5/24/16

Is that a smile coming on??? by Gary Rose



My recent sicknesses have made me think about how I handle my life. Am I trying to do everything by myself, or am I allowing God to guide me?  I remember thinking during a recent excruciating pain episode- guide me oh Lord; help me understand WHY this is happening to me?




Consider...



2 Samuel, Chapter 16 (WEB)
  5  When king David came to Bahurim, behold, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera. He came out, and cursed still as he came.  6 He cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.  7 Shimei said when he cursed, “Be gone, be gone, you man of blood, and base fellow!  8 Yahweh has returned on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned! Yahweh has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son! Behold, you are caught by your own mischief, because you are a man of blood!” 


  9  Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please let me go over and take off his head.”  10 The king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Because he curses, and because Yahweh has said to him, ‘Curse David;’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 

  11  David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, “Behold, my son, who came out of my bowels, seeks my life. How much more this Benjamite, now? Leave him alone, and let him curse; for Yahweh has invited him.  12 It may be that Yahweh will look on the wrong done to me, and that Yahweh will repay me good for the cursing of me today.” (emp added GDR) 13 So David and his men went by the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him, and cursed as he went, threw stones at him, and threw dust.


2 Samuel, Chapter 22 (WEB)
  47 Yahweh lives!

Blessed be my rock!
Exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,
  48 even the God who executes vengeance for me,
who brings down peoples under me, (emp added GDR)  49 who brings me away from my enemies.
Yes, you lift me up above those who rise up against me.
You deliver me from the violent man.
  50 Therefore I will give thanks to you, Yahweh, among the nations,


and will sing praises to your name.

  51 He gives great deliverance to his king,
and shows loving kindness to his anointed,
to David and to his seed, forever more.”


David was very close to God; a sensitive man, yet one who fought many wars and shed much blood. He allowed Shimei, the son of Gera to curse him in the hopes God would see his situation and bless him. Later, in the same book (2 Samuel) David praises God who "executes vengeance for me".

Sometimes, the answer to our problems is to let things just happen and trust in God, who will sort it all out in the end. This reminds me of the following hymn....

1 Trials dark on ev'ry hand, 

and we cannot understand 
All the ways that God would lead us 
to that blessed Promised Land; 
But He'll guide us with His eye, 
and we'll follow till we die; 
We will understand it better by and by. 

Chorus:
By and by, when the morning comes, 
When the saints of God are gathered home, 
We will tell the story how we've overcome; 
We will understand it better by and by.

2 Oft our cherished plans have failed, 
disappointments have prevailed, 
And we've wandered in the darkness, 
heavyhearted and alone; 
But we're trusting in the Lord,
and according to His Word, 
We will understand it better by and by. [Chorus]

3 Temptations, hidden snares 
often take us unawares. 
And our hearts are made to bleed 
for some thoughtless word or deed. 
And we wonder why the test 
when we try to do our best, 
We will understand it better by and by. [Chorus]

Sometimes, it is just best to smile and walk away, knowing that God has everything under control. Is that a smile I sense coming on???

