7/10/11

we be friends


You and I are friends!!! It doesn't matter if your skin color is a bit off or if you are a bit too large or even if your nose is bigger than everyone else's; we are friends!!!  Friendship with God is like that too, HE doesn't care what you look like or where you come from or what you do for a living; HE is your friend irrespective of these issues.  What does HE care about?  Read the following passage and find out...

James 2:19-26 (WEB)
19) You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder.
20) But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?
21) Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
22) You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;
23) and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;” and he was called the friend of God.
24) You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith.
25) In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way?
26) For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

Martin Luther called the book of James an "epistle of straw"; why, because it contradicted his doctrine of "faith only".  As I read it, Abraham's belief in God was coupled with actions and concrete action showed his faith to be real.  James also refers to Rahab, a prostitute, who helped the spies as the nation of Israel conquered the holy land.  What you do is important to God!  If even demons believe in God, then just believing in God isn't going to get you into heaven.  Again, its what you do as a result of your (confident trust) belief.  I may not be much to look at, but if God is my friend, I AM SOMEBODY SPECIAL.  Now, the only thing that remains is the question:  If I believe in God, then what am I going to do about it?  Hint:  Read Acts chapter two as a starting point.

OT Bible Reading 7/10


July 10
2 Kings 16-18

2Ki 16:1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.
2Ki 16:2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign; and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: and he didn't do that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh his God, like David his father.
2Ki 16:3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yes, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel.
2Ki 16:4 He sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
2Ki 16:5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.
2Ki 16:6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drove the Jews from Elath; and the Syrians came to Elath, and lived there, to this day.
2Ki 16:7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am your servant and your son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, who rise up against me.
2Ki 16:8 Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of Yahweh, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.
2Ki 16:9 The king of Assyria listened to him; and the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and killed Rezin.
2Ki 16:10 King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar that was at Damascus; and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and its pattern, according to all its workmanship.
2Ki 16:11 Urijah the priest built an altar: according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so did Urijah the priest make it against the coming of king Ahaz from Damascus.
2Ki 16:12 When the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king drew near to the altar, and offered thereon.
2Ki 16:13 He burnt his burnt offering and his meal offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, on the altar.
2Ki 16:14 The bronze altar, which was before Yahweh, he brought from the forefront of the house, from between his altar and the house of Yahweh, and put it on the north side of his altar.
2Ki 16:15 King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meal offering, and the king's burnt offering, and his meal offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meal offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.
2Ki 16:16 Urijah the priest did so, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.
2Ki 16:17 King Ahaz cut off the panels of the bases, and removed the basin from off them, and took down the sea from off the bronze oxen that were under it, and put it on a pavement of stone.
2Ki 16:18 The covered way for the Sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king's entry outside, turned he to the house of Yahweh, because of the king of Assyria.
2Ki 16:19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
2Ki 16:20 Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.
2Ki 17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel, and reigned nine years.
2Ki 17:2 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him.
2Ki 17:3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and brought him tribute.
2Ki 17:4 The king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.
2Ki 17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.
2Ki 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
2Ki 17:7 It was so, because the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
2Ki 17:8 and walked in the statutes of the nations, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they made.
2Ki 17:9 The children of Israel did secretly things that were not right against Yahweh their God: and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city;
2Ki 17:10 and they set them up pillars and Asherim on every high hill, and under every green tree;
2Ki 17:11 and there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the nations whom Yahweh carried away before them; and they worked wicked things to provoke Yahweh to anger;
2Ki 17:12 and they served idols, of which Yahweh had said to them, You shall not do this thing.
2Ki 17:13 Yet Yahweh testified to Israel, and to Judah, by every prophet, and every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
2Ki 17:14 Notwithstanding, they would not hear, but hardened their neck, like the neck of their fathers, who didn't believe in Yahweh their God.
2Ki 17:15 They rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified to them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the nations that were around them, concerning whom Yahweh had commanded them that they should not do like them.
2Ki 17:16 They forsook all the commandments of Yahweh their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah, and worshiped all the army of the sky, and served Baal.
2Ki 17:17 They caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger.
2Ki 17:18 Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
2Ki 17:19 Also Judah didn't keep the commandments of Yahweh their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
2Ki 17:20 Yahweh rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
2Ki 17:21 For he tore Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drove Israel from following Yahweh, and made them sin a great sin.
2Ki 17:22 The children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they didn't depart from them;
2Ki 17:23 until Yahweh removed Israel out of his sight, as he spoke by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria to this day.
2Ki 17:24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and lived in the cities of it.
2Ki 17:25 So it was, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they didn't fear Yahweh: therefore Yahweh sent lions among them, which killed some of them.
2Ki 17:26 Therefore they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which you have carried away, and placed in the cities of Samaria, don't know the law of the god of the land: therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them, because they don't know the law of the god of the land.
2Ki 17:27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry there one of the priests whom you brought from there; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the law of the god of the land.
2Ki 17:28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear Yahweh.
2Ki 17:29 However every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived.
2Ki 17:30 The men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,
2Ki 17:31 and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
2Ki 17:32 So they feared Yahweh, and made to them from among themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.
2Ki 17:33 They feared Yahweh, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.
2Ki 17:34 To this day they do after the former manner: they don't fear Yahweh, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law or after the commandment which Yahweh commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
2Ki 17:35 with whom Yahweh had made a covenant, and commanded them, saying, You shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:
2Ki 17:36 but Yahweh, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, him you shall fear, and to him you shall bow yourselves, and to him you shall sacrifice:
2Ki 17:37 and the statutes and the ordinances, and the law and the commandment, which he wrote for you, you shall observe to do forevermore; and you shall not fear other gods:
2Ki 17:38 and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you; neither shall you fear other gods:
2Ki 17:39 but you shall fear Yahweh your God; and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
2Ki 17:40 However they did not listen, but they did after their former manner.
2Ki 17:41 So these nations feared Yahweh, and served their engraved images; their children likewise, and their children's children, as did their fathers, so do they to this day.
2Ki 18:1 Now it happened in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
2Ki 18:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah.
2Ki 18:3 He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that David his father had done.
2Ki 18:4 He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah: and he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for to those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.
2Ki 18:5 He trusted in Yahweh, the God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among them that were before him.
2Ki 18:6 For he joined with Yahweh; he didn't depart from following him, but kept his commandments, which Yahweh commanded Moses.
2Ki 18:7 Yahweh was with him; wherever he went forth he prospered: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and didn't serve him.
2Ki 18:8 He struck the Philistines to Gaza and its borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.
2Ki 18:9 It happened in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it.
2Ki 18:10 At the end of three years they took it: in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.
2Ki 18:11 The king of Assyria carried Israel away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
2Ki 18:12 because they didn't obey the voice of Yahweh their God, but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded, and would not hear it, nor do it.
2Ki 18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fortified cities of Judah, and took them.
2Ki 18:14 Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which you put on me will I bear. The king of Assyria appointed to Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
2Ki 18:15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of Yahweh, and in the treasures of the king's house.
2Ki 18:16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of Yahweh, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
2Ki 18:17 The king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great army to Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.
2Ki 18:18 When they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
2Ki 18:19 Rabshakeh said to them, Say now to Hezekiah, Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this in which you trust?
2Ki 18:20 You say (but they are but vain words), There is counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom do you trust, that you have rebelled against me?
2Ki 18:21 Now, behold, you trust in the staff of this bruised reed, even in Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust on him.
2Ki 18:22 But if you tell me, We trust in Yahweh our God; isn't that he whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?
2Ki 18:23 Now therefore, Please give pledges to my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.
2Ki 18:24 How then can you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
2Ki 18:25 Am I now come up without Yahweh against this place to destroy it? Yahweh said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
2Ki 18:26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, to Rabshakeh, Please speak to your servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and don't speak with us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people who are on the wall.
2Ki 18:27 But Rabshakeh said to them, Has my master sent me to your master, and to you, to speak these words? Hasn't he sent me to the men who sit on the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own water with you?
2Ki 18:28 Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spoke, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria.
2Ki 18:29 Thus says the king, Don't let Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to deliver you out of his hand:
2Ki 18:30 neither let Hezekiah make you trust in Yahweh, saying, Yahweh will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
2Ki 18:31 Don't listen to Hezekiah: for thus says the king of Assyria, Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and everyone of you eat of his vine, and everyone of his fig tree, and everyone drink the waters of his own cistern;
2Ki 18:32 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and of honey, that you may live, and not die: and don't listen to Hezekiah, when he persuades you, saying, Yahweh will deliver us.
2Ki 18:33 Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
2Ki 18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah? have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
2Ki 18:35 Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
2Ki 18:36 But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, saying, Don't answer him.
2Ki 18:37 Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.

