7/3/11

A sunset reminder


Just another sunset in Provo, UT, USA.  But, although it may seem ordinary, yet the colors remind me of our American flag.  A flag that represents the desire of all who would be free.  Freedom doesn't come easy, there is a price and a costly one at that.  I have been thinking a lot about freedom as Independence day approaches and these verses came to mind.

John 8:30-36 (WEB)
30) As he spoke these things, many believed in him.
31) Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples.
32) You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
33) They answered him, “We are Abraham’s seed, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How do you say, ‘You will be made free?’”
34) Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is the bondservant of sin.
35) A bondservant doesn’t live in the house forever. A son remains forever.
36) If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

I remember the old saying: "If God isn't your father, then the devil is your Daddy".  To me, this is another way of saying that who you commit yourself to is your master.  If you think you are free by your own doing, you are kidding yourself.  You must make a choice; submit to sin or to Christ.  If you choose Christ, you have made a wise choice because it is only through HIM that you can be separated from sin.  Tomorrow we will celebrate Independence day and our freedom from a foreign oppressor; let us also remember that the bounds of freedom extend beyond the limits of physicality to the essence of our being: the soul.  Verse 36 might be something to think about tomorrow as well.

OT Bible Reading 7/3

July 3
1 Kings 16-18

1Ki 16:1 The word of Yahweh came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,
1Ki 16:2 Because I exalted you out of the dust, and made you prince over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;
1Ki 16:3 behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house; and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
1Ki 16:4 Him who dies of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him who dies of his in the field shall the birds of the sky eat.
1Ki 16:5 Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
1Ki 16:6 Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah; and Elah his son reigned in his place.
1Ki 16:7 Moreover by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of Yahweh against Baasha, and against his house, both because of all the evil that he did in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and because he struck him.
1Ki 16:8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, and reigned two years.
1Ki 16:9 His servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him. Now he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, who was over the household in Tirzah:
1Ki 16:10 and Zimri went in and struck him, and killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place.
1Ki 16:11 It happened, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he struck all the house of Baasha: he didn't leave him a single one who urinates on a wall, neither of his relatives, nor of his friends.
1Ki 16:12 Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke against Baasha by Jehu the prophet,
1Ki 16:13 for all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, which they sinned, and with which they made Israel to sin, to provoke Yahweh, the God of Israel, to anger with their vanities.
1Ki 16:14 Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
1Ki 16:15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. Now the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.
1Ki 16:16 The people who were encamped heard say, Zimri has conspired, and has also struck the king: therefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp.
1Ki 16:17 Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.
1Ki 16:18 It happened, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the castle of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died,
1Ki 16:19 for his sins which he sinned in doing that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.
1Ki 16:20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
1Ki 16:21 Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.
1Ki 16:22 But the people who followed Omri prevailed against the people who followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.
1Ki 16:23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, and reigned twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.
1Ki 16:24 He bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill, Samaria.
1Ki 16:25 Omri did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and dealt wickedly above all who were before him.
1Ki 16:26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sins with which he made Israel to sin, to provoke Yahweh, the God of Israel, to anger with their vanities.
1Ki 16:27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he showed, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
1Ki 16:28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria; and Ahab his son reigned in his place.
1Ki 16:29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.
1Ki 16:30 Ahab the son of Omri did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh above all that were before him.
1Ki 16:31 It happened, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him.
1Ki 16:32 He reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
1Ki 16:33 Ahab made the Asherah; and Ahab did yet more to provoke Yahweh, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
1Ki 16:34 In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid its foundation with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.
1Ki 17:1 Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the foreigners of Gilead, said to Ahab, As Yahweh, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
1Ki 17:2 The word of Yahweh came to him, saying,
1Ki 17:3 Get away from here, turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan.
1Ki 17:4 It shall be, that you shall drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.
1Ki 17:5 So he went and did according to the word of Yahweh; for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan.
1Ki 17:6 The ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
1Ki 17:7 It happened after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
1Ki 17:8 The word of Yahweh came to him, saying,
1Ki 17:9 Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain you.
1Ki 17:10 So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks: and he called to her, and said, Please get me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
1Ki 17:11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, and said, Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.
1Ki 17:12 She said, As Yahweh your God lives, I don't have a cake, but a handful of meal in the jar, and a little oil in the jar: and behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
1Ki 17:13 Elijah said to her, Don't be afraid; go and do as you have said; but make me of it a little cake first, and bring it forth to me, and afterward make for you and for your son.
1Ki 17:14 For thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, The jar of meal shall not empty, neither shall the jar of oil fail, until the day that Yahweh sends rain on the earth.
1Ki 17:15 She went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, ate many days.
1Ki 17:16 The jar of meal didn't empty, neither did the jar of oil fail, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke by Elijah.
1Ki 17:17 It happened after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
1Ki 17:18 She said to Elijah, What have I to do with you, you man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to memory, and to kill my son!
1Ki 17:19 He said to her, Give me your son. He took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into the chamber, where he abode, and laid him on his own bed.
1Ki 17:20 He cried to Yahweh, and said, Yahweh my God, have you also brought evil on the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?
1Ki 17:21 He stretched himself on the child three times, and cried to Yahweh, and said, Yahweh my God, please let this child's soul come into him again.
1Ki 17:22 Yahweh listened to the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
1Ki 17:23 Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him to his mother; and Elijah said, Behold, your son lives.
1Ki 17:24 The woman said to Elijah, Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of Yahweh in your mouth is truth.
1Ki 18:1 It happened after many days, that the word of Yahweh came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain on the earth.
1Ki 18:2 Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. The famine was sore in Samaria.
1Ki 18:3 Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared Yahweh greatly:
1Ki 18:4 for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of Yahweh, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)
1Ki 18:5 Ahab said to Obadiah, Go through the land, to all the springs of water, and to all the brooks: peradventure we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, that we not lose all the animals.
1Ki 18:6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.
1Ki 18:7 As Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Is it you, my lord Elijah?
1Ki 18:8 He answered him, It is I: go, tell your lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
1Ki 18:9 He said, Wherein have I sinned, that you would deliver your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?
1Ki 18:10 As Yahweh your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom, where my lord has not sent to seek you: and when they said, He is not here, he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they didn't find you.
1Ki 18:11 Now you say, Go, tell your lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
1Ki 18:12 It will happen, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of Yahweh will carry you I don't know where; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he can't find you, he will kill me: but I your servant have feared Yahweh from my youth.
1Ki 18:13 Wasn't it told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Yahweh, how I hid one hundred men of Yahweh's prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?
1Ki 18:14 Now you say, Go, tell your lord, Behold, Elijah is here; and he will kill me.
1Ki 18:15 Elijah said, As Yahweh of Armies lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.
1Ki 18:16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
1Ki 18:17 It happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, Is it you, you troubler of Israel?
1Ki 18:18 He answered, I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father's house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of Yahweh, and you have followed the Baals.
1Ki 18:19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel to Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred fifty, and the prophets of the Asherah four hundred, who eat at Jezebel's table.
1Ki 18:20 So Ahab sent to all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together to Mount Carmel.
1Ki 18:21 Elijah came near to all the people, and said, "How long will you waver between the two sides? If Yahweh is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." The people answered him not a word.
1Ki 18:22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of Yahweh; but Baal's prophets are four hundred fifty men.
1Ki 18:23 Let them therefore give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bull, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under.
1Ki 18:24 You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh; and the God who answers by fire, let him be God." All the people answered, "It is well said."
1Ki 18:25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves, and dress it first; for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."
1Ki 18:26 They took the bull which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any who answered. They leaped about the altar which was made.
1Ki 18:27 It happened at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleeps and must be awakened.
1Ki 18:28 They cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.
1Ki 18:29 It was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening offering; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any who regarded.
1Ki 18:30 Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me; and all the people came near to him. He repaired the altar of Yahweh that was thrown down.
1Ki 18:31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh came, saying, Israel shall be your name.
1Ki 18:32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of Yahweh; and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
1Ki 18:33 He put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood.
1Ki 18:34 He said, Do it the second time; and they did it the second time. He said, Do it the third time; and they did it the third time.
1Ki 18:35 The water ran around the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
1Ki 18:36 It happened at the time of the offering of the evening offering, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.
1Ki 18:37 Hear me, Yahweh, hear me, that this people may know that you, Yahweh, are God, and that you have turned their heart back again.
1Ki 18:38 Then the fire of Yahweh fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1Ki 18:39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, Yahweh, he is God; Yahweh, he is God.
1Ki 18:40 and Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal; don't let one of them escape. They took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.
1Ki 18:41 Elijah said to Ahab, Get up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.
1Ki 18:42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down on the earth, and put his face between his knees.
1Ki 18:43 He said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. He went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. He said, Go again seven times.
1Ki 18:44 It happened at the seventh time, that he said, "Behold, a small cloud, like a man's hand, is rising out of the sea." He said, Go up, tell Ahab, Get ready and go down, so that the rain doesn't stop you.
1Ki 18:45 It happened in a little while, that the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.
1Ki 18:46 The hand of Yahweh was on Elijah; and he tucked his cloak into his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.