From Mark Copeland... "GOD’S WILL FOR YOU" Making God’s Will Priority One

                          "GOD’S WILL FOR YOU"

                     Making God’s Will Priority One


1. We have been examining what is God’s will for you in this series of lessons...
   a. But it is not enough to simply know what is God’s will
   b. We must also make doing His will our number one priority

2. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus talks about the importance of priority...
   a. In overcoming anxiety - Mt 6:25-27
   b. In experiencing the providential care of God - Mt 6:28-32
   b. By seeking first the kingdom of God - Mt 6:33-34

[Beginning with Mt 6:33, let’s first look at what is involved in...]


      1. Jesus said to "seek first the kingdom of God" - Mt 6:33
      2. Broadly defined, the kingdom of God is the rule or reign of God
         via His will
      3. Thus Jesus could use "kingdom" and "will" in synonymous
         parallelism - cf. Mt 6:10
      4. Thus we must seek out what is God’s will for us, live it out in
         our lives - e.g., Jn 4:34; 6:38
      -- Seeking the will of God means looking to Him reigning over our lives

      1. It is God’s will that we listen to His Son - Mt 17:5; 28:18
      2. Jesus has all authority, and He desires that we become His
         disciples - Mt 28:18-20
      3. Whereby we learn from Him, finding rest for our souls - Mt 11:28-30
      -- Seeking the will of God means becoming disciples of Jesus

      1. Jesus came to establish His church - Mt 16:18
      2. The church is that community of disciples who obey Him - Ac 2:41,47
      3. Such obedience involves fellowship, assembling together - Ac 2:42; He 10:24-25
      -- Seeking the will of God means participation in the local

[But it is not sufficient to simply give the will of God a place in our
lives, the will of God which involves God’s reign, discipleship and the
church must be "priority one" in our lives...!]


   A. OVER SELF...
      1. Jesus taught this in regards to discipleship - Lk 9:23
      2. We must deny self, making the will of God number one
      3. As Jesus prayed, "not as I will, but as You will" - Mt 26:39
      4. This actually makes us better persons, as it undoubtedly did
         for Timothy - cf. 1Ti 4:12-16
      -- The will of God must take priority over personal interests

      1. Jesus taught this in regards to discipleship - Mt 10:34-37; Lk 14:26
      2. Thus we must put God’s will before family
      3. As Jesus demonstrated with His physical family - Mt 12:46-50
      4. This actually creates better families, where love and respect
         abides - cf. Ep 5:22-33
      -- The will of God must take priority over familial interests

      1. The apostles demonstrated this in answering the call to
         discipleship - Mt 4:18-20; 9:9
      2. Thus we must put God’s will before business affairs
      3. How will we provide for family?  With God’s providential help!
         - Mt 6:30-34
      4. This can actually lead to greater success in our business
         ventures - cf. Gen 39:2-3; Dan 1:9
      -- The will of God must take priority over occupational interests

      1. Jesus taught this in regards to discipleship - Lk 14:33
      2. Thus we must put God’s will over everything else
      3. As Paul demonstrated in his own life - Php 3:4-11
      -- The will of God must take priority over everything!


1. We need to understand what is really important in life...
   a. It is easy to be preoccupied with many things in this life - cf. Lk 10:40-41
   b. We must chose the good part, that which is truly important - cf. Lk 10:42

2. We have seen that the "good part" regarding the will of God involves...
   a. Seeking the rule of Christ in our lives
   b. Serving as disciples of Jesus Christ
   c. Involvement in the church of Christ

3. In the parable of the great supper, Jesus illustrated...
   a. The danger of making excuses - Lk 14:16-18
   b. How many will use family or business duties to keep them away - Lk 14:18-20
   c. The displeasure of God when people do not put His will first - Lk 14:21-24

But when we truly understand what is God’s will for us, the blessings
experienced by doing His will, then making God’s will "priority one"
will not be a problem for us.

