The best is yet to come...

This is a photo of the graduating class of Northeast School of Biblical Studies, 1979.  The graduates and their spouses are, from left to right:  Bill Johnson and his wife faye, Bob Doolen and his wife Penny, Jack Birckholtz and his wife Brenda and lastly, myself and my Linda.  I have been thinking a lot about those days, as the two years I spent at the school were unquestionably the best two of my entire life!!!!  I received a phone call this week that saddened me greatly.  Bill Johnson died.  His most fervent wish was to go to heaven and from what I know about him; he is there.  The death of a Christian is a mixed bag, as the loss of someone who loves the Lord is difficult for us, but a victory for them.  And so, I find myself grieving for both loss and victory.  As I awoke this morning, my thoughts were of the book of Ecclesiastes....

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 7
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living should take this to heart.  3 Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.  4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 

To the best of my knowledge, the following is true.... Bill was cast out from his birth family when he became a Christian.  A Christian family took him in and raised him.  During his youth, he was a very active an enthusiastic follower of Christ.  At the school of preaching, he was my friend and a good student.  After graduation, he went back to New York City and together with his wife, started a church in the inner city that continues to this day (his son is currently in the pulpit).  He continued his education until he obtained a doctorate.  He was a staunch conservative and fought against those who would change "the old paths"!!!  He was faithful until the day of his death.  He is survived by his wife faye and his son Bill.  I loved him.  His passing has hit me hard, but I rejoice for his victory!!!  To those who read this... the death of a friend can be a good thing-- if it causes you to reflect upon your own life and grow closer to God as a result!!!!

How should we read the Bible? by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

How should we read the Bible?

Serious believers read a serious Bible and because it’s the word "of God" it’s read with seriousness. No bad thing that, because you don’t have to look far for people who treat the scriptures as something equivalent to a religious Reader’s Digest. A pox on that approach! 
But while the biblical witness is something we must take with profound earnestness we’re not to read it with always-furrowed brows, a case of the jitters and a fear of thunder. It’s true that our personalities, our past experiences, present environments and our theological tendencies affect how we read the Bible. This makes perfect sense. Still, the Christian (in his or her saner moments) will surely feel led to approach the scriptures through the lens of Jesus Christ. It’s precisely because God takes sin seriously that he came in and as Jesus Christ to rescue us from it and bring us righteous and joy-filled life. The last word in God’s mouth is not about sin; it’s about Christ in whom his love for and faithfulness toward his creation is revealed in all its stunning but unfathomable depths.
When people say the Bible is a series of "love letters" they irritate those of us that take the Bible with profound seriousness. More than that, in our cultural climate the description is too saccharin, too Mills & Boone in tone. It reduces everything in scripture to a wooing note and sweet romance. This is unhealthy! But having said that—and I think it needs said—the grand drift of the Bible comes to its climax in Jesus Christ and in and as him God comes passionately saying, "I mean you no harm! None at all!" To read it in any other way is to miss the tender and mighty love of God. To isolate texts, even large sections, of the stern divine response as if God threshed around in perpetual rage, quite prepared to dismantle a world and all in it—to isolate them from the whole clear witness of scripture is to misread it entirely. If the statement that the Bible "is a series of love letters" is too sweet and reductionist, at least it turns its eyes in the right direction.
We must make up our minds about God as he has finally revealed himself in Jesus Christ or we’ll read the Bible the wrong way. We hear God’s voice best in the way he speaks in Jesus Christ.
There was the widower father of two children whose boy threw up his heels and went off into the wild blue yonder while the girl stayed at home, gentle and strong and supportive of the grieving father. A year or two after they’d just about given up on ever hearing from the boy they got a letter from him and since neither the father nor the girl could read they took it to the local butcher and asked him to read it for them. It was the wrong morning and the wrong man. The butcher was an austere man and on this morning was in a particularly sour mood. He took the note and read it to them in a flat, almost snappy tone. "Dear father, I’m very ill; send me some money. Yours, Tom." The father was indignant. "Not a word from him all this time and when he does decide to write, he demands money! I won’t give him a penny!"
Nevertheless, though the father and daughter were grieved that the only thought he had of them was money, maybe, the girl thought on the way home, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to take the letter to the baker. Who knows, maybe the butcher had misread it. The baker, a different kind of man, read the words the butcher read but it wasn’t the same message. In a warm and tremulous tone he read, "Dear father, I’m very ill; send me some money. Yours, Tom." On that reading, indignation was completely obliterated and help was soon on its way from a lonely and worried family to a stumbling and sick young man far from home.
I like God because he has written us a "love Story". It’s easy to pick out harrowing pieces of text but it’s every bit as easy to pick out vast stretches of tenderness and strong love and assurance and inspiration. I like God’s way of writing and I won’t let a sour preacher with a gloomy mind so read it for me that I miss the warmth and steadfast love of God.

