Biblia prinde viață – Arheologii descoperă vechiul Ierusalim biblic

Când oamenii vizitează Ierusalimul Vechi, ar putea crede că e locul unde regele David a așezat capitala Israelului, cu 3 000 de ani în urmă. Însă lucrurile nu stau chiar așa. Arheologii scot la iveală orașul inițial și ne spun o poveste uimitoare.

AnaRina Heymann lucrează ca și coordonatoare în Cetatea lui David – Bine ați venit la Cetatea lui David, locul vechiului Ierusalim din Biblie. Până în urmă cu 1 500 de ani, toată lumea credea că vechiul Ierusalim biblic se afla între zidurile Orașului Vechi din față.

Ce s-a întâmplat în urmă cu 1 500 de ani ? Unde e vechiul Ierusalim din Biblie ?
Ea ne-a explicat cum Cetatea lui David a stat ascunsă vreme de aproape 2 000 de ani, până ce un arheolog britanic a inițiat o descoperire care continuă și azi.
În acest moment, ne aflăm într-un loc de basm. Aici e locul unde Charles Warren a ieșit prin puțul găsit de el. El a observat ceva, și atunci a știut că a redescoperit vechiul Ierusalim biblic.

Acesta a fost începutul descoperirii Cetății lui David din timpurile moderne ?
Da. Acum știm că a fost o perioadă de 2 000 de ani în care nimeni nu știa unde se afla vechiul Ierusalim. Cei mai mulți credeau că Orașul Vechi era vechiul Ierusalim. Doar când el a descoperit asta, a realizat că Ierusalimul antic era în afara a ceea ce astăzi numim Orașul Vechi. Prin descoperirea acestui sistem de tunele, cunoscut ca „Puțul lui Warren”, vedem cu ochii noștri cum regele David a cucerit orașul. Aceasta aduce Biblia la viață.

Când am văzut toate acestea, totul a căpătat sens dintr-o dată. De multe ori, când facem săpături, nici nu știm la ce ne uităm. Atunci mergem la Scriptură, și astfel aflăm explicații. Biblia și săpăturile, săpăturile și Biblia vin împreună și ne oferă întreaga imagine a vechiului Ierusalim.

Mai jos, au găsit locul unde erau încoronați regii. Marea parte a împăraților Israelului au fost încoronați în acest loc. Ne aflăm într-un loc al ungerii, și Isaia spune: „Veți scoate apă cu bucurie din izvoarele mântuirii”. De fapt, Cetatea lui David aduce aminte de oamenii Scripturii. Întâlnirea lui Avraam cu Melhisedec, apoi David, Solomon, sau Isaia, care a primit profețiile tocmai pe zidurile de aici, apoi Ieremia, care a trebuit să vorbească deseori de distrugerea ce avea să vină peste Ierusalim, toate aceste lucruri s-au întâmplat în locul unde ne aflăm noi acum.

Acum peste zece ani, arheologii au descoperit un alt loc biblic, Scăldătoarea Siloamului, alimentată de pârâul Ghihon din apropiere. Acesta e locul unde Isus a vindecat pe orb și locul unde evreii se adunau la sărbătorile Domnului. De trei ori pe an, bărbații trebuiau să vină la Mikveh, în scăldătoare, după care se pregăteau pentru a urca la Muntele Templului. Acesta era ultimul drum pe care-l pot parcurge toți pelerinii când vin în Ierusalim.

Heymann vede această ascensiune finală ca o unificare între arheologie și profeție.
Se întâmplă ceva nemaipomenit, fiindcă acum reușim să scoatem la iveală acest drum și, din nou, profeția se împlinește. Isaia 57:14 spune: „Croiți, croiți drum, pregătiți calea, luați orice piedică din calea poporului Meu.”
Un alt sit arheologic e acest tunel care conduce de la Scăldătoarea Siloamului la Muntele Templului. Heymann spune că acesta descoperă trecutul și deschide o ușă către viitor.

Unul dintre cele mai ambițioase proiecte din Cetatea lui David e această excavație numită Givati, unde întreaga istorie a Ierusalimului este revelată, ca și cum pietrele ar striga. Se poate vedea cu ușurință felul cum cetatea a dispărut încet fiindcă s-a construit un oraș peste alt oraș. Putem vedea cum orașul parcă și-a pierdut speranța, crezând că nimeni nu-l va mai descoperi vreodată. Însă Domnul spune că, la vremea rânduită, totul e posibil.

Așa cum am văzut la Givati, treptat, Ierusalimul e redescoperit. Heymann vede profeția în desfășurare.

În ultimul deceniu, am început să întrezărim planul cetății. A început să ne arate felul cum era înainte și putem vedea cum profeția se accelerează pe măsură ce înaintăm. Isaia zice: „Scutură-ți țărâna de pe tine, scoală-te și șezi în capul oaselor, Ierusalime”. Dacă urmăriți excavările de aici în fiecare zi, vedeți cum zboară gălețile și cum țărâna e scuturată. Cetatea își scutură țărâna.

Ea consideră rolul său în toate acestea ca pe un mare privilegiu.
Mă consider cea mai norocoasă femeie din lume, fiindcă am oportunitatea ca, văzând ce se petrece aici, să spun oamenilor despre Cetatea lui David, despre vechiul Ierusalim. Orice persoană pasionată de Ierusalim și serioasă cu profeția biblică trebuie să știe aceste lucruri.

 

VIDEO in ENGLISH from Jerusalem Dateline

Anunțuri

Beniamin Fărăgău – Un început bun nu garantează un sfârșit bun

Beni Faragau 1

Un inceput bun nu garanteaza un sfarsit bun. Faptul ca l-am primit pe Domnul in 19– inca n-a terminat batalia in viata mea. Ea continua si batalia acolo pe strazi si adanc in mine, cu firea mea, carnea mea, Domnul insasi coboara in vietile noastre, dragii mei,  ca prin puterea Lui sa putem omori firea pamanteasca, sa o putem rastigni, sa putem ramane pe scaunul de domnie al Domnului.

Aveti pe ecran o provocare si provocarea este reala, mai ales cand o vezi in viata unor oameni mari ai lui Dumnezeu si in viata bisericilor. Va aduc aminte de biserica din Efes, poate una din cele mai bune biserici care a stat langa adevarul lui Hristos. Si Hristos trebuie sa-i spuna: Ce am impotriva ta este ca ti-ai parasit dragostea dintai. Intoarce-te la faptele tale dintai.

Dragii mei, in dragostea dintai,  faptele dintai au cucerit Asia pentru Domnul. Cu mare putere se raspandea Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Dar, cu trecerea timpului, ne obisnuim, lasam garda jos. Acceptam jumatatile de masura si in felul acesta compromisul  intra in viata noastra. De cateva luni de zile parcurgem drumul spre Scaunul de Domnie al Domnului. Si l-am vazut pe Solomon sezut pe el. Dar ceea ce poate uitam este ca sunt conditii si pentru a ramane pe scaunul de domnie si pentru a ajunge pe scaunul de domnie, desi am ajuns acolo pe cheltuiala Lui, nu pe cheltuiala noastra.

[…] Aud aceasta peste tot prin tara pe unde umblu: Daca suntem necredinciosi, totusi, El ramane credincios ca nu se poate tagadui singur. Uitam sa citim Scriptura cu ochii deschisi, sa citim tot ce spune Pavel. 2 Timotei 2:11-12  11 Adevărat* este cuvântul acesta: Dacă** am murit împreună cu El, vom şi trăi împreună cu El. 12 Dacă* răbdăm, vom şi împărăţi împreună cu El. Dacă** ne lepădăm de El, şi El Se va lepăda de noi. Partea asta nu ne place. Noi suntem experti in a nu auzi ce nu ne place in Scriptura. 

[…]Cand atunci, cu inima buna, David vrea sa-I faca un templu Domnului, Domnul ii spune: Nu tu si nu acum. David invata ca lucrurile in Imparatia lui Dumnezeu se intampla dupa calendarul lui Dumnezeu. Nu vi s-a intamplat sa vreti sa fortati mana Domnului, sa se grabeasca oleaca? Vreau sa va spun, daca as stii butonul acela, l-as apasa cu amandoua mainile, acuma. Nu totdeauna Dumnezeu lucreaza cand vrem noi si cum vrem noi. Da? Trebuie sa inveti sa-L lasi pe Dumnezeu  sa fie Dumnezeu, sa-Si implineasca planurile dupa voia Lui si dupa programul Lui. Iar daca te invredniceste  sa te ia in jug alaturi de El, nu El trage cu tine, tu tragi cu El. Si trebuie s-o facem spre slava Lui. Si in ultima instanta, cand am ajuns la sfarsitul drumului, dragii mei, va trebui sa recunoastem ca totul este pe cheltuiala Lui.

Orice compromis costa

Dar, David a mai invatat ceva: cand intri sa conlucrezi cu un astfel de Dumnezeu, orice compromis costa. Ma intorc inapoi cu 500 de ani. Moise se lasa induplecat in ultima instanta in fata rugului aprins, sa ia jugul pe umar. Coboara in Egipt, Domnul este gata sa-l omoare, trec cele 10 urgii, ies din Egipt si 40 de ani se lupta cu poporul acesta si ajunge in fata stancii. Si Dumnezeu ii spune: Moise, vorbeste stancii. Moise poate n-a fost atent, 40 de ani de oboseala pentru Domnul? Si in loc sa vorbeasca stancii, loveste stanca si intoarce reflectoarele spre el. Doamne, scump l-a costat neatentia in conlucrarea cu un astfel de Dumnezeu: „Nu vei intra in tara.” Cantecul de lebada a lui Moise il gasiti in Deuteronom: „Doamne, te rog..” pana cand Dumnezeu trebuie sa strige la el: „Nu vei intra in tara.”  Dragii mei, asta a invatat si David cand Dumnezeu i-a spus: Ti-s mainile pline de sange si nu vei putea zidi templul. A invatat ca orice compromis costa.

Ne miram oare ca David incearca sa-i transmita lui Solomon  cel mai important lucru pentru viata lui? Si cel mai important lucru este ascultarea de Dumnezeu. Nu ceea ce realizezi pentru Dumnezeu, ci cum traiesti in relatia cu Dumnezeu. …

Notite scurte din primele 12 minute. Mesajul = 39 minute

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfills a 700 year old prophecy

Photo credit www.wtv-zone.com –

Where the Messiah would be born.

But as for you Bethlehem, Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from You one will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from everlasting. (Micah 5:1 in the Hebrew Scriptures; in most English translations it is Micah 5:2)

Photo credit www.flickr.com Map of the journey of Mary and Joseph
from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 90 miles as the crow flies
but walking it is more like 90 miles
through winding mountain trails and probably took about a week.

This passage, written around 700 B.C., has been recognized by traditional Jewish sources to indicate that the Messiah would be from Bethlehem.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7) Bethlehem Photo below – credit www.polmontold.org.uk

Critics have said that Mary and Joseph arranged to have Jesus born there to fulfill the prophecy, but the historical events of that day refute that. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth but had to return to Bethlehem to meet the requirements of the census. Joseph (as well as Mary) was from the lineage of King David (Matthew 1:1-17) and that place of family origin is where the count needed to be taken. Interestingly, a petition for tax relief from the Jewish people to Caesar postponed the taking of the census for a period of time, which „allowed” Mary to come to full term and give birth to Jesus while still in Bethlehem. These were not circumstances she could have planned herself.

You can read the entire article here at Jews for Jesus –  A look at one of the predictions of the Messiah’s coming in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus

Photo credit Wikipedia

1. The Decree of Augustus Caesar and the Birth of Christ
(Luke 2:1-7)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should beregistered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

2. The First Visitors – Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Photo credit ruthiedean.com)

3. The Second Visitors – Magi (Mat 2:1-12)

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been bornking of the Jews? For we saw his star when it roseand have come to worship him.”3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Photo credit www.asiantribune.com)

Bethlehem: City Location

Modern Bethlehem is an agricultural market and trade center closely linked to nearby Jerusalem. It lies at a distance of 10 kms (6 miles) to the south of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is situated on a mountainous site, 777 meters (2600 feet) above the level of the Mediterranean Sea and overlooks its surroundings. Its surface resembles the shape of a semi circle.  From the west, the town of Bethlehem is bounded by the town of Beit Jala and from the east by the town of Beit Sahour. From the north it is bordered by Jerusalem and the village of Sur Bahir and from the south by Solomon’s Pools and the villages of al-Khader and Artas. Forty thousand people live in the administrative limits of the municipality of Bethlehem and five thousand people in the old center of the town. As a symbol of the increased intermingling of the region’s people, beside Arabic, the native language, English is widely spoken. French, German and Spanish are spoken too. (Source)

The city of Bethlehem (or House of Bread) lies within the territory assigned to the tribe of Judah. It lies in the midst of what was a fertile country, about six miles south by west from Jerusalem. The ancient city was beautifully situated on a commanding ridge, 2700 feet above the level of the sea. The hills around it were terraced, and clothed with vines, fig trees, and almonds, and the surrounding valleys yielded luxuriant harvests of grain. Jacob buried Rachel near its gate, and it was the home of Ruth and the birthplace of David, and ” David’s greater son ” the Lord Jesus Christ. Its population was small in the days of the Saviour, but at present is about 3000, nearly all the inhabitants being Christians. It is said to be one of the cleanest and neatest towns in Israel. St. Jerome lived there for more than thirty years, and there made his famous translation of the Bible into the Latin language. – Ancient Geography (PHOTO credit Photobucket.com)

Bethlehem in Easton’s Bible Dictionary house of bread. (1.) A city in the „hill country” of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and „the city of David” (Luke 2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel died and was buried „by the wayside,” directly to the north of the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the town. Here was David’s birth-place, and here also, in after years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of „Him whose goings forth have been of old” (Matt. 2:6; comp. Micah 5:2). Afterwards Herod, „when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men,” sent and slew „all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under” (Matt. 2:16, 18; Jer. 31:15).

Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., „house of flesh.” It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet higher than Jerusalem. There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the Great (A.D. 330), called the „Church of the Nativity,” over a grotto or cave called the „holy crypt,” and said to be the „stable” in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.) (2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west- north-west of Nazareth.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/B/Bethlehem/

Photo credit http://news.bbc.co.uk

Bethlehem in the Bible Encyclopedia – ISBE beth’-le-hem (bethlechem; Baithleem, or Bethleem, „house of David,” or possibly „the house of Lakhmu,” an Assyrian deity): I. Bethlehem Judah: Bethlehem Judah, or EPHRATH or EPHRATHAH (which see) is now Beit Lahm (Arabic = „house of meat”), a town of upward of 10,000 inhabitants, 5 miles South of Jerusalem and 2,350 ft. above sea level. It occupies an outstanding position upon a spur running East from the watershed with deep valleys to the Northeast and South It is just off the main road to Hebron and the south, but upon the highroad to Tekoa and En- gedi. The position is one of natural strength; it was occupied by a garrison of the Philistines in the days of David (2 Sam 23:14; 1 Ch 11:16) and was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Ch 11:6).

