From Jim McGuiggan... The Cross: Warning & Assurance

The Cross: Warning & Assurance

If a kingdom exists today, if there’s an empire anywhere or a republic that is preparing to crucify Jesus all over again the NT sounds both a word of warning and assurance. To that kingdom or republic the gospel is a word of warning and to the uneasy believers in Jesus Christ there’s a word of assurance and warning. The word is this: this has been tried before and it failed—it failed with an eternal failure. A powerful, ruthless and brutal empire nailed Jesus to a cross, stripping him of his rights and his very life only to discover that in the cross it was being stripped, made a spectacle and rendered powerless [Colossians 2.15].
Now in their tens of thousands each year tourists travel to ruins in Rome to hear some guide say, "This is where the Empire used to torment and jeer at the followers of Jesus Christ."
The cross exists both to assure and warn Christians. It assures them that since crucifixion has been tried before, crucifixions don’t trouble the Christ and the gates of Hades cannot prevail against a church that is his body.
Government decrees, public opinion, high or supreme-court decisions, political corruption or war-mongering gangsters—none of these makes the slightest difference: Jesus is Lord! [Why then doesn’t he crush them? We’re so keen on having our enemies crushed. He is keen on redeeming them. The complexities are beyond us but they're not beyond him. It is the Lord, let him do what seems right to him.
The cross is also a word of warning. Christ’s Lordship is not the kind that is established by the use of threats of reprisal. His kingdom is not of this "world" and any kingdom we seek to prop up by military might or shrewd political maneuvering in the corridors of power or by the threat of economic sanctions is not the kind of kingdom of which Philippians 2:5-11 speaks.
To use the weapons by which fallen structures like human governments establish themselves is the kind of thing the prophets railed against in the OT and would be included in Paul’s 2 Corinthians 10:2-6. To make alliances with foreign armies to sustain the kingdom of God in the OT was seen as treason against Yahweh. To recognize that the one true God establishes and uses human governments to achieve his purpose is one thing and to make alliances with them to further our ends is something else. To pay, obey and pray for human governments is right (Romans 13:1-5 and 1 Timothy 2:2—these texts need unpacked; they're not as simple as they look). To see them at times as God’s instruments of judgment against the enemies of truth and righteousness (wherever those are found) is also right (Isaiah 10:5, Habakkuk 1).
Governments and the powers invested in governments are the creation of God—leadership is no crime or perversion of God’s creation purposes (Colossians 1:16). But with the entrance of human sin these powers that God created were hijacked and made to serve satanic ends; a world-spirit demonized them. It is only in Jesus Christ, the righteous Governor and last Adam that such powers are first, defeated and disarmed and then reconciled to God (Colossians 1:15-16,20 and 2:15). The structures as they have come from God are not evil but they've been put to evil uses and in the hands of fallen humanity have become fallen structures.
To view them as the kingdom of God is a fundamental misunderstanding of the cross of Christ and the mind of God. The cross of Christ is the result of the use of government structures by fallen humans. Those who think that their government is or wishes to be completely submissive to Jesus Christ have not heard some of the thunder pealing out from the cross.
There exists in the world a people who are the "elect of God" and they have been called to be the "body of Christ" in and through which Christ continues to proclaim the reality and nature of his royal power. If it truly is to be the body of Christ then its theology, ordinances, liturgy and life is to be cruciform and by this it proclaims God’s blessing and redeeming deeds by Jesus Christ and his cross.
The church exists to stupefy the world!
The church exists to stupefy the world by proclaiming that it is only in and through Jesus Christ that reconciliation with God is accomplished and glory is won and eternal peace is gained and gained as a gift from God. Every time such a body baptizes someone into Christ or engages in Holy Communion at the Lord’s Supper they proclaim the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ by the way of the cross and they do it until he comes again. In the Eucharistic meal they defy and reject the gods and demons and proclaim one true God and his Blessed Lord Jesus [1 Corinthians 10:14-21].
But the Church—the extension of the incarnation of the blessed Lord Jesus—pays the price for being faithful, if and when it is faithful to its Lord. It's message is nonsense! Scandalous to some and stupidity to others [see 1 Corinthians 1:17-25]. The Church, as the Body of Christ, aims to save people by the preaching of a foolish gospel [1:21]. Preaching is folly and its preachers/teachers are fools [1 Corinthians 4:1, 9-10]. How stupid are is a preaching church! How pathetically weak!
But it's God's folly and his foolishness is wiser than all the wisdom of the ages. And whether we like it or not his weakness is the form taken by unimaginable power when it moves to redeem a planet where demonic parasites feed in the dark recesses of human corruption.
Fancy that! What we are most afraid of is exposed as a donkey running around in a lion's skin with its rear end showing. And what exposes them is the living Lord Jesus playing the fool again in his Body the Church.  
©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

