From Jim McGuiggan... Taking up the cross (1)

Taking up the cross (1)

There was a day in the middle of all the hoopla, when great crowds were streaming after him in the fever of bandwagon excitement, that the Master turned to them and said something they surely didn't expect; something we don't care much for; something we "explain" by assuring ourselves of what it does not mean. He said: "If any one comes to me and hates not his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:25-27)
 "Cannot be my disciple." He says it three times in nine verses so I presume he meant us to take it seriously. If you don't hate father and mother you can't be my disciple. If you don't take up your own cross and follow me you can't be my disciple. If you don't renounce all you have you can't be my disciple (14:33). What's he got against families and parents? What's he got against my wanting to live life with my own agenda?
None of this has that soothing sound we'd expect from a "gentle Jesus meek and mild" but it wasn't the only time he said something like that. Earlier he spoke of his own approaching violent death and immediately added (Luke 9:23-24), "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whosoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it." There's that cross business again and what's worse he has thrown in a "daily" experience of it. It's not very soothing. On the whole I think we prefer the sound of, By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another. There's room to maneuver in those words, you can sort of debate what love is and who's included in one another; besides, the word "love" has that wooing sound we like so much.
Take up your cross every day and follow me. There's something flat and toneless, something uncompromising about a stake that's cut to get yourself hung on. "You want to be mine?" he asks, eyeing one of the big pre-prepared stakes lying around. "Grab one of those and follow me."
I suppose there are some things you could never say with a smile and that might be one of them.
It was probably on that very occasion when he said he was to be die violently at the hands of the religious leaders that Peter strenuously objected to that kind of talk (Matthew 16:21-23). I might have said Jesus was irritated by Peter's, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you" except that I think that "irritated" isn't nearly strong enough. I think Jesus was passionately angry with his friend. I wonder what made Jesus so inflexible when it came to the cross issue? "Get behind me, Satan!" he says to Peter. "You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."
What do you make of that?
Then turning to the rest of the disciples he said abruptly, "If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." What's all this taking up crosses business?
And "follow" him; follow him where? Where do we think he was going dragging a cross?
And, again, what does he have against parents and families that would lead him to talk like this (Matthew 10:34-37): "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
Whatever else is true about all this, cross bearing must become personal to us for we're told to take up "our" cross. Luke has Christ speaking to "all" and speaking of "any man" so the call to take up the cross is not confined to a particular group of disciples or leaders. And we're told that it is to be a "daily" experience (Luke 9:23). It's clear from this that the call is not just an initial commitment but something that is to be renewed as discipleship develops.
It is perfectly proper to emphasize the cross of Christ as God's initiative and God's self-revelation and it's proper to teach that this divine initiative and self-revelation is the ground for all human response. After we have done all our obeying we recognize that it is all God's drawing (John 6:44,65; 12:32) and after we've worked ourselves into a well-earned grave for God we will gladly confess that it was the grace of God in us that worked in us (1 Corinthians 15:10). All of that is true but this also is true: We must obey and work and make the cross our own. Words have no meaning if our response is not required in the words, "If any man will come after me let him take up his cross and follow me."
We know what God's view of and purpose in the cross of Jesus Christ is because he has told us [well, something of it]; but Jesus Christ insists that he must know what our view of and response to his cross is. When Peter in Matthew 16:22 rebuked Jesus for talk about the cross Jesus bluntly shoved him aside with the accusation, "Satan!" It mattered supremely to Christ how Peter (and everyone else) stood in relation to the cross because he insisted that if anyone wanted to come after him that person had to deny him or herself and take up the cross (16:23-24). To refuse to do that meant death (16:25). Christ wasn't calling on his Holy Father to take a stand regarding the cross—that he already knew (16:23) but he certainly called on us to take a stand.

©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, the abiding word.com.