Bible reading May 24 by Gary Rose


Bible reading 
May 24
The World English Bible

May 24
Judges 5, 6

Jdg 5:1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
Jdg 5:2 Because the leaders took the lead in Israel, because the people offered themselves willingly, be blessed, Yahweh!
Jdg 5:3 Hear, you kings! Give ear, you princes! I, even I, will sing to Yahweh. I will sing praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jdg 5:4 Yahweh, when you went forth out of Seir, when you marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the sky also dropped. Yes, the clouds dropped water.
Jdg 5:5 The mountains quaked at the presence of Yahweh, even Sinai, at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jdg 5:6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied. The travelers walked through byways.
Jdg 5:7 The rulers ceased in Israel. They ceased until I, Deborah, arose; Until I arose a mother in Israel.
Jdg 5:8 They chose new gods. Then war was in the gates. Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
Jdg 5:9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless Yahweh!
Jdg 5:10 Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets, and you who walk by the way.
Jdg 5:11 Far from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water, there they will rehearse the righteous acts of Yahweh, Even the righteous acts of his rule in Israel. Then the people of Yahweh went down to the gates.
Jdg 5:12 Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.
Jdg 5:13 Then a remnant of the nobles and the people came down. Yahweh came down for me against the mighty.
Jdg 5:14 Those whose root is in Amalek came out of Ephraim, after you, Benjamin, among your peoples. Governors come down out of Machir. Those who handle the marshal's staff came out of Zebulun.
Jdg 5:15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah. As was Issachar, so was Barak. They rushed into the valley at his feet. By the watercourses of Reuben, there were great resolves of heart.
Jdg 5:16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the whistling for the flocks? At the watercourses of Reuben There were great searchings of heart.
Jdg 5:17 Gilead lived beyond the Jordan. Why did Dan remain in ships? Asher sat still at the haven of the sea, and lived by his creeks.
Jdg 5:18 Zebulun was a people that jeopardized their lives to the deaths; Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
Jdg 5:19 The kings came and fought, then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. They took no plunder of silver.
Jdg 5:20 From the sky the stars fought. From their courses, they fought against Sisera.
Jdg 5:21 The river Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. My soul, march on with strength.
Jdg 5:22 Then the horse hoofs stamped because of the prancings, the prancings of their strong ones.
Jdg 5:23 Curse Meroz, said the angel of Yahweh. Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they didn't come to help Yahweh, to help Yahweh against the mighty.
Jdg 5:24 Jael shall be blessed above women, the wife of Heber the Kenite; blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
Jdg 5:25 He asked for water. She gave him milk. She brought him butter in a lordly dish.
Jdg 5:26 She put her hand to the tent peg, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer. With the hammer she struck Sisera. She struck through his head. Yes, she pierced and struck through his temples.
Jdg 5:27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay. At her feet he bowed, he fell. Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
Jdg 5:28 Through the window she looked out, and cried: Sisera's mother looked through the lattice. Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots wait?
Jdg 5:29 Her wise ladies answered her, Yes, she returned answer to herself,
Jdg 5:30 Have they not found, have they not divided the spoil? A lady, two ladies to every man; to Sisera a spoil of dyed garments, A spoil of dyed garments embroidered, Of dyed garments embroidered on both sides, on the necks of the spoil?
Jdg 5:31 So let all your enemies perish, Yahweh, but let those who love him be as the sun when it rises forth in its strength. The land had rest forty years.

Jdg 6:1 The children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: and Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
Jdg 6:2 The hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds.
Jdg 6:3 So it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them;
Jdg 6:4 and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, until you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey.
Jdg 6:5 For they came up with their livestock and their tents; they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it.
Jdg 6:6 Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried to Yahweh.
Jdg 6:7 It happened, when the children of Israel cried to Yahweh because of Midian,
Jdg 6:8 that Yahweh sent a prophet to the children of Israel: and he said to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
Jdg 6:9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land;
Jdg 6:10 and I said to you, I am Yahweh your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But you have not listened to my voice.
Jdg 6:11 The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
Jdg 6:12 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him, and said to him, Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor.
Jdg 6:13 Gideon said to him, Oh, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt? but now Yahweh has cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.
Jdg 6:14 Yahweh looked at him, and said, Go in this your might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent you?
Jdg 6:15 He said to him, Oh, Lord, with which shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
Jdg 6:16 Yahweh said to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.
Jdg 6:17 He said to him, If now I have found favor in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who talk with me.
Jdg 6:18 Please don't go away, until I come to you, and bring out my present, and lay it before you. He said, I will wait until you come again.
Jdg 6:19 Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it.
Jdg 6:20 The angel of God said to him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth. He did so.
Jdg 6:21 Then the angel of Yahweh put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Yahweh departed out of his sight.
Jdg 6:22 Gideon saw that he was the angel of Yahweh; and Gideon said, Alas, Lord Yahweh! because I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face.
Jdg 6:23 Yahweh said to him, Peace be to you; don't be afraid: you shall not die.
Jdg 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh, and called it Yahweh is Peace: to this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Jdg 6:25 It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, Take your father's bull, even the second bull seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is by it;
Jdg 6:26 and build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.
Jdg 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Yahweh had spoken to him: and it happened, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
Jdg 6:28 When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was by it, and the second bull was offered on the altar that was built.
Jdg 6:29 They said one to another, Who has done this thing? When they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.
Jdg 6:30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the Asherah that was by it.
Jdg 6:31 Joash said to all who stood against him, Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? he who will contend for him, let him be put to death while it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him contend for himself, because one has broken down his altar.
Jdg 6:32 Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal contend against him, because he has broken down his altar.
Jdg 6:33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel.
Jdg 6:34 But the Spirit of Yahweh came on Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered together after him.
Jdg 6:35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him: and he sent messengers to Asher, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
Jdg 6:36 Gideon said to God, If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken,
Jdg 6:37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.
Jdg 6:38 It was so; for he rose up early on the next day, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39 Gideon said to God, Don't let your anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: Please let me make a trial just this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.
Jdg 6:40 God did so that night: for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