Jesus' Resurrection and the Life of a Christian by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Jesus' Resurrection and the Life of a Christian

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Is the fact that Jesus rose from the grave about 2,000 years ago really all that important to a Christian’s faith? What if Jesus had never risen from the tomb in which He was buried? What if He were in the grave today? Could we still be Christians if Jesus had never arisen?
Consider what the apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth about the resurrection of Christ. In a passage where he was writing about the reality of the resurrection of the dead at the end of time, he also mentioned Christ’s resurrection, saying, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Then, three verses later, he made a similar statement, saying, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (15:17). In other words, without Jesus’ resurrection, no one would have any hope of going to heaven. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith (cf. Romans 1:4).
The early church multiplied quickly in just a few short years. They grew by “leaps and bounds.” People were obeying the Gospel by the thousands, and one central message laid at the heart of their decision—the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Had Jesus never been raised from the grave, the Gospel never could have been preached. The Gospel is not about a “lifeless lord,” but a “risen Redeemer.”
Jesus resurrection’ gives meaning to a Christian’s faith.
  • Every Sunday when Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper, we remember the Lord’s death “until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). If Jesus were not risen, however, we would have no hope of His coming again, and Paul’s statement here regarding the Lord’s Supper would be meaningless.
  • Every time Christians pray “in Jesus name,” we are relying on a risen Savior—Jesus—to mediate on our behalf (1 Timothy 2:5; cf. John 14:6; 1 John 2:1). But, if Jesus were not risen, our prayers would not be heard, and our petitions to have our sins forgiven could not be granted.
  • The only reason that preaching and baptizing (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) are of any importance at all is because Jesus is not dead, but alive. When a person is baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), he is raised from a world of sin, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Romans 6:4).
Christians always need to keep in mind how important Jesus’ resurrection is to our faith. We must not let the fact that Jesus’ resurrection occurred nearly 2,000 years ago lessen the importance of His victory over death.

"After Reading a Book on Dinosaurs in the Third Grade..." by Kyle Butt, M.A.


"After Reading a Book on Dinosaurs in the Third Grade..."

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

On Tuesday, March 16, Kathryn Satterfield published an article titled “A Double Dinosaur Discovery” that was featured in the on-line periodical Time for Kids, an affiliate of Time magazine. In the article, she told about two research teams that each found dinosaur fossils in Antarctica. Interestingly, the finds came less than a week apart. This unprecedented “double discovery” was definitely news in the scientific community. James Martin and William Hammer led the two teams. Hammer’s team found what appears to be a plant-eating sauropod dinosaur that, according to the article, lived 200 million years ago. Martin’s team found what they think to be a theropod, a group that includes meat-eaters like the tyrannosaur. Martin’s dinosaur supposedly lived about 70 million years ago.
While these finds are intriguing, the old ages assigned to them are inaccurate and should be examined with a critical eye. According to this line of thinking, humans did not evolve on the Earth until about 4-6 million years ago, which would separate humans and dinosaurs by about 60 million years. The Bible, however, plainly states that Adam was created on the same day of Creation as all land-dwelling creatures, which would include the dinosaurs (Genesis 1:24-31). Furthermore, much scientific evidence puts humans and dinosaurs on the Earth at the same time in the same locations (Harrub and Thompson, 2003). This article by Satterfield, as well as this entire fossil discovery, is being plied by the evolutionists to teach their false theory.
Think through this critically. This article appeared in a resource for children. Thus, the target audience is children. The author of this article is influencing children to believe in an evolutionary theory that requires millions of years, and runs contrary to what the Bible teaches. What kind of impact will this have on the children who read the article? James Martin, the leader of one of the research teams, tells us in no uncertain terms: “After reading a book on dinosaurs in the third grade, I decided I would work on fossils” (Satterfield, 2004, emp. added).
James Martin read a book on dinosaurs in the third grade that changed his life forever. Will the children who are reading this article one day say the same thing? We must never underestimate the power of books, articles, and the printed page; a power for great good or devastating evil. Furthermore, we must never underestimate how much children are influenced by what they read and hear. Let’s make sure we guard our children from false theories like evolution, and arm them with the truth about the Creator.


Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2003), “Walking Amidst the Dinosaurs,” Reason and Revelation, [On-line], URLhttps://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=37.
Satterfield, Kathryn (2004), “A Double Dinosaur Discovery,” Time for Kids, [On-line], URL: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/class/area/newsarticle/0,18077,600802,00.html.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Why not order a copy of our book Dinosaurs Unleashed, so that the book your child reads on dinosaurs will not teach him or her evolution, but instead will bring that child to a better understanding of God and His amazing creation? The book can be ordered via our WebStore, or by calling us toll-free at 800/234-8558.]

"Be Not Unequally Yoked" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


"Be Not Unequally Yoked"

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Paul admonished the Corinthian Christians, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). This statement often has been applied to the question of marriage, with the subsequent conclusion that Christians are commanded not to marry non-Christians. However, this interpretation creates several problems.
First, marriage is not under discussion in the context. Great care must be taken to avoid misapplying the principles taught in a given passage. The application of a passage must be accurate. For example, to apply the injunction “taste not” (Colossians 2:21) to eating chocolate would be a misapplication on two counts. First, it assumes that chocolate is included in the category of substances being forbidden in the context. Second, it fails to perceive the fact that “taste not” was what the opponents of Paul were enjoining. They were wrong in their making of a law that God had not made. Likewise, the prohibition of not being unequally yoked would have to be demonstrated to apply to marriage.
Second, if forming a marriage between a Christian and non-Christian is being forbidden, the only way to repent of such an action would be to sever the marriage. The only way to repent of an illicit relationship is to terminate the relationship (cf. Ezra 10:11; Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Paul explicitly stated in the context to “come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). But this inevitable conclusion would contradict Matthew 19:9, where Jesus stated that there is one and only one grounds for divorce, i.e., fornication—not marriage to a non-Christian.
Third, if marriage to a non-Christian is forbidden, then non-Christians sin when they marry each other. The non-Christian who marries another non-Christian is guilty of not marrying a Christian.
Fourth, if the Christian sins when he marries a non-Christian, what about that non-Christian whom the Christian marries? That non-Christian would not be sinning since he/she is marrying a Christian. Hence, the very action that is sin for one (the Christian) is righteous and proper for the other (non-Christian)!
Fifth, such an interpretation of 2 Corinthians 6:14 implies that marriage is a “Christian” institution. Yet the marriage relationship was formed by God at Creation thousands of years before Christianity was introduced onto the planet (Genesis 2:24). God’s marriage laws apply equally to all people in all periods of Bible history. No one prior to the cross of Christ married a Christian! Yet marriages contracted prior to Christianity were valid if contracted in harmony with God’s marriage laws (i.e., in accordance with Genesis 1:27, 2:24, Matthew 19:3-12, Romans 7:1-3, and 1 Corinthians 7:1-40).
All persons who choose to be married are required by God to “marry in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). That is, one must marry in harmony with God’s laws, even as children are to obey their parents “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1), i.e., compliant with parental instructions that are in harmony the will of Christ. Marriage of a Christian to a non-Christian may well be fraught with peril. It may be at times inexpedient, unwise, or extremely dangerous spiritually. However, the Bible does not teach that it is sinful.