The surrounding country is fertile, cornfields, fig and olive yards and vineyards abound. Bethlehem is not naturally well supplied with water, the nearest spring is 800 yds. to the Southeast, but for many centuries the „low level aqueduct” from „Solomon’s Pools” in the ArTas valley, which has here been tunneled through the hill, has been tapped by the inhabitants; there are also many rock-cut cisterns. 1. Early History: In 1 Ch 2:51 Salma, the son of Caleb, is described as the „father of Bethlehem.” In Gen 35:19; 48:7 it is recorded that Rachel „was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Beth-lehem).” Tradition points out the site of Rachel’s tomb near where the road to Bethlehem leaves the main road. The Levites of the events of Jdg 17; 19 were Bethlehemites. In the list of the towns of Judah the name Bethlehem occurs, in the Septuagint version only in Josh 15:57. 2.

David the Bethlehemite: Ruth, famous chiefly as the ancestress of David, and of the Messiah, settled in Bethlehem with her second husband Boaz, and it is noticeable that from her new home she could view the mountains of Moab, her native land. David himself „was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name was Jesse” (1 Sam 17:12). To Bethlehem came Samuel to anoint a successor to unworthy Saul (1 Sam 16:4): „David went to and fro from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” (1 Sam 17:15). David’s „three mighty men” „brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David” (2 Sam 23:14,16). Tradition still points out the well. From this town came those famous „sons of Zeruiah,” David’s nephews, whose loyalty and whose ruthless cruelty became at once a protection and a menace to their royal relative: in 2 Sam 2:32 it is mentioned that one of them, Asahel, was buried „in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem.” 3. Later Bible History: After the time of David, Bethlehem would appear to have sunk into insignificance. But its future fame is pointed at by Micah (5:2): „But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth …  http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/B/BETHLEHEM/

Photo credit scripture-for-today.blogspot.com

Bethlehem in Scripture 

1 Chronicles 11:18 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the Lord.

1 Chronicles 2:51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Bethgader.

1 Chronicles 4:4 and Penuel fathered Gedor, and Ezer fathered Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem.

Luke 2:15   When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

Matthew 2:16  Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Matthew 2:6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Ruth 1:22  So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth 4:11  Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bethlehem (Ephrath) (in Judah): Belt Lahm. associated with Rachel, Gen. 35. 19 (cf. Matt. 2. 18); in Judah, Judg. 17.7; home of Ruth, Ruth 1. 1 &c.; of David, 1 Sam. 17. 2; 2. Sam. 23. 15; Mic. 5. 2; Ezr. 2. 21; Neh. 7. 26; birth-place of Jesus, Matt. 2. lff.; Luke 2. 4 (cf. John 7. 42)

  • Genesis 35:19 – So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem),
  • Matthew 2:18 – “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
  • Judges 17:7 – Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
  • Ruth 1:1 – In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man ofBethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
  • 1 Samuel 17:2 – And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines.
  • 2 Samuel 23:15 – And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 
  • Micah 5:2 – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
    from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
    whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.
  • Ezra 2:21 – The sons of Bethlehem, 123.
  • Nehemiah 7:26 – The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188.
  • Matthew 2:1 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.
  • Luke 2:4 – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
  • John 7:42 – Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

SOURCE: http://www.bible-history.com/

orasul betleem

Photo credit www.homeofourfathers.com

 History of Bethlehem

Three thousand years before the birth of Christ, Bethlehem was already known as a Canaanite settlement. Canaanite tribes who settled in Palestine, built small cities surrounded by walls for protection against the attacks of raiders. One of these cities was Beit Lahama known today as Bethlehem. So, the word Bethlehem is derived from Lahmo the Chaldean god of fertility, which was adopted by the Canaanites as Lahama. In accordance with the Canaanite practice of building temples to their gods, they built a temple for Lahama on the present mount of the Nativity which overlooks the fertile valleys of the region. Walls, ramparts and other structures in different sites in Bethlehem clearly establish its Canaanite origin 3000 years before the birth of Jesus.

Bethlehem was mentioned around 1350 BC in the Tell al-Amarna letters, from the Egyptian governor of Palestine to the Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was depicted as an important staging and rest stop for travelers from Syria and Palestine going to Egypt. The letters also signify that it was a border city of mid-Palestine and an outpost looking out towards the desert. The Philistines had a garrison stationed in Bethlehem because it was a strong strategic point. They entered the land of the Canaanites, mingled with its people and settled in the southern coasts between Jaffa and Gaza. The Philistines had achieved military supremacy over the greater part of the country around 1200 BC, and called it Palestine.

The narrative of the Old Testament mentions Bethlehem in the first book of the Bible when Jacob, son of Abraham, and his family were journeying to the city of Hebron passing by Bethlehem (Ephrata) (Genesis 35: 16-19). There, his wife Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, and he buried her by the side of the Bethlehem Road where her tomb has been a shrine to this day: „And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.” In that time, Bethlehem was a small, walled town erected on a hill in the northern part of the present town of Bethlehem. The name of Bethlehem (Ephrata) „the fruitful” itself suggests a pastoral and agricultural life. The tale of Ruth, the Moabite, and Boaz suggests an atmosphere of idyllic rusticity that is still obvious today (Ruth 2-4). Ruth’s grandson was King David of whose lineage Christ was born.

A decree of Caesar Augustus, ordering the taking of a census in all the provinces of the Roman Empire, brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Micah, spoken 750 years before: „And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler of his people”(Mikha 5:2). When Jesus was born in Bethlehem,  Herod the Great was a vassal of Rome and in 6 AD Palestine was incorporated in the imperial province of Syria.  Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD profaned the sanctity of the Grotto of the Nativity and turned it into a pagan shrine.

From Hadrian’s time until the reign of Constantine, the population worshipped Adonis in the cave where the infant Jesus was born. Palestine, consequently, was officially pagan as was the whole Roman empire until 313 when Constantine proclaimed Christianity as the religion of the state. In the year 325 the Bishop of Jerusalem, St. Maccarius, took the opportunity of acquainting the Emperor Constantine with the neglected condition of the Holy Places in his diocese. Thus, the Emperor ordered the construction, at public expense, of monumental churches to commemorate the three principal events of Jesus’ life: Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection. One of these was a church enshrining the scene of the Nativity. Christian traditions were so clear and deeply rooted that there was no problem in locating the correct place. Among the trees, not far from the village, was a cave which the local people and their parents had known for generations to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The cave was made the center of a scheme for the church and work began the following year (326 AD)

Toward the end of the 4th century, Bethlehem became a very important center of monastic life. In 384 AD St. Jerome arrived from Rome with a group of pilgrims. He came to Bethlehem to continue his work in the atmosphere of monastic life. He devoted himself to the tremendous task with which Pope St. Damasus had entrusted him, namely to review all old Latin translations of the Bible and produce a new version, the Vulgate, based on original Hebrew and Greek texts. Two Roman ladies of noble origin, St. Paula and her daughter Eustochium moved to Bethlehem in 386 to lead an ascetic life along with St. Jerome. They founded the earliest monastic community in Bethlehem which has lasted, with some interruption, to this day. Paula used her riches to build a hospice for pilgrims and two monasteries, one for St. Jerome and his followers, and the other for herself and the nuns.

When the Roman empire was divided in 395 into two empires, eastern and western, Palestine was attached to Byzantium, the eastern part. In the following years the life of the Latin-speaking communities of Bethlehem faded from view, eclipsed by the growth and more spectacular austerities of an eastern monasticism. As a result, the town of Bethlehem prospered and its population increased with the spread of churches, monasteries, and convents in Bethlehem itself, and the surrounding areas.  In AD 527 Justinian became Emperor in Constantinople. Under his reign Palestine witnessed a time of prosperity and expansion for its churches and for monasticism. Afterwards, in 529, the Samaritans rebelled against the Byzantine state and overran the country, plundering and destroying as they went. Churches and monasteries, towns and villages were all pillaged or gutted by fire. The walls of Bethlehem and its main church were destroyed. The revolt was soon quelled. At the same time the church was rebuilt in a grand style. The town wall and the defenses of the monasteries were repaired.

A few years later (614) the country was invaded by the Persians. According to an oral tradition, they did not cause any damage to the Church of the Nativity because they saw the pictures of the three Magi dressed as Persians, carrying gifts to Christ at his birth. Outside and above the roof of the narthex, the gable end overlooking the atrium was decorated with a mosaic scene of the birth of Christ with his mother holding the Child to her breast. In 637, soon after his entry into Jerusalem, the Muslim Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab visited Bethlehem. The relations between ‘Umar and the ecclesiastical authorities were friendly and a written agreement was granted to the Patriarch Sofronious. The tolerant policy was maintained by Umar’s successors till 1009. In that year a fanatic Caliph, al-Hakim, the one who had destroyed the Holy Sepulcher, declared a real persecution against Christians. However, Bethlehem was once more spared because al-Hakim wished to continue receiving the tribute Christians had been paying since Umar’s day.

The conquest of Palestine by the Crusaders in the year 1099 began a new chapter in the history of Bethlehem. Within a short time the Franks took over from the local clergy and installed a community of Augustinian canons under a prior who conducted services in the Latin language. The Crusaders reconstructed the town and made it a fortified outpost. They remained for about two centuries during which the town of Bethlehem prospered. Some of them intermarried with the local people and settled down. The 12th century opened Bethlehem to European social and ecclesiastical influences to an unprecedented extent. From every country, pilgrims could now visit the Holy Places bringing with them offerings to the church and prosperity to the merchants whose shops were built in front of it. In 1100, the Crusader King Baldwin succeeded in having Pope Pascal II establish a bishopric in Bethlehem.

In 1187, Saladin the Ayyubite captured Bethlehem. Although the Church of the Nativity was unharmed, the relations with the West were abruptly cut off, and the Latin Bishop and Canons were forced to leave. The life of the local people was seriously affected by the expulsion of the Latin community and the temporary interruption of the stream of western pilgrims on which the Bethlehemites primarily depended. However, because of two treaties, one signed by emperor Frederick II and Malek el-Kamel, sultan of Egypt, and the second by the king of Navarre and the Sultan of Damascus, Bethlehem was in Christian hands from 1229 to 1244. The Canons of St. Augustine could return to their convent and the Basilica was once more opened to the Christian world.

In 1250, the Ayyubid Dynasty was replaced in Egypt by Circassian Mamlukes, and the accession of the fanatical Sultan Rukn ed-Din Beibars brought an end to the tradition of tolerance that helped safeguard the Holy places. In 1263, Beibars ordered the dismantling of the towers and walls of Bethlehem. The church itself was not damaged, which gave rise to a legend that a serpent bit the marbles and cracked them, so that the Sultan could not take them to Cairo, as he wished. However, the Christians were banished from Bethlehem.

In the following century, western influences were reinforced; monks from the order of the Franciscan Friars Minor were established in Bethlehem in the old Augustinian priory, where they still reside.  The Franciscan Fathers had acquired possession of the grotto in 1347 and also, the right to administer the Basilica and to care for its maintenance. The Franciscan Custos, Giovanni, obtained from the Sultan Qaita Bey consent to renovate the roof of the Church of the Nativity. A few years later European influences at Bethlehem were set back by the expulsion of the Catholic Latin clergy for the second time.

With the Turkish occupation in 1517, the period of conflict between the Franciscans and the Greeks for the possession of the Sanctuaries began. Consequently, the Basilica passed from the Franciscans to the Greeks according to the favor enjoyed at the Sublime Porte (Ottoman Caliph) by the nation which supported the communities (Catholics or Orthodox). Under the Turkish regime the question of ownership and rights in the Holy Places took on an increasingly political and even international dimension. The first question in the dispute between France and Russia was concerned with the possession of the key to the main doors of the Basilica. The second was concerned with the mysterious removal, one night in the year 1847, of a silver star bearing a Latin inscription, which was put into a slab of marble beneath the altar of the Nativity. However, between the 17th and 18th centuries Bethlehem was on the verge of modern times. Long and continuous contact by the local people with travelers from Western Christendom had familiarized them with the manners and tastes of Western countries, and improved their economic condition.

Palestine was under Egyptian rule for ten years beginning in 1831. However, during this period, robbery and violence were too common, and the murder of a favorite of Ibrahim Pasha in 1834, resulted in the destruction of the Moslem quarter of the town and the disarming of the whole population. By 1841 Bethlehem was again under Turkish rule. The result was unemployment, oppression, compulsory military service and heavy taxes imposed on the inhabitants. This oppressive situation forced the people of Bethlehem to emigrate abroad, especially to the Americas, to earn a living and improve their life-style. By the end of the 19th century, several European missionaries came to Bethlehem and built schools.

The Turkish rule ended in 1917, and Palestine was placed under the British Mandate. At that time, the inhabitants of Bethlehem numbered about 8000. When the British withdrew from Palestine in 1948 the population of Bethlehem was 11,696. Wars between Arabs and Jews continued and the latter occupied most of Palestine and declared their state ‘Israel’. The town of Bethlehem remained unoccupied and towards the end of 1948, the union of the eastern part of Palestine and Trans-Jordan was declared under the name of the Hashemite  Kingdom of Jordan. A second war between the Arabs and Israelis broke out in 1967, and the latter occupied the remainder of Palestine including Bethlehem. Bethlehem remained under the Israeli occupation until December 22, 1995 when the Palestinian Authority took over in compliance with the Oslo Accord of 1993.

In September 1993 Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accord. Among its provisions, the accord called for a five-year interim period of Palestinian Autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza at the end of which the final status of the occupied territories will be decided. However, the implementation of the accord met setbacks resulting from the intransigence of the Israeli extremists.

 

Lucruri bune facute de oameni dupa cadere – Ionel Tutac

SCHITA DE PREDICA:
Lucruri bune facute de oameni dupa cadere

1. Adam

  • a) si-a recunoscut goliciunea-Geneza 3:7
  • b) s-a temut de Dumnezeu-Geneza 3:8
  • c) si-a dat seama de siretenia Diavolului-Geneza 3:11-13
  • d) s-a preocupat de familie-Geneza 3:20, 4:1
  • e) si-a indreptat multumirea inspre Dumnezeu-Geneza 4:1, 25

Photo credit www.thewrap.com

2. David

  • a) si-a recunoscut pacatul-2 Samuel 12:13
  • b) s-a rugat si a postit-2 Samuel 12:16-17
  • c) si-a apreciat sotia-2 Samuel 12:24
  • d) s-a preocupat de educatia religioasa a copilului-2 Samuel 12:25
  • e) si-a reluat rolul de lider al natiunii-2 Samuel 12:27-31

Photo credit www.jesus-story.net

3. Petru

  • a) si-a plans pacatul-Matei 26:75
  • b) s-a dus sa cerceteze mormantul Mantuitorului-Luca 24:14
  • c) si-a declarat dragostea pentru Isus -Ioan 21:15-17
  • d) si-a propovaduit cu curaj crezul-Faptele apostolilor 2:14-36
  • e) s-a implicat in organizarea bisericii-Faptele apostolilor 6:1-4

Ionel Tutac

SURSA – http://www.baptist-tm.ro/schita-de-predica-lucruri-bune-facute-de-oameni-dupa-cadere/

Do not forsake your mother’s teaching

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Proverbs 1:7-9

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.

