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Friday, October 21, 2005

Women


By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime..
An angel appeared and said,
"Why are you spending so much time on this one?"
And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her?
She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,
have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,
have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a
broken heart-and she will do everything with only two hands."

The angel was astounded at the requirements.

"Only two hands!? No way!
And that's just on the standard model?
That's too much work for one day.
Wait until tomorrow to finish."
But I won't," the Lord protested.
"I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close
to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick
AND can work 18 hour days."

The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
"But you have made her so soft, Lord."
"She is soft," the Lord agreed,
"but I have also made her tough.
You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."
"Will she be able to think?", asked the angel.

The Lord replied,
"Not only will she be able to think,
she will be able to reason and negotiate."

The angel then noticed something,
and reaching out, touched the woman's cheek.
"Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model.
I told you that you were trying to put too much into
this one." "That's not a leak," the Lord corrected,
"that's a tear!"
"What's the tear for?" the angel asked.

The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy,
her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love,
her loneliness, her grief and her pride."
The angel was impressed.
"You are a genius, Lord.
You thought of everything!

Woman is truly amazing."
And she is!
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness,love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength
left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a
broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep
turning.They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.

Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
However, If There Is One Flaw In Women,
It Is That They Forget Their Worth.

PLEASE pass this along to all your women friends and relatives
to remind them just how amazing God made them to be!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Kissing

HOW DISGUSTING!

The story is told of a principal of a small middle school
who had a problem with a few of the older girls starting to use
lipstick. When applying it in the bathroom they would then press
their lips to the mirror and leave lip prints.

Before it got out of hand he thought of a way to stop it.
He gathered all the girls together that wore lipstick and told them
he wanted to meet with them in the ladies' room at 2 pm. They
gathered at 2 pm and found the principal and the school custodian
waiting for them.

The principal explained that it was becoming a problem for
the custodian to clean the mirror every night. He said he felt
the ladies did not fully understand just how much of a problem
it was and he wanted them to witness just how hard it was to clean.

The custodian then demonstrated. He took a long brush on a
handle out of a box. He then dipped the brush in the nearest toilet,
moved tothe mirror and proceeded to remove the lipstick.

That was the last day the girls pressed their lips on the mirror!!!

I know......that's disgusting!!!! But sometimes it takes
something disgusting for us to recognize the seriousness of what
we have done. Like my sins, for example. I'm often tempted to take
them lightly ("they're not really so bad"). Sometimes I need to
be shocked by the realization of what happened on the cross because
of my sin. The spit running down Jesus' face, the blood gushing out,
the excruciating agony of spikes being driven into his flesh.
It's not a pretty sight. In fact, it's disgusting! But it is in
that disgusting sight that I find the strength to turn from the sin
that I may be contemplating.

"Then they struck him on the head with a reed and spat on him;
and bowing the knee they worshiped him. And when they had mocked
him, they took the purple off him, put his own clothes on him, and
led him out to crucify him." (Mark 15:19-20)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith

Friday, October 07, 2005

Jesus and History
by Wayne Jackson
Christian Courier: Penpoints
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Bible critics charge that if Jesus Christ was a real historical character, there ought to be more in the Roman secular records about him. What may be said in response to this allegation?

A critic of the Bible has written the following – in an attempt to cast a reflection upon the historicity of the Gospel records regarding Jesus.


“Rome was one of the most bureaucratic civilizations in history. The Romans kept records about every detail of life – births, marriages, adoptions, taxes, olive production, and legal documents. Along with the Roman legions, the official government records were a means to control the lands and peoples they conquered. So why is there a total absence of official Roman records concerning Jesus? At the very least, should not there be a record of the trial and the crucifixion? All the historical references to Jesus are all many decades later.”

The foregoing is a prime example of how skeptics speak “off the top of their heads,” with no earthly idea as to the actual facts. The implication is that sufficient data relating to Christ are unavailable.

Before we examine the record, we might whimsically respond with an ad hominem point. Could this critic supply, from the Roman records “about every detail of life,” information concerning “olive production” in Palestine for the year 4 B.C.?


Extant Historical Records

The late Dr. E.M. Blaiklock, a New Zealand scholar, taught Latin, Greek, and the ancient classics for more than forty years. He was recognized internationally for his scholarship. In a brilliant essay titled, “Surviving Literature from the First Century,” Professor Blaiklock has demonstrated that there are almost no primary documents that survey the period that embraces the life of Christ.

For instance, “parts of one unimportant historical work” have survived from the era that parallels the Lord’s earthly life. Velleius Paterculus (ca. 19 B.C. - A.D. 30), a retired army officer and “amateur historian,” produced a “badly written history of Rome” covering that age from the end of the Trojan War to the death of Livia (A.D. 29).

