Surpassing the beauty of the magnificent!!!

I confess, there are two THINGS that I really love; fancy pens and pocket watches.  Finances allow for my possession of only a few of these and so I must choose wisely and extremely carefully.  So, today, when I looked at these complex, ornate and exquisite metal pens, I thought of a good friend of mine, BRUCE ARNOLD.  We share common interests; that of computers and pens.  However, we are not in the same league for either topic, as he is so far above me on both subjects that quite often I feel like the student David Caradine called "grasshopper" in the 1970's TV series "Kung Fu".  If Bruce is reading this, I hope his recent wood-turning project wins in the contest, because it, like the wood turned pens he makes are simply beautiful.  However beautiful they are though, they are nothing in comparison to the friendship and encouragement he has given over the years; and I just want to say "THANK YOU"!!!!  There is a parallel here: wonderful works to that of friendship.  Also, a second comparison, that of the works of the Law to that of the GRACE found in the New Covenant of Christ....

2 Corinthians, Chapter 3
  1 Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you?  2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;  3 being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh.  4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God;  5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;  6 who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  7 But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away:  8 won’t service of the Spirit be with much more glory?  9 For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.  10 For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses.  11 For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

Take a second look at the picture above; aren't they something!!!  It took real creativity to produce such items and probably a great deal of heartfelt concern as well!!!  For Christians, the work we do is an outcropping of the state of our hearts.  No written in stone LAWS can compare to that of the love of God inscribed on the human heart.  Think about that the next time you pick up your favorite pen!!!

ps  Sometime take a look at the website he made for me (compositebible.com)!!

June 24 2 Samuel 13-15

June 24
2 Samuel 13-15

2Sa 13:1 It happened after this, that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2Sa 13:2 Amnon was so troubled that he fell sick because of his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her.
2Sa 13:3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother; and Jonadab was a very subtle man.
2Sa 13:4 He said to him, Why, son of the king, are you so sad from day to day? Won't you tell me? Amnon said to him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.
2Sa 13:5 Jonadab said to him, Lay down on your bed, and pretend to be sick: and when your father comes to see you, tell him, Please let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and dress the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it from her hand.
2Sa 13:6 So Amnon lay down, and feigned himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said to the king, Please let her sister Tamar come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.
2Sa 13:7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to your brother Amnon's house, and dress him food.
2Sa 13:8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he was laid down. She took dough, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
2Sa 13:9 She took the pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. Amnon said, Have out all men from me. They went out every man from him.
2Sa 13:10 Amnon said to Tamar, Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand. Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
2Sa 13:11 When she had brought them near to him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, Come, lie with me, my sister.
2Sa 13:12 She answered him, No, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel. Don't you do this folly.
2Sa 13:13 I, where shall I carry my shame? and as for you, you will be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.
2Sa 13:14 However he would not listen to her voice; but being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her.
2Sa 13:15 Then Amnon hated her with exceeding great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. Amnon said to her, Arise, be gone.
2Sa 13:16 She said to him, Not so, because this great wrong in putting me forth is worse than the other that you did to me. But he would not listen to her.
2Sa 13:17 Then he called his servant who ministered to him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
2Sa 13:18 She had a garment of various colors on her; for with such robes were the king's daughters who were virgins dressed. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
2Sa 13:19 Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her garment of various colors that was on her; and she laid her hand on her head, and went her way, crying aloud as she went.
2Sa 13:20 Absalom her brother said to her, Has Amnon your brother been with you? but now hold your peace, my sister: he is your brother; don't take this thing to heart. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house.
2Sa 13:21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very angry.
2Sa 13:22 Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.
2Sa 13:23 It happened after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
2Sa 13:24 Absalom came to the king, and said, See now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant.
2Sa 13:25 The king said to Absalom, No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you. He pressed him: however he would not go, but blessed him.
2Sa 13:26 Then said Absalom, If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us. The king said to him, Why should he go with you?
2Sa 13:27 But Absalom pressed him, and he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.
2Sa 13:28 Absalom commanded his servants, saying, Mark now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine; and when I tell you, Smite Amnon, then kill him; don't be afraid; haven't I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
2Sa 13:29 The servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and every man got him up on his mule, and fled.
2Sa 13:30 It happened, while they were in the way, that the news came to David, saying, Absalom has slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left.
2Sa 13:31 Then the king arose, and tore his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn.
2Sa 13:32 Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother, answered, Don't let my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead; for by the appointment of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
2Sa 13:33 Now therefore don't let my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead; for Amnon only is dead.
2Sa 13:34 But Absalom fled. The young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, many people were coming by way of the hillside behind him.
2Sa 13:35 Jonadab said to the king, Behold, the king's sons are come: as your servant said, so it is.
2Sa 13:36 It happened, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that behold, the king's sons came, and lifted up their voice, and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.
2Sa 13:37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammihur, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son every day.
2Sa 13:38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
2Sa 13:39 the soul of king David longed to go forth to Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
2Sa 14:1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom.
2Sa 14:2 Joab sent to Tekoa, and fetched there a wise woman, and said to her, please act like a mourner, and put on mourning clothing, Please, and don't anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has a long time mourned for the dead:
2Sa 14:3 and go in to the king, and speak on this manner to him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.
2Sa 14:4 When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O king.
2Sa 14:5 The king said to her, What ails you? She answered, Of a truth I am a widow, and my husband is dead.
2Sa 14:6 Your handmaid had two sons, and they two strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one struck the other, and killed him.
2Sa 14:7 Behold, the whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say, Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed, and so destroy the heir also. Thus will they quench my coal which is left, and will leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the surface of the earth.
2Sa 14:8 The king said to the woman, Go to your house, and I will give a command concerning you.
2Sa 14:9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father's house; and the king and his throne be guiltless.
2Sa 14:10 The king said, Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you any more.
2Sa 14:11 Then said she, Please let the king remember Yahweh your God, that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son. He said, As Yahweh lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.
2Sa 14:12 Then the woman said, Please let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king. He said, Say on.
2Sa 14:13 The woman said, Why then have you devised such a thing against the people of God? for in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring home again his banished one.
2Sa 14:14 For we must needs die, and are as water split on the ground, which can't be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him.
2Sa 14:15 Now therefore seeing that I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and your handmaid said, I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant.
2Sa 14:16 For the king will hear, to deliver his servant out of the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.
2Sa 14:17 Then your handmaid said, Please let the word of my lord the king be comfortable; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: and Yahweh your God be with you.
2Sa 14:18 Then the king answered the woman, Please don't hide anything from me that I shall ask you. The woman said, Let my lord the king now speak.
2Sa 14:19 The king said, Is the hand of Joab with you in all this? The woman answered, As your soul lives, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken; for your servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid;
2Sa 14:20 to change the face of the matter has your servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.
2Sa 14:21 The king said to Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go therefore, bring the young man Absalom back.
2Sa 14:22 Joab fell to the ground on his face, and did obeisance, and blessed the king: and Joab said, Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.
2Sa 14:23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
2Sa 14:24 The king said, Let him turn to his own house, but let him not see my face. So Absalom turned to his own house, and didn't see the king's face.
2Sa 14:25 Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
2Sa 14:26 When he cut the hair of his head (now it was at every year's end that he cut it; because it was heavy on him, therefore he cut it); he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king's weight.
2Sa 14:27 To Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a beautiful face.
2Sa 14:28 Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem; and he didn't see the king's face.
2Sa 14:29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but he would not come to him: and he sent again a second time, but he would not come.
2Sa 14:30 Therefore he said to his servants, Behold, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
2Sa 14:31 Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to his house, and said to him, Why have your servants set my field on fire?
2Sa 14:32 Absalom answered Joab, Behold, I sent to you, saying, Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, Why am I come from Geshur? it were better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be iniquity in me, let him kill me.
2Sa 14:33 So Joab came to the king, and told him; and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.

