1/11/21

Consider God’s Creation—Think About God’s Greatness by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1591

Consider God’s Creation—Think About God’s Greatness

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Christians in the 21st century think too little about God’s creation; consequently, we think too little about God. We are so enamored with ourselves—our schedules, our work, our technology, our extracurricular activities, etc., that we often fail to see the stars and smell the roses. Today, perhaps more than any time in history, man misses the apparently simple things in life that should cause us to meditate continually upon the greatness of the Creator. Of course, nothing is more important for Christians to meditate on than God’s Word (Psalm 1:2), but in conjunction with God’s special revelation (His Word), we ought to ponder about how God’s amazing natural revelation testifies to His infinite power, intelligence, and care.

Time and again, Holy Writ points to God’s creation as proof of His greatness. Since the time of Job, Noah, and going as far back as Adam, man has learned some wonderful things about God by considering His amazing creation. Paul wrote: “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20, emp. added).

Perhaps no other book of the Bible leads man to deeper meditation on God’s greatness than the book of Psalms. Yet, interestingly, oftentimes this same inspired book turns man’s attention to God’s creation. In Psalm 8, for example, the psalmist praised the excellent name of the Lord Who set His “glory above the heavens,” Who made the Moon, stars, man, and even “the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.” What did the psalmist conclude? “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:9). In Psalm 19:1, we are reminded that “[t]he heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” In Psalm 33, we learn of one of the reasons that humanity is to fear and stand in awe of the Lord (33:8)—because “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (33:6,9).

Consider the climax of the book of Job, when God spoke to the patriarch out of a whirlwind. Instead of informing Job of the exact reasons for his serious suffering, God spoke to him about His creation. Beginning in Job 38:39 and going through chapters 39, 40, and 41, God spoke to Job about several different animals, including the lion, the hawk, Behemoth, and Leviathan. Of all of the things God could have said to Job, He spent some 77 verses talking about some of His animal creation. He chose to teach Job about His all-powerful, all-knowing, supreme nature by describing some of His magnificent animal creation.

The prophet Isaiah once wrote about being allowed to see a vision of the throne of God. In the Lord’s presence were angelic beings crying out one to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3). What is the basis of this praise? What is one reason we should be driven to worship God? Isaiah revealed one of the pillars of God’s praise in the very next line: “The whole earth is full of His glory” (6:3).

Indeed, the beauty, splendor, and design of God’s creation should drive us closer to the Creator. His “fingerprints” should make us stand in awe of Him. They should drive us to our knees in worship of Him. And they should compel us to tell others about Him. As the psalmist sang, we should “declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised” (96:3-4).


Computer Puts Evolution In “Jeopardy” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3736

Computer Puts Evolution In “Jeopardy”

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Science fiction writers have been portraying the face-off between computers and humans for years. Ever so often, what once was science fiction becomes a reality. Such is the case with the upcoming television showdown between the two most-winning contestants from the popular game show “Jeopardy” and a new supercomputer named Watson (Fitzgerald and Martin, 2011).

On February 14-16, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will be challenged by the latest in computing technology. The humans in the contest are certainly no slouches. Jennings won 74 “Jeopardy” games in a row. And he and Rutter combined to amass over 3.3 million dollars in prize money. Their challenger, Watson, an IBM supercomputer named after the founder of the company, can store the equivalent of over 200 million pages of information, is “the size of 10 refrigerators,” and is the “result of four years of work by IBM researchers around the globe.” In a practice round with the human champions, Watson outscored its opponents $4,000 to Jennings’ $3,400 and Rutter’s $1,200.

As enjoyable as contests like these are to watch, they bring to light a very serious truth that needs to be underscored. Would any person who was thinking correctly look at a supercomputer like Watson and conclude it did not have an intelligent designer (or several) behind its construction? To suggest such would be absurd. And yet it challenges brilliant humans, who are much less physically bulky, and who have proved their mental prowess repeatedly on “Jeopardy.” Does it make sense to suggest that Watson was the product of thousands of man-hours of IBM’s most brilliant researchers across the globe, but the human contestants were the products of blind chance and random evolutionary processes that lacked any type of intelligence and had no goal in mind? Certainly not. If Watson is the product of intelligence, then the IBM technicians who built it and the “Jeopardy” champions competing against it must have been designed by an even more impressive Super-intellect. As Hebrews 3:4 says, “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” One could express that sentiment in another way and just as truly state that every computer is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. Supercomputer Watson adds one more piece of evidence that puts the theory of evolution in “Jeopardy!”

