6/23/15

From Mark Copeland... Evangelism Made Personal Available Resources For Teaching Others




Evangelism Made Personal

Available Resources For Teaching Others

(Summary Of Tools That Can Be Used)
There are many different ways to effectively communicate the gospel to others. What follows is a brief summary and description of various tools that I have found helpful. In using them, I try to be flexible, asking God for wisdom as to which approach to use depending upon the particular circumstances.

VIDEO STUDIES

"How To Understand The Bible" by Robert F. Harkrider (five tapes)
This is a five-lesson series that presents a survey of the Bible, salvation, and the New Testament Church. It includes study guides for each lesson. Designed for those who have at least a "basic" knowledge of the Bible.
"The Visualized Bible Study Series" by Jule Miller (five tapes)
Another five-lesson study, presenting a survey of the Bible, salvation, the New Testament Church, and the history of the church. There are also study guides that accompany the tapes. This study might be more appropriate for someone with virtually no concept of what the Bible is all about.

BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSES

"Know Your Bible" by Gene Tope
The six lessons in this study include such topics as:
  • Introduction To The Bible
  • Sin And The Blood Of Christ
  • What Must I Do To Be Saved?
  • The New Testament Church
  • Denominationalism
  • Baptism
I have used this series on a number of occasions where I have simply given the lessons to a friend, and they taught themselves the gospel.
"Jesus, The Way" by Sewell Hall
The seven lessons in this study include such topics as:
  • Jesus, The Way (Introduction)
  • Finding Jesus, The Way
  • Jesus, The Way To A Better Life
  • Jesus, The Way To Forgiveness
  • Jesus, The Way To God
  • Jesus, The Way Out Of Religious Confusion
  • Jesus, The Way To Heaven
The first lesson is designed for mass mailing, but can be used as a regular correpondence course.

TRACTS

"Facts You Need To Face" By Haun Publishing Company
A simple tract (reading time is five minutes) that presents the following "facts":
  • You Need To Be Saved
  • Christ Died For You
  • To Be Saved You Must Accept Christ
  • You Can Be Just A Christian
"The Gospel Of The Grace Of God" By Leslie Diestelkamp
A medium-length tract that covers:
  • Man's Unworthiness
  • The Gift Of God's Love
  • What Grace Does Not Do
  • Grace And Salvation
  • Grace And Security
"The Way Of Christ Without Denominationalism" By Samuel Dawson
A good sized booklet that discusses:
  • The Harm Of Denominationalism
  • Fellowship With God
  • Fellowship With God's People
For more information about these materials, or to order them, you can contact Florida College Bookstore.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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God’s Ceramics Are More Than Pottery by Kyle Butt, M.A.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=1234

God’s Ceramics Are More Than Pottery

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Scientists all over the world are constantly looking for better materials with which to build things. Companies need stronger metals, more flexible nylon, and tougher fabrics. This intense demand for better “building blocks” often makes it difficult for scientists to originate new ideas fast enough to keep pace. One approach that has greatly enhanced scientists’ ability to supply fresh, practical ideas has been to turn to nature and copy the structures found there. Copying design in nature has become so prevalent that the scientific community has named the field of study “biomimicry.” From the research done in this field, it has become obvious that nature’s Designer is possessed of far more creative ability than anything humanity has been able to produce.
Specific examples of excellent design in nature abound. In an article for Technology Review,Katherine Bourzac recently detailed one such example. In her article, titled “Ceramics That Won’t Shatter,” she mentioned the challenge that materials scientists face when working with ceramics. Ceramics can be an excellent construction material since they are hard and lightweight. One major drawback of using ceramics, however, is the fact that they fracture and break, much like a flower pot or dinner plate. Bourzac summarized this difficulty by saying that scientists are trying to find ceramics “that combine strength (a measure of resistance to deformation) with toughness (a measure of resistance to fracture)” (2008). Interestingly, researchers have discovered exactly what they are looking for in “the porous but resilient material called nacre that lines abalone shells.”
Bourzac explained the marvelous design of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl. It is a combination of calcium carbonate, which breaks very easily, and special natural glue. Combined, these two substances are “3,000 times tougher than either constituent.” The efficiency of this composite material is amazing. Robert Ritchie, a scientist from the University of California who co-led the research and development of the new biomimetic ceramic, said: “When nature makes composites, the properties are better” (as quoted in Bourzac). The list of possible applications for the new ceramic is virtually endless. The new material could be used to make lightweight automobile frames, airplane hulls, bulletproof vests, and military vehicle armor.
Ritchie and his team are still working to perfect the new ceramic that is based on the natural mother-of-pearl structure. He noted that in nature, the ceramic has structures that are “smaller and closer together,” qualities that the team hopes to mimic in newer versions of their ceramic. The researchers are optimistically hopeful that they can come even closer to designing a ceramic that can be mass-produced, and that combines the strength and toughness of the natural material.
While the discovery of a new, efficient ceramic is interesting, it pales to insignificance in light of the necessary implication that should be drawn from such a discovery. If brilliant scientists have only recently discovered this technological wonder of the natural world, and they cannot mimic the structure as effectively as nature constructs it, then it must be admitted by the honest observer that nature’s Designer possesses superior mental abilities to those of the scientists. And yet, as clear and straightforward as this implication is, millions of people will utilize technology based on God’s original designs, but claim that random, chance processes of evolution should be given the credit.
In the Old Testament book of Job, the Bible records one of the most interesting verbal exchanges in all of human history (chapters 38-42). Job wanted an answer from God about why he was suffering. God spoke to Job with a series of questions that Job could not possibly answer. God asked where was Job when God hung the foundation of the world on nothing (38:4)? Could Job command the morning to occur or cause the dawn to break (38:12)? Could Job count the clouds (38:37) or cause the hawk to fly (39:26)? After God’s intense questioning, Job realized that he could not begin to answer God’s questions, much less possess the power to accomplish the things that are necessary for the Universe to continue to exist. Job responded to God by saying: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.... Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know” (42:2-3, emp. added). We in the 21st century would do well to learn from Job’s wise response. The fact that we are just now scratching the surface of the technology found in a “simple” abalone shell should force us to humble ourselves and worship nature’s divine Designer.

