Butterflies, death and the will of God

Behold: The beauty of the butterfly nebula!!!  Hubble really takes nice pictures of the cosmos, doesn't it?  It makes the mind marvel at how God could create such beauty!!!  But, don't forget that there was a cost to it; namely, the destruction of a star!!!  Somehow, though, it seems worth it because of the beauty of such a wonder in the sky.  Sometimes we forget that the beautiful things of this world often come from not-so-good occurrences.  Here is but one example...

WEB: Genesis Chapter 50

[15] When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all of the evil which we did to him.” [16] They sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded before he died, saying, [17] ‘You shall tell Joseph, “Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. [18] His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” [19] Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for am I in the place of God? [20] As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive. [21] Now therefore don’t be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones.” He comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph was treated very badly by his brothers, but ultimately it was from God.  Joseph knew this and fortunately for the eleven they were blessed by his insight.  From their perspective, Joseph could have just as easily put all of them into slavery after Israel's death, but thank God he didn't.  Spiritual insight is something we all should try to cultivate and the way to do it is to read the Scriptures.  They will give us insight into the truth and wisdom to know how to handle all the not-so-good things that we may be exposed to.  Understanding this is fundamental to Christianity, just as seeing the beauty of an exploded nebula and knowing that it came from the death of a star is to an astronomer.

Mar. 15 Exodus 25

Mar. 15
Exodus 25

Exo 25:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 25:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, that they take an offering for me. From everyone whose heart makes him willing you shall take my offering.
Exo 25:3 This is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, brass,
Exo 25:4 blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair,
Exo 25:5 rams' skins dyed red, sea cow hides, acacia wood,
Exo 25:6 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense,
Exo 25:7 onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.
Exo 25:8 Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
Exo 25:9 According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all of its furniture, even so you shall make it.
Exo 25:10 "They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Its length shall be two and a half cubits, its breadth a cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half its height.
Exo 25:11 You shall overlay it with pure gold. You shall overlay it inside and outside, and you shall make a gold molding around it.
Exo 25:12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four feet. Two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it.
Exo 25:13 You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
Exo 25:14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark.
Exo 25:15 The poles shall be in the rings of the ark. They shall not be taken from it.
Exo 25:16 You shall put the testimony which I shall give you into the ark.
Exo 25:17 You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two and a half cubits shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth.
Exo 25:18 You shall make two cherubim of hammered gold. You shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat.
Exo 25:19 Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end. You shall make the cherubim on its two ends of one piece with the mercy seat.
Exo 25:20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward one another. The faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.
Exo 25:21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I will give you.
Exo 25:22 There I will meet with you, and I will tell you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the testimony, all that I command you for the children of Israel.
Exo 25:23 "You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth, and one and a half cubits its height.
Exo 25:24 You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it.
Exo 25:25 You shall make a rim of a handbreadth around it. You shall make a golden molding on its rim around it.
Exo 25:26 You shall make four rings of gold for it, and put the rings in the four corners that are on its four feet.
Exo 25:27 the rings shall be close to the rim, for places for the poles to carry the table.
Exo 25:28 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them.
Exo 25:29 You shall make its dishes, its spoons, its ladles, and its bowls to pour out offerings with. You shall make them of pure gold.
Exo 25:30 You shall set bread of the presence on the table before me always.
Exo 25:31 "You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. Of hammered work shall the lampstand be made, even its base, its shaft, its cups, its buds, and its flowers, shall be of one piece with it.
Exo 25:32 There shall be six branches going out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of its one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of its other side;
Exo 25:33 three cups made like almond blossoms in one branch, a bud and a flower; and three cups made like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bud and a flower, so for the six branches going out of the lampstand;
Exo 25:34 and in the lampstand four cups made like almond blossoms, its buds and its flowers;
Exo 25:35 and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, for the six branches going out of the lampstand.
Exo 25:36 Their buds and their branches shall be of one piece with it, all of it one beaten work of pure gold.
Exo 25:37 You shall make its lamps seven, and they shall light its lamps to give light to the space in front of it.
Exo 25:38 Its snuffers and its snuff dishes shall be of pure gold.
Exo 25:39 It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these accessories.
Exo 25:40 See that you make them after their pattern, which has been shown to you on the mountain.

Mar. 15, 16 Mark 10

Mar. 15, 16
Mark 10

Mar 10:1 He arose from there and came into the borders of Judea and beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came together to him again. As he usually did, he was again teaching them.
Mar 10:2 Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
Mar 10:3 He answered, "What did Moses command you?"
Mar 10:4 They said, "Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her."
Mar 10:5 But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment.
Mar 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.
Mar 10:7 For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife,
Mar 10:8 and the two will become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Mar 10:9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
Mar 10:10 In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter.
Mar 10:11 He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her.
Mar 10:12 If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery."
Mar 10:13 They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them.
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, "Allow the little children to come to me! Don't forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mar 10:15 Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it."
Mar 10:16 He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mar 10:17 As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
Mar 10:18 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except one-God.
Mar 10:19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder,' 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not give false testimony,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and mother.' "
Mar 10:20 He said to him, "Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth."
Mar 10:21 Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross."
Mar 10:22 But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions.
Mar 10:23 Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!"
Mar 10:24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!
Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
Mar 10:26 They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, "Then who can be saved?"
Mar 10:27 Jesus, looking at them, said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God."
Mar 10:28 Peter began to tell him, "Behold, we have left all, and have followed you."
Mar 10:29 Jesus said, "Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News,
Mar 10:30 but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.
Mar 10:31 But many who are first will be last; and the last first."
Mar 10:32 They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus was going in front of them, and they were amazed; and those who followed were afraid. He again took the twelve, and began to tell them the things that were going to happen to him.
Mar 10:33 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death, and will deliver him to the Gentiles.
Mar 10:34 They will mock him, spit on him, scourge him, and kill him. On the third day he will rise again."
Mar 10:35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came near to him, saying, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we will ask."
Mar 10:36 He said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
Mar 10:37 They said to him, "Grant to us that we may sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left hand, in your glory."
Mar 10:38 But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
Mar 10:39 They said to him, "We are able." Jesus said to them, "You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;
Mar 10:40 but to sit at my right hand and at my left hand is not mine to give, but for whom it has been prepared."
Mar 10:41 When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant towards James and John.
Mar 10:42 Jesus summoned them, and said to them, "You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
Mar 10:43 But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant.
Mar 10:44 Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all.
Mar 10:45 For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mar 10:46 They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.
Mar 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!"
Mar 10:48 Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, "You son of David, have mercy on me!"
Mar 10:49 Jesus stood still, and said, "Call him." They called the blind man, saying to him, "Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!"
Mar 10:50 He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Mar 10:51 Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "Rhabboni, that I may see again."
Mar 10:52 Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your faith has made you well." Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

"THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland


                              Chapter Four


1) To reflect upon the Preacher's observations gleaned from his search
   for the purpose of life under the sun

2) To consider the vanity of skillful work, isolation, and popularity

3) To appreciate the value of friendship and working together


The Preacher continues to share his observations gleaned during the
course of his search for the purpose of life under the sun.  Earlier he
related the injustice he saw (cf. 3:16).  Now we are told how he
considered those who were oppressed with no comforter.  In such a
state, he concluded the dead were better than the living, and better
than both was to never be born (1-4).

The Preacher then describes what he saw as the vanity of toil and
skillful work, especially when one is alone.  While one who does 
nothing is a fool and consumes his own flesh, it is better to have a 
little with quietness than a lot with much toil.  A grave misfortune is
the person with no companion, son, nor brother, who labors endlessly 
for riches that do not satisfy and does not consider who will receive 
that for which he deprives himself of much good in life.  On the other 
hand, the Preacher saw great value in friendship.  He illustrates the 
principle of synergy in their work and how they can help one another in
times of need (5-12).

The chapter closes with an illustration of the vanity of popularity.  
While a young and wise man who becomes king may be popular at first,
with the passing of time he is not appreciated by those who come along 
later (13-16).



      1. He considered the oppression done under the sun
      2. He saw the tears of the oppressed, who had no comforter
      3. He observed power on the side of the oppressors

      1. He praised the dead more than the living
      2. Better than both is the person who:
         a. Has never existed
         b. Has not seen the evil work done under the sun


      1. He saw that toil and skillful labor is envied by others
      2. This too is vanity and grasping for wind

      1. The fool does nothing, and consumes his own flesh
      2. It is better to have a little with quietness


      1. He saw more vanity under the sun
      2. A person who was alone, without companion, son, or brother
         a. With no end to his labors, with no satisfaction with his
         b. Who does not consider for whom he labors and deprives
            himself of good
      3. This was vanity and a grave misfortune

      1. Two are better than one, for they have good reward for their
      2. If one falls, the other can lift him up
      3. Their combined body heat can keep them warm
      4. They can withstand one who would seek to overpower them
      5. A threefold cord is not quickly broken


   A. A TALE OF TWO MEN (13-15)
      1. It is better to be a poor and wise youth, than an old and
         foolish king who will not accept criticism
      2. For the young man, though born poor, comes out of prison to
         become king and the living were with him

      1. The young king might rule over a populous nation
      2. But another generation will arise that will not rejoice in him


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The oppression of men (1-3)
   - The vanity of toil and skillful work (4-6)
   - The vanity of isolation (7-12)
   - The vanity of popularity (13-16)

2) What did the Preacher observe regarding oppression? (1)
   - Power was on the side of the oppressor, the oppressed had no

3) What did this observation prompt the Preacher to do? (2-3)
   - Praise the dead more than the living
   - Reason that better than both was never to be born

4) What did he observe about toil and skillful work? (4)
   - It prompted envy from one's neighbor
   - It too was vanity and grasping for the wind

5) How does he describe the fool who doesn't work? (5)
   - As one who folds his hands and consumes his own flesh

6) What is better than both hands full, but with toil and grasping for
   the wind? (6)
   - A handful with quietness

7) What is described as vanity and a grave misfortune? (7-8)
   - One who is alone, who labors endlessly for riches that do not
   - Who never considers for whom he is toiling and depriving himself
     of much good

8) How does the Preacher illustrate the value of friendship? (9-12)
   - Two working together accomplish more (the principle of synergy)
   - Having someone to help you if you fall
   - Surviving a cold night by sharing body heat
   - Two can withstand one
   - A threefold cord is not easily broken

9) How does the Preacher illustrate the vanity of popularity? (13-16)
   - With the example of a youth who becomes king, but as he gets older
     he is not appreciated by the people who come afterward