The book of Proverbs begins, „The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel.” He was a great king and the son of a great king. That means he was famous and powerful and supreme in all the realm. People bowed in his presence. They did what he said. He had immense authority and honor.

Even Great Kings Should Bow to Their Mothers

How did he treat his mother in this exalted role? You recall his mother was Bathsheba. She had married his father David under very ugly circumstances—very displeasing to God. But she was his mother, and this is what it says in 1 Kings 2:19,

Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right.

Then they had their conversation. He rose for her. He bowed to her. And he called for a throne to be put beside his for their conversation. She was his mother. Even kings should stoop when their mothers enter the room.

Solomon was not a perfect king. He was not a perfect man. None of the writers of the Bible was. But God guided his insights and preserved for us true ones here in the book of Proverbs. And I want us to listen to God’s word through Solomon today.

Six Lessons: The Ultimate Issue Is God

There are at least six things he tells us in Proverbs 1:7–9. They all relate to God. They are not merely the kind of wisdom you might pick up in reading „mindworks” or Parents magazine or Ann Landers. They overlap with the wisdom of the world. But the absence of God in the world’s family-advice is ultimately a fatal flaw. Solomon means for us to hear his counsel as all related to God.

We often think of the book of Proverbs as a book of what you can learn from ordinary earthly life. And much of it is. But the point of the book is to bring all that into relation to God so that he becomes the center of it all.

Just one example. In Proverbs 30:8 it says,

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 Lest I be full and deny Thee and say, „Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.

Do you see what this says about God? The wise man prays, „Guard me from riches and guard me from poverty.” Why? Because if I’m rich I might say, „Who needs God!” And if I’m poor I might steal. And why is that so bad? Because you might get caught and go to jail? Or because you might lose your reputation? No. He says, Because if I steal, I will profane the name of my God.

Riches are dangerous because the ultimate issue is God. And poverty is dangerous because the ultimate issue is God. The book of Proverbs—the most practical, down-to-earth book in the Bible—is written for God’s sake. That we might not deny God in our prosperity and that we might not profane God in the hour of need.

All six lessons in Proverbs 1:7–9 relate to God, and they are all intensely practical.

1. The Origin of Family

The family is God’s idea.

Solomon takes for granted that there are mothers and fathers and children related in relationship of unique accountability. Verse 8: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” This is just a given with Solomon. It used to be with us too. But perhaps it can’t be taken for granted any more. Families are God’s idea. God’s plan. God’s way. They are not arbitrary evolutionary developments based on instincts. The family is ordained by God in creation.

In the very first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1:27, it says,

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, „Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth . . . „

How are they to do this fruitful earth-filling? By indiscriminate mating and pregnancies? The second chapter of the Bible (Genesis 2:24) gives the answer: A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

A profound covenant relationship between one man and one woman—a cleaving to each other alone, in a one-flesh union—is God’s idea of the heart of the family. When this is broken by a tragic death or a tragic divorce, there may have to be single parent families. And God has been faithful to millions of mothers and fathers who have had to raise children alone. But God’s original purpose for the heart of the family was one man and one woman cleaving to each other as husband and wife and becoming one flesh in fruitful sexual union. In that way he meant to fill the earth with humans who image-forth his glory, and with couples whose covenant-relationship shows the world the way that God relates to his covenant people in love and faithfulness.

The family is God’s idea and it is for God’s glory. Solomon assumes that here in Proverbs 1:7–9.

2. The Family as a School

The family is God’s basic school for instructing children how to live in the world.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” The father is an instructor and the mother is a teacher. Therefore the family is a school.

God ordained the family not just to be fruitful and fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with instructed people and taught people. The family is the place where the next generation is born and where the next generation learns how to live.

Life does not come naturally for human beings. The sucking reflex comes naturally. The falling reflex comes naturally. The iris of the eye closes naturally in bright light. We don’t have to learn to cry when hungry. But that’s about it. And those skills will not get us very far in this world. Humans have to learn just about everything from the most basic skills of walking and talking and eating, to the moral actions of courtesy and gratitude and respect and faith in Christ.

The family is God’s school for this huge undertaking—teaching the next generation how to live in this world and be ready for the next.

And if a mother and a father seek help from others through relatives or nannies or day-care or Sunday schools or day schools or primary schools or secondary schools, the responsibility is still the parents’ and we parents will give an account to God for how the minds and hearts of our children were shaped and molded by the educators and care-givers we entrusted them to.

That’s point number two: the family is God’s basic school for instructing children how to live in the world.

3. The Fear of the Lord as the Unifying Theme

The foundation of family instruction is the fear of the Lord.

Verse 7: „The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words if we ask, what’s the basis and beginning and integrating theme of the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching—what is it that runs through all their daily modeling and counseling and explaining and correcting and disciplining that give unity and meaning to it all—the answer is „the fear of the Lord.”

The family isn’t just a place where children learn to hold spoons and walk on two feet and say” please” and tie shoes and read and look both ways and cut grass and put on makeup and drive a car. The family is where all of this and more begins in God, is guided by God’s Word, and is shown to be for the glory of God. The fear of God—the reverencing of God, the standing in awe of God, the trusting of God—is what family’s are for.

The family is God’s idea. The family is a school. And the unifying theme in the curriculum of this school is God.

4. The Responsibility of Both Fathers and Mothers

Under God both fathers and mothers share in the responsibility of this family instruction.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

It does not say, „Fathers instruct, and mothers change diapers.” It does not say, „Fathers work at the office and so have no responsibility to teach their children.” Nor does it say, „Mothers work at the office and can turn the responsibility of teaching over to a care-giver.” It says fathers instruct, and mothers teach. They share this responsibility.

If it were Father’s Day I would probably trumpet a challenge to you fathers to take fresh initiatives at home. But it is Mother’s Day, and I want to encourage mothers that this responsibility to teach your children is an immeasurably significant privilege.

God has a way of nullifying the greatness of the great and exalting the lowliness of the lowly. In our culture motherhood is, I think, on the upswing. But only after decades of unusual lowliness and bad-press. The last five our six years have abounded with letters and articles like this one to Ann Landers:

I’m so tired of all those ignorant people who come up to my husband and ask him if his wife has a full-time job or if she’s „just a house-wife.” . . . Here’s my job description.

I’m a wife, mother, friend, confidant, personal advisor, lover, referee, peacemaker, housekeeper, laundress, chauffeur, interior decorator, gardener, painter, wall paperer, dog groomer, veterinarian, manicurist, barber, seamstress, appointment manager, financial planner, bookkeeper, money manager, personal secretary, teacher, disciplinarian, entertainer, psychoanalyst, nurse, diagnostician, public relations expert, dietitian and nutritionist, baker, chef, fashion coordinator and letter writer for both sides of the family.

I am also a travel agent, speech therapist, plumber and automobile maintenance and repair expert . . .

From the studies done, it would cost more than $75,000 a year to replace me. I took time out of my busy day to write this letter, Ann, because there are still ignorant people who believe a housewife is nothing more than a baby sitter who sits on her behind all day and looks at soap operas. (Ann Landers, May 1988, quoted in Mom, You’re Incredible, by Linda Weber, Focus on the Family, 1994, pp. 23–24)

That’s true. And it is good to have it said. But vastly more can be said. Let me give one great illustration from the New Testament: the effect of Timothy’s mother and grandmother.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5,

I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Then in 3:14–15 Paul says,

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them [that is, your mother Eunice and through her from your grandmother Lois]; and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures [because your mother taught them to you] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now that’s a remarkable testimony. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:3). He probably didn’t know the Scriptures. So Paul celebrates the great heritage that Timothy has through his mother and his grandmother. They did what his father could not or would not do. They filled him with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures brought him eventually to faith in Christ, and faith in Christ brought him salvation.

Timothy will live forever and ever because his mother and his grandmother were faithful to Proverbs 1:8.

5. The Submissiveness of Children

God calls sons and daughters to be submissive to their mothers and fathers.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

These two commands warn against the two common temptations of rebellion. One is when a child is home; and the other is when he is away from home. If he is home, the temptation of rebellion is not to listen when his parent speaks. So Solomon says, „Hear your father’s instruction.” If he is away from home, the temptation is to forsake what he was taught. So Solomon says, „Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Young people, when you are at home, listen to your parents. Do not write off what they say. Do it for God’s sake. This is so important in God’s eyes that he made it part of the Ten Commandments that sum up the whole law. Exodus 20:12, „Honor your father and mother.” Honor your father by listening respectfully when he speaks. And honor your mother by remembering what she taught you about right and wrong—about the fear of God—when you are away from home and no one can see but you and God.

6. The Promise of Reward

Finally, God ordains a reward for sons and daughters who do not forsake the teaching of their mother and father.

Verse 9: „Indeed [literally, „because”], they [hearing your father’s instruction and not forsaking your mother’s teaching] are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.”

What this verse makes plain is that the instruction of fathers and the teaching of mothers, rooted in the fear of the Lord, is good news. Kids don’t always feel that. Sometimes parents have never grown up into grace enough to feel it either. But that’s what the verse says: hearing a father’s instruction and not forsaking a mother’s teaching will be a wreath of grace and glory and joy; it will be like gifts and prizes around your neck. In other words it will mean triumph and celebration and joy.

The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:2 that „honor your father and mother” is „the first commandment with promise.” All the commandments are full of promise, but God goes out of his way to make this explicit for sons and daughters. There is great promise in honoring your mother and father and embracing the fear of the Lord which they taught.

  • „In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence . . . The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:26–27).
  • „The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil” (Proverbs 19:23).

This is the wreath on your head and the ornament on your neck for embracing the fear of the Lord that your mother and father taught you—a fountain of life and strong confidence and deep satisfaction.

A Mother’s Crown of Joy

But since today is Mother’s Day, perhaps the way we should end is by reminding ourselves as sons and daughters—whether old or young—that the fountain of life, and the strong confidence and the deep satisfaction that come from honoring all the truth that our mothers taught us also comes back to them as a crown of joy and honor and blessing in their later years. „Do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). „Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you” (Proverbs 23:25). Do not forsake the teaching of your mother. It will be a wreath of grace to your head and a crown of joy upon hers.

By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

Florin Ianovici – Nu stati sa castigati oamenii care va dispretuiesc

Vreau sa va spun in seara aceasta un lucru iubitii Domnului. Odata eram in biserica si aveam un tanar care nu era pocait de multa vreme. Dar orice intra in contact cu el, zici ca intra in contact cu un arici. Asa de ironic era, atat de inchis era, cum venea-i sa-i spui doua, cum zici ca era urzica. La un moment dat, m-am gandit eu, dar cat sa mai induram noi? Ia sa ma duc eu sa-i zic vreo doua. Ma pricep, toti ne pricepem la asta- fratele mai mare. Si cand m-am dus spre el, binecuvantat sa fie Dumnezeu, care mi-a vorbit si a zis, „Du-te acasa si rooaga-te.” Am facut stanga imprejur. Cum sa te pui cu Domnul? Si m-am dus si m-am rugat. Cand m-am asezat in genunchi sa ma rog pentru el, Dumnezeu din cer m-a coplesit cu o mila, cum n-am mai simtit. Ca voi nu stiti dramele lor- ca la 15 ani poti sa-ti pierzi viata. Ca nu le cunoastem necazurile si durerile si le vedem doar tineretea. Dar dincolo de ceea ce se vede sunt lupte cumplite. Cand m-am asezat, Dumnezeu mi-a zis despre el, ca are o viata foarte grea. Si am inceput sa cercetez. Si am gasit in familie niste lucruri uluitoare, nu pot sa va spun.

Si m-am dus dupa 2 saptamani la el si i-am zis, „Daniel, am inteles de la Dumnezeu ca toata ironia ta nu-i decat o arma cu care te aperi de greutatea pe care nu vrei sa o spui la nimeni. Dar Dumnezeu din cer mi-a descoperit cat iti este de greu si am venit sa-ti spun ca eu ma rog pentru tine si daca vrei sa vorbim vreodata, eu stau la indemana ta. A inceput sa planga, a inceput sa-i curga lacrimile pe obraz pentru ca nimeni nu stia de necazul lui, afara de acela care poate sa se roage. Daca ne-am ruga si daca n-am face aceasta slujba de a dispretui, de a gandi ca toate lucrurile sunt asa cum credem noi, poate am afla lucruri extraordinare. M-am rugat in seara asta si am zis, „Doamne, mantuieste-mi copiii. Doamne, mantuieste copiii copiilor Tai. Doamne, cerceteaza casele noastre. Doamne ridica tineretul Tau si lasa, Doamne, puterea Duhului Sfant sa-i cerceteze.

Nimeni, niciodata nu castiga nimic cu dispret. Hristosul nostru, Dumnezeul cel viu ne-a cucerit prin mila. Ne-a cucerit Dumnezeul nostru prin faptul ca ne-a spus, „Ai pret in ochii mei. Eu te inteleg, Eu te cunosc.Eu iti cantaresc durerea, eu iti stiu lacrimile.  Nu ganditi, fratii mei si surorile mele, ca problemele asteapta sa faci 40 de ani. Ele vin si la 12 ani. Necazurile nu asteapta. Traim intr-o lume foarte ciudata. La un moment dat, David se uita… asa imi place de David. Vreti sa stiti in seara asta cum biruiti in lupta cu dispretul? Deci, cum birui lupta cu dispretul, ca pana la urma trebuie sa stii cum sa te aperi.

Nu ti-e greu cate odata, ca tanar, nici nu stii cum sa reactionezi? Corect? Ca tanar, uneori, cand auzi, ai cantat, te-ai straduit, cu o ora inainte ai venit la repetitie si cand ai iesit afara, auzi, „No, uite la ala ce rotund se da.” Si tu nici 45 de kg n-ai. Ciudat, nu? Te doare. N-are cum sa nu te doara. Te doare. Si acuma, ce face David? David e sanatos la cap, il iubesc. Cel mai mare dar al credintei e sa fi sanatos la minte. Laudat sa fie Dumnezeu. Stiti cat de bine e sa fi sanatos la minte? Omul curat, omul care traieste in credinta e sanatos. N-are reactii anormale, n-are reactii ciudate. Are reactii intelepte, binecuvantate. Si sa ne rugam Domnului sa ne ajute sa fim pocaiti, sa fim normali la cap. Uite ce spune David. Va rog sa va uitati in aceasta seara. David zice in felul urmator, „Ce am facut?” Nu ce ti se pare ca am facut? „Ce am facut? Poti sa-mi spui tu mie  in ce zi, la ce ora te-am deranjat eu pe tine, baiete? Poti sa-mi spui tu mie, fapta, dincolo de care tu-mi adresezi acest dispret? Ce-am facut?Eliab a zis, „Nimic.” N-a avut argument, pentru ca in viata, cand te dispretuieste  cineva, nu tre sa stai ca mutu, sa pleci, sa bagi capul in perna, sa plangi, sa spui, „Viata-i grea, biserica-i urata, eu nu mai vin la biserica.” Nu.

