Books & Reviews 📚

The Dark Academia Book Tag

Okay, so here’s what I know about dark academia: It’s the latest aesthetic to sweep social media after taking off on platforms such as Tumblr and TikTok. It draws inspiration from the classic Greek writing, architecture, and arts. Good Reads couldn’t have said it better:

Dark Academia is an aesthetic that revolves around classic literature, the pursuit of self-discovery, and a general passion for knowledge and learning.

And the inspired fashion ain’t bad either.

Dark academia | Lookbook

I’m not really into dark academia, but I was looking for a book tag to do, for it’s been a while and when I came across this tag over at Madame Writer, I decided that this tag was going to be the one as there were some pretty interesting questions in-between that caught my attention, so let’s do this!

1. What is your favourite “academia” or “dark” book + movie?

Book: I’ve had my fair share of books in this category including Dorian Gray and Secret History, but I’ll have to go with To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve read the book twice and up to this day, I still like the book.

Movie: If I were still into movies, I’ll go with Good Will Hunting. When it comes to movies, Dead Poets Society reign supreme for DA enthusiasts.

Good Will Hunting GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

2. What dead poet would you like to have a drink with?

The one, the only, King Solomon! His poems are beautifully crafted, timeless, and full of passion. 

3. What is your favourite painting and/or sculpture?

Painting: Claude Monet is my all-time favorite painter and one of my favorite paintings of his is the Garden at Sainte-Adresse. An art category is in the works, so I’ll talk more in depth about him at a later date.

File:Claude Monet - Jardin à Sainte-Adresse.jpg - Wikipedia

Sculpture: My all-time favorite is Auguste Rodin’s Le Penseur (The Thinker). This thinking man is often used as an image to represent philosophy.

4. What is your favourite architectural marvel?

Here’s the thing, I marvel at many structures from both the ancient and modern world. Back then, I really marveled at the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and yes, the GIGANTIC Colossus of Rhodes. Right now, I’m awed at the Château de Peyrepertuse in Aude, France. I mean, look at it!:

Château de Peyrepertuse - 39 images de qualité en haute définition

5. What Shakespeare play would you want to be the lead in?

Certainly not Juliet! But on a serious note, I have never gotten into Shakespeare, so I can’t answer this question. And I’m just not into plays.

6. How many languages do you speak and which language would you most like to learn?

One, and that is English. I speak little French, but I’m not serious about it. It’s the language I’ll love to learn the most, but I just can’t seem to commit.

writing skills – The Write Nook

7. What is your favourite quote (from poetry, prose, plays, etc.)?

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.

This is single-handedly the greatest opening line of a poem. It’s taken from Song of Solomon 1:1. I could quote other favorite lines, but I’ll just end up quoting the entire book. 

Song of Solomon Quotes from the Bible - AllGreatQuotes

8. Which fictional character’s death is your ideal way to go?

However, the Lord sees fit to take me is the ideal way to go. I’m never shy about death, for its inevitable and when I was younger, I used to say the ideal way to go was in my sleep.

9. What university/college would you most like to attend?

I tend to bore easily in classrooms, but I don’t mind studying at the heritage-rich Université de Paris. Just the building alone is an architectural wonder by itself.

File:Universite de Paris Faculte de droit DSC 1945w.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

10. What is your murder weapon or murder method of choice?

I’ll skip this question for murdering someone should never be on the mind.

11. What mythology would you most like to a part of?

I remember being into Greek mythology and feeling out Norse mythology, but I find Egyptian mythology to be the most interesting.

Ancient Egyptian Creation Myth - GIFs - Imgur

12. If you had to do a PhD what would you choose to do it on?

I’m a history fanatic, so anything to do with history. 

13. Which fictional character would you die for?

No one. I rather die for my loved ones (John 15:13).

John 15:13 | My love, Encouragement, Words

Rapid-Fire: Pick One

1. Leather bound or cloth bound books?

Neither.

2. Dog-earing pages or highlighting pages?

Neither.

3. Sculptures or paintings?

I prefer paintings.

4. Piano or violin?

I’ve always been drawn to piano music, but the violin is wonderful too. So, both. Sides, they make beautiful music together.

Anime Piano GIF - Anime Piano Violin - Discover & Share GIFs

5. Films or theatre?

I wouldn’t have seen TC at a theatre, so films.

6. Poetry or prose?

Both.

7. Museums or bookshops?

Actually, lately, I prefer stationery shops. If I have to choose, I’ll go with bookshops… and I’ve always wanted to work in one.

8. Smell of books or smell of coffee/tea?

I love the smell of new books and strong coffee.

35 new quotes about books, libraries, and reading

9. Fountain pen or typewriter ?

Fountain pens! I used to enjoy using them to improve my writing when I was younger. Mom was actually the one that got me into those pens. 

