From Jim McGuiggan... You Leave Me Breathless

You Leave Me Breathless

In a genuine relationship between a man and a woman some things change with the passing years. Some passions and felt needs weaken but other things become stronger in the process and while, for example, the sexual hunger might be less demanding the rich pleasure of the other’s presence increases. Change is inevitable and in many ways is a good and pleasing thing.

Ask a couple of Christians about their relationship and they’ll tell you that they’ve enjoyed the romance, the loving lunacy or the security and steadfast commitment they’ve experienced with each other. Those who haven’t experienced these things rightly feel they’ve lost out on something special. Those who’ve known these things will thank God for them—and so they should because God gave them to us to be enjoyed with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:3).

My guess is, though, that Christians in general have a lingering suspicion that we’re always in danger of making too much out of God’s physical/social gifts so we’re always qualifying our praise and enjoyment of these blessings. We’re to be “spiritual”, don’t you see, and material and social blessings could create a rift between love of God and love of life. It has happened, of course, and we could all point to people who have fallen in love with money and all money means and we may even be able to confess our own entanglement with “things” and our consequent worldliness.

So I’m not denying that God’s gifts to us can become a threat but we’re not to forget that it was God who gave them to us. We’re not to forget that God gives to the human family (and not just Christians) “life and breath everything else” (Acts 17:24-28). It’s patently obvious that the gifts aren’t meant to build a wall between us and God, and in fact, for a great host down the ages they created no such rift.

I’m not sure that we can be completely cured of the tendency to lose our balance but I do think it’s tragic if due to pseudo-guilt feelings we can’t enjoy a good meal because there are millions who haven’t enough food to stay alive. I think it’s tragic, too, if we’re suspicious of romance, the sheer pleasure of love-making or the desire to be alone with the beloved. I fully expect “the world” to abuse God’s gifts but I think Christians are seriously at fault when we place a stigma on earthly pleasures even while we ourselves enjoy them however guiltily. We often stigmatize these gifts by implication and/or reluctance to openly praise God for them. CS Lewis thought it a bit humorous that some people feared that they might “worship” their wives/husbands. He thought that day to day life itself would obliterate such a possibility. I’m certain he’s right.

As I see it, the upshot of all this is that Christians should enjoy without apology the earthiness of our Hebrew—Christian faith and relate it to God’s purposes toward us; that, rather than to nibble at life while others enjoy it in fullness.

We ought to embrace the honourable rejoicing in life and romance and friendship that millions around us experience. We ought to lead them to believe that we too sometimes soar when we think of our beloved, that we know what it is to hunger without shame for those things God has given to us all. Yes, of course, we’ll not forget to condemn the perversion of God’s gifts but we’re good at that and we’re good at it because that’s what we’re accustomed to doing. What we’re poor at—I suspect—is exulting with healthy relish in the things of the here and now.

One of the loveliest songs to come out in years is the one young Shayne Ward sings: You Leave Me Breathless. In promoting it the powers in the industry, with promotional video work, have made it all sex and sensuality but the song is much richer and finer than that. Every syllable is romantic and poetic, of course, but it speaks of the kind of thing I’d like my grandchildren to cherish and instead of downing the song in a “Christian” reaction we should be jealous and in some cases, maybe, to be ashamed of ourselves if we haven’t ever thought, or wished to think, in the ways expressed in the song. [Imagine the pleased astonishment of our son/daughter/grandchild if we bought a copy of it for them? I've given worse gifts to my kids.]

We need to be sure that nature doesn’t devour and destroy grace but the way to do it not to deny the glory of the creation as God has made it.

The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul [Part II] by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul [Part II]

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this five-part series appeared in the February issue. Part II follows below and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended. Part III appeared in May issue. Part IV appeared in the June issue. Part V appeared in the July issue.]


