“The Value of Man Today!”

Genesis 1:26Then God said, let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

Genesis 2:7The Lord God formed the man from the dust, of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

The Genesis 2 account of God’s creation of man is introduced with a description of the actions of the God of Israel.  Verse 7 begins with the phrase, ” And the Lord God…” This refers to YHWH, the Hebrew name for God.  This is “Jehovah Elohim,” the self-existent and supreme God, the Ruler of all.  While Genesis 2:7-25 focuses on the human being and the human experience, reverence for the holiness of God stands as the precursor to those events.” (1)

“The phrase “heavens and earth” is found  in that order, three times in Genesis 1:1, 2:1 and 2:4.  However, Genesis 2:4 then reverses the order and focuses on the human being on earth rather than God in heaven.  This signals the shift in God’s emphasis to the human experience (Berlin and Brettler 2004).  The shift also shows man’s complete dependence on God.  Human origin is God’s responsibility and God is the source of sustenance.” (1)

The creative act of putting man on earth was a unique operation of God.  In verse 7 the words for “man” (Heb.’adam, aw-DAWM) and “ground” (Heb,. ‘adamah, ad-aw-MAW) come from the same root word.  Man’s formation from the from the ground indicates God’s ability to make the inanimate animate.  God formed, made, and established man by shaping, and fashioning similarly to an artist creating a painting  or a potter rendering a piece of art. The basest ingredients God used to create man.  These are not spectacular elements. They have no value, no reproductive qualities;yet they are the very items that God uses.” (1)

“God’s interaction with man was a two-fold process.  First, God formed man from the dust of the ground.  In English, we usually translate the word “dust” as fine particles.  A stronger translation of “dust” would be “clods, lumps,of earth, soil or dirt.”  This would indicate that God formed man from clumps of dirt.” (1)

“The second phase required God’s breathing into man’s nostrils.  Formation of the human species culminated in a physical body, but the “breath of life was the spiritual phenomena that made man a living soul.  The phrase “breath of life” means “the breath that gives life.”  Until God put His breath into man, man was nothing but a lump of clay that could not move alone. The breath of God was the power that made the difference between the physical man and the spiritual man.  Thus, Adam became a living being.  Only the divine nature of God can bring that which is without life into life.” (1)

The New International Version of the Bible footnote to Genesis 1:26 teaches this: since human beings are made in God’s image they are all worthy of honor and respect; they are neither to be murdered (Gen 9:6) or cursed (James 3:9-10). (2)

We are living in a time when man is so devalued.  We’ve become unwilling to support, care for, or nurture man.  We find man being constantly replaced by other means to create life, to do meaningful work, and to take care of the world.  Yet, there is a charge given to man by God in Genesis 1:28. What can be done to restore man to his rightful place of value? Jesus gave us two great commandments–to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:34-40)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the courage to begin to show your love to our fellow-man so that your name may be glorified. In the name of Jesus, Amen

1. Price, Cheryl, Carey, Evangeline, Sailes, Rosa. With These Hands, Inspiring a Call to Stewardship for God’s Creation, Urban Ministries, Inc., 2010.

2. The Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan, 1973.

“When You Pray to God, What do You Expect to Happen?”

Matthew 11:9-13
“So I say: Ask and it will will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

If you then, though you are evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

When you pray to God, do you really expect a positive response?  Do you expect a response at all? If you are unsure how to answer this question, like many of us may be, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the kind of relationship you have with the heavenly Father.

When is the last time you really talked to God?  When was the last time you really listened to God?  Maybe your prayer-style has not been a conversation where active-listening was used at all.  Here’s an example, a family member comes to talk to you,  the person immediately starts to apologize for not coming sooner or more often.  The person talks about how badly they now need your help with a list of favors, immediately. They further explain their desperation and their need for help as they urge you to get busy answering their requests.  Is this example close to your/family member prayer style?

This would be the time to guide this family member through prayer, because it’s God’s guidance, through you that’s needed. It does little good, I feel, to say to someone who’s wings of faith are in their infancy, “just pray about it!”

Blackaby and King tells us in their book, Experiencing God If you do not have clear instructions from God in a matter,

-Pray and wait

-Learn patience

-Depend on God’s timing

-His timing is right and best.(pg. 75)

Now, we are not God, nor do we understand the mind of God or His Ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God is however, availing Himself to us, each day through prayer.

“Prayer is a Relationship to a Person.”

“Prayer is a two-way fellowship and communication–you speak to God and He speaks to you.  Prayer is not a one-way conversation in which you merely list everything you want God to do.  Your personal prayer life may have been primarily one-way communication–you talking to God–but we now learn that prayer is much more than that.

