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Sunday Reading

English: Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, is...

English: Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, is praying for victory (Painting by J.E. Millais, 1923) Deutsch: Moses, Aaron und Hur beten für den Sieg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exodus 17:8-13 – New International Version

The Amalekites Defeated

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Source: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ex+17:8-13

Commentary:

Following the Catholic liturgical year, today’s passage is from Exodus, a book of the Old Testament. A lot of folks are turned off by the Old Testament. It doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of life. Instead, we read all about war, treachery, lying, adultery… the list goes on. Of course, there’s a lot of really good stuff in the Old Testament too. The Old Testament contains a beautiful love poem about conjugal love, The Song of Songs. And it tells of how God is merciful, just and protects us from evil.

But there’s one key ingredient that we need if we are to be truly protected. And that’s faith. From faith, and a growing relationship with God, we can better learn how to do the right thing.

Now, I’m a psychologist at heart, so I tend to interpret scripture from the perspective of psychology and religion. And when I look at today’s reading, I see someone under attack. And he only succeeds in overcoming this attack when “the staff of God” is held high. Whenever it isn’t held high, his enemies begin to win the battle.

So from a psychological point of view, we can see this as exhorting us to overcome bad things through the power of God. I really don’t believe that we can overcome attacks – from within ourselves or from others – without God’s help. Oh, we can choose to be positive, go for a jog, or take medications. And these things can be an integral part of God’s plan. I don’t deny that. But ultimately, for Christians and many others, the true source of healing and betterment is God.

This sounds great but unfortunately we don’t always feel close to God. Sometimes we get tired from the fight, our faith might waver, and we need help from others. We may need a wake-up call, encouragement, group prayer, or the communal celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

And when we receive God’s help through others, that’s when Aaron and Hur hold up our hands.

—MC


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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 3)

English: Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Another Inconvenient Truth

Although the religions of Krishna, Buddha and Christ each allow for the idea of the Just War, they arguably differ.

Let’s look at Christianity first. Christians generally put more stock in the New Testament (NT) than the Old Testament (OT). The NT advocates turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemies while the often spiteful and bellicose OT speaks of gaining “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Christian theologians say that the OT and NT inform one another. And Jesus Christ is often said to be present in the OT. But the NT is also taken as the fulfillment of the somewhat imperfect OT, as embodied in the person, teachings and living example of Jesus.

True, the Christian Bible consists of both the OT and NT, and, as mentioned, the OT has its fair share of nasty bits. But from the OT to the NT there’s a clear and definite movement away from violence to peace, from tribal retribution to the global message of selfless service.

This worldwide message of “peace above all” is universal. Christians unanimously agree that anyone can convert to Christianity. By way of contrast, some Hindus maintain that one must be born a Hindu—that is, for some Hindus true conversion for non-Hindus is not possible, a stance that seems tantamount to racism and hardly a universal message for mankind to unite in peace.

While some public figures like to gloss over this obvious difference between Christianity and some Hindu fundamentalists, it cannot be denied. And mere platitudes that obscure the issue aren’t going to change this inconvenient truth.

© Michael Clark

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5




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The Holy Spirit – Fr. Thomas R. Harding, Th.D.

Alfa et omega. The beginning & the end by Sint-Katelijne-Waver via Flickr

This homily has been posted with the direct and generous permission of the late Fr. Thomas Harding, Th.D. (1918-2005).

Because 1998 was the year of the Holy Spirit it is important that we emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the PLAN OF GOD and in this period of the history of the Church from the First Pentecost until the end of time and for all eternity.

In the Apostles’ Creed we say: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.”

In the Nicene Creed we say: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

There are Biblical texts dealing with the Spirit of God from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. We will mention a few of the familiar ones.

In Genesis 1:1-2a:4a we read “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth and the earth was void and empty and darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. Then God said ‘Let there be light’, and there was light God saw how good the light was.” This is actually the second account of creation by the Priestly author of a later date.

The first account by the author known as YAHWIST because he referred to God as YAHWEH is in Genesis 2:4-7 where we read: “At the time when God made the earth and the heavens while as yet there was no field shrub on the earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the Lord God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil but a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the suiface of the ground The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life and so man became a living being.”

