8/5/14

Design and designers by Jim McGuiggan


Design and designers

 Harriet and Joan were best friends so when Harriet got this fabulous watch Joan was pleased for her. It was one of those modern jobs that did everything but give you a manicure. They both agreed it was a masterpiece of design and beauty. Harriet said, "The person that designed that must have been an absolute wizard." Just an innocent remark and before they knew it they were into an argument on the question, "One designer or more?" Harriet was sure only one person had designed it but when Joan pressed her for good reasons for saying that, Harriet found herself in difficulty.

"Just look at it. It has unity and harmony written all over it!"

"That's what's called 'design' but it says nothing about how many designed it."

"But look at how it all fits together…"

"You just said that. It's what's called 'design' but that doesn't tell us how many designers there were."

Harriet saw what she meant. Joan remarked that beyond the design, whoever actually put it together must have been brilliant. As soon as she said that she got what he expected, Harriet reminded her there might be numerous "whoevers".  Joan made another blunder when she said something that suggested that the designer(s) must have put it together.

"How do you know that?" Harriet asked. "There's no way to know the designer(s) actually put it together."

"I just assumed it," her friend said.

So ended the discussion and they both admired the watch.

Arguments from design to a (single) designer just don't work. Even if we knew there was a single designer for a certain artefact we couldn't tell if he/she was the one that actually made it. Look at your own watch or shoe or house or whatever, and think about it.

Arguments in favour of the one God of the Hebrew—Christian scriptures can only be made with a Bible in your hand. A universe, however complex and designed, doesn't prove a single Designer any more than a watch proves a single watchmaker. If you allow the believer to quote scripture the debate is over but that is precisely what sceptics will not allow. Add to that that many believers insist that you can prove the existence of the one true God without the Bible and by unaided reasoning on the realities around us. But when we're asked to do it we aren't able. We quote scripture in support of our claim. We say things like, "But Paul said it could be done." Now I don't believe Paul said that; but even if he did—it's scripture! What if a sceptic says, "Paul was wrong and I won't take his word for it." What if he then says, "You make the argument"? It won't help a lot if we say we can't make it but since Paul says it could be made it must be "makeable".

Arguments in favour of only one all-powerful, all-wise God don't work apart from special revelation (in whatever forms it takes). Unaided reason can't get us there. It may make atheism look silly or inadequate but that isn't the same as establishing biblical monotheism. If there were only two options—atheism or monotheism—that would make a big difference but that isn't the case.

The ancients believed the creation was indeed "created" but they believed it was the work of numerous gods of varying powers and varying characters. The truth is (or at least part of it is), having suppressed truth that had been made known, they used their unaided reason to make sense of the world they lived in. They explained the existence of fertile land and howling desert, disease-carrying mosquitoes and honey-giving bees—explained them by inventing numerous gods. They "knew" they couldn't lay calamity at the feet of the same god that gave them food so they attributed the "bad" to one source and the good to another (a lot of modern believers do that—don't they?). Professing themselves to be wise they turned the elements and the creatures into gods and tried to manipulate or appease them.

The brilliant John S Mill believed in no gods at all but he offered rational alternatives to Christian belief. Since the earth was not a flawless home why not speculate that there are numerous gods and that the earth was made by a young god that hadn't yet gained his full power? Or, imagine the creator as a very old god whose power was waning; and why not? If the creator had been at the peak of his power, Mill suggested, he wouldn't have made a place that was too cold at top and bottom and too hot in the middle.

It's all so silly, of course. Yes, so a believer with a Bible in his hand might say; but put away the Bible and any other form of special revelation (real or imagined) and work with nothing but rational reflection. Now, say why Mill's "silly" suggestion is silly. We believers say God is all-powerful, all-wise and omni-benevolent and point to the marvellous design of our earth home and bodies as proof. The sceptic points to the astonishing design of the parasite that eats out the eyes and livers of little children in far away places.

So what do we make of Paul in Romans 1 and David in Psalm 19?