NT Bible Reading 7/10, 7/11

Jul. 10, 11
Acts 8

Act 8:1 Saul was consenting to his death. A great persecution arose against the assembly which was in Jerusalem in that day. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles.
Act 8:2 Devout men buried Stephen, and lamented greatly over him.
Act 8:3 But Saul ravaged the assembly, entering into every house, and dragged both men and women off to prison.
Act 8:4 Therefore those who were scattered abroad went around preaching the word.
Act 8:5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.
Act 8:6 The multitudes listened with one accord to the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard and saw the signs which he did.
Act 8:7 For unclean spirits came out of many of those who had them. They came out, crying with a loud voice. Many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.
Act 8:8 There was great joy in that city.
Act 8:9 But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one,
Act 8:10 to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is that great power of God."
Act 8:11 They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries.
Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching good news concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Act 8:13 Simon himself also believed. Being baptized, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occurring, he was amazed.
Act 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
Act 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
Act 8:16 for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus.
Act 8:17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,
Act 8:19 saying, "Give me also this power, that whoever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit."
Act 8:20 But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
Act 8:21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart isn't right before God.
Act 8:22 Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
Act 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."
Act 8:24 Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me."
Act 8:25 They therefore, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Good News to many villages of the Samaritans.
Act 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert."
Act 8:27 He arose and went; and behold, there was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship.
Act 8:28 He was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Act 8:29 The Spirit said to Philip, "Go near, and join yourself to this chariot."
Act 8:30 Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
Act 8:31 He said, "How can I, unless someone explains it to me?" He begged Philip to come up and sit with him.
Act 8:32 Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he doesn't open his mouth.
Act 8:33 In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away. Who will declare His generation? For his life is taken from the earth."
Act 8:34 The eunuch answered Philip, "Who is the prophet talking about? About himself, or about someone else?"
Act 8:35 Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached to him Jesus.
Act 8:36 As they went on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Behold, here is water. What is keeping me from being baptized?"
Act 8:37 "Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' He answered, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' "
Act 8:38 He commanded the chariot to stand still, and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
Act 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch didn't see him any more, for he went on his way rejoicing.
Act 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus. Passing through, he preached the Good News to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea.