B.C. and A.D.

Our Pastor is going through the book of Luke. We’re now in Chapter 10, but I want to circle back and capture some of the keys points that have stood out to me as we have spent many weeks in this book thus far.

“ Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” Lk 1:1-4

That is quite the objective – “that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught”. Ah, “truth” something we are in desperate need of in this day and age of media spin. Interestingly, Luke does not promise all truth, just truth based on what he has seen and investigated. Perhaps a standard we should adopt when relating: stories, posts, memes or tweets, what do I know personally, what have I investigated. In examining the scripture, there is always an application for each of us, a promise to cling to, a sin to shun, a godly character trait to pursue, or a prayer we should make our own.

Now the story begins in earnest, here are the players:
“there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” Lk 1:5,6

After 400 years of silence, – no new prophets in Israel – God is about to cleave human history with the birth of His one and only Son, history would be known as B.C. “Before Christ” and A.D. “Anno Domini” “the Year of the Lord”. Christ’s parents are Mary and Joseph and we’ll look at them in a moment. Zacharias and Elizabeth are the parents of John the Baptist as Luke explains – the angel said to Zacharias you will have a son – his name is to be John and…

“… he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Lk 1:15b-17
Yet Zacharias was not believing the angel, so he was struck mute – till the boys naming and dedication. Elizabeth became pregnant and six months later this same angel that had visited Zacharias, Gabriel would visit a maiden in Nazareth – Mary.

And now, the main event, the angel Gabriel said to Mary: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”

Mary would visit Elizabeth, a census would be called that would necessitate travel to Bethlehem. Then she would give birth, I’ll let Luke tell it.

“ …and she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” Lk 2:7-20

There it is History punctuated, the world would never be the same ever again for the God of creation would inhabit this small globe and reveal Himself to people through face to face interactions. A select few would get to see and experience Him, yet all are called to recognize Him for who He was/is, we are called to believe this truth as laid out by Luke.

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Christians fail to realize that we have a Gun problem in America.

In the weeks following the shooting in Las Vegas (actually years ago now — On the night of October 1, 2017), I see many people argue that evil people will do evil, that’s just the way it is.  We are powerless to stop the mass killings because there are bad people.  I too believe in the evil that lays within the heart of man, but that does not mean we are powerless and must accept as a consequence the actions of a few evil people.

I strongly disagree with those who throw their hands up and say all we can and should do as Christians is preach the gospel.  I know a great many politically active Christians who do not believe that we should remain silent on abortion.  Why is political action on abortion canonized as godly, while at the same time Gun control is seen as being outside the purview of Christian activism?  It is the height of hypocrisy to take the stand on abortion while abandoning guns restriction, their near universal availability and the selling of armor piercing bullets.   This is a madness that needs to stop.

Perhaps you can tell from my opening paragraph that this post was started many years ago, but is brought back to the fore-front as our nation experiences convulsive and violent times.  Police and the general citizenry are being shot and killed.  If “Blue Lives Matter” where is the outrage on the general availability of guns on our streets.

There are those that think the Second Amendment fore-stalls any limitations on guns, and the citizen’s right to own nearly any flavor of weapon or ammunition they so choose.  Yet this same Constitution also guarantees voting to all citizens.

SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall
not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article
by appropriate legislation.

Yet the comfort with which voting rights have been limited is a telling example of the unequal application of the Constitution by those who say gun rights supersede all limitations.

I am deeply troubled by Christians who elevate the 2nd Amendment to that of canonized scriptures while simultaneously seeking to deny all citizens the right to vote.

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It is time for the Monuments to the Confederacy to go.

There are a few well reasoned articles (Washington Post) (Public Discourse)(Civil War Emancipation) (Roanoke Times)(New York Times)(NPR)(SPLC)

History of lynching (Equal Justice Initiative)  (Christianity Today [CT])

But the most instructive is the group of people who have defended the monument in Charlottesville.  Why is it so important to White Supremacist and Neo-Nazis to argue for the maintenance of the symbols?

Also the timing of the placement of the monuments also speaks to their purpose.  Take for example a monument in Boston MA.  in 1963 at the peak of the Civil Rights movement.

A memorial outside Fort Warren is dedicated to the 13 Confederate prisoners who died there. The Boston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected this memorial in 1963. The fort is on Georges Island near Boston.  Photo by Ron Baumgarten

As for Christians the issue should be even easier than for those who do not profess to know and serve the Lord. We are called to “not use liberty for an occasion to sin”, but by love serve one another. We are also warned against the erection of idols.

In 2 Kings 21:19 – 23

19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. 20 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done. 21 For he walked in all the way that his father had walked, and served the idols that his father had served and worshiped them. 22 So he forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.


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Do I believe the Bible

While at work the other day, I accidentally hit the play button for that morning’s ttb.org (Through The Bible) broadcast.  My workmates immediately asked ‘what was that’, I told them it was the opening to a five year bible study that I listen to daily.  One workmate said he doesn’t believe in that bible stuff.  The Nuns at the Catholic school dismissed the existence of dinosaurs as fake, and lumped in Egyptian Mummies for good measure.  I don’t fully know their reasoning but let me explain mine.

I believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God.  That is what I BELIEVE, based on historical evidence and what the bible says. Jesus believed the bible, he is quoted as saying,

“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,… “
Matthew 19:4 (NASV)

Christ believed it – and so I.  Now I know that this proof is circular in that I used the Bible to prove the Bible.

So what is the scientific evidence for a God versus – natural random coincidence?

The Big Bang or Multiverse?  The Big Bang speaks to a beginning – so does the Bible, the issue with Big Bang is where did the initial spark come from, and why if it had been stable at one point did it become unstable and explode? I choose to believe that GOD, as revealed in the Bible is the explanation for the initial ‘Big Bang’ of our universe.

Now there is another theory out there that suggested that there was no beginning, and that our universe is one of trillions that exist in a vision some are calling Multiverses.

The universe we live in may not be the only one out there. In fact, our universe could be just one of an infinite number of universes making up a “multiverse.”

Though the concept may stretch credulity, there’s good physics behind it. And there’s not just one way to get to a multiverse — numerous physics theories independently point to such a conclusion. In fact, some experts think the existence of hidden universes is more likely than not. Space.com

Does the bible speak to multiverses?  Well yes, God exists out side of our Universe and I suppose that the “lake of fire prepared for Satan and his angels” is another universe – then the Bible speaks of three universes at minimum.  Why wouldn’t we ‘discover’ this, the Bible has suggested it for generations.

In the end you must decide what it is that you believe.  Random occurrences happened to bring forth life here on earth and on planets too distant for us to definitively discover life there, or believe in an all powerful, all knowing designer – who is the cause for life here on earth as explained to us in the Bible.

I choose to believe in God, you are free to choose to believe otherwise.  In the end if I am wrong it will not matter, BUT if you have chosen to believe otherwise and are wrong – it will be the biggest mistake you could have possibly made.

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