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Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

26 June 2017

Character Study: Bible Women | Mary: Full of Grace

MARY
The mother of Jesus. No one disputes this.

Almost everyone in a predominantly Christian society knows the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. When Mary is introduced in the Christian scriptures, she is living in Nazareth in Galilee and she is betrothed to be married to a man named Joseph, who discovers that she is pregnant. Knowing that child could not possibly be his child, Joseph agonizes over what to do about Mary. Under Jewish law, he has two options. Option 1: Shame Mary publicly and have her stoned for infidelity. Option 2: Put Mary away quietly. The scriptures state that an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him not to fear taking Mary as his wife. She had committed no sin and the child that she was carrying was the result of a miracle and the fulfillment of a prophecy that “a virgin would conceive and bring forth a son who would be named Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’.”


Mary and Jesus
Mary and Jesus - Pop Ink – CSA Images - Allposters.com

Some non-Christian sources say that Jesus was a bastard, an illegitimate child, the result of an unlawful union between Mary and someone other than her lawful husband. There is an ongoing debate as to whether the Qu’ran (Koran) states that Mary was a virgin who conceived and gave birth to Jesus, having never had sexual contact in any way with any man OR whether she was a virgin at the time the angel visited her and told her she would have a child.

Whether or not Christian and non-Christian sources agree, Mary is the 5th woman mentioned by Matthew in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
  • Bible References: MARY – MATT 1: 16, 18, 20; 2: 11; 13: 55; MK 6: 3; LK 1: 27, 30, 41, 56; 2: 5, 16, 19


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A Lineage of Grace:Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity

Hearts Graphic #93



Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter





Women of the Bible: Rahab - The Noble Harlot

In the History of the Jews, Rahab was a Canaanite Harlot Who Believed.  The genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew mentions five women. One of them is Rahab.


{Before you read this I have a couple of questions that are not answered in the Bible about Rahab, but it would be interesting to know the answers. QUESTION:  When the spies entered Rahab’s house or “business”, she told them she believed the account of an incident that had occurred 40 years ago.  It was not breaking news on CNN.  So … how old was Rahab?  Was she about 50 years old?  Was she older than 50?  Older than 50 and turning tricks?  (“Turning tricks” means still servicing customers.) ANOTHER QUESTION:  Because of her actions in hiding the spies, she saved her father, her mother and her brothers.  Would you not say her family was incredibly trusting and really had a lot of confidence in her?  But she was a whore!  Hoes get no respect!  Her family put their lives in her hands? To think of it, the story of Rahab is a remarkable story!]
 

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(Image credit: Tissot_The_Harlot_of_Jericho_and_the_Two_Spies.jpg )


Rahab (alternately spelled Rachab) was a Canaanite harlot who lived in Jericho . Her house was on the city wall. Though forty years has passed and Moses, the great Jewish leader and prophet who led the Israelites out of Egypt had died, Rahab spoke to the Jewish spies who came to her house, about the parting of the Red Sea as if it were a current event. (The writers impression.) She mentioned the event along with another happening, the destruction of Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites and informed the spies that the people of Jericho were afraid for their lives, as was she.

Unlike the inhabitants of the land of Jericho, Rahab's heart did not melt. Rahab had decided (because she believed the reports about Jehovah, God of the children of Israel) that since the destruction of Jericho was as certain to become an historical event as had the other two events she referenced, she could only bargain for her life and those with her, and hope that the Israelites would honor the agreement. The Jewish spies promised her protection. They agreed that when they attacked the city of Jericho, she and whoever was in her house with her their lives would be spared. This they promised because Rahab had risked her life by hiding them from the kings messengers and helped them to escape. When the Israelites captured Jericho they kept their promise to Rahab.

Indeed Rahab was afraid but her survival instinct seems to have overruled her fear. Or was it her faith? The kings messengers could have discovered her secret and what would have been her end? The Jewish spies could have just as easily broken their promise and what would have been her end? Why did she do what she did? Was it fear? Or was it faith? Faith in a God she had only heard reports of, about incidents she had not witnessed. No scriptures for her to read. No prophet to guide her. No one to teach her the difference between the gods she likely had been taught to worship versus Jehovah.

In Christian (New Testament) scriptures, Rahab is listed as one of the heroes of faith (Heb 11: 31) and commended for her example of faith (James 2: 25). Rahab was accepted as a proselyte (convert) to the Judaism and became an ancestor of King David, the beloved second monarch who ruled over the united kingdom of Israel. Though Matthew the Apostle and Saint Luke both trace the lineage of Jesus, only Matthew mentions Rahab a prostitute who became the wife of Salmon and the mother of Boaz, the grandmother of Obed, the great grandmother of Jesse, who was the father of David, King of Israel. (Matt 1: 5, 6) 



References:

  • The scriptural references provided can be used to piece together Rahab's real life story. JOSH 2: 1; 6:17, 25; MATT 1: 5; HEB 11: 31; JMS 2: 25
  • "Seekers of the Promised Land." Great People of the Bible and How They Lived. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest Association, 1974.
  • Youngblood, Ronald F., F. F. Bruce, and R. K. Harrison. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995. 

glitter-graphics.com




Rahab's Story



Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter



Women of the Bible: Tamar - The Noble Harlot

In the History of the Jews, Tamar was a dutiful widow who played the harlot.  The genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew mentions five women. One of them is Tamar.

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(Image credit: Gelder, Aert de - Tamar and Judah; Public Domain)

Tamar (alternately spelled Thamar) was the wife of Er, the firstborn of Judah, who was the fourth son of Jacob. Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. Jacob fathered twelve sons who became the twelve tribes which comprise the nation of Israel. Er died and according to the Law of Moses regarding marriage, a man was required to marry the widow of his brother, if the brother dies with no male heir. (Note 1) This was to be done to preserve the name and estate of the deceased. Therefore, Onan, Ers brother married Tamar. But Onan also died. 

Judah, the father-in-law had a third son, Shelah. At the time of Onans death, Shelah was too young to marry. Being fully aware of the law and its requirements, Judah promised Tamar that when Shelah was old enough, he would give her to him in marriage. But when the time came, Judah did not honor his word and obey the law. In desperation to conceive a son who would preserve her late husbands name and estate, Tamar disguised herself as a harlot (a prostitute) and offered her services to Judah. She became pregnant with twin sons. Months later, when Judah was informed of Tamars pregnancy, he demanded that she brought out publicly and put to death; the penalty for whoredom. IT WAS THE LAW!!! 

When Tamar proved that Judah, her father-in-law, was the father of her unborn, Judah publicly acknowledged his own guilt. Because he had not allowed Shelah to marry Tamar, he was the outlaw. Tamar was fully vindicated. She had obeyed the law and was judged as not having committed any act deserving of punishment; particularly punishment by death. Tamar was acknowledged as being righteous, because she was determined to preserve her late husbands family line. The names of the twin sons were Perez (or Phares) and Zerah (or Zara) recorded in the Gospel of Matthew as follows: And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar (Matt 1: 3) 

Tamar understood her duty, and she also knew her rights and the rights of the dead. The scriptures do not indicate that she conspired or consulted with anyone for advice. She determined what needed to be done in order to right a wrong and had the courage to follow through. 

Note 1: Among the Hebrews marriage with a brother's widow was forbidden as a general rule (Lev. xviii. 16, xx. 21), but was regarded as obligatory (Deut. xxv. 56) when there was no male issue, and when the two brothers had been dwelling on the same family. 


References:

  • The scriptural references provided can be used to piece together Tamar's real life story. GEN 38: 6, 24; RUTH 4: 12; 1 CHRON 2: 4; MATT 1: 3

glitter-graphics.com

Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter





06 June 2017

Greek Mythology: The Harpies | Daily Two Cents

Greek Mythology: The Harpies


Harpy
Harpy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In addition to blogging my thoughts and sharing web findings at my own blogs, I also participate in various online writing communities, mainly to increase my web presence but also because it's a revenue stream.

Daily Two Cents is one of those communities and the link above is to a sample post. Do you like to write? Won't you join us? 

07 January 2017

The History of Astrology and the Gifts of the Magi

Just read an interesting blog post about the history of astrology and how it was applied in the beginning. (Reference: The Brilliant History of Astrology on Earth | Literacy Base

I believe the initial use of the science of astrology, "in the beginning", i.e. to predict weather for agriculture purposes, natural disasters, etc., is its correct use or application. 

The post goes on to state that people began to say they could apply it in human affairs for success. I believe that could possibly be when scam and con artists began to leave their indelible marks on the history of mankind. With one exception.

*The star that led the wise men to Jesus.* 


Image credit: Star Of Bethlehem by FullMoonMaster on DeviantArt
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦


The visit of the Magi may be a part of the so-called Christmas tradition but more importantly … it's a true story.  

It's an integral part of the most beautiful story every told.  





Christmas Tradition: The Gifts of the Magi - Daily Two Cents

Christmas Tradition: The Gifts of the Magi - Daily Two Cents

Every year during the month of December, many people direct their minds to the story about the birth of Jesus, revered by faithful Christians as the Savior of the world. Although the nativity scene always shows the three wise men (also called the three kings) adoring a newborn baby and bearing gifts, the biblical account indicates that their visitation did not occur on the night that Mary gave birth.



05 April 2016

The Olive Tree has been highly regarded since ancient times ...