Get yourself baptized by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Get yourself baptized

How do you get saved? The very question makes it sound like we save ourselves, and that couldn’t be further from the truth! God alone is the Savior in Jesus Christ. But because God cannot and will not save us against our will, the scriptures call us to respond in free cooperation with the saving Lord. That’s why you hear texts saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation" (Acts 2:40). Or 1 Timothy 4:16, which says, "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them. Because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
Some people fear such speech because they see a legalist under every bed. They don’t want anyone to get the impression that they can save themselves. This is a legitimate concern but there’s no point in being so "careful" that we don’t call people to do what they’re called by God to do. "What must I do to be saved?" a jailer asked Paul (Acts 16:31). "What must we do [to be forgiven]?" thousands asked Peter (Acts 2:37). "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" a man asked Jesus (Luke 10:25). None of the three acted as though this was a terrible question. No one said to the inquirers, "Ah, now that’s your fundamental mistake because you can’t do anything to be saved." All three told their hearers what to do to be saved.
Responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ in trusting repentance saves you when you get baptized into Jesus Christ. This is what Paul taught the jailer in Acts 16:31-32. This is what Peter taught thousands in Acts 2:37-38 and it’s what Christ told his apostles to teach all nations in Matthew 28:18-19 and Mark 16:15-16. It’s what Ananias told Saul in Acts 22:16 when he wanted the forgiveness of his sins. I’ve stressed in scores of places on this site, and at length, that faith in Jesus Christ is the heart of our response to God’s gospel. That isn’t to be denied. Without a trusting and penitent heart nothing else matters—it’s all in vain for without that trust and repentance which is part of a full-bodied faith there is no true acceptance of Christ. But I need to say plainly that in the New Testament when convicted and now believing people wanted to become Christ’s they were told to be baptized.
It doesn’t matter that some sweet and wise people that we know don’t hold to that. The scriptures are very plain about it. You aren’t required to obey these sweet wise people but you are required to obey the voice of God in scripture. Read the texts on baptism for yourself and if they’re as plain to you and as they are to me, don’t ask anyone’s permission or approval—get yourself baptized and know you are saved.
And it isn’t necessary for you to make judgements on the spiritual condition of everyone you meet. Leave that to God. [Please see Remarks on Baptism (3).] Simply tell them what you’ve read in scripture and what you have done about it and let them make up their minds before God what they’ll do about it. In Acts 22:16 Ananias told a now believing and repentant Saul, "And now, what are you waiting for? Get up, and have yourself baptized and wash your sins away, calling on the name of the Lord." So, if you haven’t done that, "What are you waiting for? Get up, and have yourself baptized and wash your sins away calling on the name of the Lord."

EASTER by Gary Womack


Easter, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is "the principal festival of the church year..." In the spring of the year, this is born out by the sharp increase in attendance by many who at no other time of the year are inclined to assemble for worship on this one particular Sunday in the year. Why is this the case? And when asked where this annual festival called Easter came from, why is it that many are unable to tell of its origin? What is the real intended purpose for such a popularly embraced "holy day?" These and other related questions on this topic are the subject of this article.
It may be amusing to many that the Encyclopedia Britannica also states that "...The English name Easter is of uncertain origin." It would seem that the Word of God would be the source for that answer and would therefore remove all of the mystery. After all, Peter said that "...His [God's, gvw] divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." (2 Pet. 1:3) Peter, being one of the apostles, was subject to the promise Jesus made to all of the other apostles when, shortly prior to Jesus' crucifixion, He said to them, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." (Jn. 16:12-13)
Not only should the Bible be the source of information on all matters of spiritual significance, but we are to be familiar with what it teaches and give ourselves to wholeheartedly comply to its teachings and submit to its authority. As the apostle Paul said, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:16-17) Therefore, it is to the Word of God that we must go in order to find the answers regarding what many call Easter.
As we turn our investigation to the scriptures, with the help of a concordance, it is to the amazement of some that we find the word "Easter" only once. We find this reference in Acts chapter 12, where king Herod had begun to harass the church by killing James. Seeing how it pleased the Jews, he imprisoned Peter with the intention of putting him to death also. Therefore we read in Acts 12:4; "And when he had apprehended him [Peter, gvw], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
Now, if you are reading from a translation other than the King James Version which was quoted here, you may notice that the word Easter is not there. Instead, you will find the word Passover in its place. There is good reason for that. The word used here in the original is Pascha, which is the Greek spelling of the Aramaic word for "Passover," which is from the Hebrew word pasach, meaning "to pass over or to spare." Everywhere else in the King James Version, this same word is translated Passover. So why did the translators use the word Easter in this single passage, and where did the word Easter come from?
As stated in the quote from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the origin of the name Easter is uncertain. It is said that Bede in the 8th century derived it from the name of the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre. Another source (W. E. Vines) states that Easter is another form of the name of the Chaldean goddess astarte. The truth is that we don't know conclusively where the name Easter came from. So, why is this the only passage of scripture where the name Easter is put in place of the correct name, Passover?
We will consider the answer to that question a bit later. In the mean time however, let's consider what Passover was all about in order to understand what is behind the present day Easter observance by the majority of the religious world.
After 430 years, the descendants of Jacob had become a very populous people within the land of Egypt. God had sent nine plagues against the Egyptians, showing them that He was the God of Heaven and that the Israelites were His own people to be released upon His demand, even in the face of their stubborn king's refusal to comply. On the eve of God's last plague which would result in the death of the first-born in every Egyptian houshold, He forewarned His people of this eminent event and how to be spared from its awful wake.
The events of that night would become the cause for the most highly regarded religious feast for this flegling nation which was about to publicly gain their identity among the nations. So significant was this event that its related memorial would mark the beginning of their year and establish for them a religious calender that would count their days from that point onward. The frequency of this memorial as an annual observance is seen in the instructions that God gave to them on that occasion; "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you." (Ex. 12:2)
God gave these instructions exclusively to this emerging Israelite nation, saying, "On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb...you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night...with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt...So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations." (Ex. 12:3-14)
The shadow of this memorial and its sacrificial lamb would be cast over a period of a little over 1,400 years, reaching forward to, and giving way to, the very image of its intended focus; Jesus Christ, "...the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn. 1:29) The coming of Christ marked the beginning of a series of events that would culminate at a roughhewn cross on a hill outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem. The last days preceding His death are the focus of this part of our study.
While teaching His disciples on the Mount of Olives outside the city of Jerusalem (Mt. 24:3; Mk. 13:3), Jesus said, "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." (Mt. 26:2) Two days later, "...on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, 'Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?' " (Mt. 26:17) This fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar fell on a Thursday on that particular year. "And He sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.' " (Lk. 22:8)
"In the evening He came with the twelve." (Mk. 14:17) "When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.' " (Lk. 22:14-16) This particular Passover, unlike the many that had preceded it, marked the fulfillment of its ultimate purpose when it was first instituted in Egypt on the eve of Israel's freedom from Egyptian bondage. This Passover that Jesus was now participating in with His apostles marked the ending of one era of God's unfolding plan to redeem man from sin, and the beginning of another in which man's redemption would be realized in a greater sacrificial lamb than that offered previously. The fulfillment of the Passover was about to usher in the kingdom of God.
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body.' Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.' " (Mt. 26:26-29) It should be noted that in the midst of observing this Passover, Jesus was instituting a memorial of His own death on the eve of its fulfillment. This would mark the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the new.
On the next day, Friday, Jesus was crucified. Then, on the third day, Sunday, He was raised from the dead (Mt. 28:1-6; Mk. 16:1-6; Lk. 24:1-6; Jn. 20:1-9). Near the end of forty days after He had been raised from the dead (Acts 1:1-3), and just shortly before He ascended back into Heaven, Jesus delivered His great commission to His apostles, saying, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mk. 16:16) Of these baptized believers, the apostles were commanded to be busy "...teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Mt. 28:20)
Paul, an eyewitness of the Christ and the last of the apostles (1 Cor. 15:8), fulfilled this responsibility that Jesus gave to them. We see an example of this in regard to the Christians at Corinth in his "teaching them to observe all things" that Jesus had commanded them, with these instructions: "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." (1 Cor. 11:23-26) A reading of verse 17 to the end of that chapter reveals that these Christians at Corinth had digressed by having profaned this solemn memorial that Jesus had instituted just prior to His death. Beginning at verse 27, Paul gave instructions on how to properly observe what is identified as "the Lord's Supper" (vs. 20).
This Lord's Supper was the occasion for which the early Christians came together to remember the sacrifice of Christ as instructed by the apostles. We see this in the example of the church at Troas. Prior to arriving in that city, Paul and some of those traveling with him, "...sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight." (Acts 20:6-7) The timing of their arrival at Troas is identified as "after the Days of Unleavened Bread," also known as the Passover. The fact that they met on the first day of the week other than at the time of the annual Passover feast (still being observed by many of the Jews) "to break bread," gives evidence that this was not an annual observance, but was a weekly observance, and Paul had timed his arrival there in order to be present on that occasion to join them in this memorial.
It was only a few days after departing from Troas that Paul warned the elders from Ephesus that there would to be an uprising among them that would result in a departure from the faith (Acts 20:17-21, 26-32), much like that he warned of in 1 Tim. 4:1-3 and in 2 Thess. 2:3 where he spoke of a "falling away" that was approaching. It was almost three hundred years later that we see further evidence of these warnings. In 325 AD the Roman emperor Constantine called for the council of Nicea to convene. This was the first such council in which select representatives from local churches the world over came together to exercise legislative authority that Christ never gave to His church. All such authority was and is held by Christ from His throne in Heaven and was proclaimed through His apostles as we find in Jesus' words spoken to Peter and the other apostles; "...Whatever you bind on the earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven." (Mt. 16:19, NET)
There is evidence that as early as the second century there were churches already observing such an annual celebration contrary to the teaching and examples found in the Scriptures. However, there was disagreement as to when it should be observed. Some celebrated it on whatever day the 14th. of the month Nisan fell and others observed it on the Sunday following that date. Therefore, it was in this first of many such councils (at the council of Nicea) that the time of the observance of "Easter" was discussed. It was at this time that "Easter" was officially recognized as an annual observance and the dispute over which Sunday it was to be celebrated was settled, decreeing that it be the Sunday following Passover. However, there continued to be disputes over how to calculate when "Easter" should be observed due to differences in the Jewish calendar and the Julian calendar. Finally, at the Synod of Whitby in England (664 or 663 AD), the present-day means of calculating the observance of "Easter" was decreed and is therefore widely observed in this and most other countries. Yet there have continued to be disagreements regarding the timing of this celebration even as recently as the 20th century.
Such confusion only gives testimony to the fact that God did not reveal an annual date for such an observance called Easter. We are therefore called upon to choose between that which man cannot agree upon, or that which is revealed in the Scriptures in the observance of the Lord's Supper on every first day of the week. The choice seems simple enough. But it all comes down to what Peter and the other apostles stated; "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) In that which we do, will we glorify God or man?
- Gary V. Womack - April 2006

CERTAINTY by Gary Womack


"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb. 6:10) What a comfort and assurance to know that our efforts to serve the Master in our service to one another does not go unnoticed. While our motivation to serve is not for public recognition, and we realize that it is only acceptable before God if it is the genuine response of love, we surely do care that the Lord is pleased.
The Hebrew writer urged his readers to "show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (vss. 11-12) Perseverance is the result of focused effort in pursuit of a goal that hope holds out to the one who seeks it. What better example than Abraham could the writer give as one whom we can imitate in our effort to obtain the promises of our inheritance? However, while Abraham is a great example of patient endurance in pursuit of God's promises, it is self-evident that the effort expended to acquire them could be no greater than the assurance of the promises themselves. Therefore, he said "For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, 'Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.' and so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." (vss. 13-15)
Why would we spend our lives using it up in pursuit of that which we only suppose will be acquired at the end, especially considering all of the challenges and distractions along the way that beat against that hope? Realizing this to be so, the writer explains that "men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us." (vss. 16-18)
We, as heirs of God's promise, have the undeniable assurance that He will give what He has promised. Our assurance is based on two unchangeable (immutable) things: His promise and His oath. His counsel (or advice, which is based upon the certainty of His will to accomplish that which He says) is backed by His oath, so that the strength of both the promise and the oath are founded upon the fact that "it is impossible for God to lie." While men may take an oath, staking their reputation and character upon their word, we are fallible and often unable to carry out what we promise because of our limitations to effect the circumstances that might prevent its outcome. (See Mt. 5:33-37; Jas. 5:12) But with God this is not so. His counsel is immutable. This is the assurance of our hope.
Therefore, the writer concludes, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (vss. 19-20) As surely as the anchor of a ship can keep it from drifting away amidst the winds and waves of a violent storm, so does our hope anchor us in the face of all opposing odds. The reason this is so is because the anchor of our hope is "grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love." It is founded in the heavenly realm where His throne stands, and we tenaciously hold to the end of the chain of faith to which it is fastened. That to which our hope is anchored is immovable and unchangeable.
Peter describes this hope as a "living hope" because it is founded upon the assurance of "the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Pet. 1:3) Because He ever lives, our hope can be directed "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." (vs. 4) We can depend on His promise because it is "reserved" by the One who "cannot lie" and whose word (counsel) is "immutable" (unchangeable). This greatest of all blessings, like "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (Jas. 1:17) As Creator of light and the light of the Sun, He is rightfully called its Father. But unlike the shadows that are cast by anything that comes between us and the light of the Sun, the giving off of His Divine light is never interrupted to cause a moment's shadow. He is eternal light, and we have been blessed to bask under the brilliance of His blessings.
The unchangeable nature of God is seen in the fact that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8), thus we can stand on the solid ground of His word and "not be carried about with various and strange doctrines." (Heb. 13:9) His word is as sure and unchangeable as is its Divine Author. We can trust what He has said and stand upon it in the face of every false teaching. Amidst the false doctrine of his day that claimed that "the resurrection is already past" which did "overthrow the faith of some." (2 Tim. 2:18), Paul emphatically declared these words: "Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.' " (2 Tim. 2:19) Therefore, because "the solid foundation of God stands," so can we also stand, who have "been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone." (Eph. 2:20)
Every teaching of the Son of God is sure and reliable and will not change with time nor circumstance. We can confidently rest our faith upon its certainty, even as Jesus called those to do who heard His sermon on the mount. "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." (Mt. 7:24-25) Not many things in life are certain, but God's promises are. As Jesus gave His life, we can stake our life on it.
- Gary V. Womack - November 2003

