2015 in review January 1, 2016Posted by regan222 in Uncategorized.
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 840 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.
On the Origin of Evil In Creation October 12, 2015Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
Tags: Christianity, church, Evil, faith, Jesus Christ, religion, Satan
This is mainly for me but if it helps someone then I am blessed. If you disagree, that’s OK also.
On the Nature and Origin of Evil in Creation
The origin of evil has been a stumbling stone almost since the appearance of Mankind on the planet. It is difficult for us to rationalize the existence of a perfect creator God with the existence of imperfection in the universe. Great intellects like Augustine and Einstein wrestled with the question of the origin of evil and many Christians today are plagued by the same quandary. How can a good God, a perfect God, allow evil to be? Did He create it? Where exactly did “evil” come from?
Einstein was a follower of the Jewish faith. As such, he was shaped by his culture just as we all are. He could easily rationalize a creator God because he understood that cause always precedes effect in our universe. The idea that the universe sprang into being from nothing for no reason was as ludicrous to Einstein as it should be to us. However, shaped as he was by his Jewish culture, there was within him a need for rational and logical rules. This can also be seen in Einstein’s abhorrence of the Quantum Mechanics theory. He could not rationalize the existence of evil outside or apart from the creator and yet he could not indict God with the willful creation of Evil.
The answer to the question lies in defining evil. We tend to anthropomorphize evil into a personality. We equate evil with Satan. We give it personality, or at least, existence. The key to the quandary is found here. None of these things are true. Evil is not a quantity, a quality, a substance, or an object within creation. Evil is simply the absence of God. Anything, apart from God, is less than God, and thus, imperfect. We assume that evil is a created thing, when, in fact, it is the absence of something; God.
We can draw a parallel between the appearance of evil in the universe and the appearance of the universe itself. In Genesis we read that
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
(Genesis 1: 3 – 4)
God created light but he did not have to create darkness. It exists as the absence of light. God perceived the light based on the way it interacted with darkness and in this same way we know that light exists. It was created. Darkness, on the other hand, cannot be created. It is a state apart from light. It does not exist as an entity. Light always banishes darkness because darkness is simply light’s absence.
In this same way, evil is the absence of God. Imperfection is the absence of perfection. God is defined by his nature, just as everything is. He is, of all things in the universe, the only example of perfection. He is a singularity in three aspects. The concept that there is one God only is fundamental to existence.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
(1 Timothy 2:5)
As a singularity, God was alone in eternity past. He chose, for His own reasons, to share his existence with others (e.g. angels, people, animals, etc.). According to God’s inherent nature, he had three choices.
- Not to create at all and continue as a singularity.
- Create exact copies of himself, indistinguishable from Himself, and thus, perfect.
- Create beings that were not Him, and thus, were, by definition, imperfect.
There are no other options. Perfection is impossible apart from God. Anything created that is not God would be less than God, even if created BY Him, and so, imperfect. Had God chosen to create perfect beings of His own nature, or in other words, to duplicate Himself, it would have violated the nature of God as an eternal singularity, without origin. God’s nature demands that He be eternal. To create others like Himself would seriously rearrange reality and the space/time continuum. God’s only choice then would be to create beings outside of and different from, Himself, who, because they were not of God’s nature, had within them the capacity for imperfection. In this way, “evil” can be considered to exist as the absence of God in creation. Even when created perfectly, the capacity for imperfection exists within the creation because we are not God. Given the existence of the capacity for imperfection within created beings, coupled with the proliferation of creation, it was a matter of time and statistics.
The follow-on question then, is, how can a benevolent God allow evil to continue? The short answer is that He has no choice. We have established that imperfection is a potential inherent in everything that is not God. If God were to sovereignly banish evil He would have to get rid of everything but Himself and become alone again in non-creation. The only option for creation to continue is to allow imperfection to continue. Thus, evil, as the presence of anything “not God”, persists. God, never being without foreknowledge was aware of this condition of creation, and accounted for its resolution within His blueprint. He was aware from the beginning that simply creating would not be enough. He would have to deal with the potential for imperfection. The plan of salvation is as much a part of the plan of creation as “Let there be Light.”
