Where is God? Has He gone?

Where is God in what is happening in the world

Where is God many wonder, others don’t believe in the God of the Bible.

Just to be clear, I do. In my opinion God is where He always has been. In heaven.

Where is God in all that is going on now?

Same answer, where he always has been.

It goes back to the beginning. When God created humankind, He gave free choice to humans. And men and women have been exercising that choice since Eve took the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That decision affected human nature, she chose to be her own ‘god’ and Adam decided to choose the way of human nature also. They chose to determine their own lives, and we inherited that propensity.

Where is God in the Garden of Eden
Public domain via Wikipedia

However, we all retain our God-given gift of choice. We are not robots.

The Old Testament, (now commonly called the Hebrew Bible) documents the choices and consequences of major ‘players’ in the history of Israel and Judah.

Where was God in the lives of the patriarchs?

Abraham, formerly Abram, was a practising pagan, who although called by God didn’t always respond as quickly, or as truthfully as we would expect. However, God gave him time to change. And change he did, so that he is now venerated by Jewish people, Christians, and Moslems.

Moses – well, he decided to give God a helping hand. In other words to tell God how (and when) to free the Hebrew slaves. It didn’t work, and God did it His way, and freed them around forty years later, after Moses had learned to look after sheep on ‘the back side of the mountain.’

David – ‘a man after God’s own heart’ was humble before God, but made a great many mistakes. When he realized what he had done… or was confronted with the error, he repented.

They chose to do as God called them to do.

Jumping forward many centuries…

In the New Testament…

The disciples Jesus called had to make choices. They had been brought up in Judaism, something Jesus taught against because the traditions were replacing God’s law.

The gospels are full of the stories of the often difficult choices they and the early believers made. It cost them dearly… homes, families, and positions. Have you heard of the ‘rich young ruler?’ The cost was too great for him,  and he chose his possessions.

And Jesus Himself had to make choices to walk through all the challenges and tests without sinning. And then submit to being whipped and crucified for our sakes.
(The description of what he looked like after the whipping is in Psalm 22:17, and also in Isaiah 52: 4)

Where is God now?

Does He know what is going on? Is He indifferent to the Covid-19 virus and pandemic? And what about the fires, the hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, has He noticed.

I believe He is closely watching.

Why watching?

Could it be that He is progressively removing the protection around His people and the nations? Is he looking for something? Perhaps… probably.

Where is the repentance for all the wrong choices we have made? Are we inheriting, and amplifying the errors our choices have led us to make.

I am not young, and can see the world is a vastly different place to the one I grew up in. Nevertheless, I still have the choice in how to respond to all that is going on around me.

I can be part of the problem, and rage, and choose to disobey rules. Rules, by the way, that God gave to nations to rule their citizens and make life fair for them. Well, many of those rulers have not done a good job, but rarely was their a good king or ruler over our predecessors.

As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes – ‘there is nothing new under the sun…’ 

However, what rules we have is better than the chaos that currently seems to be dominating so many of our countries. Or… I can choose to be different, and although that makes me an oddity, I choose to be different.

We all have the choice in how we react… it is a God-given privilege, one we need to think about and appreciate.

Musing again,

Susan

Who is the God of the Old Testament?

God of the Old Testament, creation

So… who is the God of the Old Testament? Traditionally, we have been taught it is ‘the Father,’ or the One who became known as the Father at the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. But does the Bible give different clues?

Did the God of the Old Testament create mankind?

If so, Who was He? Interesting question. One I used to think was a no-brainer. Then I started writing the Apostle John Series. https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/apostle-john-series-2/

Have you ever read, properly read and taken in what the beginning of the Gospel of John says?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1: 1-3 KJV

Verse 3 says, All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

That verse had me pondering, and researching. Why? Because if we accept that Jesus is the Word, this verse says that He was the one Who created everything, not the one we call the Father.

So, what about the God of the Old Testament?

What does the beginning of the Bible say?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1: 1

Genesis 1:1 refers to God as a plural Being

By Chuck Missler (From his Book “The Creator Beyond Time and Space”)

“In Beginning Elohim”

Within the pages of Scripture we find it clearly stated that there is indeed, only one God.1 This is a fundamental belief of Judaism and Christianity. However, there are indications in the very first verse of Genesis that God is a plural Being.

In the beginning God, created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1

The word used for God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim,” which is a form of the word “El.” In the context of Genesis 1:1, there can certainly be no doubt as to who is doing the creating. In the Hebrew language the “im” ending imputes plurality. Therefore, “Elohim” is the plural from of the word “El.”
http://xwalk.ca/elohim.html

Was Jesus the God of the Old Testament?