REFERENCE

Bourzac, Katherine (2008), “Ceramics That Won’t Shatter,” Technology Review, [On-line], URL:http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21767/?nlid=1561&a=f.

Did God Create Us with a Desire to Sin? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.




http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5048

Did God Create Us with a Desire to Sin?

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

“There is no doubt that humans want to sin. Why would a loving God that does not want us to sin create us with that desire? What an evil thing to do! Apparently, He wants us to sin! How is that fair? Why would He expect us to not sin and then tempt us by giving us the desire to do it? That’s sick. How could He be a loving God?” Several months ago, a young lady approached me and made these accusations against God. Is this a dilemma for the God of the Bible?
For the sake of argument, we will assume for a moment that it is true that God created us with a desire to sin. First, if we grant that He created us with a “desire to sin,” is it not also true that He simultaneously created us with an ability to choose not to sin? In other words, He did not create us so that we had to sin. He clearly gave us freewill—the freedom to make our own decisions. Every capable human proves on a daily basis that he does, in fact, have the freedom to do or not to do various activities. We are not mindless robots that act solely on instinct. You can choose to read this sentence or not. No matter how intense a particular temptation is, it has been proven to be able to be resisted by man. Now, if God wanted us to sin, and had the power to cause us to sin, why would He create us with the ability to choose not to do so? That would not make sense. Ironically, at the very beginning of time, God directly stated that it is not He Who wants sin to rule over us. Sin has a “desire” to do so, but He created us with the ability to “rule over it” (Genesis 4:7).
 Further, even if God did create us with a “desire to sin,” is it not also strange that He would give us a way of being cleansed or forgiven from that evil we desire to engage in? If He wanted us to fail, why would He do such a thing? The gift of forgiveness in the biblical model is a blatant inconsistency with such an idea, and serves as a formal proof that God does not want us to sin. Even more curiously, if He wanted us to sin, why would the system for forgiveness that He instituted entail His own agonizing death? Such a selfless act is not something a God would do who wanted us to sin and go to hell. Such behavior is, however, something a merciful God would do—a God Who wanted to give us independence and freedom of choice, and still give us a way to be forgiven when we make the wrong decisions.
That said, it simply is not accurate to say that God created Man with an inherent desire to do evil. If anything, since He gave us a conscience and inherent sense of justice or fairness, He created us with a pull or pressure to not do certain things. Every human being on the planet understands that there are some things that are fair, and some things that are not fair, and an unseared conscience pressures us to do the right thing by others.
Further, while we sometimes might desire to do evil, is it not also true that at other times we have a desire to do good? One could just as easily and equally ask the question, “Did God create us with a desire to do right?” Even the most hardened atheist or agnostic (e.g., Bart Ehrman; Butt and Ehrman, 2014) admits that he wants (i.e., is tempted) to do good and does so (i.e., “succumbs” to that temptation) through various philanthropic activities. If God created us with a desire to sin, it must also be conceded that He created us with a desire to do good as well.
How can this apparent contradiction be explained? Is it not likely that God did not in fact create us with the desire to sin? We desire both activities at times because we have discovered that they both can make us feel good in different ways. That said, it is fair and consistent to conclude that God created us with that desire—i.e., the desire to feel good (i.e., to be happy, appreciate pleasure, to desire enjoyment and satisfaction), not purely the desire to do evil. For example, we were created to want to eat—to feel good from doing so—but not with the desire to be cannibals. Perhaps it would be better to describe it this way: God created us with the capacity to experience and appreciate feeling good. When we feel good, we naturally want to continue having that feeling. Those things with which we choose to fill the “feel good tank” up are our decisions as individuals with free will. Those decisions are no doubt influenced by many factors (e.g., experience, pride, our parents and teachers [Proverbs 22:6; 19:27], our friends [1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 13:20], Satan [2 Corinthians 2:11], etc.), but the bad influences or evil desires are never from God. James 1:13-14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” We desire to do evil things because of the momentary pleasures or good feelings they can give, not because God wants us to do evil. The wise individual will recognize that not all pleasures should be engaged in at will. He will choose to endure temporary affliction if it is necessary to do right, rather than enjoying “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).
But why would He not create an environment where we have no interaction with others and cannot be deleteriously influenced by them? In such an environment, we would lose the blessings we receive from interacting with others as well (e.g., conversation, companionship, physical affection, kind words, medical attention, technological advancement, gifts, etc.). There is a reason why solitary confinement is used as a serious punishment within the prison system. Isolation and loneliness are unhealthy. “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Interaction with others, and the blessings we can have from those interactions, are gifts from God. We live on a planet with over seven billion others. Since we all live together, our free will inevitably affects those around us, for good or ill. If we could not affect others with our decisions, then we simultaneously would cease to have the free will to affect those people for good or ill. Only through creating an environment where all humans were forced to obey God could the temptation to disobey God be eliminated. But in such an environment, God would cease to be a loving God Who grants us freedom. He would be a dictator, forcing everyone to obey Him as mindless automatons.
But why would God give us the capacity to experience feeling good at all? If it makes us do evil, how is that a good thing? There is no doubt that God’s choice to allow us pleasure is a blessing to us, in spite of its dangers. Who would honestly argue that a life completely devoid of having pleasurable feelings or feeling good would be a good (i.e., pleasurable) one? The very idea is self-contradictory. For the same reason we long to make our children happy and give them joy in life, God created us to be able to experience the same. One would not expect an unloving God, One Who wanted humans to sin, to also create us to be able to experience pleasure and joy. Such a decision, however, would be perfectly in harmony with a loving, gracious God Who cares for us and wishes to bless us with happiness, in spite of the bad decisions we and others around us often make. So notice that the desire to feel good is not inherently evil. In fact, the Creator’s decision to instill in us the desire to feel good and to experience pleasure is actually a blessing, not a curse, as long as He gave us, along with the capacity for appreciating pleasure, the ability to distinguish the good kind of pleasure from the bad, either through instruction or creating an environment where we can learn from experience.
Is it not true that a loving parent wishes to maximize happiness or joy for his child? This includes giving that child an environment where he can have a certain degree of freedom and independence. He is not chained to his bed his whole life, but is given rules (i.e., advice), warnings about what will happen if the child chooses bad pleasures, and the freedom to decide whether or not to obey or disobey those rules. He can decide to believe his parents,that they know what will make him happy, or believe that his way will have a better result. A child might reason that he would be happier if he ignored his parents’ warnings, and touched the stove anyway. For a moment, the child experiences the pleasure we often feel from engaging our free will, and as he feels good from the freedom he pridefully believes that he has proven his parents wrong. A moment later, when he is burned, he discovers why his parents made the rule in the first place, and learns to trust (i.e., have faith in) them. But what about when he touches the stove and nothing happens because the stove is off? In such cases, a loving parent’s discipline is given in order to make sure the child does not happen to touch the stove the next time—when it is on. Though the child does not yet understand why the rule has been given in the first place (since nothing happened when he touched the stove the first time), he learns to obey his parents anyway, and in time, learns to trust their wisdom through the verification of that wisdom in numerous other rules and warnings. But why does the parent go through this procedure? Clearly, to maximize happiness for the child in the long run.
God has done the same for us. First, God created an environment conducive to learning right and wrong. Notice that the created order has a system of punishment worked into it to help us distinguish certain things on our own. For example, pleasure can generally be gained from sexual activity in any form, but that does not mean that all forms are going to maximize our happiness. So God communicated certain ways we should engage in such activity in order to maximize happiness. He also designed a natural system whereby when we deviate from His rules about sexual activity, pain and sorrow will come in some way (even if we do not always recognize that our behavior is the cause of it). While we have the freedom to reject God’s will, He still encourages us to do right through a system of punishment worked into the created order (e.g., venereal diseases; physical danger from a lack of sobriety or reckless, imprudent behavior; potential for drug overdoses; diseases and cancers that come from certain sins; depression; family strife; loneliness; etc.). Also in the created order are constant admonitions helping us to behave correctly (e.g., through pressure from our conscience to behave in certain ways, through lessons gained from our observations of others, as well as through the direct admonition given to us by others who have made bad decisions). Does the creation of such an environment sound more like the work of a God Who wants us to sin or not to sin? Does such a system prove that the Creator apparently wants to encourage us to obey Him, while also giving us independence and the freedom to disobey Him if we choose?
Second, as a loving parent would be expected to do, God was sure to give us direct instruction to warn us about the differences between good and bad pleasures. The Bible is clear in communicating explicitly that our happiness is a major motivation behind the rules that God gave us (e.g., Psalm 19:7-8). The rules in the Bible were not selected randomly merely to control humans, in the same way a loving parent’s rules are not so selected. The great Sermon on the Mount is begun with the Beatitudes—the Son of God’s rules of thumb for being happy (i.e., “blessed”) in life. In Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Moses reminds the Israelites that God’s rules were for their good. In Deuteronomy 6:24 he says that God’s laws are “for our good always, that He might preserve us alive.” God’s commandments are often about more than how to get to heaven. They affect our lives here and now. In Proverbs 29:18 Solomon warns his son that eliminating God’s rules (i.e., His “revelation”) from a society will certainly allow total, unbridled freedom in the behavior of that society (i.e., people will “cast off restraint”) and that conscience-free behavior will be thought to be the way to happiness. That total freedom, however, contrary to what we might think, will not bring people happiness. Solomon warns, “Happy is he who keeps [God’s] law.”
A child might think that having no rules about running out in the street will make him happy, but in truth, happiness in the long run comes from (1) having those rules, and (2) obeying his parents’ rules. We may not always agree at the moment with what He says will make us happy, just as a child does not always agree with his parents; but, as with a child, we are oftentimes simply not in a position to know in the long run what will be best for us and the people around us. A child would love to make those decisions on his own, and develop his own system of right and wrong. He thinks that he can do so effectively—just as adults sometimes think we know better than God what will make us happy. But the bottom line is that the parents know a lot more about what will bring lasting happiness, and so the parent teaches, makes rules, and enforces them—as does God. The difference is that humans are imperfect in designing and enforcing rules, because like a child, we also do not know everything we need to know to do it perfectly. Parents disciplined “us as seemed best to them” (Hebrews 12:10), but biblical rules were made by the omniscient Mind Who created the human mind. Who could possibly know better what will bring the human mind happiness than He Who created it?
Did God create us inherently to desire to do evil? No. God created us with the capacity to experience pleasure and happiness and the desire to pursue it. He created us to be able to enjoy pleasure and feel good, through our eyes, ears, tongues, noses, and nerves, as well as in our very souls. He created an environment where we can choose to fill our pleasure tanks in different ways—right and wrong ways—as a parent does with a child, and then He gave us valuable instruction about which are the best choices. By creating such a free environment, pain, suffering, and evil are inevitable, since humans will oftentimes reject God’s rules and admonitions. But with such inevitably bad decisions, He made sure to provide a means by which we can be forgiven, and eventually, live with Him in an environment free from all evil.

