Re-blog from The River Walk.
It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” (John 10:22-24)
Read: Isaiah 44:6 – 48:11
Relate: The Festival of Dedication, Hanukkah, begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev (November/December). It is also called the festival of lights and this is how the Jewish historian Josephus refers to it so we know it was commonly called this at the time of Jesus as well. Both titles refer back to one specific event that happened roughly two hundred years before Christ in confronted.
In 167 BC, the Seleucid emperor Antiochus Epiphanes dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem to Zeus and had a…
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Re-blogged from Emanation
“Emotions are related to activity in brain areas that direct our attention, motivate our behaviour, and determine the significance of what is going on around us.”
It is so important to keep this in mind because heightened emotions have such a powerful and far-reaching impact on our lives, and the lives of those around us. Our emotions determine what we notice, how we react, and how we perceive and evaluate our environment. It’s no wonder that things look better in the morning when you’re feeling more composed. At that point your emotions are more under control, more bearable, because the immediate intensity of your emotional reaction has dissipated. This then has a calming effect on your perception of your circumstances; you tend see things in a calmer light, which then results in more mediated behaviour.
It’s just another reason why mindfulness it so important. And now neuroscience provides the…
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The reality of the transience of our physiological time can be quite unnerving. None of us is guaranteed longevity. It is bestowed upon us by the Lord in His sovereignty, mercy and wisdom. Unfortunately, old age is often a phase of life that is characterized by gerascophobia-the fear of aging. Most people perceive this phase with nagging apprehension due to the wear and tear of our physiological makeup. The fragility of our existence is intensified by stiff joints, unyielding muscles and telltale memory lapses, which make the impending sting of mortality even more certain. Fervently we attempt to delay progression to this trepidatious destination by clinging to outward beauty, vibrant health, and youthful strength using, diet, technology and whatever else.
The neurosis attached to aging has grabbed the attention of bio-medical professionals who have responded by focusing on three main research orientations – compressed morbidity, decelerated aging, and arrested aging – in an attempt to add quality to biological life. Compressed morbidity is an attempt to forestall or prevent age-related chronic diseases using molecular processes. Compressed morbidity focuses on increasing life expectancy and endeavoring to create societies with less sickly and more active old people. Decelerated aging seeks to slow down the progression of aging. Arrested aging aims at restoring the vivacity of the functions of the human body through the removal of the inevitable physiological damage caused by myriad metabolic processes. Maybe science will one day realize all the three paradigms and make them efficacious standard procedures…for a while. However, ultimately, “it is appointed unto men once to die…” (Hebrews 9:27).
But we can draw strength and peace from the fact that God who created each one of us according to His plan will carry us through the changing seasons of our lives. In nature, God demonstrates to us that just as each season has its beauty, and purpose so there is beauty and purpose in every phase of our lives. Even with declining strength, decreased opportunities and abilities to function well God still has a purpose for each aging and aged individual. Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 when the messengers of God predicted they would have a son named Isaac. The following year Sarah gave birth to Isaac!!! At the age of 80 Moses was given the monumental task of freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage spanning over four centuries, and leading them to the Promised Land! Aaron became high priest when he was over 83 years old. John Wesley preached over 40,000 sermons during his lifetime! At age 86 he complained that his doctor only allowed him to preach 14 sermons a week! At 88 he was still preaching, just a few days before his death. At age 75 Nelson Mandela became the oldest elected president of South Africa, shattering the iron-grip of apartheid forever. Science may add a few years and vitality to life, but only God can make a life positively change the course of earth’s history forever…even in old age. Listen to what He says about old age: “Even to your old age, I am He; And even to gray hairs I will carry you…” (Isaiah 46:4).
To know more about what God’s plans for your life are get a copy of The Perfect Prescription by Reigh Simuzoshya from Amazon.com
Read this carefully
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:43-44)
Relate: Recently the Supreme Court delivered a verdict on prayer at town board meetings. For years the town of Greece NY would begin each meeting with a roll call, the pledge of allegiance, and then a prayer. To offer up this prayer, the town selected from clergy listed in a local directory. They would simply work their way down the list of local religious groups but because most of these local religious congregations were Christian, the argument was made that this was showing favoritism to Christianity. A lower court agreed but the Supreme Court overturned that decision. They declared that there was no proof of bias and that prayers at local government functions…
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Have you considered my servant, Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? (Job 1:8).
For a long time, every time I read the above Scripture I experienced a sharp stab of envy…At what point could I get God to ‘brag’ about me like that to anyone, let alone to Satan? Would He even consider engaging in such an exchange about me without risking embarrassment and humiliation? What, with the gravitational pull of sin chronically overpowering me, would be the point of such a conversation, anyway? This is not to say I coveted the trial that ensured in Job’s life. Far from it. My envy was centered on how proud God was of His son, Job. Remember that the trial did not make Job who he was. It only revealed who he already was.
