4/24/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Miracles and Emptying Graveyards

Miracles and Emptying Graveyards

A major mistake in our looking at the biblical miracles occurs when we insist on dislocating them from their setting. I don’t just mean the chapter or section in which we find the record; I mean from the vast Story the Bible brings to us.

We have another problem. Because miracles (almost always) brought immediate and profound benefit to those who experienced them and because we have our own (sometimes profound) needs—because all this is true, we’re tempted to see them as proof that God wants us all to experience them and so we go in search of them.

A further temptation is to feel that if they aren’t for everyone they shouldn’t be for anyone.

It’s perfectly legitimate to say that the miracles Jesus worked were to bring benefit to people and were a response to an existing need. That is, it’s acceptable to say, “Jesus gave men sight because they were blind; he fed people because they were hungry,” and so on. It’s correct but it isn’t enough to say this. That Jesus acted out of compassion is true, but it’s also true that compassion was only one of the motives for his actions.

With a word, I suppose, Christ could have emptied the graveyards of Palestine, so why didn’t he? Why did he limit himself to, “Lazarus, come forth”? Had he no compassion for the other brothers, sisters and bereaved ones standing by who had buried their beloved dead? He said of his own Father, that there were many widows in Israel but God sent Elijah only to the home of a foreign woman and that while there were many lepers in Israel in Elisha’s day, only the foreigner, Naaman was healed (Luke 4:26-27).

No, while miracles genuinely reflected the compassionate character of God in Christ, they were part of the over-arching purpose of God toward a world filled in each generation with the hungry, diseased and lost people. That purpose was/is not fulfilled by a ceaseless stream of miracles that would ensure the absence of pain and suffering in a sinful world.

To obliterate every disease and physical malady would be nothing short of abolishing physical death and in a world as evil as ours is, and can be, that would be no long-term blessing. The foundational need of humanity is not physical health or the absence of biological death—it is reconciliation with God and one another.

Miracles—though they were expressions of God’s compassion—were only one strand in a great tapestry.

• They were never intended to be the rule of life, or even commonplace. The compassion of God existed even when miracles were not worked; the compassion of God in Christ was real and genuine even for those he did not miraculously rescue (John the Baptist in prison is a prime example).

• Miracles were never meant to be a substitute for the loving hearts which feed, clothe, nurture and comfort those in need.

• Miracles were never intended to make up for or to be the means by which all the wrongs that people worked against each other were righted.

• Miracles were never intended to be an endless series of props that kept a decaying world from falling apart.

       Miracles were the promise and prophecy that one day the entire creation would be redeemed from the curse.

       NT miracles are to be viewed in light of the OT assurances that God had not abandoned the human family or the creation though he had brought curse into the picture in response to our sinful rebellion.

       Miracles are to be seen as part of the reaffirmation of God’s creation intentions; intentions that humans might have thought he walked away from in light of our sinful rebellion.

       Miracles are to be seen as moral deeds that reflect the character as well as the purposes of the Lord God in and through Jesus Christ.

       Miracles are to be seen in part as the credentials of Jesus Christ that he is indeed the One sent from God to right all wrongs.

God was after something that went much deeper than an endless stream of miracles that transformed peoples’ circumstances. He was pursuing the transformation of their hearts through reconciliation with himself and one another and as a consequence of that he was after a human society where righteousness reigned and the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven.
 
Miracles were only one of his tools in such a profound objective.

©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 Kathleen Hamrick Will Brooks, Ph.D. .... The RNA World Hypothesis Explained and Unexplained

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2317

The RNA World Hypothesis Explained and Unexplained

by  Kathleen Hamrick
Will Brooks, Ph.D.