The YAHWIST has no interest in the formation of cosmic light or the sun, moon and stars as Father George Montague says in his book entitled The Holy Spirit: Growth of a Biblical Tradition, because his interest is restricted to the earth and the things that immediately touch human life: water, earth, the sown land, animals, woman. His interest is centred in man who is ADAM for the ADAMAH, earthman from the earth.

Other popular texts from the Old Testament referring to the Holy Spirit or adaptable to His action are as follows:

In Isaiah 11:2-3. we read: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him; a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength. a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” There is no explicit mention of piety in this text but it may be included in the opening words of the quotation. At any rate these Isaiah gifts are the general characteristics of the Messiah who is to come and, we hope. of his future followers who receive the Holy Spirit and His gifts in Baptism and Confirmation.

In Jeremiah 31:31-33, we read: “I will make a new covenant… I will put my law within them and I will write it upon their hearts.”

In the prophet Ezekiel 36:26, we read, “I will give you a new heart and place a new Spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.”

In the prophet Joel 3:1-2, we read: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Even upon the servants and handmaids, I will pour out my Spirit.”

As we say in the Nicene Creed: “He” that is, “the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets.” He truly spoke through all the prophets of the Old Testament and through Jesus Christ, the Priest, Prophet and King of the New Testament!

The Holy Spirit by His Inspiration is the Principal Author of the books of both Testaments. And yet it is difficult to find a direct quotation from the Holy Spirit Himself in the Scriptures. There are many indications of the Holy Spirit speaking in the New Testament:

MATTHEW 10:19-21 “When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes you will be given what you are to say. You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you..” This is commonly referred to as “the Dabitur Vobis” which translated into English means: “It will be given to you.”

Another oft-quoted text in this regard is JOHN 3-8: “The wind blows where it will you hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone begotten by the Spirit.”

The text of Paul to the Romans 8:26-27 is very comforting for all of us: “The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in speech. He who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints as God Himself wills.” Again St. Paul says in I Corinthians 12:3 just before he lists the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit: “And no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Spirit.” So when you pray, be open to the Holy Spirit and He will take over. Invite Him to take over and your prayer life will improve immensely.

Thus the Holy Spirit is constantly in communication with the Church and with her members from within. We are Temples of the Holy Spirit and since He is dwelling within us, we receive His messages directly in our minds and hearts and it is our obligation to accept them and act upon them.

The Holy Spirit in The New Testament

In his constitution on Confirmation in 1971, Pope Paul VI said the New Testament shows how the Holy Spirit assisted Jesus Christ throughout His whole Messianic Mission:

1) At the Annunciation the Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and that which you conceive will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

2) On receiving the Baptism of John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist said: “I beheld the Holy Spirit descending upon Him like a dove and it stayed upon Him!” John 1:32

3) After His Baptism, St. Mark said: “He was led by the Spirit into the desert and He was in the desertforforty days and forty nights, being tempted the while by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts and the angels came and ministered to Him.” Mark 1:12-13

4) Teaching the people of Nazareth, He showed by what he said that the words of Isaiah referred to Himself: “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” Luke 4: 17-21

5) He later promised before He suffered that “the Holy Spirit would help them to bear fearless witness to their faith before persecutors.” Luke 12:12

6) The night before He died, He assured His Apostles that “He would send the Spirit of Truth upon them from the Father.” John 15:26

7) After His Resurrection, He promised the coming descent of the Holy Spirit: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down upon you and you Will be my witness in Jerusalem in all Judea and in Samaria and even to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8. He had told them: “not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father.” Acts 1:4

8 ) After praying for nine days in the upper room: “the Apostles and the disciples with Mary, the mother of Jesus and the women and the brothers were ready to receive the Spirit ” Acts 1:13-14

9) On the tenth day it is reported: “When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Iioij’ Spirit and began to talk in other languages as the Holy Spirit enable them to speak.” Acts 2:1-4

10) The Church was born and the believers began to preach the Good News: “There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited because they heard the believers talking in their own languages. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed: “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! How is it then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? We are from Parthia, Media and Elam from Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asis, from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, but Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism and some of us are from Crete and Arabia -yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things God has done. Acts 2:5-11

Titles of the Holy Spirit

1) Advocate: “These things I have spoken to you while yet dwelling with you. But the Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and will bring to mind whatever I have said to you.” John 14:26 Advocate means lawyer, one who pleads our case.