10. New or used books?

New. Most of the time when I’m done with them, I pass them on that’s why I’m careful not to dog-ear or highlight a book.

Animated gif about gif in Rain by Isadora Almeida

Well, that was something! As I’m snail-likely working on new material, I may as well publish a few filler posts and this one was definitely worth it.

If you’re up to do this challenge, feel free to and don’t forget to check out Madame Writer’s entry here: 

The Dark Academia Book Tag

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Bible Activity/Discussion, Origins

Did three wise men really visit Jesus?

The birth of Christ is wrapped up in folklore and tradition (man’s) and marketed to the world as Christmas. The nativity scene takes the center of attention in window displays, schools and offices, often misleading believers.

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The Nativity Scene Origin

The first nativity scene was created in 1223 in Greccio, central Italy by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is said to represent the true “spirit” of Christmas. However, many depictions of Jesus’s birth are filled with inaccuracies and it conflicts with the true Biblical account. We often see the little family, three wise men, sometimes a shepherd or two, a few animals, huddled around a newborn, the scene illuminated by the light of a lone star. Pretty wonderful and harmonic, right? But this is most unlikely.

Why can’t we be satisfied with the Biblical account? The true account?

The visiting Wise Men 

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The wise men came from the east to see the infant after following a star (Matthew 2:2). Magi or wise men originally referred to a class of priests from Persia. They were said to be students of astrology, hence why they noticed the strange star, to begin with, and followed it.

It’s unclear how many wise men were there as the Bible doesn’t speculate, but because they brought three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11) –  it’s assumed that it was three wise men. It could’ve been two wise men bringing those gifts. It could’ve been as much as five, six or even ten wise men.

Manger or house?

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We’re told that the wise men visited Jesus in the stable while He was in a manger. Luke 2:8-20 shows that the shepherds who were watching over their flock in the field by night were given the news of Jesus’s birth by angels and they visited Jesus as He lay in a manger. It’s most likely that they saw the newborn Savoir before the Magi. And it’s no coincidence that the angels broke the news to the shepherds first, for it foreshadowed Christ as the good Shepherd.

In Matthew 2:11, by the time the wise men arrive, Mary and Joseph are not in a stable, but in a house. It’s likely that it took the wise men, days, months or even a few years to arrive on the scene.

The gifts the Wise Men brought.

The Magi brought three significant gifts that bore spiritual meanings. 

Gold recognizes Jesus as the King of Kings and the great High Priest. The Magi acknowledged that they were in the presence of a King. Gold was highly valued by kings as we see with Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9:20. Gold was also woven into the fabric of the high priest (Exodus 28). 

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Frankincense recognizes Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice and it has a wonderful fragrance. It was used for making incense (Exodus 30:34), was an ingredient in sacrifices (Leviticus 2:1-2) and it was also an ingredient in perfumes (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14).

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Myrrh recognizes His death and resurrection. It was first mentioned in Genesis 37:25 where it was carried by camels in a caravan. It was used for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25) and as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13). It was also used in Jesus’ burial (John 19:39).

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The frankincense and myrrh trees are cut and bruised to bleed out the resin to use for healing, perfumes, incense, and anointing. Do you see the spiritual symbolism when it comes to Christ, Who suffered and shed His blood for humanity? By His stripes, we’re healed!

In conclusion

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Matthew is the only Gospel writer that mentions the wise men visiting Christ after His birth. The account states that after Jesus’s birth, the wise men visit King Herod to inquire about Jesus’s actual location. However, Herod doesn’t have a clue though he’s troubled, and seeks the services of the wise men to locate the newborn Savior under the guise of wanting to worship Him. After leaving Jerusalem, the wise men see a star, follow it, and comes to worship the King of Kings in a house and not in a stable.

The Magi read and believed God’s Word, they sought Jesus, recognized His worth, and humbled themselves before Him in worship. We should come into God’s house with such reverence when we’re in His presence.

This is the account that is given in Matthew 2:1-12. The Bible doesn’t mention how many Magi (even if there was really 3) so we shouldn’t take away or add to the Word.

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Biblical Reflection

Consider the Lily. 🌼

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:27

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Go outside and look around. Take in the trees, the flowers, animals, and the way the wind blows. Look at the sky in the evening. Don’t you just marvel at the setting of the sun? Luke 12:27 reminds us that man does not have the ability to make things as beautiful as God. Not even Solomon’s majestic finery can compare for his was made by man. Solomon had to toil and spin despite his glory but still couldn’t compare to the effortless lilies in the field. 

God’s creation reveals His beauty to the world. 

Let us consider the lilies.