[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by A.P. auxiliary staff scientist Will Brooks and one of his students. Dr. Brooks holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and serves as Assistant Professor of Biology at Freed-Hardeman University.]
One of the goals within the discipline of biology is to define life. This goal, however, is no simple task. While we can have an intuitive understanding of what it means to be alive, forming this understanding into a precise definition of life poses a dilemma for scientists. Life comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and forms, so placing all these variations of life into one nice definition is seemingly impossible. To circumvent this problem, scientists have defined life by stating characteristics shared by all life forms. To be considered “alive,” a system of molecules must possess each of these characteristics. Examples include (1) the ability to sense and respond to stimuli, (2) the ability to acquire and utilize materials for energy, (3) the ability to store genetic information in the form of DNA, and (4) the ability to self-replicate. All living organisms share these basic characteristics, and those systems of molecules which lack even one of these basic characteristics is not considered to be a living organism.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the genetic material used by all living organisms to code for life. DNA can be thought of as the genetic fingerprint of each organism because it is unique to each species of organism. During the process of self-replication, this genetic code is duplicated and identical copies (discounting rare instances of mutation) are given to each progeny of an organism, maintaining the fingerprint and thus the identity of that organism. The function of DNA as the genetic material of an organism is to provide a code for the production of another group of molecules known as proteins. Proteins serve a host of functions for an organism. They are known, appropriately, as the workhorses of a cell, because they carry out the vast majority of organismal tasks, including catalysis.
A catalyst is any substance capable of increasing the speed of a chemical reaction. Within each living organism on Earth, millions of chemical reactions take place every minute. The majority of these reactions are prompted by a very large group of protein catalysts known as enzymes. These enzyme-mediated chemical reactions range from those used to synthesize various metabolites to those used to break down ingested foods. By serving as enzyme catalysts, proteins play a crucial role in all living organisms. For without enzymes, organisms would be both unable to break down the food that they ingest and unable to make the necessary metabolites needed to sustain life.
While the vast majority of functional enzymes within living organisms are proteins, scientists have discovered that another group of molecules, known as ribonucleic acids (RNAs), are also capable of catalyzing some chemical reactions (Kruger, et al., 1982). RNAs are very similar in structure to DNA, differing only in the type of sugar used to form the molecules—DNA utilizes deoxyribose and RNA utilizes ribose. While DNA is the vital genetic code that is passed down between parents and offspring, RNA also plays an important role. Ribonucleic acids are a messenger system that carries the DNA code from the cell’s nucleus, the home of DNA, to the cellular cytoplasm where proteins are synthesized. These are known as messenger RNAs (mRNA). Furthermore, another group of RNAs, known as ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), is used along with proteins to build the cellular structure known as the ribosome, which is the cellular location at which proteins are made. So, RNA plays several related roles in the process of protein production: (1) it carries the genetic code from DNA to the ribosome, (2) it helps form the structure of the ribosome, and (3) it functions in catalysis.
While there are a few other examples (reviewed in Fedor and Williamson, 2005), the catalytic properties of RNA are best seen in the ribosome. When proteins are synthesized by an organism’s cells, small units known as amino acids are chemically linked together to form a long, linear chain. This chain of amino acids is known as a polypeptide or protein. The chemical bond that links together each amino acid in the chain is called the peptide bond. Because each of the 20 amino acids are very similar in structure, the same peptide bond is formed between every unit of the polypeptide chain. The chemical reaction that forms this peptide bond requires catalysis. The protein-rRNA complex that we know as the ribosome has long been known to serve as the site as well as the catalyst in forming the peptide bond. But, scientists were surprised to discover that the protein component only serves as a structural element of the ribosome. It is the RNA component of the ribosome that serves as the catalyst (Nissen, et al., 2000). This catalytic RNA has thus been termed a ribozyme.
Later it was discovered that yet another group of RNAs, the small nuclear RNAs (snRNA), were also capable of catalyzing a chemical reaction (Valadkhan and Manley, 2001). When produced by the cell, mRNA must undergo a series of maturation steps before it is fully functional as a genetic message (Alberts, et al., 2002, pp. 317-327). One of these steps toward maturity is the process of splicing. Newly synthesized mRNA contains large regions, spread throughout its length, that do not directly code for protein production. These non-coding regions are called introns. To make the mRNA mature and functional as a code, each intron must be removed from the mRNA and the remaining coding regions, known as exons, must be linked or spliced back together. These “cut-and-paste” events occur within the cell’s nucleus within a structure that we call the spliceosome. Like the ribosome, the spliceosome is a large complex of both protein and RNA, in this case snRNA. Amusingly, these protein-RNA complexes have been dubbed small nuclear ribonucleoproteins or “snurps.” Interestingly, scientists found that not protein, but RNAs were responsible for catalyzing the chemical reactions that take place during these splicing events. RNAs were carrying out chemical reactions on other RNAs.
Scientists were very excited by these revolutionary findings. Now, they had a single type of molecule, RNA, that possessed two very important properties. First, it was very similar in structure to DNA and thus theoretically could also store genetic information. Second, it could function as a catalyst like proteins. In 1986, Walter Gilbert coined the phrase “RNA World” and initiated what is now known as the RNA World Hypothesis (Gilbert, 1986). This hypothesis on the origin of life states simply that because RNA has the dual ability to both store genetic information and catalyze chemical reactions, it must pre-date DNA and proteins, both of which supposedly evolved after and perhaps from the RNA.
The RNA World Hypothesis is widely accepted by evolutionists, because it provides an alleged solution to a long-recognized problem in evolutionary theory. Consider how proteins are made by a cell. First, DNA which holds the genetic code is converted into RNA through a process known as transcription. This process is similar to how one would copy a letter from one piece of paper onto another sheet. The contents of the letter remain unchanged, only the medium—the paper—has changed. RNA carries this information to the ribosome, where it is read and used as a code to make a protein through a process known as translation. This process can be compared to translating the copy of the letter from one language into another. Nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) is changed into another molecule altogether: protein. This linear progression of DNA to RNA to protein is known in biology as the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology (Alberts, et al., 2002, p. 301). Of the three components in the path, only DNA has the capacity to be replicated. So, while DNA stores the genetic code and can be replicated, it cannot perform any chemical reactions. And, while protein can perform chemical reactions, it cannot store genetic information. So, in evolutionary thinking, which came first—DNA or protein? Making the problem even more difficult, DNA relies upon proteins during its own replication. DNA does not self-replicate of its own accord. It must have protein enzymes to facilitate this process. So, what came first—the chicken or the egg? DNA or protein? Each relies upon the other. You should begin to see how RNA might solve this problem. If RNA can both store genetic information and catalyze chemical reactions, and if it evolved first, we have a single molecule that stores information and can catalyze its own replication, a self-replicating genetic material.
In order to prove this theory plausible, a set of conditions must be created to favor the spontaneous formation of RNA molecules without the aid of a biological catalyst. This would have had to be the starting point for an RNA world. One necessary component for RNA formation would be a steady supply of nucleotides, the building blocks of RNA. Scientists speculate these nucleotides were created from other small molecules present, or were generated in space before arriving on earth. Ribose, the sugar used in RNA, is assumed to have arisen from formaldehyde via the formose reaction. The mystery of the addition of nucleotides onto a ribose backbone remains unsolved by scientists attempting to create conditions of a primitive Earth (Müller, 2006, 63:1279-1280). Once these RNA molecules were formed completely by chance, they would have to have possessed or evolved the ability to catalyze reactions leading to self-replication. After sustaining itself through several replications, the RNA would then need to gain the ability to create a barrier between the extraneous materials surrounding it, in order to isolate the beneficial products from those proving non-functional. Thus, a membrane of sorts would have had to evolve and be maintained (Müller, 63:1285-1286). These steps are only the basics, proving the task much too complicated to occur by mere chance.