REFERENCE

Fitzgerald, Jim and David Martin (2011), “Computer Could Make 2 ‘Jeopardy!’ Champs Deep Blue,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110114/ap_on_hi_te/us_man_vs_machine/print, January 14.

Comical Contentions on the Ear by Evolutionists by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 

https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=722


Comical Contentions on the Ear by Evolutionists

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Humans are proficient masters of self-deception. Many tend to believe what they want to believe, and see what they want to see. Especially when it comes to our own actions, we generally believe and defend those ideas that enable us to behave the way we choose. “I desire to engage in same-sex relations—so homosexuality is genetic;” “I don’t want a child—so a ‘fetus’ is not a human and abortion is okay;” “I want another woman—so God will accept my divorce.”

The essential contention of evolution is that the God of the Bible does not exist and, therefore, the Universe and all life forms came about gradually by blind, non-intelligent, non-purposive, mechanistic forces over millions and billions of years. Hence, all value—including moral value—is merely and strictly the product of subjective human inclination. Right and wrong are purely relative. Such thinking is attractive and convenient to some, since it allows man to think and act as he pleases, without any interference from a higher Power.

Yet, with all their intellectual prowess, academic attainment, and sophisticated scientific jargon, the evolutionists frequently express themselves in such a way that the honest person of average intelligence can see the foolishness of their theory. Indeed, the theory of evolution is downright laughable. Take, for instance, the explanation advanced for the evolution of the human ear. Renowned evolutionist Richard Dawkins is typical of the comical contention of evolutionists that the human ear evolved over millions of years by means of the chance, mindless, naturalistic forces of evolution: “If you think about the evolution of a really complex adaptation like an eye or an ear, then precisely because it cannot have come about as a single chance step it had to have come about as a gradual improvement” (see Brown, 2004, emp. added). It could not have just happened on its own—“a single chance step.” So with what options are we left? An all-powerful, transcendent God? Absolutely not—not even an option! So it just had to have come about gradually by multiple chance steps. A single chance step? Impossible. But multiple chance steps? Certainly! Rational, or comical gobbledygook?

Consider the claim by two evolutionists at Uppsala University in Sweden: “The structure that became the sound-conducting middle ear of land animals began as a tube that permitted ancient shallow-water fish to take an occasional breath of air out of the top of their heads” (Brown, 2006). Sounds reasonable—the nose became the ear. Why not? Given enough time, maybe your nose will do the same.

Then we have an article, appearing in a Turkish newspaper, by evolutionist Veysel Atayman claiming that “[o]ur hearing organ, the ear, emerged as a result of the evolution of the endoderm and exoderm layers, which we call the skin. One proof of this is that we feel low sounds in the skin of our stomachs” (1999, emp. added). The BBC televised a special on “The Human Body” advancing the notion that the common evolutionary ancestry of man and fish is seen in the evolution of the human ear from the bones associated with the gills of fish (“Evolutionary Tell...,” 2002).

And we mustn’t omit the shrewd observation by Michael Benton who holds the Chair in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bristol, England: “At a certain point, in the Late Triassic, the reptilian jaw joint had shifted function. We can still detect the legacy of this astonishing transition: when you chew a hamburger, you can hear your jaw movements deep inside your ears” (2001, emp. added). Did you catch that? You hear yourself chewing because parts of your hearing structure evolved from reptilian jawbones.

Let’s recap: the human ear evolved from a breathing tube. No, it was from skin layers connected to the stomach. No, it was from fish gills. Wait a minute, actually your ear came from a jaw. It all makes perfect sense—if you’ve been educated beyond your intelligence. Observe that evolutionists not only disagree among themselves on such matters as the evolution of the ear, the sheer speculation they advance consists of very specific scenarios in which they describe imaginary events as if they really happened. Even then, often their conjuring is laced with very telling admissions that concede their lack of substantive evidence. For example, consider the admissions that riddle an article titled, “The Evolution of the Human Ear,” by the “Senior House Officer” at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, England: “Much of the story of the evolution of the human ear is controversial” (Bhutta, 2004, 13[5]:50, emp. added); “These early steps are conjecture” (13[5]:50, emp. added); “Evolution is a poor method of design” (13[5]:50, emp. added); “We actually know little of the early amphibian ear” (13[5]:51, emp. added); “Why this change occurred...is a matter of debate” (13[5]:51, emp. added). Observe: the evolution of the ear is controversial, conjecture, and a matter of debate. Yet we are supposed to be assured that it nevertheless happened.