Even Satan is a convert to evil, for he was not always so.
“12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
(Ezekiel 28:12 – 16)
Here Ezekiel is commanded to lament for the King of Tyrus but most scholars view this as a description of Lucifer prior to his fall. Lucifer was in Eden. He was, perhaps, second only to God in glory and beauty. He was the covering cherub. He was perfect until he was not. As a created being, not being God, Lucifer had that potential for imperfection. God did not appoint him to the position of evil but God knew of the possibility and chose to account for it in His plan. Had God chosen to destroy Lucifer instead of banish him, then, as eternity progressed, another and another of the created beings would have fallen until, once again, God would have found Himself in isolation. Anything not God is doomed by definition to imperfection. God did not immediately destroy the fallen but instead chose to use him to strengthen and perfect the other parts of creation.
God allows Lucifer/Satan to continue but not indefinitely. At some point, the imperfect will be removed from creation and only the perfect will remain. That is why it was so important that Christ be identified with us as human. As he is like us, we have the potential to become like him, and thus, like God. If we are made of the same substance or type as God, then we can share in God’s perfection. We have now, in the spirit, the same relationship that Christ had with the Father. When we are changed, we will have it in physical reality as well. All that is not God will be removed and only that sealed portion of us that is essentially the indwelling of God will remain. The miracle of salvation is the transformation of created being from “not God” to “God like”. We will see Him as he is because we will be as He is. God will no longer be a singularity but the foremost of a perfect congregation.
And so the final question is this: Where do YOU fit in? As a created being, and not being God, you have that capacity for imperfection. Each day of our lives, we are presented with our own “Garden of Eden” confrontation, both collectively and individually, and each day we fail. Our nature demands it. We are flawed. We cannot exist in God’s presence because we are not as He is. Our only hope is the physical, spiritual, and existential conversion of “not God” into that which is “of the same substance as God”. As imperfect beings we are unable to attain perfection.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
(Galatians 2: 16)
We require no less than God Himself, in the aspect of His son, the motive force of creation, to continue that creative process in us. Because the task is so herculean, only God could accomplish it. His nature must be satisfied and yet we cannot. In His infinite brilliance, God created a plan whereby we could exist in Him by existing in us. Thus Christ because one of us for all eternity, that we might become one with Him. The vehicle of this transformation is faith. We can simply choose to identify with Christ and allow him to continue the creation story within us, or we can choose to remain as we are; imperfect and lost.
Tags: Content Creation, education, Microsoft, OneNote, technology
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As you may know, I am a huge proponent of the OneNote®Classroom Notebook system created by Microsoft®. I realize that it was not originally intended for education and that it is primarily a business application, however, it works really well for information presentation as well as storage and evaluation. Serendipitously it is ALSO a great business application that students will be familiar with when they enter the workforce in a corporate environment.
To teachers who have SharePoint® available it could not be easier to install and use the product. Classroom creator is available as a free download in the SharePoint App store. Someone with admin. permission can install it and then it is available for all to use. It took me, with no previous experience, about 10 minutes to get it up and running on our domain. Once the app is installed it is incredibly easy to follow the instructions to create notebooks, add students and teachers, and publish your class notebooks to the system.
Students find the application to be intuitive and easy to work with. They really enjoy the collaboration area that allows their contributions to appear in real time. I generally open that section of the Notebook on the class smart board during topic discussions. All entries are labeled with the student’s name so inappropriate comments are never a problem. Once discussion is complete, I direct the students to the Content Library to begin the day’s assignment. I can either create a worksheet or lab page individually for each student or I can simply create a page in the Content Library and have the students copy and paste the questions into their personal homework sections. The sections are completely private and available only to myself and the each student. They do the work, I grade the work and enter a grade on the homework page that they create. Once the grade is entered, any further entries onto that page are labeled and time-stamped to prevent students from changing grades or answers.
It is very easy to create content for lessons in OneNote. Images can be copied and pasted easily into pages. Video can be embedded or even recorded directly into the page. Audio can be synchronized to follow along with text and images and other embedded objects can be made searchable with OCR. There is a very friendly community of users accessible online to provide help, and, as a member of the Office Suite from Microsoft, the control ribbons will be very familiar to most people. Objects like Flash or other presentation content can be linked and will open in their native players at a click.
