3/13/13

From Gary... Laughter, sorrow and rejoicing




This is an older picture of Robin Williams - from his "Mork and Mindy" days.  Since many of you will probably not know what I am referring to, the following is a short synopsis from Wikipedia:

"Mork & Mindy is an American science fiction sitcom broadcast from 1978 until 1982 on ABC. The series starred Robin Williams as Mork, an alien who comes to Earth from the planet Ork in a small, one-man egg-shaped spaceship. Pam Dawber co-starred as Mindy McConnell, his human friend and roommate. In 1997, the episode "Mork's Mixed Emotions" was ranked #94 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time list.[1]"

I included a couple of videos from You-Tube just so that you could get an idea of what he can do.  I liked the TV series better than the videos because it told a story.  Surprisingly, most of the series was unscripted, which is amazing!!!  Robin Williams was great at it then and still is (as the video links will show).  But, some things have changed; humor is more course today, with language that is sometimes offensive and attitudes that reflect a more secular society than in bygone decades.  The world has changed and but not that much, as these passages from the Old Testament will show...

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 10

 19 A feast is made for laughter,
and wine makes the life glad;
and money is the answer for all things.



Ecclesiastes, Chapter 7
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living should take this to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.  4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.  5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.  6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity. 

Psalm 126
 1  When Yahweh brought back those who returned to Zion,
we were like those who dream.
  2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“Yahweh has done great things for them.”
  3 Yahweh has done great things for us,
and we are glad.
  4 Restore our fortunes again, Yahweh,
like the streams in the Negev.
  5 Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.
  6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed for sowing,
will certainly come again with joy, carrying his sheaves.


Some people live only for themselves and today, while others are more introspective and still others seek even higher standards.  Life can be very funny (as the first video shows), or absurd (check out the second one) but sober reflection will lead one towards the true reality of existence and to those who seek God will find him.  And their lives will be filled with a different kind of laughter- that of rejoicing over what God is doing in their lives!!!  Na-No, Na-no (bye for now)

From Gary... Bible Reading Mar. 13


Mar. 13
Exodus 23

Exo 23:1 "You shall not spread a false report. Don't join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness.
Exo 23:2 You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; neither shall you testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice;
Exo 23:3 neither shall you favor a poor man in his cause.
Exo 23:4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
Exo 23:5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you fallen down under his burden, don't leave him, you shall surely help him with it.
Exo 23:6 "You shall not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
Exo 23:7 "Keep far from a false charge, and don't kill the innocent and righteous: for I will not justify the wicked.
Exo 23:8 "You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds those who have sight and perverts the words of the righteous.
Exo 23:9 "You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, seeing you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Exo 23:10 "For six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in its increase,
Exo 23:11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the animal of the field shall eat. In like manner you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive grove.
Exo 23:12 "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the alien may be refreshed.
Exo 23:13 "Be careful to do all things that I have said to you; and don't invoke the name of other gods, neither let them be heard out of your mouth.
Exo 23:14 "You shall observe a feast to me three times a year.
Exo 23:15 You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib (for in it you came out from Egypt), and no one shall appear before me empty.
Exo 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you sow in the field: and the feast of harvest, at the end of the year, when you gather in your labors out of the field.
Exo 23:17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh.
Exo 23:18 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, neither shall the fat of my feast remain all night until the morning.
Exo 23:19 The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of Yahweh your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
Exo 23:20 "Behold, I send an angel before you, to keep you by the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.
Exo 23:21 Pay attention to him, and listen to his voice. Don't provoke him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him.
Exo 23:22 But if you indeed listen to his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.
Exo 23:23 For my angel shall go before you, and bring you in to the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off.
Exo 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor follow their practices, but you shall utterly overthrow them and demolish their pillars.
Exo 23:25 You shall serve Yahweh your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from your midst.
Exo 23:26 No one will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.
Exo 23:27 I will send my terror before you, and will confuse all the people to whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
Exo 23:28 I will send the hornet before you, which will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before you.
Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate, and the animals of the field multiply against you.
Exo 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and inherit the land.
Exo 23:31 I will set your border from the Red Sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.
Exo 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me, for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."




