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Reasons to Hike!

One can initiate many reasons to go out for a woodland hike. Time afield could be for scouting for a big buck or turkey and bear activity if hunting is on your mind. One could be out searching for mushrooms in season. Some could go for exercise and others simply to take photos of the natural world and wildlife. I have been doing all, but I have been walking for other reasons, also.

Dogwood Berries

Monday I came home from a walk in a familiar hunting area. I didn’t find any Sheepshead mushrooms, but I did see some deer and turkeys and lots of squirrels. the mast-producing trees such as the oaks, dogwoods, wild grapes, crabapples and hickories were abundant with their crops this season.

I saw one spike buck with a doe early into this walk and later saw two additional bucks. The bigger of those two deer produced fuzzy images as he walked through the pines not allowing any time to get fully focused. the second buck above cooperated very well.

Wild Grapes
Acorns

Another reason for my hikes is to reflect on issues in my life. This year has been rough on me from a stress-level. The Covid-19 hysteria angers and disgusts me. All the goal-post moving and unconstitutional “mandates'” irritates to me to no end. And all of this for a virus no worse than the yearly flu. The survival rate is over 99%. I refuse to hear of this new normal.

Let us getting back to the reasons for my walking. I am. potentially, facing a health issue for myself and will be seeing a specialist soon. So my time afield, also, has me praying as I walk along.

I have found in times of feeling low something always happens to alter my thoughts. In a recent hike while feeling poorly, I looked to my right and a flock of turkeys were feeding within shotgun range and the birds were not aware of my presence. I was happy to witness this event.

Crabapple

Yesterday morning I went to another site to reflect and think and pray. A frost was upon the woodlands in the early hours, but the rising sun would quickly warm up the air. I saw some doe and two bucks. Again, I was feeling a little low when I heard some clicking sounds. I turned to my right and I saw a buck approximately thirty yards away. A second buck was immediately behind the first.

As I watched them trying to get a photo through the abundant fall foliage they began to spar with their antlers. I thought this is a site you don’t see often.

He spotted me!

Both deer were feeding along as well and were moving towards this game land trail. I eased behind a tree hoping to not be spotted and it worked.

The front buck appeared on this open area and I managed several photos before he spotted something amiss. With his focus upon me the sound of the camera alerted him and he soon exited the site.

Later I would see two young deer in a field and they allowed me with some photo ops.

I am out of here!

However, this walk had another issue on my mind. I had found the day before my step-father, Bob Miller’s cancer has reemerged. So, I needed to begin planning for the future with this issue.

As you can see how can one be down with seeing bucks sparring and the rays of light emerging through the trees.

Northern Hog Suckers

Additional Adventures

Bottle Gentian

Those three days in the north country went fast. The weather was great, but we needed to begin or thoughts towards returning home this day.

  Early in the morning while Laurie was preparing herself for the day, I ventured downslope to the Bennett’s Branch of the Sinnemahoning Creek. Most areas of areas I walked showed the distress from the lack of rain.  the water was very low, and as the First Fork one could walk across the creek using exposed rocks. A few photos are included here.

Later, in the morning our departure led us through Medix Run. This creek was lower than I had even seen it. I hope holdover trout can survive.  We  stopped at the Shagger’s water Impoundment hoping to see some Ospreys and bald eagles, but the site was barren of the birds this day.   

Our trip towards home continued with time at Parker Dam State Park. Here we were prepared to do some hiking. Laurie became tired and elected to set on a park swing and read a book while I spent more time hiking. The trail I chose to explore had wetlands created by past Beaver activities. I saw some Brook trout.

I noticed a vivid blue partially hidden among the various wetland grasses. The blue was from a native wildflower known as the Bottle Gentian. (See photo above.)

The three days went fats and I was saddened to head towards home. Wildlife was abundantly viewed during these days. We saw plenty of Elk, Deer and three flocks of turkeys. We saw squirrels including Black squirrels. We saw two Ruffed Grouse, a rarity in these days. We saw a beautiful Bald eagle, Mergansers and Cormorants. I believe I had a glimpse of a Black Bear in the vegetation for I saw black for a moment.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS

 

Parker Dam forest

 

Shagger’s Impoundment

 

 

 

Wetlands

 

 

 

Along The Sinnemahoning

The area of the Sinnemahoning has always held a powerful and special feeling with me since I first saw the beauty in my younger days. Since those days of many years ago I have been enthralled by the majesty of the beautiful mountains and deep hollows. My recent time in the area still provoked those same feelings of grandeur.

