Friday, October 13, 2017

The Time Bender


Sixteen-year-old Selina’s battle with APD (Avoidant Personality Disorder) seriously hampers her ability to socialize and find that oh-so-perfect boyfriend. When two interstellar teens target her for kidnapping because they’ve discovered she has the ability to manipulate time, she interprets their actions as flirting. She battles her APD to awkwardly engage in interpersonal contact, something she’s only ever been able to do easily with boy-next-door Alex. When the space teens lure her beyond Earth’s bounds and she realizes she does have a phenomenal time-bending ability, she must decide: can she leave Earth to help them and can she leave Alex?

THE TIME BENDER on Amazon

Friday, October 6, 2017

2nd Corinthians, part 2, Its Link to Leviticus


A Ministry of reconciliation. 

Read 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 – 21:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Why is this important? Because it matches up to the first gimel book, Leviticus. See Leviticus 16:32 – 34:

Friday, September 29, 2017

2nd Corinthians, part 1, the Comfort of the Holy Spirit

Major Theme

2nd Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul. Its major theme is always to be faithful to Christ. This epistle shows Paul’s state of physical weakness, weariness, and pain as well as his great anguish of heart over the distrust felt toward him by Jews and Jewish Christians. The letters tells us of Paul’s principles of action for ministry, the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem and Paul’s defense of his apostolic authority.
2nd Corinthians teaches that God loves a cheerful giver. There are two whole chapters on the virtue of giving. The ministry of reconciliation is also a major theme.

Friday, September 22, 2017

1st Corinthians and Sexual Immorality


Major Themes

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to inform them that he was sending Timothy to them and to give them some much needed reminders and instructions. His major themes are: divisions within the church, his own authority, sexual morality, what to do about food sacrificed to idols, the Lord ’s Supper, spiritual gifts, love, and the resurrection.

Let’s look first at the word division as it comes up in Young’s Literal Translation of 1st Corinthians 1:10 and 3:3:

 10 And I call upon you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the same thing ye may all say, and there may not be divisions among you, and ye may be perfected in the same mind, and in the same judgment,
 3 for yet ye are fleshly, for where [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not fleshly, and in the manner of men do walk?

There is a direct correlation to Exodus. 

See Exodus 8:23:
 23 and I have put a division between My people and thy people: to-morrow is this sign.'

Friday, September 15, 2017

THE TIME BENDER, YA light SciFi-Fantasy with Splash of Teen Hormones



Intergalactic warrior-in-training Marcum trades his spaceship for high school classes, basketball, and homemade pies in order to court Earth girl Selina. So what if his first motive is to exploit her obvious gift of time-bending—the ability to slow the passage of time—something that would be invaluable in fighting other aliens. Now he can’t help falling for her. When his planet’s leaders learn the secret of her gift they vote to breed her with Marcum’s arch rival, Coreg, whose ability to speed up time has helped him beat Marcum at every simulated battle they’ve practiced together. Creating a race of people with both abilities would make them unstoppable against their adversaries, the star cannibals.

Selina starts to fall for both Coreg and Marcum’s clumsy flirting, but she doesn’t fall for their attempts to entice her into galactic warfare. She hates video games like that. She’s afraid of heights. She’s never even been alone with a boy in a car, let alone a spaceship. And she doesn’t think Marcum’s spaceship is anything more than one heck of a science project until Marcum takes her to the moon and back.

It may seem like she can make a moment last for hours, but what’s the point if it makes those uncomfortable moments stretch out longer? Do Coreg and Marcum really expect her to give up everything she cares about—her best friend Alex, her special needs brother, Hershey’s chocolate—to go up, up in a rickety spaceship again and, dare she think it, fight? Nuh-uh, not gonna happen. Especially since one of them is too awkward to even kiss her.

