For "Scripture Sunday":
Thief on the Cross: What Happened to Him?
"Was the thief on the cross saved, and did he immediately go to heaven when he died? What did Jesus say to him, and what did He really mean?
Many people mistakenly assume that the thief who was crucified next to Jesus Christ was “saved” and went immediately to heaven when he died, since Christ had told him in Luke 23:43: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
What did Christ mean, “today”?
We also need to answer this question: Did Jesus Himself enter “Paradise” that day? By His own mouth, He was in the grave for the next three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40). His soul remained in Sheol, or the grave, for that short time period, and then was resurrected. “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).
This, in itself, tells us that the thief on the cross did not join Christ anywhere that day. After being resurrected, Christ told Mary Magdalene, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father’” (John 20:17).
What, then, is the accurate way to understand Christ’s statement to the thief on the cross? As we have seen, the New King James Version reads, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” However, the Greek text of the Scriptures has no punctuation. Translators, in trying to smooth out the text, add punctuation. In this case, they misplaced the comma due to a lack of understanding.
If the comma is simply deleted after “you” and instead inserted after “today,” the meaning changes significantly—and agrees with the rest of the Bible. It would then read, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” Christ gave the thief the absolute promise on the day they were dying that he would (eventually, but not that same day) be with Christ in His Father’s Kingdom."
Complete article at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/life-after-death/what-is-heaven/thief-on-the-cross/ by John Foster
Resurrection of Jesus: Can We Prove It?
"The only sign Christ gave to His generation that He was the Messiah was about His resurrection. Is there solid evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?"But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened" (Luke 24:12).
Followers of Jesus Christ should have absolute confidence that the resurrection of our Savior is fact. As we will see, the promise that all converted people will be resurrected and changed to spirit at His return to earth depends upon it. Yet much of the world around us rejects the idea of a resurrection. Even some who profess to believe Jesus is the Christ nullify the need for the resurrection of believers described in the Scriptures by their traditional beliefs about what happens after death.
In the days of the apostle Paul, some people proclaimed that there is no resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12). A significant group of religious leaders in his day, the Sadducees, also denied it. Yet, as Paul points out, if this were true, then we would have no Savior. We would still be in our sins, and members of the Church of God would have no hope of being resurrected (verses 17-18)!" Rest of article at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-jesus/resurrection-of-jesus/
Christian Holidays: Which? Does God Care?
"Some holidays are national celebrations, and others have religious roots. Are all Christian holidays the same? Are some really made holy by God?
For many people, a holiday is just a welcome day off from work to be with friends and family. But some days seem to be more significant than others, depending on culture, religion and family values. The Bible actually identifies some days as holy days commanded by God to be observed. Could it really make that much difference which Christian holidays we observe?
There are two basic kinds of holidays, national or religious. In the United States, good examples of the two types would be the Fourth of July and Christmas. The French celebrate Bastille Day and the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No doubt there are many holidays and holy days around the world of which most of us are completely unaware.
Does it make any difference which days we keep?
National or religious holidays?
We celebrate our national holidays because of historic national events (such as America’s Independence Day, Memorial Day or Labor Day). This is simply a matter of observing the day because some national events are significant, and many businesses often close down that day. You have a day at home to relax or take the family on a picnic or go visit relatives.
But what about religious holidays?
So which days are holy according to the Bible?
Should we be surprised if God also ordained certain annual religious holy days to be celebrated?
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts”’” (Leviticus 23:1-2). So God has implemented days on which we are to observe “holy” convocations. He lists them for us:
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread (first and seventh days).
- The Feast of Trumpets.
- The Day of Atonement.
- The Feast of Tabernacles (first day).
- The Last Great Day (also called the Eighth Day).
God clearly initiated these holy day observances, but where do we find He said it was no longer necessary to observe them? There is no such passage in the Bible! Rather, we find the New Testament Church observing these same holy days (Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 5:8; for more on this, see “Christian Festivals”)."
Complete article at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/holy-days-vs-holidays/christian-holidays/ by Ron Kelly
After I taped off the new tire, Ray painted the old wheel, and Jay got it back on the trailer. Now it can be moved if need be.
We are still looking for an underground water leak, but with so many preparation days and Sabbaths, we haven't had time to do much digging at it, so we shut off the water to that area.
