From Jim McGuiggan... Christian advantage? (2)

Christian advantage? (2)

Let me sharpen the point I made in the first piece. When I was young I believed that on becoming a Christian my inner world would be transformed and I would no longer wish to sin because I was “a new creation” in Christ and I was “dead to sin” because I was in Christ. All this I was taught and believed on the basis of texts like 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 6:2-7 and on the truth that it was Christ himself who now lived in me and not me (Galatians 2:20). All these texts speak the truth, of course, but they were interpreted as a description of the Christian’s inner moral world (though some claimed there was a “second blessing” we were to seek and that was complete inner transformation).

What troubled me then and what troubles me still (though now for different reasons) is the moral uprightness of millions of non-Christians and the not much better (if at all) moral behavior of millions who truly believe in Jesus.

There are some among us whose lives before becoming Christians were a sink of wickedness; we practiced it and enjoyed the practice. You find us described in Ephesians 2:1-3 and Romans 1:18-32. But while that’s true of us, it isn’t true of everyone. It’s true of every accountable being that they have sinned—there are no exceptions (Romans 3:23) but it isn’t true that everyone outside of Israel or outside of Jesus Christ was a decadent who plunged into evil with delight and fervor. Having described the Gentile world in Romans 1:18-32 in the gloomiest terms possible Paul then said that there were, however, Gentiles who patiently continued in well-doing and that they lived out the things the Jewish Torah called for (Romans 2:6-8, 14-15). [NT Wright holds that the Gentiles in those verses speaks of Gentile Christians. He may be right but I strongly doubt it.] We find people like Cornelius who were not yet in Christ and were not part of the Jewish Covenant but whose conduct had God’s pleased approval (Acts 10).

We’ve all come across people who make no profession of Jesus, who attend no church but whose moral lives are exemplary. Haven’t we all complained against church members that they aren’t as forgiving as many non-Christians we know? Jesus’ question, “What do you do more than others?” could easily have been, “Why don’t you do as much as others?” We’ve all known people who before they came to Christ were models of warm uprightness and integrity; people who forgave quickly, held no grudges, paid their debts cheerfully, worked honestly, loved their families devotedly and in every way showed themselves kind and courageous. They were that way before they came to Christ! How do we explain that? [If you’re a consistent Calvinist as one popular writer is you not only deny that these people do good; you insist that literally everything they do is sinful and morally filthy—quoting texts like Isaiah 64:6 as if Isaiah’s agenda was the same as his. Ignore all that!]

So here’s the non-Christian whose life is exemplary and here is mine in Christ and his moral behavior is better than mine? I have the Holy Spirit, who indwells the Church of God, the non-Christian doesn’t, and yet my life is littered with moral failures while the non-Christian’s is lovely to behold. How is it that he without the Holy Spirit is a morally better man than I am though I have the empowering Spirit—how do you explain that?

Our options

We might say, as I have heard said, that all the goodness we see in humans is counterfeit unless it is the goodness we see in Christians? Swallow that if you wish but I’m a Christian and even I feel offended for non-Christians. My neighbor, Martin’s, love for his children is fake and mine is real because I’m a Christian and he isn’t? My honesty in paying my debts is real but Neal’s isn’t because he isn’t a Christian?

Should we say that some satanic or demonic power enables them to live in such a lovely way? Not only do millions of non-Christians not have affairs, it never enters their minds to do so. Should we credit that warm integrity, coupled with the moral sense that they should not—should we credit that to satanic sources?

We should credit all this moral loveliness to God! Paul says that God gives the entire human family life and “everything else” so that it might seek after him and find him though he isn’t far from any of us (Acts 17:24-27). The non-Christian is aided by God in all the many ways that truth is transported throughout the ages and in all the many ways that character is shaped.

Add to that a comparison between a fine, upright non-Christian and the not uncommon Christian who despite having the indwelling Holy Spirit is often mean or bitter or vindictive or smug or heartless in his/her moral weakness and where are we? I know there are millions of non-Christians who are wicked and insolent and abusive—there’s no dispute that they exist but we’re not to allow these to mask the truth that there are non-Christians whose lives are the moral equal (at least) of the lives of “the average” Christian.
Why are we Christians, as far as we can tell, not light years ahead of the host of non-Christians we know of? Why not if we have the indwelling Holy Spirit that gives us the power to defeat temptation and they don’t?