2) Paraclete: “But I speak the truth to you; it is expedient for you that I depart For if I do not go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7-8 Paraclete means “Comforter”, one who gives strength.

3) The Spirit of Truth: “But when the Advocate has come, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning me.” John 15:26

4) The Love of God Personified: “And hope does not disappoint because the Love of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

Father Bernard J. F. Lonergan, S.J., the great Canadian Theologian uses this text to contrast the Apostles’ love of God before and after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the First Pentecost. For example, Peter loved the Lord with a human love on the first Good Friday and he denied Him three times during the Passion. However, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, he loved the Lord with the love of God, or with divine love and thus he was able to face persecution and he even asked that he be crucified upside down because he was unworthy to die like the Lord.

There are other titles for the Holy Spirit such as: Comforter, Sanctifier, the promised One of the Father, and the Inner Teacher, the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son.

Symbols of the Holy Spirit

1) A Dove: The dove has long been a sign of peace, gentleness and hope. “And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form, like a dove. A voice came from Heaven: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved with whom I am well pleased” Luke 3:22

2) Wind: The word SPIRIT is etymologically from the word BREATH or WIND. Invisible and formless, the wind can caress us or overwhelm us with its power. “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

“And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were altogether in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty wind blowing and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:1-2

3) Fire: Fire consumes and purifies, warms us and lights our path. “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them and a tongue settled upon each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts, 2:3-4

4) Water: Water cleanses and refreshes, yet its power can carve a mountainside. “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty; but the water that I will give shall become a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting.” John 4:13-15

“On the last and most important day of the festival Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, ‘Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink As the scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in me, streams of life-giving water will pour out from his heart Jesus said this about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were going to receive. At that time the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not been raised to glory. John 7:37-39

This text is used to illustrate the growth in the Spirit in those who are living The life in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit and the Church

God the Father’s plan was to raise all the members of the human race to a participation of the divine life. When Adam sinned, He did not abandon human beings but sent His son Jesus Christ into the world as the Saviour and Redeemer. Christ inaugurated the Church, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. He is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH.

When the work of redemption was completed, God the Father and God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit into the world that He might continually sanctify the Church and guide her until the end of time to preserve her from error and all dangers. The Holy Spirit, who is the Soul and the Life of the Church, gives her infallibility and indefectibility. He makes sure that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic for all time to come.

Moreover, each member of the Church receives the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation along with His Gifts and Fruits and all the other wonderful effects of these sacraments. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, Numbers 2-8 )

This homily is not to be copied, duplicated, modified nor distributed in any way


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A Trace of “Satan” Through the Bible

English: Satan Going Forth from the Presence o...

William Blake - Satan Going Forth from the Presence of the Lord via Wikipedia

by: Tonia Jordan

Throughout the Bible, the name of Satan may represent one being, but the characteristics of this being change several times. The one characteristic that remains the same throughout the Bible is that Satan likes to cause trouble. In Genesis 3, Satan tempts Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, which causes the fall of man. Although the name of Satan is not used, the passage suggests an evil being taking the form of a serpent, which many believe was Satan.

Next, which may be the first mention of the name of Satan in the Bible, is in 1Chronicles 21:1, “Now Satan, setting himself against Israel, incited David to make a census of the people.” This passage introduces the thought of Satan in opposition of humans.

Then, in Job 1:6, “. . . the members of the court of heaven took their places in the presence of the Lord, and the Adversary, Satan, was there among them.” In a footnote to this verse, in The Oxford Study Bible, it is stated that “the Adversary is the enemy of human beings, not of God” (511). At this meeting in heaven, Satan questions God repeatedly about Job, a very faithful and honorable follower of God. God grants Satan permission to harm Job, suggesting a lack of power in Satan. The Student Bible mentions in a side note that “he has supernatural power to oppress people, but is restrained by God” (465).

In Zechariah 3:1, at the right side of the angel of the Lord, Satan is there to accuse Joshua, further implementing the role of Satan to be just an accuser.

Satan is only mentioned a few times in the Old Testament, and the name refers to an evil being that sets himself against the people. It seems also that his power is very limited, as he can do very little without the permission of God. Also, it seems suggested that Satan resided in heaven and was allowed to be in the presence of God.

