5/22/14

From Jim McGuiggan... A WORD TO SINNERS LIKE ME


A WORD TO SINNERS LIKE ME


I’m sorry if life is so painful for you now and I’m sad even if you’ve brought much of your trouble on yourself. I’ve dug a lot of holes for myself down the years and I’ve often thought that when you’re hurt by someone else’s wrong (and not your own) you can console yourself a bit by thinking you’ve entered into the kind of suffering Jesus experienced but when your guilt hurts you, that sort of stabilizing truth isn’t open to you.

There’s not a bit of doubt in my mind that God cares that we experience pain and loss even when we “deserve’’ it.  Judges 10:15-16 explicitly says so. The book is all about Israel getting what they ‘’deserved’’ (I’m sure you’ve read it). God’s redemptive response is to bring judgment on them and when they turned to him he began the rescue.

The point of particular interest is that even while they were under foreign domination God saw it and didn’t like it. That is, found no pleasure in their pain even though it was the pain of “just punishment’’. It’s said of him that he “could bear Israel’s misery no longer.’’ Isaiah 63:9 (there’s a bit of textual debate about this verse) tells us in all their affliction he was afflicted. The Jewish Publication Version says, “In all their trouble he was troubled.’’

But beyond specific texts his incarnation in Jesus makes it clear he cares when we hurt. Your analogy with your children is legitimate—you’d feel their pain so why should it surprise us that he does. You’d go to rescue them so why would it surprise us if he did. The basics, I think, are beyond honest dispute.

The problem is the complexity of some situations. If for some good reason, a reason your children or your friends or observers couldn’t fathom, you judged that the immediate rescue of one of your children would prevent you doing good, a larger, more pervasive good, for your other children—if for that good reason you didn’t move to rescue him that would generate further pain.

But even if you didn’t move to rescue him it wouldn’t mean you were being vindictive or even harsh and it certainly wouldn’t mean that you didn’t feel pain about him.

I don’t believe, and I think the scriptures forbid us to believe, that God insists on dishing out a dollar’s punishment for a dollar’s sin all the time. [That’s a good legalist view but it isn’t God’s view.] A psalmist thought that God didn’t punish us as much as our sins deserve. I wonder what we’re to make of that? In our most contrite moments we feel the same way. Now and then we’re convinced he should simply bury us and go off and forget us. We’re often guilt-ridden and that may not be the direct action of God at all. A lot of our pain is self-inflicted though God has long lifted his hand off of us. [This generates further good questions for another time perhaps.]

I’m perfectly satisfied that we should ask God to help us out of our trouble. Get a modern speech version—loose as a goose—and read through the psalms without trying to understand them—no study, just a thoughtful reading—and see how often psalmists confess sin and ask him to be kind to them though they have not been faithful.

When you’re hanging by your thumbs it doesn’t matter after a while that you got yourself there. We can’t help wanting the pain to stop. Only the truly impenitent, only the people (whoever they are) who have no heart for God and don’t care that they have no heart for God and who want simply to use him—only they have no “right’’ to ask him for rescue. Those who are in covenant with him and regret their wrong, when they speak to God, speak to their covenant Father and ‘’expect’’ to be forgiven and helped. You’d want your wayward child to come to you even if you see in the end for good reasons that you can’t change things for him.

Will God rescue you from your present trouble? Who can say? But you’ve been rescued before and know it (Psalm 124) but you may have been rescued repeatedly and didn’t know it or recognize it.  If things don’t change in that visible way we want them to change it won’t mean he’s holding a grudge or that he’s being the flinty “sin in—punishment out to the nth degree, come what may’’ type judge. He’s never that and he never was.

We want the pain gone, of course, but if we have a heart for him at all, it’s his good will we want and the marker that he’s taken us back to his heart is that easing of our pain and trouble. Some kids may not care what their fathers or mothers think about them so long as he/she bails them out of every jam they get themselves into. But kids with a heart want the good will and acceptance as well as the rescue that is an expression of the good will.

