Falcons, Guided Missiles, and God by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



Falcons, Guided Missiles, and God

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

You might not be aware that in certain scientific circles there is a heated debate as to how birds of prey, especially peregrine falcons, are so adept at catching their prey. These amazing birds can reach speeds of over 200 mph and successfully snatch a bird out of the air. A vast amount of research has been done in an attempt to identify exactly how this is possible. New research, highlighted by NPR science writer Rebecca Hersher, suggests that peregrine falcons use virtually the same technique as rocket scientists use to program their guided missiles.

Hersher focuses on the work of several Oxford research scientists that recently came out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.1 Their research points to the fact that peregrine falcons use something called proportional navigation. Hersher explains: “Proportional navigation is based on the idea that if you’re a missile (or falcon) it’s possible to collide with an object (or prey) simply by tracking how the line between you and the target is changing.”2 One of the researchers noted: “There is an elegance to the fact that this is the same thing control missile engineers have ended up at.” 3

It should come as no surprise, then, that when God confronted Job, He asked Job: “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle mount up at your command?” (Job 39:26-27). When talking about the peregrine falcon, we are literally dealing with rocket science. But it does not take a rocket scientist to know that such intelligent design capabilities cannot come about by an evolutionary process of random events over millions of years.


1 Rebecca Hersher, Peregrine Falcons Attack Like Missiles to Grab Prey Midair, Scientists Find, NPR, https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/12d81f0e-6afb-3c57-9f34-1a7a4a2e7e29/ss_peregrine-falcons-attack-like.html.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

Faith: Believing the Truth Substantiated by Evidence by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.



Faith: Believing the Truth Substantiated by Evidence

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Apologetics Press Scientists Seminar in Jacksonville, AL with three other scientists (Drs. Branyon May, Mike Houts, and Joe Deweese) and a Hebrew scholar (Dr. Justin Rogers). During the seminar, we had a live Q&A period where all of the speakers lined up on the stage to field questions from the audience. Several atheists from the local university were present, many of whom stayed after the sessions to ask questions.

During the Q&A period, one of the atheists asked a question that I have often received when discussing science with naturalists: “How can faith (belief without evidence) be used to arrive at truth?” These atheists had been told by other theists that belief in God is not about evidence. It is a blind trust, regardless of the evidence—“fideism.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “fideism” as “reliance on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth.”1 By faith, they mean a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”2 To many in Christendom, biblical faith is such an idea.

Imagine an empty container representing the truth on a subject. A person “pours” evidence into the container, trying to fill it to the brim and arrive at the complete truth on a matter. When it comes to religious faith, however, according to many in Christendom, the container cannot be completely filled. The space that is left at the top of the container, between the evidence and the brim, must be filled in with blind “faith.” So, according to them, belief in God, for instance, rests ultimately, not on the evidence, but irrational faith.

In truth, the Bible does not so define faith. The Greek word for faith used in the New Testament (pistis) is not a mystical word only applicable when discussing religious faith. It is the Grecian word equivalent to the English words “belief” or “trust.”3 When we “believe,” “trust,” or “have faith in” someone, that faith is based on evidence. If a parent, for example, has proven himself to be trustworthy, we believe him. If we do not know a person and have no evidence to substantiate his integrity, to believe in him would be a blind (evidence-less) faith, which would be irrational and unwise. Scripture incessantly makes the point that we should come to a knowledge of the truth based on the evidence that has been provided to us. According to Romans 1:20, so much evidence has been provided to come to the truth of God, that not to come to the right conclusion is “without excuse.” We can know the truth—not merely accept it “on faith”—and it will set us free (John 8:32). We should test or “prove all things” before believing them, only holding to that which is good or right (1 Thessalonians 5:21). As did the “fair-minded” Bereans of Acts 17, God wants us to search for evidence that substantiates a claim before blindly believing it (verse 11). Since many false teachers are in the world, He tells us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits” before believing them (1 John 4:1). Unlike blind faith (i.e., fideism)—which pits itself against reason4—Paul believed in establishing truth using reason (Acts 26:25). In fact, Jesus told His audience to not believe Him if He did not substantiate His claims with evidence (John 10:37).

The blind “faith” idea is unbiblical. The biblical portrait of faith would be more like evidence being “poured” into our truth container. The “evidence” rises to the top of the container and begins pouring over the top. Where “faith” comes in is when we look at the truth, verified by evidence, and choose whether or not to believe it. Most do not and will not (Matthew 7:13-14). It is their own choice, but it is not because God has not provided enough evidence to come to the truth. Rather, they have rejected the evidence which is readily available, due to their own personal motives.