There are some features that I wish were available, perhaps in a special educational version of OneNote. I would like to see OneNote support OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) to allow ActiveX controls or other native support for different formats. I would like to see VBA support so that Macro creation could be made simple. I would really like to see a way to lock pages within the student’s notebooks to prevent unauthorized or accidental editing. These are the only real complaints that I have with an otherwise excellent application. Microsoft really found a winner here.
Ye Must Be Born Again April 25, 2015Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
Tags: Christian, faith, grace, Jesus Christ, salvation
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Salvation by Grace
Sunday, April 19, 2015
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
It has been said that the Preacher’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. If you didn’t come tonight to hear about everlasting life through the grace of Jesus Christ then you are exactly who I came to speak with. I hope by the end of the evening you will be able to take comfort in what I say rather than be made uncomfortable by it.
We will be studying tonight in the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The letter to the church of Ephesus was, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, one of the epistles that Paul wrote while a captive. Most scholars believe it was during his time in Rome, although some argue that it was during his captivity in Caesarea. What matters is that in this letter the Apostle Paul, under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, pens one of the most doctrinally powerful statements in the entire Bible. He outlines the path whereby men may be saved from the curse of sin they are living under.
First and most importantly, the Grace of Jesus is Exclusive. There is not alternative salvation plan. God doesn’t offer door #2. The Bible tells us that there is only one name with the power to open the gates of Heaven for you.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Jesus himself was very specific in describing the pathway to salvation.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The Greek text here has the same absoluteness that God used when He told Joseph to address Pharaoh. The “I am” of the bible is a very emphatic way of speaking about one’ self. It is like saying I and only I am. In this we find what is commonly referred to as the offence of the cross. This is the aspect of salvation message that the carnal world despises. Salvation is open to all but it is exclusive in the method. There is only one way. Fortunately for us, it’s an easy way.
The Grace of Jesus Christ is not only Exclusive, but finding that grace is Easy. Sometimes I think that is why it is often rejected. The prophet told Naaman to wash in the river of Jordan and he would be healed. Naaman got angry. He was expecting Herculean tasks and thunder from heaven.
2 Kings 5: 13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
We want it to be hard. We want the glory of the struggle but the glory belongs to God. The struggle ended on Calvary. We just have to accept the gift. Maybe it offends our pride in our sinful nature. Surely it can’t be that easy after all that we have done, and yet, the grace of Jesus is just that Easy and just that Effective.
The grace of Jesus, the sacrifice of his blood, is the only thing that will wash away the stain of Adam’s fall.
Joke about Don Knotts in the movie (“And they used Bon Ami!!”)
It is completely effective and effectively complete. When Jesus cried out “It is Finished” on the cross, he was not talking about his earthly life or his ministry. He was declaring the work of salvation to be complete for all time. It is done. Nothing more needs to be added. When the regeneration of a lost soul is begun, it is complete within that same instant. The sins of the lost man are taken so far away that not even God can remember them.
Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be propitious to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins I shall by no means remember anymore.”
He will BY NO MEANS remember our sin or hold it against us.
So, the grace of Jesus is Exclusive; it’s Easy, and it’s Effective, and finally, the need for that Grace is Emphatic.
The Bible is very specific about who needs the grace of Jesus. Ye MUST be born again.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
All men are born into Adam’s race and all men suffer Adam’s disgrace.
Ye Must be born again.
All men have sinned and all need a savior. There is only one who is qualified but Praise God His salvation is enough for all. And Praise God His salvation is free. Free for the asking. One thief on a cross mocked and scoffed and died in his sin but the other was justified; set free from a life of wickedness and sin, just.by.asking.
And now it’s your turn. Remember what I said earlier about afflicting the comfortable. This is it. The gospel demands a response. There is no middle ground. Jesus told his disciples that whoever wasn’t for him was against him.
Matthew 12:20 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
If you have never cried out, like the thief on the cross, for mercy, then, when you stand before God, as all men must. You will not receive it.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
This is what awaits those who would deny the Grace of Jesus. For those who accept it, like the Thief on the cross, they will spend eternity with the one who died that they might live.