REFERENCE

Butt, Kyle and Bart Ehrman (2014), Butt/Ehrman Debate: Pain, Suffering, and God’s Existence(Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Are You a Difference-Maker? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.




http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3486

Are You a Difference-Maker?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Jackson Dean is a difference-maker.
As 12-year-old Jackson Dean sat in his sixth-grade classroom studying about fossils, he decided (on his own) to speak to his teacher about inviting someone from Apologetics Press to lecture to the class about evolution, fossils, dinosaurs, and Creation. With his teacher’s permission, Jackson then personally approached us with the invitation to come to his public school and speak to all 120 sixth graders in the school library.
For a solid hour the students sat and soaked up scientifically and biblically accurate material that is nowhere to be found in their textbooks. They learned about dinosaur “fossils” that are notcompletely fossilized (e.g., Lyons, 2007a; Lyons, 2009). They learned about several evolutionary teachings regarding fossils that have been disproven (e.g., Lyons, 2007b). They heard and saw evidence regarding the biblical accounts of Creation and the Flood that is in complete harmony with what true science tells us about dinosaurs and fossils (see Lyons and Butt, 2008), but in disharmony with what they often hear in the media. These well-behaved students listened, learned, and asked a number of relevant questions.
God not only used a 6th grader and his receptive teacher to open the door for Creation to be pondered in a public school, but he also used two members of the Lord’s church (Apologetics Press supporters) to fund the effort to give away acopy of Discovery magazine and our 180-page hardback bookTruth Be Told: Exposing the Myth of Evolution to every student and teacher present at the lecture. According to one teacher (who indicated that in the future she is going to use resources from Apologetics Press, including the A.P. Web site, as part of her science curriculum), students were so excited that “they grabbed the books to read as soon as we got back to the room.”
Jackson Dean is a 12-year-old difference-maker. His 6th-grade teacher is a difference-maker. Those Christians who sacrificially gave to ensure that every 6th grader at that school received a copy of Discovery magazine and Truth Be Told are difference-makers. What about you? What are you doing to make a difference in this sin-stained world that Satan rules (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)? Are you a difference-maker?
*NOTE: There are many virtuous ways to make a difference in this life. One of those is by supporting the work being done for the Lord by various brotherhood organizations, including Apologetics Press. Have you considered helping us in this work?

REFERENCES

Lyons, Eric (2007a), “More Soft Dinosaur Tissue,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=1422.
Lyons, Eric (2007b), “Yesterday’s ‘New Reality of Evolution’ Debunked Again,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2236.
Lyons, Eric (2009), “Controversial Collagen Confirmation Points to Creation,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=338.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion: Dismantling Evolution’s Most Cherished Icon (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

California Law Bans Professional Counselors from Helping Young Patients Deal with Same Sex Attraction Issues by Matt Vega, J.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=4542

California Law Bans Professional Counselors from Helping Young Patients Deal with Same Sex Attraction Issues

by Matt Vega, J.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P. staff writer Matt Vega, who received his doctorate from Yale University Law School.]
A new California law bars licensed counselors and therapists from helping anyone under 18 to change their sexual orientation. The law states: “Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age, regardless of the willingness of a patient, patient’s parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts“ (S.B. 1172, 2012).
The law, which takes effect January 1, 2013, targets so-called “reparative,” “conversion,” or “reorientation” therapy. Conversion therapy can involve a variety of techniques ranging from aversive treatment to psychoanalytic therapy to social skills training and participation in prayer and other support groups (Hicks, 1999). However, regardless of the particular methods employed, all of these treatments remain controversial because they are based on the a priori assumption that a homosexual patient can and should change his or her sexual orientation, or should at least try to change his or her sexual behavior (Lieu, 2012). 
Proponents of the new California law insist that homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality and should not be regarded as a pathological condition (Lieu). Because they believe homosexuality is biologically determined, they argue that efforts to help a child avoid homosexual behavior are misguided and will only produce guilt, depression, and decreased self-esteem. As a result, Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu, the bill’s sponsor, claims reparative therapy amounts to “psychological child abuse” and “quackery” (Lieu). Despite the critics, however, there are success stories of individuals who claim that conversion therapy has helped them deal with sexual confusion and the problem of unwanted same-sex attraction (cf. Leland and Miller, 1998).