Biblical teaching regarding man acknowledges that he is composed of two distinct parts—the physical and the spiritual. We get an introduction to the origin of the physical portion as early as Genesis 2:7 when the text states: “Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (nephesh chayyah).” It is important to recognize both what this passage is discussing and what it is not. Genesis 2:7 is teaching that man was given physical life; it is not teaching that man was instilled with an immortal nature. The immediate (as well as the remote) context is important to a clear understanding of the intent of Moses’ statement. Both the King James and American Standard Versions translate nephesh chayyah as “living soul.” The Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Version, New International Version, and the New Jerusalem Bible all translate the phrase as “living being.” The New English Bible translates it as “living creature.”
The variety of terms employed in our English translations has caused some confusion as to the exact meaning of the phrase “living soul” or “living being.” Some have suggested, for example, that Genesis 2:7 is speaking specifically of man’s receiving his immortal soul and/or spirit. This is not the case, however, as a closer examination of the immediate and remote contexts clearly indicates. For example, the apostle Paul quoted Genesis 2:7 in 1 Corinthians 15:44-45 when he wrote: “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” The comparison/contrast offered by the apostle between the first Adam’s “natural body” and the last Adam (Christ) as a “life-giving spirit” is critical to an understanding of Paul’s central message (and the theme of the great “resurrection chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15), and must not be overlooked in any examination of Moses’ statement in Genesis 2:7.
There are six additional places in the Old Testament where similar phraseology is employed, and in each case the text obviously is speaking of members of the animal kingdom. In Genesis 1:24, God said: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures (nephesh chayyah) after their kind.” Genesis 1:30 records that God provided plants as food “to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life (nishmath chayyah).” When the Genesis Flood covered the Earth, God made a rainbow covenant with Noah and with every living creature (nephesh chayyah) that was in the ark with Him (Genesis 9:12). God pledged that He would remember the covenant that He made with every “living creature” (nephesh chayyah; Genesis 9:12), and therefore He never again would destroy the Earth by such a Flood. The rainbow, He stated, would serve as a reminder of that “everlasting covenant” between God and every living creature (nephesh chayyah, Genesis 9:15). The final occurrence of the phrase is found in Ezekiel’s description of the river flowing from the temple in which every living creature (nephesh chayyah) that swarms will live (47:9).
Additionally, the Bible declares: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts” (Ecclesiastes 3:19). Does this mean, therefore, that man possesses only a material nature and has no immortal soul/spirit? No, it does not! In speaking to this very point, Jack P. Lewis wrote:
It would seem that arguments which try to present the distinctiveness of man from the term “living soul” are actually based on the phenomena of variety in translation of the KJV and have no validity in fact. Had the translators rendered all seven occurrences by the same term, we would have been aware of the fact that both men and animals are described by it. To make this observation is not at all to affirm that the Old Testament is materialistic. We are concerned at this time only with the biblical usage of one term. Neither is it to deny a distinction in biblical thought between men and other animals when one takes in consideration the whole Old Testament view. Man may perish like the animals, but he is different from them. Even here in Genesis in the creation account, God is not said to breathe into the animals the breath of life; animals are made male and female; there is no separate account of the making of the female animal; they are not said to be in God’s image and likeness; they are not given dominion. Man is the crown of God’s creation (1988, p. 7).
When Dr. Lewis suggested that “man may perish like the animals,” he captured the essence of the passage in Ecclesiastes 3:19. It is true that both men and beasts ultimately die, and that in this regard man “hath no preeminence above the beasts.” Yet while both creatures are referred to as nephesh chayyah, the Scriptures make it clear that God did something special in reference to man. Genesis 1:26-27 records: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. ...And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Nowhere does the Bible state or imply that animals are created in the image of God. What is it, then, that makes man different from the animals?
The answer, of course, lies in the fact that man possesses an immortal nature. Animals do not. God Himself is a spirit (John 4:24). And a spirit “hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). In some fashion, God has placed within man a portion of His own essence—in the sense that man possesses a spirit that never will die. The prophet Zechariah spoke of Jehovah, Who “stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit (ruach) of man within him” (12:1). The Hebrew word for “formeth,” yatsar, is defined as to form, fashion, or shape (as in a potter working with clay; Harris, et al., 1980, 1:396). The same word is used in Genesis 2:7, thereby indicating that both man’s physical body and his spiritual nature were formed, shaped, molded, or fashioned by God. The authors of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament noted:
The participial form meaning “potter” is applied to God in Isa. 64:7 where mankind is the work of his hand. When applied to the objects of God’s creative work, the emphasis of the word is on the forming or structuring of these phenomena. The word speaks to the mode of creation of these phenomena only insofar as the act of shaping or forming an object may also imply the initiation of that object (Harris, et al., 1980, 1:396, emp. added).
As the Creator, God “initiates” the object we know as man’s immortal nature (i.e., his soul or spirit). Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes, noted that “the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it” (12:7, emp. added). Man’s physical body was formed of the physical dust of the Earth. Would it not follow, then, that his spiritual portion would be formed from that which is spiritual? When the writer of Hebrews referred to God as “the Father of our spirits” (12:9), he revealed the spiritual source of the soul—God.