Have you made God’s will "priority one" in your life, by submitting to
the reign of Christ, becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, and giving His
church the proper place in your life?

May we all be willing to say to God as Jesus Himself did...

            "Not as I will, but as You will" - Mt 26:39

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

Questions and Answers: Was Job a Real Person? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Questions and Answers: Was Job a Real Person?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Was Job a real person?


In a single day, the patriarch Job lost all ten of his children, all of his livestock, and many of his servants. And if all this was not enough, Job’s body then became diseased from head to toe, his wife urged him to “curse God and die,” and the comforting counsel of three of his “friends” quickly gave way to judgmental accusations.
Based upon the extent of the suffering mentioned above, and the time frame in which it all occurred, some critics tend to doubt that Job was a real person. Rather, they think he simply was fabricated to teach a lesson about human suffering. Perhaps, they say, he is to be valued like such parabolic figures as the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), or the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21).
If Job were not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible apart from for the book that bears his name, those who claim he was not a real person might be able to argue their position more confidently. But the fact is, Job is mentioned in three different verses in Scripture (outside the book of Job), and in all three passages he is considered a real, historical figure.
The first two places in which his name can be found are Ezekiel 14, verses 14 and 20. In verse 14, the prophet stated: “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.” Verse 20 records: “[E]ven though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”
Ezekiel’s point in both verses was that the ungodly conditions in the land were such that even if Noah, Daniel, and Job lived in that city, no one else would be saved. Ezekiel spoke of all three of these men as being real, historical people, not legendary characters.
Job also is mentioned in the latter part of the book of James. In 5:11 we read: “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord.” Obviously, James was not writing through inspiration about an imaginary person. Although, admittedly much about Job remains a mystery, we can know that he was a real person who suffered in every way like you and me, and yet remained faithful to his God.

In Defense of the Golden Rule by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


In Defense of the Golden Rule

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Christ’s summary ethical principle, stated in Matthew 7:12, is often called the “golden rule”: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We have demonstrated that Christ’s principle is unique—distinct in principle and fruit from the ethics of utilitarianism and other human systems of conduct—and also that it is superior to any other moral principle (Jackson, 1996). Consider the following account of an attack upon the rule, and a response, by Wayne Jackson:
Some, like Dan Barker (a former Pentecostal preacher who converted to atheism), have suggested that the golden rule should be characterized as “bronze”.... Barker argued that if one were a masochist, the golden rule would justify his beating up on someone else (1992, pp. 347-348). His argument assumes that it is rational to be a masochist! Others, not quite so much of the fringe element, have suggested that the golden rule might at least be improved: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Such a view, however, is fatally flawed, and even someone who is as ethically confused as Joseph Fletcher (the famed situation ethicist) has acknowledged such (1966, p. 117). The weak may want you to supply them with drugs, or indulge them with illicit sex, etc., but such a response would not be the right thing to do. If I am thinking sensibly, I do not want others to accommodate my ignorance and weakness (1996, emp. and parenthetical items in orig.).
This response to Barker and other critics rightly suggests that the golden rule cannot be manipulated to encourage an action that one perceives as evil prior to applying the rule. On this point, we have defended the golden rule previously.
However, others have suggested that Immanuel Kant’s ethical principle, summarized in his “categorical imperative” does a better job of tracking our moral intuitions than Christ’s rule. The categorical imperative has three formulations, which Kant thinks are equivalent to one another:
  1. “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
  2. “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means.”
  3. “[One’s acts—CC] ought to harmonize with a possible kingdom of ends as a kingdom of nature” (1994, pp. 30,42).
Each formulation, according to Kant, is equivalent to the others (p. 41). It is not necessary to develop a full understanding of the categorical imperative here (for more information, see Copleston, 1994, 6:308-348). Of concern here is the alleged superiority of the categorical imperative to the golden rule. The argument goes like this (adapted from Pecorino, 2000):
  1. Kant’s rule, as traditionally interpreted, tells us to act as we would want all other people to act toward all other people, and atrocities would be disallowed.
  2. The golden rule tells us to act toward others as we would have them act toward us.
  3. The golden rule would allow us to do terrible things to others, as long as it is what we wish they would do to us (e.g., masochistic desires could be fulfilled in accordance with the rule).
  4. Therefore, Kant’s principle is superior to the golden rule.
In order to dispute the conclusion (4), we must show that either (1) or (3) is false. I will dispute both, in order to demonstrate that the golden rule is superior to the categorical imperative.


