B,M and P... a sign of the times we live in!!!

OK, you read the sign and then you undoubtedly tries to say the letters WITHOUT TOUCHING YOUR LIPS TOUCHING, RIGHT???  Don't feel like you are alone, I did it too!!! I guess its just human nature, not to trust things... at least until something is proven to you.  Today, people will lie right to your face and then grimace in disgust at the first sign of your disbelief.  With so many boldfaced lies (and liars) out there, its easy to become a skeptic!!!  But, what do you do when a multitude of genuine witnesses overwhelmingly testify to the same thing and are willing to attest to the fact by sacrificing their very lives?  Here is an example...

Acts, Chapter 1
  1 The first book I wrote, Theophilus, concerned all that Jesus began both to do and to teach,  2 until the day in which he was received up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  3 To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God’s Kingdom.  4 Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, "“Don’t depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me.  5 For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”"

  6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

  7 He said to them, "“It isn’t for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.  8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”"

  9 When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.  10 While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing,  11 who also said, “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky.”

  12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  13 When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.  14 All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

The disciples of Jesus were a group of nobodies; they were not rich or well educated and by their actions, not even exceptionally intelligent;one of them even proved to be a traitor.  Yet, they and hundreds of others knew Jesus and could testify to his resurrection from the dead.  For many of them, that testimony would be rewarded by the Roman government with a horrible death.  These things are a matter of well-attested to historical fact!!!  However, some today have the gall to say that Christianity is a lie.  And the sorry state of affairs The United States of America finds itself in is to be ruled by disbelievers.  People who have banned the Bible from schools and are attempting to eradicate any and every trace of religion from our society.  I pray that they fail!!!  Most Americans feel powerless in the face of such opposition, but I do not.  In and of myself, I have no ability to combat such a wicked, corrupt government, BUT God answers prayer and I believe he will replace the ungodly with God-fearing men who will restore America to what it once was... a God-fearing nation.  Most of you only know me through this forum, so, you have no reason to have faith in what I might say.  BUT, the scriptures are TRUTH and in fact ARE TRUE.  GOD will change disbelief into faith by the sheer FACT by that what HE says is trustworthy and can be proven.  While we may always continue to sound out the letters of a sign we do not trust, sooner or later, every human being will come to the realization that God can be trusted and should be obeyed.  Its just a matter of time until these thoughts are echoed from your lips too...