FAMILY AUTONOMY

There are at least two significant legal grounds for challenging the new law. First, this law violates the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. This crucial civil liberty includes the parental right to direct a child’s education, health care, lifestyle, regimen, religious observance, and discipline. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the “fundamental” nature of the right of parents to raise their children, but the contours of that right are not always clear. This can make it sometimes difficult to determine exactly when the state oversteps its bounds.
For example, the Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) showed great deference to Amish parents, based on their right to control the upbringing and direct the education of their children, and based on thCalifornia Law Bans Professional Counselors from Helping Young Patients Deal with Same Sex Attraction Issues  by Matt Vega, J.D.e free exercise of religion, to exempt 14 and 15 year olds from compulsory school attendance. On the other hand, the Court held in Price v. Mass (1944) that parental rights can be interfered with by the state if “necessary to protect the child.”  In that case, the Court allowed the state to apply child labor laws to prohibit a parent from directing a nine-year-old child to solicit for Jehovah Witnesses.
Today, few would deny the right of a parent to seek professional counseling for a child with impulse control disorders like kleptomania or compulsive gambling, or for a child abusing drugs or alcohol. We even respect the right of parents to get help for their children who are caught up in pornography or other sexual addictions. The California law, however, prohibits parents from obtaining professional help for a son or daughter dealing with same-sex attraction issues.
To date, two lawsuits have been filed in federal court seeking to have a federal judge strike down S.B. 1172 as unconstitutional (Wetzstein, 2012). Whenever a statute infringes upon fundamental parental rights, the Supreme Court held in Troxel v. Granville (2000) that the law should be subject to the strictest scrutiny. In the instant case, this means that the California state government will have to show a compelling state interest in preventing parents from seeking any form of conversion therapy for their child. Even if the state could show that some parents might abuse their power and force their children to undergo more aggressive, questionable therapy techniques that might harm the mental health of the child, the Supreme Court in a similar case involving the power of a parent to institutionalize a child,Parham v. J.R. Parham, rejected the “notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect [their] children.”
Under the strict scrutiny test, California will also have to meet two additional requirements in order to survive a constitutional challenge. Even if the state government could show a compelling state interest in preventing all forms of conversion therapy (which it cannot), this particular law must be narrowly tailored and the least restrictive means of discharging the government’s so-called compelling interest.  S.B. 1172 fails on both counts because, at a minimum, it fails to exempt ministerial or spiritual efforts to change unwanted sexual behavior. There is no evidence that teaching a child how not to act on same-sex attractions poses any more harm to his or her physical or mental health than does teaching a child how to wait until marriage before having heterosexual relations.
This is not the first law to threaten parental rights. In recent years, several states have passed privacy laws that deny parents access to important information about their children.  For example, North Dakota allows 14-year-olds to be treated for sexually transmitted diseases without parental consent, and allows the health care provider discretion about whether to disclose medical records concerning the treatment to the parents (N. Dakota Stat. 15.1-24-04). Similarly, in Minnesota a child can request that information be withheld from his or her parents or guardian if it is deemed in the child’s “best interest” (Minn. Stat. 13.02 et seq.).  In Connecticut, Wisconsin, and other states, communication relating to alcohol or drugs between a student and certain school personnel, such as a school nurse or school counselor, need not be disclosed to the parents (Conn. Stat. 10-154a; Wis. Stat. 118.125, 126). 

FREEDOM OF RELIGION

This law also likely violates the First Amendment free exercise and free speech clauses. By prohibiting licensed professional counselors from treating same-sex attraction as anything but normal and desirable, the law unconstitutionally infringes on Christian counselors’ freedom of religion. The California law does not contain any exception for ministerial or spiritual counseling. For example, if a young Christian is experiencing conflict between his or her sincerely held religious beliefs and same-sex attractions, this law would prevent a minister, who is also a trained and licensed counselor or therapist, from helping that child to overcome “sexual immorality” or “unnatural desire” (Jude 1:7, ESV) and to keep his or her body under control (1 Thessalonians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 10:27).
In such cases, the California law would intrude on the freedom of religion of both the counselor and the counselee, by forcing the counselor to violate his or her own ethics and refuse service to underage counselees seeking help for their sexual issues.  In addition, S.B. 1172 infringes on free speech rights by forcing counselors and therapists to parrot only one viewpoint on homosexuality.
Unfortunately, modern First Amendment jurisprudence has made it much easier for the government to enact facially neutral laws and regulations that burden religion, and to a lesser extent, free speech. The Supreme Court in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) held that, so long as a law is “generally applicable” and does not target a particular religion, it does not violate the free exercise clause. Although Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993 to restore the “compelling interest” standard in religious freedom cases, the Court later struck down portions of that federal law that would have forced state and local governments to abide by it. In the instant case, since the California law is a state law and purports to regulate all mental health providers—an already heavily licensed profession—to protect the physical and mental health of children, a court could feasibly uphold the statute under a lower level of constitutional scrutiny.
However, the California law infringes upon both the free exercise of religion and fundamental parental rights. Therefore, it should be treated as a so-called “hybrid” case. Hybrid cases are generally subject to strict scrutiny. Regardless, even under this more rigorous standard, any constitutional challenge of the California law will be a long, protracted, uphill battle.

ANY PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS?

Are there any practical solutions in the interim?  One practical solution may be for Christian counselors to make the difficult decision to forego state licensing and only offer “Christian or pastoral counseling” services. Throughout the country, many counseling accrediting bodies already dictate that a “licensed professional counselor” refrain from imposing his or her moral or religious values on a client. State regulations often require that a “licensed professional counselor” adhere to strict so-called “ethical” standards that forbid the professional counselor from praying, from referring to the Bible, and from counseling against things such as homosexuality or abortion. However, the California law goes a step further by preventing a client under the age of 18, or his or her parents, from consenting to a Christian-based approach to counseling regarding sexual orientation. In contrast, most state ethics rules still permit a state licensed counselor to involve Christian principles, practices, or instruction if the counselee initiates or requests counsel in this area.
Of course, if all Christians capitulate and remove themselves from the pool of licensed professional counselors, then it will be increasingly difficult for Christian students to secure the necessary education and training in the field. Many public universities already routinely discriminate against students in counseling, social work, or psychology programs if the student refuses to endorse homosexuality as normal and healthy. This problem is likely to only get worse as fewer and fewer Christians lead or participate in the profession.
At least one state—Michigan—has recently passed legislation to try to accommodate the religious beliefs of future counselors. On June 12, 2012, the Michigan House passed H.R. 5040, the “Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act,” which prohibits a public university from disciplining or discriminating against a student that “refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student, if the student refers the client to a counselor who will provide the counseling services” (H.R. 5040, 2012). This bill would go a long way towards creating a safe harbor in higher education for future Christian counselors. While the bill faces a great deal of political opposition and may never be signed into law, it does illustrate how the law can be used to advance rather than attack religious freedom in this country.
Regardless of the outcome of either S.B. 1172 or H.R. 5040, Christian counselors and parents must continue to try to find lawful ways to help young people struggling with same sex attraction issues. All of us have a moral and civic obligation to encourage our legislators and judges to support, rather than to try to undermine, those good faith efforts. In the final analysis, if and when a municipal or state government, or even the federal government, reaches the point where it requires Christians to act inconsistent with the commandments of God, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

