Book Quotes | 13 August 2020

Okay, so I have been reading a lot lately – well, a lot for a husband and father of three who works way too much…so probably not that much, but for me it’s been much more than recent history… Not that we have that cleared up, this is probably going to be pretty extensive, so here we go:

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Up From Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington

Edition I am reading | image taken from: http://www.randomhousebooks.com/books/185981/

Of my father I know even less than of my mother. I do not even know his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations. Whoever he was, I never heard of his taking the least interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing. But I do not find especial fault with him. He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at that time.

Washington, Booker T., Up From Slavery: An Autobiography, New York, NY: Modern Library, Random House 1999, pg. 4 [fyi, this was originally published in 1901]

So far as I can now recall, the first knowledge that I got of the fact that we were slaves, and that freedom of the slaves was being discussed, was early one morning before day, when I was awakened by my mother kneeling over her children and fervently praying that Lincoln and his armies might be successful, and that one day she and her children might be free. In this connection I have never been able to understand how the slaves throughout the South, completely ignorant as were the masses so far as books or newspapers were concerned, were able to keep themselves so accurately and completely informed about the great National questions that were agitating the country. From the time that Garrison, Lovejoy, and others began to agitate for freedom, the slaves throughout the South kept in close touch with the progress of the movement. Though I was a mere child during the preparation for the Civil War and during the war itself, I now recall the many late-at-night whispered discussions that I heard my mother and the other slaves on the plantation indulge in. These discussions showed that they understood the situation, and that they kept themselves informed of events by what was termed the ‘grape-vine’ telegraph.

Ibid, pgs. 6-7

One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping Negro in slavery if the South was successful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency. … I know of a case on a large plantation in the South in which a young white man, the son of the former owner of the estate, has become so reduced in purse and self-control by reason of drink that he is a pitiable creature; and yet, notwithstanding the poverty of the coloured people themselves on this plantation, they have for years supplied this young white man with the necessities of life. One sends him a little coffee or sugar, another a little meat, and so on.

Ibid, pgs. 10-11

Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery – on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive – but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.

Ibid, pg. 12

And that’s just in the first chapter of this amazing book…

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Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message by Ravi Zacharias

All-inclusive philosophies can only come at the cost of truth. And no religion denies its core beliefs. Within such systemic relativism …

Zacharias, Ravi, Jesus Among Other Gods, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000, pg. 7

Unsuspecting people make a fatal mistake when they give their allegiance to a system of thought by focusing on its benefits while they ignore its systemic contradictions. The entire life of anyone making prophetic or divine claims must be observed in concert with the teaching offered. Numerous historical and philosophical matters come into play when one seriously evaluates such claims.

Ibid, pg. 55

You see, that is the way God has designed us. One of the most startling things about life is that it does not start with reason and end with faith. It starts in childhood with faith and is sustained either by reasoning through that faith or by blindly leaving the reason for faith unaddressed. The child’s mind has a very limited capacity to inform if of the reason for its trust. But whether she nestles on her mother’s shoulder, nurses at her mother’s breast, or runs into her father’s arms, she does so because of an implicit trust that those shoulders will bear her, that her food will sustain her, and that those arms will hold her. If over time that trust is tested, it will be the character of the parent that will either prove that trust wise or foolish. Faith is not bereft of reason.

Ibid, pg. 60

Do you see what has happened? The skeptic started by presenting a long list of horrific things, saying, ‘These are immoral, therefore there is no God.’ But to raise these issues as moral issues is to assume a state of affairs that evolution cannot afford. There is just no way to arrive at a morally compelling ought, given the assumption of naturalism. What then does the skeptic do? He denies objective moral values because to accept such a reality would be to allow for the possibility of God’s existence. He concludes then that there really isn’t such a thing as evil after all.

Ibid, pg. 114

When evil justifies itself by posturing as morality, God becomes the devil and the devil, God. That exchange makes one impervious to reason.

Ibid, pg. 154

That last quote is a great description of American culture currently…

I have been reading some other things too, but this will suffice for now. More to come, but this is waxing long enough. Blessings on your readings.

What do you think?! Do any of these quotes strike a chord with you? Let me know in the comments!

Published in: on 7 AMpThu, 13 Aug 2020 06:34:00 -040034Thursday 2016 at 6:34 am  Comments (6)  
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Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus | Week 3 | The High Priest

Saturday! The Sabbath day! A day of rest and worship. The day to refocus your attention on the Most Hight and to evaluate your past week and your priorities. The day to really spend time focusing on the eternal and not temporal.

Yet, we live in the temporal and still have temporal needs. The disciples, spending time walking around with Jesus on the Sabbath, were no different. They got hungry! While walking through a grain field, they took some of the heads of grain and ate them.

 

sunset cereals grain lighting

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The problem with this? They were Sabbath breakers! Or, so said the Pharisees. Jesus chides these leaders and explains that neither he or his disciples broke the Sabbath. They just didn’t abide by the rules set by the Pharisees regarding the Sabbath. These are very different things. Jesus ends this part of the conversation by saying that he is the Lord of the Sabbath. Now, there is much there that speaks to the divine nature of Jesus, but I want to touch on something a bit more subtle.