When Were the Sun, Moon, and Stars Created? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


When Were the Sun, Moon, and Stars Created?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

At first glance, this seems like an easy question. Just as children have been singing for generations, it was on day four when God made “the Sun, Moon, and stars galore.” Some, however, have alleged that the “sun, moon and stars were created ‘in the beginning’ (Gen. 1:1)” (Thurman, 2006, p. 3), rather than on day four of Creation. Presumably,
on the fourth day, God “set” the sun, moon and stars in the heavens to govern the days, months, seasons and years (verse 17). When God “set” the lights in the heavens, it was much like when we “set” a clock. And that really is what God did—He “set” His clock on the 4th day. But these (the sun, moon, stars) were all created “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1) (Thurman, 2006, p. 3, emp. added).
The problem with this line of argumentation is that it contradicts what the Bible says.
Certainly, “[i]n the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). But, it was not until later that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars. Genesis 1:14-19 reads:
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-19, emp. added).
God not only “set” (Hebrew nathan) the Sun, Moon, and stars in their precise locations in the heavens on the fourth day of Creation, but it was on this day when God literally “made” (Hebrew asah) these heavenly bodies. Similar to how God initially made the land and seas void of animal life (which later was created on days five and six of Creation), the “heavens” were made “in the beginning,” but the hosts of heaven (which now inhabit them) were created “in the firmament of the heavens” on day four (Genesis 1:14).
Consider also how God spoke light into existence on day one of Creation, saying, “Let there be light” (1:3, emp. added). On the fourth day God declared, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens...and it was so” (1:14-15, emp. added). Gary Workman commented on this similarity, saying:
“Let there be lights” (v. 14) is identical in grammatical construction with other statements of “let there be...” in the chapter. Therefore the command can only mean that God spoke the luminaries into existence on the fourth day just as he had created the initial light on day one and the firmament on day two (1989, p. 3).
On day one God made intrinsic light; on day four He made the generators of light. Keep in mind that “the Father of lights” (James 1:17), Who is “light” (1 John 1:5), could create light easily without first having to create the Sun, Moon, and stars. Just as God could produce a fruit-bearing tree on day three without a seed, He could produce light supernaturally on day one without the “usual” light bearers (which subsequently were created on day four). Again, there is no indication in Scripture that the generators of light already were made before day four.
Suppose, however, that the creation of the heavens “in the beginning” had included the creation of the Sun, Moon, and stars (which Genesis 1:14-19 says were made on day four). One still would not be justified in trying to appease the evolutionary timeline by claiming that the “beginning” took place billions of years before the six days of Creation. Why? Because God said, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11, emp. added). Both the heavens and all that is in the heavens were created during the six-day creation.
In truth, on day one God created “the heavens,” and on day four He made the Sun, Moon, and stars. And all things were made within the six days of Creation. No “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15) Bible passage will lead a person to any other conclusion.


Thurman, Clem (2006), “How Was Light Before the Sun?” Gospel Minutes, September 8.
Workman, Gary (1989), “Questions from Genesis One,” The Restorer, 9[5/6]:3-5, May/June.

From Mark Copeland... "THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY" The Duties Of Children

                    "THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY"

                         The Duties Of Children


1. In previous lessons on the Christian home and family, we have
   a. The sanctity of marriage
   b. The duties of husbands and wives
   c. The duties of fathers and mothers

2. We now come to the duties of children, who hopefully have...
   a. Fathers who provide for them and raise them in the way of the       Lord
   b. Mothers who love them and care for them as an intricate part of
      the household

[A good place to begin is Ep 6:1, where the apostle Paul charges children to...]


      1. The charge as found in Ep 6:1
      2. "in the Lord" means that this is what the Lord wants you to do
      3. Even as Jesus Himself obeyed His parents - cf. Lk 2:51
      4. "for this right" implies that disobeying parents is wrong
      5. Indeed, rebellion is as evil as witchcraft and idolatry - cf. 1Sam 15:23

      1. The charge as found in Col 3:20
      2. "in all things" presumes in harmony with God’s will - cf. Ac 5:29
      3. When children obey their parents, the Lord is pleased!
      4. The OT clearly reveals God’s displeasure when children disobey
         their parents, and how seriously it was taken back then - cf.
         Exo 21:15,17; Deut 21:18-21; Pr 30:17

[Children can be thankful their Christian parents do not live under the
OT, but the NT!  Nonetheless, disobedience is not to be taken lightly.
Nor is obeying parents to be done begrudgingly...]