This is self-delusion—not science. The explanation of the Bible is sensible and rational: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12).

REFERENCES

Atayman, Veysel (1999), “Maddeci ‘Madde,’ Evrimci Madde” (“Materialist ‘Matter,’ Evolutionist Matter”), Evrensel Newspaper, June 13, [On-line], URL: http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/irreducible_complexity_08.html#359.

Benton, Michael (2001), “Evidence of Evolutionary Transitions,” American Institute of Biological Sciences, [On-line], URL: http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/benton2.html.

Bhutta, Mahmood (2004), ENT News, 13[5]:50-52, November/December.

Brown, David (2006), “Evolution of Ear is Noted in Fossil,” Washington Post, A03, Thursday, January 19, [On-line], URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/18/ AR2006011802159.html.

Brown, Doug (2004), “Richard Dawkins: The Biologist’s Tale,” Author Interviews, [On-line], URL: http://www.powells.com/authors/dawkins.html.

“Evolutionary Tell Tales from BBC (2)” (2002), September 25, [On-line], URL: http://www.darwinism-watch.com/bbc_evolutionarytales_02.php.

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Weakness In The Seat Of Power (6:14-29) by Mark Copeland

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

Weakness In The Seat Of Power (6:14-29)

INTRODUCTION

1. The ministry of Jesus was bound to attract attention...
   a. By virtue of His miracles, even those done by His apostles - Mk 6:12-13
   b. Eventually King Herod heard about Him - Mk 6:14

2. In our text, Mark shares with us information about King Herod...
   a. The king's initial reaction to what he heard - Mk 6:14-16
   b. The events that led up to the king's execution of John the Baptist - Mk 6:17-29

[In doing so, Mark shows us a sad picture of "Weakness In The Seat Of
Power".  It is a picture borne out by secular history as well.  Let's first consider...]

I. HEROD AS A KING

   A. HIS POSITION AS TETRARCH...
      1. He is generally known as Herod Antipas
         a. His father:  Herod the Great, an Idumean; ruling when Jesus was born - Mt 2:1,3,19
         b. His mother:  Malthace, a Samaritan; the fourth of Herod's ten wives
         c. Educated in Rome (together with Archelaus and Philip
      2. Not to be confused with:
         a. Herod Agrippa I (nephew), who killed James - Ac 12:1-2
         b. Herod Agrippa II (grand-nephew), before whom Paul appeared - Ac 26:1
      3. When Herod the Great died (4 B.C.), his kingdom was divided into four parts - Lk 3:1
         a. Archelaus (full brother) - Judea, Idumea, Samaria (later ruled by Pontius Pilate)
         b. Antipas - Galilee, Perea
         c. Philip II (half brother) - Iturea, Trachonitus
         d. Lysanias - Abilene (Syria)
      -- Antipas' position as tetrarch was ratified by Caesar Augustus of Rome

   B. HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS TETRARCH...
      1. Governed Galilee and Perea for 42 years (4 B.C. - 39 A.D.)
      2. Built the cities of Sepphoris, Tiberias, and oversaw other projects
      3. Imprisoned and executed John the Baptist - Mk 6:14-29
      4. Sought to kill Jesus, who described Herod as "that fox" - Lk 13:31-32
      5. Later mocked Jesus prior to His death, which led to friendship  with Pilate - Lk 23:7-12
      -- Antipas had the potential and position to be a great man

[But those in positions of power often have personal failings.  Such was
certainly true of Herod Antipas...]

