The oddest thing happened the other day....

Pontius Pilate said: What is truth? Today, THE TRUTH is a hard thing to come by.  This has been made very clear to me recently by all the political ads on television.  Truth, half-truth, distortion, innuendo and outright boldfaced lies almost become indistinguishable.  Truth gets put through a leftist or rightist prism, becomes twisted and manipulated until its unrecognizable!!! When a candidate says something that is so obviously wrong that it is undeniable, then they deny it or claim its content will explain it the way they want it explained.  Look at all the harm this does to our society.  People learn its OK to lie, OK to hurt one's neighbor.  Remember this commandment....

Deuteronomy, Chapter 5
  20 “Neither shall you give false testimony against your neighbor.

... its broken ALL THE TIME!!!  Oh, how nice it would be if the cartoon were true!!!  Somehow, I just can't reconcile it to reality!!!  After all, it still doesn't make sense to me that candidates would spend millions upon millions of dollars (I think one of the candidates actually has a BILLION dollar war-chest) to get a job that pays a few hundred thousand dollars.  There must be something extra involved.  Only thing, I just can not seem to remember how to spell c-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n properly.  Every time I do, the spell checker simple goes nuts.  Maybe I should install either a Democrat or Republican one... but no, that wouldn't work either... then the word TRUTH won't GET CHECKED!!!!

Aug. 5 Ezra 4-6

Aug. 5
Ezra 4-6
Ezr 4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to Yahweh, the God of Israel;
Ezr 4:2 then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' houses, and said to them, Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as you do; and we sacrifice to him since the days of Esar Haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.
Ezr 4:3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, said to them, You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to Yahweh, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
Ezr 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
Ezr 4:5 and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezr 4:6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Ezr 4:7 In the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian character, and set forth in the Syrian language.
Ezr 4:8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:
Ezr 4:9 then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites,
Ezr 4:10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth.
Ezr 4:11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants the men beyond the River, and so forth.
Ezr 4:12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came up from you are come to us to Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations.
Ezr 4:13 Be it known now to the king that if this city is built, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings.
Ezr 4:14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not appropriate for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore have we sent and informed the king;
Ezr 4:15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: so you shall find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time; for which cause was this city laid waste.
Ezr 4:16 We inform the king that, if this city be built, and the walls finished, by this means you shall have no portion beyond the River.
Ezr 4:17 Then sent the king an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River: Peace, and so forth.
Ezr 4:18 The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
Ezr 4:19 I decreed, and search has been made, and it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
Ezr 4:20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them.
Ezr 4:21 Make a decree now to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be built, until a decree shall be made by me.
Ezr 4:22 Take heed that you not be slack herein: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
Ezr 4:23 Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Ezr 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezr 5:1 Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel prophesied they to them.
Ezr 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.
Ezr 5:3 At the same time came to them Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and their companions, and said thus to them, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
Ezr 5:4 Then we told them after this manner, what the names of the men were who were making this building.
Ezr 5:5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease, until the matter should come to Darius, and then answer should be returned by letter concerning it.
Ezr 5:6 The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king;
Ezr 5:7 they sent a letter to him, in which was written thus: To Darius the king, all peace.
Ezr 5:8 Be it known to the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls; and this work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands.
Ezr 5:9 Then asked we those elders, and said to them thus, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
Ezr 5:10 We asked them their names also, to inform you that we might write the names of the men who were at the head of them.
Ezr 5:11 Thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
Ezr 5:12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
Ezr 5:13 But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God.
Ezr 5:14 The gold and silver vessels also of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
Ezr 5:15 and he said to him, Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place.
Ezr 5:16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundations of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not completed.
Ezr 5:17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
Ezr 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.
Ezr 6:2 There was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll, and therein was thus written for a record:
Ezr 6:3 In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be built, the place where they offer sacrifices, and let its foundations be strongly laid; its height sixty cubits, and its breadth sixty cubits;
Ezr 6:4 with three courses of great stones, and a course of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house.
Ezr 6:5 Also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, everyone to its place; and you shall put them in the house of God.
Ezr 6:6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the River, you must stay far from there.
Ezr 6:7 Leave the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place.
Ezr 6:8 Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to these elders of the Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the River, expenses be given with all diligence to these men, that they be not hindered.
Ezr 6:9 That which they have need of, both young bulls, and rams, and lambs, for burnt offerings to the God of heaven; also wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests who are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail;
Ezr 6:10 that they may offer sacrifices of pleasant aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
Ezr 6:11 Also I have made a decree, that whoever shall alter this word, let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this:
Ezr 6:12 and the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow all kings and peoples who shall put forth their hand to alter the same, to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with all diligence.
Ezr 6:13 Then Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and their companions, because that Darius the king had sent, did accordingly with all diligence.
Ezr 6:14 The elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Ezr 6:15 This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
Ezr 6:16 The children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.
Ezr 6:17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Ezr 6:18 They set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
Ezr 6:19 The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Ezr 6:20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were pure: and they killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brothers the priests, and for themselves.
Ezr 6:21 The children of Israel who had come again out of the captivity, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, ate,
Ezr 6:22 and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for Yahweh had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Aug. 5, 6 Acts 21

