Not what they seem...

An old man calls his son and says, "Listen, your mother and I are getting divorced. Forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

“We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,” he says. "I'm sick of her face, and I'm sick of talking about this, so call your sister and tell her," and he hangs up.

Now, the son is worried. He calls his sister. She says, "Like hell they’re getting divorced!" She calls their father immediately. "You’re not getting divorced! Don't do another thing. The two of us are flying home tomorrow to talk about this. Until then, don't call a lawyer, don't file a paper. DO YOU HEAR ME?” She hangs up the phone.

The old man turns to his wife and says, "Okay, they’re both coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares."

If you wonder whether or not you should stay married, ask your children; its important to THEM!!!  Everyone wants a stable home, a place where you can feel loved and be welcome no matter what has happened in your life.  God knows this and therefore has made it difficult to break up a home.  Jesus was questioned about divorce and here is his answer...

Matthew, Chapter 19
 3 Pharisees came to him, testing him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” 

  4  He answered, “Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,   5  and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall join to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?’  6  So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart.” 

  7  They asked him, “Why then did Moses command us to give her a bill of divorce, and divorce her?” 

  8  He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been so.   9  I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries her when she is divorced commits adultery.” 

This sounds hard, and for some people it may seem hard; but it really isn't.  If you pledge your life to someone, you had better do it.  God is watching and the penalty for going astray from your vows is severe.  The people in the story never intended to get divorced, they just wanted to see their children.  I just wish they had not felt compelled to lie about it!!

Bible Reading, Dec. 20

Dec. 20
Jonah 1-4

Jon 1:1 Now the word of Yahweh came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Jon 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach against it, for their wickedness has come up before me."
Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid its fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.
Jon 1:4 But Yahweh sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty storm on the sea, so that the ship was likely to break up.
Jon 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it. But Jonah had gone down into the innermost parts of the ship, and he was laying down, and was fast asleep.
Jon 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God! Maybe your God will notice us, so that we won't perish."
Jon 1:7 They all said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
Jon 1:8 Then they asked him, "Tell us, please, for whose cause this evil is on us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? Of what people are you?"
Jon 1:9 He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear Yahweh, the God of heaven, who has made the sea and the dry land."
Jon 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said to him, "What is this that you have done?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Yahweh, because he had told them.
Jon 1:11 Then said they to him, "What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us?" For the sea grew more and more stormy.
Jon 1:12 He said to them, "Take me up, and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will be calm for you; for I know that because of me this great storm is on you."
Jon 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to get them back to the land; but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them.
Jon 1:14 Therefore they cried to Yahweh, and said, "We beg you, Yahweh, we beg you, let us not perish for this man's life, and don't lay on us innocent blood; for you, Yahweh, have done as it pleased you."
Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased its raging.
Jon 1:16 Then the men feared Yahweh exceedingly; and they offered a sacrifice to Yahweh, and made vows.
Jon 1:17 Yahweh prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jon 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to Yahweh, his God, out of the fish's belly.
Jon 2:2 He said, "I called because of my affliction to Yahweh. He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried. You heard my voice.
Jon 2:3 For you threw me into the depths, in the heart of the seas. The flood was all around me. All your waves and your billows passed over me.
Jon 2:4 I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
Jon 2:5 The waters surrounded me, even to the soul. The deep was around me. The weeds were wrapped around my head.
Jon 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains. The earth barred me in forever: yet have you brought up my life from the pit, Yahweh my God.
Jon 2:7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came in to you, into your holy temple.
Jon 2:8 Those who regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation belongs to Yahweh."
Jon 2:10 Yahweh spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.

Jon 3:1 The word of Yahweh came to Jonah the second time, saying,
Jon 3:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I give you."
Jon 3:3 So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of Yahweh. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey across.
Jon 3:4 Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried out, and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
Jon 3:5 The people of Nineveh believed God; and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
Jon 3:6 The news reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and took off his royal robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Jon 3:7 He made a proclamation and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, "Let neither man nor animal, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, nor drink water;
Jon 3:8 but let them be covered with sackcloth, both man and animal, and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands.
Jon 3:9 Who knows whether God will not turn and relent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we might not perish?"
Jon 3:10 God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn't do it.

