Sunday, November 11, 2018

Prints from A Passover Haggadah, 1695

Blowing the Shofar.
Description of Clip Art:  black and white prints from a Passover Haggadah, Amsterdam, Jewish life, Hebrew customs, dress from Amsterdam in 1695, ovens, reading, tile floors, Sabbath lamp, bread, holy book, home interior, bakery interior, Synagogue interior

Lighting the Sabbath Lamp.
Making Mazzot.
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The Theological Department Title

Description of Clip Art:  black and white drawing of a candle sticks and monk and bible, title reads: "Theological Department", monks cloak

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The distant resting place...

Description of Clip Art:  black and white drawing of a cemetery, graveyard, tomb stone, weeping willow

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The Train Banner

Description of Clip Art:  black and white drawing of a old train pulling cars through a tunnel, locomotion, transport, passenger cars

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Three Additional Fleur-De-Lys Patterns for Chrismons...


Description of Clip Art:  heraldic art, christian symbols, spear-heads, iris shapes, French


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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Pilgrim Ladies Banner

The banner reads, "Thanksgiving Dinner at Our Church"
 Description of Clip Art:  black and white banners of vintage pilgrim silhouettes holding a banner, three variations of text, cursive font, white background,
The banner reads, "Fall Dinner Specials"

The banner reads, "Thanksgiving Dinner Menu"
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Momentum

       Many men fail to overcome sharp temptation because they have not by long previous habits acquired the momentum of right thought and right action. We can not fly unless we have learned to walk and to run.

        "Any one who has ever watched a heavy bird rise from the ground," says the American Inventor, "has doubtless noticed that it runs along the ground for a few feet before it rises; the bird must acquire some momentum before its wings can lift its heavy body into the air. The natives in certain parts of the Andes understand this fact very well and by means of it catch the great Andean vultures, the condors. A small space is shut in with a high fence and left open at the top. Then a lamb or a piece of carrion is placed on the ground inside. Presently a vulture sees the bait and swoops down upon it ; but when once he finds he has alighted on the ground inside he can not get out, for he has no running space in which to acquire the momentum that is necessary before his wings can lift him."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Holy Child

The Holy Child.

Rome was the world's proud mistress,
And would tax her subjects all:
Thus every man, to his own town,
Received Imperial call.

And Joseph, wed to Mary,
Must go to Judah's land,
And, with the sons of David,
Must take his lineal stand.

Then, from Nazareth, he journeyed,
With his fair and gentle spouse
To Bethlehem of Judea,
The place of David's house.

But when-- their journey ended--
They sought repose to win,
Their lodging was a stable,
So crowded was the inn. 

And to that stable, lowly,
In humble, human guise,
There came a babe most holy,
Descended from the skies.

'Tis written that the angel
Had to the virgin come,
And told her that this Holy Child
With her should make his home.

And now a rosy light from heaven
On Bethlehem's city shone;
And this was the first Christmas
The world had ever known.

For Jesus was the promised Christ,
So long ago foretold--
The Kind that all the Jewish race
Were longing to behold.

Mary's Visit to Elizabeth

Mary's Visit to Elizabeth

Now Mary felt a longing
To see her cousin dear,
And with Elizabeth to spend
A season of good cheer.

And so in haste, and early,
She started forth one day,
And journeyed to a city
In Judea's hills away.

For there dwelt Zacharias,
And Elizabeth so pure,
And, entering in, the virgin found
A welcome, warm and sure.

For the Holy Ghost gave token
To Elizabeth's glad heart,
That her visitor, in God's wise plan,
Should have a happy part.

Then out she spake, exultant,
"O, why to me accord
The honor of a visit.
From the mother of my Lord?

"And blessed is she for evermore,
Who humbly hath believed,
For every word shall come to pass
Which she from God received."

And Mary said: "O how my soul.
Jehovah magnifies!
And how my spirit joys in God,
My Savior, 'bove the skies!

"For He hath had regard unto
His handmaid's low estate,
And henceforth all shall call me blest--
The humble and the great.

"For He, the high and mighty One
Hath done to me great things,
And holy is His honored name;
His praise my spirit sings.

"His mercy they that fear His name
Enjoy from day to day;
From age to age it is the same,
And shall be so alway.

"And He hath shown abroad the strength
Of His almighty arm;
For He hath chased the proud, who sought
To do the humble harm.

"He hath put down the mighty
From their haughty seats on high;
And lifted up the lowly to
The region of the sky.

"His hand hath filled the hungry poor
With daintiest of food,
And the rich he hath sent empty
Away from hope of good.

"He hath come to the assistance
Of His servant Israel's race;
In remembrance of His mercy,
His promise and His grace,

"As He spake, in the beginning,
To Abraham, our head,
And to Jewish tribes for ever--
Naught hath failed of all He said."

After this the virgin Mary
With Elizabeth, so true,
Made a pleasant three months' visit,
Then to he home withdrew.

Now that great thing did come to pass,
Which Gabriel had foretold,
In the sacred temple service,
To Zacharias old.

And soon Elizabeth recieved
The promised baby boy;
And gazing on the heavenly gift,
Her heart was filled with joy.

And all her friends and cousins,
To whom the tidings went,
Came with their gratulations,
Upon the glad event.