This has to be an interesting study, and one which brings forth many questions…

  • Who was the One who met Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day?
  • Who appeared to Abram, later called Abraham? And Who changed his name, and the name of his wife from Sarai, to Sarah?
  • Who brought the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt?
God of the Old Testament, the Exodus
By David Roberts - Usenet, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10293374
  • Who instructed Joshua how to defeat the city of Jericho?
  • Who led so many of the Old Testament battles?

This research could continue a long time, but the question goes back to the beginning… Who was the God who created the world and everything in it?

With the help of a Hebrew/English Interlinear translation, this is an interesting study.

My research journey

Hold the Faith by Susan M B Preston, cover image

Hold the Faith on Smashwords  
(free until 31 July, 2020)

The research for this first book in the series took almost a year. However, the results of that research made it easier to write the next four books in the series; there was a foundation on which to base them.

I hope this encourages you to search out your answers.

God bless,

Susan

Did God Say?

Did God say? Everything has a code

Most Christians will recognize ‘did God say?’ as the question the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3.1)

Some translations will add the word ‘really’… as in ‘Did God really say?’

What then did God say?

And Jehovah God layeth a charge on the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden eating thou dost eat; and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die.’ Gen 2: 16, 17 Youngs Literal Translation.

There are many things that can be discussed from these verses, but my thinking lately has been about what we do with what God did say. First, do we believe it? Here I am asking ‘believers’ not the folks who do not believe.

Everything in the universe has a ‘code’ – or rules it runs by.

If God says something, does it make it a command?

This brings to my mind all the law-breaking I see on the news. For weeks there have been protests in Hong Kong. These continued after the original reason for the protest ended.  Read more here 

Then there were protests over Indonesia’s proposed law changes…

The unrest was sparked by a proposed Bill that includes dozens of law changes – from criminalising pre-marital sex and restricting sales of contraceptives, to making it illegal to insult the president.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/indonesia-violent-law-change-protests-11945346

 

My Way or No Way

It sounds as though this is what we are coming to, if we are not already there.

A simple example…

speed limit sign

How many people obey the speed limit?

It is not a ‘suggestion.’ It is a law.

You will discover this if you are caught breaking it… there is a fine.

Beach closed sign

If you are a beach goer, this might be something you might see. Image: did God say beach

https://thewest.com.au/news/perth/north-cottesloe-beach-closed-after-shark-sighting-ng-b881337656z

Not everyone pays attention though. The result is often an expensive rescue… at taxpayers’ expense.

If you identify as Christian…

That first breaking of God’s word has had some far-reaching consequences.

What do you think about the Ten Commandments? Do you believe they are applicable today?

Well, what about the ‘Two Great Commandments’ as spoken by Jesus?

Are we at the same point as people were here?

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21: 25 ESV

This ended up with the nation sliding more and more deeply into depravity. (There is an interesting, but long, article here.)

Learning from what God said

When I researched the background and culture for the Apostle John Series (https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/apostle-john-series-2/ ) I discovered a great deal.

One, they lived according to what God said.

Two, they often lost their lives because they did.

There were many who claimed to believe, but ‘did what was right in their own eyes.’ They were often the ones who set up false groups.

King Solomon wrote ‘there is nothing new under the sun,’ and there is much evidence of that today. However, consider this… God’s throne is above the sun.

Believe whatever you believe, consider your destination, and treat others as you would like to be treated.

Susan

Trials Have a Purpose?

Trials have a purpose

Do trials have a purpose? Well, that is what I believe. But, being honest,  I wonder how many of us have at times thought of the following scripture and said, “God thinks I can bear more than I think I can.”

There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.
 Corinthians 10:13 (ASV)

How many of us seek, but cannot see, the way of escape promised in that scripture.

Trials fascinate many writers and musicians

I watched a video clip of an interesting song. ‘Before the morning’ – I will link to the clip at the end.

It begins with questions about why ‘you’ are suffering if there is a loving God Who cares. Questions like this are quite common.

Remember the old song “I never promised you a rose garden’? Well God does not promise us a life without pain and trials if we accept the sacrifice His Son made for us.

In book three of the Apostle John series, I wrote about the trials of a background character who moved to the foreground. Then someone who left in book two, Grow in Grace, makes a re-entry. In the third book, The Light of Truth, things are moving toward another arrest of the Apostle John. (There are another two books in the series, making five in all and trials abound in them, because they abound in life.)

So why am I talking about these books? Why mention the song ‘Before the Morning?’ Because, although my book series is fiction, my primary resource book has been the Bible, and in writing this series I learnt a great deal about why things happen. Sometimes we just have to wait and trust.

Take for example Jesus’ words...

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Many people are told that because Jesus said ’,“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, that He has done it all for us. Not so.

Look at the lives of those first disciples… only John survived into old age. The others, according to legend, all martyred. Also, according to legend, John was put in boiling oil. That does not sound like ‘Jesus did it all’ to me.

And what about these encouragements about trials

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
James 1:2

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
1Peter 1:6

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

These writers, who were Apostles, make it clear that we will have trials, and as we plod through them, our faith and trust in Him grows.

Have you read this one?

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1: 3, 4

The trust in His Father that Jesus had to exercise in every stage of his walk on earth must have been enormous, and another scripture says

He learned obedience through the things He suffered. Heb 5: 8

Our trials are horrendous to us.

Sometimes all we can do is ask God for help. Standing still sometimes is trusting God for relief.

You might enjoy this song if you are going through a painful trial…

Thinking

Susan

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Body, fearfully and wonderfully made

I was raised by an atheist and an agnostic; my uncle was a communist, and God had no place in our family. When I was young I sometimes wondered if there was a ‘god,’ but no one I knew believed in Him. So, I muddled on, in charge of my own life – then something happened. During my nurse training I had the opportunity to see a post mortem. The brain, the innards (large and small intestine) and major organs were checked for the cause, or causes, of death. The way everything fitted together made me think – this could not have been caused by accident. During the course of our lectures, as student nurses we had to study in detail the structure and function of the human body. Every system is interdependent on another system. Truly, as the psalmist says, we ‘are fearfully and wonderfully made.’

So, what is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made?’

a baby is fearfully and wonderfully made

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139: 13 – 16

Then, as we go through life we expect our bodies to respond to what we want them to do. Most times they do. When they do not, we search for a cause. Many times it is an illness, some are short, some long-term. It does not change the fact we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but we usually have to make some adjustments to our lives.

Reaping what we sow

This is not always the reason for illness or disease, but often it is.
So, a comment from one ‘old lady’ who is living on oxygen to any young people – be careful what you do to your body. Be careful who you trust to drive you somewhere.
you see, it is not always what you actively ‘put into’ your body, sometimes you reap from someone else’s mistakes. But, trace it back. Was there a decision you made – to stay a bit longer, to trust someone you did not know, to not take proper thought for the consequences?

What will you reap?

Just thinking,

Susan

What Did Jesus Write on the Ground

Judgment, death by stoning

Over the years I have heard many suggestions about what it could have been that Jesus wrote in the gravel on the stones of the temple. Some say that He listed all their sins. Recently, I heard in a sermon something that made a bit more sense. To me anyway.

The incident I am talking about is the one mentioned in the gospel of John, Chapter Eight.

He (Jesus) came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
Jo 8: 2 -5

Question – how did they ‘catch her in adultery?’

Continuing…

But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
Jo 8: 6b

What did Jesus write?

Background:
In the time of Jesus, the Jews did not have the authority to execute sinners. If Jesus had said to stone her, the scribes and Pharisees could have taken Him to the Roman authorities. If Jesus had said not to stone her, before all the people following Him and listening to His teaching the scribes and Pharisees could have accused Him of not keeping the Law.

brought to Jesus for judgment
Sketch by Rembrandt - PD-1923}} – published anywhere before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.

Other than the fact the scribes and Pharisees were trying to find a cause to accuse Him, what was the law they were talking about?

It can be found in Leviticus 20, verse 10.

‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”

Question: Where was the man? The law they were referring to, above, clearly says both shall be put to death.

There is another scripture involved here…

At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Deuteronomy 17: 6

Question: Where were the witnesses? The scribes and Pharisees did not ‘see’ the act of adultery. They had been on duty in the temple.

Herod's Temple as imagined in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem. By Berthold Werner [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Was what Jesus wrote something to do with these questions?

If so, it was, as the preacher I heard, say… a mistrial.

And when Jesus lifted Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are your accusers? Did anyone condemn you?’ And she said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you…
John 8: 10, 11

Note: Jesus said He did not condemn her, He did not say He forgave her.

The rest of verse 11 is “go and sin no more.”

Just thinking again,

Susan

What is God

What is God, image of hand and sky

Please notice I said ‘what’ is God, not who is God. The reason I mentioned it is because some people (perhaps all of us) have an ‘image’ of God and do not like it when someone else’s ‘image’ differs from ours.

Some years ago… possibly a couple of decades ago, there was a ‘God is a blob’ teaching. Some people in my church were upset, very upset. Why? Because they had their image of what God is. One lady was so upset that she left, saying, “My God is an old man with a beard sitting on a throne.” She left the church.