Technically the area is the watershed of the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning. The name Sinnemahoning came from the Indian word, “Achsinnimahoni.”  The word in their language meant “stony lick.”  

  Tremendous labor occurred on these steep and high mountains during the 188 era. I mentioned to Laurie, as we hiked. in wonderment as to how those men of that time managed to remove huge, virgin timber using non-powered saws and axes. Afterwards, those humongous logs had to be removed! the unfortunate side of those years resulted in mud slides, erosion, and wildfires from the denuding of the timber on the steep slopes.

In 1955, the George Stevenson Dam was constructed to control flooding along the west branch of the Susquehanna River farther down stream. This  dam has created a small back-up of water used by boats and fishermen and women, today.                                                                                     

I have fished various native trout stream tributaries and hunted for bear and small game over the years. A couple of years ago, I slept in a tent in November. The park office people couldn’t believe I was going to be in a tent in very cold weather.  There was not any other people in the area at all.

We were blessed to see a Bald eagle just over our heads. The white of he bird glowed in the un as it flew over. I wasn’t prepared with my camera. WE, also, saw a flock of turkeys of about fifteen, or so, birds. Other wildlife included Cormorants and Mergansers.

  I walked along the creek for a time amazed at the lack of water flow. I had never seen the Sinnemahoning this low. Many placed offered enough exposed rocks to walk across.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roseate Skimmer

 

 

 

Long Dash Skipper

 

 

 

The Fred Woods Trail

I have  hiked the Fred Woods Trail before seeing elk and other wildlife.  Since Laurie and I would be staying close to this site, I planned on spending some time hiking the trail and showing her the huge rocks father back across the mountain top. We arrived to hike in the afternoon.

We had walked approximately half a mile when we noticed two others coming towards us. I asked if they had seen anything of interest. The response was they had seen a rattlesnake stretched across the trail closer to the rock formations we were heading to.  The man, also, reported the snake wasn’t very ambitious. the cooling temperatures of fall had made it lethargic. From that point on Laurie and I didn’t hold hands. My job was to search out that snake for photos before it moved  away if possible.  I was now the official “point man.”

I watched the trail and, apparently, the rattlesnake had slithered off among the ricks and ferns. We continued our hiking looking ahead for those big rocks. At one point, I heard something over the edge of the trail and looked to see very dark or black among the leaves. was it a bear? The color indicated a strong possibility, but  I can’t say with certainty.

Once we arrived at the rock area I showed Laurie the interesting crevices and tunnel-like exposures among the rocks.  The breaks in the rocks are interesting making for narrow trails between rocks with high rocky sides.

The Fred Woods Trail circles around the mountains top for close to five miles in total length. The Camp Quehanna Young Adult Conservation established this trail in 1980.  The trail was named in memory of Frederick Woods who was killed  while working on state forest lands.  This site is located within the Elk State Forest between Benezette and Driftwood, Pennsylvania. After we returned to the jeep we drove a short distance to an area opened from forests to show the beauty of the distant Pennsylvania slopes and hollows. It is called the Top of the Mountain and it is worth seeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eerie glow from the other end opening.

 

 

Top of the Mountain view.

 

Pennsylvania’s Elk

The three day trip to northern Pennsylvania would not be complete without looking for Elk. I planned for several hours to search out and listen for these beautiful animals during our time near Benezette, Pennsylvania.  I had a lot of things I wanted to do so I needed cooperation with the elk as quick as possible.

  Laurie and I left our place of stay early and headed to the Winslow area where many elk may be spending their time. We drove to the bottom of a hill and walked upslope in heavy fog to listen for those bugling creatures. We weren’t disappointed. The big males were scattered around within a relative close proximity bugling and threatening each other. One bull had, at least, fifteen cows and calves in his harem. For a time the best we could see were an occasional darkened form.

