Yesterday we began a study of Matthew; specifically, the "Sermon on the Mount".  So, when I came across this picture, frankly, I couldn't resist doing a post on the topic.  Now, I have done posts on this selection of Scripture before, but somehow today's picture put a bit of a spin on how I normally approach this topic.  But, I am getting ahead of myself; now would be a good time to read what Jesus said...

Matthew Chapter 5
   3  "“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

  4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

  5 Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.

  6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be filled.

  7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

  8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.

  9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

  10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

  11 “Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Everyone wants to be happy!!!  Well, to be fair, not quite everyone.  I have known a few people that reveled in their unhappiness, but thankfully, only a very few.  For most people, the first few verses are no problem; but, when you read verses ten and following, it strikes a discordant note for some.  That is because they did not understand the statements before ten.  This discourse is about being a follower of God by HIS RULES.  Happiness is not a warm, fuzzy experience of pleasure, it is a state of obedience to the will of heaven.  And that makes all the difference in the world!!!  Christians do not necessarily have a pleasant life; they have a life of doing God's will and that causes problems at times.  But, God is there, so no matter what happens there is a wonderful reward at the end of it all.  One more thing.... do NOT expect others to necessarily be happy about your happiness (with God).  There is the sort of person who enjoys wrecking the happiness of others, remember?  Look at the picture again.  Notice that someone has shot holes in the sign!!!! Relax, the sign has done its work anyway; God awaits!!!!!!

May 21 Joshua 23, 24

May 21
Joshua 23, 24

Jos 23:1 It happened after many days, when Yahweh had given rest to Israel from their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years,
Jos 23:2 that Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and for their heads, and for their judges and for their officers, and said to them, "I am old and well advanced in years.
Jos 23:3 You have seen all that Yahweh your God has done to all these nations because of you; for it is Yahweh your God who has fought for you.
Jos 23:4 Behold, I have allotted to you these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even to the great sea toward the going down of the sun.
Jos 23:5 Yahweh your God will thrust them out from before you, and drive them from out of your sight. You shall possess their land, as Yahweh your God spoke to you.
Jos 23:6 Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left;
Jos 23:7 that you not come among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow down yourselves to them;
Jos 23:8 but hold fast to Yahweh your God, as you have done to this day.
Jos 23:9 For Yahweh has driven great and strong nations out from before you. But as for you, no man has stood before you to this day.
Jos 23:10 One man of you shall chase a thousand; for it is Yahweh your God who fights for you, as he spoke to you.
Jos 23:11 Take good heed therefore to yourselves, that you love Yahweh your God.
Jos 23:12 Else if you do at all go back, and hold fast to the remnant of these nations, even these who remain among you, and make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you;
Jos 23:13 know for a certainty that Yahweh your God will no longer drive these nations from out of your sight; but they shall be a snare and a trap to you, a scourge in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which Yahweh your God has given you.
Jos 23:14 Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth. You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you. All have happened to you. Not one thing has failed of it.
Jos 23:15 It shall happen that as all the good things have come on you of which Yahweh your God spoke to you, so Yahweh will bring on you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land which Yahweh your God has given you,
Jos 23:16 when you disobey the covenant of Yahweh your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them. Then the anger of Yahweh will be kindled against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which he has given to you."
Jos 24:1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads, for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
Jos 24:2 Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Your fathers lived of old time beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and they served other gods.
Jos 24:3 I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
Jos 24:4 I gave to Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave to Esau Mount Seir, to possess it. Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
Jos 24:5 I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did in its midst: and afterward I brought you out.
Jos 24:6 I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and you came to the sea. The Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and with horsemen to the Red Sea.
Jos 24:7 When they cried out to Yahweh, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea on them, and covered them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt: and you lived in the wilderness many days.
Jos 24:8 I brought you into the land of the Amorites, that lived beyond the Jordan: and they fought with you; and I gave them into your hand. You possessed their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
Jos 24:9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. He sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you;
Jos 24:10 but I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he blessed you still. So I delivered you out of his hand.
Jos 24:11 You went over the Jordan, and came to Jericho. The men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I delivered them into your hand.
Jos 24:12 I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; not with your sword, nor with your bow.
Jos 24:13 I gave you a land whereon you had not labored, and cities which you didn't build, and you live in them. You eat of vineyards and olive groves which you didn't plant.'
Jos 24:14 Now therefore fear Yahweh, and serve him in sincerity and in truth. Put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, in Egypt; and serve Yahweh.
Jos 24:15 If it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh."
Jos 24:16 The people answered, "Far be it from us that we should forsake Yahweh, to serve other gods;
Jos 24:17 for it is Yahweh our God who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way in which we went, and among all the peoples through the midst of whom we passed.
Jos 24:18 Yahweh drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve Yahweh; for he is our God."
Jos 24:19 Joshua said to the people, "You can't serve Yahweh; for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your disobedience nor your sins.
Jos 24:20 If you forsake Yahweh, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after he has done you good."
Jos 24:21 The people said to Joshua, "No; but we will serve Yahweh."
Jos 24:22 Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen Yahweh yourselves, to serve him." They said, "We are witnesses."
Jos 24:23 "Now therefore put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to Yahweh, the God of Israel."
Jos 24:24 The people said to Joshua, "We will serve Yahweh our God, and we will listen to his voice."
Jos 24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
Jos 24:26 Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Yahweh.
Jos 24:27 Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of Yahweh which he spoke to us. It shall be therefore a witness against you, lest you deny your God."
Jos 24:28 So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.
Jos 24:29 It happened after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died, being one hundred and ten years old.
Jos 24:30 They buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash.
Jos 24:31 Israel served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, and had known all the work of Yahweh, that he had worked for Israel.
Jos 24:32 They buried the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. They became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
Jos 24:33 Eleazar the son of Aaron died. They buried him in the hill of Phinehas his son, which was given him in the hill country of Ephraim.

"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Four


1) To study the beginning of the persecution against the church, and the
reason for it

2) To note the apostolic response to persecution, and continued progress
of the church in Jerusalem


The first case of persecution against the church is described in this
chapter.  Peter and John are put into custody because their preaching on
the resurrection of Jesus disturbed a number of the religious leaders
(in particular the Sadducees who denied any resurrection, Mt 22:23; Ac
23:8).  In spite of this, the number of men who believed came to be
about five thousand (1-4).

After a night in jail, Peter and John are brought before the council,
including the high priest and members of his family.  Challenged to
explain themselves, Peter proclaims the healing was done by the name of
Jesus Christ, the very one they crucified yet whom God raised from the
dead and who has now become "the chief cornerstone" (cf. Ps 118:22),
and in whose name alone salvation is now available.  Amazed  at Peter
and John's boldness, and unable to deny that the lame man had been
healed, the council sends them outside and confer among themselves.
They decide to prevent the spread of the apostles' doctrine by
threatening Peter and John not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus.
The apostles respond that they must speak what they have seen and heard.
The council, unable to do anything more at this time because of the
people, simply threaten the apostles once again and let them go (5-22).

Returning to their companions, Peter and John report what has been said.
Prayer is offered, asking for boldness in view of the persecution
foretold in Psalms 2:1-2, and for signs and wonders to continue in the
name of Jesus.  At the conclusion of the prayer, the place where they
prayed was shaken and all were filled the Holy Spirit, emboldening them
to speak the Word of God (23-31).

The chapter ends with a description of the continued growth of the
church, with the oneness of the brethren and the empowered testimony of
the apostles to the resurrection of Jesus.  The great liberality
continues, meeting the needs of the saints.  One example in particular
is noted, that of Barnabas, whose work is featured later in the book
(cf. Ac 11:22-30; 13:1-15:41), and whose liberality stands in stark
contrast to what takes place in the next chapter (32-36).



      1. Peter and John taken into custody
         a. By the priests, captain of the temple, and the Sadducees
         b. Who were upset by their preaching in Jesus the resurrection
            from the dead
         c. Kept overnight until the next day
         d. The number of those who believed came to be about five
      2. Their appearance before the Council (Sanhedrin)
         a. Before the rulers, elders and scribes
         b. Before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander,
            along with other family members of the high priest
         c. Peter and John challenged to explain by what power or name
            they have acted
      3. Peter's response as led be the Spirit
         a. Were they being judged for doing a good deed to a helpless
            man in making him well?
         b. It was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth he was made
            1) Whom they crucified
            2) Whom God raised from the dead
            3) Who is the stone rejected by the builders, and has become
               the chief cornerstone - cf. Ps 118:22
         c. There is salvation in no other name under heaven

      1. The council's reaction
         a. What the council saw
            1) The boldness of Peter and John
               a) Perceived as uneducated and untrained men
               b) Realized as having been with Jesus
            2) The man who had been healed
               a) Standing with Peter and John
               b) Against whose healing nothing could be said
         b. What the council reasoned
            1) A notable has occurred, evident to all, none could deny
            2) To prevent further spread, to threaten the apostles
         c. What the council did
            1) Commanded Peter and John
            2) Not to speak at all or teaching in the name of Jesus
      2. Peter and John's reply
         a. Shall they listen to the council or God?
         b. They cannot but speak what they have seen and heard
      3. Peter and John released
         a. Upon further threatening
         b. Finding no way of punishing them,
         c. Because of the people, who glorified God for what had been
         d. For the man who was healed was over forty years old


      1. To their brethren
      2. To report all that had been said to them

   B. THEIR PRAYER (24-30)
      1. Addressed to the Lord God, Creator of all things
         a. Who prophesied by the mouth of His servant David
         b. Of the nations' rage and plotting against His Christ
         c. As fulfilled by Herod and Pilate, by Gentiles and Israel
         d. Who did according to His predetermined purpose
      2. Asking for all boldness in the face of such threats
         a. That His servants may speak His word
         b. That His hand might stretch out
            1) To heal, to do signs and wonders
            2) Through the name of His holy Servant Jesus

   C. THE ANSWER (31)
      1. The place in which they were assembled was shaken
      2. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
      3. They spoke the word of God with boldness


   A. THEIR UNITY (32)
      1. The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul
      2. None claimed their possessions as their own; they had all
         things in common

      1. With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection
         of Jesus
      2. And great grace was upon them all

      1. None among them lacked what they needed
         a. For all who possessed lands or houses sold them
         b. The proceeds were laid at the apostles' feet
         c. Distribution was made as each had need
      2. The example of Joses
         a. Called Barnabas, Son of Encouragement, by the apostles
         b. A Levite of the country of Cyprus
         c. Sold land, and laid the money at the apostles' feet


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The arrest of Peter and John (1-22)
   - The prayer for boldness (23-31)
   - The progress of the church (32-37)

2) Who came upon Peter and John while they were speaking? (1)
   - The priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees

3) Why were they upset with Peter and John? (2)
   - Because they preached in Jesus the resurrection of the dead

4) Why did that upset them? (cf. Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8)
   - The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection

5) What did they do with Peter and John? (3)
   - Placed them in custody until the next day

6) How many men had come to believe in Christ? (4)
   - About five thousand

7) Who joined the rulers, elders and scribes on the next day? (5-6)
   - Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other members
     of the family of the high priest

8) What did they ask Peter and John? (7)
   - "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

9) What name did Peter given them? (8-10)
   - The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

10) What had the religious leaders done?  What had God done? (10)
   - Crucified Jesus
   - Raised Jesus from the dead

11) What else did Peter say about Jesus? (11-12)
   - He is the rejected stone which has become the chief cornerstone
     (cf. Ps 118:22)
   - There is salvation in no other name but His

12) What did the religious leaders see, perceive, and realize about
    Peter and John? (13)
   - Their boldness
   - That they were uneducated and untrained men
   - That they had been with Jesus

13) What could the religious leaders not deny? (14)
   - That the man standing with Peter and John had been healed

14) After Peter and John were put out of the council, what did the
    council confer among themselves? (15-17)
   - They could not deny such a notable miracle
   - To prevent the spread of the apostles' doctrine, to severely
     threaten them

15) What did the council command Peter and John?  How did they respond?
   - Not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus
   - "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than
     to God, you judge."
   - "...we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

16) After threatening the apostles some more, why did the council not
    punish them further? (21-22)
   - Because of the people, who glorified God for what had been done

17) Once released, what did Peter and John do? (23)
   - Returned to their companions and reported all the council had said

18) What did they then do? (24)
   - Pray to God

19) What Messianic prophecy did they refer to in their prayer? (25-26)
   - The one found in Ps 2:1,2

20) Who were mentioned as a fulfillment of opposing God and Christ? (27)
   - Herod and Pilate; the Gentiles and the people of Israel

21) In their opposition against God, what had they actually done? (28)
   - What God had determined before to be done

22) In their prayer, what did the apostles ask of God? (29-30)
   - To consider the threats and give His servants boldness to speak His
   - To grant healing signs and wonders to be done in the name of Jesus

23) What happened in response to their prayer? (31)
   - The place where they assembled shook; they were all filled with the
     Holy Spirit
   - They spoke the word of God with boldness

24) What manifested the oneness of the believers at that time? (32)
   - They had all things in common

25) What manifested the greatness enjoyed by the church at that time?
   - With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of
   - Great grace was upon them all

26) What manifested their love and generosity at that time? (34-35)
   - Those who had lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds
     to the apostles
   - Distribution was made as anyone had need

27) Who was singled out as an example of their liberality? (36-37)
   - Joses, a Levite from Cyprus named Barnabas (Son of Encouragement)
     by the apostles