Faults and Forgiveness

The other day, I did something stupid, foolish and insensitive.  I found a new Bible program (Bible Analyzer) in the Ubuntu software center that interested me enough for me to download the program, and order the complete package on CD.  Well, when I received the CD, I installed it, but it didn't seem to do what it said it would.  I was upset and wrote an unfavorable review and that was that (or so I thought).  Today, I received an email from the author, offering to help and his attitude was so wonderful that I felt absolutely terrible.  If he is reading this- I apologize!!!!!  One of my weaknesses is impulsiveness coupled with insensitivity, so, I guess I have to work on it (again).  This disheartening episode reminds me of a passage from the book of Matthew...

Matthew, Chapter 5

 7  Blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. 

I have faults, just like everyone else and today I was made aware of it once again, so, please pray for me, OK?  In case you are wondering- Yes, I performed step three of the image!!!  Humm, Pal is a good name for a dog, isn't it? Perhaps Great Dog Rose might be better because it has my initials in it?

Bible Reading, Feb. 27

Feb. 27
Exodus 8

Exo 8:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, "This is what Yahweh says, 'Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 8:2 If you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your borders with frogs:
Exo 8:3 and the river shall swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into your house, and into your bedchamber, and on your bed, and into the house of your servants, and on your people, and into your ovens, and into your kneading troughs:
Exo 8:4 and the frogs shall come up both on you, and on your people, and on all your servants.' "
Exo 8:5 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Stretch forth your hand with your rod over the rivers, over the streams, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 8:6 Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:7 The magicians did in like manner with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat Yahweh, that he take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to Yahweh."
Exo 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, "I give you the honor of setting the time that I should pray for you, and for your servants, and for your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, and remain in the river only."
Exo 8:10 He said, "Tomorrow." He said, "Be it according to your word, that you may know that there is none like Yahweh our God.
Exo 8:11 The frogs shall depart from you, and from your houses, and from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only."
Exo 8:12 Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to Yahweh concerning the frogs which he had brought on Pharaoh.
Exo 8:13 Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields.
Exo 8:14 They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank.
Exo 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and didn't listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.
Exo 8:16 Yahweh said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.' "
Exo 8:17 They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were lice on man, and on animal; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:18 The magicians tried with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they couldn't. There were lice on man, and on animal.
Exo 8:19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God:" and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he didn't listen to them; as Yahweh had spoken.
Exo 8:20 Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; behold, he comes forth to the water; and tell him, 'This is what Yahweh says, "Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 8:21 Else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you, and on your servants, and on your people, and into your houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.
Exo 8:22 I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end you may know that I am Yahweh in the midst of the earth.
Exo 8:23 I will put a division between my people and your people: by tomorrow shall this sign be." ' "
Exo 8:24 Yahweh did so; and there came grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses: and in all the land of Egypt the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms of flies.
Exo 8:25 Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God in the land!"
Exo 8:26 Moses said, "It isn't appropriate to do so; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Yahweh our God. Behold, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and won't they stone us?
Exo 8:27 We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh our God, as he shall command us."
Exo 8:28 Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to Yahweh your God in the wilderness, only you shall not go very far away. Pray for me."
Exo 8:29 Moses said, "Behold, I go out from you, and I will pray to Yahweh that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow; only don't let Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to Yahweh."
Exo 8:30 Moses went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh.
Exo 8:31 Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. There remained not one.
Exo 8:32 Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he didn't let the people go. 



I have some grasp of the truth that God is "other" than we though I know I’m a long way behind others in understanding it. I know we’re not to waste our time pitying God—he doesn’t need our pity. I know we can grieve him (for the Bible says so) but I’m unsure how far I’m to take that and I know he rejoices over us. I’m not sure how "human" God is but I do remember Jesus paralleling his Father’s response to a loving human father and I remember (in the Old Testament) that God likens himself to a mother, a father and a husband. Somewhere in all this I think we’re supposed to acknowledge that God and we are alike (there’s room in here for discussion on "the image of God," isn’t there?).
I recall the protest of John Stuart Mill against religious double-talk that included saying God was "good" but then insisting that "good" doesn’t mean relative to God what it means when we use it of people. Granted that we need to be careful and that the word "good" might be used of some things that a closer examination shows aren’t good. Granted that, Mill was certainly right to say that he would not call God "good" if it didn’t mean what it normally meant when it was used of a good woman or man. For why would we praise God for being "good" if good has no real meaning? Mill (perhaps a bit pompously) went on to say that if he is sent to hell for that, "then to hell I will go."
With all of that and my uncertainty as background, I can’t help thinking God must be the greatest sufferer in the universe.
Two people spoke to each other in whispers, pouring out their hearts to each other, in all sincerity, telling one another that the day began with thoughts of each other and ended the same way. They committed themselves to one another for all their lives, wrapped their souls around each other so that it became hard to tell where one began and the other ended. Their first thought when they opened their eyes in the morning was that he or she was in the world so that whatever happened, at least they’d experience it together. When something funny happened she couldn’t wait to tell him and hear him laugh because she knew he would. And no pleasure was fully a pleasure to him until she had the chance to share in it because, as the poet said, “everything is nuthin’ if you’ve got no one.”
Then he (or she) began to change, slowly at first, but with increasing speed, until to his horror she had become a perfect stranger! And in all the agony of the agony what especially grieves the one still in love is this: the other thinks this is a lovely world without him/her. How can it be? How can it be that now he might as well not exist? How can she smile, rejoice, sing, eat with pleasure, spend time with others in familiar places without a thought of him? How can it be that any thought of him causes not even an emotional ripple in her and that the sight of him prompts only a casual nod (and it’s the more agonizing precisely because it is casual)?
What a grievous wrong it is to speak and behave and promise and smile in such ways that we become entangled in the heartstrings of another only to tear ourselves away. How callous it is to make the sun shine for a person and then to blot it out just so we can make it shine for someone else while the one we’re now done with sobs his or her heart out in a sunless, lightless world.
Will he or she get over it? Should they get over it? Those questions are not my concern at this moment. I just want to know if her pain is deep? Has the soul been shredded? Has the heart been broken? And, my real and ultimate question is: Does God, whose love is infinitely purer and deeper than ours—does he experience anything like that in his life with his treacherous children? We know God is pure, holy and powerful. Is he also gallant beyond imagining as he carries his heartache? Is the Holy Father the ultimate sufferer when he knows that we think this is a lovely world without him? Is this part of what Christ is telling us when he sits on a hill overlooking Jerusalem, weeping and saying, “How often I would have gathered your children like a hen gathers her chickens under her wings and you wouldn’t”? [Luke 19:41-44 with Matthew 23:37.] Clearly he grieves over their present and coming loss but why does he grieve? 
Why doesn’t he shrug and say, “Well, I warned you. You asked for it and you’re going to get it”? Why doesn’t he say something like that and stroll away with a glance at his watch to catch a bus to an early evening supper he agreed to? Can God just wad up the human family or a nation or an individual like a crumpled page and drop them in the wastebasket the way we seem to be able to do? 
Or is Jesus Christ, alone on a hill, sobbing, chest heaving, eyes streaming and heart breaking, the image of God?

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to Brother Ed Healy for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.

Condemned By Others (12:41-42) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                     Condemned By Others (12:41-42)


1. On the day of Judgment, we will all be judged by Jesus Christ...
   a. It is before Him that we must appear - 2Co 5:10
   b. It is by His words that we shall be condemned - Jn 12:48

2. But Jesus also spoke of some rising at the judgment and condemning 
   a. The men of Nineveh condemning the generation of Jews in Jesus' 
      day - Mt 12:41
   b. Likewise the Queen of the South - Mt 12:42

3. This makes me wonder...
   a. Will there be some who will rise at the judgment to condemn us?
   b. What would the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South say
      about us?

[Perhaps from Jesus' words in Mt 12:41-42 we can glean some points that
ought to make us think soberly about our service to God, and whether we
too will be "Condemned By Others".

Let's first notice what is said about...]