In all known organisms living today, DNA and not RNA is the genetic material. DNA has advantages over RNA which make it a more suitable molecule to store the very important genetic code. First, DNA is a double-stranded molecule while RNA is single-stranded. The double-stranded nature of DNA gives it the ability to be replicated in a much simpler series of steps. When DNA is replicated, each of the two complimentary strands serves as a template on which to build another strand. The result is that in one step, each strand of DNA is replicated to produce four total DNA strands or two identical double helices. RNA, however, is single-stranded. In order for it to be replicated, two sequential rounds of replication would be required. First, a complimentary strand would need to be synthesized from the original parental strand. Only then could that new complimentary strand be used to re-make the parental strand. As stated before, DNA and RNA differ in the sugar which makes up the molecule’s backbone. Deoxyribose, the sugar used in DNA, differs from ribose used in RNA, by lacking one organic functional group known as alcohol. The absence of this alcohol group greatly increases the stability of DNA over RNA. In ribonucleic acids, this
–OH group is capable of initiating chemical reactions which favor breakdown of the RNA molecule. For these and other reasons, DNA is a much more stable and preferable genetic material. This is made obvious by the fact that all living organisms use DNA, not RNA, as their permanent storage medium of genetic information. It also indicates that RNA would be an unsuitable medium by which to initiate life.
Evolutionists would have us to believe that non-living elements and molecules joined together and developed increasing biological capabilities. Those who believe in intelligent design reject this hypothesis, insisting that neither RNA nor living cells are able to evolve spontaneously. While some disagreement exists among those in the evolutionary community on the time frame for such alleged reactions to occur, the consensus is that, given large amounts of time, single-celled bacteria were formed. But all known biological principles militate against this notion. Even billions of years could not provide mechanisms for the reaction products to evolve advantageous characteristics and form DNA and cell proteins, let alone create strings of RNA nucleotides, arriving at just the right sequence in order to code for a functional protein. The four nucleotide bases that form RNA (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil) can be arranged in an exponential array of combinations and lengths. For an actual, functional protein to be coded, a precise sequence of nucleotides must be obtained. Forming the code for even one protein by evolutionary means is impossible, without even considering the necessity of the number that work together in a single cell.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that RNA is spontaneously being created and capable of forming pre-cellular life today. While some artificial ribozymes have been created in the laboratory (reviewed in Chen, et al., 2007), there are still significant holes in reproducing an RNA world to support the hypothesis. The ribozymes created artificially lack the abilities to sufficiently process themselves, and there is no evidence of them producing large quantities of advantageous nucleotide sequences. Moreover, no system has ever created cellular life. There is even significant debate among scientists over the conditions and constituents of a “prebiotic Earth” model.
The RNA World Hypothesis is simply another attempt by scientists to explain the origin of life to the exclusion of the divine Creator. Given the absolute impossibility of life originating from the reactions of non-living matter, it can be justified that RNA did not predate other biological molecules. All biological molecules were created together to work in concert. RNA was designed to be the essential intermediate between DNA and proteins, making our cells capable of sustaining life as it was created. The designer of this system must be the intelligent Designer, the God of the Bible.