Trebuie o abordare directa, barbateasca, cinstita, pocaiasca. Te duci si intrebi, „Ce-am facut?” Ca daca-i facut, te pocaiesti. Pai, daca m-a prins, ma vazut, atunci ii spui, „Fratele meu, iti multumesc, ca Domnul vorbeste prin tine. Si te pocaiesti. Dar daca omul ala nu poate sa-ti spuna nimic concret, atunci, tu ce faci? Il intrebi, „Nu pot eu, oare, sa vorbesc astfel? N-am eu dreptul sa fiu ceea ce sunt? N-am eu dreptul sa cant, n-am eu dreptul sa laud pe Domnul? N-am eu dreptul sa fac lucrurile acestea?  Dar si eu sunt liber in Hristos, cum esti tu.” Abordati problema direct, stati de vorba, intrebati si vedeti. Daca raspunsul este unul din care trebuie sa ne pocaim, ne pocaim. Dar daca n-are nici un argument, ce facem? Ii spui, „Si eu sunt liber in Hristos.”

Ce a facut David? Cand a vazut ca Eliab nu-i da nici un raspuns, va rog sa va uitati la vers. 30. I-a zis, „Eliab, ti-aduci aminte cand eram noi in grupul de lauda, ce ma iubeai tu pe mine? Uite, daca vrei ma duc la alimentara si iti aduc o ciocolata. Ce iti place tie? Am o sapca de la Navy, vrei sa-ti dau sapca mea, asa ne impacam?” Dar, David nu spune lucrul asta. Zice, „Mai omule, eu te-am intrebat si tu sa-mi raspunzi. Te-am intrebat direct, „Ai ceva sa-mi spui? N-ai. Dar ce ai? Numai niste sentimente rele,” si atunci spune Biblia ca s-a intors de la el.

Nu stati sa castigati oamenii care va dispretuiesc, spune-i asa lui Dumnezeu, „I-ai Tu Doamne in mana Ta.” O viata intreaga ne chinuim sa-i castigam pe cei ce ne dispretuiesc. O viata intreaga le dam atentie si ciocolata, si sms-uri si atatea lucruri facem si nu-i castigi. De ce? Pentru ca ei au nevoie nu de ciocolata, sa indulceasca cuvintele amare, ci de operatie chirurgicala la inima. Au nevoie de o inima noua, nascuta din Dumnezeu. Cea mai grea lupta in viata este lupta din umbra, cand astepti ca fratele tau sa-ti spuna un cuvant bun. „Ti-am adus cas proaspat, am venit pana aici alergand, mi-esti drag. Si atunci, cand el te loveste, tu trebuie sa faci acest lucru.

Ascultati tineri dragi, va vorbesc voua. Va rog in numele Domnului Isus Hristos, nu fiti mormoloci. Mai, nu fiti mormoloci. (Ce-i ala mormoloc? Ala care nu prea misca, ii ceva fara viata.) In viata asta, castigati-va dreptul sa vorbiti si duceti-va sa intrebati, „Mai, te-am suparat cu ceva? Nu mai imi vorbesti. Aud niste vorbe care le spui in dreptul meu. Ma doare, ma deranjeaza, vreau sa stau de vorba cu tine.” Fiti directi. De ce, de cele mai multe ori ne consumam drama intr-un colt? De multe ori ne mistuim sub acest foc, cand Dumnezeu din cer vrea sa facem lucrarea aceasta? Si daca vezi ca n-ai nici un succes, te-ai dus si ai stat de vorba cu el, ii spui, „Mai fratele meu, Domnul sa te binecuvanteze,” stanga imprejur.

Ma duc sa imi traiesc viata, ca doara nu o sa fiu un fel de accesoriu pentru tine. Deci, eu nu o sa fiu umerasul pe care iti pui tu camasa. Nu pot trai o viata intreaga, castigand ce nu se poate castiga. Faceti-va prieteni adevarati in Domnul. Si daca cineva va dispretuieste tineretea, atunci voi sa stati de vorba  si daca n-ati lamurit problema, intoarceti  spatele si duceti-va inainte, ca nu mai aveti mult de trait. „Rascumparati zilele, ca vremurile sunt grele,” spune Biblia.

Va urma…

Ce e nou la PAGINA Florin Ianovici

The many surprises David received, when God called him to account for his behavior

Photo credit www.workersforjesus.com

I am listing the bullet points here, from an article written by Joe McKeever and featured at ChurchLeaders.com

click here for the full article: church leaders.com

David was surprised to learn that …

  1. God took his sin personally.
  2. God took his sin as a rejection of His word.
  3. The enemy took his sin gleefully.
  4. The sin David committed injured him permanently.
  5. While David thought his misdeeds were done in private, God meted out the punishment publicly.

Then Joe McKeever goes on to explain what happens when a minister of God today falls into sin like David.

But my observation is that when a minister falls and his act becomes public knowledge, these 10 things happen:

1. His ministry is gone.
2. His humiliation is severe.
3. Those who believed in him and supported him feel betrayed.
4. People whom he was trying to reach for Christ now have a convenient excuse to fall away.
5. His family is wounded, perhaps irreparably.
6. Atheists and others hostile to the Christian faith have a field day.
7. His future ministry—once it’s re-established—is more limited.
8. Other ministers are tainted by being in the same profession as he.
9. The pastor’s victim has been wounded and her family has paid a price.
10. The guilt from this will hound him the rest of his life.

Pray for your ministers. Oh, one more thing: If your minister takes extraordinary steps to guard himself from temptation, do not take it personally. 

Eric Ludy – The Ancient War Cry

Photo credit biblewalks.com – Valley of Elah where David battled Goliath

1 Samuel 17 2:And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together,
and pitched by the valley of Elah,
and set the battle in array against the Philistines.

Where’s our war cry?

We don’t even know that we’re at war! We don’t understand that we’re in hostile territory. This isn’t a time of peace. It’s against the principalities and the powers that are puppeteering the people. And we are in a position to see souls set free!

This has been the ancient war cry throughout all the generations of the Hebrew nations. Rak Chazak! Where does it come from? Chazak, this is the Hebrew: the rock like „oomph” of the spiritually zealous heart. The game face of a mighty man. Tenacity of soul, the gritting of the teeth of the Spirit inspired warrior. And the bearing of those teeth to the enemy. Chazak is possessing a resolute and growling resolve for the glory of God. A flush of spiritual fervor. A tensing of all of a soldier’s muscles. There’s a Chazak.

We don’t have that spiritually. We should. We don’t. Because we don’t know what we’re engaged with. Did you know that we have the armory of heaven? That you have everything you need for life and godliness to push the enemy forces back? And so, when you hear Chazak, your knuckles spiritually should immediately turn white. And you should find yourself gritting your spiritual teeth with a belligerence against the enemy. He goes down! There are souls that must be saved!

The Hebrew statement is Rak Chazak. However, in the Bible, where it came from it’s Chazak Amats. The other word that goes with it, Amats, it’s heavenly audacity. It’s rushing headlong into the most hazardous and impossible battles without pausing to consider the impossibilities.

Who had Amats in the Bible?

  • David against Goliath? That’s some serious Amats. He’s rushing headlong against Goliath. „David, you might think about this for a minute.” „No, I am not weighing the impossibilities. This is for my God!” It’s a confidence in victory, even before the field is taken. It’s lambs moving with liquid ferocity straight into the lion’s lair.
  • How about the three that overheard him in the cave of Adullam? All for a cup of cool water  from the well of Bethlehem. Those guys had Amats. They go running out, break through a garrison of Philistines to grab a cup of cool water, and then bring it back through the garrison. They’re being hunted by the Philistines the whole time, trying not to spill a cup of water. That’s Amats.

Mere men and women on earth are being eaten up by the enemy.

However, we’re not just mere men and women of this earth. We are redeemed. We are bought with a price. And we’ve been changed into the body of Christ. Amats means swift-footed, all believing, super conquering, prevailing faith in the Lord of battles. What happens to the world, if Christians once again get Chazak and Amats? Do you know what the apostles had after Pentecost? Something came into them. What was it? You can say it very simply as Chazak and Amats – the Spirit of God. He came in to win. He came in to turn this world on its head.

Moses’s last gasp, this is his great speech before the promised land, which he never got to enter into, and he’s laying out the ground rules for the kingdom that is about to be established across that Jordan river. „Be strong, and of good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them. For the Lord, thy God, He it is that does go with thee. He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, „Chazak! Amats!” Be strong and of good courage! For thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord has sworn unto their fathers to give them. And thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

What’s happening there? The men and women of God are coming in to take what was purchased.. The promise. You are surrounded by 31 hostile empires. You know, that’s what they were headed into: 31 empires on the other side of that Jordan river. 31!

This is where we are at, as the church of Jesus Christ. Yet, we are there without a war cry. Let’s understand that we are out to win for the glory of Jesus Christ. And, even if we die, we win. It doesn’t matter what happens to our bodies. We obey… God wins. Now, suddenly we’re crossing. Joshua is the same name for Jesus in the New Testament, by the way. Yeshua- this is the Savior, the Man of Salvation, who is coming to bring us into the inheritance. Be strong and of good courage, for unto this people shall thou divide for an inheritance, the land which I swore unto their fathers to give them. Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage. Rak Chazak! Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with thee, withersoever thou goest. Rak Chazak, Israel! Rak Chazak, men and women of God almighty. And all the powers of earth and hell that come against your soul, and all the powers of earth and hell that are puppeteering the lost masses, you hit them square in the teeth, and you show love to this world. To anyone who would spit in your face, you serve them and you love them in return, and say, „Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Rak Chazak, Israel!

Video by  setapartlife

Spurgeon – Secret Sins

spurgeon-preachingIn this sermon, Spurgeon strives to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then he says, „I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.”

Here is a glimpse into what Spurgeon thought about secret sins:

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator?

Photo credit fishforpeople.tumblr.com

February 8, 1857  Sermon #116 from http://www.spurgeon.org

„Cleanse thou me from secret faults.—Psalm 19:12.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS arises partly from pride but mainly from ignorance of God’s law. It is because men know little or nothing concerning the terrible character of the divine law, that they foolishly imagine themselves to be righteous. They are not aware of the deep spirituality, and the stern severity of the law, or they would have other and wiser notions. Once let them know how strictly the law deals with the thoughts, how it brings itself to bear upon every emotion of the inner man, and there is not one creature beneath God’s heaven who would dare to think himself righteous in God’s sight in virtue of his own deeds and thoughts. Only let the law be revealed to a man; let him know how strict the law is, and how infinitely just, and his self-righteousness will shrivel into nothing—it will become a filthy rag in his sight, whereas before he thought it to be a goodly garment.
Now, David, having seen God’s law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, „Who can understand his errors?” and then to offer this prayer, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon but in complying with that decree. What can equal the absurdity of such a decree as that? Do they suppose that they can tell their sins as easily as they can count their fingers? Why, if we could receive pardon for all our sins by telling every sin we have committed in one hour, there is not one of us who would be able to enter heaven, since, besides the sins that are known to us and that we may be able to confess, there are a vast mass of sins, which are as truly sins as those which we do observe, but which are secret, and come not beneath our eye. Oh! if we had eyes like those of God, we should think very differently of ourselves. The sins that we see and confess are but like the farmer’s small samples which he brings to market, when he has left his granary full at home. We have but a very few sins which we can observe and detect, compared with those which are hidden to ourselves and unseen by our fellow creatures. I doubt not it is true of all of us who are here, that in every hour of our existence in which we are active, we commit tens of thousands of unholinesses for which conscience has never reproved us, because we have never seen them to be wrong, seeing we have not studied God’s laws as we ought to have done. Now, be it known to us all that sin is sin, whether we see it or not—that a sin secret to us is a sin as truly as if we knew it to be a sin, though not so great a sin in the sight of God as if it had been committed presumptuously, seeing that it lacks the aggravation of willfulness. Let all of us who know our sins, offer this prayer after all our confessions: „Lord, I have confessed as many as I know, but I must add an etcetera after them, and say, ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'”

That, however, will not be the pith of my sermon this morning. I am going after a certain class of men who have sins not unknown to themselves, but secret to their fellow creatures. Every now and then we turn up a fair stone which lies upon the green sward of the professing church, surrounded with the verdure of apparent goodness, and to our astonishment we find beneath it all kinds of filthy insects and loathsome reptiles, and in our disgust as such hypocrisy, we are driven to exclaim, „All men are liars; there are none in whom we can put any trust at all.” It is not fair to say so of all; but really, the discoveries which are made of the insincerity of our fellow-creatures are enough to make us despise our kind, because they can go so far in appearances, and yet have so little soundness of heart. To you, sirs, who sin secretly, and yet make a profession; you break God’s covenants in the dark and wear a mask of goodness in the light—to you, sirs, who shut the doors and commit wickedness in secret—to you I shall speak this morning. O may God also be pleased to speak to you, and make you pray this prayer: „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

I shall endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.

I. First, then, THE FOLLY OF SECRET SINS.

Pretender, thou art fair to look upon; thy conduct outwardly upright, amiable, liberal, generous and Christian; but thou dost indulge in some sin which the eye of man has not yet detected. Perhaps it is private drunkenness. Thou dost revile the drunkard when he staggers through the street; but thou canst thyself indulge in the same habit in private. It may be some other lust or vice; it is not for me just now to mention what it is. But, pretender, we say unto thee, thou art a fool to think of harbouring a secret sin; and thou art a fool for this one reason, that thy sin is not a secret sin; it is known, and shall one day be revealed; perhaps very soon. Thy sin is not a secret; the eye of God hath seen it; thou hast sinned before his face. Thou hast shut-to the door, and drawn the curtains, and kept out the eye of the sun, but God’s eye pierceth through the darkness; the brick walls which surrounded thee were as transparent as glass to the eye of the Almighty; the darkness which did gird thee was as bright as the summer’s noon to the eye of him who beholdeth all things. Knowest thou not, O man, that „all things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do?” As the priest ran his knife into the entrails of his victim, discovered the heart and liver, and what else did lie within, so art thou, O man, seen by God, cut open by the Almighty; thou hast no secret chamber where thou canst hide thyself; thou hast no dark cellar where thou canst conceal thy soul. Dig deep, ay, deep as hell, but thou canst not find earth enough upon the globe to cover thy sin; if thou shouldst heap the mountains on its grave, those mountains would tell the tale of what was buried in their bowels. If thou couldst cast thy sin into the sea, a thousand babbling waves would tell the secret out. There is no hiding it from God. Thy sin is photographed in high heaven; the deed when it was done was photographed upon the sky, and there it shall remain, and thou shalt see thyself one day revealed to the gazing eyes of all men, a hypocrite, a pretender, who didst sin in fancied secret, observed in all thine acts by the all-seeing Jehovah. O what fools men are, to think they can do anything in secret. This world is like the glass hives wherein bees sometimes work: we look down upon them, and we see all the operations of the little creatures. So God looketh down and seeth all. Our eyes are weak; we cannot look through the darkness; but his eye, like an orb of fire, penetrateth the blackness; and readeth the thoughts of man, and seeth his acts when he thinks himself most concealed. Oh; it were a thought enough to curb us from all sin, if it were truly applied to us—”Thou, God, seest me!” Stop thief! Drop thou that which thou hast taken to thyself. God seeth thee! No eye of detection on earth hath discovered thee, but God’s eyes are now looking through the clouds upon thee. Swearer! scarce any for whom thou carest heard thy oath; but God heard it; it entered into the ears of the Lord God of Sabbaoth. Ah! thou who leadest a filthy life, and yet art a respectable merchant bearing among men a fair and goodly character; thy vices are all known; written in God’s book. He keepeth a diary of all thine acts; and what wilt thou think on that day when a crowd shall be assembled, compared with which this immense multitude is but a drop of a bucket, and God shall read out the story of thy secret life, and men and angels shall hear it. Certain I am there are none of us who would like to have all our secrets read, especially our secret thoughts. If I should select out of this congregation the most holy man, should bring him forward and say, „Now, sir, I know all your thoughts, and am about to tell them,” I am sure he would offer me the largest bribe that he could gather if I would be pleased to conceal at least some of them. „Tell,” He would say, „of my acts; of them I am not ashamed; but do not tell my thoughts and imaginations—of them I must ever stand ashamed before God.” What, then, sinner, will be thy shame when thy privy lusts, thy closet transgressions, thy secret crimes shall be gazetted from God’s throne, published by his own mouth, and with a voice louder than a thousand thunders preached in the ears of an assembled world? What will be thy terror and confusion then, when all the deeds thou hast done shall be published in the face of the sun, in the ears of all mankind. O renounce the foolish hope of secresy, for thy sin is this day recorded, and shall one day be advertised upon the walls of heaven. Photo credit below revivenations.org

