Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Timeline: Isaiah

Isaiah is the first of the major prophets that we encounter in our Bible reading schedule. His prophetic book is considered one of the greatest Biblical writings of the 66 books. His writings contain some of the most beautiful language concerning the coming of the Messiah.

Isaiah mentioned in 1:1 that he received his prophecies during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. All told that adds up to about 60 years. Uzziah reigned 52 years but most likely Isaiah did not start prophesying until the end of Uzziah's reign but this can only be assumed from 6:1 where he specifically states that he received certain revelation "In the year that king Uzziah died."

Jotham reigned 16 years;
Ahaz reigned 16 years; and
Hezekiah reigned 29 years (see II Kings chapters 15, 16, and 18).
This would total about 60 years of ministry.

The date of writing is based upon the years that these kings reigned, or approximately 740-680 B.C.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for July 23-29, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012
Isaiah 1, 2
Revelation 5, 6

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Isaiah 3-5
Revelation 7, 8

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Isaiah 6-8
Revelation 9

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Isaiah 9, 10
Revelation 10, 11

Friday, July 27, 2012
Isaiah 11-13
Revelation 12, 13

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Isaiah 14, 15
Revelation 14, 15

Sunday, July 29, 2012
No scheduled readings; if necessary use the day to catch up if you are behind
ATTEND CHURCH!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Final New Testament Timeline

With the scheduling of II John, III John, and Revelation we're nearing the conclusion of the New Testament in our Bible reading schedule! Beginning in early August we'll shift to the poetical books of Psalms and Proverbs and read them until the end of the year. Readers who only have access to a testament placed by groups like The Gideons, International will still have something to read each day since the pocket testaments usually contain Psalms and Proverbs as well as the complete New Testament.

The only Old Testament book introduced this week is Jonah. Is there anyone who doesn't know of the plight of Jonah?

Jonah
Jonah was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel following the time of Elisha. Besides this book of prophecy which is named for him, the only other reference to Jonah the son of Amittai is found in II Kings 14:25.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the Assyrians. The wickedness of this country was already legendary and the prophet made a conscious decision to disobey God. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why did Jonah not want to preach to the Ninevites? As a prophet, perhaps Jonah was already aware that his beloved nation would one day be obliterated by Assyria. Perhaps Jonah did not want them to have the opportunity to repent. This book teaches us much about Jesus' death as the three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish foreshadow it, but the book also teaches us why Jesus had to die as Jonah's apparent lack of love for his enemies illustrates utter depravity as does the nation of Ninevah itself.


II John
We began our study of the New Testament by reading the writings of the Apostle John and that is also how we will end it. John wrote this second epistle either to a private individual (the elect lady) or to a church group (using the term metaphorically). Either way, the letter was intended to encourage and to warn. The encouragement was to walk in love and the warning was to be aware of false teachers trying to deceive believers. This book was written about A.D. 90.

III John
This letter is written to Gaius, a man that John obviously loved and trusted. Verse 4 might mean that he was one of John's converts.

Unlike II John which was written to warn of trouble from without, this epistle was written to warn of trouble within. The name Diotrophes has come to be synonymous with trouble-making church members who boss everyone else around. This letter was probably written at about the same time as II John so the date would be about A.D. 90.

Revelation
I always love reading this book and not just because of how the prophecies affect me. The way that John describes Jesus in his gospel makes it my favorite of the four gospels and the fact that Jesus chose John, the beloved apostle, as the one to reveal His glory and future events just warms my heart! As anybody who reads the Bible knows this book is not easy to understand. But then, really, do we pretend to comprehend completely any of the prophecies in the Bible? Did the prophets themselves understand everything that they were told? I don't think so.

The elderly apostle tells us that he received this revelation while on the isle of Patmos. Bible scholars believe that this was about A.D. 95. All told the New Testament begins with events that happened around 4 B.C. and ends with a revelation on Patmos around A.D. 95 covering 100 years.

Read Revelation with the appreciation that you are reading the end of the tragic story of the long rebellion led by Satan against God. Good news! God wins! Don't you just love happy endings?  :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2 Weeks Worth of Memory Verses

I was away at church camp last week where I had Internet connection but very little time to use it. Now I'm home where I have Internet connection and very little time to use it hence a list of memory verses from last week's reading schedule as well as this week's.