Mar. 13, 14
Mark 9

Mar 9:1 He said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power."
Mar 9:2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form in front of them.
Mar 9:3 His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Mar 9:4 Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.
Mar 9:5 Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let's make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Mar 9:6 For he didn't know what to say, for they were very afraid.
Mar 9:7 A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Mar 9:8 Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.
Mar 9:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he commanded them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Mar 9:10 They kept this saying to themselves, questioning what the "rising from the dead" meant.
Mar 9:11 They asked him, saying, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
Mar 9:12 He said to them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and restores all things. How is it written about the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be despised?
Mar 9:13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they have also done to him whatever they wanted to, even as it is written about him."
Mar 9:14 Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them.
Mar 9:15 Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him.
Mar 9:16 He asked the scribes, "What are you asking them?"
Mar 9:17 One of the multitude answered, "Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit;
Mar 9:18 and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren't able."
Mar 9:19 He answered him, "Unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me."
Mar 9:20 They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.
Mar 9:21 He asked his father, "How long has it been since this has come to him?" He said, "From childhood.
Mar 9:22 Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us."
Mar 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
Mar 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, "I believe. Help my unbelief!"
Mar 9:25 When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!"
Mar 9:26 Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, "He is dead."
Mar 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.
Mar 9:28 When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we cast it out?"
Mar 9:29 He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting."
Mar 9:30 They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know it.
Mar 9:31 For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, "The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again."
Mar 9:32 But they didn't understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Mar 9:33 He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?"
Mar 9:34 But they were silent, for they had disputed one with another on the way about who was the greatest.
Mar 9:35 He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all."
Mar 9:36 He took a little child, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them,
Mar 9:37 "Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn't receive me, but him who sent me."
Mar 9:38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone who doesn't follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn't follow us."
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, "Don't forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
Mar 9:40 For whoever is not against us is on our side.
Mar 9:41 For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward.
Mar 9:42 Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.
Mar 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire,
Mar 9:44 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched-
Mar 9:46 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire,
Mar 9:48 'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.'
Mar 9:49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
Mar 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

From Gary V. Womack...Be About My Father's Business


Be About My Father's Business

Lk. 2:41-50 Jesus at 12 years old, left behind at Jerusalem by His parents. After a 3-day search found Him in the temple. His reply: "Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be
about My Father's business?"

- A LITTLE OVER 20 YEARS LATER (about a year before His crucifixion) -

Jn. 9:1-7 At the temple, Jesus healed the man who was blind from birth. Jesus told His disciples why this opportunity to do the work of God had been afforded Him & the urgency of it;
"I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work."

- JESUS WAS GIVEN WORK TO DO, & SO DO WE -

THIS IS WHY GOD MADE US: TO DO THE WORK HE PLANNED FOR US

Eph. 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Rom. 13:13-14 Walking "properly" = Appropriately. This is our God-given work.


WISE USE OF TIME & OPPORTUNITY - OUR RESPONSIBILITY


Rom. 13:11-12 "knowing the time" = Be aware of the time you have to do your work in - Since we believed ("first began"), we are closer to the day of "our salvation" (the last day, when we will be glorified in Him.)

PAUL WROTE SIMILARLY TO THE EPHESIANS

Eph. 5:14-17 Awake! Walk wisely (carefully), use your time wisely, know His will.

2 Tim. 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

- TIME & OPPORTUNITY ARE A GIFT & A RESPONSIBILITY -

Mt. 25:14-30 PARABLE OF THE TALENTS. With blessings come responsibility, with responsibility comes accountability, with accountability comes
judgment.