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Won’t you join us?
Search Engine Tips and Tricks March 20, 2015Posted by regan222 in Computers, Education, Internet, Search Engines, Technology.
Tags: about.com, AND, Bing, Boolean, Google, index, NOT, OR, Search Engine, technology
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Here is a short lesson I presented to my class on Search Engine Techniques. Most of this information was gathered up on About.com and from other sources.
Three Tips for Getting More Precise Hits (Boolean Search Criteria)
- Use AND. Sometimes you may need to use more than one keyword when searching, without making a phrase. (Ex. Batman AND Robin)
- Use OR. Let’s say you perform a search using two keywords. (Ex. Superman OR Kryptonite)
- Use NOT. Sometimes by typing one keyword, you’ll get many results that have nothing to do with your topic. (Ex. Star Wars NOT Jar Jar)
These are the three best ways to get the results you want but very few people use them. Everyone has experienced Search Engine Frustration. You type in key words and then get hundreds of returns that have nothing to do with what you are trying to find. The following is a short lesson how to optimize your searching and get the results you really want. Here are 10 ways to find what you are looking for.
- Use quotations marks when you are looking for specific quotes or phrases.
- Search within a specific web site using Google Site Search
- Use the INURL Syntax to search within URLs and addresses.
- Use basic math to search on the web.
- Use the Google Cheat Sheet.
- Search within specific domain prefixes
- Use Google to search for the weather.
- Use specific search engines for different purposes.
- Use Online Dictionaries.
- The final entry is using Tool bars. These can be useful if you find yourself searching for the same types of things over and over. The problem with search bars is that they take up space on your browser page and they are often tied to trojans or other malware. I don’t recommend search bars but they can be useful if you understand the risks.
Using the links above, answer the following questions in the Homework section of your notebook. Create a page and title it Ten Tips to Better Searching. Paste the questions in and answer them in your own words.
- What can you use to make sure that the search engine returns only pages with your search terms in exact order?
- What would you use if you wanted to search within our hs.whitesboroisd.org site for all things related to football? (hint: site:URL “keyphrase”)
- How would you enter a search for all the web addresses that contained the word “bearcat”? (hint: inUrl: “keyword”)
- How can you search for references to Captain America and omit references to his shield?
- Use Google as a calculator to add 12456 + 8894837.
- What search term would you enter to search all the .gov sites for references to law enforcement? (hint site: .prefix “search terms”)
- What is the forcast for 3/22/2015 according to weather underground?
- List three book search engines.
- What is the format for getting a definition for a word on Google or Bing? What is it on Yahoo?
Tags: comics, Doctor Octopus, excelsior, Green Goblin, Marvel, Mary Jane, Peter Parker, spiderman
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Spiderman 2…Just got back. I am not a great movie reviewer but I do have a peculiarly accurate memory for certain details as well as a desire to see justice done. I feel that something here is amiss. I am an old man now but it hasn’t been THAT long since I faithfully followed your friendly neighborhood web-slinger through comics, TV cartoons, and even a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl album. To say that I was a fan would be an understatement. Having said that, I was more than willing to cater to my small boy’s request to brave the crowds and watch the latest reincarnation of Aunt May’s favorite nephew and New York’s “favorite” son. Initial reaction was positive. It was big, loud, and not overly complicated as a summer blockbuster should be. However, all through the movie a tingling annoyance, not unlike our hero’s spider sense, bothered me. They are really playing fast and loose with the story.
<spoiler alert> If you haven’t see the movie you might want to go right now and get tickets. It is probably showing somewhere near you and it is definitely worth a viewing. It is really good in digital Hi-def. 3D. The spoilers I am alerting you to, gentle reader, are details from the original story, not necessarily the film. Here goes…
In 1962, in Amazing Fantasy #15, Peter Parker was bitten by an radioactive spider and the rest is history…amazingly profitable history and merchandising rights, and copy rights, and royalties. Spiderman is the flagship character and mascot of the largest comics publisher in the world (as well as what is rapidly becoming the most profitable movie production house in America). Based upon whichever biography one reads, Spiderman was invented by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, or a combination of the three. He was a teenaged “everyman” who had greatness thrust upon him by a million to one accident, and responsibility thrust on him by the tragic consequences of his own actions. Peter and his supporting cast brought to life an alternate dimension very similar to our own but filled with amazing and sometimes frightening differences. That is how I felt after watching this most recent movie.
In the comic story line, Gwen Stacy, Peter’s initial love interest, and Harry Osborne are all friends. Harry’s father, Norman, becomes Spiderman’s arch nemesis, and Electro is a Caucasian. The Rhino is a big guy in a suit and Professor Smyth is an employee of the King Pin. Needless to say, Marvel is drastically rewriting history and it bothers me. I felt the same cognitive dissonance that someone who is just beginning to feel the effects of Alzheimer’s Dementia must feel each day. I understand the concept of editorial license and I am sure Marvel has perfectly good reasons for rewriting my childhood but what bothers me is WHY?? The story doesn’t NEED revamping. It is still relevant and compelling. The property is still amazingly profitable after 50 years and Spiderman is an icon. Why mess with it?
Perhaps it is the way of things…The world changes. It might interest you to know that in the cartoon story arc, the original Spiderman, Peter Parker, is, in fact, dead and his consciousness rests within the mind of his mortal enemy Dr. Octopus. Could it get anymore convoluted? In April of 2014, Parker’s brain returns to his body and there is no telling where it will go from there.
Well I’m glad I could get that out in the open. It was really bothering me. I also needed an excuse to write something as I have been sorely lacking in content lately. I promise to return to form as soon as school is out. Meanwhile, if you get the chance, give Spiderman 2 a look. I like this guy better than Toby McGuire (he looks too much like Frodo from LOTR) and Harry Osborne was right…He does have an impressive uni-brow.
Excelsior (you know that is Styrofoam packing peanuts right)
A Brief Update March 17, 2014Posted by regan222 in Uncategorized.
Tags: coding, computer science, greenfoot, java, programming
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Got the Greenfoot textbook evaluation copy in today and I will start working through the lessons this week. It appears to be game based and so I hope provides a lot of engagement for the students. The only problem is that it is a tiny book and they want over $100 for it. That is ridiculous. My college texts didn’t cost what this does and it probably doesn’t have 100 pages. Any suggests on other texts that teach java to non-programmers would be appreaciated
The Purpose of Jesus Christ March 13, 2014Posted by regan222 in Religion.
Tags: belief, Christian, faith, God, Jesus Christ
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The second in a series of sermons on the Person and Purpose of Jesus Christ. This sermon was delivered at the Central Baptist Church at Legacy Point in Whitesboro, TX.\
Our author lists three points for this section of the manuscript; the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of Christ. While these are the seminal events in the life of Jesus, they are just singular points in the ongoing work of Christ; a work that continues today
John 6:38 – For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
We don’t know as much as we would like about the work of Christ prior to his coming to Earth. As we learned last week, the Father is the architect and Jesus, as the pre-incarnate Word, was the executive or creative force. The Father spoke and the Word brought creation into existence. While supremely important to us, surely this was not all that Jesus ever did.
In hermeneutics there is a thing called the “Full Mention Principle”. God gives us full details on events or subjects that are vital to our understanding and does not go into detail on things that do not bear so much importance to us. The Bible gives us little detail about the pre-incarnate or pre-human era in the life of Christ, The only reference I could find is in…
Luke 10:18 – And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven
Being given so little information about the pre-incarnate Son, we must assume that those events are not the most important elements of Jesus’ work and may safely confine our musings to the events we are privy to. In any case, it is understandable that our author would limit his scope. There is just too much material, even in our limited exposure to His life, to truly cover the works of Jesus Christ.
John 21:25 – And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
The Death of Jesus Christ
It is odd to start a story at what seems like the end. The disciples are crushed and scattered. Christ is captive of the Roman empire. Satan appears to be winning. Looks are, in this case, completely deceiving. Christ is on the verge of His ultimate victory and our great hope. The death of Christ was about to accomplish its purpose.
Isaiah 53:5 – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
He died in our place. What makes Christianity unique among the religions of the Earth is the doctrine of atonement. All men recognize the great universal truth. There ain’t no free ride. Buddhists practice good works in order to escape the wheel of Karma – a continual cycle of birth and death and rebirth until one’s life is good enough to merit their ascension to oneness with the Buddha. The fundamental idea behind Islam is to appease Allah by the performance of a rigorous daily routine and so achieve paradise by one’s work. The Hindu are focused on the four paths or yogas to reach enlightenment. Christianity is unique in all the religions of Earth as a system of beliefs based solely on the work of another. Christ did the work and we are allowed to benefit from it.
The death of Christ is tightly tied to the his life. Without that perfect life, his death would have done us no good. Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life and did not deserve his fate. He went willingly to it, however, in exchange for you and I, who did deserve it.
Sin is, apparently, a communicable disease. It passes from one generation to the next. It infects every descendent of Adam’s line. We are all equally guilty under the law of God and deserve death for our sins. The punishment for sin is always death. The law has no room for mercy, and yet, God’s purpose for us is to exist in His presence. .
This is the choice we face. In order to live forever and be able to exist in God’s presence, someone had to pay the price for our sins. The scales must balance. We can either choose to pay that price ourselves or we must accept the sacrifice and the atonement of Jesus by faith. Merely believing that he was is not enough. We must purpose in our hearts to depend on his sacrifice as our only hope. This is the nature of faith.
Romans 10:9 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
It is important to realize that the death of Christ was real in every respect. He allowed himself to suffer the pain and anguish of his mortality and ultimately allowed himself to succumb to his injuries. He allowed his soul and spirit to leave his body and follow the path of all men who die. The flesh died, and no doubt, began the process of decay. The soul and spirit traveled to hell where, no doubt, Satan assumed that he would be able to gloat that Jesus had been unable to set up his kingdom. Satan assumed that with Christ’s death, the kingdom of God was defeated. Silly Satan. The Bible tells us that Christ triumphed over hell and death and the grave and led the righteous souls held there to the presence of God the Father.
Colossians 2:15 – And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
I wonder sometimes, if the Devil, who is NOT all knowing, but whom is reputed to be very smart, was surprised at what happened next. It must be assumed that he thought Christ’s triumph would come in some more direct fashion like setting up a political kingdom and overthrowing the Romans. I cannot imagine him allowing the cross to take place if he knew what would happen next.
The Resurrection of Christ
Without the resurrection, the death of Christ is meaningless. It has no power. If he did not return then he was nothing but an insane and deluded man and there is not hope for humanity but to strive and eternally fail at perfection.
The Bible is careful to list many evidences of the return of Christ. Once again we follow the hermeneutic principles. A thing that is most often mentioned and most fully described will be a thing of importance. The most majestic and powerful of all the verses of the Bible deals with the return of Christ and his triumph over the grave.
John 20:15 – 16 – Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
John 21:1 – After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
Matthew 28: 1 – 10 – In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
1 Corinthians 15:5 – After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
Why is the resurrection important? In order to pay our debt, Christ must die for our sins. As we are now identified with Christ in his death, we, in sinful flesh, will die. We may only rise if he does. His triumph over death is our triumph. The resurrection establishes Christ as God just as his death established him as man. Now we must establish his resurrection in the eyes of humanity in order to make our witness efforts legitimate.
The Ascension of Christ into Heaven
The final act in the eternal drama is Christ’s triumphant return to the Father. The question raised most often is “Why did Christ return to heaven at all? Why not set up his kingdom?” In short, because the father wanted more for us than just an Earthly existence. He wanted fellowship with us for all time. That can only happen in His presence. This is what Satan missed. God never intended for this world to be our permanent home. He always had in mind that we should be in His presence.
As Christ, now a human forever, can stand in the presence of the Father, we, in Christ by his death for our sins, are also allowed access to the Father.
Christ’s return to the Father signified the end of his earthly works until his return as king. But it by no means marks the end of his work. Christ’s efforts on our part continue until his final return.
What is he doing now? The Bible tells of two tasks that he has set for himself:
He is gone to prepare for our arrival:
John 14:2 – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
He stands before the Father as a mediator to plead humanity’s case:
1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
He has a place prepared for each of us. All we have to do is accept it.
One in Every Crowd March 10, 2014Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
Tags: believe, Christ, faith, God, Jesus, salvation, sheep, shepherd
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Matthew 18:12 – How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
How great the Father’s love for us that He would send His only son to die. This verse gives us a hint, or as much of one as our limited minds can conceive, of how much God loves each of us individually. Had there been only one sheep gone astray, still the Shepherd would still have come to Earth seeking to save it. A wise man wrote, “If I had been the only reason…he still would have died for only me.” No Christian should ever become discouraged or think that God does not care. God is actively interested in each of His servants, individually as well as collectively. Do not become jealous of someone who seems to be constantly involved in serving God and winning battle after battle while you feel like you are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing of value. This is far from the truth. Each of God’s servants, if they are doing God’s will, is exactly where the Father expects them to be and each has the Father’s complete attention. Anytime we feel separated from God or beneath His notice, it is only a short coming on our part. Pray without ceasing. Stay in the Word and seek the Will of God. Separation from God is all one-sided. He does not withdraw from us, we withdraw from Him. If you cry out to Him he will find you, as a shepherd seeking a single sheep. The wise Christian, however, will stay close to the shepherd and not be the one in every crowd that wanders astray.
The Person and Purpose of Jesus Christ February 23, 2014Posted by regan222 in Religion.
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The Person and Purpose of Jesus Christ
I. The Person of Christ
A. Just as much God as though never Man.
1. Prior to the Virgin Birth: Jesus existed from infinity before the present.
I choose to establish the deity of Christ first. His humanity is not questioned. Jesus, as a historical figure, existed. We know this from accounts outside scripture. Josephus and others mention him in their writings and those writings still exist today. However, his divinity is constantly under scrutiny. The world is more than ready to declare Jesus a good man, a great teacher, a saint, a martyr, a wonderful example. All this platitude and praise eliminates the necessity of worshiping him as God and relieves the responsibility of making a choice.
To establish the divinity of Christ, there is no better place to start than the beginning:
John 1:1a – In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…
John tells us that Christ, as the word of God, was with God, and so, must be separate and that Christ is the creative force of God.
John 1:3 – All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
If we look at this in concert with Genesis we can see that Christ, as the Word of God, played an important part in creation.
Genesis 1:1 – In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.
God the Father is the architect of all that is. Jesus Christ, as His word, is the creative force that brought God’s plan to fruition. This has always been his purpose.
Genesis 1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Genesis 1:6 – And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Genesis 1:9 – And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
We have established that Jesus was a separate entity from the father, and yet he was as much God as the father was.
John 1:1b -…and the Word WAS God.
Finally, John also tells us that Christ is acknowledged as God. Separate but equal, apart and yet the same.
The Deity of Christ is constantly challenged both within the Church and without. Yet the Bible declares his nature and position directly.
Philippians 2:6 – Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Christ as a personality, existed prior to the Virgin Birth. Also prior to his birth, Christ’s form was the same as that of God. Christ was a spirit being even as God the Father is declared a spirit.
John 4:24 – God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
So Christ was in the form of God, and God is established as a spirit. At this point in the existence of Christ, he is NOT as we are. He is as God is. This is a very important point. It helps to establish that Christ and God are unique in and apart from all of creation as personalities without origin.
Christ, himself, declared his divinity as well as his equality with the Father on more than one occasion.
John 8:58 – Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 8:24 – I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins
Who is it that can offer salvation? That is the domain of God alone. Only He can offer us mercy.
Psalms 68:20 – He that is our God is the God of salvation
If we look at the original Greek we find that the word “he” is implied but not present. The original text uses the words “ego eimi” that are often translated “I am”. This statement is most often considered by scholars to be the same declaration of identity that God gave to Moses in Exodus.
Exodus 3:14 – And God said unto Moses: I AM that I AM…
Though each statement was recorded in a different language, their meanings are taken as the same declaration.
