Guess who is coming for dinner?

Sexual relationships have consequences.  For the girl, she has changed from a virgin to a sexual active person.  The same is true for the male in the relationship.  However, without the bond of marriage, there is great danger for the girl.  If she marries another, her future husband would want to know about her past sexual relationship(s).  Since the sexual act is such an intimate one, it is not unreasonable to assume that her prior behavior may actually put something "between" them.  If she has a child without being married, this says a great deal about her morality.  Then there is the physical reality of the situation.  How is the child to be supported; will she go on welfare or will her family bear this burden.  Is this fair to those who brought her into the world?  What if she contracts a sexually transmitted disease, say AIDS for instance, what then? And lastly, what about her family?  Those who have loved and tried to raise her the best they could?  All these concerns would weigh heavily on them for sure!!!  I like what the Bible teaches on this; it just makes sense to me...

Exodus, Chapter 22

   16, "If a man entices a virgin who isn't pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
    17, If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins. 

Adam Clark says on this passage:"If a man entice a maid - This was an exceedingly wise and humane law, and must have operated powerfully against seduction and fornication; because the person who might feel inclined to take the advantage of a young woman knew that he must marry her, and give her a dowry, if her parents consented; and if they did not consent that their daughter should wed her seducer, in this case he was obliged to give her the full dowry which could have been demanded had she been still a virgin. According to the Targumist here, and to Deu 22:29, the dowry was fifty shekels of silver, which the seducer was to pay to her father, and he was obliged to take her to wife; nor had he authority, according to the Jewish canons, ever to put her away by a bill of divorce. This one consideration was a powerful curb on disorderly passions, and must tend greatly to render marriages respectable, and prevent all crimes of this nature."

As a father of three very attractive daughters (yes, I am very prejudiced about this) I can tell you that I worried greatly about all three of them until they were married.  In the graphic at the top, the focus is on the girl and her boyfriend, but the other element here is the father.  I wonder what must have been going through his mind at the dinner table?  After the prayer  (and hopefully the meal) was finally over, I feel certain that they all had a lot to discuss!!!  Hopefully, it happened peacefully!!!

Bible Reading, Mar. 1

Mar. 1
Exodus 11

Exo 11:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Yet one plague more will I bring on Pharaoh, and on Egypt; afterwards he will let you go. When he lets you go, he will surely thrust you out altogether.
Exo 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let them ask every man of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold."
Exo 11:3 Yahweh gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people.
Exo 11:4 Moses said, "This is what Yahweh says: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt,
Exo 11:5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of livestock.
Exo 11:6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been, nor shall be any more.
Exo 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel a dog won't even bark or move its tongue, against man or animal; that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel.
Exo 11:8 All these your servants shall come down to me, and bow down themselves to me, saying, "Get out, with all the people who follow you;" and after that I will go out.' " He went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.
Exo 11:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "Pharaoh won't listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt."
Exo 11:10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he didn't let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Mar. 1, 2
Mark 3

Mar 3:1 He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered.
Mar 3:2 They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him.
Mar 3:3 He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up."
Mar 3:4 He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?" But they were silent.
Mar 3:5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.
Mar 3:6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Mar 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea,
Mar 3:8 from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him.
Mar 3:9 He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him.
Mar 3:10 For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him.
Mar 3:11 The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!"
Mar 3:12 He sternly warned them that they should not make him known.
Mar 3:13 He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him.
Mar 3:14 He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach,
Mar 3:15 and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
Mar 3:16 Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter;
Mar 3:17 James the son of Zebedee; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges, which means, Sons of Thunder;
Mar 3:18 Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot;
Mar 3:19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. He came into a house.
Mar 3:20 The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mar 3:21 When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, "He is insane."
Mar 3:22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul," and, "By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons."
Mar 3:23 He summoned them, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mar 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mar 3:26 If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end.
Mar 3:27 But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.
Mar 3:28 Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme;
Mar 3:29 but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"
Mar 3:30 -because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Mar 3:31 His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.
Mar 3:32 A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, "Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you."
Mar 3:33 He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
Mar 3:34 Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!
Mar 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."



It was a dark and stormy night. The wind blew, but the most disconcerting thing was the rain. It continued to pour in torrents. Many of the old timers agreed that it was the worst storm in their memory. Several of the children were clinging to their parents, crying softly in their terror. Fear showed in the uneasy glances of older ones who vainly tried to conceal it.
Then came the worst news. The river was rising so rapidly that the dikes could not possibly hold it. They would all be swept to destruction before morning! No rescue party could reach them in time. Panic almost overcame them. And then they heard the Quiet Voice. "I have lived here even before the streets of this town were laid out. I know every inch of the ground, every pitfall. If you will follow in my steps, staying very close to me, I will lead you to safety."
Some were fearful to venture out in the storm. Some said they felt too weak to face the pounding wind and rain. Parents feared losing little ones in the fierce night. But what could they do? Sure destruction awaited them if they remained here.
The Quiet Voice continued to speak. "Stay close to one another and close to me. Let a strong hand hold the hand of each weak one. Never let go of the hand that joins you together, for, if the link is broken, many can be lost." And so they joined hands and went out to face the storm together, the Quiet One leading the way.
Occasionally there was disaster. A few foolhardy ones decided the little group was moving too slowly, so they turned loose of the hands that held theirs and launched out alone, trying to reach safety quicker. Each of them was swept away in the darkness. A few of the weak, or young, were so terrified that they too, jerked away and perished. As each left the little band that was clinging together, there was an effort made to pull them back to safety, but when it became apparent that the effort was fruitless, the struggle for survival had to go on without them.
Yes, it was a terrible night. No one ever forgot it. Those who held on to the hands of the Quiet One through that night will tell you that it took all strength to do it. They will tell you of their overflowing joy as they reached higher ground just at the break of day. And they'll tell you of the many weak and young ones they were able to save that night by holding firmly to them in the midst of the storm.
Dear reader, this is no pointless recitation, as the spiritual minded will have perceived. These are perilous times through which we are passing and the storm of life itself is fraught with dangers that threaten our very souls. Indeed, were we left alone we must all perish! But there is One who is all-wise, all-merciful and all-powerful, who is able to show us the way and lead us to safety, if we will only listen and do what He says. We must follow closely in His steps, never venturing to the right or left, patiently and calmly proceeding in the way that is tried and sure. We must stay ever so close together for mutual encouragement and that the strong might help the weak. As some turn away beyond our reach, we must move in closer and join ourselves more firmly, for the storm still rages and we must press on to higher ground. But take heart! Our Savior will bring us at last to the promised land, the storm will be past, the terrors and tragedies will be forgotten and eternal joys shall be ours in the presence of our God.

- Hugh W. Davis -

A barrel organ in the fog by Jim McGuiggan

A barrel organ in the fog

In a world with so much pain and wickedness in it it’s hard for some people to believe that there’s a good and caring God. But in a world with Jesus in it some people find it impossible not to believe in a good and caring God. How do you explain a world like ours if there is a good and caring God? How do you explain Jesus Christ if there isn’t a good and caring God? One profound and stubborn truth, one reality that is undeniable can put heart into us and enable us to rise above soul-deep depression. Poets down the years have sensed and expressed that. Charlie Chaplin wrote a beautiful song that made the point. It’s called This is My Song and one of the lines says, "The world cannot be wrong; if in this world there’s you." Whatever the harsh realities, he had come across one that kept him from believing that the entire world was wrong.
We wake in the mornings to a world that's in terrible trouble and with a glance toward heaven—with maybe a little reproach in it—we wish it all were better. We should get involved in easing things! That I know, and Matthew 25 calls for it! The gloom generated by it all can overcome us but we should resist it because we have good reason to resist it. Victorian writer G.K. Chesterton always pointed us in the right direction. He has somewhere said that the very sound of a distant barrel organ grinding out a tinny tune in a London fog defies the night and the suffocating blanket of airborne filth. G. Studdert Kennedy saw so much as a chaplain during WWI that it broke his heart. He said he knelt one evening in a huge field where a host had fallen and the stench of death was overwhelming. In his dismay that was near despair a breeze carried the fresh and lovely smell of flowers from some far off field and his mind steadied. There was more than what he knelt among.
A needy family blanketed in choking smog opens the envelope and finds a generous gift—a distant barrel organ pours out its tinny challenge. A whole consignment of food and clothes is delivered to a squeezed family’s door—a breeze carrying a lovely aroma. Gifts of things, gifts of telephone calls, gifts of expressed sorrow and sympathy, gifts of wounds healed and obstacles overcome, gifts of jobs given, gifts of medicine supplied, gifts of letters written, gifts of money and offers of help with the children. All gallant barrel organs, refreshing breezes and snatches of lovely and redeeming songs!
And then there’s that baby in a cattle shed!
We can’t help it. We become accustomed to sights and sounds and truths—even when they’re profound or mind-bending in their glory or power. The first sight of the Grand Canyon or the Niagara Falls or the setting sun in Thailand or a first time hearing of Beethoven’s 5thperformed by a full orchestra in the right building might take your breath away. But live near them or have occasion to see or hear them every day and familiarity while it might not breed contempt will certainly take the edge off awe. We can’t help it. We don’t have it in us to live in ceaseless rapture.
But leave a truly profound truth for a while and go walking through reams of books, a library of books that deal with delightful, interesting, humorous, touching or useful matters and come back to that massive truth. They're all "sweet" little books that makes us smile at one another while we turn to another hymn or another "nice" subject but they don't put us in touch with massive truths and the foundations of our faith. In fact--God help us authors and publishers--they often keep us from them. But when you're seized by one of those foundational truth don’t you—even if only for an hour—feel that you’re in touch with what you were made for? Don’t you—even if for only an hour—don’t you feel that your eyes are being opened to your destiny and the sense that you have a place in this world? Don’t you experience the conviction that all is not wrong with the world?
Hosts of people have experienced that at this time of the year. For one reason or another they were able to get past the shabby commercialism and dismissed the rising cynicism provoked by the sickening selfishness and their souls went to Bethlehem. It was as if they were actually there and the child, alone for a moment with them, looked back at them and they were lost in wonder.
What does this child mean? What does it say that he is here? No, no, forget for the moment the sermon points, the nice little homilies, the pious sweetness and the familiar carols. Look at him! Ponder for a while his very presence in our world! What does he mean? What does it mean that he is actually there? What is his physical existence saying to us? If he isn’t God incarnate nothing matters but what if he is just that--God incarnate--what does his being here mean?
Look out into the night and into the moral pollution; listen to the cry of the world, of little nations that are ravaged and countless individuals who have no immediate experience that leads them to think that they matter to anyone. And here lies a baby, an actual baby! And what does that mean? Shouldn't we think of barrel organs in the fog, snatches of cosmic truth in song and a breeze from another world—from the Land of the Trinity?

©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 blog, the abiding word.com.

The Kingdom Of Great Value (13:44-46) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 The Kingdom Of Great Value (13:44-46)


1. During His earthly ministry, the key theme of His preaching and 
   teaching was "the kingdom of heaven"...
   a. He began His ministry proclaiming it was at hand - Mt 4:17,23
   b. He sent His apostles on the limited commission to proclaim the
      same message - Mt 10:7

2. He taught many parables to illustrate great truths about this 
   a. Through which He revealed many things that had previously been
      secret - Mt 13:34-35
   b. Like the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great
      price - Mt 13:44-46

3. In these two parables, Jesus illustrated the kingdom to be one of
   great value...
   a. So great that one who stumbles upon it sells all to obtain it
   b. So great that one searching for it sells all to buy it

4. In this lesson, I wish to address several questions that come to 
   a. What is this "kingdom"?  
   b. Why is it considered to be of such great value?  
   c. Is it really worth it?
   d. What will it cost us?  

[Let's begin, then, with the first question...]


      1. God's kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty
         a. The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the
            abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a geographical area
            surrounded by physical boundaries
         b. It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 - "Your KINGDOM 
            come; Your WILL be done..." (note the connection between 
            kingdom and will)
            -- Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" would involve the rule of
               heaven in the hearts of men
      2. This rule of heaven is spiritual in nature
         a. It is not a physical kingdom - cf. Jn 18:36
         b. But one that is spiritual - cf. Ro 14:17
      3. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the Lord's
         a. For the church is that community of souls in whose hearts
            God is recognized as Sovereign
         b. That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth, 
            1) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used 
               interchangeably - Mt 16:18
            2) Comments made to those who were in the church - Col 1:13;
               1Th 2:12
            3) The description of those in the churches of Asia - Re 1:
      4  It has a future element as well as a present one
         a. Its future aspect is spoken of by Jesus, Paul, Peter 
            - Mt 25:34; 1Co 15:50; 2Ti 4:18; 2Pe 1:10-11
         b. Peter described the coming of its future state in 2Pe 3:

      1. In the present sense...
         a. It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted in
            the hearts of men
         b. It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts of
         c. Its outward manifestation today is the Lord's church
         d. This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day of
            Pentecost (Ac 2)
      2. In the future sense...
         a. The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the 
            coming of the Lord
         b. It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in which
            righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John - 2 Pe
            3; Re 21-22
         c. It will be experienced only by those in the church who are
            submitting to God's will today! - cf. Mt 7:21-23; 2Pe 3:

[Submitting to the rule of God so that we become part of His church is
how one enters the kingdom of heaven, both present and future.  This 
leads to our second question...]


      1. Outside the kingdom, one is in the kingdom of Satan! - Ep 2:
         a. Under his influence
         b. Trapped in various sins
      2. In the kingdom of Christ, we find deliverance and refuge
         a. Set free from sin to serve God - Ro 6:17-18
         b. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to
            bear - 1Co 10:12-13

      1. Righteousness which comes through faith in Christ - Php 3:8-9
      2. Peace from God through prayer which surpasses understanding 
         - Php 4:6-7
      3. Abiding joy in the Lord, no matter the circumstances - Php 4:4;

      1. It will never be destroyed - Dan 2:44
      2. Of this kingdom there will be no end - Lk 1:33
      3. It is truly an everlasting kingdom - 2Pe 1:10-11

      1. At that time, those who are now "sons of the kingdom" will
         "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" 
         - Mt 13:41-43
      2. From then on, those in this kingdom will dwell in the presence
         of God - Re 21:1-7

[The value of this kingdom can be seen further as we consider our third


      1. I would ask Stephen to say if he thought it was worth it 
         - cf. Ac 7:54-60
      2. I would ask the early Christians who joyfully accepted the
         plundering of their goods and eventually received the promise
         - Ac 8:1-4; He 10:32-36
      3. I would ask the apostle Paul - 2Ti 3:10-13; 4:6-8,18
      4. I would ask one of your loved ones, a friend or relative, who
         died in Christ
      -- I am confident that they would all say forcefully, "Yes! It is
         worth giving up all!"

      1. Who gave up all to die on the cross - Php 2:5-8
      2. Who became "poor" that we might become "rich" - 2Co 8:9
      -- I am persuaded that as He showed you His pierced hands and
         feet, He would say with love and great urgency, "Yes! My 
         kingdom is worth giving up all!"

[But what exactly must we give up?  To put it another way...]


      1. Of repentance - cf. Mk 1:15
      2. Of being born again - cf. Jn 3:3-5
         a. Involving both outward and inward submission to the will of
         b. A submission that will affect our whole life
      3. Of putting the kingdom first - Mt 6:33
         a. Before our riches - Mk 10:23-25
         b. Before our families - Mk 10:28-31
         c. Before ourselves - Lk 9:23-26

      1. Consider the parable of the dinner - Lk 14:15-24
      2. Are we guilty of the same?
         a. Putting financial concerns first?
         b. Putting family first?
      3. Our actions demonstrate whether we are willing to pay the 
         price; for example:
         a. Our devotion to the Word of God and prayer
         b. Our devotion to others in the church (kingdom) - He 10:
            24-25; Ro 15:1-3
         c. Our devotion to the lost - Col 1:28-29


1. The kingdom is truly one of great value...
   a. It was established through its purchase by the blood of Christ 
      - Ac 20:28
   b. Can we expect the Lord to accept anything less than our utmost
      devotion for the privilege of being in His eternal kingdom?
      1) We are admonished to walk in a manner worthy of the kingdom
         - 1Th 2:10-12
      2) But it may cost us greatly to be considered worthy - cf. 2 Th 1:4-5

2. Our actions will demonstrate whether we value the greatness of this
   a. By whether or not we obey the gospel!
   b. By whether or not we remain zealous and faithful in our service
      to the God!

3. I hope that in some way I have persuaded you that any price we pay
   is worthy of "The Kingdom Of Great Value"

If you are convinced that it is, and desire assistance in becoming or
remaining a faithful "citizen" of the kingdom, then let us know...

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