200+ Free Lily Of The Valley & Spring Photos - Pixabay

The lily symbolizes devotion and humility; it is an emblem of loveliness or purity. Lilies have been most associated with King Solomon. It is mentioned 15 times in the Bible; 8 of those mentions occur in SOS (Song of Solomon). We’re first introduced to the lily in the building of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:19; 1 Kings 7:22; 1 Kings 7:26; 2 Chronicles 4:5). I noted a few things about lilies while studying verses on this sweet flower: it grows in fields, in the valleys, and even among thorns. In SOS 2:2, the church is compared to a “lily among thorns”. In SOS 5:13 the young woman compares her beloved’s lips to lilies.

The lily is also a beautiful picture of Christ (SOS 2:1). I love the five comparisons between the lily of the valley and Christ, Benjamin Keach gives in his book “Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible”:

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1. A lily is a sweet and a fragrant flower with a strong scent. Our Lord Jesus has a sweetness in His ministry especially when He gave “himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

2. A lily is white and very beautiful. White is a symbol of purity (Revelation 3:4). What better representation of the purity of Jesus Christ, the one “who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), who “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22), who was tempted “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). and who in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5), than a beautiful white lily?

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3. A lily is very fruitful. One root may put forth fifty bulbs. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He brings forth much fruit (John 12:24).

4. A lily, according to the ancient writer Pliny, is the tallest of flowers and yet hangs its head down. This a beautiful picture of the greatness of the Son of God matched only by the greatness of His humility (Philippians 2:6-8).

5. The lily has many medicinal qualities. According to ancient teaching, it could be used to restore a lost voice, help faintness, was good for the liver, and helped to reduce fluid retention. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great physician and is fully capable of curing all diseases and maladies of the soul.

200+ Free Lily Of The Valley & Spring Photos - Pixabay

When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He tells us to consider the lilies (Matthew 6:28-29). When we’re anxious, He wants us to look at nature and He uses birds as an example in Matthew 6:26. We can’t look into tomorrow, neither can the birds. The birds don’t worry for the Great Provider always provides for them. We shouldn’t worry over things we can’t control for worrying cannot add an extra hour to our life (Matthew 6:27); rather, it shortens our lifespan. Besides, Jesus tells us to come out of the world and if we were to worry constantly, how are we any different from the world (Matthew 6:31-32)?

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Food for thought: If God can clothe and feed the flowers of the field and provide for the birds of the air, imagine what He can do for you! Rest easy, for, there’s no need to worry; He is in control. We have today; leave tomorrow up to God and don’t waste time worrying.

Consider the lilies.

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Biblical Reflection

Expressing joy at calamities

 and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.

Proverbs 17:5

The book of Proverbs shows us how foolish we can be if we do not choose to live wisely. It also teaches us how to be humble and how to be Christlike in all manner of ways. 

Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies despite them cursing us, despising us, and spitefully using or persecuting us. However, some of us are so weighed down by the troubles they’ve caused that for a little moment, we forget Who we belong to and rejoice in their pain. We feel satisfied when we hear of their misfortunes instead of lifting them up in prayer. 

Why must we love our enemies? Simple. Just as much as He loves us, Jesus also loves our enemies for He does not want anyone to perish, but to join Him in everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). So whenever you feel like rejoicing over your enemy because bad things befall them, remember that Jesus died for EVERYONE inclusive of your enemy; you’re not exclusive. 

RELATED: Have you prayed for your enemies lately?

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Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

꧁30 interesting questions challenge ꧂

I love fun challenges and when I read the 30 interesting questions challenge over on Stories of Hope blog, I just had to participate. This post was supposed to have been done since last month, but I am always late to the party.

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Let’s do this!

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Well, almost everyone calls me Dee and I have no problem with that at all.

2. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

I don’t doodle much as before, but does this…

…count? It’s the last thing I did sometime back in November or so. 

3. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I recite Psalm 91 and pray. Another great one is Psalm 4.

4. Do people consider you as talkative or quiet?

I am both talkative (especially if we’re talking about God, the Bible, travels, etc.) and quiet.

5. What makes you cry?

When people accept/return to God acknowledging Him as their EVERYTHING. And humanity…

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

When the Lord’s name is taken in vain. I also dislike it when people listen to music via their headset really loud. Like, what’s the use of having a headset if other people are going to be hearing your music?

7. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

I normally look in the mirror when I’m leaving the house.

8. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That people entered inside the television set from behind to be on TV. 😆

9. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Guilty pleasure? What is that? Here I quote the great Matthew Gray Gubler: “Don’t feel guilty if you like something.”

10. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

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11. How often do you read the newspaper? Which sections?

I don’t read the newspapers, but I do read news online once or twice a week.

12. Which animal scares you the most? 

This question is very subjective so I’ll give a pragmatic answer: diseased animals.

13. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

I run away from conflicts. 

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14. What was the most recent compliment you received?

It was from my sister in Christ, Leiya. She said that she enjoys watching me grow in Christ. 💙

15. What question are you tired of hearing?

Do you watch Game of Thrones? No. Just no.

Is Annie okay? Of course, she is! She was a CPR mannequin for Smooth Criminal’s sake! She saved millions of lives!

Why do you like Tom Cruise? You, do you.

Why do you support France and not Spain? Last time I checked, Messi wasn’t Spanish and it was Les Bleus who got me into football, not FC Barcelona or Argentina for that matter.  

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16. What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

I’m not an adventurous eater so I have to go with pepperoni. 👎

17. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends?

Close friends that I cherish and love.

18. Do you have a catchphrase?

None I can think of at the moment so I guess I don’t have one.

19. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why?

San Fernando! It’s the most beautiful place in the south and it should’ve been the capital of Trinidad. The people there are very different than the town people and they don’t have time to mind your business. And the hill’s got a panoramic view!

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20. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I love the name my parents gave me so I don’t see the need for changing it.

21. When was the last time you lied?

Let’s see…

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22. What’s something that amazes you?

Simply God. Especially the way He answers prayers! 

23. Would you rather be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease?

The inventor for I wouldn’t be able to explore another planet anyway given the firmament God put in place.

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24. What is your favorite amateur activity?

Reading and also walking to clear my mind while communicating with God.

25. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

Another day? Thank You, God! 💙

26. What is your favorite song (at least for the moment)?

“All I Want” by Michael W. Smith.

27. List someone you know, and describe them in 5 words.

Lee is caring, eager, driven, focus, and learning.

28. You can select one person from history and have them truthfully answer one question. Who would you select and what would the question be?

Oh my! So many people! Here are a few:

Albert Einstein: Why can’t you take the time to fix your hair? And why would a grown man be sticking his tongue out of his mouth?

King Solomon: How did you ever make time to communicate with your 700 wives one on one?

King Louis XIV: You were four-years-old when you ascended the throne and you became the longest reigning monarch in Europe. How did your longevity affect your reign?

Napoleon Bonaparte: Why in the world did you continue to trust Talleyrand even after you found out that he was not trustworthy? 

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29. Which celebrity or artist do you resemble the most?

It’s been often said that I look like…

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…God! I was created in His image after all. I wouldn’t even give my left foot to look like any of these basic celebrities out here.

30. What do you want me to know?

Jesus is coming again. Are you ready?

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This fun challenge is open to anyone who wishes to participate. Thank you to Stories of Hope for allowing me to join in the fun. See her post here:

30 Interesting Questions Challenge

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Devotional Nuggets

Devotional Nugget #1: He restoreth my soul 🦋

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 19:7

Many things can be restored (an old car, money, destroyed photographs, broken bones, etc.) except time. However, did you know that God can restore your lost years?

In 2 Chronicles 6:12-42, during the Dedication of the new temple, King Solomon prayed to God asking Him to forgive the people of Israel and to restore them when they sin. God answers Solomon’s moving prayer in the following chapter offering a four-step process for His people when they sin:

 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

God’s guide to spiritual restoration is simple: We must first humble ourselves before Him recognizing that we’re NOTHING compared to His Sovereignty. We must then pray for His will in our lives for He has a special purpose for each of us when it comes to completing His work. Thirdly, we seek His face by walking and communing with Him continually. In the final step, God wants us to renew our mind by turning away from wickedness and putting our focus entirely on Him.

Let the restoring and healing begin!

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Today’s Reflection

Father, we thank You for loving us despite our flaws and we thank You for blessing us with Your sweet mercies even when we don’t deserve it. We pray that You restore our souls as we redirect our focus on growing closer to You. 

Bible Study

Genesis part XIV: Abraham proves his faith and Sarah dies

In case you missed it:

PART 13: Abraham pulls the sister card again and Isaac is born

Part 12: Wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

A colleague recently told me that she was glad she asked for the name of my blog, for now, she has something to look forward to on mornings. I was most delighted when she told me that she was excited over the Bible studies series for she’s currently reading/studying the Holy Word and there were things that she did not understand. All praise and glory to the Highest for without Him, the Bible studies wouldn’t have been possible. I, too, did not know where to start when it comes to studying the Bible. Even though I read it cover to cover multiple times, there were many things I still did not understand. I started praying about it, and God revealed how I should go about studying His precious Word.

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God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son

Scripture in focus: Genesis 22

God asks us to do things. Sometimes, they can be outlandish and sometimes, we don’t like where it may lead us, but He asks us to do things. He asked Abraham to do something that could’ve made the patriarch question His action, but it took faith and trust for Abraham to complete the task. Chapter 22 is ripe with symbolism and we’re going to look at some of them as we study.