Then on the day of naming
The parents both agreed
That John the infant should be called,
As Gabriel had decreed.

And the speech of Zacharias
Immediately returned;
He praised and glorified the Lord,
His heart with fervor burned.

And fear came on the neighbors all,
As these things were noised abroad;
And they said: "What kind of child is this
Who comes, foretold of God?

But the hand of God rich blessings
On the babe, each day, bestowed;
And the heart of Zacharias
With the Holy Ghost o'erflowed.

And he burst forth in thankfulness,
And praised, and prophesied
Of all the wondrous goodness
That should to me betide.

For the light of inspiration
Had shown to him, indeed,
That his son was the Elias,
Who should the Lord precede.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Simple Swiss Bell Pattern

A very simple pattern of a bell that you may print, cut and trace around on fabric,
 cardboard and Styrofoam for your Chrismon crafting
       "It is not known exactly when bells were introduced into the Christian Church; but it is certain that large bells of the form with which we are familiar were not invented until after some centuries of  Christianity. The small and often clandestine congregations of the ages of persecution needed no audible signal to call them together; but with the advent of peaceful times, and the growth of the  congregations, some method of summons doubtless came to be considered necessary." Beauchamp

A Holly Branch Banner

Description of Clip Art:  black and white drawing of a branch with holly berries and holly leaves above, banner trim for Christmas and Advent, white background, comes in four green and red variations as well.

holly branch banner in red onlh
holly branch banner in red and green, predominantly green
holly branch banner in green only
holly branch banner in red and green, predominantly red

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A Candle Stick and Holly Wreath

Description of Clip Art:  black and white drawing of a candle stick and holly wreath, burning flame, mantle, Christmas Clip Art, white background

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Cash Symbol Frame


Description of Clip Art:  black and white drawing of a money bag and cash symbols 

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Archangel's Second Visit

The Archangel's Second Visit

Six months, and, sent again from God,
The angel Gabriel came
To a city of fair Galilee,
And Nazareth by name,

To a virgin, spouse to Joseph
Of David's royal race;
And the virgin's name was Mary,
Whose life was truth and grace.

The angel entered softly,
Where Mary sat alone,
Saying: "Hail! the Lord is with thee,
Thou highly favored one."

But, when she saw the stranger,
Mary was troubled sore;
For such a salutation
She ne'er had heard before.,

But: "Fear not," said the angel,
"For, Mary, thou hast found
Favor with God, whose goodness
And mercy doth abound.

"And thou art greatly honored,
For God hath chosen thee
To nurse the high, anointed One
Whose name shall Jesus be.

"He shall be great, and shall be called
The high Jehovah's Son
And the Lord God shall give to Him
His father David's throne.

"And he shall reign o'er Jacob's house
For ever evermore;
His Kingdom still shall flourish
When earthly reigns are o'er.

"Behold," he said, "Elizabeth,
Thy cousin, good and kind,
I've also promised her a son,
And the promise true she'll find.

"For God is the omnipotent,
All power is in His hand,
And nothing is imposible
To His Divine command."

Then Mary meekly said: "Behold
The handmaid of the Lord;
And let the honor be to me
According to thy word."

The angel then departed--
Ascending up above--
And left the gentle virgin bowed
In humble trust and love.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Archangel's First Visit

The Archangel's First Visit

Twas in the days of Herod--
First king of that proud name--
Who reigned over Judea,
The land of Scripture fame.

A certain Zacharias,
Of the large, priestly force,
The temple of Jerusalem
Was serving in his course.

His wife, Elizabeth, belonged
To Aaron's favored line;
And they were righteous before God,
And kept the law Divine.

But this couple had no children,
And they were very old;
And lived alone, nor ever hoped
A son they should behold.

And it came to pass one morning--
As Scripture doth record--
That Zacharias burned incense
On the altar of the Lord;

And outside the people waited,
And stood in silent prayer;--
For in this way they worshiped
In the holy temple fair.

And, in that solemn season
To Zacharias' sight--
Standing beside the altar--
Appeared an angel bright.

And the good priest was troubled,
When he saw the spirit form,
And fear fell on him, and he shook
Like willow in a storm.

But the angel said to him: "Fear not,
Thy prayer is heard in heaven,
And to thy wife, Elizabeth,
A son shall now be given.

"And thou shalt call the baby John,
And thou shalt have great joy;
And many shall rejoice with thee
Over this precious boy.

"And he shall in the holy sight
Of God, be great and high;
And sine, or ardent spirit,
His lips shall ne'er come nigh.

"The Holy Ghost shall early
Spread through his heart abroad.
And many of your ancient race
Shall he turn to their God.

"And in the power and spirit
Of Elias, he shall go
Before Him who is coming
To save the world from woe."

Then Zacharias, in surprise
And overwhelming bliss,
Demanded of the angel:
"Whereby shall I know this?"

And the angel, answering, said:
"I am that Gabriel,
Who stand in God's high presence,
And am sent glad news to tell.

"And, now,  because thou doubtest,
Behold thou shalt be dumb,
And shalt not speak, until the child
I have fortold has come."

Meanwhile the people waited till
The priest should come outside,
And marvelled at his long delay--
What could to him betide?

And, when to them he did appear,
And could not speak a word,
They knew that he had seen, within,
A vision from the Lord.

And so he served the temple
Until the day had come
When, his ministration over,
He departed to his home.

Monday, June 25, 2018

What was known of Jesus' plans and methods of work?

       Formal organization He magnificently neglected. "Are you a society?" was asked of George Macdonald's Robert Falconer when he worked among the poor in London. "No; why should we be anything? We are an undefined company of people who have grown into human relations with each other naturally through one attractive force love for human beings. When we die, there will be no corporate body left behind to simulate life." Christ erected no machine. He dealt with persons, life. As Young points out: "He originated no series of well-concerted plans; He neither contrived nor put in motion any extended machinery; He entered into no correspondence with parties in His own country and in other regions of the world, in order to spread His influence and obtain cooperation. Even the few who were His constant companions, and were warmly attached to His person, were not, in His lifetime, imbued with His sentiments, and were not prepared to take up His work in His spirit after He was gone. He constituted no society, with its name, design, and laws all definitely fixed and formally established. He had no time to construct and to organize His life was too short and almost all He did was to speak. He spoke in familiar conversation with His friends, or at the wayside to passers-by, or to those who chose to consult him, or to large assemblies, as opportunity offered. He left behind Him a few spoken truths not a line or word of writing and a certain spirit incarnated in His principles and breathed out from His life; and then He died."
       Yet He worked with an aim. He had a work "given" Him by the Father and He wrought at this work with a plan, and in accordance with clear principles.
  •  "But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." John 5:35 (KJB)
  • "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:4 (KJB)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Piano Concert Clip Art


Description of Clip Art:  baby grand piano, concert announcement, text "Piano Concert", black and white clip art, instrument 

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Vintage Card File With Hands


Description of Clip Art:  old card catalogue, hands and arms, librarian, looking it up, card file system, monochromatic, brown and cream

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

What Is a "Generation"?

       "Generation" is used in a variety of senses in the Scriptures. In some cases, it means a period of limitless duration; in others it means the past (Isa. 51 :8), and still others the future (Psalm. 100:5) again, it means both the past and future (Psalm. 102:24). In Gen. 6:9 it means all men living at any given time. In Prov. 30:11, 14 it refers to a class of men with some special characteristics, and in Psalm. 49:19 it may be interpreted to mean the "dwelling-place." A generation, in modern phraseology, means thirty to thirty-five years, but there is no instance of the word being used in this particular sense in the Bible. Thus, "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ" is a genealogical record extending back to Abraham. In I Peter 2 :9 it means an elect race. 

What Was the Forbidden Fruit?

       There have been many interpretations of the Fall, and the books on the subject would fill a small library. The majority of the early Christian fathers held the Mosaic account to be historical, and interpreted it literally, believing that an actual fruit of some kind, not definitely known, was eaten by our first parents. A few early writers, Philo among them, regarded the story of the Fall as symbolical and mystical, shadowing forth allegorical truths, and that the serpent was the symbol of pleasure, and the offense was forbidden sensuous indulgence. Whatever the "fruit" may have been, its use was plainly the violation of a divine prohibition, the indulgence of an unlawful appetite, the sinful aspiration after forbidden knowledge. Professor Banks, several years ago, while traveling in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates, found in a little known district a place which the natives declared to be the traditional site of Eden and a tree (name and species unknown) which they believed to be the successor of the original tree of knowledge, and it was venerated greatly. It bore no fruit. 

A cherubim holds an engagement ring

Description of Clip Art:  engagement, wedding band, diamond, marriage, angel, wings, quiver of arrows, sparkle, announcement, black and white clip art

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What Were the "Marks of the Lord Jesus"?

       It was a practice to brand slaves with their owners' initials. A slave by showing the brand proved to whom his service was due and that no one else had a claim upon him. The marks of the Lord Jesus which Paul bore (Gal. 6:17) were the scars received in his service - the marks of the rods with which he was beaten and the wounds he received in fighting with wild beasts. He showed them as evidence that he belonged to the Lord Jesus. 

Who Were the Magi?

       These wise men were from either Arabia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, or somewhere else in the East. "East"is not to be understood in our wide, modern sense, but referred to those countries that lie to the east as well as north of Palestine. Thus, Persia is referred to as the "East" (Isa. 46:11). While it is true that the Gospel account does not state the number of wise men, but simply says they were from the East, many ancient traditions have been preserved from the early days of the Christian Church, among them one which states that there were three Magian princes, and gives their names as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, who came with a large retinue of servants and camels. Magism is supposed to have originated in Chaldea and thence spread to the adjacent countries. The Magians are believed to have been originally Semitic. Among the Greeks and Romans they were known as Chaldeans. Daniel sympathized with the order during his exile, and probably became one of their number. They believed in God, hated idolatry and looked for a Messiah. The latter fact alone would almost be regarded as conclusive evidence of their Semitic descent. There are no absolute data, however, for asserting it positively. For many generations the Magi has looked for the fulfillment of the prophecy contained in Numbers 24:17 ". . . there shall come a star out of Jacob . . ." and when the light as guiding star indicated the direction of Judea they knew the prophecy had been fulfilled. "His star" can be interpreted as "his sign." Whatever form it assumed, it was sufficiently marked as an astronomical phenomenon to claim attention. Some writers have contended that it was visible to the Magi alone; others hold that it was a heavenly light, standing as a beacon of glory over the manger; still others, that it was the luminous figure of an angel. Tradition asserts that "the star" guided the Magi both by day and by night. The infant Savior was probably over two months old when the visit of the Magi took place. They had seen the phenomenon of the star long before their arrival in Jerusalem, two months after Jesus had been presented in the temple, and it was some time after this that the Magi arrived in Jerusalem and went thence to Bethlehem to worship him and offer gifts. It must have taken them many months to accomplish the journey from their own country to Palestine. The Magi brought the first material Christmas gifts when they presented their love offerings. 