Aug. 5, 6
Acts 21

Act 21:1 When it happened that we had parted from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
Act 21:2 Having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail.
Act 21:3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo.
Act 21:4 Having found disciples, we stayed there seven days. These said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:5 When it happened that we had accomplished the days, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed.
Act 21:6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.
Act 21:7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers, and stayed with them one day.
Act 21:8 On the next day, we, who were Paul's companions, departed, and came to Caesarea. We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Act 21:9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Act 21:10 As we stayed there some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Act 21:11 Coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit: 'So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "
Act 21:12 When we heard these things, both we and they of that place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Act 21:14 When he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The Lord's will be done."
Act 21:15 After these days we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we would stay.
Act 21:17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.
Act 21:18 The day following, Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present.
Act 21:19 When he had greeted them, he reported one by one the things which God had worked among the Gentiles through his ministry.
Act 21:20 They, when they heard it, glorified God. They said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
Act 21:21 They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs.
Act 21:22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come.
Act 21:23 Therefore do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow.
Act 21:24 Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the law.
Act 21:25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written our decision that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality."
Act 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them.
Act 21:27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him,
Act 21:28 crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple, and has defiled this holy place!"
Act 21:29 For they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
Act 21:30 All the city was moved, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the doors were shut.
Act 21:31 As they were trying to kill him, news came up to the commanding officer of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
Act 21:32 Immediately he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. They, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, stopped beating Paul.
Act 21:33 Then the commanding officer came near, arrested him, commanded him to be bound with two chains, and inquired who he was and what he had done.
Act 21:34 Some shouted one thing, and some another, among the crowd. When he couldn't find out the truth because of the noise, he commanded him to be brought into the barracks.
Act 21:35 When he came to the stairs, it happened that he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd;
Act 21:36 for the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!"
Act 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked the commanding officer, "May I speak to you?" He said, "Do you know Greek?
Act 21:38 Aren't you then the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins?"
Act 21:39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."
Act 21:40 When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with his hand to the people. When there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,

"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Chapter Three by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                             Chapter Three


1) To perceive how we are clearly justified by faith in Christ, and not
   by the works of the Law

2) To understand why the Law was given, what purpose it served, and how
   long it was to last

3) To appreciate the purpose of baptism as it relates to becoming sons
   of God


With a defense of his apostleship behind him, Paul spends the next two
chapters defending the gospel he received by revelation.  It is a 
gospel which proclaims justification by faith in Christ, not by keeping
the works of the Law.  As support, Paul begins by providing a personal 
argument, asking the Galatians to recall how they themselves had 
received the Spirit, and from Whom.  That it came not by the works of 
the Law but through the hearing of faith should be obvious to them.  If
they were so begun in the Spirit, why seek to be made perfect by the 
flesh (1-5)?

For his next argument, Paul appeals to the Scriptures.  First, Genesis
15:6 reveals that Abraham's faith was accounted to him as 
righteousness, and Genesis 12:3 foretold that in Abraham all the 
nations would be blessed.  Therefore, those who are of faith are sons 
of Abraham and blessed along with him (6-9).  As for the Law itself, 
the Scriptures reveal that those who are of the works of the Law are 
under a curse, while proclaiming that the just shall live by faith (Deu
27:26; Hab 2:4).  Christ, however, has redeemed us from the curse of 
the Law and made it possible for the blessing of Abraham to come upon 
the Gentiles, especially that the promise of the Spirit might be 
received through faith (10-14).

Continuing in his argument from the Scriptures, Paul reminds them that 
the covenantal nature of the promise made to Abraham means it cannot be
broken.  Therefore, the promise (along with its inheritance) to Abraham
and His "Seed" (Christ) remained firm, even when the Law came along 430
years later (15-18).  What was the purpose of the Law then?  Paul 
answers that it was added because of transgressions until the Seed 
(Christ) should come.  It was not against the promises of God, but 
because it could not provide life itself, it served the purpose of 
confining all under sin until the promise by faith in Jesus could be 
given to those who believe (19-22).  Thus the law served to keep them 
under guard, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.  To 
put it another way, it was like a tutor leading them to Christ where 
they could be justified by faith.  Once faith had arrived, the tutor 
was no longer over them (23-25).

