8/4/14

From Jim McGuiggan... NOW ABOUT THE COLLECTION



NOW ABOUT THE COLLECTION

There’s nothing here but a simple transitional particle. “Now” There’s no drum roll, no trumpet blast, no drama-filled pause. “Now about…” You might imagine the tone being something like a let down: “Okay, that’s that dealt with; let’s move on to the next thing on the agenda. Hmmm, yes, well all right, the collection.” But imagining it like that would be a real blunder.

The text is 1 Corinthians 16:1, of course, and Paul has just concluded his lengthy discussion on the resurrection of the dead with a shout of triumph: “Death where is your victory? Death where is your sting?” In the name of the risen and immortal Lord Jesus he jeers at arrogant Death and yells, “Loser!”

What a triumph; there’s a throbbing and an assured hope in the shout, nothing timid about it. The graveyards in all the hamlets, all the villages, all the towns, all the cities and all the vast metropolises on the planet must have heard it and trembled! All the tombs and secret places no one knows about, where countless dead were thrown, having been used and butchered—all those unknown prisons where proud Death keeps them shut away—they must have heard the sound and shivered.

And what then does Paul do? Should he not have closed the letter with that exultant cry? He didn’t—without hesitation he moves from the glory of a cosmic event to:
“Now, about the collection for God’s people.”

Paul speaks of that collection in this text, in Romans 15:25-31, Galatians 2:10 and in 2 Corinthians he takes two entire chapters out of thirteen to speak about it.

It’s not uncommon in congregations to take sixty seconds to say the collection will now be taken and then perhaps four minutes to collect it and that’s all and that’s the last it’s heard of until the next Lord’s Day.

This isn’t the place to develop the contexts of the passages mentioned but each one is rich in truth about God and his reconciling of the two divisions of the human family [Jews and non-Jews]. Note the occasion of his mentioning the collection in Galatians [a profoundly critical moment where—humanly speaking—the life of the Church of the Lord Jesus is at stake]. Note the brotherly and sisterly interdependence he speaks of in Romans 15 and note that he makes the entire gift of the Gentiles to the needy Jewish Christians [and others] a Christological matter in 2 Corinthians 8:9. In the completely free gift of the Gentiles [8:8 and see 9:7] they are imitating the reconciling work of the Christ. We need to reflect carefully and prayerfully on the setting and the words of these texts.

The grace of giving is the grace of God given to us [8:1] and it re-enacts the grace of God flowing through the Jewish Messiah to the entire world. This giving is a visible witness that God came in Jesus Christ and reconciled the world unto himself and it is carried out by the men and women who are part of that one body of Christ in which all nations are welcomed.

As the dollars and checks are dropped on to the plate or into the basket wondrous things are being said. Assuming the heart is good this giving event is not to be rushed or treated as a secondary issue—God’s inestimable gift to the entire human family—Jesus Christ—is being proclaimed. 

This is the perfect act to follow eating the bread and drinking the wine, the perfect act to express the meaning of the Lord's Supper as Paul speaks of it in 1 Corinthians 11 where the "haves" were refusing to share with the "have nots".


Wearing Gold and Braided Hair? by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1210

Wearing Gold and Braided Hair?

