Enjoy the Childhood

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Enjoy the Childhood

If your life with God in Jesus Christ is just beginning do what you can to accept your limits and rejoice in the good news about God and what he purposes for you and the world. I confess that I've never been very good at relaxing and rejoicing. I'm too intense and tend to worry too much about this and that but because it's difficult for me it need not be hard for you.
Look, you're a new child of God and things will feel strange and sometimes awkward for you for quite a while. The new community of believers you're now a part of might smother you with too much kindness or chill you a bit with their lack of it. What's tougher is that you may now find your life more intense. You didn't use to have to watch your language and now you do. You didn't use to ask yourself, "Is this really the right thing to do?" Moral issues will come walking out of every door; your family might not like some of the changes that have come over you and you might not enjoy them either. I'm saying all this because when people make profound changes and profound new commitments they can find it a bit traumatic. Even walking into a room full of polite and courteous "strangers" can be off-putting.
But expect this! For some it's a bit of an emotional brawl at times and you might be one of those. But it's a lovely brawl and one you need not lose and it's worth every second of it. It's part of the adventure. It's a growing process in which along with those who are Christians you learn "the way" and since you belong to Christ and he will take care of you while the growing process continues. He doesn't expect you to have all the answers to all the moral dilemmas or the strength to beat all the temptations. He understands very well the power of the backward call of an old environment so he's not about to bully you.
You've been called by the gospel because you are loved. He loves you and every person you see. Do better than I have done in my life. Let the love of God in Christ wash over you and allow yourself, without apology, to rejoice in that because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Spirit God has given to his people (Romans 5:5).
Take pleasure in the newness of it all, in the wrestling it involves, in the mysteries and conundrums. Take pleasure in the degree of difficulty in it because if ever there was an adventure you've just entered one.

Bible Reading, Jan. 23

Jan. 23
Genesis 23

Gen 23:1 Sarah lived one hundred twenty-seven years. This was the length of Sarah's life.
Gen 23:2 Sarah died in Kiriath Arba (the same is Hebron), in the land of Canaan. Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
Gen 23:3 Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spoke to the children of Heth, saying,
Gen 23:4 "I am a stranger and a foreigner living with you. Give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight."
Gen 23:5 The children of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him,
Gen 23:6 "Hear us, my lord. You are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the best of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb. Bury your dead."
Gen 23:7 Abraham rose up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
Gen 23:8 He talked with them, saying, "If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,
Gen 23:9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he has, which is in the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me among you for a possession of a burying-place."
Gen 23:10 Now Ephron was sitting in the middle of the children of Heth. Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the children of Heth, even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying,
Gen 23:11 "No, my lord, hear me. I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the children of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead."
Gen 23:12 Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land.
Gen 23:13 He spoke to Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, "But if you will, please hear me. I will give the price of the field. Take it from me, and I will bury my dead there."
Gen 23:14 Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him,
Gen 23:15 "My lord, listen to me. What is a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver between me and you? Therefore bury your dead."
Gen 23:16 Abraham listened to Ephron. Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver which he had named in the audience of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the current merchants' standard.
Gen 23:17 So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all of its borders, were deeded
Gen 23:18 to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city.
Gen 23:19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre (that is, Hebron), in the land of Canaan.
Gen 23:20 The field, and the cave that is in it, were deeded to Abraham for a possession of a burying place by the children of Heth.

Jan. 23, 24
Matthew 12

Mat 12:1 At that time, Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the grain fields. His disciples were hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
Mat 12:2 But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said to him, "Behold, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath."
Mat 12:3 But he said to them, "Haven't you read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him;
Mat 12:4 how he entered into the house of God, and ate the show bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
Mat 12:5 Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbath day, the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless?
Mat 12:6 But I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.
Mat 12:7 But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
Mat 12:9 He departed there, and went into their synagogue.
Mat 12:10 And behold there was a man with a withered hand. They asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" that they might accuse him.
Mat 12:11 He said to them, "What man is there among you, who has one sheep, and if this one falls into a pit on the Sabbath day, won't he grab on to it, and lift it out?
Mat 12:12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day."
Mat 12:13 Then he told the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out; and it was restored whole, just like the other.
Mat 12:14 But the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy him.
Mat 12:15 Jesus, perceiving that, withdrew from there. Great multitudes followed him; and he healed them all,
Mat 12:16 and commanded them that they should not make him known:
Mat 12:17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
Mat 12:18 "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit on him. He will proclaim justice to the nations.
Mat 12:19 He will not strive, nor shout; neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
Mat 12:20 He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory.
Mat 12:21 In his name, the nations will hope."
Mat 12:22 Then one possessed by a demon, blind and mute, was brought to him and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.
Mat 12:23 All the multitudes were amazed, and said, "Can this be the son of David?"
Mat 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons."
Mat 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
Mat 12:26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
Mat 12:27 If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Mat 12:28 But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
Mat 12:29 Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and plunder his goods, unless he first bind the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.
Mat 12:30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who doesn't gather with me, scatters.
Mat 12:31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.
Mat 12:32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is to come.
Mat 12:33 "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.
Mat 12:34 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Mat 12:35 The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things.
Mat 12:36 I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Mat 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you."
Mat 12:39 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Mat 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Mat 12:41 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here.
Mat 12:42 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here.
Mat 12:43 But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and doesn't find it.
Mat 12:44 Then he says, 'I will return into my house from which I came out,' and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
Mat 12:45 Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Even so will it be also to this evil generation."
Mat 12:46 While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to him.
Mat 12:47 One said to him, "Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside, seeking to speak to you."
Mat 12:48 But he answered him who spoke to him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
Mat 12:49 He stretched out his hand towards his disciples, and said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!
Mat 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Joel: The Day Of The Lord, Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Joel - The Day Of The Lord (1:1-2:27)


1. We now turn to the book of Joel, and this will be the first of two

2. The name "Joel" means "Jehovah is God", and we know very little
   about the author...
   a. The name appears frequently, with at least a dozen men sharing
      the name in the O.T.
   b. Described as "the son of Pethuel" (1:1), there is no reason to
      associate him with any other Joel mentioned in the Bible

[As we begin our study, let's do so with some...]


   A. THE DATE...
      1. The date of the book is uncertain
         a. Some place it as one of the earliest of the "literary 
            prophets" (ca. 900 B.C.)
         b. Some believe it was written after the Exile (ca. 400 B.C.)
      2. Hailey, Young, and other scholars defend the early date
         a. Suggesting a date of 830 B.C.
         b. Which is the date I am presuming for our study

      1. Joel's prophecy was occasioned by a calamity that had struck
         the land
         a. Literally, it is described as a locust plague
         b. Some suggest that the locusts were symbolical of an army 
            that had invaded
      2. I take the description of the plague as literal
      1. Joel sees the locust plague as a warning from God
         a. That the calamity was heralding "the day of the Lord" which
            was coming
         b. That if the people did not repent, this "day" would bring
            even more destruction
      2. So Joel's message is "Seek the Lord through repentance!"
      3. Joel also has some things to say about what shall come to pass
         "afterward" (2:28-3:21)

[With this brief background as an introduction, let's now begin reading
the book with the aid of the following outline...]


      1. Joel provides a graphic description of the locust plague (1-4)
      2. He calls for people to weep over the devastation (5-12)

      1. To be led by the priests, consecrating a fast and calling the
         people together (13-14)
      2. For the present destruction is heralding the coming "day of 
         the Lord" (15-18)
      3. Joel and the beasts take the lead, with their own cry to the
         Lord (19-20)

      1. A cry to warn the people, for the day is coming! (1)
      2. This particular "day of the Lord" is vividly described (2-11)
         a. It will be a recurrence of the locust plague
         b. Described as an invading army, an army led by God!
   D. A CALL TO REPENTANCE (2:12-17)
      1. Voiced first by God Himself (12)
      2. Then elaborated upon by Joel (13-17)
         a. Repent, for God Who is gracious may relent and provide a 
         b. Make it a national repentance, led by the priests

      1. He will be zealous for His land, and show pity to the people
      2. He will bless them with grain, wine, and oil (19)
      3. He will remove the "army" (locusts) from the north (20)

      1. A call directed by Joel towards:
         a. The land, for the Lord has done marvelous things (21)
         b. The beasts of the field, for the pastures and trees are 
            fruitful once again (22)
         c. The children of Zion, for the Lord is blessing the land 
            with rain and a full harvest (23-24)
      2. This passage implies the people repented, and the Lord was 
         keeping His promise!

      1. God will restore what His "army" (the locusts) had destroyed
      2. They will be blessed with plenty, and praise God for His grace
      3. Then they shall truly know that God is over them (27)

[This ends the first part of Joel's prophecy.  It clearly pertained to
the people of his day.  The rest of the book looks forward to a period
described as "afterward" (2:28), "in those days and at that time"
(3:1), and "in that day" (3:18).  This section we will examine in
our next lesson.

But from what we have read thus far, what lessons can we learn from 


      1. They can serve to turn men back to God
      2. God certainly used them to reach out to His people in the O.T.
         - cf. Am 4:6-12
      3. But not all calamities come from God; some came from Satan 
         - cf. Job 1:6-19
      4. Whether calamities come from God, Satan, or are purely 
         coincidental, they should be times of reflection concerning
         life and our relationship to God - e.g., Job 1:20-22

      1. It must be with all our heart (12a)
      2. It must be inward, not just outward (12b-13a)

   C. THE NATURE OF GOD (2:13b)
      1. He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great 
         kindness - cf. Ps 103:8-14
      2. He relents from doing harm when we repent - cf. Jer 18:7-8

      1. "The day of the Lord" often refers to God's judgment upon a 
         a. Such judgments were many, and often described in terms 
            indicative of the final judgment at the end of time - cf. 
            the judgment of Babylon, Isa 13:1-13
         b. In the first part of Joel's prophecy, it referred to a 
            plague of locusts that would be greater than what they had
            already experienced - Joel 2:1-11
      2. But such judgments could be averted - cf. Jer 18:7-8
         a. Such happened with the city of Nineveh - cf. Jonah 3:1-10
         b. And when we compare Joel 1:11; 2:1,11 with 2:13-14,18-23,
            it appears to have been averted in Joel's day!
      3. Of course, this does not pertain to the "ultimate" day of the
         Lord at the end of time, but to the "preliminary" judgments 
         that God often brings upon a nation


1. Our next lesson will complete our survey of the book of Joel, in 
   which we will find...
   a. Joel writing of events that heralded the beginning of the 
      Christian dispensation
   b. More lessons that are of value to the Christian

2. But in closing, may I remind you of that "day of the Lord" which is
   yet to come?
   a. A day vividly described in 2Pe 3:7-10
   b. A day which cannot be averted, but for which we can prepare 
      - 2Pe 3:11-14

For those who prepare themselves for this coming "day of the Lord", 
they will find that indeed the Lord is "gracious and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness" (Joel 2:13). But for those who continue
in their sins, we can only say along with Joel...

   "Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall
   come as destruction from the Almighty." (Joel 1:15)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011