Thoughts on Actions – 2017

Well, I’ve been trying over the past several years to write an article for Believe Better Ministries on the subject of Actions. I feel as though I’ve been blocked. I don’t know if I have the words to bring this subject to bare. I’ve prayed over it and still do not feel led to write a full paper on the subject. So, I’m going to give my thoughts and leave it at that. (Quick side note: I think the reason I’ve been stopped from writing is due to it being very, very hard not to become legalistic when putting forth this subject. So I pray for a grace filled message.)

My main thought, when I’ve written things down about actions, is we’re not meant to be stagnant, passive followers, sitting in pews. We are meant for so much more! So many believers think the meeting of the Church involves going to a building, sitting in a pew (or chair), singing some songs, listening to a message, drinking a little grape juice and eating a cracker, giving a little money, and then going home. This is NOT the meeting of the Believers! If this was the way our meetings were to be conducted in this day and age why do I even need to go? Can I not accomplish all of this from my sofa? My couch is way more comfortable to sit in than any pew (or for that matter any chair) I’ve ever sat in in any Church Meeting Hall, I can easily buy grape juice (or wine if I wanted) and crackers, I can listen to KLove or some other Christian music network (heck I could pull it up on Pandora if I wanted), I can watch any of a number of different speakers on TV or listen on radio for a message, I can give money over the home or straight through the internet, and in the end I’ve accomplished about the same thing.

Are either of these a true form of a meeting of the Church? No! Again, I say no! We are called to service. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, gave us an example (John 13:12-17). Jesus was among us as a servant and said the greatest in His Church (the believers) would be the one who served (Luke 22:24-27). We are to be ready to act! I like how the ESV translates the first half of Luke 12:35: “Stay dressed for action”! we are to be ready. The type of readiness is the same as a soldier.

The literal translation of the phrase is “gird up your loins”. This girding of the loins was what a soldier would do before putting on his chest plate. He would take a strip of tough cloth and tightly wrap it around his waist preparing himself for action, for combat. This is what the Lord Jesus was saying. Let alone His brother, James, who gave us “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26b) Why? Does this mean we need to follow the legalist? No! It simply means this: You can see the fruit!

As those who follow Christ, we have invited God into our hearts and He is faithful and indwells us. So, since we have the Holy Spirit living in us – conforming us to the image of the Son (see Romans 8), helping us to put off the old self and to put on the new self (see Colossians) – there should be fruit. Now, here is where this topic gets sticky and this is where my words fail me. I would never tell you to judge someone else, lest we forget what the Lord Jesus said about removing the log from our own eye before removing the speck from our brother’s eye.

I am not saying we need to apply these principles to others. I am saying we need to do these ourselves and let the Lord deal with everyone else. Remember this Christian life is all about a relationship with the Almighty. He teaches His children what they need when they need it. You may not see fruit in someone else’s life, but you also don’t know about the rocks their roots have been fighting with.

I think I should leave it at that. We need to be more active in our faith. The things we say we need to do. Having said this I also want to remind you, take this to heart for yourself, don’t push it on others or judge others for what you don’t really know. The lord is working in their lives just as He is in yours and in mine.

Easter Thought – 2017

Well, here, we are in 2017 and standing again before the Lord in worship of His sacrifice for us on the cross. As far as holidays go, Easter really is my favorite. I’m brought to my knees, with tears in my eyes, as I think about how worthless my righteousness is, and yet God thought a relationship with me worth it enough to pay the price to have that relationship. Relationships have been the big-ticket item in my thoughts and Bible stud recently. I recently posted a thought here, and gave a short word on it at the Willamette Bible Chapel, where I spoke on Colossians 1:24–27.

Relationships are important! They are really in a lot of ways, the most important thing. We see this even in the law as the Pharisees ask the Lord Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His responses to this question are both completely relational (Matthew 22:34–40; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 10:25–28). Furthermore, the verse which is singular best known verse in the Bible: John 3:16 gives us a relational statement about why Jesus came to the Earth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world!

Christianity, for some reason has almost become more like an achievement or badge to wear rather than what it’s supposed to be. Christianity should be more like the relationship status we post on Facebook:

“RB is in a relationship with the Eternal Creator of All — God”

This is what Christianity should be. This is what Easter celebrates. We are celebrating God bridging the gap for us so we can have a relationship with Him. If God hadn’t done this we would only be able to view God as one mighty lawgiver. Instead, however, we get to enjoy the benefits of a personal relationship with the most powerful Being which exist. A Being whose very word says He is love (1 John 4:8).

This is what I am remembering this Easter.

Hope you all have a happy Easter.

New Random Project

Well everyone, I have to admit I have Adult ADHD. I have ADHD for a long time. I learned to cope early on, but one byproduct of ADHD for me is my mind runs at two thousand times faster than other peoples. This also causes me to have almost too many thoughts happening. So, in an attempt to siphon some of those thoughts off I’ve started putting my thoughts down to paper. I’m going to start posting those thoughts to the web (I know scary). Well those thoughts will be being posted in either my personal blog (RB-Wan) or in my new project 21st Century Warrior Monk. The first post is out here and explains pretty well what my goals are for that project. This is part of the Believe Better Ministries only in that I am the author of these posts.

I hope if you go check it out you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback I always enjoy receiving it. Send it to me at RB.May@BelieveBetterMinistries.com.

Thanks So Much!
RB

Review of the CSB

I was graciously given a copy of the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I’ve gone through it now and appreciate the translation highly. I’m the sort of person who uses multiple translations in my study of the Word. I had purchased a copy of the HCSB (the previous revision of what is now called the CSB) two years ago, on the reference of a brother. I read through several portions of it immediately and had a thorough appreciation for the translation. I like a little more literal version than the CSB/HCSB, but sometimes I know the literalness obfuscates the matter.

This Is the same reason we have consistently made new translations of the Bible since the original King James Version came out. We need updates to language and contextual understanding. This is the very appreciation I have for the CSB. It has a mediating style between literal (formal equivalence – word-for-word) and idiomatic (dynamic equivalence – thought-for-thought) translation which the translators have called “optimal equivalence”. It allows them to put meanings and/or words on the page which while implied by the Greek would not be part of a literal translation.

This allows the CSB translators to give a clearer translation than some of the literal translations may be able to. As someone who favors literal translations, my first thought is to discount the CSB because of their chosen translation philosophy. However, I ha e been edified time and time again by translation whose philosophy was a balancing between literal and idiomatic. NIV, HCSB, NET, and others have all been used by me to great effect and edification.

I have specifically enjoyed the CSB as a they also chose wording which are different from the traditional. This really makes you think about what you are reading rather than letting verses go by just because you’ve read them a hundred times before. John 3:16 is one of the best examples:

King James Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

English Standard Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

New International Version
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Christian Standard Bible
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

You can see even the NIV which isn’t supposed to follow the traditional translation dogma and is supposed to be a completely new translation follows the traditional reading of John 3:16. It is only the CSB (and the HCSB before it) which broke from the tradition and finally did something new.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought: Never discount something because it is new. As Christians we are to give every faithful rendering of Scripture a chance. The Lord will bless us for being faithful to His Word.

Episode 0 – Believe Something Better Podcast

Click Here to download this Episode of the Believe Something Better Podcast

This is a simultaneous release of this episode in audio and video. If you would like to watch this episode please feel free to click here.

This is the first episode of the Believe Something Better Podcast. It is an introduction to myself (Ray “RB” May IV) and my beliefs. It is also an introduction to the show itself. You can read the thought on relationships here.

We also look forward to hearing from you! If you would like to get in touch with us you can send us an e-mail here. Thank you for listening!

If you would like more information about the Willamette Bible Chapel click here.
More info on the Plymouth Brethren here.
More info on the Open Brethren here.

Just a side note it’s fitting this first episode is posted on my (RB’s) birthday.

Thoughts on Friendship – 2017

Willamette Bible Chapel just had their annual Men’s Retreat. I attended and was truly blessed. The subject this year was friendship. I really appreciated this subject as relationships are a strong call in my life. I think everyone has a huge call in their lives toward relationships. I personally feel they are the most important thing in our lives. Jesus said the greatest commandments are to “Love the Lord your God” and “Love your neighbor”. This tells us, even from the time of the law, relationships were primary in the heart of God.

Relationships are our primary view and shining forth of God. John states in his first epistle that we cannot saw we love God and hate our brother (fellow believer whether man or woman). So, it is our relationships in which we show how much we love God. Through loving our brothers and sisters (fellow believers) and our other neighbors (those who are not believers as well) we show how much we love God. Through this – loving the people around us (believers or not), and loving God – we fulfill the whole law.

One of my other thoughts is on relationships, well friendships really, is our intimate friendships affect our views, attitudes, and everyday choices. If I make intimate friends with a non-believer I need to be careful with this friendship so it does not drag me away from God. Rather, I need to shine the light of God into their lives. If I allow it to pull me away from God, I allow, also, my witness for God to be torn down. So, I need to guard my heart from such things. I need to strive toward God and shine His light.

I’m not trying to say we should cut ties with the world, and those who are unsaved. This would not be loving our neighbor as our own selves. Cutting ties with those who are unsaved, also, tears down our witness. For to whom are we witnessing? Ourselves? No, we are witnessing to non-believers! So, it would be terribly inappropriate to cut ties with the unsaved. Did Jesus do this? No, of course not, He was a friend to sinners.

The difference is Christ is God, perfect, omnipotent; able to not let the world tear Him down and destroy His witness. We are impotent and must depend on the LORD for our strength. So, through all our friendships we need to cleave into God. Our intimate friendships should, however, be with believers. This is because our intimate friendships when with other believers, shall build us up in the Lord. Have friendships evangelize shine the light of the Lord as a city on a hill! Relationships are one of the greatest ways to evangelize. Be honest, be loving, be Christ to everyone.

Update and 2016 Prayer Challenge Final

Well everyone, today I am bringing you the final update on my 2016 Prayer Challenge which I undertook last year. It was 366 days which taught me so much. The Lord really showed me so much through out my days of prayer. The very fist thing I learned is the blessings which come from being proactive in our relationship with God rather than reactive. This was so important because most of the time our relationship with God is reactive, something happened so we pray about it.

When this dynamic changes and we enter a paradigm where we are being proactive (actively seeking God first) we start to see how this relationship edifies every part of our lives. I am hoping to scan the 366 days worth of prayer journal entries, but am not making any promises. I’ve also apologize I know in the original post about the challenge I am supposed to type up the entries and post them as a PDF, but after trying I have come to realize I just really don’t have the time.

The other things which I learned was how vast the chasm is between the trials we go through and how we view those trials. I went through some hard times with friends this last year and through the prayer life I had with the Lord this last year I was able to thank Him for the blessings I was receiving as I grew through these trials. My friends were viewing the problems totally as negative, but I was able to look at the positive, because the Lord opened my eyes.

I have a few updates on the projects which I am working on: Breath of God Ministries is coming under the leadership of Believe Better Ministries. This does not mean the goal for BOG Ministries is going to change any, but rather it will just be under the headship of Believe Better Ministries, who will hold the publishing rights to the BOGV.

I am continuing hard at work with my study of the word and the production of the BSB Commentary series and am hoping to finish 1 – 3 John this year. This would finish off the first volume in the series. (1 John – Jude).

We are also still collecting stories from those who wish to participate in the Experiencing Something Better. We look forward to hearing from you all.

That is all for now we hope you all had a good January and February!


RB

New Year’s Thought – 2017

Well 2016 is over… I think it is safe to say it was not necessarily a great year for everyone. My thoughts here have been about my blessing of this year. I committed to a prayer challenge last year and I have come through it. One of the things it taught me was not allowing my relationship with the Lord not be reactive but proactive. What I mean by this is in this prayer challenge it has pushed me to confront issues with the Lord before they come up. I’m not just praying over the problems which have occurred in my life. I’m praying and talking with God over my day to day things and having a good relationship with him.

My thoughts on 2016 is I am just so awed by the blessings the Lord has given me and continues to give me. I am so thankful for the people in my life and how they have helped me grow. I have such a great relationship with my siblings. I’m so blessed by my siblings and how they present the love of God for me.