In the New Testament, the image of Satan changes drastically. In Matthew 4:9, Satan is referred to as “the devil,” where he tempts Jesus, which may be the first time Satan interferes, without the permission of God, with a person’s life. Satan interferes with not just any person, but the son of God. This suggests that Satan’s evil power is now directed at God, and not people.

In Matthew 4:3, Satan is called “the tempter,” and he tempts many people throughout the New Testament. For example, in Thessalonians 2:18, Satan “thwarted” Paul and his companions on their way to Thessalonica.

William Blake - Satan Smiting Job with Sore Bo...

William Blake - Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils via Wikipedia

Another suggestion of Satan’s independent power over people is, in Luke 13:16, a woman was “bound by Satan for eighteen long years.” Yet another is, in Luke 22:3, when “Satan entered into Judas,” where Satan not only interferes but enters the body of a person.

Satan asks Jesus, in Matthew 4:9, to “. . . fall down and do me homage,” wanting Jesus to worship him and not God, further suggesting his opposition and this the first mention of the worship of Satan. Then in 1Timothy 5:15, it is stated, “For there have in fact been some who have taken the wrong turning and have gone over to Satan.” This proves that people had begun viewing Satan as a type of god, and some had even begun worshipping him.

In Luke 10:18, “[Jesus] said to them ‘ . . . And if it is Satan who drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then can his kingdom stand?’” This verse states that Satan has his own kingdom, which suggests the great power of Satan, much more at least than when he needed God’s permission to interfere with Job’s life.

In Acts 26:18, there is another mention of a kingdom of Satan: “You are to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God.” Then in Revelation 2:13, the phrase, “where Satan is enthroned” is written.

Throughout the Bible, the name of Satan transforms from a name meaning simply “accuser” into the name of an evil force in his own kingdom outside the kingdom of God; a being that interferes with and tempts the lives of people of his own free will.

Whether this transformation is an accurate development of the being, or whether man’s understanding of Satan changed is up for debate. One thing is clear – the symbol of evil that is Satan is a complex one.

About The Author

Tonia Jordan is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for all sorts of writers. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/spidergirl so stop by and read for a while.


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Music in Christian Worship

A modern Western worship team leading a contem...

A modern Western worship team leading a contemporary worship session via Wikipedia

by: Robert Hinchliffe

The history of music in Christian worship is a substantial one which can trace its origins all the way back to pre-Christian times in the Old Testament. In those very early days we read of the Jewish people singing, playing instrumental music and even dancing. Such activity was widely used as a means of expressing faith. Music played an important role in many acts of celebration and worship. It was into that society that Jesus was born.

Over the two thousand years since Christ’s life the use of music in Christian worship has gone through many phases and many musical idioms. It is really over the second of those two thousand years that church music, as we know it today, has developed.

One of the most important events in the whole of the world of music came about through the work of a Benedictine monk, Guido of Arrezzo who lived from about 995 to 1050. He didn’t actually ‘invent’ staff notation but he perfected it, completing the evolution of the earlier neumes into plainsong script, which was the forerunner of what we know today as ‘tonic-solfa’. All music had previously been passed down by aural tradition so the facility to write down music for others to read and perform was a massive step forward. Almost all musical expression since that time has come as a direct result of that development.

From that time on, composers were able to create substantial works for use in worship. This early church music was written to form the framework of an act of worship. The music was performed primarily by professional musicians attached to the church and was not for congregation participation. Composers did eventually begin to incorporate chorales (hymns) into the liturgy which gave the congregation the opportunity to join in at certain points in the service.

Many of the greatest composers over the centuries have added their voices to the ever growing repertoire of great church music. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven and many others have given us masterpieces adding to the wealth of music in Christian worship. We tend to know many of these works today through concert performances, forgetting that many were originally created as liturgical pieces for use in church services.

At times of spiritual revival (the Protestant Reformation, the missions of Moody & Sankey, the evangelical energy which led to the founding of Methodism and the Salvation Army, etc.) there was a burst of hymn writing surrounding these events. These highly creative times in church music led to the appearance of many of the greatest and most popular congregational hymns of all. The hymns from these eras of church history have stood the test of time and are still to be heard today in even the most contemporary of worship situations.