Bible Reading, Jan. 27

Jan. 27
Genesis 27

Gen 27:1 It happened, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said to him, "My son?" He said to him, "Here I am."
Gen 27:2 He said, "See now, I am old. I don't know the day of my death.
Gen 27:3 Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison.
Gen 27:4 Make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat, and that my soul may bless you before I die."
Gen 27:5 Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
Gen 27:6 Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, "Behold, I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying,
Gen 27:7 'Bring me venison, and make me savory food, that I may eat, and bless you before Yahweh before my death.'
Gen 27:8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command you.
Gen 27:9 Go now to the flock, and get me from there two good kids of the goats. I will make them savory food for your father, such as he loves.
Gen 27:10 You shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death."
Gen 27:11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.
Gen 27:12 What if my father touches me? I will seem to him as a deceiver, and I would bring a curse on myself, and not a blessing."
Gen 27:13 His mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son. Only obey my voice, and go get them for me."
Gen 27:14 He went, and got them, and brought them to his mother. His mother made savory food, such as his father loved.
Gen 27:15 Rebekah took the good clothes of Esau, her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob, her younger son.
Gen 27:16 She put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands, and on the smooth of his neck.
Gen 27:17 She gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
Gen 27:18 He came to his father, and said, "My father?" He said, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?"
Gen 27:19 Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done what you asked me to do. Please arise, sit and eat of my venison, that your soul may bless me."
Gen 27:20 Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?" He said, "Because Yahweh your God gave me success."
Gen 27:21 Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not."
Gen 27:22 Jacob went near to Isaac his father. He felt him, and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau."
Gen 27:23 He didn't recognize him, because his hands were hairy, like his brother, Esau's hands. So he blessed him.
Gen 27:24 He said, "Are you really my son Esau?" He said, "I am."
Gen 27:25 He said, "Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless you." He brought it near to him, and he ate. He brought him wine, and he drank.
Gen 27:26 His father Isaac said to him, "Come near now, and kiss me, my son."
Gen 27:27 He came near, and kissed him. He smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him, and said, "Behold, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which Yahweh has blessed.
Gen 27:28 God give you of the dew of the sky, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and new wine.
Gen 27:29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers. Let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you. Blessed be everyone who blesses you."
Gen 27:30 It happened, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob had just gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
Gen 27:31 He also made savory food, and brought it to his father. He said to his father, "Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that your soul may bless me."
Gen 27:32 Isaac his father said to him, "Who are you?" He said, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau."
Gen 27:33 Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who, then, is he who has taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before you came, and have blessed him? Yes, he will be blessed."
Gen 27:34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, my father."
Gen 27:35 He said, "Your brother came with deceit, and has taken away your blessing."
Gen 27:36 He said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright. See, now he has taken away my blessing." He said, "Haven't you reserved a blessing for me?"
Gen 27:37 Isaac answered Esau, "Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers have I given to him for servants. With grain and new wine have I sustained him. What then will I do for you, my son?"
Gen 27:38 Esau said to his father, "Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, my father." Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Gen 27:39 Isaac his father answered him, "Behold, of the fatness of the earth will be your dwelling, and of the dew of the sky from above.
Gen 27:40 By your sword will you live, and you will serve your brother. It will happen, when you will break loose, that you shall shake his yoke from off your neck."
Gen 27:41 Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him. Esau said in his heart, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then I will kill my brother Jacob."
Gen 27:42 The words of Esau, her elder son, were told to Rebekah. She sent and called Jacob, her younger son, and said to him, "Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you.
Gen 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban, my brother, in Haran.
Gen 27:44 Stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury turns away;
Gen 27:45 until your brother's anger turn away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send, and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?"
Gen 27:46 Rebekah said to Isaac, "I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good will my life do me?"

Jan. 27, 28
Matthew 14

Mat 14:1 At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard the report concerning Jesus,
Mat 14:2 and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptizer. He is risen from the dead. That is why these powers work in him."
Mat 14:3 For Herod had laid hold of John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife.
Mat 14:4 For John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her."
Mat 14:5 When he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
Mat 14:6 But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced among them and pleased Herod.
Mat 14:7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she should ask.
Mat 14:8 She, being prompted by her mother, said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptizer."
Mat 14:9 The king was grieved, but for the sake of his oaths, and of those who sat at the table with him, he commanded it to be given,
Mat 14:10 and he sent and beheaded John in the prison.
Mat 14:11 His head was brought on a platter, and given to the young lady: and she brought it to her mother.
Mat 14:12 His disciples came, and took the body, and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.
Mat 14:13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat, to a deserted place apart. When the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot from the cities.
Mat 14:14 Jesus went out, and he saw a great multitude. He had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
Mat 14:15 When evening had come, his disciples came to him, saying, "This place is deserted, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food."
Mat 14:16 But Jesus said to them, "They don't need to go away. You give them something to eat."
Mat 14:17 They told him, "We only have here five loaves and two fish."
Mat 14:18 He said, "Bring them here to me."
Mat 14:19 He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
Mat 14:20 They all ate, and were filled. They took up twelve baskets full of that which remained left over from the broken pieces.
Mat 14:21 Those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Mat 14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
Mat 14:23 After he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain by himself to pray. When evening had come, he was there alone.
Mat 14:24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
Mat 14:25 In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.
Mat 14:26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It's a ghost!" and they cried out for fear.
Mat 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying "Cheer up! It is I! Don't be afraid."
Mat 14:28 Peter answered him and said, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters."
Mat 14:29 He said, "Come!" Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus.
Mat 14:30 But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
Mat 14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Mat 14:32 When they got up into the boat, the wind ceased.
Mat 14:33 Those who were in the boat came and worshiped him, saying, "You are truly the Son of God!"
Mat 14:34 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret.
Mat 14:35 When the people of that place recognized him, they sent into all that surrounding region, and brought to him all who were sick,
Mat 14:36 and they begged him that they might just touch the fringe of his garment. As many as touched it were made whole.