A missed opportunity

Most people are familiar with the rainbow; whether it is from Irish lore (the pot of gold at its end) or from the Bible (God's promise not to inundate the whole world ever again).  Now, imagine you are the driver of the car and you see it up ahead; what do you do?  Keep on going or stay at the rainbow's terminus? This is not so much about gold or blessing as it is opportunity.  If you pass by (that is, go through) an opportunity God gives you-- you may never get another.  And so, I am reminded of a missed blessing from the old testament.

2 Kings, Chapter 13
 14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness of which he died: and Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over him, and said, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”

  15 Elisha said to him, “Take bow and arrows;” and he took to him bow and arrows.  16 He said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow;” and he put his hand on it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands.  17 He said, “Open the window eastward;” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot!” and he shot. He said, “Yahweh’s arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Syria; for you shall strike the Syrians in Aphek, until you have consumed them.”

  18 He said, “Take the arrows;” and he took them. He said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground;” and he struck three times, and stopped.  19 The man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times. Then you would have struck Syria until you had consumed it, whereas now you shall strike Syria just three times.”

Someone has said something like: O the saddest words of mice or men is that of which MIGHT HAVE BEEN!!!  Missed blessings are among the hardest of all things to swallow!!!  If I had just.... is replete with remorse and missed opportunity.  Another example is found in the New Testament, where Paul is taken before King Agrippa...

Acts, Chapter 26
  24 As he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are crazy! Your great learning is driving you insane!”

  25 But he said, “I am not crazy, most excellent Festus, but boldly declare words of truth and reasonableness.  26 For the king knows of these things, to whom also I speak freely. For I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”

  28 Agrippa said to Paul, “With a little persuasion are you trying to make me a Christian?”

  29 Paul said, “I pray to God, that whether with little or with much, not only you, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these bonds.”

  30 The king rose up with the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them.  31 When they had withdrawn, they spoke one to another, saying, “This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds.”  32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Joash, and Agrippa both failed to receive a blessing from God because they really didn't listen to his words.  The next time you read your Bible, remember these things and do what God wants you to do, instead of your own wishes.  I know that I will try to remember because these truths are the real "pot of Gold" and are more valuable than anything I could ever own!!!!  Hope you feel the same way!!!!

Bible Reading, Nov 2

Nov. 2
Isaiah 25-28

Isa 25:1 Yahweh, you are my God. I will exalt you! I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago, in complete faithfulness and truth.
Isa 25:2 For you have made a city into a heap, a fortified city into a ruin, a palace of strangers to be no city. It will never be built.
Isa 25:3 Therefore a strong people will glorify you. A city of awesome nations will fear you.
Isa 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the dreaded ones is like a storm against the wall.
Isa 25:5 As the heat in a dry place will you bring down the noise of strangers; as the heat by the shade of a cloud, the song of the dreaded ones will be brought low.
Isa 25:6 In this mountain, Yahweh of Armies will make all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of choice wines, of fat things full of marrow, of well refined choice wines.
Isa 25:7 He will destroy in this mountain the surface of the covering that covers all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations.
Isa 25:8 He has swallowed up death forever! The Lord Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces. He will take the reproach of his people away from off all the earth, for Yahweh has spoken it.
Isa 25:9 It shall be said in that day, "Behold, this is our God! We have waited for him, and he will save us! This is Yahweh! We have waited for him. We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!"
Isa 25:10 For in this mountain the hand of Yahweh will rest. Moab will be trodden down in his place, even like straw is trodden down in the water of the dunghill.
Isa 25:11 He will spread out his hands in its midst, like one who swims spreads out hands to swim, but his pride will be humbled together with the craft of his hands.
Isa 25:12 He has brought the high fortress of your walls down, laid low, and brought to the ground, even to the dust.

Isa 26:1 In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city. God appoints salvation for walls and bulwarks.
Isa 26:2 Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter: the one which keeps faith.
Isa 26:3 You will keep whoever's mind is steadfast in perfect peace, because he trusts in you.
Isa 26:4 Trust in Yahweh forever; for in Yah, Yahweh, is an everlasting Rock.
Isa 26:5 For he has brought down those who dwell on high, the lofty city. He lays it low. He lays it low even to the ground. He brings it even to the dust.
Isa 26:6 The foot shall tread it down; Even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy."
Isa 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness. You who are upright make the path of the righteous level.
Isa 26:8 Yes, in the way of your judgments, Yahweh, have we waited for you. Your name and your renown are the desire of our soul.
Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired you in the night. Yes, with my spirit within me will I seek you earnestly; for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Isa 26:10 Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness. In the land of uprightness he will deal wrongfully, and will not see Yahweh's majesty.
Isa 26:11 Yahweh, your hand is lifted up, yet they don't see; but they will see your zeal for the people, and be disappointed. Yes, fire will consume your adversaries.
Isa 26:12 Yahweh, you will ordain peace for us, for you have also worked all our works for us.
Isa 26:13 Yahweh our God, other lords besides you have had dominion over us, but by you only will we make mention of your name.
Isa 26:14 The dead shall not live. The deceased shall not rise. Therefore have you visited and destroyed them, and caused all memory of them to perish.
Isa 26:15 You have increased the nation, O Yahweh. You have increased the nation! You are glorified! You have enlarged all the borders of the land.
Isa 26:16 Yahweh, in trouble they have visited you. They poured out a prayer when your chastening was on them.
Isa 26:17 Like as a woman with child, who draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so we have been before you, Yahweh.
Isa 26:18 We have been with child. We have been in pain. We gave birth, it seems, only to wind. We have not worked any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
Isa 26:19 Your dead shall live. My dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast forth the dead.
Isa 26:20 Come, my people, enter into your chambers, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a little moment, until the indignation is past.
Isa 26:21 For, behold, Yahweh comes forth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth also will disclose her blood, and will no longer cover her slain.

Isa 27:1 In that day, Yahweh with his hard and great and strong sword will punish leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and leviathan the twisted serpent; and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea.
Isa 27:2 In that day, sing to her, "A pleasant vineyard!
Isa 27:3 I, Yahweh, am its keeper. I will water it every moment. Lest anyone damage it, I will keep it night and day.
Isa 27:4 Wrath is not in me, but if I should find briers and thorns, I would do battle! I would march on them and I would burn them together.
Isa 27:5 Or else let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me. Let him make peace with me."
Isa 27:6 In days to come, Jacob will take root. Israel will blossom and bud. They will fill the surface of the world with fruit.
Isa 27:7 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or are they killed like those who killed them were killed?
Isa 27:8 In measure, when you send them away, you contend with them. He has removed them with his rough blast in the day of the east wind.
Isa 27:9 Therefore, by this the iniquity of Jacob will be forgiven, and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: that he makes all the stones of the altar as chalk stones that are beaten in pieces, so that the Asherim and the incense altars shall rise no more.
Isa 27:10 For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness. The calf will feed there, and there he will lie down, and consume its branches.
Isa 27:11 When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off. The women will come and set them on fire, for they are a people of no understanding. Therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them, and he who formed them will show them no favor.
Isa 27:12 It will happen in that day, that Yahweh will thresh from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, children of Israel.
Isa 27:13 It will happen in that day that a great trumpet will be blown; and those who were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and those who were outcasts in the land of Egypt, shall come; and they will worship Yahweh in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Isa 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fertile valley of those who are overcome with wine!
Isa 28:2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one. Like a storm of hail, a destroying storm, and like a storm of mighty waters overflowing, he will cast them down to the earth with his hand.
Isa 28:3 The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden under foot.
Isa 28:4 The fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fertile valley, shall be like the first-ripe fig before the summer; which someone picks and eats as soon as he sees it.
Isa 28:5 In that day, Yahweh of Armies will become a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the residue of his people;
Isa 28:6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
Isa 28:7 They also reel with wine, and stagger with strong drink. The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink. They are swallowed up by wine. They stagger with strong drink. They err in vision. They stumble in judgment.
Isa 28:8 For all tables are completely full of filthy vomit and filthiness.
Isa 28:9 Whom will he teach knowledge? To whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts?
Isa 28:10 For it is precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little.
Isa 28:11 But he will speak to this nation with stammering lips and in another language;
Isa 28:12 to whom he said, "This is the resting place. Give rest to weary;" and "This is the refreshing;" yet they would not hear.
Isa 28:13 Therefore the word of Yahweh will be to them precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little; that they may go, fall backward, be broken, be snared, and be taken.
Isa 28:14 Therefore hear the word of Yahweh, you scoffers, that rule this people in Jerusalem:
Isa 28:15 "Because you have said, 'We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol are we in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it won't come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and we have hidden ourselves under falsehood.' "
Isa 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone of a sure foundation. He who believes shall not act hastily.
Isa 28:17 I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plumb line. The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place.
Isa 28:18 Your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand. When the overflowing scourge passes through, then you will be trampled down by it.
Isa 28:19 As often as it passes through, it will seize you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be nothing but terror to understand the message."
Isa 28:20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on, and the blanket is too narrow to wrap oneself in.
Isa 28:21 For Yahweh will rise up as on Mount Perazim. He will be angry as in the valley of Gibeon; that he may do his work, his unusual work, and bring to pass his act, his extraordinary act.
Isa 28:22 Now therefore don't be scoffers, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, on the whole earth.
Isa 28:23 Give ear, and hear my voice! Listen, and hear my speech!
Isa 28:24 Does he who plows to sow plow continually? Does he keep turning the soil and breaking the clods?
Isa 28:25 When he has leveled its surface, doesn't he plant the dill, and scatter the cumin seed, and put in the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place?
Isa 28:26 For his God instructs him in right judgment, and teaches him.
Isa 28:27 For the dill are not threshed with a sharp instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned over the cumin; but the dill is beaten out with a stick, and the cumin with a rod.
Isa 28:28 Bread flour must be ground; so he will not always be threshing it. Although he drives the wheel of his threshing cart over it, his horses don't grind it.
Isa 28:29 This also comes forth from Yahweh of Armies, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

