Following Shrove Tuesday yesterday, today is Ash Wednesday, the official first day of Lent during the Christian year and the prelude to Easter. Lent represents the 40 days that Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness, fasting and contemplating his mission on earth. Known as the ‘Day of Ashes’ because of the practice of having ash rubbed & drawn on the forehead in the shape of a cross (representing Christ’s crucifixion), by a priest at the dedicated Ash Wednesday church service. The priest and participants from the church congregation intone the phrase either the words:-
“Repent, and believe in the Gospel”or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Anglican,Catholic and most Protestant and Christians hold Ash Wednesday services around the world. Following the service, participants observe some sort of fasting,abstinence and spiritual contemplation for 40 Days, ending on Maundy Thursday in 2018.
The practice of using ash comes from the 11th Century and is taken from the Biblical Book of Daniel, where ashes are regarded as a sign of Penance & fasting. The ashes are normally made by the burning of palm crosses. These palm crosses were handed out to church congregations during the previous year’s Palm Sunday service (commemorating Christ’s entry into Jerusalem to crowds waving palm leaves in celebration) and given back to the priest shortly before Ash Wednesday. The priest will then burn the crosses and mix the ash normally with Holy Oil to sanctify and make a ‘paste’ with which to rub on the participant’s forehead.
The learned prince of Grenada, heir to the Spanish throne, imprisoned by order of the Crown for fear he would aspire to the throne, was kept in solitary confinement in the old prison at the Palace of Skulls, Madrid. After thirty-three years in this living tomb, death came to his release, and the following remarkable researchers, taken from the Bible, and marked with an old nail on the rough walls of his cell, told how the brain sought employment through the weary years.
The 35th verse, 11th chapter of John, is the shortest.
The 9th verse of the 8th chapter of Esther is the longest.
The 8th verse of the 97th Psalm is the middle verse of the Bible.
Each verse in Psalm 136 ends alike.
The 37th chapter of Isaiah and 19th chapter of 2d Kings are alike.
The word “girl” occurs but once in the Bible, and that in Joel, 3d chapter and 3d verse.
The word “Lord” is found 1853 times, the word “Jehovah” 6855 times, the word “reverend” but once, and that in Psalms 111th chapter and 9th verse.
The four most inspiring promises are in John, 14th chapter, 2d verse, 6th chapter and 37th verse; Matthew, 11th chapter and 28th verse, and in Psalms, 37th chapter and 4th verse.
The finest chapter is in Acts, 26th.
Did you know?
The average number of The Bible given away or sold in the USA is 168,000 daily.
A companion of fools shall be destroyed. — Proverbs 13:20
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. —Proverbs 17:22.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. —Proverbs 24:10.
…… Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. —Proverbs 4:23 (I love this proverb. Look after the heart with all your might as it is the source of everything you do in life! – Jean) ……. Meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.—Proverbs 20:19.
“Strength, and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household; and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”—Proverbs 31: 25-28.
According to the Hebrew calendar Adam & Eve were created 5774 years ago by God in His own image. They are the great mother and father of all.
Their creation is being celebrated today by the Jews as Rosh Hashanah. It is the Jewish New Year today.
Adam & Eve 5774 ago (Hebrew Calendar)
The Creation of Adam The Creation of Eve Both by Albrecht Dürer
The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits (dates to commemorate the death of a relative), and daily Psalm readings, among many ceremonial uses. In Israel, it is used for religious purposes, provides a time frame for agriculture and is an official calendar for civil purposes, although the latter usage has been steadily declining in favor of the Gregorian calendar.
The calendar used by Jews has evolved over time. The basic structural features of the early calendar are thought to have been influenced by the Babylonian calendar, including the seven-day week, the lunisolar intercalary adjustment and the names of the months. Until the Tannaitic period (approximately 10–220 CE) the calendar employed a new crescent moon, with an additional month normally added every two or three years to correct for the difference between twelve lunar months and the solar year. When to add it was based on observation of natural agriculture-related events. Through the Amoraic period (200–500 CE) and into the Geonic period, this system was gradually displaced by the mathematical rules used today. The principles and rules were fully codified by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah in the 12th century. Maimonides’ work also replaced the previously used Seleucid era year numbering system with the modern creation-era Anno Mundi.
The Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 25+25/57 seconds than the current mean solar year, so that every 224 years, the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the current mean solar year; and about every 231 years it will fall a day behind the Gregorian calendar year. Because of the roughly eleven-day difference between twelve lunar months and one solar year, the length of the Hebrew calendar year varies in the repeating 19-year Metonic cycle of 235 lunar months, with the intercalary month added according to defined rules every two or three years, for a total of 7 times per 19 years. – Wikipedia
This story can not be found in the Bible. But this was allegedly what truly happened!!! The deal that went on.
God created the first man, Adam. God wanted that Adam lived comfortably in peace and harmony and not feel alone.
Despite Adam living in an ideal world, where there were animals roaming the majestic landscape of Eden where he will never starve, nor need to go shopping for clothes, worry about mortgage, electricity and gas bills, God saw Adam looking forlorn.
God asked Adam, why the long face.
