Thursday, July 20, 2017

First Week During Advent: Holly Set

First Sunday During Advent. "During the reign of King Herod of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly
order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her
name was Elizabeth." Luke 1:5
Description of the illustration: 10 scriptures decorated with holly and illuminated letters for the first week of Advent, white backgrounds, all scriptures are from the International Standard Version

The First Weeks Scripture, "A shoot will come out from
 the stump of Jesse, and a branch will bear fruit from his roots." Isaiah 11:1
Sunday scripture, "Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign.
Watch! The virgin is conceiving a child, and will give birth to a son
and his name will be called Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14.
Sunday scripture, "As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
 even though you remain least among the clans of Judah,
 nevertheless, the one who rules in Israel for me will emerge from you.
His existence has been from antiquity, even from eternity." Micah 5:2.
Monday Advent readings in the first week,  "Now in the sixth month of her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!' Startled by his statement, she tried to figure out what his greeting meant. Then the angel told her, 'Stop being afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:26-33.
Tuesday Advent reading during the first week,  "Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah happened in this way. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, before they lived together she was discovered to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to disgrace her, decided to divorce her secretly. After he had thought about it, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," he said, "don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he is the one who will save his people from their sins." Now all this happened to fulfill what was declared by the Lord through the prophet when he said, "See, a virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanueel," which means, "God with us." When Joseph got up from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary as his wife." Matthew 1: 18-24.
Wednesday Advent reading for the first week, "While they were there,
the time came for her to have her baby, and she gave birth to her first child,
a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough,
because there was no place for them in the guest quarters." Luke 2:6-7.
Thursday Advent reading for the first week, "In that region there
were shepherds living in the fields, watching their flock during the night.
 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord
shone around them, and they were terrified." Luke 2: 8-9.
Friday Advent reading for the first week, "Then the angel told them,
 "Stop being afraid! Listen! I am bringing you good news of
 great joy for all the people. Today your Savior, the Lord Messiah, was
 born in the City of David. and this will be a sign for you: You will
find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough." Luke 2: 10-12.
Saturday Advent reading for the first week, "Suddenly, a multitude
of the Heavenly Army appeared with the angel, praising God by saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people
who enjoy his favor!" Luke 2:13-14.
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Holly and bell frame in black and white

Description of the illustration: black and white frame, holly and berries, bells, Christmas

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Annunciations of Jesus and Virgin's Visit With St. Elizabeth: Holly and Bell



Description of the illustration: Christmas bell, Advent bell, holly trim for a bell, red ribbon, scripture from The Gospel of Luke, transparent background

"Later on, Mary set out for a Judean city in the hill country. she went into Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting , the baby jumped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she loudly exclaimed, 'How blessed are you among women, and how blessed is the infant in your womb! Why should this happen to me, to have the mother of my Lord visit me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. How blessed is this woman for believing that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled!" Then Mary said, "My soul praises the greatness the greatness of the Lord! My spirit exults in God, my Savior, because he has looked favorably on his humble servant. From now on, all generations will call be blessed, because the Almighty has done great things for me. His name is holy. His mercy lasts from generation to generation for those who fear him. He displayed his mighty power with his arm. He scattered people who were proud in mind and heart. He pulled powerful rulers from their thrones and lifted up humble people. He filled hungry people with good things and sent rich people away with nothing. He helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful, according to the promise he made to our ancestors -  to Abraham and his descendants forever." Now Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home." Luke 1:39-56

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Heart banners for Valentine projects


Description of the illustration: heart or Valentine designed banners, transparent backgrounds, four different color combinations

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Parading figures for Mardi Gras


Description of the illustration: two little black and white banners for Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, parade, costumes, dance

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Bird of Paradise Banners


Description of the illustration:  bird of paradise motif banners, five versions in the following color combinations: ivory and grey, blue and green, orange and gold, plum and black, and burgundy and pink





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"GENESIS" carved

 
Description of the illustration: stone work carving of the title "Genesis" book of the Old Testament carved in relief, illustrating stories from Genesis. greyscale

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Why Should We Believe the Scriptures?

