..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jenny and Luke

Sister and brother, Jenny and Luke, are such a mess. While she and her family were visiting last summer they took this selfie and it's so cute. Here is the digital scrapbook page I made of them.


Jenny Has Become A Wonderful Cook

Our niece, Jenny, has become a wonderful cook. She comes from a long line of good cooks on all sides of the family and we are very proud of her. Here is the digital scrapbook layout I made of her cooking.




Luke's Family At The Beach

This summer was the first time they got to spend a week together as a family. So I made this digital scrapbook page of them together.



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Digital Scrapbook Pages

Here are the digital scrapbook pages I did of Christmas. I will continue to add as I make more pages.

One of our grandnieces, Reagan, was dedicated at the service before Christmas.






















History Of The Old Testament

I did a study on WHY we should read the Bible. Today I want to discuss the history of the Bible and why we believe it is the Word of God. How did we get the Bible in it's present form? How do we know that the Bible today is God's Word?



As a Christian, before any "proofs", I believed the Bible as the Word of God. It's called faith. I began my reading and studies of the Bible with faith. And, today, I believe in the inerrant (without error) Word of God. I believe that God supernaturally and miraculously preserved His Word for us.

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Creation - B.C. 2000 - Originally, the earliest Scriptures were handed down from generation to generation orally. This is how we got the story of Creation, the genealogies, the story of Noah, etc. The existence of written language and communication during the time of Abraham (2100 BC) and Moses (1450 BC) is demonstrated by both history and archaeology.

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Do you know what book is the oldest book in the Bible? Most would say Genesis since it is the first book in the Old Testament and tells the story of Creation. But scholars believe that the Book of Job is actually the first book of the Bible written before Moses began writing the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy thought to have been written by Moses). The book of Job (pronounced Jobe and the name means, "he that weeps") is one of the Writings (Ketuvim) of the Hebrew Bible, and the first poetic book in the Christian Old Testament. It is written like an epic poem (for example, like The Iliad). In Hebrew, it is poetic. Translating it into modern day English, loses some of the rhyme and meter of poetry but is still considered to be one of the best ancient poems of all times. It begins with a prose prologue and ends with a prose epilogue that set the story. They frame poetic dialogues and monologues by Job, his friends (called monologues) and God, Himself (called the divine discourses). The theme of Job is understanding why an all-powerful God allows good people to suffer. Job wants to find a way to justify God’s actions. Each speaker has his moments of revelation and his own flaws. When God speaks, He does not explain Himself to Job, but rather lets Job and his friends understand that He is God and He is all wise and all powerful. He is the Creator and all things are under His control. Job humbles himself before Almighty God, realizing how little he knows and understands of the world and universe. Because of his humbling and submission, Job is blessed by God even more than he was before. According to both Jewish and early Christian scholars, it was written by Moses. Since then there have been other scholars who think candidates are Job, Elihu or Solomon.



Elihu (meaning he is my God himself), “The son of Barachel, a Buzite” (Job 32:2, Barachel means "God blesses"), was one of Job's friends. He was from a brother-tribe to that of Uz, and of the family of Ram, or Aram, i.e.an Aramean. He was a young man who listened in silence to the arguments of Job and his friends. When the debate is brought to a close, Elihu for the first time makes his appearance (in chapters 32-37), and delivers his opinion.

Solomon is King Solomon, son of King David.

The Book of Job was definitely written by a Hebrew (aka Israelite, Jew) because of the use of the Israelite covenant name for God (Yhwh-Yahweh, translated as "the Lord" in English). The date of the authorship of the Book of Job would be determined by the author of the Book of Job. If Moses was the author, the date would be around 1440 B.C. If Solomon was the author, the date would be around 950 B.C. Because we don’t know the author, we can’t know the date of writing. The Book of Job reminds us that there is a "cosmic conflict" between God and satan. The Book of  Job teaches us to trust God under all circumstances. We must trust God, not only WHEN we do not understand, but BECAUSE we do not understand.

The Book of Job foreshadows Jesus Christ and His Plan of Salvation. In Job 14:4 Job asks, "Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!?"
Because of sin we cannot save ourselves. Sin caused us to be separated from God. But Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine. He was sinless and He paid the price for our sins.

Also in Job 14: 14, Job asks "But man dies and lies prostrate; Man expires, and where is he? If a man dies, will he live again?"
Jesus answers this question. Jesus died and was resurrected. With Jesus' righteousness we are saved and we spend eternity with Him. Without accepting Jesus, we will spend eternity without Him in Hell.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) I tell you this, brothers and sisters: Our bodies of flesh and blood cannot have a part in God's kingdom. Something that will ruin cannot have a part in something that never ruins. (51) But listen, I tell you this secret: We will not all die, but we will all be changed. (52) It will only take the time of a second. We will be changed as quickly as an eye blinks. This will happen when the last trumpet blows. The trumpet will blow and those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we will all be changed. (53) This body that ruins must clothe itself with something that will never ruin. And this body that dies must clothe itself with something that will never die. (54) So this body that ruins will clothe itself with that which never ruins. And this body that dies will clothe itself with that which never dies. When this happens, the Scriptures will be made true: "Death is swallowed in victory." (55) "O death, where is your victory? Where is your power to hurt?" (56) Death's power to hurt is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (57) But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

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The first recorded instance of God telling someone to write something down was in Exodus 17:
Exodus 17:8-16 (ERV) At Rephidim the Amalekites came and fought against the Israelites. (9) So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some men and go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on the top of the hill and watch you. I will be holding the walking stick God gave me." (10) Joshua obeyed Moses and went to fight the Amalekites the next day. At the same time Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. (11) Any time Moses held his hands in the air, the men of Israel would start winning the fight. But when Moses put his hands down, the men of Israel began to lose the fight. (12) After some time, Moses' arms became tired. So they put a large rock under Moses for him to sit on. Then Aaron and Hur held Moses' hands in the air. Aaron was on one side of Moses and Hur was on the other side. They held his hands up like this until the sun went down. (13) So Joshua and his men defeated the Amalekites in this battle. (14) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write about this battle. Write these things in a book so that people will remember what happened here. And be sure to tell Joshua that I will completely destroy the Amalekites from the earth." (15) Then Moses built an altar and named it, "The LORD is My Flag." (16) Moses said, "I lifted my hands toward the LORD'S throne. So the LORD fought against the Amalekites, as he always has."

Moses was educated in the house of Pharaoh, he would have been literate not only in Egyptian but the surrounding cultures in his day. He was to write it down in a book, not just a loose manuscript, but a book. He was to begin writing a book to be kept for future generations. It was to be a reminder, to pass down to posterity. It was to be kept in order that the Israelites would never forget what God had done. Moses wrote the revelations that God gave him, as well as, recounting the story of his life and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. So the books he authored are memoirs and revelations all done to remind the future generations of what God had done for their ancestors.

So Moses wrote the Pentateuch (pronounced penta-took), the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They include history and the Laws of God and are considered to be the most important to the Jews. The Torah is the law on which Judaism is founded (torah is Hebrew for “law”). This law is contained in the first five books of the Bible and can also refer to the entire body of Jewish law and wisdom, including what is contained in oral tradition.

The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, with some books written in Aramaic. These were passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years on scrolls made of animal skin, usually sheep, but sometimes deer or cow. When the entire Pentateuch is present on a scroll, it is called a “Torah” and is over 150 feet long!


Jewish scribes painstakingly produced copies and they were perfectionists. If they made even the slightest mistake in copying, such as allowing two letters of a word to touch, they destroyed that entire panel (the last three or four columns of text), and the panel before it, because it had touched the panel with a mistake. It was considered sacred writings and therefore must be perfect. Later the sacred texts were written on papyrus. Papyrus was a material prepared in ancient Egypt from the pithy stem of a water plant, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for writing.