      1. As charged in Ep 6:2
      2. One of the Ten Commandments in the Law of Moses - cf. Exo 20:12; Deut 5:16
      3. To honor implies to love, to regard highly, to show the spirit
         of respect and consideration - Hendriksen
      4. Thus obedience to one’s parents is to be rendered in love and
         with respect

      1. The command to honor one’s parents came with a promise - Ep 6:2-3
      2. "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the
         earth." - cf. Deut 5:16
      3. This promise is true in general; there are often exceptions (e.g., Jesus)
      4. But a child who loves and respects his or her parents is more
         likely to benefit from them
      5. From their wisdom, but also from God’s providential care!
      6. Disrespect your parents, you incur both their wrath and God’s as well!

[The duty of children to honor their parents does not end when they
leave the home.  When mothers and fathers become aged, children have the duty to...]


      1. When He exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees’ traditions - Mk 7:6-13
      2. The command to honor one’s parents implied care by adult
         children - Mk 7:11-12
      3. Thus the duty to love, respect, and care for parents never ends!

      1. In teaching concerning the care of widows - 1Ti 5:3-8,16
      2. Children (and grandchildren) are to repay their needy parents- 1Ti 5:4
      3. Thus we are to provide security for our parents and
         grandparents as needed
      4. Failure to do so denies the faith, and makes one worse than an
         infidel - 1Ti 5:8


1. The duties of children are clear...
   a. Obey your parents!
   b. Honor your parents!
   c. Support your parents!

2. Blessed is the home and family where...
   a. Husbands and wives fulfill their duties to one another
   b. Parents and children fulfill their duties to one another

Such homes and families are a common occurrence, wherever the
admonitions of the Lord are taken seriously by all the members of the family...!

   My son, keep your father’s command,
      And do not forsake the law of your mother.
   Bind them continually upon your heart;
      Tie them around your neck.
   When you roam, they will lead you;
      When you sleep, they will keep you;
      And when you awake, they will speak with you.
                                     - Pr 6:20-22