There is doubt concerning whether the categorical imperative is equipped to forbid terrible actions. John Stuart Mill, for example, writes:
But when [Kant—CC] begins to deduce from this precept any of the actual duties of morality, he fails, almost grotesquely, to show that there would be any contradiction, any logical (not to say physical) impossibility, in the adoption by all rational beings of the most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. All he shows is that the consequences of their universal adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur (2001, p. 4; parenthetical item in orig.).
Mill thinks that, even though Kant would have wished to prevent atrocities, his categorical imperative does not do the job.
To assess Mill’s claim, consider an application of the universal-law formulation to an act like masochism or suicide. In this case, Kant uses the universal-law formulation to assert that a person has a duty to avoid harming oneself because the maxim of self-love that is necessary for suicide “cannot possibly hold as a universal law of nature and is, consequently, wholly opposed to the supreme principle of all duty” (1994, p. 31). Let us suppose that Mill views license to commit suicide as one of those “outrageously immoral rules of conduct” (he does think suicide is at least wrong; see Mill, 2003, p. 163). Mill’s objection (above) does indeed contradict Kant’s position here. Kant eschews a world in which everyone feels free to commit suicide, but there is no evident contradiction in such a world, as there is in the world where everyone makes promises they do not intend to keep. The universal-law formulation of the imperative clearly forbids the lying promise, because if everyone lied, it would no longer be effective to lie, and so there is a contradiction in the very conception of such a scenario.
However, it would seem just as easy to harm oneself in a “perturbed social world” where everyone commits suicide as in the world we actually inhabit (the Kantian “perturbed social world is the imagined world wherein the proposed principle of action is universalized according to the categorical imperative; see Rawls, 1999, p. 501). Humanity might destroy itself in such a circumstance, but that result is not equivalent to a contradiction in conception. Mill is correct, based on the first interpretation of his argument, that Kant’s rule allows for atrocities (Kantians would disagree, maintaining that Kant is consistent at least on some interpretation, and I will briefly address this objection before concluding).
Since Mill’s objection is justified in the case of the first formulation (but not in the second or third), then it is not the case that the other formulations are merely new statements of the first formulation, as Kant asserts (p. 41). Robert Johnson observes about the supposed unity of the formulations: “Perhaps Kant thought this, but it is not very plausible: That I should always treat Humanity as an end in itself, for instance, does not seem to mean the same thing as that I should act only on maxims that are consistent with themselves as universal laws of nature” (2008).
One Kantian response to my position would be that I am unfairly manipulating the definition of Mill’s “outrageously immoral” tag. However, if this objection is valid, then suicide is not outrageously immoral, and Kant clearly thinks that it is (pp. 82-85). Johnson mentions another possible Kantian solution: “if the formulas are not equivalent in meaning, they are nevertheless logically interderivable and hence equivalent in sense” (2008). However, it is much more difficult to establish that three separate ethical claims are “equivalent in sense” when they do not yield the same practical results, than it is to agree with Mill that something is wrong with Kant’s model. It is not at all clear that the categorical imperative disallows the kind of actions the permission for which are, allegedly, the downfall of the golden rule. If the golden rule disallows such atrocities, then its superiority to the imperative will have been maintained.


