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Darkness to Light - Vol. XI, No. 1
Darkness to Light
Volume XI, Number 1
Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla
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Happy New Year everyone!
Analytical-Literal Translation: Devotional Version - Now available in hardcopy and eBook formats. The ALTD is a literal yet easy to read version of the the New Testament. It includes over 4,300 footnotes to help the reader to "analyze" and understand the text. Based on the Byzantine Majority Greek Text.
By Gary F. Zeolla
I was going over some old emails again. Below are several email exchanges from a few years ago. These deal with a variety of issues. The emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red. New comments from me are in purple.
>I have been reading your web site and I don't know how to start. After two bad Church experiences, I doubt my salvation and trust in the Lord. I am sorry; I don't want to feel this way. I have heard so many doctrines my head is swimming.
In the first Church, a mainline church, it was run by American Hindus. I stood up for Jesus in that I said he was God, he died for our sins, there is a Heaven and a Hell, etc. I was tarred and feathered and threatened. The second Church, a Baptist church, was legalist to say the least. Since I didn't know what legalism was, it took me a year to find out. I came out of there feeling so bad about myself; I have become so afraid of Jesus... I feel I have to perform and that if I can't quit sinning I am sunk. What was once my joy is now my dread.
When I first read the Bible, not too long ago, I took it to heart when Jesus told Peter to tend My sheep. I started witnessing and that is all I want to do. Funny, I am in such horrible spiritual shape myself, but I have a heart for it. I am a deeply insecure person and have trouble dealing with self-hate. It is hard for me to imagine that I too can be saved. I feel so guilty for the life of sin that I have led.
According to the Baptists, I was saved a year ago, although, my heart doesn't feel right. I have a hard time trusting. I have had a rough life and feel very poorly about myself. This is getting in my way. I can't imagine that God could really love me. I have lost my family because of my faith and an evil man, and it is too much for me to bear. I have prayed and prayed but no response from God. I know all the verses about God's timing, waiting, this is fine, but I can't take it. I just want to die. Please help me.
Thank you for your email. It does sound like you are really struggling. The legalistic church probably played into your insecurities, causing you even greater distress.
If you have repented of your sins and have trusted in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for your forgiveness and salvation, you are forgiven and saved, whether you "feel" like it or not. You need to stop looking at yourself and your own inadequacies. In fact, it is because we all have such inadequacies, and thus could never make ourselves good enough for God, that He sent His Son to die for our sins. But by your continued looking at yourself and self-doubt, you are in essence saying that what Jesus did for you is not enough.
So what you have is a faith issue. You sound like the following verse in the Bible, "Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'" (Mark 9:24; NKJV). Or, as I render it, "And immediately, having cried out, the father of the young child with tears said, 'I do believe [or, I do have faith]! Lord, be helping my unbelief [or, my weak faith]!'" (ALT).
You have faith, but it is weak. And it is only God that can give you stronger faith. But it sounds like you are too focused on yourself. You are on the right track in witnessing out to others. That helps to take the focus off of yourself onto others. Along with witnessing, maybe you should try some type of "helps" ministry, volunteering with some kind of ministry to the physical needs of people.
It's possible you are thinking about things and even praying too much. As you help others, you could very well find yourself having less insecurities and self-hate. It's as we help others that we come to feel better about ourselves.
Hopefully you will get this e-mail and maybe respond. Your studies on Gifts of the Spirit (Sign Gifts) are magnificent, very rewarding, informative and needed. I have been battling for years - the erroneous and false doctrines of many of our charismatic - Pentecostal - apostolic brothers (if they are) and have come to the conclusion that I must stand for the truth.
I was part of the charismatic movement, taught (erroneously), spoke in tongues (self-induced) and you name it, tried to push and justify these doctrines on others. God delivered me from that mess and I have answered the call to Pastor a church (brand new 3-years) and have focused a great deal of my ministry toward educating people regarding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, the (sign) gifts, etc.
My church is located in Detroit, Michigan and is growing spiritually. My goal - through the Spirit is to refute what a lot of brethren are teaching that is false and erroneous. One would be surprised at the people who are delighted (as well as enlightened) to know the truth of the gospel. A lot of them were slaves to this teaching. I've been reading a lot of info from Lehman Strauss on the study of this subject.
May God continue to bless you.
Thanks you so much,
It sounds like we had similar experiences with the charismatic movement. May God bless you in your ministry.
Note: I deal in detail with the Gifts of the Spirit ("The Charismata") in two chapters in my new Scripture Workbook.
>Dear Brother, Great site,
I am retired 63 yr old US Military living in Germany with my saved German wife. We are a small home assembly, thank you for your stand on the NKJV which is the one I use and your stand for the True Gospel of Sovereign Grace, with all these false gospels of man save yourself and Gnostic teaching that are overtaking much of the so-called church today. God Bless you brother and thanks for your site. I just asked to be placed on your newsletter that I will be looking forward to.
Sinner Saved by Grace
>Subject: Relationship Question
This is all new to me. I just found out that a man I am deeply in love with is a Jehovah Witness. He told me this yesterday *July 13th 06*. I went to see him for a week this past week for the first time. Us getting to know one another was based first on an intellect level.. and in that we found ourselves falling in love .. talking of marriage... moving to be together...children.. all of it.
He never told me his religion.. and I personally didn't see it as something I needed to concern myself with. I believe when 2 hearts are joined and they are both happy that's what's important. I believe if we start putting up red flags.. or throwing in 'issues' to stop something that feels so natural it's wrong. I myself am 40 and though in rush to settle down...I do find myself in a situation. I don't know what to do...he feels bad and right now are in a moment of silence because we are trying to figure out what to do. In your opinion what do you think? I know he and I will both make our own decisions.. but I need someone to talk to.