Aug. 13 Esther 1-3

Aug. 13
Esther 1-3

Est 1:1 Now it happened in the days of Ahasuerus (this is Ahasuerus who reigned from India even to Ethiopia, over one hundred twenty-seven provinces),
Est 1:2 that in those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
Est 1:3 in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him.
Est 1:4 He displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty many days, even one hundred eighty days.
Est 1:5 When these days were fulfilled, the king made a seven day feast for all the people who were present in Shushan the palace, both great and small, in the court of the garden of the king's palace.
Est 1:6 There were hangings of white, green, and blue material, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and marble pillars. The couches were of gold and silver, on a pavement of red, white, yellow, and black marble.
Est 1:7 They gave them drinks in golden vessels of various kinds, including royal wine in abundance, according to the bounty of the king.
Est 1:8 In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had instructed all the officials of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.
Est 1:9 Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
Est 1:10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcass, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
Est 1:11 to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the royal crown, to show the people and the princes her beauty; for she was beautiful.
Est 1:12 But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by the eunuchs. Therefore the king was very angry, and his anger burned in him.
Est 1:13 Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times, (for it was the king's custom to consult those who knew law and judgment;
Est 1:14 and the next to him were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king's face, and sat first in the kingdom),
Est 1:15 "What shall we do to the queen Vashti according to law, because she has not done the bidding of the King Ahasuerus by the eunuchs?"
Est 1:16 Memucan answered before the king and the princes, "Vashti the queen has not done wrong to just the king, but also to all the princes, and to all the people who are in all the provinces of the King Ahasuerus.
Est 1:17 For this deed of the queen will become known to all women, causing them to show contempt for their husbands, when it is reported, 'King Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she didn't come.'
Est 1:18 Today, the princesses of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's deed will tell all the king's princes. This will cause much contempt and wrath.
Est 1:19 If it please the king, let a royal commandment go from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it cannot be altered, that Vashti may never again come before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate to another who is better than she.
Est 1:20 When the king's decree which he shall make is published throughout all his kingdom (for it is great), all the wives will give their husbands honor, both great and small."
Est 1:21 This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
Est 1:22 for he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to its writing, and to every people in their language, that every man should rule his own house, speaking in the language of his own people.
Est 2:1 After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was pacified, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
Est 2:2 Then the king's servants who served him said, "Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king.
Est 2:3 Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the women's house, to the custody of Hegai the king's eunuch, keeper of the women. Let cosmetics be given them;
Est 2:4 and let the maiden who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti." The thing pleased the king, and he did so.
Est 2:5 There was a certain Jew in the citadel of Susa, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite,
Est 2:6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Est 2:7 He brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter; for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was fair and beautiful; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter.
Est 2:8 So it happened, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together to the citadel of Susa, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken into the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
Est 2:9 The maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness from him. He quickly gave her cosmetics and her portions of food, and the seven choice maidens who were to be given her out of the king's house. He moved her and her maidens to the best place in the women's house.
Est 2:10 Esther had not made known her people nor her relatives, because Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make it known.
Est 2:11 Mordecai walked every day in front of the court of the women's house, to find out how Esther did, and what would become of her.
Est 2:12 Each young woman's turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after her purification for twelve months (for so were the days of their purification accomplished, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet fragrances and with preparations for beautifying women).
Est 2:13 The young woman then came to the king like this: whatever she desired was given her to go with her out of the women's house to the king's house.
Est 2:14 In the evening she went, and on the next day she returned into the second women's house, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who kept the concubines. She came in to the king no more, unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.
Est 2:15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, the keeper of the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who looked at her.
Est 2:16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal house in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
Est 2:17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Est 2:18 Then the king made a great feast for all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces, and gave gifts according to the king's bounty.
Est 2:19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate.
Est 2:20 Esther had not yet made known her relatives nor her people, as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther obeyed Mordecai, like she did when she was brought up by him.
Est 2:21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting in the king's gate, two of the king's eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, who were doorkeepers, were angry, and sought to lay hands on the King Ahasuerus.
Est 2:22 This thing became known to Mordecai, who informed Esther the queen; and Esther informed the king in Mordecai's name.
Est 2:23 When this matter was investigated, and it was found to be so, they were both hanged on a tree; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the king's presence.
Est 3:1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.
Est 3:2 All the king's servants who were in the king's gate bowed down, and paid homage to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai didn't bow down or pay him homage.
Est 3:3 Then the king's servants, who were in the king's gate, said to Mordecai, "Why do you disobey the king's commandment?"
Est 3:4 Now it came to pass, when they spoke daily to him, and he didn't listen to them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.
Est 3:5 When Haman saw that Mordecai didn't bow down, nor pay him homage, Haman was full of wrath.
Est 3:6 But he scorned the thought of laying hands on Mordecai alone, for they had made known to him Mordecai's people. Therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the Mordecai's people.
Est 3:7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, and chose the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
Est 3:8 Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws are different than other people's. They don't keep the king's laws. Therefore it is not for the king's profit to allow them to remain.
Est 3:9 If it pleases the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who are in charge of the king's business, to bring it into the king's treasuries."
Est 3:10 The king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
Est 3:11 The king said to Haman, "The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you."
Est 3:12 Then the king's scribes were called in on the first month, on the thirteenth day of the month; and all that Haman commanded was written to the king's satraps, and to the governors who were over every province, and to the princes of every people, to every province according its writing, and to every people in their language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, and it was sealed with the king's ring.
Est 3:13 Letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to plunder their possessions.
Est 3:14 A copy of the letter, that the decree should be given out in every province, was published to all the peoples, that they should be ready against that day.
Est 3:15 The couriers went forth in haste by the king's commandment, and the decree was given out in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Shushan was perplexed.