Still, they want the pain removed and however stupid they’ve been we feel their pain. All of these illustrations—true to life and even true to the life of God—deal with only one aspect of the father’s relationship to one child; his tenderness and affection. And here’s a truth we don’t always care to hear: he has a responsibility toward the child to help him grow in all the ways that would make him good for the family and whoever he works with. God has more than one child and they all have needs! That complicates things.


From Dave Miller, Ph.D. ... The Decline of Atheism




http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1725

The Decline of Atheism

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Among a growing number of philosophers, intellectuals, and scholars, atheism is in decline in the world. Two reasons have been posited for this circumstance: (1) atheism is losing its scientific underpinnings, and (2) like religion, atheism has produced its own share of lunatics, frauds, and psychopaths (Siemon-Netto, 2005). The former reason is no doubt spurred by the fact that the theory of evolution, as repeatedly documented in the work of Apologetics Press, continues to take a beating for its paltry attempts to coerce and bully students and society into accepting its assertions without adequate evidence.
Despite this seemingly encouraging revelation, in reality, people are not moving closer to New Testament Christianity. In fact, they are simply becoming more confused and more pluralistic. Their belief systems are degenerating into various forms of false spirituality and outright paganism—analogous to the raw forms of paganism described in the Old Testament, from animism and idolatry to ethical perversity and sexual immorality. How tragic that at the very time in history when the world is open to an alternative to unbelief, the United States of America is in the process of abandoning its own foundational underpinnings as articulated by its Founders: the God of the Bible and the one true religion of Christianity. Nevertheless, the Bible provides the only rational, authentic explanation for the meaning of human existence. Unlike atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, the Christian religion constitutes the only accurate barometer of spiritual reality and the only means of preparation for the afterlife. The Bible merits honest and serious evaluation by every person. It is not enough to be religious—one must be religiously right.

REFERENCE

Siemon-Netto, Uwe (2005), “Science, ‘Frauds’ Trigger a Decline in Atheism,” Washington Times, March 4, [On-line], URL: http://www.washtimes.com/world/20050303-115733-9519r.htm.

From Mark Copeland... "What Hinders Me From Being Baptized?" (Acts 8:36)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

            "What Hinders Me From Being Baptized?" (8:36)

INTRODUCTION

1. With the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, we have an example of 
   conversion involving one...
   a. Who was very religious, yet still lost - Ac 8:27-28
   b. Who was willing to learn, open to being taught - Ac 8:29-34
   c. To whom Philip preached Jesus - Ac 8:35
   d. Who then immediately requested and received baptism - Ac 8:36-38

2. His inquiry, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being 
   baptized?" is enlightening...
   a. It reveals that baptism in water was integral to preaching Christ 
      - Ac 8:35-36
   b. Indeed it was commanded by Christ Himself - Mk 16:15-16
   c. His apostles commanded it as well - cf. Ac 2:38; 10:47-48

3. His inquiry also raises questions that we do well to ask...
   a. What does hinder one from being baptized?
   b. What should not hinder one from being baptized?

[In answer to such questions, let's first notice...]

I. WHAT DOES HINDER ONE

   A. LACK OF FAITH...
      1. Belief in Christ as a prerequisite is clearly stated by Philip
         - Ac 8:37
      2. Jesus also stressed the necessity of faith - Mk 16:16; cf. Jn 8:24
      -- If one does not believe, or is incapable of belief, then that 
         hinders baptism

   B. LACK OF REPENTANCE...
      1. Repentance as a prerequisite to baptism is implied by Peter - Ac 2:36-38
      2. It is clearly a prerequisite to having one's sins "blotted out"
         - Ac 3:19
      -- If one does not repent, or is incapable of repentance, then that
         hinders baptism

   C. LACK OF WATER...
      1. We are talking about baptism in water - Ac 8:36; 10:47
      2. A baptism that "washes away sin", because it is a burial with 
         Christ - Ac 22:16; Ro 6:3-4
      -- If there is no water, then that hinders baptism

[Of course, lack of water is rarely the issue.  God has made water 
plentiful.  It is the lack of faith or repentance that is really the only
thing that hinders one from being baptized.  Yet people often allow
things they should not to keep themselves from being baptized.  Let's now
examine...]

