2/14/12

An example of love




First, Happy Valentines Day!!!  At first glance I thought this picture was just about a husband caring for his mate.  Then, I thought of how God cares for us...
 

World English Bible: Psalms Chapter 57
 
 [1] Be merciful to me, God, be merciful to me,
for my soul takes refuge in you.


Yes, in the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge,
until disaster has passed.



[2] I cry out to God Most High,


to God who accomplishes my requests for me.


[3] He will send from heaven, and save me,
he rebukes the one who is pursuing me.





Selah.





God will send out his loving kindness and his truth.


[4] My soul is among lions.
I lie among those who are set on fire,
even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
and their tongue a sharp sword.


[5] Be exalted, God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be above all the earth!





[6] They have prepared a net for my steps.
My soul is bowed down.


They dig a pit before me.
They fall into its midst themselves.





Selah.





[7] My heart is steadfast, God, my heart is steadfast.
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises.


[8] Wake up, my glory! Wake up, psaltery and harp!
I will wake up the dawn.


[9] I will give thanks to you, Lord, among the peoples.
I will sing praises to you among the nations.


[10] For your great loving kindness reaches to the heavens,
and your truth to the skies.


[11] Be exalted, God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.

Our lives are not accidents!  We did not happen by chance and our lives do have a purpose; a grand design, if you will.  Think back: How has God provided the things you really need?  He has loved us and cared for us (and all our family) since our first memory. Today, being Valentine's day is a day devoted to love and what could be more appropriate than remembering God's love for us? For that, he is worthy of all our praise and all our love in return.  Knowing what God has done for us is better than ten boxes of candy, two hundred of the finest red ROSES and ten thousand greeting cards!!!  Something to think about...

OT Bible Reading 2/14/12


Feb. 14
Genesis 45

Gen 45:1 Then Joseph couldn't control himself before all those who stood before him, and he cried, "Cause every man to go out from me!" No one else stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
Gen 45:2 He wept aloud. The Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard.
Gen 45:3 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Does my father still live?" His brothers couldn't answer him; for they were terrified at his presence.
Gen 45:4 Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, please." They came near. "He said, I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:5 Now don't be grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are yet five years, in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8 So now it wasn't you who sent me here, but God, and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Gen 45:9 Hurry, and go up to my father, and tell him, 'This is what your son Joseph says, "God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me. Don't wait.
Gen 45:10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you will be near to me, you, your children, your children's children, your flocks, your herds, and all that you have.
Gen 45:11 There I will nourish you; for there are yet five years of famine; lest you come to poverty, you, and your household, and all that you have." '
Gen 45:12 Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaks to you.
Gen 45:13 You shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. You shall hurry and bring my father down here."
Gen 45:14 He fell on his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.
Gen 45:15 He kissed all his brothers, and wept on them. After that his brothers talked with him.
Gen 45:16 The report of it was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, "Joseph's brothers have come." It pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants.
Gen 45:17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this. Load your animals, and go, travel to the land of Canaan.
Gen 45:18 Take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.'
Gen 45:19 Now you are commanded: do this. Take wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come.
Gen 45:20 Also, don't concern yourselves about your belongings, for the good of all of the land of Egypt is yours."
Gen 45:21 The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way.
Gen 45:22 He gave each one of them changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing.
Gen 45:23 To his father, he sent after this manner: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and provision for his father by the way.
Gen 45:24 So he sent his brothers away, and they departed. He said to them, "See that you don't quarrel on the way."
Gen 45:25 They went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father.
Gen 45:26 They told him, saying, "Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." His heart fainted, for he didn't believe them.
Gen 45:27 They told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them. When he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob, their father, revived.
Gen 45:28 Israel said, "It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

NT Bible Reading 2/14/12 & 2/15/12


Feb. 14, 15
Matthew 23

Mat 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples,
Mat 23:2 saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses' seat.
Mat 23:3 All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don't do their works; for they say, and don't do.
Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them.
Mat 23:5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad, enlarge the fringes of their garments,
Mat 23:6 and love the place of honor at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7 the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi, Rabbi' by men.
Mat 23:8 But don't you be called 'Rabbi,' for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers.
Mat 23:9 Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.
Mat 23:10 Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ.
Mat 23:11 But he who is greatest among you will be your servant.
Mat 23:12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Mat 23:13 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and as a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
Mat 23:14 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don't enter in yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to enter.
Mat 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gehenna as yourselves.
Mat 23:16 "Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.'
Mat 23:17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
Mat 23:18 'Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated?'
Mat 23:19 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
Mat 23:20 He therefore who swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it.
Mat 23:21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who was living in it.
Mat 23:22 He who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it.
Mat 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.
Mat 23:24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!
Mat 23:25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness.
Mat 23:26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also.
Mat 23:27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Mat 23:28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Mat 23:29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous,
Mat 23:30 and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn't have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.'
Mat 23:31 Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are children of those who killed the prophets.
Mat 23:32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
Mat 23:33 You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna?
Mat 23:34 Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city;
Mat 23:35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar.
Mat 23:36 Most certainly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Mat 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!
Mat 23:38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.
Mat 23:39 For I tell you, you will not see me from now on, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' "



Job (Introduction) by Mark Copeland

  "THE BOOK OF JOB"

                              Introduction

The Book of Job has long been praised as a masterpiece of literature.
Consider these quotes:

   "Tomorrow, if all literature was to be destroyed and it was left to
   me to retain one work only, I should save Job." (Victor Hugo)

   "...the greatest poem, whether of ancient or modern literature."
   (Tennyson)

   "The Book of Job taken as a mere work of literary genius, is one of
   the most wonderful productions of any age or of any language."
   (Daniel Webster)

What is it about the book that prompts such praise?  Most Christians I
know don't feel that way about the Book of Job.  Perhaps it is because
many tend to neglect the Old Testament altogether.  Yet Paul wrote of
the value of the Old Testament scriptures:

   For whatever things were written before were written for our
   learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the
   Scriptures might have hope. (Ro 15:4)

Note that the Old Testament was written for our learning, that it
provides patience and comfort, and as such can be a source of hope.
This is especially true with the story of Job, to whom James referred
when seeking to instill patience (cf. Jm 5:10-11). Because the Book of
Job is so often neglected, yet presents a valuable lesson and is so
highly praised by even people of the world, Christians should certainly
take the time to study this portion of God's Word!

THE PLACE OF JOB IN THE OLD TESTAMENT:  Job is the first of five books
commonly referred to as "The Books Of Poetry".  These include Job,
Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.  Called such
because they are written in poetic style in contrast to the narrative
style of most other books, they are also often referred to as "Wisdom
Literature" (especially Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes).  Oswald
Chambers (1874-1917) offered this concise summary of the five books:

   * Job - How to suffer

   * Psalms - How to pray

   * Proverbs - How to act

   * Ecclesiastes - How to enjoy

   * Song of Solomon - How to love

Now let's take a look at the Book of Job in particular...

AUTHOR AND DATE OF WRITING:  Who wrote the book, and when?  No one
really knows.  Jewish tradition attributes the book to Moses, and other
authors have been suggested (Job, Elihu, Solomon, Isaiah, Hezekiah, and
Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe).  "All that can be said with certainty is
that the author was a loyal Hebrew who was not strictly bound by the
popular creed that assumed suffering was always the direct result of
sin" (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown).  Because the author is unknown,
it's date has been hotly debated among scholars.  Some think it was
written before Moses (pre 1500 B.C.).  Others put it at the time of
Solomon (ca. 900 B.C.), and some even as late as the Babylonian Exile
or later (post 600 B.C.).

The uncertainty of author and date does not nullify the book's
inspiration, for it is affirmed in the New Testament.  Paul quotes from
it on several occasions in his writings (cf. 1Co 3:19 with Job 5:13;
and Ro 11:35 with Job 41:11).  For the Christian who accepts the
inspiration of the New Testament, such evidence is sufficient.

THE HISTORICITY OF THE BOOK:  Even though inspired, are we to take the
events described in it as historically true?  There are several reasons
for believing that they are:

   * The style of the opening and close of the book certainly conform
     to other Biblical narratives that are historical (cf. 1:1 with
     1Sa 1:1 and Lk 1:5).

   * In Ezekiel 14:14, Job is mentioned along with Noah and Daniel,
     two other figures of history.

   * James, the Lord's brother, refers to Job as an example of
     perseverance (Jm 5:11).

THE SETTING OF THE BOOK:  The historical events appear to be set in
the "Patriarchal" period (i.e., sometime between Noah and Moses). There
are no allusions to the Law of Moses in the book, but there is a
mention of a flood (22:16). Job functions as a priest in offering
sacrifices for his family (1:5), similar to what we find with Abraham
(cf. Gen 12:7).  His longevity is typical of the patriarchs (42:16;
cf. Gen 11:22-26,32).  For such reasons I would place him somewhat
contemporary with Abraham (i.e., ca 2000 B.C.).

THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK:  It is common to suggest that the purpose of
the book is to answer the age-old question, "Why does God allow the
righteous to suffer?"  That is certainly the question Job raises, but
it is worthy to note that he himself never receives a direct answer.
Nor is one given by the author, other than to answer Satan's challenge,
"Does Job fear God for nothing?".  We are privileged to know of the
challenge of Satan, and that God allows Job to suffer in answer to that
challenge, but Job is never told of this.  Therefore, I suggest that
the purpose of the book is:

    To answer the question, "How should the righteous suffer?"

While Job's questions and complaints often come close to charging God
with wrong, he never crosses the line and humbly submits to God when
told that the answers to his questions are beyond his ability to
understand.  Thus the book shows us how the righteous should bear up
under suffering ("You have heard of the perseverance of Job" - Jm 5:
11)

SOME LESSONS FROM THE BOOK:  In his study on the book (The Book Of
Job, Quality Pub.), Wayne Jackson offers the following lessons to be
gleaned:

   * The book defends the absolute glory and perfection of God - It
     sets forth the theme echoed in Ps 18:3 ("I will call upon the
     Lord, who is worthy to be praised").  God is deserving of our
     praise simply on the basis of who He is, apart from the blessings
     He bestows.  Satan denied this (1:9-11), but Job proved him
     wrong (1:20-22; 2:10).

   * The question of suffering is addressed - Why do we suffer?  Who
     or what causes it?  Why doesn't God do something?  Not all
     questions are answered, but some important points are made:

     - Man is unable to subject the painful experiences of human
       existence to a meaningful analysis - God's workings are
       beyond man's ability to fathom.  Man simply cannot tie all
       the "loose ends" of the Lord's purposes together.  We must
       learn to trust in God, no matter the circumstances.

     - Suffering is not always the result of personal sin - The
       erroneous conclusion drawn by Job's friends is that suffering
       is always a consequence of sin.  Job proves this is not the
       case.

     - Suffering may be allowed as a compliment to one's spirituality
       - God allowed Job to suffer to prove to Satan what kind of man
       he really was.  What confidence God had in Job!

   * The book paints a beautiful picture of "patience" - The Greek word
     is "hupomone", which describes the trait of one who is able to
     abide under the weight of trials.  From the "patience of Job", we
     learn that it means to maintain fidelity to God, even under great
     trials in which we do not understand what is happening.

   * The book also prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ!
     - His coming is anticipated in several ways.  Job longs for a
     mediator between him and God (9:33; 33:23), and Jesus is one
     (1Ti 2:5).  Job confessed his faith in a Redeemer who would one
     day come (19:25); Christ is that Redeemer (Ep 1:7)!

BRIEF OUTLINE (adapted from Warren Wiersbe)

I. JOB'S DISTRESS (1-3)

   A. HIS PROSPERITY (1:1-5)

   B. HIS ADVERSITY (1:6-2:13)

   C. HIS PERPLEXITY (3)

II. JOB'S DEFENSE (4-37)

   A. THE FIRST ROUND (4-14)
      1. Eliphaz (4-5)_Job's reply (6-7)
      2. Bildad (8)_Job's reply (9-10)
      3. Zophar (11)_Job's reply (12-14)

   B. THE SECOND ROUND (15-21)
      1. Eliphaz (15)_Job's reply (16-17)
      2. Bildad (18)_Job's reply (19)
      3. Zophar (20)_Job's reply (21)

   C. THE THIRD ROUND (22-37)
      1. Eliphaz (22)_Job's reply (23-24)
      2. Bildad (25)_Job's reply (26-31)

   D. YOUNG ELIHU SPEAKS (32-37)
      1. Contradicting Job's friends (32)
      2. Contradicting Job himself (33)
      3. Proclaiming God's justice, goodness, and majesty (34-37)

III. JOB'S DELIVERANCE (38-42)

   A. GOD HUMBLES JOB (38:1-42:6)
      1. Through questions too great to answer (38:1-41:34)
      2. Job acknowledges his inability to understand (42:1-6)

   B. GOD HONORS JOB (42:7-17)
      1. God rebukes his critics (42:7-10)
      2. God restores his wealth (42:11-17)

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION

1) What are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon,
   often called?
   - Books of Poetry
   - Wisdom Literature

2) Who wrote the book, and when?
   - We do not know

3) What evidence is there that this book describes an event that
   actually occurred?
   - It both starts and ends like other books of history in the Old
     Testament
   - Job is included with Noah and Daniel, as figures of history, in
     Ezek 14:14
   - James refers to the example of Job in teaching on perseverance
     (Jm 5:11)

4) In what historical time frame is the story of Job possibly set?
   - During the period of the patriarchs, perhaps contemporary with
     Abraham

5) What is the purpose of this book, as suggested in the introduction?
   - To answer the question, "How should the righteous suffer?"

6) According to the outline suggested above, what are the three main
   divisions of the book?
   - Job's Distress (1-3)
   - Job's Defense (4-37)
   - Job's Deliverance (38-42)