Are we so entrenched in our own beliefs about what God is that we will not consider any contrary opinion, or even listen to one?

What is God

I guess the best answer to that is that we will know when we meet Him. However, there are some clues in the Bible.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1: 27 NKJV

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
Gen 9: 6

About Jesus

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1: 15

Is God more?

This seems to suggest so…

So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
Exodus 33: 18 – 20

Then there is what might seem like a contradiction…

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him
John 1: 18

It seems there is a difference between ‘seeing His face’ and seeing God in the fullness of all His glory.

There are many who do not believe in the God of the Bible… and I am not talking of those of different faiths.  I refer to atheism.

So, what is your god?

I remember when doing a teacher training course in order to teach scripture in schools, a recommended course book said that everyone has a god.

What is god, a sport?

The book suggested that for some people their god is a football team, (or whatever your national equivalent is.) It could be netball, basketball, motor racing, white water rafting, skiing or skating, or any one of the many sports.

Perhaps your god is a ‘pop idol,’ a film star… or someone you greatly admire. Someone you hero-worship.

“Can we say that humans have a need to worship? Ignoring the theological connections with this idea for a moment, we can see evidence for this in human behavior all around us. In political contexts, there is the eagerness with which people join a cause or a political group to feel part of something important.”
https://diatothaumazein.com/2013/07/23/is-the-need-to-worship-part-of-the-human-condition/

Each of us must answer this for him or herself.

Continuing to muse,

Susan

P.S. One of my favorite reviews of Hold the Faith was written by an atheist.

Hold the Faith by Susan M B Preston, cover image

“If you’re an atheist, you probably would want to avoid reading it. But you’re missing out on something that is a well-written piece of historical fiction. The author has taken great pains with her research into the times. Maybe it’s one-sided. But many works are, and each has a right in our society – whether we like it or not.

It covers a time when Christianity was still a fledgling cult. When compared to known cults of modern times, it reflects how their members struggled against the authorities and public opinion at the time. For that, I found a great reflective insight into how people act and react to each other, how their faith and beliefs are challenged, how family and friends can react to someone for what they think.

If you’re a Christian, you will love this, and I recommend it. If you’re a non-believer, that’s fine too. I completed reading this as a non-believer, a free-thinker, and I am far from converting myself (or others)… so put your fears aside, open the book, and I believe you could enjoy it as I did.”

(I tried to put a link in to the review – instead it put an image and a ‘Buy’ button. That was not my intention.)

This is one of the reviews that have so far remained in the Amazon algorithm purge of reviews, which have most of us puzzled. 

From Moses to Donald Trump

God chose to open a way

From Moses to Donald Trump, and all those in between, God chose them. Why do I say that? Because it is in the Bible. (More than once.)

This decision is the decree of the watchers, the verdict declared by the holy ones, so that the living will know that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of mankind, and gives it to whom He wishes, setting over it the lowliest of men.’
Daniel 4: 17

All the peoples of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does as He pleases with the army of heaven and the peoples of the earth. There is no one who can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”…
Daniel 34: 35

And in the New Testament…

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Romans 13: 1, 2

God chose... Moses

God chose to open a way

When? When He saved him as an infant? When he was brought up in the house of Pharaoh? After forty years tending sheep?

Does it matter when God chose him, Moses was the one God chose to do a task… be the promised ‘deliverer’ from Egypt.

God chose… Abraham

It would not have been easy for Abraham to obey an unknown God. Ur was a city of many gods, as was the land in which he lived.

God chose Abraham to leave the ziggarat worshiping city

Anu – Sometimes called An, Anu was the god of the heavens and king of the gods. The city associated with Anu was Uruk.

Enlil – The god of air, wind, and storms, Enlil held the Tablets of Destiny. These tablets gave him control over the fate of man and made him very powerful. He wore a crown with horns. He was associated with the city of Nippur.

Enki – Enki was the shaper of the world as well as god of wisdom, intellect, and magic. He invented the plough and was responsible for making plants grow. He is drawn holding Zu, the storm bird. He was god of the city of Eridu.

Utu – The god of the sun as well as justice and the law, Utu is drawn holding a saw like instrument. Mythology says that Utu travels across the world each day in a chariot.

Inanna – Inanna was the goddess of love and war. Her symbol is a star with eight points. Her primary city was Uruk, but she was also prominent in the city of Babylon.

Nanna – Nanna was also called Sin. He was god of the moon. His home was the city of Ur.

Abraham came from a family who worshiped idols.

And Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods.
Josh 24: 2

Perhaps Abraham was too – but God chose him and made him great.

Moving on…

God chose…David

He was the ‘least’ of his brothers, the sons of Jesse.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”
Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.”
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.”
 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

Samuel 16: 8 – 12

David triumphant
Matteo Rosselli [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To be continued next week: New Testament until today.

Sorry not to be able to continue. There is too much information for one post. However, perhaps this will give evidence of what is said… “God chooses.”

God bless,

Susan

Mention Jesus’ birth and people think Christmas

Old Testament scroll,

However, Jesus’ birth  is not what I want to ‘talk’ about in this post. A Biblical newsletter I have subscribed to since first researching the background of the Apostle John Series poses some questions. The following are some…

  1. Was Jesus conceived by Mary and someone other than her husband Joseph or the Holy Spirit?
  2. Could a Roman soldier have been involved?
  3. What were the cultural norms of the time about pregnancies out of wedlock?

Mary was a betrothed wife. That meant she had accepted Joseph as a husband, probably drunk from a betrothal cup (since that was the custom). Then he would have gone home to ‘prepare a place’ while she remained with her family. No sexual contact happened between the betrothed couple before the husband until he returned to claim her – usually a year later, but this could vary depending upon circumstances. Once the betrothal had taken place they were legally married, and it could only be dissolved by divorce. This could have been what Joseph considered when the news of Mary’s pregnancy came to him.

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matt1: 19 ESV

‘Just’ in some versions is translated ‘righteous.’

Perhaps, though, ‘just’ is appropriate too, because he could have publicly broken off the marriage on the ground of the apparent guilt. The consequences were ‘dire.’

“then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”
Deuteronomy 22: 21 ESV

However, Joseph ‘being unwilling to put her to shame’ had the option of a “writ of divorcement,” which did not necessarily specify the ground of repudiation, except in vague language implying disagreement.

This answers questions number 1 and 3, what about number 2?

Jesus' birth was the result of an ‘affair’ with a Roman soldier?

That is what it could seem to imply. However, the Bible has a different answer…

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1: 26 – 30 ESV (Bolding mine.)

Does this sound like a woman who would have an affair with a Roman soldier?

God had chosen the one to give birth to His Son.

Since His Son would be the Messiah, God would not have chosen a ‘vessel’ that was not pure.

If you think that is a ‘fantasy’ and God did not ‘father’ Jesus – consider how many miracles he performed. There are also a long list of prophecies fulfilled – between 300 and 400 according to some sites. A clear list can be found at  
https://www.simplybible.com/f986-prophecies-fulfilled-by-christ.htm

Or, does the reference to a Roman soldier suggest she might have been raped?

In Biblical times women were veiled

 

Again, looking at the culture of the times, young women of good families did not go out unaccompanied. After a woman’s betrothal she was veiled.

Mary was of the house of David, the purity of the ‘line’ was important to God as well as to David’s descendants.

I prefer to believe the Bible on the subject of Jesus’ birth.

Traditional portrayal of Jesus' birth

traditional portrayal of Jesus' birth
Can you see the simple error?

Clue: Related to the custom of the day.

You can leave a comment below.

Have a safe week <smile>

Susan

Is Prayer Necessary Or Not

prayer, hands, Bible

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6: 8 NIV

drawing, girl at prayer

So, is prayer necessary or not? Should we pray?

First of all, not all prayer is asking for things, or help. But the context of this verse is during the ‘sermon on the mount’. So the Son of God, (who prayed Himself) thought it important enough to teach His disciples and the others listening.

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Matt 6: 6 – 8 NIV

If we deem prayer as unnecessary because He knows where He wants us to be, and in what circumstances, then we are saying that we do not have free moral agency.

God does not want puppets. Otherwise there would be no sin. Everyone, from Adam and Eve onward would have done what God wanted. No, from the scriptures, God wants US to choose.

God's view...

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
Deuteronomy 10. 12, 13 NKJ

It is true that we are not the people that God spoke to at that time, but He did speak to us through the words of His Son. 

Here is an interesting article…

True Israel of God

What is the essence of being a true Israelite? It is not literal descent from Abraham, but faith in God. It’s in the Bible: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7. “For they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children… but the children of promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6-8.

The children of promise are those who put their faith in Jesus. It’s in the Bible: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” Galatians 3:29.
Read the whole article here…

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/true-israel-god

Seems like the answer is that we SHOULD pray.

  • Praise God in our prayers.
  • Pray for others
  • Pray for help
  • Pray for guidance

So, let’s look at that verse again.

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6: 8 NIV

Remember the ‘rules’ of Bible study – do not read just one verse. Read what was said before, and what is said after in order to see it in context.

Don’t be like who? The verse before gives the answer…

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Matt 6: 7

Just thinking

Susan