8/1/11

What's next, a dictatorship?


Freedom! A concept Americans hold very dear!!!  But, over the past few decades our rights are gradually being eroded by government intrusion into our lives.  Laws and regulations are strangling what few rights we have left and the media is trying to make us think everything is "OK".  It is only a matter of time before being a Christian is a crime.  Think that is far-fetched?  Remember when there was prayer in schools?  Remember saying the pledge of allegiance?  Now, if you even mention God in school, there is a really big problem.  The national debt is astounding and there is a trend towards a world government.  Sounds horrible, doesn't it?  Now, think about the following verses from the Bible and how it should affect our lives.

Romans 13:1-8 (WEB)
1) Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God.
2) Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment.
3) For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,
4) for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.
5) Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
6) For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, attending continually on this very thing.
7) Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.
8) Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

The apostle Paul wrote this at a time when Rome ruled the world, a time when it was unlawful to be a Christian and your property and even your life could be taken away at any moment.  Christians are to be good citizens; acting respectfully in every way, doing the "right thing" without wavering.  What about the consequences?  Some of us may suffer; we may even have to deal with a dictatorship in the next 50 to 100 years.  However bad things get, we must listen to the Bible and obey.  Have faith; if God could overcome the greatest empire on Earth once, could HE not do it again?  God dictates how we live, not man!!!  Even if our republic is somehow transformed into a dictatorship, no one can take heaven away, ever!

OT Bible Reading 8/1

Aug. 1
2 Chronicles 28-30

2Ch 28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old 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, like David his father;
2Ch 28:2 but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for the Baals.
2Ch 28:3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel.
2Ch 28:4 He sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
2Ch 28:5 Therefore Yahweh his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they struck him, and carried away of his a great multitude of captives, and brought them to Damascus. He was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with a great slaughter.
2Ch 28:6 For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed in Judah one hundred twenty thousand in one day, all of them valiant men; because they had forsaken Yahweh, the God of their fathers.
2Ch 28:7 Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the ruler of the house, and Elkanah who was next to the king.
2Ch 28:8 The children of Israel carried away captive of their brothers two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
2Ch 28:9 But a prophet of Yahweh was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria, and said to them, Behold, because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he has delivered them into your hand, and you have slain them in a rage which has reached up to heaven.
2Ch 28:10 Now you purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondservants and bondmaids for yourselves: but aren't there even with you trespasses of your own against Yahweh your God?
2Ch 28:11 Now hear me therefore, and send back the captives, that you have taken captive from your brothers; for the fierce wrath of Yahweh is on you.
2Ch 28:12 Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who came from the war,
2Ch 28:13 and said to them, You shall not bring in the captives here: for you purpose that which will bring on us a trespass against Yahweh, to add to our sins and to our trespass; for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.
2Ch 28:14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly.
2Ch 28:15 The men who have been mentioned by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all who were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers: then they returned to Samaria.
2Ch 28:16 At that time did king Ahaz send to the kings of Assyria to help him.
2Ch 28:17 For again the Edomites had come and struck Judah, and carried away captives.
2Ch 28:18 The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the lowland, and of the South of Judah, and had taken Beth Shemesh, and Aijalon, and Gederoth, and Soco with its towns, and Timnah with its towns, Gimzo also and its towns: and they lived there.
2Ch 28:19 For Yahweh brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he had dealt wantonly in Judah, and trespassed severely against Yahweh.
2Ch 28:20 Tilgath Pilneser king of Assyria came to him, and distressed him, but didn't strengthen him.
2Ch 28:21 For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of Yahweh, and out of the house of the king and of the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria: but it didn't help him.
2Ch 28:22 In the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against Yahweh, this same king Ahaz.
2Ch 28:23 For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, which struck him; and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
2Ch 28:24 Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of Yahweh; and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
2Ch 28:25 In every city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, and provoked to anger Yahweh, the God of his fathers.
2Ch 28:26 Now the rest of his acts, and all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
2Ch 28:27 Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem; for they didn't bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.
2Ch 29:1 Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
2Ch 29:2 He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that David his father had done.
2Ch 29:3 He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of Yahweh, and repaired them.
2Ch 29:4 He brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the broad place on the east,
2Ch 29:5 and said to them, Hear me, you Levites; now sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the house of Yahweh, the God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.
2Ch 29:6 For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of Yahweh, and turned their backs.
2Ch 29:7 Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.
2Ch 29:8 Therefore the wrath of Yahweh was on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has delivered them to be tossed back and forth, to be an astonishment, and a hissing, as you see with your eyes.
2Ch 29:9 For, behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
2Ch 29:10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel, that his fierce anger may turn away from us.
2Ch 29:11 My sons, don't be negligent now; for Yahweh has chosen you to stand before him, to minister to him, and that you should be his ministers, and burn incense.
2Ch 29:12 Then the Levites arose, Mahath, the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah;
2Ch 29:13 and of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel; and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah;
2Ch 29:14 and of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel.
2Ch 29:15 They gathered their brothers, and sanctified themselves, and went in, according to the commandment of the king by the words of Yahweh, to cleanse the house of Yahweh.
2Ch 29:16 The priests went in to the inner part of the house of Yahweh, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of Yahweh into the court of the house of Yahweh. The Levites took it, to carry it out abroad to the brook Kidron.
2Ch 29:17 Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of Yahweh; and they sanctified the house of Yahweh in eight days: and on the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.
2Ch 29:18 Then they went in to Hezekiah the king within the palace, and said, We have cleansed all the house of Yahweh, and the altar of burnt offering, with all its vessels, and the table of show bread, with all its vessels.
2Ch 29:19 Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away when he trespassed, have we prepared and sanctified; and behold, they are before the altar of Yahweh.
2Ch 29:20 Then Hezekiah the king arose early, and gathered the princes of the city, and went up to the house of Yahweh.
2Ch 29:21 They brought seven bulls, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven male goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. He commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of Yahweh.
2Ch 29:22 So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled it on the altar: and they killed the rams, and sprinkled the blood on the altar: they killed also the lambs, and sprinkled the blood on the altar.
2Ch 29:23 They brought near the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly; and they laid their hands on them:
2Ch 29:24 and the priests killed them, and they made a sin offering with their blood on the altar, to make atonement for all Israel; for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.
2Ch 29:25 He set the Levites in the house of Yahweh with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet; for the commandment was of Yahweh by his prophets.
2Ch 29:26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.
2Ch 29:27 Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song of Yahweh began also, and the trumpets, together with the instruments of David king of Israel.
2Ch 29:28 All the assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
2Ch 29:29 When they had made an end of offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped.
2Ch 29:30 Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praises to Yahweh with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. They sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.
2Ch 29:31 Then Hezekiah answered, Now you have consecrated yourselves to Yahweh; come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of Yahweh. The assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.
2Ch 29:32 The number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to Yahweh.
2Ch 29:33 The consecrated things were six hundred head of cattle and three thousand sheep.
2Ch 29:34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: therefore their brothers the Levites helped them, until the work was ended, and until the priests had sanctified themselves; for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.
2Ch 29:35 Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of Yahweh was set in order.
2Ch 29:36 Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, because of that which God had prepared for the people: for the thing was done suddenly.
2Ch 30:1 Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
2Ch 30:2 For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the assembly in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month.
2Ch 30:3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient number, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.
2Ch 30:4 The thing was right in the eyes of the king and of all the assembly.
2Ch 30:5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem: for they had not kept it in great numbers in such sort as it is written.
2Ch 30:6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, You children of Israel, turn again to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may return to the remnant that have escaped of you out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.
2Ch 30:7 Don't be like your fathers, and like your brothers, who trespassed against Yahweh, the God of their fathers, so that he gave them up to desolation, as you see.
2Ch 30:8 Now don't you be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; but yield yourselves to Yahweh, and enter into his sanctuary, which he has sanctified forever, and serve Yahweh your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you.
2Ch 30:9 For if you turn again to Yahweh, your brothers and your children shall find compassion before those who led them captive, and shall come again into this land: for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.
2Ch 30:10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even to Zebulun: but they ridiculed them, and mocked them.
2Ch 30:11 Nevertheless certain men of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.
2Ch 30:12 Also on Judah came the hand of God to give them one heart, to do the commandment of the king and of the princes by the word of Yahweh.
2Ch 30:13 There assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly.
2Ch 30:14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron.
2Ch 30:15 Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh.
2Ch 30:16 They stood in their place after their order, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites.
2Ch 30:17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves: therefore the Levites were in charge of killing the Passovers for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to Yahweh.
2Ch 30:18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, The good Yahweh pardon everyone
2Ch 30:19 who sets his heart to seek God, Yahweh, the God of his fathers, though not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
2Ch 30:20 Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
2Ch 30:21 The children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh day by day, singing with loud instruments to Yahweh.
2Ch 30:22 Hezekiah spoke comfortably to all the Levites who had good understanding in the service of Yahweh. So they ate throughout the feast for the seven days, offering sacrifices of peace offerings, and making confession to Yahweh, the God of their fathers.
2Ch 30:23 The whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days; and they kept other seven days with gladness.
2Ch 30:24 For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the assembly for offerings one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
2Ch 30:25 All the assembly of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the assembly who came out of Israel, and the foreigners who came out of the land of Israel, and who lived in Judah, rejoiced.
2Ch 30:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
2Ch 30:27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy habitation, even to heaven.