Write me and explain that.

From Jeff Miller, Ph.D. ... The Complexity of the Design Process


The Complexity of the Design Process

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Typically, in the first semester of engineering school, an introductory course presents broad concepts about engineering. Students may learn the basic differences in the engineering fields (e.g., civil, electrical, mechanical, chemical, structural, etc.). They may spend some time considering ethical dilemmas that engineers have often faced in their careers. First-year students also usually give some consideration to the design process. Even in its basic form, the design process proves to be very complex, even before considering the specialized scientific knowledge required to design a given item.
Many steps are necessary in order to get a product to the public. Consider one introductory engineering textbook’s template for the design process (see Introduction to Engineering..., 2004, pp. 10,32):
  1. Problem symptom or expression; definition of product need; marketing information
  2. Problem definition, including statement of desired outcome
  3. Conceptual design and evaluation; feasibility study
  4. Design analysis; codes/standards review; physical and analytical models
  5. Synthesis of alternative solutions (back to design analysis for iterations)
  6. Decision (selection of one alternative)
  7. Prototype production; testing and evaluation (back to design analysis for more iterations)
  8. Production drawings; instruction manuals
  9. Material specification; process and equipment selection; safety review
  10. Pilot production
  11. Production
  12. Inspection and quality assurance
  13. Packaging; marketing and sales literature
  14. Product
The design process is unquestionably lengthy, technical, complex, and calculated.
Now consider the Universe. Consider the perfect interaction between all entities in this Universe: between plants and animals; between animals and humans; between the Sun and Earth; between the Moon and Earth; between insects and plants; between the circulatory system and the respiratory system. The list could go on infinitely. The finely-tuned machine that we call the Universe is an engineering feat of amazing proportions. Consider the knowledge level and expertise that would be necessary for such perfect design—knowledge and expertise that humans lack. The created order implies an omniscient and eternal Designer, Who must be the Chief Engineer of all engineers, to have produced such a product.
Will a series of random accidents over millions of years result in sophisticated photographic equipment? And then, if given enough time, will that camera eventually spontaneously come to life? And then, given enough additional time, will that living camera grow legs and start walking around? The first step is impossible, much less the subsequent steps. The complexity and design inherent in the camera demands more than mere happen-stance. However, turning to the design that the camera emulates, the human eye, scientists assert that the eye could have just happened on its own by accident. But that viewpoint is incorrect. Both products required design in order to get them to the “consumer”—and one took much more knowledge and insight than the other.
If someone were to throw a rock into space, would it eventually spontaneously explode? And from that explosion, is it logical to conclude that that rock would come to life, grow wings, and have babies that evolve into other creatures? To ask is to answer.
Scientists recognize the complexity of the design process. However, when they peer into the amazing Universe, many of these scientists abandon logic and reason, and assert that it all just happened by accident. Many of the engineering feats of the creation are unparalleled by human designs and always will be, even if we spent countless hours, millions of dollars, and used a multitude of engineers. Evolutionists believe that this Universe, which is infinitely more complex and sophisticated than anything humans could ever design, especially without engaging in biomimicry, just happened on its own? Go figure.


Introduction to Engineering at Auburn University: Manufacturing—Industrial and Systems Engineering (2004), (Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing).

From Mark Copeland... The Way (Acts 9:2)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                            The Way (9:2)


1. Today it is common to use terms referring to the people of God such
   a. The church of Christ, the church of God - Ro 16:16; 1Co 1:2
   b. The body of Christ, the kingdom of Christ - Ep 1:22,23; Col 1:13
   c. The temple of God, the bride of Christ - 1Co 3:16; Re 19:7-8

2. In the early days of the church, they were also known as people of
   "The Way"...
   a. Saul of Tarsus persecuted those of "the Way" - Ac 9:2; 22:4
   b. Others spoke evil of "the Way" - Ac 19:9
   c. At Ephesus there was a riot about "the Way" - Ac 19:23
   d. Paul confessed to worship God according to "the Way" - Ac 24:14
   e. Felix the governor gained accurate knowledge about "the Way" Ac 24:22

[Today the expression "The Way" is rarely used, except by parachurch
organizations, individual congregations, and even some cult groups.  But
what did it mean in the early days of the church...?]


