(Re)Discovering the Bible Relaunch Part 2

Image result for Very Excited images public domainGood News, the old podcasts are up. They have been found and reposted. I’m so excited. I will include a link on how to find them at the end of these notes. This episode is short, but I really needed to finish our review. It was just going to be incomplete. 

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Do remember if you listen on Stitcher, that it takes a while before the episode is available there. I’m working to make sure we’re connected to some of the other podcast hosting sites.

When we started this podcast, we were going to use it as a kind of supplement for my books of the same name. Those books, Vols 1 and 2, are still available on Amazon. I probably won’t get started writing volume 3 for a few more months. I’m writing a book of weight loss and eating right. It’s taking a toll on my brain, but I want to get it done before the beginning of 2020, because a lot of people start in January, thinking about losing a pound or two with their new years resolutions. Since I’m convinced I’ve found a plan that works, does not cause great hunger pains, and is consistent with what the Bible teaches about food, I’m really excited to get it finished. I’ll keep you posted on progress. My hope is, to finish my research on Re Discovering Volume 3, Pauls letters, and get started writing it, as soon as I get done with my food book.

I’m thinking that we should probably spend two or three weeks in review of Ground we’ve already covered just to get us all up to speed and get our minds in gear. Hopefully, that works for you.

If you are new to the Bible, or let’s say new again, you probably should listen to the last episode, ReLaunch. It will give you some good tips on what the Bible is all about, and how you can find a translation that suits you and your style. That’s really important. You need a version, a translation that matches your reading style. And there are lot’s of them available, for FREE, if you’re willing to download them to your smartphone, or tablet, or laptop, or even your desktop, if you’re still using one of those.

I really believe there are a lot of people, as in millions upon millions, who are really confused about faith and religion, and even Jesus. There’s a great deal of conflicting information out there. It can make your head spin. But you can go directly to the source of our available information. You can read the Bible for yourself, and draw your own conclusion.

But the thing is, and I’m sorry to say it, while the Bible is truly God’s love letter to the human race, the human race has put it together in a way that makes it harder to understand. Seriously. If you read the Bible in New Testament First, then Old Testament, it will make a whole lot more sense to you. It really will. And frankly, I have created a reading plan that will make it even clearer to you than that. If you’ll write to me, samburtonpresents@gmail.com, or use the comments section at samburtonpresents.com, where I put the show notes, and ask for it, I’ll send you the reading plan for the New Testament absolutely free.

You see, the Bible is not A book. Its 66 books, 27 in the New Testament and 39 in the Old Testament. Those books are given to us by God himself. Truly. But the order in which they’re put together was created by book editors and Church leaders. Not by teachers who were trying to help you understand it. That’s where I come in. I’m just a teacher. A guy who wants you to read the Bible and understand it. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is who you’re looking for, whether or not you even know you’re looking for him. I also want the Bible to make sense to you. It’s not a bunch of religious jargon. And it’s certainly not boring. Sometimes we preachers are, but the Bible isn’t.

Don’t just listen to someone on YouTube, read it for yourself.

And for those of you who are familiar with the Book, my reading plan will help you see the Bible differently than you ever have before. You’ll understand the flow of the book much better. And I’ve got the harder to understand books later in the plan, because as you understand more of the thought processes in the Bible, the books are not so hard after all.

But whether or not you want to use my plan, do yourself a favor, and read the New Testament first. Then go back and read the old. The whole book is about Jesus. I encourage you to start with reading all about Him, then go back and see how the Old Testament is preparing the world for his coming.

Then after you’ve read the New Testament, think about all it says. After you read one of the Gospels, I suggest Luke first, you’re going to have some decisions to make about Jesus. Then read the book of Acts to find out what you should do about and with Jesus. After that, I’ll leave you to read it on your own if that’s the way you want to do it. But read all the New Testament before you read the old. But just before you read the old testament, read the book of Hebrews again. I believe that Hebrews is the key to unlocking the Old Testament. It’s like a magic pill.

You might be wondering why I ask you to read Luke’s gospel first. Instead of one of the other three gospels. It’s simply because he also wrote the book of acts and it’s literally reading part one and part two of the same story. I also believe that if you read Luke, then Acts, then the Gospel of John, you’ll have a real grip on the whole Jesus message.

When you first start reading the New Testament, you’re going to be surprised at how short the books are. And you’re going to scratch your head at the Chapter and verse divisions. Especially the chapters. Keep in mind, those are not original. The chapter divisions came in the 1200s and the verses in the 1500s. They were to help with memorizing passages and in knowing where you left off reading from the last time you read. They’re not perfect, but they are helpful.

Each book was written for a specific reason. Maybe to answer some questions. Maybe to straighten out some misunderstanding. When the author was finished with that, the book was done. For example, the Gospels are not biographies of Jesus. Even all together they’re not a biography of Jesus. They are memories of Jesus. Kind of like at a family or class reunion, when everyone is telling stories. Sometimes, their not even chronological. That’s true with Matthew and Mark. They are sharing their stories and are not particularly concerned about chronology. Luke is very orderly, so he pays a lot of attention to things like chronology. So does John. But John and Mark don’t say a word about Jesus’ Birth or childhood. Because they are not biographies. Matthew is trying to show that Jesus is the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for. He’s the King of the Jews. Mark’s Book has a verse in chapter 10, verse 45 that says, the son of man did not come to be serve, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. And that seems to describe the book. The first part is huge on Jesus serving and healing people. Then he gives his life as a sacrifice for the human race. Luke’s book could be called, The son of man. That phrase is used many times in the Gospel. It shows that Jesus is a fulfillment of prophesies, and the gospel deals with the human race. Our problems. Our crises, our need for God’s intervention. And John’s gospel is clearly to prove that Jesus is both God and Man. He states that in the very first verse and each story clearly establishes one side or the other of Jesus’ dual nature.

The book of acts tells us how important the Resurrection was to the Church. It was not Jesus miracles, nor his teaching, but His death and Resurrection that set him apart. It tells us how churches were born and how the message spread through the Roman empire. And it’s the only book in all the Bible that tells us how people became Christians.

The rest of the New Testament is written to followers of Jesus, whether Churches, or individuals to help us learn to live for Him. And the book of Revelation is there to explain how things will turn out in the end.

I think that will catch you up if you’re new to the show, and is a great brief review for long time listeners.

Last Episode, Part One – Click HERE to listen 

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A New Shape – Part 2

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SHOW NOTES

 

Last week, I started talking to you about some things we can do, to take our lives back. How we could begin to eat differently and start improving our health.

This became important to me, first, about 12 or 13 years ago. My wife and I lived in Maine, in the USA. I read everything I could get to my eyeballs about how we relate to food. I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off. I could lose it, but it always came back. I had tried every diet on the market, and a few things sold off the back of a wagon by charlatan’s.

I learned the value of organic vegetables, and pasture raised meat. I tried to plant a garden. It was a disaster. First of all, Maine has a short growing season and I planted all the wrong things. For the next year, I bought some special self watering planters called “Earthboxes”. I grew some herbs and lettuce only, just to understand how they work.

The next year we moved from Maine to Georgia, and my farming life began in earnest. I had a huge back garden, and devoted some of it to growing vegetables. Georgia has all the potential of the Garden of Eden. A very long growing season where you can actually grow two gardens. It’s fabulous.

I kept reading and implementing. Our garden was phenomenal. We were growing just about everything we needed. It was organic, and it was all delicious. Then, we wanted to raise our own meat. I bought rabbits to raise for fertilizer and meat. We were having real fun. A friend at Church offered us to rent out his mall farm next to the Church since it was unused. We had about 10 acres and a barn. The pastures were not great, but they were good. We started with goats, sheep, and chickens. We very quickly added cows and donkeys. My wife milked the dairy goats. She began a soap business, with the excess milk and became rather successful.

Anyway, we had an amazing life. I worked in the corporate world, and farmed at night and on the weekends. Brittan farmed all week, canned the food, milked the goats, and worked her soap and body product business.

Eventually, we bought our own small farm, and moved there. I bought a greenhouse to add to my garden space, and we were living the good life. But I still couldn’t lose weight. I was eating very good food, But was getting fatter.

Trying to shorten this story, in 2017 we moved here to Buckie. I’d lived here many years ago, and we had the chance to come back. We didn’t think twice. We moved here in July. In August, I had a heart attack and two strokes. Actually, I’d had a small stroke in Georgia while we were planning our move. I didn’t speak much about it, because I didn’t want to risk the move. After another year, I had triple bypass surgery in Aberdeen. I had another stroke during the surgery, which left me partially blind in my left eye.

I lost very little weight through all that. What in the world was wrong with me? I finally, with the help of my wife, got it right in March of this year, 2019. Since that time, I’ve lost more than 50 pounds, and am still losing. I feel great. My blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol numbers are normal. I do take blood pressure medicine, but am working with my doctor to decrease it. My long term goal is to be medicine free.

On the 7th of October, I will be 63 years old. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out what’s wrong with me, and how to fix it.

I’ve continued to read and learn. I’ve been interested in what the Bible has to say about food. Over time I’ll tell you all about that. But for now, the main thing I’ve learned is how bad highly processed food is for us, how much of it we eat. And how to change my eating.

The first thing I did, was cut out all sugar from my diet. Seriously. Processed sugar is more addictive than almost any drug. And it’s in everything. That’s why last week I suggested you try the same thing.

Did you? Did you manage to do it? How have things gone for you during the week? Write me and let me know. You can write to radiofreebuckie@gmail.com, or simply go to my website samburtonpresents.com and put it in the comments section where I publish the show notes.

I cut it all out. And I asked you to do the same. It is my conviction that sugar is the biggest problem in our modern diet. I believe there are other contributors, but sugar is your number 1 enemy.

Think about it. We have some in our coffee for breakfast. It’s in the cereal we eat. It’s in the jam we eat on our toast or scones. Frankly, it’s in the bread we buy at the supermarket. It’s in our donuts. It’s in the sweet rolls and things we get at the bakers. It’s in all the tasty treats we buy at Christies or Baxters over in Fochabers. What about the icecream shops in Buckie, Cullen or Portsoy. Think about all the puddings we eat. Sugar is all around us. Now, when you’re in the supermarket, look at the cans of food you buy. You’ll see sugar in the ingredients list on over half of them. Oh, how many of you have a biscuit with your cuppa. How many of those do you have in a day. I know, they’re delicious. Poison turns out to be very tasty.

I recommending saying goodbye. For me, a Yum Yum is almost impossible to pass up. Especially those cream filled ones. Or covered in carmel or maple flavoring. Sigh. But I’ve said farewell. Will I never have one again? I don’t know. Maybe someday. But not for a very long while. I’m over biscuits. I’m surprisingly over ice cream. That’s been my favorite dessert since I can ever remember.

I still add some sucralose to my coffee in the morning. I have one teaspoon of that, and a good amount of real cream. It’s delicious. Sucralose is not good for me either, but I don’t have much, and I don’t have it often. I’m just being honest with you.

Eventually, once I’ve finished losing weight, I’ll add local honey, and black molasses and something in America we call sorghum molasses. Oh, and demarara sugar. Demarara is only very slightly processed.

But for now, sugar is out. The Bible recommends we eat honey. Yes it does. And I will do so, if it’s local. Most of the honey in the supermarket is really sugar. In fact, they feed the bees sugar water to keep the honey flowing. How sad is that. But if you buy honey locally, say from a farm store, or one of the butchers, or at the fish shop, you’ll get the good stuff. Local honey is also great for helping you to adjust to pollens when you move to a new location.

In the meantime, a great compromise is dark chocolate. I know, most of us prefer milk chocolate. I get it. Actually, I mostly love white chocolate. Oh well. But I know that many people simply can’t give up their chocolate. So do this. At both Tesco and Lidl, and probably the COOP, they sell bars of 80, 81,85, and 90 % dark chocolate. We buy the 81 or 85%. And each of us has two squares at night while we’re watching TV. It tastes good, is a wonderful snack, and dark chocolate is better for you anyway.

  • Powerful Source of Antioxidants. ORAC stands for “oxygen radical absorbance capacity.” …
  • May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure. …
  • Raises HDL and Protects LDL From Oxidation. …
  • May Reduce Heart Disease Risk. …
  • May Protect Your Skin From the Sun. …
  • Could Improve Brain Function.

Amazing, right? Alternatively, you could mix coco powder with some cream, or whole milk, and a little sucraloss, or even hot water. And make hot chocolate.

For me, two squares of dark chocolate do the trick.

But I won’t add it back in until I’m finished losing weight.

See, I’m on what’s called a KetoGenic diet. That means I’m trying to get my body to run on fat rather than carbohydrates. I’ll tell you more about that in a week or two. For now, I’m just trying to convince you to make a couple of changes.

After you’ve cut out sugar, I recommend cutting out wheat flour and bread. I know that’s hard. For those with gluten problems, your gluten free bread from the shops is absolutely loaded with sugar. Boy howdy, does it have sugar in it.

If you make your own bread, you’ve really got to grind your own wheat. We used to do that. I don’t like it. I want to. Bread from freshly ground wheat or barley is called The Staff of Life. It is full of nutrients and goodness. The bread from the grocery store, might taste good, but it’s just carbohydrates and empty calories. Yes, it tastes good. And it smells awesome when it’s freshly baked, but it’s poison. I’m sorry, but it is.

Now, think about cakes. Those are made with both flour and sugar. Yikes.

See, back in the old days, our grains were cut and stacked in sheaves and left in the fields a few days. This allowed a natural drying and often slight sprouting of the grain. Then it was ground and sifted. Nowdays, we have special machines that dry it without allowing it the natural way of slightly spouting. And we bleach it. Flour is not naturally white.

The sprouting allowed the gluten to be eaten up before you ate it. Our modern methods don’t allow that. It is my understanding that rye flour is lower in gluten. Over most of europe, people have loved rye flour sourdough bread. I like it. Once I’ve lost my weight completely, I will probably try and bring back some rye toast. But that’s a long time from now.

So, first give up sugar. Cut it out. Say goodbye. There’s still plenty of food to eat. If you haven’t tried that, then try it now. Once you’ve got control of that, cut out all flour and wheat. Yes that means pasta. Yikes. I haven’t had pasta since March. I don’t miss it at all. Of course I never really loved it anyway. Except in Mac and Cheese. That I love. That’s something I miss.

Have your meat. Whatever kind you like. Eat as many eggs as you want. Don’t starve yourelf. Yes, you’re giving up some food, but you’re not becoming a rabbit. Have a few berries. The brambles are ripe right now. Go out and pick some. We’re going to. I should be out there today, but….

Strawberries, and blueberries. Yum. Tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, swedes, beetroot, peas, green beans, cabbage. Cheese. Peanut butter. You’ve got to be careful with the peanut butter, but I have a spoon full of it most days right after lunch to keep my full throughout the afternoon.

 

 

 

A New Direction For Radio Free Buckie

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Now I know that some of you are aware that when Radio Free Buckie began, It was kind of a Bible Study program. But I have another one of those, called, ReDiscovering the Bible. You can find it on Stitcher, or Podcast Garden, or find a link on my website, samburtonpresents.com. And I started thinking that doing two of essentially the same kind of program was just going to get old for folk. So I decided to start doing something really special with Radio Free Buckie.

First, I know that people here in Moray, at least a lot of us, are concerned about what we eat, and about our weight. I also know that there are a whole bunch of us who are trying to figure out how to eliminate debt and live debt free. I even wrote a book about that subject, called, IOU NO MORE. So I thought this would be a great place for us to talk about food and money. And maybe some other stuff as we go along.

But I need to be honest with you from the get go, I’m a Christian. And you’ll find that I talk about the Bible a whole lot. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about food AND money. So, from time to time, we’ll look at what the Bible says about these topics.

And I may talk about food, or money, for several weeks in a row. If you’re not interested in one of those topics, be patient, and we’ll get back to your topic. Just enjoy the ride, and leave the driving to us.

