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Hello Howdy,

I have no idea how I first ended up on your
mailing list but I am sure glad you reached me!
I would like to continue receiving your messages,
so please sign me up on the new(?) list.
Keep up the humor and the good work!

Best regards
Karina L.,MD,PhD student
Dept.of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lund University Hospital
Center for Stem Cell Biology and Cell Therapy, Lund University
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Peach Tree in the City
Betsy Childs

Last summer as I was driving through a busy city neighborhood, I saw
something Atlantans never expect to see: a peach tree. We have thousands
of local sites named after peach trees. There are more than fifty roads
in the metro area bearing the name (leading to quite a bit of confusion if
someone tells you to "turn on Peachtree"), not to mention countless
churches and businesses. We even call our 10K, the largest in the world,
the Peachtree Road Race. But we don't actually have any peach trees.

Or so I thought until I saw this one. It was firmly planted in a small
patch of dirt that couldn't have been more than a few square feet. The
bed was hemmed in on two sides by a sidewalk, and the corner of a building
jutted across the third. The noisy traffic creeping past and the normal
city pollutions didn't seem to bother it, for it stood heavy-laden with
green peaches. The tree was a lovely and unexpected bit of nature in the
hectic urban environment.

Fruit trees are worth paying attention to because they were one of Jesus's
favorite metaphors. "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit" he was fond
of reminding his disciples. "People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or
grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good
stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the
evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his
mouth speaks" (Luke 6: 44-45).

Jesus wasn't the first to use this image; we find it throughout the Old
Testament. Of the man who trusts in the Lord, Jeremiah writes, "He will
be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the
stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It
has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit"(Jeremiah

This prophecy reminds me of the peach tree in the city because it makes
the point that in fruit bearing, being connected to a water source is more
important than being in a favorable environment. The tree was able to
produce fruit because it had light, soil, and (somewhere under all that
concrete) water. The presence of these essential elements and the fact
that it is a peach tree's very nature to bear peaches triumphed over its
unconventional surroundings.

It is all too tempting to blame our failure to thrive as Christians on our
negative surroundings or circumstances. The demanding and ungrateful
people around us are to blame for our irritability. Our chronic deficit
of time is responsible for our sins of omission. But the Scriptures
present two necessary conditions for bearing fruit as a Christian, and
neither one of them is congenial circumstances. We must a) be the right
kind of "tree" and b) be connected to the source of our life, Jesus

The apostle Paul wrote, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be
content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any
and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and
hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who
strengthens me" (Phil. 4:11-13). Jesus said, "Whoever abides in me and I
in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do
nothing" (John 15:15).

If you have been frustrated by a lack of fruit in your own life, ask
yourself two questions. What kind of tree are you? That is, have you
been born again in Christ? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself
whether you have been connecting to the source of your growth, abiding in
Christ and letting his word abide in you. Those who draw their strength
from him are like trees planted by streams of water, able to bear fruit
even in seasons of drought or in the midst of a busy, bustling city.

Betsy Childs is associate writer for Ravi Zacharias International
Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
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My early zeal for studying the Scripture was dampened many years ago
as I encountered what is often called "textual criticism." I was surprised
to learn that it was naive and unlearned to regard the Book of Isaiah as
actually written by the prophet Isaiah, as was commonly thought.

With its 66 chapters, Isaiah is the longest prophetic book of the Old
Testament. Most scholars agree that the book falls naturally into two
major sections, Chapters 1-39 and Chapters 40-66.

The first section has a distinctive style which changes noticeably in the
final section. It is easy to remember since it parallels the Bible itself,
with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. (But
don't make too much of this; the chapter divisions, as we know them,
were added in the 13th century.)

The Deutero-Isaiah Theory

The "textual critics" have insisted that the Book of Isaiah is a compilation
of two different writers, each calling himself Isaiah but writing at
different times. This "Deutero-Isaiah" theory is surprisingly prevalent in
many modern ("liberal") commentaries. (There are some that even advocate
a three-Isaiah theory.)

The first section of the book deals with God's approaching judgment on the
nation of Judah. In some of the most striking passages in all the Bible, the
prophet announces that God will punish His people because of their sin,
rebellion, and worship of false gods. While this section includes many
references to the coming Messiah, including His virgin birth and his rule on
the throne of David, the style of this section is distinctive and certainly
fits the subject matter.

The last section, in contrast to the first, is noticeably different. It
emphasizes the Messianic expectation and an ultimate comfort for God's
people. (Most of Handel's Messiah was drawn from this section of the Book of
Isaiah.) The heart of his stunning prophecy occurs in Chapter 53, as Isaiah
presents the role of the coming Messiah in its highest point. Some call this
passage the "Holy of Holies" of the Old Testament. The Servant's suffering
and death and the redemptive nature of His mission are clearly foretold.
Although mankind deserved God's judgment because "we have turned, every
one, to his own way," God sent His Servant to take away our sins. According
to Isaiah, it is through His suffering that we are reconciled with God, since
"the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

It is principally on the basis of the stylistic changes between the two
sections that critics have developed the Deutero-Isaiah theory. Those who
assign Chapters 40-66 to a "Second Isaiah" point out that the two major
sections of the book seem to be set in different times. Chapters 1-39
clearly belong to the eighth century b.c., a turbulent period in the history
of Judah.

But Isaiah 40-66, according to these scholars, seems to be addressed to the
citizens of Judah who were being held as captives in Babylon about two
centuries after Isaiah lived and prophesied. These scholars also point to
the differences in tone, language, and style between the two major sections
as proof that the book was written by two different authors.

The Traditional View

There are, however, conservative scholars who insist the entire book was
written by the famous prophet Isaiah who ministered in the southern kingdom
of Judah for 40 years, from about 740-700 b.c. They point out that the two
sections of the book have many similarities, although they are dramatically
different in tone and theme. Many phrases and ideas that are peculiar to
Isaiah appear in both sections of the book.

A good example of this is Isaiah's unique reference to God as "the Holy One
of Israel." The appearance of these words and phrases can be used to argue
just as convincingly that the book was written by a single author.

In the second section of his book, Isaiah looked into the future and
predicted the years of the Captivity and the return of the Covenant People
to their homeland after the Captivity ended. If the prophet could predict
the coming of the Messiah over 700 years before that happened, he could
certainly foresee this major event in the future of the nation of Judah.

The style of each section deliberately matches its subject matter.

The Valley of Doubt

Doubts about the authorship and authenticity of any book in the Bible can
have tragic consequences for those who are attempting to take the Bible
seriously. As I look back on my own spiritual journey, I recall the many
years that these views introduced a subtle doubt in my mind and hampered
my real growth in the Word.

Is there a way to resolve this without getting drawn into the distressing
debates and arrogant displays among erudite scholars and "textual critics"?
Indeed, there is. I only wish I had discovered it earlier in my own travels
through God's wondrous Word.

The Discovery in John 12

What a precious chapter! It has many marvelous insights, but among the
dearest to me personally are verses 37-41:

37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed
not on him:
38] That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he
spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the
Lord been revealed?
39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again,
40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should
not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted,
and I should heal them.
41] These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

In this passage we first encounter a quote, in verse 38, familiar to many of
you, that begins the famous chapter of Isaiah 53. This would be in the
section attributed to the "Second Isaiah."

In verse 40 we have a quote from Isaiah Chapter 6 (v. 10), as verse 41 also
highlights what occurs when Isaiah beholds the throne of God. This is, of
course, in the first section of Isaiah.

Oh, how I am grateful for verse 39! Notice that John tells us that "that
Isaiah said again" when he links the two passages and, thus, the two
sections and attributes them both to "that" (same) Isaiah! If you take John
seriously, and recognize the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then you need
not doubt the authorship of Isaiah - both "sections."

It is fascinating to me to notice that there is no heresy - or controversy -
that hasn't been anticipated by the Holy Spirit within the Scripture itself.
If we recognize the reality that we have 66 books penned by 40 authors over
thousands of years that are an integrated whole, and that every detail has
been the result of careful and skillful engineering, then there is no need
to stumble over the erudite skepticism and arrogance by scholarship falsely
so called.

Isn't God wonderful? If we would just learn to take Him at His Word.
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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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