      1. This refers to the Ninevites in Jonah's day - Mt 12:41
         a. To whom Jonah was sent with a message of destruction 
            - Jonah 3:1-4
         b. Who were quick to repent at the preaching of Jonah - Jonah 3:5-10
      2. They will rise to condemn the Jews of Jesus' day
         a. Because the Ninevites repented....
            1) And they were only given 40 days
            2) While the Jews were given about 40 years (before the
               destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70)
         b. Because the Jews had one greater than Jonah preach to 
            1) Jonah was a reluctant prophet, who became angry when God
             relented of the destruction to come upon Nineveh-Jonah 1:1-3; 3:10-4:3
            2) Jesus was a compassionate prophet, who lamented over His
               people Israel - cf. Mt 23:37-38; Lk 19:41-44

      1. This refers to the Queen of Sheba - Mt 12:42
         a. Who traveled great distances ("from the ends of the earth")
            to see Solomon - 1Ki 10:1
         b. She brought a great caravan of spices, gold, and precious
            stones - 1Ki 10:2
         c. Who praised God for the wisdom given to Solomon - 1Ki 10:
         d. Who honored Solomon with great gifts - 1Ki 10:10
      2. She will rise to condemn the Jews of Jesus' day
         a. Because the Queen was willing to travel...
            1) A great distance to see Solomon
            2) While many Jews were unwilling to follow Jesus
         b. Because the Jews had one greater than Solomon teach them...
            1) Solomon certainly was the wisest man of his day - 1 Kin 4:29-34
            2) But Jesus possessed "all the treasures of wisdom and 
               knowledge" - Col 2:3

[The Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba will judge the Jews of Jesus' day
because they showed less interest and willingness to heed even though
they had a much greater opportunity.  Again, this makes me wonder...]


      1. They were quick to repent after hearing the one message of
         a. How many sermons have we heard, yet failed to repent?
         b. They were given but forty days, how many years has God
            given us to repent?
      2. They repented when all they had was a simple message...
         a. We have God's full and final revelation, written and 
            preserved for us
         b. We have God's word, revealed through His Son and His 
         c. We have likely had the blessing of parents, teachers, 
            preachers, and many other Christians encouraging us to live
            for God
      -- If we do not heed the message of Jesus Christ, don't you think
         the Ninevites will consider us foolish on the day of judgment?

      1. She was willing to travel a great distance to hear Solomon...
         a. Have we been unwilling to travel a short distance to hear
            the words of Christ proclaimed?
         b. She traveled on camels through desert for months at great
            risk, yet some won't travel in air-conditioned cars for an
            hour or less when there is only minimal risk
      2. She highly valued Solomon's wisdom, giving great gifts to 
         a. Do we value the wisdom of the Son of God?
         b. Are we willing to offer the gifts of our time and energy to
            learn the wisdom of Christ as revealed in His word?
      -- If we are unwilling to learn the will of Christ for us today,
         will not the Queen of Sheba consider us foolish on the day of

      1. Think of those in the nineteenth century...
         a. Who often traveled by wagon or horseback for hours to hear
            God's word
         b. Who sat on logs, in brush arbors or under tents
      2. Think of those in the first half of the twentieth century...
         a. Who sat in hot, un-airconditioned buildings
         b. Who went to protracted meetings every night, often for
            three or more weeks
      3. Think of those who struggled to come out of Denominationalism
         a. Studying God's Word carefully to learn the simplicity of
            New Testament Christianity
         b. Often making the difficult decision to leave family and 
            friends to follow the way of Christ
      -- If we balk at attending services regularly, taking advantages
         of gospel meetings and Bible studies offered in nice, 
         comfortable buildings, will not those who preceded us think us
         foolish on the day of judgment?


1. As Jesus said to His disciples on another occasion: "But blessed are
   your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly,
   I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see
   what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and
   did not hear it." (Mt 13:17)

2. Indeed, we are richly blessed...
   a. We have the message of salvation offered by One greater than
   b. We have the wisdom of God taught by One greater than Solomon
   -- Don't you think that the Ninevites and the Queen of the South
      would have loved to have what we enjoy today?

3. Don't forget the maxim: "For everyone to whom much is given, from
   him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of
   him they will ask the more." (Lk 12:48)

Unless we wish to be "Condemned By Others" on the day of judgment, let
us utilize the blessings given to us through Christ, and expend 
whatever effort necessary to learn and heed His wonderful message!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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