REFERENCES

S.B. 1172 (2012), Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, California, signed into law September 30.
H.R. 5040 (2012),Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act, passed by the Michigan House on June 12, and currently pending in the Senate.
Hicks, Karolyn Ann (1999), Reparative Therapy: Whether Parental Attempts to Change a Child’s Sexual Orientation Can Legally Constitute Child Abuse, 49 Amer. U. L. Rev. 505.
Leland, John and Mark Miller (1998), Can Gays “Convert”?, Newsweek, August 17.
Lieu, Ted W. (2012), Press Release on S.B. 1172, Senator Lieu Web site, September 30, http://sd28.senate.ca.gov/news/2012-09-30-california-become-first-state-crack-down-bogus-'gay-cures-minors.
Wetzstein, Cheryl (2012), “Second Suit Filed Against California’s Gay-Change Therapy Ban,”The Washington Times, October 4.

From Jim McGuiggan... Book of Revelation (1 of 9)

Book of Revelation (1 of 9)

It seems that many who are interested in the Bible would like to know what the book of Revelation is about but very few want to take the time to get into it. I’m sure there are numerous reasons for that. To begin with, the book isn’t written in plain speech like, say, the book of Acts or Genesis or the Gospels and that means more work for an already busy student. Secondly, there’s so much disagreement about what the book means that many people feel, "If all the experts differ how can we, the less experienced, hope to understand it?" So they leave it alone and concentrate on the books they can "draw lessons from." Take my word for it that the book isn’t as difficult as the "experts" have made it. It’s richer and deeper than all of their insights combined and they concede that, but it’s not as obscure as they often give the impression it is. But if you insist on thinking you can’t understand it this will undermine your ability to understand it. With God’s gracious help, if you want a good working knowledge of its general thrust and a sense of its riches and you’re prepared to spend a little time in getting it, you can do it.
Some helpful suggestions
Read a lot in the Old Testament because so much of Revelation’s speech and thought is rooted there.
Tell yourself again and again that Revelation is written mainly in images and pictures that aren’t supposed to be taken literally. Remind yourself, "That’s what he sees, now what does it mean?
Be content to get a grasp of the main drift and larger issues first before spending too long wrestling with the details. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know all the answers right now. When you’re done you’ll admit there’s a vast amount that you’ve missed but you’ll feel helped by how much you’ve learned.
Believe that God wouldn’t have written it if it couldn’t be understood and then prayerfully work away at the contents.
Credit yourself with as much common sense as the people who paint these wild pictures of what they say is going to happen in the very near future. (What they have been saying for many years is going to happen in the very near future.) We’ve heard from the "experts" that very soon hailstones will fall, each one weighing about 100 pounds. We hear that all the water on the earth—oceans included—will turn into blood and yet two hundred million warriors from the East will ride on horses into Palestine. All that, they warned us, was going to happen and the Coca-Cola will run out. Yes! You can’t butcher Revelation worse than that so get on into it and see what you can do.
Has the book of Revelation been fulfilled?
This is a legitimate question but it leaves a false impression. It makes it appear as though the book of Revelation is more than less a series of predictions. It gives the impression that it is essentially a book that foretells startling events that will unfold in the near future. It would be a mistake to deny that there are events predicted in the book (there are!) but that’s true of the Gospels, Acts and the epistles. The book of Revelation is a prophetic call to loyalty to God who alone is worthy of service and praise. And it’s an assurance that victory belongs to the people of God no matter who the enemy is. But there are predictive elements in the book that are wrapped up in the truths just mentioned. Yes, but have the predictive elements been fulfilled? I’m certain the answer’s yes!
Bear in mind that John wrote the book almost two thousand years ago. When he wrote it he said it was "the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." (1:1) What must soon take place. Then in 1:3 he urged his readers to take to heart what is written, "because the time is near." Because the time is near. What do you think those two phrases mean? He said that two thousand years ago at the opening of the book. My suspicion is that if we had no special interests that we’d take the words at face value.
And he didn’t change his mind as the book closes. In 22:6 the angel says, "The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place." Things that must soon take place and just to be sure that we get the message he says this in 22:10. "Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near." Because the time is near.
It looks like everyone knows what these words mean until they come to the book of Revelation. Certain teachers keep telling us that the end of the world is near or that Armageddon is to take place soon. They know what it means in their best-selling books and in their tapes, they know what it means everywhere else in the Bible but when it comes to Revelation the phrases becomes all mystery.
If John walked into your presence today, showed you a scroll and said to you, "This is about what must soon take place!" what would you think? If he repeated, "Take this to heart, because the time is near!" what would you think? If he read the whole thing and then said, "These things are true and must soon take place!" would you think they might be hundreds or thousands of years away? And then he hands you the scroll and as he turned to leave you he says, "Don’t seal that revelation up because the time is near!" would you even imagine that it related to centuries from now?
