6/21/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Samson and Agonistes


Samson and Agonistes

I don’t know how to express the balance and I certainly haven’t found it in practice. I think the difficulty is real and enduring because the situation is complex. Despite the claims of the gurus and popular writers some things just aren’t easy to unravel! [Don’t you get sick of the endless river of advice books that are a mile wide and an inch deep?]

How much time should I spend mulling over my sins? How much time should I spend mulling over and lamenting my sinfulness? If we take Paul’s advice and forget the things that are behind will we too quickly rise from our mourning and too cheerfully press on? If we spend too much time in the last half of Romans 7 (I’m not pretending to give what I think is its thrust) will we be too introspective? There’s David who inwardly grinds his bones over his sin and irritable Job who wants to know why God would make such a big deal over his sin (presuming, in the first place, that he had done something wrong)—which of these two has the right stress?

In Milton’s Samson & Agonistes the fallen man is approached by his father Manoah who tells Samson that he is trying to negotiate his freedom. Samson will have none of it because he brought all his trouble on himself and deserves what he is getting—his mind is on his terrible wrongs. His father thinks the sinner has his blind eyes too much on himself (the offender) and how bad he is, rather than on the God he has offended. Might Samson now be guilty of the sin of pride by being,
               Over-just and self-displeased
               For self-offence more than for God offended.

Was he being too just in refusing to accept forgiveness? Was he more offended at himself than he was offended for God? There’s something too holy about a man (or woman) that keeps insisting that he can’t forgive himself. I wouldn’t presume to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but who do they think they are, God? Should we think that they see their sin more truly than the Holy Father sees it? Does their holiness surpass his so that somehow, while he might be willing to forgive, they think it unforgivable? Do we take it more seriously than God does? And even in relation to one another, when we have sinned against one another, is there not the temptation to choose to live without forgiveness rather that be under obligation to the generous grace of the one we’ve offended?

And—maybe I’m making too much out of all this—if we’re slow to humbly and gladly accept forgiveness are we not saying that we’re content to have the gulf between us? Does that not show that we think little of the relationship we will not have restored by forgiveness? If the one we’ve offended is willing, eager, anxious even, to have the matter dealt with and out of the way so that the relationship can deepen and purify what am I saying when I turn down the offer of free forgiveness?

Ah, yes, that may be the case in other situations, but my sin—it is special, not like the sin of others. It’s the worst possible and resists even the tenderest affection and the most generous heart.

Hmmm...maybe we need to take ourselves less seriously.

               Once in a saintly passion
               I cried in deepest grief.
               O God, my heart is filled with guile
               Of sinners I’m the chief.
               Then stood my guardian angel
               And whispered from behind,
               ‘Vanity, my little man,
               You’re nothing of the kind.’

But if they’re doing wrong who will not forgive themselves, what are they doing that bully people into thinking they’re unforgivable? That make it nearly impossible for self-scalded sinners to believe they should expect forgiveness? That make it excruciatingly difficult for sinners to ask for forgiveness?

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

by Paul A. Phillips, M.S. ... Robert G. Ingersoll: The Great Agnostic

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=603



 Robert G. Ingersoll: The Great Agnostic

by  Paul A. Phillips, M.S.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) was one of the most famous orators and agnostics of the latter nineteenth century in America, and his writings and speeches still are quoted today. Who was this self-proclaimed agnostic? What were the fundamentals of his beliefs?
Robert Ingersoll was the son of a circuit preacher. He was reared with his two brothers in a very strict home under stern parental discipline. While many blamed his agnosticism on this strict upbringing, Ingersoll himself denied it. He said that he did not remember when he believed the Bible and the doctrine of eternal punishment, but “I have a dim recollection of hating Jehovah when I was exceedingly small” (Farrell, 1900, 8:17).
Being the son of a minister, young Robert heard hundreds of sermons as he was growing up. At the age of seven, he heard the first sermon that would leave its mark on him. After preaching from the text of the rich man and Lazarus, the preacher concluded with the scene of the rich man in torment crying out to Father Abraham. Ingersoll said he “understood for the first time the dogma of eternal pain,” and concluded, “For me, on that day, the flames of hell were quenched” (Farrell, 4:16-17). The doctrine of eternal punishment was the catalyst that caused him to change his religious views, and it was the idea against which he fought so ardently the rest of his life.
Before Ingersoll achieved national prominence, he was known only in his state of Illinois as a politician, lawyer, and orator. Following two political defeats, and after serving briefly in the Civil War as a volunteer colonel in the Union Army, he left the political arena for several years. It was his dramatic “Plumed Knight” nominating speech for James Blaine as the Republican candidate for President in 1876 that thrust him into the national spotlight as a politician and orator.
Ingersoll did not believe the Bible to be of divine origin. He regarded the Bible in the same way he did all other ancient volumes—that is, he believed “there is some truth, a great deal of error, considerable barbarism and a most plentiful lack of good sense” (Farrell, 8:1). When asked if he kept a Bible at home, Ingersoll declared he did, and produced a leather-bound volume inscribed “The Inspired Book.” Upon opening, it was discovered to be Shakespeare. He then retrieved another volume and presented it as his family’s prayer book. It was a bound copy of works by the poet Robert Burns (Cramer, 1952, p. 28). This was all the religion Ingersoll wanted. Ingersoll had given up on the Old Testament because of its “mistakes, its absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty,” and he gave up the New because “it vouched for the truth of the Old” (Farrell, 4:36) and introduced the “frightful doctrine of eternal pain” (Farrell, 6:5,15).
To Ingersoll, any religion based on the Bible was fear (Farrell, 4:479-483). Real religion and real worship, he maintained, were manifested by doing useful things, increasing knowledge, and developing the brain. Science was the real redeemer and savior of the world, and the trinity he worshiped was reason, observation, and experience. When asked about the kind of God he espoused, he responded that the idea of an infinite Being outside nature was inconceivable. To Ingersoll, pantheism was the closest explanation for his doctrine (Farrell, 8:56-57). Matter, intelligence, and force were eternal, he said, and he knew of nothing outside nature.
Probably the most famous speech Ingersoll ever made was the oration at the funeral of his brother Ebon. Some have even thought that his deep sorrow revealed a change in his religious views, especially in the phrase, “In the night of death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing” (Farrell, 12:391). Responding to this, he said that he never willingly destroyed hope, not knowing whether man is immortal or not. Hope was not born of any religion or creed, he contended, but of human affection (Ingersoll, 1926, pp. 34-48). The necessity of death always was regrettable to Ingersoll, but it was not the cause for fear. At worst, he believed it was no more than a pleasant sleep, and at best it meant a future life with family and friends. He was certain there was no hell.
Robert Green Ingersoll, arguably one of the greatest orators this country ever produced—with his golden tongue and proficiency at persuasion—was also one of the greatest adversaries of God and Christianity in his time.

REFERENCES

Cramer, C.H. (1952), Royal Bob: The Life of Robert G. Ingersoll (New York: Bobbs-Merrill)
Farrell, Clinton P., ed. (1900), The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll (New York: C.P. Farrell).
Ingersoll, R.G. (1926), Complete Lectures of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll (Chicag, IL: Regan Publishing).
Lewis, Joseph (1983), Ingersoll the Magnificent (Austin, TX: American Atheist Press).



From Mark Copeland... Tumult In Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-10)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                   Tumult In Thessalonica (17:1-10)

INTRODUCTION

1. Following their release from prison in Philippi, Paul and Silas...
   a. Departed from the city and made their way through Amphipolis and
      Apollonia
   b. Arriving in Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews
      - Ac 17:1

2. Thessalonica as a city...
   a. Was named in 315 B.C. after the half-sister of Alexander the Great
   b. That served as the capital of Macedonia (northern Greece) after
      146 B.C.
   c. Along with Corinth, one of the two most important commercial
      centers in Greece
   -- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

3. Paul immediately found a synagogue of the Jews...
   a. As was his custom, to evangelize Jews - Ac 17:1-3; cf. Ac 9:20;
      13:5,14; 14:1; 19:8
   b. Where he was successful in persuading some, along with a great
      multitude of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women
      - Ac 17:4

[But as seen before (cf. Ac 13:45), Jews that were envious led a 
resistance against the efforts of Paul and Silas, resulting in an uproar
or tumult in the city...]