TIME IS FOR OUR OWN MEASURE & USE

Gen. 1:14 "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;'"

- GOD DOES NOT NEED TIME MEASURED - 2 Pet. 3:8
v
2 Pet. 3:8 "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

CONSCIOUSNESS OF TIME & ITS BREVITY

Psm. 90:2-6, 9-12 Time passes swiftly & life is short, therefore: "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

Jas. 4:13-ff Life is as "a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away PLANNING IS NOT WRONG - unless it is without regard of TIME.

SETTING WORTHWHILE GOALS - THE MEANS TO GROWTH

Lk. 14:28-32 JESUS RECOGNIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING AHEAD AND COUNTING THE COST.

-WHAT ARE SOME GOALS WE COULD SET (for the new year)? -

Read the bible all the way through. Become a mentor to someone younger 
Memorize scriptures Spend more time with your children
Become more "instant" in prayer Improve your marriage
Commit to attend all worship services Become a better homemaker
Increase our giving Break a bad habit
Lead someone to Christ Develop a positive attitude
Take steps to teach a bible class Manage your time better
Develop yourself to become an elder Learn to serve others

- PROGRESSIVE GROWTH IN THE ADDING OF THESE VIRTUES -

2 Pet. 1:5-11 Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness,
brotherly kindness, love.

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE - NOT LOOKING BACK TO REGRET

Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

- LOOKING BACK AT FAILED RESOLUTIONS - A NEGATIVE ACTION -
- LOOKING AHEAD HELPS TO PREVENT GIVING UP -

Phil. 3:12-14 "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold
of me. [13] Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, [14] I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."


- YESTERDAY IS GONE, DON'T DWELL ON THE PAST -

- TOMORROW IS NOT YET, DON'T WORRY BY BORROWING FROM IT -

- TODAY IS YOURS TO USE, DON'T WASTE IT.


TOMORROW

Mt. 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

TODAY

Psm. 118:24 "This is the day which the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."

Heb. 3:12-15 "...exhort oneanother daily, while it is called 'Today'"

- TODAY IS THE DAY WE CAN BEGIN AGAIN -

1 Jn. 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

- PRAYER TO GOD FOR HELP TO KNOW OURSELVES, OUR FRAILTY, OUR PLACE, & FOR DELIVERANCE FROM SIN.

Psm. 39:4-8 "...And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You."

INVITATION

Today is the day of salvation - We are not promised tomorrow

Heb. 3:13 "But exhort one another daily, while it is called today ; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

From Jim McGuiggan... Disappointed in God (3)

Disappointed in God (3)