The truth is, the book of Revelation deals with things that related to the Roman Empire, the fourth beast of Daniel 7, when it came into conflict with the New Testament church back in the first centuries. Revelation presents Rome as the tool and instrument of Satan in conflict with Christians who are the body of Christ, the army of the white-horsed rider whose name is: The Word of God (Revelation 19:11-16). It comes to focus in a particular emperor (Domitian) who stands for all that the Roman Empire stood for.
If we can’t understand plain phrases that are like an envelope that encloses the whole of the book (scholars call phrases that function in that way an inclusio) how do we imagine we’ll understand symbols and images that are left without explicit explanation? Whatever the signs and images mean we are to understand this: Two thousand years ago John said the coming events were to happen soon. So when you hear popular writers assure you that they haven’t even begun yet you’ve just been warned.
I’ve had people tell me that with God time didn’t matter and that with him one day is like a thousand years so "at hand" or "soon to happen" may mean anything. It’s true, of course, that God isn’t bothered by time but his creatures are. If God had been talking to himself this man’s remark would have been relevant. But God was talking to puny little people. He takes our humanity into account as Ezekiel 12:21-28 and Daniel 8:26 shows us.
In Daniel 8:26 God says the vision there "concerns the distant future." There is no distant future for God but he wasn’t talking to himself. When he spoke to limited humans he spoke of "the distant future" so he knows what words like that mean. The ungodly mocked God’s message in Ezekiel chapter 12. At first they said, "These threats are empty. They won’t fulfilled." Then they said, "Well, maybe they’ll be fulfilled but the vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future." And how did God answer them? He answered them in the words we find in Revelation. "Say to them the days are near...it shall be fulfilled without delay..." They said, "Don’t worry it’s a long way off" and God said, "Worry, the time is near."
Finally on this point. Compare Daniel 8:26 with Revelation 22:10 and let common sense rule. Here’s what the two texts say.
Seal up the vision for, it concerns the distant future.
Don’t seal up the prophecy, because the time is near.
You can see they’re told to do opposite things. But notice why they were told to do opposite things. Daniel is told to seal up the vision because it deals with the distant future. John is told to leave it open because the time is near. God knows what a short time is. Why do people argue against this? Well, for one reason or another they’ve drawn conclusions about what the images in Revelation mean and they settle for that. When you remind them of truths like the above don’t want to receive them because it makes a mess of their whole futuristic scheme. And when you go public, write a lot of books, construct a whole eschatological system based on your interpretation of these images it’s hard to back away. It isn’t easy to admit we’ve been wrong especially if a lot is riding on it. That isn’t a good thing but I suppose we’ve all had the experience and may yet have to face it.
The safest approach to Revelation is to let John tell us what its time frame is rather than us telling John.
The central message of the book of Revelation
The central message is that God alone is to be worshiped and served and that that truth is to be maintained when the Roman beast rises against the people of God. The central message of the book is that the Roman Empire is the expression of the world spirit (the Dragon, Satan) that opposes God’s kingdom purpose as it shows itself in Jesus Christ and his followers and they aren't to make peace with the Beast. The central message is that when the smoke clear it’s the followers of the Lord Christ that are triumphant and that his Lordship is made concrete and local here on the earth. The Roman Empire claims dominion but it’s a satanic claim. They "prove" it by brutality and cruelty. The church insists that Jesus has dominion and they prove it (as followers of Christ) by outliving, out-suffering and out-lasting Rome.
Two major elements in the book
There are some predictive elements and these have been fulfilled. They are summarized and focused in the emperor Domitian who stands for all that is the brutal and bestial Empire. On his tomb, so to speak, Jesus stands and proclaims the kingdom of God. And so aspects of Daniel 2 and 7 are demonstrated as "done!"
There are timeless truths. For example, God alone is Lord and worthy of praise and service. Note how large sections of praise for God occur in chapters 4-12 and 14-19. Sandwiched in between is chapter 13 and the worship of the Beast. Twice John is told to worship no one but God himself. Other major timeless truth are developed in the book.
But if the predictions of Revelation have been fulfilled would that mean Revelation is of no real interest or relevance to us today? Indeed not. Nahum prophesied the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC but to call it useless or irrelevant would be silly. Old Testament prophecies of the birth and suffering of Christ of Christ in his earthly ministry have been fulfilled but we know they aren’t useless. There's profoundly more about life with God than having a calendar of future events in our pocket.
This little survey of Revelation will probably be helpful to some but if you want something more in detail maybe—if you can stomach any more of my stuff—you’d be interested in purchasing a book I did on Revelation. If so you can follow this link. Book of Revelation
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

