Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: UK

Super Tuesday – a foreigner’s view on the US Elections

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Well it’s here, a Super Tuesday with all the whizz, bang, razzle dazzle and pomp and circumstance you would expect from a day that could either make or break a campaign. I am a foreigner and cannot vote, I was born in Scotland and I take a keen interest in the UK political scene and I thought I would try my hand across the water in the race to see who will be President #45 of these great United States of America.

I love the circus of it all and how the politicians get out there a lot more than the leaders in the UK. (Possibly with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party) But the confusing part for a non-American is the color coding of the parties. America must be the only country in the world where the socialists are blue and the conservatives are red?

Obviously, unlike my other blogs there will be very few scriptures involved and this is mainly my opinion and I do encourage lively debate so if you think I am wrong then please call me on it and we will chat, if you belong to a group that thinks I am wrong then please share the link and whine about this article and what a mess I made of it and by the same token if you think I am right then please feel free to promote these fine words.

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is a day that many delegates are up for grabs; in the 2016 race we have delegates up for grabs in the following states…

Alabama, Alaska, (Rep only) American Samoa, (Dem only) Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming (Rep only)

So you can see why it is a big deal huh? As far as the Republican election candidate goes it is a huge deal as 1237 delegates are up for grabs and if one candidate gets the lion share of these delegates then he will be on his way to the election ballot. As for the Democrats they have 880 up for grabs and with their race almost neck and neck then this could be a really important day for a choice to become clearer.

The Republican issue – too many candidates

Here is the issue if you are of the red persuasion, you have five candidates going into Super Tuesday and a candidate that many “traditional Republicans” would rather not have leading the pack, I am of course talking about Donald Trump.

In case you have been sleeping or not paying attention then here is the candidate list in alphabetical order so I cannot be accused of bias.

• Ben Carson
• Ted Cruz
• John Kasich
• Marco Rubio
• Donald Trump

In this pack we have three career politicians and two folks with no political experience with a successful businessman and a neurosurgeon being the non-politico candidates. At the moment it looks very much like a three horse race between Cruz, Rubio and Trump.

Trump is very much ahead at present and if you were a gambling man then you would be putting money on Trump being the nomination for President. If this is not what you want then the next section may be for you.

How do you solve a problem like Trump?

Trump is an interesting one, when I saw that he was running for President I assumed and quite wrongly that it was a PR stunt and that it would fizzle out in five minutes and we would get a more appropriate list of candidates soon. It wasn’t a PR stunt and he is playing the field rather well. The bluster that is Trump and the desire to talk a lot and not say very much may actually be his undoing if he is up against a competent Democrat candidate should he get the nomination.

So far he has captured the imagination not just of Republicans but if you believe the spin that is coming from the Trump camp then he has captures the votes of “ex-Obama Democrats” and “Reagan Democrats” and if that is the case then based on that information alone he would have the White House sown up. For me this could be a blessing or a curse as far as the Republican establishment is concerned.

Yes they want to win the White House, they have been 8 years in opposition and for the first time since George W Bush they have a candidate that appeals to the non-traditional or non-Republican voter. The worrying point as far as the Republicans are concerned is “How do you control Trump if he gets to be the party’s nomination and do the party line rather than the Trump line?

Lastly, his campaign has been a lot of bluster and he has stolen more column inches than any other candidate (even in this column) and he rarely answers a question in a concise and relevant fashion rather than how he currently answers by speaking until even he is sick of his own voice. I would love it if the answers were on point as to what was asked and answered based on honesty and how the problems can be resolved. All the candidates have been guilty of wanting to “blame the other guy” rather than take the lead and take charge of the question.

Coalition could be the Republican answer

Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.

Has Trump damaged the Republican line?

There are hardline Republicans out there who are asking voters to vote anyone but Trump and I know at least one lady who is a prominent Republican who has stated that she would write in a candidate as opposed to voting for Trump if he would become the Republican nominee. That is her democratic right to do so and I do wonder if there are others out there who feel the same. This is why I ask if Trump has done more harm than good? Is a Trump presidency too high a price to pay to get your party in the White House?