If you want to ask a question, make a suggestion, or comment, there are a couple of ways to do that. You can use the comments section of samburtonpresents.com, you can use the FB page, Radio Free Buckie, or you can email me directly, radiofreebuckie@gmail.com. I’ll remind you of those addresses before we say goodbye.

I went to the doctor this week, and got a pretty good report. I’ve lost 50 pounds. Now I still have quite a few to go before I’m through, but that’s really awesome for me to announce. My blood pressure and heart rates are really good, too. So good, that we’re going to try and see if I can start taking less medication for my heart. That’s a real goal for me. I want to be off meds. I will do whatever I need to do to get off them. But not until the time is right. I will be under a doctors guidance every step of the way.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had 4 strokes and a heart attack. A little over a year ago I had triple bypass surgery. That was all very frightening for me and I don’t want to go through it again, so I will follow my doctor’s instructions to the letter.

And that’s my advice to you, too. If you need to see a dr. go. If you need to take meds, take them. Don’t try and prove your manhood, or lady hood, or whatever. Just take them. But do what you can to get to the point where you don’t need them anymore. That’s my goal. Just like it was once a goal to be debt free, not it’s my goal to me medication free.

Have you ever noticed how many diet plans are out there? Some of them are really good. Some of them are mainly designed to separate you from your money. Why are there so many? Because we’re all different. We all have different triggers, different strengths. Different weaknesses. Different tastes.

The trick is, most of us want a magic pill, or a patch. We don’t want to have to work for it. And that’s what makes us vulnerable to the hucksters and con men.

I’ve been fat a long time. I’ve tried them all. And if not literally all, a large portion of them. I’ve taken pills, drank shakes, counted points, read books, ate specially made foods. And I’ve lost a bunch of weight. For a while.

But somewhere along the way, I started looking to see what God’s way of eating looked like. And what doctors said. First, I found that God made all kinds of food, plant and animal, and that He said it’s good. I also found that we have changed the way we prepare, and store food from the good old days. We don’t cook anymore. I have concluded, that if it comes from a plant (or animal), it’s generally good, if its made IN a plant, it’s bad for you. It might be convenient, but it’s bad for you.

For example, potatoes, are very healthy. They are full of vitamins and minerals. They come from a plant. But dried, instant potatoes, are bad for you. They have very little nutritional value. They are full of great tasting, chemicals, preservatives, and processed stuff that will just make you fat. Even canned potatoes, have had the skin removed. That’s where a lot of the nutrition is, in the potato peel. And if you buy canned potatoes, they’re naked. Plus, they’ve had to put things in to keep them edible.

Get your potatoes whole. Cook them with the skin on them. And don’t eat too many. They are also rather fattening.

When you’re shopping, think of it this way, the outside aisles with fresh meat and veg are good, the inside aisles where all the processed junk is held, are less good.

Now, I know it’s an old fashioned way of thinking, but calories are still key to weight loss. We don’t want to hear that. But the only way to lose weight and keep it off, is to eat less. But you don’t have to eat only salad and broccoli. You don’t have to eat tuna every day. You don’t have to starve yourself.

I eat nearly 2000 calories a day. Some days more. I eat loads of fat. I eat real butter. I use cream in my coffee. I use whole milk. I eat my chicken with the skin on. I eat lots of chicken thighs. I eat my mince with 20% fat. I prefer ribeye steaks. Fat is not bad for you. It fills you up. 2000 calories of a salad, will not fill me up, the way 2000 calories of steak and veggies will fill me up.

I know it’s not the way you’ve heard it’s supposed to be. You’ve been told all your life, that fat is your enemy. But what you’ve always been told is wrong.

Did you know, that the Bible says fat is good for you. God wanted the fat burned in offering to him back in the old testament. The promised land was flowing with milk and honey, not semi skimmed with aspartame.

As we go along, I will fine tune this a bit, but if you’ll start by cutting out all processed sugar. I mean donuts, white sugar, cakes, and pies made with it, all store made bread, all white flour, all white rice, (it’s processed), you’ll start losing weight. I’m serious.

Sugar is your biggest enemy. It’s in everything canned and boxed. And in processed foods, those that don’t have sugar, have processed wheat and, or, rice.

Later, I’m going to suggest that to lose weight effectively, you should cut way back on all carbohydrates, but not yet. Just start with the basics. It will be hard. We’re addicted to sugar. It’s in all the packaged foods. You are going to have to learn to cook. Even cole slaw is loaded with sugar. Just read the label. All pre packaged breads, are loaded with sugar and white flour. I know I’m asking you to give up Rollies and belly button softies. It’s not forever. But how badly do you want to lose weight?

So your assignment for this week is to give up sugar, flour, and white rice. There will be more next week. But this is enough of a challenge for you for one week. No biscuits, crackers, fried rice, marathon bars. Ice cream. Can you do it? Will you do it? How badly do you want to lose weight? I’m not even asking you to cut calories this week. Just change the way you eat.

Write me and tell me how you get on. We’ll have some more tips next week. This is enough for now. You got this. Talk to you soon. For now, I’m out.

(Re)Discovering The Bible Podcast Relaunch

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After two plus years, we’re back. I’m so excited. Attached are the show notes, in rather unedited form. I just wanted to get the podcast to you. Thanks for waiting. And thanks to you new listeners.

 

 I want to welcome you, or, welcome you back to ReDiscovering the Bible. I’ve been away a long time. A lot has happened since we were last together. My wife and I have moved to North Eastern Scotland. I’m back full time in ministry. I’ve had a heart attack, 4 strokes and had triple bypass surgery to repair the damage. But I feel great, and I’m looking forward renewing our relationship, or getting to know you for the first time, whichever situation describes you and I. For those of you who were regular listeners before, we don’t have farm animals here in Scotland, so we won’t be interrupted by crowing roosters or braying donkeys, or goats calling for their dinner. And the camper, that I used as a recording studio is also a thing of the past.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the Bible. It’s message is unchangeable. It still points us to Jesus,

I’m looking forward to our time together. For reasons no one can explain, all our old episodes have disappeared. The hosts can’t explain it, but they are doing their best to get them back. But it’s ok with me either way. We’re going to start over. If the old episodes come back, great, if not, most of you are new, anyway, so we’ll do this together.

So let’s get started. What is the Bible? And why do I think it’s such a big deal? First of all, it’s still the best selling book of all time. Plus it’s the most given away book of all time. And each year, it’s best seller. Often, the year’s number one seller. So much so, that most charts just ignore it. The Bible is a category all it’s own.

But while it’s a best seller, and a cherished book to give away, or receive, it’s surprisingly unread. Millions upon millions of copies gather dust and go completely ignored. Yet, it’s subject matter is discussed, and argued about, daily. Many people offer opinions about it without ever reading it. And because their hearers haven’t read it, ignorance is compounded and a huge majority of human beings, especially those in the western world, think they know all about it. And that’s tragic.

Another scary thing, is with the advent of YouTube, ignorance and misunderstanding about the Bible has exponentially increased. Oh there’s some great stuff out there, but there are also hours and hours of drivel and garbage. Frankly, and sadly, people don’t go to Church anymore so they don’t know how much garbage is being published. And, even worse is, there are many Churches teaching junk as well. It gives me a headache just thinking about it all.

So I decided to address the subject for the ordinary person. My books are simple. My podcasts are simple. My sermons are simple. We’re all starting from the beginning. Some of us all over again. Since I have a face for radio, I’m focusing on podcasts and books rather that YouTube. I may sometime try a video or two, but like I said, I have a face ideal for radio, so why push my luck.

I do have two e books available on Amazon, if you want to read them. They are called Rediscovering the Bible Vol 1 and 2. The first volume is on the subject of today’s episode, and vol 2 covers the 4 Gospels, and Acts. Matthew Mark, Luke, John, and Acts of the Apostles are the first 5 books of the New Testament.

But what is the Bible? And why should I read it? First, the Bible is not religious. And frankly, Christianity in not a religion. Religion helped create the mess the world is in. Christianity, and it’s Scriptures, are the answer to the problems created by, and without, religion. The Bible is God’s love letter to the Human race. The short version goes like this, The first 4 books of the New Testament tell us Who Jesus is. The next one tells us, what to do about who he is. And how the news about Jesus spread through the Roman empire. The next 21 books tell us how to live as followers of Jesus, and the last book, Revelation, tells us how it’s all going to end.

The Old Testament is different. It’s main purpose is to show how sin came into the world, and what a mess the world was in before Jesus came, and what steps God took through the human race to get the world ready for Jesus. There are some absolutely awesome stories in it. Things that hollywood can only dream of. There are some beautiful songs, some promises and prophesies, and much more. The Old Testament gets a really bad rap, primarily because people don’t pay attention to the why things are happening. That and they don’t read it, but pass their interpretations of things they haven’t read to a public who haven’t read it either. It’s the oldest form of Fake News.

But I’m kind of getting ahead of myself. Surprise Surprise. The word Bible is just the greek word for book. Seriously. It’s an ordinary word that was used by greek speakers everyday. But it’s not a book. It’s actually 66 books in one volume. Like a whole library in one cover. It’s not in chronological order, or even in importance of topic order. Heck it’s not even written in the best order to read it. Seriously.

The best way to read the Bible is to read the New Testament first, then the Old testament. You will understand the flow of the book much better if you do that. In point of fact, I have outlined a reading program for the whole bible in volume 1 of my book. I believe that alone is worth the three bucks the book will set you back. But if you write me either using the comments section of the blog where I put my show notes, www.samburtonpresents.com, or email me at samburtonpresents@gmail.com. I’ll send you a New Testament reading plan at no charge. I put this plan together to give you the best possible way of reading the Bible to get the most out of it.

The Bible calls itself, “God Breathed”, meaning it comes from the very breath of God. It’s his heart. He’s the ultimate author, as he guided the authors of each book in areas of correct doctrine and history. You will hear claims that the Bible contradicts itself, but that is not the case. That is ignorance or bias speaking. We’ll look at those supposed contradictions as we go along.

Why are there so many translations of the Bible? Now that’s a great question. First of all, the Bible wasn’t written in English at all. Not even King James english. The old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Neither of those languages is spoken any more. Modern Hebrew is as different from Biblical Hebrew as Modern American English is from King James English. And for what it’s worth, King James English was different in 1611, when that version came out, than it is in it’s modern form. We’ll come back to that.

The New Testament was written in something called Koine Greek. That is different that either classical greek or Modern Greek. For years, it was called Biblical Greek, because people thought that only the Bible was written this was as some kind of code. But archaeology has shown us conclusively, that the Koine Greek of the Bible was the way people spoke in the first century A.D. We now have thousands of books from that time period that demonstrate that classical Greek was formal, or generally accepted, but that Koine was the commonly spoken variety. Much like we all have our own dialects of english.