But hormones are the same from one end of the universe to the other and a few almost-kisses have put stars in Marcum’s eyes. Nevertheless, keeping his loyalty to his planet means going along with Coreg’s plan to kidnap her. He hates himself for keeping Selina's fate a secret from her. Hates himself more for not going after that kiss. When his conscience becomes a black hole of love and guilt, betrayal seems his only option. The question is, whom should he betray?

And—why does Alex keep getting in the way?


Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE TIME BENDER - Goodreads Giveaway


Who doesn't like free stuff? Here's a chance to get a paperback copy of my new release


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Time Bender by Debra Chapoton

The Time Bender

by Debra Chapoton

Giveaway ends September 18, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Young Adult SciFi-Fantasy Series THE TIME BENDER


THE TIME BENDER

Selina Langston can barely make eye contact with boys, let alone talk to them—except for Alex, her one and only friend. Although he has a psychic connection to her, even he doesn’t know she’s been receiving clairvoyant visions from the next galaxy. That is, until Marcum and Coreg, two god-like hotties from a planet called Klaqin, suddenly appear in school as foreign exchange students. Alex is suspicious, but Selina doesn’t think Marcum’s spaceship is anything more than one heck of a science project—until he takes her to the moon and back. While adjusting to her new found skill of socializing with boys, Selina unwittingly displays her unique ability to bend time, just what the galaxy-hopping pair were searching for.


Being pursued by two guys would be a dream come true for Selina, if she weren’t busy caring for her special needs brother or dodging snarky remarks from classmates who find her skin color disturbing. Add Alex’s confession of love, a stunning revelation about her ancestry, and a very confused Selina must choose between her heart and her head. And between Klaqin and Earth, before both are destroyed.

Rated PG-13

THE TIME BENDER

available in paperback Kindle and Nook and other digital formats on Smashwords

Friday, September 1, 2017

New Young Adult Sci-Fi Series

Coming September 13, 2017


THE TIME BENDER


Book 1 in the 4 book series


An intergalactic warrior-in-training trades his spaceship for high school classes, basketball, and homemade pies in order to court an Earth girl who has an unexpected super power.


A Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure


When a chance encounter with a galaxy hopping space warrior drops Selina Langston down a rabbit hole of kidnapping schemes, time altering super powers and an occasional intergalactic battle, she must decide whether to trust her head, her heart or her hormones.

Until now sixteen-year-old Selina hasn’t had any prospects for a boyfriend. She’s been shunned by her peers due to her clumsy social skills and her oh-so-public blunders, not to mention her proclivity to think and speak in hashtags and stage cues. But then Marcum, a mysterious foreign exchange student, arrives by way of an interplanetary spaceship. Selina is entranced by his good looks and an awkward manner that rivals her own. Marcum is captivated by Selina’s power to lengthen time, something she didn’t even know she could do. This could be a match made in the heavens … if it weren’t for two factors that will keep them apart. And a galactic journey Selina can’t possibly survive.

This first book in a 4 book series releases September 13, 2017. You can pre-order now here.


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Friday, August 25, 2017

Romans, part 5, More Benedictions than any other Book

Romans includes more benedictions than any other book in the Bible. Here they are. Romans 11:33-36; 15:13; 15:30-33; 16:20; and 16:25-27:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
   How unsearchable his judgments,
   and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
   Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
   that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
   To him be the glory forever! Amen. 

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
   The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

 25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. 

Amen

Friday, August 18, 2017

Romans, part 4, the Intimacy of the Holy Spirit

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, we find the ONLY place in all the Scriptures where we learn an intimate fact about the Holy Spirit – that the Spirit prays for the believer:
 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us! This is very comforting, as is another verse in Romans – 8:28:
 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
How is this comforting?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Romans, part 3, the Perfect Symmetry between Sin and Sacrifice

Here are some other really cool things about Romans. In chapter 5, verses 12 – 21 we find the explanation of the perfect contrast between Adam and Christ. Read this slowly and thoughtfully because it is really deep:
 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Do you understand the perfect symmetry between Adam’s sin and Christ’s sacrifice?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Romans, part 2, Obvious Connective Links with Genesis


When we looked at the 2nd aleph book (Isaiah) we saw the connective verses about the potter (God) and the clay (man) that were in Isaiah and then reappeared in Romans, now we’ll look at the story that started in Genesis, the first aleph book, and finished in Romans, the third aleph book. Watch.
Genesis 17: 1 – 5:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Romans, part 1, Israel Will Be Saved




There are 66 books in the Bible. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. If you match up each book with a corresponding letter the first letter, aleph, goes with Genesis (the first book of the Law), Isaiah (the first book of the Prophets), and Romans (the first book of the Christian Epistles).
Romans was written by the Apostle Paul. Its major themes are the gospel of God, the redemption truth and reconciling the promises to Israel with the promises concerning the Gentiles. Its greatest teaching is the doctrine of grace. This book shows us that all are guilty before God but can receive justification through the righteousness of God by faith.
Let’s look first at Romans 3:25, 26:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Acts, part 2, Acrostic Clues


Let’s check the acrostic verses for clues as to what we want to focus on in Acts. (If you don't know what acrostic or alphabetic verses in the Bible are, read this.)
Psalm 119: 175:
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
   and may your laws sustain me.
Let me live. Literally the Hebrew says “Let my soul live.” That kind of gives us a longer range plan, doesn’t it? The Hebrew word for “live” is the root for “resurrection.”
Lamentations 4:22:
 22 Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion;
   he will not prolong your exile.
But he will punish your sin, Daughter Edom,
   and expose your wickedness.
Punishment will end. The Hebrew word here is “tamam” meaning “completed.”
Psalm 25:21:
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
   because my hope, LORD, is in you.
Integrity is the word used here to translate the Hebrew tav word “tom” which also means perfection, completion and moral purity. Taken together from these alphabetic verses we get the theme of living forever, all things being completed, finished.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Acts, part 1, a Quick Summary


Tav is the last of the 22 Hebrew letters and it links up with Song of Songs in the Old Testament and Acts and Revelation in the New Testament. The symbolic meaning of this letter is mark, sign or cross. We saw in the first tav book, Song of Songs, that there is a strong correlation between these books and this letter having to do with consummation and marriage. The number one major theme of the book of the Acts of the Apostles is the receiving of the Holy Spirit followed by the profession of Christ to the Jews at Pentecost and then to the Gentiles. This was the beginning of the Christian church which is, in all respects, the beginning of the Bride of Christ.
In Acts the first nine chapters recount the rise of the early church with Peter being the prominent character; the rest of the book follows with the conversion and ministry of the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts is written by the physician, Luke, who spent much time alongside Saint Paul, traveling and witnessing. In his previous book Luke wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the ascension. That book was written to a certain Theophilus, a man who was probably wealthy enough to help Luke get his information published, and Acts is also addressed to this same Theophilus. His name, by the way, means “lover of God” or “loved by God.” With that in mind I like to think that these books were written personally to me.
The thesis verse of Acts is found in chapter 1, verse 8, when Jesus says the following:

Friday, July 7, 2017

John, part 4, The Irrefutable Logic of a Blind Man


Jesus brings Light and Life. The blind man in John chapter 9 is in for the surprise of his life. Watch how he gets physical sight and how he gains another sense, too: spiritual sight. If you don’t know the story here it is in a nutshell:
Jesus and his disciples come across the blind man, Jesus heals him, the Pharisees are in an uproar because He healed on the Sabbath, there’s an investigation and the Pharisees kick the formerly blind man out of synagogue, and the story ends with Jesus revealing His divinity to the man who then gains spiritual sight.
Now, you be the blind guy:
You’ve heard the scriptures read, you know the prophecies, you hang around the temple all the time begging and listening. You hear some men talking about you. They’re asking their leader if you or your parents are responsible for your blindness. The leader says neither you nor your parents are responsible; he says that you’re blind so the work of God can be displayed in your life. You’re more alert. You hear them get closer and the leader puts something on your face over those rounds things that are called eyes, but have no function for you. He tells you to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. You have some faith so you do.
What is this?! Is this sight?! This is unbelievable! You cannot contain your excitement. You find your way home and your neighbors think you’re an imposter. You tell them what happened. They ask how this could be. You say it was “the man.”

Friday, June 30, 2017

John, part 3, Jesus is God


As I studied this book I found several outlines by various commentators. They tended to divide the book up into 5 or 6 parts: 1st the opening or foreword in chapter 1 with the theme of the pre-existence of Christ, 2nd the beginning of his ministry, the “big reveal,” so to speak, up through chapter 6. Then the 3rd section is the next year of his ministry and how his claims were rejected (through chapter 12). I noticed that the verses with the word light stopped abruptly then (see last week’s post). The next section contains Holy Week, the passion, the crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The last section (chapters 20 – 22) is of the 40 days following His resurrection.
Back in verse 1 of chapter 1 we found that Jesus was eternal, was with God and was God. Let’s look at his claims found in John that He is God:
John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 6:32-35 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Friday, June 23, 2017

John, part 2, The Light of the Son vs. the Light of the Sun


Remember how in Ecclesiastes we found more instances of the word sun than in any other Bible book? There is not one instance of the word sun in John even though both books are linked by the Hebrew letter shin. And look at how John compares with the other three Gospel books:

There is no reason for such an absence other than to show God’s precision in His design of the Bible. Despite the absence of the sun look how the light shines in John:


The following are from the KJV:
John 1:4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
John 1:8: He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John 1:9: That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 3:19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Friday, June 16, 2017

John, part 1, the Pre-Existence of Jesus


The fourth book of the New Testament, JOHN, was written by the beloved apostle John around A.D. 90. This book is sharply different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. First of all it was written much later and most of the church already possessed copies of the other Gospels. These Christians wanted deeper truths and there wasn’t anyone better to write them than someone from the Master’s inner circle. John was the one who leaned on Jesus at the last supper, the one who didn’t flee from Christ’s judgment, the one who stood at the cross and received Jesus’ request to care for Mary.
Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they include many of the same stories in the same order, thus they are synoptic (one view, of the same eye), but John doesn’t follow that pattern. In fact, we don’t even find the parables that are so prevalent in the other gospels. In John the themes are deeper, such as the pre-existence of Christ, His incarnation, the work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ relation to the Father.
The book of John can be divided into several major parts. It begins with the pre-existence of Jesus.

Friday, June 9, 2017

EXOTIQA by M. Black


BOOK: EXOTIQA
GENRE: YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia

BLURB: 
When the nation is controlled by a popular online program, those that deviate risk their lives. But that never stopped Fione. 

Read the second release by author M. Black, which fans of Divergent, Freelancer, iRobot,and The Glitch will enjoy. Filled with haunting questions of consciousness and artificial intelligence, identity and self-awareness, politics and love, life and death, the reader will be engaged in an entertaining story filled with futuristic technology. 

Set in the cyberpunk year 2055 in British Columbia, Canada, where humans are part robotic and robots are becoming more humanlike, the line dividing the two is becoming less clear. 

When sixteen-year-old Fione meets Maci, a twenty-one-year-old Flexbot who escapes from ImaTech located along the crust of the Coast Mountains, Fione’s life is taken on a roller-coaster ride of events that begins with trying to save Maci from ImaTech Corporation and ends with trying to save the country.

Friday, June 2, 2017

SCORPION from The Myriad Series by Cindy Stone


SCORPION from The Myriad Series by Cindy Stone
Displaying Scorpion-front-jacket.jpg



SCORPION 

An ancient power. A modern mystic. The enemy unleashed. 

It began as a day like any other, when Avery Adams, daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest and most influential men, is pushed from a crowded subway platform into an oncoming train. Is it chance, or the wheels of destiny set in motion, when Aiden Kane, expert martial artist saves her, and they are thrust into the apex of a ten thousand year old battle for power. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cool Words in the Gospel of Luke

Last week we looked at how Luke lines up and links with the Old Testament book of Proverbs. We saw how the word wisdom occurs noticeably in Luke and not the other gospels. I wondered if there were other words that would show up in greater numbers in the three resh books (Bible books that line up with the same Hebrew letter, in this case Proverbs, Luke, and 3rd John) if I did a search. Of course they would have to be words that started with this Hebrew letter. In The Bible Wheel by Richard Amiel McGough words such as physician (ropheh), to heal (rapha), friend (reyah), and racham (mercy, compassion and with different vowel points womb) are given as key words that link to these three books. I chose “friend” and did a search. Here’s my chart of what I found:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Linking the Gospel of Luke to Proverbs


Luke is our third gospel account of the life of Christ. Luke writes from a perspective different from the others because he was not an apostle, however, as a Greco-Syrian physician who traveled with St. Paul and spoke with many eyewitnesses, his accounts are accepted and authenticated. Luke was a well-educated man as evidenced by his command of the Greek language. His Latin name hints that he was probably not Jewish. Scholars believe his Gospel was written between 70 and 80 A.D.
Right away I’m going to link Luke to Proverbs, because Proverbs (a book of Wisdom) is the 20th book in the Bible, matching up to the 20th Hebrew letter, resh, and Luke appears 22 books later, also matching up to resh. In my research I found instances where writers referred to Luke as the “Proverbial Gospel” so I did my own chart to see if I could corroborate this claim. I found 41 parables in all in Matthew, Mark and Luke. John doesn’t have a single parable though it does contain allegories. There are 41 different parables, 23 in Matthew, only 9 in Mark, and the most, 29, in Luke with 17 of those being unique to this Gospel.
First I want to show you how the word parable relates to the word proverb. In Luke 4:23 we find this:

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Different Look at the Gospel of Mark



The Gospel of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Mark, the author, belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem where he became a Christian. He worked with both Paul and Peter. His gospel is unique because it emphasizes Jesus’ actions more than His teachings, moving quickly from one episode to another. Mark does not begin with a genealogy as Matthew did, because he is writing for the Gentiles who would not care about His lineage. He starts with John the Baptist preparing the way, then Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples. Then Mark gives us healings and parables and miracles.  We follow Our Lord’s journeys through Galilee, the surrounding areas, and then to Judea at a rapid pace. In fact, the swiftness is revealed in the actually telling of the events. An example of this unique swiftness presents itself early on in chapter 1, verses 10 – 14. This is from Young’s Literal Translation so you can see the fast pace exactly as it was written. I eliminated the verse numbers and put the "swift" words in red:
  And it came to pass in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John at the Jordan; and immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens dividing, and the Spirit as a dove coming down upon him; and a voice came out of the heavens, `Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in whom I did delight.' And immediately doth the Spirit put him forth to the wilderness, and he was there in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by the Adversary, and he was with the beasts, and the messengers were ministering to him.
Whew! Notice the punctuation? Just two sentences. Now let’s compare other nearly identical scenes recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke and see how Mark uses a particularly “swift” word:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Matthew, part 2, Jesus' Last Public Speech

Let’s look at Matthew chapter 23 and really examine it. This is the last public speech that Jesus gives. It is Wednesday, two days before the crucifixion. In my Bible this chapter is headed the “Seven Woes” and it starts with a big slam of the current teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Read 23: 1 – 12:
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
   5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Wow, what a speech. Jesus denounces the false leaders. He says in verse 2 that the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat which gives them great authority. The Greek word here is kathedra which means bench and is the basis of our word cathedral. In verse 3 he says to obey them and to do what they preach, which is the Law, but don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they preach. There’s trouble coming otherwise; just look at verses 13 – 36:

Friday, April 28, 2017

The First Book of the New Testament, An Overview of Matthew

Mathew, part 1
Matthew’s name means “gift of Jehovah” which is interesting since we know that he was a tax collector. There is some evidence that he wrote this book originally in Hebrew and maybe in both Hebrew and Greek. There are 23 parables in Matthew, 11 of which do not appear in the other gospels. Of the twenty miracles recorded, three are unique to this account.
There’s a lot to cover in Matthew like the genealogy of Jesus, His birth, the story of the wise men being guided by the star, and the escape into Egypt. Then Matthew jumps thirty years ahead to John the Baptist preparing the way, Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the disciples. There’s the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ ministry, including many healings and miracles, many parables and a lot of teaching. Matthew records Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
What’s particularly interesting is the explicit use of the word “righteousness.”
First compare the beatitudes as presented in Matthew with the equivalent verses in Luke. Matthew 5:6 says:
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled
Whereas Luke 6:21 says:
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
One after another the parallel passages in Matthew include the word “righteous” or "righteousness," but those words are absent from Luke.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Malachi, part 2, Its Chiastic Structure

Malachi has a chiastic structure or pattern. That is, an artistic effect is achieved by balancing reversed clauses against one another. Here’s the chiastic structure in Malachi:
Message (1:1)
B Proof of God's Love (1:2-5)
C Condemnation (1:6—2:9)
D Marital Infidelity (2:10-16)
D' Marital Infidelity (2:17—3:6)
C' Condemnation  (3:7-12)
B' Proof of God's Love (3:13—4:3)

A' Message (4:4-6) 
(Stuart, Douglas. "Malachi." In The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expositional Commentary, 3:1245-1396. 3 vols. Edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992, 1993, and 1998.(p. 1250))

Isn't that cool? Here's what each section is about:
A Superscription (1:1): Yahweh has a message for Israel.
B First Disputation (1:2-5): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
C Second Disputation (1:6—2:9): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
D Third Disputation (2:10-16): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.
D' Fourth Disputation (2:17—3:6): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.    
C' Fifth Disputation (3:7-12): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
B' Sixth Disputation (3:13—4:3): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
A' Summary challenge (4:4-6): Yahweh has a message for Israel.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Malachi, part 1, The Last Book of the Old Testament

Malachi, part 1
Malachi (“my messenger”) was written by Malachi. This book is the last of the Minor Prophets and fits in our timeline just after Esther and the institution of the feast of Purim. Since Malachi addressed many of the same matters that Nehemiah tried to reform, it is thought that we can date Malachi during Nehemiah's governorship. Both Malachi and Nehemiah deal with priestly laxity (Mal. 1:6; Neh. 13:4-9), neglect of tithes (Mal. 3:7-12; Neh. 13:10-13), and inter-marriage between Israelites and foreigners (Mal. 2:10-16; Neh. 13:23-28). When will they learn?
In a quick reading of chapter one you’ll find the Lord a bit angry to put it mildly. He says, “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” He calls out the priests for showing contempt for his name by offering defiled food on the altar. Read the following and you’ll begin to feel the mounting anger:
 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.
 12 “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty.
   “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
 What else is the Lord saying? Should we give Him our very best? How can I give the Lord anything less than my best?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Zechariah, part 3, Rebukes, Reminders, and Restoration



Now the book jumps ahead two years and there are rebukes and reminders before Israel can be restored. In chapter 7 the Lord rebukes the people for fasting and mourning for themselves instead of for the Lord. He reminds them to administer justice, show mercy and compassion, not to oppress widows, the fatherless, foreigners or the poor and not to think evil of each other. He reminds them that they did not do these things and as a result they suffered condemnation.
Chapter 8 outlines the restoration and that God will save His people and bring them back to live in Jerusalem. God will take them from poverty to productivity, from cursing to blessing, from fear to strength and power, and from fasting to feasting.
Next we have oracles and your Bible may have the print set up to look like poetry. The first oracle looks forward to the Good Shepherd’s rejection and the people’s acceptance of the anti-Christ. Look at 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Who is he talking about? Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey!