The Seed Sower March 2023 newsletter
When you look at the cross, you see the heart of Jesus.
Quotes of the month:
You should no more allow sinful imaginations to accumulate in your mind and soul than you would let garbage collect in your living room.
As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison.
We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.
Your life will intersect with the cross sooner or later, one way or the other – either on your way up, or on your way down.
Pastor James Merritt
In what language was the Bible first written?
The first human author to write down the Biblical record was Moses. He was commanded by God to take on this task, for Exodus 34:27 records God’s words to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” And what language did he use? He wrote in his native language, called Hebrew. Hebrew is one of a group of languages known as the Semitic languages which were spoken throughout that part of the world, then called Mesopotamia, located today mainly in Iraq. Their alphabet consisted of 22 letters, all consonants. (Much later they did add vowels.)
Almost the entire Old Testament was written in Hebrew during the thousand years of its composition, but a few chapters in the Prophecies of Ezra and Daniel and one verse in Jeremiah were written in a language called Aramaic. This language became very popular in the ancient world and actually displaced many other languages. Aramaic even became the common language spoken in Israel in Jesus’ time, and it was likely the language He spoke day by day. Some Aramaic words were even used by the Gospel writers in the New Testament. The New Testament, however, was written in Greek. This seems strange, since you might think it would be either Hebrew or Aramaic. However, Greek was the language of scholarship during the years of the composition of the New Testament from 50 to 100
A.D. The fact is that many Jews could not even read Hebrew anymore, and this disturbed the Jewish leaders a lot. So around 300 B.C. a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek was undertaken, and it was completed around 200 B.C. Gradually this Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, was widely accepted and was even used in many synagogues. It also became a wonderful missionary tool for the early Christians, for now the Greeks could read God’s Word in their own tongue. So the New Testament authors wrote in Greek. They did not, however, use really high class or classical Greek, but a very common and everyday type of Greek. For many years some scholars ridiculed the Greek of the New Testament because many of its words were strange to those who read the writings of the great Greek classical authors such as Plato and Aristotle, but later many records were uncovered of ordinary people, and amazingly there were the same common terms used in everyday speech. The ridicule dried up accordingly. The earliest copies of parts of the Hebrew Old Testament were discovered in 1947. They are part of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls and actually date back to the first century B.C. Even though they are at least 900 years older than any parts of the Bible we had before this, they are not the originals. They are copies. The originals have all been lost or destroyed. Copying by scribes was done with great care in those days and because the text was regarded as sacred, the copyists were extremely painstaking. Today some 5,000 hand-copied documents exist of all or part of the Bible, and they agree in 98% of the text. No other ancient writing has this
amount of underlying support with such amazing agreement as to the text. Yes, we do have what God wanted us to have. By way of translation, we now have His revelation in our own language and in 2300 other languages, too. Today we have the very Bible that comes to us from the three languages used in the original. Truly we can say, “God speaks my language, too.”
Source: Biblica, www.biblica.com
Why meditate and pray? It’s good for what ails you, before it ails you
A sampling of current research on the benefits of mindfulness for body and mind: 90 chronic pain patients following the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School reported less present-moment pain, less difficulty with physical activity, and fewer medical symptoms than those following traditional pain treatment. A recent Swedish study found that the practice of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy caused a 42% reduction in the primary symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Binge eaters who took part in mindful eating programs at Duke University and Indiana State University reduced the frequency of their binging by approximately 75%. They also reduced their levels of insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Studies from the University of Manchester and the University of Montreal found compelling evidence that people who meditate have a higher pain threshold in comparison to people who don’t meditate.
At the University of Washington, patients in recovery for substance abuse took part in a Mindfulness- Based Relapse Prevention program. Two months later, they reported 50% lower substance abuse levels and significantly less craving than the group in regular treatment.
A study from the Cleveland Clinic reported that mindfulness practice decreased negative emotions and increased well-being in people with risk factors for coronary artery disease.
Mindfulness meditation helped people with multiple sclerosis cope with the depression, fatigue ,and anxiety associated with the disease, reports a Swiss study in the September 2010 issue of Neurology. Working with clinically depressed patients in remission, a study at Oxford University found that only 36% of patients in Mindfulness- Based Cognitive Therapy
eventually relapsed, compared to 62% of patients in traditional cognitive therapy.
You get the point: meditate and pray.
Source: ShambhalaSun, January 2011
As of late, my wife and I have been packing up lunches with prayer cards, a small Bible, and list of homeless shelters, and have been heading downtown and the surrounding areas dropping off food. There is no shortage of people you will find laying on grates to stay warm, in bus shelters, et cetera, that you can pass out food to. If you’re not inclined to go quite that radical to help, there are always ways to volunteer somewhere to help out those in need. Whatever form it takes, we should not be so caught up in our own daily lives that we can’t help someone else.
Speaking of that, if anyone knows of a local family that is in need, (I’m in North Olmsted, Ohio) let me know and we’ll be glad to swing by wherever they are and bring some food.
Anyone want to chat about the Bible and how it pertains to 2023, let me know and we can gather at my house on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and have our own house church. My email is listed below. I’m in North Olmsted, Ohio.
Tired of CNN, Fox News, ABC, et cetera, check out CBN; it is a Christian based news channel, also available online, that just reports the news with no political agenda.
Along that same thought is a publication called The Epoch Times, a Christian based news publication online and hard copy, if you still like a newspaper in your hands to read, that, again, just reports the facts with no spin.
Want some good news, go to www.happynews.com
*** BE KINDER THAN NECESSARY ***
The Sower of Seeds
P.O. Box 815
North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-0815