As is always the case when I receive the question that the young men asked at the seminar, they are shocked when I respond that I do not agree that faith is “belief without evidence”—that our faith is in fact demanded by the evidence. On this occasion the atheists were shocked five times over, since all of the speakers on the panel nodded in agreement with those words.


1 “Fideism” (2015), Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fideism, emp. added.

2 “Faith” (2017), Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith.

3 William Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker (1979), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition revised, pp. 662-664.

4 “Fideism.”


Suggested Resources

Eyeballing Design in the Vampire Squid by Kyle Butt, M.Div.



Eyeballing Design in the Vampire Squid

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In January 2007, Science magazine posted an article titled, “Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid with Excellent Eyesight,” by Elizabeth Pennisi. The article comments on the work done by graduate student Alison Sweeny who “wanted to learn about eye evolution” (Pennisi, 2007, 315[5811]:456). In order to do that, Sweeny dissected the eyeballs of a deep-water squid known as the Vampire squid.

To see underwater, an animal needs a special lens system. Pennisi wrote: “Seeing clearly underwater requires a special spherical lens with a high refractive index in the center but a lower index toward the edge” (315[5811]:456). The intricate lens structures in the eye of the Vampire squid were discovered to be extremely efficient for seeing clearly underwater. In fact, the caption to a picture in the article states: “Near-perfect eyes. Vampire squid lenses are designed for seeing details, even in virtual darkness” (315[5811]:456, emp. added). Jonathan Henry, biologist at the University of Illinois, stated: “It’s amazing how finely tuned the squid’s lens is to do its job” (315[5811]:456). In the concluding remarks of the article, Pennisi quoted Sweeney as saying that the lens of the Vampire squid “has a visual acuity better than in a state-of-the-art Zeiss dissecting microscope” (315[5811]:456).

Interesting, is it not, that Sweeney and the other researchers were attempting to learn more about “eye evolution”? Yet, they discovered exactly the opposite. They found a lens that is designed, finely tuned, and works better than a state-of-the-art microscope. Unfortunately, they missed the obvious implication that such statements demand: evolution cannot account for design or fine tuning. And how is it that all recognize that a Zeiss dissecting microscope has intelligent designers, but many miss the fact that the superior squid lens also has a designer? The biblical writer summarized this situation perfectly when he wrote:

For 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, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22, emp. added).


Elizabeth Pennisi (2007), “News Focus Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting: Loopy Lens Proteins Provide Squid With Excellent Eyesight,” Science, 315[5811]:456, January 26, [On-line], URL: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/315/5811/456a.

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Feeding The Four Thousand (8:1-10) by Mark Copeland


                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

               Feeding The Four Thousand (8:1-10)


1. During His earthly ministry, Jesus focused attention on the house of Israel...
   a. As He commanded when giving the Limited Commission - Mt 10:5-6
   b. As He explained to the Syro-Phoenician woman - Mt 15:24

2. Even so, there were occasions when Gentiles benefited from His physical presence...
   a. The Syro-Phoenician woman's daughter healed - Mk 7:24-30
   b. Healings in the area of Decapolis, including the deaf mute - Mt 15:29-31; Mk 7:31-37
   c. Feeding of the four thousand - Mk 8:1-10

[It is the feeding of the four thousand that we now direct our
attention, first by taking a closer look at...]


      1. "In those days" - Mk 8:1
         a. Connecting this miracle with those we've just studied - Mk7:31-37; Mt 15:29-31
         b. Placing it in the area of Decapolis, SE of the Sea of Galilee - Mk 7:31
         c. A prominently Gentile region, where Jesus had healed a demoniac - Mk 5:1-13
         d. Who had broadcast what Jesus did for him throughout Decapolis - Mk 5:18-20
      2. Other particulars - Mk 8:1-3
         a. A great multitude, who had been with Jesus three days
         b. In a wilderness region, without food, far from their homes

      1. Prompted by Jesus' compassion - Mk 8:2-3
      2. Unforeseen by Jesus' disciples - Mk 8:4
      3. Using only seven loaves and a few small fish - Mk 8:5-7
      4. Occurring after Jesus gave thanks for the bread, and blessed the fish - Mk 8:6-7
      5. With seven large baskets of leftover fragments - Mk 8:8
      6. Feeding 4000 men, besides women and children - Mk 8:9; cf. Mt 15:38

[After feeding the multitude, Jesus sent them away and got on a boat
with His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee over to Dalmanutha (on
the west coast).  With the narrative fresh on our minds, here are...]


               The 5000                           The 4000
      1. In Galilee                       1. In Decapolis
      2. Jews - cf. Jn 6:14-15            2. Gentiles (Decapolis)- Mk 7:31; 8:1
      3. With Jesus one day - Mk 6:35     3. With Jesus three days - Mk 8:2
      4. Near villages - Mk 6:36          4. In wilderness - Mk 8:3-4
      5. Five loaves, two fish - Mk 5:41  5. Seven loaves, few small fish - Mk 8:5,7
      6. 5000 men, plus women and         6. 4000 men, plus women and
         children - Mt 14:21                 children - Mt 15:38
      7. Surplus = 12 hand baskets        7. Surplus = 7 large baskets *
         - Mk 6:43                           - Mk 8:8
      -- * The large baskets were like hampers, large enough to hide in - cf. Ac 9:25

      1. We see a picture of need - "nothing to eat"
      2. We see a revelation of love - "I have compassion on the multitude"
      3. We see a consideration of grace - "if I send them away hungry
         to their own houses, they will faint on the way"
      4. We see a question of helplessness - "How can one satisfy these
         people with bread here in the   wilderness?"
      5. We see a command requiring trust - "He commanded the multitude
         to sit down on the ground"
      6. We see a manifestation of power - "those who had eaten were
         about four thousand"
      7. We see a superabundance of supply - "they took up seven largef
         baskets of leftover fragments"
      -- From Handfuls On Purpose, Smith & Lee

      1. There is need - Ro 3:23
      2. There is love - Ro 5:8
      3. There is grace - Ro 6:23
      4. There is helplessness - Ro 3:9
      5. There is a command requiring trust - Ro 6:3; cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16
      6. There is manifestation of power - Ro 6:4-7; 8:1-2,11-13
      7. There is superabundance of supply - Ro 8:31-39; cf. Ep 3:20-21
      -- He who fed thousands with bread then feeds millions with the bread of life today!


1. The feeding of the four thousand was a miracle which...
   a. Was quite different than feeding the five thousand
   b. Foreshadowed the grace to be offered all men, both Jew and Gentile

2. May it serve to remind us concerning Jesus...
   a. He knows our every need
   b. He is touched by our infirmities
   c. He is able to abundantly supply our need

As Paul wrote to his beloved brethren in the churches at Philippi and Ephesus...

   "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in
   glory by Christ Jesus." - Php 4:19

   "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all
   that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
   to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations,
   forever and ever. Amen."  - Ep 3:20-21   
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Beware, Brethren! by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman



Beware, Brethren!

I recently read a story shared by Texas preacher Donnie Martin about Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper.” It is told that da Vinci looked for models to sit for Jesus and His disciples.

He found a handsome and innocent looking man in a choir in one of the churches in Italy. He portrayed him as Jesus in the painting. The man’s name was Pietro Bandinelli.

Years passed as da Vinci continued to work on the painting. He left the face of Judas Iscariot till the last. One day da Vinci went out into the streets of Rome and looked for the most forlorn person he could find.

At last, he saw the man whom he wanted for the disciple that betrayed Christ. His face was drawn and villainous. He hired the man and brought him in to sit for the face of Judas. When he had completed the work, he was about to dismiss him when he asked, “By the way, sir, what is your name?”

The poor gentleman said, “Don’t you know me? I am Pietro Bandinelli. I also sat as your model for the face of Jesus.”

This story may well be apocryphal but it does illustrate how far one can drift from his faith. This wretched man had physically changed from being a picture of Jesus to a face that depicted scandalous Judas Iscariot.

This morning, while reading Hebrews 3, two words jumped off the page and spoke to me: “Brethren, beware.” From an earlier study, I circled the word “beware.”

My Bible program tells me that the warning “beware” is used 30 times in the NKJV. Ancient Israel was often warned to beware of idolatry. And advised to beware of those who would turn their heart away from God.

Jesus cautioned, “Beware of false prophets” (Mt. 7:15) He also warned against being deceived by the hypocrisy of the religious leaders which is called “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Mt. 16:6). He also alerted them to the dangers of covetousness, as well as self-righteousness (Lk. 12:15; Mt 6:1).

In the Hebrew text, the writer is addressing a second generation of Jewish Christians who are described as “having their ears dull of hearing.” “Drifting.” “Neglecting.” And “forsaking.” Metaphorically, he calls for them to spiritually, “strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” All of these admonitions and many more throughout the Bible shout to faithful Christians, “You can fall from your own steadfastness (2 Pet 3:17). “You can leave your first love” (Rev. 2:4). “You can fall from grace” (Gal. 5:4).

In the past 4-5 years, several studies have shown that young people today are renouncing Christianity. The Pew Research Center reports that Millennials are driving the growth of religious “nones.” They are rejecting religion altogether. Also 1 in 5 Americans who claim to have grown up as Christians have abandoned the faith.

The exhortation to “beware” reminds us that we are all susceptible to Satan’s enticements. Materialism, immorality, greed, and just plain indifference can sabotage our faith.

It takes time, effort and energy to grow spiritually. Attending worship services alone won’t suffice. Older preachers used to say, “Sitting in a church building will no more make me a Christian, than sitting in a hen house will make me a chicken.” I must study, learn and meditate on God’s word. My faith must be my own.

I think of how the Hebrew readers were just second generation Christians but were in danger of falling away. My children are sixth generation Christians. I fear for their future and our grandchildren. (And yours). Not because they weren’t taught the Truth. Not because they’re bad people. Or lack spiritual interest. But I know how easy it is to take our faith for granted. To look for something new. More exciting. Politically correct or socially acceptable. I know the dangers lurking both in the world and in the church seeking to lead our loved ones astray. I know that apostasy is possible.

“Brethren beware” is a call for parents, preachers, and pastors to watch for the souls entrusted to us. To teach the Truth. To stand for righteousness. And warn against the dangers of our day.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

WAS JESUS GOD IN THE FLESH? by steve finnell



WAS JESUS GOD IN THE FLESH? by steve finnell

While Jesus walked the earth He was God in the flesh. He was completely God and fully human.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NASB)
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.(NASB)

Jesus was God in the flesh.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to made like His brethren in all things.....(NASB)

[NOTE: 1  The fact that Jesus was made like His brethren proves the the doctrine of original sin is false. Jesus was not conceived as a sinner and He was not born guilty of Adam's sin.]

[NOTE:2 A certain denomination claims that Jesus, John The Baptist, and the Virgin Mary got a pass from God so they would not be guilty of Adam's sin. Point, there is no Scripture that states anyone needs to be forgiven of Adam's sin. Point, there no Scripture that exempts anyone from original sin; because Adam is the only one guilty of his sin.

Jesus lived a sinless life. Hebrews 4:14-15..Jesus the Son of God...15 ...One who has been tempted in all things  as we are, yet without sin.(NASB)

 The Virgin Mary and John The Baptists were guilty of sin because they themselves committed sin, not because of original sin.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (NASB

[NOTE:3 The false doctrine of original sin has been passed down either by masters of deceit or theologians that were honestly confused.


Back to Jesus as God in the flesh.

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

Thomas knew that Jesus was God in the flesh.

Acts 20:28 Be on your guard for yourselves and all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.(NASB)

Yes, Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus is the head of the church, He bought the church.

Hebrews 1:1-8......8 But of the Son He says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.(NASB)

God the Father called Jesus God. Jesus was God in the flesh.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY: Can anyone be an honest seeker of God's truth and believe that Jesus did not walk the earth as God in the flesh?

Is it possible to believe that all mankind are sinners at conception and are born guilty of Adam's sin, and at the same time be a prayerful student of the Bible?

Pride is the stumbling block to God's truth. Are you smarter than God, He wrote the Bible. Believe it.

When men study to prove man-made tradition are God's will, then, they will convince themselves they correct and the Bible is in error.  

Speaking the Truth in Love by Richard Mansel



Speaking the Truth in Love

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, "Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul later said of himself, "Woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16). If you combine Matthew 28:18-19 and 1 Peter 2:9 you see that we all are required to teach the gospel to the lost.

But how do we ensure effectiveness? There is not a guarantee on that. Ultimately, we plant the seed but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). One thing we can do is be certain we are speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

If you look at the things we most often lie about, you see that, for the most part, we lie so people will not get offended. But it is still a lie.

If we change Biblical truth to appease the listener we have lied (Isaiah 30:8-14).

John 8:37 says the "truth will set us free." First, we must be uncompromising when we proclaim the truth of God's Word. However, we must be flexible concerning men's hearts. Matthew 7:12 says, "Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them." When we sit down to study with a prospect we must treat him with the same care and respect we would desire for ourselves.

Second, we must be persistent but patient. John 1:1-3 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God and Hebrews 13:8 adds that He is the "same yesterday, today and tomorrow." While the truth of Scripture never changes, our level of patience must continue to grow. Having someone overturn our core beliefs is a heart-wrenching process. When we study with someone we must be patient to allow them to go through the transformation and be understanding when it fails.

Third, we must be firm but factual. Our opinions and traditions should never dictate what we teach. Matthew 15:14 promises, "If the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."

Finally, we must hold the line but be helpful. The gospel is to win souls and not to win arguments. Ephesians 6:10-17 says we are in a spiritual war with Satan and his forces. We are not at war with the sinner, only the sin. He has a soul that needs love and guidance.

Richard Mansel

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading for February 1 and 2 by Gary Rose



Bible Reading for February 1 and 2

World  English  Bible

Feb. 1

Genesis 32

Gen 32:1 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

Gen 32:2 When he saw them, Jacob said, "This is God's army." He called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Gen 32:3 Jacob sent messengers in front of him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.

Gen 32:4 He commanded them, saying, "This is what you shall tell my lord, Esau: 'This is what your servant, Jacob, says. I have lived as a foreigner with Laban, and stayed until now.

Gen 32:5 I have cattle, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.' "

Gen 32:6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau. Not only that, but he comes to meet you, and four hundred men with him."

Gen 32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two companies;

Gen 32:8 and he said, "If Esau comes to the one company, and strikes it, then the company which is left will escape."

Gen 32:9 Jacob said, "God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Yahweh, who said to me, 'Return to your country, and to your relatives, and I will do you good,'

Gen 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the loving kindnesses, and of all the truth, which you have shown to your servant; for with just my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I have become two companies.

Gen 32:11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he come and strike me, and the mothers with the children.

Gen 32:12 You said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which can't be numbered because there are so many.' "

Gen 32:13 He lodged there that night, and took from that which he had with him, a present for Esau, his brother:

Gen 32:14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,

Gen 32:15 thirty milk camels and their colts, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals.

Gen 32:16 He delivered them into the hands of his servants, every herd by itself, and said to his servants, "Pass over before me, and put a space between herd and herd."

Gen 32:17 He commanded the foremost, saying, "When Esau, my brother, meets you, and asks you, saying, 'Whose are you? Where are you going? Whose are these before you?'

Gen 32:18 Then you shall say, 'They are your servant, Jacob's. It is a present sent to my lord, Esau. Behold, he also is behind us.' "

Gen 32:19 He commanded also the second, and the third, and all that followed the herds, saying, "This is how you shall speak to Esau, when you find him.

Gen 32:20 You shall say, 'Not only that, but behold, your servant, Jacob, is behind us.' " For, he said, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face. Perhaps he will accept me."

Gen 32:21 So the present passed over before him, and he himself lodged that night in the camp.

Gen 32:22 He rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok.

Gen 32:23 He took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.

Gen 32:24 Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a man there until the breaking of the day.

Gen 32:25 When he saw that he didn't prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled.

Gen 32:26 The man said, "Let me go, for the day breaks." Jacob said, "I won't let you go, unless you bless me."

Gen 32:27 He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob."

Gen 32:28 He said, "Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed."

Gen 32:29 Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." He said, "Why is it that you ask what my name is?" He blessed him there.

Gen 32:30 Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

Gen 32:31 The sun rose on him as he passed over Peniel, and he limped because of his thigh.

Gen 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel don't eat the sinew of the hip, which is on the hollow of the thigh, to this day, because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip. 


Feb. 2

Genesis 33

Gen 33:1 Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau was coming, and with him four hundred men. He divided the children between Leah, Rachel, and the two handmaids.

Gen 33:2 He put the handmaids and their children in front, Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph at the rear.

Gen 33:3 He himself passed over in front of them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Gen 33:4 Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and they wept.

Gen 33:5 He lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, "Who are these with you?" He said, "The children whom God has graciously given your servant."

Gen 33:6 Then the handmaids came near with their children, and they bowed themselves.

Gen 33:7 Leah also and her children came near, and bowed themselves. After them, Joseph came near with Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

Gen 33:8 Esau said, "What do you mean by all this company which I met?" Jacob said, "To find favor in the sight of my lord."

Gen 33:9 Esau said, "I have enough, my brother; let that which you have be yours."

Gen 33:10 Jacob said, "Please, no, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present at my hand, because I have seen your face, as one sees the face of God, and you were pleased with me.