“God did tempt Abraham” (22:1). The word “tempt” here does not mean anything maleficent. Rather, the verb here means “test” or “prove”. This was a test to reveal faith for God spent years building up Abraham into a man of faith. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son in the land of Moriah (22:2). Note:

^ “only son” – God calls Isaac the only son of Abraham and yes, we know about Ishmael, but he was put away from Abraham’s family, so as far as God was concerned, Abraham only had one son which was the promised son Isaac. God repeats “only son” thrice in this chapter (2, 12, 16). And how’s this for a fun fact: This was the first time “love” was mentioned in the Bible and it was love between a father and a son which was connected by the sacrificial offering of the son. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. Do you see what God did there? He is not a God of half done jobs but a God of detail! 

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Read 22:3. Read it again. Do you see the symbolism relating to Christ? I had to reread it more than twice to see it. bible-studys.org broke it down nicely:

God sacrificing His only son. Abraham sacrificing his son.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass. The provisions for this sacrifice were carried on an ass.

Jesus died between two men on the cross. Abraham took two men with them.

Jesus carried a wooden cross. Isaac carried wood for the sacrifice (wood means worldliness).

Jesus went to Golgotha on orders from God. Abraham and Isaac went to Moriah in Jerusalem on orders from God.

Jesus obeyed His Father and said, “nevertheless not my will, but thine.” Isaac obeyed Abraham without question.

I love discovering these beautiful treasures! 💙

Abraham journeys to the place of sacrifice from Beer-sheba to Moriah without hesitation and came unto the place on the 3rd day (22:4). Symbolism: It is implied by many that Isaac was “dead” during these 3 days and Abraham grieved for him as the disciples did for Jesus 3 days. Jesus was in the grave for 3 days. Can you imagine the heartache God went through at the sacrifice of His Son?

Abraham was convinced that he and Isaac will return from the mount so he left the two men behind (22:5). Symbolism: Abraham trusted God to the point that if Isaac were to die, God would resurrect him (Hebrews 11:17-19) hence he said: “come again to you”. This verse is parallel to the cross when Jesus left the two men on the cross just as Abraham left the two behind and Jesus promises that He will come again.

Abraham took the necessary items for the sacrifice and gave Isaac the wood to carry (22:6). Symbolism: Isaac carries the wood for his own sacrifice up the hill. He typifies Christ who carried His cross to die for our sins on it. This is also the first time we read about fire for use and also of a knife. Isaac is now aware that there is no lamb to be sacrificed (22:7), but his father said, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” {Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)} and he still obediently follows his father (22:8). This takes me to the 5th commandment of honoring our parents.

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22:9 is a great verse of faith on both father and son’s part. Abraham builds the altar and perhaps tells Isaac what Isaac suspected all along: “Son, you are the lamb which God has provided”. Abraham was over 100 years old and Isaac could’ve overpowered him and ran off, but what does he do? He willingly submits as Jesus did to His Father’s will. We should not forget Isaac’s great faith. This experience was surely memorable to him as long as he lived. Some said he was in his 30s when this event took place. If so, I’ll like to believe that he was 33, but the Bible made no mention of his age.

Abraham readies to deliver the fatal blow (22:10), but the Son of God stops him (22:11). He passed the test in proving his faith (22:12). We can say to the LORD, “Now I know that You love me, seeing You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son from me.” (via blueletterbible.org). God loves us tremendously. There is no other greater love than His. You can search high or low, but you won’t find another love like His. 💙

But God still required a sacrifice and He provided a ram in substitute of Isaac (22:13). “in the stead of his son” is perhaps the greatest symbolism of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind. Had God not provided a Substitute in the form of His Son, we would’ve suffered and died on that cross with no chance at salvation. Praise God always for the Sun of Righteousness. Abraham calls the place Jehovah-jireh meaning The LORD Will Provide (22:14). It’s highly significant in meaning. God provided the substitute ram and later, He provides the ultimate atoning Sacrifice for our sins.

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The Son of God has more to say to Abraham (22:15) and He swears by Himself thus making it a great oath for there are no other greater than Him (22:16). Abraham is blessed once again for obeying the voice of His Creator (22:17-18). Abraham honored God by his obedience to Him and his example should be one for all believers to follow. Abraham, Isaac and the two young men (servants) returns to Beer-sheba (22:19). 

22:20-24 lists Nahor’s family. Nahor was Abraham’s brother and although they probably hadn’t seen each other in years, the news still reached Abraham about a family update. Rebekah, Isaac’s future wife is given special mention (22:23).

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Sarah dies

Scripture in focus: Genesis 23

Remember after the Flood, God reduced the human’s lifespan to about 120 years. Sarah lived until she was 127 years old (23:1). FACT: She is the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is recorded. Abraham mourns and weeps for his wife (23:2).

23:3-16 records Abraham negotiating with the Philistines for the land to bury his wife:

I am a foreigner and a sojourner among you (23:4). Here, Abraham acknowledges that he did not own the Promised Land as yet, but he wanted his wife to be buried there. He can also be acknowledging that he did not belong of this world, for his home was in God’s coming kingdom and he was just a stranger passing through the earth. 

