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Girlfriends in God - Dec. 22, 2010

December 22, 2010 

What Translation Are You Using? 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 

1 Corinthians 8:1 "Knowledge puffs you up with pride, but love builds up."

Friend to Friend
As a teenager, I can remember feeling sorry for my mother because - well, she just didn't seem to know much about anything. When I graduated from high school and went to college, I think she must have taken some classes herself because she seemed to get smarter every time we talked. And when I graduated from college and moved out on my own, I began to realize just how brilliant my mother really was.

Mama raised three children on her own and often worked three jobs a day to put food on the table while attending nursing school. She studied - a lot. I can still see her cooking dinner while holding her nursing manual in one hand and a spoon in the other. Mama became an excellent nurse and was highly respected by those who worked with her. And she was one of the sweetest and most loving people I have ever known.

Children adored her. Crying babies grew silent and peaceful in her arms. Stubborn toddlers did whatever she asked them to do and she could still a mischievous child with a glance. I miss her so much - especially around the holidays. But I don't miss her brilliant mind, even though she graduated near the top of her nursing class while raising three kids and working three jobs. I miss the feel of her arms hugging me and the way she would kiss my forehead when I was sick. I miss the way her eyes sparkled with pride as I sang a solo at church or played the piano for a worship service. I miss her love.

Isn't it amazing how much we have to know before we realize how little we know? Knowledge - for the sake of knowledge - is worthless and can easily lead to pride and arrogance. But knowledge for the sake of love is priceless. In other words, no one really cares how much you know until they know how much you really care.

Knowledge is powerful and should be used in love and love should always be controlled by knowledge. God gives us the ability to understand the Bible and then use its truths to build each other up and meet the needs of others.

A preacher once said, "Some Christians grow. Others just swell." Arrogance and pride are the result of knowledge that is misused. Knowledge can be a weapon of destruction or a tool of construction. It all depends on how it is used. We can know doctrine and never know God. We can grow in Bible knowledge but not grow in grace. We can attend church every time the doors are open but until we actually apply God's truth to the way we live, something is lost in the way we translate the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

I heard the story of four Bible scholars who were arguing over the best translation of the Bible. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful, eloquent old English. Another said he preferred the American Standard Bible for its literalism and accurate translation from the original text. A third man preferred the newer translations because of their practical application. The fourth scholar listened thoughtfully and then added, "Personally, I prefer my mother's translation." When the other men laughed, he explained, "My mother translates every page of the Bible into her daily life and it is the most convincing translation I have ever seen."

I wonder. Do the people in my life better understand God because of the way I live? Is my life a living illustration of God's love? Is the "Mary Southerland Translation" of the Bible authentic and real and pleasing to God? I hope so. Mama would be proud.

Let's Pray 
Father, I am amazed that You love me - no matter what I do or don't do. Lord, I want others to look at my life and see You. Teach me Your ways. Give me Your strength and wisdom to live each day as a beautiful translation of Your unconditional love and grace.

In Jesus' name,


Now it's Your Turn 
Pray for the people on your Christmas list and ask God to show you how to demonstrate His love in a tangible way. Look for a need in each person's life and then make a plan to meet that need.  

Read John 3:16 as part of your Christmas celebration.

Write a "love letter" to each family member. Place the letter in an envelope and hang it on your Christmas tree. Make it the first gift you open on Christmas morning.

More from the Girlfriends
Christmas is the perfect time for us as fully devoted followers of Christ to share the love of God with people in need. The need may be financial or physical. Others just need a friend and a listening heart. Maybe a family member needs some of your time this week. I encourage you to be a living translation of God's love this holiday season. 

My book, Escaping the Stress Trap, is the story of my journey out of spiritual bankruptcy into the rest of God and is based on Psalm 23.

One of the most powerful sources of rest is in a daily time alone with God in prayer and in the Word of God. Check out my weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God's Word. The first study of 2011 is How to Handle Hurt and begins January 10, 2011.

FREE MP3s on Mary's website in the Freebies Section!

Do you or someone you love struggle with depression? Mary's book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, offers practical steps you can take to get out and stay out of that pit.

Start 2011 right! Mary's book, Escaping the Stress Trap, is based on Psalm 23 and will help you learn how to deal with stress. 

Need a friend? Connect with me on Facebook or through email.  

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