From Gary... Bible Reading June 23




Bible Reading  

June 23

The World English Bible


June 23
2 Samuel 10-12

2Sa 10:1 It happened after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place.
2Sa 10:2 David said, I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me. So David sent by his servants to comfort him concerning his father. David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
2Sa 10:3 But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, Do you think that David honors your father, in that he has sent comforters to you? Hasn't David sent his servants to you to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
2Sa 10:4 So Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
2Sa 10:5 When they told it to David, he sent to meet them; for the men were greatly ashamed. The king said, Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.
2Sa 10:6 When the children of Ammon saw that they were become odious to David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, twenty thousand footmen, and the king of Maacah with one thousand men, and the men of Tob twelve thousand men.
2Sa 10:7 When David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the army of the mighty men.
2Sa 10:8 The children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entrance of the gate: and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
2Sa 10:9 Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
2Sa 10:10 The rest of the people he committed into the hand of Abishai his brother; and he put them in array against the children of Ammon.
2Sa 10:11 He said, If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the children of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you.
2Sa 10:12 Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people, and for the cities of our God: and Yahweh do that which seems him good.
2Sa 10:13 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
2Sa 10:14 When the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai, and entered into the city. Then Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
2Sa 10:15 When the Syrians saw that they were defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together.
2Sa 10:16 Hadadezer sent, and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River: and they came to Helam, with Shobach the captain of the army of Hadadezer at their head.
2Sa 10:17 It was told David; and he gathered all Israel together, and passed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. The Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
2Sa 10:18 The Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed of the Syrians the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and struck Shobach the captain of their army, so that he died there.
2Sa 10:19 When all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.
2Sa 11:1 It happened, at the return of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2Sa 11:2 It happened at evening, that David arose from off his bed, and walked on the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look on.
2Sa 11:3 David send and inquired after the woman. One said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
2Sa 11:4 David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in to him, and he lay with her (for she was purified from her uncleanness); and she returned to her house.
2Sa 11:5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
2Sa 11:6 David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. Joab sent Uriah to David.
2Sa 11:7 When Uriah was come to him, David asked of him how Joab did, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered.
2Sa 11:8 David said to Uriah, Go down to your house, and wash your feet. Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of food from the king.
2Sa 11:9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and didn't go down to his house.
2Sa 11:10 When they had told David, saying, Uriah didn't go down to his house, David said to Uriah, Haven't you come from a journey? why did you not go down to your house?
2Sa 11:11 Uriah said to David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in booths; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open field; shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.
2Sa 11:12 David said to Uriah, Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the next day.
2Sa 11:13 When David had called him, he ate and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but didn't go down to his house.
2Sa 11:14 It happened in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
2Sa 11:15 He wrote in the letter, saying, Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck, and die.
2Sa 11:16 It happened, when Joab kept watch on the city, that he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew that valiant men were.
2Sa 11:17 The men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people, even of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
2Sa 11:18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
2Sa 11:19 and he commanded the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling all the things concerning the war to the king,
2Sa 11:20 it shall be that, if the king's wrath arise, and he asks you, 'Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Didn't you know that they would shoot from the wall?
2Sa 11:21 who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Didn't a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?' then you shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.' "
2Sa 11:22 So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for.
2Sa 11:23 The messenger said to David, The men prevailed against us, and came out to us into the field, and we were on them even to the entrance of the gate.
2Sa 11:24 The shooters shot at your servants from off the wall; and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
2Sa 11:25 Then David said to the messenger, Thus you shall tell Joab, Don't let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage him.
2Sa 11:26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband.
2Sa 11:27 When the mourning was past, David sent and took her home to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased Yahweh.
2Sa 12:1 Yahweh sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2Sa 12:2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds,
2Sa 12:3 but the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up together with him, and with his children. It ate of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him like a daughter.
2Sa 12:4 A traveler came to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man who had come to him."
2Sa 12:5 David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As Yahweh lives, the man who has done this is worthy to die!
2Sa 12:6 He shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity!"
2Sa 12:7 Nathan said to David, "You are the man. This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.
2Sa 12:8 I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that would have been too little, I would have added to you many more such things.
2Sa 12:9 Why have you despised the word of Yahweh, to do that which is evil in his sight? You have struck Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
2Sa 12:10 Now therefore the sword will never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'
2Sa 12:11 This is what Yahweh says: 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he will lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
2Sa 12:12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.' "
2Sa 12:13 David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against Yahweh." Nathan said to David, "Yahweh also has put away your sin. You will not die.
2Sa 12:14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to Yahweh's enemies to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."
2Sa 12:15 Nathan departed to his house. Yahweh struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it was very sick.
2Sa 12:16 David therefore begged God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night on the earth.
2Sa 12:17 The elders of his house arose, and stood beside him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
2Sa 12:18 It happened on the seventh day, that the child died. The servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he didn't listen to our voice: how will he then harm himself, if we tell him that the child is dead!
2Sa 12:19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; and David said to his servants, Is the child dead? They said, He is dead.
2Sa 12:20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothing; and he came into the house of Yahweh, and worshiped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he ate.
2Sa 12:21 Then said his servants to him, What thing is this that you have done? you fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child was dead, you rose up and ate bread.
2Sa 12:22 He said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who knows whether Yahweh will not be gracious to me, that the child may live?
2Sa 12:23 But now he is dead, why should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.
2Sa 12:24 David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her, and lay with her: and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Yahweh loved him;
2Sa 12:25 and he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he named him Jedidiah, for Yahweh's sake.
2Sa 12:26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
2Sa 12:27 Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah; yes, I have taken the city of waters.
2Sa 12:28 Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it; lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
2Sa 12:29 David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
2Sa 12:30 He took the crown of their king from off his head; and its weight was a talent of gold, and in it were precious stones; and it was set on David's head. He brought forth the spoil of the city, exceeding much.
2Sa 12:31 He brought forth the people who were therein, and put them under saws, and under iron picks, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick kiln: and he did so to all the cities of the children of Ammon. David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.


Jun. 23, 24
John 20

Joh 20:1 Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb.
Joh 20:2 Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have laid him!"
Joh 20:3 Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb.
Joh 20:4 They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first.
Joh 20:5 Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn't enter in.
Joh 20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying,
Joh 20:7 and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself.
Joh 20:8 So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed.
Joh 20:9 For as yet they didn't know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
Joh 20:10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Joh 20:11 But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb,
Joh 20:12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
Joh 20:13 They told her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they have laid him."
Joh 20:14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn't know that it was Jesus.
Joh 20:15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?" She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
Joh 20:16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him, "Rhabbouni!" which is to say, "Teacher!"
Joh 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Don't touch me, for I haven't yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "
Joh 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her.
Joh 20:19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be to you."
Joh 20:20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord.
Joh 20:21 Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
Joh 20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit!
Joh 20:23 Whoever's sins you forgive, they are forgiven them. Whoever's sins you retain, they have been retained."
Joh 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn't with them when Jesus came.
Joh 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Joh 20:26 After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace be to you."
Joh 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving, but believing."
Joh 20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed."
Joh 20:30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book;
Joh 20:31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.