This shows us that God was trying to be understood rather than being formal or grammatically correct. And the New Testament was translated into the commonly spoken languages literally as soon as early evangelists entered those countries.

But language changes over time. So lovers of the Bible have translated it repeatedly as we have better understanding of the original languages and as our own spoken English changes. That’s also why there are often updated editions of various translations.

I encourage you to try out several, to see which one you like best. You can do that for free. They are pretty much all available via apps for your phone, or via google on your home computer or laptop.

Just search Bible on your phones app store, and you’ll see loads of options. To save space on my phone, I settled on YouVersion as my app. I’ve downloaded multiple versions so that I don’t require internet access every time I want to use it. There are other excellent apps. I’ve used most of them. On your home computer try Biblegateway.com. There are many translations there. You can try them out and see which you like best.

Again, there are loads of good places to find translations, I’m just trying to keep things as easy as possible here on the radio show.

If you want a Bible study tool, and you have a laptop or desktop, I highly recommend, e-sword.net. I’ve used it for 20 years. You can download many translations, commentaries, old books, maps, and more. The tool is free. You can make donations if you like. I made a donation some years ago, because the program is so valuable to me.

If you want recommendations for translations, I’m going to give you three here. First of all is the English Standard Version. It’s a solid translation. While it’s not my all time favorite, it’s what I currently preach from. It has become extremely popular in strong Bible Believing Churches over the last 8 or 10 years.

Next is the New Living Translation. This is my wife’s favorite. Again, it’s extremely popular and strong.

The third, surprises a lot of old timers, but it’s the Good News Bible. It used to be called, Good New For Modern Man. Each edition of it has gotten better than the one before it. If you are not a good reader, or if English is not your first language, this translation is for you. I absolutely love it.

You’ll note, I didn’t mention the King James, aka The Authorized Version. That translation is historically very important. It changed everything for the Protestant Reformation in England and the British Colonies. It was an excellent version for it’s time, written in the everyday common language of the people.

I grew up reading the King James. I still love certain parts of it, like the 23rd psalm, and the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. But it is not even close to the most precise translation available to people today. Those who say it is the ‘only Bible to use’ are mistaken. On the other hand, it is not a bad translation. If you still love the KJV, use it. That’s fine.

If you have questions about another translation, feel free to write and ask me about it. I will be totally honest with you. These three are recommendations for those of your who don’t know where to start or don’t have a Bible.

One thing I want to mention is there are some things about the Bible that are NOT inspired. The chapters and verses. The Bible was written without those. They were added later to help people in memorization and to serve as bookmarks to know where they stopped and started reading. The chapters were introduced by Stephen Langton in the early 1200s. And the verses weren’t added until the mid 1500s by Robert Estienne.

Also, just for the record, neither is the paper, ink, or cover of your Bible. Leather editions, and Red Letter editions are sometimes considered more valuable that hardbacks, paperbacks, or e-versions. It is the message, not the vessel that’s important.

I recommend you try and read at least a little every day. Even if it’s only a chapter or two. Start with the Gospel of Luke, then Read the book of Acts of the Apostles. They were written by the same guy, so the flow is good. Like I said, you can get my entire Bible reading plan from Vol 1 of Rediscovering the Bible, or I’ll send you the New Testament plan absolutely free, if you write me and request it.

Gosh, I’m glad you stopped by today. That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be back next week. Have a good one. For now, I’m out…..

The Daniel Plan Diet – Holy Idea or Hoax?

I want to look at a very popular Diet Plan that’s sweeping Churches in America. I’m going to tell you what I like about it, and what I don’t like at all. Because that’s how I roll.

It’s called, The Daniel Plan. The name was my first red flag. I’ll tell you why later. So stay with me. Daniel Plan is supported and partially written by. Rick Warren, the Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in California. I love him. Back in the early 90s, Rick’s early book, The Purpose Driven Church, was a genuine game changer for me. I went to seminars. I adjusted many of the ways we did ministry at Church, and I joined the Pastors Network online. It was so meaningful.

I did not enjoy, The Purpose Driven Life, nearly as much. Millions of other people did. And that’s awesome. I am so glad for the way that book ministered to people all around the world.

The Daniel Plan also has the backing of Dr. Mehmet Oz. That is less satisfying to me. I’m not a big fan of daytime TV at the best of times, but Dr. Oz comes across like a snake oil salesman. I don’t like preachers who come across that way, nor do I like doctors who do either. I’m just saying. He seems to promote every new diet plan. I have no doubt that he benefits financially from every plan he promotes.

I have no knowledge of the other two authors associated with The Daniel Plan, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman.

The Plan is put together kind of like Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, but not as entertaining. The idea is to get a group of people together in a Church setting and go through the program as a group. I really like the way they’ve brought in 5 categories, Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. I also smile at the alliteration, because it’s so Rick Warren. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just that it has his fingerprint all over it.

I love the faith aspect. My book will be written from a Faith perspective. In fact, the working title is, Eating God’s Way. I don’t know whether or not that will be the final title, because I’m going for a bigger audience that just the Faith crowd. But a great deal of the foundation comes from the Bible.

The Daniel Plan takes into account the whole person, not merely his/her weight. I believe that’s essential. I like the way it’s packaged for group usage. It’s always better when we have a support network to help us make changes in our lifestyle.

My two major problems are 1. The name, and 2. The Food category.

