Romans chapter 5: God’s Christmas Gift!

God’s  Christmas  Gift:  JESUS !

OBSERVATIONS  AND  INSIGHTS FROM ROMANS 5

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

As sinning humans, we need the gift of redemption in Christ — that’s what Christmas was, historically, all about — and that is why it is just as relevant and vital, today, for us all.

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Good news!

In Christ, as a free gift, we (human sinners) can be made right with God, by Him imputing to us the righteousness of Christ, if we believe His promise that Jesus is the Scripture-prophesied Messiah!  That is the theme and doctrine of Paul’s epistle to the Romans.  This good news, at least in a foreshadowed form, was “promised afore by [God’s] prophets in the holy Scriptures” (Romans 1:2), but now it is clearly presented to all the world (Galatians 1:6-12; Romans 1:16-17).

Romans chapter 5 describes how God has accomplished, in the completed redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-25; Romans 5:8 & 5:12-21; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews chapter 10), what was needed in order for God to be able to justly justify the (otherwise) unjust children of Adam:  we are now “made the righteousness of God” in Christ, because of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice of Himself at Calvary!

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In a sense, the 5th chapter of Romans is summed up in this one verse:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift [charisma] of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 6:23)

What wonderful news for Adam’s children! What good news for forgiven sinners!  Eternal life is a gift – it is free!  This fits the teaching of Romans chapter 4, that God imputes righteousness to believers.  Righteousness is not earned by good behavior; rather, it is imputed graciously by God.  And the basis of that imputation of God’s righteousness is Christ’s role and finished work as our Kinsman-Redeemer.  That righteousness-imputing redemption was motivated by God’s love and it was accomplished by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice of Himself for us, followed by His resurrection (Romans 5:8-11).

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.   (Romans 5:8-11)

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However, for this good news to be truly reliable, theologically (and logically), Paul’s explanation of Genesis chapter 3 must be reliable. That means that Genesis must be accepted as trustworthy information, because Paul trusted its history literally (as did Christ Himself – see John 5:45-47!).

Thus, the historicity of Adam (and of the Genesis account of his failure in Eden) is used, by Paul, to argue the efficaciousness of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice of Himself for us, in order to provide us with redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation. This requires an analysis of how Adam’s first sin has impacted humanity (and the rest of creation), followed by an analysis of how Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection has overruled that those impacts.

Christ-is-risen!-PPTslide

Death was alien to God’s “very good” creation, until Adam sinned. The trustworthiness of the holy Bible hangs upon the accuracy of this fact: There was no death before Adam sinned. To err about when and why death came to Earth is to err about the theological and historical foundation of the Gospel. The death of Christ, and therefore the Gospel of Christ, won’t make sense if death came to Earth any other way than by Adam’s sin in Eden. If death came first, the New Testament would be worse than unreliable—it would be irreparably wrong about salvation.

Although more could (and should) be said about how and why Adam’s sin triggered death, two major points will be reviewed here: (1) The Gospel of Christ depends on the truth of Adam’s sin triggering death on Earth; and (2) the reliability of the Bible depends upon the truth of Adam’s sin triggering death on Earth. Put bluntly, if death somehow came to earth apart from Adam’s sin, we cannot be confident that Hell is escapable. Those reasons guarantee that this topic is anything but trivial. The stakes are as high as can be.

“Very good” creations don’t “groan”. The original condition of God’s creation at the end of Day Six was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), displaying the perfection of providence. However, the earth is now fallen—the current condition of God’s creation is good (Acts 14:17) yet “groaning” (Romans 8:20-22).  That groaning now includes the reign of sin and death over both humans and animals, a terrible situation that will one day be overcome (1st Corinthians 15:26 & 15:54-56; Revelation 21:4 & 22:3).

What caused this change? God did not leave us to guess the answer: Genesis 3 provides the history of that change; the New Testament (especially in Romans 5 and 8) provides the theology of that change. If we ignore God’s authoritative explanation in Genesis and Romans by relying on theistic evolutionist lies, we inexcusably err.  Why?  Because only the Bible’s teaching of the history and theology of human sin reveals the true etiology of death (Romans 5:12).

Death had a beginning; death is not eternal. In order to have the possibility of death, there must first be mortal life. Accordingly, death could never occur unless and until God created living creatures that were capable of dying. Genesis 1 and 2 describe and report how God created such creatures. At the end of Day 6, all was “very good” (Genesis 1:31)—which means that there could not be any death on earth at that time because death is not morally good (Romans 8:20-22; 1st Corinthians chapter 15). The Bible reports no animals dying before Adam sinned. (Notice that no nephesh-bearing animals were to be eaten by humans until after the Flood, according to Genesis 1:29-30 & 9:1-4.) In short, the Bible clearly reports that it was Adam’s sin that triggered the curse of death, in fulfillment of God’s warning:

Therefore, just as through one man [i.e., Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.…For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin hath reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-14, 17-21, emphasis added)

Death was unknown to Adam and Eve before Adam sinned. Adam had never seen death before. People on Earth today do not personally see Heaven and Hell, yet God teaches us – through His written Word — vital truths about the conditions and importance of eternity. When we are taught what we should believe about such things, our own faith in God’s Word is tested: Either we believe what God reveals to us about the unseen (e.g., heaven and hell), or we don’t. God is pleased to test our faith about such unseen things, just as God was pleased (6,000+ years ago) to use information about unseen realities to test Adam’s faith and loyalty. That kind of testing is the essence of faith (Hebrews 11:1-3).

Notice that, like Adam’s testing by God, God’s testing of our faith and our loyalty to Him (as our Creator) is always coupled with consequences—good consequences for good choices, bad consequences for bad choices.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

Adam, the first human to sin, quickly learned a lot about consequences—the consequences of his sin included a new thing, death (Romans 5:12; 6:23). The Bible teaches, quite clearly, that the paycheck that sin earns is called DEATH.   (Of course, God had already foreseen and fore-planned a redemptive solution to that sin-and-death problem  —  see Genesis 3:15.)

Genesis3.15-Hebrew-text-in-colorConsider how God chose to test Adam’s faith and loyalty. The test was simple: Don’t eat from one specific tree in the Garden of Eden. God designed Adam’s test to have built-in consequences. Adam could make the choice, but Adam could not control the consequences that would flow from that choice. Why not? Because the consequences were built in to the alternative choice options: The good choice would produce a good result (life eternal); the bad choice would produce a bad result (death).

In effect, God designed the gun, including the trigger—but it was Adam who aimed the gun and pulled the trigger, thus starting the dying process (“you shall surely die”, in Genesis 2:17, could be rendered “dying, you will die”) that leads ultimately to death itself. The test was all part of God’s glorious plan for human history, and God foreknew what would happen.  However, Adam’s choice was nonetheless a true test of Adam’s faith and loyalty, because Adam did not experientially know the outcome in advance.

Adam could have believed God to avoid the “death” that God warned of, but he chose otherwise. Only then did Adam experience the “dying” condition that God had warned him about. Dying began, as did thorns, pain in childbirth, and, in time, death itself.

But the dying was not limited to Adam! Because God had placed all of the life forms of the world under Adam’s authority (Genesis 1:26-31; Psalm 8), the world fell with Adam and was “cursed” with death (Genesis 3:17-19).

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:20-22)

Consequently, all of the world’s living creatures—both humans and animals—have been “groaning” under the curse of sin and death ever since, although eventually the time will come when Christ’s completely applied redemption will be applied to His believers (1st Corinthians chapter 15), and even to the earth itself to overcome the Edenic curse of death (Revelation 20:11; 21:1-5; 22:3).

Why does it matter?

The New Testament directly links sin’s cause and sin’s cure by tying the Gospel of salvation to Adam’s sin (compare Romans chapter 5 with 1st Corinthians chapter 15).

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And, Christ’s vicarious payment of humanity’s total sin-debt is the redemptive solution to the otherwise-hopeless problem of sin and death — and is available to everyone, as John 3:16 teaches, who chooses to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior! 

Paul’s definition of the Gospel of Christ contextualizes the Gospel as being “according to the [Old Testament] scriptures” (1st Corinthians 15:3-4).  The New Testament Gospel of Christ depends upon the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament (e.g., Isaiah 53; Psalm 16; etc.) being true.

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Indeed, the Old Testament is authoritatively relevant, true, and perfect—every “jot and tittle” (Matthew 5:18) of it. Christ Himself said that Moses would judge people after they die according to whether they believed the words of Moses (John 5:45-47).  If the books of Moses, which include Genesis, were authoritatively good enough for the Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:35; John 17:17)—and they were—they are authoritatively good enough for us. And what we believe about death being the consequence of Adam’s sin in Eden is a test of our own love and loyalty to God Himself.

[ ><> JJSJ  March 7th AD2015 ]

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When in Scotland, Eat Well!

When In Scotland, Eat Well!

Nevertheless He [i.e., God] left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and He gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.  (Acts 14:17)

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Good food is a proof of God’s providential care and power, as Acts 14:17 indicates.  [See my analysis, of this truth, in “Our Daily Bread:  How Food Proves God’s Providence”, ACTS & FACTS, 40(4):8-9 (April 2011), posted at  https://www.icr.org/article/our-daily-bread-how-food-proves-gods/ .]

So, here is my Scottish-memories limerick, to help me recall some wonderful food that I ate while in Scotland, including many “full Scottish breakfast” buffets (with hot black teas), plus gourmet later-in-the-day treasures like Norway Lobster (a/k/a “Langoustine”, Nephrops norvegicus  —  a marine crustacean resembling a mini-lobster, i.e., a crawfish that tastes somewhat like a prawn-sized shrimp), haggis (which looks like a large egg roll — and tastes like Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple), venison, Isle of Mull mussels, scones (with clotted cream),  sea scallops (e.g., “Queenies”), salmon, haddock (as part of “fish and chips”), haggis-&-cracked-black-pepper potato chips, Irn-Bru ice cream, and more!

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Recalling Scottish Cuisine, in the Highlands & Hebrides

Scallops, haggis, fish and chips

Are well welcomed by my lips;

Norway lobster, steak of deer,

Scones and tea  give me cheer;

Scallops, haggis, fish and chips!

[writ by JJSJ while leaving Scotland, 21st July AD2019]

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NST Althing: Meeting with Old & New Friends

 

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A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.   (Proverbs 18:24)

Some friends “stick closer” than siblings, especially if siblings live far apart.

Over the past 2 decades, due to active membership in the Norwegian Society of Texas, a family history-promoting organization that has chapters in various pars of the Lone Star State  (see  https://www.norwegiansocietyoftexas.org/ ), my wife and I have experienced the truth of Proverbs 18:24.

The semiannual meeting of the Norwegian Society of Texas, called the “Althing” (named for the famous annual national assembly of Iceland), transpired last Saturday, in Clifton, a rural Texas-hill-country town (nicknamed the “Norwegian capital of Texas”).  While attending the Althing, I composed, and later presented, this limerick:

ANOTHER  ALTHING  IN  CLIFTON,  FOR  THE  NORWEGIAN  SOCIETY  OF  TEXAS     3-30-AD2019

Norwegians at Clifton did meet,

In misty rain, not snow or sleet;

   Time to plan the next year,

   Recall times of good cheer —

Old friends convene, new ones greet.

[NOTE: the rosemåling (above) mantel was painted by Norwegian native Mimi Fossum; this artwork is displayed in the historic Ringness House of Bosque County, Texas.]


 

 

 

NORWEGIANS TAKE SKIING SERIOUSLY !

