3/11/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Apologise for the Cross?

Apologise for the Cross?

We aren’t to talk about the cross as though we were apologizing. We aren’t to talk about it as if we wanted people to "pity poor Jesus for what we did to him." The cross can speak for itself and has been doing that for millennia and it has been burying false gods and half-gods everywhere it was truly seen.
Heinrich Heine, German-born poet and literary figure, after quoting the Homeric description of the feasting gods, says: "Then suddenly approached, panting, a pale Jew with drops of blood on his brow, with a crown of thorns on his head, and a great cross laid on his shoulders; and he threw the cross on the high table of the gods so that the golden cups tottered, and the gods became dumb and pale, and grew even paler till at last they melted away into vapor."
Apologize for that?

John Tolkein, the author of Lord of the Rings, didn’t think much of Dorothy Sayers’ writing but any believer is bloodless that isn’t stirred at times by this rehearsal of the plain unvarnished facts of the faith.
Jesus Bar-Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth was…the God ‘by whom all things were made.’…He was not a kind of demon or fairy pretending to be human; He was in every respect a genuine living man. He was not merely a man so good as to be ‘like God’¾He was God. Now, this is not just a pious commonplace; it is not a commonplace at all. For what it means is this…that for whatever reason God chose to make man as he is¾ limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death¾ He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine…When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worth while…Possibly we might prefer not to take this tale too seriously¾ there are disquieting points about it. Here we had a man of Divine character walking and talking among us¾ and what did we do with Him?...Our leading authorities in Church and State considered that he talked too much and uttered too many disquieting truths. So we bribed one of His friends to hand Him over quietly to the police, and we tried Him on a rather vague charge of creating a disturbance, and had Him publicly flogged and hanged on the common gallows, ‘thanking God we were rid of a knave.’ All this is not very creditable to us, even if He was (as many people thought and think) only a harmless crazy preacher. But if the Church is right about Him, it was more discreditable still; for the man we hanged was God Almighty.
So that is the outline of the official story¾ the tale of the time when God was the under-dog and got beaten, when He submitted to the conditions He had laid down and became a man like the men He had made, and the men He had made broke Him and killed Him. This is the dogma we find so dull¾ the terrifying drama of which God is the victim and hero…
"Now we may call that doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, then words have no meaning at all…that man should play the tyrant over God and find Him a better man than himself is an astonishing drama indeed. Any journalist, hearing it for the first time, would recognize it as News; those who did hear it for the first time actually called it News, and good news at that; though we are apt to forget that the word Gospel ever meant anything so sensational.
Perhaps the drama is played out now, and Jesus is safely dead and buried. Perhaps. It is ironical and entertaining to consider that once at least in the world’s history those words might have been spoken with complete conviction, and that was upon the eve of the Resurrection." (I added the italics.)
This is our faith and we can become absorbed in the daily newspapers? This is our faith and we can be glued to the twenty-four-hour news stations, listening to the same banal rehearsals from presenters doing their best to make it sound exciting? While Sayers’ summary is in fact the reality of our faith? Is that a miracle or what? And can you imagine what Paul would have thought if he had flipped the religious television channels? When he listened to the tanned, occasionally elegant, made-up and bejeweled babblers with the huge wigs and colored hair that go on and on about as near nothing as you can get while still quoting an occasional scripture? Can you imagine how astonished he’d be if he walked in on one of our customary sermons when we verbally rape everyone outside the building (and many inside it) for every conceivable thing and call it "faithful" gospel preaching?
[Excerpted from The Dragon Slayer. See McGuiggan books]
 ©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Jim McGuiggan... The Da Vinci Code and the Uniqueness of Christ by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=1890

