Why was I so mean to myself all the time? Why couldn’t I think anything nice about myself? The running commentary in my head was always so negative.
Coming from an abusive past, I had become used to derogatory remarks. My dad never had anything nice to say about me or anyone else for that matter. He was constantly criticizing and judging me all the time.
But the sad thing is that I was still treating myself the same way! No longer living with my dad, the conversation in my head had not changed, even after all these years. I was criticizing, condemned, and judging myself all the time. Sometimes tears even came to my eyes as I thought these mean thoughts.
Meeting Jesus changed all that!
Discovering how much He loved me was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. And then to find out that He only had good thoughts towards me, well that was incomprehensible. Slowly the image that I had of myself started to change, I started to see myself washed in His blood. It was wonderful to belong to Him and be a part of His family.
God spoke to me often about my thoughts and my self-talk – that running conversation that you have going on in your head! He showed me through His word that I was speaking against His creation and hurting myself.
I realized that I had to learn to be my own best cheerleader. I mean, if I did not support myself, how could I expect anyone else to?
Loving myself did not come easy for me. I had many years of learning to not like myself at all. But as I changed my self-talk and started to be kinder to myself, my stress levels started to drop. I had been my own worst enemy. My harsh judging and condemnation of myself only made the situation worse. It just made me more nervous, making me angry at everyone.
My friend, how is your self-talk? Are you speaking kind words to yourself or are you like I was, mean and nasty to yourself?
Our self-talk, the running conversation in our head is especially important. It can make or break a situation. If you keep telling yourself that you are stupid and always making mistakes, well, that is what you are going to keep getting. This will only increase your frustration levels.
But if you tell yourself that it is ok, that you are learning and you will get better as you go along, you will find that you will relax more, having more self-confidence
Be kind to yourself, give yourself some grace. If you do not look after yourself, who will?
Use your self-talk to build you up and not tear you down. It will make all the difference. Change the way you speak to yourself and you will see the situations around you change too. Become a positive person and treat yourself with respect.
Now, you can start to stand up taller and have a smile on your face, knowing that you and God have your back! Start believing that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you – Philippians 4:13. Yes, you can!
Today’s interview is with John Stapleton. John Stapleton is a YouTuber, Apple Podcaster and is a blogger on ChristianWritersBookstore. It was a privilege to listen to John and hear more of his church upbringing and testimony.
Sadly, due to poor internet connection, the interview was cut short. We look forward to John sharing more on his books and other projects he has in the future.
If you are interested in the books John mentioned, they are available below.
You try to prove your love and loyalty to your partner every chance you get. As a child you were taught that love covers all wrong, so you overlooked the red flags. You thought, “If I love him hard enough, he’ll treat me better. If I give him more of me, he’ll see my worth; if only I invest more in him, show him I’m wife material, he’ll be afraid to lose me.”
And then you realize…
Loving Him Isn’t Enough; He Only Takes You For Granted.
When you realize your love isn’t enough to make him trade his thorns for leaves or flowers, part of you wants to let go, but it is a vicious cycle though because when you do let go, part of you miss it too much, so you go back to what is familiar.
That pattern is a common among people in abusive relationships. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to ask, why did they stay? Didn’t they see the signs? Honestly, they are afraid of letting go; they are fearful of the unknown, the unfamiliarity. Even when they finally build the courage to let go, sometimes they go back to what’s familiar. Why? Because familiarity is comforting.
You believed in your significant other when he didn’t believe in himself. And gave him wings to fly, not realizing that his roots were connected to your ground. You saw the best in him; you noticed a flicker in his ashes when he lose hope in himself. And maybe, just maybe, you think you can have enough hope for the both of you.
Suddenly, your ray of sunshine disappeared. Instead, a cloud of darkness covers you. You realize with every glimmer you saw in him; he was sucking on your light. It was never sudden, but little by little, you were trading your light for his darkness.
You Don’t Have To Remain In This Cycle!
If you truly want to live, you can’t be with someone who wants to survive. You may think your love can inspire him to live again, but your love will never be enough. He has to desire to live truly, rather than merely existing.
Also, how can you give what you don’t have? How can you be surviving with him and waiting for him to love you back to start living? How can you be his resource and expect him to be your source? You can’t be pouring into him while hoping he will replenish you. Your partner can’t be a vessel and a wellspring simultaneously.