II. WHAT SHOULD NOT HINDER ONE

   A. PRIDE...
      1. Some are too proud to admit they need forgiveness for their sins
      2. Some are too proud to acknowledge they are mistaken about their
         need for baptism
      3. Such pride will keep God away - cf. Ps 138:6; Jm 4:6
      -- Pride should never hinder one from being baptized

   B. FAMILY...
      1. Some are concerned what their family will think
      2. Perhaps they are afraid of being disowned by their family
      3. Jesus made clear that family should not prevent us from doing 
         His will - Mt 10:37-38
      -- Family should never hinder one from being baptized

   C. PEER PRESSURE...
      1. Some are afraid of being ridiculed or ostracized by their 
         friends
      2. It was peer pressure that kept some from confessing Jesus - cf.
         Jn 12:42-43
      3. Jesus made it clear that what others think should not sway us 
         - cf. Lk 9:26
      -- Peer pressure should never hinder one from being baptized

   D. IMPROPER MISUNDERSTANDING...
      1. Some believe they do not know enough to be baptized
         a. They presume that one must know everything the Bible teaches
         b. Yet like the eunuch, most conversions in the NT occurred 
            after one sermon
         c. Jesus stated that much teaching follows, not precedes, 
            baptism - Mt 28:19-20
         d. If one is a penitent believer, willing to follow Jesus as 
            Lord, they are ready
      2. Some believe they are not good enough to be baptized
         a. They presume that they must reform themselves first
         b. But baptism is for sinners, not saints
         c. Much spiritual development occurs after salvation, not before
            - cf. Col 3:1-14
         d. If one has repented (changed their mind to serve God), they 
            are ready
      -- Improper misunderstanding should never hinder one from being
         baptized

   E. LOCATION, TIME OF DAY OR NIGHT...
      1. Some may think baptism can occur only at certain times
      2. As in response to the invitation at the end of a sermon, or at a
         special baptismal service
      3. The eunuch's baptism illustrates it can be done anywhere, 
         anytime - Ac 8:38
      4. Likewise the baptisms of the Philippian jailor and his family 
         - Ac 16:25-33
      -- The time or place should never hinder one from being baptized

CONCLUSION

1. After the eunuch was baptized, he went on his way rejoicing - Ac 8:39
   a. He believed that Jesus was the Christ, who died for his sins
   b. He confessed his faith in Jesus as the Christ
   c. Though not mentioned, we can assume that he repented of his sins

2. If you desire the same assurance of salvation the eunuch enjoyed...
   a. Then let nothing hinder you from obeying the gospel in the same 
      manner
   b. Be baptized as soon as possible, upon the confession of your faith
      in Jesus

   "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away
   your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." - Ac 22:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading May 22