You don't mention if you are a Christian or not. But since you state you didn't see his religion as "something to concern myself with" then I would assume if you are a Christian, it is not that important to you. I say this as, for myself that would be the first question I would ask someone as my faith is very important to me.
That said, yes, there are potential problems with getting involved with a JW. But again, it will depend on how "serious" he is about his faith. If it is really important to him and he ascribes to the various JW beliefs and practices, it will affect your relationship. And even if he is not that serious now, he could become so later on.
JWs have many "unique" beliefs and practices. See the following section of my site for articles on JWs: Jehovah's Witnesses.
There is also information relevant to JWs in my Scripture Workbook, including a chapter detailing some of their unique beliefs.
For instance JWs believe it is wrong to celebrate Christmas, Easter, and other holidays, along with birthdays. So come Christmastime, this could be a problem. And if you try to celebrate his birthday, he will be offended. And do not expect him to recognize your birthday in any way.
JWs are not allowed to be involved in politics in any way, including not being allowed to vote. So if political issues are important to you, you will not be able to share that with him.
Also, JWs are expected to spend time knocking on doors in "evangelism." So he might be required to do this when you want to spend a Saturday afternoon doing something else.
But most of all, eventually, he will be pressured by the Watchtower (the JW organization) to try to "convert" you to their beliefs. And if you do not convert, they will discourage him from marrying you.
What I would suggest is you read some of my articles on JWs to familiarize yourself with their beliefs. It would also help if you understood traditional Christian teachings and how JW beliefs differ from them. That is where my Scripture Workbook would help. The bulk of the book presents information on the "essentials" of the Christian faith. And it would help if you were familiar with the Bible in general. So if you have not been reading it, you might want to try doing so.
Much more could be said, but that is enough to get you started. But let me emphasize that yes, this is an issue that could affect your relationship, so it would be best to deal with it now before things get too serious than to wait until later and end up in divorce court.
I hope the above helps. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
>Subject: Congratulations on 15 years
I just read your latest email and wanted to congratulate you on 15 years of ministry. While I often disagree with you, you have been helpful to me in a number of ways, such as inspiring me to bite the bullet and learn Greek. Thanks.
"I pray for you to prosper and to be in health, as your soul prospers."
Thank you. And good to hear about my "inspiring" you to learn Greek. It is difficult, but more than worth the effort.
>Subject: read your autobiography
Hey Gary! I just read the July 15th posting where you talk
about the beginnings of your website and more importantly about your life. I
have been using DTL for the past 8 years or so as one of the main resources for
my Christian Perspectives 12 classes. I am a teacher at Kelowna Christian School
in British Columbia, Canada.
I cannot begin to tell you how useful they have been and still are. In fact, this coming week I will be using an article you wrote Dead Men Do Bleed as an introductory to Epistemology... how we know what we know
The class is more about worldview than theology, I am not a theologian. You have been a great help to me and by extension, hundreds of other people.
Thanks for sharing the details of your life, especially being vulnerable about your health difficulties and the issue of loneliness...
As I use your article this week, I will share a little about you and my class and I will pray for you, specifically about your health and whatever it is God is saying to you.
Thanks again, Dwayne Schulz
Thank you very much for relating how you are using my materials and for your prayers. It is very encouraging.
I just read the 10 point Confession of Faith for the 1st time. Excellent job! Keep up the great work. Congratulations for 15 years of Ministry!!
Thank you for the encouragement.
Note: The above three emails are referring to my article from 6-1/2 years ago, Thanking God for 15 Years of Ministry. A year and a half ago, I wrote an update, 20th Anniversary of Darkness to Light.And for more personal information about me, there is a detailed autobiography on my personal Web site, My Life Story.
>Subject: Thanks Gary for Translation of New Testament!
Months ago I received your ebook of the New Testament. I admit that I have not taken the time to fully absorb it, but what I have read really seems to bring to life the text of God's Word. I want to thank you for the awesome task you have achieved. You achieved it because you love God very much and He sees that! I just get that strong feeling about you with how you carefully translated His Word. He was with you every step of the way when you did this in honor of Him. May God bless you my brother in Jesus' holy name.
Thanks for the encouraging words.
>Subject: Re: Testimony
I thank you for your excellent life testimony. I have been exceedingly blessed by your ALT Bible. I keep it beside my bed and use it for reference constantly. I believe it is the best version I have come across and I'm glad the Lord led you to produce it. It is the most accurate I have read. I guess with nuances of language, we must always wonder what the original words were. But it helps to come as close as possible.
I take it to my church where I use it as a guide while I am listening to the preaching to add depth. This is a valuable resource. I hope it grows in usage around the world. I think God has given us the Internet as a tool for us to use. I know it brings problems as well as blessing though. But it is a channel for disseminating information quickly and widely.
I am 46 and married with a family and work in the I.T. industry in Australia. Being of the same generation as yourself, I can identify with the periods of history you have grown through. I believe God is a gracious God who can meet you where you are in your health and in the loneliness you have experienced. I encourage you to keep a flame burning in the hope of a companion (a wife) if that is your desire. Don't give up on the hope that there is someone out there just right for you!
Thanks for the blessings you are bringing!
Regards and Blessings
Thank you for the encouraging words. And I am glad to hear the ALT has blessed you.
Note: The above two emailers are referring to my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Second Edition. The ALT is now in its Third Edition, and available in a variety of formats, both hardcopy and electronic. There is also available my Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Devotional Version. It is an easier to read form of the ALT.
Second Edition; 2 Volumes in 1
For Personal and Group Bible Study
and Teaching the Bible
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