Gen 33:11 Please take the gift that I brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough." He urged him, and he took it.

Gen 33:12 Esau said, "Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before you."

Gen 33:13 Jacob said to him, "My lord knows that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds with me have their young, and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die.

Gen 33:14 Please let my lord pass over before his servant, and I will lead on gently, according to the pace of the livestock that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord to Seir."

Gen 33:15 Esau said, "Let me now leave with you some of the folk who are with me." He said, "Why? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord."

Gen 33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.

Gen 33:17 Jacob traveled to Succoth, built himself a house, and made shelters for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

Gen 33:18 Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan Aram; and encamped before the city.

Gen 33:19 He bought the parcel of ground where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money.

Gen 33:20 He erected an altar there, and called it El Elohe Israel. 


Feb. 1

Matthew 16

Mat 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.

Mat 16:2 But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'

Mat 16:3 In the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times!

Mat 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah." He left them, and departed.

Mat 16:5 The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.

Mat 16:6 Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Mat 16:7 They reasoned among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."

Mat 16:8 Jesus, perceiving it, said, "Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith, 'because you have brought no bread?'

Mat 16:9 Don't you yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?

Mat 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?

Mat 16:11 How is it that you don't perceive that I didn't speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Mat 16:12 Then they understood that he didn't tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"

Mat 16:14 They said, "Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."

Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Mat 16:17 Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 16:18 I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

Mat 16:19 I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven."

Mat 16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he is Jesus the Christ.

Mat 16:21 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.

Mat 16:22 Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you."

Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men."

Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mat 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.

Mat 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.

Mat 16:28 Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom." 


Feb.  2

Matthew 17

Mat 17:1 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.

Mat 17:2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.

Mat 17:3 Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.

Mat 17:4 Peter answered, and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let's make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

Mat 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."

Mat 17:6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.

Mat 17:7 Jesus came and touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid."

Mat 17:8 Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.

Mat 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Don't tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."

Mat 17:10 His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Mat 17:11 Jesus answered them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and will restore all things,

Mat 17:12 but I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they didn't recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. Even so the Son of Man will also suffer by them."

Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptizer.

Mat 17:14 When they came to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling down to him, saying,

Mat 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is epileptic, and suffers grievously; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.

Mat 17:16 So I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him."

Mat 17:17 Jesus answered, "Faithless and perverse generation! How long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring him here to me."

Mat 17:18 Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.

Mat 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, "Why weren't we able to cast it out?"

Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Mat 17:21 But this kind doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting."

Mat 17:22 While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men,

Mat 17:23 and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up." They were exceedingly sorry.

Mat 17:24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?"

Mat 17:25 He said, "Yes." When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"

Mat 17:26 Peter said to him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt.

Mat 17:27 But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."

Practicality by Gary Rose


This is a very simple, yet very complicated picture. Simple in that is just a twig and a drop of water. Complicated in that the drop of water reflects an entire galaxy (in this case the M31 galaxy).

This reminds me of the style of teaching that Jesus often did. He would take simple things that virtually everyone would see, like birds, a crop in the field, or weeds in a cash crop and liken a spiritual teaching or life application to them.

In the case of the picture, a little drop of water shows an entire galaxy. How marvelous is that? But, even though this seems extra-ordinary, it is not. Sometimes we as human beings will take a small concept and see a huge one within it; sometimes the reverse. Consider this passage from the Gospel of Luke…

Luke 10 ( World English Bible )

25 Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

28 He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus answered, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion,

34 came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’

36 Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?”

37 He said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The lawyer in the above passage, was seeking eternal life; this was good. Even better, he asked Jesus what to do to inherit eternal life. The lawyer’s response showed much insight into true spirituality, but Jesus perceived that he was lacking the practical application of his own answer. Therefore, Jesus told him what a “good Samaritan” would do in order to love your neighbor.

Since Jews hated Samaritans, this was a very pointed rebuke of the Jews, for they of all people should have known to do good to all men, regardless of what they believed.

For me, I have found it quite easy to think in spiritual terms, for understanding the perfection that is the essence of the almighty has always amazed and interested me. Like that Lawyer, I find it much more difficult to put religious concepts into the practicality that we experience in everyday life.

Just as that little drop of water reflects the immensity of a great galaxy, so does how we treat our fellow man reflect the genuineness of our religion.

The words, “Go and do likewise.” take on a little more meaning now, don’t they? Listen to Jesus, just do it.

ps. This means you too, Gary!