Aug. 13, 14 Acts 25

Aug. 13, 14
Acts 25

Act 25:1 Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
Act 25:2 Then the high priest and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul, and they begged him,
Act 25:3 asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem; plotting to kill him on the way.
Act 25:4 However Festus answered that Paul should be kept in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to depart shortly.
Act 25:5 "Let them therefore," said he, "that are in power among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong in the man, let them accuse him."
Act 25:6 When he had stayed among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he sat on the judgment seat, and commanded Paul to be brought.
Act 25:7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove,
Act 25:8 while he said in his defense, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all."
Act 25:9 But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, and be judged by me there concerning these things?"
Act 25:10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well.
Act 25:11 For if I have done wrong, and have committed anything worthy of death, I don't refuse to die; but if none of those things is true that they accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!"
Act 25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go."
Act 25:13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the King and Bernice arrived at Caesarea, and greeted Festus.
Act 25:14 As he stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix;
Act 25:15 about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, asking for a sentence against him.
Act 25:16 To whom I answered that it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man to destruction, before the accused has met the accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to make his defense concerning the matter laid against him.
Act 25:17 When therefore they had come together here, I didn't delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought.
Act 25:18 Concerning whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no charge of such things as I supposed;
Act 25:19 but had certain questions against him about their own religion, and about one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
Act 25:20 Being perplexed how to inquire concerning these things, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.
Act 25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be kept until I could send him to Caesar."
Act 25:22 Agrippa said to Festus, "I also would like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," he said, "you shall hear him."
Act 25:23 So on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and they had entered into the place of hearing with the commanding officers and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.
Act 25:24 Festus said, "King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
Act 25:25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to the emperor I determined to send him.
Act 25:26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after examination, I may have something to write.
Act 25:27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to also specify the charges against him."

"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"

                              Chapter Four


1) To see the importance of walking in unity and purity

2) To appreciate the gifts Christ has given the church for our 
   edification, and the need for each one to do their share


Beginning with this chapter and proceeding through the rest of the
epistle, Paul exhorts the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their
calling.  Having described earlier how Jesus attained unity between Jew
and Gentile through His death on the cross, Paul now pleads with them 
to "walk in unity".  With humility, gentleness, longsuffering, 
forbearance and love, they should be diligent to maintain the unity of 
the Spirit in the bond of peace.  The unity of the Spirit is then 
defined as consisting of one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one 
faith, one baptism and one God (1-6).

Perhaps as motivation, Paul reminds them of the gracious gifts Christ 
gave His church following His ascension to heaven.  Such gifts included
the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, 
which are designed to equip the saints for ministry and bring the body 
of Christ to maturity.  In this way, it should not be misled by false 
doctrine, but instead by speaking the truth in love should grow in 
Christ as each member does it share (7-16).

The last half of this chapter addresses the need to "walk in purity".
Contrasting how they once walked as Gentiles in licentiousness and 
greediness, they are reminded of the truth which is in Jesus.  This 
truth calls upon them to put off the old man with its deceitful lusts,
to be renewed in the spirit of their mind, and to put on the new man 
that is created in righteousness and holiness.  Therefore they are 
called upon to put away lying, anger, theft, and all forms of evil 
speaking, lest they grieve the Holy Spirit by whom they were sealed for
the day of redemption.  Instead, they are to speak with truth and 
grace, work hard to help those in need, and be kind, tender-hearted, 
and forgiving just as God has forgiven them in Christ (17-32).