REFERENCES

Alberts, Bruce, et al. (2002), Molecular Biology of the Cell (Oxford: Garland Science).
Chen, Xi, et al. (2007), “Ribozyme Catalysis of Metabolism in the RNA World,” Chemistry and Biodiversity, 4:633-656.
Fedor, Martha and James Williamson (2005), “The Catalytic Diversity of RNAs,” Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 6(5):399-412.
Gilbert, Walter (1986), “The RNA World,” Nature, 319:618.
Kruger, Kelly, et al. (1982), “Self-splicing RNA: Autoexcision and Autocyclization of the Ribosomal RNA Intervening Sequence of Tetrahymena,” Cell, 31(1):147-57.
Müller, U.F. (2006),Re-creating an RNA World,” Cellular and Molecular Life Science, 63:1278-1293.
Nissen, Poul, et al. (2000), “The Structural Basis of Ribosome Activity in Peptide Bond Synthesis,” Science, 289:920-930.
Valadkhan, Saba and James Manley (2001), “Splicing-related Catalysis by Protein-free snRNAs,” Nature, 6857:701-707.

From Mark Copeland... Witnesses For Christ (Acts 1:8)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                      Witnesses For Christ (1:8)

INTRODUCTION

1. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His disciples a promise and
   a charge...
   a. "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you"
      - Ac 1:8
   b. "you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
      Samaria, and to the end of the earth" - ibid.

2. The charge to be "witnesses" for Christ has been appropriated by
   many...
   a. In their efforts to share the gospel of Christ with the lost
   b. That in doing so they are "witnesses for Christ"
   c. In so doing, they use "witnessing" as a synonym for evangelism

[But is "witnessing" an accurate term for our evangelistic efforts?  Can
we "witness" today like the apostles did in carrying out their charge? 
Let's first review...]

I. WITNESSING FOR CHRIST TODAY

   A. AS COMMONLY PRACTICED...
      1. After telling others how to receive Christ, one is encouraged
         to share their own experience in "accepting Christ as their 
         personal Lord and Savior"
         a. This sharing of experiences of one's own conversion is
            called "witnessing"
         b. Used to convince a prospect of the power of the gospel to
            transform one's life
      2. New converts are often encouraged to quickly develop their own
         "witness"
         a. That is, a personal testimony proclaiming how their lives
            were changed
         b. For example, their testimony or "witness" might describe:
            1) Their actions and attitudes before they accepted Christ
            2) Circumstances that surrounded their conversion
            3) Changes that took place in life after receiving Christ
         c. Of course, the more remarkable one's story (witness), the
            better

   B. JUSTIFICATION FOR SUCH WITNESSING...
      1. The New Testament speaks of people being witnesses
         a. E.g., in our text:  "you shall be witnesses to Me" - Ac 1:8
         b. This passage is taken to mean that all Christians were to
            "witness" for Christ
      2. Yet consider the following questions:
         a. Are the "witnesses" in our text referring to all
            Christians, or a select few?
         b. What were they to bear witness to?  Their own conversion,
            or something else?
         c. Does the text imply that all Christians are to be 
            "witnesses"?

[To help answer this question, let's examine more closely...]

II. WITNESSING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

   A. WHO WERE TO BE WITNESSES FOR CHRIST...?
      1. The context of Ac 1:8 reveals it was the apostles - Ac 1:1-11
         a. They are specifically mentioned in verse 2
         b.  Note the pronouns used throughout the text (to whom, them,
            they, you)
         c. They were "Men of Galilee" (many disciples were from other
            regions)
      2. To be such a witness required very specific qualifications 
         - cf. Ac 1:21-22
         a. One had to have been with the apostles
         b. From the time of Jesus' baptism until His ascension to
            heaven
         c. Because of what they were to bear witness

   B. WHAT WAS THEIR WITNESS FOR CHRIST...?
      1. They bore witness to Jesus' resurrection - cf. Ac 1:22; 2:32;
         3:15; 5:30-32; 13:30-31
      2. They also bore witness to His life - Ac 10:38-42
      3. The apostle Paul was a special witness - Ac 22:14-15; 26:16,22
      4. The focal point of apostolic witness is the resurrection of
         Jesus from the dead!

   C. WERE THERE OTHER WITNESSES FOR CHRIST...?
      1. The Greek word for witness (martus) is also used as a
         designation for those who have suffered death in consequence of
         confessing Christ - Complete Word Study Dictionary
      2. Used of Stephen, Antipas, and others - Ac 22:20; Re 2:13; 17:6

[But the term "witness" is never used of one who simply tells others
about Christ, or of their own conversion experience.  Is this a
distinction without a difference?  Does it really matter, along as Jesus
is glorified...?]