When does man receive his soul/spirit? In one of the most illustrative passages within the Bible on this topic, James wrote: “The body apart from the spirit is dead” (2:26). This brief but important observation—offered by inspiration on the part of the Bible writer—carries tremendous implications. Without the presence of the spirit (pneuma), the physical body cannot live. There is, however, an important corollary to James’ assessment. If the body is living, then the spirit (pneuma) must be present!
But when does life actually begin? The answer, quite simply, is that it begins at conception. When the male and female gametes join to form the zygote that eventually will grow into the fetus, it is at that very moment that the formation of a new body begins. It is the result of a viable male gamete joined sexually with a viable female gamete which has formed a zygote that will move through a variety of important stages.
The first step in the process—which eventually will result in the highly differentiated tissues and organs that compose the body of the neonatal child—is the initial mitotic cleavage of that primal cell, the zygote. At this point, the genetic material doubles, matching copies of the chromosomes move to opposite poles, and the cell cleaves into two daughter cells. Shortly afterwards, each of these cells divides again, forming the embryo. [In humans and animals, the term “embryo” applies to any stage after cleavage but before birth (see Rudin, 1997, p. 125).]
As the cells of the embryo continue to divide, they form a cluster, or ball, of cells. These divisions are accompanied by additional changes that produce a hollow, fluid-filled cavity inside the ball, which now is a one-layer-thick grouping of cells known as a blastula. Early in the second day after fertilization, the embryo undergoes a process known as gastrulation in which the single-layer blastula turns into a three-layered gastrula consisting of ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm surrounding a cavity known as the archenteron. Each of these layers will give rise to very specific structures. For example, the ectoderm will form the outermost layer of the skin and other structures, including the sense organs, parts of the skeleton, and the nervous system. The mesoderm will form tissues associated with support, movement, transport, reproduction, and excretion (i.e., muscle, bone, cartilage, blood, heart, blood vessels, gonads, and kidneys). The endoderm will produce structures associated with breathing and digestion (including the lungs, liver, pancreas, and other digestive glands) [see Wallace, 1975, p. 187].
Within 72 hours after fertilization, the embryo will have divided a total of four times, and will consist of sixteen cells. Each cell will divide before it reaches the size of the cell that produced it; hence, the cells will become progressively smaller with each division. By the end of the first month, the embryo will have reached a length of only one-eighth of an inch but already will consist of millions of cells. By the end of the ninth month, if all proceeds via normal channels, a baby is ready to be born. As one biologist (and author of a widely used secular university biology textbook) noted: “As soon as the egg is touched by the head of a sperm, it undergoes violent pulsating movements which unite the twenty-three chromosomes of the sperm with its own genetic complement. From this single cell, about 1/175 of an inch in diameter, a baby weighing several pounds and composed of trillions of cells will be delivered about 266 days later” (Wallace, 1975, p. 194, emp. added).
Is it alive? Of course it is alive. In fact, herein lies one of the most illogical absurdities of arguments set forth by those who support and defend abortion. They opine that the “thing” in the human womb is not “alive.” If it is not alive, why the need to abort it? Simply leave it alone! Obviously, of course, from their perspective that is not an option because, as everyone knows, in nine months that growing, vibrant, developing fetus results in a living, human baby. The truth of the matter is that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether intrauterine or extrauterine, until death. Consider the following important scientific facts regarding the living nature of the fetus.
(1) The baby’s heart starts beating 18-25 days after conception.
(2) By the age of two months, the heart beats so strongly that a doctor actually can listen to it with a special stethoscope.
(3) At about this same time, brain activity can be recorded by use of an electroencephalogram. Brain waves are readily apparent.
(4) By the age of two months, everything is “in place”—feet, hands, head, organs, etc. Upon close examination, fingerprints are evident. Although less than an inch long, the embryo has a head with eyes and ears, a simple digestive system, kidneys, liver, a heart that beats, a bloodstream of its own, and the beginning of a brain.
(5) The unborn child hiccups, sucks his thumb, wakes, and sleeps.
(6) The unborn child responds to touch, pain, cold, sound, and light.
Is the child alive? Do you know any dead creature that attains such marvelous accomplishments?