“It is a lonely life, I do not have anyone to talk to.”
God was so moved by what Adam said that He promptly told Adam that He would create a companion for him.
God said: “This person will gather food for you, cook for you, wash your clothes for you. (“What are clothes?” asked Adam. “We will talk about that another day.” Advised God) She will bear your children, but she will never ask you to get up at night when they cry. She will always love you, she will never nag you, she will always agree with whatever you say.”
Adam really liked the sound of this. He asked God what would it cost to have such a companion.
God replied “An arm and a leg.”
Adam thought for a moment and then asked? “Well, what could I get for just a rib?”
Today is the first and I must say a freezing frosty day of December. We travelled past Hampstead Heath and Whitestone Pond, North West London by car this morning. The heath is near to where we live and wonderful place to stroll in any season. The frost coated the grass and bare tree branches with a silver sheen which was burnished by the early winter sun. The Pond was iced over and years ago was popular for ice skating. Nowadays the health and safety supremos in local public services won’t allow such carefree fun!
“Hang on!” Winter skating on Whitestone Pond near Hampstead Heath in 1933
It is also first week in Advent which is the season many Western Christian churches observe as the time for the expectation and anticipation of the Nativity (birth of Jesus Christ). Services are held such as the singing of Advent Carols, and Nativity readings from The Bible.
A church Server lighting an Advent Candle
It is only twenty four days before Christmas Day and two public holidays. I can’t wait. It is the first time in twenty six years that we are both away from home. We are going to my old hometown to meet up with family and old friends for the Christmas and the New Year. I am sure it would be a lovely and joyous Christmas despite being away from my son, grandson and daughter-in-law.
December is a favourite month for me. I love the atmosphere, it seems that people are more carefree and happier and kinder.
Christmas office parties are abundantly observed, including workers who have a Christmas drink with colleagues, normally at a bar or pub near work.
Shops open later up 9 – 10 pm and yet shoppers often leave buying gifts at the last minute. Sometimes this could be an advantage as competing retailers try and entice customers with last minute bargains. But sometimes the most wanted goods are gone and many are disappointed. On Christmas morning any disappointment has gone as plenty of fun and games can be had as well as mountain of food and drink.
December 25 is not only celebrated as our Lord Jesus Christ birthdate, but also the greatest scientist of them all, Sir Isaac Newton, (according to the Julian calendar he was born on 25 Dec 1642 ).
Holiday on Boxing Day comes on the 26 of December. It has nothing to do with engaging in some pugilistic activities with guests that have overstayed their welcome. Instead its origin may have been from those ‘upstairs, downstairs’ days when servants were allowed to visit their families with a benevolent box of goodies from their employers!
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education. – Theodore Roosevelt, American Statesman … Bible reading is an education in itself. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English Poet … “Education is useless without the Bible.” – Noah Webster, American writer & educationist … How great and glorious it is to have the Word of God! – Martin Luther – German Churchman …
I have found in it worlds for my inmost thoughts, songs for my joy, utterance for my hidden griefs and pleadings for my shame and feebleness. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge – English Poet …
“I believe that the existence of the Bible is the greatest benefit to the human race. Any attempt to belittle it, I believe, is a crime against humanity.” -Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher …
Intense study of the Bible will keep any writer from being vulgar, in point of style. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English Poet .. It is impossible to rightly govern the world… without the Bible – George Washington, American President ………………………………………………………..
“I am busily engaged in the study of the Bible. I believe it is God’s word because it finds me where I am.”
“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good of the Savior of the world is communicated to us through the Book.”
-Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, 1809-1865
“Jewish authors would never have invented either that style nor that morality; and the Gospel has marks of truth so great, so striking, so utterly inimitable, that the invention of it would be more astonishing than the hero.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau ….
“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.” – Ronald Reagan
………………. Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. – Isaac Asimov … That book (the Bible) accounts for the supremacy of England. – Queen Victoria … That Book is the rock on which our Republic rests. – Andrew Jackson, American Statesman — The English Bible – a book which , if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the world extent of its beauty and power. – Thomas Macaulay — The Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People. Prologue to John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible, 1384. — The Bible is the sceptre by which the Heavenly King rules his Church. – John Calvin, French Churchman — The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible is the religion of Christ’s Church. – Charles Spurgeon, Englishman Churchman — The Bible is worth all other books that have ever been printed. – Patrick Henry — The first and almost only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. – John Quincy Adams — The scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying. – John Flavel, English churchman —
“The gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades every thing that opposes its extension, behold! It is upon this table: This book, surpassing all others. I never omit to read it, and every day with some pleasure.” – Napoleon … There are indeed secrets in the Bible, and some very subversive ones, but they are so muffled up in complications, in archaic ways of thinking, that Christianity has become incredibly difficult to explain to a modern person. – Alan Watts … Whatever merit there is in whatever I have written is simply due to that fact that wheen I was a child my mother dialy read me a part of the Bibble and daily made me learn a part of it by heart. – John Ruskin …
“We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever. No sciences are better attested than the religion of the Bible” -Isaac Newton, The English Scientist