III. APPRECIATING THE DISTINCTION

   A. BETWEEN THE CONTENT OF THE WITNESS...
      1. The modern witness:  provides testimony involving one's own
         conversion
         a. Personal testimony that describes the change in one's life
         b. The more dramatic, the better
            1) Prone to exaggeration, even fabrication
            2) Especially if one can "sell" their testimony through
               appearances, videos, books
      2. The apostolic witness:  provides testimony concerning the
         resurrection of Jesus
         a. Eyewitness accounts based on empirical evidence - e.g., 1Jn 1:1-2; Ac 10:40-41
         b. Evidence that has been confirmed by:
            1) The number of witnesses
            2) The credibility of the witnesses (their life, teaching,
               suffering, even death)
      -- The former is subjective evidence, the latter provides
         objective evidence

   B. BETWEEN THE PURPOSE OF THE WITNESS...
      1. The modern witness:  to have you place your faith in Jesus on
         the basis of another's conversion experience and manner of life
      2. The apostolic witness:  to have you place your faith in Jesus
         on the basis of historical facts that Jesus was raised from the
         dead and thereby declared to be the Son of God - Ro 1:4
      -- The former produces faith based on emotional appeals, the
         latter produces faith based on historical evidence

   C. BETWEEN THE STRENGTH OF THE WITNESS...
      1. The modern witness:  what if those upon whose "testimony" we
         came to believe later disappoint us?
         a. Whose "conversion" proves to be less than real or
            short-term?
         b. Will not our own faith be shaken?
      2. The apostolic witness:  their testimony forever remains
         unchanged
         a. Sealed by their manner of life, their exemplary teachings,
            their own blood!
         b. Faith based on their testimony is therefore more durable!
      -- The former leaves one open to great disappointment, the latter
         provides the foundation for a life of strong faith in Christ

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus acknowledged that people would come to believe in Him through
   the words of His apostles...
   a. As He mentioned in His prayer - cf. Jn 17:20
   b. Therefore He equipped them with infallible proofs and the power
      of the Spirit - Ac 1:2-3,8

2. As impressive as many modern day testimonies may sound...
   a. Beware of those who may be improperly motivated to enhance their
      story
   b. Be aware that "remarkable transformations" take place in many
      different religions (they can't all be true)

Place your faith instead in the witness Christ Himself has given to you
and all:  the testimony of His specially chosen witnesses, the apostles!
- 1Jn 1:1-4