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The next time the Bible mentions something was written down, it was God who wrote down Ten Commandments on tablets and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai. Biblical scholars believe this occurred between 1,400 BC and 1,500 BC… almost 3,500 years ago. It was probably written in an ancient Hebrew. The stone tablets were kept by the Hebrews (aka Israelites, Jews) eventually resting in the Ark of the Covenant.  Here is the basic story of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments
Exodus 19:1-25 (ERV) The Israelites reached the desert of Sinai in the third month of their trip from Egypt. (2) They had traveled from Rephidim to the Sinai desert. The Israelites camped in the desert near Mount Sinai. (3) Then Moses climbed up the mountain to meet with God. The LORD spoke to him on the mountain and said, "Tell this to the Israelites, the great family of Jacob: (4) 'You people saw what I did to the people of Egypt. You saw that I carried you out of Egypt like an eagle and brought you here to me. (5) So now I tell you to obey my commands and keep my agreement. So if you do this, you will be my own special people. The whole world belongs to me, but I am choosing you to be my own special people. (6) You will be a special nation--a kingdom of priests.' Moses, you must tell the Israelites what I have said." (7) So Moses climbed down the mountain and called the elders of the people together. Moses told the elders everything the LORD had commanded him to tell them. (8) All the people spoke at the same time and said, "We will obey everything the LORD says." Then Moses went back up the mountain and told the Lord that the people would obey him. (9) Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will come to you in the thick cloud. I will speak to you. All the people will hear me talking to you. I will do this so that they will always believe what you tell them." Then Moses told God everything the people had said. (10) And the LORD said to Moses, "Today and tomorrow you must prepare the people for a special meeting. They must wash their clothes (11) and be ready for me on the third day. On the third day, the LORD will come down to Mount Sinai. And all the people will see me. (12) But you must tell the people to stay away from the mountain. Make a line and don't let them cross it. Any person or animal that touches the mountain must be killed with stones or shot with arrows. But don't let anyone touch them. The people must wait until the trumpet blows. Only then can they go up the mountain." (14) So Moses climbed down the mountain and went to the people. He got them ready for the special meeting and they washed their clothes. (15) Then Moses said to the people, "Be ready for the meeting with God in three days. Until that time do not have sexual relations." (16) On the morning of the third day, a thick cloud came down onto the mountain. There was thunder and lightning and a very loud sound from a trumpet. All the people in the camp were frightened. (17) Then Moses led the people out of the camp to a place near the mountain to meet God. (18) Mount Sinai was covered with smoke. Smoke rose off the mountain like smoke from a furnace. This happened because the LORD came down to the mountain in fire. Also the whole mountain began to shake. (19) The noise from the trumpet became louder and louder. Every time Moses spoke to God, God answered him with a voice like thunder. (20) So the LORD came down to Mount Sinai. He came from heaven to the top of the mountain. Then he called Moses to come up to the top of the mountain with him. So Moses went up the mountain. (21) The LORD said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people not to come near me and look at me. If they do, many will die. (22) Also tell the priests who come near the LORD that they must prepare themselves for this special meeting. If they don't, I, the LORD, will punish them." (23) Moses said to the LORD, "But the people cannot come up the mountain. You yourself told us to make a line and not allow the people to cross the line to holy ground." (24) The LORD said to him, "Go down to the people. Get Aaron and bring him back with you. But don't let the priests or the people come near me. I will punish them if they come too close." (25) So Moses went down to the people and told them these things.

Exodus 20:1-23 (ERV) Then God said, (2) "I am the LORD your God. I led you out of the land of Egypt where you were slaves. These are the commands I give you:
(3) "You must not worship any other gods except me.
(4) "You must not make any idols. Don't make any statues or pictures of anything up in the sky or of anything on the earth or of anything down in the water. (5) Don't worship or serve idols of any kind, because I, the LORD, am your God. I hate my people worshiping other gods. People who sin against me become my enemies, and I will punish them. And I will punish their children, their grandchildren, and even their great-grandchildren. (6) But I will be very kind to people who love me and obey my commands. I will be kind to their families for thousands of generations.
(7) "You must not use the name of the LORD your God to make empty promises. If you do, the LORD will not let you go unpunished.
(8) "You must remember to keep the Sabbath a special day. (9) You may work six days a week to do your job. (10) But the seventh day is a day of rest in honor of the LORD your God. So on that day no one should work--not you, your sons and daughters, or your men and women slaves. Even your animals and the foreigners living in your cities must not work! (11) That is because the LORD worked six days and made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. And on the seventh day, he rested. In this way the LORD blessed the Sabbath--the day of rest. He made that a very special day. (12) "You must honor and respect your father and your mother. Do this so that you will have a full life in the land that the LORD your God gives you.
(13) "You must not murder anyone.
(14) "You must not commit adultery.
(15) "You must not steal anything.
(16) "You must not tell lies about other people.
(17) "You must not want to take your neighbor's house. You must not want his wife. And you must not want his men and women servants or his cattle or his donkeys. You must not want to take anything that belongs to another person."
(18) During all this time, the people in the valley heard the thundering and saw the lightning on the mountain. They saw smoke rising from the mountain and heard the sound of the trumpet. They were afraid and shook with fear. They stood away from the mountain and watched. (19) Then the people said to Moses, "If you want to speak to us, then we will listen. But please don't let God speak to us. If this happens, we will die." (20) Then Moses said to them, "Don't be afraid! God has come to test you. He wants you to respect him so that you will not sin." (21) The people stood far away from the mountain while Moses went to the dark cloud where God was. (22) Then the LORD told Moses to say this to the Israelites: "You people have seen that I talked with you from heaven. (23) So you must not make idols using gold or silver to compete with me. You must not make these false gods.

Exodus 31:12-18 (Modern King James Version - MKJV) And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, (13) Speak also to the sons of Israel, saying, Truly you shall keep My sabbaths. For it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I am Jehovah who sanctifies you. (14) You shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone that defiles it shall surely be put to death. For whoever does any work in it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. (15) Six days may work be done, but on the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to Jehovah. Whoever does any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. (16) Therefore the sons of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant. (17) It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever. For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed. (18) And He gave to Moses, when He had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

Exodus 32:1-35 (ERV) The people saw that a long time had passed and Moses had not come down from the mountain. So they gathered around Aaron. They said to him, "Look, Moses led us out of the land of Egypt, but we don't know what has happened to him. So make us some gods to go before us and lead us." (2) Aaron said to the people, "Bring me the gold earrings that belong to your wives, sons, and daughters." (3) So the people collected all their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. (4) He took the gold from the people and used it to make an idol. Using a special tool, he shaped the gold into a statue of a calf. Then the people said, "Israel, here are your gods! These are the gods that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" (5) Aaron saw all these things, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then Aaron made an announcement. He said, "Tomorrow will be a special festival to honor the LORD." (6) The people woke up very early the next morning. They killed animals and offered them as burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up and had a wild party. (7) At the same time, the LORD said to Moses, "Go down from this mountain. Your people, the people you brought out of the land of Egypt, have committed a terrible sin. (8) They have very quickly turned away from what I commanded them to do. They made a calf from melted gold for themselves. They are worshiping that calf and making sacrifices to it. The people have said, 'Israel, these are the gods that led you out of Egypt.'" (9) The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen these people, and I know that they are very stubborn. They will always turn against me. (10) So now let me destroy them in anger. Then I will make a great nation from you." (11) But Moses begged the LORD his God, "LORD, don't let your anger destroy your people. You brought them out of Egypt with your great power and strength. (12) But if you destroy your people, the Egyptians will say, 'God planned to do bad things to his people. That is why he led them out of Egypt. He wanted to kill them in the mountains. He wanted to wipe them off the earth.' So don't be angry with your people. Please change your mind! Don't destroy them. (13) Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. These men served you, and you used your name to make a promise to them. You said, 'I will make your people as many as the stars in the sky. I will give your people all this land as I promised. This land will be theirs forever.'" (14) So the LORD felt sorry for the people. He did not do what he said he might do--he did not destroy them. (15) Then Moses went down the mountain. He had the two stone tablets with the agreement on them. The commandments were written on both sides of the stone, front and back. (16) God himself made the stones, and God himself wrote the commandments on them. (17) Joshua heard the noise from the party in camp. He said to Moses, "It sounds like war down in the camp!" (18) Moses answered, "It is not the noise of an army shouting for victory. And it is not the noise of an army crying from defeat. The noise I hear is the sound of music." (19) When Moses came near the camp, he saw the golden calf and the people dancing. He became very angry, and he threw the stone tablets on the ground. The stones broke into several pieces at the bottom of the mountain. (20) Then Moses destroyed the calf that the people had made. He melted it in the fire. Then he ground the gold until it became dust and threw it into the water. Then he forced the Israelites to drink that water. (21) Moses said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you that would make you do this? Why did you lead them to do such a terrible sin?" (22) Aaron answered, "Don't be angry, sir. You know that these people are always ready to do wrong. (23) The people said to me, 'Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don't know what has happened to him. So make us some gods to lead us.' (24) So I told the people, 'If you have any gold rings, then give them to me.' The people gave me their gold. I threw the gold into the fire, and out of the fire came this calf!" (25) Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get out of control. They were being wild, and all their enemies could see them acting like fools. (26) So Moses stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Anyone who wants to follow the LORD should come to me." Everyone from the tribe of Levi ran to Moses. (27) Then Moses said to them, "I will tell you what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Every man must get his sword and go from one end of the camp to the other. You men must kill those who are against the Lord, even if they are your brothers, friends, or neighbors.'" (28) The people from the tribe of Levi obeyed Moses. That day about 3000 of the people died. (29) Then Moses said, "Take your role today as special servants of the LORD because you were willing to fight against even your own sons and brothers. You will receive a blessing for this." (30) The next morning Moses told the people, "You have committed a terrible sin! But now I will go up to the LORD, and maybe I can do something so that he will forgive you for your sin." (31) So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Please listen! These people committed a terrible sin and made a god from gold. (32) Now, forgive them of this sin. If you will not forgive them, then erase my name from your book." (33) But the LORD said to Moses, "The only people I erase from my book are those who sin against me. (34) So now, go down and lead the people where I tell you to go. My angel will go before you and lead you. When the time comes to punish those who sinned, they will be punished." (35) So the LORD caused a terrible sickness to come to the people. He did this because they told Aaron to make the golden calf.