You have to wake up every day and choose to live on purpose. You have to love yourself first, if not your effort to love him will only drain you.
It is noble to be selfless, but you shouldn’t lose yourself in the process of loving someone else!
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
The Righteous Servant
Jesus, the Messiah, is the “righteous servant” talked about here. It is sad all that Jesus had to go through to save us from our sins. But now that the price for our rebellion from God was paid in full, we are free to be joined in relationship with God, FOREVER, starting NOW, if we confess our belief in Him and follow Him as our Lord.
From our perspective, that is GOOD news. From His perspective, that is also GOOD news. He didn’t die to make us guilty, He died to make us free to follow Him. As it says in verse 11 above, Jesus will see all that He accomplished by His anguish, and be satisfied, because He sees all of us that He died for, following Him. That is why it is called, “GOOD Friday”. Are you ready to start following Him today?
YouTuber John Stapleton takes a break from his regular show to talk about The Resurrection of Easter.
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We will never get over Jesus because he is our life (Colossians 3:4)! Jesus has fixed our greatest issue, which is sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). If you have not given your sin to Jesus, God is still angry with you. God really does “hate all evildoers” (Psalm 5:5). God hates sin and it can be nowhere near him because he is holy. But the blood of Jesus has paid for this massive sin problem we have and now, by trusting in Jesus alone, we can “come to the Father” (John 14:6, NLT).
Today we examine the resurrection.
Paul boldly claims that Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Jesus died for our sins and then he rose from the dead to give us his righteousness. If Jesus stayed dead, there would be no proof that our sins have been paid for and there is no grace for us, only mercy. That will only sustain us for a while.
The good news, however, is that Jesus rose from the dead and “consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always livestomakeintercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). In another place, it is written that “we have an advocatewiththeFather, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). I can’t stress it enough: it is extremely important that he is alive and reigning today.
In Luke’s Gospel
There are a few interesting events that aren’t recorded anywhere else. The scene opens with some of Jesus’ most devoted disciples going to the tomb to embalm Jesus. The women see a very peculiar sight – the guards are gone and the entrance to the tomb is wide open.
A voice cuts through their confusion: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise” (Luke 24:5-7). At that moment, it clicks for the women. They go and tell the men, the eleven disciples, “but they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11).
Jesus’ Sense of Humor
Later, Jesus spends the afternoon with two people traveling for more than seven miles. Jesus disguises himself and seems to be in a humorous mood. They are bummed out over the events of the crucifixion and Jesus pretends like he needs to be updated on the past events. Tell me Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor!
Then Jesus gets serious, rebuking them for their unbelief. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
I would love to have been a part of that Bible study, but my imagination and knowledge of the Bible will suffice until glory. I imagine that Jesus cherry-picked stories, systematically working through the Old Testament from Abraham, to Moses, to David, to the prophets; they all were pointing to Jesus!
Jesus unpacks this again for his disciples later
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things’” (Luke 24:44-48).
Speaking of witnesses, the Apostle Paul has some thoughts found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, and this is what I want to think about after reading this. First, the most important thing is that Jesus died for sin and rose to give us grace. Secondly, everything happened according to God’s predetermined plan. Third, he appeared to over 500 people! Back then, eyewitness testimony was the most compelling evidence available. And he also appeared to his disciples who turned from cowards to courageous men who subjected themselves to horrible executions because they believed that Jesus is the life-giver who will raise them back from the dead.
As we come to a time most commonly known as Easter, let’s celebrate the Passover. Thanks to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t celebrate the Passover as we should because the two are one.
The Passover Story (in short)
“Look,” Pharaoh said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor… (Exodus 1:9-11)
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. (Exodus 3:7)
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. (Exodus 12:1-7)
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. (Exodus 12:12-13)
As you can tell, I skipped through a number of chapters to save time. But the fact is, this final act of God freed the Israelites from the enslavement. While we may only consider the freedom from enslavement, scripture says that this final act was to “bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt”. And the blood that the Israelites put on their door frames kept the plague from coming to them.
Every year, the Jewish people would sacrifice a lamb and mark their door frames to commemorate the salvation God provided. Even after over a thousand years and the Jews are in their own country of Israel, they would still do this.
Jesus Christ Celebrates Passover
This Easter, let’s remember the Passover. Easter, just so happens, to land on the Passover. Passover- the great celebration of salvation from the people (and the gods) of Egypt.