May 24, 25
John 5

Joh 5:1 After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Joh 5:2 Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.
Joh 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water;
Joh 5:4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had.
Joh 5:5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years.
Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to be made well?"
Joh 5:7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I'm coming, another steps down before me."
Joh 5:8 Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your mat, and walk."
Joh 5:9 Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.
Joh 5:10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat."
Joh 5:11 He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.' "
Joh 5:12 Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk' ?"
Joh 5:13 But he who was healed didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place.
Joh 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you."
Joh 5:15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Joh 5:16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.
Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too."
Joh 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Joh 5:19 Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.
Joh 5:20 For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Joh 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,
Joh 5:23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him.
Joh 5:24 "Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Joh 5:25 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live.
Joh 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.
Joh 5:27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.
Joh 5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
Joh 5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.
Joh 5:31 "If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid.
Joh 5:32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true.
Joh 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.
Joh 5:34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved.
Joh 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
Joh 5:36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me.
Joh 5:37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.
Joh 5:38 You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe him whom he sent.
Joh 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.
Joh 5:40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life.
Joh 5:41 I don't receive glory from men.
Joh 5:42 But I know you, that you don't have God's love in yourselves.
Joh 5:43 I have come in my Father's name, and you don't receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
Joh 5:44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don't seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Joh 5:45 "Don't think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
Joh 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me.
Joh 5:47 But if you don't believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"  

What's Wrong With Beauty and the Beast? By Richard Mansel



http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Mansel/Richard/Dale/1964/beast.html


What's Wrong With Beauty and the Beast?

Do I wish to criticize the Disney film, Beauty and the Beast? No, I feel it is one of the greatest Disney movies ever made. It is the legend I am concerned about.
My thoughts for this article began germinating recently when I heard a song by Stevie Nicks of the same title. One line in that song characterizes the legend perfectly. She wrote, after describing him as a beast, "My lover is a man that must be tamed." In the fantasy a beautiful, morally pure girl meets a raging, immoral beast of a man. She shows him love and goodness and soon he is "tamed" and becomes a perfect gentleman.
A cursory glance at society sees this attemped in far too many cases. In fact, it lies at the center of many a broken home and heart.
A preacher friend of mine whom I respect very much received a call from a young lady in palpable grief over her wayward husband. She was convinced that divorce was her only hope of finding peace. As she whined about his physical and verbal abuse, his drinking, affairs and refusal to attend worship with her, my friend developed an idea. He asked if her husband had displayed these behaviors before they were wed. As he led her through them, she hesitantly admitted that he had.
He realized two things. First, she wanted to divorce this man for all the same reasons she married him. Second, the best time to get a divorce is before one gets married.
The former may puzzle you. Why did she marry him for these terrible reasons? Surely, she didn't, you say.
Well, I have never met her. However, it is not that difficult to see that throughout history, girls have been drawn to "beasts". How many thousands of stories could we find where girls have left behind the "nice boys" to return to the ones who beat them or led them to get arrested or pregnant or addicted to alcohol and drugs?
A sage has said, "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it."
Fantasies don't exist. We can wish all our lives for our spouse to be otherwise, and die disappointed. Even if we get what we desire, almost never is it what we wished it would have been. USA Today ran a poll a few years back where YM magazine had asked 15,000 girls ages 13-20 about their sexual behavior. Of those who responded, 96% of virgins and 76% of non-virgins said they had to be "in love" with someone before they had sex with them. Not surprisingly, most of those who had had sex, said they were not. In this study over half of those who were sexually active said they were too young. Reality is much more cruel than fantasy.
Satan is the "father of lies" (John 8:44) and yet more people believe him than God, "Who cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). You cannot change a person. That is his responsibility and if he has not done so by adulthood, it is very possible he does not intend to.
God says little about dating in Scripture. However, He is clear that we need to be Christians and marry people of like faith (1 Corinthians 7:39). Amos wrote, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (3:3). Often, a Christian girl will date a young man who lives a wild life claiming that she can convert him later. A better plan would be to try to convert him BEFORE you get married! Better yet, do not date men that are not Christians and this will never be an issue.
Richard Mansel


Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Who is the God of the Earth? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


 http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=1698&b=Micah

Who is the God of the Earth?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The apostle John records three times how Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Years later, while writing to the Christians in Corinth, the apostle Paul actually referred to Satan as “the god (theos) of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Even Satan appeared to understand something about his reign on Earth when he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and said, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours” (Luke 4:5-7; cf. Matthew 4:8-9). Yet, how can Satan be the god and ruler of this world if numerous other passages clearly distinguish Jehovah as the “Lord of the whole earth” (Micah 4:13; Zechariah 4:14)? How can the devil be the ruler of the world if Jesus claimed, “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18)? Is the God of heaven not the “Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24)? Are these two different thoughts completely contradictory (as skeptics allege; cf. Wells, 2015)?
One fundamental interpretation principle that must be considered in any attempt to correctly understand written or spoken communication (which on the surface may seem contradictory) is whether or not the compared words or phrases are used in the same sense. A fan may say about his favorite basketball player, “He is smoking,” and mean the player is shooting the basketball very well. Later, however, the fan may see the same player outside the arena with something in his mouth and shout with astonishment, “He is smoking!” The two statements are exactly the same; they are both true, yet they communicate very different thoughts.
The Bible is very clear that the infinite, eternal Creator of the Universe, Who is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3), is the one, true God, “the Most High over all the earth” (Psalm 83:18). Jehovah is the Creator of all things, including Satan (Colossians 1:16; see Lyons, 2005). In the most complete and ultimate sense imaginable, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the Ruler of heaven and Earth. However, there is a sense in which Satan is “ruler” and “god” of the world—not in the ultimate sense, but, indeed, in a sense.
In what respect could the devil ever be considered a “ruler” or “god”? The answer to this question is rather simple when one considers the fact that most of God’s human creation through the millennia have chosen to serve Satan, rather than submit themselves in obedience to the true God of the Universe. During the days of Noah, “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). During the days of Moses and Joshua, the land of Egypt was full of idolatry (Exodus 12:12), the land of Canaan was overrun with abominable immorality (Leviticus 18), while people of Israel struggled for centuries with the fleshly desire to serve “other gods.” When Jesus came to Earth, He acknowledged the fact that whereas “difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14), “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (7:13).
Tragically, most accountable individuals willingly choose to reject the true God—their Creator and potential Savior—and instead make Satan their “god” and “ruler.” Most unbelievers do not literally worship Satan as “god,” but, as Lenski noted, “‘The god of this eon [age/world]’ is apt in this connection…because he [Satan] is the embodiment of all wickedness and ungodliness in this world, the author and the propagator of hostility to God. He originated the perdition in which men perish” (1963, p. 960, bracketed items added). A man who chooses to love the world and “all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father,” but of Satan and his sinful world (1 John 2:16). When a person rejects the true God as Ruler of his life, by default he pledges allegiance to Satan, making him “god” and “ruler.” No contradiction exists among the statements of the Bible about who rules the Earth.

REFERENCES

Lenski, R.C.H. (1963), The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Lyons, Eric (2005), “Has Satan Always Existed?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=817&topic=87.
Wells, Steve (2015), The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/2cor/4.html; http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/lord.html.


Was Jesus Unkind to the Syrophoenician Woman? by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Kyle Butt, M.Div.