The golden rule certainly does not allow for what are generally considered moral atrocities. Consider two essential principles.
1. The golden rule presupposes natural care for one’s own person. Objections such as Pecorino’s presuppose that the golden rule liberates a person to decide how to treat oneself. The golden rule simply is not designed to determine how one should treat oneself. However, when describing or promoting general ethical guidelines that are based squarely upon the very principle that people act out of self-interest, it is necessary to assume a typical level of self-interest; otherwise the point is unintelligible.
Paul made precisely this assumption in his epistle to the Ephesians: “So husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (5:28-29). Paul’s implication is that no rational person is interested in destroying his own body (this is not to say that a person must be unwilling to suffer physically or emotionally for a good cause, or to promote longer life to the neglect of all other considerations; cf. Acts 4:1-20; Revelation 2:10). Jesus obviously was speaking from this perspective when He announced the golden rule.
Yet, someone might wonder whether Jesus took into account the possibility that someone might apply the golden rule to promote atrocities (or, for that matter, whether Paul accounted for cases such as spouse battery or self-mutilation). To answer this question, consider the following.
2. The golden rule must not be separated from the overall context of biblical ethics. We, along with scores of ethicists, have allowed Kant to contextualize his principle in order to explain and defend its implications. Why should we not allow biblical ethics the same privilege? Christ Himself made it clear that the golden rule reflected a large body of doctrine (i.e., “the Law and the Prophets”; see Jackson, 1996; Lyons, 2009).
Moreover, as we interpret Christ’s statement, we must remember that it is part of a larger, verbal presentation to people who presumably did not have self-destruction on their minds. After all, in the very same presentation that includes the golden rule, the Lord made the following statements, all of which promote respectful, loving treatment of self and others:
  1. “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:9-10).
  2. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (5:7,9).
  3. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (5:11).
  4. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned.... You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
  5. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (5:21-22).
  6. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (5:27-28).
  7. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (5:43-45).
These passages from Christ’s sermon do not include many other scriptures that corroborate and enlarge upon His teaching in this sermon. Such texts include Pauline injunctions that coincide with the golden rule and disallow sins such as battery (e.g., 1 Corinthians 7:3-4; Galatians 5:13, 22; 6:10; Ephesians 4:3, etc.).


It is utterly impossible that, at the announcement of the golden rule, Christ’s audience took the golden rule as an endorsement of moral atrocities. Rather, members of the audience would have understood the golden rule as a practical tool to help a person with common-sense intuitions to decide how to treat others, in light of what Jesus previously said in the sermon. There is no reason we should interpret the rule differently.
On the other hand, Kant’s categorical imperative may reasonably be shown to allow moral atrocities. Therefore, the golden rule is better than Kant’s rule. May we strive to implement Christian moral principles in our lives, no matter what may be fashionable in the field of modern or contemporary ethics.


Copleston, Frederick (1994), A History of Philosophy (New York: Doubleday).
Jackson, Wayne (1996), “Three Rules of Human Conduct,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/231.
Johnson, Robert (2008), “Kant’s Moral Philosophy,” Stanford University, [On-line], URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/.
Kant, Immanuel (1994 reprint), Ethical Philosophy (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett), second edition.
Lyons, Eric (2009), “‘This Is the Law and the Prophets’,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1655.
Mill, John Stuart (2001 reprint), Utilitarianism (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett).
Mill, John Stuart (2003 reprint), On Liberty (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).
Pecorino, Philip A. (2000), “Categorical Imperative,” [On-line], URL: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/INTRO_TEXT/Chapter%208%20Ethics/ Categorical_Imperative.htm.
Rawls, John (1999), Collected Papers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Cro-Magnon Man: Nothing but a “Modern” Man by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Cro-Magnon Man: Nothing but a “Modern” Man