Was the "Image of God" Destroyed by Sin? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=564

Was the "Image of God" Destroyed by Sin?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Many theologians through the years have claimed that the “image of God” spoken of in Genesis 1:26-27 refers to a spiritual perfection that was lost in the Fall. Thus, they have concluded that modern man no longer bears the image of God. Reformer Martin Luther believed that the “image of God” was an original righteousness that was lost completely. He thus proclaimed: “I am afraid that since the loss of this image through sin we cannot understand it to any extent.” Oftentimes John Calvin spoke of the image of God as having been destroyed by sin, obliterated by the Fall, and utterly defaced by unrighteousness. More recently, religionist/anthropologist Arthur Custance, in his 1975 book, Man in Adam and in Christ, observed: “Genesis tells us that man was created in a special way, bearing the stamp of God upon him which the animals did not bear. Genesis also tells us that he lost it” (p. 103). Does the language of Genesis 1:26-27 refer only to Adam and Eve, as these writers would have us to believe? Or does it refer to all mankind in general?
The Bible reveals that man still retains the image of God after the Fall. Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” According to this passage, fallen man still bears the image of God. The record of Adam and Eve’s fall had been recorded earlier in the book of Genesis; that man had become a rank sinner is stated clearly in the immediate context of the passage (“…every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood”—8:21). Although God’s assessment is correct in regard to mankind, murder is forbidden because man is made in the image of God—that is, he still bears that image. If one argues that this passage speaks only about the past and says nothing about the future, he does violence to the meaning of the passage. Moses, writing about 2,500 years after the Fall, said that the reason murder is wrong is because the victim is someone created in the image of God. If man no longer bears the image of God after the Fall, these words would have been meaningless to the Israelites (and are worthless for man today).
In the New Testament, one can read where James wrote: “But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God” (3:8-9, emp. added). The English verb “are made” (ASV) derives from the Greek gegonotas, which is the perfect participle of the verb ginomai. The perfect tense in Greek is used to describe an action brought to completion in the past, but whose effects are felt in the present. For example, when the Bible says, “It is written,” this is usually in the perfect tense. Scripture was written in the past, but is applicable to the present. The thrust of the Greek expression translated “who are made after the likeness of God,” is that humans in the past have been made according to the likeness of God and they are still bearers of that likeness. For this reason, it is inconsistent to worship God and curse men with the same tongue.
Although sin is destructive to man and repulsive to God, the Bible does not teach that the “image of God” was destroyed by sin’s entrance into the world. Rather, modern man still is created in God’s image. How thrilling and humbling it is to know that all men possess inherent characteristics that liken them to God and differentiate them from the lower creation.

From Mark Copeland... Paul In Rome (Acts 28:17-31)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                        Paul In Rome (28:17-31)

INTRODUCTION

1. After his fateful voyage, Paul and his companions arrived at Rome 
   where he...
   a. Was immediately placed under house arrest - Ac 28:16
   b. Waited two years to make his appeal before Caesar - cf. Ac 25:9-12;
      28:30

2. Yet Paul was not idle during this time...
   a. He met with the Jewish leaders in Rome
   b. He received many visitors
   c. He likely composed several epistles

[Indeed, it was a fruitful time for the apostle Paul.  Such is evident
as we read the final words of Luke in his account of Acts, beginning
with...]

I. HIS MEETINGS WITH JEWISH LEADERS

   A. THE FIRST MEETING...
      1. Paul called for the leaders of the Jews in Rome - Ac 28:17
      2. He explained why he was there, and the reason for his appeal
         - Ac 28:17-20
         a. He had done nothing against the Jews or their customs
         b. Roman officials wanted to let him go, but Jews from Jerusalem
            spoke against it, forcing him to appeal to Caesar
         c. Yet it was for the hope of Israel he was bound in chains
      3. The Jewish leaders desire to learn more - Ac 28:21-22
         a. For they neither received letters or heard anything evil of
            Paul
         b. But they wanted to hear what he had to say about this "sect"
            spoken against everywhere

   B. THE SECOND MEETING...
      1. On an appointed day, many came to his lodging - Ac 28:23
      2. They heard him explain and solemnly testify from morning until
         evening - Ac 28:23
         a. Of the kingdom of God and concerning Jesus - cf. Ac 8:12
         b. From both the Law of Moses and the Prophets - cf. Lk 24:44-47
      3. Their reaction was mixed; some were persuaded, while others
         disbelieved - Ac 28:24
      4. They departed after Paul gave them solemn warning - Ac 28:25-28
         a. Of being hard of hearing and closing their eyes - cf. Isa 6:9-10
         b. The message of salvation has been sent to Gentiles and they
            will hear it - cf. Isa 42:1,6
      5. They departed and disputed among themselves - Ac 28:29

[The closing verses in Acts indicate that similar meetings were
repeated time and again during the two years of Paul's captivity (Ac
28:30-31).  When we turn to Paul's epistles, we can glean more things
about...]