The Democrats are a simpler race

The Democrats in this case have it right in that they have a two horse (or donkey as their logo suggests) race with the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton up against Bernie Sanders. Of course the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has endorsed his old friend Hillary and I believe that regardless of the will of the people I believe that there will be only one nominee.

At the moment Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck in the polls and will be very hard to split even after Super Tuesday, unless Bernie has a collapse at the polls then the will of the people will be somewhat evenly split towards the candidates. Where Clinton has the upper hand is in what the Democrats call “Super Delegates” and these delegates are separate from the ballot box and carry some weight and could tip the scales in favor of the Clinton camp.

The only way I see Clinton not getting the nomination is if criminal proceedings are started on here prior to the culmination of the nomination process or if Clinton takes a hammering at the ballot box and Bernie is the “people’s choice”, then it would be foolish to go against the wishes of the very people you will be shortly asking to vote him into office.

What are my predictions for Super Tuesday and beyond?

Super Tuesday certainly will go a long way to securing the nomination on both sides of the electoral landscape, however I believe that for the aforementioned reasons above I think that the big winners on Super Tuesday will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and that will lead to a Trump vs Clinton battle in November.

Who will win? Who knows! I think that Trump could shade a Trump vs Clinton battle and would certainly have the upper hand if Sanders had the nomination, Clinton certainly fears Trump most as he is such a wild card. Whether that is what is best for the country, then who knows! That being said both Cruz and Rubio are capable candidates and speaking from a Christian point of view neither Democrat has lit my fire as an evangelical and of the front runners only Rubio and Cruz seem concerned with courting the evangelical vote on the Republican Party.

Please note that God is not the God or the Republican or Democrat Party and despite seeing things banded around recently questioning the faith of an individual if they vote for a certain candidate and that is ridiculous. I serve a God who is big enough to allow bad people to do good things. I don’t see that voting for a particular political party or candidate makes you any more or less Christian. (Unless of course if you are proposing a candidate that is staunchly anti-Christian)

It sure is a tough choice and I pray for you America, I love this country as my new home and I do want to see it do well. The things I look for in a candidate may not be what you look for and that is okay, the country was founded on liberty, truth and justice for all and it is your democratic right to cast your vote the way you see fit! I just plead with you as one without a voice; choose well for the rest of us!

In closing, a Scottish newspaper run an example of their thoughts on a Trump Presidency, feel free to check it out!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Thank a Veteran today

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Thank a Veteran today…

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My dual contemplation part 1…the US

Today is a day of dual contemplation for me, now that I live in the US I contemplate Veterans Day and I think of those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America and who have sacrificed and given of themselves to defend something that is much greater than you or I. They defended the freedom of this great nation that is the USA. I say this as an immigrant to this great land from the UK and sometimes it takes an outsider to remind you that you have a great country that by God’s grace I am fortunate to live in. 

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My dual contemplation part 2…the UK

The second part of my contemplation goes a little further as back home in the UK it is Armistice Day, the day marked to remember the fallen of all wars from the British Armed Forces. It is no co-incidence that both fall on November 11th as it was the end of World War 1. This is the reason for the graphic symbolizing the poppy and a solemn remembrance of the ones who literally “gave all” for a cause they saw as greater than even their own lives. That to me is the ultimate definition of sacrifice, certainly some were “called up” but there are countless stories of those who volunteered to go long before they would have ever have been “drafted”.

Memorial Day versus Veterans Day

In the US we have a separate day to memorialize the fallen called Memorial Day and often times my well-meaning friends on Facebook don’t get the days correct, I don’t get bent out of shape about it as it is a genuine error rather than a malicious misrepresentation. I say this because people genuinely do get annoyed about it and on Veterans Day some folks may be taking their cues from British based social media who are honoring their fallen and dead on the same day.