Who Was Chloe?

       Chloe was a noted Christian woman at Corinth, perhaps a widow, as she is represented as head of her family, from some of which Paul received his information of the divisions at Corinth. 1 Cor. 1:11. - Brown.

Who Was Ananias?

       Ananias was a disciple of Christ, at Damascus, whom the Lord directed to visit Paul, then recently converted and arrived at Damascus. (Acts 9:10) The modern Greeks maintain, that he was one of the seventy disciples, bishop of Damascus; a martyr; and buried in that city. There is a very fine church where he was interred; and the Turks, made a mosque of it to preserve a great respect for his monument.

Friday, June 15, 2018

What was the childhood of Jesus like?

       Of the early life of Jesus very little is known. He never referred to it Himself, and two of the four Gospels are silent regarding it. He must have known, of course, the place of His birth, but He never spoke of it. One of the objections made to the validity of the claims He put forth was that He was not born in that part of the nation where, as a matter of fact, He was born; but neither He nor His disciples ever corrected the erroneous impression that prevailed (John 7: 41, 42, 52). He never mentioned, in the records of His life which are preserved, the wonderful stories of the manner of His birth which are told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke; nor is any allusion made to it in the other writings of the New Testament.
Jesus in the temple as a child.
       All that we are told directly of His life, from the time the family settled in Nazareth, after the visit to Egypt and the death of Herod, until His appearance in public life about thirty years later, we are told by the Gospel which was written chiefly for Gentiles, and which represents the oral gospel preached by the Apostle Paul, who may or may not have made use of this material in his preaching. It surely does not appear in his epistles. The information supplied in this way is confined to two statements concerning the development of Jesus, one of which precedes, while the other follows, the story of a visit He made to the Temple at the age of twelve (Luke 2: 40-52).
       We know, however, that He made His home with the humble people who were known as His father and mother (Matt. 13: 55) in a little country village in the province of Galilee, and there grew up (Luke 4:16). There are few places better than such a village for the strong and true development of a life. Its interests are not so pretentious and extensive as those of city life, but they are deep and thoughtful. In such surroundings the power of true vision and honest action is not discouraged as in a city by the conventional conceptions which obscure the truth, and the life of personal irresponsibility which leads to the toleration of that which is questionable or wrong. No rugged prophet was ever produced by city life. In the simple social life of a country town, with its sympathy, its purity, its kindliness, its blunt honesty, Jesus grew up, an integral part of the community life as no boy is in a city.
       He was from the beginning, evidently, an observant boy. He studied the life of His town, and He took special delight in the unending beauty of mountain and river and sea, and the vast instruction of plants and flowers, of sky and cloud, of bird and beast.
       His home was one of the best class of the simple homes of the poor. It preserved, evidently, the primitive godliness of the nation. His parents (Luke 2: 48) were of the most devout spirit (Matt. 1:19 ; Luke 1: 46-55), free from the bigotry which reigned in Judea, and not contaminated by the laxity of Galilee, which was to Judaism "the court of the Gentiles," and which presented the temptations of foreign life as introduced by the Gentile traders on their constant visits, and by a large foreign community in the Decapolis. It was nevertheless the province "of generous spirits, of warm, impulsive hearts, of intense nationalism, of simple manners, and of earnest piety" (Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. I, pp. 223, 225).
       Jesus was the eldest child in the family. He had four brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matt. 13: 55 ; Mark v6: 3), and at least two sisters (Matt. 13: 56). Joseph, His mother's husband, seems to have died before Jesus entered upon public life, and He may have been called upon even in His youth to share with His mother the cares of the home (John 2:12). If Edersheim's view of the opinions of James and Jude and of the relationship of Simon Zelotes to Jesus be correct, then in His own home circle Jesus must have felt the influence of the three purest Jewish tendencies: the earnestness of the Shammaites represented in James, the buoyancy of the Messianic watchers represented in Jude, and the fervor of the nationalist idea represented in His cousin, Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15). Stronger than all such influences, however, must have been the force of His mother's example and teaching. Everything indicates that she was one of those rare women whose glory it is to prepare a noble life, losing themselves in it, and desiring to be glorified only in its usefulness (Heb. 11: 40).
       Jesus did not have what was regarded as a liberal education, the Pharisees of Jerusalem counted this a reproach (John 7:15), but what educational advantages Nazareth afforded were doubtless placed at His disposal. There was, of course, a village school, to which He was probably sent after he had reached the age of six (Geikie, The Life of Christ, p. 173); but much of His training He must have received at home from His mother. Early in life He learned to read and write. He must have been an eager scholar, for besides Aramaic, which was the vernacular of the Jews (Matt. 5: 41), and Greek, which was widely used, especially in Galilee, and which He Himself used in His teaching, He also mastered Hebrew a dead language in His day, but the vestment of the Old Testament Scriptures, which He was a close and earnest student. Up to his tenth year it was held that the Bible should be the exclusive text-book of a Jewish boy; from ten to fifteen the Mishnah should the chief text-book; and after the age of fifteen the higher theological discussions were open to him. Jesus' public life, when He had no opportunity whatever for study, showed a mastery of all branches of a Jewish boy's education, which was proof of careful training in His early days.