Over the last 50 years worship music has gone through a whole new phase of development. Since the early 1960’s composers of church music have gained much inspiration from the popular music of their day. We now regularly encounter worship bands accompanying church singing rather than the traditional organ. More and more, we hear the term “worship song” rather than the word “hymn” and congregations are becoming much more attuned to worship music in a popular contemporary idiom. This can be a contentious issue at times but it is important that all Christians have the right to express their faith in a manner which suits them. Many churches are coping with this by having both traditional worship and contemporary worship on a Sunday.

So, music in Christian worship continues to develop and change. We now have a massive repertoire of music in many, many different styles and idioms to choose from. At all costs, we must avoid the blinkered view of focusing on music of one idiom and ignoring the rest. Every generation adds to the rich tapestry of worship music we have available to us.

Copyright (c) 2010 Robert Hinchliffe

About The Author

Robert Hinchliffe is a professional musician and Methodist local preacher. This article is a result of his recent research into the history and development of music in Christian worship. Would you like to know more about his research? If so please visit http://www.robsworshipmusic.com/mcweb.htm and find out how you can access a FREE copy of Robert’s contemporary Christmas song, “The Greatest Gift”.

The author invites you to visit: http://www.hinchliffe-music.com


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Angels Bridge The Gap

An angel comforting Jesus before his arrest in...

An angel comforting Jesus before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane via Wikipedia

by: Bob and Penny Lord

In the history of the world, there have always been great gaps, separators which isolate one land mass from another. As a result of these natural boundary lines, countries have been formed; ethnic cultures have developed; physical and social separation were created. Whether mountains or rivers, or lava from a volcano spewing out a separating line of black rock, or a crack in the earth deep into its core, from an ancient earthquake too violent to be measured on the Richter scale, the bottom line results have always been the same, complete and utter division.

The religions of the world have not been spared from this inundation of factions. The earthquake that occurred on that first Good Friday, after Jesus had uttered His last cry, “Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit”, tore apart the curtain in the temple, and fractured the temple area. The rumble from that outrageous act of murder against the Body of the Son of God could be felt around the world. It caused a split high up on a mountain in Italy, called Alverna, at the moment of Jesus’ death. This same mountain is where St. Francis of Assisi received the wounds of the Stigmata, some twelve hundred years later.

Perhaps a worse crack formed when the Christians split from the Jews. Granted, it was a spiritual or emotional fissure, but a devastating break nevertheless. Originally, it was clean; deep, but clean. The Jews would not accept Our Lord Jesus as their Messiah. That was it, pure and simple, the only line of separation. Other than that, everything about the new way of Jesus was on a parallel with Judaism. Christians even went to the temple to worship; then they would gather together at someone’s home to break bread, and share about the Messiah. This is the ancient beginnings of our Mass.

But when the Jews refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah, the Gentiles were evangelized and converted. Changes began to work their way into the Christian religion, and away from the Mosaic laws, (i.e. circumcision and some Kosher dietary laws) causing the gap to widen and deepen, until eventually, it became too wide and too deep, too impossible for humans to cross without help. As time went on, it took more than accepting Jesus as the Messiah for a Jew to join the Christian movement. There were Jewish laws which had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, and so they were not observed. This was something Jews who had joined the church, could not obey; at first they fought and then they left.

And so separation came about! This separation was obviously a plan of the evil one to form a deep and permanent gap between Jews and Christians, which was never meant to be. Jesus had come for His chosen people the Jews, dying for them as well as those who would come later, the Gentiles. Lucifer’s plot was designed for Jews and Christians to kill one another, eventually destroying the Church.

But it does seem strange that the perpetrators of the plot, the fallen angels, should have failed to consider the one entity, God had made strong enough to foil that plot, to bridge that gap, to cross that great chasm separating the old and the new, without fear of falling deep into the ravine, was their brothers, the good Angels. This bridge would stand for all time, as Jesus stood on the other side of the water, waiting for His beloved people to cross over to Him and His Church.

Angels have been a major factor in the Judao-Christian tradition, from the very beginning. While Bible Scholars of different Christian denominational persuasions disagree on just about everything in Scripture, as do our brothers and sisters of the Hebrew belief, there has always been one area where there has never been a dis-agreement, and that is the Biblical recognition of the authenticity and role of the Angels.

