A Few Christian Bible Answers For a Few Simple Questions

I have been part of an ongoing semi stifled conversation going on between what a Catholic remembers being taught verses what a non Catholic Christian believes as they understand from their Bible. I thought as long as I compiled this information below, I may as well post it. Some opinionated (mine) background first. Be forewarned – this is long and there are no pictures…

Before computers, access to Christian Bible information was very haphazard. For background: the Catholic in the conversation was an adult before computers existed. Therefore their access to information came from the person(s) who attended to their religious (in this case Catholic) education.

Unless one was willing to believe other sources of information, or one memorized most of the Bible, there was little alternative except to verify any scripture that was taught or used, and that was about as far as it went. Needless to say, this led to great arguments back in the day between people of different denominations.

The printed Bible language used was usually middle English or worse; the translations were rough and subject to great diversity depending on who was translating from what source. Then there was the issue of many people having their pet Bible verses memorized. Instead of participating in conversation, they would throw out one or a series of verses. This left the other person with the task of verifying, and making their own interpretation which may or may not align with the initiator depending on their own sources.

Times are much simpler today. Christian Bibles are scrutinized for accuracy, both in source and translation. If you find something in a mainstream Christian Bible that appeals to you, it will have the about the same wording and meaning in another mainstream Christian Bible. Of course that leaves the search engine and the web page translator in question, but with so many web competing pages willing to provide the same information, the validity of the search and related verses are almost certainly what they represent.

I searched using two different web search engines, and checked different web pages to verify the validity of the Bible verses. However that being said, I am the copy and paste engine and therefore subject to making serious errors. However, you can complete the same searches on your own, and perhaps find different Bible verses that may better suit your beliefs.

One thing the Christian Bible is not is uniform starting with the first ‘official’ version approved around 325 A.D. more or less.. You may find opposing verses on almost any topic, and find many verses you disagree with. You will have to figure that out for yourself what is true. Controversy, radicalism, and religious wars are all part of the Christian Bible’s heritage.

One real sticking point is between myself and Catholicism, so I may be biased. What over the centuries is Catholicism known for by most of the world who are not Catholic? I find a neutral position one of the least of opinions about the Catholic Church. Take that small matter as you will, as it is only my thinking.

Most Verses are from the New American Standard Bible. Not sure why some parts of verses are in all caps, maybe Jesus was yelling? Finally, the multi word search terms may not be what I actually used, but the result of what was offered back by the search engines. Most of the search terms were preceded by the word, ‘Bible’ to limit total search engine hits.

I took everything from the New Testament, as the New Testament is the newest Covenant we know of. On with the show, which may be, “Much ado about nothing” – William Shakespeare, or it may invoke strong opinion in you. If you develop strong opinion, my apologies for stirring you up.

Search Term: In Charge of the Earth

Matthew 11:27 – 30 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Luke 10:22 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

John 3:35 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.

Search Term: Light of the world

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Search Term: The Way, the Truth, and the Life

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

John 14:5 – 6 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 8:41 – 43 “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.

Mathew 13:14 – 16: “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Mark 16:16 – 20 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Search Term: New Covenant

1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Luke 22:19 – 20 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Search Term: Forgiveness of Sin

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7 – 12 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Acts 13:38 – 39 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Search Term: Sin

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians: I Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Later on he adds: I Corinthians 15:56 – 57 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:38 – 39 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Search Term: Death

1 Corinthians 15:50 – 53 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

God has promised His people eternal life (John 10:27,28). “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Lessons from a Fatal Accident

I found myself in a very surreal situation a few weeks ago. I want to share with you, as this could be you some day. Things happen, and they happen suddenly. This was one of those things.

I was at a stoplight on a busy four lane street. It was dusk. I was the third car in line in my lane. When the light turned green, the two cars in front of me took off as fast as they were able. Within seconds the front car hit its brakes and violently swerved to the right.

In an instant the second car did the same. I was looking at the cars wondering why they swerved out of the lane. I thought to myself, someone was hauling something and part of what they were hauling fell off the truck or trailer and was laying in the street.

