From Gary... Tongue and cheek

What do Paul Newman, Albert Einstein and that funny looking horse have in common?  Not much, but they all are making faces.  You can tell a lot about a person by their face- Anger, sadness, worry, meanness and my favorite, playfulness.  Now, the first two pictures are just that- funny.  But that third one- I don't have a clue as to what is going on behind those eyes.  But- I like it anyway.  There is another side of the tongue that is not-so-good, as these passages from the Bible show...

Isaiah, Chapter 57
4 Against whom do you sport yourselves? Against whom do you make a wide mouth, and stick out your tongue? Aren’t you children of disobedience, a seed of falsehood,  5 you who inflame yourselves among the oaks, under every green tree; who kill the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?  6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they are your lot; you have even poured a drink offering to them. You have offered an offering. Shall I be appeased for these things?  7 On a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed; there also you went up to offer sacrifice.  8 Behind the doors and the posts you have set up your memorial: 

for you have uncovered to someone besides me,
and have gone up;
you have enlarged your bed,
and made you a covenant with them:
you loved their bed where you saw it.


James, Chapter 3
 1 Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.  2 For in many things we all stumble. If anyone doesn’t stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.  3 Indeed, we put bits into the horses’ mouths so that they may obey us, and we guide their whole body.  4 Behold, the ships also, though they are so big and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires.  5 So the tongue is also a little member, and boasts great things. See how a small fire can spread to a large forest!  6 And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna.  7 For every kind of animal, bird, creeping thing, and thing in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind.  8 But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God.  10 Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 

Israel was a spiritually faithless people for much of their existence.  They rebelled against God again and again.  As the Isaiah passage points out, they made sport of God and went after Idols, time and again.  Apostasy begins with thinking about ungodly things and then talking about them and finally doing them.  So, the tongue is critical in being faithful to God, because what we talk about (or make sport of) indicates what we are thinking!!!  It's OK to have fun, after all... a little silliness is good for you.  But when it comes to spiritual matters-- watch what you say!!!  Your heart is showing!!! Crazy faces brighten us my day, so I do them from time to time, but most of the time just a smile will do.  Therefore, of the three pictures-- Paul Newman is my favorite!!!!  Let me know if you have a favorite-- and why!!!  I just want to get to know you better that's all....

Finally, this picture (from 1996?) is just for fun...

From Gary.... Bible Reading, Mar. 10

Mar. 10
Exodus 20

Exo 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 "I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 "You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 "You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;
Exo 20:11 for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.
Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Exo 20:13 "You shall not murder.
Exo 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 "You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
Exo 20:18 All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.
Exo 20:19 They said to Moses, "Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don't let God speak with us, lest we die."
Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won't sin."
Exo 20:21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Exo 20:22 Yahweh said to Moses, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
Exo 20:23 You shall most certainly not make alongside of me gods of silver, or gods of gold for yourselves.
Exo 20:24 You shall make an altar of earth for me, and shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I record my name I will come to you and I will bless you.
Exo 20:25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stones; for if you lift up your tool on it, you have polluted it.
Exo 20:26 Neither shall you go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed to it.'

From Jim McGuiggan... Burning bushes

Burning bushes

The Hebrew text in Exodus 3:1 indicates the shepherd was doing what he usually did--taking care of the flock for Jethro. It's possible that the shepherd, though an embittered man, was thinking about his people back in Egypt. He named one of his children 'Gershom' because he couldn't forget that he was exiled, separated from his own. Be that as it may, it was in the middle of another ordinary day, or at least, in the middle of one that began that way, that the man met God in an extraordinary way. There, with sand in his clothes, hair and between his teeth. There, with the parched land, the whispering wind, the throbbing heat and the smell of sheep he was confronted with an old and awesome Ally.
Was it some natural event? Like St Elmo's Fire, which sailors often see out at sea? Perhaps, but after forty years of shepherding wouldn't you think the shepherd had seen more than a few instances of all those natural things? Wouldn't you think he had become at least accustomed to such sights? And doesn't the text suggest that the man finds this experience unusual? He came near and someone (who knew the shepherd's name!) told him to go barefoot, the ground had been made holy, not by the bush, but by the presence of an indwelling God. Among other things, this text suggests we find God at times in surprising places.
A burning bush is a good symbol of God who burns without needing any external help. If the shepherd had ever lit a fire he would have seen a bush burning until it was consumed and known full well that the fire died with the bush. That was because the fire was taking its strength from and depending for its existence on the materials surrounding it. When they were gone, the fire was gone. It had no independent life.
On this occasion, the fire continued to burn without having to draw on its surroundings. We're told that God appeared to Moses in a 'flame of fire' which is self-sustaining. Here is a God who depends on nothing and no one for his existence; one who isn't kept alive by the power/strength/life of his worshipers or servants. This truth mustn't be lost on us. We need a God who is close to us, a God who is like us (since we're 'in his image') but we're in dire need of a God who is unlike us, who is altogether other than us, who is in that ultimate sense independent of us. God forbid that we should depend on a God who depends utterly on us!
A burning bush is a good symbol of Israel, which was, even at that moment, in the heat of trouble and trials but would not be consumed. Given Israel's situation in Egypt--still they flourished. How was that possible? What was it that was frustrating the purpose of Pharaoh to consume and curse Israel? The blessing of God who was ever with them. The God who spoke from the bush had assured both Abraham and Jacob that the people would go down into Egypt and although (he tells Abraham) they would be oppressed while there, He would preserve them and bring them out of bondage (Genesis 15:12ff; 46:3-4). The secret behind the blessing in the midst of oppression and the deliverance from the rapist was the presence of the indwelling God. The Church of God needs to experience and enjoy this truth.
A burning bush is a good symbol of people who go through some horrendous experiences or prolonged suffering without being destroyed. Haven't you seen people who left you speechless with their bravery? By their refusal to be embittered? By their refusal to be put off as they seek God in righteousness and sincerity? And aren't we persuaded that whatever else is true about situations like that, God is showing himself in it? That we should go barefoot because we're on holy ground, we're in the presence of the holy One?
I know a woman who had thirteen children, whose life was way too hard (the details only her family really know), never got her head above water, suffered numberless disappointments, wrestled with illness and debt. It's now when I look back on my mother's life and remembering her cheerfulness, her compassion toward needy neighbors and the sick in our district (only God knows how many came to our door to see if Cassie McGuiggan could advise or help); it's now when I think of the nights with very little sleep or none at all because one or more of the children was sick, of too little food for herself, too few clothes, too little help, too little encouragement and then dying before her time--it's now, looking back on all this and remembering her faith that I realize I was in the presence of God--I should have gone barefoot.
When I think of the women I saw in my boyhood around our district who quietly but bravely opposed (often at awful cost) the whining or bullying of their husbands and insisted that they act like honorable men; women who bore the indignity of their poverty with the dignity of princesses--I realize now, I should have gone barefoot.
When I look at some of the TV documentaries and watch people who live with brave eyes and unbowed hearts through an endless stream of abuse and injustice, who ask for nothing, who aren't part of the protesting crowds when the TV pictures are taken because they are out there somewhere scratching in the ground trying to feed their families--when I look at them, I know I'm in the presence of God. I should go barefoot.
When I see the masses of people being worn down, lowering their standards, joining the crowds of those who insist that society owes them 'a living'; when I see the bulk of us settling for the pathetic, lapsing into bitterness, endlessly finding fault with everyone else, acting as though we were one of the people in the Third World or Eastern Europe when in fact, things could hardly be better, just needing a bit of fine tuning; when I see people whose days are frittered away in doing nothing but what their impulses suggest, in passing what's left of their lives planning and doing only what is pleasant to them--when I see all this, I realise that while burning bushes aren't completely absent, they are few and far between. And it's because our societies are so filled with those of us who throw in the towel so easily that 'burning bushes' are so special. You see a different indwelling spirit there, you hear God speaking to you out of a common burning bush, "the place" becomes holy and you have to go barefoot. Now and then, as I go through another ordinary day I see visions. Like the gentle and cheerful woman who lives two hundred yards from me and whose crippling illness makes her walk bent almost double and she has to look up just to say hello. Or the bright-eyed, giggling woman with her daughter and grandson I saw recently in a distant city. I speak reverently before God when I say she was the most disfigured lady I've ever seen. In coming into contact with such people I suddenly see something that makes me wonder and I feel the impulse to go barefoot.

©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.

From Mark Copeland..Matthew 21:12-14

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               Does Your Temple Need Cleaning? (21:12-14)


1. Shortly after entering Jerusalem at the beginning of His final week,
   Jesus entered the temple - Mt 21:12-14
   a. Angered by the presence of the moneychangers and merchants, He
      drove them out
   b. He decried their turning the house of God into a den of thieves
   c. With the temple cleansed, He then healed blind and lame

2. Jesus had cleansed the temple before - Jn 2:13-17
   a. It was during the Passover, three years before
   b. Then He rebuked them for making the house of God a house of

3. In both cases, we see Jesus' anger for their misuse of the temple...
   a. Not that there was anything inherently wrong with buying and
   b. But it was not the proper place, or use of the temple

4. How about your temple?
   a. Is it being properly used? 
   b. Does it need cleaning?
   c. Are you aware that you even have a temple?  

[Yes, you do have a temple.  As with the temple in Jerusalem, it is to
be used in the service and praise of God.  If it is not, then it too
needs a cleaning!  What am I talking about...?]


      1. Your physical body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who in you
         - 1Co 6:19
         a. This "indwelling" refers to a special relationship between
            you and the Spirit
            1) By which God strengthens you - cf. Ep 3:16
            2) By whom we can deal with the power of sin - cf. Ro 8:
         b. As Solomon recognized with the temple in Jerusalem, no
            physical dwelling can contain the omnipresent God - cf.
            2Ch 6:18
         c. Such is true of the Spirit of God - cf. Ps 139:7-12
         d. Yet the uniqueness of the Spirit's presence in the life of
            a Christian is such that it is proper to speak of Him
            "indwelling" the Christian - cf. Ga 4:6
      2. What is said of the physical body, is also said of the church
         as a whole - 1Co 3:16
      3. What is said of the church as a temple, is also true of the
         body - 1Co 3:17
         a. Defile the temple of God, and you incur the wrath of God!
         b. For the temple is to be holy!