In my allotted time trying to capture the Elk, I had to deal with dense fog and distances, so I failed to get the quality of photos I would have enjoyed. We saw many elk and a lot of deer, also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifting fog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross on the Hill

Sometime in July, I believe, a friend sent along a notice of her new endeavor. She was working on a lodge to rent to people. the name of the lodge was to be, BULL ELK LODGE.  Laurie and I decided a trip  north might be a great thing for us and now we had a place to potentially stay. I contacted Marcy Manning and planned a stay-over for the latter half of September. In fact, we were the first to use the lodge. at the beginning of the week of September 21st. See photos of the lodge below and the Bull Elk Lodge website.

We heard coyote yipping and howling two evenings while at the lodge. I heard a gobbler across the hollow on one morning and saw five deer within easy bow range just outside the door.

Freedom Bell at Mount Zion Historic Park

Ours three days to this country was quite enjoyable. I took Laurie to see some various sites of the area. We went to the Cross on the Hill site and visited the nearby Mount Zion Historic Park. The park recognizes local war veterans of the area. After we arrived at the lodge and prepared our “stuff” for our stay, we hiked on the Fred Woods Trail. We met a couple on their way out of the trail when they reported seeing a lethargic rattlesnake was back the trail towards the area of the huge rocks. From that point on Laurie and I didn’t hold hands as I was placed on point! Unfortunately we failed to fins the snake. I heard something over the hill’s rim and saw black moving amid the vegetation. I can’t say with one-hundred percent certainty, but I may had glimpsed a bear. A separate entry will be placed on the Fred Woods Trail.

Top of the Hill view.

Evening was coming rapidly as we went to the Top of the Mountain viewing area to see the view of the Pennsylvania mountains. What a beautiful site to behold.

If Interested with learning more on Bull Elk Lodge check out the link below. 

 

HOME | Bull Elk Lodge
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Bull Elk Lodge Interior Images.

Golden Rod

Yes, the summer season for the year 2020 is heading down the road to the autumn season.  Recently, this past week, I went for a walk to a state game lands pond approximately a mile back in. I obtain the benefits of walking plus fishing during one excursion. I have placed posts from fishing this pond in the past. I enjoy catching Carp on light tackle or even a flyrod.

One observation being very prominent this past week were the end-of-season wildflowers. Yes, with the golden fields of the Goldenrods the frosts can’t be far away, in fact, as I type this on  September 18, frost watches and warnings are being forecasted for counties north of SR 422. This land area includes northern Armstrong County where I reside. Oh well it is the last half of September.

Turtlehead Wildflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Aster

 

Spotted Jewelweed

 

Bullhead Catfish

Dew-laden Mullein leaves

This excursion yielded two flocks of turkeys, one deer, a flock of Canada Geese and a very brief glimpse of a Black Bear at about thirty yards. The fishing wasn’t too bad either for I landed some Bullhead Catfish. I lost a few Carp due to the four pond test line on my light tackle rod and reel.

Buffalo Creek

 

 

Yellow Jewelweed 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday of this past week found my walking shoes along Buffalo Creek looking for whatever I could find to observe. I found a Red-spotted Newt. (Removed a Box Turtle from the road, too.)

 

 

 

 

 

Red-spotted Newt

 

Cocklebur

 

The Wake!

My old friend from many years, Frank “Muskie” Maus and I were on the river early this morning. A heavy fog was  everywhere for some time. The air was calm, but the temperatures were to rise hot later.

We began the fishing excursion with surface lures anticipating a great day with hooked Muskies.  Sometime around 7:30- 8:00 A.M. I cast out far into the river. The retrieve began and a wake was directly behind that surface lure. A Muskellunge was in pursuit and immediately behind the lure. I continued the retrieve believing the big fish was about to take the lure and the fight would be on. I continued to turn the reel handle and soon I could see the fish. Within seconds I had the lure alongside the boat and the Muskie was immediately behind the lure. Would this fish take the lure?

 Within four or five feet from me I saw the mouth open wide. The white of the inner mouth was highly visible.  I thought to myself, get ready and hang on!