      1. To walk worthy of our calling (1)
      2. With the proper attitudes (2-3)
         a. Lowliness and gentleness
         b. Longsuffering, bearing with one another in love
         c. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
      3. The unity of the Spirit defined (4-6)
         a. One body
         b. One Spirit
         c. One hope of your calling
         d. One Lord
         e. One faith
         f. One baptism
         g. One God and Father of all

      1. For to each one grace was given as measured out by Christ
         a. As foretold in Scripture
         b. Having ascended far above all the heavens to fill all
      2. Gifts Christ gave to His church (11)
         a. Apostles
         b. Prophets
         c. Evangelists
         d. Pastors
         e. Teachers
      3. Purpose of such gifts (12-16)
         a. Equipping the saints for the work of ministry
         b. Edifying the body of Christ, till we all come to:
            1) The unity of the faith
            2) The knowledge of the Son of God
            3) A perfect man
            4) The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
         c. That we might no longer be children...
            1) Tossed about by every wind of doctrine
            2) Tricked by the cunning craftiness of those who lie in
               wait to deceive
         d. That we speak the truth in love...
            1) So we may grow up in all things into Christ, the head
            2) To cause growth of the body for the edifying of itself
               in love
               a) As we are joined and knit together by what each joint
               b) As every part does its effective work in doing its


      1. Who walk in the futility of their mind (17-18)
         a. With understanding darkened, being alienated from the life
            of God
         b. With ignorance, because of the hardening of their heart
      2. Who have given themselves over to licentiousness (19)
         a. Being past feeling
         b. To work all uncleanness with greediness

      1. Having heard and been taught by Him, and the truth which is in
         Him (20-24)
         a. To put off the old man which grows corrupt in its deceitful
         b. To be renewed in the spirit of one's mind
         c. To put on the new man which was created according to God in
            righteousness and holiness
      2. Therefore putting away things of the old man (25-31)
         a. Such as lying, instead speaking truth
         b. Such as anger, giving place to the devil
         c. Such as stealing, instead working to give to those in need
         d. Such as corrupt speech, instead speaking with grace to
            edify those who hear
         e. Such as grieving the Holy Spirit, by whom we were sealed
            for the day of redemption
         f. Such as all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil 
            speaking, all malice
      3. Instead be kind to one another (32)
         a. Tender-hearted, forgiving
         b. Just as God in Christ forgave us


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - A call to walk in unity (1-16)
   - A call to walk in purity (17-32)

2) How is the Christian to walk? (1)
   - In a manner worthy of our calling

3) What attitudes are consistent with the Christian walk? (2-3)
   - Lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in
   - Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

4) What seven facets make up the unity of the Spirit? (4-6)
   - One body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one 
     faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all

5) What gracious gifts has been given by Christ to His church? (7-11)
   - That which enabled some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists,
     pastors and teachers

6) What is the purpose of such gifts or functions? (12-14)
   - To equip the saints for service
   - To edify the body of Christ
   - To help all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of
     the Son of God
   - To help all mature and no longer be children, troubled by false

7) As we speak the truth in love, what are we to be doing?  What 
   assists us in this? (15-16)
   - Growing up in all things in Christ
   - Our connection to Christ as the head, and the effective working of
     every member doing its part

8) How should we no longer walk? (17)
   - As the rest of the Gentiles

9) How are those in the world walking? Why? (17-19)
   - In the futility of their mind and being past feeling, they are
     given to licentiousness, uncleanness and greediness
   - Their understanding is darkened, being alienated from God because
     of the ignorance in them due to the hardness of their heart

10) In contrast, what truth have we learned from Christ? (20-24)
   - To put off the old man which grows corrupt according to its
     deceitful lusts
   - To be renewed in the spirit of our minds
   - To put on the new man that was created by God in righteousness and
     true holiness

11) What sort of things are we to therefore put away? (25-32)
   - Lying, anger, theft, corrupt and evil speech, bitterness, wrath

12) What sort of things should we be doing instead? (25-32)
   - Speaking with truth and grace, working to help those in need,
     being kind, tender-hearted, forgiving others as God in Christ
     forgave us
13) Why should we be concerned about doing such things? (30)
   - Lest we grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom we were sealed for the day
     of redemption