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Most people who have read the Bible have at least been mildly perplexed after reading 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. These two portions of Scripture read as follows:
…in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
Do not let your adornment be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3-4).
At first glance, these two passages seem to set down strict commandments that women should wear no gold jewelry, and should never braid their hair. However, when these verses are taken in their proper context, and are compared with other verses in the Bible, their seemingly strict prohibitions of gold and braids become more lenient in one sense, and ironically, more strict in another.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy, he gave the young man several instructions about how certain groups of people ought to conduct themselves in public worship assemblies. In 1 Timothy chapter 2:9, Paul offered some guidelines for how women ought to dress. Paul said that women should wear “modest” apparel. The Greek word for modest is kosmioi, which means “respectable, honorable, or modest” (Arndt, 1958, p. 445). This word basically entails all apparel that does not call undue attention to the wearer through show of flesh or through gaudiness. The type of apparel is defined by the phrase, “with propriety and moderation.” Then, Paul described the converse of “modest” by mentioning three things that many first-century women were using to draw undue attention to themselves: braided hair, gold, and costly clothing.
In the first century, many women were plaiting elaborate hair designs that would take hours to “construct” and weave. One writer, in describing such first-century hair designs, wrote:
Talk about high maintenance! During the late first century, the Flavian style of Julia, daughter of Titus fashioned the court with curls arranged on crescent-shaped wire frames. The back hair was divided into sections, braided, then curled. Sometimes the hair was coiled without braiding (see Roman…, 2002).
Apparently, some women were turning the worship assemblies into fashion shows, attempting to “one-up” their contemporaries with flashy, expensive clothes and costly gold jewelry. Instead of this gaudiness, Paul instructed the women to adorn themselves in that “which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
In this passage, we see a literary construction that is common in the Biblethe comparison and substitution of one less desirable thing for another more profitable thing. In this particular case, the gaudy clothes were to be rejected in favor of good works and modest clothes. Jesus used a similar construction in John 6:27, when He stated, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you…” At first glance, this statement from Jesus seems to be saying that a person should not work for physical food. However, we know that is not the intended meaning, because 2 Thessalonians 3:10 plainly says, “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” What, then, was Jesus’ point? He simply was saying that spiritual food is more important than physical food, and as such, should be given a higher priority.
Another instance of a similar situation is found in 1 Corinthians 11:34. In this chapter, the apostle Paul had been reprimanding the Christians in Corinth for abusing the Lord’s Supper. The rich brethren were bringing lots of food and drink, and were eating their fill, while the poor brethren were not getting enough to eat. Paul explained to the Christians that the Lord’s Supper was not designed to be a feast to fill the belly, but a memorial to commemorate the death of the Lord. In verse 34, he wrote: “But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment.” Once again, taken in its most literal sense, this verse would demand that every person who is hungry should eat at home—not in a restaurant, at a friend’s house, or outside. Of course, that was not Paul’s intention at all. He simply wanted the Christians to eat to fill their stomachs at some other time than during the memorial feast of the Lord’s Supper.
After considering these examples, let us now look back to Paul’s instruction to Timothy concerning women’s apparel. If we were to take the passage in its most literal reading, then women should not wear braided hair, any gold, or any costly clothing. However, how much would an article of clothing have to cost in order to be “costly?” Many of the clothes we wear in the United States would cost a person in a third world country an entire year’s salary (Jackson, 2000). Should our women come to worship in burlap sacks and cardboard flip-flops? To ask is to answer. In fact, in 1 Peter 3:3-4, the parallel passage to 1 Timothy 2:9-10, the actual Greek text omits the word “fine” before “apparel” so that it actually says that a woman’s beauty should not come from “putting on apparel.” Yet, taken in its most literal sense, this particular sentence would delight those of the nudist persuasion, and confound the most astute Christians.
Summing up the meaning of these two passages, we see that Paul and Peter were not forbidding a woman from wearing a golden wedding band or having her hair modestly braided. They were, however, instructing the women to concentrate on good works and a right attitude instead of trying to impress others with immodest clothes that were inappropriate or excessively gaudy.
Therefore, these verses are more lenient than their strictly literal sound, in the sense that they do not forbid all wearing of gold, clothes, or braiding of the hair. They are more stringent, however, in the fact that some things not specifically mentioned by the writers would be prohibited. For instance, a woman could not wear thousands of dollars worth of platinum jewelry, and then contend that the verses never mention platinum. Nor could a Christian woman strut into an assembly wearing multiple carats of diamonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, and argue that diamonds are not mentioned in the text. The verses echo the sentiment of Christ, when He scolded the Pharisees for cleansing “the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).
[As an endnote, the modest-apparel criteria were not specifically addressed to the first-century men, because they apparently did not have a problem with this. However, in any situation where men might have a problem with such, the same rules certainly would apply to them as well.]

REFERENCES

Arndt, William, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised.
Jackson, Wayne (2000), What About Braided Hair? [On-line], URLhttps://www.christiancourier.com/articles/206-what-about-braided-hair.
Roman Hairstyles (2002), [On-line], URL: http://oldworld.sjsu.edu/ancientrome/living/fashion/hair02.htm.

From Mark Copeland... From Malta To Rome (Acts 28:1-16)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                     From Malta To Rome (28:1-16)

INTRODUCTION

1. Following weeks of terrifying sea travel...
   a. Beginning with contrary winds near the island of Crete - Ac 27:4
   b. With difficult winds making progress slow off Cnidus - Ac 27:7
   c. Arriving at Fair Havens on Crete with further difficulty - Ac 27:7-8
   d. Encountering tempestuous winds off Crete that blew them toward
      Clauda - Ac 27:13-16
   e. Forced to undergird the ship, lightening the ship, throwing tackle
      overboard - Ac 27:18-19
   f. Seeing neither sun nor stars for many days as the storm raged - Ac 27:20
   g. Finally nearing land, fearing that they might run aground - Ac 27:27-29
   h. Deciding to run the ship onto the beach if possible - Ac 27:39
   i. Instead hitting a reef or bar that stuck the bow - Ac 27:41
   h. With violent waves breaking up the stern - Ac 27:41

2. They were forced to swim ashore...
   a. With some on boards, others on parts of the ship - Ac 27:43-44
   b. Even so, all 276 souls escaped safely to land - Ac 27:44

[They found themselves on the island of Malta (Ac 28:1), an island 60
miles south of Sicily and on the main route from Myra (Ac 27:5) to
Rome.  God's providence had actually brought them through the storm and
back on course (ESVSB)!  Divine providence continued as we continue
reading about...]

I. THE SOJOURN ON MALTA

   A. KINDNESS ON THE BEACH...
      1. The natives (lit., barbarians, i.e., non-Greeks) showed unusual
         kindness - Ac 28:2
      2. Paul was bit by a viper, but did not die - Ac 28:3-6
         a. The natives presumed Paul a murderer
         b. Despite surviving shipwreck, that justice would not let him
            live
         c. When Paul suffered no harm, the natives thought him to be a
            god - cf. Ac 14:14-15
      3. This is an example of Jesus' promise to His disciples
         a. Made to the seventy following their mission - cf. Lk 10:1,
            17-19
         b. Made to the apostles when given the Great Commission - cf. Mk 16:15-18
         c. Such signs confirmed the words that they preached - Mk 16:19-20; He 2:3-4

   B. KINDNESS AT THE ESTATE...
      1. A prominent citizen, Publius, entertained them for three days 
         - Ac 28:7
      2. When his father lay sick of fever and dysentery, Paul healed him
         - Ac 28:8
      3. This led to many others on the island being healed - Ac 28:9
      4. Which led to much honor and provisions for their journey - Ac 28:10

[After three months on the island of Malta (Ac 28:11), the journey
continued...]

II. THE JOURNEY TO ROME

   A. BY SHIP...
      1. In an Alexandrian ship - Ac 28:11
         a. Whose figurehead was the Twin brothers (Castor and Pollux,
            twin sons of Zeus, who were viewed as gods who protected 
            seamen) - ESVSB
         b. Which had wintered at the island of Malta
      2. Sailing to Syracuse where they stayed three days - Ac 28:12
      3. On to Rhegium (the southern tip of Italy), and then the next day
         to Puteoli - Ac 28:13
      4. At Puteoli they found brethren who invited them to stay seven 
         days - Ac 28:14

   B. BY FOOT...
      1. From Puteoli they headed toward Rome - Ac 28:14
      2. When brethren from Rome heard they were coming, they came to
         meet them - Ac 28:15
         a. At Appii Forum (40 miles from Rome)
         b. At Three Havens (28 miles from Rome)
      3. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage - Ac 28:15
      4. Finally arriving at Rome - Ac 28:16
         a. Where the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of
            the guard
         b. While Paul was allowed to dwell by himself with a soldier to
            guard him  

CONCLUSION

1. I can only imagine Paul's emotions upon his arrival at Rome...
   a. An opportunity he had prayed for years earlier - Ro 1:8-12; 
      15:22-24; Ac 19:21
   b. The fulfillment of a promise Jesus and an angel made to him - Ac 23:11; 27:23-24

2. Though it took years and unexpected twists and turns...
   a. God's providence led him to his destination
   b. And throughout it all, gave evidence of such Divine providence

Similar to stories like that of Joseph and Esther, Paul's life is a
reminder that God is good, He watches and provides for His people,
though at the time our faith may be tested when it seems that He is not
near.  

