From Jim McGuiggan... GIVE US SOME CREDIT


Not all non-Christians are as shallow as Sam Harris or as self-serving in his bitterness as Richard Dawkins or as loftily silly as Steven Weinberg or Daniel Dennett in their criticism of Christians. Still, plenty of criticism comes our way and we ask for a fair amount of it, especially when it’s leveled against those among us that lead and we need forgiveness. But allowing for legitimate criticism, we still need to say that the vast majority of believers in Jesus Christ are decent, law-abiding, kind, compassionate, sensitive and sharing people. It’s true we can be led down dead-end streets with really rotten theology and some bizarre religious celebrities as ramrods, but when we’re not parroting the religious nonsense we’ve been caught up in, we’re hard-working and honest people who are conscientious in life, we’re good neighbors and we make good friends.

No union or government or political party critiques itself as consistently as we do. Week after week entire congregations of Christians hear a call to greater commitment to God and the world he loves, to greater generosity and a more fervent outreach to the people on the fringes of life. Sadly some churches are verbally raped week after week and how they endure it for years only God knows, but the good news is that that isn’t the approach of all church leaders. Nevertheless there’s still a steady call for more, even while there’s praise for progress experienced. Whole assemblies are called to pursue truth and goodness as it’s seen in Jesus and they bow their heads and hearts and pray for that together.

We bring our children to worship, right from the beginning, to have them shaped in the likeness of the clean-souled, people-loving and brave self-giving Jesus Christ. We pray not only for ourselves and for our own, we pray for yours and for the hurting of the world. When we can't go ourselves we financially help organizations and communities to shelter and feed the poor, to bring clean water, vitamins and medical supplies to the sick and dying and pillaged. We band together and get jobs for the jobless, build houses for the homeless and share clothing with the destitute.

We weep over the motherless and in our tens of thousands we engage every day in voluntary work in nursing homes, hospital laundries and kitchens and we watch over the children of anxious parents who must go out to work. Together in our millions we confer tangible gifts on countless people but because we're followers of and believers in Jesus Christ we put a great message of bravery and hope in people.

For the breadth of good works, for the influence we've had on non-Christians that has shaped them so that they too engage in good works, for the amount of our financial aid and hands-on help there’s nothing like us in the world.

So don’t ask us to be Jesus—we'll gladly tell you there’s only one Jesus and he’s light years beyond us. Don’t be overly generous in your praise of us—we’ll tell you we’re not that good—yet. But be fair in your criticism of us because with all our flaws we’re probably the best thing you ever seen and almost certainly better than any organization you’re not involved with.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Mark Copeland... The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood (Hebrews 7:20-28)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

            The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood (7:20-28)


1. In the first seven chapters of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", the
   main thought is the superiority of Christ...
   a. To the prophets - He 1:1-3
   b. To angels - He 1:4-2:18
   c. To Moses - He 3:1-5
   d. To Aaron and his Levitical priesthood - He 5:1-10; 7:1-28

2. In showing the superiority of Jesus' priesthood, the author has done
   so step-by-step...
   a. Jesus is qualified to be a priest by virtue of His calling by God
      and His suffering - He 5:1-8
   b. He has been called to be "a priest forever according to the order
      of Melchizedek" - He 5:9-10
   c. The priestly order of Melchizedek is shown to be superior by 
      comparing Abraham and Melchizedek - He 7:1-10
   d. That Christ has become such a priest has several implications 
      - He 7:11-19
      1) The Levitical priesthood could not make one perfect before 
      2) The Law upon which the Levitical priesthood was based has been
      3) Christ now provides "a better hope, through which we draw near
         to God"

3. This brings us to He 7:20-28, in which we find a climatic 
   a. Where Jesus is contrasted with those who served in the Levitical
   b. Where "The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood" is clearly 

[In this passage, we find at least four points illustrating Jesus'
superiority, the first of which pertains to...]


      1. Beginning with Aaron, he and his descendants served in the 
         Levitical priesthood
      2. It was a divine command that so appointed them - Exo 28:1-4
      3. While divinely commanded, it was not with an oath
      1. Again, the reference is to Ps 110:4, in which God swore an
         oath concerning the coming Messiah and His priesthood
      2. We saw earlier that a promise joined with an oath really 
         confirms the "immutability" (unchangeableness) of God's 
         counsel - cf. He 6:17
      2. Appointed by an oath and not just a command, Jesus has become
         "a surety of a better covenant"...
         a. "surety" means "guarantor" (NEB)
         b. Appointed by such an oath from God, Jesus guarantees the 
            new covenant, that it is "better" (there is that key word 

[The superiority of Christ's priesthood is also illustrated by...]


      1. When one died, another took his place
      2. Of necessity there had to be "many priests"

      1. That is because "He continues forever"
      2. As seen earlier, Jesus came "according to the power of an 
         endless life" - He 7:16
      3. He therefore "has an unchangeable priesthood"
         a. He is "able to save to the uttermost those who come to God
            through Him"
            1) He can do what the law could not do:  make one "perfect"
               - cf. He 7:19
            2) That is, make one "holy, and blameless" - cf. Col 1:21-22
         b. And "He ever lives to make intercession for them"
            1) I have always been impressed by this phrase
            2) For it suggests what Jesus is doing for us now, and is
               most willing to do!

[As we continue in our text, we see yet another contrast with Levitical


      1. Some more so than others
      2. Even the best of them had to "offer up sacrifices"...
         a. On a daily basis
         b. For his own sins before offering sacrifices others

      1. We see our High Priest described in regards to...
         a. His holy character:  "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate
            from sinners"
         b. His preeminent position:  "higher than the heavens"
         -- Thus He does not need to offer sacrifices for Himself
      2. This makes Him a High Priest "fitting" (becoming, seemly) for

[Add to His perfect character another element that shows His superior


      1. Every day they offered sacrifices for their own sins and for
         those of the people
      2. That they had to be continually offered implies a fundamental
         weakness in the efficacy of the sacrifices themselves
      3. Later we learn that the problem was the inability of animal
         sacrifices to make one perfect and to cleanse the conscience 
         of sins - He 10:1-4; cf. 9:9

      1. This implies the efficacy of His sacrifice
      2. The superiority of Jesus' sacrifice will be explained further,
         later on- cf. He 9:11-15; 10:11-14


1. In verse 28, we find a summary statement that contrasts the two 
   a. The "law", upon which the Levitical priesthood derives its
      authority, appoints men who "have weaknesses"; for example:
      1) They are sinners themselves, and death terminates their
      2) Their sacrifices cannot truly remove sin, so had to be
         repeated daily and yearly
   b. The "oath", given after the law and the basis for Christ's
      priesthood, appoints the Son "who has been perfected forever";
      for example:
      1) His humanity and the obedience learned through suffering makes
         Him most "fitting" to be our High Priest - cf. He 2:17-18;
         4:14-16; 5:8-9
      2) His sinlessness makes the sacrifice of Himself the perfect and
         all-sufficient sacrifice, given once for all! - cf. He 10:

2. In chapters 9 and 10, the focus of this epistle will center on the
   superiority of Christ's sacrifice; but for now, our attention has 
   been on those things that illustrate what our great High Priest:
   a. His appointment by an oath from God, not just a command
   b. His eternal intercession, not limited by death
   c. His perfect character, untainted by sin
   d. His permanent sacrifice, offered once for all when He offered 

Don't you desire to have such a High Priest interceding in your behalf?
Then as Christians...

   "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we 
   may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - He 4:16

Let us never forget that "He ever lives to make intercession" for those
who come to God through Him!

xecutable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading March 11

Bible Reading  

March 11

The World English Bible

Mar. 11
Exodus 21

Exo 21:1 "Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them.
Exo 21:2 "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything.
Exo 21:3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself. If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him.
Exo 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
Exo 21:5 But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;'
Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.
Exo 21:7 "If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do.
Exo 21:8 If she doesn't please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her.
Exo 21:9 If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
Exo 21:10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights.
Exo 21:11 If he doesn't do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money.
Exo 21:12 "One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death,
Exo 21:13 but not if it is unintentional, but God allows it to happen: then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee.
Exo 21:14 If a man schemes and comes presumptuously on his neighbor to kill him, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
Exo 21:15 "Anyone who attacks his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.
Exo 21:16 "Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:17 "Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:18 "If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he doesn't die, but is confined to bed;
Exo 21:19 if he rises again and walks around with his staff, then he who struck him shall be cleared: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for his healing until he is thoroughly healed.
Exo 21:20 "If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.
Exo 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.
Exo 21:22 "If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.
Exo 21:23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,
Exo 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Exo 21:25 burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.
Exo 21:26 "If a man strikes his servant's eye, or his maid's eye, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.
Exo 21:27 If he strikes out his male servant's tooth, or his female servant's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.
Exo 21:28 "If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall not be held responsible.
Exo 21:29 But if the bull had a habit of goring in the past, and it has been testified to its owner, and he has not kept it in, but it has killed a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death.
Exo 21:30 If a ransom is laid on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is laid on him.
Exo 21:31 Whether it has gored a son or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him.
Exo 21:32 If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned.
Exo 21:33 "If a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and doesn't cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it,
Exo 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make it good. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall be his.
Exo 21:35 "If one man's bull injures another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live bull, and divide its price; and they shall also divide the dead animal.
Exo 21:36 Or if it is known that the bull was in the habit of goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay bull for bull, and the dead animal shall be his own.
Mar. 11, 12
Mark 8

Mar 8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,
Mar 8:2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.
Mar 8:3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."
Mar 8:4 His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"
Mar 8:5 He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven."
Mar 8:6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.
Mar 8:7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.
Mar 8:8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
Mar 8:9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.
Mar 8:10 Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
Mar 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.
Mar 8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Mar 8:13 He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.
Mar 8:14 They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
Mar 8:15 He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."
Mar 8:16 They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."
Mar 8:17 Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?
Mar 8:18 Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember?
Mar 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve."
Mar 8:20 "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven."
Mar 8:21 He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"
Mar 8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
Mar 8:24 He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."
Mar 8:25 Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.
Mar 8:26 He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."
Mar 8:27 Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"
Mar 8:28 They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets."
Mar 8:29 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
Mar 8:30 He commanded them that they should tell no one about him.
Mar 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
Mar 8:33 But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men."
Mar 8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mar 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.
Mar 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?
Mar 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mar 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

From Gary... Problems, PROBLEMS!!!

Some wedding cake!!!  I like it because it says something unusual; As a couple, you will endure problems. Facing problems is one of the biggest aspects in a marriage relationship!!!  As I reflect a bit on this, it seems to me that without problems, my wife and I might not have lasted as long as we have.  But, where do we go when problems pop up...?

Jeremiah, Chapter 29
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.  12 You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  13 You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. 

Now, I don't know what your problems are, but God has the answer (HE ALWAYS DOES).  I can only tell you from personal experience that I handle them better when I seek God (no, that's not right- WHEN I SEEK GOD!!!!). Today, whatever may happen, let this Jeremiah passage become your "go to" thought for today.  Life may not be "a piece of cake", but I tell you - YOU WILL NOT BE ALONE; YOU WILL FIND HELP!!!