


1. Imagine you can’t read anything. Imagine everything you hear at church is in a language you don’t know. How do you keep the faith?

2. Does the Bible seem like gobbly-gook sometimes, even when you’re reading it in your language? Have you tried another translation? Compare a couple of verses in different translations (like the New Living Translation) and ask yourself if that enhances understanding for you. (You can find other translations of the same verse from


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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Most Remarkable After-Death Appearances

The Big Idea: We know Jesus died and came back to life from the many after death appearances and interactions with food and touch.

How can we know Jesus really died, and truly came back to life?

God has been real to me since I was a very young girl. For me, belief in Jesus and the Bible came easily. For many, belief is a struggle, and evidence weighs in with doubts. 

Consider these many after-death appearances from the New Testament. At one point He appeared to over 500 people (I Corinthians 15:6).

The multiple after - death appearances

Over ten appearances are recorded in the Bible. Not only did some touch Him feeling His wounds, some ate with Him. Here is a great chart from the book by apologist, Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

From Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell

The highest honor goes to… the women!

Jesus often gave honor to women. How crazy is that for that time period?

He appeared first to women followers. Mary Magdalene heard Him state her name. She KNEW that voice! (John 20:11)

It was the women’s honor to be the first to go and tell.

Not just seeing, but touching and eating together

Jesus found the disciples on a couple of occasions and he broke bread and ate with them. (Luke 24:16) Another day he cooked fish and ate with them on the beach (John 21).

“Doubting Thomas” wasn’t with the other disciples the first time Jesus showed up after the resurrection. Jesus came back later that week when Thomas was there and asked him to touch His wounds. Not. A. Ghost (John 20:19-29).

Shell game?

Some said the disciples had stolen the body. But if they did, the Jewish leaders would have arrested the disciples for defiling a tomb and an unclean corpse. They were very touchy about stuff like that.

In Bible times there was never a credible alternative place where Jesus’ body was laid like the famous tombs of other notable people.

There was no dead body. Anywhere.

And in the years following Jesus’ ascension to heaven, every disciple faced serious persecution and even violent death for their story that Jesus lives. It could not be a lie that eleven men decided to give their lives for.

Fully God. Fully man.

Jesus was fully man.

He was born of a woman. He grew up. He felt pain. He ate. He slept. He died completely convincing the soldiers at the cross.

He endured about as much pain as one could by torturous execution.

Jesus was fully God.

Jesus was miraculously conceived. God stated He was His Son by audible voice from heaven. He was God knowing, quoting and explaining/clarifying the Old Testament. He healed, fulfilling the Old Testament Messianic prophecies. And He was totally hated by Satan and the demons.

Jesus completely died

Jesus died as a complete human male. No fainting, then gathering enough strength to claw his way out of the tomb with a one ton plus door or stone.
John the Baptist called Him The Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the World (John 1:29). This Lamb of God fully died during Passover. Later the New Testament writers would make it clear He was the ultimate Passover sacrifice (I Corinthians 5:7).

Jesus completely reversed death

Jesus did not appear as a ghost like an apparition. He had a body and interacted in human activity with other human beings.

He came back to life permanently to be alive forever. It was a “staying alive forever” power.

He resurrected Lazarus from a dead state (John 11). He had that God-power over life and death. But Lazarus’ death-to-life was different. Lazarus lived more on the earth and died later in life, like any other person would.

Jesus did a more powerful work on Himself. Because He is God, He came back to life in a forever body, never to die again (Hebrews 7:24). He returned to His Father in heaven (Acts 1:1-10). He is the only human being to regain life and never die again (Romans 6:9).

Death could not hold Him

C.S. Lewis says it well! Death started working backwards. (C.S Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) He took control of it and reclaimed life because of His all mighty God power.

I love this line in the song from NorthPoint Worship, When death was arrested and my life began.

He reversed the penalty of death, by being killed as an innocent human man, a perfect sacrifice, and then conquering death’s hold by coming back to life forever (I Corinthians 15:57)!

What a nice thing He did

It is a nice thing He did for us human beings! As a human being He felt every strike of the whip and every nail. He experienced death. Tasted it (Hebrews 2:9).

Because He was God, He reversed the curse to life (Galatians 3:13)

You and I have the opportunity to seize this incredible benefit and escape the penalty of our deserved eternal death (Romans 5:21), by confessing (Romans 10:9). We cannot achieve this on our own, believing in what He has done for us.

He lives in me

There comes a point when you just have to believe. One of my favorite hymns states You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart (Alfred H. Ackley, He Lives).

I talk to Him and I know His voice in my being. He is real to me and my life. Even if it were for only His help and guidance in this life alone, life is all the better because of Him.

If you still have questions, check out books by Josh McDowell such as Evidence for the Resurrection.  

Here is a place to download all of Josh McDowell's books as PDF files for free. Explore the Faith.


Up next: Imagine not being able to read the Bible
Previous post: When hope is dashed


1. Have you or someone close to you had doubts about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Where does it stand for you now? What has made a difference?

2. Have you experienced God with you? If so, how does this touch you?

3. Think about sharing this post with someone and interacting about what you think about the realities of the resurrection and the power of Jesus.  Pray as you are in process, exploring. 


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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

When Hope is Dashed

The Big Idea: When our hope is dashed, God understands we need to process what’s happening, as His followers did on the Route to Emmaus, encouraging us to turn to Jesus who has faced death and overcome for us.

When Hope is Dashed

A friend was venting. She exclaimed, “King David didn’t speak so kindly about people either!”

Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! Psalm 3: 7 NLT

But David always reaffirmed His trust in God when he vented. And David vented directly to God in his frustration, not to others.

