Grace On Display

Olde Tymer

Active member
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It's oftentimes difficult to discuss grace because some folks are thoroughly unable
to see it as relative to personal characteristics, i.e. to attributes.

For example; Cain resented his kid brother's piety, and he was snippy with God.
Cain was also capable of passionate violence. Ouch! a very non-gracious man
around whom nobody would be comfortable except maybe his fellow inmates in San
Quentin and/or Riker's Island.

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2Pet 3:18 . .Grow in grace

The Greek word translated "grace" is charis (khar'-ece) which basically means
graciousness: defined by Webster's as kind, courteous, inclined to good will,
generous, charitable, merciful, altruistic, compassionate, thoughtful, cordial,
affable, genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, considerate, and tactful.

* Cordial stresses warmth and heartiness

* Affable implies easy to approach, and readiness to respond pleasantly to
conversation or requests or proposals

* Genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality

* Sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others

* Generous is characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit; viz: magnanimous, kindly,
and liberal in giving

* Charitable means full of love for, and goodwill toward, others; viz: benevolent,
tolerant, and lenient.

* Altruistic means unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others; viz: a
desire to be of service to others for no other reason than it just feels good to do so.

* Compassionate pertains to a sympathetic awareness of others' distress combined
with a desire to alleviate it.

* Tactful indicates a keen sense of what to do, or say, in order to maintain good
relations with others in order to resolve and/or avoid unnecessary conflict.
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Gen 6:7-8 . .The Lord said: "I will destroy Man whom I have created from the
face of the earth, both Man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am
sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of The Lord.

That's the first-ever mention of grace in the Bible. It's translated from a Hebrew
word that basically means the same things as the Greek word that was explored in
post No.1

In a nutshell; God's good vibes about Noah were very different than the negative
feelings He was experiencing about everybody else. In point of fact; they were all a
terrible disappointment. God had it mind to put them all down like as if they were
sick dogs, but no so Noah; him God had in mind to spare, i.e. to protect; and that
was mostly because Noah was the kind of man with whom God preferred to
associate rather than avoid.

Gen 6:9 . . Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time,
and he walked with God.

Noah is highly recommended as one of a trio of very pious guys. The other two
were Daniel and Job (Ezek 14:14) So the grace that Noah found in God's eyes
wasn't a freebee, no, it was compensation, viz: Noah deserved protection whereas
the others of his day deserved to be gone.

Gen 7:1 . .The Lord then said to Noah; "Go into the ark, you and your whole
family, because I have found you righteous in this generation."
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Rom 12:10b . . Honor others as above yourselves.

Thank You isn't an epithet, nor is gratitude a vice. Those are social graces that go a
long ways towards letting others know that we think they count for something, i.e.
that they have value, and that they matter in the grand scheme of things.

Gratitude helps make others feel better about themselves; and God only knows
everyone can use a boost these days when the integrity of government, law
enforcement, the justice system, medicine, education, science, nutrition, the
economy, politics, religion, morality, and national defense have been compromised
by "woke" philosophies and practices.

The deep state of late has been making it increasing difficult for good folks to feel
appreciated; instead they've been demonized as deplorable, extreme, racist,
insurrectionist, domestic terrorist, child abuser, and enemies of democracy, et al.

God is a "big boy" so to speak who doesn't need to be appreciated in order to feel
better about Himself. But still; God would like some recognition on occasion.

Eph 5:20 . . Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Moses' people were so accustomed to God's providence that they began to take it
for granted, and would get upset with Him when He failed to produce, viz: they
believed themselves "entitled" like many of today's Millennials and Generation Z
tech-savvy college grads. Be on your guard; don't become like them because that
would be very unbecoming, i.e. lacking grace.

1Thess 5:18 . . Be grateful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in
Christ Jesus.

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1897)

Ps 118:1 . . O give thanks unto The Lord; for He is good
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Various casino games in Las Vegas are deliberately adjusted to give the house an
edge. In other words some games are unfair --e.g. slots, baccarat, roulette,
blackjack, and craps --but it's not really cheating.

The law allows them an edge because whereas players typically gamble for fun
and excitement, the house is there to make a living. So if the games were fair, the
tables would have difficulty earning enough profit to keep their casino in business.

In Christianity's plan of salvation, the tables are turned. Players have the edge
because God has made it impossible for them to lose just so long as they go for the
gold (so to speak) according to His rules rather than insisting upon their own.

For example:

Heb 2:9 . . But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now
crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of
God he might taste death for everyone.

Routine death is pretty much inevitable, but the second death per Rev 20:11-15
can be easily avoided if we buy into Jesus' trip to the cross per Isa 53:6

Sins are losses. But when sins aren't counted, then there's nothing to lose; only
everything to gain. For example: records are being kept on everyone. However,
when there are no sins entered in someone's record, then it will be as though they
were 100% innocent their entire lives. That is a very, very big advantage.

2Cor 5:19 . . God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting
men's sins against them.

In Las Vegas, advantaged players-- e.g. card counters --are oftentimes asked to
leave the premises and never come back; whereas God-- gracious soul that He is -
encourages folks to become advantaged, and to stay with Him as consistent
winners in the game of life: really big winners.

John 5:24 . . I assure you: those who listen to my message, and believe in God
who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but
they have already passed from death into life.
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Blessings in both the Old Testament and the New are typically benevolent actions,
i.e. expressions of good will rather than expressions of ill will.

The first of the Bible's many blessings took place in the beginning where it says in
Genesis 1:20-23

"And God said: Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the
earth across the expanse of the sky. So God created the great creatures of the sea
and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their
kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
God blessed them and said: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in
the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."

So then, fertility shouldn't be taken for granted because those creatures didn't have
it till God gave it to them after they were created. God repeated the procedure with
mankind, i.e. Adam was created sterile, and then afterwards endowed with fertility
per Genesis 1:27-28 so he could reproduce himself, viz: fertility was a finishing
touch to the creation process, i.e. it was an empowerment freely given with no
strings attached.

Personally I think God would've been within His rights to revoke Adam's blessing
when he tasted the forbidden fruit; and let mankind become extinct. But instead of
going to that extreme, God allowed the Serpent to tamper with Adam's fertility in
such a way as to make it impossible for him to produce immortal offspring.

So then, although the blessing of fertility is mostly intact, it's original characteristics
have been modified a bit to ensure the human body survives for only a relatively
little while before succumbing to old age; but at least mankind is still here instead
of blotted out like it could've been.

Anyway: blessings reveal that the supreme being isn't entirely indifferent, but that
He has a sensitive side to Him, i.e. a gracious side.
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I just came to praise the Lord.

(Wayne Romero, 1975)

* The melody that accompanies that hymn is typically the very first music that
pops into my head when I'm at peace; probably because it's one of the few tunes
that I was able to learn on a G Hohner harmonica back in the decade of the 1970s

Praise can be expressed in a variety of ways, e.g.

Commendations
Approval
Merits
Lauding
Applauding
Kudos
Atta-boys
Recognition
Recommendations
Awards Accolades
Admiration
Appreciation
Idolizing (following a role model's example) etc.

Praise can also be expressed by simply pointing out the things that we like best
about someone, i.e. the very opposite would be a roast which even in fun are
thoughtless and cruel.

Below's statement can be taken as either a matter of fact or an expression of
praise.

"The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I
came from God." (John 16:27)

The Greek word translated "loves" basically pertains to fraternal feelings, i.e.
emotions and affections that lead to bonding not easily dissolved.

Out ahead at some time in the future, Christians will be subjected to an evaluation.
No doubt the Lord will find much to critique, but also something to approve. (1Cor
4:5) We can kind of see that going on in Jesus' critique of the seven churches per
Rev 1:11-3:22.

An incident occurred during Jesus' travels when he encountered some folk who
apparently marginalized God's approval by placing more value on acceptance by
their peers.

"No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care
about the honor that comes from God alone." (John 5:44)

* I read recently that numbers of young people are developing complexes due to
winning fewer "likes" on social media than the other kids.
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I wanna live, I wanna give,
I've been a miner for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions I never give,
That keep me searching for a heart of gold.

(Neil Young, 1971)

Generosity is a gracious virtue but it's not the end-all. For example:

"The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to
receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give. (Ex
25:1-2)

In other words: contributions toward construction of a centralized location for the
people to worship had to be charitable rather than mandatory, i.e. the people's
wealth wasn't extracted from them by force of law; that came later with the
institution of tithing.

Christian contributions are supposed to be collected in the same charitable frame of
mind.