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading April 1

Bible Reading  

April 1

The World English Bible

Apr. 1
Leviticus 19, 20

Lev 19:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 19:2 "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and tell them, 'You shall be holy; for I Yahweh your God am holy.
Lev 19:3 " 'Each one of you shall respect his mother and his father. You shall keep my Sabbaths. I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:4 " 'Don't turn to idols, nor make molten gods for yourselves. I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:5 " 'When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to Yahweh, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted.
Lev 19:6 It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day: and if anything remains until the third day, it shall be burned with fire.
Lev 19:7 If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It will not be accepted;
Lev 19:8 but everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the holy thing of Yahweh, and that soul shall be cut off from his people.
Lev 19:9 " 'When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.
Lev 19:10 You shall not glean your vineyard, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the foreigner. I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:11 " 'You shall not steal; neither shall you deal falsely, nor lie to one another.
Lev 19:12 " 'You shall not swear by my name falsely, and profane the name of your God. I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:13 " 'You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
Lev 19:14 " 'You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind; but you shall fear your God. I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:15 " 'You shall do no injustice in judgment: you shall not be partial to the poor, nor show favoritism to the great; but you shall judge your neighbor in righteousness.
Lev 19:16 " 'You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people; neither shall you stand against the life of your neighbor. I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:17 " 'You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.
Lev 19:18 " 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:19 " 'You shall keep my statutes. " 'You shall not crossbreed different kinds of animals. " 'you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; " 'neither shall there come upon on you a garment made of two kinds of material.
Lev 19:20 " 'If a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave girl, pledged to be married to another man, and not ransomed, or given her freedom; they shall be punished. They shall not be put to death, because she was not free.
Lev 19:21 He shall bring his trespass offering to Yahweh, to the door of the Tent of Meeting, even a ram for a trespass offering.
Lev 19:22 The priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before Yahweh for his sin which he has committed: and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.
Lev 19:23 " 'When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years shall they be forbidden to you. It shall not be eaten.
Lev 19:24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, for giving praise to Yahweh.
Lev 19:25 In the fifth year you shall eat its fruit, that it may yield its increase to you. I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:26 " 'You shall not eat any meat with the blood still in it; neither shall you use enchantments, nor practice sorcery.
Lev 19:27 " 'You shall not cut the hair on the sides of your heads, neither shall you clip off the edge of your beard.
Lev 19:28 " 'You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you. I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:29 " 'Don't profane your daughter, to make her a prostitute; lest the land fall to prostitution, and the land become full of wickedness.
Lev 19:30 " 'You shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary; I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:31 " 'Don't turn to those who are mediums, nor to the wizards. Don't seek them out, to be defiled by them. I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:32 " 'You shall rise up before the gray head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God. I am Yahweh.
Lev 19:33 " 'If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
Lev 19:34 The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 19:35 " 'You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in measures of length, of weight, or of quantity.
Lev 19:36 You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin. I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Lev 19:37 You shall observe all my statutes, and all my ordinances, and do them. I am Yahweh.' "
Lev 20:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 20:2 "Moreover, you shall tell the children of Israel, 'Anyone of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who live as foreigners in Israel, who gives any of his seed to Molech; he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.
Lev 20:3 I also will set my face against that person, and will cut him off from among his people because he has given of his seed to Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
Lev 20:4 If the people of the land all hide their eyes from that person, when he gives of his seed to Molech, and don't put him to death;
Lev 20:5 then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all who play the prostitute after him, to play the prostitute with Molech, from among their people.
Lev 20:6 " 'The person that turns to those who are mediums, and to the wizards, to play the prostitute after them, I will even set my face against that person, and will cut him off from among his people.
Lev 20:7 " 'Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am Yahweh your God.
Lev 20:8 You shall keep my statutes, and do them. I am Yahweh who sanctifies you.
Lev 20:9 " 'For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death: he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
Lev 20:10 " 'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, even he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Lev 20:11 The man who lies with his father's wife has uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Lev 20:12 " 'If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have committed a perversion; their blood shall be upon them.
Lev 20:13 " 'If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Lev 20:14 " 'If a man takes a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burned with fire, both he and they; that there may be no wickedness among you.
Lev 20:15 " 'If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; and you shall kill the animal.
Lev 20:16 " 'If a woman approaches any animal, and lies down with it, you shall kill the woman, and the animal: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Lev 20:17 " 'If a man takes his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness; it is a shameful thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people: he has uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
Lev 20:18 " 'If a man lies with a woman having her monthly period, and uncovers her nakedness; he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
Lev 20:19 " 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, nor of your father's sister; for he has made naked his close relative: they shall bear their iniquity.
Lev 20:20 If a man lies with his uncle's wife, he has uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
Lev 20:21 " 'If a man takes his brother's wife, it is an impurity: he has uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
Lev 20:22 " 'You shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my ordinances, and do them; that the land, where I am bringing you to dwell, may not vomit you out.
Lev 20:23 You shall not walk in the customs of the nation, which I am casting out before you: for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
Lev 20:24 But I have said to you, "You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey." I am Yahweh your God, who has separated you from the peoples.
Lev 20:25 " 'You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean fowl and the clean: and you shall not make yourselves abominable by animal, or by bird, or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have separated from you as unclean for you.
Lev 20:26 You shall be holy to me: for I, Yahweh, am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that you should be mine.

Lev 20:27 " 'A man or a woman that is a medium, or is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.' "

Mar. 31, Apr. 1
Luke 2

Luk 2:1 Now it happened in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
Luk 2:2 This was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
Luk 2:3 All went to enroll themselves, everyone to his own city.
Luk 2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;
Luk 2:5 to enroll himself with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him as wife, being pregnant.
Luk 2:6 It happened, while they were there, that the day had come that she should give birth.
Luk 2:7 She brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luk 2:8 There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.
Luk 2:9 Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Luk 2:10 The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people.
Luk 2:11 For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12 This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough."
Luk 2:13 Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men."
Luk 2:15 It happened, when the angels went away from them into the sky, that the shepherds said one to another, "Let's go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
Luk 2:16 They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough.
Luk 2:17 When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child.
Luk 2:18 All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds.
Luk 2:19 But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart.
Luk 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them.
Luk 2:21 When eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Luk 2:22 When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord
Luk 2:23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord"),
Luk 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
Luk 2:25 Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.
Luk 2:26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luk 2:27 He came in the Spirit into the temple. When the parents brought in the child, Jesus, that they might do concerning him according to the custom of the law,
Luk 2:28 then he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luk 2:29 "Now you are releasing your servant, Master, according to your word, in peace;
Luk 2:30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
Luk 2:31 which you have prepared before the face of all peoples;
Luk 2:32 a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel."
Luk 2:33 Joseph and his mother were marveling at the things which were spoken concerning him,
Luk 2:34 and Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against.
Luk 2:35 Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Luk 2:36 There was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity,
Luk 2:37 and she had been a widow for about eighty-four years), who didn't depart from the temple, worshipping with fastings and petitions night and day.
Luk 2:38 Coming up at that very hour, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of him to all those who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem.
Luk 2:39 When they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
Luk 2:40 The child was growing, and was becoming strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Luk 2:41 His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover.
Luk 2:42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast,
Luk 2:43 and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Joseph and his mother didn't know it,
Luk 2:44 but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, and they looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances.
Luk 2:45 When they didn't find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him.
Luk 2:46 It happened after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions.
Luk 2:47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Luk 2:48 When they saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I were anxiously looking for you."
Luk 2:49 He said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?"
Luk 2:50 They didn't understand the saying which he spoke to them.
Luk 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth. He was subject to them, and his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. 

From Gary... Better days are upon us

I would love to be able to enter McDonald's and order from this menu- just look at the prices!!!  In fact, this is a real McDonald s menu, only from 1972. And back then I earned a lot less; under $4 an hour, as I remember. Still, you can buy a lot from this menu for four bucks!!!  But, were the "good old days" really that good? Remember, Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, race riots, etc.. Now, think of yourself as a Jew just prior to the coming of Jesus. You have the LAW, THE PROPHETS AND THE PSALMS, and the COMMUNITY of Judaism, and the CULTURAL MEMORY of God's DELIVERANCE and HIS PROMISES!!! Compared to the world around you- you are somebody; because God loves you and has proved it over and over.  But, with all this, something is not quite right- you still sin occasionally. Why? Well, apart from the willful desire to sin, you have the LAW, which is complicated enough by itself, but add in the traditions accumulated over centuries and the teachings of the Jewish hierarchy and faithfully practicing your religion goes from being complicated system to being an almost impossible burden. Then, Jesus comes, and his unique teachings seem to change everything; What do you do now? Consider...

Hebrews, Chapter 8 (WEB)
6 But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which on better promises has been given as law.  7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.  8 For finding fault with them, he said, 

“Behold, the days come”, says the Lord,
“that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
  9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers,
in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
for they didn't continue in my covenant,
and I disregarded them,” says the Lord.
  10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel.
After those days,” says the Lord;
“I will put my laws into their mind,
I will also write them on their heart.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
  11 They will not teach every man his fellow citizen,
and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for all will know me,
from their least to their greatest.

Rules are for children who do not intuitively know right from wrong; Adults should!!! When Jesus came, he looked at the "rules"(the LAW) through different eyes- at why they were there in the first place. His understanding was coupled with a heart set on truly pleasing God and knowing what The Father would want him to do. And this changes everything!!! I would rather have GRACE any day than LAW, wouldn't you? Being a Christian is more about knowing God and doing your best to do what he has told you to do than just arbitrarily following a rule. Simple- no, wonderful, yes!!! 

One last passage....

Matthew, Chapter 7 (WEB)
 21  Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.   22  Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’   23  Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ 

  24  “Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock.  25  The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock.  26  Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.   27  The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” 

LOVE GOD, PLEASE GOD- REPEAT (until eternity)