But is the fetus growing in the uterus actually human? It is the result of the union of the human male gamete (spermatozoon) and the human female gamete (ovum)—something that certainly guarantees its humanness. [The Washington Post of May 11, 1975 contained an “Open Letter to the Supreme Court”—signed by 209 medical doctors—which stated: “We physicians reaffirm our dedication to the awesome splendor of human life—from one-celled infant to dottering elder.”]
And how, exactly, does God view this unborn yet fully human child? He said to the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee” (Jeremiah 1:5, emp. added). Jehovah knew the prophet—even while he was in utero—and viewed him as a living person. Further, God already had “sanctified” Jeremiah. If his mother had aborted the baby, she would have killed someone that God recognized as a living person.
The same concept applied to the prophet Isaiah who said: “Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye peoples, from afar; Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.... And now, saith Jehovah that formed me from the womb to be his servant...” (Isaiah 49:1,5, emp. added). Jehovah not only viewed Isaiah as a person prior to his birth, but even called him by name.
David, in Psalm 139:13-16, provided one of the clearest and most compelling discussions on the nature and importance of life in utero when he wrote:
For thou didst form my inward parts: Thou didst cover me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks unto thee; For I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well. My frame was not hidden from thee, When I was made in secret, And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.
The phrases, “I was made in secret” and “curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth,” refer to the psalmist’s development in the womb (see Young, 1965, p. 76). Notice also that David employed the pronouns “me,” “my,” and “I” throughout the passage in reference to his own prenatal state. Such usage clearly shows that David was referring to himself, and one cannot talk about himself without having reference to a living human being. The Bible thus acknowledges that David was a human being while he inhabited his mother’s womb (and prior to his birth).
Job, who was undergoing a terrible life crisis, cursed the day he was born when he said: “Why did I not die from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when my mother bore me?” (3:11). It is clear that if the fetus had died in the womb, prior to that it must have been living. Something (or someone) cannot die if it (or they) never lived. It also is of interest to observe that in Job 3:13-16, the patriarch listed several formerly-living-but-now-dead people with whom he would have had something in common if he had died in utero. Included in the list—along with kings and princes—was the child who experienced a “hidden untimely birth” (i.e., a miscarriage). Job considered the miscarried child to be in the same category as others who once lived but had died. Obviously, the Holy Spirit (Who guided the author of the book of Job in what he wrote) considered an unborn fetus as much a human being as a king, a prince, or a stillborn infant.
In the Old Testament, even the accidental termination of a pregnancy was a punishable crime. Consider Exodus 21:22—“If men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follows; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him...but if any harm follows, then thou shalt give life for life.” The meaning of the passage is this: If the child was born prematurely as the result of this accident, but “no harm follows” (i.e. the child survived), then a fine was to be exacted; however, if “harm follows” (i.e., either mother or child died), then the guilty party was to be put to death. Look at it this way. Why would God exact such a severe punishment for the accidental death of an unborn child—if that child were not living?
The same understanding of the fetus as a living child is found within the pages of the New Testament. The angel Gabriel told Mary that “Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age” (Luke 1:36, emp. added). Please note that the conception resulted in neither an “it” nor a “thing,” but in a son. In Luke 1:41,44, the Bible states (in speaking of Elisabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist) that “the babe leaped in her womb.” The word for “babe” in these passages is the Greek term brephos, and is used here for an unborn fetus. The same word is used in both Luke 18:15 and Acts 7:19 for young or newborn children. It also is used in Luke 2:12,16 for the newborn Christ-child. Brephos therefore can refer to a young child, a newborn infant, or even an unborn fetus (see Thayer, 1958, p. 105). In each of these cases a living human being must be under consideration because the same word is used to describe all three.
The fact that the zygote/embryo/fetus is living (an inescapable conclusion supported by both weighty scientific and biblical evidence) thus becomes critically important in answering the question, “When does man receive his immortal nature?” When James observed that “the body apart from the spirit is dead” (2:26), the corollary automatically inherent in his statement became the fact that if the body is living, then the spirit must be present. Since at each stage of its development the zygote/embryo/fetus is living, it must have had a soul/spirit instilled at conception. No other view is in accord with both the biblical and scientific evidence.
[to be continued]