” Prayer includes listening.  In fact, what God says in prayer is far more important than what you say. God already knows what you are going to say.  You, however, do not know what God is thinking.

Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity.  Its purpose is to adjust you to God, not align God to your thinking.  God doesn’t need your prayers. but He does want you to pray because of what He wants to do in and through your life as you pray.  God speaks to His people by the Holy Spirit through prayer.” (1, pp 107-108)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing each of us the privilege of communicating with you through the gift of prayer.  We don’t take this gift for granted, but use it to stay on-task with you as we constantly receive your guidance for our lives.  Enrich our prayer life, we pray.  In your name. Amen.

 

1. Blackaby, Henry & Richard, King,Claude, Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing The Will of God.  Lifeway Press 1990. Revised 2007.

2. Scripture from: The New International Version Study Bible, Zondervan, 1973.

 

Originally in Homewords News,July 2011

 

 

Go To The Throne Before The Phone

Bible Versus & Reflection

By Petra Vaughn

Proverbs 2:1-8 NIV

My son, If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Before you call friends, family or go to social media for advice, counsel or agreed retaliation, go to God in prayer and ask his for direction.  His voice could lead you to the right person, place or direction, too many times we ask and take the advice of the unequipped and are much worse off.

God knows what you need and who He wants to assist you. Learn to trust Him to provide for you in all ways.

Priscilla Bible Study Key Points – for Bible Study March 28, 2015

For our lesson of Priscilla, Acts 18-19, Romans 16:3-4, I Corinthians 16-19, Timothy 4:19 on pages 221-224, in our main text Women of the Bible by Jean E Syswerda.

1.  Her name, diminutive of “Prisca”, means “worthy” or “venerable.” (1.)

2.  Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned six times in four different books of the New Testament and they are always named as a couple and never individually. (See number 4)

3. Of those six references, Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, four times, which is unusual for such a male dominated society.  (2.)

4. Through out Scripture the man is usually named first: Adam and Eve, and Ananias and Sapphira, making the four appearances of Priscilla’s name first, a notable exception.  Examples:

A. Acts 18:2-3: “There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.  And because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”

B. Acts 18:18: “Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time.  Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila.  Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken.”

C.  Acts 18:26: “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue.  When Priscila and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”

D.  Romans 16:3-4: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.  They risked their lives for me.  Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”

E. I Corinthians 16:19: “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings.  Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.”

F. 2 Timothy 4:19: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.”

5. While this view is not likely among scholars, some scholars have suggested that Priscilla was the author of Hebrews.  Hebrews is the only book in the New Testament with author anonymity. (3)

6.  Paul met them in Corinth, Acts 18:2: “There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Cladius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.  Paul went to see them.”  Priscilla and Aquila were tent makers, as was Paul.  Priscilla and Aquila had  been among the Jews expelled from Rome by Roman Emperor Claudius in the year 49.  They ended up in Corinth for many months.

7. Priscilla and Aquila were among known the earliest known missionaries. Acts 18:24-26: Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus.  He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.  He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately”.

1. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999, pg. 221.

2. Beyond Sex Roles:What the Bible Says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family, Gilbert Bilezikian, Baker Academy, 2006, pp 200-201.

3. NIV Study Bible  (All Scriptures)

Women of the Bible – Priscilla– 03/28/2015

Priscilla is our twenty-second study in our series from Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups by Jean E Syswerda. The study of Priscilla is found on page 221. The Bible Study will meet 4:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For complete information contact Glenda at 727-542-4683.

Our Spring Pot Luck and Open House is scheduled for April 11, 2015. If you have not attended one of our Bible Studies, this is a good time to come and see what we are about. We welcome all visitors, no participation on the Pot-Luck items required, Come and be Our Guest.

For information contact Glenda at 727-542-4683.

The Many Mary’s of the Bible

By Petra Vaughn

There seems to be a few different Mary’s in the Bible, each one has a special reason for being mentioned. Just to help you keep them straight here is a little knowledge about each one.

Mary: Mother of Jesus. She is the virgin bride that gave birth to our Savior Jesus Christ. With Jesus at the temple, She was at the wedding in Cana She was at the cross and burial of Jesus. And with the disciples at Ascension.  Mt 1:16-25 Mt 2:11, Lk 1:32-40, Ac 1:14, Jn 2:1-5, Jn 19:25-27

Mary: Mary of Bethany. She is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She poured pure Nard/Oil on Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair and tears. Lk 10:38-42, John 11:1-12:8, Mt 26:7, Mk 14:3-9.

