The other side of Fall

Sometime this upcoming fall, we will be paying our two oldest daughters a visit in New Jersey.  Both Linda and I are looking forward to it with great eagerness because we haven't seen them for some time and because we haven't seen foliage like this in several years.  Frankly, I wish it was fall, NOW!!!  But there is another side to fall, as this passage from the book of Mark will illustrate...

Mark, Chapter 16
 14 Afterward he was revealed to the eleven themselves as they sat at the table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they didn’t believe those who had seen him after he had risen.  15 He said to them, "“Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned.

 Fall is a beautiful time of year, with the leaves changing color and the air so crisp and clear.  The smells are different too; mellow somehow.  Wonderful!!!  The other side of Fall is COLD AND WET AND DAMP AND MAYBE EVEN SOME SNOW!!!!  And so how does all this relate to the selected Bible verses?  Simple, we are presented with a choice; believe in God and obey OR disbelieve and be condemned.  Jesus' words, not mine!!!!  I love to focus on the positive side of the choice, to think that everyone will respond positively, but the reality is some people will never believe and pay the penalty for it.  Dear friend, there is another side to both Fall and the Gospel and neither one is very pleasant.  My wish for you is the pleasure of the color of Fall and the wonder of heaven!!!  But, its your choice; choose wisely....

May 24 Judges 5, 6

May 24
Judges 5, 6

Jdg 5:1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
Jdg 5:2 Because the leaders took the lead in Israel, because the people offered themselves willingly, be blessed, Yahweh!
Jdg 5:3 Hear, you kings! Give ear, you princes! I, even I, will sing to Yahweh. I will sing praise to Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jdg 5:4 Yahweh, when you went forth out of Seir, when you marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the sky also dropped. Yes, the clouds dropped water.
Jdg 5:5 The mountains quaked at the presence of Yahweh, even Sinai, at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Jdg 5:6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied. The travelers walked through byways.
Jdg 5:7 The rulers ceased in Israel. They ceased until I, Deborah, arose; Until I arose a mother in Israel.
Jdg 5:8 They chose new gods. Then war was in the gates. Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
Jdg 5:9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless Yahweh!
Jdg 5:10 Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets, and you who walk by the way.
Jdg 5:11 Far from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water, there they will rehearse the righteous acts of Yahweh, Even the righteous acts of his rule in Israel. Then the people of Yahweh went down to the gates.
Jdg 5:12 Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.
Jdg 5:13 Then a remnant of the nobles and the people came down. Yahweh came down for me against the mighty.
Jdg 5:14 Those whose root is in Amalek came out of Ephraim, after you, Benjamin, among your peoples. Governors come down out of Machir. Those who handle the marshal's staff came out of Zebulun.
Jdg 5:15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah. As was Issachar, so was Barak. They rushed into the valley at his feet. By the watercourses of Reuben, there were great resolves of heart.
Jdg 5:16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the whistling for the flocks? At the watercourses of Reuben There were great searchings of heart.
Jdg 5:17 Gilead lived beyond the Jordan. Why did Dan remain in ships? Asher sat still at the haven of the sea, and lived by his creeks.
Jdg 5:18 Zebulun was a people that jeopardized their lives to the deaths; Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
Jdg 5:19 The kings came and fought, then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. They took no plunder of silver.
Jdg 5:20 From the sky the stars fought. From their courses, they fought against Sisera.
Jdg 5:21 The river Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. My soul, march on with strength.
Jdg 5:22 Then the horse hoofs stamped because of the prancings, the prancings of their strong ones.
Jdg 5:23 Curse Meroz, said the angel of Yahweh. Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they didn't come to help Yahweh, to help Yahweh against the mighty.
Jdg 5:24 Jael shall be blessed above women, the wife of Heber the Kenite; blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
Jdg 5:25 He asked for water. She gave him milk. She brought him butter in a lordly dish.
Jdg 5:26 She put her hand to the tent peg, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer. With the hammer she struck Sisera. She struck through his head. Yes, she pierced and struck through his temples.
Jdg 5:27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay. At her feet he bowed, he fell. Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
Jdg 5:28 Through the window she looked out, and cried: Sisera's mother looked through the lattice. Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots wait?
Jdg 5:29 Her wise ladies answered her, Yes, she returned answer to herself,
Jdg 5:30 Have they not found, have they not divided the spoil? A lady, two ladies to every man; to Sisera a spoil of dyed garments, A spoil of dyed garments embroidered, Of dyed garments embroidered on both sides, on the necks of the spoil?
Jdg 5:31 So let all your enemies perish, Yahweh, but let those who love him be as the sun when it rises forth in its strength. The land had rest forty years.
Jdg 6:1 The children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: and Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
Jdg 6:2 The hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds.
Jdg 6:3 So it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them;
Jdg 6:4 and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, until you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey.
Jdg 6:5 For they came up with their livestock and their tents; they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it.
Jdg 6:6 Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried to Yahweh.
Jdg 6:7 It happened, when the children of Israel cried to Yahweh because of Midian,
Jdg 6:8 that Yahweh sent a prophet to the children of Israel: and he said to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
Jdg 6:9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land;
Jdg 6:10 and I said to you, I am Yahweh your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But you have not listened to my voice.
Jdg 6:11 The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
Jdg 6:12 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him, and said to him, Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor.
Jdg 6:13 Gideon said to him, Oh, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt? but now Yahweh has cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.
Jdg 6:14 Yahweh looked at him, and said, Go in this your might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent you?
Jdg 6:15 He said to him, Oh, Lord, with which shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
Jdg 6:16 Yahweh said to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.
Jdg 6:17 He said to him, If now I have found favor in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who talk with me.
Jdg 6:18 Please don't go away, until I come to you, and bring out my present, and lay it before you. He said, I will wait until you come again.
Jdg 6:19 Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it.
Jdg 6:20 The angel of God said to him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth. He did so.
Jdg 6:21 Then the angel of Yahweh put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Yahweh departed out of his sight.
Jdg 6:22 Gideon saw that he was the angel of Yahweh; and Gideon said, Alas, Lord Yahweh! because I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face.
Jdg 6:23 Yahweh said to him, Peace be to you; don't be afraid: you shall not die.
Jdg 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh, and called it Yahweh is Peace: to this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Jdg 6:25 It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, Take your father's bull, even the second bull seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is by it;
Jdg 6:26 and build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.
Jdg 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Yahweh had spoken to him: and it happened, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
Jdg 6:28 When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was by it, and the second bull was offered on the altar that was built.
Jdg 6:29 They said one to another, Who has done this thing? When they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.
Jdg 6:30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the Asherah that was by it.
Jdg 6:31 Joash said to all who stood against him, Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? he who will contend for him, let him be put to death while it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him contend for himself, because one has broken down his altar.
Jdg 6:32 Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal contend against him, because he has broken down his altar.
Jdg 6:33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel.
Jdg 6:34 But the Spirit of Yahweh came on Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered together after him.
Jdg 6:35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him: and he sent messengers to Asher, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
Jdg 6:36 Gideon said to God, If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken,
Jdg 6:37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.
Jdg 6:38 It was so; for he rose up early on the next day, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39 Gideon said to God, Don't let your anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: Please let me make a trial just this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.
Jdg 6:40 God did so that night: for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