II. HIS CIRCUMSTANCES IN ROME

   A. PAUL'S COMPANIONS...
      1. Timothy
         a. The young disciple Paul picked up on his second journey - Ac 16:1-3
         b. Who joined Paul in several epistles written from Rome - Phm 1; Col 1:1; Php 1:1
         c. Who was sent to Philippi in behalf of Paul - Php 2:19-23
      2. Epaphras
         a. Whose visit to Paul prompted the writing of Colossians - Col 1:3-8
         b. Who sent his greetings to his beloved brethren at Colossae 
            - Col 4:12-13
         c. Who was described as Paul's "fellow-prisoner" - Phm 1:23
      3. Onesimus and Tychicus
         a. Onesimus, the runaway slave converted to Jesus Christ, who 
            was sent along with the letter to his master Philemon - Phm 1:10-21
         b. Onesimus also accompanied Tychicus who bore the epistle to 
            the Colossians - Col 4:7-9
         c. Tychicus, who was from Asia (Ac 20:4) and the bearer of the 
            epistle to the Ephesians - Ep 6:21-22
      4. Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, Jesus (Justus) - Phm 1:24
         a. Marcus, also known as John Mark, Barnabas' cousin - Col 4:10;
            cf. Ac 12:25; 13:5,13; 15:37-40
         b. Aristarchus, Paul's "fellow-prisoner" - Col 4:10; cf. Ac 19:29; 20:4; 27:2
         c. Demas, who later forsook Paul - Col 4:14; cf. 2Ti 4:10
         d. Luke, the beloved physician who traveled off and on again
            with Paul, and accompanied him on his voyage to Rome - Col 4:14; cf. Ac 16:10-12; 20:6; 21:1-17; 27:1-28:16
         e. Jesus (also called Justus), a "fellow-worker" with Paul - Col 4:11
      5. Epaphroditus
         a. Who brought a gift to Paul from the Philippians - Php 4:18
         b. Who became the bearer of the epistle to the Philippians - Php 2:25-30
      -- His companions undoubtedly were a great source of comfort for 
         Paul, and enabled him to do much good while imprisoned in Rome

   B. PAUL'S PREACHING...
      1. Continued preaching despite his chains - Col 1:23-29; Ep 3:1-9
      2. Requested prayers for wisdom and boldness to continue preaching
         - Col 4:3-4; Ep 6:18-20
      3. Converted Onesimus, the runaway slave - Phm 1:10
      4. Had opportunities among the palace guard, and apparent success
         in Caesar's household - Php 1:12-20; 4:22
      -- Paul's success in preaching reinforce the idea that the gospel
         cannot be bound!

   C. PAUL'S LETTERS...
      1. The epistle to Philemon (61 or 62 AD.) - Phm 1:1
         a. Purpose:  To secure forgiveness for Onesimus
         b. Theme:  Restoration Of A Slave Brother
      2. The epistle to the Colossians (61 or 62 A.D.) - Col 1:1-2
         a. Purpose:  To warn against the "Colossian heresy"
         b. Theme:  Christ, The Fullness Of God And Pre-Eminent,
            All-Sufficient Savior
      3. The epistle to the Ephesians (61 or 62 A.D.) - Ep 1:1
         a. Purpose:  To remind Christians of their spiritual blessings
            and responsibilities
         b. Theme:  The Believer's Riches In Christ
      4. The epistle to the Philippians (63 A.D.) - Php 1:1
         a. Purpose:  To thank the church for their gift, and encourage
            faithfulness
         b. Theme:  Rejoice In The Lord!
      -- Through letters Paul's influence spread from Rome throughout the
         world till today!

   D. PAUL'S LOVE AND CARE FOR THE CHURCHES...
      1. Evidenced in the epistles he wrote during this time
         a. Such as Colossians, to a church he had not seen - Col 2:1-5
         b. Such as Ephesians, to a church with whom he had spent much 
            time - Ac 20:17-21
         c. Such as Philippians, to a church that was dear to his heart
            - Php 1:3-5; 4:1
      2. Evidenced in the prayers he offered for them
         a. His prayer for the Colossians - Col 1:9-11
         b. His prayers for the Ephesians - Ep 1:15-21; 3:14-19
         c. His prayer for the Philippians - Php 1:9-11
      -- Paul's love and concern for others despite his own circumstances
         exemplifies the mind of Christ - cf. Php 2:4-8

   E. PAUL'S FAITH AND JOY IN HIS SUFFERING...
      1. He rejoiced in his sufferings - Col 1:24; Php 2:16-18
      2. He sought to magnify Christ in his sufferings - Php 1:20
      -- Paul's imprisonment gave him an opportunity to practice what he
         had been preaching (and practicing) all along - cf. Ro 5:3-5

CONCLUSION

1. Paul fully expected to be released from his imprisonment, as 
   expressed...
   a. By his plans to visit Philemon - Phm 1:22
   b. In his epistle to the Philippians - Php 1:23-27; 2:24

2. That he was released and traveled some more is evidenced...
   a. By references made in such epistles as 1st & 2nd Timothy, Titus
   b. By the testimony of those who came along later:  Chrysostom, 
      Jerome, Eusebius, and even Clement of Rome, who lived in the latter
      part of the first century A.D.

J.W. McGarvey notes in his commentary on Acts:  "No two years of Paul's
life were better filled with earnest labor than these two spent in his
Roman prison."  Indeed, we have seen that such was the case, as Paul
himself wrote:

"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me
have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it
has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that
my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having
become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word
without fear."  (Php 1:12-14)

May we learn from Paul's example of how "good can come out of ill", and
use whatever circumstances in which we find ourselves to be utilized
for the glory of God!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading August 5

Bible Reading 

August 5

The World English Bible
 
Aug. 5
Ezra 4-6
Ezr 4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to Yahweh, the God of Israel;
Ezr 4:2 then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' houses, and said to them, Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as you do; and we sacrifice to him since the days of Esar Haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.
Ezr 4:3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, said to them, You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to Yahweh, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
Ezr 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
Ezr 4:5 and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezr 4:6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Ezr 4:7 In the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian character, and set forth in the Syrian language.
Ezr 4:8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:
Ezr 4:9 then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites,
Ezr 4:10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth.
Ezr 4:11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants the men beyond the River, and so forth.
Ezr 4:12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came up from you are come to us to Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations.
Ezr 4:13 Be it known now to the king that if this city is built, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings.
Ezr 4:14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not appropriate for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore have we sent and informed the king;
Ezr 4:15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: so you shall find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time; for which cause was this city laid waste.
Ezr 4:16 We inform the king that, if this city be built, and the walls finished, by this means you shall have no portion beyond the River.
Ezr 4:17 Then sent the king an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River: Peace, and so forth.
Ezr 4:18 The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
Ezr 4:19 I decreed, and search has been made, and it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
Ezr 4:20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them.
Ezr 4:21 Make a decree now to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be built, until a decree shall be made by me.
Ezr 4:22 Take heed that you not be slack herein: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
Ezr 4:23 Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Ezr 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezr 5:1 Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel prophesied they to them.
Ezr 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.
Ezr 5:3 At the same time came to them Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and their companions, and said thus to them, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
Ezr 5:4 Then we told them after this manner, what the names of the men were who were making this building.
Ezr 5:5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease, until the matter should come to Darius, and then answer should be returned by letter concerning it.
Ezr 5:6 The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king;
Ezr 5:7 they sent a letter to him, in which was written thus: To Darius the king, all peace.
Ezr 5:8 Be it known to the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls; and this work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands.
Ezr 5:9 Then asked we those elders, and said to them thus, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
Ezr 5:10 We asked them their names also, to inform you that we might write the names of the men who were at the head of them.
Ezr 5:11 Thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
Ezr 5:12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
Ezr 5:13 But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God.
Ezr 5:14 The gold and silver vessels also of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
Ezr 5:15 and he said to him, Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place.
Ezr 5:16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundations of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not completed.
Ezr 5:17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
Ezr 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.
Ezr 6:2 There was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll, and therein was thus written for a record:
Ezr 6:3 In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be built, the place where they offer sacrifices, and let its foundations be strongly laid; its height sixty cubits, and its breadth sixty cubits;
Ezr 6:4 with three courses of great stones, and a course of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house.
Ezr 6:5 Also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, everyone to its place; and you shall put them in the house of God.
Ezr 6:6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the River, you must stay far from there.
Ezr 6:7 Leave the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place.
Ezr 6:8 Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to these elders of the Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the River, expenses be given with all diligence to these men, that they be not hindered.
Ezr 6:9 That which they have need of, both young bulls, and rams, and lambs, for burnt offerings to the God of heaven; also wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests who are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail;
Ezr 6:10 that they may offer sacrifices of pleasant aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
Ezr 6:11 Also I have made a decree, that whoever shall alter this word, let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this:
Ezr 6:12 and the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow all kings and peoples who shall put forth their hand to alter the same, to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with all diligence.
Ezr 6:13 Then Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and their companions, because that Darius the king had sent, did accordingly with all diligence.
Ezr 6:14 The elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Ezr 6:15 This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
Ezr 6:16 The children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.
Ezr 6:17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Ezr 6:18 They set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
Ezr 6:19 The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Ezr 6:20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were pure: and they killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brothers the priests, and for themselves.
Ezr 6:21 The children of Israel who had come again out of the captivity, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, ate,
Ezr 6:22 and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for Yahweh had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
 
Aug. 5, 6
Acts 21

Act 21:1 When it happened that we had parted from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
Act 21:2 Having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail.
Act 21:3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo.
Act 21:4 Having found disciples, we stayed there seven days. These said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:5 When it happened that we had accomplished the days, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed.
Act 21:6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.
Act 21:7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers, and stayed with them one day.
Act 21:8 On the next day, we, who were Paul's companions, departed, and came to Caesarea. We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Act 21:9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Act 21:10 As we stayed there some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Act 21:11 Coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit: 'So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "
Act 21:12 When we heard these things, both we and they of that place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Act 21:14 When he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The Lord's will be done."
Act 21:15 After these days we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we would stay.
Act 21:17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.
Act 21:18 The day following, Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present.
Act 21:19 When he had greeted them, he reported one by one the things which God had worked among the Gentiles through his ministry.
Act 21:20 They, when they heard it, glorified God. They said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
Act 21:21 They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs.
Act 21:22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come.
Act 21:23 Therefore do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow.
Act 21:24 Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the law.
Act 21:25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written our decision that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality."
Act 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them.
Act 21:27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him,
Act 21:28 crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple, and has defiled this holy place!"
Act 21:29 For they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
Act 21:30 All the city was moved, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the doors were shut.
Act 21:31 As they were trying to kill him, news came up to the commanding officer of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
Act 21:32 Immediately he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. They, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, stopped beating Paul.
Act 21:33 Then the commanding officer came near, arrested him, commanded him to be bound with two chains, and inquired who he was and what he had done.
Act 21:34 Some shouted one thing, and some another, among the crowd. When he couldn't find out the truth because of the noise, he commanded him to be brought into the barracks.
Act 21:35 When he came to the stairs, it happened that he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd;
Act 21:36 for the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!"
Act 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked the commanding officer, "May I speak to you?" He said, "Do you know Greek?
Act 21:38 Aren't you then the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins?"
Act 21:39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."
Act 21:40 When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with his hand to the people. When there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,



From Gary... Fairy tales can come true, it could happen to you...


http://www.animusic.com/previews/previews2.php?clip=starship-groove

I should have been a leap-year baby. Then, I could justify feeling young, even at 65. If I were a leap-year baby, that would make me 16 and one quarter years old, and that seems just about the right age for me.  Now, physically, I look my age (and then some), but emotionally, I feel young. So, this statement above, does in fact apply to me.  And then there is that link (which I enjoy very much) that is both strange and beautiful at the same time.  But, a healthy self analysis is good periodically, so bring on youth- even if it is only imaginary. In fact, I really don't want to grow up- I AM A TOYS R US, kid. And believe it or not, these things actually cause me to reflect upon the Gospel...

1 Corinthians 15:1-10 NASB
(1)  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
(2)  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
(3)  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
(4)  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
(5)  and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
(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;
(7)  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
(8)  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
(9)  For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
(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.
A sincere search for truth, coupled with a little too active imagination and a desire to experience new things have become the watchword of my advanced years.  This has resulted in my almost daily postings.  Now, please do not get me wrong- I don't claim that they are scholarly, profound or insightful (but once in a while I may almost become one of these things), but what I do claim to be is someone who is experiencing the grace of God in their life and am learning to be the real me!!!   If you enjoy these things, keep reading what I write; if not, just look at the picture below and laugh!!! I do (because I remember what I looked like when I was the normal chronological 16 and one quarter years)...




There you go... love me or hate me, I am what I am by the grace of God!!!