That Angels bridge the gap between the Old Testament and the New Testament is a well-known fact. Their existence and activities can be traced as far back as Genesis, and continue up through the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, where they play a major part in the prophecy of the end times. Through Scripture, we see their roles as varied, as are their powers and gifts. Because of these special qualities of leadership, we believe the Angels have distinct personalities, to perform individual tasks. But no matter how we view the Angels personally, they are always there in Scripture, at crucial times, and they play important roles. They are right up there standing in attendance with God.

Expulsion of Adam and Eve, circa 1880, Clevela...

Expulsion of Adam and Eve, circa 1880, Cleveland Museum of Art via Wikipedia

The Angels themselves are mentioned no less than 320 times in the Old and New Testaments, as well as, in every main event in the Life of Jesus. The Angels are mentioned in the Garden of Eden. After the expulsion of Adam and Eve, God put Cherubim as guards of the gates of Eden. “He drove out the man; and at the east of Eden He placed the Cherubim, and the flaming sword, which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

By the time Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, the battle between the good Angels and the followers of Lucifer, had already been fought and decided. Lucifer was given the form of the serpent. So even then, before what we humans consider the dawn of creation, battle lines had been drawn. Sides had been taken; roles had been allocated; the good Angels trying to help man; the fallen angels trying to destroy man. But even that early in the game, it was very obvious that man was just a tool, a scorecard in the hands of Satan, to show God how powerful he was, and what a waste of God’s time mankind was.

The Angels were appointed right from the beginning, by God Himself, to watch over us, to guide and protect us.

“For to His Angels He has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. “Upon their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

“You shall tread upon the asp and the viper; you shall trample down the lion and the dragon.”

Although these words from the Psalms, are prophecy of the Angels’ protection first and foremost to our Lord Jesus, they are no less meant for us, His children.

Our Faithful God promised His chosen people protection for their long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land:

“See, I am sending My Angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.”

But Loving and All-Wise Father, He also warned them:

“Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him. If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to all your enemies and a foe to all your foes.”

“My authority resides in him.” The Lord’s authority resides in His Angels! When we know that our Angel is guiding us to go one way and we choose the other path, we are not only defying him, but God Himself! Defy God Himself? When I believed with the mind of a child, I used to think the God of the Old Testament was an angry, punishing God who wasn’t very loving. As I began to grow up spiritually, I began to recognize how involved He has always been in His people’s lives, always faithful even in their unfaithfulness. He was always with them, never leaving them alone, even when they rejected Him and tried to block Him out of their lives. Always loving, He was ready to take them back, like the father of the prodigal son. That’s when I realized the God of the Old and the New Testament were of One Heart and one Mind. Father and Son and Holy Spirit in One God, One Love.

God, our Father, the One Who created us, knows us perfectly; He knows what makes us happy, what is best for us. He does not punish us here on earth; we punish ourselves. We suffer because we go against His Will; His Plan for us is peace and joy. Throughout Salvation History, God sent His Messengers to help us live in this world.

In the Old Testament, Angels appeared to humans seventeen times. Although the Old Testament does not re-fer specifically to Guardian Angels, there is no doubt who accompanied Jacob on his journey: “While Jacob was going on his way, Angels of God encountered him, and on seeing them he said, ‘This is God’s Camp…'”

Copyright (c) 2010 Bob and Penny Lord’s Site

About The Author

Bob and Penny Lord are renowned Catholic authors and television hosts on EWTN, Global Catholic television. They are prolific writers about the Catholic faith, especially the Saints for which they have been dubbed “experts on the Saints.” Their website is http://www.bobandpennylord.com

The author invites you to visit: http://www.bobandpennylord.com


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Secrets To Reading The Bible

The title page to the 1611 first edition of th...

The title page to the 1611 first edition of the Authorized Version Bible.via Wikipedia

Did you ever wonder why the Bible is so hard to read? It is simple really. God is looking for people who are willing to pursue Him. The Bible is like a gold mine. Now, if I were to give you a real live gold mine, would you just walk in and pick up the gold? No, of course not. You have to dig for it, but the reward is incredibly valuable. I promise if you dig into the Bible you will find secrets FAR more valuable than just gold.

