Reining in Ray – Quarantine Edition

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Its been awhile since we’ve done in Reigning in Ray! We’re back. So listen in as Ray and chat about life under quarantine including Ray’s new Broadway play and Kevin’s blurb for a yet-to-be-published book.

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Episode 118 – The Book of Revelation

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In this episode Ray Jewell takes over as I continue to recover from surgery. Ray gives us an overview of the Book of Revelation as he prepares to go through each chapter in his upcoming blog series.

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Recommended Resources:

Revelation’s Rhapsody: Listening to the Lyrics of the Lamb: How to Read the Book of Revelation by Robert Lowery

Episode 114 – Misused Bible Verses, Part 7

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In this last episode in our series on misused Bible verses, Ray Jewell and I cover subjects such as guarding your heart, lifting up the name of Jesus and what it means to have a vision.

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Recommended Resources:

The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God’s Word Is Misunderstood by Eric J. Bargerhuff
Exalting Jesus in Proverbs (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) by Jonathan Akin
Proverbs (Holman Old Testament Commentary) by Max Anders

Episode 113 – Misused Bible Verses, Part 6

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In this episode, Ray Jewell and I continue our series on misused Bible verses. Listen in and hear us chat about what means when the Old Testament tells us to take an eye for an eye. We follow that with a conversation from the book of James about prayers offered in faith followed by the command found in Acts to repent and be baptized.

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Recommended Resources:

The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God’s Word Is Misunderstood by Eric J. Bargerhuff

Episode 110 – Misused Bible Verses, Part 3

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In this third episode in our series on misused Bible verses, Ray Jewell and I look at what Romans really is means when we are promised that all things will work together for good and we will discuss whether Americans Christians can claim to be the “my people” whose land God will heal when He hears from heaven.

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Recommended Resources:

The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God’s Word Is Misunderstood by Eric J. Bargerhuff

Episode 106 – The Benefits of A Christian College

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We are on location for this episode, recording in a real podcast studio hosted at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL. Joining us is the President of Lincoln Christian University, Dr. Don Green. Also joining us, a proud alumnus of LCU, our own co-host Ray Jewell. You’ll want to listen to this fascinating conversation about Christian education and future of higher education itself.

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Recommended Resources:

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz

Misused Scriptures – All Things Work Together for Good

By Jay Jewell

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,”

Another oft misapplied verse in the Bible is Romans 8:28a. It is misapplied, first of all, because people often stop reading it with the phrase “for the good of those who love Him.” If people would take the time to look at the whole verse, they would find that it actually says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Many people use the first part of this verse to say that God will always do what is best for me because I love Him. But looking at the whole verse shows the good things come when we are called and fulfilling the purpose God has called us to.

And the verse needs to be looked at in the context in which Paul places it. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (8:26-28)

Notice that the words “according to/accordance with” is used twice here. According to God’s will and God’s purpose. Not what we think God should give us, but God will do for us for our own good. Paul admits that we are weak, yet God uses that weakness to fulfill His purpose. Which isn’t necessarily to make me happy, but to make me into the person He wants me to be. Paul suffered many things in his life (as Jesus told Ananias about Paul in Acts 9). Not the kind of things we would desire for ourselves; shipwreck, stoning which resulted in his being left for dead, persecution from people inside and outside the church, snake bites, a thorn in his flesh. God is concerned about us becoming the people He wants us to be in order to fulfill His will and purpose in the world He has created.

Now it may be that God wants us to be prosperous, but only if we will use it for His purpose. He may want us to be popular, but only if we will use that for His glory. He might give us power, but not to gratify our selfish desires. This verse is not about what I think is good for me, but what God thinks is good for me. And always, always in His will and for His purpose.

Ray Jewell is a frequent co-host on the Basic Bible Podcast, the director of the Janesville Community Center, teacher at Rock County Christian Schooland the author of the Ray’s Rambling Blog.

Misapplied Scriptures – “Judge Not”

By Ray Jewell

“Judge not.” (Matthew 7:1a KJV)

This little phrase from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is probably the most often misapplied part of the Bible, especially by those who claim that Christians are judgmental. Don’t get me wrong, many Christians do judge people who are not like them. It would be a good idea for everyone, whether a believer or not, to take the time to look at this phrase in its immediate context, the larger context of this sermon, and in the context of the rest of the New Testament.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” 

(Matthew 7:1-5, NIV).

Jesus is getting at something we are all guilty of from time to time. Judging others in order to make ourselves look better or to justify our actions. “Hey, don’t judge me. I can do whatever I want with my body or my actions or my thoughts. I can hurt anyone I please, but don’t judge me.

That way of thinking is certainly flawed. First, why do we have laws? Let’s say, for instance, that we didn’t have those red, octagonal signs that say STOP. Life would become much more dangerous for everyone. That’s why we have things like stop signs and stop lights. And when those laws are violated there is a judge waiting to administer justice. Clearly that is the case in so much of life.

There are also laws of nature that carry consequences with them. Let’s say I eat nothing but junk food, obesity and other health issues are in the offing. And, in a sense, punishment is levied.

But it seems this passage is talking about prejudicial judgment that happens in relationships. The Jews, Jesus’ audience here, had many external laws that were abused and led to prejudice. People were pointing there finger at others, again in a way to make themselves look more righteous.

But Jesus would have none of that. His admonition, the one that we so often want to forget, is to take the plank out of our own eye before we try to take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye. In some respects, Jesus IS saying “mind your own business.” But in another way He is asking us to make sure we are not guilty of the same offense of the person we want to judge. By taking the plank out of our own eye, we can see clearer how to help our neighbor with her or his problem.

I think part of His point is that we don’t lump people stereotypically like “this guy’s black, so he must be a criminal.” Or this guy is white so he must be all about white privilege.”

The bigger context of the Sermon on the Mount, which those who say “Judge not,” is disregarded by so many. In this sermon, Jesus actually takes the law, (you shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery) to mean something even further than the action of murder and adultery, (calling a person a fool or lust). And He judges the thought life. Of course, He is the One who can. He is the Perfect One.

Yet in the wider context of the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells the church to judge.

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NIV).

This is what it comes down to, God is the Judge. Jesus calls us to test ourselves before we try to judge others. Then, if an accusation is valid, the church must act upon it, not in a cruel, destructive way, but as discipline to bring someone into the kingdom or restore them into the church.

Ray Jewell is a frequent co-host on the Basic Bible Podcast, the director of the Janesville Community Center, teacher at Rock County Christian Schooland the author of the Ray’s Rambling Blog.