Generally speaking, disappointment is the emotional feeling we have when our expectations are much higher than what we expect or wish for. Set your expectations too high and you're setting yourself up for disappointment; sensible people have a good helping of realism.
Yes, but what has realism got to do with it when we're dealing with God? He has no limits and he is able to do far beyond what anyone can imagine. Yes, I'm acquainted with the text—what troubles me is what people make of the text and the kind of hoop they make out of it that they require God to jump through.
Part of our disappointment with God is that a lot of preachers and teachers make promises for God that God didn't make and when God doesn't deliver on them we're disappointed in him. Of course at that point those teachers/preachers begin to bob and weave and introduce "the fine print" connected with the promises though usually their answer is one of these: "God is testing you, be patient, keep on asking and you'll get your desire." Or, "The fault lies with you. You don't have the faith."
We're disappointed in God because he doesn't do the things daily that we saw Jesus do daily. We read the NT and see what he does in Jesus and we think (because we have been taught to think and because we want to think) that this is how God purposes to act daily in our world at this time. He did these things in Jesus, he did them in the apostles of Jesus and since he's the same God why doesn't he do the same things now as then?
Some preachers and teachers say that very thing and so we, the rank and file, expect God to continue to act in that miraculous and immediate way. We become impatient with people who consign God to the past or to the unknown future ("He used to do miracles, he will do them again in the future but he doesn't do any now.") We don't like this and in moments of desperation we're almost prepared to believe what we see in the three-ringed circuses and carnival exhibitions we see on the prime-time religious television channels conducted by flamboyant masters of ceremony.
We're disappointed in God because he doesn't appear to be like Jesus Christ. What we see of Christ is his moving among the needy attending to their needs and defending the defenceless. If he can make a difference he makes it and he didn't stand by while he had the power to make a difference.
However true this picture of Jesus is—and it is true, up to a point—it isn't the whole story. The fact is that Jesus did leave vast numbers unhealed and hurting and lonely and abused. If it had been a question of naked power he could have obliterated sickness and death with a word and buried the Roman Empire just by willing it but to read the Scriptures like that is to miss what God was and is after in Jesus.Sometimes our disappointment is because we look for the fulfillment of a promise that never was made. God wants not just our happiness but our selves; not just our comfort but our hearts; not just our gratitude but our love and not just our prosperity but our transforming righteousness. Christians share the suffering of the world because their Master did and does. Click here.
Whether we like it or not God is more concerned about our character than our ease and while he is eternally interested in our happiness and joy it isn't about us as individuals in isolation but as a world redeemed. Our unbroken peace and joy is yet in the future, here!, with the curse entirely obliterated!, and on an earth where the will of God is done as it is in heaven and where the glory of God fills the planet as the waters cover the seas.
Jesus never offered his miracles as substitutes for redeemed lives, he never offered health in place of righteous neighbour-helping living and peace among men was never offered as a gift that could be enjoyed without God. However else we are supposed to understand Jesus and his earthly ministry we are to keep that in mind.
I don't doubt that as individuals we'll continue to be disappointed in God but I think it's important that we grasp—at least have a shot at grasping—what his agenda is and asking to be allowed to further it before we let our hurting hearts bottom out in a permanent sulk.
And listen: Jesus isn't finished yet! There's a day coming when all the disappointed but brave ones will see and then look at each other and say: "We knew that, didn't we? We just forgot it for a moment now and then!"

©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.


From Jim McGuiggan...Disappointed in God (2)

Disappointed in God (2)

Woody Allen said that whatever else we must think about God we must surely think of him as an under-achiever. He could do more if he just put his mind to it. He has the power but not the drive. Whatever else we must think about Woody Allen we must surely think that every now and then he hits the nail right on the head; he expresses what many of us have floating around inside. Don’t you hate it when a book promises all kinds of answers and sure-fire cures and when you’re done you throw it aside with the same sense of disappointment you felt about the other books? "Same old shell-game, now you see it, now you don’t, now you have it, now you don’t. One of these days..."
We feel disappointed in God because our lives aren’t up to what we think they would be if God were really and consistently involved in them. Like Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof we feel that God could make us rich, healthy, acclaimed or whatever without upsetting some eternal plan—if he wanted to! Closer to home, when we come face to face with agony—prolonged agony—whether of loneliness or physical trauma, it isn’t money for a holiday in The Islands or Southern France we want. We’re only looking for some basic relief from grinding pain or poverty for pity’s sake, not a private Lear Jet or a villa in Costa Del Sol. Is that too much to want? Does God think that’s selfish? Is that too much foranyone to want—Christian or non-Christian?
And wouldn’t you think God would look on us with a bit of extra grace when we turn our lives over to him and try to live for him? I don’t mean he should make "pets" out of us but wouldn’t you think he’d look at us with a bit of added care and say, "They need a break"? But, nope, for tens of thousands of us it doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference—the ceaseless dull ache remains or the agony sears us just the same or the bone deep "nuthin' opens its eyes when we do and goes everywhere with us.
And having become one of his People our consciences are awakened and the moral struggle begins in earnest (or continues in earnest for God is at work in non-Christians as surely as in Christians). More sensitive to righteousness now, more anxious to please Christ, more anxious to be good in that warm rich sense of the word, we find a powerful gloomy current running deep within us. The social, economic and physical struggles get all tangled up with the moral struggle and life is more complicated than ever. Yes, it’s true we hear all the happy hymns and assurance-offering psalms and scriptures but unless we have the heart to appreciate them they don’t seem to amount to much. And we aren't good at hearing or appreciating yet.
Still, we’ve come among God’s friends and representatives and we’ll find help and strength from God flowing through them—won’t we? If our life with God was really to catch fire then the burdens of life—burdens we know millions carry—would be easier to bear. We want to grow! Well, at least we want to want to grow and we’re depending on God’s friends and representatives to feed and nurture us with rich, strong and Christlike food. And what we get too often is one more religious demand after another from people who don’t understand our awful spiritual needs. They offer more burdens and they do it in the name of God.
And a young man, with big dark eyes, watches it all and sees us like oxen wearing an ill-fitting yoke dragging a plough from one long day to another. He sees us as beasts of burden piled high with too much to carry and he says, "Come unto me all you who toil and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." And what does he know of God? What kind of God does he offer? Is it just another version of the old shell-game? What does the fine print in his covenant say? [For a little more, click here.]