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

If macroevolution is true—if human beings are the result of millions of years of gradual evolution from an ancient, single-celled life form—there should be abundant evidence in the fossil record that verifies such a contention. There should be billions of transitional fossils—fossils of intermediate creatures mid-way in their evolution between animal kinds. To the dismay of the evolutionary community, such evidence is conspicuously missing. Renown evolutionary paleontologist of Harvard University, Stephen J. Gould, admitted some thirty years ago what remains true today:
The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been apersistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution (Gould, 1980, 6[1]:127, emp. added).
Colin Patterson, the late paleontologist who served as the editor of the professional journal published by the British Museum of Natural History in London, even conceded:
I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them…. Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional forms…. I will it lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument (Patterson, 1979, 19[8]:8, emp. added).
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the evolutionary community, with the help of the news media, jumps at any mention of a potential transitional fossil find. The media is quick to broadcast the fossil find far and wide--yet without adequate evidence to substantiate the evolutionists’ claims. Perhaps you have heard mention of “Cro-Magnon Man” by evolutionists. Who is Cro-Magnon Man? Are the Cro-Magnon fossils proof of evolution? Are they transitional fossils that provide a “missing link” in the evolution of man from ape-like ancestors?
In 1868, near the village of Les Eyzies in southwestern France, a rock shelter dated to be 23,000-27,000 years old (using evolutionary dating techniques) known as “Abri de Cro-Magnon” was investigated. In it, the first Cro-Magnon fossils were discovered (O’Neil, 2011). According to evolutionists, the fossils were considered to be of “early modern humans,” who “were very similar in appearance to modern Europeans” (O’Neil). Some scientists have decided that the Cro-Magnons “are not sufficiently different enough from modern humans to warrant a separate designation. Scientists today use ‘Anatomically Modern Human’ (AMH) or ‘Early Modern Human’ (EMH) to designate the Upper Paleolithic human beings who looked a lot like us…” (Hirst, 2011). ScienceDaily reports that the Cro-Magnoids were “the first people who had a skeleton that looked anatomically modern” (Public Library of Science, 2008, emp. added). So clearly, according to evolutionists themselves, the Cro-Magnons looked like modern man.
Recent research indicates that the Cro-Magnons were also genetically the same as modern Europeans (Caramelli, et al., 2008). So, if it looks like a modern man anatomically, and if it even looks like a man genetically…what’s the difference? Ultimately, there is no difference. However, according to the theory of evolution, there must be a difference, because the human brain has been a product of evolution. Thus, according to evolutionary thinking, the assumption must be made that humans living thousands of years ago would have been less intelligent and capable, since their brains had not yet fully developed. With this in mind, they define a “modern man” as one who is considered to be more recent. The problem is that there is no evidence that human beings evolved in such a manner. The transitional fossils are lacking. What the evidence indicates is that humans have always been humans. Humans have always been “modern man.” Humans have always had the intelligence to do great things that are not understood even today—from the pyramids of Giza to the Egyptian embalming abilities; from the Paracas civilization of South America who amazingly conducted successful brain surgery over 2,000 years ago (“The Inca…,” 2010), to the Maya astronomers, studying the stars over 1,000 years ago and creating a calendar using a sophisticated gear system of such precision that eclipses could be anticipated and the cycles of the Moon documented with an error of only 33 seconds (“The Maya…,” 2010); from the Moche people, living 1,500 years ago and engineering enormous structures, including the “Temple of the Sun,” constructed with over 140,000,000 adobe bricks (“The Inca…”), to the Nazca people, also living over 1,500 years ago, who developed sophisticated irrigation systems and who made enormous pictures in the ground which are only viewable by air. The lines which comprise the pictures are barely visible at all by ground. These lines—covering some 135 miles—include a 450 feet long bird, an enormous spider, and a killer whale (“The Lost City of Nasca,” 2000; “Nazca Lines and Cahuachi Culture, 2011; “The Inca…”). Historians are at a loss as to how or why these pictures were made. Some have speculated that they were made for extraterrestrials to see from space. Some believe they were for irrigation purposes. In 1975, Jim Woodman built a hot air balloon using materials that the Nazca were believed to have in their day and flew it over the images, illustrating that the Nazca may have been able to fly (“The Inca…”).
The truth is, humans have always been “modern man.” Scientific breakthroughs may be made at different times in history that cause technology to surge forward and give humanity more insight into the created order, but such breakthroughs are not an indication of the evolving brain of mankind. Such breakthroughs are due to the fact that God’s beneficent hand is involved in the affairs of men, causing it to “rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Bottom line: Cro-Magnon Man is not a missing link. Cro-Magnon Man is just an evolutionary name for a “modern” man. [Note: see Thompson, et al., 2002 for a thorough examination of many of the alleged transitional fossils.]