Bible Reading  

May 22

The World English Bible

May 22
Judges 1, 2

Jdg 1:1 It happened after the death of Joshua, the children of Israel asked of Yahweh, saying, Who shall go up for us first against the Canaanites, to fight against them?
Jdg 1:2 Yahweh said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
Jdg 1:3 Judah said to Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with you into your lot. So Simeon went with him.
Jdg 1:4 Judah went up; and Yahweh delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they struck of them in Bezek ten thousand men.
Jdg 1:5 They found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek; and they fought against him, and they struck the Canaanites and the Perizzites.
Jdg 1:6 But Adoni-Bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.
Jdg 1:7 Adoni-Bezek said, "Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I have done, so God has requited me." They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
Jdg 1:8 The children of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.
Jdg 1:9 Afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, and in the South, and in the lowland.
Jdg 1:10 Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron before was Kiriath Arba); and they struck Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
Jdg 1:11 From there he went against the inhabitants of Debir. (Now the name of Debir before was Kiriath Sepher.)
Jdg 1:12 Caleb said, He who strikes Kiriath Sepher, and takes it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife.
Jdg 1:13 Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife.
Jdg 1:14 It happened, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she alighted from off her donkey; and Caleb said to her, What would you like?
Jdg 1:15 She said to him, Give me a blessing; for that you have set me in the land of the South, give me also springs of water. Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
Jdg 1:16 The children of the Kenite, Moses' brother-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which is in the south of Arad; and they went and lived with the people.
Jdg 1:17 Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. The name of the city was called Hormah.
Jdg 1:18 Also Judah took Gaza with its border, and Ashkelon with its border, and Ekron with its border.
Jdg 1:19 Yahweh was with Judah; and drove out the inhabitants of the hill country; for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
Jdg 1:20 They gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had spoken: and he drove out there the three sons of Anak.
Jdg 1:21 The children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
Jdg 1:22 The house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel; and Yahweh was with them.
Jdg 1:23 The house of Joseph sent to spy out Bethel. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.)
Jdg 1:24 The watchers saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said to him, Show us, we pray you, the entrance into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.
Jdg 1:25 He showed them the entrance into the city; and they struck the city with the edge of the sword; but they let the man go and all his family.
Jdg 1:26 The man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called its name Luz, which is its name to this day.
Jdg 1:27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its towns, nor of Taanach and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
Jdg 1:28 It happened, when Israel had grown strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, and did not utterly drive them out.
Jdg 1:29 Ephraim didn't drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer; but the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.
Jdg 1:30 Zebulun didn't drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites lived among them, and became subject to forced labor.
Jdg 1:31 Asher didn't drive out the inhabitants of Acco, nor the inhabitants of Sidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob;
Jdg 1:32 but the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.
Jdg 1:33 Naphtali didn't drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth Anath; but he lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and of Beth Anath became subject to forced labor.
Jdg 1:34 The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the hill country; for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;
Jdg 1:35 but the Amorites would dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became subject to forced labor.
Jdg 1:36 The border of the Amorites was from the ascent of Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.
Jdg 2:1 The angel of Yahweh came up from Gilgal to Bochim. He said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you to the land which I swore to your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you:
Jdg 2:2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars. But you have not listened to my voice: why have you done this?
Jdg 2:3 Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.
Jdg 2:4 It happened, when the angel of Yahweh spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
Jdg 2:5 They called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there to Yahweh.
Jdg 2:6 Now when Joshua had sent the people away, the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance to possess the land.
Jdg 2:7 The people served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of Yahweh that he had worked for Israel.
Jdg 2:8 Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died, being one hundred ten years old.
Jdg 2:9 They buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath Heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash.
Jdg 2:10 Also all that generation were gathered to their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, who didn't know Yahweh, nor yet the work which he had worked for Israel.
Jdg 2:11 The children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and served the Baals;
Jdg 2:12 and they forsook Yahweh, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them: and they provoked Yahweh to anger.
Jdg 2:13 They forsook Yahweh, and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.
Jdg 2:14 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers who despoiled them; and he sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
Jdg 2:15 Wherever they went out, the hand of Yahweh was against them for evil, as Yahweh had spoken, and as Yahweh had sworn to them: and they were sore distressed.
Jdg 2:16 Yahweh raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who despoiled them.
Jdg 2:17 Yet they didn't listen to their judges; for they played the prostitute after other gods, and bowed themselves down to them: they turned aside quickly out of the way in which their fathers walked, obeying the commandments of Yahweh; but they didn't do so.
Jdg 2:18 When Yahweh raised them up judges, then Yahweh was with the judge, and saved them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it grieved Yahweh because of their groaning by reason of those who oppressed them and troubled them.
Jdg 2:19 But it happened, when the judge was dead, that they turned back, and dealt more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down to them; they didn't cease from their doings, nor from their stubborn way.
Jdg 2:20 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel; and he said, Because this nation have transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not listened to my voice;
Jdg 2:21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations that Joshua left when he died;
Jdg 2:22 that by them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of Yahweh to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
Jdg 2:23 So Yahweh left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