Just as important, have you heeded what they proclaimed...? - cf. Ac
2:36-39

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading April 24


Bible Reading  

April 24

The World English Bible

Apr. 24
Deuteronomy 3, 4

Deu 3:1 Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
Deu 3:2 Yahweh said to me, Don't fear him; for I have delivered him, and all his people, and his land, into your hand; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.
Deu 3:3 So Yahweh our God delivered into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we struck him until none was left to him remaining.
Deu 3:4 We took all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we didn't take from them; sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
Deu 3:5 All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars; besides the unwalled towns a great many.
Deu 3:6 We utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying every inhabited city, with the women and the little ones.
Deu 3:7 But all the livestock, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.
Deu 3:8 We took the land at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon;
Deu 3:9 (which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir;)
Deu 3:10 all the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, to Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
Deu 3:11 (For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the Rephaim; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; isn't it in Rabbah of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, after the cubit of a man.)
Deu 3:12 This land we took in possession at that time: from Aroer, which is by the valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead, and its cities, gave I to the Reubenites and to the Gadites:
Deu 3:13 and the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, gave I to the half-tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, even all Bashan. (The same is called the land of Rephaim.
Deu 3:14 Jair the son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob, to the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called them, even Bashan, after his own name, Havvoth Jair, to this day.)
Deu 3:15 I gave Gilead to Machir.
Deu 3:16 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites I gave from Gilead even to the valley of the Arnon, the middle of the valley, and the border of it, even to the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
Deu 3:17 the Arabah also, and the Jordan and the border of it, from Chinnereth even to the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah eastward.
Deu 3:18 I commanded you at that time, saying, Yahweh your God has given you this land to possess it: you shall pass over armed before your brothers the children of Israel, all the men of valor.
Deu 3:19 But your wives, and your little ones, and your livestock, (I know that you have much livestock), shall abide in your cities which I have given you,
Deu 3:20 until Yahweh gives rest to your brothers, as to you, and they also possess the land which Yahweh your God gives them beyond the Jordan: then you shall return every man to his possession, which I have given you.
Deu 3:21 I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Your eyes have seen all that Yahweh your God has done to these two kings: so shall Yahweh do to all the kingdoms where you go over.
Deu 3:22 You shall not fear them; for Yahweh your God, he it is who fights for you.
Deu 3:23 I begged Yahweh at that time, saying,
Deu 3:24 Lord Yahweh, you have begun to show your servant your greatness, and your strong hand: for what god is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to your works, and according to your mighty acts?
Deu 3:25 Please let me go over and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
Deu 3:26 But Yahweh was angry with me for your sakes, and didn't listen to me; and Yahweh said to me, Let it suffice you; speak no more to me of this matter.
Deu 3:27 Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift up your eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and see with your eyes: for you shall not go over this Jordan.
Deu 3:28 But commission Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you shall see.
Deu 3:29 So we abode in the valley over against Beth Peor.
Deu 4:1 Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and to the ordinances, which I teach you, to do them; that you may live, and go in and possess the land which Yahweh, the God of your fathers, gives you.
Deu 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you.
Deu 4:3 Your eyes have seen what Yahweh did because of Baal Peor; for all the men who followed Baal Peor, Yahweh your God has destroyed them from the midst of you.
Deu 4:4 But you who did cling to Yahweh your God are all alive this day.
Deu 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as Yahweh my God commanded me, that you should do so in the midst of the land where you go in to possess it.
Deu 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
Deu 4:7 For what great nation is there, that has a god so near to them, as Yahweh our God is whenever we call on him?
Deu 4:8 What great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Deu 4:9 Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes saw, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your children and your children's children;
Deu 4:10 the day that you stood before Yahweh your God in Horeb, when Yahweh said to me, Assemble me the people, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Deu 4:11 You came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire to the heart of the sky, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness.
Deu 4:12 Yahweh spoke to you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of words, but you saw no form; only you heard a voice.
Deu 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even the ten commandments; and he wrote them on two tables of stone.
Deu 4:14 Yahweh commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it.
Deu 4:15 Take therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no manner of form on the day that Yahweh spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire.
Deu 4:16 Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make yourself an engraved image in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
Deu 4:17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky,
Deu 4:18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth;
Deu 4:19 and lest you lift up your eyes to the sky, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the army of the sky, you are drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which Yahweh your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole sky.
Deu 4:20 But Yahweh has taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be to him a people of inheritance, as at this day.
Deu 4:21 Furthermore Yahweh was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I should not go over the Jordan, and that I should not go in to that good land, which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance:
Deu 4:22 but I must die in this land, I must not go over the Jordan; but you shall go over, and possess that good land.
Deu 4:23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Yahweh your God, which he made with you, and make you an engraved image in the form of anything which Yahweh your God has forbidden you.
Deu 4:24 For Yahweh your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.
Deu 4:25 When you shall father children, and children's children, and you shall have been long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make an engraved image in the form of anything, and shall do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh your God, to provoke him to anger;
Deu 4:26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over the Jordan to possess it; you shall not prolong your days on it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
Deu 4:27 Yahweh will scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the nations, where Yahweh shall lead you away.
Deu 4:28 There you shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
Deu 4:29 But from there you shall seek Yahweh your God, and you shall find him, when you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 4:30 When you are in oppression, and all these things are come on you, in the latter days you shall return to Yahweh your God, and listen to his voice:
Deu 4:31 for Yahweh your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which he swore to them.
Deu 4:32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and from the one end of the sky to the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it?
Deu 4:33 Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?
Deu 4:34 Or has God tried to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that Yahweh your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Deu 4:35 It was shown to you so that you might know that Yahweh is God. There is no one else besides him.
Deu 4:36 Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you: and on earth he made you to see his great fire; and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire.
Deu 4:37 Because he loved your fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought you out with his presence, with his great power, out of Egypt;
Deu 4:38 to drive out nations from before you greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as at this day.
Deu 4:39 Know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that Yahweh he is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is none else.
Deu 4:40 You shall keep his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land, which Yahweh your God gives you, forever.
Deu 4:41 Then Moses set apart three cities beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise;
Deu 4:42 that the manslayer might flee there, who kills his neighbor unawares, and didn't hate him in time past; and that fleeing to one of these cities he might live:
Deu 4:43 namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, for the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites.
Deu 4:44 This is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
Deu 4:45 these are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which Moses spoke to the children of Israel, when they came forth out of Egypt,
Deu 4:46 beyond the Jordan, in the valley over against Beth Peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel struck, when they came forth out of Egypt.
Deu 4:47 They took his land in possession, and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise;
Deu 4:48 from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, even to Mount Sion (the same is Hermon),
Deu 4:49 and all the Arabah beyond the Jordan eastward, even to the sea of the Arabah, under the slopes of Pisgah.
Apr. 24, 25
Luke 14

Luk 14:1 It happened, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him.
Luk 14:2 Behold, a certain man who had dropsy was in front of him.
Luk 14:3 Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
Luk 14:4 But they were silent. He took him, and healed him, and let him go.
Luk 14:5 He answered them, "Which of you, if your son or an ox fell into a well, wouldn't immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?"
Luk 14:6 They couldn't answer him regarding these things.
Luk 14:7 He spoke a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the best seats, and said to them,
Luk 14:8 "When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, don't sit in the best seat, since perhaps someone more honorable than you might be invited by him,
Luk 14:9 and he who invited both of you would come and tell you, 'Make room for this person.' Then you would begin, with shame, to take the lowest place.
Luk 14:10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may tell you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
Luk 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Luk 14:12 He also said to the one who had invited him, "When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back.
Luk 14:13 But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind;
Luk 14:14 and you will be blessed, because they don't have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous."
Luk 14:15 When one of those who sat at the table with him heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is he who will feast in the Kingdom of God!"
Luk 14:16 But he said to him, "A certain man made a great supper, and he invited many people.
Luk 14:17 He sent out his servant at supper time to tell those who were invited, 'Come, for everything is ready now.'
Luk 14:18 They all as one began to make excuses. "The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please have me excused.'
Luk 14:19 "Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go try them out. Please have me excused.'
Luk 14:20 "Another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I can't come.'
Luk 14:21 "That servant came, and told his lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.'
Luk 14:22 "The servant said, 'Lord, it is done as you commanded, and there is still room.'
Luk 14:23 "The lord said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Luk 14:24 For I tell you that none of those men who were invited will taste of my supper.' "
Luk 14:25 Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them,
Luk 14:26 "If anyone comes to me, and doesn't hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can't be my disciple.
Luk 14:27 Whoever doesn't bear his own cross, and come after me, can't be my disciple.
Luk 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?
Luk 14:29 Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him,
Luk 14:30 saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.'
Luk 14:31 Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
Luk 14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace.
Luk 14:33 So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple.
Luk 14:34 Salt is good, but if the salt becomes flat and tasteless, with what do you season it?
Luk 14:35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

From Gary... Wish I could do that...




(click on the link to view)

I saw this video today and enjoyed it thoroughly!!!  Some of their routine I had never seen before and was very impressive!!!  So, click on the above link and enjoy!!!  After watching this video several times, I thought of the following verse from 1st Timothy...

1 Timothy, Chapter 4 (NASB)
1Ti 4:7  But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
1Ti 4:8  for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
1Ti 4:9  It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
1Ti 4:10  For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
1Ti 4:11  Prescribe and teach these things.

Retirement has been a wonderful experience; and with it has come an emphasis on "taking care of myself".  I have had some success in this department, but frankly, I have a long, long way to go before I can even remotely be considered "in shape". Aside from bodily discipline, I am enjoying a more in-depth study of the Scriptures, so things have been pretty good for me of late.  Today, I just wanted to re-post this video and wish you the very best in YOUR EFFORTS AT PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE!!!  OH, and along with that- HAPPINESS AND GREAT HEALTH!!!!

Your friend,
Gary