Caramelli, D., L. Milani, S. Vai, A. Modi, E. Pecchioli, M. Girardi, et al. (2008), “A 28,000 Years Old Cro-Magnon mtDNA Sequence Differs from All Potentially Contaminating Modern Sequences,” PLoS One, 3[7]:e2700, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002700.
Gould, Stephen Jay (1980), “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?,” Paleobiology, 6[1]:119-130, Winter.
Hirst, K. Kris (2011), “Why Don’t We Call Them Cro-Magnon Anymore? What Are ‘Anatomically Modern Humans’?,” About.com: Archaeology, http://archaeology.about.com/od/earlymansites/a/cro_magnon.htm.
“The Inca: Secrets of the Ancestors—Part 8” (2010), Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, http://www.documentarystream.com/time-lifes-lost-civilizations/.
“The Lost City of Nasca” (2000), BBC Home, http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/nasca.shtml.
“The Maya: The Blood of Kings—Part 7” (2010), Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, http://www.documentarystream.com/time-lifes-lost-civilizations/.
“Nasca Lines and Cahuachi Culture” (2011), http://www.crystalinks.com/nazca.html.
O’Neil, Dennis (2011), “Early Modern Homo Sapiens,” Palomar College, http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_4.htm.
Patterson, Colin (1979), Letter on April 10, 1979 to Luther Sunderland: reprinted in Bible-Science Newsletter, 19[8]:8, August, 1981.
Public Library of Science (2008), “Europe’s Ancestors: Cro-Magnon 28,000 Years Old Had DNA Like Modern Humans,” ScienceDaily, July 16, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204741.htm.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Eric Lyons (2002), “Human Evolution and the ‘Record of the Rocks,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=153.

Hats Off to Arkansas for Recognizing Babies as Citizens by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Hats Off to Arkansas for Recognizing Babies as Citizens

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

On May 6, 2004, Fox News reported that the state of Arkansas had introduced guidelines that have far-reaching implications. According to these new guidelines, unborn children of illegal immigrants will be granted rights as American citizens, will be viewed as such by the federal government, and will be eligible for Medicaid. By instituting these new procedures, Arkansas will be joining Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Washington in using federal funds to help with the cost of these “unborn citizens.”
The Arkansas Department of Human Services stated that “it is not trying to make a political point on where life begins, but just trying to offer better health care” (“Arkansas Debate...,” 2004). A political and moral statement, however, cannot be avoided in this instance. In essence, the state of Arkansas is saying that unborn babies are citizens of this country, and therefore deserve the same right and benefits that any other citizen of this country deserves.
Setting aside the plethora of biblical reasons not to allow abortions (see Miller, 2003), let’s explore another reason why it also should be illegal. When our forefathers penned the Declaration of Independence, by which they broke away from Britain, they penned these well-known words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Arkansas and other states recognize, as they morally should, that a child is indeed a citizen, they admit that this citizen has rights. Those rights include, among other things, life. How can we as a nation recognize a child as a citizen (in order for him or her to receive federal funds), but then in other circles refuse to grant to that citizen the fundamental right to life recognized by our forefathers who penned the sacrosanct Declaration of Independence?
It is time that we, as a nation, stopped playing word games with the words “baby,” “fetus,” “embryo,” etc., and started recognizing the fact that human life begins at conception (see Thompson, 2003). Our hats are off to the state of Arkansas for recognizing the fact that an unborn child is a citizen. It is high time this fact was recognized at every government level across the board!