  • Joel 2:28-32
  • Hosea 6:1
  • Hosea 8:7
  • Hosea 10:12
  • Hosea 14:9

  • II Peter 3:3-10
  • I John 1:5-9
  • or I John 1:9 alone
  • I John 2:15-17
  • I John 3:1-2
  • I John 3:18
  • I John 4:10
  • I John 4:11
  • I John 4:16
  • I John 4:18
  • I John 4:19
  • I John 4:20-21   Do you have the impression yet that you should just memorize the chapter?   :)
  • I John 5:4
  • I John 5:12
  • I John 5:14
  • III John verse 4
  • Revelation 1:3
  • Revelation 1:8
  • Revelation 1:18
  • Revelation 2:7
  • Revelation 2:11
  • Revelation 2:17
  • Revelation 3:5
  • Revelation 3:20

Sunday, July 15, 2012

TAKE TEN for Teens

Last week I was away at teen camp with our church. It was a wonderful week! The time spent talking with these young adults was truly encouraging.

I noticed that amid the major themes taught and preached this week there ran concurrently the minor theme of time management. This led to small group discussions about reading the Bible and prayer. One night a young lady told me that she had begun the year by using the Bible reading plan but that after a few days she got discouraged and stopped. This surprised me for two reasons.
  1. It only takes about 10 minutes each day to read the assignment.
  2. There was a teenager interested in reading through the Bible!!!!
After thinking and praying about this I asked myself the following questions.
  1. It only takes me about 10 minutes but what if the person is not a good reader?
  2. I've made customized reading plans for 12 month and 18 month studies available to adults so why not customize one for younger readers?
The first question is not meant as a criticism. It is merely stating a fact that a young teen that is closer to her elementary school years than her college ones might not read as well or as quickly as an older teen whose abilities more closely resemble those of an adult. The teen years cover a rather broad spectrum; likewise for reading abilities. The girls in my group covered both ends of the spectrum. Some were nearing high school graduation and others are in junior high.

The second question is easily answered. No reason why not! I'll do it! Do you know anyone who would like to receive this schedule? Let me know and I'll see that they get it.


Here's how it works: If you attend my church and would like hard copies they will be available upon request. If you would like to receive them by weekly email contact me. The introductory letter and week 1 assignment are shown below. (For the sake of avoiding confusion with the normal reading schedule the following weeks will not be posted here and Week 1 is shown as an example only.)

* * * * * *
INTRODUCTORY LETTER

Welcome to TAKE TEN for TEENS! The name TAKE TEN comes from the goal I set years ago to make a Bible reading plan that would take the average adult reader a year to read through the entire Bible by reading about 10 minutes each day Monday through Saturday. There is no reading assignment on Sunday because that is the day we go to church. Like the adult plan, this one is meant to take about 10 minutes of reading time Adding prayer, reviewing a memory verse, and meditating upon(thinking about) the passage of scripture will take more time but will help God’s Word to be applied to your life. I don’t know how long it will take to read the complete Bible using this plan but we’ll keep going until we’re done! And that’s the key: reading a little bit each day until the whole Bible has been read from beginning to end.

You will receive a weekly assignment each weekend for the following week. Each assignment will include a page that you can print and keep in a journal or you may use notebook paper if you prefer. The important part is not the paper, but that you document your notes and prayer requests. You’ll want to keep this journal for future reference so that you can see how God answered your prayers.

Next to each reading assignment there is a blank line where you should record anything that you found interesting, encouraging, or is a command that you should follow. If you will do this it will help you grow spiritually. It isn’t enough to just read the passage. You should learn from it, too!

I look forward to helping you learn more about our wonderful God by reading His written Word! Are you ready to begin? Let’s get started!



P.S. If you have friends who would like to be added to my email list have them contact me. The reading plan can be started at any time because it is not dated.

*******


TAKE TEN FOR TEENS

Week 1 Assignment

Bible Reading Schedule

Introduction: Everything has a beginning, or an origin, except God. In the Bible, the beginning book is Genesis. This week you will be reading about the beginning of our universe. Notice how in one week we go from reading “God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) to “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually and it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6)

Can you use the numbers given for the age of each generation in chapters 5 and 6 to figure out how old the world was when God sent the flood? (If you want to know, ask me. I’ll tell you.)

Monday – Genesis 1:1-2:3_________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday – Genesis 2:4-3:13________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday – Genesis 3:14-4:24____________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Thursday – Genesis 4:25-5:32______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Friday – Genesis 6:1-7:10_________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Saturday – Genesis 7:11-8:19______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________



Memory Verse – Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Prayer Journal - Each day close your reading with prayers that follow the ACTS format of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (requests)

ADORATION – This week take time to praise God each day for being such an awesome Creator!

CONFESSIONAsk God to forgive you each day of the sins you’ve committed recently. Be specific. No one else needs to know these but God already knows about them so tell Him that you are sorry for each one as it comes to mind.