NORWEGIANS  TAKE  SKIING  SERIOUSLY !
Skiathlon  Heroes  Recall  Norse  “Birch-leg”  Skiers  of  Old

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For a just man falls 7 times, and rises again, but the wicked fall into calamity.  (Proverbs 24:16)

[photo credit: Business Insider]

As Norway’s Olympic skier Simen Hegstad Krüger recently (i.e., on Sunday, February 11th A.D.2018) reminded the watching world, Norwegians have a time-honored tradition as competitive and resilient snow-skiers – and a track-record as loyal teammates during times of crisis – harking back to the Birkebeiner of old.

At Alpensia Cross-Country Centre, in the men’s cross-country 15km X 15 km skiathlon competition (2018 Winter Olympics, PyeongChang, South Korea), Krüger initially slipped, fell face in the snow, breaking a ski-pole, with his fall worsened when two other skiers (Russia’s Denis Spitsov and Russia’s Adrey Larkov) promptly collided into, stumbled upon, and tangled around him. Within 15 seconds Krüger found himself, in effect, as the cross-country train’s caboose!

[photo credit: Business Insider]

But, since Viking times, Norwegians have a hardy reputation for battling the odds – and 24-year-old Krüger refused to accept this disappointing debacle as an excuse for quitting, or for reducing his best efforts to win.

SUCCESS IS NOT ABOUT NEVER FALLING, IT’S ABOUT GETTING BACK  IN THE RACE!

If you fall the day is not done;

Get up! Finish what you’ve begun !

So when you fall down,

Don’t stay on the ground!

Get back in the race — and RUN !

Astoundingly, Krüger resumed the race, from his last-place position – with Viking-like vigor reminiscent of Eric Liddell – and steadily and serially by-passed each of his 63 Olympian competitors until he had won the race, earning a Gold Medal for Norway.  Wow!

 PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — When Simen Hegstad Krueger [sic – the proper spelling is Krüger] slipped and fell on the first lap of the 30-kilometer cross-country skiathlon and found himself face down in the snow with two rivals on top of him, he figured his hopes at an Olympic medal were over.   He couldn’t have been more wrong.  “Here it is my first ever Olympic race, and it starts in the worst possible way,” said the Norwegian, who untangled his legs and his skis from the two Russian competitors he wrecked, grabbed his broken ski pole and stormed up the hill to get back in contention.

Starting from the rear, Krueger passed 63 other skiers to take the lead and win the gold medal on Sunday to cap an amazing comeback.  After Krueger crossed the line in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 20 seconds, he looked to the heavens and repeatedly pumped his fists in the air.

Norway swept the medals, with [Norway’s] Martin Johnsrud Sundby taking silver and [Norway’s] Hans Christer Holund getting bronze.  Sundby said Krueger’s return to the front of the field after crashing is an incredible testament to his perseverance. “I think we have a deserving Olympic champion,” Sundby said.  Holund said he would expect nothing more from a Norwegian skier in a sport they have dominated for years. “When you are skiing for Norway, there are a lot of guys skiing for that right (to participate in the Olympics). You should not give up, especially when you are in the Olympics,” Holund said. “It shows that Simen is a real strong guy — not just physical, but also mental.”

Just seconds after the mass start began and with skiers still bottled up in lines, Krueger appeared to slip in mid-stride and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground.  The two skiers directly behind him — Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, Russians competing under the Olympic flag — couldn’t stop quick enough and toppled over him in a heap.

Krueger told himself he needed to stay calm. He knew he couldn’t get back the 15 seconds he lost all at once.  It would take patience to get back in the lead pack and still have some energy left at the end of the race. “I had to try to keep those (negative) thoughts away,” Kruger said. “I knew it was going to be extremely hard.”  One of the Norway coaches gave Krueger a new pole — which is legal — shortly after the crash.

Krueger steadily moved through the field and eventually took the lead with 5 kilometers remaining.

On the eighth and final lap, Krueger made what Holund called a “daring move” to pull away from the pack.  He [i.e., Krüger] succeeded with the help of Norwegian teammates, whose plan coming into the race was for a team victory — meaning protecting the leader if he tried to pull away by not letting other top medal contenders like Swiss great Dario Cologna catch up. “If Simen had a seven-second lead and I tried to catch him and Dario was able to stay with me, and then Dario and [I] caught him and Dario has the best finish — that would not look so good for us,” Sundby said. “I think we all agree the plan was good for the Norwegian team.”

[Quoting “AP” / Soobim Im, “Norwegian Skier Simen Hegstad Krueger Crashes Early, Breaks Pole, Still Wins Gold Medal”, USA TODAY SPORTS, posted at https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2018/02/11/norways-krueger-wins-gold-in-skiathlon-after-early-crash/110314870/ (2-11-AD2018); updated ‎2-12-AD2018, 6‎:‎52‎ ‎a.m.]

Martin Sundby (L), Simen Krüger (M), Hans Holund (R)
[photo credit: Westdeutsche Zeitung]

Yet the stakes were even higher – much higher in fact – when two Norwegian patriots employed their superlative skiing skills to save the life of an infant king, Håkon IV Håkonsson, son of Håkon III Sverreson, who was himself son of the Norwegian king Sverre who is lauded within Norway’s modern (albeit unofficial) national anthem, Ja Vi Elsker, as follows:

Dette landet Harald berget med sin kjemperad     [this land Harald united with his host of heroes],
dette landet Håkon verget medens Øyvind kvad     [this land Håkon protected while Øyvind sang];
Olav på det landet malte korset med sitt blod     [upon the land Olaf painted with his blood the cross],
fra dets høye Sverre talte Roma midt imot     [from its heights Sverre spoke up against Rome].

[Quoting Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s anthem, Ja, Vi Elsker Dette Landet, verse 2.]

King Sverre Sigurdsson, a descendant of Norway’s Viking kings Harald Fairhair and Harald Hardrada (as shown in a footnote, below), ruled Norway during the Viking Age’s sunset years, and was constantly engaged in a jurisdictional and theological tourney with the Church of Rome’s ecclesiastical-geopolitical imperialism, providing a foretaste of the centuries-later conflict (of Scandian-Saxon nations with the Church of Rome) that today we call the Protestant Reformation. [See, accord, Karl Jonsson, SAGA OF KING SVERRI OF NORWAY (SVERRISAGA), translated by John Sephton (London: David Nutt, 1899; reprinted 1994 by Llanerch Publishers of Felinfach), at pages 2-233, 235, 237, 239-240, & especially 241-261 (“Anecdoton Sverreri”).

NOTE: “Tusen takk” to Col. John Eidsmoe, for repeatedly educating me regarding the heroic Birkebeiner skiers.]

Throughout King Sverre’s adventurous lifetime and turbulent reign, Sverre faced a fierce and bloody conflict with the Baglers (“Hoodies”, who affiliated with the hood-wearing monks of the Roman church, often allied with Denmark). King Sverre’s opposing faction was called the Birkebeiner (“Birch-legs”), because some of them were so poor that they wrapped and tied birch-bark around their legs as protection against Norway’s snow and cold.(1)

Providentially, King Sverre had studied Christian (and Roman) theology in the school of Kirkjubøur (and in time became an ordained priest) in the Faeroe Islands, before Sverre became Norway’s king (during his 30s).

Consequently, Sverre was not easily intimidated by the theological bluffing, sophistic arguments, or bullying tactics of the Bagler faction’s ecclesiastical “authorities”.

After a long and action-packed reign (from about A.D.1184 to March 9th of A.D.1202), King Sverre was succeeded by his son Håkon III Sverreson. Yet Norway’s king Håkon III survived his father by less than 2 years, due to being treacherously poisoned by his Bagler-affiliated stepmother (dowager queen Margrete Eriksdotter, daughter of Swedish king Eric IX), dying on New Year’s Day of A.D.1204. Håkon III was thus succeeded by his 4-year-old nephew, Guttorm, a grandson of King Sverre, from January to August (of A.D.12024) — then the boy king Guttorm died suddenly, another “inside job” assassination by poison.