Love your Veteran

A veteran is someone who took the bible verse in John 15:13 literally when Jesus advised that there was no greater love than a man who was willing to lay down his life. Whilst some Veterans are still alive, they will have been changed by their service. I do not write that lightly and we are still finding out about the horrors of such things as PTSD, Shell shock and other forms of trauma that are associated with battle type scenarios. Whilst your veteran may be holding it together on the outside that is not to say he has not been affected on a much deeper level internally.

I am not saying that all veterans are basket cases; please do not think that I am. I am just stating that you should please be aware that because someone’s body appears whole, that they may need you but have not reached out. Whilst they are hero’s they are still people and still have the same emotional needs that others have.

Honor your Veteran

I honor, revere and respect all those who have served, whether voluntarily or whether they have been compelled to by the ruling authorities these people do deserve to be honored, loved and respected while they are still with us and mourned when they have passed. I love reading about restaurants that will allow veterans to eat for free on this day and they should certainly be publicized.

I would also go further and say we must do more for our veterans who have fallen on hard times and may not have somewhere to live, may not be paying all their bills, may even not be getting enough to eat and I believe that we should be doing more to help those who have risked their lives in defense of our country. It always saddens me when I hear of stories of folks who are in this situation. 

But I am a pacifist…

(I am not) But some Christians will get their panties in a wad over a Veterans Day post here because they are anti-war or anti-Army. You don’t have to be as extreme as the Westboro Baptist Church to hold anti-Soldier sentiments and I know people who feel that way. That is your choice and you have your right to free speech. (On this article it is at the bottom of the page it is the comments section) 

I am not anti-war by any means, I am also not against your right to protest because free speech is a wonderful thing and many veterans would agree with me as they fought for your freedoms and one of those freedoms is your right to disagree with those actions. We are called in Romans 13 to be in subjection to the ruling authorities that God has placed over us whether that be the current president or the captains he has deputized to defend us and regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the actions, it is your right to freely express your opinion, which of course was fought for by those you disagree with.  

God bless America

Whilst I honor our Veterans I also pray for them and their personal salvation unto Jesus Christ, they are warriors and have fought the hardest battles in life and now I fervently pray that they come to faith (if they have not done so already) in Jesus. I pray for this whole great country we call the USA one soul at a time and my prayer is not for an end to war or violence as some request, but I desire a revival of souls and a nation that will do as requested in Isaiah 40 and be that “nation who bears his name” and that they will “humble themselves and pray” that way our land will be healed.

I pray this is not just another day off for you and I pray that you were blessed, encouraged or maybe challenged by this Veterans Day/Armistice Day blog article, please share, like or comment on social media as the LORD leads.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Pray with holy hands and women be modest

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This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the second chapter of First Timothy.

1st Timothy 2:8 (ESV) I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Constant state of prayer

Paul continues in his “conduct for the church” thought by stating that “every place the men should pray” which tells us Paul’s attitude towards prayer and how normal it should be for us as followers of Christ to be in a constant state of prayer. There is no caveats, no allowances for time, other things that the men have to do or even where the men were in the region, the expectation was that the men should pray and they should pray in every place.

Looking at this from an application standpoint I feel convicted on this area as (much like many of us) I could really be doing with spending more time in prayer. By western standards I have a fairly healthy prayer life but I do long for more time in prayer, but the biggest barrier to more prayer is me and trying to please myself.

The heart of the church service

Paul is speaking about the church as a whole also and it is imperative that prayer and communion with God are at the center (or heart) of any church service. Prayer is vital, not just for our individual communion with God, but praying corporately as a body is vital with a group of believers who have their hearts in a state of submission to God glorifies God in ways I cannot even fathom to describe.

Lift holy hands with no strife

Paul tells us that the men are to lead this; they are to lead and be “lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” this also leads us into the next chapter which talks about the qualifications for leadership in the church and Paul advises that the ones leading, the deacons, the overseers, the ones beginning the public prayers should all have one thing in common, they should all be men.

