Part of the cycle

Recently, the weight of being an adult has felt heavy indeed; with my wife Linda's upcoming surgery and all that goes along with it, somehow its not much fun being an adult.  So, when I read this, it made me remember my carefree days of youth.  Not the teenage years, but before I was twelve, before girls.  Yet, throughout my entire life, there is a unifying word... and that word is love.  Here is the greatest commentary I know on the subject and it deserves to be read again and again and again...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 13
 4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud,  5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil;  6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;  7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;  10 but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.  11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.  13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.

A child is loved by its family and then returns that love to a spouse and subsequently to their children.  And the cycle continues and grows in a wonderful manner.  Responsibility, adult thinking and action are just part of the cycle, which is grand beyond our wildest imagination.  I wrote today's post solely for myself, because I need to remember that although it may seem nice to return to the carefree days of youth, it is God's plan for me to conform to his will for me.  So... bring on whatever the future holds in store for me.  I only ask of myself that I remember the love God has given to me, so that as a good steward I might expand its ever growing cycle!!!

Oct. 10 Proverbs 1-4

Oct. 10
Proverbs 1-4

Pro 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel:
Pro 1:2 to know wisdom and instruction; to discern the words of understanding;
Pro 1:3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
Pro 1:4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young man:
Pro 1:5 that the wise man may hear, and increase in learning; that the man of understanding may attain to sound counsel:
Pro 1:6 to understand a proverb, and parables, the words and riddles of the wise.
Pro 1:7 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.
Pro 1:8 My son, listen to your father's instruction, and don't forsake your mother's teaching:
Pro 1:9 for they will be a garland to grace your head, and chains around your neck.
Pro 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, don't consent.
Pro 1:11 If they say, "Come with us, Let's lay in wait for blood; let's lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
Pro 1:12 let's swallow them up alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down into the pit.
Pro 1:13 We'll find all valuable wealth. We'll fill our houses with spoil.
Pro 1:14 You shall cast your lot among us. We'll all have one purse."
Pro 1:15 My son, don't walk in the way with them. Keep your foot from their path,
Pro 1:16 for their feet run to evil. They hurry to shed blood.
Pro 1:17 For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird:
Pro 1:18 but these lay wait for their own blood. They lurk secretly for their own lives.
Pro 1:19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain. It takes away the life of its owners.
Pro 1:20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street. She utters her voice in the public squares.
Pro 1:21 She calls at the head of noisy places. At the entrance of the city gates, she utters her words:
Pro 1:22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? How long will mockers delight themselves in mockery, and fools hate knowledge?
Pro 1:23 Turn at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make known my words to you.
Pro 1:24 Because I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one has paid attention;
Pro 1:25 but you have ignored all my counsel, and wanted none of my reproof;
Pro 1:26 I also will laugh at your disaster. I will mock when calamity overtakes you;
Pro 1:27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when your disaster comes on like a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come on you.
Pro 1:28 Then will they call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me;
Pro 1:29 because they hated knowledge, and didn't choose the fear of Yahweh.
Pro 1:30 They wanted none of my counsel. They despised all my reproof.
Pro 1:31 Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own schemes.
Pro 1:32 For the backsliding of the simple will kill them. The careless ease of fools will destroy them.
Pro 1:33 But whoever listens to me will dwell securely, and will be at ease, without fear of harm."

Pro 2:1 My son, if you will receive my words, and store up my commandments within you;
Pro 2:2 So as to turn your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 Yes, if you call out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding;
Pro 2:4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures:
Pro 2:5 then you will understand the fear of Yahweh, and find the knowledge of God.
Pro 2:6 For Yahweh gives wisdom. Out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.
Pro 2:7 He lays up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity;
Pro 2:8 that he may guard the paths of justice, and preserve the way of his saints.
Pro 2:9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.
Pro 2:10 For wisdom will enter into your heart. Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Pro 2:11 Discretion will watch over you. Understanding will keep you,
Pro 2:12 to deliver you from the way of evil, from the men who speak perverse things;
Pro 2:13 who forsake the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Pro 2:14 who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the perverseness of evil;
Pro 2:15 who are crooked in their ways, and wayward in their paths:
Pro 2:16 To deliver you from the strange woman, even from the foreigner who flatters with her words;
Pro 2:17 who forsakes the friend of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God:
Pro 2:18 for her house leads down to death, her paths to the dead.
Pro 2:19 None who go to her return again, neither do they attain to the paths of life:
Pro 2:20 that you may walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
Pro 2:21 For the upright will dwell in the land. The perfect will remain in it.
Pro 2:22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land. The treacherous will be rooted out of it.

Pro 3:1 My son, don't forget my teaching; but let your heart keep my commandments:
Pro 3:2 for length of days, and years of life, and peace, will they add to you.
Pro 3:3 Don't let kindness and truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Pro 3:4 So you will find favor, and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Pro 3:5 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Pro 3:7 Don't be wise in your own eyes. Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.
Pro 3:8 It will be health to your body, and nourishment to your bones.
Pro 3:9 Honor Yahweh with your substance, with the first fruits of all your increase:
Pro 3:10 so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.
Pro 3:11 My son, don't despise Yahweh's discipline, neither be weary of his reproof:
Pro 3:12 for whom Yahweh loves, he reproves; even as a father reproves the son in whom he delights.
Pro 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gets understanding.
Pro 3:14 For her good profit is better than getting silver, and her return is better than fine gold.
Pro 3:15 She is more precious than rubies. None of the things you can desire are to be compared to her.
Pro 3:16 Length of days is in her right hand. In her left hand are riches and honor.
Pro 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness. All her paths are peace.
Pro 3:18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her. Happy is everyone who retains her.
Pro 3:19 By wisdom Yahweh founded the earth. By understanding, he established the heavens.
Pro 3:20 By his knowledge, the depths were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew.
Pro 3:21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes. Keep sound wisdom and discretion:
Pro 3:22 so they will be life to your soul, and grace for your neck.
Pro 3:23 Then you shall walk in your way securely. Your foot won't stumble.
Pro 3:24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid. Yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.
Pro 3:25 Don't be afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes:
Pro 3:26 for Yahweh will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being taken.
Pro 3:27 Don't withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.
Pro 3:28 Don't say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again; tomorrow I will give it to you," when you have it by you.
Pro 3:29 Don't devise evil against your neighbor, seeing he dwells securely by you.
Pro 3:30 Don't strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.
Pro 3:31 Don't envy the man of violence. Choose none of his ways.
Pro 3:32 For the perverse is an abomination to Yahweh, but his friendship is with the upright.
Pro 3:33 Yahweh's curse is in the house of the wicked, but he blesses the habitation of the righteous.
Pro 3:34 Surely he mocks the mockers, but he gives grace to the humble.
Pro 3:35 The wise will inherit glory, but shame will be the promotion of fools.

Pro 4:1 Listen, sons, to a father's instruction. Pay attention and know understanding;
Pro 4:2 for I give you sound learning. Don't forsake my law.
Pro 4:3 For I was a son to my father, tender and an only child in the sight of my mother.
Pro 4:4 He taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words. Keep my commandments, and live.
Pro 4:5 Get wisdom. Get understanding. Don't forget, neither swerve from the words of my mouth.
Pro 4:6 Don't forsake her, and she will preserve you. Love her, and she will keep you.
Pro 4:7 Wisdom is supreme. Get wisdom. Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding.
Pro 4:8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you. She will bring you to honor, when you embrace her.
Pro 4:9 She will give to your head a garland of grace. She will deliver a crown of splendor to you."
Pro 4:10 Listen, my son, and receive my sayings. The years of your life will be many.
Pro 4:11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in straight paths.
Pro 4:12 When you go, your steps will not be hampered. When you run, you will not stumble.
Pro 4:13 Take firm hold of instruction. Don't let her go. Keep her, for she is your life.
Pro 4:14 Don't enter into the path of the wicked. Don't walk in the way of evil men.
Pro 4:15 Avoid it, and don't pass by it. Turn from it, and pass on.
Pro 4:16 For they don't sleep, unless they do evil. Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall.
Pro 4:17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
Pro 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light, that shines more and more until the perfect day.
Pro 4:19 The way of the wicked is like darkness. They don't know what they stumble over.
Pro 4:20 My son, attend to my words. Turn your ear to my sayings.
Pro 4:21 Let them not depart from your eyes. Keep them in the midst of your heart.
Pro 4:22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to their whole body.
Pro 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.
Pro 4:24 Put away from yourself a perverse mouth. Put corrupt lips far from you.
Pro 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you.
Pro 4:26 Make the path of your feet level. Let all of your ways be established.
Pro 4:27 Don't turn to the right hand nor to the left. Remove your foot from evil.

Oct. 10 Ephesians 1

Oct. 10
Ephesians 1

Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Eph 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ;
Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;
Eph 1:5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,
Eph 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved,
Eph 1:7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Eph 1:8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him
Eph 1:10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him;
Eph 1:11 in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will;
Eph 1:12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ:
Eph 1:13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation,--in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of his glory.
Eph 1:15 For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints,
Eph 1:16 don't cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers,
Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;
Eph 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might
Eph 1:20 which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.
Eph 1:22 He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly,
Eph 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

James, chapter 1, Mark Copeland

                         "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"

                              Chapter One


1) To appreciate the value of enduring trials

2) To understand how sin develops, from temptation to death (separation
   from God)

3) To note the importance of being doers of the Word, and practitioners
   of religion that is pure and undefiled before God


Following a simple and humble salutation (1), James begins his epistle
with a call to view trials as occasions to rejoice, understanding they
can produce patience which leads to maturity (2-5).  If wisdom is
needed, he counsels his readers to ask God with faith and no doubting
(5-8).  In the meantime, the poor are encouraged to rejoice in their
exaltation, while the rich are to be thankful for their humiliation

Motivation to endure temptation is given, along with an explanation as
to the true source of temptations and the development of sin which 
leads to spiritual death (12-15).  Let no one be deceived, God is not 
the source of temptation, but the Father of every good and perfect gift
which comes down from above, who has brought us forth that we might be
the firstfruits of His creation (16-18).