The Bible is also like is a jigsaw puzzle. It is not until you complete it that you really start to grasp the whole picture. I encourage you most strongly to make a decision to read the whole Bible. My secrets in this article will help you.

1.) Get A Version You Can Understand.

The Living Bible is the easiest to read, but it is a paraphrase, not a translation. This means that the translators tried to translate the meaning of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, not the exact words.

The New American Standard Version (NASB) is generally accepted as the most accurate modern translation. It was translated with the benefit of the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1946) and the storeroom of Ezra (Egypt, 1872) which were not available in earlier English translations. It is still somewhat difficult to read, however.

The New International Version (NIV) is another painstakingly accurate modern translations, but it is very readable. It too is highly recommended.

The King James Version and The Catholic Bible are the classic American Bibles, but they can be very difficult to read. If you are a member of a church, your Pastor or Priest may have a specific version that they recommend.

2.) Every Time Before You Read:

Ask God to open your eyes and your heart to His Word.

3.) This Is The Order In Which To Read The Bible:

The Bible is broken into two parts: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the history of creation and the Jewish nation, along with stories, writings and warnings from God’s prophets.

The New Testament is the story of Jesus and the early Christian church along with instructions on how to be a Christian. We live under the New Testament – which is a new way of life which God set up through Jesus.

The first 4 books of the New Testament are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and are known as “The Gospels.” (This means “Good News”). These are 4 different versions of the same story – The Life of Jesus. They are 4 eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life. So read in this order:

Matthew, Romans, 1&2 Corinthians

Mark, Acts, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians

Luke, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James

John, 1&2 Peter, 1,2&3 John, Jude, Revelation

4.) Read One Chapter At A Time.

This will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.

5. ) You Will Need The Following Tools:

A pencil and a ruler.

6.) This Is How You Use The Pencil And Ruler:

When you read, underline anything that strikes you as important or interesting. When you finish the chapter, look back over the things you have underlined and draw a box around the most important thing in the chapter.

When you finish a book, review your boxed verses and make a double box around the most important verse of the book. Doing this is simply a tool to help you realize what you are reading. You will get much more out of reading the Bible this way.

7.) When You Finish The New Testament, START OVER

You will be amazed at how God’s Word is new & fresh every time you read it.

8.) After You Have Read The New Testament, Then You Can Add The Old Testament.

Read the Old Testament in the order in which it appears in the Bible. To read the whole Bible in a year, you will need to read 1 chapter of the New Testament and 5-7 pages of the Old Testament.

Here is the way to know the number of pages you will need to read: Take the total number of pages in the Old Testament and divide by 200. Let us say the result is 5. Your goal will be to read 5 pages of the Old Testament 20 times a month for 10 months. Aim for everyday, but 20 times is the monthly must-have goal. This gives you 2 months of extra built-in leeway and 10 days leeway per month. If you get bogged down reading the Old Testament, turn to Psalms and Proverbs. But never give up reading the New Testament for the sake of reading the Old Testament.

9.) The Best Thing You Can Ever Do For Your Spiritual Life Is To Read The Whole Bible EVERY Year.

WHY should you do this? Because it is where faith comes from. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

And how important is faith? This is what the Bible says: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6

10.) Note This Web Site:

Biblegateway.com. This is an incredible on-line concordance. A concordance lets you find a Bible verse by any single word you can think of. For example: You can type in “love” and it will give you every singe verse containing the word “love.” They have this for every well-known version of the Bible in many languages.

In Conclusion:

This plan will effectively help you to read through the Bible. You will find that the Bible is “alive.” You will be reading along and – BAM! – something will jump off the page at you, like it was written ONLY for you for this EXACT moment of your life. It is AMAZING and it will happen over and over. It is no wonder that millions of lives have been changed by the Bible and that a surprising number of people have even given their lives so that you might have the right and the ability to read it.

Source: http://www.articlecircle.com/Free Articles Directory

About the Author

Do you know how to hear God? William Verch is the author of a Special Report entitled “How To Hear God Speak” For a limited time, enjoy a complimentary copy at http://www.TheWayGodWorks.com You will be pleased with this unique resource for helping you to be able to know God’s voice.

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