Harris, R.L., G.L. Archer, Jr., and B.K. Waltke (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Lewis, Jack P. (1988), “Living Soul,” Exegesis of Difficult Passages (Searcy, AR: Resource Publications).
Rudin, Norah (1997), Dictionary of Modern Biology (Hauppauge, NY: Barrons).
Thayer, J.H. (1958 reprint), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Wallace, Robert A. (1975), Biology: The World of Life (Pacific Palisades, CA: Goodyear).
Young, Edward J. (1965), Psalm 139 (London: The Banner of Truth Trust).

From Gary.... Bible reading September 1

Bible reading   

September 1

The World English Bible

Sept. 1
Psalms 26-29

Psa 26:1 Judge me, Yahweh, for I have walked in my integrity. I have trusted also in Yahweh without wavering.
Psa 26:2 Examine me, Yahweh, and prove me. Try my heart and my mind.
Psa 26:3 For your loving kindness is before my eyes. I have walked in your truth.
Psa 26:4 I have not sat with deceitful men, neither will I go in with hypocrites.
Psa 26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.
Psa 26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence, so I will go about your altar, Yahweh;
Psa 26:7 that I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard, and tell of all your wondrous works.
Psa 26:8 Yahweh, I love the habitation of your house, the place where your glory dwells.
Psa 26:9 Don't gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men;
Psa 26:10 in whose hands is wickedness, their right hand is full of bribes.
Psa 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity. Redeem me, and be merciful to me.
Psa 26:12 My foot stands in an even place. In the congregations I will bless Yahweh.
Psa 27:1 Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?
Psa 27:2 When evildoers came at me to eat up my flesh, even my adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.
Psa 27:3 Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.
Psa 27:4 One thing I have asked of Yahweh, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of Yahweh all the days of my life, to see Yahweh's beauty, and to inquire in his temple.
Psa 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion. In the covert of his tabernacle he will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock.
Psa 27:6 Now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me. I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tent. I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to Yahweh.
Psa 27:7 Hear, Yahweh, when I cry with my voice. Have mercy also on me, and answer me.
Psa 27:8 When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "I will seek your face, Yahweh."
Psa 27:9 Don't hide your face from me. Don't put your servant away in anger. You have been my help. Don't abandon me, neither forsake me, God of my salvation.
Psa 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then Yahweh will take me up.
Psa 27:11 Teach me your way, Yahweh. Lead me in a straight path, because of my enemies.
Psa 27:12 Don't deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, such as breathe out cruelty.
Psa 27:13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living.
Psa 27:14 Wait for Yahweh. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for Yahweh.
Psa 28:1 To you, Yahweh, I call. My rock, don't be deaf to me; lest, if you are silent to me, I would become like those who go down into the pit.
Psa 28:2 Hear the voice of my petitions, when I cry to you, when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Psa 28:3 Don't draw me away with the wicked, with the workers of iniquity who speak peace with their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts.
Psa 28:4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings. Give them according to the operation of their hands. Bring back on them what they deserve.
Psa 28:5 Because they don't regard the works of Yahweh, nor the operation of his hands, he will break them down and not build them up.
Psa 28:6 Blessed be Yahweh, because he has heard the voice of my petitions.
Psa 28:7 Yahweh is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices. With my song I will thank him.
Psa 28:8 Yahweh is their strength. He is a stronghold of salvation to his anointed.
Psa 28:9 Save your people, and bless your inheritance. Be their shepherd also, and bear them up forever.
Psa 29:1 Ascribe to Yahweh, you sons of the mighty, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.
Psa 29:2 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due to his name. Worship Yahweh in holy array.
Psa 29:3 Yahweh's voice is on the waters. The God of glory thunders, even Yahweh on many waters.
Psa 29:4 Yahweh's voice is powerful. Yahweh's voice is full of majesty.
Psa 29:5 The voice of Yahweh breaks the cedars. Yes, Yahweh breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
Psa 29:6 He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young, wild ox.
Psa 29:7 Yahweh's voice strikes with flashes of lightning.
Psa 29:8 Yahweh's voice shakes the wilderness. Yahweh shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
Psa 29:9 Yahweh's voice makes the deer calve, and strips the forests bare. In his temple everything says, "Glory!"
Psa 29:10 Yahweh sat enthroned at the Flood. Yes, Yahweh sits as King forever.
Psa 29:11 Yahweh will give strength to his people. Yahweh will bless his people with peace.

Sept. 1
Romans 13

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God.
Rom 13:2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,
Rom 13:4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.
Rom 13:5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
Rom 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God's service, attending continually on this very thing.
Rom 13:7 Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.
Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Rom 13:9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not give false testimony," "You shall not covet," and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Rom 13:10 Love doesn't harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Rom 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed.
Rom 13:12 The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let's therefore throw off the works of darkness, and let's put on the armor of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy.
Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.

From Mark Copeland... Benevolence To Saints And Strangers (Romans 12:13)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

              Benevolence To Saints And Strangers (12:13)


1. As Christians we have the responsibility to...
   a. Present our bodies as living sacrifices - Ro 12:1
   b. Prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God - Ro 12:2
   -- Made possible by the transformation that comes by renewing our

2. A remarkable transformation that characterized early Christians was
   their benevolence...
   a. Toward their brethren
   b. Toward those who were strangers

3. As commanded in our text (Ro 12:3), they...
   a. Distributed to the needs of the saints
   b. Showed hospitality even to strangers
   -- Which was in keeping with God's good, acceptable, and perfect will

[What about us today?  How is our benevolence to saints and strangers?
Perhaps we might do well to take a closer look at the two commands in
our text...]


      1. Distributing - "The word used here denotes having things in
         common, (koinwnountev). It means, that they should be
         communicative, or should regard their property as so far common
         as to supply the wants of others." - Barnes
      2. to the needs - "That is, distribute to them such things as they
         need -- food, raiment, etc.  This command, of course, has
         reference to the poor." - ibid.
      3. of the saints - "Of Christians, or the friends of God." - ibid.
      -- "Making the needs of fellow saints your own and helping them."
         - B. W. Johnson

      1. By the church at Jerusalem (a church helping its members) - Ac 2:44-45; 4:32-36; 6:1-6
      2. By the church at Antioch (a church helping other churches) - Ac 11:27-30
      3. By the churches of Macedonia and Achaia (many churches helping
         one church) - Ro 15:25-26; 1Co 16:1-2; 2Co 8:1-24; 9:1-15

      1. The collection on the Lord's day is designed for this very
         purpose - 1Co 16:1-2
      2. If brethren are in need, we should not hesitate to use the
         collection for this purpose
         a. For needy saints in the local congregation
         b. For needy saints in other places
         -- Though there are some limitations - e.g., 1Ti 5:9-16; 2 Th 3:6-15
      3. Our assistance is based upon ability and opportunity
         a. According to our ability - 2Co 8:12-15; though note 2Co 8:
         b. According to our opportunity - Ga 6:10

[The Lord has provided a systematic method to meet the needs of His
saints.  Of course, this does not preclude helping one another as
individuals (1Ti 6:17-18).  Nor does it mean we have no responsibility
toward those not saints, for we are commanded to be...]


      1. given to - "Pursuing (as if in a chase or hunt)..."
         - Robertson's Word Pictures
      2. hospitality - Love to strangers (philoxenia)
      3. "This expression means that they should readily and cheerfully
         entertain strangers." - Barnes
         a. A duty often enjoined in the Scriptures - He 13:2; 1Pe 4:9
         b. A qualification for both bishop (elder) and needy widow
            - 1Ti 3:2; 5:10
      4. "The 'hospitality' of today, by which is meant the
         entertainment of friends or relatives, hardly comes within the
         Biblical use of the term as denoting a special virtue." - ISBE

      1. By Abraham, extending hospitality to "three men" - Gen 18:1-8
      2. By Lot, pursuing hospitality to "two men" - Gen 19:1-3
      3. By Job, who left no stranger in the street - Job 31:32
      4. By Jethro, who rebuked his daughters for neglecting Moses - Exo 2:20
      5. In the support of early missionaries - Mt 10:11,42; 25:35; 3 Jn 5-8

      1. The principle of hospitality presumes ability and opportunity
         a. Our responsibility is based upon ability - cf. 2Co 8:12-13
         b. Our responsibility is based upon opportunities - cf. Ga 6:10
      2. The pursuit of hospitality is enabled through preparation
         a. You are more likely to offer hospitality without grumbling
            if prepared beforehand
         b. Cheerful giving is made easier by purposeful planning - cf.
            2Co 9:7
         c. Why not have a place in your personal budget for
            entertaining strangers?
      3. The practice of hospitality can take various forms, if safety
         or wisdom is a concern
         a. Housing can be provided through arrangements with a local
         b. Food can be given in the form of vouchers or gift
      4. The potential of hospitality for good can be seen in regards to
         a. Supporting those who travel to preach the gospel
         b. Touching the hearts of those who may be in need of the
      -- "The primitive Christians made one principle part of their duty
         to consist in the exercise of hospitality; and they were so
         exact in the discharge of it that the very heathens admired
         them for it." - Cruden's Concordance


1. As we seek to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect
   will of God"...
   a. Do not neglect to provide for the needs of your brethren
   b. Do not hesitate to show love for those who are strangers

2. Let the words of Jesus Himself challenge us to a higher plane of
   a. That we might be more like our Heavenly Father - cf. Lk 6:32-36
   b. That we might be repaid at the resurrection of the just - cf. Lk 14:12-14

Speaking of such things as our Heavenly Father and the resurrection to
come, have you received the hospitality that God extends to all who are
lost...? - cf. Ro 5:8-10

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Feelings and words

The label attached to the picture said "Canadian Sunset" and I believe it probably is somewhere in Canada.  However, it is not the location that attracted me (don't get me wrong CANADA IS BEAUTIFUL!!!) but rather the light.  Notice the soft warm hues of the beams of light near that tree in the forefront.  And how about the glow on the ground and the reflection on the rocks; simply beautiful!!!!  Sometimes the feelings of a thing say much more than words can ever convey.  On the contrary, sometimes words can impact you greatly; especially very STRONG WORDS!!!  An example is found in this passage from Paul's letter to the Galatians...

Galatians 1:1-9 NASB
(1)  Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),
(2)  and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
(3)  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
(4)  who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
(5)  to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
(6)  I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
(7)  which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
(8)  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
(9)  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

The apostle Paul felt very strongly about THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL!!!  After all, he left everything in his former life as a Jew to follow Jesus.  And when some went after a "different" gospel (vs. 6) he called them down for it.  And then we have the last two verses... those preaching that "different" gospel were to be accursed!!! Powerful words, used against their powerless message of error.  Sometimes, you just have to tell things in a harsh way.  As for me, I prefer to give a gentle rebuke- like that light in the picture.  Then, there are times when the stupidity people do make me crazy and then- lookout and put your hands over those ears to protect them!!!