Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Blessed Family


Acts 17 NLT
11  And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
12  As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

It is very important for every Believer to choose a Bible translation which is both understandable and scholarly. Not all Bibles are the same. Some Bibles are not intended to be translations of manuscripts or early writings but are rather personal commentaries or at best doctrinally slanted paraphrases of the Holy Scriptures.

This may seem like a small thing but I assure you not every book contains the Word of God as He intended just because it has “Bible” on the cover. Even when it comes to accurately translated study Bibles, marginal notes can at times weigh heavily and even sway the reader’s notion towards the beliefs of the one making the notes. This is helpful and good when the notes are based on a scholarly exegeting of the scripture but not always so helpful when the commentator has a personal point or church doctrine to defend.

Without going into any specifics which would only serve to tear down some other person’s or denomination’s beliefs, allow me to simply encourage you to be studious in your approach to the Word of God and check out your thoughts and beliefs with a credible, tested, tried and true translation of the Bible. Don’t lay the foundation of your faith on a paraphrase or a commentary or even on a good sermon which you have not vetted by the good Word God. The Bible only tells one story, the story of redemption. No one verse can be interpreted outside of that one story.

That being said, there are several ways which are openly available to check out any scripture or principle you may wish to make certain. The internet holds a vast supply of translations and study aids to insure the lay person gains access to the truth of the Gospel. If you need help with your studies you can always contact me or our office.

This morning we begin a new theme for the month of June. June is a busy and a fruitful month for our Church. We have in June 2017 at COTR:
·        Summer Camps
·        A Crawfish Boil
·        A Quarterly Fellowship
·        Vacation Bible School
·        Father’s Day
·        An Outreach to the Homeless

With all that is ongoing at Church this summer I felt led by the Holy Spirit to make this month’s theme a Focus on the Family. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. we will have an adult Sunday School lesson aimed at strengthening the family. Sunday School Topics for June
·        Marriage – Sunday June 11th
·        Parenting – Sunday June 18th
·        Money – Sunday June 25th

Today we are going to read one verse in the Bible and draw a wealth of truth and direction for our lives and families from that one verse. We will read it in the Amplified Classic Edition of the Bible. (“The Amplified Bible uses a unique system of punctuation, italics, references, and synonyms to unlock subtle shades of meaning as found in the original languages.” Zondervan Publishing/Lockman Foundation)

So, the Amplified version of the Bible attempts just what the name of the version suggests … it amplifies. Key words in several scriptures are given amplified reflection mainly through the use of synonyms. These shades of meanings supply greater perspective and broadens the reader’s consideration on the subject contained in that verse.

To show the difference between the Amplified Bible and a strict translation, let’s first read the verse from a universally trusted translation, the New King James Version of the Bible:

Proverbs 28:14 ¶  Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

That little ¶ after the verse number 14 is a designator put there by the translators to indicate that a new subject or thought begins right here.

A simple reading of this verse teaches that a person will be happy if they are always reverent, while a person who does not open his heart in respect to God will fall into trouble. If we took the scripture apart we would find that the ancient Hebrew word “ra’rah” for masculine or “ra’ah” for feminine was used by the original writer, King Solomon in this case, and translated into our English word calamity. This ancient Hebrew word basically means to be adversely disfavored and become grievously sad because of something you did or didn’t do. In other words, it is the sadness that comes from not having done something you know would have made you happy.

That’s all well and good if we have the time to take each scripture apart and dote on every word and then put it back together into one intended and complete thought. Either that or else we all must learn ancient Hebrew and Ancient Greek … but that’s probably not going to happen – yet … God wants us to all know what can make us enjoy a happier and more fruitful life.

Now, let’s look at this same verse in the Amplified and conclude today’s message with some things that you can do to make you have a happy and blessed family.

Proverbs 14 (AMPC – Amplified Classic)
14  Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who reverently and worshipfully fears [the Lord] at all times [regardless of circumstances], but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Blessed, happy, fortunate and to be envied is the: Man; Woman; Child; and/or Family. Whoever reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord at all times regardless of the circumstances, will be blessed, happy, fortunate and is to be envied. We must realize that the converse is also reflected in this verse. Those who close their hearts towards God will fall into calamity.

With the busyness of summer and the demands that will be made on the family, I want to encourage each of us to do our part for the family.

Men, I have a question for you. Are you leading your family to reverently and respectfully and worshipfully trust the Lord at all times regardless of what is going on in their world or the world around you?

Women, same question … Are you being the example you need to be to your family? Remember, we are not raising children, we are raising adults!

Young person … Perhaps you are the one chosen to turn your family from a sad family to a happy family. Who knows but that God has chosen you and will give you the opportunity to change your family or friends by being a better example. Trust in the Lord at all times … especially when others don’t, won’t or even when they think your respect for God is strange.

I’m going to ask each one of you to personally check three things in your life today and throughout this summer.
1.  Your primary focus
a.   Are you focused on what God can do or what others are doing?
b.   Are you looking for the good or focusing on the bad?
2.  Your choice of words
a.   What are you saying to yourself and to others about the circumstances and situations you face?
b.   What can you say that will help the situation?
3.  Your witness under pressure
a.   Check your attitude. (under pressure)
b.   Check your gratitude. (under pressure)
c.   Let the light of Christ shine in and through your life especially under pressure.

This is how we and our families can enjoy the summer:
·        Blessed
·        Happy
·        Fortunate

·        To be Envied