synoptics

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Today, August 6 is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord 

All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). With remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ first prediction of his passion and death. Such an experience defies description, so they drew on familiar religious language to describe it. And certainly Jesus warned them that his glory and his suffering were to be inextricably connected—a theme John highlights throughout his Gospel. Tradition names Mt. Tabor as the site of the revelation. A church first raised there in the fourth century was dedicated on August 6. A feast in honour of the Transfiguration was celebrated in the Eastern Church from about that time. Western observance began in some localities about the eighth century. On July 22, 1456, Crusaders defeated the Turks at Belgrade. News of the victory reached Rome on August 6.Pope Callistus III placed the feast on the Roman calendar the following year.

Image 1-Vecellio; 2- Paolo Veronese, (1555-1556); 3-Raphael (detail); 4-Unknown; 5-Tissot.

So last year I posted this guide to AS levels, in the hope of sharing some of the things I learnt during my first year of A Levels. As the title suggests, this is a follow-up post telling you what I’ve learnt this year just gone, for everyone thinking ahead to the next year after results day. This isn’t organised very efficiently but I hope you might some of my advice useful.

Before You Go Back

  • Get everything that was set over the summer holidays done. I’m sure this almost goes without saying, but in case you need extra motivation, remember this - whatever it is that has been set, there’s a reason for it, and you will have to do it at some point. You have lots of time in the summer and less when you go back. It will just make your first term back that much less stressful. Plus you don’t want to get on your teacher’s bad side on the first day of term.
  • Find out about synoptic content and go over it. A lot of A Level courses, mainly sciences, will have content from the previous year that you will need to know in your final exam - this is called synoptic content. Your teacher will most likely bring it up where relevant, but it’s good to have a quick look over your notes on these areas beforehand. If you’re one of those unfortunate people who only have a final exam once the new system comes into play, you should be looking over all the content from the first year. This doesn’t have to be anything major, but keeping it fresh in your memory for when you go back is a good idea.
  • Get as much UCAS stuff done as possible. I would say at least get your personal statement done, if not more. Again, you have tons of time in the summer to get this stuff done, and so you’ll be less stressed when you get back. This applies doubly to anyone applying to Oxbridge, medicine or any other course for which the deadline is October 15th.
  • There’s still time to go to University open days! While this will happen during the school year, you may need to book early, so if you plan to go to any open days in the autumn then now is a good time to look into it.
  • Pick which subject you want to drop. At some Sixth Forms this will be a requirement, but it’s good to consider it even if you don’t have too. This isn’t applicable to everyone (e.g. if you dropped a subject last year so you’re already on three, or you only started on three for whatever reason) but, at least at the moment, it applies to most. Consider it carefully, taking into account which subjects you enjoyed, which subjects you need for the career/degree, and also your results. This also includes deciding whether you want to carry on with four. You will also need to consider
  • Consider doing an EPQ if you have the opportunity to do so. This goes double for people doing obscure subjects (I’m applying to Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Studies) and other subjects you may not have ever covered in school (e.g. dentistry), as this will show you have already read into your chosen subject. It’s also really helpful if your application requires a piece of school work, as you can show them something that specifically links to your chosen course.

During The School Year

  • It will get harder. To some extent this is common sense, but some people don’t quite understand the extent to which it gets harder. There won’t just be more content, it will be harder content. There will be more work, even if you drop a subject. The exams will be more challenging. Bare this in mind, so that you’re not surprised. And on that note…
  • Extra-curriculars become less important. I’m not telling you to give up on things you enjoy, but it isn’t going to be the same mad dash to gather things to use for UCAS anymore. At this point you won’t have much time to do stuff to put in your personal statement before you send off your application. You will also want to be putting more time into studying, so it’s a good thing there’s less pressure to do extra-curriculars!
  • Keep on top of your notes!!!! This was also on my AS post but it is still just as important! If you’re gonna want notes when it comes to revision, do your notes throughout the year, rather than in a mad dash at the end.
  • Try and get your UCAS application in early. Not only does this make your life a little less stressful, it may also mean you get offers sooner, and also makes the admissions officer view you a little bit better (they will see you as an organised student!).
  • Make sure you know what’s going to be required of you for your application. This is best to do early on in the year. Some courses simply need an application through UCAS. Others require interviews, some require entry exams, others will want samples of your work. Cambridge (and possibly Oxford I don’t know) requires all of the above, plus a “SAQ”, a kind of secondary application. Make sure you know exactly what your application will require so that you can prepare.
  • Get your students finances in order! Your application for student finances needs to be in nine months after the first day of the academic year for your course, so for most of you (if your course starts in September) this will be May 31st. If you apply late, you may not have the money in time for when you start, and then you’re in trouble.
  • Don’t just sit back if you don’t have to worry about UCAS this year. Some people may not be applying to uni this year, because you’re taking a gap year, or you’re staying on into year 14 (like me!), or some other reason, but this is still a good time to get started on your personal statement! It will make things all the easier next year, especially if you won’t have access to your teachers, tutors etc. next year, who will help you out with writing it. Additionally, if you know exactly what you want to do, you can always apply and then defer entry, but make sure that’s an option before you do this.
  • Keep up with extra reading! Let’s face it, last year you probably didn’t do all that much extra reading. I know I didn’t in Year 12, and with even more hindsight I may even have left it off my previous masterpost, as I know quite a few people who said it wasn’t helpful. However, this year it’s extremely important as it gets you ready for university. Whatever course you do, you will be expected to go above and beyond what you are told . Also, it will give you experience reading higher level texts, which will prove invaluable. Finally, it’s something you can mention in your personal statement!
  • Have fun with it! Most of you will turn 18 during year 13. Even if you don’t drink, this opens a whole load of doors for you - you’re technically an adult! So make the most of it. At the end of the year, whatever happens your life will change, so enjoy what you have, before going off to enjoy something new entirely.
  • Worried about what comes next? Me too. I’m actually staying on into year 14 with one subject, which leaves me with an awful lot of time to play with. Whatever happens, everything is going to change in September, and I am terrified. At this point in time I really don’t feel qualified to give advice on how to deal with this - next year maybe? But for now, I can only suggest looking to the people you love and care about for help.

Good luck everyone! I hope you’re results were what you hoped they would be and what you deserve. If not, you will work something out, and you will be okay. If you need someone to talk to, my askbox is open.

BECOMING STRONG IN FAITH PT.3

OPEN HEAVENS FELLOWSHIP DAILY DEVOTION

BECOMING STRONG IN FAITH PT.3

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

The third key to becoming strong in faith is being confident and sure of your own faith. The issue with the born again isn’t that he or she needs more faith; it is learning how to put the faith they already have to work. Because of some misunderstandings in the teaching in faith, many people always have the idea that they need more or stronger faith to accomplish something. They say things like so and so are mighty men and women of faith, thinking that they themselves have very little faith.

We need to be careful when we read the synoptic gospels and the gospel according to John; because Jesus often described the faith of the people with words like little (Matthew 8:26) or great (Matthew 15:28). He often asked people to have faith. But those descriptions of great or little faith don’t apply to the one who is born again. Remember, Jesus dealt with people who weren’t born again and didn’t have the life of God in them like we do. So they had to have faith or have great faith to get things accomplished. But when you’re born again: You’ve already got faith in your spirit. You don’t need to have faith; you’ve already got it! You don’t need greater faith; your faith is already great. When you’re born again, you have the God-kind of faith. That’s the greatest faith you can ever have in any realm of existence. The challenge is that people don’t know it and don’t know how to put it to work. The Bible says in Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH…

The Bible shows us that faith is a fruit of the spirit. It’s not a fruit of the Holy Spirit; it’s a fruit of the born again spirit as we have taken time to explain in other devotions. Some people say the faith we received is a seed and we must feed it so that it grows and becomes great. I mean, it’s obvious that faith isn’t a seed from the above verse. The faith you received is completely and exactly the same faith of God.

Look, you need to speak to yourself and say, “I don’t need more faith. I don’t need greater or stronger faith. I have all the faith I will ever need to accomplish anything and everything in this world! I have the exact faith of God! I can accomplish God-things with my God-faith! In the same way as with God nothing is impossible, NOTHING is impossible to me because I have God’s faith!” Hallelujah! That’s the truth. You can only be stronger IN faith when you discover that you’ve already got faith. Your responsibility now is to discover how to put it to work. Now you can know that certain things are not reserved to some people. For example the Bible says in Mark 16:17

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.

The question is: “have you believed?” Then these signs must by all means follow you. How do you put your faith to work in this area? Just give credit to the Word and act on it and it will work. Don’t question it. Don’t doubt it. Accept it as the only truth (John 17:17) and then put your faith to work by acting on it. Faith is simple because you already have it in your spirit.

DECLARATION: I have the faith of God in me. I don’t need more faith. All the faith I’ll ever need to do and accomplish anything and everything in this world is right on the inside of me. I put it to work. I unleash it. Nothing shall be impossible to me. In the Name of the Lord Jesus.