Over the past few nights, I’ve shared some personal experiences that have strengthened my faith in God. Some of you may have been able to relate those with experiences you have had. Others of you may have found them encouraging or inspiring.
But I’m certain that some of you have had your doubts. You may have thought, “I’ve tried that, but it’s never worked for me”. Or, you may have thought,”I’d like to try that, but I don’t see how it will work.” I’m equally certain that some have said, in the hearts, “Baloney!”
These are all natural, human reactions when God is discussed. What I’ve shared with you are my personal beliefs and experiences. Not yours. So, if you’ve never experienced these things yourself, you may struggle with HOW to do it or IF you can do it.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Again, it’s a perfectly human reaction. Nothing to be ashamed about. But, it perfectly natural to think, “That’s all great for you. But I don’t see how that applies to me. I’m not you. I don’t think the way you do. I don’t believe they way you do.
So today, I want to talk about how I got to be this way. It’s important, because these are steps you can replicate. First, I was raised in the Lutheran church from infancy. I was taught in what I would call a traditional way about God. They were all nice stories.
But they didn’t really apply to me. IOW, my faith wasn’t real. Oh, I could quote Bible verses and I could tell Bible stories, but I didn’t have a living, breathing relationship with God. You know why? Because I didn’t really believe the Bible. The Bible is God’s word.
When someone gives you their word, you may be like me. You may accept it until proven otherwise. Or, you may be like my wife. “Oh yeah, prove it to me.” But, sooner or later, that person’s word will be proven true or false. And you’ll base all future interactions on that.
God’s word has been proven false time and time again. Just ask any atheist. Or any Bible exegete. Or any so-called expert on the Bible. They can point to myriad contradictory passages. They can point to hundreds of inconsistencies. The bottom line is, it’s not true.
And THAT is exactly what Satan wants you to believe. Remember the mustard seed? (Google Bible and mustard seed if you’re not familiar with it.) If Satan can introduce a kernel of doubt in your head, he can destroy your faith in the Bible. And in God. Because the Bible IS God.
The Bible is God speaking to you through the hearts and brains of many different believers who’ve lived over many centuries. In it’s simplest distillation, the Bible has one message. God is love. That message rings true throughout the Bible. But it’s a lot more than that.
If you sit at the feet of any Biblical scholar, you can learn things. If you sit at the feet of another, you’ll learn other things. Sooner or later, the contradictions will arise, and then you’ll be faced with a dilemma. Which one is telling the truth?
But you see, that’s the wrong question. Men always lie. It’s their nature. Only God always speaks the truth. That’s why he “wrote it down” in a book. So you wouldn’t have to trust men to interpret it for you. You can read it yourself.
The problem is, you read it through the eyes you’ve been given - by others. You have to approach it from an entirely new light. First, you sit down and you pray, “God, help me to see the truth in your word.” Then, you pick a subject you want to understand better.
Then you begin reading. You have to work hard to throw out the preconceptions you’ve been given. Well meaning people, true believers even, can lead you astray. The only one you can truly trust is God. How do I know this? Because the Bible says so.
But, if you don’t trust the Bible, well, you see the problem. When you read the Bible, centuries of teaching will get in the way. I’m going to give you and example. The crucifixion. So much has been taught about that one event that most people can cite it by rote.
Yet much of what’s been taught it plainly false. IF you read the Bible without preconceptions. Now, let’s get something straight. I am not a Biblical scholar. I don’t have a Ph.D. in exegesis. I’m not theologically trained.
There are many much more qualified than i who will say what I’m about to tell you is a bunch of malarky. All I would ask you to do is follow along with an open mind and research it yourself. You don’t have to believe what I write. You can prove or disprove it yourself.
How many men were crucified with Christ? The vast majority of you will say two. Everybody knows that. We’ve all seen a thousand pictures of the three crosses. Jesus in the center, one on each side. There’s no question about that, right? Isn’t that what the Bible says?
And why does it matter anyway? The story is about Jesus, not about the men crucified with him. Well, what if I told you that that story undermines your faith in God? You see, you WANT to believe the Bible is true, but these darn contradictions keep popping up, causing doubt.
The Bible says God’s word is truth. Either that’s true, or it’s a lie. If it’s a lie, what is the basis for your faith? Take a minute to REALLY ask yourself that question. IF the Bible has contractions in it, then what is the basis of your faith?
These are hard questions. They’re they kind of questions we avoid seeking answers to. Because we don’t WANT to find out that the Bible is a lie. (It’s not. Trust me.) So, we don’t even seek those answers. And we hang on to the contradictions, because they’re comfortable.
And we avoid discussing them so we don’t have to confront the awful truth: we’re not really sure. You know what my basis for approaching the Bible is? It’s truth. Why? Because God says it is. That’s good enough for me. What happens when I come across a “contradiction”?
I approach it like this. God’s word is truth. Any contraction is either my lack of understanding or an error in the text. Now, I know right about now you’re going, “An error in the text? But I thought you said the Bible is truth?” Yes, I did.
But what you have in your hands is a representation of God’s word. It’s been passed down from generation to generation by MEN. And those men have introduced errors in the text. Some of those errors are well known. Some great Biblical scholars have ferred them out over the years.
But, I can tell you this. The vast majority of the Bible you have in your hands is a faithful representation of what God spoke to the men who wrote it down. And that, in itself, is a miracle. The vast majority of the Bible we have today can be trusted.
Enough so that we can leave the errors to the experts. So, my approach, again, is this: the Bible is truth. If I see error it’s either because I’m not understanding it correctly or because error has been introduced into the text. This is key to keep in mind as we move forward.
Now, let’s look at who was crucified with Jesus. But, before we do, one last point. I am NOT saying that Biblical scholars are lying to you. What I AM saying is that they, like all of us, have been influenced and steered by the stories we’ve been told by those who came before.
Every one of us has to break out of that shell of preconception. And Satan built that shell, so it’s well constructed and designed to withstand attacks. Once you break through it, #TheGreatAwakeing will pale in comparison. Of that you can be sure.
One last word before we start. I am not revealing some secret information that only I know. This information can be found in a number of places. For example: absolutebiblestudy.com/Study/The_Four… I don’t want you to think I’m claiming special knowledge. I am not.
What I’m trying to convey to you is that to strengthen your faith in God, you must strengthen your faith in his word. And to do that, you have to STUDY it to get past all the fairy tales that Satan has introduced to undermine your faith and make you weak.
So, here we go. I’m going to use the English Standard Version. You can use whatever version you like to follow along. Matt 27:38 “They crucified with him two outlaws, one on his right side and one on his left.”
These are New International Version.

Mk 15:27 “They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.”

Luke 15:32 “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.”
John 19:18 “There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.”

So, you read those verses and what do you think? There were two men crucified with Jesus, one on each side. I thought you said there were four? You’re obviously wrong.
BUT, there is some doubt introduced, whether you realize it or not. Why? Because Matthew, Mark and John all say there were two crucified WITH HIM but Luke says there were two LED WITH HIM TO BE CRUCIFIED. So, how do we reconcile these accounts? We explain them away.
The two that were led with him in Luke are obviously the same two that were crucified with him. But, wait a minute. God’s word is truth, right? So why would he have an apparent discrepancy in the account? It’s one of two things; our lack of understanding, or an error in the text.
It’s not an error in the text. Of that you can be certain. So, let’s look at the verses a little more carefully. Matthew and Mark both use the Greek words “duo lestai” for the two men; two robbers (or thieves). Luke uses the Greek words “duo karkourgoi” for the two men.
duo karkourgoi means “two criminals” (or two malefactors). The natural reaction? Well that’s the same thing, isn’t it? No, it’s not. And unlike we humans, God uses his words very precisely. So, we have to wonder. ARE these the same two men? Or are they different?
Is there any other evidence that would indicate that there were more than two? It turns out there is. The key to understanding this mystery is John. Let’s look at what John says, in the Greek. John writes “with him two on this side and on that side”
The Greek is duo enteuthen kai enteuthen. It literally means “two on this side and on that side”. But look at this Greek interlinear passage: scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlin… It doesn’t say that, does it? Why? Because they have to fit the square peg in the round hole.
The word enteuthen literally means “from here”. So you could translate the passage two from here and from here, but that doesn’t make sense to our English ears. What is here? Where is here? and Why are there two heres?
But this isn’t the only “discrepancy” in the story. Look at John 19:32 “The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.” This makes no sense at all. Think about it.
If two men were crucified with Jesus, and Jesus was in the middle, they broke the legs of the first, went PAST Jesus to break the other man’s legs. And then, John 19:33 “ But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.”
“When they came to Jesus”? They just went right past him. That’s crazy. Unless there were FOUR. Then, they break the legs of the first, then the second, and THEN they come to Jesus. You see the problem I’m sure. But have you thought of the ramifications?
You’ve been told all your life there were two crucified with Jesus. So, you’re reading your devotional and you come to John 19:32 and 33, and it’s jarring. Maybe you don’t notice it, maybe you do. But your unconscious mind sees it. And recognizes the problem.
And what comes next? Doubt. Maybe I can’t trust God’s word. Maybe I can’t trust God. If you read these verses in different versions, you’ll discover that some have added the word “one” to “harmonize” the reading with the “truth”, that only two were crucified with him.
Now, why does this matter? After all, it’s just a Bible verse. And really, a minor point. Or is it? Your faith is built by believing the Bible. And it’s torn down by niggling little “contradictions” like this. Step by step, block by block, your faith is attacked.
So what happens? You pray, but your prayers aren’t imbued with faith, because you have doubts. Doubts that have been introduced by well-meaning people who simply passed on the lie they’d been taught and never thought to challenge. They’re not trying to hurt you. Satan is.
But Satan, just like God, uses people and his “angels” to influence you both in subtle ways and in more direct ways. And the aim of EVERYTHING he does is to undermine your faith In the Bible. Why? Because, if he can undermine THAT, he’s got you. Your power sits idle.
Satan knows you could crush him any time you wanted to. He doesn’t want YOU to know that. So he does everything in his power to conceal the truth, to obfuscate it, to confuse it, to weaken it. Resolve today to fight him with all your strength. If you do, you’ll win. You know why?
Because you have all the power of God IN Christ IN you. And THAT terrifies SATAN.

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More from @PaulSchmehl

Oct 3, 2018
Let’s look at the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has testified that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party in 1982. She provided names for three witnesses. All three witnesses have stated that they have no recollection of such an event.
Furthermore, Ford’s friend, Leland Keyser, has stated under oath that she has never met Kavanaugh, either with or without Ford being present. Judge and Smyth both stated under oath that they have never seen Kavanaugh behave in the way described by Ford.
Apart from the lack of corroboration, Dr. Ford has also lied under oath. The crucial event that led to her restored memories was an argument over a second front door for their home. But we now know the second door was an entrance for renters that lived in their house.
Read 16 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
In case you haven’t had time to look up Psalm 40, it is so completely apropos, that I thought it would be appropriate to reproduce it here. I’m going to capitalize some (IMO) important words. That will be the only alteration.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the SLIMY PIT,
    out of the MUD and MIRE;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.
Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to FALSE GODS.[b]

Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for
Read 16 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
It’s Saturday Bible Time. Now is a good time to pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray when you’re working, when you’re resting, when you’re playing. Pray as much as you can. Pray earnest prayers. Ask God for intercession. We are at a crossing point. Prayer is the answer.
No matter what you’re doing, you can be thinking of God - and praying. Asking God to hold the devil spirits at bay. To bring his intercessory angels into the battle on our behalf. Most of all, pray to thank him for what he’s already done to bring us to this point.
Every day now I find myself thinking, I never thought I’d see that. When I see those things, I know that God is at work. He’s interceding on our behalf, building hedges of protection around us.
Read 17 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
I find myself struggling to put into words the maelstrom of emotions churning inside me. I’m angry, a deep, white-hot anger, at what’s been done to Judge Kavanaugh. I’m disappointed that the GOP has once again acceded to Democrat demands.
I’m optimistic that Judge Kavanaugh will be appointed to the Court on Monday, as Leader McConnell has assured us will happen. I’m terrified that yet another false allegation will be thrown out this weekend, once again fouling up the process. I feel terrible for Dr. Ford.
She has been used and abused by the Democrats in the most vicious way possible. I’m furious at Diane Feinstein for being so transparently deceitful and blatantly political in her actions. My heart aches for the Kavanaugh family. They have been viciously slandered.
Read 25 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Even though they’ve clearly lost the battle, the losers continue to lie about Kavanaugh. AP FACT CHECK: Witnesses do not exonerate Kavanaugh yahoo.com/news/ap-fact-c…
Let’s look at what each of the fact witnesses said. Which, amazingly, the AP “fact” checkers put right in the article and STILL lied about it.
‘Even Mark Judge, who Ford says was in the bedroom when Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, has not denied that such an episode took place. His sworn statement to the committee says "I have no memory of this alleged incident," ''do not recall the party" and "never saw Brett act
Read 16 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
This may not be very popular, but I’m going to express my opinions about today’s hearing. I watched the entire thing, from beginning to painful ending.
First, Dr. Ford. I feel very badly for her. Thanks to the Democrats, she has been put through hell. (Don’t worry. I’ll get to Kavanaugh.) I believe her. I think she experienced something very traumatic. For some reason, she thinks it was Kavanaugh, although it was clearly not.
From the moment she reported her story, the Democrats took over and used her like a cheap suit. I don’t think she sees that now, but she will. And when she does, it will hurt - badly. She seemed to me to be in a great deal of pain. Who puts two front doors on their house?
Read 16 tweets

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