The olive branch holds a special place in Jewish and Christian beliefs and traditions.
Olive Branch

Olive trees are considered as "Immortal" because they can live for up to two hundred years, and just before a tree dies, new branches sprout from its roots.

There are artists living and working in the Holy City of Bethlehem who specialize in sculpting unique treasures and creating inspirational art from olive wood.
 
Olive tree  
Throughout history, the olive tree has been regarded as a symbol of peace and goodwill.


The craft of olive wood carving has been practiced since the 4th century.




lion and lamb olive wood carving

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Glackens - Hillside with Olive Trees Poster
Glackens - Hillside with Olive Trees Poster by Virginia5050
Shop for a Poster template or design online at Zazzle.com






Clipart Image Credits:  Olive Tree © Photographer: Scusi | Agency: Dreamstime.com; AND Olive Branch © Photographer: Cidepix | Agency: Dreamstime.com * * *

19 November 2015

Are You a Wizzler Too? (Wizzley.com)

Once heard the late Gene Kelly (1912 - 1996) describe the late Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009) as being “eclectic”. The word “ec·lec·tic” is an adjective and it means, in the sense that it was used by Mr. Kelly, that Mr. Jackson derived ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources, and applied this knowledge quite well, especially when he performed.

If I were to describe my collection of pages published at Wizzley.com, the word eclectic would paint a very nice picture.

My first article – accepted for publication two years ago - was about modern day Arabs who claim to be the seed of Abraham and there is no reason why anybody should doubt their claims. The Hebrew patriarch that the Jews, Christians and Muslims all call Father Abraham had many sons (one by his first wife, Sarah; one by his first wife's maid servant, Hagar; and several more by his second wife, Keturah, whom he married after the death of his first wife). Those sons had a bunch more sons and the lineage just kept on growing!! One of the sons of Abraham was Ishmael and he went to live in the desert. It is believed that the “desert people”, the Arabs, are his descendants.

My pages are eclectic because finding a “niche” has proven to be a most difficult task. Can't seem to find a specific topic to focus on. Consequently, my pages are about movies , music and books ; real estate , art , history , food , blogging , etc. To date, 37 pages have been published.

The Wizzley Team encourages their writers to publish a Wizzography ; which is very similar to our introductions here at Persona Paper; only it's not required. Very much enjoy writing at this site and the community is exceptionally friendly and supportive and … way smarter than me!  :)



* * *  Source: Persona Paper






Popular Pages on Wizzley





Wizzley


01 February 2015

The Practice of Human Bondage

When did slavery begin? Its practice was commonplace during biblical times; the Bible weaves intricate details of slavery into the accounts of daily lives. 

Continue reading: 

The Practice of Human Bondage: When Did Slavery Begin?



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Civil War Perspectives: Why are those happy slaves shooting at us?
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Image credit:  Slaves Zadib Yemen 13th century BNF Paris, Wikimedia Commons

27 January 2015

Sometimes I Babble - Can't You Tell?

Am I babbling now?


  • Ignorance was always a choice. (“… fools hate knowledge”)


  • Information was always currency. (“Buy the truth and sell it not.”)


  • Knowledge is freely offered and there for the taking or … accepting. (“Choose knowledge rather than choice gold.”)


  • Wisdom when rightly applied is the key to not wasting your life way. (“Teach us to number our days.”)

Personification of knowledge (Greek Επιστημη, ...
Personification of knowledge (Greek Επιστημη, Episteme) in Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*** Fun Bible Trivia for Kids: More Than 700 Knowledge-Testing, Brain-Bending, Head-Scratching Questions for Kids Ages 8 to 12

- Sometimes I babble.

- Sometimes I say things that are verifiable truths.

What say you?

***

09 November 2014

The Genealogy of Jesus: Women Named in the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke Supply Information About the Ancestors of Jesus of Nazareth. One striking dissimilarity between the genealogies of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel accounts of Luke and Matthew, is the mention of five women in the Gospel according to Matthew.

The alleged differences in the genealogy of Jesus in the gospels of Matthew versus Luke are often disputed. But no one denies that Matthew mentions the names of five women.


Olive wood statue ~ Madonna and ChildThe accounts of Matthew and Luke are the only two of the four Gospels that include a genealogy of Jesus. The majority of Bible scholars agree that Matthew was a Jew who wrote primarily for a Jewish audience; and that Luke was a Gentile who wrote for a Gentile (i.e. non-Jewish) readership. The New Testament scriptures do not reveal much biographical data about Luke, and it is not clearly stated whether he was a Gentile or Jew. The genealogy recorded in Luke traces the lineage of Jesus through Joseph, his earthly father, backtracking from Joseph to Adam, the first man. Whereas Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus, beginning with Abraham, the patriarch or father of the Jewish nation, moving forward in history to Joseph.


Over the years, there has been much dispute about the alleged differences between the genealogies and over how to reconcile or rather, harmonize these two Gospels. This article does not address these disagreements because it written with another purpose in mind. That purpose being: to call attention to the fact that there is one striking dissimilarity that no scholar tries to reconcile or explain away. The Gospel according to Matthew includes the mention of five women.
  1. Tamar, a dutiful widow who played the harlot
  2. Rahab, a woman who was a harlot
  3. Ruth, a dutiful widow who was destitute
  4. Bathsheba, the wife of a murdered husband
  5. Mary, a young girl who married a man named Joseph
(Note: Bathsheba is not mentioned by name. She is referred to indirectly as, her that had been the wife of Uriah. The other four women are named. )


Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute, at peril to her life, in an effort to shame her father-in-law into admitting publicly that he had wronged her and that he would honor his word and obey the law.

Rahab was a prostitute. It was not uncommon for men to frequent her residence. Yet, when certain men were seen entering her place of business, she risked her life to save theirs, not really knowing if they would, in turn, spare her life. 

Bathsheba, the wife of a valiant warrior, at home alone, summoned to a kings bed chamber to satisfy his unlawful lusts and desires. Wasn't it enough that she had been violated and that she was with child because of it? Did her husband have to be murdered to cover up the act? But it was likely reported to her that her husband, Uriah, had been killed in battle. After all, he was a soldier. Nathan, the prophet, later compared Bathsheba to a little ewe lamb, the only precious possession of a poor man and that poor man had been robbed of everything he had! But who would commit such an act of cruelty? 

Ruth was a destitute widow with an uncertain future. Yet she chose to make a dangerous journey with her mother-in-law and travel to a land away from the home she had known all her life, with nothing. Would the remaining days of her life be bitter? Or would the people she had chosen to accept be willing to accept her and show her mercy and kindness? 

Mary, an innocent young girl, greeted by an angel with these words: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. What must she have thought? But my cousin Elisabeth is the wife of a priest and prophet. She and her husband have always been righteous before God, walking in all of His commandments and ordinances. (Luke 1:6) Who am I? What great thing have I done? Why is the Lord with me? Me?
 

These brief summaries provide a glimpse into the lives of these five women. Using the various scriptural references below, one can piece together their real life stories.
  • TAMAR - GEN 38: 6, 24; RUTH 4: 12; 1 CHRON 2: 4; MATT 1: 3
  • RAHAB - JOSH 2: 1; 6:17, 25; MATT 1: 5; HEB 11: 31; JMS 2: 25
  • RUTH - RUTH 1: 1 4: 22; MATT 1: 5
  • BATHSHEBA - 2 SAM 11: 3; 12: 24; 1 KINGS 1:15, 28, 31; 2:13
  • MARY - MATT 1: 16, 18, 20; 2: 11; 13: 55; MK 6: 3; LK 1: 27, 30, 41, 56; 2: 5, 16, 19
While it is true that some parts of the biblical accounts are quite scandalous, the biographies of these women can also serve as inspiring accounts of hope, courage, faith, loyalty, love, obedience and a woman's internal beauty and quiet inner strength.

Image credits: Olive Wood Statue of Mary Holding Baby Jesus (from: The Jerusalem Export House
) ; glitter-graphics.com

Sources:
  • Scriptural references can be easily researched online at Bible Gateway.
  • "Seekers of the Promised Land." Great People of the Bible and How They Lived. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest Association, 1974.
  • Youngblood, Ronald F., F. F. Bruce, and R. K. Harrison. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995.

Similar or Related Article:

05 September 2014

Witches vs Secret Societies: Threat or Real Threat?

In Judaism, during Bible times, the practice of witchcraft was forbidden. Not just witches, but sorcerers, soothsayers, fortune-tellers (psychics), etc. Those who engaged in such activities were counted as nothing more than deceivers with evil intent. The practitioners claimed that they had supernatural powers and some sort of direct connection to the gods or God, which they did not have. Because they dared to say that they could communicate as a medium or intercessor and could convey messages to and from the Divine, knowing full well that they had no such powers or capabilities, how could their intentions have been pure and honest? There was no doubt that their aim or purpose was to defraud another person or do even worse than that. For this reason, the punishment for practicing witchcraft was severe. (That's my understanding.) 



During the first century, converts to Christianity, openly and publicly renounced the practices of witchcraft, sorcery, etc. - referred to as "curious arts" - and professed that their faith was the only power needed to overcome evil and to commune with the Creator.

Persecution of witches
Persecution of witches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • Science? Philosophy? Religion? Exploring your religious options? Some say witchcraft is a religion. Let's explore.

That was then.  Today we need to focus our attention on real threats like ...

SECRET SOCEITIES.