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Archive for the ‘Comparing Scripture’ Category


John 12: This is Why

Sunday, September 23, 2018

That was why the crowd met him—because they heard that he had performed this miracle. 

What do we do when we hear of God’s goodness? Do we dismiss it as coincidence or synchronicity? Do we praise God and give thanks for God’s goodness? Our world discounts the mystical and marvelous when a scientific basis cannot be found for the miracles with which God blesses us every day. If we are in the crowd, do we follow Jesus or turn away to continue with the work and play we have already planned for the day?

Jesus says: A grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. 

What do we do when we hear these words? Do we shrink from the understanding that each of us must die so that we are born for eternity? Do we welcome the unknown and follow Jesus in faith and deed? Our contemporary societies struggle with creating unity as we focus on our differences rather than our common substance and goal. If we are in the crowd, are we willing to follow Jesus when we know that our world we control must become the world God envisions for us?

Then a voice spoke from heaven, “I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again.” The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it was thunder, while others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

What do we do when we witness God’s presence in our lives? Do we hold this wondrous gift to ourselves? Do we share this good news for all the world to hear? Do we maintain our spirituality in esoteric, cerebral rites full of rules and limitations? Do we allow Christ’s passion for the poor, suffering, and marginalized to possess us fully and open us to amazing possibility? If we are in the crowd, can we say why we follow Christ? Can we say why we ask for transformation? Can we say why we turn to God in both crisis and joy? If we cannot, let us spend time with this reading today.

When we compare varying translations of John 12, we open the door to God’s voice, and heart to God’s creation.


Image from: http://www.gregorydickowonline.com/the-promises-of-god/

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Psalm 12: Plea for Help in Evil Times

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The human character seems determined to bring about evil. No epoch escapes the lust for power. No era is exempt from the pursuit of wealth or the competition for survival. The chase for fame is a goal that exacts a lethal price; but dark consequences deter few. Many of us are bent on building a life of celebrity, affluence and supremacy . . . and this quest destroys both individuals and whole societies.

In ancient days, and in our own, we long for a serenity that comes with the cessation of conflict. We look for ways to de-stress our lives, to slow down the headlong pace of our digital interface with the rest of humanity. We complain about the divisions we experience and yet feel powerless to bring our world together; yet somewhere deep within we know that we must change our circumstances. And so we turn to the eternal wisdom of the Spirit. We follow the model Christ gives us. And we ask for God’s intervention and help.

Today, as we look for transformation, we search various translations of this holy prayer. We place our trust in God’s plan and love. We remember the promises God keeps. We consider the furnace of evil times that we survive while the silversmith of life watches over us. And we ask for help in evil times.


When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus, we consider God’s hope for humankind, and how we might make a plea for God’s help in evil days. 

Image from: https://www.bereaproject.org/verse-of-the-day/2016/6/3/psalms-126-7 

For more posts on God as silversmith, use the blog search bar and explore.

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Job 42: Babbling On

Monday, August 27, 2018

Again, today we look at THE MESSAGE translation in which this chapter is entitled, Job Worships God: I Babbled On About Things Beyond Me.

Having come through his grief and pain, Job says to the LORD: I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.   Nothing and no one can upset your plans.

We might smile as we read and pray these words, or we might grimace. How do we understand God’s control of the universe? Does is bring us comfort, anxiety, peace or fear? How do we react to Job’s final response to God?

We are rewarded if we spend time with this last portion of the Job story for it is in the unfolding of the action that we find our own intimacy with God. It is in the patient fidelity of the innocent sufferer, that we find a premonition of the Christ story. And it is in the hope-filled abiding of God’s faithful servant that we see a glimpse of the Spirit that heals and transforms. Just as the Lord restores Job, so does God restore us; and this happy ending to a tale of difficulty and expectation brings us affirmation of our confidence in God. We have a person we can model, an attitude we can take on. We have God’s wisdom teaching us The Way of peace that Jesus brings to all.