       Even if His family had not been very poor, Jesus would probably have learned a trade. It was a good Jewish custom. Jesus followed the trade of Joseph and became a carpenter (Mark 6 : 3). Justin Martyr says He made plows and yokes, and we must believe, from the character of His later work, that they were very excellent plows and yokes which were turned out from His shop.
       Wandering along the Sea of Galilee or over the hills; watching the blue sky, the springing flowers, the husbandman and the shepherd; in the shop of Joseph, in the home of Mary, and in the school of Nazareth, Jesus spent His childhood. "And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him" (Luke 2: 40).
       At the age of twelve came an experience, the story of which is the only direct information we have of all the sweet life of these thirty years (Luke 2: 41-51). He was taken to Jerusalem to attend the Passover. Strictly, He did not be come a " son of the law " until the age of thirteen, but the legal age was often anticipated by a year or two. Upon becoming a "son of the law," the young Jew began regularly to observe the ceremonial law and to attend the three great festivals. It was therefore a solemn epoch in Jesus' life. Moreover, this was probably Jesus' first visit to Jerusalem since He was taken there as a babe from Bethlehem. For the first time the boy from Nazareth of Galilee, with its freedom and sweet air and sky, and the liberal, loving life of Mary's home, was brought into contact with the formalized religious life of His nation: the Holy City of David, kept scrupulously free from all ceremonial uncleanness; and the mighty, in violate Temple, thronged now with the tens and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who, from many lands and many thousands of cities had come up to worship at Jerusalem. It must have been a wonderful sight to Jesus, and have quickened all the pulses within Him. Yet, though He was a country boy, the strange sights had no fascination for Him not even the historic places made famous by the stories with which His mother had made His heart swell with the pride of His famous nation in the twilight of the Sabbath evenings in Nazareth. His boyish meditations had already carried Him beyond the outward show, and He spent His days at the Temple listening to the doctors. So interested was He in what He heard that He remained behind when the rest of the party left Jerusalem on their way home. When they sought Him, He was found in the midst of a group in the Temple, earnestly asking questions of the learned men, who at the Passover came out of the Sanhedrin and taught the people colloquially, and as earnestly explaining to them His own boyish opinions, to their amazement and delight; for there was about Him nothing forward or impertinent, but only the intense eagerness of a child to whom God had given serious vision, and from whom a wise mother had withheld folly.
       When they sought Jesus, Joseph and Mary were surprised to find Him so engaged. They had taken it for granted that He was among the other children of their caravan. He had evidently kept to Himself, in the years at Nazareth, the grave thoughts and questions which the fascination of the Temple, and the wise and not unkindly doctors, had encouraged Him to express. When His mother, with some reproof, asked Him for an explanation of His conduct, He replied that He did not think it was necessary to make a search for Him; that He might have been expected to be in His Father's house, about His Father's business. It was a strange reply, one which His parents did not understand. But He went at once with them back to Nazareth, where He was subject to them, though His mother kept in mind and heart His strange conduct and words at Jerusalem, and wondered at His unlikeness to other boys who had gone up with them, and who had spent their time in seeing the wonderful sights of the great city.
       In Nazareth He seems to have resumed again the old life, though year by year He must have shown the growth which ended in His appearance as the One whom the Baptist heralded. His religious life was deepening, broadening, strengthening, gathering volume and fullness, rising up into the infinite comprehension of His first public utterances. He evidently spent much time in the little synagogue of Nazareth, whose rabbi knew Him, and where He probably had access to rolls of the Old Testament Scriptures, which neither Joseph nor He had money to buy for use in their own home. He was one of the readers or expositors at the Monday, Thursday, and Sabbath services in the synagogue, and when He came back to Nazareth, at the beginning of His public life, was at once invited to read and explain some passage of Scripture (Luke 4: 1-6).
       His growth after His first visit to Jerusalem was as quiet and symmetrical as before. He "advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2: 52).
       This is a most attractive picture of a young life. It is represented as perfectly normal and quiet. The silly apocryphal accounts of Jesus' childhood given in the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy (The Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 8., pp. 405 ff.) are wholly foreign to the spirit of the authentic story. Yet the temptation to introduce overstatements and exaggerations is irresistible to all who write an account of such a childhood, except those who, as personal witnesses, are telling a story of fact. Even Josephus introduces such elements into his account of the childhood of Moses (Works, book 2., chap, 9., 6, 7). But Jesus, beginning life, as the gospels represent, as a perfect child, yet began it as a perfect child:

"He comes, but not in regal splendor drest
The haughty diadem, the Tynan vest;
Not armed in flame, all glorious from afar,
Of hosts the Captain, and the Lord of war"

but as a simple Galilean child.
       That the influences which surrounded Jesus' childhood, and His early training in the freedom of open air and the liberty of a loving home, will explain some of the features of His life and conduct, will be plain; but whether they in any way account for Him will be more manifest after a study of His plans and methods of work, the traits of His character, His bearing and the bearing of others toward Him in the relations of life, His extraordinary personality, His conduct in the persecution which ended in His unjust death, and His posthumous influence. Robert E. Speer

How Old Was Jesus When He Began to Understand the Nature of His Mission?