May 24, 25 John 5

May 24, 25
John 5

Joh 5:1 After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Joh 5:2 Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, "Bethesda," having five porches.
Joh 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water;
Joh 5:4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had.
Joh 5:5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years.
Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to be made well?"
Joh 5:7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I'm coming, another steps down before me."
Joh 5:8 Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your mat, and walk."
Joh 5:9 Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.
Joh 5:10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat."
Joh 5:11 He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.' "
Joh 5:12 Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk' ?"
Joh 5:13 But he who was healed didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place.
Joh 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you."
Joh 5:15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Joh 5:16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.
Joh 5:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too."
Joh 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Joh 5:19 Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.
Joh 5:20 For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Joh 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,
Joh 5:23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him.
Joh 5:24 "Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Joh 5:25 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live.
Joh 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.
Joh 5:27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.
Joh 5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
Joh 5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.
Joh 5:31 "If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid.
Joh 5:32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true.
Joh 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.
Joh 5:34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved.
Joh 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
Joh 5:36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me.
Joh 5:37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.
Joh 5:38 You don't have his word living in you; because you don't believe him whom he sent.
Joh 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.
Joh 5:40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life.
Joh 5:41 I don't receive glory from men.
Joh 5:42 But I know you, that you don't have God's love in yourselves.
Joh 5:43 I have come in my Father's name, and you don't receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
Joh 5:44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don't seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Joh 5:45 "Don't think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
Joh 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me.
Joh 5:47 But if you don't believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Seven by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                             Chapter Seven


1) To review Stephen's defense to the charge of blasphemy against the
   temple and the Law

2) To note the remarkable manner in which the first martyr for Christ


The previous chapter ended with Stephen before the Sanhedrin council
facing accusations that he spoke blasphemy against the temple and the
Law (cf. 6:13-14).  Chapter seven contains Stephen's defense to these
charges, and the account of his martyrdom.

Stephen responded by reviewing the call of Abraham and God's promise to
him and the nation of Israel.  He then described how God used Moses to
deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them for forty years
through the wilderness.  Yet Israel rebelled against Moses, through whom
God gave the Law.  Not only in the incident involving the golden calf,
but throughout their wilderness wanderings Israel continued to worship
false gods (cf. Am 5:25-27).  Turning to the matter of God's dwelling
place, Stephen acknowledged the role of the tabernacle of Moses and the
temple of Solomon, but contended that God does not dwell in temples made
with hands (cf. Isa 66:1-2).  He concluded by charging the council of
resisting the Holy Spirit just like their ancestors, for as their
fathers persecuted and killed the prophets who foretold the coming of
the Just One (Christ), so they became His betrayers and murderers.
Indeed, they were the ones who have not kept the Law (1-53).

Cut to the heart, those in the council gnashed at Stephen with their
teeth.  Full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory
of God with Jesus standing at His right hand.  Upon telling the council
what he saw, in rage they cast him out of city and began stoning him.
The witnesses who brought the false charges laid their clothes at the
feet of a young man named Saul (later known as Paul, the apostle).  As
Stephen was stoned, he called upon Jesus to receive his spirit, and to
not charge his murderers with his death.   In this way Stephen became
the first martyr for Christ (54-60).



      1. The call to leave Mesopotamia
      2. The sojourn in Canaan
      3. The promise of possession to his descendants
      4. The covenant of circumcision
      5. His descendants:  Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs

      1. Joseph sold into Egypt, becomes governor
      2. Jacob and his sons move to Egypt during the famine
      3. The patriarchs buried in Canaan

      1. The children Israel in Egypt become slaves
      2. The work of Moses, deliverer of Israel
         a. Raised by Pharaoh's daughter
         b. Kills an Egyptian, but despised by his brethren
         c. Flees to Midian where he lives for forty years
         d. The Lord appears to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai
         e. Returns to Egypt, delivers Israel and brings them into the

      1. Moses is the person:
         a. Who said God would raise up another prophet like him
         b. Who spoke to the Angel on Mount Sinai
         c. Who received living oracles to give to Israel
         d. Whom the fathers would not obey but rejected
      2. Israel is the nation:
         a. Who turned back into Egypt in their hearts
         b. Who pressured Aaron to make a golden calf
         c. Whom God gave up to worship the host of heaven for forty
            years in the wilderness
            1) They may have offered sacrifices to the Lord
            2) They also worshiped Moloch and Remphan - cf. Am 5:25-27

      1. The fathers of Israel had the tabernacle of witness
         a. In the wilderness, built according to the pattern shown
         b. Brought into the promised land by Joshua
      2. They also had the temple
         a. Asked for by David, who found favor before God
         b. Built by his son Solomon
      3. Yet the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands
         a. For heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool
         b. His hand has made all these things - cf. Isa 66:1-2

      1. Stephen charges the council of resisting the Holy Spirit, just
         as their fathers did
      2. Their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets, so they have
         killed the Just One
      3. They received the law, but did not keep it


      1. Cut to the heart, they gnashed at Stephen with their teeth
      2. Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven
         a. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right
            hand of God
         b. He tells the council what he saw
      3. In response, the council:
         a. Cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears
         c. Ran at him with one accord, and cast him out of the city

      1. The witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of Saul
      2. They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God
         a. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"
         b. "Lord, do not charge them with this sin"
      3. Having said this, he fell asleep (i.e., died)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Stephen's defense (1-53)
   - Stephen's death (54-60)

2) When did God first appear to Abraham? (2)
   - In Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran

3) What did God tell Abraham to do? (3)
   - Leave his country and relatives, and go to a land that He would
     show him

4) Where did Abraham finally settle? (4)
   - Canaan (New Testament Palestine)

5) Who did God promise to give the land to?  When?  (5-7)
   - The descendants of Abraham
   - After they lived in a foreign land 400 years, following which God
     would judge that nation

6) What covenant did God give Abraham? (8)
   - The covenant of circumcision

7) What was the lineage of Abraham leading to the formation of the
   nation of Israel? (8)
   - Abraham begot Isaac
   - Isaac begot Jacob
   - Jacob begot twelve sons, who became the twelve patriarchs of Israel

8) What bad and good thing happened to Joseph? (9-10)
   - He was sold into Egypt by his brothers
   - Pharaoh made him governor over Egypt
9) What resulted in the rest of Jacob's family moving to Egypt?   How
   many? (11-15)
   - A famine; 75 people

10) Where was Jacob and his sons eventually buried? (16)
   - Back in Canaan

11) Who eventually led Israel out of Egyptian bondage? (17-36)
   - Moses

12) Who did Moses tell the children of Israel would eventually come?
   - A prophet like himself (cf. Deut 18:15)

13) What two examples does Stephen provide of Israel's disobedience?
   - Their worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai
   - Their worship of Moloch and Remphan throughout their forty years in
     the wilderness

14) What two dwelling places did Israel have for God? (44-47)
   - The tabernacle built by Moses; the temple built by Solomon

15) Yet what did God say through the prophet Isaiah? (48-50)
   - The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands

16) How did Stephen describe the religious leaders of the council? (51)
   - Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in hearts and ears

17) What did he accuse them of doing?  In what way?  (51-52)
   - Always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as their fathers did
   - By murdering the Just One (Jesus), as their fathers killed the
     prophets who foretold His coming

18) What final charge did Stephen accuse them of?  (53)
   - Receiving the law by the direction of angels, but not keeping it

19) How did those who heard this react? (54)
   - Cut to the heart, they gnashed at Stephen with their teeth

20) Filled with the Holy Spirit, what did Stephen see? (55-56)
   - The glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God

21) How did the council then act? (57-58)
   - Cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and cast Stephen
     out of the city

22) What did they then do?  At whose feet did the witnesses lay their
    garments? (58)
   -  They stoned Stephen; a young man named Saul

23) As Stephen was stoned to death, what two things did he pray? (59-60)
   - "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."; "Lord, do not charge them with
     this sin."