Today, despite our babbling about a plan we struggle to understand when life goes against us, we determine to rely more on God and less on ourselves. We decide to trust the economy of the Lord rather than our own. And we confirm God’s love in choosing us, power in protecting us, and wisdom in teaching us . . . in the face of our incoherent words.


Tomorrow, celebrating with the Lord.

When we compare translations of this chapter, we begin to see why we cannot understand things beyond our comprehension. 

For a reflection of the power of our words, click on the image or visit; https://restoredministriesblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/power-of-the-tongue/

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Job 40-41: God Runs the Universe

Sunday, August 26, 2018

We have accompanied Job as he questioned the wisdom of God’s plan and defended his innocence against his friends. We have entered into our own intimate dialogs with God as we thirst, complain, seek, defend and question. Today we spend a bit more time with these two chapters as we compare THE MESSAGE translation of these verses with other versions. Today we experience the full impact of the dialog Job has with God. Today we understand not the why or how, but the reality of the fact that God runs the universe.

Chapter 40: Verses 1-2: God then confronted Job directly:

“Now what do you have to say for yourself?
    Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?”

What charges do we press against God? What human acts do we blame on the LORD? What do we have to ask and to say?

Chapter 40: Verses 3-5: Job answered:

“I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.
    I should never have opened my mouth!
I’ve talked too much, way too much.
    I’m ready to shut up and listen.”

Are we in awe of God? Do we believe we may have said too much or too little? Are we ready to spend time with God each day so that we might listen?

Chapter 40: Verses 6-7: God addressed Job next from the eye of the storm, and this is what he said:

“I have some more questions for you,
    and I want straight answers.

Are we prepared to give God straight answers? Do we have the courage to answer God truthfully? Are we able to willingly and freely admit that God runs the universe?

When we spend time with these chapters and verses today and ask questions as we look through the lens of multiple translations. As we ask honest questions and listen to hard answers, we come to a deeper appreciation of God’s economy and plan.


Images from: https://hanswidener.com/2017/02/09/relinquishing-control-lesson-1/  and https://becomingchristians.com/2013/07/09/scripture-of-the-day-will-you-deny-gods-existence/

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John 7:37-38: Thirsting

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Today we pause in our time with Job to reflect on the Messiah’s promise that those who thirst will be sated.

Whoever is thirsty should come to me, and whoever believes in me should drink. (GNT)

We remember that Job seeks wisdom and holds on to the hope of God’s promise that the Messiah will fill those who hunger.

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. (NRSV)

We know that God’s promise to Job is the same promise to us. Those who are burdened can rely on the Messiah, God Among Us.

If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being! (CJB)

We experience the presence of the Spirit in all that surrounds us.

Jesus cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (MSG)

We see that God’s promise of sustenance is guaranteed to those who seek. Let us rejoice in this wisdom of God.


When we compare varying translations of these verses, we have occasion to rejoice in the wisdom of God. 

Tomorrow, making our defense.

For a post on the gift of thirst, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.voiceofrevolution.com/2009/11/06/the-gift-of-thirst/ 

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Job 24: Violence on Earth

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Yesterday we reflected on Job’s desire to sit with the Creator in order to engage in an intimate conversation. In an age when suffering is connected with sin, Job suffers doubly, having to endure pain while at the same time defending his innocence to his family and friends. Yet he persists, remains faithful, and recognizes the small pearls of hope that come to him. When God has tested me, I shall come out like gold.

Today we watch as Job asks:

Why doesn’t God set a time for judging,
    a day of justice for those who serve him?

He observes a litany of violence taking place around him.

People move property lines to get more land;
    they steal sheep and put them with their own flocks.
They take donkeys that belong to orphans,
    and keep a widow’s ox till she pays her debts.
They prevent the poor from getting their rights
    and force the needy to run and hide. So the poor, like wild donkeys,
    search for food in the dry wilderness.

Evil people make slaves of fatherless infants
    and take the children of the poor in payment for debts.

The litany continues until Job’s friend Zophar intercedes with his own assertions and questions.

For a while the wicked prosper,
    but then they wither like weeds,
    like stalks of grain that have been cut down.
Can anyone deny that this is so?
Can anyone prove that my words are not true?