John chronicles Christ’s declaration on 7 separate occasions. John 4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 8:28, 8:58, 13:19, 18:5. These are often grouped as John’s “I am” statements and are a major part of the divinity of Christ doctrine.
In the book of Hebrews, God, Himself, settles the issue of the divinity of Christ.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
In verse 1 we establish that God has spoken and continues to speak to us. In verse 8, God is speaking to the Son, Jesus, and calls him God, with a capitol “G”.
Even the enemies of Christ knew exactly what he meant when he spoke of his position…
John 10: 29 – 33 – My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
On multiple occasions the Sanhedrin accused Jesus of declaring himself equal to God. In this instance their accusations were correct. Jesus was, however, justified in doing so.
Given the preponderance of evidence, any honest reader will come to the same conclusion. If the scripture is true then Christ is divine. Separate and apart from, and yet equal to in every respect, God.
B. Just as much Man as though never God.
1. The whole of salvation hinges upon Jesus being as we are.
In the Garden of Eden mankind was eternally separated from God. Prior to the fall, man, the innocent, walked in fellowship with God. In his rebellion, man made it impossible for human flesh to exist in the presence of God. Innocence and righteousness can walk with God. Sin is destroyed by merely being in His presence.
Exodus 15: 18 – 20 18 And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
Because all men are sinful we cannot go into the presence of God and yet He loves us. Our destiny is to be in fellowship with Him. In order for God’s plan to be carried out, Jesus, as the creative force, needed to act again to bring the plan to fruition.
The Law of God is perfect in its righteousness because its author, God, is equally perfect. His nature demands that things around Him be perfect as well. The law declares us guilty. Because we are genetically tied to Adam, we were, in a real sense, present with him when he sinned and fell. Because of this, we are all, equally unfit to stand in God’s presence. Add to this the fact that each day, in every one of our lives, we experience, over and over again, our own little garden moments and each day, we fail.
While it may seem unfair to lump us all into Adam’s sin, it is not only fair but necessary for us.
Romans 5:19 – For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
One man’s disobedience led us to our sorry state and so it can be one man’s obedience that will lead us out. Provided that one man pays the price for our sin. The existing debt must still be paid and it must be paid by a MAN. A God would not satisfy the law. An angel or a spirit being of some kind is not subject to the same challenges as a man, and so, would not satisfy justice. By man the wound was opened and only by a man can healing and reconciliation take place and yet a sinful man could not satisfy the law.
There are some unique challenges accompanying this requirement. A man of the world would be unable to fulfil the requirements because no one of Adam’s line is capable of fulfilling the law. A new line had to be formed with absolutely no genetic connection to Adam’s race and yet the line must be human. Jesus is called the second Adam because he was the beginning of a new line. There is no sharing of genetic material between Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Bible tells us that God prepared a body specifically for the purpose and placed it within Mary’s womb. Her sinful genes were never involved. The parental relationship, while legal, between Mary and Joseph, and their son was strictly one of adoption.
Hebrews 10: 3- 5 -But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
God built a body for His son to use with its very own genetic code, never tainted by Adam’s sin. Mary was essentially an incubator for a being already formed. God took the spirit being of his son and permanently and forever merged it with a human body. This made Christ a part of us forever. He remains human for all time.
John tells us this in his gospel.
John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
Not only among us with respect to location but also positionally. He became us. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements for humanity. He was born.
Luke 2:11 – For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
He grew to manhood acquiring wisdom and strength along the way.
Luke 2:49 – And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
He had physical needs like food and rest.
John 4:6 – Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
Finally, Jesus displayed that most common of all mortal characteristics…He died.
John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
The preincarnate Christ could not have been sacrificed for our sins. He could not have been nailed to the cross because, as we have established, he was a spirit being like God. Only when the word was made flesh was it suitable as a sacrifice. As God he could not die because he was immortal and eternal and so to fulfill the law and satisfy justice he had to be made mortal. He perfectly fulfilled God’s plan of salvation just as he perfectly fulfilled God’s plan for creation. He was adopted into Adam’s line so that we might be adopted into his.
1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Christ stands ready as our defense attorney. He knows what it means to be human and as a man, he can speak for us to the Father. He will speak for you if you will let him.