 
May 22, 23
John 4

Joh 4:1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
Joh 4:2 (although Jesus himself didn't baptize, but his disciples),
Joh 4:3 he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.
Joh 4:4 He needed to pass through Samaria.
Joh 4:5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph.
Joh 4:6 Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Joh 4:7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."
Joh 4:8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
Joh 4:9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, "How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Joh 4:10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
Joh 4:11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water?
Joh 4:12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?"
Joh 4:13 Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again,
Joh 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
Joh 4:15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I don't get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw."
Joh 4:16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
Joh 4:17 The woman answered, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You said well, 'I have no husband,'
Joh 4:18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly."
Joh 4:19 The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
Joh 4:20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship."
Joh 4:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father.
Joh 4:22 You worship that which you don't know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews.
Joh 4:23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers.
Joh 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
Joh 4:25 The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah comes," (he who is called Christ). "When he has come, he will declare to us all things."
Joh 4:26 Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who speaks to you."
Joh 4:27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, "What are you looking for?" or, "Why do you speak with her?"
Joh 4:28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people,
Joh 4:29 "Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?"
Joh 4:30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him.
Joh 4:31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."
Joh 4:32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you don't know about."
Joh 4:33 The disciples therefore said one to another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?"
Joh 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.
Joh 4:35 Don't you say, 'There are yet four months until the harvest?' Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already.
Joh 4:36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
Joh 4:37 For in this the saying is true, 'One sows, and another reaps.'
Joh 4:38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven't labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."
Joh 4:39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, "He told me everything that I did."
Joh 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days.
Joh 4:41 Many more believed because of his word.
Joh 4:42 They said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
Joh 4:43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee.
Joh 4:44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
Joh 4:45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast.
Joh 4:46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.
Joh 4:47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
Joh 4:48 Jesus therefore said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe."
Joh 4:49 The nobleman said to him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Joh 4:50 Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your son lives." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.
Joh 4:51 As he was now going down, his servants met him and reported, saying "Your child lives!"
Joh 4:52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him."
Joh 4:53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." He believed, as did his whole house.
Joh 4:54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.



From Gary... I want the ability to...

Since I was a pre-teen, I have loved Science Fiction.  It has provided a marvellous escape for me and allowed me to imagine the possibility of the impossible. I have enjoyed doing this because it provided a "way out" of my troubles and gave me encouragement when the problems of life seemed insurmountable. Imagine, then, what power you would choose if the above picture were really an option. Which one would you pick- and WHY? Before we talk about this a bit more, please consider a passage from the book of Genesis; listed below...

Genesis, Chapter 3 (NASB)
Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
Gen 3:2  The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
Gen 3:3  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"
Gen 3:4  The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!
Gen 3:5  "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Gen 3:6  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Gen 3:7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Gen 3:8  They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Gen 3:9  Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"
Gen 3:10  He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."
Gen 3:11  And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
Gen 3:12  The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."
Gen 3:13  Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Gen 3:14  The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
Satan planted an idea into the mind of Eve: God is withholding power from you (and it is very good to have power!!!)  She used her reason and determined Satan was right and God was wrong in giving her limits. And then she disobeyed, and not only that, she led her husband into disobedience as well.  This led to separation from God and a world of troubles that continues to this very day.

Ask yourself this: If GOD is who he says he is, than why would he create me without all the power I would ever need? Would having a "superpower" make me any better, any more holy? I think we can easily see from the "superpowers" of villains in the comics, that it would NOT!!!  So, for me, the answer would be NO to any or all of them, because at this stage in my life, I am learning to trust God MORE and myself LESS!!!!  How about you?