“Arkansas Debate Focuses on Pregnant Illegals” (2004), [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,119144,00.html.
Miller, Dave (2003), “Abortion and the Bible,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1964.
Thompson, Bert (2003), “Should a Fetus Have Rights,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2098.

From Jim McGuiggan... Live By Faith & Make It Plain

Live By Faith & Make It Plain

The prophet protested twice. First about the local warlords and oppressors and why they weren't being dealt with. Secondly he protested against God's cure for their own garden-variety gangsters. The cure God offered was international gangsters, more brutal and more wicked. When God gets around to speaking to the prophet in response to his second complaint he tells the man to write the vision (message) down and make it plain.
He is to write it on "tablets". Aside from a couple of references where the word is used of building materials this word is used in the plural only of the tables of the covenant. And he had to write it clearly. This word for write is used only three times in the Old Testament and in all three it has to do with how the covenant is presented.
Why did God put it in these terms to Habakkuk? I'm going to conclude with Rikki Watts that we're supposed to link the vision with God's covenant with Israel. In speaking of the vision God uses speech that would say the vision and the covenant are alike. Habakkuk noted the apparent failure of the covenant torah in 1:4 and noted as well that God didn't seem to hear his protests. But God assured the prophet he had heard and seen everything and that he was keeping faith with his grand purposes. As surely as he had made a covenant with Israel he was now giving assurance in the vision. He is, so to speak, reaffirming his covenant relationship with the nation.
This new vision like the covenant law was itself a witness to God's grace and faithfulness to them and to their fathers. However complex the elements and however long it would take to run its course those who trusted God and remained faithful would know the faithfulness of God and in that faith they would live. He was told to look toward the nations and to watch (1:5). He stays at his post peering and watching and what he saw becomes part of the vision God gives him (2:1-2).
The covenant faithfulness of God is seen in and through the approach of the marauders. How this is so isn't worked out for the prophet or the people but he feels the challenge and tremblingly takes it up (3:16-19). The vision with all its terror makes its demand for trust; what else is there in the face of such a calamity? But trust in what? Trust in what way? The prophet, seeing the destruction of the nation before him, gasped in horror looking for assurance, "we shall not die." (1:12) This is what 2:4b assures him about. Trust in the God who comes looking like the enemy and trust in him by remaining faithful to him. God's righteous one, God's righteous nation is marked out by faithfulness to him even when he works a strange work that brings them loss. God's righteous one, God's righteous nation is also destined for life and not death.
Under calamity they still live more fully than the sparkling visitors to Acapulco and they are destined to even fuller life beyond the calamity.
He was told to write it plain because people whose eyes are filled with tears or are red because they can't sleep at night for worry have a hard time reading small print they need it plain! It was not to be hard to read. Even people in a panic would get the message as they galloped by and might be kept from a mad dash to oblivion. It was to be plain so that those who might want to run and tell it to others wouldn't have to have a degree from J.U. in order to understand and tell it. And listen, the tougher the message is to swallow the plainer it needs to be. Spell it out plainly because hurting people are going to be the ones who have to take the medicine. The people who suffer most have earned the right to hear the unvarnished truth however difficult it might be to embrace. Not only do they have the right to hear it, they've made it clear that above all others they have the heart and faith to receive it.