The Muskie, just as quick, closed his mouth and turned back and disappeared into the depths of the Allegheny River. I was not saddened by the failure of the fish to take the lure, but extremely thrilled to have witnessed this event. Would I have preferred to have the Muskie hit the lure? Of course I would, but I was excited and immediately called the fishing day a success.

Mallard

 

 

Interesting enough, we fished into mid-afternoon and did not have any additional strikes. That , my friend, Is Muskie fishing in a nutshell.  One never know how a day will turn out. Frank has been very successful this year with the golden colored fish. Frank is a “Muskie Professional”, in my book.

Other species of wildlife viewed were mallard Ducks, Wood Ducks, Great-Blue Heron and Belted Kingfishers.

 

 

 

 

Wood Ducks

 

A Study on the Origins of Baptism

By Larry A. Smail

Old Testament Forms of Cleansings

This study on baptism may, no doubt, be one of controversy to some. I may make enemies even while using the words from scripture to discuss the actions of baptism. This is one topic that, possibly, instills more arguments than most any other Bible related subject matter. Churches have divided over this topic.

Baptism was not a word used in the early days of the formation of the Israeli people. (The Israeli people were, also, known as the Hebrews, Jews, and Israelites.) However, the Lord commanded water cleansings in those very early years of God’s Chosen People.  These commands were announced through Moses in regard with the priesthood and various other issues of the day needing purifications. For the sake of space, I am not going to go into a lot of detail on the issues of the times demanding “washing to become clean,”

In Leviticus 8: 6, we see the “water cleansing” demands for the ordination of the Hebrew priests. Aaron and his sons were the Levitical priests in those early days of the forming of this nation of Israel. Scripture states the priests were required to be ceremonially washed or cleansed, or purified, or one could say a form of baptism.

In the books of Leviticus and Numbers, purification or washing rituals were told to the people by Moses through the Lord’s commands. Various issues would lead to a time of uncleanliness. Ceremonial cleansings were part of these issues. Some of those washings were required for the touching of unclean things or the dead; childbirth; menstruation. upon being cured for leprosy and certain bodily discharges.

The above-mentioned Old Testament commands dealt with the nation of Israel.

John, the Baptist

Israel, for many, many years, was controlled by a number of Gentile nations. King Nebuchadnezzar completed Israel’s demise in 586 B.C. He destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and carried off or killed remaining Jews. At the time of Christ, the Romans were the oppressive Gentile nation over Israel. However, as we study in the New Testament writings another man of the Lord appeared upon the scene of Israel. John, the Baptizer, or John the Baptist was his common title. John had one purpose in his brief time during his ministry.  John was to go to the nation of Israel and announce their promised kingdom was at hand. The Jewish kingdom had NOT been a sovereign nation since the days before their defeat by Gentile forces well over 500 years in the B.C. era. John was giving the Israelites hope from the Roman oppression for their kingdom was just out in front. Of course, a kingdom requires a king. Israel, to see the fulfillment of these promises had some demands to do. The nation of Israel was to turn around, or repent, from their unbelief and accept this fact of the coming kingdom and king. The nation was to, also, be baptized after repenting of their unbelief. This action is known as John’s Baptism of Repentance. (See Matthew 3: 11.) Notice the entire nation of Israel had to comply in this situation.

John, in Matthew 3: 11, also, told Israel that he baptizes, or cleanses, with water, but the one coming after John would BAPTIZE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT! This would be Christ! (More on Holy Spirit baptisms later in this study.)

Shortly, a man entered onto the scene. This person was the Promised One who John had told the people about and he was the Christ! Jesus, the Christ, was baptized in the Jordan River. An interesting fact needs to be explained at this point. One might ask why this sinless man needed baptized. The answer is quite simple. Christ reached the age of thirty. To be a high priest of Israel a man had to be thirty years of age. Jesus reaching that age was now ready to begin a ministry among the Jewish people hence he was now cleansed as per Jewish law or baptized. Do you remember where it was mentioned above of Aaron the high priest being ceremonially cleansed or washed? Jesus was such a priest!

Christ’s Gospel of the Kingdom Ministry on Earth

For the next three years of Christ’s ministry Jesus himself did not perform any baptisms.  (See John 4: 2.) Christ’s purpose, during this first dispensation, was to preach of the kingdom of God and have Israel believe who he was. However, we know from John 4: 1-2, the disciples were doing some baptisms to the JEWISH PEOPLE ONLY. This is important to remember. See next statement.

In Matthew 10: 5-7, Christ told the twelve to GO NOT TO THE GENTILES, OR SAMARITANS, BUT ONLY TO THE LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL” AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!

The disciples, for the most part, stayed true to Jesus’ command with one notable exception with Peter. And that act of Peter was directed by Christ. (Acts 10.)

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Disciples After the Cross Ministry

We are, now, at a place where another controversy may be viewed. Some facts  are needed to set the stage. Jesus while on earth never reneged on those words to go only to the lost sheep of Israel. Peter, James, and John… were only ministering to the Jews. In fact, this was their mission after the cross. The books from James through Revelation are directed to believing Jews. Remember this! You may ask why?  Again, the answer is quite simple. Paul told the readers in Romans 15: 8 that Christ came to be a minister, or servant,  to the JEWS (Circumcised) to fulfill  and confirm the prophecies or covenant promises of Abraham to Israel , and the fathers of Israel, in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy or grace. Jesus came to Israel to fulfill the promises to the fathers of the Abrahamic Covenant. Gentiles were NOT part of those covenant promises.  Exodus 19: 5-6  the Lord told Israel they were to be a nation of priest and a holy nation. Isaiah 49 wrote additional words about this covenant and Israel was to be a light unto all nations. (Gentiles)  Do you see how it all ties in?

THOSE WORDS IN ROMANS 15: 8 ARE VERY IMPORTANT!

STUDY THEM!

Another controversy erupts when someone states. Yeah, but Jesus told the disciples in  Matthew to go to all nations with the Great Commission. This too is easily explained. Jesus words here were still dealing with Israel’s purpose way back from those Exodus 19 words.

In Exodus 19: 5-6, as stated above, the newly formed people of Israel had the promise they would become a holy nation of priests to take the word to the Gentiles. Since Israel failed way back then, and again during Christ’s ministry, Jesus, after the cross, was giving Israel another chance to become that holy nation. This time the disciples were to continue preaching to the Jews and get the nation to believe. See below. So, the Great Commission was, now going to the disciples to continue to preach to Israel and have the nation believe. Again, notice the nation of Israel had to believe. Under GRACE, individuals can be saved. This applies to the Jews, too, now! More on GRACE later.

The Bible must be rightfully be divided to understand. These are known as dispensations. There were three major dispensations in the New Testament. Jesus while on earth  was the first dispensation for the JEWISH PEOPLE to BELIEVE

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WHO HE WAS! Christ was their Promised One. If the nation of Israel would have believed who Jesus was, they could have had their kingdom as told by John the Baptist and the Old Testament prophets. It was that simple! Israel failed big time!

This is important so a repeat is needed. After the cross, the second dispensation occurred. Israel was being given, yet, another chance for their kingdom and covenant promises. The disciples’ role was to convince Israel that the crucified Jesus was their Messiah. Peter’s sermons were directed to the JEWISH PEOPLE ONLY! The Jews were to repent of their sin of unbelief and the crucifixion of Christ. The people were to then be baptized. This ceremonial cleansing was to PURIFY THEM FROM THEIR SIN OF UNBELIEF AND REJECTION OF CHRIST. (See Acts 2 and 3.) Water baptisms were still in play to cleanse the nation of Israel. Peter’s sermons are full of words indicating he was talking to Jews. That needs to be another study, in itself, to prove.

IF ISRAEL WOULD HAVE BELIEVED UNDER THE DISCIPLES’ MINISTRY THEY WOULD HAVE BECOME THAT HOLY NATION AND A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS.  THEY WOULD THEN GO TO ALL NATIONS. THIS EVENT WOULD BE THE GREAT COMMISSION!

Again, do you see how this all fits together?

This is NOT the Church

Oh boy, I am asking for more trouble now. Almost all pastors categorize these believers being preached to by the disciples  as the founding of the church. To be clear, these people were part of the JEWISH ASSEMBLY. So, to be factual these people may be called a church but, more correctly, if you choose to use the word “church”  they were a Jewish church of believers in Christ. In fact, the Greek word used for the “church” translation is ecclesia which means A CALLED-OUT ASSEMBLY. This assembly in early Acts consisted of those Jews who had believed Jesus was, indeed, their Promised One. After believing Peter’s words about Christ they were then baptized as per Jesus customs as a form of purification or cleansing. THESE BELIEVING JEWS WERE STILL LAW-KEEPING JEWS! AND THEY STILL AVOIDED THE GENTILES!!!

The disciples ask Christ if the kingdom was going to be restored now. Jesus said it was not for them to know. Why? The coming kingdom depended if they succeed to

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have Israel believe. The nation did not believe.

In Acts 1:3, the RISEN CHRIST WAS PREACHING  ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Nothing changed in regard to the importance of the kingdom. In Acts 1: 3, Jesus reminded the disciples they would be BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!  

So, there are many words in Acts 2-3 to prove these people in Peter’s sermons were Jews. I am not going to take space to show all the proofs at this time, but the words all are dealing with unbelieving Jews and those who repented of their unbelief of Christ and were BAPTIZED. Peter is still following Mosaic Law to cleanse or purify these now-believing Jews. NO GENTILE TALK HERE!

Peter, James, and John… were still law-keeping Jews. This is important to remember. We can know this as fact by studying Acts Chapter 10 where Peter did NOT want to go to a Gentile home. Going to Gentiles would be breaking the law. (See Acts10: 28.) Peter and the other Jews saw the Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit even before his sermon was completed. This had not happened to the Jews he had preached to. Peter even with the Holy Spirit entering into theses Gentiles still followed up with a water baptism. Peter was following Mosaic Law to cleanse or purify the Gentiles.

Gentile Cornelius and his family received a HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM BEFORE PETER GAVE THEM AN UNEEDED WATER BAPTISM.

Also, see Acts 11: 19, where scripture states, of the word being spoken to NONE BUT JEWS. These were the believing Jews who scattered due to persecution after Stephen’s murder. See below. Still No Gentile talk here.

Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles

Following the murder of the Holy Spirit inspired, Jewish believer named, Stephen, Israel lost their chance to become that holy nation of priests. (See Acts 7.) God chose another extremely zealous Jew named Saul, later Paul, to begin work towards that Great Commission of going to all nations, but from a different direction. The Word from the RISEN CHRIST would be going to the Gentiles without Israel and the Jews.  Israel was now in a state of decline. They would be no longer of importance and off the scene by 70 A.D.

The next proof these believing Jews were NOT Christians, as we envision

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Christianity comes twenty years or so later at the great Jerusalem Council. Here the disciples and believing Pharisees were against Paul’s ministry of faith and the gospel of Grace to the Gentiles. WHY? They were demanding Paul’s Gentiles follow Mosaic Law to be saved. Remember this is around twenty years after the cross! (See Acts 15 and Galatians 2.) Their agreement: The disciples would stay with the Jews preaching the gospel of the kingdom and Paul would continue with Gentiles preaching the gospel of GRACE!

In Acts 11: 26, the Holy Spirit guided Luke to write that in Antioch was where these Gentile,  faith-based believers were called Christians. These people were of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH through faith only. Again, the Jewish Church were believers as to who Christ was, but were still law-keepers. In other words, they were still involved in a works-based religion and NOT FAITH and only Faith. Hope you can see the difference.

Paul’s Gospel of Grace

The gospel of GRACE is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 where Paul wrote: “Now I remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the GOSPEL, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered it to you as of first importance which I also received that CHRIST DIED FOR YOUR SINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, AND WAS BURIED, THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES.”

Paul wrote in Romans 10: 9-10 these words, “…because if you CONFESS WITH YOUR LIPS THAT JESUS IS LORD AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED.”

It does not matter which verses are read they mean the same, and that is you are saved by believing with faith. So, true Christianity consists of those who believe that gospel as recorded by the Apostle Paul of the Gentiles.  Salvation comes from complete faith in those words. NO WORKS!

Ephesians 2: 8 adds,  “For BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THIS IS NOT YOUR OWN DOING, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD- NOT BECAUSE OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST.

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No works for salvation. Baptism is a work.

If anyone is baptized as a means of salvation it would be as crucifying Christ again. See more on this below.

HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISMS

SO, if someone of this current dispensation believes and trusts through FAITH in the gospel of grace as outlined above, they are a true Christian.  Baptism is NOT required to be a faith-based Christian. A faith-based, gospel of grace believing individual is baptized with the HOLY SPIRIT. That person is purified and cleansed through the actions of the Holy Spirit due to the faith of those individuals of the gospel of grace. This Holy Spirit baptism occurs the moment you truly believe with 100% faith. This occurs through the actions of the RISEN CHRIST THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Remember John the Baptist’s words that he (John) baptized with water, but the One coming after John, the Christ, would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Read Acts 19: 2-6. Paul came upon some believers. He asked them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. The people said they had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul asked, “ into what then were you baptized?” They responded into John’s baptism of repentance, or water baptism… Paul, laying his hands upon these believers,  BAPTIZED THEM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!  These individuals had believed in Christ by Apollos, a Jewish believer.

Also, study Acts 18: 24-28 about how the Jewish believer, Apollos was using John’s baptism of repentance until he was expounded upon with the way to God more accurately. Times of transitions were occurring.

Hebrew 6 records the words to struggling Jewish believers. They were having difficulties walking away from the “WORKS” religion to one of true faith. The writer, who I believe was Paul, detailed much in chapter 6. In brief, he wrote to believing Jews of going back to a works religion after hearing, and being enlightened,  through the gospel of grace would be as crucifying Christ again.  The same applies to faith-based Christianity.

What Are Some Works

Today many people pick and choose works from the Bible to justify their actions

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or their denominational or legalistic beliefs.  Some examples are: tithing, belonging to any certain denomination; Saturday sabbath versus Sunday sabbath; eating certain foods; not-eating certain foods; water baptisms; sprinkling over immersion, walking an aisle, going to the altar… or anything one deems a MUST TO PLEASE THE LORD FOR “SALVATION”! All of these mentioned and more are LEGALISTIC WORKS! However, if you wish to be baptized, since this is the study, you are free to do so under GRACE. BUT, to be baptized with the intent baptism is required for salvation then you are committing the same as placing Christ back on the cross.

Hebrews 11: WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD.

More on Rightfully Dividing Scripture

Here is another place of potential controversy. The books James, 1,2,3, John, 1,2 Peter, Jude and Revelation were directed to those believing Jews. I refer to these books of the Bible as the Jewish Epistles. Some of these books begin telling the reader these words were written to those exiled Jews. For instance, James 1: 1 states to the twelve tribes of the dispersion. 1Peter 1: 1 states, to the exiles of the dispersion. 2 Peter 3: 1 states that this is Peter’s second letter to those of 1 Peter. These writers are still involved trying to get Israel to believe and be baptized as per their orders from Christ. Revelation features many. many words directing the reader to the Jews. Those seven assemblies are believing Jewish “churches” They were all law-keeping but believing Jews. Peter, at the time of his writings, realized his life was ending, but he had come to an understanding of Paul’s faith and grace ministry. See 2 Peter 3: 15 where the man told the Jews to, now, look to the words of Paul for salvation.

 

Where to stop with such a study is difficult. I could keep typing more information on this subject, but I hope these words of this study are understandable.

 

 

 

 

8.

Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls at low tide

Laurie and I went hiking along a Rails-to-Trails ending at a locally well-know area called Buttermilk Falls. Seems many falls are named Buttermilk falls. Pennsylvania has been hit with little rain in recent times and the flowers and creeks are showing that fact.  Normally, in the above photo, water is coming over those rocks on the right, too.

We enjoyed our time together, but we were disgusted at the amount of garbage all over. ATV trails are abundant since these vehicles are not permitted on the trails and gates have been erected, they simply travel all over causing much erosion. Also, they are carrying bags of trash with them and other garbage and dumping it along the trail.  One pile of trash was across the creek along a trail and placed as such to be removed when the stream gets a normal flow.

Red-spotted Newt in the land stage.