      1. Jesus taught about two ways - Mt 7:13-14
         a. The broad way that leads to destruction
         b. The narrow way that leads to life
      2. Jesus claimed to be the way - Jn 14:6
         a. The way to truth and life
         b. The only way to the Father
      -- It is likely that Jesus' statements led to the use of "The Way"

      1. Simon J. Kistemaker (BNTC) suggests it refers to:
         a. The teaching of the gospel
         b. The Christian's conduct directed and guided by the gospel
         c. The Christian community in general
      2. W. A. Ewell (ECB) suggests it connotes something of:
         a. The way of salvation - Ac 16:17
         b. The true way of God - Ac 18:25-26
      3. J. B. Polhill (NAC) suggests it reflect an early 
         self-designation of the Jewish Christian community in which they
         saw themselves as the "true way" within the larger Jewish 
         community - cf. Ac 24:14
      -- It likely referred to following Jesus as "the Way" in both
         doctrine and life

[Here are several things involved in following Jesus as "The Way" in
doctrine and life...]

      1. Jesus is the only way to God - Jn 14:6
      2. Through Jesus, both Jew and Gentile have access to the Father
         - Ep 2:18

      1. Jesus came to this world to bear witness to the truth - Jn 18:37
      2. He offers the truth that sets us free from the bondage of sin
         - Jn 8:32-36

      1. Jesus came that we might life more abundantly - Jn 10:10
      2. He offers life beyond this life - Jn 11:25

      1. Jesus taught His disciples to love one another - Jn 13:34
      2. He even taught them to love their enemies - Mt 5:43-45

      1. Jesus spoke in order that His disciples' joy might be full 
         - Jn 15:11
      2. He did so that they might have His joy fulfilled in themselves
         - Jn 17:13

      1. Jesus offered a peace unlike any the world could give - Jn 14:27
      2. A peace that overcomes tribulation in the world - Jn 16:33

      1. Jesus prayed for unity among those who believe in Him - Jn 17:20-23
      2. He died on the cross to reconcile Jew and Gentile - Ep 2:11-17

      1. Jesus taught us how to pray, diligently and humbly - Lk 11:1-13;
      2. He serves as High Priest and Advocate as we pray - He 4:14-16;
         1Jn 2:1

      1. Jesus taught the importance of forgiving others - Mt 6:12,14-15
      2. He demonstrated the attitude of forgiveness on the cross - Lk 23:34

      1. Jesus taught the necessity of bearing fruit to being His
         disciples - Jn 15:1-2,8
      2. Abiding in Him is the key to bearing fruit - Jn 15:4-5

      1. Jesus came to serve, and taught His disciples to do likewise 
         - Mt 20:25-28; Jn 13:12-17
      2. Therefore His followers are to serve one another in love - Ga 5:13; 1Pe 4:9

      1. Jesus had to suffer to enter His glory - Lk 24:25-26
      2. He calls us to follow in His steps, if need be - 1Pe 2:20-23

      1. Jesus will one day be revealed in glory - 2Th 1:10
      2. We too shall be revealed in glory in Him! - 2Th 1:12; Col 3:4


1. We may or may not refer to ourselves as people of "The Way"...
   a. Other designations are just as scriptural
   b. In some circumstances it could be misunderstood as a cult

2. But we should never stop thinking of Jesus as "The Way"...
   a. To God, truth, life, and glory
   b. To love, joy, peace, and unity
   c. To prayer, forgiveness, bearing fruit
   d. To service, and suffering for righteousness' sake

Have you accepted Jesus as your Way to salvation and eternal life?  Are
you willing to become His disciple and learn from Him...?