The Bible is not full of platitudes

I LOVE the Bible! It is so authentically real!

  • It reveals Moses was a murderer first. So was Paul. And others too.
  • David talked openly about disappointment, depression and pain.
  • Paul spoke of unbearable cold and pain from beatings and missed his friends.

The Bible reveals people processing. It does not mince words revealing their journey, even after trusting in Him, many have suffered terribly. Life is like this.

The disciples didn’t think it would end like this

When Jesus died on the cross, his followers were upset. This was not what they expected.

Peter even denied knowing Jesus.

Two followers of Jesus walked outside of Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus (Luke 24:13-34).

They were talking about everything that had happened. (Luke 24:14) They talked and discussed these things.

Jesus goes incognito

Then Jesus showed up. But they didn’t recognize him. Wearing sunglasses perhaps? Ha!

They tried explaining Jesus’ death and the events that transpired.

We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. Luke 24:21 NLT

We had hoped

Have you ever felt that way?
  • I had hoped it would not come to this
  • I had hoped to make a career of this job
  • I had hoped this person was “the one”
  • We had hoped my dad would live till we had children

We had hoped.

We had hoped.

Hope deferred is sickening

It’s hard when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13: 12a NLT

We grieve. We feel pain. We lament. We are human.

But this is not the end of the story.

Jesus has overcome

The stranger who turned out to be Jesus explained.

Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24: 26-27 NLT

Jesus, who lives yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8 ) wove together how the Old Testament pointed to His life, death and resurrection. I would have loved to listen in on that conversation!

Jesus has overcome even death

But Jesus has overcome.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NLT

We have trials. We suffer. We experience grief. Often days get better but life is hard. Jesus wants to give us peace in the midst of pain, and HOPE for eternity.

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 15:14 NLT

We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. Titus 2:13 NLT

Vent to Jesus

You can vent to Jesus. (Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all you who are weary...") Leave it with Him. Fix your eyes on Him and remember He has overcome.

In the midst of your doubts, your grief, and disappointments that overwhelm you, walk with Jesus. He has risen from the dead and will walk with you on your journey.


Up next: The Most Remarkable After-Death Experience
Previous post: ‘Twas the Night before Easter



1. Think of a time you struggled with God, if He cared, or His existence. What were your questions for Him? Is it resolved or do you still have doubts?

2. Read these 3 verses several times slowly and reflect on them. Pray about what they say.

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 15:14 NLT

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18 NLT

We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. Titus 2:13 NLT



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Wednesday, April 5, 2023

'Twas the Night Before Easter

‘Twas the Night before Easter

by Diane Wido     (Matthew 27-28, Mark 15-16:8, Luke 23-24, John 19-20)

‘Twas the night before Easter and all through the land

People were stirring in the dark night at hand.

The chief priests and Pharisees ran to Pilate to say,

“Jesus told his disciples He’d arise the third day.”

His disciples might steal His body, they exclaimed!

“He arose from the dead” will be surely proclaimed.

“Put a seal on the tomb as secure as you can.”

Soldiers went to the tomb to protect this dead man.

Now Jesus was a man who had vexed all the leaders.

He healed folks on the Sabbath. He forgave even cheaters.

“He speaks like a man who has God’s authority!

Why He implies He is God, the I AM, to a T.”

This man must be killed! He is not to be trusted!

“Crucify Him” cried the masses! "Let His body be busted!"

The deed was accomplished; He died on the cross.

Nicodemus and Joseph wrapped him gently in cloth.

Laid in a new tomb that was completely empty,

A stone weighing a ton or more covered the entry.

‘Twas the night before Easter and every disciple

Had scattered with fear, confused and in denial.

When they found each other they grieved in dismay.

They talked and they wondered. Were they able to pray?

Did they eat? Did they sleep? They must have felt numb.

Before dawn John and Peter made a plan for a run.

Mary Magdalene saw the men. “They have taken the Lord!

His body’s not there! Where’s it gone? Where’s it stored?”

John and Peter started running but John got ahead.

Peter barged in the tomb. Cloth was folded instead.

They left deep in reflection. Mary stayed in the garden.

She started to weep. “I don’t know where they took Him!”

“Why the tears?” said the Lord. “Who are you looking for?”

"Just say where you put Him. I’ll take care of His corpse.”


”Teacher!” she exclaimed. And he gave her a message.

“Tell my brothers I go to the Father! Have courage!”

‘Twas the night before Easter and the women who served

Jesus tirelessly in Galilee gathered in a herd.

Jesus’ mother was there and some others I’m sure.

They were grieving but planning this caring venture.

They bought burial spices to anoint and to honor.

“Who’ll roll away the stone?” they wondered; they pondered.

At the tomb they were shocked to see the stone rolled away!

So they entered the tomb, where a man in white stayed.

“Don’t be scared!” said the angel, “this man Jesus you seek

Is not here! He is risen from the dead! Take a peek!

Now go! Tell the disciples that He is not dead!.

He will meet them in Galilee just as He said.”

The ladies ran bewildered, their hearts pounding fast!

They were frightened, yet joyful at what had surpassed.

“Listen Peter, and Andrew and James and John,

Nathanial and Matthew, Simon and Tom,

James, the younger, and Philip, oh Judas, the other,

He is risen! He is risen! He is risen, my brothers!”

Don’t be dismayed! He’s alive it’s decreed!

Happy Easter to All! He is Risen, indeed!



1. Of the people in this poem (and the Biblical story) which one do you identify the most with? Why? If you could be a fly on a wall where would you like to be in the story?

2. In a word, what does Easter morning means to you?

If you are experiencing doubts, that is OK.  God is patient with questions and a seeker's heart. 

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7


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