       Although one cannot trace with any degree of precision the various stages of development of the consciousness of his mission, it is evident from the Gospel record that it must have begun early and gradually increased to complete appreciation as manhood approached. We are told that even in childhood he "grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom" and the "grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2:40.) In youth we find him questioning and expounding to the rabbis in the temple and "increasing in stature and in wisdom and in favor with God and man." His wonderful knowledge, his amazing questions and his discerning answers to the elders must have become more and more accentuated during the passage of these early years, and we may gather that Mary had already premonitions of the future career of her Divine Son, since she pondered over and "hid all these things in her heart." There are indications that seem to warrant the conclusion that long before the opening of his public ministry, Jesus was absorbed by the thought! of the mission to which he was destined. He knew his Father's business and did it, and he frequented his Father's house. His life and surroundings in Nazareth brought him in contact with a simple, earnest people and with sorrow and suffering. These were years of character-building and development. They bore fruit when the time was ripe for his public ministry and prepared him for the baptism at John's hands. This was the last act of his private life and the first that marked the beginning of his public mission, when the heavenly voice proclaimed him as the "Beloved Son" and the Baptist bare record that he was the Son of God. 

How Could Jesus, Being Already Perfect, Increase in Wisdom?

       The statement in Luke 2:52 is explicit and there is no reason for doubting it. Jesus was subject to
human conditions and limitations so far as the divine nature could be subjected, We read of His being
weary, of his being hungry and thirsty, and we are assured that He was tempted in all points like as we are, which all show that in His physical nature He was human. Doubtless He would be educated like other boys, and probably His consciousness of divinity would be gradual, and possibly not complete until the forty days in the desert. His questioning the doctors in the Temple (Luke 2:46) is supposed by some authorities to have been not catechizing them but to obtain information. 

Are the Speeches of Job's Friends to Be Regarded as Inspired ?

       This question is answered authoritatively in the book itself (see Job 42:7), where God is represented as saying, "My wrath is kindled against thee and thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right." One gets a clearer idea of the book by regarding it as a symposium on the problem of suffering, each speaker being a representative of a school of thought. Each speaker keeps to the same aspect of the subject but all agree in regarding unusual suffering as an evidence of unusual sin. They imply that in Job's case, he being outwardly so good a man, his sin was aggravated by hypocrisy. This was unjust, because, as we learn by the first chapter, it was precisely because he was so good a man that his affliction came upon him. The author of the book evidently wished to administer a warning to the people of his time against being uncharitable in their inferences.

Did God "Blot Out" the Day on Which Job Was Born?

       This question is doubtless prompted by the ancient, tradition or superstition that we have less days in February than any other month, as Job was born in February. This of course is a fallacy. There was no February in the time of Job, 1520 B. C. The months, or divisions of time, were not as we have them now. The year of the Jews consisted of twelve lunar months of twenty-nine and thirty days alternately, a thirteenth being from time to time introduced to accommodate it to the sun and seasons. Let it be noted that while Job cursed his birthday, he did not curse his Maker, so why should the Lord drop a day on account of a little weakness in his servant, who, despite his great sufferings, never uttered any reproach against the Author of his being? Our months as at present, we have from the Romans. With those people February had originally twenty-nine days in an ordinary year, but when the Roman Senate decreed that the eighth month should bear the name of Augustus, a day was taken from February and given to August, which had then only thirty, that it might not be inferior to July, named in honor of Julius Cesar.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"United We Stand" Top Hat

 
Description of Clip Art:  patriotic, Uncle Sam, beard, text "United We Stand" top hat, transparent background

Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks.

End Paper: drawn marble design on a print

Artist: restored, recolored, resized by the staff, three color versions

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End Paper: zig zag pattern

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End Paper: Stamped: flora and bird

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End Paper: Stamped: X in blue, olive and rust

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End Paper: Stamped: blue dotted pattern

Artist: restored, recolored, resized by the staff
 
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What Is Meant by "Strange Fire"?

       The "strange fire" mentioned in Lev. 10:1, 2 is understood to mean that Nadab and Abihu, instead of taking fire into their censers from the brazen altar, took common fire which had not been consecrated, and thus were guilty of sacrilege. They had witnessed the descent of the miraculous fire from the cloud (see chapter 9:24), and they were under solemn obligation to use that fire which was specially appropriated to the altar service. But instead of doing so, they became careless, showing want of faith and lamentable irreverence, and their example, had it been permitted to pass unpunished, would have established an evil precedent. The fire that slew them issued from the most holy place, which is the accepted interpretation of the words, "from the Lord." Besides, the two young priests had already been commanded (or warned) not to do the thing they did (verse 2). They had undertaken to perform acts which belonged to the high priest alone, and even to intrude into the innermost sanctuary. See the warnings in Ex. 19:22 and Lev. 8:35.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"How Readest Thou?"