Calling this, The Daniel Plan, is inaccurate and misleading. Daniel was an Old Testament prophet. He wrote one of the books of the Bible. He’s a true hero. He was taken to Babylon as a young man, to be raised in the Babylonian culture and educated as a Babylonian. But Nebuchadnezzar, the king, didn’t account for Daniel’s faith or the dietary restrictions of the Jewish law regarding eating meat. The Jews had very strict regulations about what kinds of meat they could eat, how that meat was slaughtered, and the meat could not be used in non Jewish rituals. It’s the forerunner of the concept we call Kosher today.

It order to be faithful to God, Daniel chose not to eat the Babylonian meat and to become vegetarian. The Daniel Plan is not vegetarian. So calling the program by that name is not correct. It actually has nothing to do with Daniel or the way he ate.

I know, they had to give the program a name. But this name is really a bust. And it kind of upsets me. I am really committed to sticking to accuracy when we incorporate the Bible into anything we do. There is so much falsehood sweeping through the Church, as it is, that we shouldn’t add to the confusion. This is NOT related to Daniel, in any way.

I said my second problem was the Food part of the program. In broad terms, it’s pretty darned good. Especially in the way they get people away from processed food and steer them towards whole foods. Processed sugar truly is our enemy, as are the ready made meals, and other boxed, and packaged processed food items staring at us from the shelves at our favorite grocery store.

I think that if we made that one single change in our diets, we’d all begin to become healthier. We’d lose a great deal of belly fat. But it’s a hard sell. Because most people want to spend as little as possible in the grocery store. And that’s odd, because we’ll spend a fortune on cars, or furniture, or clothes, but in regards to food, we just want it to taste good and be cheap. Yikes.

With that in mind, the Daniel Plan’s emphasis on organic, including grass fed meats, and cold water fish, puts such a strain on people that the program reeks of upper middle class to upper class elitism. People living paycheck to paycheck, or on a tight budget are going to be turned off from the get go. God’s plan for eating was designed for everyone, not just the California elite.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about organic, and grass fed. That’s why I became a farmer. It was the only way I could guarantee my food was all I wanted it to be. But most people will pass out from sticker shock after just one visit to the shops. There is a reason Whole Foods, is called, Whole Paycheck.

For me, the cheapest way to go organic, was to grow my own, and to raise my own meat. Sure it’s more work, but it fulfills some the the Plan’s emphasis on exercise.

There are some veggies that we really should work to get organic, like potatoes, and soft fruit. And we should make sure we rinse all our fruit and veggies when we get them home. But don’t wait to go totally organic before making the necessary changes to your diet.

Also the emphasis on cold water fish is another elitist move. Salmon, trout, and the like are awesome. They taste great. But most of us have easier access to warm water fish like, bass, catfish, bluegill, or even Tilapia. I know Tilapia can be a problem because of the way it’s raised, but there are workarounds.

The aversion to Dairy, really rumples my feathers, too. First of all, eating dairy was popular with people in the Bible. And if you’re going to base your plan on teachings of the Bible, be consistent. There is a problem with dairy these days. It is all the processing, including pasteurization and homogenization. There are those who are lactose intolerant. That is unfortunate. But milk,cheese, and butter are not bad for us. In fact, they are quite good for most of us.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I like most of The Daniel Plan. I hate the name. And the Food section needs a major overhaul. But the idea of a holistic approach, combining elements of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends, is admirable.

I’d love to get your feedback. Have you tried The Daniel Plan? What did you like about it? What did you dislike? Is your Church or other group considering the plan? If so, what are the main selling points? Feel free to use the comments section, or send me an email: samburtonpresents@gmail.com.

Changes Coming

Image result for changes public domain images

First, I want to thank all of you who read this blog regularly. You rock. I want to tell you that I’m going to be making some changes in the near future. This is mainly to do with the fact that I have several blogs and can’t keep up with everything, so I’m moving everything here. The only downside is you might receive notices of posts that don’t interest you. I hope you’ll be patient with that inconvenience.

Beginning in September, I will be making posts regarding my Ketogenic Transformation, Dogs, Money Management, Farming, Gardening, and the Bible. I will also be posting occasionally about my books, including my adventures in fiction. I’ve written two Novellas, Isitoq’s Hound, and Night of the Rougarou. I have a couple more that I’m writing and will be updating readers here.

I am hoping that all my readers, where non fiction, or fiction lovers will be able to become one big family. I know this is a risk, but here’s hoping.

 

Become A Dog Breeder? Or, Stick To Rescue? Tough Questions.

Tuck, the wonder dog.

There are only a few things in life I consider myself especially knowledgeable about: The Bible, Food (growing it and eating it!), small farming, and dogs. That’s it. That’s the list. Sure, I’m fairly educated, and can talk, I hope intelligently, on a variety of subjects, but the list above pretty much covers the limits of my expertise.

With that in mind, I follow a lot of groups and individuals related to these areas on Facebook and Instagram. I love reading other people’s insights and opinions. A recent matter came up in a German Shepherd group on Facebook. I responded to it, as did many other people. But reading the responses made me decide to write this piece as an extended answer. I might even link to in on the group in FB.

The original question was, in essence, “I want to become a breeder, what advice do you have?” The answers came pouring in, for days. Some of them were funny. Some were helpful. Many were written to discourage him from his dream. And several went as far as to say, “There are too many dogs in rescue already, don’t breed anymore!”

I have experience in several breeds, and have a history in both breeding, and in rescue, so I’d like to address the gentleman’s question, AND, perhaps offer some thoughts to the skeptics out there.

First, I believe every single person had the best interest of German Shepherds in mind, regardless of how aggressive some of them sounded. I believe the gentleman who asked the original question was sincere, and asked with only pure motives.

For 32 years I operated a racing, and show, Siberian Husky kennel. I qualified three dogs for Crufts Dog Show in England, and bred show champions. I am very proud of that. I raced competitively for. many of those years. And I trained sleddogs even longer than I raced them. I have a much better eye for dogs than I have for competing with them myself. I have owned dogs that have run the Iditarod, and I have trained dogs that have run the race, as well. I raised many of my race dogs, and I bought many of them. I rescued even more than I raised or bought.

Additionally, after my racing was done, my wife and I got very involved with Mastiff, Smooth Collie, and Belgian Sheepdog rescue. We have adopted, and fostered, many dogs over the years. We also owned a well bred, and brilliant, Cardigan Corgi, that would have won many obedience crowns for me, had she not had problems with dysplasia. That’s a sad story, and one I may come back to another day.

Oh, one final thing. I’ve been a member of many breed and general kennel clubs around the U.S. And the United Kingdom. I have been a judges steward in more shows and for more breeds than I can name. I’ve talked to many judges and observed many breeds. I’ve also worked at many premier sleddog races in the U.S. And the U.K.

I only mention my ‘qualifications’ to show that I’m not a a quack who wants to mouth off about dogs. I love them, and genuinely care for their well being.

For someone to desire to become a breeder, that is a noble venture. That’s a million miles away from someone just trying to make a buck or two by getting a male and female together to sell pups. I think that kind of behavior needs to be discouraged. It takes a long time to do the research to want to improve your chosen dog breed. But a desire to improve, or maintain, a dog breed is a noble effort that should be encouraged. And I will heartily do so. I will offer advice to any novice breeder. I will assume the best of intentions.

There are a lot of dogs in rescue. Some of them are because of loss of a job, a divorce, a death, or one of any number of tragic events. We’ve had several dogs come to us as re homes or fosters from situations like that. Stuff happens. When I was a breeder, I had a policy to take back any dog from my breeding that needed to be re-homed. I thinks that’s responsible.

I’ve seen a lot of poorly bred dogs coming through rescue. Dogs that didn’t meet even a shadow of their breed standard. Most often bred by back yard breeders who wanted to make a quick buck. We’ve had some brilliant dogs come out of that kind of situation.

It doesn’t compute, that people should avoid becoming breeders simply because there are so many irresponsible breeders. But it should make us think very carefully about whether or not our dogs are worthy contributors to a breed’s future. In the 32 years I was in Siberian Huskies, I had 3 litters. A breeder once told me, “As long as you can improve your team by buying over breeding, buy. It’s always cheaper.”

Go to working competitions. Go to shows. Look at dogs. What are the things that make a dog great? Take notes. Study hard. Then buy the best dogs you can afford that fit into the criteria you’re looking for.

Ask to look at the buyers contract from a number of breeders. Explain that you want to create a good buyers contract yourself. Most will be happy to help, because most good breeders want to maintain and improve the breed.

Price your pups appropriately. Working and/or show prospects are worth more. I’m not going to suggest a price. That’s up to you.

For those who don’t want to become breeders, I strongly recommend buying from good breeders. But there are some amazing dogs in Rescue. My wife and I have had many wonderful pets, guardians, and even working dogs, come to us via rescue. I’m thinking of three Alaskan Huskies that had been born in Alaska and were living in less than optimal conditions near us. The owner begged us to take them or she would have to put them down. We loaded them in our truck and took them away. They were absolutely amazing recreational mushing dogs. The two males were as strong as bears, and the female was as loving as a dog could be. They were not pretty, but my heart still pounds when I think of them.

And then there was Lady, our first Smooth Collie. She was living in a puppy mill. She had once been a show dog, but because of poor nutrition and too many litters, that stunning beauty was gone. But she lived with us many years, and she became the queen of our household. Her death, due to cancer, when she was 12, still haunts me. I cannot tell you how much I loved that dog.

Let me tell you about Tuck. Tuck was our first Mastiff. I called him a Canadian Mastiff, because he was half Labrador Retriever. He had spent the first years of his life chained up under a trailer. When we got him, his teeth were all broken from gnawing on concrete. He was covered in scabs, and had to be dragged into a car.

The rescue agent said he’d never been inside a house and wouldn’t know how to deal with it. When we got him home, after he’d had a roam around the yard, we opened the door, he ran inside and leaped straight onto the couch and fell asleep. He is the most special dog. I made him the hero of two of my Novellas, “Isitoq’s Hound”, and “Night of the Rougarou”. I’m working on a third one about him now.

I could go on. I have a hundred or more stories about dogs I’ve bred or rescued, that have changed my life.

The point is, for those of you who like rescue, there are opportunities galore out there. For those of you who want to breed, that is noble too. I know the joy of breeding a dog, raising him, and have him win major prizes in dog shows, and become a top lead dog in a dog team. I could have never bought a dog like him in a million years.

This post has become much longer than I anticipated or intended. I just want to see breeders and rescuers recognize one another as both working toward creating and maintaining a healthy future for
their favorite breed. Thank you to those who want to become responsible breeders. I wish you every success in your endeavors. And to those of you who want to devote your time, and your hearts to the dogs nobody else wants, I tip my hat to you. And I wish you every happiness with your pets.