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Friday, January 31, 2014

What happened to the 12 tribes of Israel?
What happened to the 12 tribes of Israel?

James writes “I am sending this letter to you, the 12 tribes that are scattered among the nations.”

Yet when he lived they didn’t know where those twelve tribes were or even if each tribe had a remnant that knew who they were. Knowledge had already been lost.

Today the situation is no better, but at least we know what happened. It’s complicated, but I will try to explain it relatively simply (and probably you will still find it complicated).

It all starts with the descendants of Shem, 1 Chron. 1:24-28,34

A List of Names From Shem to Abraham
Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah,Abram. Abram was also called Abraham.

The Family Line of Abraham
` The sons of Abraham were Isaac and Ishmael.

The Family Line of Sarah
Abraham was the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel.

Shem was the originator of the Semitic peoples. Eber may have led to the term Hebrew although may people think it could also have come from the term Habiru. The Habiru were a group of people living as nomadic invaders in areas of the Fertile Crescent from Northeastern Mesopotamia and Iran to the borders of Egypt in Canaan.

So from this we get that Israel was Semitic and Hebrew, but actually there are also a fair number of other people who would have to be classed the same way under the actual terms (and who probably would never want to be).

Jacob(Israel’s) sons names were used to describe the tribes that were from their offspring.

Israel then gives a speech in which the sons are given their inheritance. It is long so you can skip it if you want, but I have included it for those interested in reading it. Genesis 49:1-28

Then Jacob sent for his sons. He said, “Gather around me so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
2 “Sons of Jacob, come together and listen.
Listen to your father Israel.

3 “Reuben, you are my oldest son.
You were my first child. You were the first sign of my strength.
You were first in honor. You were first in power.

4 But you are as unsteady as water. So you won’t be first anymore.
You had sex with your father’s concubine in his bed.
You lay on his couch and made it ‘unclean.’
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers.
Their swords have killed a lot of people.

6 I won’t share in their plans.
I won’t have anything to do with them.
They became angry and killed people.
They cut the legs of oxen just for the fun of it.

7 May the Lord put a curse on them
because of their terrible anger.
I will scatter them in Jacob’s land.
I will spread them around in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you.
Your enemies will be brought under your control.
Your father’s sons will bow down to you.

9 Judah, you are like a lion’s cub.
You return from hunting, my son.
Like a lion, you lie down and sleep.
You are like a mother lion. Who dares to wake you up?

10 The right to rule will not leave Judah.
The ruler’s rod will not be taken from between his feet.
It will be his until the king it belongs to comes.
It will be his until the nations obey him.

11 He will tie his donkey to a vine.
He will tie his colt to the very best branch.
He will wash his clothes in wine.
He will wash his robes in the red juice of grapes.

12 His eyes will be darker than wine.
His teeth will be whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore.
He will become a safe harbor for ships.
His border will go out toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is like a donkey
lying down between two saddlebags.
15 He sees how good his resting place is.
He sees that his land is pleasant.

So he’ll carry a heavy load on his back.
He will obey when he’s forced to work.
16 “Dan will do what is fair for his people.
He will do it as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a serpent by the side of the road.
He will be a poisonous snake along the path.
It bites the horse’s heels
so that the rider falls off backward.
18 “Lord, I look to you to save me.
19 “Gad will be attacked by a group of robbers.
But he’ll attack them as they run away.
20 “Asher’s food will be rich and sweet.
He will provide food that even a king would enjoy.
21 “Naphtali is a female deer that is set free
and gives birth to beautiful fawns.
22 “Joseph is a vine that grows a lot of fruit.
It grows close by a spring.
Its branches climb over a wall.

23 Mean people shot arrows at him.
They shot at him because they were angry.

24 But his bow remained steady.
His strong arms moved freely.
The hand of the Mighty One of Jacob was with him.
The Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, stood by him.

25 Your father’s God helps you.
The Mighty One blesses you.
He gives you blessings from the highest heavens.
He gives you blessings from the deepest oceans.
He blesses you with children and with a mother’s milk.

Your father’s blessings are great.
They are greater than the blessings from the age-old mountains.
They are greater than the gifts from the ancient hills.
Let all of those blessings rest on the head of Joseph.
Let them rest on the head of the one who is prince among his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a hungry wolf.
In the morning he eats what he has killed.
In the evening he shares what he has stolen.”

28 All of those are the 12 tribes of Israel. That’s what their father said to them when he blessed them. He gave each one the blessing that was just right for him

Okay so each of these guys got a blessing. It is not very understandable in today’s way of doing things but very important to those ancient dudes.

Here are the short list of names of the sons of Israel.

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, Asher.

 By the way, just in case you think we are wasting our time on this subject, we need to realize God is not finished with the tribes.

The twelve tribes are Eternal!

Yes! Read this…

Matt. 19:28 “What I’m about to tell you is true,” Jesus said to them. “When all things are made new, the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne. Then you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones. You will judge the 12 tribes of Israel.

Yes, they will be there in eternity. (I guess that answers the question of what happens to people before Jesus arrived on earth…they also face the judgement don’t they)

Right, so we have twelve tribes and they have names.

Families fight and so did the Israelites. Up to King Solomon’s time the guys stuck together but then just afterwards in about 931 B.C. Jeroboam formed a northern kingdom (1 Ki 12) of two tribes called Israel, and Rehoboam a southern kingdom (2 Chron. 11:1,12-14) of the rest called Judah.

These got called the “houses”, houses of Judah and Israel. Sometimes the House of Judah was called the House of Joseph because that was the biggest tribe.

Then in 722 BC the House of Israel was captured by Assyria and never returned to their land.

1 Chronicles 5:26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul. He was king of Assyria. He was also called Tiglath-Pileser. He took the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh to other countries as his prisoners. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan. And that’s where they still are to this very day.

(That day was the day the words were written, not necessarily today…okay?)

So “boom” Israel is gone, assimilated into other nations!

It is highly possible that many of these people went down the Silk road to China and were integrated into the Asian peoples. I bet you Asian folk didn’t know have some ancient Israelite DNA.

Okay, so what about the House of Judah?

Well Jerusalem was it’s capital and it carried on for a few more years. It ended up under Assyrian vassalage, and probably some of it’s people also went out east.

Then in 605 BC the Assyrians were defeated and Babylon took the controls by starting a siege in 599 BC, and in 597 BC Nebuchadnezzar took both Jerusalem and the Temple, and everything was taken back to Babylon.

In 586 BC the temple was destroyed.

The ten tribes were captured and working for the Babylonians.

Judah was in captivity.

Okay then Cyrus the Great of Persia in 538 BCE allowed some of these captives to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. (Ezra 1:1-4, 2 Chron 36:22-23)

This is where the small remnant that was in Israel came from and from whom Jesus was born.

The reality is that the majority of the original tribes have been assimilated worldwide. This means that there is probably DNA of these folk in most of us.

The eastern Jews are probably mostly part of the Asian and eastern community. The western Jews were assimilated into the Roman Empire and have had a few times of dispersion. Under Roman persecution, then under Hitler’s being the two best known.

As a result the Jewish DNA has been flung far and wide across the nations of the world. The western world’s Jewish DNA coming mainly for those Jews in the Roman empire.

When people ask about the whereabouts of the twelve tribes of Israel, we can smile inwardly knowing in some ways they could be asking about themselves.

Hey have a great day!
Fri, January 31, 2014 | link          Comments

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why do Christians say Brothers and Sisters...?
Base_Pair_couples.jpgWhy do Christians say Brothers and Sisters...?

Does it appear strange that some Christians go around referring to other Christians as brothers and sisters?

In the business world, or clubs of various sorts we don’t call the males our brothers and the women our sisters.

Why does the bible have people making these claims?

Family is important and we have flesh and blood brothers and sisters, but that is not only what is being referred to.

Jesus said...”Anyone who does what God wants is my brother or sister or mother.” Mark 3:35

This seems to point out that all who follow God and do what he wants them to do is family of God since Jesus is God.

Paul makes that even more clear saying...” I bow in prayer to the Father because of my work among you. 15 From the Father his whole family in heaven and on earth gets its name.” Ephesians 3

John his dearest apostle says...How great is the love the Father has given us so freely! Now we can be called children of God. And that’s what we really are! The world doesn’t know us because it didn’t know him.” 1 John 3

He also says about Jesus “Some people did accept him. They believed in his name. He gave them the right to become children of God. 13 To be a child of God has nothing to do with human parents. Children of God are not born because of human choice or because a husband wants them to be born. They are born because of what God does.” John 1

The New Testament refers to believers as brothers and sisters. Jesus does not include everyone in the term since he open points to some scribes and Pharisees as being whitewashed tombs and does not include them in the brother and sister group.

The only exception to the group being believers seems to be little children. Here Jesus says... “Let the little children come to me. Don’t keep them away. God’s kingdom belongs to people like them. 15 What I’m about to tell you is true. Anyone who will not receive God’s kingdom like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10

We are family of God as Christians.

Does that mean we are perfect? Far from it!

Anyone who has lived in a family knows that we know our families strengths and weaknesses.

God loves us despite our failures. All we have to do is to want to follow and do what God wants.

If that’s you then you are my brother or sister!

That’s great! We can go anywhere in the world and find family. Having moved countries I know how true this is. It’s a gift in itself! A privilege!


Let’s rejoice that we are part of God’s family!
Have a wonderful blessed day brother! Have a gorgeous blessed day sister!
Thu, January 30, 2014 | link          Comments

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Persistence brings rewards, if we overcome...
PersistencePaysOff.jpgThe real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.~Milton Glaser

We face tough situations in life don’t we?

Mostly these are areas where if we continue to strive to overcome, we will!

Sometimes it's knowing it can be acheived that makes the difference, isn't it?

Let’s consider a few aspects such as losing’s self-confidence, or giving up on ourselves. I know of a person who was involved in a car accident and because of that became fearful of driving cars. This was hard not only on them but many who relied on them.

We should persevere and face the tough situations that we encounter that are threatening our self-confidence. Praying and asking God to give us the strength to overcome is important. COntinually doing what we know is right even when we do not feel like doing it is critical to success. Sometimes these situations re simply testing our faith in God and by overcoming we receive great gifts and strength.

Lack of support of others can be another tough situation to deal with. Remember Jesus said he would be with us always. That means even if everyone else leaves, Jesus is still here. Know this! Use this knowledge to build faith and overcome.

Think of those people in the Philippines that lost everything.

What keeps them alive other than a persistence to live and find the sources of life-giving resources. We may not lose as much or so quickly, but we can know that loss of everything cannot take away God’s intervention in our lives. We can have peace knowing this. God’s peace and joy can overcome any difficult circumstances and give victory to those who persist.

Going through relationship breakdowns can also be very difficult.
These can be a result of our own interactions, but sometimes we simply loose someone we love and this hurts. The loss may be due to changing life circumstances, relationships that don’t work out or in extreme cases the person dies. We have to turn to God in these circumstances knowing he understands deeply. Did Jesus not have difficult relationships with his brothers early in his ministry life? Did Jesus not lose a dear friend Lazarus? Jesus even experienced death himself, the ultimate hardship.

God knows our pains and experienced them himself. We can trust him to come alongside, console us, enable us to persist until the gloom of life’s damaged relationships blossom into new vibrant ones.

Maybe we are handicapped in some way. I have a dear friend in a wheelchair that cannot every walk or dance again. She is a wonderful Christian and has followed God’s motivations in her life. She is not afraid to do what seems difficult. For example, this lady got qualified as a rescue scuba diver. Yes, you do not need legs to go diving! This is walking forward in faith with God. Amazing things can happen!

When we compared losing a job to to loosing use of aspects of our body, this is less significant isn’t it?

Losing a Job is however very difficult for many.

Let’s remember God can use us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Pray, diligently look for work each day and trust God’s leading. This persistence and faith will lead us to positive life experience and perhaps even to new opportunities.

Life will drive many hard circumstances our way. That’s the nature of living. It is how we react that determines how we gain from them.

James, Jesus’ brother says…

2 My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 3 Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 4 The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.

We will face troubles, but if we approach them with Jesus and Holy Spirit’s power, our faith will grow as we are tested. Joy will be with us through the circumstance (know Joy is deeper than simple happiness). The tests will grow us incredibly as we overcome provided we do not give up. We must keep going and allow God to lead us through.

Without these tough situations we cannot grow from strength to strength.

Let’s live and let God do what he does best in us. Let’s let him chisel a masterpiece off the granite that is our lives.

Have a wonderful day!
Wed, January 29, 2014 | link          Comments

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brain Battles never give up!
Brain Battles – never give up!

Grumble_Happy_cats.jpgNever, never, never give up.~Winston Churchill

Getting tired, disillusioned, with a slow exhaustion settling in?

It happens!

There is no promise to Christians that we would have easy lives.

I think Eric Davis has it right when he says “Never give up and don't ask why because every situation does not need an answer. I'm a firm believer that I don't worry about anything I can't control.”

This is difficult advice for non-Christians because when tired, down and depleted of resources the person who doesn’t believe in God has no-one to call out to.

We as Christians have the amazing God of the universe to call out to!

 He promises to be with us and help us. As Jesus said in Matthew 28, “And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.

Evil tries to penetrate our minds with thoughts of despair so that it makes us less effective. Satan will show us first the glories of pleasure to try and take us down with enticement and if he fails there, Satan will try to show us how useless and desperate a situation we are in.

Neither is true!

God will help us to walk through the deadly entrapments of evil and guide us out the other side safely if we trust Him.

How do we do this?

When in a dark tunnel, what do we look for? Isn’t it the light that shows the end of the tunnel. What do we do? We walk towards it, don’t we?

That’s how we get through hard times. 

Jesus is that light at the end of the tunnel, but more than that he is the floodlight that lights up our path to the end of the tunnel of despair and takes us out into the glory of his presence where his great joy abounds.

We need positive minds. Positive minds generate a positive attitude and that in turn generates more energy and success. Galatians 6 says

9 Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up. 10 So when we can do good to everyone, let us do it. Let us make a special point of doing good to those who belong to the family of believers.

We have to focus on continuing doing the right things, rejecting negativity and selfish, ignorant and nasty things that can pull us down. If we have already done these we need to let God know and ask him to take the burden of these from us as he has promised he will. We need to then go out and do good.

Doing good, is a wonderful pick-me-up!

In this last week a scientific study pointed out that there are intrinsic positive brainwaves we generate when do things truthfully and reject lying. Lying consumes more brain resources than truth. Similarly, doing good will generate positive thoughts, experiences and a flow of Holy Spirit’s power in our life.

Doing good releases potential in us, releases positive experiences, helps us believe in our own worthiness, and it consumes far less energy than negative thoughts.

We will find that our activities will generate wonderful experiences and help others which will in turn help us ourselves.

This doing good cannot only be focussed on those around us that deserve our attention, but also on those who do not. When we do good to those who don’t do good to us, who perhaps even make our way difficult, it releases God’s energy into ourselves and the situations.

This is particularly true when helping those who belong to God’s family.

We need to reset out thoughts onto the Godly path. The change doesn’t happen instantly and there will be times where we lose out again for a while. When that happens, we must know God wants to forgive us, help us to grow stronger and doesn’t want us to wallow in guilt.

We need to cast off the negative, the evil and step forward again in truth with the lighter burden. Evil and negativity is heavy, following God’s way is light.

Today, let’s try to turn our thinking towards the light and switch the day to one of joy.

Be blessed!
Tue, January 28, 2014 | link          Comments

Monday, January 27, 2014

James the Just, who is he?
JamestheJust.JPGJames the Just, who is he?

Clement refers to James the Just to distinguish him from the son of Zebedee~John Painter

All the different James’ referenced in the Christian bible can be a bit hard to follow. Which one wrote the Letter of James?

It seems that we have settled on it being James the Just. Who is this guy, how important was he in the early church and should his letter even have been in the biblical texts in the first place?

The simplest way to answer this is to reference some of these texts themselves.

He starts his letter by saying ...

I, James, am writing this letter. I serve God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am sending this letter to you, the 12 tribes that are scattered among the nations.

This firmly establishes him as an early Christian with a Jewish focus. Just how Jewish and how early a Christian is to be determined as we look at his activities. Now there was James the son of Zebedee who was teh brother of John and during Jesus ministry time he is mentioned quite a bit. However James son of Zebedee was killed in about 44AD and so, this guy is not considered the JAMES of the James letter.

In fact evidence points to it being Jesus’ brother.

Here is some of that evidence...

In Matthew 13 it says... Jesus finished telling these stories. Then he moved on from there. 54 He came to his hometown of Nazareth. There he began teaching the people in their synagogue. They were amazed.
“Where did this man get this wisdom? Where did he get this power to do miracles?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary? Aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Then where did this man get all these things?” 57 They were not pleased with him at all.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not honored in his hometown. He doesn’t receive any honor in his own home.”
58 He did only a few miracles there because they had no faith.

This story is re-iterated by Mark 6

Jesus left there and went to his hometown of Nazareth. His disciples went with him. When the Sabbath day came, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were amazed.“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given to him? He even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son? Isn’t this the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were not pleased with him at all.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not honored in his hometown. He doesn’t receive any honor among his relatives. And he doesn’t receive any in his own home.”
Jesus laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. But he could not do any other miracles there. He was amazed because they had no faith.

 Here James is referred to as a brother of Jesus. As an aside we can see from this that Jesus has at least six siblings. We can also see that he was not popular in his own home town. I guess James would have been on the rough edge of peoples criticism of Jesus. Annoyance with someone does tend to flow over to annoyance with their family and family members doesn’tit. I guess James was continually picked on because of his older brother. It would have not easy been for the young James would it?

Okay so if James was Jesus brother then there would be references in the bible that are indirectly about him as well.

How about this one in Matthew 12...

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside. They wanted to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside. They want to speak to you.”
48 Jesus replied to him, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?” 49 Jesus pointed to his disciples. He said, “Here is my mother! Here are my brothers! 50 Anyone who does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother or sister or mother.”

 Again this was not the easiest of places for James to be at the time. Big brother almost diminishing the value of  him, his brothers and mother, At least form Jame’s perspective. Of course from Jesus,(Gods) perspective no one human on this earth is more important than another. All of those who follow Jesus and love God are equally important, but having it demonstrated in this way must have been tough on James, right?

Then there was this incident mentioned in John 2...

After this, Jesus went down to Capernaum. His mother and brothers and disciples went with him. They all stayed there for a few days.
13 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast. So Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courtyard he found people who were selling cattle, sheep and doves. Others were sitting at tables exchanging money.
15 So Jesus made a whip out of ropes. He chased all the sheep and cattle from the temple area.

 How do we think James felt? Here big brother was beating up store owners and going against the religious authorities in a physically confrontational manner. Can you see the crowd pointing to the family and saying to the temple guards, those were with that nut who turned over our tables and whipped us and our animals. James would not have felt good about this.

Following Jesus footsteps is not easy and right at this time it must have been very hard. I can expect by not James and his brothers were perhaps not the happiest with their big brother.

The fact that this was the case is alluded to in the following bible text from John...

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He stayed away from Judea on purpose. He knew that the Jews there were waiting to kill him.
The Jewish Feast of Booths was near. Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You should leave here and go to Judea. Then your disciples will see the kinds of things you do. No one who wants to be well known does things in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” Even Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in him.
So Jesus told them, “The right time has not yet come for me. For you, any time is right. The people of the world can’t hate you. But they hate me. This is because I give witness that what they do is evil.
“You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast. For me, the right time has not yet come.”
After he said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10 When his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also. But he went secretly, not openly.

 Here we see that the brothers of Jesus thought he wanted fame. The tone of the writing indicates they had had enough and actually wanted him to screw up and get into trouble. They were in fact encouraging him to get into a difficult situation. It is also of note that they did not believe he was the son of God. They were not believers in Jesus! How can that be? They lived and grew up with him!

I guess we need to understand children of Christians who fail to connect with their parents religion if James and his brother could grow up with god and yet ignore who he was. Perhaps his childhood didn’t show the miracles that he later evidences. Perhaps living with a “goody goody” person was difficult. We don’t know, we can only conjecture.

Notice Jesus doesn’t  lie to them but simply lets them believe what they want to believe. In this case they believe the wrong things!

Well Jesus is killed and rises and leaves everyone and the family must have had some serious fall-out as a result. There is a difference now. The brothers of Jesus are now believers or at least appear to be so as they are in that upper room praying with the believers. In acts 1 we read...

12 The apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. It is almost a mile from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Peter, John, James and Andrew were there. Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew were there too. So were James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas, son of James. 14 They all came together regularly to pray. The women joined them too. So did Jesus’ mother Mary and his brothers

The family was in the room. They were part of early church formation as at that time the following happened.

21 So we need to choose someone to take his place. It will have to be a man who was with us the whole time the Lord Jesus lived among us. 22 That time began when John was baptizing. It ended when Jesus was taken up from us. The one we choose must join us in giving witness that Jesus rose from the dead.”
23 So they suggested two men. One was Joseph, who was called Barsabbas. He was also called Justus. The other man was Matthias. 24 Then they prayed. “Lord,” they said, “you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen. 25 Show us who should take the place of Judas as an apostle. He gave up being an apostle to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots. Matthias was chosen. So he was added to the 11 apostles.

 None of them could have been very prominent at the time or it is likely being Jesus family they could have made that apostle slot. James was not up to that challenge yet.

Now about 37 to 38 AD James starts to mature and we read that Paul says in Galations 1

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem. I went there to get to know Peter. I stayed with him for 15 days. 19 I didn’t see any of the other apostles. I only saw James, the Lord’s brother. 20 Here is what you can be sure of. And God gives witness to it. What I am writing you is not a lie.