Jesus Christ celebrated the Passover:
Jesus said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away…” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” (Matthew 26:2-5)
Jesus and his disciples weren’t the only ones ready to celebrate. Jesus just said it’s in two days and he had a place in mind. And the chief priests and elders just said they’re having a festival. So, it’s a big deal. People are coming from all around.
The Passover Lamb
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” ” (Matthew 26:17-18)
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins…” (Matthew 26:26-28)
That night, Jesus would be betrayed. The following day, Jesus would be hung on a cross for all of Jerusalem to see.
As we consider this Easter season, let’s remember the Passover. The sacrifice the Jews made with blood on their door frame to remind God not to punish them when he brought his judgment. It was now dripping from a man on a cross.
When Jesus died on that cross, he cried out “It Is Finished.” Although the disciples would wonder what they would do, Jesus was not done yet. Jesus would rise from the dead and show himself to his disciples.
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:17-20)
Daniel Stabler made a video today on the topic: Christianity is not built on good works. After addressing many hot button issues of the day, he concludes that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace. Its freely given.
Jesus gives us His answer many times throughout the Gospels. John 14:6 Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the answer. We don’t have to work for it. Most, if not all, other religions are based on doing good works, not Christianity.
Yes we want to do what is righteous and good, because Jesus is in our lives, but it’s not to gain anything. Jesus is the way!
YouTuber John Stapleton continues with the Gospel of Mark 7- Religion & Jesus.
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Religion and Jesus
Religion focuses on appearances but God focuses on the heart. The religion is our attempt to ascend to God. Jesus is God’s way of bringing us to him.
Mark 7 is all about religion and why it doesn’t work. Religion is our attempt to get closer to God when all it really does is create barriers between us and him.
Remember the Pharisees? They were good guys turned bad. Their zeal to obey God drove them to create laws around God’s 613 laws in the Torah. God’s laws are all direct expressions of how to love our God and our neighbors. But by the time Jesus arrived, they had written so much legislation around this that they roadblocked people from even getting close to God (Matthew 23:4).
Religion is terrible! Religion attempts to replace God’s law. It makes people who are natural rule-keepers proud (and God opposes proud people). Not only that, it also condemns people that Jesus has compassion for. It simply creates hateful people who oppose Jesus and the religious people in Mark’s gospel want to kill him.
Now I do want to clarify that there is what the Bible calls “pure and faultless” religion. (James 1:27).
Luke at Mark 7:20-23. Many people have asked why God allows evil and suffering. But if evil isn’t some wicked force out there in society, that means evil is a problem inside of us; after all, we collectively make up society! Society is a reflection of us.
If we are the problem, we need God to save us from ourselves. We are not the solution. We need to submit to God by repenting, changing our minds, and consequently, our course of action (Colossians 3:5-8).
The opposite of tolerance is repentance! If we don’t repent, we are rejecting God’s offer of salvation from spiritual death to life.
1). Which English version of the Bible has the best translation of the original text?
I love this question! Every translation is a trade-off between translating words and meaning. We have a lot of great Bible versions! Translations also fall short because of their strengths.
There are basically 4 kinds of Bibles: Formal, dynamic, paraphrase, and corruption.
Some emphasize translation of the words of the original. (These versions are the NKJV, NASB, and ESV.) Some emphasize the meaning of the biblical words. (These versions are the CSB, NIV, NLT, NCV, and a few others.) Then you have paraphrases. These versions function like cliff notes, rewording a chunk of text to make the main idea clear, as the paraphraser sees it. (The Message and the Living Bible function like this.) Corruptions are Bibles that deliberately mistranslated in order to deceive. The New World Translation for example, is guilty of mishandling John 1:1. Jesus is not “a god” but “God.” (That’s one of a few examples.)
The question shouldn’t be which of these is the best translation because there is no such thing as cream of the crop. But there are types of translations that are better than others. You should avoid the corruptions. A paraphrase can be helpful if a passage is overly familiar to you and you want to hear it a fresh way. I personally feel “at home” with the formal translations, in particular, the ESV because I’m the kind of Bible reader that wants to see the words of the original reflected in my English text, regardless of how it sounds in English.