NT Bible Reading 8/1, 8/2

Aug. 1, 2
Acts 19

Act 19:1 It happened that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples.
Act 19:2 He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They said to him, "No, we haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
Act 19:3 He said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism."
Act 19:4 Paul said, "John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus."
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied.
Act 19:7 They were about twelve men in all.
Act 19:8 He entered into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning the Kingdom of God.
Act 19:9 But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
Act 19:10 This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Act 19:11 God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul,
Act 19:12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the evil spirits went out.
Act 19:13 But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches."
Act 19:14 There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.
Act 19:15 The evil spirit answered, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?"
Act 19:16 The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
Act 19:17 This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Act 19:18 Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds.
Act 19:19 Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted the price of them, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
Act 19:20 So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.
Act 19:21 Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."
Act 19:22 Having sent into Macedonia two of those who served him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
Act 19:23 About that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way.
Act 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen,
Act 19:25 whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, "Sirs, you know that by this business we have our wealth.
Act 19:26 You see and hear, that not at Ephesus alone, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands.
Act 19:27 Not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and her majesty destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worships."
Act 19:28 When they heard this they were filled with anger, and cried out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
Act 19:29 The whole city was filled with confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel.
Act 19:30 When Paul wanted to enter in to the people, the disciples didn't allow him.
Act 19:31 Certain also of the Asiarchs, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater.
Act 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most of them didn't know why they had come together.
Act 19:33 They brought Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made a defense to the people.
Act 19:34 But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice for a time of about two hours cried out, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
Act 19:35 When the town clerk had quieted the multitude, he said, "You men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn't know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?
Act 19:36 Seeing then that these things can't be denied, you ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rash.
Act 19:37 For you have brought these men here, who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess.
Act 19:38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a matter against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them press charges against one another.
Act 19:39 But if you seek anything about other matters, it will be settled in the regular assembly.
Act 19:40 For indeed we are in danger of being accused concerning this day's riot, there being no cause. Concerning it, we wouldn't be able to give an account of this commotion."
Act 19:41 When he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.