Accidents happen quickly and without warning

Accidents happen quickly and without warning

I started slowing down looking in my rear view mirror deciding which lane would be safer to turn into. When I looked forward to the road surface, I saw a large something laying in the lane.

As I came closer, I thought to myself, that looks like a human body. I quickly turned into the right lane, and stopped on the side of the road. When I exited my truck, I was sure it looked like a human laying in the street. From here on what happened became very surreal.

My next thought was call 911. I had my work phone with me, but I turn it off after work. As I walked towards the form on the street, a woman was standing with her phone out and one finger over the screen.

I asked her if she knew what happened or knew the person on the street. She said no. I asked her who she was calling, and she said, “I’m calling emergency”. Unfortunately she was frozen in place. I asked to call 911 as I walked towards the body.

It was dark, and the lighting was not good. My first thought was it was sick prank, what else could it be. Someone threw a human looking dummy into the street thinking it would be funny watching vehicles swerve to avoid hitting it.

After some seconds of staring at the body, I knew it was not a dummy, and I also knew he was not alive. I am now standing in the middle of a fifty mile per hour four lane street with a dead body on the ground. No sign of an accident and no reasonable explanation of how it got there.

I think that pretty well describes the situation. As I stood there, I thought to myself, ‘people get killed doing what I am doing’, trying to do the right thing. I could not leave the body alone to get ran over by someone not thinking about their driving, so I stayed in the lane with the body.

I looked over to the woman who was still frozen in place, and this time I commanded her to dial 911. A few more people had gathered and two of them said they would call 911. The woman was likely in shock and probably could not remember the number to 911.

I remembered I had either a tarp or a blanket in the backseat of my truck. When the light turned red, I walked to my truck to get it. The woman was still frozen in place. I found a blanket in the backseat, walked back into the lane, and with the help of a person who stopped and put on their flashers so I would not get hit too, we covered the body with a blanket.

I saw a woman walking up the lane from a distance. there was a car with its flashers on stopped in the lane some distance away. When she was about twenty feet away she broke down, sobbing and crying she hit the man and did not mean too.

One of the bystanders told her to go to the side of road which she did. It sounds harsh, but I did not care if she stayed standing out in the street in front of traffic that probably did not see her. She was not my concern, and her actions did not fit what happened. I realized later, she was probably in shock too.

The police eventually arrived, two officers in two vehicles. One officer started controlling traffic, and the second came to where I was standing next to the body. After surveying the situation and listening to me telling him there was a dead man under the blanket, he lifted the blanket, and confirmed what I said.

The policeman stood, and announced to the five or six of us that were at the scene, that this was about to become a crime scene, and if we were not involved in the accident, or had pertinent information we should leave, unless we wanted to stay there three or four hours. Myself and the others who were not involved left the scene.

There is good learning here even though the situation is horrible.

Things happen which are way out of our comfort zone.

The two drivers of the two cars in front of me at the stoplight will have to live with their decision not to stop and render aid for the rest of their lives every time they are reminded of what they did.

Sometimes even with the best of intentions we are not able to do what we know we should do.

Risk taking is a personal choice. Not everyone should be willing to stand in a lane with a dead body with cars flying by on each side of you.

If people are already stopped and helping, and it looks as if you can not help too, it is probably best to drive on. Too many people could mean a second accident, as driver are sometimes too preoccupied.

The person who was killed deserves some of the responsibility for what happened. Crossing eight lanes at night, not in a vehicle, is an extreme high risk activity. It is horrible what happened, but it can not be undone.

When driving, pay attention to the road in front of you. The driver who killed the man IMHO, was unfortunately distracted somehow. She will have to live with what happened for the rest of her life. I would not want to be her, and I am sure you do not either.

If you are on foot or on a bicycle, skateboard, or something else, weigh the risk of street crossings carefully. The person hit and killed may have crossed this street at this time night thing often over time, and was safe every time, until this time.

Melancholy Reminders of Family Past

A phone call from the past last evening made me realize how much I really miss my sister Lana. She was nuts, but she was always there for me. She would go off on these tangents of thought. Wasps for example. I never really thought about Wasps, but Lana was consumed by them for months on end.

She asked me during one phone call if I ever noticed how high tech Wasps were? I had to admit, I really had not given wasps a lot of thought. Lana pointed out to me how their insect body shape was different than other insects. They looked as if they wore helmets. They were streamlined, made for flying fast. Lana thought they came from a different place than most insects. Some high tech aliens introduced them to the earth was a possibility.

I listened to Lana talk for hours on end over the course of a summer about how cool and unique Wasps are. She was feeding a Wasp colony, and wrote the editor of the local paper about it. The paper published almost of her letters over the years. Humor maybe? It did not matter to Lana. Something as uniquely odd as feeding Wasps sugar water was perfectly normal in Lana’s thinking.

When Lana wore herself out about Wasps, she would get around to me. It was an expectation that I had come across or was thinking about something oddly unique. I do not remember much about my end of the conversations, it has been a while. For some conversations I would struggle to come up with a topic, thinking what I would say why she prattled away. Generally I would choose a topic Lana would relate too.

Sometimes Lana amazed me with her insights. Other times, she would go through three or four phone calls hashing over something that was important only to her. Lana made a connection between whales, dolphins, and birds one year during one of the single topic multi conversations we shared.

Lana told me that God created certain animals that performed specific duties for the earth. Sea mammals, some fish, and birds all had a specific role. Through their calls and chatter, they introduced and maintained a calmness over the earth, in the air and the sea. Without these animals, Lana told me, all animals would live in excessive fear because there would be no calming voices in the background of our hearing.

I shared her thoughts with friends at times. Frozen looks, and no response were the norm. I did not mind, her fixation was never ordinary. Often it took a leap in thinking to get to her level. I was okay with it.

Melancholy MemoriesLove and relationships were out of the question. Taboo to put it mildly. She had lost any normal feelings of love and family, thirty years ago. We traded letters and talked in person when I was in town, and over the phone for almost thirty-five years. “I love you”, was never once uttered.

Anything tribal, Native American, or low IQ people were off limits. This was the domain of the ‘nuts’ part of Lana. I would listen to her berate, lament, and attack these groups of people for what would seem hours. Then she would get it out of her system, and she would return to almost normal.

I was able to share many parts of my private life, and my private thoughts with Lana when she was connected with the idea that her brother was on the other end of the phone. I think that was the greatest thing about having a Sister whose connection with reality was fragile.

Lana was a steel trap about my innermost thoughts. Nothing I told Lana in three decades ever went from Lana to another person. All my secrets were safe with Lana. I could express my fear, frustrations, and occasionally my warped thinking with her. Lana would take each utterance of mine, dissect it, rehash it, and find some value in it for me, unless it infringed on one of her taboo topics. When I infringed on a taboo area, the phone would end shortly.

I would wonder what I was giving Lana, that she needed in return for her listening to me. After some years, it became obvious we were different sides of the same coin. I listened to Lana and she listened to me. For Lana it was enough of a connection, probably the only one she could make. For me, Lana was my repository of thoughts that would never really see the light of day.

Lana spent most of her adult life seeing counselors in one form or another. Maybe she took on that role when it was my turn to create conversation. Maybe she was really interested in what I had to say.

There are parts of all of us that should never see the light of day for various reasons. They need to remain in the cracks and crevices of our mind. I know now, how fortunate I was to have a sister like Lana. She did not mind that I too had a side of me that was not public I could share with her. Maybe we kept each balanced.

Erasing Risky

The second and last Cat, Risky died last week, heading towards his nineteenth birthday, which is quite long for a cat. I suppose this post is about erasing a long time pet and family member from your life. Risky was an odd cat, so maybe my erasing him seems a little odd in itself.

I knew when I came home Wednesday eveningt and found blood pools around the living room and hallway, Risky was running his last race. He had been throwing up for about five months, but nothing like this. Not this amount of blood. There was so much blood I thought it had to be half of what was in his body. It looked as if a knife fight had taken place in the living room.

I found him on the bed, his normal spot for that time of day. Laying there he looked normal, eyes clear, and indifferent in that cat sort of way. When he atood, I knew it was as serious as I was afraid it would be. Instead of standing, Risky shivered, tilted, and wobbled as he tried to stand up. By late Thursday evening he seemed to have quit drinking, and by Saturday morning I was on my way to the vet to make arrangements for him.

Risky didn’t come back home with me after his first car trip in almost fifteen years. The erasing process has started. One empty pet carrier and no Risky inside. I emptied Risky’s cat box as there was no need for it now. I put it in a plastic bag with the scoop, and put it in the garage. I swept up what clay litter pieces there were to sweep. I gave the floor a quick wipe.

I picked up Risky’s cat beds, three of them, where he slept in the daytime depending on the time of year, all three beds by windows. On my hands and knees, I scrubbed at the blood stains in the carpet for the second time. It made little difference, the blood stains are semi-permanent I think. I washed his food and water bowls. I could not put them away yet.

Sunday I worked. When I came home, I started collecting whatever cat toys were in sight. There were a couple dozen toys, hidden under the couch, in the corners, under things. He was given a lot of toys over his almost nine-teen years. I collected leftover cans of soft food and the partial bag of dry food. I bagged them to give them away on Monday to someone with a cat.

Tuesday, I collected the last of Risky’s toys as I vacuumed the carpet to clean it again, for the second and where the spots were, the third time.

Wednesday, I steam cleaned the carpet, picked up a few more toys that hidden away. I vacuumed the curtains to remove his hair from them. I need to do this a second time, just not right now. I washed and dried the throw Risky slept on when he was on the bed, and the blanket that was below it.

I cleaned out the freezer of a half dozen small baggies of hamburger meat, and “on special” trout fillets Risky doesn’t need any more. I threw out his cardboard scratchers. Every day I wonder, where he is, or what is he doing when I hear a noise, followed an instant later by remembering – Risky is dead.

As this happens I think about my two trips to the vet on Saturday. Standing outside the closed door each time, once by myself, and once with Risky in his pet carrier. How painful I found it to take two final steps, open the door, and take two more steps to the desk. It was even harder to talk.

I don’t know how long it will be before Risky is erased from the house. Every room, most of the furniture, and so many small noises, and lack of small noises have his memory in them.

I think this is a good thing. It reminds me I am alive, and I have feelings. It also reminds me I am mortal, someday it will be me, and this is how life works.

It has been two weeks now and company has arrived. It was a simple thing to tell them Risky died. I skipped the details. As the outside door opens and closes over the last few days, I keep thinking, Risky is going to get out. Then almost as quickly, I remember.

Hershey The Cat

Hershey the Cat in her prime

Family member, confident, and friend.

Hershey the Cat died early this morning. I was with Hershey at her passing a few minutes after one o’clock. It is a relief she died, though it is so painful too. Hershey couldn’t go on any more. Over her last few days she quit eating and stopped drinking.

Hershey was a family member for almost twenty years. Hershey entered our life a very young kitten, starving and lost at a campground. No one ever claimed her, so she joined our family.

Hershey was smart as a whip. Hershey learned how to ring a bell to be let in, come home from exploring to the sound of a dog whistle, play hide go seek, and in her last year Hershey was very proud of herself when she learned to meow what sounded like “hello”.

Hershey got mad often as Siamese Cats do. She purred as she fought with my hand, and could hold a grudge for days. We both loved an disliked each other through the years, same as family members everywhere.

Hershey was an above and beyond mother. We kept one of her only litter of three kittens. Hershey was still trying to take care of her son (about six months younger than her) in the few hours before she passed on.

My wife called her Her/She when we found her at the campground as a kitten. She was a Chocolate Point Siamese. Hershey became her name. She could have been Heinz 57 for all I care. Hershey was the cat of a lifetime. I am so blessed to have had her as part of my family.

I could go on for another ten thousand words about Hershey the Cat. If you have or had pets you understand. If you never had pets, you may not understand. Hershey took care of us as we took care of her. Hershey was a great Cat, friend, consoler, and family member. I hope I was some of those things for Hershey, or maybe did other things only a cat would need understand.

I miss Hershey deeply.