Jon 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.
Jon 4:2 He prayed to Yahweh, and said, "Please, Yahweh, wasn't this what I said when I was still in my own country? Therefore I hurried to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and you relent of doing harm.
Jon 4:3 Therefore now, Yahweh, take, I beg you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live."
Jon 4:4 Yahweh said, "Is it right for you to be angry?"
Jon 4:5 Then Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made himself a booth, and sat under it in the shade, until he might see what would become of the city.
Jon 4:6 Yahweh God prepared a vine, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the vine.
Jon 4:7 But God prepared a worm at dawn the next day, and it chewed on the vine, so that it withered.
Jon 4:8 It happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah's head, so that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is better for me to die than to live."
Jon 4:9 God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the vine?" He said, "I am right to be angry, even to death."
Jon 4:10 Yahweh said, "You have been concerned for the vine, for which you have not labored, neither made it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night.
Jon 4:11 Shouldn't I be concerned for Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand persons who can't discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much livestock?"

Dec. 20
Revelation 2

Rev 2:1 "To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write: "He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lampstands says these things:
Rev 2:2 "I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can't tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false.
Rev 2:3 You have perseverance and have endured for my name's sake, and have not grown weary.
Rev 2:4 But I have this against you, that you left your first love.
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent.
Rev 2:6 But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.
Rev 2:8 "To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: "The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things:
Rev 2:9 "I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Rev 2:10 Don't be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Rev 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won't be harmed by the second death.
Rev 2:12 "To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: "He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things:
Rev 2:13 "I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
Rev 2:15 So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise.
Rev 2:16 Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.
Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.
Rev 2:18 "To the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write: "The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things:
Rev 2:19 "I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first.
Rev 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
Rev 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression, unless they repent of her works.
Rev 2:23 I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
Rev 2:24 But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as don't have this teaching, who don't know what some call 'the deep things of Satan,' to you I say, I am not putting any other burden on you.
Rev 2:25 Nevertheless, hold that which you have firmly until I come.
Rev 2:26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.
Rev 2:27 He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father:
Rev 2:28 and I will give him the morning star.
Rev 2:29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Proverbs, Wisdom regarding family, Mark Copeland

                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                        Wisdom Regarding Family


1. As we continue our study of the Proverbs, we should keep in mind two
   a. Life is short
   b. Our eternal existence is greatly influenced by how we live during
      this short life

2. It is imperative, then, that we not waste our time through rash and
   foolish decisions...
   a. Which not only jeopardize our eternal destiny
   b. But can also make this life miserable

3. The value of wisdom is especially seen in family relationships...
   a. "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind..." - Pro
   b. Life is too short and families grow too fast for us to raise a
      family through "trial and error"

4. We must seek advice in this all-important task...
   a. But where shall we go?
   b. To so-called "experts" who authoritatively give advice, but then
      all too often change their views later on after the damage has
      been done?  (e.g., Dr. Spock and his earlier views on child-

[Fortunately, in His grace God has preserved in His all-sufficient book
the wisdom needed to provide for and raise a family.  Much of this
wisdom in found in The Book Of Proverbs!  To illustrate, let's first
consider some wisdom in...]


      1. Many would say it is the "necessities" of life
         a. Such as food and clothing
         b. And a place of shelter
      2. Most would feel that other things are also necessary...
         a. Such as the "finer things" (luxuries) for the children,
            which parents never had as children
         b. A good "education" for the children, so they too can be

   [While there is some merit in these things, inspired wisdom from The
   Book Of Proverbs teaches us not to place emphasis upon such material