May such Biblical accounts encourage us to never lose faith, but to
trust in God's providence to lead us through the stormy seas of life to
our final destination, the heavenly city that awaits...!

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." - Ro 8:28 

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading August 4



Bible Reading  

August 4

The World English Bible

Aug. 4
Ezra 1-3

Ezr 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Ezr 1:2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has Yahweh, the God of heaven, given me; and he has commanded me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Ezr 1:3 Whoever there is among you of all his people, his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of Yahweh, the God of Israel (he is God), which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 1:4 Whoever is left, in any place where he sojourns, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with animals, besides the freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 1:5 Then rose up the heads of fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, even all whose spirit God had stirred to go up to build the house of Yahweh which is in Jerusalem.
Ezr 1:6 All those who were around them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with animals, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
Ezr 1:7 Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of Yahweh, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put in the house of his gods;
Ezr 1:8 even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
Ezr 1:9 This is the number of them: thirty platters of gold, one thousand platters of silver, twenty-nine knives,
Ezr 1:10 thirty bowls of gold, silver bowls of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels one thousand.
Ezr 1:11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when they of the captivity were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Ezr 2:1 Now these are the children of the province, who went up out of the captivity of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city;
Ezr 2:2 who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
Ezr 2:3 The children of Parosh, two thousand one hundred seventy-two.
Ezr 2:4 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy-two.
Ezr 2:5 The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy-five.
Ezr 2:6 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred twelve.
Ezr 2:7 The children of Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four.
Ezr 2:8 The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty-five.
Ezr 2:9 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred sixty.
Ezr 2:10 The children of Bani, six hundred forty-two.
Ezr 2:11 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty-three.
Ezr 2:12 The children of Azgad, one thousand two hundred twenty-two.
Ezr 2:13 The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-six.
Ezr 2:14 The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty-six.
Ezr 2:15 The children of Adin, four hundred fifty-four.
Ezr 2:16 The children of Ater, of Hezekiah, ninety-eight.
Ezr 2:17 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty-three.
Ezr 2:18 The children of Jorah, one hundred twelve.
Ezr 2:19 The children of Hashum, two hundred Twenty-three.
Ezr 2:20 The children of Gibbar, ninety-five.
Ezr 2:21 The children of Bethlehem, one hundred twenty-three.
Ezr 2:22 The men of Netophah, fifty-six.
Ezr 2:23 The men of Anathoth, one hundred twenty-eight.
Ezr 2:24 The children of Azmaveth, forty-two.
Ezr 2:25 The children of Kiriath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty-three.
Ezr 2:26 The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty-one.
Ezr 2:27 The men of Michmas, one hundred twenty-two.
Ezr 2:28 The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three.
Ezr 2:29 The children of Nebo, fifty-two.
Ezr 2:30 The children of Magbish, one hundred fifty-six.
Ezr 2:31 The children of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred fifty-four.
Ezr 2:32 The children of Harim, three hundred twenty.
Ezr 2:33 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty-five.
Ezr 2:34 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty-five.
Ezr 2:35 The children of Senaah, three thousand six hundred thirty.
Ezr 2:36 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy-three.
Ezr 2:37 The children of Immer, one thousand fifty-two.
Ezr 2:38 The children of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred forty-seven.
Ezr 2:39 The children of Harim, one thousand seventeen.
Ezr 2:40 The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy-four.
Ezr 2:41 The singers: the children of Asaph, one hundred twenty-eight.
Ezr 2:42 The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all one hundred thirty-nine.
Ezr 2:43 The Nethinim: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
Ezr 2:44 the children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon,
Ezr 2:45 the children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub,
Ezr 2:46 the children of Hagab, the children of Shamlai, the children of Hanan,
Ezr 2:47 the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah,
Ezr 2:48 the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam,
Ezr 2:49 the children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai,
Ezr 2:50 the children of Asnah, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephisim,
Ezr 2:51 the children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
Ezr 2:52 the children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
Ezr 2:53 the children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Temah,
Ezr 2:54 the children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
Ezr 2:55 The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Hassophereth, the children of Peruda,
Ezr 2:56 the children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
Ezr 2:57 the children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth Hazzebaim, the children of Ami.
Ezr 2:58 All the Nethinim, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety-two.
Ezr 2:59 These were those who went up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not show their fathers' houses, and their seed, whether they were of Israel:
Ezr 2:60 the children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty-two.
Ezr 2:61 Of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Hakkoz, the children of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name.
Ezr 2:62 These sought their register among those who were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they deemed polluted and put from the priesthood.
Ezr 2:63 The governor said to them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, until there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.
Ezr 2:64 The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred sixty,
Ezr 2:65 besides their male servants and their female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty-seven: and they had two hundred singing men and singing women.
Ezr 2:66 Their horses were seven hundred thirty-six; their mules, two hundred forty-five;
Ezr 2:67 their camels, four hundred thirty-five; their donkeys, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
Ezr 2:68 Some of the heads of fathers' houses, when they came to the house of Yahweh which is in Jerusalem, offered willingly for the house of God to set it up in its place:
Ezr 2:69 they gave after their ability into the treasury of the work sixty-one thousand darics of gold, and five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priests' garments.
Ezr 2:70 So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinim, lived in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

Ezr 3:1 When the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
Ezr 3:2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brothers, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
Ezr 3:3 They set the altar on its base; for fear was on them because of the peoples of the countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon to Yahweh, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
Ezr 3:4 They kept the feast of tents, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required;
Ezr 3:5 and afterward the continual burnt offering, and the offerings of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of Yahweh that were consecrated, and of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to Yahweh.
Ezr 3:6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings to Yahweh: but the foundation of the temple of Yahweh was not yet laid.
Ezr 3:7 They gave money also to the masons, and to the carpenters; and food, and drink, and oil, to them of Sidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
Ezr 3:8 Now in the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who were come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work of the house of Yahweh.
Ezr 3:9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to have the oversight of the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brothers the Levites.
Ezr 3:10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Yahweh, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Yahweh, after the order of David king of Israel.
Ezr 3:11 They sang one to another in praising and giving thanks to Yahweh, saying, For he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever toward Israel. All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Yahweh, because the foundation of the house of Yahweh was laid.
Ezr 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, the old men who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
Ezr 3:13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.





From Gary... The anchor


As I took my boys on their morning walk, I happened to see an anchor like this one painted on someone's driveway.  It was nicer than this one; in color, and at least 3' x 5' in size.  And then I noticed this jpeg in my picture collection. How true the quote above is; and the second statement is also true- but I kept thinking about that first one. Then somehow, both seemed to coalesce into the following passage from Hebrews...

Hebrews 6:1-20 NASB
(1)  Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
(2)  of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
(3)  And this we will do, if God permits.

(4)  For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
(5)  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
(6)  and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
(7)  For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;
(8)  but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
(9)  But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.
(10)  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
(11)  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
(12)  so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
(13)  For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
(14)  saying, "I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU."
(15)  And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
(16)  For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.
(17)  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,
(18)  so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
(19)  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
(20)  where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

We need to progress in life; holding onto the past and letting the memory of our former shortcomings (OK, let me just call them what they are- FAILURES) is pointless and foolish.  But, the graphics’s message doesn't go far enough; for we need to trust in something (or from the Hebrew passage- SOMEONE). Since God is who HE says he is (truthful) and has done what he said he would do (provide a hope for us through Jesus), we have a doubly secure anchor. All this brings back the memory of the first time I studied the book of Hebrews (in 1973). The title of the textbook we used was: "What more can God say"? How appropriate!!! Because, once I thought about that- there is nothing more for me to say.  Except perhaps something Max T. Neel used to say- "Believe that, because its right"!!! Amen!!!