Two trees in one

This is a new one for me; I can't ever remember seeing a tree like this before.  The leaves are the most unusual ones I think I have ever seen, but the trunk reminds me of an old apple tree.  Its almost like there are two trees; one beautiful and one not so much.  People can be like that too; sometimes the most attractive in appearance leave a lot to be desired on the INSIDE.  The apostle Peter talks about this in a positive way in his first letter...

WEB: I Peter Chapter 3

[3] Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; [4] but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious.

After age sixty, what makes a woman beautiful?  By that time in her life all of her external features are losing their youthful splendor and she just doesn't seem like the same person (at least on the outside).  But, she can be wonderful inside!!!  If she has sought out Godly attitudes, there is a very good chance that she is more beautiful at age sixty plus than at a youthful twenty.  Beauty is more than outside foliage; its what's inside that counts.

OT Bible Reading 2/23/12

Feb. 23
Exodus 4

Exo 4:1 Moses answered, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, 'Yahweh has not appeared to you.' "
Exo 4:2 Yahweh said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod."
Exo 4:3 He said, "Throw it on the ground." He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it.
Exo 4:4 Yahweh said to Moses, "Put forth your hand, and take it by the tail." He put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand.
Exo 4:5 "That they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."
Exo 4:6 Yahweh said furthermore to him, "Now put your hand inside your cloak." He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.
Exo 4:7 He said, "Put your hand inside your cloak again." He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, behold, it had turned again as his other flesh.
Exo 4:8 "It will happen, if they will neither believe you nor listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
Exo 4:9 It will happen, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither listen to your voice, that you shall take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take out of the river will become blood on the dry land."
Exo 4:10 Moses said to Yahweh, "Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
Exo 4:11 Yahweh said to him, "Who made man's mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn't it I, Yahweh?
Exo 4:12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak."
Exo 4:13 He said, "Oh, Lord, please send someone else."
Exo 4:14 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Moses, and he said, "What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he comes forth to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
Exo 4:15 You shall speak to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do.
Exo 4:16 He will be your spokesman to the people; and it will happen, that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God.
Exo 4:17 You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs."
Exo 4:18 Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive." Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."
Exo 4:19 Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return into Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead."
Exo 4:20 Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God's rod in his hand.
Exo 4:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go.
Exo 4:22 You shall tell Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my son, my firstborn,
Exo 4:23 and I have said to you, "Let my son go, that he may serve me;" and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.' "
Exo 4:24 It happened on the way at a lodging place, that Yahweh met him and wanted to kill him.
Exo 4:25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me."
Exo 4:26 So he let him alone. Then she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood," because of the circumcision.
Exo 4:27 Yahweh said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." He went, and met him on God's mountain, and kissed him.
Exo 4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had instructed him.
Exo 4:29 Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.
Exo 4:30 Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
Exo 4:31 The people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

"THE BOOK OF JOB" Concluding Thoughts by Mark Copeland


                          Concluding Thoughts

In preparing this material and teaching the book of Job, I have found
it to be one of the more challenging books of the Bible.  Its challenge
was related to several things:

   * Knowing God would later rebuke Job and his friends for things they
     said, it was difficult to discern when to take what they said as 
     "gospel", and what would incur God's wrath.

   * Some of the illustrations or points being made were difficult to 
     follow.  This may be due to cultural differences, or perhaps the 
     Hebrew proved to be a challenge for the translators in conveying
     the thoughts of the speakers.  Or maybe it was just my own 

   * Elihu remains somewhat of an enigma to me.  The Lord neither 
     condemns nor approves what Elihu had to say.  There are times it
     seems he is saying the same thing as Job's three friends, that Job
     is suffering due to his sin; e.g., when he says that Job "adds
     rebellion to his sin" (34:37).  I do see a major distinction
     between Elihu and the others, in that Elihu focuses on Job's
     suffering as a disciplinary expression of God's grace, as opposed
     to simply a punitive manifestation of God's wrath.  I also see how
     Elihu's admonition for Job to "stand still and consider the
     wondrous works of God" (37:14) prepares Job for what is to 
     follow when the Lord finally speaks.  Perhaps it best to say that
     Elihu serves as a transition between Job's friends and the Lord 
     himself, presenting thoughts that will make it easier for Job to
     consider what the Lord Himself will actually say.

Despite its challenges, I find the book of Job fascinating and filled
with much good for the Christian.  Studying the book of Job, we can
learn of God's power, wisdom, and sovereignty in the world; we can see
how men of God grappled with the question of God's justice; and we can 
observe that God does take notice of the righteous.

The book also provides an answer to the challenge made by Satan.  There
are people who will serve God even in adversity, for God is worthy of
our praise apart from the blessings He provides.  May we be such
people!  That doesn't mean we won't have questions for which answers
can't be found in this life.  But with the book of Job we can learn how
the righteous should suffer, how careful we should be in comforting the
suffering, and to accept the fact that we can never fully comprehend 
God's working in our lives and in the world.  From this book of Job, we
should see the need to have the faith beautifully expressed by the 
prophet Habakkuk:

   Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
   Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no
   food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there 
   be no herd in the stalls;

   Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my 
   salvation.  The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet
   like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

                                  (Hab 3:17-19)