      1. Instilling a fear of the Lord - Pr 15:16
         a. More important than riches is providing for your family
            through your own example a deep and abiding respect for the
         b. For the fear of the Lord provides:
            a. The beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7
            b. A means to prolong life - Pr 10:27
            c. The key to avoiding sin - Pr 16:6
            d. The key to true wealth - Pr 22:4
         c. The fear of the Lord, then, is perhaps the most important
            "provision" that one can give to his or her family
      2. Giving them love - Pr 15:17
         a. Providing an environment where love reigns is more important
            than providing material abundance
         b. Troubled children come from homes where "love" is lacking,
            not money!
      3. Providing a peaceful family life - Pr 17:1
         a. Where there is peace and tranquility in a family, material
            affluence matters little
         b. But what value is there in wealth, if we are always fighting
            over the things it provides?
      4. A wise father (or mother) realizes that spiritual provisions
         are more important than material ones
         a. They will see that the family receives what is truly
         b. Even it means cutting back on less important things

   [But when God's wisdom is truly followed, it won't be necessary to go
   without material necessities!  To see why, consider what can be

      1. Be righteous - Pr 20:7
         a. Today that means putting the kingdom of God first in your
            life - Mt 6:33
         b. Then God will watch out for you and providentially see that
            your needs are adequately
         c. Children of righteous parents are truly blessed!
         d. But parents who fail to put God first go through life
            without God's providential help, and their children may
            suffer as a result!
      2. Concentrate on acquiring wisdom and knowledge, not wealth - Pro
         a. This would involve a careful study and application of God's
            Word, especially a book like Proverbs
         b. But it also involves living a dedicated life as a disciple
            (learner) of Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden the treasures
            of wisdom and knowledge - cf. Col 2:2-3

[From the Proverbs, then, we learn that the best and wisest thing
parents can do for their family is to provide themselves as obedient
servants of God, and to instill such faith in their children.  If this
is done, God will see that their material needs are met!  But what about
the matter of raising children...?]


      1. Used properly, it is a demonstration of true love - Pr 13:24
      2. Proper discipline has proper objectives...
         a. To remove foolishness from the child - Pr 22:15
         b. To save the soul of the child - Pr 23:13-14
         c. To impart wisdom and to avoid shame - Pr 29:15
      3. Proper discipline has its rewards - Pr 29:17
         a. Such as "rest" and "delight"
         b. A child who will love you and live in such a way as to bring
            you delight
      4. Of course, there must be the proper application of corporeal
         punishment - Pr 19:18
         a. To be applied before the situation gets of out hand ("while
            there is hope")
         b. To be applied under controlled circumstances ("do not set
            your heart on his destruction")
            1) I.e., do not put it off until you strike in anger
            2) There is a difference between proper "spanking" and
               "child abuse"!
         c. Corporeal punishment should never be a vent for letting off
            1) Rather, a controlled use of one method to discourage bad
            2) To be accompanied with love! - cf. Ep 6:4 (as implied by
               the word "nurture")

      1. As commonly translated:  "train up a child in the way he should
         a. This allows for the common interpretation in which a child's
            outcome is virtually dependent upon his training, especially
            in spiritual matters
            1) I.e., if the child is brought up right by godly parents,
               the child must turn out all right
            2) So if a child is not a faithful Christian, it must always
               be a failing of the parents
         b. But this view suggests "environmental predestination", or
            "behavioral determinism" (shades of B. F. Skinner, cf. his
            book "Walden II")
      2. Literally, the verse can be translated:  "train up a child
         according to his way"
         a. That is, train up a child according to his or her
         b. For example, don't try to force a child who is mechanically
            inclined to be a doctor or a lawyer
         c. Rather, bring up a child according to his or her aptitude,
            and they will likely continue what they start out in life
            doing (i.e., no "mid-life" crisis or career changes)
         d. Therefore, this verse, like so many in Proverbs, is simply
            giving us practical advice in raising our children (without
            necessarily any spiritual implications)
      3. However, I might add that trying to force a child to go against
         their "aptitude" may encourage a child to rebel in all areas of
         parental influence (including spiritual)


1. My purpose has not been to provide an exhaustive treatment of this
   subject covered in Proverbs

2. Rather, to illustrate its value to Christians in all areas of our
   a. That it does speak to such matters as providing for a family,
      raising children
   b. So that we will study and meditate on it more often

Since so much of our happiness or lack of it is affected by our family
life, we should want to take advantage of the wisdom offered in this
area by the book of Proverbs...!