“That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field…” (23:9): This place became the burial ground for Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob.

23:17-20 records Abraham buying the field and burying his wife. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Moriah was a mountainous region as you can tell from 22:2. It was the site of numerous acts of faith. After God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac there, a thousand years later, King David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and built an altar to the Lord so that a “plague may be held back from the people” (2 Samuel 24:18, 21). After his death, King Solomon built a temple on the site; it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies in 587/586 B.C.

Seventy years after this, the temple was rebuilt, around the first century, it became known as Herold’s Temple which was the same temple Jesus cleansed (John 2:15). The temple was once again destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman armies. The portion that remained came to be known as the “Wailing Wall” or “Western Wall”. Bible prophecy shows that a third temple will be built at/on the site of Solomon’s temple (Daniel 9:27).

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King Solomon’s temple via Wikipedia

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part VII: Noah’s generation, a geographic history lesson

In case you missed it:

Part 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

Part 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

I am at my happiest when I search the scriptures and ask God to deepen my understanding of His Word by not only opening my mind and ears but most importantly, my heart. I love You, God and I’ll never be ashamed to always say so! 💙

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The generations of Noah 

Scripture in focus: Genesis 10

When I first started to read the Bible, I’ll gloss over the ‘generation/genealogy’ chapters without thinking twice. It’s when I started to really study His Word, I realized that I was wrong to do so for the names were also important. Read 10:1. What are the keywords? If you say “sons of Noah” you’re right. “Sons of Noah” are all the people who descended from Noah’s 3 sons after the Flood (Cross Reference Acts 17:26) as there are no recorded births while they were in the ark.

Noah had 3 sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. You’ll notice that whenever the names of Noah’s sons are recorded, Shem is always mentioned first (9:18; 10:2, 21) despite being the second-born. That’s because the Bible often list people according to prominence rather than age and Noah had blessed Shem above his brothers. Let’s look at the oldest son, Japheth who was born when Noah was 500 years. 

10:2-5 traces Japheth’s sons and grandsons. Japheth means “expansion”. Seven of his sons are mentioned: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (10:2). The first time I read those names, I thought they sounded Indo. Japheth was in fact, the father of the Indo-European peoples (India to Western Europe). Gomer and his people lay north to the north of Judea (see Ezekiel 38:6). From Gomer came the Galatians or Gauls of Asia. They inhabited Phrygia.

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Image via Wikipedia

I love Ancient History and I think it’s vital when it comes to Bible Study for it can come in very handy. I read about the Phrygians settling everywhere in Anatolia and how some of them accepted strange customs and cults, one which was the cult of the great Mother of the gods. The most famous king of Phrygia was Midas. I think I’m getting carried away. So to put:

Gomer (Germany): From him, came the Germanic peoples; most of the original peoples of Western Europe came from them including the original French, Celtic settlers, and Spanish.

Magog, Tiras, Meshech (Moscow) & Tubal: they settled in the far north of Europe and became the Russian peoples (the Russians are the most numerous ethnic group in Europe).

Madai: The ancient Medes came from this son’s line. The peoples of India also came from this family tree branch.

Javan: The ancient Greeks came from this one. 

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Image via Pinterest

I believe that the history of the peoples can be disputed. In 10:3 we meet Gomer’s 3 sons: Ashkenaz (probably Assyrian), Riphath (an obscure tribe that was merely mentioned) and Togarmah (the Armenians were believed to come from his line. They are mentioned as traders in Ezekiel 27:14 and in Ezekiel 38, they were named as followers of Gog along with Persia and Ethiopia). From Javan’s sons (10:4-5) the coastline peoples of the Gentiles were divided into their lands (according to their families, nations, and language). Take note of verse 5: Japheth’s descendants did as God instructed by scattering and populating the area they were given.

Now, let’s go Ham, the youngest of Noah’s sons and the one who discovered his father’s drunkenness in 9:22. Many of Ham’s sons were the enemies of Israel. Ham’s descendants populated the Far East and Africa. Ham is the father of the Arabians, Canaanites, and Africans, and the Egyptians. In 10:6 we meet:

Cush – Divided into two branches, some founded Babylon (Nimrod) and others Ethiopia. 

Mizraim – Hebrew for Egypt and translated as Egypt 87 times in the Bible. Egypt was later called the “land of Ham” (see Psalm 78:51; 105:23; 106:22).

Phut – Refers to Libya.

Canaan – The people who originally settled the land. In v. 15, we’ll see that many races were started from Canaan including the Amorite, Hivite, Hamathite, and Jebusite.

