Where is Pablo Picasso when you really need him???

Its late and for some reason I can't sleep and so what better time to do a blog post.  As I looked through my collection of pictures, I kept staring at this one and oddly enough for the longest time I just could not tell what it was.  My first thought was that it was a painting of Pablo Picasso, but, no. Then I realized it was a reflection of a multi-colored hillside on a river nearby.  Regardless, it was one thing representing another and so vivid an image came to my mind that it made me remember this passage from the book of Ezekiel...

Ezekiel, Chapter 1
 2 In the fifth of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 the word of Yahweh came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of Yahweh was there on him.  4 I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of its midst as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire.  5 Out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.  6 Everyone had four faces, and each one of them had four wings.  7 Their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished brass.  8 They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and the four of them had their faces and their wings thus:  9 their wings were joined one to another; they didn’t turn when they went; each one went straight forward.  10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and the four of them had the face of a lion on the right side; and the four of them had the face of an ox on the left side; the four of them also had the face of an eagle.  11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Two wings of each one touched another, and two covered their bodies.  12 Each one went straight forward: where the spirit was to go, they went; they didn’t turn when they went.  13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: the fire went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.  14 The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.  15 Now as I saw the living creatures, behold, one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, for each of the four faces of it.  16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like a beryl: and the four of them had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel.  17 When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn’t turn when they went.  18 As for their rims, they were high and dreadful; and the four of them had their rims full of eyes all around.  19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.  20 Wherever the spirit was to go, they went; there was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.  21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.  22 Over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the awesome crystal to look on, stretched forth over their heads above.  23 Under the expanse were their wings straight, the one toward the other: each one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings. 25 There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads: when they stood, they let down their wings. 26 Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above. 27 I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it all around, from the appearance of his waist and upward; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.  28 As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.

How do you explain what God is really like?  This passage attempts to do so in a rather odd collection of symbols.  Many have tried to fully explain it; I will not try.  But, the sense I get from it is that God is powerful and has attributes that mere human symbols can not fully convey.  However, from the complexity of them it is apparent that God is vastly more superior than HIS human creations.  We can look at pictures as symbols (enter Pablo Picasso) or the world around us as a reflection of the the nature and character of God, but in the end we are left with wonder, amazement and the feeling that we still have an awful lot to learn in this world.  No matter how old I eventually become, I hope I never lose it, because it is the beginning of humility and then and only then will I ever come close to even beginning to understand even a little about God Almighty!!!

June 1 Judges 21

June 1
Judges 21

Jdg 21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter to Benjamin as wife.
Jdg 21:2 The people came to Bethel, and sat there until evening before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore.
Jdg 21:3 They said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?
Jdg 21:4 It happened on the next day that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
Jdg 21:5 The children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who didn't come up in the assembly to Yahweh? For they had made a great oath concerning him who didn't come up to Yahweh to Mizpah, saying, He shall surely be put to death.
Jdg 21:6 The children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
Jdg 21:7 How shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by Yahweh that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?
Jdg 21:8 They said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel who didn't come up to Yahweh to Mizpah? Behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly.
Jdg 21:9 For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead there.
Jdg 21:10 The congregation sent there twelve thousand men of the most valiant, and commanded them, saying, Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones.
Jdg 21:11 This is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has lain by man.
Jdg 21:12 They found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins, who had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
Jdg 21:13 The whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.
Jdg 21:14 Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh Gilead: and yet so they weren't enough for them.
Jdg 21:15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because that Yahweh had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
Jdg 21:16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
Jdg 21:17 They said, There must be an inheritance for those who are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel.
Jdg 21:18 However we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.
Jdg 21:19 They said, Behold, there is a feast of Yahweh from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
Jdg 21:20 They commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards,
Jdg 21:21 and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards, and each man catch his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
Jdg 21:22 It shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, that we will say to them, Grant them graciously to us, because we didn't take for each man his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.

Jun. 1, 2 John 9

Jun. 1, 2
John 9

Joh 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
Joh 9:2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, "Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.
Joh 9:4 I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work.
Joh 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
Joh 9:6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man's eyes with the mud,
Joh 9:7 and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means "Sent"). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.
Joh 9:8 The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, "Isn't this he who sat and begged?"
Joh 9:9 Others were saying, "It is he." Still others were saying, "He looks like him." He said, "I am he."
Joh 9:10 They therefore were asking him, "How were your eyes opened?"
Joh 9:11 He answered, "A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash.' So I went away and washed, and I received sight."
Joh 9:12 Then they asked him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know."
Joh 9:13 They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees.
Joh 9:14 It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.
Joh 9:15 Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see."
Joh 9:16 Some therefore of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he doesn't keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was division among them.
Joh 9:17 Therefore they asked the blind man again, "What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."
Joh 9:18 The Jews therefore did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight,
Joh 9:19 and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?"
Joh 9:20 His parents answered them, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
Joh 9:21 but how he now sees, we don't know; or who opened his eyes, we don't know. He is of age. Ask him. He will speak for himself."
Joh 9:22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if any man would confess him as Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.
Joh 9:23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age. Ask him."
Joh 9:24 So they called the man who was blind a second time, and said to him, "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner."
Joh 9:25 He therefore answered, "I don't know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: that though I was blind, now I see."
Joh 9:26 They said to him again, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
Joh 9:27 He answered them, "I told you already, and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don't also want to become his disciples, do you?"
Joh 9:28 They insulted him and said, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.
Joh 9:29 We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don't know where he comes from."
Joh 9:30 The man answered them, "How amazing! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.
Joh 9:31 We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will, he listens to him.
Joh 9:32 Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind.
Joh 9:33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
Joh 9:34 They answered him, "You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?" They threw him out.
Joh 9:35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of God?"
Joh 9:36 He answered, "Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?"
Joh 9:37 Jesus said to him, "You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you."
Joh 9:38 He said, "Lord, I believe!" and he worshiped him.
Joh 9:39 Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, that those who don't see may see; and that those who see may become blind."
Joh 9:40 Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?"
Joh 9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.

"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Fifteen

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                            Chapter Fifteen


1) To see how the early church dealt with the issue of circumcision and
   the Law of Moses

2) To note that Paul, Peter, and James were in complete accord, and that
   Judaizing teachers acted without any apostolic authority

3) To notice the rift between Paul and Barnabas, how it did not keep
   them from serving the Lord


This chapter records a pivotal event in the early church, confirming
that what Jesus accomplished on the cross was the creation of one new
body, in which both Jews and Gentiles were to have the same access to
God through faith in Jesus Christ and not the Law of Moses (cf. Ep

Men from Judea came to Antioch teaching the necessity of circumcision
and keeping the Law.  Paul and Barnabas disputed this, and the decision
was made to send them to Jerusalem to talk with the apostles and elders.
Along the way, Paul and Barnabas described the conversion of the
Gentiles which caused great joy (1-3).

At Jerusalem Paul and Barnabas first reported to the whole church.  When
Pharisees who were believers said that circumcision and keeping the Law
of Moses were necessary, the apostles and elders met to discuss the
issue further.  After much dispute, Peter spoke of how God chose him to
be the first to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, how God acknowledged
them by giving them the Holy Spirit, and how God made no distinction,
purifying their hearts through faith.  Peter thus questioned why they
should put a yoke on the Gentiles that even they themselves were unable
to bear.  Rather, by the grace of the Lord both Jews and Gentiles could
be saved in the same manner.  Barnabas and Paul again reported the
miracles and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles

Finally James, the Lord's brother, offered Amos' prophecy in support of
what Peter said.  He then recommended they not trouble the Gentiles, but
that a letter be written asking them to abstain from things offered to
idols, blood, things strangled, and sexual immorality.  The apostles and
elders, with the whole church, agreed to send the letter, and to have
Judas and Silas accompany Paul and Barnabas to confirm its authenticity.
The letter, its counsel approved by the Holy Spirit, was delivered and
joyously received by the brethren in Antioch.  Judas and Silas offered
their exhortation and strengthened the brethren before Judas returned to
Jerusalem (13-34).

After some time teaching and preaching in Antioch, Paul wanted to visit
the brethren in the cities they had traveled to on his first missionary
journey.  Barnabas was willing, but determined to take John Mark.  Paul
insisted they should not take John because he left them on the first
trip.  Unable to reconcile, Barnabas took John and sailed to Cyprus,
while Paul took Silas, and with commendation from the brethren in
Antioch went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches



      1. Individuals from Judea teach the brethren in Antioch they must
         be circumcised
      2. Paul and Barnabas dissent and dispute with them

      1. Paul, Barnabas, and others sent to Jerusalem to meet with the
         apostles and elders
      2. On their way, they tell of the conversion of Gentiles, causing
         great joy


      1. Paul and Barnabas report what God had done with them
      2. Pharisees who believed demand circumcision and keeping the Law
         of Moses

      1. After much dispute, Peter speaks
         a. He reminds them how God:
            1) Chose him to preach the gospel to Gentiles
            2) Acknowledged Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit
            3) Made no distinction between Jew and Gentile, purifying
               their hearts by faith
         b. He offers his conclusion:
            1) Why test God by demanding that Gentiles do what Jews
               could not?
            2) Through the grace of the Lord Jesus both will be saved in
               the same way
      2. Paul and Barnabas then speak
         a. The multitude remain silent and listen
         b. As they recount the many miracles and wonders God did among
            the Gentiles
      3. James then speaks
         a. Providing OT prophecy (cf. Am 9:11-12) to support what
            Peter had done
         b. Offering his judgment that Gentiles who turn to God not be
         c. Suggesting that a letter be written
            1) Telling them to abstain from things polluted by idols,
               sexual immorality, what has been strangled, and blood
            2) Seeing that Moses has been read every Sabbath in the
               synagogues for generations

      1. The apostles and the elders, with the whole church, agree to
         a. Judas and Silas to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas
         b. A letter to Gentile Christians in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia
      2. The letter from the apostles and the elders states:
         a. That the troublemakers had not been sent by them
         b. That Barnabas and Paul are beloved
         c. That Judas and Silas will offer confirmation by word of
         d. That they and the Holy Spirit place no greater burden on
            them than to abstain from:
            1) What has been sacrificed to idols
            2) Blood
            3) What has been strangled
            4) Sexual immorality
         e. The Gentile brethren will do well if they keep themselves
            from these things


      1. Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch, the multitude gather
      2. The letter is read, the people rejoice over its encouragement

      1. As prophets, Judas and Silas exhort and strengthen the brethren
         with many words
      2. After a while, Judas is sent back with greetings from the
         brethren to the apostles
      3. It seems good for Silas to remain in Antioch
      4. Paul and Barnabas remain also, teaching and preaching with many


   A. THE ARGUMENT (36-39a)
      1. After teaching and preaching in Antioch for some days, Paul
         wants to visit the brethren where they preached during the
         first missionary journey
      2. Barnabas is determined to take with them John Mark
      3. Paul is insistent that John should not go since he left them in
      4. The contention became so sharp they parted from one another

   B. THE RESULT (39b-41)
      1. Barnabas takes Mark and sails to Cyprus
      2. Paul chooses Silas, commended by the brethren to the grace of
         God, and passes through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Conflict over circumcision (1-3)
   - Conference in Jerusalem (4-29)
   - Consolation in Antioch (30-35)
   - Contention between Paul and Barnabas (36-41)

2) What were some people from Jerusalem teaching the brethren in
   Antioch? (1)
   - That circumcision as proscribed by Moses was necessary to be saved

3) Who disagreed with them?  What actions were taken? (2)
   - Paul and Barnabas
   - To send Paul and Barnabas along with others to the apostles and
     elders in Jerusalem

4) On the way to Jerusalem, what did Paul and Barnabas do? (3)
   - Described the conversion of the Gentiles to the brethren in
     Phoenicia and Samaria

5) When they arrived at Jerusalem, with whom did they first meet? What
   did they tell them? (4)
   - The church, along with the apostles and elders
   - All the things that God had done with them

6) Who then stood up, and what did they say? (5)
   - Some of the Pharisees who believed in Jesus
   - That it was necessary for Gentiles to be circumcised and keep the
     Law of Moses

7) Who then came together to discuss the matter? (6)
   - The apostles and elders

8) Who spoke first?  What did he say? (7-11)
   - Peter
   - God chose him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles
   - God acknowledged the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit
   - God made no distinction, purifying their hearts by faith
   - Why test God by putting on Gentiles a yoke even Jews could not
   - Through the grace of the Lord, Jews and Gentiles will be saved the
     same way

9) Who spoke second?  What did they say? (12)
   - Barnabas and Paul
   - God worked many miracles through them among the Gentiles

10) Who spoke last?  What did he say? (13-21)
   - James (the Lord's brother)
   - The prophet Amos agreed with what Peter said
   - They should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God
   - That a letter be written, asking them to abstain from polluted by
     idols, sexual immorality, things strangled, and blood
   - Since for generations Moses had been read in many synagogues every

11) What was the reaction to James' suggestions? (22-23)
   - It pleased the apostles and elders, along with the whole church
   - They determined to send Judas and Silas along with Paul and
     Barnabas, to Antioch
   - To write a letter to Gentile Christians in Antioch, Syria, and

12) What are key points in that letter? (24-29)
   - Those who had troubled them regarding circumcision and the Law did
     so without any authority
   - The apostles and elders agreed to send Judas and Silas along with
     beloved Barnabas and Paul to confirm the report of what happened in
   - The Holy Spirit, along with the apostles and elders, saw fit to lay
     no burdens upon them, save to abstain from things sacrificed to
     idols, blood, things strangled, and sexual immorality

13) How did the brethren in Antioch react to the letter? (30-31)
   - They rejoiced over its encouragement

14) What did Judas and Silas do?  (32-34)
   - As prophets they exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many
   - Judas was later sent back to Jerusalem with greetings to the
   - Silas remained in Antioch

15) What did Paul and Barnabas do for a while in Antioch? (35)
   - Teach and preach the word of the Lord

16) After some time, what did Paul recommend to Barnabas? (36)
   - To go back and visit the brethren in the cities where they
     preached, to see how they were doing

17) What was Barnabas determined to do? (37)
   - Take John Mark with them

18) What did Paul insist?  Why? (38)
   - They should not take John Mark
   - He had left them in Pamphylia (cf. Ac 13:13) and not gone on with

19) When the contention became strong between Barnabas and Paul, what
    did they do? (39-41)
   - Barnabas took John Mark and sailed to Cyprus
   - Paul took Silas, commended by the brethren to the grace of God, and
     went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches