Myths, Urban Legends, Mom Said …

Working in a Christian Bookstore you hear so many interesting “truths”.  People come in wanting to find a plaque, or a bookmark, or maybe a book containing certain sayings or facts.  I often want to say, “well, if it is in the Bible, why not find it there?”.  The truth is, most do not know what is really in the Bible.  It is just something they heard someone tell them and that made it so.

This past week a woman came in and wanted a plaque that said, “when God closes a door, He opens a window.”  She was shocked we did not carry someone like that.  Of course you know me, I jumped right in with my “take” on the subject of God and His using only the FRONT DOOR (previous blog).  It is surprising how many times we say we only want to get to know Him better.  We want to know His will.  Yet, somehow, we never look to the obvious source for that information.

I have a grandson named Noah and working in a Christian bookstore, we have plenty of books and items with Noah depicted.  Through the ages people have taken what God’s word says  about Noah and the animals in the ark, and changed it to say only two of every animal entered the ark (2×2).  But, look at what God’s word really says:

Genesis 7:2-3 (NASB) “2 You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female;    3 also of the birds of the sky,by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.”

That is FOURTEEN, not two!

Growing up I remember that when there was a freak storm someone would say it was getting close to the end times because that is when the seasons would swap.  That myth came from Padre Pio, a Roman Catholic priest who was quoted as saying,  “You will know when that time is approaching because the seasons will change so the only way you will know the seasons is by the leaves on the trees.”  The Bible actually says the exact opposite in God’s promise to Noah saying He would never destroy the earth by flood again.

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.”

Now you have all heard, “cleanliness is next to Godliness” right?  Not in there – you will not find it in the Bible.   How about, “God helps those who help themselves?”  Not in the Bible.  How many tribes were there?  13, not 12.  People say 12 because the Levites were not given land, but the tribes were made up of Jacob’s 11 sons and Joseph’s 2.

How many of you believe Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey or other animal?  Luke 2 Three Wise Men? Matthew 2  Or, how about the unicorns mentioned in the Bible?  The actual Hebrew word referred to a two-horned animal, but King James people thought one horn and put in unicorn (nine times in the O.T.).  Contrary to popular myth, they did not “miss the boat” (Ark).  What about the popular Mizpah jewelry symbolizing love and friendship and quoting Genesis 8:49“The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” ?   Actually, it was a covenant between Jacob and Laban based on their past differences, a warning that God was keeping an eye on their actions.

So my point is that we have a bad habit of listening to what others say, preach, teach, and take it as “gospel” when in actuality it is not IN THE GOSPEL.   As Christians  you need to know what the Bible actually says, teach and walk what it says, and not just keep passing on misinformation.  Make a point of knowing what you are talking about and not just being a puppet or minor bird , repeating what others say.  Make sure your kids are raised with what the Bible actually says.   I tell others to study APOLOGETICS – be prepared to give the reasons for what you believe.   In other words, know what you believe and why with NO APOLOGIES.   Make sure God’s word really said it, before you repeat it.

I believe …

… “I Believe I Can Fly”
… “I Believe”
… “I Believe In Angels”
… “I Believe, I Believe”
… believe in our product … believe in the team … believe in yourself?

The world says believe in yourself.

Binging,which I prefer rather than Googling, the words “I Believe” is fascinating.  Humans need to believe.  It is innate. It is that little something in us that is a hole, a void, that needs to be filled.  God put it there, that need for Him.  That longing for Him.  The world tries to help you fill the void.   As you can imagine, there are scores of song lyrics, t-shirts, photos and artwork with those two words incorporated in or on them.  Remember the scene in Miracle on 34th  Street at the end when the little girl keeps reciting, “I believe, I believe.”?  We need to believe. We WANT to believe.

I am not talking about looking at that chair and saying, “I am going to sit on you chair and I believe you are going to hold me up.”  We believe in many things .  I am talking about the ultimate belief, the one thing that fills the void in our lives that nothing else can fill, our belief in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  That is the only “fill” for our void.  God provided the Lord Jesus Christ and  the Holy Spirit to meet our need and fill our void.

Dateline: 10/15/2011 5:45PM ~ She stood outside the store where I work.  She was shopping in the store and had waited on me outside when she saw I was leaving at the end of my shift. She said she was Jewish and her friend Catholic.  They are friends and had wandered into the store while out shopping.  She had questions.  She said, “I believe in God.  I am a Jew, yet I was raised in private Catholic schools.  I am open-minded.”    She has questions, she is searching.  She has a void.  She needs answers, a way to fill that void.

“I believe in God.”  Many people make that statement.  The truth is, satan* believes in God.  The  Bible says satan* knows who Jesus Christ is and that He is the Son of God.  The difference is  Christians believe Jesus is the Savior.    I was raised on the “Four Fold Gospel ~ Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.”  He saved me, cleansed me, heals me and will return.  That sums it all up.  Yet, I cannot stop there.  I  have to read His word and pray.  I have to get to know Him daily and walk with Him. I have to know what the Bible says.  A saying from the 18th century states, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  I think we can study the Bible all our lives and never understand or learn it all.  But I have to continue to read, pray and grow.  Some of us are further behind than others in learning.  If you have not started, you need to get started.  We all should learn and teach our children who will teach their children ….

Do you believe?  What do you believe?  Do your children, family and friends know what you believe? Do you believe as the world tells you to believe?

Webster defines believe: 1a: to have a firm religious faith  1b: to accept something as true, genuine, or real ;  2: to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something ; 3: to hold an opinion : think ;  4a: to consider to be true or honest; 4b: to accept the word or evidence of; 5: to hold as an opinion
God’s word simply defines believe as faith:

John 3:16 ESV “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Mark 16:15-16 ESV “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Why do you believe what you believe?

Webster defines Apologetics:  1: systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine);  2: a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity

Wikipedia defines: Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers (c. 120-220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.

So do you believe?  Do your children believe?  What have you taught them to believe?  What do others think you believe?

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.