I also appreciate that it is a traditional sounding Bible version. Others might consider this a weakness as it sounds “archaic” to people that prefer a translation that puts more emphasis on meaning, making it easier to read in English, while it at times, obscures the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts. So my second favorite Bible translation is the NIV. It is the best translation in its group of dynamic translations. A third favorite is the NLT. Between these 3 translations, I feel like I have the best of each philosophy.
The reason why I feel that the formal philosophy is better is because it is more important what they said than how we would say it. So I’m okay with a translation that sounds like bad English if it is closer to what’s in the original.
2). What percent of the global population do you envision will submit to the Mark of the Beast?
With all due respect, that is the wrong question. Rule #1 when you’re reading the Revelation is that it can’t mean to us what it didn’t mean to the original hearers.
The first thing you need to know is that the mark of the beast was taken by the people in John’s day, and what’s in question is how did they take it? Remember that God seals his people (Rev 7:4), the devil copies that with his mark of the beast.
So the mark of the beast is generally the antithesis of God marking his own people. In Revelation 13:18 where we read that the mark of the beast is “the number of a man,” it can also be translated as the “the number of humanity.” The mark of the beast symbolizes living life in opposition to God’s authority.
3). Will the Ark of the Covenant have a place in the Millennial Temple during Christ’s reign?
The short answer is no. The ark of the covenant is no longer around for all I know and there is no future temple (according to my understanding of eschatology). I have to admit though, it would be awesome to see them!
4). Why did you decide to read the Bible? What did you get out of reading it? What relevance does it have in 2021?
I still read it because God isn’t done speaking to me. He reminds, encourages, challenges, rebukes, and informs me, all in the same place. Just as the body needs foods to be healthy, the soul needs God’s Word as contained in the Bible. That’s why I keep going back to it. I’ve read it cover to cover 4 times and God still uses it to speak to me. The Lord is doing this year what he has done every year, that is, building our relationship – him speaking to me in the Scriptures and me responding through prayer.
5). Were the Old Testament saints limited only to the Israelites according to the Bible or were any gentile nations included in the contract with God?
Good question. The Old Testament mainly focuses on God’s kindness to a family – Abraham’s family, but the offer of salvation is still available to people from other nation. This is clearly seen in Exodus. As God is plaguing Egypt, even Pharaoh’s servants who thought of the Pharaoh as a god himself, suggested submitting to the more powerful God (Exodus 10:7).
It is not lost to me that God has the foreigner in mind when he passes laws like this one: “A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you” (Exodus 12:48–49, NIV).
Later, it is probably these same servants who joined Israel as they left Egypt. “The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds” (Exodus 12:37–38, NIV).
When you read the Psalms, there is the constant refrain of “let the nations be glad; let the peoples rejoice.” The prophets all prophesy to not only Israel, but the Gentiles as well. Even Jesus (the authority of the Old Testament) says that the Gentiles are included in the plan of salvation, but the Jews come first (Matthew 15:24).
What a contrary thought to our modern day Christianity. Nowadays, the common teaching is that evidence of the Holy Spirit is that people love you, you fit in, you have lots of money, fame, etc.
Another quote from A.W. Tozer-
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop…” A.W. Tozer
As I was wallowing in my own spiritual decay last night, I was watching a number of different videos on YouTube. But as YouTube (Google), knowing my every interest, popped up some political and Christian videos. And while I normally don’t like “watching” audio books, I wanted to hear what Tozer said.
Tozer talks about the loneliness of the Christian. The isolation. And what really got my ears peaked was the spiritual state of the “Saint”. He mentioned how the saint often feels like the worst example of a Christian. They are utterly ashamed of their sins.
Anyway, I just wanted to throw this out there for myself and others who may need to hear it.
In a new Bible Study series, author Michael Furlonger brings up a question: Is It Sinful? Maybe you’re asking, “What Is ‘It’ that is sinful? It’s a big question.
Jesus preached repentance (Matt. 4:17). John the Baptist preached repentance (Matt. 3:1-2). Peter preached repentance (Acts 2:38). Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinth, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…” (2 Cor. 7:10). And John tells us in 1 John 1:5-6, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”
So in this series, we aren’t just going to talk about sin, we are going to clarify what is a sin. If we are called to repent, should we not know from what we are repenting?
While this focuses on sin, let us always remember that God’s grace covers a “Multitude of Sin” (James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8).