II. HEROD AS A MAN

   A. HE WAS SUPERSTITIOUS...
      1. He initially thought Jesus was John the Baptist - Mk 6:14
      2. Believing John to be raised from the dead - Mk 6:14,16
      -- Such was his attempt to explain the miracles he had heard

   B. HE WAS IMMORAL...
      1. First married to Phasaelis, daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea
      2. Divorced her to marry Herodias - Mk 6:17
         a. Who was his half-niece, married to his half-brother Philip
         b. They had fallen in love while in Rome together
         c. They agreed to divorce their spouses and marry one another
      3. This was an unlawful marriage (even though Antipas was not a Jew) - Mk 6:18
         a. Because it was simple adultery - Lev 20:10; cf. Ro 7:2-3
         b. Also because of the prohibition against marrying a brother's wife - Lev 20:21
      4. For which both Herodias and Herod wanted to kill John - Mk 6:19; cf. Mt 14:5
      -- His willingness to divorce and remarry revealed his inner character

   C. HE WAS EASILY MANIPULATED...
      1. He feared the multitude, who viewed John as a prophet - cf. Mt 14:5
      2. He feared John, liked to listen to him, but did not repent - Mk 6:20
      3. He was enticed by his stepdaughter (Salome, possibly 12-14 years old) - Mk 6:21-23
      4. He was tricked by Herodias into executing John - Mk 6:24-25
      5. He was afraid of losing face in front of his guests - Mk 6:21,26
      6. Herodias' machinations would later lead to his exile
         a. She became jealous of her brother's (Agrippa I) success
         b. An attempt to turn Emperor Caligula against Agrippa backfired
         c. Caligula exiled Antipas to Gaul (possibly Lyon, France)
         d. Where Herodias chose to join Antipas
      -- He was concerned with self-image and self-indulgence

CONCLUSION

1. What a sad picture of "Weakness In The Seat Of Power"...
   a. A man in the position of power
   b. A man whose personal failings left him weak and easily manipulated

2. How might we learn from Herod's mistakes today...?
   a. We may be in positions of power
      1) As politicians, businessmen, professional occupations, etc.
      2) As husbands, parents, etc.
   b. Will we be weak or strong?
      1) Like Herod Antipas, easily tempted, easily manipulated?
      2) Or like John the Baptist, strong in one's moral convictions?

John may have lost his head (literally), but he won his soul.  Herod
lost both his head (figuratively) and his soul.  In the end, who would
you rather be?  Remember what Jesus said about John...

   "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not
   risen one greater than John the Baptist..." - Mt 11:11      
 
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016


Redefining Marriage: Are Three Better than Two? by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

 

https://thepreachersword.com/2017/05/23/redefining-marriage-are-three-better-than-two/

Redefining Marriage: Are Three Better than Two?


Adam Lyons says he’s “the luckiest man alive.” Why? Because the Londoner living in Austin, Texas,  shares his life with two girlfriends, Brooke Shedd and Jane Shalakhova who are bi-sexual.

Lyons, the father of Shedd’s, 2 year old , Dante, is now expecting a baby boy with Shalakhova. The May 18th New York Post article extols their relationship called a “throuple.” The three share parenting duties as well as the same bed. They’re quoted as saying “For us, three definitely works better than two.”

The article suggests that this could be the future of relationships and parenting. Although they hope one day they could all be legally married, Lyons, Shedd and Shalakhova admit they still would like to involve a fourth partner in their sex life.

Lyons said: “We are still open in our relationship and we do sleep with other people outside the three of us.”

Some of us said when the definition of marriage was changed to include same-sex partners, it would open the doors to almost any kind of arrangement. If there is no moral standard, why not?

“When you affirm homosexual unions, logically you have to affirm this polyamorous arrangement,” observed Robert A. J. Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. “ It is the male-female binary foundation for valid sexual relationships that definitionally establishes the inherent duality of the sexual bond.”

Gagon further reasons, “If one dispenses with this foundation, one necessarily (whether consciously or not) dispenses with a limitation of two persons to a sexual union at any one time. Holdover retention of the latter must then be deemed irrational prejudice. You have already swallowed the camel; why choke on the gnat? On the other hand, if you recognize the immorality of polyamorous arrangements, perhaps you should rethink your embrace of homosexual relationships that eliminate a male-female requirement.”

For 5,000 years of Judo-Christian history, we have understood the principle of marriage ordered and ordained by God in the beginning as “male and female” (Gen. 1:27). Jesus affirmed the Genesis account with this explanation to the Pharisees.

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt 19:4-6)

The Austin “throuple” said “three people and three parents makes so much sense to us.” So, they have rejected God’s plan. Discounting, that as the Creator,  He has the right to define marriage. God said that marriage is between two people, not three.

In another article by John Shore in Patheos, he interviewed a woman in a Polyamorous relationship. She not only defended the relationship but felt that “God is blessing us.” She said it felt “nice.’ “Perfect.” “Healthy.” “Just right.”