   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
   gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." - Mt 11:28-30

   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been
   given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples
   of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
   the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things
   that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
   end of the age." Amen. - Mt 28:18-20

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading May 24

Bible Reading  

May 24

The World English Bible

May 24
Judges 5, 6

Jdg 5:1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
Jdg 5:2 Because the leaders took the lead in Israel, because the people offered themselves willingly, be blessed, Yahweh!
Jdg 5:3 Hear, you kings! Give ear, you princes! I, even I, will sing to Yahweh. I will sing praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jdg 5:4 Yahweh, when you went forth out of Seir, when you marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the sky also dropped. Yes, the clouds dropped water.
Jdg 5:5 The mountains quaked at the presence of Yahweh, even Sinai, at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jdg 5:6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied. The travelers walked through byways.
Jdg 5:7 The rulers ceased in Israel. They ceased until I, Deborah, arose; Until I arose a mother in Israel.
Jdg 5:8 They chose new gods. Then war was in the gates. Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
Jdg 5:9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless Yahweh!
Jdg 5:10 Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets, and you who walk by the way.
Jdg 5:11 Far from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water, there they will rehearse the righteous acts of Yahweh, Even the righteous acts of his rule in Israel. Then the people of Yahweh went down to the gates.
Jdg 5:12 Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.
Jdg 5:13 Then a remnant of the nobles and the people came down. Yahweh came down for me against the mighty.
Jdg 5:14 Those whose root is in Amalek came out of Ephraim, after you, Benjamin, among your peoples. Governors come down out of Machir. Those who handle the marshal's staff came out of Zebulun.
Jdg 5:15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah. As was Issachar, so was Barak. They rushed into the valley at his feet. By the watercourses of Reuben, there were great resolves of heart.
Jdg 5:16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the whistling for the flocks? At the watercourses of Reuben There were great searchings of heart.
Jdg 5:17 Gilead lived beyond the Jordan. Why did Dan remain in ships? Asher sat still at the haven of the sea, and lived by his creeks.
Jdg 5:18 Zebulun was a people that jeopardized their lives to the deaths; Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
Jdg 5:19 The kings came and fought, then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. They took no plunder of silver.
Jdg 5:20 From the sky the stars fought. From their courses, they fought against Sisera.
Jdg 5:21 The river Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. My soul, march on with strength.
Jdg 5:22 Then the horse hoofs stamped because of the prancings, the prancings of their strong ones.
Jdg 5:23 Curse Meroz, said the angel of Yahweh. Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they didn't come to help Yahweh, to help Yahweh against the mighty.
Jdg 5:24 Jael shall be blessed above women, the wife of Heber the Kenite; blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
Jdg 5:25 He asked for water. She gave him milk. She brought him butter in a lordly dish.
Jdg 5:26 She put her hand to the tent peg, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer. With the hammer she struck Sisera. She struck through his head. Yes, she pierced and struck through his temples.
Jdg 5:27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay. At her feet he bowed, he fell. Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
Jdg 5:28 Through the window she looked out, and cried: Sisera's mother looked through the lattice. Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots wait?
Jdg 5:29 Her wise ladies answered her, Yes, she returned answer to herself,
Jdg 5:30 Have they not found, have they not divided the spoil? A lady, two ladies to every man; to Sisera a spoil of dyed garments, A spoil of dyed garments embroidered, Of dyed garments embroidered on both sides, on the necks of the spoil?
Jdg 5:31 So let all your enemies perish, Yahweh, but let those who love him be as the sun when it rises forth in its strength. The land had rest forty years.
Jdg 6:1 The children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: and Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
Jdg 6:2 The hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds.
Jdg 6:3 So it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them;
Jdg 6:4 and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, until you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey.
Jdg 6:5 For they came up with their livestock and their tents; they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it.
Jdg 6:6 Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried to Yahweh.
Jdg 6:7 It happened, when the children of Israel cried to Yahweh because of Midian,
Jdg 6:8 that Yahweh sent a prophet to the children of Israel: and he said to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
Jdg 6:9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land;
Jdg 6:10 and I said to you, I am Yahweh your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But you have not listened to my voice.
Jdg 6:11 The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
Jdg 6:12 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him, and said to him, Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor.
Jdg 6:13 Gideon said to him, Oh, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt? but now Yahweh has cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.
Jdg 6:14 Yahweh looked at him, and said, Go in this your might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent you?
Jdg 6:15 He said to him, Oh, Lord, with which shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
Jdg 6:16 Yahweh said to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.
Jdg 6:17 He said to him, If now I have found favor in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who talk with me.
Jdg 6:18 Please don't go away, until I come to you, and bring out my present, and lay it before you. He said, I will wait until you come again.
Jdg 6:19 Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it.
Jdg 6:20 The angel of God said to him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth. He did so.
Jdg 6:21 Then the angel of Yahweh put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Yahweh departed out of his sight.
Jdg 6:22 Gideon saw that he was the angel of Yahweh; and Gideon said, Alas, Lord Yahweh! because I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face.
Jdg 6:23 Yahweh said to him, Peace be to you; don't be afraid: you shall not die.
Jdg 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh, and called it Yahweh is Peace: to this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Jdg 6:25 It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, Take your father's bull, even the second bull seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is by it;
Jdg 6:26 and build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.
Jdg 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Yahweh had spoken to him: and it happened, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
Jdg 6:28 When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was by it, and the second bull was offered on the altar that was built.
Jdg 6:29 They said one to another, Who has done this thing? When they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.
Jdg 6:30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the Asherah that was by it.
Jdg 6:31 Joash said to all who stood against him, Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? he who will contend for him, let him be put to death while it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him contend for himself, because one has broken down his altar.
Jdg 6:32 Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal contend against him, because he has broken down his altar.
Jdg 6:33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel.
Jdg 6:34 But the Spirit of Yahweh came on Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered together after him.
Jdg 6:35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him: and he sent messengers to Asher, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
Jdg 6:36 Gideon said to God, If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken,
Jdg 6:37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.
Jdg 6:38 It was so; for he rose up early on the next day, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39 Gideon said to God, Don't let your anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: Please let me make a trial just this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.
Jdg 6:40 God did so that night: for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. 
May 24, 25
John 5

