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Friday, July 6, 2012

How did the bible get divided into chapters and verses?
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   Isn’t it interesting how we can see things continually in such a way that we become so accustom to them that we fail to ask ourselves how they come into being?

If we pick up a novel, or any other book, we find that we tend to index it by the page numbers. Yet, with the bible this is not the common reference point! We have these numbers alongside the text that refer to chapters and verses.

How many of us really know how the chapters and verses in the bible came about?


No matter what bible one picks up we find the same division of chapters and verses. Even if the content is on different pages, the text referred to by the chapter and verse is sure to refer to the same original Hebrew or Greek from which it came.

This leads us to think that the original contained these divisions. The fact is that it didn’t!

Strangely enough it was the Archbishop of Canterbury,  a man by the name of Stephen Langton  that is credited with dividing the bible into chapters.

Stephen Langton was elected as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207A.D. Before he provided the chapter numbers, the bible was divided by blank spaces at the end or middle of lines, (called the petuhoth  or setumoth). Stephen provided the numbering which has been adopted worldwide from that time onwards. The first bible using this was the Wycliffe Bible.

This was around 1227A.D. and it took until 1488A.D. for Rabbi Mordecai Nathan in completed a concordance to the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) to assign what is now our verse numbers. The New Testament still did not have verse numbers at this time.

Then in 1551, Robert I Estienne (or Robert Stephanus as he was known) assigned the New Testament verse numbers that we now know.

When we read the modern bible, we are privileged to have the reference points with which to refer to and analyse it with ease. These took time, effort and great political influence to establish and we need to be thankful to these men who took time to get this done.

Today as I read my bible I thank God for these Godly men, inspired to make changes that we can now enjoy into perpetuity.


That’s the interesting fact for today. I do hope you will have an enjoyable and God blessed day!
Fri, July 6, 2012 | link          Comments

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Higgs Boson- discovered!
  
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 At last they claim to have discovered the Higgs Boson, although everyone agrees more testing is required. That huge expense of the LHC has paid off.

I had blogged about it previously Higgs boson (so called “God” particle) may exist!!!!

It is amazing that we are discovering something fundamentally new. Then, I really like the fact the scientists are referring to it as the “God” particle. Let’s give credit to the creator of this particle without which we would not have mass.

So today as we hear the new reports lets give God thanks for the amazing world he created.

Have a great day!
Thu, July 5, 2012 | link          Comments

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A certain young man named “Lucky”
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  Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ~ Seneca

Seneca  was a Roman stoic philosopher that lived in the mid-1st century AD. He was a tutor and advisor of that infamous Roman emperor Nero. He was not “lucky” since he was forced to commit suicide, supposedly for being involved in a plot to kill Nero.

What is “luck”?

The online dictionary defines it as “Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.”  Luck is when the path of life goes in a way that supports our actions, but is unplanned by ourselves. It is something that Christians often ignore as being part of their lives, because many of us Christians see life as planned by God, not established by chance. Many of us even rebel at the thought of chance intervening in life.

This takes some of the fun out of events, if we consider them all to be deterministic.

 When I used to create computer games, the random number generator provided the unexpected results that made the games interesting. I think in life, although I believe God directs everything, these unplanned changes in lifes path provide gains in ways we can never expect. They are far better than the drudgery of plodding through life without the smile and expectation of changes in fortune.

Here is a piece of writing from our bible that addresses luck. See if you can spot it! I think it shows God’s humour.

A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. He sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. Sound asleep, Eutychus fell from the third floor. When they picked him up from the ground, he was dead. Paul went down and threw himself on the young man. He put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he told them. "He's alive!" Then Paul went upstairs again. He broke bread and ate with them. He kept on talking until daylight. Then he left. The people took the young man home. They were greatly comforted because he was alive. (Acts 20:9-12 NIRV)

Did you see the part where “Lucky” occurs? Probably not!

That’s because we are not familiar with New Testament Greek. The name Eutychus / Eυτυχος = Lucky

Cool isn’t it? Eutychus was named well before he fell, and it seems that his resurrection was planned from the start of his life. He was a lucky man!

This shows the complexity of life our loving Father in heaven has planned for us! The Father has planned our lives and yet we are also totally able to choose what we want to do each second of every day. “Lucky” or “Eutychus” seems to have been born to enable this small piece of scripture writing to be established. He was brought back to life to give God glory.

He is one of very few people reported to be brought back to life from the dead in New Testament writings.

Are we lucky? As we go about our days let’s remember how lucky we are to have Holy Spirit with us guiding our lives and decisions. The luck of a Christian is not random chance luck, it is God planned, directed luck. Think about that!

Have a great day!
Wed, July 4, 2012 | link          Comments

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The dilemma : Are absolutes valid in our world?
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“Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.” ~ Pope John Paul II


Last Friday, my wife and I had a group of young people in our home having fun, climbing, slacklining (walking tightropes), and playing pool. Then at one point in the evening we got together to discuss a subject. This time the subject was whether there were absolutes in this world or if truth was situation (changing depending on the situation).

Initially the discussion was heavily weighted in favour of truth differs depending on the situation and the person.

In other words, this postmodern group believed in the mantra of their generation, truth is relative.

If truth is developed by man, then it is created and not discovered. There can be no truths across cultures since each culture should develop its own truth. Truth of this nature is not consistent, but changes with circumstances and ones beliefs. It is that which is decided by the individual or group.

Yet this view is flawed from the start! Just ask whether we can be absolutely sure that truth is relative, and if the answer is yes, then the person has made an absolute statement counter to their own arguments.

The laws of science and physics seem immutable and absolute. We teach this all the time in our schools and universities. It would be a poor academic who allows a student to answer what they consider truth on an exam, rather than provide the “correct” answer(s).

If God created the universe, and the God of the bible propounds absolute truth, then those who adopt the relativistic, situational truth perspective are on shaky ground.

Don’t we all want people to deal with absolutes when we discuss things with them? We all agree that two opposite statements cannot be true simultaneously. Our courts and justice system are founded on this absolute truth or premise.

Next, we all agree that something is, or it isn’t, but cannot have any other state of existence. Most of us agree on this as well. (I know those in quantum science argue this point in specifics, but in the macro world in which we live, things either are or aren’t)

We all agree that we know what we mean by truth is not falsehood.

Truth is for all of us something tangible and very central to our existence.

As Christians we look at truth in a specific way;

Truth is what is discovered when understanding God’s creation and reading his words in our bible.

God’s truth is absolute and cannot be bent, twisted or molded into what we would like.

God’s truth applies to everyone equally since he created everything and built his nature into all he created. We can discover truth by investigating his creation.

God’s truth never changes and is eternally valid.

God’s truth does not depend on perspectives of individuals. Perspectives are filters that limit the value that we find in God’s truth, but they do not change its eternal unchanging nature.

God’s truth enables concepts to “hang together”. Different parts truth uphold and support other parts.

Our postmodern viewpoint is a damaged viewpoint in that it is a selfish one! It is held to in order to profit the person holding the viewpoint.

Yes, those holding onto a postmodern relativistic truth viewpoint have a selfish disposition. They want to mold the world into their perspectives and to substantiate it. They want to blindly believe there are not absolutes.

If there are absolutes, it would mean they are responsible for discovering and working with absolute truth.

As Christians, we cannot believe in relativistic truth. It is not compatible with the truth that Jesus brought to us, or the truth of the God of our bible. We understand reason is not the only revealer of truth. God almighty is the prime provider of truth. Reason is simply one tool he has provided us in order to expose it.

So today as we plan our day, make decisions, and guide others, let us do it within the absolute truths God has provided to enable us to work, love and live effectively.

Have a great day!
Tue, July 3, 2012 | link          Comments

Monday, July 2, 2012

Suffering how did Job do...part 3
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    Friendly advice is not always what is needed is it? How can we know that a friend’s advice is in fact good and to be trusted, since the best of intentions can be misdirected, can’t they? (This is part three in the series )[1]

Eliphaz, that speaker in the book of Job (in the bible) claims to be Job’s friend. His advice seems good on the surface...

8 Here's what I've observed.
People gather a crop from what they plant.
If they plant evil and trouble, that's what they will harvest.
9 The breath of God destroys them.
The blast of his anger wipes them out.
 
Is a rather narrow minded view isn’t it? We all know of Godly men and women who have undergone great trials, and similarly we know of scoundrels and thieves that have died with no apparent earthy disadvantages.

Perhaps it is not as true as it seems! We later find out as we continue to read that God disagrees with Eliphaz.

God is more complex than this. We cannot say if we do this, then that will happen! God has eternity to settle the scores of evil and does not have settle them on this Earth.

Job is suffering from sores from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. His children, servants and possessions have been destroyed and his life is in ruins. Even his wife seems to be offering poor advice!

Yet Job stands by the knowledge that God is just, even if he cannot understand it. I think this is courage that few today would have the ability to bring to bear in similar situations, don’t you agree?

Eliphaz’s comes to give Job advice. His advice is to first explain to Job that he is suffering because his faith has failed and must have done something wrong to bring these sorrows on himself.

Job on the other hand knows he hasn’t! Job answers...

"A man's friends should love him when his hope is gone.
They should be faithful to him
even if he stops showing respect for the Mighty One.
15 But my friends aren't faithful to me.
They are like streams that only flow for part of the year.
They are like rivers that flow over their banks
16 when the ice begins to break up.”

This prompted thinking about how we comfort people!

Particularly those of us on the male side of life often think that comfort is finding a solution to a problem.

Yet sometimes a solution is not available, or is out of our reach. Comfort is more coming alongside and being with the person in their pain. Offering our love and companionship as the pain tries to ostracise the person and pull them into the depths of depression. Solutions may or may not help but companionship and love always help!

Job hit the bottom in regard to depression, saying things like...

8 "I wish I could have what I'm asking for!
I wish God would give me what I'm hoping for!
9 I wish he would crush me!
I wish his powerful hand would cut off my life!
10 Then I'd still have one thing to comfort me. It would be that I haven't said no to the Holy One's commands.”

Job wants God to take his life...but God will not allow Satan to do that!

Job has misunderstood the fact that is not God, but Satan who has engineered these circumstances.

Job is in fact a spiritual warrior of God at this point of time, and is perhaps never greater than when he is in the depths of despair but refusing to curse God. He has a major task in life, that of proving Satan has failed and God is supreme. He is well on his way to showing this.

Sometimes in the depths of despair, we cannot see how God plans to use our pain for universal gain. When this happens, let’s remember Job was instrumental in defeating Satan for God by his faith that did not in fact waiver to the point of sin.

Our relationship with God is of more value than even our lives! We are powerful fighters in the spiritual world. We cannot see this power, or wield it like the movies would have us do so, for it is an unseen power. Yet it has the power to save lives, turn us from the worse despair to the greatest heights. It moves huge obstacles and infuses life with a joy and purpose that is lacking in the mundane normalcy of non-Godly living.

The beauty of our lives is the powerful presence of God in our lives. Job couldn’t see or hear God in his life, but pushed through pains and emmense suffering keeping faith.

Sometimes we are in desperate circumstances! When this happens, let us turn to true believers and evaluate their words against the absolute truth found in the bible. Let’s find God’s guiding for our lives!

In many ways, we live in an evil times. Yet these times been described before...I will paraphrase Paul’s description of our times[2]...

God shows his anger from heaven. It is against all the godless and evil things people do. We are so evil that we say no to the truth. The truth about God is plain to us. God has made it plain.
 
Ever since the world was created it has been possible to see the qualities of God that are not seen. We’re talking about his eternal power and about the fact that he is God. Those things can be seen in what he has made. So we have no excuse for what we do.

We know God. But we don’t honor him as God. We don’t thank him. Our thinking has become worthless. Our foolish hearts have become dark. We claim to be wise. But we have made fools of ourselves. We would rather have idol’s and images of idols than the glorious God who lives forever. Our idols and images of idols and movies of idols are made to look like people, birds, animals and reptiles.

So God let us go. He allows us to do what our sinful hearts want to do. He has let us commit sexual sins. We pollute one another's bodies by what we do..

We chose a lie instead of God's truth. We worship and serve created things. We don't worship the Creator. But he must be praised forever. Amen.

So God lets us go. We are filled with shameful longings. Our girls commit sexual acts that are not natural. In the same way, the guys turn away from their natural love for girl’s. They burn with sexual longing for each other. Guy’s do shameful things with other guys. They suffer in their bodies for all the twisted things they do.

We don’t think it is important to know God. So God let us go. He allowed us to have dirty minds. We did things they shouldn't do.

We are full of every kind of sin, evil and ungodliness. We want more than we need. We commit murder in our hearts and sometimes actually do it. We want what belongs to other people. We fight and cheat. We hate others. We say mean things about other people. We tell lies about them. We hate God. We are rude and proud. We brag. We think of new ways to do evil. We don't obey those we should obey. We are foolish. We can't be trusted. We are not loving and kind.

We know that God's commands are right. We know that those who do evil things should die. But we continue to do those very things. We also approve of others who do them.

Our times are not healthy and righteous but we can be! In the midst of this type of life around us we can live victorious. Jesus died to enable us to clean-up our life and live in a powerful correct way!

We need to check all our friend’s advice against God’s guidelines and follow the truths of our universe, not the false things sent in various ways to dissuade us from the courageous path God has set.

This week, I want to walk in truth with God even when I appear to be losing. I will know it is not my battle to uphold, I am merely one person, all I need is to stand firm on God’s principles. That provides the most gain!

Have a wonderful week and let’s give loving Godly advice to our friends when they request it, merely being alongside and comforting until this request comes.

Have a good one!


[1] Suffering, how did Job do, part 2... Suffering, how did Job do?  are other references to this subject.
[2] Romans 1:18-32 NIRV (paraphrased)
Mon, July 2, 2012 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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  • Published: September, 2010
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Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
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