With admonitions to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath,
James then expounds upon a major theme of this epistle:  to be doers of
the word and not hearers only.  Illustrating the folly of being a
hearer only, he contrasts the difference between religion that is 
useless and that which is pure and undefiled before God (19-27).




      1. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience
      2. Letting patience produce its perfect work
         a. That you may be perfect and complete
         b. That you may lack nothing

      1. If you lack wisdom, ask God
         a. Who gives to all liberally and without reproach
         b. It will be given to you
      2. But ask in faith, with no doubting; for he who doubts...
         a. Is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind
         b. Should not suppose that he will receive anything from the
         c. Is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways

      1. If a lowly brother, glory in your exaltation
      2. If rich, glory in your humiliation
         a. For as the flower of the field you will pass away, as the
            grass withers with the burning heat of the rising sun
         b. So the rich man will fade away in his pursuits

      1. The man who endures temptation will be blessed
         a. For he will receive the crown of life when he is proven
         b. Which the Lord has promised to those who love Him
      2. Temptations do not come from God
         a. God cannot be tempted by evil
         b. He does not tempt anyone
      3. The source of temptations
         a. One is tempted when drawn away by his own desires and is
         b. When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin
         c. Sin, when full-grown, brings forth death

      1. Do not be deceived, beloved brethren
      2. Every good and perfect gift is from above
         a. Coming down from the Father of lights
         b. With whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
      3. Of His own will He brought us forth
         a. By the word of truth
         b. That we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures


      1. Let every one be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath
      2. For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God

      1. What to lay aside, and what to receive
         a. Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness
         b. Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to
            save your souls
      2. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only
         a. Otherwise you deceive yourselves
         b. You are like a man who after looking in mirror soon forgets
            what he looked like
      3. One who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in
         a. Is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work
         b. Will be blessed in what he does
      4. Your religion is useless...
         a. If you think you're religious, but do not bridle your 
         b. You deceive only your heart
      5. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is 
         a. To visit orphans and widows in their trouble
         b. To keep oneself unspotted from the world


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - True religion endures trials and temptations (1-18)
   - True religion consists of doing, not just hearing (19-27)

2) How should Christians view trials in their life?  Why?  (2-3)
   - An occasion in which to rejoice
   - Knowing that testing one's faith produces patience

3) What is the value of developing patience? (4)
   - It helps to make one perfect and complete, lacking nothing

4) If we lack wisdom, what should we do?  Why?  How? (5-6)
   - Ask of God
   - He gives to all liberally and without reproach
   - In faith, with no doubting

5) What is one who doubts like?  What can he expect?  Why? (6-8)
   - Like the wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind
   - To receive nothing from the Lord
   - He is double-minded, and unstable in all his ways

6) In what should the lowly brother glory?  The rich man? (9-10)
   - His exaltation
   - His humiliation

7) What is the rich man like in his pursuits? (10-11)
   - A flower of the field that soon withers with the heat of the 
     rising sun

8) When is the man who endures temptation blessed?  How will he be 
   blessed? (12)
   - When he is proved
   - By receiving the crown of life the Lord has promised to those who
     love Him

9) What should no one say when they are tempted?  Why? (13)
   - "I am tempted by God"
   - God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone

10) Then how is one tempted? (14)
   - When drawn away by his own desires and enticed

11) When is sin born?  What does sin produce when full-grown? (15)
   - When desire has conceived and given birth
   - Death

12) What is the source of every good gift and every perfect gift? (17)
   - From above, coming down from the Father of lights

13) How has God brought us forth (given us birth)?  Why did He do this?
   - Of His own will, by the word of truth
   - That we might a kind of firstfruits of His creatures

14) What does James desire of his "beloved brethren"? (19)
   - To be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

15) Why should one be "slow to wrath"? (20)
   - The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God

16) What needs to be laid aside? (21)
   - All filthiness and overflow of wickedness

17) What needs to be received with meekness?  Why? (21)
   - The implanted word
   - It is able to save your souls

18) To avoid deceiving ourselves, what must we be? (22)
   - Doers of the word, and not hearers only

19) What is one like who hears the word but does not do it? (23-24)
   - One who looks at himself in a mirror, only to go away and soon
     forget what he looked like

20) Who will be truly blessed in what they do? (25)
   - He who looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it
   - He who is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work

21) Whose religion is useless? (26)
   - The one who thinks he is religious, but does not bridle his tongue
     and deceives his own heart

22) What is pure and undefiled religion before God? (27)
   - To visit orphans and widows in their trouble
   - To keep oneself unspotted from the world