Joh 5:1 After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Joh 5:2 Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.
Joh 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water;
Joh 5:4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had.
Joh 5:5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years.
Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to be made well?"
Joh 5:7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I'm coming, another steps down before me."
Joh 5:8 Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your mat, and walk."
Joh 5:9 Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.
Joh 5:10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat."
Joh 5:11 He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.' "
Joh 5:12 Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk' ?"
Joh 5:13 But he who was healed didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place.
Joh 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you."
Joh 5:15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Joh 5:16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.
Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too."
Joh 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Joh 5:19 Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.
Joh 5:20 For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Joh 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,
Joh 5:23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him.
Joh 5:24 "Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Joh 5:25 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live.
Joh 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.
Joh 5:27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.
Joh 5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
Joh 5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.
Joh 5:31 "If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid.
Joh 5:32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true.
Joh 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.
Joh 5:34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved.
Joh 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
Joh 5:36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me.
Joh 5:37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.
Joh 5:38 You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe him whom he sent.
Joh 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.
Joh 5:40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life.
Joh 5:41 I don't receive glory from men.
Joh 5:42 But I know you, that you don't have God's love in yourselves.
Joh 5:43 I have come in my Father's name, and you don't receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
Joh 5:44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don't seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Joh 5:45 "Don't think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
Joh 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me.
Joh 5:47 But if you don't believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

From Gary... Fire and Ice

Today, I saw this beautiful picture on NASA's picture of the day site. And although I have seen "fire rainbows" before, a horizontal one like this is quite unusual. 

The site says:
 Explanation: Why would clouds appear to be different colors? The reason here is that ice crystals in distant cirrus clouds are acting like little floating prisms. Sometimes known as a fire rainbow for its flame-like appearance, a circumhorizon arc lies parallel to the horizon. For a circumhorizontal arc to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in a sky where cirrus clouds are present. Furthermore, the numerous, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight in a collectively similar manner. Therefore, circumhorizontal arcs are quite unusual to see. This circumhorizon display was photographed through a polarized lens above Dublin, Ohio in 2009.

So, we have a phenomenon that looks like fire, but is really ice. Sometimes, it takes a contrast like this to get our attention, as is the case in the following passage of Scripture...

Revelation, Chapter 3
Rev 3:14  "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
Rev 3:15  'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
Rev 3:16  'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
Rev 3:17  'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
Rev 3:18  I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
Rev 3:19  'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
Rev 3:20  'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Rev 3:21  'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Rev 3:22  'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

The United States of America is a very rich nation; even the poor here tend to become obese. Many in our nation no longer feel the need to seek out God because they seem to have everything they "need".  How sad!!!  The message to the church in Laodicea is a message for America and the sooner we heed it, the better!!!  Repent and return to the God of your youth, America; before it is too late!!!!