Here is the passage in view; Matthew 12.1-8:

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

I find verse three very interesting. Jesus is making the point to these leaders that what the disciples are doing is okay because, well, David broke the rules and ate food he wasn’t supposed to eat, so why can’t the disciples, right?! At least, that’s how it seems to read to us. However, it is highly likely these leaders knew the details of this David story well and caught some of the subtleties of it. Let us go to that story and see what takes place. We find it in 1 Samuel 21.1-6:

Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

Did David eat bread that he wasn’t allowed to eat? Yes, he did! However, did he unlawfully go into the Temple and take the bread, breaking God’s holy Laws? No, he did not! He beseeched the priest for bread and the priest granted David the shewbread – the bread that was consecrated only for the priests. David received permission from the one that had lawful access to the bread, took it as a gift and then he ate it. So, what are we seeing with the disciples?

 

shewbread

Picture used from bcooper

 

We see the disciples being accused of breaking the laws of the Sabbath. We see Jesus standing up in their defense. We see Jesus make a parallel to David, lawfully beseeching a priest for bread and the priest making the decision to grant David bread that he did not have access to.

Jesus, by his actions and then his defense, is declaring, as the Lord of the Sabbath, that he is the priest granting permission to his followers access to what was “not allowed” for them. He granted them legal access to partake. He is the eternal and divine priest. He is the one who was serving when the Father showed Abraham the pattern of the Tabernacle in heaven. As declares Hebrews 6.20, “where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

He is the eternal one! He is the divine one! He grants us legal access to places we dare not tread alone. Indeed, the vail is torn asunder!

May your thoughts abide in Christ on this day. Shabbat Shalom!

 

[Scriptures taken from the ESV]

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 25 Jan 2020 08:53:02 -050053Saturday 2016 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus | Week 1 | The Eternal Ladder

Isaac was tricked! With the help of his mother, Jacob slid quietly into the room, arrayed in a disguise to make his father think that Jacob was actually his brother. The result? Jacob received his brother’s blessing – the blessing of the firstborn. This is after Jacob already tricked his twin brother into selling his birthright. He’s at it again, as Isaac’s wrinkled hand reaches out with dimmed eyes, but words full of life. Esau had enough! He wanted to kill his brother. Will this be a retelling of Cain and Abel? Not if Rebekah can help it!

She sends Jacob away until Esau can calm his fury. Jacob receives another blessing from his father with instructions on getting a proper wife for himself and he sets out. He comes “to a certain place” between Beersheba and Heran as the sun is setting. He sets up camp for the night and lays his head down on a rock.

Genesis 28.10-11, “10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.” Yet, according to Hebrew tradition, this was the most special “certain place” in all of the earth. This is the exact location of where the Temple – and specifically, the Holy of Holies – would stand in the future. Thus, what happens next may not be too much of a surprise. He has a most vivid dream of the Heaven’s opening, seeing magnificently angelic beings, and the Lord of Hosts beaming down upon the Earth.

 

Genesis 28.12-17: 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

 

What a view! What a promise! Jacob saw the Stairway to Heaven, and Led Zeppelin had nothing to do with it! He saw the access point, or the way, in which the angels come into our realm and return back to Heaven; how they came to us and back to the feet of the Lord of lords. He saw God, and God used this channel to communicate a message directly to Jacob. Talk about a moment in one’s life that’s impactful!

Yet, what in the world does this have to do with Jesus? Jesus who came into the world thousands of years after this event. Jesus of the New Testament. Jesus who is never mentioned in this story at all – how could he since he was born so much later, right? In fact, on the surface, this story really doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus! However, what if I told you that Jesus was actually a central character in this story? You think that’s crazy right? “Obviously, this guy can’t read very well – it doesn’t mention Jesus at all!” I know, and yet…it does. How do we know? Because Jesus tells us it does!

Let’s move forward a few thousand years into the future. There’s a Rabbi walking around Israel who is ready to start his teaching ministry and is gathering some other young men to be his disciples. As he’s walking around, some disciples of another prophet ask if they can go follow this Rabbi instead and this prophet gives his blessing. These two hustle to follow this man. The next day, they are walking through a town and this Rabbi tells a man named Philip to follow him and Philip runs and tells his friend Nathanael to come with him and follow this Rabbi too. Philip also tells him they have found the Messiah. Nathanael is suspicious, but comes along to what all the fuss is about.

When Nathanael meets this Rabbi, he is blown away. Jesus tells Nathanael what he was doing while alone before Philip found him – prophetic! Nathanael declares – “You are the Son of God!” Jesus tells Nathanael, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” (This is my translation, by the way.) He tells Nathanael something very intriguing… “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Here’s the entire exchange:

 

John 1.43-end: 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

What is going on here? Jesus is declaring exactly who he is! He is telling them that he was the central – quiet – character in Jacob’s story. He is the avenue between Heaven and earth. He is the one whom angels use come and go in and out of our realm. He is the One whom the Father looks along to communicate with his children. He is the eternal connection. No mere mortal could ever claim to be the avenue in which angels come in and out of this world! He is the eternal access for us to ascend to the Father. Here, he is showing them that he is eternal and that he was there with Jacob and led him to the Father. He showed Jacob he has authority over the angels of Heaven. He gave Jacob the vision that he is the “ladder, staircase; way” to the Father. Later, Jesus tells his disciples directly and clearly that he is way. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14.6)

According to Christians, Jesus is the way to God. We claim that Jesus is the only path to get to God. Why do we make this claim? Simple: it’s the claim that Jesus makes himself. However, with this story in view, we see that Jesus didn’t just say he was the way at one moment in history, but rather showed that he is the eternal access point to the Father. He is the Stairway to Heaven. He is the ladder that will lift us up to the glories of the Father’s throne, if we allow him to do so. However, if this is the case, we must also realize that it is an assent we cannot make on our own. We assume that we can make the assent ourselves or that there are other “ladders” to lead us to the Promised Land. This simply is not the case. We need divine help from the eternal One!

 


 

I hope you all enjoyed this first installment of “Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus”. Please leave your thoughts on these passages. Hope you join next week for installment two – it may be a stormy ride…

Blessings,
Joshua

 

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 11 Jan 2020 09:30:18 -050030Saturday 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments (3)  
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The Appearance!

A magnificent display lit up the night sky! A star that could only come out of folklore and prophecies from peoples around the world. A star of significance for many…as many others, like many of us today, see an extraordinary event unfolding before us as we glance and carry on with our lives.

 

astrology astronomy beautiful constellation

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Yet, there were men who were sky watchers; the students of the stars. These men knew the stars well and knew when something significant was taking place. Like Centaurs, watching and waiting.

They witnessed this event unfolding and were well aware of the significance; a baby, the King of all kings, had been born west of where they lived. They gathered their belongings, along with extraordinarily precious gifts and set out with a large company of others.

 

three camels resting in the desert

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After crossing the desert and arriving in Israel, they went to the place of kings – Jerusalem. They entered Herod’s Palace, but alas, the King was not there. As they departed, behold the star appeared to them again and stopped in the sky over the head of the King – a servant, leading the way for other servants to come and enter into the magnificent presence of the child King.

 

Matthew 2.9-10 “9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (ESV)

 

These Gentile Wise Men found the King and they worshipped him and gave him great gifts. Although they saw, traveled, searched, and found, they did not appear to this child King, but rather, this child King appeared before them – the Light of the World!

 

Luke 2.25-32 “25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29  ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.‘” (ESV, emphasis mine)

 

John 8.12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (ESV, emphasis mine)

 

God has always loved and been after all people – even while creating Israel (Caleb, Rahab, Ruth, etc.). The Hebrews came out of Egypt with a “mixed multitude.” Ahh, but this moment was something altogether special. The world came to the feet of Jesus – Yeshua – the King of kings, and laid down their most precious gifts and worshipped. A proper response and a foreshadow of the life Jesus would lead, and of events still to come!

 

silhouette photography of hanging rosary

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Church, have a blessed Epiphany!
– NoblemanWarrior

 



 

Epiphany


EPIPH’ANY, noun [Gr. appearance; to appear.] A Christian festival celebrated on the sixth day of January, the twelfth day after Christmas, in commemoration of the appearance of our Savior to the magians or philosophers of the East, who came to adore him with presents; or as others maintain, to commemorate the appearance of the star to the magians, or the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. Jerome and Chrysostom take the epiphany to be the day of our Savior’s baptism, when a voice from heaven declared, ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.’ The Greek fathers use the word for the appearance of Christ in the world, the sense in which Paul used the word. 2 Timothy 1:10. – from the 1828 Noah Webster dictionary

Published in: on 7 AMpMon, 06 Jan 2020 07:33:01 -050033Monday 2016 at 7:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Introduction | Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus

As a Christian, I believe whole-heartily that Jesus is the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Incarnation of God who is fully God and fully man. The reason I believe this: personal testimony and the authority of Scripture. When is comes to the witness of Scripture, there are numerous places in the Gospels where Jesus comes right out and says who he is, and other places the Scriptures testify directly to the fact that he is God.

However, there are also several places in Scripture where the message is still quite clear, but it’s not quite as obvious. In other words, there are times when the proclamation of Jesus’s divine nature are present, but more hidden in the actions – or taken for granted by those present in the story, but we miss in our cultural shaping – than obvious in the words spoken. These are the types of instances I would like to look at more closely together. Over the next 12 weeks, I will be posting about instances like these I see unfolding in the Gospels.

 

newtestament book

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I hope you join me on this journey. If you are a Christian, I hope that this will provide you some encouragement and maybe some new insights into our Lord. If you are not a Christian, but following this anyway – thank you! I hope that this will provide a spark for you to consider again the claims of Jesus and the hope of his mercy.

Thank you for your time in reading this. I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to your insights along the way. Let us grow together and I will see you back here next Saturday for the first look into the “Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus.” 

 

 

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 04 Jan 2020 10:00:05 -050000Saturday 2016 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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