So Moses was called back up onto Mt Sinai to receive a second set of tablets.



Exodus 34:1-35 (Contemporary English Version - CEV) One day the LORD said to Moses, "Cut two flat stones like the first ones I made, and I will write on them the same commandments that were on the two you broke. (2) Be ready tomorrow morning to come up Mount Sinai and meet me at the top. (3) No one is to come with you or to be on the mountain at all. Don't even let the sheep and cattle graze at the foot of the mountain." (4) So Moses cut two flat stones like the first ones, and early the next morning he carried them to the top of Mount Sinai, just as the LORD had commanded. (5) The LORD God came down in a cloud and stood beside Moses there on the mountain. God spoke his holy name, "the LORD." (6) Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, "I am the LORD God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. (7) I keep my promises to my people forever, but I also punish anyone who sins. When people sin, I punish them and their children, and also their grandchildren and great-grandchildren." (8) Moses quickly bowed down to the ground and worshiped the LORD. (9) He prayed, "LORD, if you really are pleased with me, I pray that you will go with us. It is true that these people are sinful and rebellious, but forgive our sin and let us be your people." (10) The LORD said: I promise to perform miracles for you that have never been seen anywhere on earth. Neighboring nations will stand in fear and know that I was the one who did these marvelous things. (11) I will force out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, but you must do what I command you today. (12) Don't make treaties with any of those people. If you do, it will be like falling into a trap. (13) Instead, you must destroy their altars and tear down the sacred poles they use in the worship of the goddess Asherah. (14) I demand your complete loyalty--you must not worship any other god! (15) Don't make treaties with the people there, or you will soon find yourselves worshiping their gods and taking part in their sacrificial meals. (16) Your men will even marry their women and be influenced to worship their gods. (17) Don't make metal images of gods. (18) Don't fail to observe the Festival of Thin Bread in the month of Abib. Obey me and eat bread without yeast for seven days during Abib, because that is the month you left Egypt. (19) The first-born males of your families and of your flocks and herds belong to me. (20) You can save the life of a first-born donkey by sacrificing a lamb; if you don't, you must break the donkey's neck. You must save every first-born son. Bring an offering every time you come to worship. (21) Do your work in six days and rest on the seventh day, even during the seasons for plowing and harvesting. (22) Celebrate the Harvest Festival each spring when you start harvesting your wheat, and celebrate the Festival of Shelters each autumn when you pick your fruit. (23) Your men must come to worship me three times a year, because I am the LORD God of Israel. (24) I will force the nations out of your land and enlarge your borders. Then no one will try to take your property when you come to worship me these three times each year. (25) When you sacrifice an animal on the altar, don't offer bread made with yeast. And don't save any part of the Passover meal for the next day. (26) I am the LORD your God, and you must bring the first part of your harvest to the place of worship. Don't boil a young goat in its mother's milk. (27) The LORD told Moses to put these laws in writing, as part of his agreement with Israel. (28) Moses stayed on the mountain with the LORD for forty days and nights, without eating or drinking. And he wrote down the Ten Commandments, the most important part of God's agreement with his people. (29) Moses came down from Mount Sinai, carrying the Ten Commandments. His face was shining brightly because the LORD had been speaking to him. But Moses did not know at first that his face was shining. (30) When Aaron and the others looked at Moses, they saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him. (31) Moses called out for Aaron and the leaders to come to him, and he spoke with them. (32) Then the rest of the people of Israel gathered around Moses, and he gave them the laws that the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. (33) The face of Moses kept shining, and after he had spoken with the people, he covered his face with a veil. (34) Moses would always remove the veil when he went into the sacred tent to speak with the LORD. And when he came out, he would tell the people everything the LORD had told him to say. (35) They could see that his face was still shining. So after he had spoken with them, he would put the veil back on and leave it on until the next time he went to speak with the LORD.

Exodus 25:1-22 (CEV) The LORD said to Moses: (2) Tell everyone in Israel who wants to give gifts that they must bring them to you. (3) Here is a list of what you are to collect: Gold, silver, and bronze; (4) blue, purple, and red wool; fine linen; goat hair; (5) tanned ram skins; fine leather; acacia wood; (6) olive oil for the lamp; sweet-smelling spices to mix with the oil for dedicating the tent and ordaining the priests; (7) and onyx stones for the sacred vest and the breastpiece. (8) I also want them to build a special place where I can live among my people. (9) Make it and its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. (10) Tell the people to build a chest of acacia wood forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. (11) Cover it inside and out with pure gold and put a gold edging around the lid. (12) Make four gold rings and fasten one of them to each of the four legs of the chest. (13) Make two poles of acacia wood. Cover them with gold (14) and put them through the rings, so the chest can be carried by the poles. (15) Don't ever remove the poles from the rings. (16) When I give you the Ten Commandments written on two flat stones, put them inside the chest. (17) Cover the lid of the chest with pure gold. (18) Then hammer out two winged creatures of pure gold and fasten them to the lid at the ends of the chest. (19) (See 25:18) (20) The creatures must face each other with their wings spread over the chest. (21) Inside it place the two flat stones with the Ten Commandments and put the gold lid on top of the chest. (22) I will meet you there between the two creatures and tell you what my people must do and what they must not do.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (CEV) Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! (5) So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. (6) Memorize his laws (7) and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. (8) Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and foreheads to help you obey them. (9) Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates.


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By approximately 500 BC, the 39 Books that make up the Old Testament were completed, and continued to be preserved in Hebrew on scrolls. Circa B.C. 300 - All of the original Old Testament Hebrew books had been written, collected, and recognized as official, canonical books. (Circa B.C. 250–200 - The Septuagint, a popular Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (39 Old Testament books), is produced. The 14 books of the Apocrypha were also included (see below). There was the Pentateuch, the books of history, the books of poetry, the books of the major and minor prophets. The oldest surviving Hebrew Bible manuscripts including the Dead Sea Scrolls date to about the 2nd century BC. The Hebrew text of the Old Testament is called the Masoretic Text because in its present form it is based upon the Masora—the Hebrew, textual tradition of the Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes (or Masorites).

Ketuvim (Writings)
Psalms
Book of Proverbs
Book of Job 5th century BC
Song of Songs scholarly estimates vary between 950 BC to 200 BC
Book of Ruth 6th century BC or later
Lamentations 6th century BC or later
Ecclesiastes 4th century BC or later
Book of Esther 4th century BC or later
Book of Daniel ca. 165 BC
Book of Ezra-Book of Nehemiah 4th century BCE or slightly later
Chronicles 4th century BCE or slightly late


Nevi'im (Prophets)
Book of Joshua ca. 625 BCE by the Deuteronomist (called D) working with traditional materials
Book of Judges ca. 625 BCE by the Deuteronomist (called D) working with traditional materials
Books of Samuel ca. 625 BCE by the Deuteronomist (called D) working with traditional materials
Books of Kings ca. 625 BCE by the Deuteronomist (called D) working with traditional materials

Book of Isaiah Three main authors and an extensive editing process:
Isaiah 1-39 "Historical Isaiah" with multiple layers of editing, 8th century BCE
Isaiah 40-55 Exilic(Deutero-Isaiah), 6th century BCE
Isaiah 56-66 post-exilic(Trito-Isaiah), 6th-5th century BCE

Book of Jeremiah late 6th century BCE or later
Book of Ezekiel 6th century BCE or later
Book of Hosea 8th century BCE or later
Book of Joel unknown
Book of Amos 8th century BCE or later
Book of Obadiah 6th century BCE or later
Book of Jonah 6th century BCE or later
Book of Micah mid 6th century BCE or later
Book of Nahum 8th century BCE or later
Book of Habakkuk 6th century BCE or later
Book of Zephaniah 7th century BCE or later
Book of Haggai 5th century BCE or later
Book of Zechariah 5th century BCE or later
Book of Malachi Early 5th century BCE or later

The Apocrypha is a set of books not considered authoritative, or divinely inspired, in Judaism and Protestant Christian churches. They are not accepted into the canon of Scripture. A large portion of the Apocrypha, however, was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as part of the biblical canon at the Council of Trent in A.D. 1546. Today, Coptic, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches also accept these books as divinely inspired by God. The word apocrypha means "hidden." These books were written primarily in the time period between the Old and New Testaments ( 420-27 B.C.).

1 and 2 Esdras
Tobit
Judith
Wisdom of Solomon
Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus)
Baruch
Letter of Jeremiah
Song of the Three Young Men
Susanna
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of Manasseh
1 and 2 Maccabees
Additions to the book of Esther
Additions to the book of Daniel


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The Scarlet Thread
Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, was born a Jew and practiced Judaism all His earthly life. The offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, was offered to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles (all who are not Jewish). God had selected the Hebrew people as His People. They are the descendants of Abraham through the promised son, Isaac. He used the Jewish nation as a living testament of God and His love and desire for His People. He made a Covenant with Adam and Eve, with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses, with King David and finally the New Covenant through Jesus Christ which is offered to all people who accept Him as their Savior. The books of the Old Testament have one scarlet thread running throughout all the books - that of Jesus Christ as Messiah. Despite being written by multiple authors over 1500 years, there is one thing that runs through it all and that is Jesus Christ. There is one overarching story about salvation found only in Jesus Christ and His shed Blood.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God shed innocent blood in order to make them a covering from animal skins (Genesis 3:21). This is a picture of the covering of righteousness that we receive when the Lord Jesus Christ died for us.

God told Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited son Isaac (Genesis 22). As Abraham raised the knife, an angel stopped him. Abraham saw a ram caught in a thicket. Isaac was set free, but an innocent animal's blood was shed instead. God sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus. Jesus innocent blood was shed for our sins.

Then, God wanted to deliver His people from bondage in the land of Egypt. On the night of the Passover, God instructed each house to slay a lamb and paint the blood on their door lintel and door posts. Exodus 12:13, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." And the Angel of Death passed over the homes with the blood on the door posts and the first born of the Israelites did not die. Jesus is God's first born Son. Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ are covered by His righteous Blood so that we shall not spend eternity in hell but rather eternity in heaven with Him. The Angel of Death passes over us because we are covered by the Blood of Jesus.

In Joshua 2:18-19, "The spies said: You made us promise to let you and your family live. We will keep our promise, but you can't tell anyone why we were here. You must tie this red rope on your window when we attack, and your father and mother, your brothers, and everyone else in your family must be here with you. We'll take the blame if anyone who stays in this house gets hurt. But anyone who leaves your house will be killed, and it won't be our fault. "I'll do exactly what you said," Rahab promised. Then she sent them on their way and tied the red rope to the window. "
Rahab, the woman spoken to in this passage, was a harlot in the city of Jericho. As the Israelites came to possess the land, her city would be destroyed. But she was delivered, and her life transformed, simply by tying a scarlet rope in her window. This cord represented the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. His Blood was shed for our sins and to save us, to provide us a way out of the wrath that falls on sinners because of their sin. Jesus is our way of escape!

In fact, all of the Bible is about Jesus Christ and His blood redemption.


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Another reason that I believe the Bible is the true Word of God are the fulfilled prophecies. Here is a table that reveals just some prophecies found in each book of the Old Testament and how Jesus fulfilled those prophecies.

JesusPlusNothing.com



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Here are the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament that are still in existence

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls: date from 200 BC - 70 AD and contain the entire book of Isaiah and portions of every other Old Testament book but Esther.
  • Geniza Fragments: portions the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic, discovered in 1947 in an old synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, which date from about 400 AD
  • Ben Asher Manuscripts: five or six generations of this family made copies of the Old Testament using the Masoretic Hebrew text, from 700-950 AD The following are examples of the Hebrew Masoretic text-type.
  • Aleppo Codex: contains the complete Old Testament and is dated around 950 A.D. Unfortunately over one quarter of this Codex was destroyed in anti-Jewish riots in 1947.
  • Codex Leningradensis: The complete Old Testament in Hebrew copied by the last member of the Ben Asher family in AD 1008.

400 BC - The Old Testament began to be translated into Aramaic. This translation is called the Aramaic Targums.
250 BC - The Old Testament was translated into Greek. This translation is known as the Septuagint.

The following is a list of the oldest Greek LXX translations of the Old Testament that are still in existence.

  • Chester Beatty Papyri: Contains nine Old Testament Books in the Greek Septuagint and dates between 100-400 A.D.
  • Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus each contain almost the entire Old Testament of the Greek Septuagint and they both date around 350 A.D.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of some 981 different texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 in eleven caves near the ancient settlement at Khirbet Qumran on the West Bank. The caves are located close to the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. Some 40% of them are copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible. Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew language manuscripts of the Bible were Masoretic texts dating to the 10th century, such as the Aleppo Codex. The biblical manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls push that date back a millennium to the 2nd century BC. The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except, perhaps, for the Book of Esther.


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What about archaeology and the Old Testament? Are there proofs from archaeological studies that support the Bible? I can't list them all but here are a few:

ApologeticsPress.org
2 Kings 20:20 (CEV) Everything else Hezekiah did while he was king, including how he made the upper pool and tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32:30 (CEV) It was Hezekiah who built a tunnel that carried the water from Gihon Spring into the city of Jerusalem. In fact, everything he did was successful!

The tunnel—known today as “Hezekiah’s tunnel”— was carved through solid limestone. The tunnel follows an S-shape under the city of Jerusalem for a length of approximately 1,800 feet. In 1880, two boys swimming at the site discovered an inscription (about 20 feet from the exit) that provided exacting details regarding how the tunnel had been constructed: "...And this was the account of the breakthrough. While the laborers were still working with their picks, each toward the other, and while there were still three cubits to be broken through, the voice of each was heard calling to the other, because there was a crack (or split or overlap) in the rock from the south to the north. And at the moment of the breakthrough, the laborers struck each toward the other, pick against pick. Then water flowed from the spring to the pool for 1,200 cubits. And the height of the rock above the heads of the laborers was 100 cubits" (Price, 1997, p. 267).

Dug in order to keep a steady supply of water pumping into Jerusalem during Sennacherib’s anticipated siege, Hezekiah’s tunnel stands as a strong witness to the accuracy of the biblical historical record of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.


The Moabite Stone, or the Mesha Inscription, since it was written by Mesha, King of Moab. A missionary named F.A. Klein first discovered the stone in August of 1868 (Edersheim, n.d., p. 109). When he initially saw the black basalt stone, it measured approximately 3.5 feet high and 2 feet wide... The Arabs who were in possession of the stone decided to shatter it. By heating it in fire and then pouring cold water on it, they succeeded in breaking the stone into several pieces. The pieces ended up being scattered, but eventually about two-thirds of the original stone ended up being relocated, and currently reside at the Louvre in Paris (Jacobs and McCurdy, 2002). The Mesha stele cites Omri as the king of Israel, just as 1 Kings 16:21-28 indicates. Furthermore, it mentions Ahab, Omri’s son, in close connection with the Moabites, as does 2 Kings 3:4-6. In addition, both the stele and 2 Kings 3:4-6 list Mesha as King of Moab. Later in the inscription, the stele further names the Israelite tribe of Gad, and the Israelite God, Yahweh. Taken as a whole, the Moabite stone remains one of the most impressive pieces of evidence verifying the historical accuracy of the Old Testament.


Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, is among the most important foreign rulers of the Israelite nation. In fact, many Old Testament prophecies revolve around this monarch. The prophet Isaiah documented that the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Not only did Isaiah detail the particular empire to which the Babylonians would fall, but he also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5). Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born (Isaiah prophesied in about 700 BC.

Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd.” In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’ ” (Isaiah 44:28).

In 1879, Hormoz Rasam found a small clay cylinder (about nine inches long, and now residing in the British Museum) in the ancient city of Babylon. Upon the clay cylinder, King Cyrus had inscribed, among other things, his victory over the city of Babylon and his policy toward the nations he had captured, as well as his policy toward their various gods and religions.


Lets look at Sodom and Gomorrha. Here are the Biblical stories:
Genesis 14:1-13 (ERV) Amraphel was the king of Babylonia, Arioch was the king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer was the king of Elam, and Tidal was the king of Goiim. (2) All these kings fought a war against King Bera of Sodom: King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela. (Bela is also called Zoar.) (3) All these kings joined their armies in the Valley of Siddim. (The Valley of Siddim is now the Salt Sea.) (4) These kings had served Kedorlaomer for twelve years. But in the 13th year, they all rebelled against him. (5) So in the 14th year, King Kedorlaomer and the kings with him came to fight against them. Kedorlaomer and the kings with him defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim. They also defeated the Zuzites in Ham. They defeated the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim. (6) And they defeated the Horites who lived in the area from the hill country of Seir to El Paran. (El Paran is near the desert.) (7) Then King Kedorlaomer turned back, went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and defeated the Amalekites. He also defeated the Amorites living in Hazezon Tamar. (8) At that time the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (Zoar) joined together to fight against their enemies in the Valley of Siddim. (9) They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar. So there were four kings fighting against five. (10) There were many holes filled with tar in the Valley of Siddim. When the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their armies ran away, some of the soldiers fell into these holes, but the others ran away to the mountains. (11) So Kedorlaomer and his armies took everything that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah owned. They took all their food and clothing and left. (12) Lot, the son of Abram's brother, was living in Sodom, and they captured him. They also took everything he owned and left. (13) One of the men who had escaped went to Abram the Hebrew and told him what happened. Abram was camped near the trees of Mamre the Amorite. Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner had made an agreement to help each other, and they had also signed an agreement to help Abram.

Genesis 14:14-16 When Abram learned that Lot was captured, he called all of his family together. There were 318 trained soldiers. He led the men and chased the enemy all the way to the town of Dan. (15) That night he and his men made a surprise attack against the enemy. They defeated them and chased them to Hobah, north of Damascus. (16) Then Abram brought back everything the enemy had stolen, as well as the women and servants, his nephew Lot, and everything Lot owned.

Genesis 18:17-33 The LORD said to himself, "Should I tell Abraham what I am going to do now? (18) Abraham will become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on earth will be blessed because of him. (19) I have made a special agreement with him. I did this so that he would command his children and his descendants to live the way the LORD wants them to. I did this so that they would live right and be fair. Then I, the LORD, can give him what I promised." (20) Then the LORD said, "I have heard many times that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are very evil. (21) I will go and see if they are as bad as I have heard. Then I will know for sure." (22) So the men turned and started walking toward Sodom while Abraham stood there before the LORD. (23) Then Abraham approached him and asked, "Will you destroy the good people while you are destroying those who are evil? (24) What if there are fifty good people in that city? Will you still destroy it? Surely you will save the city for the fifty good people living there. (25) Surely you would not destroy the city. You would not destroy fifty good people to kill those who are evil. If that happened, those who are good would be the same as those who are evil--both would be punished. As the judge of the whole world, surely you would do the right thing!" (26) Then the LORD said, "If I find fifty good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city." (27) Then Abraham said, "Compared to you, Lord, I am only dust and ashes. But let me bother you again and ask you this question. (28) What if there are five less than fifty? Will you destroy a whole city because of just five people?" The Lord said, "If I find forty-five good people there, I will not destroy the city." (29) Abraham spoke again. He said, "And if you find only forty good people there, will you destroy the city?" The Lord said, "If I find forty good people, I will not destroy the city." (30) Then Abraham said, "Lord, please don't be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If only thirty good people are in the city, will you destroy it?" The Lord said, "If I find thirty good people there, I will not destroy the city." (31) Then Abraham said, "Lord, may I bother you again and ask, what if there are twenty good people?" The Lord answered, "If I find twenty good people, I will not destroy the city." (32) Then Abraham said, "Lord, please don't be angry with me, but let me bother you this one last time. If you find ten good people there, what will you do?" The Lord said, "If I find ten good people in the city, I will not destroy it." (33) The LORD finished speaking to Abraham and left. Then Abraham went back home.

Gen 19:17-29 So after the two men brought Lot and his family out of the city, one of the men said, "Now run to save your life! Don't look back at the city, and don't stop anywhere in the valley. Run until you are in the mountains. If you stop, you will be destroyed with the city!" (18) But Lot said to the two men, "Sirs, please don't force me to run so far! (19) You have been very kind to me, your servant. You have been very kind to save me, but I cannot run all the way to the mountains. What if I am too slow and something happens? I will be killed! (20) Look, there is a very small town near here. Let me run to that town. I can run there and be safe." (21) The angel said to Lot, "Very well, I'll let you do that. I will not destroy that town. (22) But run there quickly. I cannot destroy Sodom until you are safely in that town." (That town is named Zoar, because it is a small town.) (23) Lot was entering the town as the sun came up, (24) and the LORD began to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He caused fire and burning sulfur to fall from the sky. (25) He destroyed the whole valley--all the cities, the people living in the cities, and all the plants in the valley. (26) Lot's wife was following behind him and looked back at the city. When she did, she became a block of salt. (27) Early the next morning, Abraham got up and went to the place where he stood before the LORD. (28) Abraham looked down into the valley toward the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He saw clouds of smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. (29) God destroyed the cities in the valley, but he remembered what Abraham had said. So God sent Lot away from those cities before destroying them.

The Valley of Siddim is also known as the Salt Sea and the Dead Sea. On the east side are six river valleys that flow into the Dead Sea. Along five of these wadies, ancient cities have been discovered. The northern most is named Bab edh-Drha. In 1924, Dr. William Albright excavated at this site, searching for Sodom and Gomorrah. He discovered Bab edh-Drha was a heavily fortified city. More digging was done in 1965, 1967, and 1973.  The archaeologists discovered a 23-inch thick wall around the city, along with numerous houses and a large temple. Outside the city were large burial sites where thousands of skeletons from the Bronze Age were unearthed. This would be about the time Abraham would have lived.There was evidence of a massive fire which destroyed the city. It lay buried under a several feet of ash. Dr. Bryant Wood stated that a fire began on the roofs, eventually the burning roof collapsed into the interior. This was the case in every house excavated. Wood states, "The evidence would suggest that this site of Bab edh-Drha is the biblical city of Sodom." Five cities of the plain are mentioned in Genesis 14: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zoar, and Zeboiim. Remnants of these other four cities have also been found along the Dead Sea. Studies revealed that they had been abandoned at the same time about 2450–2350 B.C. Many archaeologists believe if Bab ed-Drha is Sodom, Numeria is Gomorrah, and es-Safi is Zoar. These cities were covered in the same ash as Bab ed-Drha. Numeria, believed to be Gomorrah, had seven feet of ash in some places. In every one of the destroyed cities ash deposits made the soil a spongy charcoal, making it impossible to rebuild. According to the Bible, four of the five cities were destroyed, leaving Lot to flee to Zoar. Zoar was not destroyed by fire, but was abandoned during this period.

There have been many archaeological finds that have supported Biblical events. Thousands of facts in the Bible are not capable of verification because evidence has been lost. But it is remarkable that where confirmation has come to light, the Bible survives. It has been vindicated over and over again.


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And, finally, I believe in the inerrancy of the Word of God because the writings indicate a knowledge of sciences that did not exist at the time they were written. For instance, men thought the world was flat.
Isaiah 40:22 (Modern King James Version - MKJV) It is He who sits on the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in
The book of Isaiah was written sometime between 740 and 680 BC. This is at least 300 years before Aristotle suggested that the earth might be a sphere in this book On the Heavens


Air is a real substance and it has weight. It weighs 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level. Anything with mass has weight, and we know air has mass because we can feel it when the wind blows.
Job 28:24-25 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible - LITV) For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under all the heavens; (25) making a weight for the winds and measuring out the waters by measure.


Men could not dive to the ocean depths like they can in modern times. How did then know the ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains? They didn't but God did!
Jonah 2:1 (MKJV) And Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly,
Jonah 2:4-10 Then I said, I am cast off from Your eyes, yet I will look again toward Your holy temple. (5) Waters encompassed me, even to the soul; the depth closed around me; the seaweed was bound to my head. (6) I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was around me forever; yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God. (7) When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Jehovah; and my prayer came in to You, into Your holy temple. (8) They who take heed to lying vanities forsake their kindness; (9) but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will fulfill that which I have vowed. Salvation belongs to Jehovah! (10) And Jehovah spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out on the dry land.

2 Samuel 22:16 (MKJV) And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were uncovered, at the rebuking of Jehovah, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.


What about germs? How would you prevent transmission of germs and viruses in the days before hand sanitizers, antibiotics, germicides, antibacterials? Even today, doctors tell us to wash our hands many times throughout the day. And we should stay away from people who are contagious. Think about the Ebola Virus and how contagious it is. Officials have to get rid of everything the infected person touched.
Leviticus 15:13 (ERV) "When it comes time for a man with a discharge to be made clean, he must wait seven days. Then he must wash his clothes and bathe his body in running water. Then he will become clean.
Water is fresh at the source because it has usually just been put there by rain, which tends to be clean, or even better, is a spring fed by an aquifer. It is filtered through rock and gravel which pull out all the usual shit that's suspended in it. The water at the source also hasn't passed by fields full of animals (or worse, people) so hasn't been contaminated by their waste


Dinosaurs?
Job 40:15-24 (MKJV) Now behold behemoth, which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox; (16) see, now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the muscles of his belly. (17) He hangs his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. (18) His bones are like tubes of bronze; his bones are like bars of iron. (19) He is the first of the ways of God; his Maker brings near his sword. (20) For the mountains yield food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there. (21) He lies under the lotus, in the hiding place of the reed and the marsh. (22) The lotus trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook surround him. (23) Behold, though a flood presses, he does not run away; he feels safe even if Jordan swells up to his mouth. (24) Shall any take him before his eyes, or pierce through his nose with cords?