The Da Vinci Code and the Uniqueness of Christ

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Among the many unsubstantiated accusations that author Dan Brown made in his bestselling novelThe Da Vinci Code is one regarding the “unoriginality” of Christianity. Allegedly, “Nothing in Christianity is original” (Brown, 2003, p. 232). As “proof” of this statement, Brown’s fictional character, Sir Leigh Teabing, asserts:
“The pre-Christian God Mithras—called the Son of God and the Light of the World—was born on December 25, died, and was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. By the way, December 25 is also the birthday of Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The newborn Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity’s weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans” (p. 232, italics in orig.).
Supposedly, the Gospel was nothing new 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born into the world. Stories that resemble “the Good News of Jesus” circulated centuries earlier. Pagans had previously worshipped and idolized god-like heroes who in some ways resembled Christ.
How can Christianity be “original” if stories that predate the time of Christ speak of gods who were born on December 25, presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, called the Son of God and Light of the World, and buried and raised only a few days after their deaths? As with so many things in The Da Vinci Code, this accusation is erroneous and terribly misleading.
First of all, the Bible nowhere indicates that Jesus was born on December 25. There are no Old Testament prophecies about Him being born on this date, nor does any New Testament writer suggest it. On the contrary, Luke hints that Jesus was most likely born in a month other than December. In chapter two of his gospel account, Luke wrote that Jesus was born when shepherds were “living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (2:8). It is highly unlikely that shepherds would have been “living out in the fields” with their sheep during the winter months. “Jews sent out their flocks into the mountainous and desert regions during the summer months, and took them up in the latter part of October or the first of November, when the cold weather commenced” (Barnes, 1997). Late December simply was not a time when flocks were in the fields at night. Thus, as Adam Clarke concluded, “On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up” (1996).
The early church did not celebrate “Christmas” on December 25, since the inspired apostles and prophets never commanded its observance as a religious holy day. “Christmas” was not observed until the fourth century A.D. (see “Christmas,” 1997, 3:283), and even then it was most likely adopted “to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’” (“Christmas,” 3:283). In short, a December 25 “holy day” originated as a pagan feast, and true Christianity is not connected to this date in any way. Thus, the fact that history records stories of mythical gods being born on December 25 in no way diminishes the deity, superiority, or virgin birth of Christ.
Second, similarities between Christ and the stories of mythical hero “savior-gods” from the past are to be expected. Centuries before the time of Christ prophets foretold of the coming Savior of mankind Who would be “from everlasting” (Micah 5:2), yet enter the world miraculously by being born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). He would be of royal blood (Isaiah 9:6-7), reign over a kingdom (Psalm 110:1-2) that will never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44), and wear names such as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Finally, at His death He would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10), and yet His body would not see corruption (Psalm 16:10), i.e., He would be raised from the dead. Considering prophecies about the coming Messiah were being foretold since “the foundation of the world (i.e., since the fall of man—Genesis 3:15; cf. Luke 11:49-51) to both Jews and Gentiles (see Lyons, 2004), stories of various “savior-gods” who might sound similar to the true Messiah are to be expected. [NOTE: For further information, see Butt and Lyons, 2006, pp. 35-74.]
Third, although there are some parallels between the Gospel of Jesus and the “hero-god” stories that circulated centuries before Christ came to Earth, many of these professed similarities are untrue. For example, in hopes of casting doubt on the story of Jesus, Dan Brown asserted that, like Jesus, Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Yet, according to Amy Welborn, “There is not a single story in actual Hindu mythology of Krishna being presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh at his birth” (2004, p. 87). Brown may well have obtained this information regarding Krishna from Kersey Graves’ 1875 book The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors. Not surprising, neither Brown nor Graves provided any documentation for their comparisons. Furthermore, as Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel observed: “The stories of Krishna’s childhood recorded in the Harivamsa Purana (c. A.D. 300) and the Bhagavata Purana (c. A.D. 800-900) don’t mention gifts at all. Even if they did, these latter works were written after the first century, making Graves’ claim absurd” (2004).
Finally, Christianity’s weekly “holy day” was not “stolen” from pagans. Since there are only seven days in a week, there was a one in seven chance that Christians would assemble on someone’s “holy day.” If Jesus had been raised on Saturday, and Christians assembled for worship on the seventh day rather than the first day, the Jews would have cried foul play. Were early Christians to meet on Monday, they may have been accused of worshiping the moon. In truth, Christians have been meeting on the first day of the week to worship God for 2,000 years because God set aside this day for us to worship Him, including eating the memorial feast (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-26). Christians know nothing of Sun-worship, but much of Son-worship. As Tertullian wrote 1,800 years ago in his “Apology,” Christians “devote Sun-day to rejoicing” for a “far different reason than Sun-worship” (XVI). To say that Christians “stole” their “holy day” from the pagans is an outright lie.
Sadly, Satan has used The Da Vinci Code and other popular writings and movies to deceive millions of people about the uniqueness of Christ and the originality of Christianity. Thankfully, however, even Satan cannot stop the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) from pricking the hearts of those who are open to the Truth (Matthew 13:1-23; cf. Acts 2:36-37; 16:14). May God help us all to distinguish between Truth and error, and obey that which God’s Truth teaches.

REFERENCES

Barnes, Albert (1997), Barnes’ Notes (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Brown, Dan (2003), The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday).
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Christmas” (1997), The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Brittannica).
Clarke, Adam (1996), Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Lyons, Eric (2004), “Resurrected ‘Savior-Gods’ and the Prophets of Old,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2858.
Olson, Carl E. and Sandra Miesel (2004), “A Da Vinci De-Coder,” [On-line], URL: http://www.carl-olson.com/articles/tca_tdvc_apr04.html.
Tertullian (1973 reprint), “Apology,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Welborn, Amy (2004), De-coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code (United States: Our Sunday Visitor).

From Mark Copeland... "CHALLENGES CONFRONTING THE CHURCH" Denominationalism


                  "CHALLENGES CONFRONTING THE CHURCH"

                           Denominationalism

INTRODUCTION

1. A great challenge confronting the church is denominationalism...
   a. According to one account, there are more than 38,000 different
      denominations!
   b. Different religious organizations, bearing many different
      religious names
   c. Hindering the spread of the gospel ("Why, you Christians can’t
      even agree!")

2. Denominationalism confronted the church early on...
   a. Many think that it started with the Protestant reformation (ca.1517 AD)
   b. Properly understood, its origins can be traced to the second century AD

[What is denominationalism?  Why is it wrong?  Such questions this study will address...]

I. DEFINING DENOMINATION AND DENOMINATIONALISM

   A. WHAT IS A DENOMINATION...?
      1. "A large group of religious congregations united under a common
         faith and name and organized under a single administrative and
         legal hierarchy." - The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
      3. By their common name and tie to a governing body above the
         local congregation, they are "denominated" from all
         congregations that do not submit to the same authority
      4. Some examples:
         a. The Roman Catholic Church is a denomination made up of those
            churches that submit to the pope in Rome
         b. The Eastern Orthodox Church is a denomination made up of
            those churches that submit to the patriarch of Constantinople
         c. The Anglican Church of England is a denomination made up of
            those churches that submit to the archbishop of Canterbury
         d. The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) is made up of those
            churches that submit to the synod in Missouri
  
    -- A denomination is a group of congregations that are joined
         together under some governing body, all wearing the same distinctive name

   B. WHAT IS DENOMINATIONALISM...?
      1. According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
         a. "The tendency to separate into religious denominations"
         b. "Advocacy of separation into religious denominations"
         c. "Strict adherence to a denomination; sectarianism"
      2. For the purpose in this series, I will be applying the term to
         any approval of the denominational division which exists today
         a. Many in denominations today are not all that devoted to
            their denominational principles or interests
         b. But by membership in a denomination they implicitly advocate
            separation into religious denominations

[Is denominationalism really a challenge confronting the church?  Some
consider it a blessing:  e.g., "Join the church of your choice!"  But
from a Biblical perspective, consider...]

II. WHY DENOMINATIONALISM IS WRONG

   A. IT IS UN-SCRIPTURAL...
      1. That is, it is without Scriptural support
         a. There is no basis in the Bible for local churches being
            divided up into various denominational bodies
         b. There is no denomination that can go to the Bible and say,
            "See that passage? There is our church (denomination)!"
      2. In the New Testament...
         a. Local congregations were independent, autonomous (self-governing)
         b. Church organization was limited to within the local congregation
         c. With elders (also known as pastors, bishops, overseers,
            presbyters) appointed to oversee only the congregation of
            which they were members - cf. Ac 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2
      3. The only authority above the local church in the NT was Christ
         and His apostles
         a. Once the church began, apostles were not replaced after they
            died - e.g., Ac 12:1-2
         b. But through the Word of God, the authority of Christ and His apostles continues
 
     -- Individuals, synods, conferences, etc., that presume to usurp
         authority over local churches today do so without Scriptural authority

   B. IT IS ANTI-SCRIPTURAL...
      1. Not only is it without scriptural support, it is contrary to
         what the Bible teaches
      2. It is contrary to the prayer of Jesus for unity among His
         believers - Jn 17:20-23
      3. It is condemned by Paul in his epistle to the church at Corinth
         a. There are to be no divisions among believers - 1Co 1:10-13
         b. Sectarianism is a sign of carnality - 1Co 3:3-4
      4. It opposes the efforts of Christ on the cross! - Ep 2:14-16
         a. Jesus died to break down the wall of division
         b. Jesus died to reconcile man to God in ONE body
      -- Just as our sin works against the efforts of Christ on the
         cross (for He died to put away sin), so does denominational
         division!

   C. IT IS HARMFUL TO THE CAUSE OF CHRIST...
      1. Jesus knew that unity among His disciples would be "the final apologetic"
         a. Cf. "that the world may believe" - Jn 17:21
         b. In view of Jesus’ words, we should not be surprised when
            unbelievers are slow to accept the gospel coming from a
            divided church
      2. Many point to the divided condition of those professing to follow Christ...
         a. Atheists and agnostics use religious division as an excuse
            not to believe in God
         b. Muslims, Jews, etc. often use denominationalism reasons not
            to believe in Christ
      3. Denominationalism has also given support and encouragement to the cults
         a. Mormonism started in reaction to the denominationalism of
            Joseph Smith’s day
         b. Those who call themselves "Jehovah’s Witnesses" use
            religious division to encourage people to follow their own
            strictly-controlled organization
    
  -- How can any true disciple of Christ support such a harmful concept?

   D. OTHERS WHO VIEWED DENOMINATIONALISM AS WRONG...
      1. Martin Luther, a leader of the Reformation Movement:

         "I ask that men make no reference to my name, and call
         themselves not Lutherans, but Christians.  What is Luther?  My
         doctrine, I am sure, is not mine, nor have I been crucified
         for any one. St. Paul, in 1 Cor. 3, would not allow Christians
         to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian.  How then
         should I, poor, foul carcass that I am, come to have men give
         to the children of Christ a name derived from my worthless
         name?  No, no, my dear friends; let us abolish all party names,
         and call ourselves Christians after Him Whose doctrine we have."
         - Hugh Thomason Kerr, A Compend of Luther’s Theology
         (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1943, p. 135)

      2. John Wesley, another reformation leader, among whose followers
         are Methodists, Wesleyans, etc.:

         "Would to God that all party names, and unscriptural phrases
         and forms which have divided the Christian world, were forgot
         and that the very name [Methodist] might never be mentioned
         more, but be buried in eternal oblivion." - John Wesley,
         Universal Knowledge, A Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Arts,
         Science, History, Biography, Law, Literature, Religions,
         Nations, Races, Customs, and Institutions, Vol. 9, Edward A.
         Pace, Editor (New York: Universal Knowledge Foundation, 1927,p. 540)

      3. Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest Baptist preachers who ever lived:

         "I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be
         a Baptist living!  I hope that the Baptist name will soon
         perish, but let Christ’s name last forever." - Spurgeon
         Memorial Library, Vol. I., p. 168

      -- Note well:  these individuals were bemoaning the use of
         denominational titles, not organizational ties per se

CONCLUSION

1. But it is organizational ties above the local church that leads to denominationalism...
   a. Once local churches are "organized under a single administrative
      and legal hierarchy", denominational names soon follow!
   b. And so it is that denominationalism with its religious division
      continues to grow!

2. If local churches are to successfully confront the challenge of
   denominationalism, they must...
   a. Remain independent, autonomous (self-governing) congregations
   b. Refuse organizational associations with other churches
   c. Refrain from using denominational names for their churches

3. Churches that succeed in avoiding denominationalism are more likely to be...
   a. Nothing more than local churches of Christ
   b. Christians who simply seek to follow Jesus as His disciples
   c. The answer to the prayer of our Lord for unity among believers
      - cf. Jn 17:20-21

But there is another challenge, one that is closely related to
denominationalism, which we shall consider in our next study:
Sectarianism!


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading March 11



Bible Reading  

March 11

The World English Bible

Mar. 11
Exodus 21

Exo 21:1 "Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them.
Exo 21:2 "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything.
Exo 21:3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself. If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him.
Exo 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
Exo 21:5 But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;'
Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.
Exo 21:7 "If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do.
Exo 21:8 If she doesn't please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her.
Exo 21:9 If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
Exo 21:10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights.
Exo 21:11 If he doesn't do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money.
Exo 21:12 "One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death,
Exo 21:13 but not if it is unintentional, but God allows it to happen: then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee.
Exo 21:14 If a man schemes and comes presumptuously on his neighbor to kill him, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
Exo 21:15 "Anyone who attacks his father or his mother shall be surely put to death.
Exo 21:16 "Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:17 "Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Exo 21:18 "If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he doesn't die, but is confined to bed;
Exo 21:19 if he rises again and walks around with his staff, then he who struck him shall be cleared: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for his healing until he is thoroughly healed.
Exo 21:20 "If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.
Exo 21:21 Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.
Exo 21:22 "If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.
Exo 21:23 But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,
Exo 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Exo 21:25 burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.
Exo 21:26 "If a man strikes his servant's eye, or his maid's eye, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.
Exo 21:27 If he strikes out his male servant's tooth, or his female servant's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.
Exo 21:28 "If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall not be held responsible.
Exo 21:29 But if the bull had a habit of goring in the past, and it has been testified to its owner, and he has not kept it in, but it has killed a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death.
Exo 21:30 If a ransom is laid on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is laid on him.
Exo 21:31 Whether it has gored a son or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him.
Exo 21:32 If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned.
Exo 21:33 "If a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and doesn't cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it,
Exo 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make it good. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall be his.
Exo 21:35 "If one man's bull injures another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live bull, and divide its price; and they shall also divide the dead animal.

Exo 21:36 Or if it is known that the bull was in the habit of goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay bull for bull, and the dead animal shall be his own.

 Mar. 11, 12
Mark 8

Mar 8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,
Mar 8:2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.
Mar 8:3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."
Mar 8:4 His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"
Mar 8:5 He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven."
Mar 8:6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.
Mar 8:7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.
Mar 8:8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
Mar 8:9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.
Mar 8:10 Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
Mar 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.
Mar 8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Mar 8:13 He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.
Mar 8:14 They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
Mar 8:15 He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."
Mar 8:16 They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."
Mar 8:17 Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?
Mar 8:18 Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember?
Mar 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve."
Mar 8:20 "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven."
Mar 8:21 He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"
Mar 8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
Mar 8:24 He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."
Mar 8:25 Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.
Mar 8:26 He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."
Mar 8:27 Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"
Mar 8:28 They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets."
Mar 8:29 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
Mar 8:30 He commanded them that they should tell no one about him.
Mar 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
Mar 8:33 But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men."
Mar 8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mar 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.
Mar 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?
Mar 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mar 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

From Gary... And the world is passing away

Today's post is different, for it is quite personal. Jim was my best friend in high school and although I have not seen him in over 30 years, still, I think of him from time to time. Slowly, but surely, the things pertaining to my youth are fading away, as this post illustrates.  Occasionally, I ask myself, why do you even do this blog, Gary? And then I remember; God is with me each and every day, in all that I experience. His word comes to me as I live this life; in the little and great things that happen. Today is no different (other than being a bit personal) and as I reflect upon the life of this man, I am reminded of the Scriptures once again...

Genesis, Chapter 3 (WEB)
  1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” 

  2  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden,  3 but not the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 

  4  The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t surely die,  5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Human beings die- Satan lied (and still does).  My good friend of high school days is gone and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Sooner or later, we all must face the reality of mortality and then give account for what we have done in this life. I pray that Jim became a Christian and is in heaven.  I will miss him. If any part of this post causes you to think about your own eternal destiny, then my efforts will not have been in vain. May God bless you, today and always...

Your Friend,

Gary