I. THE NATURE OF THE TUMULT

   A. INVOLVED EVIL MEN...
      1. Stirred up by unbelieving Jews 
      2. Who gathered evil men in the marketplace
      3. Creating a mob that set the city in an uproar
      4. Attacking the house of Jason (where Paul and Silas had been
         staying) - Ac 17:5,7

   B. LEADING TO JASON'S ARREST...
      1. The mob did not find Paul and Silas at Jason's house
      2. They dragged Jason and some of the brethren to the rulers
         (politarchs) of the city
      3. The charges that the mob made - Ac 17:6-7
         a. Paul and Silas:  "These who have turned the world upside down
            have come here too."
         b. Jason:  "Jason has harbored them"
         c. All of them:  "these are all acting contrary to the decrees
            of Caesar, saying there is another king--Jesus." - cf. Ac 16:21
      4. The crowd and the rulers (politarchs) were troubled by these
         charges - Ac 17:8
      5. Jason and the brethren with him were released - Ac 17:9
         a. Only after taking (money as) security from them
         b. Probably with the stipulation Paul and Silas leave town

[The brethren sent Paul and Silas to Berea by night (Ac 17:10).  One
might think such an inauspicious start bode ill for the gospel and the
church in Thessalonica.  Not so!  Within a year or so Paul wrote his
first epistle to the church at Thessalonica, where we can read about...]

II. THE EFFECT OF THE TUMULT

   A. PAUL'S INITIAL CONCERNS...
      1. He endeavored to see the Thessalonian brethren with great desire
         - 1Th 2:17
      2. He was hindered by Satan (the security imposed by the 
         government?) - 1Th 2:18
      3. He sent Timothy from Athens to establish and encourage them
         - 1Th 3:1-4
      4. He was concerned that his labor with might have been in vain
         - 1Th 3:5

   B. TIMOTHY'S ENCOURAGING REPORT...
      1. He brought Paul good news of their faith and love! - 1Th 3:6
      2. Their memory of him was good; they wanted to see him as well! 
         - 1Th 3:6
      3. Their faith comforted Paul in his own affliction and distress!
         - 1Th 3:7
      4. Their steadfastness in the faith gave Paul life and gratitude!
         - 1Th 3:8-10

   C. DESPITE THE TUMULT, THE CHURCH THRIVED...
      1. With work of faith, labor of love, patience of hope - 1Th 1:1-3
      2. With evidence of their election by God - 1Th 1:4
      3. Having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the
         Holy Spirit - 1Th 1:5-6
      4. Serving as examples to all believers in Macedonia, Achaia - 1Th 1:7
      5. Trumpeting the Word throughout Macedonia, Achaia, everywhere! 
         - 1Th 1:8
      6. Paul could not go somewhere without their reputation preceding
         him! - 1Th 1:9-10

CONCLUSION

1. As Paul relates in the second chapter of 1st Thessalonians...
   a. His coming to them had not been in vain - 1Th 2:1
   b. Despite his persecution in Philippi, the conflict in Thessalonica
      - 1Th 2:2

2. Why did the "Tumult In Thessalonica" fail to hinder the establishment
   of the church...?
   a. Because of Paul's conduct as a preacher of the Word - 1Th 2:3-12
   b. Because of the Thessalonians' reception of the Word despite
      persecution - 1Th 2:13-16

Wherever faithful gospel preachers proclaim the Word to people willing
to accept the Word of God, not even Satan with all his forces can
prevent the establishment and spread of the church of Christ...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

Acts 9:20 (NKJV)

20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

From Gary... Bible Reading June 21

Bible Reading  

June 21

The World English Bible
June 21
2 Samuel 4-6

2Sa 4:1 When Ishbosheth, Saul's son, heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled.
2Sa 4:2 Ishbosheth, Saul's son, had two men who were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin (for Beeroth also is reckoned to Benjamin:
2Sa 4:3 and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, and have lived as foreigners there until this day).
2Sa 4:4 Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son who was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the news came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel; and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
2Sa 4:5 The sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbosheth, as he took his rest at noon.
2Sa 4:6 They came there into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they struck him in the body: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.
2Sa 4:7 Now when they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they struck him, and killed him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night.
2Sa 4:8 They brought the head of Ishbosheth to David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold, the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; and Yahweh has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.
2Sa 4:9 David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, As Yahweh lives, who has redeemed my soul out of all adversity,
2Sa 4:10 when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good news, I took hold of him, and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news.
2Sa 4:11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?
2Sa 4:12 David commanded his young men, and they killed them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.
2Sa 5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David to Hebron, and spoke, saying, Behold, we are your bone and your flesh.
2Sa 5:2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel: and Yahweh said to you, You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.
2Sa 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before Yahweh: and they anointed David king over Israel.
2Sa 5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
2Sa 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.
2Sa 5:6 The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, Unless you take away the blind and the lame, you shall not come in here; thinking, David can't come in here.
2Sa 5:7 Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David.
2Sa 5:8 David said on that day, Whoever strikes the Jebusites, let him get up to the watercourse, and strike the lame and the blind, who are hated of David's soul. Therefore they say, There are the blind and the lame; he can't come into the house.
2Sa 5:9 David lived in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. David built around from Millo and inward.
2Sa 5:10 David grew greater and greater; for Yahweh, the God of Armies, was with him.
2Sa 5:11 Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons; and they built David a house.
2Sa 5:12 David perceived that Yahweh had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel's sake.
2Sa 5:13 David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron; and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
2Sa 5:14 These are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon,
2Sa 5:15 and Ibhar, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
2Sa 5:16 and Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet.
2Sa 5:17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the stronghold.
2Sa 5:18 Now the Philistines had come and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
2Sa 5:19 David inquired of Yahweh, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? will you deliver them into my hand? Yahweh said to David, Go up; for I will certainly deliver the Philistines into your hand.
2Sa 5:20 David came to Baal Perazim, and David struck them there; and he said, Yahweh has broken my enemies before me, like the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.
2Sa 5:21 They left their images there; and David and his men took them away.
2Sa 5:22 The Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
2Sa 5:23 When David inquired of Yahweh, he said, You shall not go up: make a circuit behind them, and come on them over against the mulberry trees.
2Sa 5:24 It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then you shall stir yourself up; for then Yahweh has gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.
2Sa 5:25 David did so, as Yahweh commanded him, and struck the Philistines from Geba until you come to Gezer.
2Sa 6:1 David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
2Sa 6:2 David arose, and went with all the people who were with him, from Baale Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, even the name of Yahweh of Armies who sits above the cherubim.
2Sa 6:3 They set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in the hill: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.
2Sa 6:4 They brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was in the hill, with the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
2Sa 6:5 David and all the house of Israel played before Yahweh with all manner of instruments made of fir wood, and with harps, and with stringed instruments, and with tambourines, and with castanets, and with cymbals.
2Sa 6:6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the cattle stumbled.
2Sa 6:7 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
2Sa 6:8 David was displeased, because Yahweh had broken forth on Uzzah; and he called that place Perez Uzzah, to this day.
2Sa 6:9 David was afraid of Yahweh that day; and he said, How shall the ark of Yahweh come to me?
2Sa 6:10 So David would not remove the ark of Yahweh to him into the city of David; but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
2Sa 6:11 The ark of Yahweh remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months: and Yahweh blessed Obed-Edom, and all his house.
2Sa 6:12 It was told king David, saying, Yahweh has blessed the house of Obed-Edom, and all that pertains to him, because of the ark of God. David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom into the city of David with joy.
2Sa 6:13 It was so, that, when those who bore the ark of Yahweh had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened calf.
2Sa 6:14 David danced before Yahweh with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
2Sa 6:15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of Yahweh with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
2Sa 6:16 It was so, as the ark of Yahweh came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before Yahweh; and she despised him in her heart.
2Sa 6:17 They brought in the ark of Yahweh, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yahweh.
2Sa 6:18 When David had made an end of offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh of Armies.
2Sa 6:19 He dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, both to men and women, to everyone a cake of bread, and a portion of flesh, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed everyone to his house.
2Sa 6:20 Then David returned to bless his household. Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!
2Sa 6:21 David said to Michal, It was before Yahweh, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of Yahweh, over Israel: therefore will I play before Yahweh.
2Sa 6:22 I will be yet more vile than this, and will be base in my own sight: but of the handmaids of whom you have spoken, they shall honor me.
2Sa 6:23 Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.