II. In the next place, let us notice THE MISERY OF SECRET SINS.

Of all sinners the man who makes a profession of religion, and yet lives in iniquity, is the most miserable. A downright wicked man, who takes a glass in his hand, and says, „I am a drunkard, I am not ashamed of it,” he shall be unutterably miserable in worlds to come, but brief though it be, he has his hour of pleasure. A man who curses and swears, and says, „That is my habit, I am a profane man,” and makes a profession of it, he has, at least, some peace in his soul; but the man who walks with God’s minister, who is united with God’s Church, who comes out before God’s people, and unites with them, and then lives in sin, what a miserable existence he must have of it! Why, he has a worse existence than the mouse that is in the parlour, running out now and then to pick up the crumbs, and then back again to his hole. Such men must run out now and then to sin; and oh! how fearful they are to be discovered! One day, perhaps, their character turns up; with wonderful cunning they manage to conceal and gloss it over; but the next day something else comes, and they live in constant fear, telling lie after lie, to make the last lie appear truthful, adding deception to deception, in order that they may not be discovered.

„Oh! ‘tis a tangled web we weave,
When once we venture to deceive.”

If I must be a wicked man, give me the life of a roystering sinner, who sins before the face of day; but, if I must sin, let me not act as a hypocrite and a coward; let me not profess to be God’s, and spend my life for the devil. That way of cheating the devil is a thing which every honest sinner will be ashamed of. He will say, „Now, if I do serve my master I will serve him out and out, I will have no sham about it; if I make a profession, I will carry it out; but if I do not, if I live in sin, I am not going to gloss it over by cant and hypocrisy.” One thing which has hamstringed the church, and cut her very sinews in twain, has been this most damnable hypocrisy. Oh! in how many places have we men whom you might praise to the very skies, if you could believe their words, but whom you might cast into the nethermost pit if you could see their secret actions. God forgive any of you who are so acting! I had almost said, I can scarce forgive you. I can forgive the man who riots openly, and makes no profession of being better, but the man who fawns, and cants, and pretends, and prays, and then lives in sin, that man I hate, I cannot bear him, I abhor him from my very soul. If he will turn from his ways, I will love him, but in his hypocrisy he is to me the most loathsome of all creatures. ‘Tis said the toad doth wear a jewel in her head, but this man hath none, but beareth filthiness about him, while he pretends to be in love with righteousness. A mere profession, my hearers, is but painted pageantry to go to hell in; it is like the plumes upon the hearse and the trappings upon the black horses which drag men to their graves, the funeral array of dead souls. Take heed above everything of a waxen profession that will not stand the sun; take care of a life that needs to have two faces to carry it out; be one thing, or else the other. If you make up your mind to serve Satan, do not pretend to serve God; and if you serve God, serve him with all your heart. „No man can serve two masters;” do not try it, do not endeavour to do it, for no life will be more miserable than that. Above all, beware of committing acts which it will be necessary to conceal. There is a singular poem by Hood, called „The Dream of Eugene Aram”—a most remarkable piece it is indeed, illustrating the point on which I am now dwelling. Aram has murdered a man and cast his body into the river—”a sluggish water, black as ink, the depth was so extreme.” The next morning he visited the scene of his guilt:

„And sought the black accursed pool,
With a wild misgiving eye;
And he saw the dead in the river bed,
For the faithless stream was dry.”

Next he covered the corpse with heaps of leaves, but a mighty wind swept through the wood and left the secret bare before the sun:

„Then down I cast me on my face,
And first began to weep,
For I knew my secret then was one
The earth refused to keep;
On land or sea though it should be
Ten thousand fathoms deep.”

In plaintive notes he prophesies his own discovery. He buried his victim in a cave, and trod him down with stones, but when years had run their weary round the foul deed was discovered and the murderer put to death.

Guilt is a „grim chamberlain,” even when his fingers are not bloody red. Secret sins bring fevered eyes and sleepless nights, until men burn out their consciences, and become in very deed ripe for the pit. Hypocrisy is a hard game to play at, for it is one deceiver against many observers; and for certain it is a miserable trade, which will earn at last, as its certain climax, a tremendous bankruptcy. Ah! ye who have sinned without discovery, „Be sure your sin will find you out;” and bethink you, it may find you out ere long. Sin, like murder, will come out; men will even tell tales about themselves in their dreams. God has sometimes made men so pricked in their consciences that they have been obliged to stand forth and confess the story. Secret sinner! If thou wantest the foretaste of damnation upon earth, continue in thy secret sins; for no man is more miserable than he who sinneth secretly, and yet trieth to preserve a character. Yon stag, followed by the hungry hounds, with open mouths, is far more happy than the man who is followed by his sins. Yon bird, taken in the fowler’s net, and labouring to escape, is far more happy than he who hath weaved around himself a web of deception, and labours to escape from it day by day by making the toils more thick and the web more strong. Oh! the misery of secret sins! Truly, one may pray, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Photo credit below hannapot.wordpress.com)

III. But now, next, the guilt THE SOLEMN GUILT OF SECRET SIN.

Now, John, you do not think there is any evil in a thing unless somebody sees it, do you? You feel that it is a very great sin if your master finds you out in robbing the till—but there is no sin if he should not discover it—none at all. And you, sir, you fancy it to be very great sin to play a trick in trade, in case you should be discovered and brought before the court; but to play a trick and never be discovered, that is all fair—do not say a word about it Mr. Spurgeon, it is all business; you must not touch business; tricks that are not discovered, of course you are not to find fault with them. The common measure of sin is the notoriety of it. But I do not believe in that. A sin is a sin, whether done in private or before the wide world. It is singular how men will measure guilt. A railway servant puts up a wrong signal, there is an accident; the man is tried, and severely reprimanded. The day before he put up the wrong signal, but there was no accident, and therefore no one accused him for his neglect. But it was just the same, accident or no accident, the accident did not make the guilt, it was the deed which made the guilt, not the notoriety nor yet the consequence of it. It was his business to have taken care; and he was as guilty the first time as he was the second, for he negligently exposed the lives of men. Do not measure sin by what other people say of it; but measure sin by what God says of it, and what your own conscience says of it.

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator? There are some who would not for the life of them say a wicked word in the presence of their minister, but they can do it, knowing God is looking at them. They are Atheists. There are some who would not trick in trade for all the world if they thought they would be discovered, but they can do it while God is with them; that is, they think more of the eye of man than of the eye of God; and they think it worse to be condemned by man than to be condemned by God. Call it by what name you will, the proper name of that is practical Atheism. It is dishonoring God; it is dethroning him; putting him down below his own creatures; and what is that, but to take away his divinity? Brethren, do not, I beseech you, incur the fearful guilt of secret sins. No man can sin a little in secret, it will certainly engender more sin; no man can be a hypocrite and yet be moderate in guilt; he will go from bad to worse, and still proceed, until when his guilt shall be published, he shall be found to be the very worst and most hardened of men. Take heed of the guilt of secret sin. AH, now if could I preach as Rowland Hill did, I would make some people look to themselves at home, and tremble too! It is said that when he preached, there was not a man in the window, or standing in the crowd, or perched up anywhere, but said, „There, he is preaching at me; he is telling me about my secret sins.” And when he proclaimed God’s omniscience, it is said men would almost think they saw God bodily present in the midst of them looking at them. And when he had done his sermon, they would hear a voice in their ears, „Can any hide himself in secret places that I cannot see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” I would I could do that; that I could make every man look to himself, and find out his secret sin. Come my hearer, what is it? Bring it forth to the daylight; perhaps it will die in the light of the sun. These things love not to be discovered. Tell thine own conscience, now, what it is. Look it in the face; confess it before God, and may he give thee grace to remove that sin and every other, and turn to him with full purpose of heart! But this know—that thy guilt is guilt discovered or undiscovered, and that if there be any difference it is worse, because it has been secret. God save us from the guilt of secret sin! „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Photo credit http://www.shimmerzineff.webs.com

IV. And note, next, THE DANGER OF SECRET SIN.

One danger is, that a man cannot commit a little sin in secret, without being by-and-by betrayed into a public sin. You cannot, sir, though you may think you can preserve a moderation in sin. If you commit one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier upon the Alps; the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone upon the cairn to-day, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please, it will not stay until it shall be covered with weeds, until the weeds shall decay; and there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle. „But I am going to have a little drink now and then, I am only going to be intoxicated once a week or so. Nobody will see it; I shall be in bed directly.” You will be drunk in the streets soon. „I am only just going to read one lascivious book; I will put it under the sofa-cover when any one comes in.” You will keep it in your library yet, sir. „I am only going into that company now and then.” You will go there every day, such is the bewitching character of it; you cannot help it. You may as well ask the lion to let you put your head into his mouth. You cannot regulate his jaws: neither can you regulate sin. Once go into it, you cannot tell when you will be destroyed. You may be such a fortunate individual, that like Van Amburgh you may put your head in and out a great many times; reset assured that one of these days it will be a costly venture. Again, you may labour to conceal your vicious habit, but it will come out, you cannot help it. You keep your little pet sin at home; but mark this, when the door is ajar the dog will be out in the street. Wrap him up in your bosom, put over him fold after fold of hypocrisy to keep him secret, the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company; you cannot keep the evil bird still. Your sin will gad abroad; and what is more, you will not mind it some of these days. A man who indulges in sin privately, by degrees gets his forehead as hard as brass. The first time he sinned, the drops of sweat stood on his brow at the recollection of what he had done; the second time, no hot sweat on his brow, only an agitation of the muscle; the third time there was the sly, sneaky look, but no agitation; the next time, he sinned a little further; and by degrees he became the bold blasphemer of his God, who exclaimed, „Who am I that I should fear Jehovah, and who is he that I should serve him?” Men go from bad to worse. Launch your boat in the current—it must go where the current takes it. Put yourself in the whirlwind—you are but a straw in the wind: you must go which way the wind carries you—you cannot control yourself. The balloon can mount, but it cannot direct its course; it must go whichever way the wind blows. If you once mount into sin there is no stopping. Take heed if you would not become the worst of characters, take heed of the little sins, they, mounting one upon another, may at last heave you from the summit and destroy your soul for ever. There is a great danger in secret sins.

But I have here some true Christians who indulge in secret sins. They say it is but a little one, and therefore do they spare it. Dear brethren, I speak to you, and I speak to myself, when I say this—let us destroy all our little secret sins. They are called little and if they be, let us remember that it is the foxes, even the little foxes, that spoil our vines; for our vines have tender shoots. Let us take heed of our little sins. A little sin, like a little pebble in the shoe, will make a traveller to heaven walk very wearily. Little sins, like little thieves, may open the door to greater ones outside. Christians, recollect that little sins will spoil your communion with Christ. Little sins, like little stains in silk, may damage the fine texture of fellowship; little sins, like little irregularities in the machinery, may spoil the whole fabric of your religion. The one dead fly spoileth the whole pot of ointment. That one thistle may seed a continent with noxious weeds. Let us, brethren, kill our sins as often as we can find them. One said—”The heart is full of unclean birds; it is a cage of them.” „Ah, but,” said another divine, „you must not make that an apology, for a Christian’s business is to wring their necks.” And so it is; if there be evil things, it is our business to kill them. Christians must not tolerate secret sins. We must not harbour traitors; it is high treason against the King of Heaven. Let us drag them out to light, and offer them upon the altar, giving up the dearest of our secret sins at the will and bidding of God. There is a great danger in a little secret sin; therefore avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and shun it; and God give thee grace to overcome it!

V. And now I come, in finishing up, to plead with all my might with some of you

whom God has pricked in your consciences. I have come to intreat you, if it be possible, even to tears, that you will give up your secret sins. I have one here for whom I bless God; I love him, though I know him not. He is almost persuaded to be a Christian; he halteth between two opinions; he intendeth to serve God, he striveth to give up sin, but he findeth it a hard struggle, and as yet he knoweth not what shall become of him. I speak to him with all love: my friend, will you have your sin and go to hell, or leave your sin and go to heaven? This is the solemn alternative: to all awakened sinners I put it; may God choose for you, otherwise I tremble as to which you may choose. The pleasures of this life are so intoxicating, the joys of it so ensnaring, that did I not believe that God worketh in us to will and to do, I should despair of you. But I have confidence that God will decide the matter. Let me lay the alternative before you:—on the one hand there is a hour’s merriment, a short life of bliss, and that a poor, poor bliss; on the other hand, there is everlasting life and eternal glory. On the one hand, there is a transient happiness, and afterwards overwhelming woe; in this case there is a solid peace and everlasting joy, and after it overflowing bliss. I shall not fear to be called an Arminian, when I say, as Elijah did, „Choose you this day whom you will serve. If God be God, serve him; if Baal be God serve him.” But, now, make your choice deliberately; and may God help you to do it! Do not say you will take up with religion, without first counting the cost of it; remember, there is your lust to be given up, your pleasure to be renounced; can you do it for Christ’s sake? Can you? I know you cannot, unless God’s grace shall assist you in making such a choice. But can you say, „Yes, by the help of God, earth’s gaudy toys, its pomps, pageantries, gewgaws, all these I renounce?—

„These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ or else I die.”

Sinner, thou wilt never regret that choice, if God help thee to make it; thou wilt find thyself a happy man here, and thrice happy throughout eternity.

„But,” says one, „Sir, I intend to be religious, but I do not hold with your strictness.” I do not ask you to do so; I hope, however, you will hold withGod’s strictness, and God’s strictness is ten thousand times greater than mine. You may say that I am puritanical in my preaching; God will be puritanical in judging in that great day. I may appear severe, but I can never be so severe as God will be. I may draw the harrow with sharp teeth across your conscience, but God shall drag harrows of eternal fire across you one day. I may speak thundering things! God will not speak them, but hurl them from his hands. Remember, men may laugh at hell, and say there is none; but they must reject their Bibles before they can believe the lie. Men’s consciences tell them that

„There is a dreadful hell,
And everlasting pains;
Where sinners must with devils dwell,
In darkness, fire and chains.”

Sirs, will ye keep your secret sins, and have eternal fire for them? Remember it is of no use, they must all be given up, or else you cannot be God’s child. You cannot by any means have both; it cannot be God and the world, it cannot be Christ and the devil; it must be one or the other. Oh! that God would give you grace to resign all; for what are they worth? They are your deceivers now, and will be your tormentors for ever. Oh! that your eyes were open to see the rottenness, the emptiness and trickery of iniquity. Oh! that God would turn you to himself. Oh! may God give you grace to cross the Rubicon of repentance at this very hour; to say, „Henceforth it is war to the knife with my sins; not one of them will I willingly keep, but down with them, down with them; Canaanite, Hittite, Jebusite, they shall all be driven out.”

„The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee.”

„But oh! sir, I cannot do it; it would be like pulling my eyes out.” Ay, but hear what Christ says: „It were better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” „But it would be like cutting my arms off.” Ay, and it would be better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, than to be cast into hell fire for ever. Oh! when the sinner comes before God at last, do you think he will speak as he does now? God will reveal his secret sins: the sinner will not then say, „Lord, I thought my secret sins so sweet, I could not give them up.” I think I see how changed it will be then. „Sir” you say now, „you are too strict;” will you say that when the eyes of the Almighty are glowering on you? You say now, „Sir, you are too precise;” will you say that to God Almighty’s face? „Sir, I mean to keep such-and-such a sin.” Can you say it at God’s bar at last? You will not dare to do it then. Ah! when Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvellous change in the way men talk. Methinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Now, Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas! comes and kiss him now! What do you stick at, man? Are you afraid of him? Now, Barrabbas! go; see whether they will prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Now drunkard; stagger up to him now. Now infidel; tell him there is no Christ now—now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder till the solid pillars thereof do bow themselves—tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible; now scoff at the minister. Why men, what is the matter with you? Why, can’t you do it? Ah! there you are; you have fled to the hills and to the rocks—”Rocks hide us! mountains fall on us; hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.” Ah! where are now your boasts, your vauntings, and your glories? Alas! alas! for you, in that dread day of wonders.

Secret sinner, what will then become of thee? Go out of this place unmasked; go out to examine thyself, go out to bend thy knee, go out to weep, go out to pray. God give thee grace to believe! And oh, how sweet and pleasant the thought, that this day sinners have fled to Christ, and men have been born again to Jesus! Brethren, ere I finish, I repeat the words at which so many have cavilled—it is now, or never, it is turn or burn. Solemnly in God’s sight I say it; if it be not God’s truth I must answer for it in the great day of account. Your consciences tell you it is true. Take it home, and mock me if you will; this morning I am clear of your blood: if any seek not God, but live in sin, I shall be clear of your blood in that day when the watchman shall have your souls demanded of him; oh, may God grant that you may be cleared in a blessed manner! When I went down those pulpit stairs a Sabbath or two ago, a friend said to me words which have been in my mind ever since—”Sir, there are nine thousand people this day without excuse in the day of judgment.” It is true of you this morning. If you are damned, it will be not for want of preaching to you, and it shall not be for want of praying for you. God knoweth that if my heart could break of itself, it would, for your souls, for God is my witness, how earnestly I long for you in the bowels of Christ Jesus. Oh, that he might touch your hearts and bring you to him! For death is a solemn thing, damnation is a horrible thing, to be out of Christ is a dreadful thing, to be dead in sin is a terrific thing. May God lead you to view these things as they are, and save you, for his mercy’s sake! „He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

„Lord, search my soul, try every thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet whene’er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.”

Short Biography of C.H. Spurgeon:

spurgeonCharles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers.” In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon’s which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him after his death.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Arguably, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than C.H. Spurgeon.

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Arheologi au dezgropat ruinele palatului regelui David in Israel

O echipă de arheologi din Israel crede că a descoperit ruinele palatului ce a aparţinut personajului biblic, regele David.

Arheologii de la Universitatea Ebraică de la Ierusalim şi Autoritatea pentru Antichităţi susţin că au descoperit un complex fortificat aflat pe o întindere mare dintr-un sit arheologic localizat la vest de Ierusalim, numit Khirbet Qeiyafa

„Khirbet Qeiyafa este cel mai bun exemplu de până acum care prezintă un oraş fortificat din timpul regelui David”, a declarat arheologul Yossi Garfinkel, sugerând că este posibil ca David însuşi să fi folosit teritoriul.

Garfinkel susţine că echipa sa a descoperit obiecte de cult obişnuite de iudei şi că nu au găsit nicio rămăşiţă a vreunui porc, animal a cărui carne nu este consumată de evrei. Astfel de indicii, spune Garfinkel sunt „dovezi neechivoce” care demonstrează că david şi descendenţii săi au condus acest loc.

Totuşi, criticii spun că teritoriul ar fi putut să aparţină altor regate din zonă, iar majoritatea specialiştilor susţin că până acum nu s-au descoperit dovezi definitive care demonstreze existenţa regelui David. Potrivit acestora, arheologia biblică este discutabilă, iar israelienii folosesc adesea astfel de descoperiri aflate pe teritorii pe care le revendică palestinienii, pentru a face legătură cu trecutul lor istoric.

De exemplu, în ciuda dovezilor arheologice, palestinienii neagă faptul că templul iudaic biblic domina dealul pe care se află Moscheea Al-Aqsa. În general, cercetătorii sunt împărţiţi în cei care cred şi cei care nu cred că istorisirile biblice sunt validate de rămăşiţele fizice.

Actualele acţiuni de excavare nu sunt primele care i-au determinat pe specialişti să declare că au găsit palatul regelui David. În 2005, arheologul israelian Eilat Mazar a declarat că a găsit rămăşiţele palatului în Ierusalim şi că acestea datează din secolul X î.e.n., perioada în care David a fost la putere. Şi teoria lui Mazar a trezit scepticism în rândul comunităţii ştiinţifice, iar printre critici s-a numărat şi Garfinkel. (Jos- model dupa templul lui David de la NOVA)

Folosind datarea cu carbon, arheologii au concluzionat că rămăşiţele de la situl arheologic nou descoperit datează tot din secolul X î.e.n. De asemenea, specialiştii au găsit şi o cameră de depozitare cu o lungime de 15 metri, ceea ce sugerează că aici exista un sistem regal de colectare a taxelor.

Garfinkel consideră că regele David a trăit permanent într-un loc încă nedescoperit din Ierusalim, vizitând Khirbet Qeiyafa sau alte palate doar ocazional, pentru perioade scurte de timp. El a mai adăugat că plasarea sitului pe un deal indică faptul că liderul a ales un loc sigur, la înălţime, în timpul unei ere violente, marcată de conflicte dese.

„În timpul lui David a fost pentru prima dată când o mare parte din zonă a fost unită sub un singur monarh. Nu a fost o eră liniştită”, a explicat Garfinkel.

Arheologul Israel Finkelstein, de la Universitatea Tel Aviv, este de acord cu Garfinkel, că Khirbet Qeiyafa este un sit „elaborat” şi „bine fortificat” ce datează din secolul X î.e.n., dar el consideră şi să situl ar fi putut fi construit de palestinieni, canaaniţi sau alţi oameni. El a mai adăugat că fără un monument închinat celui care a ridicat construcţia, nu se poate spune cui i-a aparţinut teritoriul.

sursa http://www.descopera.ro photo #1 www.cbc.ca and photo #2 www.pbs.org

Archaeologists claim to have found King David’s palace in Israel

Via the Christian Post Photo credit – photo #1 www.cbc.ca and photo #2 www.pbs.org

Archaeologists in Israel have claimed they have found the ruins of a palace that belonged to the biblical King David at a site west of Jerusalem, but some experts say there is lack of evidence to prove the claim. A team of archaeologists from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israel’s Antiquities Authority got together for a seven-year dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a site west of Jerusalem. And at the completion of the dig, they say they have discovered a large fortified complex that was the first palace of King David in what was once a Judean city of Sha’arayim, according to The Associated Press.

The Old Testament book 1 Samuel 17:52 records that after David killed Goliath, the Philistines ran away and were slain on the „road to Sha’arayim. „Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David,” say the two leaders of the team, Yossi Garfinkel from Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Antiquities Authority.

They say there is „unequivocal evidence” in the form of cultic objects that were typically used by King David’s subjects, the Judeans. Besides, they found no trace of pig remains – as pork is forbidden under Jewish laws.

They say they have discovered another structure at the site which was a storeroom. „The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of about 1,000 square meters was revealed at the top of the city,” they say. „The wall enclosing the palace is about 30 meters long and an impressive entrance is fixed it through which one descended to the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah. Around the palace’s perimeter were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt.”

NOVA’s filmmakers envisioned what King David’s palace complex might have looked like- from www.pbs.org

„This is the only site in which organic material was found – including olive seeds – that can be carbon-14 dated,” The Times of Israel quotes Yoli Schwartz, a spokeswoman of the Antiquities Authority, as saying. „The palace is located in the center of the site and controls all of the houses lower than it in the city. From here one has an excellent vantage looking out into the distance, from as far as the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east. This is an ideal location from which to send messages by means of fire signals.”

While other experts agree the finding is significant, they say it’s possible it belonged to other kingdoms of the area. Prof. Aren Meir of Bar Ilan University told Haaretz that the archaeologists should not over-rely on the Bible, as question-marks hang over the existence of King David’s monarchy along with Solomon.

However, Garfinkel and Ganor maintain, „The palace that is now being revealed and the fortified city that was uncovered in recent years are another tier in understanding the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah.”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com

3,000-year-old text from King David’s time is found in the holy city (oldest inscription ever found in area)

Jar fragment bearing an inscription in a Canaanite language that was unearthed near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar. (photo credit: Eilat Mazar/Noga Cohen-Aloro) Photo and Story From The Times of Israel:

3,000-year-old text from King David’s time, in an unknown language on the top of a jug, is earliest alphabetical writing ever found in holy city. Oldest inscription found in J’lem, but no one can read it.

An ancient inscription dating back to the time of King David, recently discovered in Jerusalem, has researchers scratching their heads.

The 3,000-year-old text comes from the top of what remains of a large earthenware jug and is the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in the city, according to a statement from Hebrew University, whose researchers found the artifact.

Dated to the 10th century BCE, the artifact predates by 250 years the earliest known Hebrew inscription from Jerusalem, from the period of King Hezekiah at the end of the 8th century BCE.

The new inscription was found around the top of a jug, but only the first letter and last few now remain. Although the characters are legible, it is in an unknown Canaanite language.

The pottery was found in December 2012 but details of the discovery were only published on Wednesday after initial examinations of the find were completed.

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig that found the inscribed fragment, speculated that the text names the owner of the jug, its destination, or perhaps its contents.

Mazar reckoned that the text comes from the Jebusite people who lived in the area at the time, or some other Canaanite tribe that called Jerusalem home at the time of King David, around 1000 BCE. The date makes the discovery the oldest known text to be found in Jerusalem after the Israelite arrival in the city.

Reading from left to right, the text contains a combination of letters approximately 2.5 cm tall, which translate to m, q, p, h, n, (possibly) l, and n. Since this combination of letters has no meaning in known west-Semitic languages, researchers are boggled as to what the letters say.

According to Mazar, the inscription, in the Canaanite language, is the only one of its kind discovered in Jerusalem and an important addition to the city’s history.

Researchers from the Hebrew University found the artifact at a dig along the southern wall of the Temple Mount enclosure.

The southern wall meets the Western Wall, a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Temple courtyard, at a corner that has been extensively explored by researchers and developed as an archaeological park.

The jug, along with pieces from six other jugs typical to the period, was found beneath the floor of the remains of a large structure where they were apparently placed in ancient times to shore up the floor.

Psalm 19 – The Glory of God and Scripture

photo via sfw.so

THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE SKIES AND SCRIPTURE Psalm 19
Dr. George O. Wood

Psalm 19 is many people’s favorite psalm. ―The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer‖ (Psalm 19:1-14, NIV).

There’s a tremendous cadence and glory to that psalm. C. S. Lewis said, ―I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.‖ The psalm is quoted in the New Testament; it becomes a reference by Paul to show that the Word has gone out to all of Israel so that there is none to say they have an excuse for not knowing God’s Word, and the psalm also serves as an underpinning for Romans 1:18–3:20 where Paul argues than man not knowing anything about God except what is in nature may know sufficiently about God as to be persuaded of His existence. Photo via hiraeth.squarespace.com

The psalm, if you look at it carefully, you realize that the psalm divides into two parts and they’re very discernable. Probably more discernable in an outline than almost any of the other psalms. The first six verses of Psalm 19 specifically relate to the glory of God in nature. The last verses, 7–14, relate to the glory of God in His law. Or in the Torah, the Old Testament word being for the law of God, which we call now the first five books of the Bible. An Israel rabbi would be talking about this psalm as a celebration of the Torah.

I’ve called this psalm ―The Glory of God in the Skies and in the Scriptures.‖ Verses 1–6 speak of the glory of God in the skies. Either at nighttime when seeing the heavens and the stars or in the daytime seeing the sun go forth on its run through the sky in the day until it sets in its tent in the evening. Beautiful lyrical language. The glory of God in the skies and the glory of God in the Scriptures. We, from a new perspective, can look at Psalm 19 and say not only as David but we can say all of God’s written Word—which we have which David did not have—is contained within the descriptions that David is giving in the law of God.

It is David’s conviction that the law of the Lord or the Scripture is no less a marvel of divine creation than the majestic order of the heavenly bodies. If we look at the heavens themselves we stand in amazement at their greatness. We ought also to look at the written Word and have the same amazement toward it as we have toward the skies, the heavens, the sun.

Spurgeon said of this psalm as it divides into two categories, ―He is wisest who reads the world book and the word book as two volumes of the same work and feels concerning them, My Father wrote them.

Let’s break the psalm down in manageable parts verse by verse. (Photo via rainingtruthsmallrain.wordpress.com)

I. First the glory of God in the skies, verses 1–6.

This subdivides into two additional parts. One, the heavens declare God’s handiwork. And that would be verses 1–3 and two-thirds of verse 4. Then the second subdivision would be the witness of the sun to the glory of God, the last phrase in verse 4 and then all of verses 5–6. The heavens are telling the glory of God. That is the heavens proclaiming His handiwork.

The word ―declaring‖ means narrating the glory of God. The heavens are telling a story about God. A master is known by his work. If we would go to the Sistine Chapel in Rome and see the work of Michelangelo we’d stand in awe. An artist is known by his work. And God, the artist of the heavens, the creator of the heavens is known by His work. Therefore they are telling about Him. In fact His handiwork is shouting about Him.

A.As the psalm opens the hymn of God in creation has already begun

eons ago at the time of creation. The first notes of the hymn were sounded as Job puts it in 38:7, ―While the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.‖ Never since creation has the celestial host ceased from singing of our God’s handiwork.