Before his own assassination, however, the unmarried King Håkon III Sverreson had fathered an son – also named Håkon (thus Håkon IV Håkonsson) – who was born to Inga of Varteig (Håkon III’s concubine since A.D.1203), during the spring of A.D.1204, only a few months after King Håkon III’s death by poison. Thus King Sverre’s dynasty now hung on the life of his newborn grandbaby – as the rival Bagler faction wanted that royal baby killed!(2)

To make matters worse, baby Håkon IV Håkonsson — who was not yet 2 years old! (during the winter of A.D.1205/1206) — was then in Østfold, a part of Norway controlled by the Baglers, so baby Håkon needed to be safely whisked away to territory controlled by the Birch-legs, protected by a bodyguard of Birch-leg patriots. So the Beinebeiners headed toward Nidaros (i.e., Trondheim), in hopes of finding refuge at the capital city of the new Birkebeiner-allied king, Inge II Bårdson (ruled A.D.1204—A.D.1217) — but the Birch-leg patriots’ mountainous trek was vehemently interrupted by a fierce and prolonged winter blizzard.

photo credit: THE LAST KING (Norway-produced Birkebeiner movie)

Knowing their territorial vulnerability, and with no time to waste, baby Håkon IV was entrusted to the best two skiers, Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka.

Torstein and Skjervald — through hours of blizzard snowstorms — indefatigably carried baby Håkon (for about 5 hours, during daylight hours late winter/early spring) over montane snows from Lillehammer unto Østerdalen, and presented him to King Inge II for safekeeping.  (Håkon IV eventually succeeded King Inge II, in April of A.D.1217, 11 years later).

photo credit: THE LAST KING (Norway-produced Birkebeiner movie)

Those were violent times in Norway! — notice that King Inge immediately followed the truncated reigns of King Håkon III (who ruled less than 2 years) and boy-king Guttorm (who ruled less than 4 months), both of whom intriguing insiders had assassinated by poison.

Nowadays the amazing skiing of Birch-leg heroes Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka, with baby Håkon IV, is memorialized by Norway’s annual skiing event, Birkebeinerrennet (“Birkebeiner race”), a cross-country skiathlon conducted during March – about 35 miles, with contestants carrying a 3.5-kilogram backpack (to approximate the body weight of the not-yet-2-year-old infant Håkon IV).

Norway’s commemorative Birkebeinerrennet skiing event

[photo credit: Faster Skier]

Obviously, Norwegians take their skiing quite seriously.

><> JJSJ profjjsj@aol.com

[photo credit: Leader Telegram]

Lillehammer heraldry

REFERENCES

(1) In Norwegian, “birk” = “birch”;  “bein” = “leg”.

(2) The patrilinear ancestry of Håkon IV Håkonsson traces back to Norway’s famous Viking king Harald Hardrada, and from him back to Norway’s first nationwide king, Harald Fairhair: Harald “Fairhair” begat Sigurd Haraldsson, who begat Halfdan Sigurdsson, who begat Sigurd “Syr” Halfdansson, who begat Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, who begat Olaf “Kyrre” (i.e., “the Peaceful”) Haraldsson, who begat Magnus “Barefoot” Olafsson, who begat Harald “Gilli-Krist” (i.e., “Christ’s servant”) Magnusson, who begat Sigurd “Munn” (i.e., “the Mouth”) Haraldsson, who begat Sverre Sigurdsson, who begat Håkon III Sverreson, who begat Håkon IV Håkonsson [who was later known as Håkon Gamli (i.e., “the Old”) to distinguish him from his own son, Håkon V Håkonsson].  See the 2 genealogical charts on pages 235 & 237 in John Sephton’s translation of Karl Jonsson’s SAGA OF KING SVERRI OF NORWAY (SVERRISAGA), cited above.


 

 

Debut as a Christian Public Speaker: Poem Reader, A.D.1967

Debut as a Christian Public Speaker:  Poem Reader, A.D.1967    

James J. S. Johnson

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  (Matthew 12:1-2)

Everyone must start somewhere.  As a Christian public speaker my debut opportunity was being told to read a Christmas poem, for Damascus Elementary School (which I then attended as a 6th-grader), for our school’s Christmas program.  (Since America was founded as a Christian nation, historically, it made sense that an American public school would have a Christmas program.)

To this day I own a little brown notebook that contains hand-copied and mimeographed songs from that program — including a mimeographed poem that I read to the audience that night in December  —   it was my first public speaking as a Christian (having trusted Christ as my personal Savior near the end of the previous month).

THE CHRISTMAS STORY

I will tell you a beautiful story,
One that is ever new –
Of our Savior’s birth in Bethlehem,
We all love the story, too.

The town with pilgrims was crowded
When Joseph and Mary appear,
The innkeeper cruelly told them,
“There is no room for you here.”

Nearby was a shelter for cattle –
A cave so dismal and old –
And there in a manger so humble,
The Christ-Child lay, we’re told.

Then arose that night in heaven,
A star so bright and clear,
It guided the steps of the wise men,
With their gifts both precious and dear.

There they knelt at the feet of Mary,
Humble and true and still,
To offer their tribute to Jesus,
Who bringeth us peace and good-will.

May this star send ever a tiding,
To all in this school-room here,
Of the message our Saviour has given –
Peace to all, love, and good cheer.

[Quoting Susie L. Fitz, “CHRISTMAS EXERCISE”, PRIMARY EDUCATION, 14(10):500 (December 1906).]

The above-quoted Christmas poem – a mimeographed copy of which, including some typos, I still have – I read, as carefully as I could, at Damascus Elementary School, from the stage of its multi-purpose auditorium (that also served as the lunchroom and indoor gymnasium), as part of the elementary school’s Christmas A.D.1967 program.

In God’s providence, this was my first experience as a Christian public speaker.   Thankfully, since then, God has given me many more opportunities to speak publicly for Him.

Now begins a new year — by God’s powerful providence, I trust, this new year will include more opportunities to speak for Him.  It has now been slightly more than 50 years that I have belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior.


 

Day-After-Christmas Shopping

She perceives that her merchandise is good . . . .  (Proverbs 31:18a)

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Day-After-Christmas Shopping, Starting at 6 a.m.

Go, Go, go!   —  after-Christmas sales!

Shop, shop, shop!   —   go many females;

Start early as you can,

Drag along your tired man   —

Go, go, go!   —  after-Christmas sales!

No commentary is needed for all husbands who accompanied their wives on day-after-Christmas shopping bonanzas, which (needless to say) start before sunrise.

Eat Lightly Before the Lutefisk Banquet

“Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?”

(Matthew 7:10)

It is obvious that fish is a wonderful food; it is truly good to eat.  And lutefisk is a wonderful preparation of codfish!   (So eat a light lunch, to save room for a lot of lutefisk, if you are attending an all-you-can-eat lutefisk supper!)

EAT  LIGHTLY  BEFORE  THE  LUTEFISK  BANQUET 

(by  Dr. James J. S. Johnson)

Chocolate pie, for lunch, a snack brisk;

Also, for me, tomato bisque;

   But the dining highlight,

   that we had, that night:

Was all-you-can-eat lutefisk!

lutefisk-supper-road-sign-photo-by-jjsj

Previously I have blogged about the exotic Scandinavian cuisine known as LUTEFISK.
So, to learn more about this wonderful preparation of North Atlantic codfish, see:
“Bluebirds of Happiness, Plus Enjoying a Lutefisk Banquet” [at  https://leesbird.com/2015/12/11/bluebirds-of-happiness-plus-enjoying-a-lutefisk-banquet/ ]; and
 “For the Love of Lutefisk!”  [at  https://bibleworldadventures.com/2016/09/22/for-the-love-of-lutefisk/ ]; and
“Lutefisk for Christmas:  Cod at its Best!” [at  https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/lutefisk-for-christmas-cod-at-its-best/ %5D.

Bon Appétit !