Mary Magdelene (Mary of Magdala): She was not a prostitute or sinful woman, she had 7 demons inside of her that Jesus cast out, when He called her by name. She was also a great supporter of Jesus’ ministry. She was at the cross, burial and empty tomb. She was one of the first to see Jesus alive. Mt 27:56-61, Mt 28:1-10,Lk 8:1-3, Lk 8:2, Jn 19:25-27

Mary Mother of James & Joseph (Joses): She was at the cross and empty tomb. She was also a great supporter of Jesus ministry. Mk 15:40-41, Lk 8:3.

Mary: Mother of John (Mark): she owned the inn that Jesus used for the last supper. Acts 12:12

Mary Wife of Clopas: Was at the cross with the other woman. Jn 19:25-27

Mary: who worked very hard for you. Unknown who she is, was introduced by Paul. Ro 16:6

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, K-Q, In Four Volumes, Abingdon Press, 1962. (page 288-290)

“When a Christian Freaks Out!” Romans 6:11-14

Romans 6:11-14

“In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore do no let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

Have you seen Christians who freak out (v. lose or cause to lose emotional control from extreme excitement, shock, fear, joy, despair, etc.) regularly?  I mean someone who is prone to lose all self-control.  If you stood next to a professing non-believer when they’re in the middle of their tirade; you’d be unable to distinguish who was the unbeliever.

Have you talked to a Christian friend who was able to openly admit to “freaking out” due to a major unexpected life-event? It may have been losing a job, a home foreclosure, adult children issues, older-parent issues, or maybe even the unexpected death of a loved-one.

What can we do when a Christian is “freaking-out?”  That’s the time to encourage them to fervently pray to God. (Psalm 32:5-6) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.”

I had an occasion just last week when I was “freaking-out”.  It was just a little thing.  My work schedule changed, unexpectedly and I allowed it to cause a domino-effect, because there were things I needed to get done before leaving home for work. My well-ordered morning schedule of the past weeks was in disarray, and I needed to either move faster, slow the clock down, or just leave some things undone.  Instead of choosing, I “freaked out” , the old sin-nature took over faster than you can imagine and it scared me to the point that I stopped, got a pen and completed a Behavioral Observation on myself.  I spoke to God, “Lord, you are too good to me, for me to act like this!”

When I finished the exercise, God had taken control of the situation, and put me back together again in an amazing way! God’s grace (Unmerited favor) is sufficient. I’m hoping that admitting to “freaking-out” though embarrasing, may help someone during a “crisis of belief” to trust God instead of “freaking-out.”

Prayer: “Lord, please help us to confidently put our trust in you to keep us and life’s situations under control before we over-react, during our crisis of belief. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Article Originally in Homewords News, July 2011

 

 

Lydia – 10 Key Points for Bible Study on March 14, 2015

Lydia – A Woman of the Bible

by Lisa Jones

Our Lesson on Lydia comes from Acts 16:6-40 in our main text Women of the Bible by Jean E Syswerda. Here are some important points. These points may not directly answer the questions on pages 219-220.

  1. Her name signifies that she was a woman of Lydia, a region in Asia Minor.
  2. She was a Gentile adherent to Judaism.
  3. She is described as a successful businesswoman; because she was a dealer of purple cloth. Purple cloth was expensive and valuable as a sign of nobility or royalty so she was a wealthy businesswoman.
  4. As head of household she was either widowed or single.
  5. So strong was her faith, that her entire household followed her example and was baptized.
  6. She extended hospitality to Paul and his companions, even after their imprisonment.
  7. From the city of Thyatira. This small city was known for its commerce in Asia Minor. It was in an area noted for its abundant crops and the manufacture of purple dye.
  8. A worshiper of God. This term was used for Gentiles who believed in the Jewish God, Yahweh. Although they believed in God, they were not yet believers in Christ.
  9. A woman whose heart God opened. Paul shared the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and through God’s divine work, she believed. She apparently was baptized right away along with the members of her household. Lydia’s household probably included children and servants. Whether the entire household believed or not, they now lived in a Christian home.
  10. A willing servant. When God opened her heart, she believed wholeheartedly. She became a servant, tending to the needs of the missionaries. Later in Paul’s mission, he returned to Lydia’s home where he met with believers. Lydia had apparently become an active member of the church.

Psalm 37:25 – Bible Verse and Reflection

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25

Salvation through Jesus is my personal choice. No one can obtain salvation for me. However, many of my blessings were not due to my choices, but the faithfulness of my grandparents and parents to God’s word. I pray that my personal choices of following God bring blessings to my children and grandchildren.