THANKSGIVINGThank God for his beautiful world! Thank Him for the certain parts of His creation that you particularly like (for instance, I enjoy looking at the stars). Thank Him also for physically keeping Noah and family safe in the ark. Thank Him for physically keeping you safe each day and for spiritually keeping you safe for eternity. Has He recently answered any of your prayer requests? Thank Him for those answers!

SUPPLICATION What are your prayer requests this week? List them below and pray for them each day:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

MAKE NOTE OF ANY ANSWERS!



Putting God’s Word into Action
What can you do this week to care for God’s creation? (God calls that “having dominion over” in Genesis 1:26, 28.) Taking care of your animals, birds, or fish is pleasing to God so remember to do your chores.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for July 16-22, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012
Hosea 8-10
I John 5

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Hosea 11, 12
II John

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Hosea 13, 14
III John

Thursday, July 19, 2012
Jonah 1, 2
Revelation 1, 2

Friday, July 20, 2012
Jonah 3, 4
Revelation 3

Saturday, July 21, 2012
II Kings 15-17
Revelation 4

Sunday, July 22, 2012
No scheduled readings; if necessary use the day to catch up if you are behind
ATTEND CHURCH!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Timeline for this Week

This week we will begin reading 4 new books of the Bible: Joel, Hosea, Jude, and I John. Let's consider a brief synopsis for each and try to place them within a historical timeline.

Joel
Not much is known about the author, Joel, himself other than what he tells us (which isn't much). Nor can a definite period of time although it is assumed that this is a pre-exilic book since the Babylonians and/or Assyrians are not mentioned. Judah and Israel were often being invaded or experiencing border skirmishes with neighboring countries like Philistia, Syria, or Tyre. Not much has changed through the centuries, has it? Just some of the names.

It is probable that the land was also plagued by a literal swarm of locusts, grasshopper type insects, that consumed all of the growing vegetation and ravished the land. This literal occurrence was the object lesson that Joel then used as the basis of his prophecy. Joel's theme is the Day of the Lord. Like many prophecies in the Old Testament, there are multiple times of fulfillment. Peter mentioned Joel's prophecy in Acts chapter 2 but this would only be an example of a time yet to come.

Hosea
Another of the minor prophets, Hosea, seemed to have been used by the Lord for a lengthy period of time having spanned the reign of several kings and in both the northern and southern kingdoms. (The term "minor" prophet has to do with the length of the prophecy and in no way implies that the message or the messenger were unimportant!) Like Joel, little is known about the actual man, Hosea, other than what is given in the first verse. The time the man lived and prophesied can be determined by the same verse.

The theme of Hosea is God's faithfulness in spite of man's unfaithfulness. God used Hosea's own marriage to an adulterous woman as the object lesson.

Jude
Like the author of the book of James, Jude was one of the half-brothers that came to believe on Jesus as the Messiah after having witnessed the events of the death, burial, and resurrection. One can only imagine what a shock it must have been for these siblings who were formerly embarrassed by their outspoken older brother to be faced with the evidence that He was Who He said He was! Once confronted they became His followers and outspoken witnesses themselves. As a matter of fact, encouraging others to become outspoken about their faith, and fighting to protect the integrity of the true faith, was the reason that Jude wrote his brief letter to believers.

It is not possible to place an exact date on the time of writing, but many feel that it was written after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 which would most likely place it between A.D. 70-80.

I John
Returning to the writings of John, the Beloved Apostle, whose writings were the first that we read at the beginning of our New Testament studies, we come to John's first epistle. While his gospel was an account of the life, ministry, and death of the Good Shepherd this book is more of the encouragement from an under shepherd to his sheep. Many of the word analogies of light, life, and love are reminiscent of his earlier writing. Also mentioned are his previous themes about the world, sonship, fellowship, and true belief.

John was the last surviving apostle. It is therefore believed that this letter was written about A.D. 90.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for July 9-15, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012
II Kings 11, 12
II Peter 2

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Joel
II Peter 3

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
II Kings 13, 14
Jude

Thursday, July 12, 2012
Hosea 1, 2
I John 1

Friday, July 13, 2012
Hosea 3-5
I John 2

Saturday, July 14, 2012
Hosea 6, 7
I John 3, 4

Sunday, July 15, 2012
No scheduled readings; if necessary use the day to catch up if you are behind
ATTEND CHURCH!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This Timeline for the Week

We've had several books introduced into our Bible reading schedule this week: 2 Old Testament books and 2 New Testament books.