This anonymous woman who considers herself married to both a man and woman admitted, “When I think about my relationship as a three, I mostly just feel incredibly lucky, like God is smiling at us.”

When morality becomes subjective to feelings, whims and carnal passions, there is no end to what one can justify and even celebrate. The God I know is not smiling at this putrid moral mess.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal. 6:6-8).

ThePreachersWord is not naive enough to think our little blog will do much to stem the tide. But hopefully it’s a solemn reminder to followers of Jesus to remain pure in a sordid society. And to teach our children and grandchildren that we cannot be conformed to this world, or influenced by its redefinition of moral values (Rom. 12:1-2).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

THE DOCTRINE OF FREE-WILL BY STEVE FINNELL

 

https://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/2017/01/

THE DOCTRINE OF FREE-WILL   BY STEVE FINNELL


The teaching that men do not have free-will evolved from the false doctrine that men are saved by grace alone. There is not one place in the Bible that has grace and alone in the same sentence. If in fact men are saved by grace alone and have no free-will, there are many things that would be true.

If men have no free-will, then God would have to force men to have faith so they could be saved.

If men have no free-will, then God would have to force men to repent.

If men have no free-will, then God would have to force men to confess Jesus as the Christ.

If men have no free-will, then God would have to force men to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.

If men have no free-will, then God would be responsible for all of the sins of mankind.

If men have no free-will, why did the men on the Day of Pentecost ask "Brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37)

If men have no free-will, then why did the jailer ask Paul and Silas, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30)

If men have no free-will, then why did Saul ask, "What shall I do Lord?" (Acts 22:10)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appear has appeared to all men.

God's grace is available to all men. Grace is not forced nor is it denied to any man. MEN HAVE FREE-WILL!

REVELATION by Paul Southern

 

https://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Southern/Paul/1901/rev.htm

REVELATION

  1. THE TITLE
  2. This book is called the Apocalypse, or Revelation, because it reveals or unveils what otherwise would be hidden. The first word in the Greek text means "revelation."

  3. THE WRITER
  4. The writer describes himself as John, a servant of Jesus Christ, "your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus" (Rev 1:1,4,9; 22:8). Both internal and external evidences indicate that the apostle John wrote the book.

  5. THE DATE
  6. Two dates for the composition have been given. A few modern critics place it near the close of Nero's reign, about A.D. 65-70. The early church and many modern scholars set the date around A.D. 95-96, toward the close of Domitian's reign, which extended from A.D. 81 to A.D. 96. Eusebius quotes the testimony of Irenaeus (A.D. 170) which favors the latter view: "revelation was seen no long time since, but almost in our generation, towards the end of the reign of Domitian." Irenaeus had known Polycarp, a disciple of John.

  7. THE PLACE OF WRITING
  8. The writer states that the vision of Revelation came to him on the isle of Patmos (Rev 1:9). Early historians affirm that John was banished to Patmos by Domitian toward the close of his reign, A.D. 95-96. In that lonely prison house of the Aegean Sea, John saw and recorded the visions of Revelation, though some scholars think that he waited until he had returned to Ephesus before writing them.

  9. CHARACTER OF THE BOOK
  10. Revelation, like Ezekiel and Daniel, belongs to that class of literature known as "Apocalyptic." The Greek word translated signified in verse 1 means "to give a sign, indicate." By means of symbolic images the book reveals great events in the progress of the church. The theme is the gradual triumph of the people of God. In a symbolic way it describes the fortunes of God's people across the centuries. The kingdom of Christ emerges victorious over all its enemies, and we see the Lord with His saints enjoying the wonders of the glory land.

  11. SYSTEMS OF INTERPRETATION

Among Bible students there are four main classes of interpreters.

    1. The Praeterist claims that the prophecies were fulfilled in Jewish history and in the early ages of the church. This system of interpretation connects many of the events with the history of pagan Rome.
    2. The Futurist thinks all the events of the book will be fulfilled just before or just after Christ's second coming. This interpretation is the basis for many pre-millennial theories that contradict the scriptures.
    3. Exponents of the Historical School hold that some prophecies have been fulfilled, some are now being fulfilled, and some will be fulfilled in the future.
    4. The Spiritualist or Idealist thinks that the other interpreters make too much of the time element. He regards Revelation as the pictorial unfolding of great principles, and stresses the moral and spiritual elements. To him the book is "a representation of ideas rather than events."

Because of the formidable problems involved, it is impossible to include in this survey a detailed study of these various systems. In view of the apocalyptic style (1:1), the visions of the book must be treated accordingly. Perhaps it is safe to say that a combination of the historical and the spiritual approaches would be a good, conservative approach to an understanding of the book.

  1. EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
    1. Study in detail the letters to the seven churches (2:1-3:21).
    2. Describe each of the seven mystic figures (Chs. 12-14).
    3. Note the points of similarity in the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials.
    4. List all the symbols of perfection found in Revelation, such as words, numbers, instruments, etc.
    5. Without any attempt to understand the symbolic details, read Revelation for the continuous note of victory which it sounds for the faithful saints of God.
    6. List all the passages that predict the end of conflict and the ultimate triumph of the Lamb.

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

Bible Reading for January 11 and 12 by Gary Rose

 

Bible Reading for January 11 and 12

World  English  Bible


Jan. 11

Genesis 11

Gen 11:1 The whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

Gen 11:2 It happened, as they traveled east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there.

Gen 11:3 They said one to another, "Come, let's make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

Gen 11:4 They said, "Come, let's build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let's make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth."

Gen 11:5 Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.

Gen 11:6 Yahweh said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do.

Gen 11:7 Come, let's go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."

Gen 11:8 So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city.

Gen 11:9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of all the earth. From there, Yahweh scattered them abroad on the surface of all the earth.

Gen 11:10 This is the history of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood.

Gen 11:11 Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:12 Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and became the father of Shelah.

Gen 11:13 Arpachshad lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Shelah, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:14 Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber:

Gen 11:15 and Shelah lived four hundred three years after he became the father of Eber, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg.

Gen 11:17 Eber lived four hundred thirty years after he became the father of Peleg, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:18 Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu.

Gen 11:19 Peleg lived two hundred nine years after he became the father of Reu, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug.

Gen 11:21 Reu lived two hundred seven years after he became the father of Serug, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:22 Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor.

Gen 11:23 Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah.

Gen 11:25 Nahor lived one hundred nineteen years after he became the father of Terah, and became the father of sons and daughters.

Gen 11:26 Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Gen 11:27 Now this is the history of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran became the father of Lot.

Gen 11:28 Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldees.

Gen 11:29 Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran who was also the father of Iscah.

Gen 11:30 Sarai was barren. She had no child.

Gen 11:31 Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife. They went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. They came to Haran and lived there.

Gen 11:32 The days of Terah were two hundred five years. Terah died in Haran. 

 

Jan. 12

Genesis 12

Gen 12:1 Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.

Gen 12:2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. You will be a blessing.

Gen 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed."

Gen 12:4 So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him. Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Gen 12:5 Abram took Sarai his wife, Lot his brother's son, all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls whom they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan. Into the land of Canaan they came.

Gen 12:6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. The Canaanite was then in the land.

Gen 12:7 Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, "I will give this land to your seed." He built an altar there to Yahweh, who appeared to him.

Gen 12:8 He left from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to Yahweh and called on the name of Yahweh.

Gen 12:9 Abram traveled, going on still toward the South.

Gen 12:10 There was a famine in the land. Abram went down into Egypt to live as a foreigner there, for the famine was severe in the land.

Gen 12:11 It happened, when he had come near to enter Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, "See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman to look at.

Gen 12:12 It will happen, when the Egyptians will see you, that they will say, 'This is his wife.' They will kill me, but they will save you alive.

Gen 12:13 Please say that you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that my soul may live because of you."

Gen 12:14 It happened that when Abram had come into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.

Gen 12:15 The princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

Gen 12:16 He dealt well with Abram for her sake. He had sheep, cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

Gen 12:17 Yahweh plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

Gen 12:18 Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this that you have done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she was your wife?

Gen 12:19 Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now therefore, see your wife, take her, and go your way."

Gen 12:20 Pharaoh commanded men concerning him, and they brought him on the way with his wife and all that he had.

 

Jan. 11,12

Matthew 6

Mat 6:1 "Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Mat 6:2 Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.

Mat 6:3 But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does,

Mat 6:4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Mat 6:5 "When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward.

Mat 6:6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Mat 6:7 In praying, don't use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking.

Mat 6:8 Therefore don't be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him.

Mat 6:9 Pray like this: 'Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.

Mat 6:10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.

Mat 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

Mat 6:12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

Mat 6:13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.'

