3/27/15

From Jim McGuiggan... The cross and natural calamities

The cross and natural calamities

The young carpenter from Nazareth just happened to be born at the wrong time and in the wrong place. If Pilate hadn’t been in a jam...if Judas hadn’t...if Palestine had been independent and self-ruling...if a corrupt priesthood hadn’t been...if...if...if. But as it was, a countless host of contingent facts just came together and we had this fine young man hung on a public gallows. That’s what history and life are made up of—a long chain of related economic, political, social, psychological, religious and other realities that could have been other than they turned out to be.
His death at the hands of his own leaders is no strange thing really—this has happened countless times. Open historical literature anywhere and two hundred illustrations will fall out of that page and glance at the newspaper and you’ll get your fill of such stories.
The libraries are filled with millions of books that explain the whys and wherefores of life down the centuries and, certainly, while every little detail can’t be spelled out, the movements of history are clear. And this is clear—the historical movements and moods didn’t have to be that way. The actors on the stage of life were not mindless chess pieces with some force or deity moving all the pieces. There was free will (limited but real) everywhere around, operating within political, economic and other social realities. What happened at Golgotha truly was the result of free human choices made out of characters that did not have to be as they were. The cross of Christ was an event that didn't have to happen.
If we didn’t know better we’d stop right there and that’d be the end of it!
But that isn’t the end of it for we have heard A GOSPEL. In our very act of murdering the Holy Father was sacrificing. In our very act of stealing God was giving! In our very act of expressing hatred and fragmentation God in holy love was reconciling. In our very act of bringing suffering and death God was laying the foundation for eternal life and joy!

You think it makes less of the death of Christ to say God was in it up to his neck? You think it trivialises the horror of the young man hanging on the scaffold if we say God was bringing it about?
I say we don’t begin to see it in its inexpressible glory and its speech-impoverishing horror until we see that God was bringing it about!
You think to say that God was bringing it about proves he doesn’t care about the young man on the cross?
I say we don’t have the foggiest notion what love is until we see the young man on the cross and see him as sent there by his Holy Father! 1 John 3:16, 4:14-16.
On that day the eternal and unfathomable holy love of God for the whole human race was being broadcast to the entire cosmos!
And do you think that Katrina is fully explained by random mindless forces? You think that calling it "just one of those things" is taking it in all its profound seriousness? You think that calling it "bad luck" gets to the bottom of it? You think that saying "we can learn from suffering" is the full measure of it? You think natural calamities like hurricane Katrina confirms our religious smugness—God was judging the outrageously sinful? It’s at a time like this that Christ would look directly at us and repeat Luke 13:1-5. "Do you think the sinners that died in Katrina (along with the innocent)were greater sinners than you? No, I’m telling you if you don’t repent you’ll die as well."
People who suffer as the real sufferers of this world suffer have earned the right not to be toyed with. The suffering brought in natural calamities like Katrina or the Asian tsunami is profoundly more serious and more assuring (yes!) than all this babble about nothing but random forces and limited aims.
Natural calamities and Golgotha have things in common.Stop trivialising these awful events! [You might want to read this.]
©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, theabdiingword.com.

Jesus, the Syrophoenician Woman, and Little Dogs by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=317

Jesus, the Syrophoenician Woman, and Little Dogs

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Any honest student of the Bible must admit certain biblical episodes seem to be problematic when encountered for the first time. Upon further investigation, however, the apparent difficulties in the text vanish and the meanings become increasingly clear. One episode in the life of Jesus that historically has been misunderstood by some Bible believers and misrepresented by the skeptic is Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman. Mark records the episode as follows:
For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him [Jesus—KB], and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed (7:25-30; see also Matthew 15:21-28).
Based on a cursory reading of the text, one may be startled that Jesus referred to this Gentile woman as a “little dog.”
Jesus’ statement in this context certainly has not escaped the notice of the skeptical community. The prolific infidel Steve Wells documented hundreds of cases of alleged intolerance in the biblical text. Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician women is number 421 on his list. Of the episode, Wells wrote: “Jesus initially refuses to cast out a devil from a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, calling the woman a ‘dog’. After much pleading, he finally agrees to cast out the devil” (2006).
Even many religious writers and speakers view Jesus’ statements to the woman as unkind, intolerant, racially slurred, and offensive. Dean Breidenthal, in a sermon posted under the auspices of the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, said concerning Jesus’ comment: “I suspect we would not be so bothered by Jesus’ unkind words to the Syrophoenician woman if they were not directed against the Gentile community. Those of us who are Gentile Christians have less trouble with Jesus’ invectives when they are directed against the Jewish leadership of his day” (2003, emp. added). Please do not miss the implication of Breidenthal’s comment. If the statement made by Jesus actually could be construed as unkind, then Jesus would be guilty of violating one of the primary characteristics of love, since love “suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4), which would cast doubt on His deity. Is it true that Jesus exhibited an unkind attitude in His treatment of the Syrophoenician woman?

TO THE JEWS FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEKS

In order for one to understand Jesus’ statement, he or she must recognize the primary purpose of the comment. Jesus was passing through the land of the Gentiles (Greeks) and was approached by a woman who was not a Jew. While Jesus’ message would eventually reach the Gentile world, it is evident from the Scriptures that the Jewish nation would be the initial recipient of that message. In his account of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, Matthew recorded that Jesus said: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). When Jesus sent the twelve apostles on the “limited commission,” He told them: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6).
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He informed the apostles: “[A]nd you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The sequence of places where the apostles would witness manifests the order in which the Gospel would be preached (i.e., the Jews first and then the Gentiles). In addition, the apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church at Rome, stated: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (1:16). Jesus’ statement to the Syrophoenician woman indicated that the Jewish nation was Jesus’ primary target for evangelism during His earthly ministry.

HOW FAR CAN AN ANIMAL ILLUSTRATION BE TAKEN?

To our 21st-century ears, the idea that Jesus would refer to the Gentiles as “little dogs” has the potential to sound belittling and unkind. When we consider how we often use animal terms in illustrative or idiomatic ways, however, Jesus’ comments are much more benign. For instance, suppose a particular lawyer exhibits unyielding tenacity. We might say he is a “bulldog” when he deals with the evidence. Or we might say that a person is “as cute as a puppy” or has “puppy dog eyes.” If someone has a lucky day, we might say something like “every dog has its day.” Or if an adult refuses to learn to use new technology, we might say that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In addition, one might say that a person “works like a dog,” is the “top dog” at the office, or is “dog tired.” Obviously, to call someone “top dog” would convey no derogatory connotation.
For Jesus’ statement to be construed as unkind or wrong in some way, a person would be forced to prove that the illustration or idiom He used to refer to the Gentiles as “little dogs” must be taken in a derogatory fashion. Such cannot be proved. In fact, the term Jesus used for “little dogs” could easily be taken in an illustrative way without any type of unkind insinuation. In his commentary on Mark, renowned commentator R.C.H. Lenski translated the Greek term used by Jesus (kunaria) as “little pet dogs.” Lenski further noted concerning Jesus statement: “In the Orient dogs have no owners but run wild and serve as scavengers for all garbage and offal.... It is an entirely different conception when Jesus speaks of ‘little pet dogs’ in referring to the Gentiles. These have owners who keep them even in the house and feed them by throwing them bits from the table” (1961, p. 304). Lenski goes on to write concerning Jesus’ statement: “All that Jesus does is to ask the disciples and the woman to accept the divine plan that Jesus must work out his mission among the Jews.... Any share of Gentile individuals in any of these blessings can only be incidental during Jesus’ ministry in Israel” (pp. 304-305). In regard to the non-derogatory nature of Jesus’ comment to the Gentile woman, Allen Black wrote: “The form of his statement is proverbial. And the basis of the proverb is not an antipathy for Gentiles, but the necessary Jewish focus of Jesus’ earthly ministry” (1995, p. 137).
So before people “dog” Jesus for the way He used an animal illustration, they might need to reconsider that “their bark is much worse than their bite” when it comes to insinuating that Jesus was wrong. It seems that they are simply “barking up the wrong tree” by attempting to call Jesus’ character into question. They need to “call off the dogs” on this one and “let sleeping dogs lie.”

REFERENCES

Black, Allen (1995), The Book of Mark (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Breidenthal, Dean (2003), “The Children’s Bread,” [On-line], URL: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/chapel/Sermon%20Files/2003_sermons/ 090703.htm.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of Mark’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Wells, Steve (2006), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://www.Skepticsannotatedbible.com.

From Mark Copeland... "THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY" The Sanctity Of Marriage


                    "THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY"

                        The Sanctity Of Marriage

INTRODUCTION

1. Marriage as an institution today is struggling...
   a. Many seek to redefine what constitutes a marriage
   b. We hear of same-sex marriages, open marriages, polygamy,
      polyandry, polyamory
   c. Others decry marriage altogether, preferring simple 
      cohabitation
   d. Many joke about it:  "Marriage is a wonderful institution.  
      But who would want to live in an institution?" - Henry Mencken

2. The family as an institution today is struggling...
   a. Husbands and wives often suffer strained relationships
   b. Parents and children are frequently at odds with one another
   c. Much misery in life is due to dysfunctional family relations
   d. Some prefer that government assume the role of raising children

3. I believe much of the problem is due to self-centeredness in our society...
   a. People are told to "look out for #1" in all their relations
      (business, family, etc.)
   b. Thus many enter marriage and start families with selfish attitudes
   c. Yet no relationship can exist peacefully and lovingly with selfish participants

4. The Bible has much to say about marriage and family...
   a. Especially in the teachings of Jesus and His apostles
   b. That has helped many to have long-lasting, fulfilling relationships
   c. Which can affect both our temporal and eternal happiness

[In this series of lessons, we shall consider what Jesus and His
apostles taught concerning the Christian home and family.  I believe a
good place to start is by affirming "The Sanctity Of Marriage"...]

I. THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE DEFINED

   A. THE MEANING OF SANCTITY...
      1. Sanctity is defined as the quality of being holy, sacred
      2. Thus it is common to speak of "holy matrimony" (i.e., sacred marriage)

   B. THE SACREDNESS OF MARRIAGE...
      1. Marriage is one of the holiest of relations two people can have
      2. Marriage is a bond created by God Himself, thus we must treat
         it as sacred
      3. Marriage is not something to be entered into lightly
      4. "Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage." - President
         George W. Bush

[Is the idea of marriage as a sacred union a Biblical concept?  What did
Jesus and His apostles say about it...?]

II. THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE DELINEATED

   A. MARRIAGE WAS INSTITUTED BY GOD...
      1. From the very beginning, following the Creation - Mt 19:3-4; cf. Gen 2:18-24
      2. Designed for those created as male and female - Mt 19:4
      3. Whose union becomes "one flesh" (produce offspring) - Mt 19:5
      -- Marriage is not a creation of the state, but of God Himself!

   B. MARRIAGE IS REGULATED BY JESUS...
      1. Jesus has been given all authority, will be our Judge in all
         things - Mt 28:18; 2Co 5:10
      2. He taught that man may try to put asunder, but only God puts
         asunder - Mt 19:7-9
         a. One may legally divorce and remarry, but adultery can still
            occur - Mt 5:31-32
         b. God allows divorce only for fornication, and remarriage by
            the innocent - Mt 19:9
      3. He taught some might have to remain celibate ("make themselves
         eunuchs") for the sake of the kingdom of heaven - Mt 19:11-12
         a. Perhaps because they had been divorced for adultery or
            unlawfully married
         b. Or because they were single by choice, or never asked to be married
      4. His apostle Paul had more to say concerning marriage
         a. Marriage is for life; marrying another while one’s spouse is
            alive is adultery - Ro 7:1-4
         b. Each person is to have his or her own spouse, not shared  - 1Co 7:2
         c. Husbands and wives have certain duties toward one another - 1Co 7:3-5
         d. One is not to divorce; if divorced, must remain single or
            return to spouse - 1Co 7:10-11
         e. If an unbelieving spouse departs, a believer is not
            obligated to fulfill marital duties (but that does not
            necessarily imply they are free to remarry) - cf. 1Co 7:3-5,12-16
      -- Jesus as Lord over all is the final Arbiter regarding marriage!

   C. MARRIAGE IS RESERVED FOR INTIMACY...
      1. The only proper relationship for sexual intimacy (intercourse)
         is marriage - He 13:4
         a. Not before the wedding, during courtship, but only after the wedding
         b. Greatly simplifying the perennial question:  "When is the right time?"
      2. Sex outside marriage (between a man and a woman) is fornication
         a. Fornication includes pre-marital, extra-marital, or same-sex relations
         b. Such conduct can keep one out of the kingdom of God - cf. 1Co 6:9-10
      3. Sex outside marriage is not without physical and psychological consequence
         a. Even casual "hookups" deeply affect the brain and our
            emotions - cf. 1Co 6:16
         b. Chemical reactions in the body occur that lead to bonding,
            even addiction (this is not even considering the
            consequences of STDs!)
         c. Leading to an increase of depression and suicide when there
            is no marriage - Heritage Foundation, 2003
         d. 25.3% of sexually active teenage girls experienced
            depression, compared to 7.7% of sexually abstinent girls - ibid.
         e. 14.3% of sexually active girls attempted suicide, compared
            to 5.1% of their virgin peers - ibid.
         f. For more, read this:  There Is Nothing Brief About A Hookup
      4. Pre-marital sex endangers having a successful marriage
         a. The national divorce rate in the United States is over 40
            percent - National Survey Of Family Growth
         b. Couples who wait to have sex until marriage - and remain
            faithful - have a divorce rate of only 20 percent - ibid.
         c. Couples who have more sexual partners prior to or outside of
            marriage have a much higher rate of divorce - ibid.
         d. Those who have as many as five partners have only a 30
            percent chance that their marriage will not end in divorce - ibid.
      5. A successful marriage requires mutual respect and trust
         a. Courtship is the time to build respect and trust which will
            strengthen your marriage
         b. If your potential spouse will sin with you before you marry...
         c. ...what assurance do you have they will not sin against you
            after you marry?
      -- The sanctity of marriage is preserved when it alone is the
         realm of sexual intimacy!

CONCLUSION

1. Marriage is not an institution...
   a. Created and designed by man or the state
   b. Subject to alteration by societal whims

2. Marriage is a sacred institution...
   a. Instituted by God in the beginning
   b. Regulated by Jesus and His apostles in the Word of God
   c. Reserved for sexual intimacy between a man and a women

3. Marriage is a successful institution...
   a. When we follow the Biblical injunctions concerning it
   b. When members of the family fulfill their proper roles

We shall consider those injunctions, starting with the duties of
husbands in our next lesson.  In the meantime, some food for thought
from an uninspired (though wise) perspective...

            The 10 Commandments of Successful Marriage

Judge Joseph Sabbath, after twenty year’s experience in presiding over
what he called "the nightmare world of the divorce courts," framed ten
commandments of a successful marriage which, he predicted, could prevent
at least ninety percent of marital smash-ups:

1. Bear and forbear.

2. Work together, play together, and grow up together.

3. Avoid the little quarrels, and the big ones will take care of themselves.

4. Compromise (give and take). It is the antitoxin of divorce.

5. Practice sympathy, good humor and mutual understanding.

6. Don’t grouch before breakfast or after it.

7. Respect your "in-laws," but don’t criticize them or take criticism from them.

8. Establish your own home, even in a one room flat.

9. Fight for each other, but not with each other.

10. Build your home on religious faith, with love and forgiveness as the watchword.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading March 27



Bible Reading  

March 27

The World English Bible

Mar. 27
Leviticus 9, 10

Lev 9:1 It happened on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
Lev 9:2 and he said to Aaron, "Take a calf from the herd for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before Yahweh.
Lev 9:3 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'Take a male goat for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both a year old, without blemish, for a burnt offering;
Lev 9:4 and a bull and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before Yahweh; and a meal offering mixed with oil: for today Yahweh appears to you.' "
Lev 9:5 They brought what Moses commanded before the Tent of Meeting: and all the congregation drew near and stood before Yahweh.
Lev 9:6 Moses said, "This is the thing which Yahweh commanded that you should do: and the glory of Yahweh shall appear to you."
Lev 9:7 Moses said to Aaron, "Draw near to the altar, and offer your sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself, and for the people; and offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as Yahweh commanded."
Lev 9:8 So Aaron drew near to the altar, and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
Lev 9:9 The sons of Aaron presented the blood to him; and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it on the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar:
Lev 9:10 but the fat, and the kidneys, and the cover from the liver of the sin offering, he burned upon the altar; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Lev 9:11 The flesh and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp.
Lev 9:12 He killed the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons delivered the blood to him, and he sprinkled it around on the altar.
Lev 9:13 They delivered the burnt offering to him, piece by piece, and the head: and he burned them upon the altar.
Lev 9:14 He washed the innards and the legs, and burned them on the burnt offering on the altar.
Lev 9:15 He presented the people's offering, and took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people, and killed it, and offered it for sin, like the first.
Lev 9:16 He presented the burnt offering, and offered it according to the ordinance.
Lev 9:17 He presented the meal offering, and filled his hand from there, and burned it upon the altar, besides the burnt offering of the morning.
Lev 9:18 He also killed the bull and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sons delivered to him the blood, which he sprinkled around on the altar,
Lev 9:19 and the fat of the bull and of the ram, the fat tail, and that which covers the innards, and the kidneys, and the cover of the liver:
Lev 9:20 and they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burned the fat on the altar:
Lev 9:21 and the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave offering before Yahweh, as Moses commanded.
Lev 9:22 Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings.
Lev 9:23 Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the people.
Lev 9:24 There came forth fire from before Yahweh, and consumed the burnt offering and the fat upon the altar: and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