"And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you
were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the
work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of
it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable
according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. (2Cor 8:10-12)

A church I was attending back in the decade of the 1990s launched an ambitious
spending plan and shamed folks into contributing towards it by circulating a flyer
praising the generosity of Moses' people towards the Tabernacle. But quietly, on the
side, I casually mentioned that those very same people refused to invade the
promised land when God instructed them to: consequently, many ended up never
allowed to go in.

The Bible says faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17-26) Well, I posit the opposite
is also true, to wit: works without faith are dead. So I think we pretty much have to
concede that generosity doesn't truly count as a gracious virtue when the
contributor is resisting The Lord instead of following Him.

"The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked" (Prov 15:8)

"If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness; we lie and do not
live by the truth". (1John 1:6)
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Rom 12:16 . . Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but
condescend to men of low estate.

The Greek word translated "condescend" basically means to associate with others
as equals; so in this case i think our verse would be better expressed as "Don't be
elitist, but willing to associate with people below you."

That's pretty much the theme in Jane Austen's novel Pride And Prejudice wherein a
snobby aristocrat falls in love with a girl whose station in life is too far below his
own to be acceptable.

Well; I think there just might be an event depicted in the 13th of Judges that will
suit our purpose wherein a holy man-- labeled an angel of The Lord --revealed, first
to Manoah's barren wife, and then to him, that they were going to have a special
baby.

The astounding part of the story is the angel's willingness to accommodate
Manoah's request to standby on-hold awaiting him to prepare a burnt offering. The
angel of The Lord certainly didn't have to do that seeing as how Manoah's station in
life was immeasurably below that of his own; easily evidenced by the angel's ability
to ascend into the sky amidst fire.


NOTE: Manoah, not realizing the man he was speaking to was an angel of The Lord,
requested his name. The response given-- in so many words --was: "Why do you
ask my name? It is beyond understanding."

The Hebrew word translated "beyond understanding" appears in only one other
place in the entire Old Testament; and that's Psalm 139 wherein the writer
confesses his inability to make sense of omniscience and omnipresence.

The thing is: Manoah experienced a close encounter of a third kind with the
supreme of all supreme beings via something called a theophany; which are quite a
level above James Cameron's avatars. Theophanies aren't vehicles, rather, they are
100% fully functioning humans, for example: Gen 18:1-33, Gen 32:24-30, Ex 24:1-11,
Josh 5:13-15, and of course John 1:14.
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The 14th chapter of Genesis relates how Abraham captained an operation to rescue
his nephew Lot and the people of Sodom who had been taken prisoners by an
aggressor from the north. While wrapping things up, Sodom's head of state offered
to compensate Abraham. Here's how that went:

Gen 14:21 . .Then the king of Sodom said to Abram: Give me the persons, and
take the possessions for yourself.

Sheik Bera was very grateful to Abraham (a.k.a. Abram), and asked only for the
return of his fellow citizens; but not for the return of their stolen goods. Abram was
more than welcome to keep it all for himself.

But Abram refused. There was just no way he was going to get rich by exploiting
his own neighbors' misfortunes. Although he had a perfect right, within the customs
of that day, to all the spoils of war, he waived the right in favor of looking out for
Sheik Bera's best interests. I tell you, this man Abraham was incredibly gracious;
and his manner of life, on the whole, made his religion, and his deity, look pretty
good.

Gen 14:22-23 . .But Abram said to the king of Sodom: I swear to the Lord God
Most High, Creator of heaven and earth; I will not take so much as a thread or a
sandal strap of what is yours; you shall not say: It is I who made Abram rich.

Abraham didn't need Bera's stuff anyway. He had plenty back home already. Why
be greedy? I mean: how much does it really take to satisfy? Does a man really
have to own every skyscraper, every square foot of real estate, every drop of
water, every cow, pig, and chicken, every inch of agricultural land, every fruit and
vegetable seed sold around the world, every watt of electricity, every telephone
system, every share of stock in a blue chip company, every software program,
every car dealership, every oil well, every refinery, every electric generating plant,
every natural gas supplier, a monopoly on insecticide and weed killer, every utility,
and every hotel and apartment building before he feels he has enough?

When will the big box managers finally say "Let's stop expanding. We have enough
market share". They never will because the greedy nature of super stores knows no
bounds.

As I watched a NetFlix documentary about corn production; the producers visited a
facility that makes high fructose corn syrup. The manager of the plant was asked
how much market share his product had. After answering, he was then asked how
much market share he would like to have; and he answered "all of it"

Abraham was far and away more gracious than the likes of the predatory ENRON
traders who took advantage of wild fires in California some years ago to raise that
State's electric rates.
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Matt 20:1-2 . . .The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in
the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius
for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

Here in my area of the State of Oregon, the above is a common sight in the
communities adjacent to agriculture. Low-income men assemble in designated
areas hoping for farmers to come by and select themselves for day labor.

Of course the most able-bodied men are picked first, and the rest spend the day
hoping against hope that their luck will improve on the next go-round. Time works
against them; hour by hour the sun moves ever closer to the end of the day when
it will be too dark to work outdoors. We're talking about men who live hand to
mouth, so a zero-dollar day is a huge inconvenience.

But this one landowner in the story is very interesting. He kept checking in with the
rejected men, even till almost the very end of the day, and little by little ended up
putting them all to work plus; of all things, he paid everyone the same wage from
the earliest hires to the latest.

It's not really stated as to the landowner's motivation to be so generous but it's my
guess he was moved by strong feelings of compassion for the weaker men passed
over in favor of the more able-bodied guys; which is an unusual business model in
the dog-eat-dog world of capital and labor wherein the strong survive and the weak
forgotten.
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Long story short: Abraham's first son Ishmael was by means of sleeping with a
female slave. His latter son Isaac was by means of sleeping with his wife Sarah. So
then the slave's son, as the one born first, was legally entitled to be Abraham's
principal heir. But there was a way to dissolve the arrangement.

According to the customs of that day, Abraham could legally disown the slave
woman's son if he emancipated her; which he did.

"He . . . sent her away." (Gen 21:14)

The phrase "sent her away" is from a versatile Hebrew word that can be used of
divorce as well as for the emancipation of slaves. In other words: Hagar wasn't
banished as is commonly assumed; no, she was set free; and it's very important to
nail that down in our thinking because if Abraham had merely banished Hagar, then
their son Ishmael would have retained his legal status as Abraham's principal heir.


NOTE: Ishmael retained his status as one of Abraham's natural sons (Gen 25:9) but
in legal matters relative to inheritance he's no son at all.

Anyway, the "grace" aspect of my story pertains to Hagar's and Ishmael's
departure.

Gen 21:14 . . Early next morning Abraham took some bread and a skin of water,
and gave them to Hagar. He placed them over her shoulder,

The Hebrew word for "bread" here includes all foods; for man or beast. So Abraham
didn't necessarily send the poor woman out on her own with a ration of bread and
water like some sort of hardened criminal, but very likely provisioned Hagar and
Ishmael with enough camper-grade food stuffs to keep them going for a while.

Ishmael was at least a teen-ager by this time seeing as he was fourteen when Isaac
was born (Gen 13:24-26 + Gen 21:5) And Hagar wasn't emancipated till after Isaac
was weaned. (Gen 21:8-10)

The thing is: Abraham didn't dispatch a servant or a butler to equip Hagar. Nor did
Abraham bring the provisions out to her, dump them at her feet, and walk away.
No, he put them up on Hagar's shoulder himself; with his own hands; which he
really didn't have to do.

There's no record of ever any ill will between Hagar and Abraham, nor any between
him and his boy Ishmael either. In point of fact, cutting Ishmael lose was not easy
for Abraham. (Gen 17:18 & Gen 21:11)

Those three were truly family in every sense of the word-- mom, dad, and child.
There couldn't have been a dry eye nor a cheerful face at any time during this
excruciating farewell. If you've ever experienced something so upsetting as to
make you nauseous, lead-bellied, and lose your appetite; then you know what I'm
talking about. Anybody who can read this story without feeling the slightest twinge
of compassion for any one of those three; has got to be the most insensitive clod
on earth.
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In the eighth chapter of John's gospel, Jesus was teaching in the Temple courtyard
when some of his opponents showed up with a woman caught red-handed in
adultery. They presented her to Jesus to see if he agreed with Moses in regard to
executing adulterers (Lev 20:10) Exactly why they brought the woman in person I
don't know because they could've just raised their hand and asked him without all
the drama.

Anyway, long story short, Jesus persuaded the woman's accusers to disqualify
themselves and then told her, in so many words, that he himself had no intention
of condemning her.

The thing is: Had Jesus problems with "mommy issues" that incident would've been
a golden opportunity to take them out on someone, but instead he was a perfect
gentleman with that woman: a fallen woman no less.


NOTE: There are working girls on the street corners of every major city like Los
Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. Granted their way of life is unbecoming, and
Christ doesn't condone it, but he harbors no ill will towards any of them. (cf. Luke
7:36-50) In point of fact; Jesus was thinking of them the same as all the rest of
us when he went to the cross for the sins of the world.
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When making public statements, persons held in high regard are oftentimes
accompanied by others who typically stand beside and/or behind the luminary but
never say anything themselves; they're just temporary window dressing, so to
speak.

The Bible says that God is everywhere at all times: but we should never assume
that He accompanies everyone, everywhere, at all times, viz: with most folks, God
is only an observer and that's all.

Acts 17:26-28 . . From one man He made every nation of men, that they should
inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact
places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and
perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
For in Him we live and move and have our being.

In other words: though God doesn't accompany everyone, everywhere, at all times;
He is always nearby; and that can be a mite disturbing when we realize on occasion
just how close by He really is; for example:

"And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said: Surely The Lord is in this place;
and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said: How dreadful is this place!" (Gen
28:16-17)

During that incident, God spoke to Jacob; saying:

"I am with you, and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back
to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Gen
28:15)

I rather suspect that Jacob was so captivated by the stairway to Heaven in his
dream that he didn't really catch the significance of God's statement because Jacob
had to be reminded of it from time to time; and he would eventually discover that
The Lord wasn't just temporary window dressing, but instead traveled in company
with Jacob at all times everywhere he went, and was involved, viz: those two
became inseparable companions.
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Developing children benefit from graciousness in a big way. Thoughtless grown-ups
can destroy a young child's fragile spirit by criticizing them all the time and never
once giving them an "attaboy" or a single vote of confidence.

A very charming example of this was acted out in an old movie wherein Spencer
Tracey played Thomas Edison. In a scene, he tasked a young boy with carrying his
freshly completed prototype of an electric light bulb upstairs to the lab for testing.
The boy stumbled on the stairs, and the bulb was ruined.

So Tracey made another and tasked the same boy with taking it upstairs again.
Tracy's assistants protested that the boy dropped one bulb already; but Tracey
handed him the precious prototype and said: He won't drop this one. And the boy
didn't because Tracey believed in that kid.

A fitting word spoken at just the right moment can really beef up somebody's
resolve to meet life head on. If you're good at that sort of thing, then watch for
opportunities to do so. It has to be honest though because leaving people with a
false impression of themselves is all the same as treachery, and sets them up for
disappointment.

"Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet." (Prov 29:5)
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What the world needs now is love, sweet love;
It's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

(Hal David & Burt Bacharach, 1965)

Hippies and folk singers were constantly lamenting the lack of love back the era of
flower power. Ironically it was all around them, only they were looking for love in
the wrong places.

Louis Armstrong, the Great Satchmo, sang of love in small places; for example:

The colors of the rainbow,
So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces
Of people going by.
Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying
"I love you"
(What A Wonderful World, Bob Thiele & George David Weiss, 1967)[/SIZE]

So; in the spirit of the small, I suggest:

Col 4:6 . . Let your speech be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.

It seems to me from the language and grammar of Matt 5:13, Mark 9:50, and Luke
14:34 that the primary purpose of salt is to enhance flavor and make otherwise
naturally insipid and/or bad-tasting things palatable, viz: salt can be thought of as
diplomacy; roughly defined as conversation that makes an effort to maintain peace
rather than deliberately provoke conflict and/or annoy people and make them
uncomfortable.
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Gen 3:21 . . And the Lord God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife,
and clothed them.

Precisely what species of animal God slaughtered in order to make the Adams their
first suit of real clothing is unknown.

That day, humans learned something about the advantages of leather goods. Most
of it is produced from cattle hides: calfskin, goatskin, kidskin, sheepskin, and
lambskin. Other hides and skins used include those of the horse, pig, kangaroo,
deer, crocodile, alligator, seal, walrus, and of late; python. Humans have used
animal skins for a variety of practical purposes since ancient times, and to this good
day leather is still a useful material all around the world.

The exact cut and design of their garments isn't specified; the Hebrew words just
indicate a shirt, or covering; as hanging from the shoulder.

A garment hanging from the shoulder indicates that Eve's topless days were over;
although that wouldn't necessarily rule out the possibility that she may have
become the Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel of her day and created some interesting
necklines.

The garments actually facilitated the people's association with God. They were
uncomfortable around their maker in the buff, even in the semi-buff, and that was
principally the reason they hid from The Lord when He came calling. However, fig
leaves aren't very durable; they're merely an expedient. God showed them a much
better way-- actually a way they would never have thought of all by themselves
because who would have guessed that animals could be killed and stripped of their
hides for clothing until God showed them?

We should note that God wasn't indifferent to the Adams' situation. Their feelings of
disgrace in the nude was a barrier between themselves and their maker, so God
showed them a really good way to overcome it: a way that not only improved the
quality of their association with God; but also greatly enhanced their limited
survival skills.

The point to note is that the clothing that humanity's maker crafted for the Adams
didn't cost them one red cent nor did they have to contribute even the slightest bit
of labor to its construction. God slaughtered the animals, treated the hides, and
fabricated the garments Himself; and gave the clothing to them totally free of
charge and no strings attached. However, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the couple
watched how God went about the whole business so they'd know how to do it for
themselves.

They'd eventually have to know how to make a knife and start a fire; I suspect God
showed them how to do that too.
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Matt 5:5 . . Blessed are the meek.

The Greek word translated "meek" basically means mild.

Webster's defines "mild" as gentle in nature or behavior; viz: temperate; in other
words: agreeable, approachable, reasonable, calm, mellow, and self-controlled.

Non-temperate people could be characterized as moody, grudging, irritable,
emotional, thin-skinned, belligerent, militant, pugnacious, brawling, defensive,
confrontational, and reactive; around whom everybody has to walk on egg shells all
the time to avoid setting them off.

A temperate person, though mellow in demeanor, should never be assumed lacking
in strength, courage, conviction, or self confidence. Anybody who's studied the lives
of Moses and/or Jesus can easily testify that neither of those men were either timid,
wimpy, or vacillating; yet both are characterized as meek. (Num 12:3, Matt 11:29,
and Matt 21:5)

Jacob and his dad Isaac were temperate men; but could be assertive when the
situation called for it. Temperate people like Jacob and Isaac pick their battles
carefully, and avoid getting all riled up over trifles.
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There is what's known as the letter of a law written in black and white. And there's
the spirit of a law, viz: the principle underlying a law.

For example: on occasion Jesus' opponents accused him of breaking the sabbath
because they were unable to discern the principle upon which the sabbath is based.
(e.g. Matt 12:1-7, Mark 3:1-5)

Here's another:

Lev 19:14 . .You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before
the blind

The principle underlying that law is very simple: it is cruel to amuse one's self by
taking advantage of another's disadvantages; so there is no need to make a specific
law for each and every handicap when the principle underlying Lev 19:14 applies to
them all.

A gracious person of course knows all that without being told, and need not be
restrained by law to prevent them from toying with handicapped folks.
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Matt 7:1-2 . . Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you
judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured
to you.

I don't think that passage is saying God judges folks based upon their own personal
standards, rather; it's saying what goes around comes around.

This is particularly applicable to online forums where cyberspace fault-finders have
an annoying propensity to point out every perceived mistake, whether significant or
insignificant; and usually do so with very little consideration for either tact or
diplomacy.

Rom 13:10 . . Love does no harm to its neighbor.

1Cor 13:4 . . Love is kind.
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In the 25th chapter of 1Samuel, the story is told of David's disappointment with a
very wealthy man whose employees he good-neighborly protected free of charge or
obligation. David humbly requested a favor in return. However, unknown to David;
the man for whom he did the favor was an ill-bred clod.

1Sam 25:14-17 . . But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying:
Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he
railed on them.

. . . But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we
anything as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:
They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them
keeping the sheep.

. . . Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined
against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial,
that a man cannot speak to him. (1 Sam 25:14-17)

* A son of Belial is quite the opposite of a son of God (Matt 5:9)

David was very close to behaving himself in a manner unbecoming for a son of God
until the wealthy man's wife Abigail-- whose graciousness complimented her
amazing courage -- talked David down from his impious intentions, plus also
provided him with the assistance he requested, and even offering to substitute her
own life for the life of a husband in very grave danger. As a result: Abigail saved
the day for her evil spouse, for Israel's future king, and the future king's regime.

* Abigail's story has to be read from start to finish before someone can fully
appreciate her value as one of the Bible's primo examples of grace in shoe leather,
i.e. grace in words and practices.
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