Nov. 2
1 Timothy 2

1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men:
1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence.
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
1Ti 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
1Ti 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all; the testimony in its own times;
1Ti 2:7 to which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth in Christ, not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
1Ti 2:8 I desire therefore that the men in every place pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and doubting.
1Ti 2:9 In the same way, that women also adorn themselves in decent clothing, with modesty and propriety; not just with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothing;
1Ti 2:10 but (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works.
1Ti 2:11 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 But I don't permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man, but to be in quietness.
1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
1Ti 2:14 Adam wasn't deceived, but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience;
1Ti 2:15 but she will be saved through her childbearing, if they continue in faith, love, and sanctification with sobriety.

Jude, introduction, Mark Copeland

"THE EPISTLE OF JUDE" Introduction In several passages throughout the New Testament, we find serious warnings about impending apostasy... * Jesus warned that false prophets would arise, the love of many would grow cold, and only those who endure to the end would be saved - Mt 24:11-13 * Paul foretold of many disciples being drawn away - Ac 20:29-30 * Peter warned about the rise of false teachers, and how many would follow their destructive ways - 2Pe 2:1-3 By the time the epistles of John and Jude were written, the danger was no longer pending, it was very much in existence... • Antichrists were present, and false prophets were in the world - 1Jn 2:18; 4:1; 2Jn 1:7 • Jude was forced to change his original purpose to deal with the crisis - Jude 1:3-4 If the danger of apostasy was already present in the 1st century A.D., we should not be surprised that the danger exists in the 21st century. We would do well to pay close heed to those epistles written to tell us how to deal with apostasy, and that makes The Epistle Of Jude especially relevant. AUTHOR Jude, as stated in the salutation (Jude 1:1). That he does not identify himself as an apostle, and appears to distinguish himself from the apostles (Jude 1:17), suggests he was not the apostle Jude (cf. Lk 6:16; Ac 1:13). His self-identification as "the brother of James" leads many to believe the author to be Judas, brother of James and also of the Lord Jesus (cf. Mt 13:55). Like James, Jude chose not to accentuate his physical relation to Jesus, but his spiritual one ("a bondservant of Jesus Christ," cf. Jude 1:1; Jm 1:1). RECIPIENTS The letter is addressed "to those who are called" (Jude 1:1) without any specific designation as to who they were or where they lived. The references to Old Testament incidents and extra-biblical sources (cf. Jude 1:5-7,9,11,14) strongly suggests that the original readers were Jewish Christians, perhaps living in Palestine. DATE Similarities between the Epistle of Jude and the Second Epistle of Peter indicate one author may have influenced the other. Since Peter wrote of false teachers who were to come (cf. 2Pe 2:1) and Jude warned of those who had already "crept in unnoticed" (cf. Jude 1:4), it is possible that that Jude wrote after Peter. Peter’s death in during the reign of Nero (which ended in 68 A.D.) places his own epistle sometime before 67 A.D. The lack of any mention of the destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred during the fall of 70 A.D.) suggests that Jude wrote before that notable event. If so, then the date of composition may have been between 67-70 A.D. PURPOSE AND THEME Jude’s original purpose in penning this epistle was to write of the common salvation he and his readers shared (Jude 1:3). But the presence of ungodly men and the danger of them leading Christians astray forced a change in purpose: * To encourage his readers to contend earnestly for the faith that had been delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) As for the theme, Jude’s first admonition serves us well: Contend earnestly for the faith OUTLINE Here is a simple outline of the book... Greetings (1-2) 1. Purpose for writing (3-4) 2. God’s judgments in time past (5-7) 3. Character and doom of false teachers (8-19) 4. Exhortations to build their faith (20-23) Concluding doxology (24-25) REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) Who is author of The Epistle Of Jude? (1) - Jude, brother of James (likely the half-brothers of Jesus, Mt 13:55) 2) Who were the recipients of this epistle? - "Those who were called", possibly Jewish Christians 3) When was it written? - Most date it between 67-70 A.D. 4) What has been suggested as its purpose? - To encourage his readers to contend earnestly for the faith that had been delivered to the saints 5) What has been suggested as its theme? - Contend earnestly for the faith 6) What are the main divisions of this epistle as outlined above? - Greetings (1-2) - Purpose for writing (3-4) - God’s judgments in time past (5-7) - Character and doom of false teachers (8-19) - Exhortations to build their faith (20-23) - Concluding doxology (24-25)