      1. The temple of Jerusalem was to be a place of prayer - cf. Mt 21:13;
         2Ch 6:19-21
      2. So your temple, including both body and mind, is to be devoted
         in service to God
         a. Your body is to be a living sacrifice - Ro 12:1; cf. Col 3:
         b. Your mind is to be renewed, focused on things above - Ro 12:2;
            cf. Col 3:1-2

      1. We have seen how the temple in Jerusalem was abused
         a. A place designed for prayer, turned into a marketplace
         b. A place that need to be cleansed, once and again
      2. The same can be true of our temples...
         a. We can become guilty of setting our minds on earthly things
            1) We begin serving our bellies (fleshly appetites), rather
               than Jesus - Php 3:18-19
            2) We find ourselves unable to abide by will of God - Ro 8:
         b. We can begin offering our bodies to that which it does not
            1) Some which is inherently sinful - cf. 1Co 6:13-18
            2) Other things (cares, riches, pleasures of life) which
               detract us from our true service and hinder our ability
               to serve God with our bodies - cf. Lk 8:14

[What is the condition of your temple?  Perhaps you are in need of a
"major overhaul" (salvation).  Perhaps you need some "spring cleaning"
(restoration and rededication).  In either case, the principles for
cleaning are similar...]


      1. Jesus is an expert at "temple-cleansing"!
      2. Even more so, when it comes to cleansing the temples of our
         bodies and spirits
         a. He knows that it must occur from the inside out - cf. Mt 23:25-27
         b. He died, that He might purify us - Tit 2:11-14
         c. His blood is the cleansing power to purify us from all sin
            - 1Jn 1:7
      3. How do we ensure the presence of Christ in our "temples"?
         a. Through faith - Ep 3:17
         b. Through obedience - Jn 14:21,23; 1Pe 1:22
      4. For the non-Christian, such faith and obedience includes
         a. For baptism unites us with Christ, that the body of sin
            might be destroyed - Ro 6:3-4
         b. For in baptism we put on Christ - Ga 3:27
      5. For the Christian in need of cleansing, faithful obedience
         includes repentance and prayer - cf. Ac 8:22
         a. Repentance, as Christ counseled the Laodiceans - Rev 3:
         b. Prayer, through which the Lord is allowed back into our
            hearts - Rev 3:20

      1. Jesus exercised strength to overturn the tables and drive out
         the merchants
      2. Even more so, does He offer strength for the Christian
         a. Without Him, we can do nothing - Jn 15:4-5
         b. With Him, we can do everything - Php 4:13
      3. Thus we need to stand strong "in the power of His might" - Ep 6:10;
         Col 1:11; cf. Isa 40:29-31; 41:10

      1. While we are dependent upon Christ for our cleansing, we 
         cannot sit by idly
         a. We must "cleanse ourselves" - 2Co 7:1
         b. We must "pursue holiness" - He 12:14
      2. This involves both "putting off" and "putting on" things in
         our life
         a. As counseled by James - Jm 1:21
         b. As instructed by Peter - 1Pe 2:1-2
         c. As commanded by Paul - Ep 4:22-32; Col 3:8-14
      3. Our cleansing will be greatly facilitated by what we allow in
         our minds
         a. For things that are worthy of praise and virtue will ensure
            God's presence in our lives - Php 4:8-9
         b. Our transformation will take place as our minds are renewed
            - Ro 12:1-2


1. In what condition is your "temple"?
   a. Is it a place where God, Jesus, and the Spirit can reside?
   b. Is your body and mind "a place of prayer", one that brings glory
      to God?
   -- Or have you allowed the mundane things of life to so preoccupy
      your "temple" that it is not what God intended, a place that is
      common and profane?

2. If your temple needs cleaning, then look to Jesus...
   a. Only He can provide the cleansing you need
   b. But He also provides power for godly living

3. But be careful that you do not just let Jesus clean your temple
   and nothing else...
   a. For cleansing without replacement can make thing worse - cf. Mt 12:43-45
   b. Therefore we must fill our "temples" with prayer, praise, virtue,
      and godliness
   c. Otherwise our "temples" will soon be filled with idols

Do not forget the words of the apostle Paul:

   "And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are
   the temple of the living God."

   "As God has said: `I will dwell in them And walk among them. I 
   will be their God, And they shall be My people.' Therefore `Come
   out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch
   what is unclean, And I will receive you.  I will be a Father to
   you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD

   "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse 
   ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting
   holiness in the fear of God."
                                               (2Co 6:16-7:1)

Are you participating with Christ in your cleansing, and perfecting
holiness in the fear of God?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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