As Job struggles to understand the conflict between good and evil, so do we. We may be like Zophar who accepts the assumption that all evildoers suffer in God’s time rather than our own. Or we may be more like Job who wants a conversation with the Almighty as he looks for authentic answers to his questions. Zophar seems content with allowing evil to proceed unchecked and unchallenged while Job goes deeper. Perhaps this is because Job, the innocent, faithful, hopeful one, suffers while Zophar continues in a comfortable world that makes sense to him.

The lesson we might take away today is this . . . even if we cannot change the evil around us, we might still question God. Even if we do not engender or encourage the violence that surrounds us, we might still commit our own small acts of mercy and justice. And even if we cannot make sense of the world’s great economy and plan, we might keep in mind that all belongs to and is of God.

In La Biblia de América, Chapters 23 & 24 of Job bear a title that translates to: Between Desire and Fear of the Encounter. Not only do these words describe the viewpoints we see today, they also present us with significant questions . . . Are we content to remain in our comfort zone of knowing, or are we willing to step into the world’s violence to represent a path of peace? Do we look for an intimate encounter with God despite the suffering we see and experience, or do we fear this marvelous gift of intimacy with God? What is it we seek?

Job asks: Why doesn’t God set a time for judging, a day of justice for those who serve him?

Perhaps that time is now.


Tomorrow, Bildad asks, how can a mortal be righteous before God?

When we compare various translations with the citations from THE GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION above, we open a dialog with God. 

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

Image from: https://www.sapiens.org/evolution/human-violence-evolution/

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Job 23: Bitter Complaint

Jan the Elder Lievens: Job

Friday, August 17, 2018

It is a good idea to visit the story of Job once in a while. This book of wisdom has so much to tell us beyond the casual glance. Who among us has not felt abandoned by God, or believed that life has asked too much of us? Job longs for an intimate conversation with God through which he might lay out his case and be acquitted forever by [his] judge.

Job knows that somewhere there is a reason for the injustice he suffers, and he is persistent in his quest. It seems that his fidelity does not serve him. His innocence goes unnoticed. His search for the almighty continues, and in this seeking we find seeds of hope.

If I go forward, he is not there;
    or backward, I cannot perceive him;
on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;
    I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.

The marvel of the New Testament story is that – as if in answer to Job’s bitter plaint – the God this wise man seeks comes to walk among us as one of us. The miracle of the resurrection brings us hope that Job lives in such a unique way. The promise of the Pentecost brings us healing and mercy in the person of the Spirit who dwells in us every moment and accompanies us in every location of our lives . . . forward, backward, to the right and to the left.

Job cries out,

Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
    that I might come even to his dwelling!

Morgan Weistling: Walking with God

Today, in our world that broadcasts its pain on more than a billion and half television screens and nearly two billion smartphones in a non-stop cycle of violence, we might join Job in his sad moaning. The evidence seems to great for us to explain away or comprehend. Fidelity does not serve him, innocence counts for nothing; yet Job holds out hope . . . as we might also do when we remember the story of the Christ child. Light comes into the darkness. God’s love is manifest in the persona of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. yet . . .

I still rebel and complain against God;
    I cannot keep from groaning.
How I wish I knew where to find him,
    and knew how to go where he is.

Job had only the Old Testament promise of a coming Messiah. We have that Messiah’s presence today. Oh that we might remember this when we look forward, backward, to our right and our left as we continue our bitter complaint.


Tomorrow, Job 24, a violent world.

Images from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_(biblical_figure) and https://www.lordsart.com/wawigodbymow.html

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Ezekiel 28: The King of Tyre

Ruins of ancient Tyre

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The prophet Ezekiel speaks to the chosen people who live exiled in Babylon. He tells his people that they will not be returning to Jerusalem; and he also prepares them for the heartbreaking news that the Jerusalem they know will be fully and totally destroyed. Corruption has brought them to a dismal, painful place. The chase after power over others, world-wide fame, and wealth beyond imagining has distorted the collective vision.

Puffed up with pride, you claim to be a god. 

Ezekiel speaks to the broken-hearted and he also speaks to us when he condemns those who spoil God’s gift of creation and who bring the faithful to ruin.

Your wisdom and skill made you rich with treasures of gold and silver. You made clever business deals and kept on making profits. How proud you are of your wealth!

Ezekiel reminds us that the gift of our creation is wondrous, and that we are well-loved children of God who have in our hands more than we understand.

You were once an example of perfection. How wise and handsome you were! You lived in Eden, the garden of God, and wore gems of every kind: rubies and diamonds; topaz, beryl, carnelian, and jasper; sapphires, emeralds, and garnets. You had ornaments of gold. They were made for you on the day you were created. 

Britannica online: Main road through ancient Tyre, Lebanon

What are the gems we overlook each day? Who are the wise and handsome among us and where is this Eden? What have we done with the ornaments of gold we are gifted?

Your conduct was perfect from the day you were created until you began to do evil. You were busy buying and selling, and this led you to violence and sin. You were proud of being handsome, and your fame made you act like a fool. 

History tells us that Ezekiel’s people will eventually return to their promised city and they will rebuild the sacred Temple. It also tells us that this will all again be lost. Perhaps the most valuable lesson we can take away from these words is this . . . that just as the King of Tyre misjudges the source of his wealth, power and fame, so might we.  Unlike King Hiram, might we make the most of the riches we have at hand without worrying about increasing our wealth? Might we rely on God and praise God for turning harm into good? Might we give thanks for all we have and all we are to the one who loves us more than we imagine?


When we find the time to compare other translations with these words from The Good News version, we give ourselves the gift of understanding Hiram, Ezekiel, and the nature of beauty, fame, power and wealth. 

Hiram (or Huram, or Ahiram), The King of Tyre, lived from 969-936 B.C.E. He was an ally of Kings David and Solomon, and provided many of the materials needed to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Visit Britannica online at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hiram-king-of-Tyre

Tyre was a town on the Mediterranean coast with two harbors and so was able to gain predominance in the region. To read more about the city’s importance and history, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2010/01/26/The-Biblical-Cities-Of-Tyre-And-Sidon.aspx or https://www.ancient.eu/Tyre/ 

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Proverbs 2:1-5: My Child

Monday, August 13, 2018

I have always liked the simple wisdom of Proverbs for Lady Wisdom has much to teach us.

My child, learn what I teach you and never forget what I tell you to do. Listen to what is wise and try to understand it. Yes, beg for knowledge; plead for insight. Look for it as hard as you would for silver or some hidden treasure. If you do, you will know what it means to fear the Lord and you will succeed in learning about God. (GNT)

As a child, I never understood why we were to fear God. As I grew, I came to recognize fear as a sense of awe. As an adult, the verses of Proverbs bring God’s overwhelming love to our hearts.

Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
    collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
    set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
    and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
    like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
    you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (MSG)

Friends offer words of advice, Wisdom found close to home and near to the heart. I take in the wisdom my own friends offer. And as a friend to others, I search for counsel in this practical, and often humorous, book of instruction.

My son, if you will receive my words
and store my commands inside you,
paying attention to wisdom
inclining your mind toward understanding —
yes, if you will call for insight
and raise your voice for discernment,
if you seek it as you would silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure —
then you will understand the fear of Adonai
and find knowledge of God. (CJB)

Ancient words are frequently apt, gathering past and future into a fruitful present when we share them with our children. Old axioms bring pearls of wisdom, offering respite in the storm, refuge in combat.

Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
    collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
    set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
    and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
    like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
    you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. (MSG)

Wisdom, Understanding, Insight. These are the gems we unearth when we spend time with these sayings. Searching, prospecting, seeking. These are the actions we take as children of God. Counsels, gold, gems. These are the treasures we unearth when we answer the call of Christ. Beseeching, learning, healing. This is the transformation we experience when we rest in the Spirit of the Lord.

My child, learn what I teach you and never forget what I tell you . . .


When we compare translations of these verses, we find safety in the Lord’s awesome love. We find refuge as children of God.

Image from: http://www.heartandsoulcompany.com/ 

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