       Some people answer this query by saying that the reason is found in the fact that the Bible is the only book handed down to us through the ages. That is not the best answer. Some ancient writings, like the Vedas, for instance, are almost as ancient as the Bible. And many tablets and monuments are in existence containing words written as long ago as the writings of the Scriptures. There are many powerful arguments for the Bible, but the greatest is that every person who will really study it finds that it does tell the truth about the human soul. When a man reads in an arithmetic that two and two make four, he does not stop to ask himself why he should believe the arithmetic. He knows instinctively and intuitively that the arithmetic is telling him the truth. So when an honest man studies the Bible he finds it full of truths about himself. The Bible tells him he is a sinner, and he knows that is true. The Bible tells him about God, and he finds in his heart a deep conviction that just such a God exists. The Bible offers forgiveness, and the man knows he needs it. Step by step, and point by point, the Bible shows the man what he is and what he needs and points the way to finding the fulfillment of his needs and desires. People find in the Bible help for bearing their trials, power to resist temptation, assurance of immortality and friendship with God. A man who never saw the Bible before, when he reads of God in it, realizes that he always needed and longed for God, but did not know how to find him till the Bible showed him the way. Particularly does it show him how to find God in Christ. That, after all, is the supreme mission of the Bible - to lead men to Christ. 
       But, again, taking the Bible as literature, we find that it hangs together, that it bears within itself the evidence that it is true. Start with the writings of Paul. Here is a level-headed, highly educated, practical man who has left to the world's literature certain letters to groups of friends. These letters tell about Paul's personal knowledge of Christ, his personal friendship for him, his personal endeavors to forward the work of Christ which he had formerly antagonized until Christ himself appeared to him and set him right. Paul tells of becoming acquainted later with men who had known Christ in the flesh - Peter, James, John and others. We find that these men also wrote about Jesus, John writing three letters and a narrative of his life; Peter writing two letters, and apparently giving much of the information to his nephew Mark, who wrote another version of the life of Jesus. Luke, another friend of Paul, and probably also a personal friend of Jesus, wrote another version of his life and wrote the history of what his apostles did through his power after he had risen from the dead and gone back to the heavenly world. These were all good, honest, intelligent men. We may believe what they wrote about Christ and his salvation, just as we believe what Caesar wrote about the Gallic Wars. Further, we find that Christ came from a people whose history is recorded in the books of the Bible and whose prophets uttered messages from God. Peter connects the messages of the prophets with those of himself and the other apostles in II Peter 3:2: "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of our Lord and Savior." The Bible holds together about the person of Christ as the great divine-human document which reveals him to the world. 

More About Why We Should Believe and Spread Holy Scriptures:

Does the Bible Teach Science?

        It is not a scientific textbook, nor was it written to teach science, but religion. The discrepancies between the story of creation as given in the Bible and that given by the scientists are very much such as we should find in two descriptions of a great battle, if one of them was written by a clergyman who knew nothing of military tactics, and the other by a military expert who knew nothing of religion. The important fact for us - the fact that is of more momentous interest than all the discoveries of science - is that God made the universe. For this knowledge we are not indebted to science, which has not yet attained it, but we do get it from the Bible. A person who wants to know the latest discoveries of science as to geology and astronomy, should study the recent books of science; but if he wants to know the way to God and eternal happiness, he should go to the Bible. Each has its own sphere.

"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." Colossians 1:16 (NIV)

Explore Interesting Thoughts About Science & Religion:

Can We Find Any Reference to Christ in Contemporaneous Secular Writers?

       Yes. There are references to Christ in connection with Christians, by several historians. Tacitus, who was praetor under Domitian in A. D. 88, only fifty-eight years after the Crucifixion, refers to Christ (Annal XV :44) . Pliny the younger, who was tribune in Syria about the same time, also refers to him (Epistle X:97). There are also references in Lucian, who lived about the middle of the second century. He states explicitly the fact of Christ having been crucified. Suetonius and Eusebius also refer to Christ. Besides these evidences, there was the persecution of the Christians under Nero, which is recorded by all historians. Nero died A. D. 68, only thirty-eight years after the Crucifixion. It is therefore clear that there were many Christians before that time. How could the sect have come into existence without a founder? If you saw an oak growing in a place where there was no tree fifty years before, you would suspect that some one had planted an acorn there, and if four men told you how, when and by whom it was planted, you would be prepared to believe them. So there is good reason for believing the Gospel narratives, when you read in secular history of the existence of the Christian Church fifty years after the Crucifixion. Their stories are a credible explanation of a well-established fact. 

More Eyewitnesses Outside The Faith:

What Are the Proofs of Bible Authenticity?

       "Can we prove the authenticity of the Bible by outside evidence ?" is a frequent question. The authenticity of the Bible is being proved by the old records on monuments, by tablets recently deciphered, and by discoveries in Bible lands. That is if by authenticity you mean its historical truth. As to inspiration, the best evidence is its effects. The man who loves the Bible and tries to conduct his life according to its precepts is a better man for the effort. The Bible-reading nation advances in the best line of civilization, caring for its poor and afflicted, and becoming in all ways better. Another evidence of its being inspired is the revelation it gives a man of himself, holding a mirror to his gaze by which he recognizes himself. Another evidence is its survival. No book was ever more violently attacked, no book was ever more misused, yet it has outlived the attacks of foes and the faults of friends and is read today more widely than ever. These are a few of the reasons for believing it came from God. 

More About the Bible's Authenticity:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Remaining Faithful

"So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right,
and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you."
 1 Peter 4:19 and "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals..."
 Revelation 5:9
Description of the illustration: cathedral, light through a window, scriptures about remaining faithful to God, blue monochromatic designs


"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God
 you may receive what is promised." Hebrews 10:36 and 'For whoever
does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother." Mark 3:35
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when
 he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God
 has promised to those who love him." James 1:12 and "perseverance,
 character; and character, hope." Romans 5:4
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