 "How Readest Thou?"

It is one thing to read the Bible through,
Another thing to read to learn and do.
Some read it with design to learn to read, 
But to the subject pay but little heed. 
Some read it as their duty once a week,
But no instruction from the Bible seek;
While others read it with but little care,
With no regard to how they read, nor where.
Some read to bring themselves into repute,
By showing others how they can dispute;
While others read because their neighbors do,
To see how long 'twill take to read it through.
Some read it for the wonders that are there--
How David killed a lion and a bear;
While others read it with uncommon care,
Hoping to find some contradictions there.
Some read as if it did not speak to them, 
But to the people of Jerusalem.
One reads with father's specs upon his head,
And sees the thing just as his father said.
Some read to prove a preadopted creed,
Hence understand but little that they read;
For every passage in the book they bend
To make it suit that all-important end.
Some people read, as I have often thought,
To teach the book instead of being taught;
And some there are who read it out of spite.
I fear there are but few who read it right.
But read it prayerfully, and you will see,
Although men contradict, God's words agree;
For what the early Bible prophets wrote,
We find that Christ and His apostles quote.
So trust no creed that trembles to recall
What has been penned by one and verified by all.

author unknown

What Is Meant by "Saved, Yet As by Fire"?

       The apostle in I Cor. 3:15 speaks of mistaken teachings and concludes that the man whose work was not of genuine character, who had been seeking worldly gain and popularity and not trying to win and build up souls, would lose the reward which would be given to the preacher who built on the foundation of Christ, "gold, silver, and precious stones." The unprofitable worker's work he likens to wood and stubble which would not stand the day of judgment. Even though his soul should be saved, he would miss the reward promised to the faithful worker, while his own work, being false, will not escape the destruction. 

What Is Meant by the "Elect"?

       "Elect" is a term variously applied. It sometimes meant the ancient church, and the whole body of baptized Christians; again, it was those elected to baptism; and still again, it was the newly baptized who had just been admitted to full Christian privileges. Further it is applied to those especially chosen for the Lord's work, like his prophets and evangelists, and to those who had undergone tribulation and even martyrdom. It has been applied to the whole Jewish people as chosen of God. Finally, it is applied to individuals who, not of their own merit, but through God's grace, through Jesus Christ, are chosen not only to salvation, but to sanctification of the spirit and who are holy and blameless before the Lord. They are individuals specially chosen out of the world to be heirs of salvation and witnesses for God before men. This is not of works, but of free grace. In a general way, the "elect" are the sanctified - those chosen to salvation through sanctification of the spirit, as explained in Peter 1:2 and similar passages. They are the special vessels of the Spirit chosen in God's good pleasure to carry out his purposes. This election is of grace and not of works (see Rom. 9:18, 22, 23). In all ages such men have been evidently chosen by the Lord as his witnesses. This choice is at once an expression of his sovereignty and his grace. Paul himself was so chosen. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that salvation is by grace. The whole subject of election has been one of acute controversy for ages and has given rise to many differences of opinion. The attitude of Christians with regard to the Second Coming should be one of prayer, expectancy and constant preparation.

In What Sense Was Man Created in The Divine Likeness?

       Man's likeness to God, referred to in Gen. 1:26, is the great fact which distinguishes him from the rest of creation. He is a "person" with power to think, feel and will, and with the capacity for moral life and growth. Still further, at the beginning, man had not only the capacity for moral life, but his moral disposition was such that he loved God, loved the right, and hated the wrong. The tragedy of the fall reversed this. Man was still a person and still had the capacity for righteousness, but his spirit was so changed that he feared and distrusted God, and, to a greater or less extent, loved the evil and disliked the good. Jesus came to undo this calamity and to restore us to a moral likeness to God. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Who Were the Brothers of Jesus?

       The brethren of Jesus are named in the New Testament as James, Joses, Simon and Judas. In Matt. 12:46; Matt. 13:55; John 2:12, and Acts 1:14 they are generally understood to be proper brothers, all being named together conjointly with the mother of Jesus, and the same is inferred from John 7:5. Some of the early church writers, however, held that they were merely relatives or cousins (sons of Mary the sister of Jesus' mother), it being a common custom to call all immediate relatives, nephews, cousins and half-brothers, by the general designation of "brothers" or "brethren." Further, the early fathers of the church held that Mary, the mother of Jesus, had no other children. The question still remains open whether they were not the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, and therefore half-brothers to Jesus. On the other hand Matt. 1 :25 and Luke 2 :7 favor the  view that they were brothers and that Jesus was the "first-born. " Sisters of Jesus are also mentioned in Matt. 13:56 and Mark 6:3, but their names are not given. Much has been written on the subject without positive determination, although most modern commentators hold to the opinion that the "brethren" in question were the sons of Joseph and Mary, and that Mary's mother's sister had two sons, named James and Joses.

Is There a Rational Explanation of the Star of Bethlehem?

       There was a remarkable conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn about that time, which must have been a very brilliant spectacle, and which would be very impressive to astrologers. It might lead them to the belief that some mighty potentate was born, and probably to make inquiry as to such birth. The fact, that would doubtless be known to all Orientals, that the Jews expected a Messiah, may have led the Magi to Palestine. Their inquiry for "the King of the Jews" seems to imply that it was there they expected to find such a being as the conjunction portended. The difficulty, however, is to explain the star going before them (Matt. 2:9). As they traveled westward, it might have had that appearance, but not so definitely as the account implies. Another explanation is that it was possibly a meteor divinely directed. 

Is There a Real Conflict in The Evangelists' Genealogies of Christ?

       The purpose of publishing the Savior's genealogy was to show that he had descended from David. If the genealogy of Mary had been given, it would have carried no weight with the Jews, as they would not admit the divine conception, and regarded Joseph as the head of the family. It was necessary, on their account, to show that Joseph had descended from David. It really, however, includes the others, as the descendants of David were so proud of their distinction, and of the Messianic promise involved, that no man of that family would take a wife of any other family. Mary, undoubtedly, therefore, was descended from David. The theory has been propounded and supported by Weiss and other scholars that the genealogy of Luke is that of Mary. Luke says (3 -.23) that Joseph was the son of Heli, whereas Matthew says (1:16) that he was the son of Jacob. It is suggested that Luke's statement should read, "who was the son-in-law of Heli," that is, married the daughter of Heli. Luke traces the descent through David's son Nathan, while Matthew traces it through Solomon. Even that explanation, however, has its incongruities, of which there is no clear explanation. The fact that Mary before her marriage went to Bethlehem to be taxed or registered (Luke 2:5), would indicate that she was of David's house. It is noteworthy, too, that Christ's claims to Messiahship were never challenged on that ground. If there had been any flaw in his pedigree, the Jews would have seized upon it without a doubt, because the prophecies clearly stated that Messiah would be descended from David. 

Was Christ Born in the Year 1 or in 5 B.C.?

       As we are told in the Gospels that Herod was living and slaughtered the children after Jesus was born (see Matt. 2 :i6), and as it is claimed by chronologists to be a matter of record that he died in 750 U. C, which corresponds to B. C. 4, it is obvious that Jesus was born before that date. Then, on the other hand, he was born after the decree for the census (Luke 2:1) was issued. From Tertullian we learn that the decree was issued in 748 and the enrollment began in 749 U. C, which corresponds to B. C. 5. Thus the birth is fixed by those two occurrences.

Does the Doctrine of Jesus' Divinity Depend on the Miraculous Conception?

       Even if the doctrine of the miraculous conception were abandoned, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to account for the facts of Christ's life, by any other theory than that of his being the incarnation of God. If you regard him as man, you must explain how he, a plain peasant, trained as a carpenter, brought up in an obscure eastern village, could live such a life as he undoubtedly lived, and give utterance to truths which have thrilled the world for nineteen hundred years. Besides this he spoke with authority, making claims to a higher nature, which if he did not consciously possess that higher nature, would be false claims. His whole life was consistent with his divinity, and therefore, even persons who reject his miraculous conception, have good ground for believing him to be divine. It is the only theory that explains such a life. There is no need, however, to reject the doctrine of the miraculous conception. The more you study the life of Jesus, the less you will be surprised to learn that the promise of God through the prophets, of the union of divinity and humanity, was literally fulfilled in him.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

How Can We Grow in Grace?

       A fair equivalent of the word "grace" is "blessing." Grace means, in the first place, the disposition which God has toward us; that is, his willingness to bless us; his love and favor. It means, also, the blessing received, the state or experience into which we are brought by God's blessing. There is always in the word "grace" the idea of something bestowed entirely without merit or payment on the part of the one who receives it. God's blessings are bestowed freely; we do not earn them; he blesses us because he loves us, because he is gracious. All he asks is that we shall be willing to receive his grace. This promise to Paul means that God will give him the necessary strength to bear the affliction, and also, as Paul implies in the remainder of the verse, that the happiness of the blessing will balance the distress of the thorn.
       To grow in grace means to advance and develop in spiritual experience and power. The Christian grows  in grace in the first place by growing in faith. The more we believe, the more complete we entrust our souls and all the details of our lives to God, the more we are blessed. We grow in grace by our work for God. Religious work develops spiritual muscle just as physical work develops physical muscle. The more we do the more we can do. Prayer, study of the Bible, fellowship with spiritually-minded people, attendance at divine worship and prayer services, taking part in these services, will help us to grow in grace. We should remember, however, that all grace is bestowed by God himself; as we meet the conditions and enlarge our capacity he gives us more grace, just as he gives us more physical and mental strength when we meet the conditions for physical and mental growth.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Voice Of God

       There is an old legend of a nun. She had gone into the thick solitudes to listen to the forest voices. Seated in the shade of a tree she heard a song till then new to her ears. It was the song of the mystic bird. In that song she heard in music all that man thinks and feels, all that he seeks and that he fails to find. On strong wings that song lifted her soul to the heights where it looks upon reality. There, with hands clasped, the nun listened and listened, forgetting earth, sky, time and even self - listened for long centuries, never tiring, but ever finding in that voice a sweetness forever new.

Just such music, only infinitely sweeter, does the soul find that listens amid its solitudes to the voice of God.