The preaching of the heavens has three wonderful aspects. It is without intermission. ―Day after day they pour forth speech‖ (Psalm 19:2, NIV). It is in every kind of language. ―There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard‖ (verse 3, NIV). And it is in every part of the world. ―Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world‖ (verse 4, NIV). Therefore an endless witness, a witness in every language and culture, and a witness in every part of the world. Each day this psalm is saying that nature itself cannot wait to tell the next day the story of creation. Photo below from http://douggilmer.wordpress.com via backcountrychaplain.com

Here the poet by divine inspiration is giving a human quality to inanimate things. It’s almost picturing the fact that when the next day is arising it is passing the baton on to the next day, reminding that new day to take up the song that has been sung by the day before you.

One has said, ―Each day has a life of its own…each day is handing a trumpet to its successor to blow the same triumphant note while as evening falls and stars come out each night does likewise.‖

Despite their endless speech, however, both day and night are wrapped in silence. Here is where the unusual things are going on in the poem. The heavens are declaring the glory of the Lord and yet when you listen and try to hear any songs in the heavens, it’s a silent witness they are baring. One has said of this silent witness, if you think of the whole heavens and the earth as a great machine which God has made, you know that a machine isn’t worth much when it begins to make noise. When your car begins to clunk you know things are beginning to go wrong with it. But the good machines are ones that make no sound. No deterioration, no mechanical imperfection. There’s the silent witness that goes on declaring Him. It is the mighty machine. The heavens are telling the glory of the Lord.

B. Moving past the heavens which include all the daytime sky and the nighttime sky—especially in the first 4 verses David is speaking of the nighttime sky—he comes to the part where he sees the sun as that most magnificent creation, for man. This is a God-centered poem but with a man- related orientation.

The most glorious thing for man is the contemplation of the sun. David sees the sun as a special object of God’s creation, which in the heavens God has pitched a tent for that it may have a dwelling place in the evening. His attitude, if you don’t get anything out of Psalm 19 except the personification of the sun’s attitude toward a new day as applied to your own day, take the two metaphors that are used of the sun to describe an attitude for the day. It’s like a marathon runner or champion rejoicing to face his course (verse 5). That is, the well-trained runner is waking up and it is the day of the race. As the sun comes out, not thinking, ―This is the day someone else is going to beat me in the race.‖ But, ―This is the day I’ve trained for. This is the day I’m going to win.‖

If that metaphor isn’t pleasing enough then the sun is compared to that of a bridegroom on his wedding day who comes out of his pavilion and that day is going to bring the opportunity for the marriage (verse 5). I perform a lot of marriages—I can’t think of any reluctant marriages I’ve performed. People are eager.

What a great attitude to awaken every day with. That’s what the psalmist is saying about the sun. The sun is declaring the glory of God and it can’t wait to begin its course across the horizon until it will find its tent pitched by God in the evening. Our scientific world has rendered us unable to appreciate poetry. We know that the sun doesn’t go live in a tent in the evening so we destroy the metaphor for the sake of scientific accuracy. Therefore it destroys some of the tremendous vitality that can be brought to us in life if we think of things in terms of pictures. David is doing that for us.

So get up in the day and go forth as a well-trained athlete to face the challenge of the day or as a bridegroom eager for the marriage. Such is the radiant and festive mood of each day’s journey in life as David sees it.
That’s the first six verses, declaring God’s glory in the heavens. To the glory of God in the skies. II. Then with verse 7 we switch themes to the law of God.

We need to develop a bridge between the two sections of the psalm. In the Hebrew language there are two different names for God that are employed in the psalm. The first part of the psalm the word ―God occurs once in Hebrew, that’s in verse 2. God is referred to by the name El which is the common Hebrew name for God. In verses 7–14 God’s name occurs seven times but this time not as the word El but as the word Yahweh or as we say in the English Jehovah, which is His covenant name which He revealed to Moses when He declared, ―I am who I am.

It’s the special name for God that marks His relationship with the children of Israel—God in covenant, God in redemption, God in personal relationship. Not just the God who created the heavens and the earth but the God who redeems and cares and knows us individually. So the second part of the psalm celebrates a more personal link with God. He’s not only the God of creation but the God of covenant and redemption. The sun’s light may give off heat but the Torah—the law, the Scripture—illumines the eyes.

A. What is the glory of God in the law? In verses 7–10 we see the first subdivision of this part of the glory of God in the law or in the Scriptures. There is a praise given to the law or the Scripture or to the Torah, verses 7–10. Notice different synonyms are given for the law of the Lord. It is called the law of the Lord, the statues of the Lord, the precepts of the Lord, the commands of the Lord, the fear of the Lord, the ordinances of the Lord. Six terms in all. Synonyms. The law in six different ways in the Old Testament. Law of the Lord is the comprehensive term for God’s revealed will. It’s meant to produce in us fear, which is reverence for Him.

photo via bibledude.net

1. This law is ―perfect‖ (Psalm 19:7). The Scriptures are perfect. Meaning they’re without flaw. The Scriptures, God’s written Word, are entirely sufficient. Especially when we understand them as being summed up in Jesus Christ. Entirely sufficient, nothing lacking. They’re perfect in the sense of being many sided. That is, the Scriptures cover completely all the aspects of life that need to be dealt with. Every human problem that we need answers for, every eternal truth that we need to get a hold of, everything that touches salvation and growth, all the critical questions that a mortal faces in life, the law of the Lord is perfect as it addresses. It’s without a flaw.

Because it addresses all of these it revives the soul. Life can make you lose faith. Hardship, persecution, difficulty can knock the stuff out of you in life. But when we get to the Scriptures suddenly we get the energy to go again. I don’t know how anyone can last without the Scripture. I have to have a mega vitamin dose of the Scripture daily. But that’s not nearly as powerful for me as taking it a word, a sentence at a time. So I try to do extensive Scripture and intensive Scripture. I found that the law of the Lord does revive the soul. The Scriptures are full of vigor and vitality and provide us with an enduring food that we need. The law is perfect, reviving the soul.

2. God’s statutes are ―trustworthy‖ (verse 7). That’s the second category. They’re sure. They’re dependable. You can build a foundation on which you can unhesitantly build. The Scriptures are not variable things to be changed according to the circumstances. Therefore because they are dependable and because they lay a great foundation in life they make wise the simple. That is the young and the inexperienced finds wise guidance in life. It is the Scriptures, which provide the reverence for God which is necessary lest we not live life as we ought.

3. The Scriptures are ―right‖ (verse 8). The precepts are right. The Scripture sets down our moral duty. That duty lies straight ahead as a person directing an individual by using a map to guide out a straight course for us to follow. Because the precepts of the Lord are right and they call white, white and black, black and make a delineation between what is wrong and what is righteous, because the precepts are right they produce a joy in our heart. We look at the Scripture and as our life is being conformed to the Scripture we respond and there is an inner release. Psychologically and spiritually this is so sound because when duty lies before us and we do it brings a rejoicing in the heart.

4. The law of the Lord is ―radiant,‖ or shining (verse 8). Pure. The Scripture sheds light on the pathway of life. In its radiant pure quality there is no unwholesome elements in it. It is enlightening to the eyes. It reveals dimensions of truth and reality in our experience.

Some people, every once in a while, you’ll find a pornographer that makes claim that pornography is in the Bible. Stories of incest and rape and murder and mayhem of all kinds. Therefore if you take these books out of the school library you should take the Bible out of the library too because it’s an awful book. If the Scripture gives stories like this, how can it give light to the eyes? A response is, whenever Scripture contains a story that has a profound element to it of sadness and human sin, it never glorifies the sin. It always elevates the truth and the story is there to show us where a person went wrong that we don’t repeat it ourselves. So what David is saying—and he knows this because he gave us some of the terrible stories of Scripture in his own life—the law of the Lord, the Scripture is shining. It sheds light on our path.

5. It is ―pure‖ and clean and therefore it endures forever (verse 9).

6. And it’s true and altogether right. Scripture will never betray those who trust in them. They are entirely ―righteous‖ showing that their origin is in God (verse 9).
So what does the law do for us, what do the Scriptures do for us? They restore our soul. They give us light. They give us joy. They have purifying power and they are enduring and absolutely perfect. David adds to these tremendous descriptions of the law by saying that the law is worth so much, it’s worth more than gold, much pure gold. You have to have a moral appreciation, a spiritual appreciation for who God is to say this. If you ask the average person, ―Do you want a thousand pounds of gold or do you want this book here?

You can have your pick. You can’t have both and you can’t come back later and get the other. It’s one or the other. Which do you want? David says if you put it like that, take the Word any day. It’s more valuable that gold. And it’s like honey. Honey wouldn’t be my favorite metaphor for the Bible because honey is sticky. I like it, but I like it in little bits. So honey from the honeycomb really doesn’t grab. If you talk about a chocolate Hershey bar, a chocolate shake…We can put our own metaphor to that. Whatever we have an appetite for, the Bible, David is saying, the Bible we would want better. I’d use a different metaphor than honey from the honeycomb.

But the law is desirable. These are the things which we are to have an appetite for. God’s Word. So he celebrates the glory of the Torah, verses 7–10.

B. Then in verses 11–14 David prays for a blameless life.

In light of the fact that God has given us this pure, enduring, eternal Word, how are we to live? ―By them is your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward‖ (verse 11, NIV). The law, the Scriptures operate one mind as a warning. They therefore give us at times a green light, a red light, or a yellow light. There are times we play around too many times with the yellow light. Photo below via fishforpeople.tumblr.com

Like a conscience, the Scripture approves, condemns, or counsels watchfulness. David prays that he lets the law be celebrated in his life and it will be so effective it will save him from two kinds of sins, verses 12–13. That it will save him from ―hidden faults. Or secret faults or sins. Then the contrast that the Scripture will keep him from presumptuous sin or ―willful sins. Secret sins. Here are three categories of secret sins.

1. Those who are known to ourselves but are not known to others. Is there anything you know about yourself that nobody else knows? It is a secret fault. Probably most of us could identify in our life something that is between us and God that is a fault, a flaw, in simple disposition or attitude or action. David is crying, ―God save me even from these.‖ Why do we have these secret things? Because there’s a certain privacy left us that God may test us as to how far we are good because the world looks at us and how far we want to be good because He looks at us. When they’re known only to me then I can choose to work on them or not and nobody else is worried about it. It’s just me and God. God is saying to me, ―How serious are you about your relationship with Me that you’re willing to work on your secret faults?‖ There are secret faults that we ourselves alone know. And God knows, of course.

2. Then as a second category of secret faults that we might pray to be delivered from, that is those secret faults about us that are known to others but not to us. Think about that. It’s hardest for me to see myself as I truly am. People who live with me see me better. What is not to me a secret fault is a glaring and obvious failure. Maybe one of the things David is reaching for is ―God not only save me about the things about myself that only I and you know. But help me to be aware of those things in my life that other people know that I am really blind to. Everybody I know closely, I see things that are wrong in them that I wish they could see themselves. I suspect if that’s true of me in regard to other people, then it’s got to be true of other people as they look at me.‖ Save me, O Lord, from secret faults.

3. Then it’s possible there’s a third category of secret faults. Where there are those faults about us that are not known to ourselves and not known to others but God alone knows. Maybe God is concerned about some things in us that we haven’t even yet begun to see. In some areas of our life the grass has not been cut and the weeds have grown. God knows things about us that we do not know nor do others know. Save me, O Lord, from secret faults. David will be content with nothing less than a relationship with God, which presses through to have everything that is unlike Him ultimately rooted out of the personality. That’s a great way of looking at relationship with God. ―Ultimately when You’re done with me, hammer me so well and smelt me in your furnace to so refine that everything unlike You will be melted out or beaten out, whichever way you choose. But bring it out, O Lord.‖ It’s always more pleasant and less hurtful when God vacuum cleans it out of us rather than beating it out of us. We’ll take it anyway He wants to get it out. Save me from secret faults.

Then a wild switch. All the way from secret faults to presumptuous sins. Those are the things we stumble into. We know they’re wrong when we enter them and we go ahead and do it anyway. Keep Your servant also from these sins, O Lord. The psalmist David moves from macrocosm to microcosm. Macro being the universe. Micro being the Bible—we can hold it. Who can hold the universe? From the universe and its glory to the individual and its humility before God. But the climax lies in the microcosm. Not in the heavenly roar of praise. The heavens declare the glory of God but the law declares the will of God for mankind, the creature. Though the vast firmaments so high above us declares God’s praise, it is the Torah, the law of God, the Scriptures alone that reveal to us that we have a place in the universal scheme of things. It is not a place that gives ground for human boasting or declaration of human might over the cosmos.

When the psalmist prays for God’s revelation in the Torah he issues immediately a prayer for forgiveness and acceptance. When he’s done looking at the macrocosm, the skies, he has no idea of God’s will for his life. He has no idea of redemption. He has no idea of his own personal sin. All he knows is here’s something out there that’s put all this in place. But when he’s done looking at the microcosm—the Law—he knows who God is, what God’s will is for his life, how to be joyful and how to bring to God that perplexing matter in our life that has separated us from Him, our sin. He rests in a quiet knowledge and assurance of God, which is what the Scriptures always do. Scriptures bring us in a personal and living relationship with Jesus Christ. God has two witnesses. His witness in the heavens. And His witness in the Bible. Psalm 19 eloquently puts that forth for us.

Florin Ianovici – Luptele din umbra (4)

PAGINA Florin Ianovici PREDICI aici

Mesajele de la Conferinta

  1. Florin Ianovici – Ce spune Ghetimani? la Biserica Poarta Cerului Suedia (1)
  2. Florin Ianovici – Toiagul nostru la Biserica Poarta Cerului Suedia (2)
  3. Florin Ianovici – Locul nostru in slujire la Biserica Poarta Cerului Suedia (3)

Ianovici Suedia

(Lipsesc primele minute din predica aceasta) Am insomnia. Stau si ma framant. De ce? Pentru ca stie Goliat sa iasa. Dar va dau o veste, „Dumnezeul nostru e viu.” Dumnezeul nostru e un Dumnezeu, nu doar de dimineata, nu doar de pranz si de seara. Dumnezeul nostru este un Dumnezeu al fiecarei secunde in viata noastra. Suntei tineri, dragii mei. Cand va vad, plini de energie, cum strigati, mi-as dori din toata inima sa nu stati in siruri de batalie si numai sa strigati. Adica, asta nu e viata in care vi numai la biserica si strigi. Viata de credinta este o viata de lupta si de biruinta. Si atunci de ce nu avem noi aceasta putere? Spuneam ca Goliat are stratagem: E mare, iti umple ecranul, el stie intotdeauna cum sa-ti iasa in cale la momentele cheie in viata. Dar ce sa fac eu? Oare ce anume, ce ar trebui sa fac eu?

Intotdeauna ca sa putem birui lupta care se vede, va trebui sa biruim luptele care nu se vad. Marea problema a vietii noastre este ca lupta cu Goliat este lupta pe care o vezi tu si o vad toti. (2:20)Dar in umbra mai sunt lupte de dat.  N-ai cum sa te lupti cu Goliat in ascuns, pentru ca Goliat e mare. Dar, pana sa ajungi sa te lupti cu Goliat, are grija cel rau ca sa fi un om care sa pierzi pe rand si alte batalii. Si sa va spun ce curse intinde cel rau pe cale ca noi sa nu ne mai luptam cu Goliat. Adica, asa un fel de lipsa de putere.

Stiti care este prima lupta pe care va trebui sa o purtam? Lupta din inima. Lupta pe care nu ti-o spune nimeni. Goliat, stim toti cand apare. Ca e boala, ce-i necaz, ca-i o relatie- asta vede, vezi tu, vad toti. Dar in umbra, mai sunt lupte de dat. Pana sa ajunga David sa se lupte cu Goliat, mai intai a trebuit sa se lupte cu Eliab. Stiti lucrul asta? Uite ce spune Biblia. Zice: 1 Samuel 17 Isai a zis fiului său David: ,,Ia pentru fraţii tăi efa aceasta de grîu prăjit şi aceste zece pîni, şi aleargă în tabără la fraţii tăi; 18 du şi aceste zece caşuri de brînză căpeteniei care este peste mia lor. Să vezi dacă fraţii tăi sînt bine, şi să-mi aduci veşti temeinice. Asta spune cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Apoi, spune Biblia ca in momentul cand a ajuns in tabara- vers 28 – Eliab, fratele lui cel mai mare, care -l auzise vorbind cu oamenii aceştia, s’a aprins de mînie împotriva lui David. Şi a zis: ,,Pentru ce te-ai pogorît tu, şi cui ai lăsat acele puţine oi în pustie? Îţi cunosc eu mîndria şi răutatea inimii. Te-ai pogorît ca să vezi lupta. Eliab s-a aprins de manie.

Ai lupta in viata. Cea mai grea lupta e lupta din umbra, este lupta cu dispretul aproapelui tau. Intotdeauna, lupta aceasta incepe cand nu te astepti si lupta aceasta vine dintr-o directie de la care nu te-ai asteptat niciodata. Cum adica? Ma duc la fratii mei sa dau zece casuri, la capetenia care este seful lor, ca sa se poarte bine cu ei. Cum, adica ma duc cu paine la ei cu paine, ca sa le dau sa manance, pentru ca in Vechiul Testament, daca erai fiu in casa si te duceai la fratii tai sa duci paine, era un semn, era o munca de sluga. Niciodata, un fiu nu se ducea la fratii lui- frate la fratii lui, sa duca paine si cas. Trimitea o sluga pentru ca asta era o munca de sluga. Fiul casei se plimba pe langa sluga. Dar, acest David a zis, „Ma duc, cu mana mea sa le dau paine, la acesti 3 frati ai mei care sunt la lupta, pentru ca-i iubesc, pentru ca tata-i iubeste, pentru ca m-a trimis sa vad ce vesti vin din partea lor. Si a venit David cu inima buna si cu o inima simpla a venit la ei. La care, Eliab ii spune: Iti cunosc eu rautatea si mandria inimii.

Si atunci, David, sunt convins ca a fost lovit. Intotdeauna trebuie sa intelegeti un lucru, ca dispretul nu poate sa aiba niciodata efect, daca nu vine de la cel care iti e apropiat tie. Ce-i daca va dispretuieste un dusman? Daca-i dusman, la asta ma astept. Dar, daca ma dispretuieste cineva, la care mi-am deschis inima, atunci ma doare. Cum adica, cel pe care l-am iubit, cel care e prietenul meu, sa aud ca spune o vorba din aceasta? Doare. Intodeauna, luptele acestea din umbra, ne-au lovit intr-asa fel incat nici n-am mai vrut sa purtam lupta aceea care se vede cu ochii deschisi. Lupta asta este o lupta teribila. Vreau sa va spun, in numele Domnului Isus Hristos, eu stiu ce am vazut- ca exista de multe ori, chiar si in casa lui Dumnezeu, chiar intre copiii lui Dumnezeu- asta este cel mai trist- avem judecati si prejudecati. Dispretuim pe oameni. Facem clasificari. Intodeauna au fost lucruri din acestea care au daramat. Au fost oameni care n-au mai vrut sa cante in biserica.

Mi-a zis, „Frate eu nu mai cant (in biserica).” Am zis, „De ce?” „A venit unul si mi-a zis ca de ce tot dau din cap? Si m-am suparat si nu mai cant.” „Si tu ce ia-i zis?” „Nimic.” Dar, du-te si vezi-ti de treaba, ca eu nu am vazut ca dai din cap.” Atatia oameni au fost dezamagiti, atatia oameni au fost loviti de dispretul asta! Fratii mei, surorile mele, noi suntem una in Hristos! Dumnezeu nu are general si soldati. Dumnezeu nu are in biserica oameni decorati si oameni care sa duca o sacosa. In ochii lui Dumnezeu suntem toti la fel. Hristos a murit pentru noi. Noi facem clasificari, noi suntem oamenii care ne uitam unii la altii. Eu spun, in numele lui Isus Hristos, „Oricine Doamne, se ridica sa faca o slujba, intareste-L Doamne!”  Bun e Dumnezeul diversitatii. Nu mananci aceiasi mancare o viata intreaga si atunci ii spui sotiei, „Mai da-mi si altceva.” Si atunci de ce ai vre ca biserica sa fie numai ca tine?” Iti spun eu de ce. De rai ce suntem. De buni in nici un caz.

Intotdeauna, Eliab e specialistul de inima. Zice Eliab asa, „Iti cunosc eu rautatea din inima.” El are raze, se uita si vede inima mea. Eu nu o vad, dar el o vede. Cum sa te aperi impotriva cuiva in felul asta. Nu ai cum sa te aperi la asemenea acuze. Daca un om ar zice: La ora– te-am vazut si ai zis cuvantul asta.. Trebuie sa ma pocaiesc? Trebuie sa ma pocaiesc. Daca un lucru e dovedit, trebuie sa te pocaiesti. Daca ai gresit intr-o imprejurare si e dovedita imprejurarea si ai zis lucrul ala, zi „Domnul sa ma ierte.” Trebuie sa ne pocaim  frati si surori. Dar pentru, „Esti rau, esti mandru,” nu ai cum sa te aperi. Dumnezeu din ceruri stie. Dumnezeu din cer cunoaste. Cati nu au fost ucisi? Cati nu au mai putut sa lupte? Cati copii de ai nostri nu au facut stanga impreujur, cand s-au trezit cu un Eliab care a zis, „Mandrii sunteti voi!” Crezi?

Billy Graham – TED talk from 1998 (subtitrare in Limba Romana)

Synopsis: Speaking at TED in 1998, Rev. Billy Graham marvels at technology’s power to improve lives and change the world, but says the end of evil, suffering and death will come only after the world accepts Christ. A legendary talk from TED’s archives. The Rev. Billy Graham is a religious leader with a worldwide reach. In his long career as an evangelist, he has spoken to millions and been an advisor to US presidents.

Pentru a vedea subtitrarea, clic pe View subtitles, apoi alege limba ‘Romanian’

Februarie 1998, Monterrey, California. (27 minutes). Billy Graham talks about the technology we have today, and how there are many problems associated with it, that have not been solved. Billy Graham lists these problems as:

  1. Human evil. Over and over, in the Psalms, David describes the evil in the human race. Why do we have these wars and revolutions in every generation? We can’t get along with other people, even in our own families.We find ourselves in a paralyzing grip of self destructing habits. The Bible says the problem is within us, within our hearts, within our souls. Our problem is that we are separated from our Creator. The problem is not technology, the problem is the person using it. The Bible teaches that we are more than a body and a mind, we are a soul. And, there is something inside of us that is beyond our understanding. That’s the part of us that yearns for God, and something more than we find in technology. Your soul is that part of you that yearns for meaning and life, and which seeks for something beyond this life. It’s the part of you that yearns, really, for God. 
  2. Human suffering. Writing the oldest human book is Job. And he wrote: Man is born under trouble and the saprks fly upward. Yes, to be sure, science has done much to push back certain types of human suffering. But, even here among us, in the most advanced society in the world we have poverty. We have families that self destruct., friends that betray us, unbearable psychological pressure to bear down on us. I’ve never met a person in the world that didn’t have a problem, or a worry. Why do we suffer? It’s an age old question that we haven’t answered. Yet, David said he would turn to God- the Lord is my shepherd.
  3. Death. Many commentators have said that death is the forbidden subject of our generation. Most people live as if they’re never going to die. Technology projects the myth of control over our mortality. But, death is inevitable. It is often difficult for young people to understand that they’re going to die. As the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes wrote: There’s every activity under heaven. There’s a time to be born, and there’s a time to die. I’ve stood at the death bed of several famous people whom you would know. I’ve talked to them. I’ve seen them in those agonizing moments when they were scared to death. Yet, a few years earlier, death never crossed their minds. A university student recently asked me what is my greatest surprise. I told him it was the brevity of life. It passes so fast.

R. C. Sproul – Why don’t Christians care about sin?

from a Ligonier conference-  LigonierMinistries

Alistair Begg responds:

The believer does not understand the notion of Union with Christ.

If we don’t preach the Gospel to ourselves all day, every day, then we will fail in some arena. And one of the areas of failure is a fast lane into antinomianism. So peopele then,  under the disguise of a superabundance of the grace of God answer the question with which Romans 6 begins, and answer it wrongly. „Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” They answer, „Yes.” And off they go. You know- „Shall I take my body and join it to a prostitute?” What kind of question is that? That’s a question for a Christian. Because the Christian has ben united with Christ. The Christian is in union with Christ and  we don’t understand what it means to be united with Christ, then all we’ll be left with is either legalism on the one hand, or lawlessness on the other hand.

It is since then, you have been raised with Christ to seek those things that are above. It is about who you are in Christ, because your nature and your status have been changed, because you’ve been raised to the heavenly places that these things are not impossible, but are now incongruent. And, I think part of the problem is that people do not know who they are in Christ.

R.C. Sproul responds:

I think, also, there’s a hidden premise in the question that can be very distorting. The real question is: Why don’t Christians care about their continuing sin? It is absolutely impossible for a person to be regenerate of the Holy Spirit and not care at all about sin. In that sense, there’s no such thing as „the carnal Christian”, who can receive Christ and be regenerate, and have no repentance. That is impossible. That is as unbiblical as it gets.

But, why don’t we care to the degree we ought to care? We care, but we don’t care enough. And it’s because our hearts are still lust til fully sanctified. And, God the Holy Spirit, in His convicting power has not fully revealed to us the sinfulness of our sin. Exhibit A is David. After his ghastly act of adultery and proxy murder of Uriah was trying to cover it up. Was He was a believing man and he’s down in the dregs of evil, and yet he doesn’t really show a whole lot of concern until God sends that prophet to him and tells him the story. And when the light dawns, when Nathan says, „Thou art the man,” David sees the evil of his sin and writes Psalm 51. Psalm 51 could never have been written by a human being who didn’t care about his sin.

But, here’s the blessing, if God revealed to me right now, the full measure  of the continuing sin in my life, it would destroy me. God is gracious and gentle in correcting us gradually. That is one of the things that is nice about progressive sanctification. Because if He gave it all at one time, we’d be dead.

Brian Robinson – Show no pity

Brian Robinson is a Pastor in Ontario,Canada and Editor of the Sovereign Grace Journal of Canada. The article was published in the Banner of Truth Trust, United Kingdom, January 2011 edition.

The adoration of the calf

In Deuteronomy 13:8 God tells Israel to show no pity. The situation is this: a dear one, whether father, mother, brother or sister is enticing other family members ‘to go and worship other gods’. God tells Israel, ‘. . . do not yield to him or listen to him – show him no pity.’ We are all aware of the importance of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. James 2:13 informs us that ‘Mercy triumphs over justice.’ And certainly we all need lessons in forgiveness and pity. But is there a time to show no pity. A time when the quality of mercy is strained? I wonder!

For example, we are all familiar with Eli and his refusal to discipline his sons. His boys were priests of the Most High God, but were violating the sacrifices and corrupting the morals of God’s people. Eli was warned by God to rein his sons in (1 Sam. 2:22ff.), but all he did was give a stern lecture. Also, in David’s own household one of his own sons raped his sister, but tragically David held his peace (2 Sam. 13) and showed ‘pity’ rather than meting out proper punishment. In both cases the failure to act and do the hard work of discipline, ended in tragedy for both families. Often a pastor in observing his congregation can recognize parents making a terrible mistake in the raising of their children by their failure to discipline as an act of love or kindness.

Churches can also fall into the same trap and show pity when no pity ought to be shown. Even though it is a violation of God’s will for his church, friendship, sentiment and false compassion can undermine truth and righteousness. It can also cause those who are observers to distrust and even lose their awe of God. Peter’s quick response to Ananias and his lie caused ‘great fear’ to all who heard what happened (Acts 5:5). I recall early in my ministry urging my congregation not to attend a ‘Women’s World Day of Prayer’ in the United Church of Canada, because the guest speaker was a Jewish lady. Following the service my hand was squeezed very forcibly as I was reprimanded for picking on a dear little Jewish lady. The truth is there were times in Scripture where God taught his people to show no pity, no matter how close or how dear that person was or is to us.

Certainly, one of the ways heresy makes its way into our churches is by false pity. The professor is a very nice person with a very loving personality, and so we can make allowances. Sincerity is also a quality that demands ‘pity’. This is also true in the sentimentalizing of the Gospel. We hold back certain truths of the gospel because they are unpalatable, or we deem them rather harsh. Funeral services are the worst. Granted one needs to tread softly, and wishes to be kind and comforting, but to say things that are patently false causes unbelievers to think that heaven is gained simply by dying.

One place where we are to show no pity is the cross of Jesus Christ. The temptation to sandpaper the cross was very strong even in Paul’s day. But his response was to show no pity. So in Galatians 1:9, ‘As we have already said, so now I say again: if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!’ Strong words, but words that need to be heard again in our meeting places. To show false pity marks us out as men pleasers, which in the long haul does harm to the message and those for whom it was intended.

John Stott in his book The Cross of Christ warns about reducing Christ’s cross work to something to be pitied. He writes,

The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross. If we reinterpret sin as a lapse instead of rebellion, and God as indulgent instead of indignant, then naturally the cross appears superfluous. But to dethrone God and enthrone ourselves not only dispenses with the cross; it also degrades both God and man (p. 110).

False pity is also rampant in our society as a whole. We find that justice is weighed now with considerations of someone’s rearing, poverty or some social aberration, or a minority status. Judges hand down sentences that in no way do justice to the crime or the criminal. In Israel a man was to be given stripes not over forty depending on the offence. God commanded men to shed the blood of those who shed blood (Gen. 9:6), but because of false pity we allow killers access to the streets to kill again. We may out of ‘pity’ abrogate capital punishment and feel good about it, but our failure to obey God by shedding the blood of killers has caused untold pain and sorrow.

Mercy is a wonderful thing, and our Lord taught us to pray for forgiveness only as we ourselves forgive others. So when is pity false pity? When we see what God has commanded, and fail to apply both the precept and the punishment for disobedience. Pity can be freely given where offences are personal, but there should be no pity when God’s commands are deliberately violated. In some cases it may mean time in prison, or even the death penalty. In some cases discipline administered in the church, so that others might fear. In other cases it may mean a public rebuke as we see in Galatians (Gal. 2:11-14). But in the Bible there is a case for no pity. And while we may well pity those who know not our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they must be warned that there is no pity for those who reject God’s gracious offer of salvation.

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