http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=3797&b=Matthew

Was Jesus Unkind to the Syrophoenician Woman?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Testing, proving, or trying someone can be a very effective teaching technique. A teacher might effectively test the honesty of her students by giving them a difficult closed-book exam over a chapter they had not yet studied. Those who took their “F” without cheating would pass the test. Those who opened up their books when the teacher left the room and copied all of the answers word for word, would fail the test, and learn the valuable lesson that honesty is always the best (and right) policy, even when it might appear that it means failure.
Teachers test their students in a variety of ways. Good parents prove their children early on in life in hopes that they learn the virtues of honesty, compassion, and obedience. Coaches may try their players in attempts to instill in them the value of being disciplined in all phases of their game. Bosses test and challenge their employees in hopes of assembling the best team of workers who put out the best products possible. Indeed, mankind has understood the value of tests for millennia.
It should come as no surprise that God has used this same teaching technique various times throughout history. He tested Abraham on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-2; Hebrews 11:17), and hundreds of years later He repeatedly tested the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 20:20; Deuteronomy 8:2; Psalm 81:7). King David declared how the Lord “tested” and “tried” him (Psalm 17:3), while his son Solomon wrote: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3). Roughly 1,000 years later, the apostle Paul declared the same inspired truth—“God…tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Even when God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus, He tested man. For example, once when Jesus saw “a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’” John revealed, however, that Jesus asked this question to “test” Philip (John 6:5-6).
There are certain tests administered by God that some find cold and heartless, partly because they fail to recognize that a test is underway. One such event is recorded in Matthew 15:21-28.
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He [Jesus] answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
In this passage, the reader learns that Jesus: (1) initially remained silent when a Canaanite woman cried out for mercy (vss. 22-23); (2) informed her that He was “not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (vs. 24); and (3) told her that it was not fitting to take that which was meant for the “children” and give it to the “little dogs” (vs. 26). In addition, Jesus’ disciples urged Him to “send her away, for she cries out after us” (vs. 23).
Although Jesus eventually healed the Canaanite woman’s demon-possessed daughter, some believe that Jesus’ overall encounter with the woman indicates that He was unkind and intolerant. For example, the prolific infidel Steve Wells documented hundreds of cases of alleged intolerance in the biblical text. Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician women is number 529 on his list. Of the episode, Wells wrote: “Jesus initially refuses to cast out a devil from a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, calling the woman a ‘dog’. After much pleading, he finally agrees to cast out the devil” (2010).
Even many religious writers and speakers view Jesus’ statements to the woman as unkind, intolerant, offensive, or a racial slur. Dean Breidenthal, in a sermon posted under the auspices of the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, said concerning Jesus’ comment: “I suspect we wouldnot be so bothered by Jesus’ unkind words to the Syrophoenician woman if they were not directed against the Gentile community. Those of us who are Gentile Christians have less trouble with Jesus’ invectives when they are directed against the Jewish leadership of his day” (2003, emp. added). Please do not miss the implication of Breidenthal’s comment. If the statement made by Jesus actually could be construed as unkind, then Jesus would be guilty of violating one of the primary characteristics of love, since love “suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Any unkindness on Jesus’ part would cast doubt on His deity. Is it true that Jesus exhibited an unkind attitude in His treatment of the Syrophoenician woman?

TO THE JEW FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEKS

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

HOW FAR CAN AN ANIMAL ILLUSTRATION BE TAKEN?

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

A TEST OF FAITH

Given other information in Matthew’s gospel account as well as the overall context of Matthew chapter 15, it appears that more was going on in these verses than Jesus simply wanting the Gentile woman to understand that He was “not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). Consider that Matthew had earlier recorded how a Roman centurion approached Jesus on behalf of his paralyzed servant. Jesus did not respond in that instance as He did with the Syrophoenician woman. He simply stated: “I will come and heal him” (8:7). After witnessing the centurion’s refreshing humility and great faith (pleading for Christ to “only speak a word” and his servant would be healed—vss. 8-9), Jesus responded: “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel” (vs. 10, emp. added).
If Jesus so willingly responded to a Gentile in Matthew chapter eight by miraculously healing his servant of paralysis, why did He initially resist healing the Gentile woman’s demon-possessed daughter in Matthew chapter 15? Consider the immediate context of the chapter. The scribes and Pharisees had once again come to criticize and badger Jesus (15:1-2). The Son of God responded with a hard-hitting truth: that His enemies were hypocrites who treasured tradition more than the Word of God, and whose religion was heartless (vss. 3-9). What was the reaction of the Pharisees? Matthew gives no indication that their hearts were pricked by the Truth. Instead, Jesus’ disciples reported to Him that “the Pharisees were offended” by Jesus’ teachings (vs. 12, emp. added), to which Jesus responded: “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (vss. 13-14). Unlike many modern-day preachers who water down the Gospel and apologize for the Truth, Jesus did not sugar coat it. It may be a difficult pill to swallow, but sincere truth-seekers will respond in all humility, regardless of being offended.
Being offended is exactly what many people would have been had they initially been turned down by Jesus as was the Canaanite woman. While she pled for mercy, at first Jesus remained silent. Then, after being informed that Jesus “was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (vs. 24), she worshiped Him and begged Him for help (vs. 25). Even after being told, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (vs. 26), this persistent, humble woman did not allow potentially offensive remarks to harden her heart. Unlike the hypocritical Jewish scribes and Pharisees who responded to Jesus with hard-heartedness, this Gentile acknowledged her unworthiness, while persistently pursuing the Holy One for help (15:27). Ultimately, her faith resulted in the healing of her daughter and served as an admonition to those witnessing the event about the nature of true faith.
What many people miss in this story is what is so evident in other parts of Scripture: Jesus was testing this Canaanite woman, while at the same time teaching His disciples how the tenderhearted respond to possibly offensive truths. The fact is, the truth can hurt (cf. Acts 2:36-37). However, we must remember to respond to God’s tests and teachings of truth with all humility, rather than haughtiness (James 4:6,10).
Before people “dog” Jesus for the way He used an animal illustration, they might need to reconsider that “their bark is much worse than their bite” when it comes to insinuating that Jesus was unkind and intolerant. In truth, they are simply “barking up the wrong tree” by attempting to call Jesus’ character into question. They need to “call off the dogs” on this one and “let sleeping dogs lie.”

REFERENCES

Black, Allen (1995), The Book of Mark (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Breidenthal, Dean (2003), “The Children’s Bread,” http://web.princeton.edu/sites/chapel/Sermon%20Files/2003_sermons/090703.htm.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of Mark’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Wells, Steve (2010), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html.

Christians, Gambling, and the Lottery by Dave Miller, Ph.D. Kyle Butt, M.Div.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1251


Christians, Gambling, and the Lottery

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.
Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Playing the state lottery, and frequenting casinos, have become prominent pastimes for millions of Americans. More and more people are participating, in the hope of becoming millionaires. While there have been a few exceptions and isolated cases in American history, it is really only recently that gambling has come to be considered socially acceptable. Though times have arisen when gambling became more widespread, overall public sentiment has frowned upon the practice. Gambling generally has been illegal in our society, and the word “gamble” was a slang term of reproach. People in polite society, who held virtuous and moral convictions, viewed gambling as an unacceptable, inappropriate, even sinful vice. Those who engaged in such practices were seen as the degraded elements in society who served only to weaken social sensibilities.
The first modern state lottery was established in New Hampshire in 1964, while Nevada legalized the nation’s first casino in 1931 (“Indiana…,” 1998). The extensive opportunity of gambling activities did not capture the American public’s attention until the 1970s and 1980s. Now, however, horse and dog racetracks and casinos have sprung up all over the country. Several state governments now sponsor lotteries, complete with massive advertising campaigns. In 1988, the Federal Indian Regulatory Act opened the door to widespread casino development throughout the country. By 1993, riverboat gambling had been established in six states, and land-based casinos were legalized in several additional states. Gambling has become normalized across the nation, and various gambling activities are legal in all states except Hawaii and Utah. In 1995, more than $500 billion was legally wagered in the United States—a dramatic increase from the estimated $17 billion wagered in 1979, less than two decades earlier (“Indiana…”).
In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus Christ laid down a test by which every activity or philosophy could be assayed, and its true value assessed. He said, quite simply, that “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Jesus’ statement was addressed specifically to false teachers, but it certainly can be applied to various philosophies and activities of life (such as gambling). What kind of fruit does gambling produce? When legalized gambling arrives in a new community, does it raise the moral standards of that community? Does it help to lessen the hardships of families in that community? Or, is the opposite the case? Does legalized gambling place a burden on the communities by an appreciable lowering of the moral standard and an increase in the financial burden for those who already are working with a poverty-level budget? Let’s take a walk down the gambling produce aisle and see what it has to offer.
The social effects of gambling have been substantial. Current data indicate that more than 80% of Americans participate in some form of gambling (Lesieur, 1993). Johns Hopkins University researchers reported that the social cost of excessive gambling “ranks among the most expensive illnesses afflicting society, though it is among the least expensive to treat” (Politzer, et al., 1985). In the late 1980s, the National Council on Compulsive Gambling estimated that between four and six million gamblers are suffering from an addictive disorder that threatens their lives and the lives of their loved ones (Chamberlain, 1988, p. 37). Now, gambling researchers say that at least eight million Americans are compulsive gamblers, with one million of these being teenagers (Chavira, 1991, p. 78). A survey of 500 Gamblers Anonymous members reported that 21% of the participants stated that they had never thought of suicide, 48% said they had thought about suicide, and 13% had attempted suicide (Frank, et. al., 1991). According to the Charter Hospital of Las Vegas, the suicide rate among active gamblers (especially women) is the highest of all illnesses (see Charter Hospital, n.d.). Would anyone classify a highly addictive activity that often results in the participant’s contemplation of (or attempt at) suicide as a beneficial fruit that is good for society? On the contrary, such can easily be recognized as a rotten fruit that would suggest that the activity itself is not above reproach.
Furthermore, experts have expressed alarm at the rising numbers of teenagers who are gambling. They refer to gambling as “the growing addiction,” and predict that it will cause teens more problems during the next decade than illegal drugs (McCabe, 1990, p. 7-D). In the first ten days of the Texas Lottery, counselors operating the hotline of the Texas Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling reported alarming stories about teenage gambling:
An 18-year-old employee of a convenience store called on the second day of the lottery reporting he had scratched off hundreds of tickets belonging to the store, saying, “I thought it was a sure thing I would win enough not only to pay the store for the cost of the tickets but would have a bunch left over.”
An affluent 16-year-old male from an upscale suburban neighborhood reported he had lost “a considerable sum of money” on the lottery. Realizing he was under the legal age to buy tickets, he had asked older friends to purchase tickets for him. He admitted to heavy gambling in school restrooms.
A father of a 19-year-old from a rural town in East Texas was distressed because his son was gambling on cards and dice and had spent his weekly paycheck on the lottery (“Teenage…,” n.d.).
The director of the National Center for Pathological Gambling made this apropos observation: “You have state governments promoting lotteries. The message they’re conveying is that gambling is not a vice but a normal form of entertainment” (Chavira, p. 78). Just the fact that there is a “National Center for Pathological Gambling” should clue every legislator into the fact that there is something wrong with this type of activity.
In 1957, Gamblers Anonymous was formed, and has since grown to more than 800 chapters in the U.S., and more than 1,400 meetings worldwide. The experts are comparing compulsive gambling to alcohol and drug addiction. The official position of Gamblers Anonymous is the promotion of abstinence from gambling as essential to a person’s recovery. As one might expect, their strongest and most active group is in Las Vegas.
David A. Korn, in an article titled “Expansion of Gambling in Canada: Implications for Health and Social Policy” in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, noted that gambling often affects the lower-income families more dramatically than those of higher income, due to the fact that lower-income families spend almost four times as much on gambling (in proportion to their income). Korn wrote: “These data suggest that gambling expenditures may be regarded as a voluntary regressive tax that has a proportionately greater impact on people with lower incomes.” He further noted: “Several populations are vulnerable to the impacts of gambling, in addition to lower socioeconomic groups. The cost to families in terms of dysfunctional relationships, violence and abuse, financial pressure, and disruption of growth and development of children can be great.” In concluding his article, Korn commented: “The rapid expansion of gambling represents a significant public health concern that challenges our values, quality of life and public priorities” (Korn, 2000).
What then, could one conclude from even a cursory glance at the “fruits” of gambling? Gambling is addictive, it preys on those with lower incomes, it dramatically affects teens, and it often leads to dysfunctional family relationships and abuse. Surely these would classify as “bad fruits.”

FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE

A dramatic change in the social order of American culture has taken place. As the moral fiber of American civilization deteriorates and biblical values are jettisoned, activities that once were perceived to be harmful to society are now becoming acceptable. Many people no longer care what God thinks or what the Bible teaches. Nevertheless, there is a God in heaven who has given His written Word. That revelation is designed to govern human behavior. One principle that runs throughout the Bible is that of stewardship. The Bible repeatedly and consistently paints the picture that God is the ultimate owner of all earthly possessions. The psalmist observed that the Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). James wrote that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). Jesus referred to humans as stewards—those who are entrusted to take care of another’s property (Luke 12:42). And He declared that every person has the moral responsibility to be a faithful steward of the money that has been entrusted to him (Luke 16:10-11). Yet, each year people shell out billions of dollars gambling away the money that has been entrusted to them by God. Imagine the good, wholesome projects that could be supported annually by such enormous stores of cash—children could be fed, the Gospel could be preached, houses could be built, and the list goes on. Instead of such worthwhile projects, however, these billions of dollars are pumped into a system that leads to addiction and abuse. It would be difficult, indeed, to conclude that gambling is good stewardship of the money with which God has entrusted a person. In reality, to pour one’s money into a system that mathematically and statistically has been proven, time and again, to benefit the “house,” and take from the gambler, certainly would fall into the category of unfaithful stewardship. Concerning unfaithful stewardship, Christ said: “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [money or riches], who will commit to your trust the true riches” (Luke 16:11)? To stand before the throne of Christ, having squandered the money God entrusted to you on an idle and degenerative activity like gambling, would be a frightening thought indeed.
Furthermore, imagine the potential negative influence of a Christian who participates in gambling. For one thing, many people, who are not even affiliated with the Lord’s church, view gambling as a sinful vice that respectable people should avoid. Looking over the fruits of gambling, it is not difficult to see why they would think such. If they saw a Christian in a casino, or buying a lottery ticket, what would that do to their opinion of that individual and the congregation of the Lord’s body of which that individual is a member? Would it not drastically reduce the chances of that Christian having a positive impact on the one who saw him gambling? Certainly, the Christian is responsible for the image he or she portrays, and for how “those who are without” view his or her actions. Paul told Timothy, for example, that a bishop (elder) “must have a good testimony among those who are outside” the body of Christ (1 Timothy 3:7). If many people outside the Lord’s church view gambling as a morally reprehensible activity, and a Christian participates in that activity, he or she would have a difficult time explaining how such could be good for his or her reputation.
Furthermore, as Colossians 3:17 notes, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to god the Father through Him.” It is not enough for a person to ask, “What is wrong with an activity?” Instead, the question actually should be phrased: “What is right with this activity?” The burden of proof falls on each individual to show that what he is doing has a positive, encouraging effect on himself and on others. One would be hard pressed to find any evidence that would classify gambling as something that could be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” In fact, when Christ returns, what person would want the Lord to find him in a casino?

CONCLUSION

Gambling is first and foremost a moral issue. There was a time in American society when the majority of people considered such things as lewd dancing, drunkenness, cursing, and gambling to be wrong. Obviously, times, circumstances, and culture have changed. But God and His Word have not. His Word warns that those who do not respect His will, and who choose to live life according to fleshly desires, will spend eternity in the fires of hell (Revelation 21:8). A genuine Christian is the one who eliminates from daily life the vice and immorality that is characteristic of a society that continually desires to abandon God’s will. Instead of “going along” with such a society, he or she studies the Bible in order to learn how God would have people to live. Only then can one eagerly look forward to the joys of heaven.

REFERENCES

Chamberlain, R. Edwin (1988), “Gambling: New Treatment Ideas for an Old Addiction,”Professional Counselor, November/December.
Charter Hospital of Las Vegas (no date), (Las Vegas, NV: Charter Hospital).
Chavira, Richard (1991), “The Rise of Teenage Gambling,” Time, February 25.
Frank, M.L., D. Lester, and A. Wexler (1991), “Suicidal Behavior Among Members of Gamblers Anonymous,” Journal of Gambling Studies, 7:249-254.
“Indiana Problem Gambling Prevention Plan” (1998), [On-line], URL: http://www.in.gov/fssa/servicemental/gambling/problems.html.
Korn, David A. “Expansion of gambling in Canada: implications for health and social policy” (2000), eCMAJ, [On-line], URL: http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/163/1/61. Originally printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, July 11, 2000;163(1):61-4.
Lesieur, H.R. (1993), Understanding Compulsive Gambling (Center City, MN: Hazelden).
McCabe, George (1990), “Too Young to Gamble,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, p. 7-D, June 14.
Politzer, R.M., J.S. Morrow, and R. Leavey (1985), “Report on the Cost Benefit/Effectiveness of Treatment at the John Hopkins Center for Pathological Gambling,” Journal of Gambling Behavior, [1]:131-142.
“Teenage Gambling Addiction” (no date), Texas Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling (Dallas, TX).