2Sa 15:1 It happened after this, that Absalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2Sa 15:2 Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, What city are you from? He said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
2Sa 15:3 Absalom said to him, Behold, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputized of the king to hear you.
2Sa 15:4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!
2Sa 15:5 It was so, that when any man came near to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him.
2Sa 15:6 In this manner Absalom did to all Israel who came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
2Sa 15:7 It happened at the end of forty years, that Absalom said to the king, please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to Yahweh, in Hebron.
2Sa 15:8 For your servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If Yahweh shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh.
2Sa 15:9 The king said to him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.
2Sa 15:10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, Absalom is king in Hebron.
2Sa 15:11 With Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, who were invited, and went in their simplicity; and they didn't know anything.
2Sa 15:12 Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. The conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
2Sa 15:13 There came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.
2Sa 15:14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for else none of us shall escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil on us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.
2Sa 15:15 The king's servants said to the king, Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king shall choose.
2Sa 15:16 The king went forth, and all his household after him. The king left ten women, who were concubines, to keep the house.
2Sa 15:17 The king went forth, and all the people after him; and they stayed in Beth Merhak.
2Sa 15:18 All his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.
2Sa 15:19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Why do you also go with us? return, and stay with the king: for you are a foreigner, and also an exile; return to your own place.
2Sa 15:20 Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us, seeing I go where I may? return, and take back your brothers; mercy and truth be with you.
2Sa 15:21 Ittai answered the king, and said, As Yahweh lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will your servant be.
2Sa 15:22 David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones who were with him.
2Sa 15:23 All the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
2Sa 15:24 Behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
2Sa 15:25 The king said to Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favor in the eyes of Yahweh, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation:
2Sa 15:26 but if he say thus, I have no delight in you; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seems good to him.
2Sa 15:27 The king said also to Zadok the priest, "Aren't you a seer? Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
2Sa 15:28 Behold, I will stay at the fords of the wilderness, until word comes from you to inform me."
2Sa 15:29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they abode there.
2Sa 15:30 David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered, and went barefoot: and all the people who were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
2Sa 15:31 One told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. David said, Yahweh, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.
2Sa 15:32 It happened that when David had come to the top of the ascent, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn, and earth on his head.
2Sa 15:33 David said to him, If you pass on with me, then you will be a burden to me:
2Sa 15:34 but if you return to the city, and tell Absalom, I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in time past, so will I now be your servant; then will you defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel.
2Sa 15:35 Don't you have Zadok and Abiathar the priests there with you? therefore it shall be, that whatever thing you shall hear out of the king's house, you shall tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
2Sa 15:36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son; and by them you shall send to me everything that you shall hear.
2Sa 15:37 So Hushai, David's friend, came into the city; and Absalom came into Jerusalem.

"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Chapter Nine by Mark Copeland

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                              Chapter Nine


1) To appreciate why and how God could choose to reject the nation of
   Israel (except for a remnant) and accept people from among the


With the conclusion of chapter eight Paul has completed his description
of how God's righteousness was manifested in Christ, and the results of
such justification.  However, some of Paul's readers may have received
the impression that God's plan of saving man in Christ apart from the
Law (3:21-22) implies that God has rejected His people of Israel and
the promises made to them.  In chapters nine through eleven, Paul
explains that God has not rejected His people.

Paul first expresses his own concern for his fellow Israelites (1-2).  
If it would do any good, Paul would gladly be condemned in order to
save his brethren who had been the recipients of so many blessings

But Paul quickly states that God's promises had not failed.  He reminds 
them that true Israel is not simply the physical descendants of Israel, 
any more than the promises to Abraham were to be carried out through 
all of Abraham's descendants just because they are his physical 
descendants.  Rather, it depends upon what God has chosen according to 
His Divine purpose.  This is illustrated by contrasting what the 
Scriptures reveal about Isaac and Ishmael, and then about Jacob and 
Esau (6-13).

That God has made such distinction is illustrated further with the 
example of Pharaoh, where God chose to show mercy to some while He 
hardened others [who had already persistently rejected God's mercy, 
MAC] (14-18).  That God has the right to make such choices is His as 
the potter over the clay (19-21).

So God chose to endure "vessels of wrath" with much longsuffering, that 
He might make known His glorious riches to "vessels of mercy" [a point 
expanded upon further in chapter eleven, MAC] (22-23).  And who are 
these "vessels of mercy"?  They consist of Gentiles, and a remnant of 
Israel, as foretold by Hosea and Isaiah (24-29).

Paul's conclusion?  That God's words of promise were not just to the 
fleshly descendants of Abraham (as the Jews would have it), but to the 
faithful remnant of Israel and to the Gentiles who accepted the 
righteousness which is by faith.  The only reason any of the Israelites 
were rejected by God was because of their rejection of the Messiah, 
even as Isaiah foretold (30-33).



      1. His conscience and the Holy Spirit bear witness to his great
         sorrow and grief (1-2)
      2. He would even be willing to be cut off from Christ for their
         sakes (3)

      1. Including the covenants, the Law, the promises (4)
      2. Of whom are the patriarchs, and of course, Christ Himself (5)


      1. They are not all Israel who have descended from Israel (6)
      2. As illustrated with Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau (7-13)
      3. According to God's purpose, whose choice was not based upon
         works (11)

      1. Possible only through His Mercy (14-16)
      2. Just as Pharaoh was the object of His Wrath (17-18)
      3. God's right to choose the objects of His mercy and His wrath

      1. Not of Jews only, as foretold by Hosea (24-26)
      2. But only a remnant of Israel, as foretold by Isaiah (27-29)


      1. Though they had not actively been looking for it (30a)
      2. Yet many have attained righteousness through faith (30b)

   B. FOR ISRAEL (31-33)
      1. Though diligent for the Law, did not have the attitude of
         faith (31-32a)
      2. And therefore stumbled over Christ, as foretold by Isaiah


harden - to make callous, to make strong; can be accomplished in two
         ways:  1) INDIRECTLY, by providing occasion to repent or
         resist (eg: as when judgment is delayed, Ro 2:4-5), and
         2) DIRECTLY, by strengthening those who rebel so as to
         contrast power, mercy, or judgment (for example, a)  Pharaoh,
         to show God's power, Ex 9:12-16; b)  Israel, to show God's 
         mercy, Ro 11:7-11,31; c)  those who disbelieve, to show God's
         judgment, 2Th 2:9-12

remnant - a small portion of the whole; Isaiah foretold only a remnant 
          of Israel would be saved (Ro 9:27-29)

the Stumbling Stone - a reference to Jesus (cf. 1Pe 2:6-8)


1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Paul's Concern For His Brethren Of Israel (1-5)
   - The True Children Of God (6-29)
   - The Basis Of God's Choice: Faith vs. No Faith (30-33)

2) How much love did Paul have for the nation of Israel? (2-3)
   - Enough to be lost if it would do any good

3) Who are the true children of God? (8)
   - Children of promise, not children of flesh

4) What does God have the right to do? (18)
   - To show mercy on who He wills, and to harden who He wills

5) What O.T. prophet foretold that Gentiles would be a part of the 
   people of God? (25-26)
   - Hosea

6) What did Isaiah say would happen to the nation of Israel (27)
   - Only a remnant would be saved

7) Why are Gentiles among the saved? (30)
   - Because of faith

8) Why are some Israelites going to be lost? (31-33)
   - They trusted more in the keeping of the Law, and did not believe 
     in Christ