From the forties A.D., through the sixties, very little survives. Blaiklock described the dearth of material in this fashion:


“Bookends set a foot apart on this desk where I write would enclose the works from those significant years. Curiously, much of it comes from Spanish emigrants in Rome ...” (Jesus Christ: Man or Myth?, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1974, pp. 12-13).
It was during this time frame that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke – together with much of the balance of the New Testament – were being produced. These works provide far more information about the condition of Palestine in the first century than anything that issued from Rome. And there is a way to illustrate this in a most dramatic fashion.


Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate was the ruler of Judea from A.D. 26-36. His technical title was “prefect,” a term used with precision by the Gospel writers. Pilate is mentioned in the New Testament by name about 20 times. Aside from these references, there is very little historical information about the man.

Two Jewish writers – Philo (c. 20 B.C. - A.D. 50) and Josephus (c. A.D. 37-95) – mention him briefly, and describe the ineptness of his administration. Philo depicts the ruler as “inflexible and relentlessly severe,” noting that he dedicated shields with the emperor’s name in Herod’s temple (The Mission to Gaius, 38).

Josephus records that Pilate marched Roman troops, with their pagan standards, into Jerusalem, and that he financed a water supply out of the temple treasury (Antiquities 18.3.1-2). He further notes that the Roman governor attacked a group of Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim, killing and capturing a host of them. For this outburst he was called to Rome and relieved of his position (Wars 18.4.1-2).

The manner of his death is not known for certain, though Eusebius, a 4th century historian, asserted that he committed suicide (Ecclesiastical History, 2.7).

Tacitus (c. A.D. 60-120), a Roman historian, mentions Pilate only one time, and that incidentally. He contended that the “Christians” derived their name from “Christus,” who “was executed at the hands of Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius” (Annals, xv.44).

In 1961, a team of archaeologists from Milan, Italy, were excavating at Caesarea, just north of modern Tel Aviv. They had been focused upon the huge amphitheater that initially was built by Herod the Great (lived ca. 73 to 4 B.C.).

Among these ruins archaeologists discovered a limestone slab. It was 32 inches high, 27 inches wide, and 8 inches thick. A partial inscription was clearly visible. It was not difficult to decipher the complete message. A free translation reads: “The Tiberieum [a temple dedicated to Tiberias] of the Caesareans Pontius Pilate Praefect of Judea has given.”

Alan Millard, Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, has observed that this represents “the only known inscription from his lifetime naming Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus” (Wonders and Discoveries of the Bible, Nashville: Nelson, 1997, p. 327; emp. WJ).

Let the significance of this sink in – in light of the criticism mentioned at the beginning of this piece. Here was a man who served the Roman government for ten years in one of the political hotspots of the empire. He himself was embroiled repeatedly in controversy. And yet, there is not a solitary Roman archival document that so much as mentions his name!

In the face of this, how could anyone possibly cast a shadow of suspicion upon the Gospel records, due to the fact that there is scant Roman testimony regarding a Galilean religious teacher who lived more than 1,500 hundred miles to the east?


The Gospel Narratives
Why is it that liberal scholars are anxious to bend over backwards in granting credibility to numerous events of ancient history, many of which are under girded by the scantest of evidence, yet they obstinately resist granting virtually any audience to the New Testament writings? There can be but one answer. They are militantly biased against the biblical records, hence, reject their veracity – no matter how compelling the evidence!

A.N. Sherwin-White was one of Oxford’s premier historians on Roman culture. In his valuable work, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978, p. 186), the professor demonstrated that the Gospels and Acts are much more historically credible than the common works of the Roman world. For example, the New Testament narratives were written by men who were contemporary with the events they recorded. On the other hand, Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Romans stands two centuries from the actual events, and Livy’s History of Rome is 500 years this side of its theme. Yet no one doubts the value of these works.

It is readily apparent that the New Testament is not given anything remotely resembling a fair, literary treatment; nevertheless, it passes the credibility-test brilliantly.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Bible is the only way!

Consider the words of John Adams—signer of the Declaration of Independence, two-time Vice-President under George Washington, and second President of the United States—written in 1756: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited.... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be” (1854, 2:6-7, emp. added).

And in a letter to Thomas Jefferson on Christmas day, 1813, he wrote: “I have examined all [religions]...and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world” (1854, 10:85, emp. added). Patriot Patrick Henry declared: “[The Bible] is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed” (as quoted in Wirt, 1818, p. 402, emp. added). The first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Jay, affirmed in a letter in 1784: “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next” (1980, 2:709, emp. added). Noah Webster noted: “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of man” (1833, p. v, emp. added). U.S. Supreme Court justice Joseph Story, a Father of American Jurisprudence, insisted: “The Bible itself [is] the common inheritance, not merely of Christendom, but of the world” (1854, p. 259, emp. added). What do such statements imply about these Founders’ opinion of the Quran?