Old Testament
We completed I Kings earlier this week and began reading in II Kings. We will intersperse our reading of this history with prophetical books, both major and minor.

II Kings completes the Kingdom Chronology that spanned the four books of I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, and II Kings. You probably noticed that I did not include II and II Chronicles to be read at this time and I will tell you why I made that decision when we get to it in the schedule.

You might also notice that the books of I and II Kings are roughly divided between the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. It also continues the parallel chronicles of the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

The events at the opening of the book happen in approximately 895 BC. This date is found by taking the date of Solomon's coronation in 1015 BC[1]  and calculating the time by the rule of the kings of Judah. The length of sovereign reign for each king of Judah is a more reliable figure to use for the calculations than that of the kings of Israel which changed dynasties many times during their history and whose timeline included years where there was no clear transfer of sovereign rule.[2] By calculation we can see that

Solomon = 40 years
Rehoboam = 17 years
Abijah = 3 years
Asa = 41 years
Jehoshaphat = in his 19th year*
TOTAL = 120 years.

1015 BC
-120
895 BC which is how I figure the date for the opening chapter of II Kings.

*II Kings opens with the death of Israel's king, Ahaziah, who had reigned for 2 years (I Kings22:31) . We're told in that same verse that his reign began in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah so his death would occur in the 19th year of Jehoshaphat. We're told in I Kings 22:42 that Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years so he still had 6 years left to reign. He was succeeded by his son, Jehoram (also called Joram), who marries Athaliah, daughter of wicked king Ahab, king of Israel. It is at this time that we can see one example of a time when the Northern Kingdom of Israel had no king for a few years. II Kings 1:17 states that Ahaziah had no son as an heir to the throne and one named Jehoram/Joram reigned in his place BUT the Jehoram/Joram of the Northern Kingdom did not take the throne until the second year of King Jehoram/Joram (son of Jehoshaphat) King of Judah. That would mean the Israel had no king for 8 years!

The book ends in Babylon captivity, specifically in the 37th year of King Jehoiachin's exile (Jehoiachin was also called Jeconiah). Since Jehoiachin only reigned about 100 days before being removed from the throne we can calculate that the book's narrative ends in approximately 556 BC and was compiled by an author who was currently living in Babylonian exile.

Sources [1] and [2]: The Chronology of the Old Testament by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones, pages 109-115.


Obadiah is a parenthetical prophetical book that deals with the nation of Edom. It seems to fit into the time period when Edom was not paying tribute to Judah but operating independently. This happened several times, including during the reign of Jehoram/Joram (II Kings 8:20-22) and that it is why it is inserted in this position on the schedule. This places the date of this prophecy no earlier than the beginning of Jehoram's reign in circa 889 BC. Edom, like Israel and Judah, was conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. History and scripture (Psalm 137) tell us that they were happy when Jerusalem fell in 586 BC but died helping to defend it in AD 70 (the Edomites became the Idumeans). Just as Obadiah predicted, they were never heard from again.[3]

Source [3]: The New Open Bible Study Edition,KJV   c. 1990, Thomas Nelson publishing, study notes for "Obadiah." The notes for The MacArthur Study Bible c. 2006, Nelson Bibles, study notes for "Obadiah" are almost identical.



New Testament
Now that we have completed the writings of the Apostle Paul we will segue into some of the other writers.

I Peter was written by the Apostle Peter to the believers who were dispersed throughout Asia Minor. It is meant to be a message of hope for those who experience persecution for their faith. I Peter 5:13 states that the letter is written from Babylon, which could have been one of the literal cities by that name or a figurative nomenclature. The writing of this letter would have occurred sometime in the mid-60s AD.

II Peter was also written by the Apostle Peter, probably shortly before his own death by martyrdom.  While I Peter warned of persecution by unbelievers this epistle warned of perversion among believers. False teachers began spreading a heretical doctrine of confusion even before all of the eye witnesses to Jesus' resurrection had died! The time of writing would of necessity be within a few years of Peter's first epistle and almost immediately prior to his death. Tradition says that Peter died in AD 68. He was surely deceased before the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Nation's Birth Certificate

Happy Birthday, America!

(Thanks to the National Archives for the wonderful image of the original and the transcription. Visit the website for more images of the Charters of Freedom series.)



U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
www.archives.gov July 4, 2012
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton
Page URL: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, 20740-6001, • 1-86-NARA-NARA • 1-866-272-6272

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blind Love and Blessings: Mirror, Mirror . . .

source

Sometime during the week after my hair came out in the shower I found myself sitting in front of a mirror behind a curtain in a specialty wig shop. Thanks to my husband’s affiliation with the AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY someone was able to provide us with contact information to a discreet professional who was part of the program known as “Look Good, Feel Better.”

As I looked at myself in that mirror I found it hard to see anything through my tears. Actually, I was sobbing uncontrollably. I think that day was the worst day of the whole alopecia ordeal for me. First I was crying because of the grief that “it has come to this” and I was crying because I was ashamed of my own selfishness. Unlike most of the other women who had sat in that chair I did not have cancer, so what right did I have to cry? (I have since learned that hair loss is one of the major traumas affecting cancer patients but I’ll discuss that in a future article.)

In those days I wore my hair long. Well, shoulder length, which was long enough to be pulled into a pony tail. It had served me well through the first 6 ½ years of suffering with this autoimmune system disorder but a pony tail could do nothing now to hide the large horse-shoe shaped spot on the crown of my head.

The woman who ran the shop was truly a professional: very compassionate and sympathetic. She helped me find a bob in a color similar to my natural shade and then she thinned it so that it wouldn’t look like I had suddenly developed a luxuriant mane! She told me I looked like I had just had my own hair cut and highlighted. I guess I did because when I got home that’s what my children thought had happened.

Shortly thereafter I did go see my hairdresser and have my real hair cut and colored so that I could go back and forth between either wearing one of several face-saver caps that I owned over my real hair or wearing the wig. This either-or arrangement worked well for many years. Whenever my own hair grew back in the bare spots I had it color-treated and no one was any the wiser. (Except for that one time I had a reaction to the chemicals and I came out of the process with fire engine red hair! No matter how much Lisa begged me to keep it that way I decided the whole punk rock look just wasn’t my style. It did provide one of the more light-hearted moments in the whole alopecia saga, however.)

One day several years later when going through a particularly horrible attack I saw my face in the mirror and thought, “How can my husband bear to even look at me? I don’t look anything like the woman he married!” There are probably very few women in America over 30 who look like they did at 18 (there are exceptions, some of which are in my own family) but the thought that this grotesque individual was the first thing my husband saw first thing every morning was enough to reduce me to tears again. In a realistic moment I realized that if I saw my most trusted girlfriends as they rolled out of bed sans make-up each morning I probably would not recognize them either and that was some comfort. Most of the women I know do whatever it takes to make the fa├žade presentable before facing the public!

While I stood there at that mirror peering at my image I felt God speaking to me through scriptures that He brought to mind. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) And again, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”  (Isaiah 61:10) I also thought about the Christian’s armor that Paul described in Ephesians 6. The point those scriptures make is that in its natural state my spiritual appearance is filthy, too, but once I was cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ my appearance became beautiful and righteous before my God.

This made sense to me. The persons or Persons who know my condition(s) the best love me the most because they see me with my adornments and not in my wretchedness. My husband doesn’t think of me in terms of my natural appearance. He sees the woman he loves as the one that everyone else sees.

I know that when God looks at me He doesn’t see me for what I really am either. He sees me clothed in the righteousness of Jesus! The mirror of His word tells me that I was a vile and disgusting sinner before the transformation took place but once the washing cleansed me Jesus was able to present me to the Father. What an awesome thought!

Mirrors are still a very important part of my arsenal. I try to keep one handy in case I need to make a quick adjustment to my appearance. I find that I must also keep my spiritual mirror – my Bible – handy to point out any adjustments that need to be made there, too.

To my husband I’m his beloved. To my God I’m accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6) That’s what I try to see whenever I look at myself in the mirror.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Memory Verses of the Week

Again, might I suggest just memorizing Philippians chapter 4?   :)

  • Philippians 4:4
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Philippians 4:8-9
  • Philippians 4:11-13
  • Philippians 4:19
  • I Peter 1:18-19
  • I Peter 2:1-3
  • I Peter 3:18
  • I Peter 5:7
  • I Peter 5:8-9
  • II Peter 1:5-7
  • II Peter 1:16
  • II Peter 1:20-21
Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bible Reading Schedule for July 2-8, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012
I Kings 21:17-chapter 22
Philippians 4

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
II Kings 1-3
I Peter 1

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
II Kings 4, 5
I Peter 2, 3

Thursday, July 5, 2012
II Kings 6-8
I Peter 4

Friday, July 6, 2012
Obadiah
I Peter 5

Saturday, July 7, 2012
II Kings 9, 10
II Peter 1

Sunday, July 8, 2012
No scheduled readings; if necessary use the day to catch up if you are behind
ATTEND CHURCH!