Blind by birth or by choice?

For some reason, I didn't sleep well Monday night... not really sure why, it just happens sometimes that I am up all night. So, in between attempts at sleeping, I turned on the TV and heard something interesting.  Namely, that religion is mainly a function of geography.  If you were born in the middle east you would be Muslim, in America, Christian, in the far east, Buddhist. Sounds a bit plausible, doesn't it?  However, in each of the those regions, there are those who do NOT follow the crowd and hold different beliefs.  Some for intellectual reasons, some for familial, or perhaps even to be a rebel or some other odd choice.  But, Christianity is different from them all, in that its all about one man, a man who not only claimed to be sent from God, but claimed EQUALITY WITH GOD!!!  Every one of has a choice; we can either accept or reject his claim.  Here is the story of a blind man who came to see the truth...

John, Chapter 9
  1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

  3 Jesus answered, "“Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.  4 I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work.  5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”"  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,  7 and said to him, "“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam”" (which means “Sent”). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.  8 The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, “Isn’t this he who sat and begged?” 9 Others were saying, “It is he.” Still others were saying, “He looks like him.”

He said, “I am he.”  10 They therefore were asking him, “How were your eyes opened?”

  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.”

  12 Then they asked him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

  13 They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees.  14 It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.  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.”

  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.  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.”

  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,  19 and asked them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

  20 His parents answered them, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;  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.” 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.  23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age. Ask him.”

  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.”

  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.”

  26 They said to him again, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

  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?”

  28 They insulted him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.  29 We know that God has spoken to Moses. But as for this man, we don’t know where he comes from.”

  30 The man answered them, “How amazing! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 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.  32 Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind.  33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

  34 They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out.

  35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, "“Do you believe in the Son of God?”"

  36 He answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?”

  37 Jesus said to him, "“You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you.”"

  38 He said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped him.

  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.”"

  40 Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”

  41 Jesus said to them, "“If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains."

I know this is a long passage, (sorry about that) but its really worth the time and effort to read the whole chapter!!!  We all make decisions in life and those decisions color our thinking;  which of course is why I chose the particular graphic above.  Yet, the good thing about being alive is that while you are still alive there remains time to change.  Time to open our minds to consider another point of view.  To get rid of all our preconceptions that blind us to the genuine truth of reality as it really, really is.  It took a miracle for the blind man to really see and even though the Pharisees (who were very religious in their own right) had sight from birth they just couldn't see Jesus for who he was.  It is said, that Christianity is all about faith; I don't think so.  Read, research, weigh the facts.  The recorded truth is even found in secular history, but frankly the Bible is where its at.  I challenge you... open your minds and consider the possibility that Jesus really was and really did all the things the Bible says.  You won't be sorry!!! Ever!!!!

Aug. 28 Psalm 11-15

Aug. 28
Psalm 11-15

Psa 11:1 In Yahweh, I take refuge. How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain!"
Psa 11:2 For, behold, the wicked bend their bows. They set their arrows on the strings, that they may shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
Psa 11:3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Psa 11:4 Yahweh is in his holy temple. Yahweh is on his throne in heaven. His eyes observe. His eyes examine the children of men.
Psa 11:5 Yahweh examines the righteous, but the wicked and him who loves violence his soul hates.
Psa 11:6 On the wicked he will rain blazing coals; fire, sulfur, and scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
Psa 11:7 For Yahweh is righteous. He loves righteousness. The upright shall see his face.
Psa 12:1 Help, Yahweh; for the godly man ceases. For the faithful fail from among the children of men.
Psa 12:2 Everyone lies to his neighbor. They speak with flattering lips, and with a double heart.
Psa 12:3 May Yahweh cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that boasts,
Psa 12:4 who have said, "With our tongue we will prevail. Our lips are our own. Who is lord over us?"
Psa 12:5 "Because of the oppression of the weak and because of the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says Yahweh; "I will set him in safety from those who malign him."
Psa 12:6 The words of Yahweh are flawless words, as silver refined in a clay furnace, purified seven times.
Psa 12:7 You will keep them, Yahweh. You will preserve them from this generation forever.
Psa 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when what is vile is exalted among the sons of men.

Psa 13:1 How long, Yahweh? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
Psa 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart every day? How long shall my enemy triumph over me?
Psa 13:3 Behold, and answer me, Yahweh, my God. Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
Psa 13:4 Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him;" Lest my adversaries rejoice when I fall.
Psa 13:5 But I trust in your loving kindness. My heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psa 13:6 I will sing to Yahweh, because he has been good to me.
Psa 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.
Psa 14:2 Yahweh looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any who did understand, who did seek after God.
Psa 14:3 They have all gone aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one.
Psa 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and don't call on Yahweh?
Psa 14:5 There they were in great fear, for God is in the generation of the righteous.
Psa 14:6 You frustrate the plan of the poor, because Yahweh is his refuge.
Psa 14:7 Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When Yahweh restores the fortunes of his people, then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psa 15:1 Yahweh, who shall dwell in your sanctuary? Who shall live on your holy hill?
Psa 15:2 He who walks blamelessly does what is right, and speaks truth in his heart;
Psa 15:3 He who doesn't slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his friend, nor casts slurs against his fellow man;
Psa 15:4 In whose eyes a vile man is despised, but who honors those who fear Yahweh; he who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and doesn't change;
Psa 15:5 he who doesn't lend out his money for usury, nor take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be shaken.

Aug. 28 Romans 9

Aug. 28
Romans 9

Rom 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit,
Rom 9:2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.
Rom 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers' sake, my relatives according to the flesh,
Rom 9:4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service, and the promises;
Rom 9:5 of whom are the fathers, and from whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God, blessed forever. Amen.
Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has come to nothing. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel.
Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children. But, "In Isaac will your seed be called."
Rom 9:8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as a seed.
Rom 9:9 For this is a word of promise, "At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.
Rom 9:10 Not only so, but Rebecca also conceived by one, by our father Isaac.
Rom 9:11 For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls,
Rom 9:12 it was said to her, "The elder will serve the younger."
Rom 9:13 Even as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be!
Rom 9:15 For he said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Rom 9:18 So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.
Rom 9:19 You will say then to me, "Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will?"
Rom 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"
Rom 9:21 Or hasn't the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?
Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction,
Rom 9:23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory,
Rom 9:24 us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?
Rom 9:25 As he says also in Hosea, "I will call them 'my people,' which were not my people; and her 'beloved,' who was not beloved."
Rom 9:26 "It will be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' There they will be called 'children of the living God.' "
Rom 9:27 Isaiah cries concerning Israel, "If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved;
Rom 9:28 for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth."
Rom 9:29 As Isaiah has said before, "Unless the Lord of Armies had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been made like Gomorrah."
Rom 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who didn't follow after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith;
Rom 9:31 but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, didn't arrive at the law of righteousness.
Rom 9:32 Why? Because they didn't seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone;
Rom 9:33 even as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed."



                              Chapter Two


1) To glean from Paul's example how preachers should conduct themselves
   among brethren with whom they labor

2) To appreciate how the thought of seeing each other at the coming of
   Jesus should affect our attitude towards one another


Having reflected upon their reception of the gospel, Paul now reflects
upon his own conduct while with them.  He describes the manner of his 
preaching as one that was free of guile, deceit, flattery, and 
covetousness.  Seeking not the glory of men, but of God, he spoke with 
boldness despite conflict, and was gentle among them as a nursing 
mother would be with her own children (1-8).  His manner of life was 
sacrificial, working hard not to be a burden to them, behaving 
devoutly, justly, and blamelessly while among them.  As a father does 
his own children, he exhorted, comforted and charged them to walk in a 
way worthy of God who was calling them into His own kingdom and glory 

Paul then begins to reflect upon the concern that he has for their 
condition.  Thankful for their reception of his gospel as the word of
God and not of men, he writes how they had imitated the churches in 
Judea in receiving the word among much persecution by their own 
countrymen (13-16).  Even though it has only been a short time since he
has seen them, he has desired to come to them time and again, but Satan
had hindered him.  His longing to see them is due to his view of them
as his hope, joy and crown of rejoicing in the presence of Jesus when
He comes again (17-20).



      1. Not in vain, but with boldness in the midst of abuse (1-2)
      2. Not in deceit, impurity, or guile, but as pleasing God (3-4)
      3. Not with flattery, covetousness, nor seeking glory from men by
         making demands as apostles of Christ (5-6)
      4. As a nursing mother, with gentleness and affection he imparted
         not only the gospel but his own life as well (7-8)

      1. Worked night and day, so as not to be burden while preaching
         the gospel (9)
      2. Behaved in a devout, just, and blameless manner (10)
      3. As a father would his own children, he exhorted and comforted
         them, encouraging them to walk worthy of God who calls them
         into His kingdom (11-12)


      1. They received his message as it was in truth, the word of God
         which works effectively in those who believe (13)
      2. They became imitators of the churches in Judea (14-16)
         a. Suffering persecution from their own countrymen (14a)
         b. Just as those in Judea received from the Jews (14b)
            1) Who killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets (15a)
            2) Who persecuted the apostles, forbidding them to speak to
               the Gentiles (15b-16a)
            3) Who are piling up their sins, and upon whom wrath has 
               come (17)

      1. He is eager to see them again (17)
      2. He had wanted to come to them, but Satan hindered him (18)
      3. Because they are his hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing in the
         presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at His coming (19-20)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Reflections regarding his conduct (1-12)
   - Reflections regarding his concern (12-20)

2) What had Paul endured prior to coming to Thessalonica?  What was his
   attitude when he arrived? (2)
   - Suffered spiteful treatment at Philippi (cf. Ac 16:16-40)
   - Bold in his God to speak the gospel of God

3) What did NOT characterize his conduct while at Thessalonica? (3-6)
   - Deceit
   - Uncleanness
   - Guile
   - Pleasing men
   - Flattering words
   - A cloak for covetousness
   - Seeking glory from men

4) What figure does Paul use to describe his treatment of them? (7)
   - As a nursing mother cherishes her own children

5) What did Paul impart to them along with the gospel of God? (8)
   - His own life

6) What DID characterize his conduct while at Thessalonica? (9-10)
   - Laboring night and day so as not to be a burden
   - Devout, just, and blameless

7) What figure does Paul use to described the manner in which he 
   exhorted them? (11)
   - As father does his own children

8) How did Paul want them to walk? (12)
   - Worthy of God who calls them into His own kingdom and glory

9) How had the Thessalonians received the word of God which they heard
   from Paul? (13)
   - They welcomed it not as the word of men, but as the word of God

10) What is said about the Word of God and those who believe it? (13)
   - It effectively works in those who believe

11) Who had the Thessalonians imitated in the way they received the 
    gospel?  In what way? (14)
   - The churches of God in Judea
   - Suffering from their own countrymen

12) What had the Jews done? (14-16)
   - Killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets
   - Persecuted the apostles, forbidding them to offer salvation to the

13) Who had hindered Paul from coming back to Thessalonica? (18)
   - Satan

14) How did Paul view the Thessalonians? (19-20)
   - His hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing in the presence of the Lord
     Jesus Christ at His coming
   - His glory and joy