Observe further that every President of the United States, beginning with George Washington, has been sworn into office by placing his hand on—not the Quran—but the Bible (see “Joint Congressional...,” 2005 and “Bibles and Scriptures...,” 2005).

So what should be done? Should Muslims be allowed to use the Quran in court? Won’t they be more likely to tell the truth? Perhaps. But here is the bottom line: The fact that this issue has even arisen is evidence of the dilution of America’s Christian heritage, and the infiltration of alien ideologies that are destructive to the American way of life. The Founders believed these non-Christian religions to be bogus and detrimental to the Republic which they established. To permit the use of the Quran in court would be to afford it a measure of credibility, creating the impression that Islam is simply one religion among many that merits acknowledgment, legal and/or societal respect, and equal status with Christianity. The Founders never would have countenanced such a consideration. A “Father of American Jurisprudence,” New York State Supreme Court Chief Justice James Kent, in The People v. Ruggles in 1811, summarized the national attitude toward Islam that existed from the inception of the country:

Nor are we bound, by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters (8 Johns 290, emp. added). Dave Miller

Monday, October 03, 2005

Woman--Man's Best Friend

TOP TEN REASONS GOD CREATED EVE (written by Eve of course)
10. God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because men hate to ask for directions.
9. God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote. (Men don't want to see what's ON television, they want to see WHAT ELSE is on!)
8. God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when his seat wore out and would therefore need Eve to get one for him.
7. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor's appointment for himself.
6. God knew that Adam would never remember which day was garbage day.
5. God knew that if the world was to be populated, men would never be able to handle childbearing.
4. As "Keeper of the Garden," Adam would never remember where he put his tools.
3. The scripture account of creation indicates Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.
2. As the Bible says, "It is not good for man to be alone!"
1. When God finished the creation of Adam, He stepped back, scratched His head and said, "I can do better than that."

It's interesting that the only time that God said, "It is not good"during His creation was when man was alone. I thank God for his wisdom in creating such a perfect complement to man (despite everything they do to irritate us! :-)

"Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."(Genesis 2:22-24) If you're married, I encourage you to take a moment today to remind your wife (or husband) how much she/he means to you. They never get tired of hearing it! Have a great day! Alan Smith

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Anatomy of a Dying Civilization

ANATOMY OF A DYING CIVILIZATIONA thousand years from now, if the earth is still standing, researchers will be digging thorough the ruins of our once great cities and sifting through surviving materials in dusty archives, trying to discover what brought an end to this flourishing civilization. As Edward Gibbon was able to pinpoint the causes for the collapse of the mighty Roman Empire, so they will find specific causes for the dissolution of the American nation. Although I'm no prophet, I predict the following will be among the causes identified.
An overabundance of corrupt lawyers, driven by greed, who made it possible for other greedy citizens to live as parasites off the labor of others. The resulting flood of litigation destroyed trust and neighborliness. It turned family members, friends and neighbors into hungry wolves constantly looking for another victim to sue.
Corrupt politicians who used their office for personal power and gain and cared nothing for the common good of the nation. As one former U. S. Congressman observed, he could count the true statesmen and women in the House of Representatives on his fingers. They were willing to bankrupt the nation to purchase votes for reelection. The common good was sacrificed for party considerations.
A corrupt press and media who daily abused truth and their audiences by selective presentation of news, use of half truths and reporting that advocated the agenda of liberal politics. They left the public confused and cynical of all news.
A failed public education system that was co-opted by agenda driven advocates, more interesting in promoting socialism, environmentalism, feminism, gay rights, amoral sexual freedom, evolution and secularism than in educating children and helping them to develop into responsible, productive citizens.
A band of do-gooders who stirred class envy, and racial animosity rather than heal and unite the various ethnic groups of the nation. They succeeded in turning the nation into warring factions unable and unwilling to work together for the progress and survival of the whole.
A corrupt, degenerate entertainment industry that for money was willing to corrupt and destroy the moral character of millions of young people. Nothing was too vile, or too immoral if it brought them bucks.
A criminal element that destroyed the fabric of society to enrich themselves. Most notable was the illegal drug industry that wasted millions of lives and brought havoc to untold families. Then there were the professional thieves who stole their millions and from government and private investments, leaving elderly people to face retirement in poverty. There were those marauding savages who stalk the streets raping, robbing and stealing from honest, working folks.
Unfaithful preachers and churches who failed to turn people's hearts to God; to teach them to live soberly, righteously and godly (Tit. 2:13); to instill in then the ethics of the kingdom of heaven and to reprove sin (II Tim.4:2). They were more interested in pleasing men than Christ (Gal. 1:10). They were willing to compromise his Sacred Truth in order to keep their comfortable positions (I Tim. 6:5). Many of these leaders were unbelievers who poisoned the souls of their flocks with doubt and disbelief, leaving them with a hollow, empty faith.
The nation valiantly struggled to survive, despite these crippling disorders. Finally, exhausted, she collapsed under their unrelenting pressure. Yes, other causes will be discovered, but make no mistake, these will be on the list. And what can the Christian do in the face of all of this evil? Pray that God will have mercy on our nation; that He will send a revival of faith and goodness upon our people. Pray that He will help you faithfully live the Christian life and be a citizen that will help rather than hinder the survival of the nation. Pray that he will help you teach and train your children so they will grow up to be useful, productive, honorable Christian citizens. Pray that He will bless his church with courage and conviction to be faithful to his Word in these trying times. John Waddey


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Change agents

CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES
Change agents are clamoring for changes in the faith, worship and practice of churches of Christ. The changes they envision are profound and fundamental. Congregations that embrace them will no longer be churches patterned after the New Testament (Heb. 8:5). They would no longer be striving to be Christians only. They will not be churches of Christ such as Paul referred to (Rom. 16:16). Instead, they will become denominational bodies, adrift in a sea of human doctrines, traditions and opinions. When we warn against the change movement, occasionally a well-intentioned brother will respond, "Since we all are imperfect, don't we need to change?" Such answers suggest that we need to specify just what it is that cannot be changed.I. Some Changes Are Needed. The heavenly side of the church is perfect and unchangeable. But the church on earth will always be imperfect because of its human membership. At our best, we are imperfect people. Our work of restoration is task that is never-finished. When we fail to measure up to any aspect of the revealed faith, we need to change. The key is the direction in which we are moving. Beneficial changes are those that draw us into closer conformity with God's divine standard. When in any aspect of our worship, faith or practice we fail short of the divine pattern we need to change! Only when we are observing "all things whatsoever (Christ) commanded" (Matt. 28:20), are we immune from change.II. Some Changes Are Inconsequential. Over the years our congregations have made a multitude of changes that were acceptable because they were in areas that were of no consequence. We changed from plain, simple meeting places on the back streets to fine buildings on main thoroughfares. We changed from hand held fans to air conditioning. We changed from 60 minute sermons to 30 minute lessons. We change from one cup to multiple cups for communion. We have changed our hymnals, our Bible School literature and a hundred other matters. Such changes are harmless because they have nothing to do with the essence of the religion of Christ. We still sing, pray, commune, give and study as the Bible directs, as we always did. These changes are the kind we can take or leave without transgression. Most of these changes are beneficial and should proceed without protest. The only reservation would be, if implementing them should be the occasion of strife in the family of God (I Cor. 8:9-13).III. Some Changes Are Destructive And Forbidden. If the changes proposed would cause us to go contrary to the expressed will of God, they are wrong and must be rejected and opposed. * To change the music of the church from singing which the Holy Spirit has authorized (Eph. 5:19), to making a different kind of music with mechanical instruments is wrong. * To change the day we commune from the first day to another day of the week violates the example of the early Christians who communed on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). * A change that would allow women to teach men in the assemblies or classes of the church would violate Paul's inspired restrictions on them (I Cor. 14:33-34 and I Tim. 2:11-12). * To change the message of salvation from faith and obedience to faith alone is wrong for it violates James' statement that faith without works in dead in itself (Jas. 2:26); also the declaration that Christ is the author of salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:9) * To alter the doctrine of God's grace and claim that He saves us by grace alone violates God's commands that sinners must obey him to receive the promised blessing. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16). The Holy Spirit is given to all them that "obey him" (Acts 5:32). * To change our view of Scripture is sinful. God describes it as a "pattern" for us to follow (II Tim. 1:13; Heb. 8:5). To teach men there is not a pattern is wicked arrogance.* To change people's thinking about the nature of the church is wrong. The church is Christ's body, his bride, his kingdom, his family. It is sacred, singular and unitary. To change it into a denomination is an evil thing. It is to make the sacred secular and profane. Other examples might be cited but these illustrate the point.To beneficial changes that bring us into closer conformity to God's will, we say, Yes! To inconsequential changes we offer no objection! But to changes that lead Christians away from God, that make void the word of God (Matt. 15:9), we not only reject them, we must also object to them with all our strength! We are obligated to contend earnestly for the faith, once delivered (Jude 3). Simply stated, our position is Change? Yes! Apostasy? No! John Waddey**** Permission is granted to duplicate and distribute this and all other of these weekly lessons. * More lessons discussing the various aspects of the change movement can be found at www.christianity-then-and-now.com. For evangelistic lessons see www.firstcenturychristian.com* If you would like to participate in this project contact the author at johnwaddey@aol.com