Job 41:1-34 (ERV) "Can you catch Leviathan with a fishhook? Can you tie his tongue with a rope? (2) Can you put a rope through his nose or a hook through his jaw? (3) Will he beg you to let him go free? Will he speak to you with gentle words? (4) Will he make an agreement with you and promise to serve you forever? (5) Will you play with Leviathan as you would play with a bird? Will you put a rope on him so that your girls can play with him? (6) Will fishermen try to buy him from you? Will they cut him into pieces and sell him to the merchants? (7) Can you throw spears into his skin or head? (8) "If you ever lay a hand on Leviathan, you will never do it again! Just think about the battle that would be! (9) Do you think you can defeat him? Well, forget it! There is no hope. Just looking at him will scare you! (10) No one is brave enough to wake him up and make him angry. "Well, no one can challenge me either! (11) I owe nothing to anyone. Everything under heaven belongs to me. (12) "I will tell you about Leviathan's legs, his strength, and his graceful shape. (13) No one can pierce his skin. It is like armor! (14) No one can force him to open his jaws. The teeth in his mouth scare people. (15) His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together. (16) They are so close to each other that no air can pass between them. (17) The shields are joined to each other. They hold together so tightly that they cannot be pulled apart. (18) When Leviathan sneezes, it is like lightning flashing out. His eyes shine like the light of dawn. (19) Burning torches come from his mouth. Sparks of fire shoot out. (20) Smoke pours from his nose like burning weeds under a boiling pot. (21) His breath sets coals on fire, and flames shoot from his mouth. (22) His neck is very powerful. People are afraid and run away from him. (23) There is no soft spot in his skin. It is as hard as iron. (24) His heart is like a rock; he has no fear. It is as hard as a millstone. (25) When he gets up, even the strongest people are afraid. They run away when he swings his tail. (26) Swords, spears, and darts only bounce off when they hit him. These weapons don't hurt him at all! (27) He breaks iron as easily as straw. He breaks bronze like rotten wood. (28) Arrows don't make him run away. Rocks thrown at him seem as light as chaff. (29) When a wood club hits him, it feels to him like a piece of straw. He laughs when anyone throws a spear at him. (30) The skin on his belly is like sharp pieces of broken pottery. He leaves tracks in the mud like a threshing board. (31) He stirs up the water like a boiling pot. He makes it bubble like a pot of boiling oil. (32) When he swims, he leaves a sparkling path behind him. He stirs up the water and makes it white with foam. (33) No animal on earth is like him. He is an animal made without fear. (34) He looks down on the proudest of creatures. He is king over all the wild animals."


How about astrology? There are estimates of 1021 stars—which is a lot of stars. The number of grains of sand on the earth’s seashores is estimated to be 1025.
Jeremiah 33:22 (ERV) But I will give many descendants to my servant David and to the tribe of Levi. They will be as many as the stars in the sky--no one can count all the stars. And they will be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore--no one can count the grains of sand."


Men did not know that the moon affects the tides. But God knew!
Jeremiah 31:35 (LITV) So says Jehovah, who gives the sun for a light by day, the laws of the moon, and the stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar, Jehovah of Hosts is His name.


Men didn't know that the earth was suspended in space. But God knew!
Job 26:7 (MKJV) He stretches out the north over the empty place, and He hung the earth on nothing.


The blood carries water and nourishment to every cell, maintains the body’s temperature, and removes the waste material of the body’s cells. The blood also carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
Genesis 9:4 (CEV) But life is in the blood, and you must not eat any meat that still has blood in it.
Leviticus 17:14 (CEV) The life of every living creature is in its blood. That's why I have forbidden you to eat blood and why I have warned you that anyone who does will no longer belong to my people.


Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then precipitated—that is, become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. Clouds are a visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere. (Wikipedia)
Psalms 135:7 (MKJV) He causes the vapors to rise from the end of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings wind out of His storehouses.

Jeremiah 10:13 (MKJV) When He utters His voice, there is a noise of many waters in the heavens. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of His treasures.

Job 36:27-28 (MKJV) For He draws up the drops of water; they distill rain into mist, (28) which the clouds pour down and drop on man plentifully.

Job 26:8 (MKJV) He binds up the waters in His thick clouds; and the cloud is not torn under them.



I think this is enough for today. My next study will be on the history of the New Testament and why I believe it to be the trueth.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Church

Church - The derivation of the word is generally said to be from the Greek kuriakon, "belonging to the Lord" or "the Lord's house". The Greek word for church was cclesia, originally meant an assembly. The word is used to denote the assemblage of Christians together as in "We go to church on Sundays". It also refers to the whole body of believers who have been redeemed by the Lamb of God as in "Christ is the head of the church". Sometimes it was used to denote believers in a certain place such as "We need to pray for the church in Iraq." The church visible (called visible because the members are known and the meetings are public) consists of all true believers in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation.

Unfortunately, the visible church usually has a mix of unbelievers as well. They may have deluded themselves into believing they are believers or they may recognize they are unbelievers but for their own reasons, they still attend church. Maybe it gives them the community they need or validation that they are a good person. We can only hope that they will one day see the truth as it's presented in their church and their hearts will be turned to the Lord.

The church invisible “consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof.” This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called “invisible” because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who “searches the heart.” “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19). - Easton's Bible Dictionary

In the Gospel of Matthew, the church is spoken of as "the kingdom" thirty six times. It is also referred to as Christ's flock with Himself as the Shepherd; He is the vine and we are the branches; and the church is the salt and light of the world (i.e. we bring the light of salvation to a dark world and we bring the good flavor and preservative of salt to a rotten, dying world).

Today, there are many denominations within the Protestant Christian aegis - Baptist, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Anglicans, etc and that's not counting the Catholic and Orthodox religions who also preach Jesus Christ as Head and Savior. Each of these denominations may have started well but ended up, many times, becoming the very thing they repulsed when they started their denominations to begin with. Baptist churches have just as much rules and regulations as Catholic and Assembly of God and Church of Christ. It seems to be the natural progression to start with the excitement of being led by the Holy Spirit, a church with Christ in charge and as the Head. But then we, as human beings, begin to add to and subtract from so that soon we are becoming just as regulated and man-controlled as all the other denominations. We begin to insist that baptism is rightly done this way or that way. We have a written schedule or service that we pass out at the door called a bulletin. We follow that to the letter and to the minute so that we can let out on time. Heaven forbid that God should jump out of the box we put Him in and really surprise us one day with His Presence! We read the prayers and read the responsive readings, recite liturgy and sing approved hymns. We partake in the Lord's Supper (Communion) in certain ways and our's is the only right way. Even evangelical churches are now becoming set in their ways and legalistic in their way of doing things. We expect people to follow all the rules that we've developed in order to be considered a Christian and if you can't follow the rules, you are a backslider and you aren't want in this church.

Please don't misunderstand me. There is balance in all things and God is in the balance. Yes, if you are openly, brazenly, willfully, delightedly rebelling by living in sin, then you may need some church discipline. Loving discipline, caring discipline, sensitive confrontation. But the other end of the spectrum is that nobody is perfect and sinless except Jesus Christ which is why we are all in need of Him to start with. The church is made up of human beings who are sinners saved by the work Christ has done not on anything we have done. So, in a sense, we are all hypocrites in the eyes of the world. The Bible says we shouldn't curse and yet, if I hit my hand with a hammer and curse word flies out, I have sinned. The person next to me might hear and think, "Hmpf! And she thinks she's a Christian because she goes to church." That person doesn't know my heart. They don't know that I asked God's forgiveness for my outburst because it was a private moment between God and I. So yes, I sinned and I was a hypocrite because I sinned even though I'm a Christian and a church goer. But I still have a relationship with God because Jesus forgave me. As long as I repent, Jesus is always there to forgive. Only He knows the truth: whether I'm happy in my sin and rebellion or I hate my sin and desire forgiveness.

And there is balance in religious practices. It can be dry, dull, cold, devoid of meaning to some or warm, loving, worship to others. I can read a prayer and think, "How boring" or I can read a prayer as though it were coming from my heart direct to God's heart. So religious practices and ceremonies are bad or good depending on the person and their relationship with God.

So where does that leave us as far as the church? Which church do we attend? Which denomination do we associate with? When I was a child, my parents were Baptist to the core and whatever town we moved to (Dad was a TVA Engineer and we moved around a lot in my first 8 yrs of life) they joined the First Baptist Church of ______ .  This was in the early 1960's, during the Civil Rights Era. One time, my parents were new in a town and there were two First Baptists in the town's center. They got to church late that day. The services had already started and they pulled into one of the First Baptist Church's parking lots, got out and went in only to find that my lily white parents had chosen the black First Baptist Church. The good thing was that the ushers were very kind and offered to seat them. The bad thing was my parents were so mortified to be the only white people in the church that they left and crossed the street to the white First Baptist Church. If you think they were racists, you must understand the times and the fact that my parents taught me about black people being just as much God's children as white people DESPITE the times they grew up in. They were the least racist of their generation. And they always felt guilty that they left the service that morning but, during those times, in a small southern town in the mountains of Tennessee, I'm sure, for all involved, they did the right thing. At that time, in that place, it just wasn't the thing that was done without repercussions on both sides. Now, thank God, it's a different time and we can worship together without repercussions!

But back to our subject. Churches seem to be hemorrhaging congregants (members, active participators). Here in America, I believe a large part of the blame goes to society's hostility to Christianity. Our government has gone along with it by separating church and state (despite this is NOT in the U.S. Constitution, but rather the First Amendment is freedom for religion). Our schools no longer can include memorizing the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Golden Rule, and John 3:16 in the curriculum like we did when I was in grammar school. Schools can no longer have prayers read every morning, once a week or once a year, not even at sporting events. Schools can no longer offer courses in Bible or tell Bible stories to grammar school students. I remember when I was in the 1st ad 2nd grades, we had a lady who brought these beautiful felt boards to class and told us Bible stories using the felt boards and figures to illustrate. That was in my public school. We learned honesty, friendship, cooperation, being kind, faithfulness, etc from those Bible studies. But it's not allowed in our schools any more. We also have TV, movies, news and music pouring out filth all day long. Then, more and more, people mock, ridicule, and pick on people who are Christians and have beliefs in Jesus Christ. Our society has become more intolerant of Christianity and, yet, more tolerant of any other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, New Age, Wiccan, etc.

Although I believe this to be the biggest reason our church numbers are going down, I have other theories that contribute to it. Some churches are becoming too rigid. They are so legalistic, impersonal, inflexible. They will not accept any other Bible but the King James Version. They will not allow their ministers to preach anything but what's prescribed according to the church calendar. They will not let a pastor have a new revelation to share with his members.

On the other hand, some churches are too flexible, too culturally relevant, too willing to accept everything that comes down the pike. Suddenly churches are changing their names from First Baptist Church of _____ to The Praise Church or The Community Church. To deliberately confuse people about your denomination is a little deceptive to me. Then there are those who attend church leadership seminars that teach you how to increase your numbers. Or they hire church growth consultants. Let's do away with the church book store. That's so last century. Now it's coffee bars with friendly barristas. Let's put the pastor on a stool in a sweater and jeans instead of a 3 piece suit. Let's paint the church ceiling black, add colored lights and have a praise band. Let's conduct worship as though it were a rock concert. Let's keep the preaching to a "feel good story" so that we don't offend anyone, just in case there is a non-believer attending who might get thrown off and never come back. Let's quit having Sunday School, that's old fashioned. Now we are going to call it cell groups. Let's start encouraging our members to have interesting groups like a scrapbooking group, a motorcycle group, a fishing group, a group for single mom's, etc. This is suppose to promote friendships and community within the church.

Let me say that there is nothing wrong with any of that, especially the coffee bar! LOL! I love and need my coffee. But remember, God is in the balance. I think it goes back to the intention of the heart. These new fangled things can be just as fake and shallow as the old fangled ways. It can lead to entertainment rather than worship. It can become just as rigid in it's ways as the old ways were. Which is where people leave the church. When they realize it's just a fad, a trend, a way to get them in the door and take their money... they won't stay no matter how fancy or expensive your programs are.

Most pastors, leaders, churches will say they are trying to win the lost and integrate new believers into the church. I pray that it's true, but I believe it's less true than even they think it is. I believe in many cases it's pride, ego, greed, ambition. Let's face it, the pressure from church leadership, congregations, the world, is to have a mega-church. A mega-church means you have money to spend, and especially to spend on pastor's salaries. You have money to spend on perks and benefits. You have money to spend on traveling and housing allowances. Some of these ministry leaders have their own jets, multiple mansions, expensive clothes, jewelry, etc. They are the "rock stars" of the religious community. Some even have people who are so devoted to them they are almost literally body slaves. They will be running to take their coat, bring them water, move their chair for them, run their errands, etc. It's like they are groupies. These churches will have the biggest buildings and programs so that the whole world knows they are superstars! Money flooding in to keep those huge buildings maintained and comfy. They have the best of everything. And they begin tightening control to keep it under them. I mean, if I could choose a career, what better career to have than to be a pastor at a mega church! I wouldn't lack for money, fame, comfort and it would all be under my control! Wouldn't that tempt you? Well, it tempts any man or woman! They may start off with a right heart but it doesn't take long for these things to turn their heads. It's why so many end up in scandals too. It takes an extraordinary person to be able to withstand these temptations. Any man/woman would be blinded by ambition, would become greedy for more, would begin making decisions based on how it would affect the numbers and dollars instead of the hearts. And, sadly, it's not just the pastors but the church leadership, staff and upper church laity that pressures pastors to put on a dog and pony show to get in more numbers and dollars. A perfectly good pastor who is not bringing more people in, may soon be shown the door. If he isn't charismatic enough, not entertaining enough to draw the crowds, then he's considered a failure.

So what do you look for in a pastor? Someone who is educated. But then there are many educated fools too. Someone who is good with people. But then many shysters are charming just read Elmer Gantry. Someone who is organized and has good administrative and managerial abilities. But it's not a corporation they are organizing with profit as the sole motive (or is it?). Someone who has good counseling skills and a background in counseling. But how many counselors have given bad advice or gotten tangled up in scandal? It's very difficult to decide what to look for in a pastor and a church. I cannot know the heart of a man I've just met so how do I vote for him or accept him as my pastor by joining the church?

So what is church? How do I recognize the real church, the invisible church? We are but humans with a limited scope. We can't read minds, we can't know hearts. All we can go by is what we see and hear. Fortunately, we have a secret weapon. Every true believer has the Holy Spirit within them. In fact, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation. Much like a King would wear a seal ring that he used by pressing it into wax. It was to let anyone know that the communique was from the real King. Well, the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer and let's anyone know that we are true believers, members of the real catholic ("catholic" meaning the universal church NOT as in denomination) church.

With the Holy Spirit in me, I have the Father's direction if I will but listen to it. I'm not going church shopping and look for the church that meets everything on my list. I'm going to church and look to see if I see God there and if God prompts me. How do I know an apple tree is an apple tree? Because I see the apples on it! If I see the fruit of God in the church, then it's worth a good look. My human-ness can only look at results or the fruit to determine if it's godly or not. But I don't stop there because my human-ness can be wrong. I can misinterpret what I see or hear if I'm not careful. So I must take it to God in prayer and ask His guidance. I once read something that changed my life. God wants us to do His Will, to follow Him, to obey Him. If I want that too, then it's going to happen! I place my will in submission to His Will that's the key. If I want what He wants, it will happen! It's not a tight rope. If I'm truly submissive to His direction it becomes a path that broadens as we go not a tight rope that get's smaller until we fall off. Now if I want MY way against God's way, we got a problem. We have to be sure that we truly want God's way; that there are no hidden agendas in our heart. In this case, God wants me to attend church and I want to attend church. So I can pray that God will lead me to the right church, the place where I'm suppose to be. Then trust that He will.

And don't select a church based on your human List of Wants. For instance, let's say a family with 3 children are looking for a church. Here is what their List of Wants might look like:

* A good children's program with lot's of money. A church that has a children's wing, with a painted street scene, with a playground that has rubber matts, A church that has a dedicated children's ministry pastor with a long degree list and all the whiz bangs that go with it.

* A youth group that has all the bells and whistles - jumbo trons, their own service, church apps for their smart phones, a youth group Facebook page and/or website, multiple youth events and activities to keep them busy in a safe environment. A dedicated youth group minister and youth praise band. Their own sanctuary painted black with colored strobe lights.

* A coffee bar in the lobby and Wednesday night suppers.

* Lots of "outreach" programs to keep us all busy in healthy, safe ways

* Easy parking, comfy pews, perfect heat/ac and jumbo trons with professional videos developed to bring the church news (instead of relying on the old church bulletins) or play christian videos on.

* Some married fellowship groups so you can make friends: a young married supper club; a group that takes trips together; a men's bicycle club; a women's craft circle, etc

Are any of these "wants" wrong? Not necessarily. But they are if that's why you are going to church. Remember, church is the assembling of true believers with GOD as the focus, the head. It's not about us. It's about HIM! Back in the old days, people endured hardship to get to church. Then they sat on hard log pews without heat/ac, without a sound system or electronic and digital aids, without an educated preacher, without orchestras or even a piano. Why? Because they wanted to learn about God, worship God and encourage each other in their faith. We must get our priorities straight. There is no problem with fellowship with other believers and having friends and a good time together. There is no problems with newer music or having a cup of coffee in the sanctuary. The problem is when this becomes our center of attention and God is no longer the center of attention.

The pastor may be a wonderful pastor, but if the people don't have their hearts in line with a desire to meet God when they go to church, it's not going to work. And vice versa. There may be many in the church who are longing to meet with God when they go on Sunday mornings, but the pastor is working on his own agenda. It is up to each of us to have our hearts right, to have our relationship with God current, to have a spirit that is open to His leading, to have our desires second to His. We must find a church that nurtures that in us. Where we look forward to going to church NOT because we can get coffee or hear some good music or meet our friends but because we want to meet with God, learn about God, worship God, sing to God! We have a love relationship with Him and church is a place where we should be able to go and look forward to meeting God.

The birth of the church happened on the Day of Pentecost. There had been individual believers before then like the 12 disciples (most of who became the 12 Apostles after Christ's death and resurrection). But on that day, the Holy Spirit was released to dwell in believers.

Easy To Read Version (ERV) - Acts 2:1-8 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (2) Suddenly a noise came from heaven. It sounded like a strong wind blowing. This noise filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) They saw something that looked like flames of fire. The flames were separated and stood over each person there. (4) They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak different languages. The Holy Spirit was giving them the power to do this. (5) There were some godly Jews in Jerusalem at this time. They were from every country in the world. (6) A large crowd came together because they heard the noise. They were surprised because, as the apostles were speaking, everyone heard in their own language. (7) They were all amazed at this. They did not understand how the apostles could do this. They said, "Look! These men we hear speaking are all from Galilee. (8) But we hear them in our own languages. How is this possible? We are from all these different places...(Acts 2:11b-21)  Some of us were born Jews, and others have changed their religion to worship God like Jews. We are from these different countries, but we can hear these men in our own languages! We can all understand the great things they are saying about God." (12) The people were all amazed and confused. They asked each other, "What is happening?" (13) But others were laughing at the apostles, saying they were drunk from too much wine. (14) Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles. He spoke loudly so that all the people could hear. He said, "My Jewish brothers and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me. I will tell you something you need to know. Listen carefully. (15) These men are not drunk as you think; it's only nine o'clock in the morning. (16) But Joel the prophet wrote about what you see happening here today. This is what he wrote: (17) 'God says: In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will have special dreams. (18) In those days I will pour out my Spirit on my servants, men and women, and they will prophesy. (19) I will work wonders in the sky above. I will cause miraculous signs on the earth below. There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke. (20) The sun will be changed into darkness, and the moon will be as red as blood. Then the great and glorious day of the Lord will come. (21) And everyone who trusts in the Lord will be saved.'Acts 2:41-47 Then those who accepted what Peter said were baptized. On that day about 3000 people were added to the group of believers. (42) The believers spent their time listening to the teaching of the apostles. They shared everything with each other. They ate together and prayed together. (43) Many wonders and miraculous signs were happening through the apostles, and everyone felt great respect for God. (44) All the believers stayed together and shared everything. (45) They sold their land and the things they owned. Then they divided the money and gave it to those who needed it. (46) The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the Temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. (47) The believers praised God and were respected by all the people. More and more people were being saved every day, and the Lord was adding them to their group.


Here is a snapshot picture of the first church 2,000 years ago. The centrality of the message was salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, in John 12:32-33 (Modern King James Version - MKJV), "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself." But He said this, signifying what kind of death He was about to die."

If Jesus is the center of our church, the center of our hearts, the center of our family, then we are on the right track. But if we've tried to control Him and keep Him in a box, where we let Him out or stuff Him back in according to our whims, then we've gotten off track. You notice that Jesus didn't say, "If you will have a big comfortable, beautiful church with lots of money and programs, then all men will be drawn to the church." He said, "If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me."

He was lifted on the cross to die for our sins, then He was resurrected to give us eternal life. In our churches, we must lift Him up and show Him to all who come in the doors. We must witness and testify of salvation through His death on the cross and forgiveness and eternal life through His resurrection. We must worship Him because of this. We must listen to His Words because He is the love of our life. We must hang on every Word He speaks. We must sing of His goodness. We must pray for others to know Him. We must love in His Name. We must encourage and edify each other to keep the faith. This is church! And I believe it's the only true way to draw people to Christ.

One day, God showed me the reason why the New Jerusalem, the true City of God, that will be established upon Jesus' Second Coming, has streets of gold, gates of huge pearls, foundations of precious gemstones and mansions for every believer.... it's because we could care less about gold, silver, gemstones and mansions! We will thirst and hunger only for the true treasure of Jesus Christ! We will finally be beyond the temptations of worldly things. Our only desire will be for Him and Him only. Therefore He can safely give us all things. There will no longer be a temptation to make them into idols. On this earth, in our human nature, we let greed and pride drive us into making idols of money, fame, power, control. But, we will no longer be tempted by these things. He will willingly and delightedly give us anything we want because our true desire is Him first and always.

I believe it is much the same with church. When we finally get our priorities straight and we put Him first, all things will follow in the right order. He must be lifted up! He must be the center of our church! He must be the one in control, not us! When we seek Him first, then all other things will come together in the way it's suppose to.

Matthew 6:33-34 (Contemporary English Version - CEV)  But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. (34)  Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.

How dare we tell God how the order of the service should go? How dare we tell God, "Don't show up on Sunday mornings because we are afraid You will scare away newcomers"! How dare we tell members of the church not to lift their hands in praise or kneel on their knees in reverence! How dare we snub anyone because their prayers were too loud! How dare we put a stop to the worship of God because time is getting away from us and the attendees of the 2nd service will get nettled! Why can't they come on in and join in the worship? How dare we try to box God in and give Him a list of our instructions telling Him what He can and cannot do!

So, pray to God first and ask Him to lead you to a church. Make sure your desire is His desire. Next, look for a church that puts God first and foremost in the services. Not a man, not a singing group, not a famous evangelical but Jesus Christ and Him crucified and raised again. Then look at the fruits of the church. Are people being truly saved (versus excited and pumped up instead of really saved)? Are people learning from the Word of God? Are people exhibiting love for others? Are those struggling with sin finding a home or are they virtually tossed out? Are they learning that they have a friend in Jesus, one who forgives them when they fail, one who lives inside them to help them so they don't fail so much? Are people having needs ministered to and are the lost approached with a helping hand? Such as a homeless ministry, a food kitchen, help for poverty stricken families, etc. Many churches have these "programs" which are wonderful as long as Jesus is the reason!!! Are people loving God in heart and action?

So I'm not telling you to attend a certain denomination. I'm not telling you to follow a certain preacher. I'm not telling you to go to the church with the biggest steeple. You will not find a perfect church. Churches don't do it all right. Pastors aren't 100% every day. That is an unrealistic expectation. But look for the church where God is the leader, the head, the center of attention, the only wise King. I had a wonderful church for many years but the last few there were a disaster with some things that I could not go along with. Things that went against my understanding of God, my beliefs. They were not so childish as not liking the color of the new carpet or having a disagreement with one person. I felt they were more serious and deserved some careful prayer and change in direction from the leadership (not just the pastor). I was not only snubbed by those in leadership but attacked. In the 25 yrs we had attended that church, we were never troublemakers. This was not a pattern in us. Why they thought we suddenly were making trouble, I don't understand. So we left our church and are still looking for a church several years later. I want to find another church and I've prayed to find one. I have attended many in my town and just haven't found the right fit for us. But God won't let us down. Meanwhile I've joined a wonderful women's Bible study which has acted as a gathering of believers for me. I want to find a church, God wants me to find a church, it will happen. I have to believe that, as of this time, there is a season and a reason why we haven't found one yet. Meanwhile, I'm not looking for big show, entertainment value, lots of programs to keep me busy, fashionable trends, being culturally relevant. Or course, some churches are good churches but they aren't my style. I'm not a country music lover so those who lean heavily towards bluegrass gospel are not really my style. I don't look down on them, I think they have just as much to offer as any other church. Some people are classical music lovers so a contemporary service would be hard for them. That's OK. We are all different. The main thing is that we look for a church where Jesus is the reason for it's existence. Whether it's a fancy church or a small chapel, whether they sing new praise songs or old hymns, it's the hearts that matter. It's not suppose to be about us, but about HIM!

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