Mat 6:14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Mat 6:15 But if you don't forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mat 6:16 "Moreover when you fast, don't be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.

Mat 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

Mat 6:18 so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

Mat 6:19 "Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal;

Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal;

Mat 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Mat 6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.

Mat 6:23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Mat 6:24 "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.

Mat 6:25 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?

Mat 6:26 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?

Mat 6:27 "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?

Mat 6:28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin,

Mat 6:29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.

Mat 6:30 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?

Mat 6:31 "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?'

Mat 6:32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Mat 6:33 But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.

Mat 6:34 Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.


Shine! by Gary Rose

 

What a beautiful diamond! Cut to perfection and revealing the light within in such a majestic revelation, it is truly a delight for the eyes! I find it interesting that the reflected light is not only blue (towards the front), but white as well. Is it me, or does that larger patch of white light at the back left form a cross? Maybe or maybe not; you decide.


The paragraph below the diamond sheds further light on the character of the diamond as well, for we all know that this stone was cut, shaped, polished and ground to a perfection that was envisioned by the jeweler’s imagination.


For Christians, it is a reminder that God is working in and through us to proclaim the Gospel. For as the world sees the sufferings we go through for the cause of Christ the world is given pause to stop and think of their own relationship with the God of the whole universe. These things naturally give rise to our own self-examination, questions like: Am I doing all I can for the cause of Christ and how is my own relationship with God faring, come to mind. Face it, being a Christian is not easy, it means having a faith that will not whither when confronted by evil or back down in the face of severe persecution.


With all this in mind, I thought of two great chapters from the Bible that will encourage and strengthen us in the upcoming expected persecution by a new communist government…



Hebrews 11 ( World English Bible )

1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.

2 For by this, the elders obtained testimony.

3 By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.

4 By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks.

5 By faith, Enoch was taken away, so that he wouldn’t see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.

6 Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.

7 By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

8 By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went.

9 By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.

10 For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11 By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised.

12 Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.

15 If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return.

16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son;

18 even he to whom it was said, “In Isaac will your seed be called;”

19 concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead.

20 By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.

21 By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

22 By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave instructions concerning his bones.

23 By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

24 By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,

25 choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time;

26 accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

27 By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

28 By faith, he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them.

29 By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up.

30 By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days.

31 By faith, Rahab the prostitute, didn’t perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.

32 What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets;

33 who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee.

35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

36 Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment.

37 They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated

38 (of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth.

39 These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise,

40 God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.



1 Peter 2 ( WEB )

1 Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking,

2 as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby,

3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious:

4 coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious.

5 You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

6 Because it is contained in Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed.”

7 For you who believe therefore is the honor, but for those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone,”

8 and, “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, to which also they were appointed.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

10 who in time past were no people, but now are God’s people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

11 Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

12 having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.

13 Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme;

14 or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well.

15 For this is the will of God, that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

16 as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.

17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

18 Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the wicked.

19 For it is commendable if someone endures pain, suffering unjustly, because of conscience toward God.

20 For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God.

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps,

22 who did not sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.”

23 Who, when he was cursed, didn’t curse back. When he suffered, didn’t threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously;

24 who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.

25 For you were going astray like sheep; but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.



Over the millennia, an untold number of people have suffered because they have faith in God. Merciless governments have done unspeakable things to followers of the God of the heavens. In spite of these things, they overcame; enduring hardship after hardship- even death! Are we in this 21st century any better than those who have gone before us? Aren’t we hated by the world and especially by the Prince of Demons and his hoard of fallen angels?


The signs of the hatred of Christians is all around us. During the next few years, expect persecution, hardship and the ire of a government that hates all Christians stand for. But, stand fast in your faith, knowing that your faith will be ultimately rewarded and others will ultimately be converted as they see the suffering you faithfully endure. This is our calling- to be like Christ, in everything- which of course includes suffering.


Jesus said:

Matthew 5 ( Darby’s Translation )

13 *Ye* are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have become insipid, wherewith shall it be salted? It is no longer fit for anything but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot by men.

14 *Ye* are the light of the world: a city situated on the top of a mountain cannot be hid.

15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the bushel, but upon the lamp-stand, and it shines for all who are in the house.

16 Let your light thus shine before men, so that they may see your upright works, and glorify your Father who is in the heavens.



Listen to Jesus; Be the salt and light that he exhorts us to be! And you will be blessed!