They should be raising hands that are holy, ones that are set apart for God, not prone to evil. We are all sinners and we do all sin, some greater than others and I am grateful for the grace of God that I am not deemed holy based on who I am or what I am done. I am holy because of what Christ has done for me when he died on the cross at Calvary.

We are to pray without anger or quarreling, we are human we will have and will hold grudges and we all have different “hot buttons”, something that annoys me may fly over your radar and something that irks you to the point of frustration I may have no quarrel with. We cannot use prayers to target people, especially if we are praying in a group or corporate setting. I have heard (and heard of) prayers that were so obviously aimed at another in the group and you could feel the seethe emanating from the person, this is what Paul is talking about! We may dress it up as “holy concern” or however we dress it up as, but we are not praying in a holy way and most certainly not lifting up holy hands. It may be a case you may have to check your heart to see where your true motives lie.

Pray for those who despise us

This may seem like a contradiction as we are also told to “pray for those who persecute you” but it is not really. This command was talking about praying for those who were against you, not in a vengeful way but pray for things that are both temporary and eternal for that person. I know I have in the past prayed for people who have despised me and prayed that we would have at least a civil relationship (temporary) and also as I grew in prayer for them I prayed for their salvation or for them to grow in God if they were a Christian. (Yes Christians can be jerks too!)

Women be modest

V9… likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works…

Paul is saying in laymen’s terms “Women, don’t be a distraction” now we can pull this text apart in all manners of ways that it was never intended to be pulled in. Really what Paul is stating is that the female of the species is a very attractive being, that they should show beauty in the things that really matter. Paul advises that they should be modest; they should not draw away or cause distraction from the worship which of course is the point of them being there in the first place.

They should be in respectable apparel, now people have tacked on many things to this which some are good and some are not so good, for a time in church women wore hats, (some denominations or creeds demanded the covering of heads) they wore sober business type suits, some wore long flowing dresses some wore long skirts all of these are good and acceptable but what I believe that Paul is saying is dress appropriately for the occasion, if you are spilling out of your clothes or trying to draw attention to you rather than God then you are a distraction.

Which leads us into “modesty and self-control” it is fairly obvious what Paul is driving at here. We have to be careful not to lower our standards to the world’s standards. The world would have you exposed in a heartbeat and I will be honest and state that until I had a daughter of my own, I really hadn’t pondered too much what this meant. Really we should be looking for moderation because in some ways, the way we present ourselves does give an idea into how we view ourselves and an idea what is in our hearts. If we have a heart given over to self-glory and self-gratification then that will show in the way we dress.

Paul gives two examples of how women used to dress themselves up in those days, that we shouldn’t be looking to adorn ourselves with things that draw attention to us. Costly attire is something that we even do today, we call it “designer clothes” and whilst it is not a sin to own nice things, we should not let our things be elevated to a place they should never be.

Profess godliness with good works

And then we get to the point of what Paul is saying…

V10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

Paul states that we shouldn’t be eternally adorning ourselves, remember in that culture you could “rent” gold rings before you went into meetings or the temple to make you look more affluent than you actually were. He states what makes real beauty “godliness and good works” which unlike jewelry and temporary looks, that will not fade.

We read that the women are to learn quietly, without contention and not causing a distraction to the men chosen to lead in the church. The idea here is that they learn in a submissive nature and not try to grasp authority from the leaders. They are to learn in submission, not as second class citizens but under the respect of those chosen to lead.

Oppress the womem?

People get this impression that women are oppressed and that is not correct, it is like all forms of life. When I was in school, I had to submit to the authority of my teachers, when I joined the Territorial Army in the UK I was under the jurisdiction of the Corporals and Sergeants that were training me and when I sought employment I had managers that were above me so it is not unusual to have a ranking system. If the church allowed a melee or free for all then it would be chaos!  

Women not to exercise authority over a man

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Paul reveals a doctrine that is contentious in today’s Christian church that “women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man” Paul is being clear in what he says here and I do accept that many women are gifted teachers, my wife is one of them but I know that my wife would never go to the front of our assembly and teach a bible study and explain doctrine in a room full of men. Paul states the same in the letter to the Corinthians (1st Corinthians 11:1-12) I would take both passages side by side to show the full counsel of God’s word. Below is that text…
 

1st Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

Head of the home

Paul states in both places that the men are to be “head of the home” and the wife is to be in submission to her husband. It goes without saying that when the families come together to make up the congregation it would be out of order for the woman to then rule over the man in the assembly of God and take the place of those qualified to be overseers or deacons. (More on that in chapter 3)

Paul cites the order of creation as the reason behind his statement; God created man first and delegated authority to him. From that authority Eve then was in submission to Adam but Paul cites the fall of man and Adam is blamed for the fall of man due to the authority he had over his household. (Romans 5:12) Eve is not blamed because she was tricked, but Adam took the fruit from his wife even although he had a direct command from God not to do so. Eve was tricked and turned around; Adam rebelled against a command of God.

Romans 5:12 (ESV) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

Childbearing and the health of the church

Paul lastly talks about a role for the women through childbearing, Paul does look at the health of the church and if the women are neglecting an opportunity to grow their family by seeking offices they were never intended to be in (see chapter 3 regarding overseers and deacons)  then that is a problem. Paul reiterates that they are to be in faith, love and self-control (again speaks of the attributes discussed above)

Not all women are meant to have children and my wife and I have had issues in this area (infertility) and we have been blessed by a daughter who truly is a gift from God, but even if God had not blessed us with a child we would still have praised him.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Six – December 6th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day 6 – December 6th

Thank you for reading our sixth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

In the last few days we have looked at the genealogy of the Messiah and we have found that Jesus Christ meets the criteria having being a descendent of both Abraham and Isaac, now we look at the prophetic claim that he will be of the descendent line of Jacob. We find this in the book of Numbers in chapter twenty four.

Numbers 24:17 (ESV) I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.

We know this messiah as Jesus of Nazareth, who is called the Christ. The person speaking is Balaam and we read that he could “see him, but not now”. He knew that he was coming but not in a time that he could see. Jesus is called the following:

1) A Star
2) A Scepter

Now a star is bright, it illuminates the darkness; we learn this in the creation account. A star is a glorious light, sent from afar to give light and direction where otherwise it would be dark and desolate. What a picture of a coming messiah!

The scepter is the stick with a ball that you see in places like Royal palaces, such as Buckingham Palace in England, castles where the royal ascent is present, such as Edinburgh Castle in Scotland where the Scottish Crown Jewels are present. (Can you tell I am British?)

The last place you will see a scepter is the place where decisions are made. In the British House of Parliament, between the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition there is a scepter, a sign that what they are discussing in this chamber has the blessing of the current monarch of the land.

So you see, the scepter is a symbol of the messiah’s majesty, of his regal authority. (Much like it is in the UK, the Queen will not sit in every debate, she will merely open and close the parliament and her aides will leave the scepter as a symbol of her patronage of the power held within) It gives us a picture of the ruling Messiah that is Jesus Christ.

This verse goes on to say that he would go on to defeat all of the territories beyond Israel. This will happen in the book of Revelation. In the messiah’s first coming he was the suffering sacrifice, he will return to signal the end of the world. This part of the prophesy is still to come.

Who was Jacob?

In the book of Genesis we read about Jacob and his brother Esau, let’s look at Genesis chapter twenty five.

Genesis 25:19 (ESV) These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom. ) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

I love the story of Jacob because it is both glorious and tragic at the same time. It is glorious because God chose him to continue the line even although he was not the first born (as was the custom at that time) and verse 23 advises that “the older shall serve the younger”. But all too soon it turns tragic.