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Image via Biblicomentarios

Cush had 5 sons and 2 grandsons (10:7), but then came Nimrod (10:8-9). A mighty one. A great hunter. The power-hungry leader behind the building of the Tower of Babel (11:1-4). Nimrod means “let us rebel” and I’ll write up a post on this figure soon if the time permits. At 10:10 we see the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom. He did not want to heed God’s instruction to scatter and populate the earth. 10:11 speaks of Assyria and you might recognize the city of Nineveh which was wicked to the core right down to the time of Jonah. 10:12 speaks of Resen another city Asshur built. 

10:13-14 deals with Mizraim’s (2nd son of Ham) 7 sons from who are derived 8 nations. Ludim is thought to be plural, so Mizraim begat the father of the Ludim which is thought to be Lud in Isaiah 66:19 (Lydians). They were great at archery. Now to the sons of Canaan (10:15-18). Remember, these were the people cursed at the scene of Noah’s drunkenness because of Ham. Not only that, they possessed the Promised Land which Israel needed to conquer. Sidon is related to the Hittites and Lebanese and many people believe that the Oriental peoples descended from the Sinites. Sidon was also Zidon. I could only imagine how beautiful the women were in that town to cause Solomon to sin repeatedly (1 Kings 11:5). Heth was the father of the Hittites and they worshipped a number of Egyptian and Babylonian deities. Their relatives, the Jebusites also worshipped false gods. 

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Map of the Hittite Empire (c. 1300 BC) via Ancient History Encyclopedia

The border at 10:19 is a description of the land of Canaan the Israelites possessed. Gerar and Gaza are two Philistines’ cities. The Hebrew name for Gaza is Azzah (mentioned in Deuteronomy, Kings, and Jeremiah), the capital of the Philistines and Samson lived there. It is the center of the Gaza Strip today. Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim were destroyed with righteous fire from heaven. 

We now move to the descendants of Shem (meaning “name” because Noah expected the name of his son to become great), the second born of Noah (10:21). Let’s talk about Shem a little. Shem was the father of “all the children of Eber”. The word Eber is the origin of the Hebrew word for “Hebrew.” This is the son whom Noah had blessed above his brothers in 9:26-27. It was through Shem that the promised seed destined to crush the devil came (3:15) and that seed can be traced back to Seth (Adam’s son) in 5:1-32, through Shem, then Abraham, Judah, down to David leading to Christ (Luke 3:36). Ain’t that a beautiful something! Jesus came from this amazing preserved line! Eber is actually the grandson of Arphaxad (10:24). When the Bible uses the term ‘child’ or ‘children’ it does not always mean so.

We meet Shem’s 5 children in 10:22. From Elam sprung the Persians; Asshur was the father of the Assyrians; Arphaxad was the ancestor to Abram and the Hebrews. He dwelt in Mesopotamia and became the progenitor of the Chaldeans. Lud (not the same one mentioned in the line of Ham) was Shem’s 4th son and was the father of the Lydians who lived in Asia Minor. Aram is the father of the Aramaeans, who we know as the Syrians. 

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Image via Bible History

Aram had 4 children (10:23), but it is Uz which gathers much attention. Uz was later a region in Arabia and it was from this land (somewhere in the Arabian Desert) Job came (Job 1:1). Arphaxad was born two years after the flood but decided to commemorate the event by naming his firstborn Salah which means “a sending forth” of waters (10:24). Eber had 2 sons (10:25) and Peleg was so named because of the earth being divided in his time (the dispersion of peoples at the Tower of Babel). Peleg means division. We meet the 13 Joctanites tribes in 10:26-29. There is little known of these sons besides seeming to settle parts of Arabia (10:30) for they disappeared in Bible history. 

10:31 is the spread of Shem’s descendants including Assyria, Arabia, and Syria. Exclusive of Nimrod, there are 70 names of nations, tribes, or heads of families descended from Noah’s 3 sons: 14 from Japheth, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. Among the heads of tribes descended from Japheth are 7 grandsons. Among those from Ham are 23 grandsons and 3 great-grandsons (bible-studys.org). And we conclude this interesting generation chapter with God reminding us that through Noah’s three sons the whole world was repopulated (10:32). Eight people were left after the flood and look at the world now.

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The world so stunk of sin that we have no knowledge of our own origin. We fight for a sense of belonging to this race or that race because we’re not satisfied with the image we were made in, His. There is only one race: the human race. Being Indian, African, Asians etc. are different ethnicities of the human race. God is willing to reveal the truth in His Word, but how can we see it when our eyes are closed? When we’ve made up our minds to follow what man tells us? When our hearts are closed off from God? Search the scriptures today with a new approach and with a spiritual understanding. People didn’t just come into existence. We’re here because of Noah’s descendants. Most importantly, we’re here because of God. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Ham means “hot” and the Hamitic people were godless and of a worldly power (Genesis 10:6-20). Ham’s descendants worshipped false gods including the god of fertility. 

^ Heth is the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 

^ Shem was the ancestor of the Semitic peoples (10:21-31). He is the father of the Hebrew nation from whence Christ came. 

^ Abraham, a descendant of Shem, is the first person in the Bible who is referred to as a “Hebrew” (Genesis 14:13).

^ Arphaxad, along with Shem, was mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible

* biblestudys.org

*blueletterbible.org

* gotquestions.org

Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

Day 29: List 10 people, living or dead, you would invite to dinner. Include the dinner menu.

This is a wonderful and creative question and I like it very much! But it’s also hard because I can’t invite everyone to dinner. 😟I’ll love to have dinner with my characters, but I think I’ll go with some of my all-time favorite people from history. This might get lengthy for most of them are French, all of them are dead, and all of them are men for I am not easily fascinated by women. Jesus Christ is not a fascination; He is my heart. Here we go:

King Louis XIV – This man revolutionized France, fashion, art, and etiquette. I’ve read about people fainting in his court whenever he entertained. Michael Jackson who? This Louis lasted for 72 years, longer than that of any other known European sovereign, and he happens to be my favorite French monarch… for some reason!

King Solomon – The wisest fool who ever lived. Beautifully flawed (who isn’t, though?), but I love the way he wrote and thought him to be a great writer. Shakespeare who? He spoke 3000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs (1 King 4:32) and if he wrote like that, just imagine the poems he wrote for the ladies. 😉

Napoléon Bonaparte – He was shrewd and skillful and he conquered much of Europe during his time. He wrote Josephine passionate love letters while away on military duties – although the power couple broke up after 8 years – and his said last words were: “France, the Army, the Head of the Army, Josephine.” Here’s a nice fun fact: Bonaparte is the 2nd most significant figure in history behind Jesus Christ who is #1 of course! There is no one BIGGER than our King!

Marquis de Lafayette – This Frenchman is the hero of the American Revolution. He was without combat experience and only 19-years-old when he arrived in America. He penned one of history’s most important documents about human and civil rights with the help of Jefferson: the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

Alexandre Dumas – Well, I don’t think I have to talk about this man now! I’ve been talking about him since the year kicked off! 😄

Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten – This Pharoah is known as the Heretic King because he tried to shift Egypt’s traditional religion to sun worship elevating god Aten above mere gods. However, I like to joke that he invented Photoshop and I’ll talk about that in another post someday because I’ve talked too much already. 

Tutankhaten/Tutankhamun – Of course I can’t leave out Akhenaten’s son now! As a child, I was fascinated by King Tut and spent time reading/researching about him. He tried to undo his father’s damage, but sadly, he had a short reign. 

Simon Peter – This fisherman was one of the first followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He had several failings, but in the end, he was still chosen to carry out God’s work. He was a natural born leader and outspoken. I love Peter and I’ll devote an entire post to him in the near future.

Alexander the Great – It’s not a dinner without the greatest conqueror who ever lived! He was King of the Four Quarters of the World! He was tutored by the great Aristotle and his influence on Greek and Asian culture inspired the Hellenistic period.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce – He invented photography so Frenchie can take photos of our exciting dinner!

Now, for the menu:

I had fun creating that menu! 😄

Although this was a lengthy post, I enjoyed writing it because I simply love history and I can talk about fascinating people all day. 

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Bible Activity/Discussion

The Bible: an introduction

People question me about the Bible. They want to know how to study it, which book to start reading from, why it is important to keep the Sabbath etc. I’ve decided to start a new segment under Bible Study/Trivia ‘Most Asked Bible Questions’ which I’ll likely schedule for future Sabbaths. 

Today, I want to introduce the Bible. So what is the Bible?

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The Bible is the inspired written Word of God and a guide for life. It is filled with warnings, encouragement, and promises aplenty. It is the world’s bestselling book of all time and also the most widely distributed book. It has been translated into over 2000 languages and it is the only book in which God reveals Himself personally. It is more than a storybook. It tells us how to live in according to God’s Word and it also tells us the consequences we’ll pay if we sin. 

The Bible has 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament; 27 in the New. 

The Old Testament begins with the Torah or the books of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy), following the historical (Judges to Nehemiah), poetic/wisdom (Job and the Song of Solomon) and the prophetic (Isaiah to Malachi). The New Testament opens with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), Acts, the Pauline Epistles (Romans through Hebrews), the Epistles (James to 3 John) and Revelation. 

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There are stories which tell of love, hope, faith, betrayal, adventures, sacrifice, and miracles. We learn of the wisest King who ever lived (Solomon) and his greatest weakness (women). We learn about courage when David goes up against the giant Goliath. We learn about faith in God through Abraham. We learn about self-sacrificial love when Jesus Christ gave his life for us. 

Inspired by the Holy Spirit and authored by God, the Holy Bible has withstood the test of time. It enriches lives as we continue to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

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