He is not listed as an apostle but is mentioned together with Peter. He had to have been growing in integrity and spiritually for Paul to mention him in this way.

This increases and in approximately AD 44 we read in Acts...

About this time, King Herod arrested some people who belonged to the church. He planned to make them suffer greatly. He had James killed with a sword. James was John’s brother. Herod saw that the death of James pleased the Jews. So he arrested Peter also…It was the night before Herod was going to bring him to trial. Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. Two chains held him there. Lookouts stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared. …11 Then Peter realized what had happened. He said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord sent his angel. He set me free from Herod’s power. He saved me from everything the Jewish people were hoping for.”
12 When Peter understood what had happened, he went to Mary’s house.
16 Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet. He explained how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the others about this,” he said. Then he went to another place.

 Here we see James the Just is not James of Zebedee. We also see that Peter has the believers go to James. James has not risen to the point of beingimportant to the whole Christian community and a person to whom the Apostle Peter turns to and confides in when in trouble.

Then in approximately AD 51, Paul has this to say...

 James, Peter and John are considered to be pillars in the church. They recognized the special grace that was given to me. So they shook my hand and the hand of Barnabas. They wanted to show they accepted us. They agreed that we should go to the non-Jews. They would go to the Jews. 10 They asked only one thing. They wanted us to continue to remember poor people. That was what I really wanted to do anyway. Galatians 2:9

 James is not one of three pillars of the Jerusalem church! He is a core part of early church activities. It is not safe to be in Jerusalem so he is putting his life on the line to be identified so closely with teh Christian leadership. He has become not only a believer in big brother but knows big brother spoke truth. Men do not become willing to die for lies. Jesus is God and James knows it.

We see how influential James was at the time that Peter agains screws up as explained by Paul.

11 When Peter came to Antioch, I told him to his face that I was against what he was doing. He was clearly wrong. 12 He used to eat with those who weren’t Jews. But certain men came from the group that was led by James. When they arrived, Peter began to draw back. He separated himself from the non-Jews. He was afraid of the circumcision group.
13 Peter’s actions were not honest. The other Jews joined him. Even Barnabas was led down the wrong path.
14 I saw what they were doing. It was not in line with the truth of the good news

It seems that James was of the Jewish focused circumcision group, Paul of the other side of the circumcision argument, arguing for the Gentile group. Peter was not appreciated by either as he was lukewarm and vacillated.

James is shown to have a pure intent, so much so Peter was double minded.

That argument was cleaned up by holy Spirit and it turns out that both Paul and James were correct but needed to give space to each other, making Peters behaviour okay after the fact, but not at this time.

The integrity of James comes through strong in this snippet of writing.

Then in about 58 AD we read...

17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters gave us a warm welcome. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James. All the elders were there. 19 Paul greeted them. Then he reported everything God had done among the non-Jews through his work.20 When they heard this, they praised God.

James is still in Jerusalem and he is important enough for Paul to want to see him. He is now a central figure of the early church in Jerusalem.

He was also married. I say that because it says in the bible...

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you the result of my work for the Lord? Even though others may not think of me as an apostle, I am certainly one to you! You are the proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. That is what I say to stand up for myself when people judge me.
Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife with us when we travel? The other apostles do. The Lord’s brothers do. Peter does.

 So this man of integrity, Jesus brother was important. We can see this inthe writing of acts 12 where there is a whole lot of people putting forward arguments for a specific issue. In these events the last person to speak is the most important. Listen to this...

The church sent them on their way. As they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how those who weren’t Jews had turned to God. This news made all the believers very glad.When they arrived in Jerusalem, the church welcomed them. The apostles and elders welcomed them too. Then Paul and Barnabas reported everything God had done through them.Some of the believers were Pharisees. They stood up and said, “Those who aren’t Jews must be circumcised. They must obey the law of Moses.”
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After they had talked it over, Peter got up and spoke to them.

13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me.
Notice James is last to speak and then a lot of what he said is reported.

Jesus brother had come into his fullness.

James the just was a strong believer and leader.

What made him that way?

Integrity, love of Jesus and a willingness to serve others humbly.

That’s what can make us powerful believers. Think about that today!
Mon, January 27, 2014 | link          Comments

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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse.

you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com

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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?



To purchase Kiara's Pursuer ebook  @ $1.99

            kindle version click here,

To contact the author contact Author@KenXBriggs.com


 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?



Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
Frugal Eating Advice
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