Memories from the dark and judgment in the LIGHT!!!

I was watching the Republican National Convention last night and as I listened to the speeches, I was pleasantly surprised to actually hear politicians give God credit for our blessings.  It has been so long since I have seen anyone in the public sector who has respect for God; genuine respect, not just show, that I could hardly believe it!!!  And Clint Eastwood really did "make my day"!!!  These things reminded me that even among the lowest among us (politicians being the prime example) God can be remembered and even appreciated!!!  So, when I saw this rather striking magazine cover I remembered this passage....

2 Peter, Chapter 3
 1 This is now, beloved, the second letter that I have written to you; and in both of them I stir up your sincere mind by reminding you;  2 that you should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior:  3 knowing this first, that in the last days mockers will come, walking after their own lusts,  4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  5 For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth formed out of water and amid water, by the word of God;  6 by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.  7 But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  8 But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  11 Therefore since all these things will be destroyed like this, what kind of people ought you to be in holy living and godliness,  12 looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, which will cause the burning heavens to be dissolved, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  13 But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

 We are at war, both physically and spiritually!!!  It has almost been 11 years since that tragic day in September, when Muslim extremists killed over 2000 people.  Even more important than our physical war is the Spiritual warfare that has been ongoing for millennium.  Good versus evil has been evident for as long as mankind can remember, but someday it will be resolved; someday judgment will come.  Osama Bin Ladin paid for his actions with his life and soon all his cohorts will suffer the same fate.  After a decade it becomes easy to forget to remember what was done to America and I can only guess how long it will be before someone will say it never happened.  Think that can't happen; think again, for some in Germany already deny the Holocaust!!!  So, the above passage from Peter's pen becomes all the more important.  Someday God will judge mankind for what they have done on this beautiful Earth and wipe away every trace of evil.  God will remember the good we have done as well and reward us accordingly.... and He doesn't need a magazine cover to remind Him of it either!!!

Aug. 31 Psalm 23-25

Aug. 31
Psalm 23-25

Psa 23:1 Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing.
Psa 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Psa 23:3 He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psa 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psa 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over.
Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in Yahweh's house forever.
Psa 24:1 The earth is Yahweh's, with its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein.
Psa 24:2 For he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods.
Psa 24:3 Who may ascend to Yahweh's hill? Who may stand in his holy place?
Psa 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully.
Psa 24:5 He shall receive a blessing from Yahweh, righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Psa 24:6 This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek your face--even Jacob. Selah.
Psa 24:7 Lift up your heads, you gates! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in.
Psa 24:8 Who is the King of glory? Yahweh strong and mighty, Yahweh mighty in battle.
Psa 24:9 Lift up your heads, you gates; yes, lift them up, you everlasting doors, and the King of glory will come in.
Psa 24:10 Who is this King of glory? Yahweh of Armies is the King of glory! Selah.
Psa 25:1 To you, Yahweh, do I lift up my soul.
Psa 25:2 My God, I have trusted in you. Don't let me be shamed. Don't let my enemies triumph over me.
Psa 25:3 Yes, no one who waits for you shall be shamed. They shall be shamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Psa 25:4 Show me your ways, Yahweh. Teach me your paths.
Psa 25:5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation, I wait for you all day long.
Psa 25:6 Yahweh, remember your tender mercies and your loving kindness, for they are from old times.
Psa 25:7 Don't remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions. Remember me according to your loving kindness, for your goodness' sake, Yahweh.
Psa 25:8 Good and upright is Yahweh, therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.
Psa 25:9 He will guide the humble in justice. He will teach the humble his way.
Psa 25:10 All the paths of Yahweh are loving kindness and truth to such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psa 25:11 For your name's sake, Yahweh, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Psa 25:12 What man is he who fears Yahweh? He shall instruct him in the way that he shall choose.
Psa 25:13 His soul shall dwell at ease. His seed shall inherit the land.
Psa 25:14 The friendship of Yahweh is with those who fear him. He will show them his covenant.
Psa 25:15 My eyes are ever on Yahweh, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psa 25:16 Turn to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted.
Psa 25:17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged. Oh bring me out of my distresses.
Psa 25:18 Consider my affliction and my travail. Forgive all my sins.
Psa 25:19 Consider my enemies, for they are many. They hate me with cruel hatred.
Psa 25:20 Oh keep my soul, and deliver me. Let me not be disappointed, for I take refuge in you.
Psa 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Psa 25:22 Redeem Israel, God, out all of his troubles.

Aug. 31 Romans 12

Aug. 31
Romans 12

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.
Rom 12:2 Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don't have the same function,
Rom 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Rom 12:6 Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;
Rom 12:7 or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching;
Rom 12:8 or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.
Rom 12:10 In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another;
Rom 12:11 not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Rom 12:13 contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don't curse.
Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.
Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Don't set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don't be wise in your own conceits.
Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men.
Rom 12:19 Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord."
Rom 12:20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Rom 12:21 Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.