As it was the week before Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we have been pretty busy. I chopped and steamed lots of veggies and made an enormous Mixed Veggie Salad, and Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing, to take to the potluck. Lauri, a lady from our congregation who lives down the road, has been doing the night driving. She, Jay and I went to The Lord's Supper on Thursday evening at The Church of God, Willis, just to see how it was done, as none of us had been to a complete service. We, all three, enjoyed the evening, but left early, as I wanted to drive home myself before it got dark, and Jay had to get back to his disabled mother.
The following night, Friday, Lauri and I went to The Lord's Supper at our church on FM 1097, and enjoyed that evening, too. As there isn't a meal served at The Lord's Supper, Lauri came to my house early and we ate some of the Mixed Veggie Salad and Chicken Salad that I had made, then she drove us to the church. It was similar to the Lord's Supper at the other church, but this time we stayed for the foot washing.
Question: "What was the significance of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples?"
Answer: "Jesus washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1–17) occurred in the upper room, just prior to the Last Supper and has significance in three ways. For Jesus, it was the display of His humility and His servanthood. For the disciples, the washing of their feet was in direct contrast to their heart attitudes at that time. For us, washing feet is symbolic of our role in the body of Christ.
Walking in sandals on the filthy roads of Palestine in the first century made it imperative that feet be washed before a communal meal, especially since people reclined at a low table and feet were very much in evidence. When Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:4), He was doing the work of the lowliest of servants. The disciples must have been stunned at this act of humility and condescension, that Christ, their Lord and master, should wash the feet of His disciples, when it was their proper work to have washed His. But when Jesus came to earth the first time, He came not as King and Conqueror, but as the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. As He revealed in Matthew 20:28, He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The humility expressed by His act with towel and basin foreshadowed His ultimate act of humility and love on the cross." Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-washing-feet.html#ixzz3WSxgpZm5
The men were at one end of the room and the ladies at the other, for the foot washing.
The next day was the Sabbath, and I went there by myself as neither Jay nor Ray were around. Jay had to stay with his mother as she had fallen and couldn't get up again. She has been doing a lot of that lately. She is 2 years younger than I, but is mostly bedridden.
The readings were Lev.6:8-8:36, Jer.7:21-8:3, 9:22,23, and Mark 12:28-30 (KJV) 28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
The Teaching was about "The Preparation of Passover, and The Relevance of The Messiah." It was about all the prophesies referring to the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17
We all had a good potluck lunch afterwards, and lots of good fellowship and biblical discussions. The pastor's wife was already cooking the lamb and herbs for the evening service in a big roaster. She really worked hard at making everything just right for the Passover Ceremony. She took everything with leavening out of the dining hall kitchen and threw it out in the woods behind the church. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
After we ate the potluck, most people left and came back for that evening's service. Quite a few stayed and helped the pastor's wife get everything ready. I couldn't, as I had a dog to let out, and I hoped to get Jay to go with us in the evening.
Lauri arrived while I was down at Jay's waiting for him to get ready, then we all three piled into the red mini-van and arrived at the Passover Ceremony which started at 7.45pm, sunset, according to tradition. It was done just the way that Jesus and the disciples did it all those years ago. "Do this in remembrance of me" An elder explained the different stages of the Seder:
" A Passover service, or seder (a Hebrew word meaning "order"), has 14 steps that include prayers, scripture readings, songs, hand washing, a meal, and the ritual consumption of green herbs, bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and wine (fruit of the vine). Green herbs (typically parsley or watercress) are eaten near the beginning of the seder and represent springtime and renewal--Passover always falls in March or April. The bitter herbs (typically fresh horseradish) are eaten just before the meal, after the Passover story has been recounted, to remind participants of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt."
Sitting around the seder tables we each had a copy of the ceremonial pamphlet, there were also plates with the different symbolic foods on them. Four readers read the reminders of how the Passover started and how the Israelites were delivered out of Egyptian slavery. The children have a part to play in this ceremony, too, there are four questions that a child asks. So a young nephew of one of the members read the questions. Everyone enjoyed the evening, even Jay.
It was quite late when Lauri drove us home. Jay had to be dropped off first, as his mother had fallen again. A long, but great day.