Scripture paints Job as a pious individual: He was blameless and upright and shunned evil. He also feared God. Just how did Job develop these positive character traits, I always wondered? By comparison mine are fickle, fleeting, and feeble…ever ready to snap at the slightest pressure. Job, to me, has always been a most fascinating character in Scripture, second only to the Lord, Jesus Christ. He was strong, unyielding, resolute and uncompromising in his faith even when his friends became turn-coats on him! Although he was extremely affluent his riches never clouded his judgment regarding justice. He did what most of us fail to do: He was godly not only in public but in the privacy of his home where it is most difficult, yet that is where it matters most. This is perfection… which makes it all the more astonishing when the tsunamis of evil began to strike him relentlessly, one after another. God unleashed Satan on him and the Enemy gleefully set about doing what he knows best, destroying everything Job had. The devastation was so severe that in the end Job stood literally naked before a stunned world, and before his Creator; grieving alone, clutching only at his faith. His is one of the most chilling and unnerving accounts in Scripture. But Job hang in there even when it all made no sense!!!
For the longest time I wished I had Job’s faith so that I could make God proud of me also until the Holy Spirit graciously revealed to me that I already had that which I was coveting, in Christ. Jesus’ faith is now mine and so is His victory over the Enemy. God unleashed Satan on Jesus, unbridled and unrestrained, and like Job – no, much more than Job – He was stripped naked and hung on a cross in what seemed like cosmic defeat before the world, before Satan, and before His Father; bruised, lacerated and tortured beyond recognition. All He had left was His love for mankind and His faith in His Father, which were enough to de-fang the devil and to redeem and restore all Adam’s seed to their original place, the family of God. This is what causes God to brag on me, and on you…His Son’s finished work, which is now ours…Thank You, Lord.
If you want to know more about how God feels about you get yourself a copy of The Perfect Prescription by Reigh Simuzoshya from Amazon.com
Life is one protracted learning experience saturated with suffering. Suffering is enigmatic, intangible, ubiquitous and intrusive and yet almost all of life’s greatest lessons are obtained through suffering. Life is foisted on us…we do not have the privilege of choosing whether to be born or not. We come into this world in tabula rasa style, as John Locke postulated….that is, with a blank slate; knowing nothing. Then we embark on a journey of learning and experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly not merely from books but from the environment around us even before books are given to us. The free choice God has endowed us with is the agent we employ in deciding how to respond to life’s challenges; whether to cower in resignation or to fight back with true grit on the side of good.
Biblical characters of salient spiritual credentials willingly subjected themselves to the ordeal of life’s learning experience through pain and suffering. For example, the apostle Paul exclaimed unabashedly “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” (Philippians 4: 11). Scripture also says that “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution,” (2 Tim. 3: 12). Then there is this astonishing verse in Hebrews 5:8 which say about Jesus that “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” In actual fact, Jesus was the Ultimate Sufferer. The Word that was in the beginning with God had to learn how to live in the flesh. How much more then should His disciples be willing to suffer while learning to live in the flesh? When we come to Christ we start from the lowest grade. Our Lord prepares a customized life syllabus for each one of us, not without suffering, which can take many forms: it can come as severe chronic temptation, betrayal by individuals close to us, unappreciated acts of kindness, job loss or health challenges… Suffering has its own benefits. It can motivate us to be creative and resourceful. It can also reveal who we are, and can help us develop compassion and empathy for others experiencing similar situations. Suffering can be used to shape our character (James 1: 2-4) and to trust God more. The Bible is also clear in its assertion that we can never reign with Jesus unless we suffer with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). This gives suffering a different hue….
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… (Genesis 1:1).
Probably no other verse in the Bible has been exposed to as much incessant onslaught as Genesis Chapter 1 verse 1 as the key verse upon which the rest of Scripture and the history of mankind stands or falls. This verse postulates that the universe had a beginning; what cosmologists refer to as initial singularity. If the universe had a beginning then Someone outside of it must have been responsible for calling it into existence; someone whom Aristotle called an Unmoved Mover; a transcendent being whom we who believe call God. And if nothing existed prior to the initial singularity then we can infer that the universe came into existence ex nihilo-out of nothing and only God has the ability to bring into existence something out of nothing. This concept is corroborated by the Standard Model although the veracity of God’s Word does not necessarily need to be affirmed by any man-made models. But this demonstrates to us how the laws of physics reveal what God has already put in place. The Standard Model posits that with the passage of time, the distances that separate the galaxies of our universe have increased due to the constant expansion of the universe. The material content itself does not expand. What expands is the space itself; “just as the buttons glued to the surface of a balloon will recede from one another as the balloon inflates (Craig, 2008). Another amazing scientific observation is that “as the universe expands it becomes less and less dense.” This means that if you reverse this order of activity, that is, if the expansion of the galaxies are reversed back in time, the universe will become increasingly denser until we arrive “at a state of infinite density at some point in the finite past,” which is a state that represents what is known as the singularity. At this point “all matter and energy, space and time come into being at the initial cosmological singularity.” This is the point when space and time all began to exist-“nothing existed before the singularity.” Therefore, if the universe originated at such a singularity, ex nihilo, the creation account is most definitely accurate. Of course, other models have been developed to try and repudiate the Standard Model, but it has continued to withstand the onslaught of these alternative models.
If anyone is tempted to think that this argument is being belabored they have no idea about the intensity and magnitude of the frontal attack against biblical accounts that constantly pummel our children as some professors in institutions of higher learning endeavor to “prove that the Bible is nothing more than a book about fairy tales.” We as parents who are believers have a responsibility to be intellectually engaged with our faith in order to provide a strong scaffolding for our children, and to help them contend for their faith in any forum without sounding idiotic. And so, we echo the Bible proudly, “In the beginning God….”
William Lane Craig. “Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics.” 2008. Crossway. Wheaton, Illinois.