Jun. 21, 22
John 19

Joh 19:1 So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged him.
Joh 19:2 The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment.
Joh 19:3 They kept saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and they kept slapping him.
Joh 19:4 Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him."
Joh 19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the man!"
Joh 19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him."
Joh 19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."
Joh 19:8 When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid.
Joh 19:9 He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.
Joh 19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power to release you, and have power to crucify you?"
Joh 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin."
Joh 19:12 At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!"
Joh 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called "The Pavement," but in Hebrew, "Gabbatha."
Joh 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"
Joh 19:15 They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"
Joh 19:16 So then he delivered him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away.
Joh 19:17 He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called "The Place of a Skull," which is called in Hebrew, "Golgotha,"
Joh 19:18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.
Joh 19:19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Joh 19:20 Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
Joh 19:21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, "Don't write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'he said, I am King of the Jews.' "
Joh 19:22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
Joh 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Joh 19:24 Then they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, "They parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots." Therefore the soldiers did these things.
Joh 19:25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Joh 19:26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
Joh 19:27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.
Joh 19:28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."
Joh 19:29 Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth.
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished." He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.
Joh 19:31 Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Joh 19:32 Therefore the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him;
Joh 19:33 but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they didn't break his legs.
Joh 19:34 However one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Joh 19:35 He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe.
Joh 19:36 For these things happened, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "A bone of him will not be broken."
Joh 19:37 Again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they pierced."
Joh 19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body.
Joh 19:39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds.
Joh 19:40 So they took Jesus' body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
Joh 19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid.
Joh 19:42 Then because of the Jews' Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.




From Gary... Do you get it?




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

Every single (sentient) adult person I have met has problems; there are no exceptions!!! Some people deny them, others play the "blame game" and some even manage to laugh at them.  I admit, sometimes I don't handle the difficulties in life well, but as time goes on, I manage to be able to laugh at life more and more.  And the most scary of all problems is death.  How do we handle that?  In Corinth, some were falsely teaching that the resurrection from the dead had already taken place; I can only imagine the stir that might cause.  Paul handles this well in chapter 15 (I know it is long and involved, but it really is worth reading)...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 15 (NASB)
 1Co 15:1  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
1Co 15:2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
1Co 15:3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:5  and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1Co 15:6  After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
1Co 15:7  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
1Co 15:8  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1Co 15:11  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1Co 15:12  Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Co 15:13  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1Co 15:14  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
1Co 15:15  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
1Co 15:16  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
1Co 15:17  and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
1Co 15:18  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
1Co 15:19  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
1Co 15:20  But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
1Co 15:21  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
1Co 15:24  then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1Co 15:26  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1Co 15:27  For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
1Co 15:28  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
1Co 15:29  Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?
1Co 15:30  Why are we also in danger every hour?
1Co 15:31  I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
1Co 15:32  If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.
1Co 15:33  Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."
1Co 15:34  Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
1Co 15:35  But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
1Co 15:36  You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
1Co 15:37  and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
1Co 15:38  But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
1Co 15:39  All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.
1Co 15:40  There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
1Co 15:41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
1Co 15:42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
1Co 15:43  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
1Co 15:44  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45  So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
1Co 15:46  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
1Co 15:47  The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50  Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
1Co 15:51  Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
1Co 15:52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1Co 15:53  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54  But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.
1Co 15:55  "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O  DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"

1Co 15:56  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
1Co 15:57  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


For the Christian, death is not something to be feared.  It means a change from morality to immortality- and what is to be dreaded in a worldly sense is to be embraced in a spiritual victory!!!  Dark or Gallows humor has its place, but seriously- so do the results of death (Heaven or Hell).  Christian; rejoice!!! Not a Christian- well, it is time to stop being humorous and start being serious- do something about your condition BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!!!!