A lot of people, some pretty famous people, died this year, but you know what, (and this is going to sound callous, but,) it doesn’t really matter, at least not to the most of us. Yes, their families are mourning over them, but for the rest of us their death affects our lives just as the death of the countless thousands dying ever moment. There is only one death which affects our lives and we need to honor. But what’s more it is not just His death which we are honor, it is his resurrection. I bet by now you can guess of whom I am referring: Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He is the only death which matters.

Keep your eyes focused on that and focused on taking care of those around you and maybe we can make 2017 a better year than 2016. This year I will be finishing the latest round of Bible read through and really, I’m rather excited to start from the beginning again.

God bless you all and keep your eyes focused on Him.

Christmas Thought – 2016

Christmas has come upon us again. As people begin the celebration of this season, whether they are celebrating one form or another, many people ask “What’s the reason for the season?” Personally, I don’t celebrate what is traditionally considered “Christmas”, but I typically end up celebrating “Easter” twice a year. To me Christmas is and what it stands for (the birth of Christ) doesn’t have very much meaning.

I do not mean Christ’s birth is meaningless, I only mean His birth only has meaning if He did what the Gospels say He did. This is true across religions even. Muslims believe in the virgin birth, they believe in His miracles, and in fact they ascribe more powers to Jesus then do the Gospels. They do not, however, believe in His death and resurrection, which makes His birth meaningless to them except as a story of mythic proportions. Easter, or the event we celebrate at Easter, is the only thing which brings purpose to Jesus’ birth.

As far as importance goes we also can look at the New Testament for dates. The NT is very clear on the day in which Jesus was crucified, but it doesn’t give the slightest clue as to when He was born (except for it wasn’t winter). This points us to the importance of events. Something else which allows us to see importance is how often are the events repeated across the four Gospels. The traditional Christmas story is only put down in two of the four Gospels, but the death and resurrection is written about in all four Gospels. (By this logic Christ’s ministry and the events which took place during His ministry are more important than His birth.)

So as you celebrate Christmas take a moment to reflect on the reason for the season, and note it is not Christ’s birth which makes it so important, but what He did for us which does so. I hope you all have a merry Christmas this year.

Thoughts on the Election

With the election over people on both side are feeling lost, disenfranchised, and even scared. I’ve personally read social media messages by those on both sides of this political season filled with anger hate, and discrimination. Some of these posts were written by friends of mine whom I know Christians. Now before we go any further I am not one of those people who thinks Christians are any better than non-believers. I had this whole argument lined out about redeemed vs. perfected, but I’m going to skip it. Suffice it to say Paul (who wrote almost half of the New Testament) called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and said “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19 ESV). So, yes, all Christians are sinners.

But as I was praying the last night (the 8th) before I went to bed and before I knew the outcome of the election. I prayed a specific prayer:

“Lord Jesus, my sovereign Master and King, as the people of my country choose their next leader, I lift up to You the decision. You are king of all and in control, Lord, lead the decision. But, also, help us to know You are in control over this situation. With a political season which has been so divisive in not just our country, but in Your body, help us to come together unified in love and our common faith. Lord Jesus, You are our head, You are our Savior. Help us to turn our eyes away from petty man-made doctrines and institutions and turn our faces back to You.

I love You, Lord!

—Amen.”

We need to be healing the wounds! We need to be coming together unifying. Christians are not called to do what they are doing. We are called to live quiet lives (1Thes 4:11; 1Tim 2:2), be subject to all authorities and human institutions – including paying taxes (1Pet 2:13-17; Rom 13:1-7; Titus 3:1;), and pray for our leaders (1Tim 2:1-2). These things leave no room for us to be making snide remarks or posting angry things on social media. Christians should be those who are gracious enough to be empathetic, for we have a God who knows what we feel, who shared humanity and gives us grace freely.

Finally I will close with my prayer today when I found out the results the election:

Lord Jesus, my Master and my God, with Trump becoming president lead us and how we should go. Lord God, You are the one who really is in control, You direct the steps of all mankind. I will put my trust in you, not in the institutions of this world.

Jesus, You You are my King!

I love You, Lord!

—Amen.”

Pray for his leading in your life, but more than that, go be a sibling, parent, cousin, aunt/uncle, husband/wife, or just a friend, love someone and help them when they need it.