From Gary... Bible Reading September 9

Bible Reading   

September 9

The World English Bible

Sept. 9
Psalms 52-54
Psa 52:1 Why do you boast of mischief, mighty man? God's loving kindness endures continually.
Psa 52:2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Psa 52:3 You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking the truth. Selah.
Psa 52:4 You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue.
Psa 52:5 God will likewise destroy you forever. He will take you up, and pluck you out of your tent, and root you out of the land of the living. Selah.
Psa 52:6 The righteous also will see it, and fear, and laugh at him, saying,
Psa 52:7 "Behold, this is the man who didn't make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness."
Psa 52:8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in God's house. I trust in God's loving kindness forever and ever.
Psa 52:9 I will give you thanks forever, because you have done it. I will hope in your name, for it is good, in the presence of your saints.

Psa 53:1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity. There is no one who does good.
Psa 53:2 God looks down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there are any who understood, who seek after God.
Psa 53:3 Every one of them has gone back. They have become filthy together. There is no one who does good, no, not one.
Psa 53:4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and don't call on God?
Psa 53:5 There they were in great fear, where no fear was, for God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you. You have put them to shame, because God has rejected them.
Psa 53:6 Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back his people from captivity, then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psa 54:1 Save me, God, by your name. Vindicate me in your might.
Psa 54:2 Hear my prayer, God. Listen to the words of my mouth.
Psa 54:3 For strangers have risen up against me. Violent men have sought after my soul. They haven't set God before them. Selah.
Psa 54:4 Behold, God is my helper. The Lord is the one who sustains my soul.
Psa 54:5 He will repay the evil to my enemies. Destroy them in your truth.
Psa 54:6 With a free will offering, I will sacrifice to you. I will give thanks to your name, Yahweh, for it is good.
Psa 54:7 For he has delivered me out of all trouble. My eye has seen triumph over my enemies.

Sept. 9
1 Corinthians 5

1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one has his father's wife.
1Co 5:2 You are puffed up, and didn't rather mourn, that he who had done this deed might be removed from among you.
1Co 5:3 For I most certainly, as being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as though I were present, judged him who has done this thing.
1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5 are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Co 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed in our place.
1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, neither with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1Co 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners;
1Co 5:10 yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world.
1Co 5:11 But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Don't even eat with such a person.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Don't you judge those who are within?
1Co 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. "Put away the wicked man from among yourselves."

From Gary... 2 out of 3 works for me

Depression is serious; it can literally destroy lives. And our little cartoon character is looking for a remedy, BUT his idea for a "cure" is only partially correct. Looking for understanding and comfort is what he is RIGHT about, for love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Now, coffee may perk him up a bit and that could be a good thing.  However, the two million dollars???

If someone gave me two million dollars- what would I do with it, anyway? Well, I would buy a 4000 square foot home on a 5 acre parcel of land in the country. I would replace our current vehicle with a new super-duper truck that would tow a huge 5th wheeler and a new Excalibur car for fun.  Anything left over, I would give to the kids for their retirement.

Now, the results--- first, taxes would take about $1 million. Add in the house and vehicles (about $850,000, I guess). That would leave about $150,000 for our kids. Wait, the taxes on that house and the upkeep would be about $10,000 per year and then I would probably need about $10,000 per year for travelling. So, it wouldn't be long before I went through what retirement funds I had and then where would I be? And I bet the kids would not call any more than they usually do, anyway...

Jesus said:

Matthew, Chapter 6 (WEB)
 24  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.   25  Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?   26  See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? 
  27  “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?   28  Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin,   29  yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.   30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? 

  31  “Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’   32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   33  But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.  34  Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient. 

So, using money with a goal to acquiring my "dreams" probably would end in disaster, so spending it in accord with the "will of God" seems like a much better idea.

First, what it is not (anything according to the things of this world)

1 John, Chapter 2 (WEB)
15  Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him.  16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s.  17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.

Second, what doing the "will of God" (verse 17) would entail...

Mark Copeland's study on the "will of God"

Mark does an excellent job on this topic, so check it out.

Bottom line- As for me, give me the hug, and the coffee (McCafe coffee, please) and that will just have to do!!!