Lev 10:1 Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered strange fire before Yahweh, which he had not commanded them.
Lev 10:2 And fire came forth from before Yahweh, and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh.
Lev 10:3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what Yahweh spoke of, saying, 'I will show myself holy to those who come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.' " Aaron held his peace.
Lev 10:4 Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, "Draw near, carry your brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp."
Lev 10:5 So they drew near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said.
Lev 10:6 Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons, "Don't let the hair of your heads go loose, neither tear your clothes; that you don't die, and that he not be angry with all the congregation: but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which Yahweh has kindled.
Lev 10:7 You shall not go out from the door of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; for the anointing oil of Yahweh is on you." They did according to the word of Moses.
Lev 10:8 Yahweh spoke to Aaron, saying,
Lev 10:9 "Drink no wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, that you don't die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations:
Lev 10:10 and that you are to make a distinction between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean;
Lev 10:11 and that you are to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which Yahweh has spoken to them by Moses."
Lev 10:12 Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons who were left, "Take the meal offering that remains of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, and eat it without yeast beside the altar; for it is most holy;
Lev 10:13 and you shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your portion, and your sons' portion, of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire: for so I am commanded.
Lev 10:14 The waved breast and the heaved thigh you shall eat in a clean place, you, and your sons, and your daughters with you: for they are given as your portion, and your sons' portion, out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the children of Israel.
Lev 10:15 The heaved thigh and the waved breast they shall bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before Yahweh: and it shall be yours, and your sons' with you, as a portion forever; as Yahweh has commanded."
Lev 10:16 Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burned: and he was angry with Eleazar and with Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying,
Lev 10:17 "Why haven't you eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, seeing it is most holy, and he has given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before Yahweh?
Lev 10:18 Behold, its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary: you certainly should have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded."
Lev 10:19 Aaron spoke to Moses, "Behold, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before Yahweh; and such things as these have happened to me: and if I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been pleasing in the sight of Yahweh?"

Lev 10:20 When Moses heard that, it was pleasing in his sight.

 Mar. 27, 28
Mark 16

Mar 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Mar 16:2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
Mar 16:3 They were saying among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?"
Mar 16:4 for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back.
Mar 16:5 Entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed.
Mar 16:6 He said to them, "Don't be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him!
Mar 16:7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.' "
Mar 16:8 They went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come on them. They said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid.
Mar 16:9 Now when he had risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
Mar 16:10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
Mar 16:11 When they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, they disbelieved.
Mar 16:12 After these things he was revealed in another form to two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country.
Mar 16:13 They went away and told it to the rest. They didn't believe them, either.
Mar 16:14 Afterward he was revealed to the eleven themselves as they sat at the table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they didn't believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
Mar 16:15 He said to them, "Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation.
Mar 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned.
Mar 16:17 These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new languages;
Mar 16:18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will in no way hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Mar 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Mar 16:20 They went out, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen. 

From Gary... Democracy and Theocracy


Truth is sometimes a difficult thing to face- especially uncomfortable truth!!!  But, the truth is that we are living in a very secular country that is acting more and more like a dictatorship. Soon, that same government may actually BE A DICTATORSHIP, then what? Persecution, perhaps of the most severe sort, awaits. But there is good news- God is stronger than any dictatorship that has ever existed on the planet. 

The proof of that is found in the pages of Scripture, for during the time of Rome, the church belonging to Jesus grew and grew and eventually overcame the most powerful empire the world has ever known. And what was the church like? Like God of course...

Acts, Chapter 10 (WEB)
 34  Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism;  35 but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. 

I ask you: Which would you rather have; America today or a country full of dedicated Christians? Democracy is fine, but theocracy (the rule of God) is better!!! Can both co-exist? Yes, for no matter what form of human government we are under, it can never control the human heart that pledges fidelity to the almighty. Wake up, America, and turn once again to God; he is the only way!!!