I am encouraged though by the tragic nature as Rebekah and Jacob did not learn from Abraham and Sarah trying to “help God along”. It seems that there is a faith fault in this DNA strand. This is encouraging to me as I am a mess up a lot. My DNA strand is faulty through sin! I suffer from not trusting God enough. As good as I may read on here, I will be honest and say I don’t get it right all the time. Jacob was not chosen because he was perfect, (or Esau because he was worse than his brother) Paul confirms this in the letter to the Roman church in chapter nine:

Romans 9:10 (ESV) And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

So between verses 30-34, Esau sells all that he has and all that he is going to have for a bowl of stew and some bread. (My wife makes awesome soup but i have never done that!) But the sin does not end there. Let’s look at what happens when Isaac dies:

Genesis 27:1 (ESV) When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” 5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the LORD before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.” 14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the LORD your God granted me success.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed! 28 May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” 30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. 39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 40 By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.” 41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— 45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?” 46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women.  If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

The nuts and the bolts of this is that Jacob being the flawed man that he is he decided to con his father into believing that he was his brother in order to steal his brothers blessing. I have no idea whether the father was ever aware that Esau had sold his birthright or not, but he was certainly expecting Esau to come in and be blessed.

When we deceive, often times we have to add deceit on top of deceit in order to cover up the original deceit. How much easier would it have been had Jacob just allowed God to fulfil his promise to him? The real encouragement to us all is that regardless how we mess up, we can still be used by God. Jacob was eventually called Israel and the nation of the same name came through him. They were literally the children of Israel.

So where do we find this genealogy in the New Testament?

We see this in the beginning of the book of Matthew chapter one.

Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,

Jesus qualifies through the genealogy of his literal mother Mary as well as his legal guardian Joseph. How very God that he made sure there was no doubt that Jesus was indeed his boy. Again God is the God of keeping his promises, regardless how much we mess up! That to me is the encouragement in these verses.

I haven’t conned my brother out of money, I haven’t stolen the family fortune, but I have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 6:23) but I am forgiven for what I have done and you can be too. The answer is Jesus and co-incidentally he is also the reason for these articles and also the reason for this Christmas season.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

The Jacobite experiment

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DISCLAIMER:- the views expressed are the views of the author alone, TTE does not normally comment on political issues but this is an important issue for the author. We will return to Bible studies in the next article.

The Jacobite experiment

John 1:45 (ESV) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

As most of you who know me personally will know, I am a strong advocate politically of Scottish independence and the upcoming vote in September on whether Scotland should be an independent nation and secede from the Act of Union of 1707.

That being said, should a yes vote actually happen, in my view as Scots we have to lose the “English chip on the shoulder” as a good relationship with our neighbours to the south has to happen.

Just to see how plausible that was, I did a little experiment on my Facebook wall last night. I am a passionate fan of football (soccer for the US readership) and I love seeing my club team (Dundee United) and my national team (Scotland) win every game they play.

As most of you will be aware, the World Cup is happening in Brazil at present and Scotland have been unable to qualify. Our neighbours to the south England have, but in many cases the Scots will usually cheer on ABE (Anyone but England)

So last night I did what I call “The Jacobite experiment” over the piece I have stated that as I live in the US now I would like to see them do well and that is true. I hope the USMNT get as far as they can in the tournament, however everyone assumes that I as a Scottish nationalist, will actively be cheering against England.

I actually don’t see that viewpoint, I don’t hate our neighbours in the south, we share many traits and joint history since this “marriage of convenience” began. We have fought under the same Union flag and share broadcast, newsprint, currency and telephone exchanges with them. I just believe that rather than being a 9% minority where the vote does not count and having policies foisted upon us that hinder the growth of my country, it is time to go our separate ways. Nothing personal, it is just for the good of the country.

Back to the experiment, I placed a flag of Saint George (the traditional flag of England) on my Instagram wishing England well and a Facebook post urging England to beat the Italians.

Unsurprisingly I got a few queries, but the sad part of the experiment was not on my posts, but on the posts of others gloating over a 2-1 victory for the Italians.

My hope for my nation is that we can be grown up enough to want to see our neighbours do well, that way we can get past the “No true Scot” mentality that some of us have where we blame everything on the English. We may have to actually man up and look at some of “plooks we see in the mirror”.

I am not against “banter” but these posts have a more sinister feel, the actually could be described as hatred.

This article will not be popular and I am not all that fussed if it is or isn’t! We have to get past the idea that a vote for Yes is some “get it up the English” this is a one way street with no U turns.

Think of the nations who have declared independence from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, think if all the countries that at one time had a Union flag in the top left hand corner of their flag, Britannia no longer “rules the waves” and the Empire is over! Of these countries NONE are begging to be ruled again from London.

Why did I choose the verse above? Well replace the word Nazareth with “England”, “London”, “Liverpool”, “Manchester”, “Birmingham”, “Newcastle”, wherever and you may see what I am driving at.

Like I say, I am not anti-English or even anti-European, but what I do want is for the buck to stop in Edinburgh rather than London for the constitutional decisions that affect the people of Scotland.

The Yes campaign have had it hard, they have the mainstream media being their press campaigners, the message in many cases are not going through and quite a few headlines are twisted to a pro-Union viewpoint, in some cases, headlines are created to give a view that is not present in the article.

I love my country, there are times where the Union served Scotland well in the beginning, but in more recent times it has not been beneficial to Scotland. It is time for a change, that can be achieved in a vote in September for the Yes campaign.

I don’t get involved with US politics mainly because I can’t vote for a president!

God bless and I hope this was a good read for you and please comment below should you wish too
TGBTG
TTE

Remember D-Day from a former Royal Engineer

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Remember D-Day from a former Royal Engineer

It is with great reverence and respect that I look back on the events on seventy years ago, when brave men from the joint allied forces stormed the beaches of Northern France to get a foothold in Northern mainland Europe against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany who were threatening to invade the UK.

Without a doubt, had the D-Day landings failed the Second World War could have gone much differently. I watched a movie a few years ago called “Fatherland” which used the hypothesis that Hitler had successfully repelled the D-Day landings, had successfully invaded the UK and Ireland, called a truce with the US and Russia and the movie fast forwarded to what would have been his 75th birthday and a “diplomatic meeting” between him and JFK. Chilling stuff.

The war was won because despite people being mowed down with machine gunfire all around them, brave soldiers kept getting off those rafts, kept pressing on, kept pressing forward, despite the dis-advantage of coming in from the sea and being at a worse vantage point. They soldiered on and got slowly onto the shore, from then they slowly took ground and sent the Germans into a retreat that would end up in Berlin a year later.

I have always been fascinated with the second world war, how a dictator could slowly dupe a nation and marginalize one sector of a community at a time, removing the people that could be problematic, could be a barrier to the parties plans or simply because of their political affiliation, faith they believed, their physical attraction or whatever other reason they had to get rid of you.

I admire the “never say die” spirit of the “British Tommy” and his American counterpart, for the willingness to keep pressing forward, regardless of the opposition. Many of the survivors came broken, physically, mentally and spiritually. If you know someone who went through WW2, please thank them for their service today. For these guys, and it hurts me to say this but time is not on their side so please thank them when you can.

In the past when I have attended services of remembrance, I always seek out those guys, usually dressed in British Legion blazers or civilian attire and showing their medals, that gives a sliver of a window into the debt that we owe them one and all.

It may surprise you my friends to see a Union flag at half-staff in remembrance as I have been recorded online as a fervent Scottish Nationalist in favor of Scottish Independence away from the UK. However this war was fought by my brothers from all over the UK under this flag, the soldiers did not fight for Labour, Liberals or Tories, they fought for their country and gave more than could ever be requested by any Government. Some were called, but many volunteered.

You may also be a Christian and wonder how you should feel about wars, well that is one for you personally to resolve in your own heart. I know many fine Christians who have served in the military, some who support our troops and some who are very “anti-war”. For me it is not a salvation issue so I do not see any fruit in dividing over this.

My prayer is that the soldiers from both sides, also their descendants have found peace through the prince of peace. My prayer is healing in the land that can only come through Jesus. We are promised the following in the bible:

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land…” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Please spare some thoughts and prayers of our heroes of D-Day, their families and descendants
God bless you one and all
TTE

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