Paul then proceeds with a practical argument to prove we are justified
by faith in Christ, which will be continued on into the fourth chapter.
Through faith they have become sons of God in Christ, for in being
baptized into Christ they had put on Christ (26-27).  Being in Christ, 
they are now one in Him, with all racial, social, and sexual 
distinctions removed as it pertains to salvation.  Being in Christ also
makes them Abraham's seed and thereby heirs according to promise God 
made to him (28-29).



      1. Paul's concern that they have been misled (1)
      2. Did they received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, or by 
         the works of the Law? (2)
      3. Having begun the Christian life in the Spirit, did they expect
         to be made perfect by the flesh? (3)
      4. Would this not make their previous suffering in vain? (4)

      1. Consider the One who supplies the Spirit and works miracles
         among them (5a)
      2. Does He do it by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of
         faith? (5b)


      1. Abraham's faith was accounted to him for righteousness (6)
      2. Those who are of faith are sons of Abraham (7)
      3. As foretold by Scripture, God would justify the nations by
         faith (8)
      4. Thus, those of faith are blessed along with believing Abraham

   B. THE CURSE OF THE LAW (10-14)
      1. Those who live by the works of the Law are under a curse (10)
      2. The Old Testament proclaimed that one would be justified by
         faith, and not by the Law, which itself was based upon works
      3. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, by His death
         on the cross (13)
      4. Making it possible for Gentiles to receive the blessing of
         Abraham in Christ, in particular the promise of the Spirit
         which is received through faith (14)

      1. The Law, given 430 years after the promises to Abraham, did
         not nullify the covenant and its promises that God made with
         Abraham and His "Seed" (15-17)
         a. Just as a man's covenant is not to be broken or added to it
         b. God made promises to Abraham and His "Seed", that is, 
            Christ (16)
         c. The Law cannot annul the covenant God confirmed with 
            Abraham, so as to make the promise of no effect (17)
      2. If the inheritance was based the Law, then it is no longer
         based upon a promise; but it is obvious that God gave the 
         inheritance by promise, not by the Law (18)

      1. It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should
         come (19-20)
      2. The Law was not against the promises of God, but served to
         confine all under sin until the promise by faith in Jesus 
         could be given to those who believe (21-23)
      3. The Law served as a tutor, leading people to Christ, where 
         they could be justified by faith and eliminating the need for
         a tutor (24-25)


      1. It was through faith in Jesus they became sons of God (26)
      2. For by being baptized into Christ (an act of faith), they had
         put on Christ (27)

      1. In Christ, there is no distinction, they are all one (28)
      2. In Christ, they rightfully become Abraham's seed, and thus
         heirs according to the promise (29)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Justification by faith:  The personal argument (1-5)
   - Justification by faith:  The scriptural argument (6-25)
   - Justification by faith:  The practical argument (26-29)

2) What was Paul afraid had happened to the Galatians? (1)
   - Someone had "bewitched" them, so that they should not obey the

3) To demonstrate that they were justified by faith in Christ and not
   by the works of the Law, what did Paul ask them? (2)
   - How did they receive the Spirit?  By the works of the Law, or by
     the hearing of faith?

4) What did Paul consider foolish on their part? (3)
   - Having begun in the Spirit, trying to be made perfect by the flesh
     (i.e., the Law)

5) To further show that they were justified by faith, what did Paul ask
   them? (5)
   - How did the One who supplied the Spirit, and worked miracles among
     them, do it?  By the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?

6) What was accounted to Abraham for righteousness? (6)
   - That he believed God

7) Who are the true sons of Abraham? (7)
   - Those who are of faith

8) What did the Scripture foresee that God would do? (8)
   - Justify the nations by faith

9) What is the condition of those who are of the works of the Law? (10)
   - They are under the curse

10) What did the Old Testament say that makes it evident no one is
    justified by the Law? (11)
   - "The just shall live by faith"

11) What did Christ do by becoming a curse for us? (13)
   - He has redeemed us from the curse of the Law

12) What else did Christ make possible by becoming a curse? (14)
   - That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in
     Christ Jesus
   - That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith

13) To whom were the promises made?  Who is the "Seed"? (16)
   - Abraham and his "Seed"
   - Christ

14) How long after the promise or covenant that God made with Abraham
    did the Law come in?  Did the Law annul the promise? (17)
   - 430 years
   - No

15) What purpose did the Law serve?  How long was it to last? (19)
   - It was added because of transgressions
   - Till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made

16) What function therefore did the Law serve?  Are we still under the
    Law? (24-25)
   - As a tutor, to bring them to Christ so that they could be
     justified by faith
   - No

17) How does one become a son of God? (26-27)
   - Through faith in Christ Jesus
   - By putting Christ on in baptism

18) What happens to the racial, social, and sexual differences in 
    Christ as they relate to salvation? (28)
   - They are no more, for we are one in Christ

19) If we are Christ's, who are we? (29)
   - Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise