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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Frankincense & Myrrh

Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae, particularly Boswellia sacra (syn: B. bhaw-dajiana), B. carterii, B. frereanaB. serrata (B. thurifera, Indian frankincense), and B. papyrifera. The English word is derived from Old French "franc encens" (i.e., high quality incense). 
There are four main species of Boswellia that produce true frankincense. Resin from each of the four is available in various grades. The grades depend on the time of harvesting; the resin is hand-sorted for quality.

Frankincense was one of the consecrated incenses (HaKetoret) described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmudused in Ketoret ceremonies. The frankincense of the Jews, as well as of the Greeks and Romans, is also called Olibanum (from the Hebrew חלבנה). Old Testament references report it in trade from Sheba. Frankincense is mentioned in the Song of Solomon Song of Solomon 4:14
It was offered on a specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. The ketoret was an important component of the Temple service in Jerusalem. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible book of Exodus 30:34, where it is named levonah (lebonah in the Biblical Hebrew), meaning "white" in Hebrew.[9] It was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary (Exodus 30:34), and was used as an accompaniment of the meal-offering (Leviticus 2:12:166:1524:7). When burnt it emitted a fragrant odour, and the incense was a symbol of the Divine name (Malachi 1:11 ; Song of Solomon 1:3) and an emblem of prayer (Psalm 141:2 ; Luke 1:10 ; Revelation 5:88:3). It was often associated with myrrh (Song of Solomon 3:64:6) and with it was made an offering to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:11). A specially "pure" kind, lebhonah zakkah, was presented with the showbread (Leviticus 24:7). 

Frankincense from Yemen

Myrrh /ˈmɜːr/ from the Hebrew '"מור"' ("mor") and Arabic مر (mur) is a natural gum or resin extracted from a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora. Myrrh resin has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine. Myrrh mixed with wine can also be ingested.
In numerous places in the Old Testament, such as Genesis 37:25 and Exodus 30:23, myrrh is mentioned as a rare perfume with intoxicating qualities.
Myrrh is also mentioned in the New Testament as one of the three gifts the magi presented to the Christ Child(Matthew 2:11). Myrrh was also present at Jesus's death and burial. Jesus was offered wine and myrrh before the crucifixion (Mark 15:23). Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus' body (John 19:39).

Commiphora myrrha tree, one of the primary trees from which myrrh is harvested.

Myrrh was used by the ancient Egyptians, along with natron, for the embalming of mummies. 
Myrrh was an ingredient of Ketoret, the consecrated incense used in the First and Second Temples at Jerusalem, as described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. An offering was made of the Ketoret on a special incense altar and was an important component of the Temple service. Myrrh is also listed as an ingredient in the holy anointing oil used to anoint the Tabernacle, high priests and kings.
Oil of myrrh is used in Esther 2:12 in a purification ritual for the new queen to King Ahasuerus:
"Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odors, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)
Myrrh was traded by camel caravans overland from areas of production in southern Arabia by the Nabataeans to their capital city of Petra, from which it was distributed throughout the Mediterranean region. 
According to the book of Matthew 2:11goldfrankincense and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the Biblical Magi "from the East". Because of its mention in the New Testament, myrrh is an incense offered during Christian liturgical celebrations (see Thurible). Liquid myrrh is sometimes added to egg tempera in the making of icons.
Matthew records that as Jesus went to the cross, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink (Matthew 27:34). Mark described the drink as wine mingled with myrrh (Mark 15:23).
Myrrh is mixed with frankincense and sometimes more scents and is used in almost every service of the Eastern OrthodoxOriental Orthodox, traditional Roman Catholic and Anglican/Episcopal Churches.
Myrrh is also used to prepare the sacramental chrism used by many churches of both Eastern and Western rites. In the Middle East, the Eastern Orthodox Church traditionally uses oil scented with myrrh (and other fragrances) to perform the sacrament of chrismation, which is commonly referred to as "receiving the Chrism".
According to the Encyclopedia of Islamic Herbal Medicine, "The Messenger of Allah stated, 'Fumigate your houses with al-shih, murr, and sa'tar.'" The author claims that this use of the word "murr" refers specifically to Commiphora myrrha. 

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Luke 2:10-11


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Isaiah 9:6


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A Savior Is Born


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This Is Christmas


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Merry Christmas


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Merry Christmas


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The King Is Born

When our children were little, they would awaken before daylight on Christmas Day, their eyes dancing with expectation. They could not wait to get downstairs to the Christmas tree to open the gifts. But before we opened the gifts, we read the Bible and I prayed.
BILLYGRAHAM.ORG

Foods of the Bible

Foods of the Bible
Bible Foods with Scripture References
By Mary Fairchild
* Have you always wanted to prepare a biblical feast? Perhaps you'd just like to learn more about the different foods mentioned in the Bible. This complete "grocery list" includes spices, fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, fowl, meats and other foods and drinks of the Bible. Scripture references are provided for each of the Bible foods.
Seasonings, Spices and Herbs
Anise (Matthew 23:23 KJV)
Coriander (Exodus 16:31; Numbers 11:7)
Cinnamon (Exodus 30:23; Revelation 18:13)
Cumin (Isaiah 28:25; Matthew 23:23)
Dill (Matthew 23:23)
Garlic (Numbers 11:5)
Mint (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42)
Mustard (Matthew 13:31)
Rue (Luke 11:42)
Salt (Ezra 6:9; Job 6:6)
Fruits and Nuts
Apples (Song of Solomon 2:5)
Almonds (Genesis 43:11; Numbers 17:8)
Dates (2 Samuel 6:19; 1 Chronicles 16:3)
Figs (Nehemiah 13:15; Jeremiah 24:1-3)
Grapes (Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 23:24)
Melons (Numbers 11:5; Isaiah 1:8)
Olives (Isaiah 17:6; Micah 6:15)
Pistachio Nuts (Genesis 43:11)
Pomegranates (Numbers 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8)
Raisins (Numbers 6:3; 2 Samuel 6:19)
Sycamore Fruit (Psalm 78:47; Amos 7:14)
Vegetables and Legumes
Beans (2 Samuel 17:28; Ezekiel 4:9)
Cucumbers (Numbers 11:5)
Gourds (2 Kings 4:39)
Leeks (Numbers 11:5)
Lentils (Genesis 25:34; 2 Samuel 17:28; Ezekiel 4:9)
Onions (Numbers 11:5)
Grains
Barley (Deuteronomy 8:8; Ezekiel 4:9)
Bread (Genesis 25:34; 2 Samuel 6:19; 16:1; Mark 8:14)
Corn (Matthew 12:1; KJV - refers to "grain" such as wheat or barley)
Flour (2 Samuel 17:28; 1 Kings 17:12)
Millet (Ezekiel 4:9)
Spelt (Ezekiel 4:9)
Unleavened Bread (Genesis 19:3; Exodus 12:20)
Wheat (Ezra 6:9; Deuteronomy 8:8)
Fish
Matthew 15:36
John 21:11-13
Fowl
Partridge (1 Samuel 26:20; Jeremiah 17:11)
Pigeon (Genesis 15:9; Leviticus 12:8)
Quail (Psalm 105:40)
Dove (Leviticus 12:8)
Animal Meats
Calf (Proverbs 15:17; Luke 15:23)
Goat (Genesis 27:9)
Lamb (2 Samuel 12:4)
Oxen (1 Kings 19:21)
Sheep (Deuteronomy 14:4)
Venison (Genesis 27:7 KJV)
Dairy
Butter (Proverbs 30:33)
Cheese (2 Samuel 17:29; Job 10:10)
Curds (Isaiah 7:15)
Milk (Exodus 33:3; Job 10:10; Judges 5:25)
Miscellaneous
Eggs (Job 6:6; Luke 11:12)
Grape Juice (Numbers 6:3)
Honey (Exodus 33:3; Deuteronomy 8:8; Judges 14:8-9)
Locust (Mark 1:6)
Olive Oil (Ezra 6:9; Deuteronomy 8:8)
Vinegar (Ruth 2:14; John 19:29)
Wine (Ezra 6:9; John 2:1-10)

Amen!


Dear God


Keep the Faith


Jesus



Mangers



Modern livestock trough near Empire RanchArizona.
manger, or trough, is a structure used to hold food to feed animals. The word manger originally referred to a feed-trough, but it may also be used to refer to a water-trough when this is not being used possibly because it is similar to an abreuvoir. Mangers are generally found at stables and farmhouses. A manger is generally made of either stone or wood or metal. Mangers are mostly used in livestock raising. 
They are also used to feed wild animals, e.g., in nature reserves. The word comes from the French manger (meaning "to eat"), from Latin manducare (meaning "to chew"). 
A manger is also a Christian symbol, associated with nativity scenes where Mary and Joseph, forced by necessity to stay in a stable instead of an inn, used a manger as a makeshift crib for the Baby Jesus.  (Greekφατνη phatnēLuke 2:7).

"Why was Jesus born in a manger?"
Answer: 
It is a common saying at Christmastime that Jesus Christ was “born in a manger.” Of course, it wasn’t possible for Him to actually be born in the manger, but that’s where Mary laid Him after His birth (Luke 2:7). Although we are not sure of the exact location of where Jesus was born, we do know that it was near Bethlehem and that there was a manger, or feeding trough, there.

More On Swaddled Clothes

Probably the most famous record of swaddling is found in the New Testament concerning the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:6–2:7:
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Swaddling clothes described in the Bible consisted of a cloth tied together by bandage-like strips. After an infant was born, the umbilical cord was cut and tied, and then the baby was washed, rubbed with salt and oil, and wrapped with strips of cloth. These strips kept the newborn child warm and also ensured that the child's limbs would grow straight. Ezekiel 16describes Israel as unswaddled, a metaphor for abandonment.  
Swaddled baby and bad mother, 1505–1510, detail from The Temptation of St. Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch (ca. 1450–1516). Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon
The Cholmondeley Ladies and their swaddled babies. c.1600–1610
During Tudor times, swaddling involved wrapping the new baby in linen bands from head to foot to ensure the baby would grow up without physical deformity. A stay band would be attached to the forehead and the shoulders to secure the head. Babies would be swaddled like this until about 8 or 9 months. 
The Swiss surgeon Felix Würtz (approx. 1500 to approx. 1598) was the first who criticized aspects of swaddling openly. 
I also saw right and straight children created by God and born into this world by humans, who became nevertheless bent and lame men, who never got straight and healthy thighs. (…) In addition, I have for instance let a child lay again down and tied up, so that I see, in which way he was swaddled. There I then really saw, where it was gone wrong (…). By misunderstanding however they wanted to bind him straight, but in fact they bind him bent and tighten the bandages hard, so that the child cannot have peace (….). 
In the seventeenth century the scientific opinion towards swaddling began to change. There was an association of neglect with swaddling, especially in regard to wetnurses who would leave babies in their care swaddled for long periods without washing or comforting them.[12] More than a hundred years after Würtz, physicians and philosophers from England began to openly criticize swaddling and finally demanded its complete abolishment. The British philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) rejected swaddling in his 1693 publication Some Thoughts Concerning Education, becoming a lobbyist for not binding babies at all. This thought was very controversial during the time, but slowly gained ground, first in England and later elsewhere in Western Europe.
William Cadogan (1711–1797) seems to have been the first physician, who pleaded for complete abolition of swaddling. In his "Essay upon Nursing" of 1748 he expressed his view of contemporary child care, swaddling, the topic of too much clothing for infants and over feeding. He wrote:
But besides the Mischief arising from the Weight and Heat of these Swaddling-cloaths, they are put on so tight, and the Child is so cramp'd by them, that its Bowels have not room, nor the Limbs any Liberty, to act and exert themselves in the free easy Manner they ought. This is a very hurtful Circumstance, for Limbs that are not used, will never be strong, and such tender Bodies cannot bear much Pressure. 

SWADDLING CLOTHES Luke 2:6- 2:7


Swaddling is Anna age old practice of wrapping infants in blankets or similar clothes so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling bands were often used to further re-strict the infant. Swaddling fell out of favor and the 17th century. Some modern medical studies indicate that swaddling helps babies fall asleep and to remain asleep; and helps to keep the baby and a supine position, which lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Additionally emerging evidence is showing certain swaddling techniques may increase the risk of developmental dysplasia of the hip. Several authors presume that swaddling was invented in the Paleolithic period. In Europe the the earliest depictions of swaddled babies are votive offerings and grave goods from Crete and Cyprus, 4000 to 4500 years ago! The most famous record of swaddling is found in the New Testament concerning the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:6- 2:7

Friday, December 23, 2016

"The legend of the Poinsettia"



"The legend of the Poinsettia"
A favorite Christmas flower in the United States is the poinsettia, with its beautiful, red, star-shape. It is called the "Flame Leaf" in Central America or "Flower of the Holy Night" and was brought here over a hundred years ago by Dr. Joel Poinsett, our first ambassador to Mexico. Most of the poinsettias used now come from California.
The legend of the poinsettia comes from Mexico. It tells of a girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo. They were very poor but always looked forward to the Christmas festival. Each year a large manger scene was set up in the village church, and the days before Christmas were filled with parades and parties. The two children loved Christmas but were always saddened because they had no money to buy presents. They especially wished that they could give something to the church for the Baby Jesus. But they had nothing.
One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church to attend the service. On their way they picked some weeds growing along the roadside and decided to take them as their gift to the Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Of course other children teased them when they arrived with their gift, but they said nothing for they knew they had given what they could. Maria and Pablo began placing the green plants around the manger and miraculously, the green top leaves turned into bright red petals, and soon the manger was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today.

Who Is Jesus?

Who Is Jesus?
Matthew Henry's Commentary on John 1:1-5
The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father's mind to the world.
What the evangelist says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts, His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were made by him, and not as an instrument.
Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, is derived from him, and depends upon him.
This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness comprehends it not. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.