                              Chapter Five


1) To note the unexpected nature of the coming of the Lord, and how we
   should prepare for that event

2) To see what our responsibilities are toward those who are over us in
   the Lord, and what responsibilities we have to one another

3) To appreciate what the will of God is for us as it relates to joy,
   thanksgiving, and prayer


Continuing his apostolic instructions, Paul knows he does not need to
write to the Thessalonians concerning the timing of the Lord's coming,
for they know full well that He will come as a thief in the night and 
with sudden destruction catch many people unexpectedly (1-3).  Such 
should not be the case for Christians, however, for they are "sons of 
light" and "sons of the day"; therefore they should watch and be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and having as a helmet 
the hope of their salvation (4-8).  Knowing that God has appointed them
to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ, they know that whether dead
or alive they will live with Christ.  Through such hope they should
therefore comfort and edify one another, just as they were doing

A series of exhortations follows.  First, to recognize and esteem those
who labor among them and are over them in the Lord, and to be at peace 
among themselves (12-13).  Then, exhortations related to our concern 
for one another, along with a call to rejoice always,  to pray without 
ceasing, to give thanks in everything, to quench not the Spirit nor 
despise prophecies, yet testing all things, holding fast to what is 
good and abstaining from all that is evil (14-22).

Paul concludes his epistle with a prayer for their sanctification as it
relates to the coming of Christ, a reminder of the faithfulness of God,
a plea for prayer in his behalf, and final instructions concerning 
greeting one another and having the epistle read to all the brethren.  
He signs off with a prayer for grace from the Lord Jesus in their 
behalf (23-28).



      1. Concerning times and seasons, Paul did not need to write to 
         them (1)
      2. They understood that the day of the Lord will come as a thief
         in the night (2)
      3. It will come unexpectedly upon many, and such will not escape
      4. But they are not in darkness, so that day would overtake them
         as a thief (4)

      1. We are not to be of the night or of darkness (5)
      2. Therefore we must watch and be sober, unlike those who sleep
         and get drunk (6-7)
      3. Those of the day are to be sober, and properly attired by 
         putting on... (8)
         a. The breastplate of faith and love
         b. The hope of salvation as a helmet

      1. He did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation 
         through Jesus Christ (9)
      2. Who died for us, that whether dead or alive, we should live
         together with Him (10)
      3. Therefore we need to comfort and edify one another (11)


      1. To recognize those...
         a. Who labor among us (12c)
         b. Who are over us in the Lord (12b)
         c. Who admonish us (12c)
      2. To esteem them highly in love for their work's sake (13a)
      3. To be at peace among ourselves (13b)

      1. Exhorted to...
         a. Warn those who are unruly (14a)
         b. Comfort the fainthearted (14b)
         c. Uphold the weak (14c)
         d. Be patient with all (14d)
      2. To render not evil for evil to anyone (15a)
      3. To always pursue what is good for yourselves and for all (15c)

      1. Rejoicing always (16)
      2. Praying without ceasing (17)
      3. Giving thanks in everything (18a)
      -- Which is God's will for us in Christ Jesus (18b)

      1. They were not to quench the Spirit, nor despise prophesies
      2. Yet they were to test all things; holding fast to that which
         is good, and abstaining from all forms of evil (21-22)


   A. A PRAYER FOR THEM (23-24)
      1. That the God of peace sanctify them completely (23a)
      2. That their whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless
         at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (23b)
      3. Reminding them that the One who calls them is faithful, who 
         will also do it (24)


   C. FINAL CHARGES (26-27)
      1. To greet all the brethren with a holy kiss (26)
      2. That this epistle be read to all the brethren (27)



1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Walk in light (1-11)
   - Walk in obedience (12-22)
   - Concluding remarks (23-28)

2) Concerning what did Paul feel no need to write to the Thessalonians?
   - Times and seasons related to the coming of the Lord

3) What did they already know? (2)
   - That the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night

4) What will people being saying when the Lord comes? (3)
   - "Peace and safety!"

5) What will come upon them when the Lord comes?  Will they escape? (3)
   - Sudden destruction
   - No

6) Why will the Day of the Lord not overtake Christians as a thief?
   - They are not in darkness
   - They are sons of light and sons of the day

7) What is our responsibility as "sons of light" and "sons of the day"?
   - To watch and be sober

8) What are we to put on? (8)
   - The breastplate of faith and love
   - The hope of salvation as a helmet

9) To what has God appointed us? (9)
   - To obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

10) Why did Jesus die for us? (10)
   - That whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him

11) What is our responsibility to one another in view of such things?
   - To comfort each other and edify one another

12) What is our responsibility to those who labor among us and are over
    us in the Lord? (12-13)
   - To recognize them
   - To esteem them highly in love for their work's sake
   - To be at peace among ourselves

13) What six charges did Paul give concerning those around us? (14-15)
   - Warn those who are unruly
   - Comfort the fainthearted
   - Uphold the weak
   - Be patient with all
   - See no one renders evil for evil to anyone
   - Always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all

14) What three things does Paul say is the will of God for us in Christ
    Jesus? (16-18)
   - Rejoice always
   - Pray without ceasing
   - In everything give thanks

15) What five admonitions does Paul give related to the Spirit and
    prophecies? (19-22)
   - Do not quench the Spirit
   - Do not despise prophecies
   - Test all things
   - Hold fast what is good
   - Abstain from every form of evil

16) For what two things does Paul pray in behalf of the Thessalonians?
   - May the God of peace Himself sanctify them completely
   - May their whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at
     the coming of the Lord

17) What assurance is there that God will do this? (24)
   - The God who calls them is faithful (dependable, trustworthy)

18) What two final admonitions does Paul give the Thessalonians?
   - Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss
   - To have this epistle read to all the brethren

19) What is Paul's final benediction? (28)
   - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.