Lawsuit over Jesus by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Lawsuit over Jesus

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

As the creation-evolution debate rages in courtrooms throughout America, and while lawsuits are being filed continually in objection to various visible vestiges of America’s Christian heritage, one court case in Viterbo, Italy is drawing worldwide attention. Atheist Luigi Cascioli is suing Catholic priest Enrico Righi for teaching that Jesus lived on Earth 2,000 years ago. Cascioli contends that Righi and the Catholic church have deceived many people by teaching that Jesus was a real historical person who actually lived in Palestine during the first century. After Judge Mautone initially refused to hear the case, his decision was overruled in December 2005 by the Court of Appeal, “which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was ‘abusing popular credulity’” by teaching the historicity of Jesus (Owen, 2006). Righi has now been ordered to appear in court “to prove that Jesus Christ existed” (Owen).
A mountain of evidence exists for the reality of Christ (none more important than the historical, inspired New Testament documents), and yet skeptics continue to allege that he is merely a figment of our imagination, and/or has been confused with one of several “known” historical persons from the first century. If skeptics and atheists are now going to take “Jesus” to court (which should not concern Christians in view of the evidence supporting His historicity), perhaps those same individuals will be consistent and put their beloved theory of evolution on trial. After all, evolutionary science professors worldwide teach students the “fact” that the Universe is the product of a Big Bang, yet no one has ever proven such to be the case. (In reality, a growing number of scientists are beginning to reject this explanation for the origin of the Universe—see Harrub, 2005). What’s more, students are repeatedly taught that life came from non-living chemicals billions of years ago, even though no one has ever witnessed spontaneous generation take place, and the law of biogenesis flatly contradicts this theory.
The fact that Cascioli’s case has reached this far is a sad commentary on today’s society. The fact that the unproven theory of evolution continues to get a free pass among “enlightened” skeptics who (allegedly) want only “the facts,” is also telling.


Harrub, Brad (2005), “Big Bang Breakdown,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/309.
Owen, Richard (2006), “Prove Christ Exists, Judge Orders Priest,” The Times Online, January 3, [On-line], URL: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/art icle/0,,13509-1967413,00.html.

From Mark Copeland... "CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS" Archaeological Support For The New Testament

                         "CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS"

               Archaeological Support For The New Testament


1. In examining the question of the New Testament's reliability as a
   a. We saw in the previous study that the New Testament passes the
      "ACID TEST"
   b. That is, it was written in the same generation in which 
      the events to place
      1) It was circulated among the very people about whom these
         documents spoke
      2) While they were still alive to confirm or deny it

2. So it was written early...WERE THE AUTHORS ACCURATE in their depiction of the events
   which took place?

3. This is where the science of ARCHAEOLOGY can be very helpful in deter-
   mining the historical reliability of the New Testament:
   a. If the archaeologists prove that the New Testament is filled with
      errors concerning people, places, and events...
   b. Then the New Testament could not be trusted as an accurate record
      of the life of Jesus and the early church!

4. Not too long ago, some discounted the Biblical record because it
   frequently referred to things not mentioned by any source outside the Bible

5. But discoveries by archaeologists in recent years have vindicated the
   New Testament and silenced the skeptics!

[In this study we shall consider just a few examples of how archaeology
has confirmed the New Testament as a reliable document...]

   - Lk 2:1-3

      1. In other words, that there was no such census
      2. Also, that Quirinius was not governor of Syria at that time
      3. And that people did not have to return to their ancestral home

      1. We now know that the Romans:
         a. Had a regular enrollment of taxpayers
         b. Held censuses every 14 years (begun by Augustus Caesar)
      2. An inscription found in Antioch tells of Quirinius being
         governor of Syria around 7 B.C. (evidently he was governor twice!)
      3. A papyrus found in Egypt says concerning the conducting of a census:
         "Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all
         those residing for any cause away from their home should at
         once prepare to return to their own governments in order that
         they may complete the family registration of the enrollment..."


      1. Was one who was killed in 36 B.C.
      2. This caused some to question Luke's reliability

      1. It speaks of "Freedman of Lysanias the tetrarch"
      2. And is dated between 14 and 29 A.D.!


      1. This caused many to say "It's a myth"
      2. And, "See, it (the Bible) is not historical"

      1. This court was the court of the Tower of Antonia
      2. The court was destroyed in 66-70 A.D. during the siege of Jerusalem
      3. It was left buried when the city was rebuilt in the time of Hadrian
      4. And was not discovered until recently!


      1. That Lystra and Derbe were in Lycaonia and Iconium was not
      2. They based their belief on the writings of Romans such as
         Cicero, Strabo, and Pliny
      3. Who indicated that Iconium was in Lycaonia
      4. Thus, archaeologists said the book of Acts was unreliable!

      1. Which showed that Iconium was indeed a Phrygian city
         a. Two inscriptions in the Phrygian language found at Iconium
            in 1910 prove that the Phrygian language was in use there
            for 2 centuries after Paul's visits
         b. Cofirming the interesting topographical detail in Acts (see
            Jour. Hell. Stud., 1911, 189).
      2. Xenophon, who marched with Cyrus’ expedition through Phrygia
         into Lycaonia, calls Iconium the last city of Phrygia
      3. Other ancient authorities who knew the local conditions well
         speak of Iconium as Phrygian until far into the Roman imperial period


      1. Since the term is not found in the classical literature of the Greeks...
      2. ...it was assumed that Luke was wrong to refer to such an office

   B. HOWEVER...
      1. Some 19 inscriptions have now been found that make use of this title
      2. Five of these are in reference to Thessalonica!


1. This is just a sampling of the evidence, for entire books have been
   written providing further examples

2. Just how accurate is the New Testament in its historical description?

   "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery
   has ever controverted a Biblical reference." -- NELSON GLUECK
   (noted Jewish archaeologist)

3. Of special interest is the testimony of SIR WILLIAM RAMSAY...
   a. Concerning his background:
      1) He was trained in the German historical school of the mid-
         nineteenth century
      2) He was taught that the book of Acts was a product of the mid-
         second century A.D.
      3) He was firmly convinced of this and started out his career in
         archaeology to prove it
   b. However, he was compelled to a complete reversal of his beliefs
      due to the overwhelming evidence uncovered in his research
   c. His conclusion:

      "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his
      statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true
      historic sense...in short, this author should be placed along
      with the greatest of historians."

4. What have we established thus far in this series of lessons?
   a. That Jesus was a historical figure
   b. That the New Testament was written during the generation in which
      the events occurred
   c. That its reliability as a historical document continues to be
      confirmed by the field of archaeology

5. But another question remains... "How can we be sure that the New
   Testament we have today is the same as that penned by the original authors?"

Our next study will address that question...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading March 23

Bible Reading  

March 23

The World English Bible

Mar. 23
Leviticus 1, 2

Lev 1:1 Yahweh called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying,
Lev 1:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'When anyone of you offers an offering to Yahweh, you shall offer your offering of the livestock, from the herd and from the flock.
Lev 1:3 " 'If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall offer it at the door of the Tent of Meeting, that he may be accepted before Yahweh.
Lev 1:4 He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
Lev 1:5 He shall kill the bull before Yahweh. Aaron's sons, the priests, shall present the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar that is at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Lev 1:6 He shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into pieces.
Lev 1:7 The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay wood in order on the fire;
Lev 1:8 and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall lay the pieces, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire which is on the altar;
Lev 1:9 but its innards and its legs he shall wash with water. The priest shall burn the whole on the altar, for a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Lev 1:10 " 'If his offering is from the flock, from the sheep, or from the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer a male without blemish.
Lev 1:11 He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before Yahweh. Aaron's sons, the priests, shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar.
Lev 1:12 He shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat. The priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is on the altar,
Lev 1:13 but the innards and the legs he shall wash with water. The priest shall offer the whole, and burn it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Lev 1:14 " 'If his offering to Yahweh is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall offer his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
Lev 1:15 The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; and its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar;
Lev 1:16 and he shall take away its crop with its filth, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, in the place of the ashes.
Lev 1:17 He shall tear it by its wings, but shall not divide it apart. The priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.

Lev 2:1 " 'When anyone offers an offering of a meal offering to Yahweh, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it.
Lev 2:2 He shall bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests; and he shall take his handful of its fine flour, and of its oil, with all its frankincense; and the priest shall burn its memorial on the altar, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Lev 2:3 That which is left of the meal offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is a most holy thing of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire.
Lev 2:4 " 'When you offer an offering of a meal offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.
Lev 2:5 If your offering is a meal offering of the griddle, it shall be of unleavened fine flour, mixed with oil.
Lev 2:6 You shall cut it in pieces, and pour oil on it. It is a meal offering.
Lev 2:7 If your offering is a meal offering of the pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
Lev 2:8 You shall bring the meal offering that is made of these things to Yahweh: and it shall be presented to the priest, and he shall bring it to the altar.
Lev 2:9 The priest shall take from the meal offering its memorial, and shall burn it on the altar, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Lev 2:10 That which is left of the meal offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is a thing most holy of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire.
Lev 2:11 " 'No meal offering, which you shall offer to Yahweh, shall be made with yeast; for you shall burn no yeast, nor any honey, as an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Lev 2:12 As an offering of firstfruits you shall offer them to Yahweh: but they shall not ascend for a pleasant aroma on the altar.
Lev 2:13 Every offering of your meal offering you shall season with salt; neither shall you allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your meal offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.
Lev 2:14 " 'If you offer a meal offering of first fruits to Yahweh, you shall offer for the meal offering of your first fruits grain in the ear parched with fire, bruised grain of the fresh ear.
Lev 2:15 You shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it: it is a meal offering.

Lev 2:16 The priest shall burn as its memorial, part of its bruised grain, and part of its oil, along with all its frankincense: it is an offering made by fire to Yahweh.

Mar. 1, 2
Mark 3

Mar 3:1 He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered.
Mar 3:2 They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him.
Mar 3:3 He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up."
Mar 3:4 He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?" But they were silent.
Mar 3:5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.
Mar 3:6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Mar 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea,
Mar 3:8 from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him.
Mar 3:9 He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him.
Mar 3:10 For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him.
Mar 3:11 The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!"
Mar 3:12 He sternly warned them that they should not make him known.
Mar 3:13 He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him.
Mar 3:14 He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach,
Mar 3:15 and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
Mar 3:16 Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter;
Mar 3:17 James the son of Zebedee; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges, which means, Sons of Thunder;
Mar 3:18 Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot;
Mar 3:19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. He came into a house.
Mar 3:20 The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mar 3:21 When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, "He is insane."
Mar 3:22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul," and, "By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons."
Mar 3:23 He summoned them, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mar 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mar 3:26 If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end.
Mar 3:27 But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.
Mar 3:28 Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme;
Mar 3:29 but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"
Mar 3:30 -because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Mar 3:31 His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.
Mar 3:32 A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, "Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you."
Mar 3:33 He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
Mar 3:34 Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!
Mar 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." 

From Gary... An interview with God

My good friend Bruce Arnold forwarded this to me. It was posted at Vimeo.com. 

Please click on the link above to view.

For an expansion of this thought, please read the following...

Job, Chapters 38-41 (WEB)
Too large to post, but worth reading!!!

Job, Chapter 42 (WEB)

  1 Then Job answered Yahweh, 
  2 “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be restrained.
  3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
therefore I have uttered that which I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I didn’t know.
  4 You said, ‘Listen, now, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you will answer me.’
  5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you.
  6 Therefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Perhaps the best commentary on all these things is found in...

Isaiah, Chapter 55
 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

  8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says Yahweh.
  9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.