©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.

From Jim McGuiggan...Disappointed in God (1)

Disappointed in God (1)

Why are the promises greater than the fulfillment? Why is God an under-achiever? If I truly want to be free from sin (and I believe I do) why hasn’t God delivered me as he promised? We hear all this talk about God being able to do "exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or think" and then we see ourselves flounder around in sinful addictions or with a permanent case of the spiritual blahs. How can this be?
You understand that I’m not thinking here of people who don’t care about God or holy righteousness! I’m not talking about the hedonistic thousands who party every night of the week that they can afford to do it. They spend every night in dancing away the blues, they sleep around, abort developing humans and spend every spare penny they earn in self-indulgent enterprises. No, I’m talking about people who tremble with guilt, wrestle with fear and finger nervously the dismay that is steadily moving toward despair. The poor hedonists are another discussion for another time. Right now I’m thinking of beleaguered Christians who don’t know why their prayers for holiness aren’t being answered with God’s resounding and immediate yes.
And it wouldn’t be so bad if church leaders and teachers simply taught us about God’s promises to assure us of ultimate victory but they make immediate urgent demands of us in light of them. "Change now or within a very short time," they tell us, "or we’ll conclude that you don’t really want to be holy."
And many of us stand in stunned silence unsure what to think and fully certain that we don’t know what to say. We know we’re sinning, we know the promises that say things like God will supply every need of ours (Philippians 4:19) and we can’t get those two to gel. We sense that there’s something future in that "will supply" but we’re worried about 4:13 that says we are able to do whatever God wants us to do because he gives us strength to do it. Well, are we or aren’t we? Does he or doesn’t he? Is there some fine print attached to these promises that we aren’t reading? Does it come down to us after all? Is it a case of, "God gives us the strength to do whatever he wants providing you have the strength to cash in on his strength because if you don’t have that strength then his strength is no good to you"

©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.

From Mark Copeland... Two Great Commandments


                     
                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                   Two Great Commandments (22:34-40)

INTRODUCTION

1. In the temple during His final week prior to His crucifixion, Jesus
   was questioned by various religious groups...
   a. The Pharisees and Herodians sought to entangle Him with a
      question about paying taxes - Mt 22:15-22
   b. The Sadducees tried to trip Him on the subject of the 
      resurrection - Mt 22:23-33
   -- His answers caused people to marvel and be astonished - Mt 22:22,
      33

2. The Pharisees tried once again, this time sending one of their
   lawyers...
   a. Testing Him as to which is the great commandment in the law - Mt 22:34-36
   b. Jesus replied by offering two great commandments
      1) The first pertained to loving God - Mt 22:37-38
      2) The second pertained to loving one's neighbor - Mt 22:39
      -- Upon these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets
         - Mt 22:40

3. While we no longer live under the Old Law, these "Two Great
   Commandments" are still very important to the Christian...
   a. For they certainly have their counterpart in the New Covenant
   b. And keeping the commandments of God is just as important now as
      it was under the Old Covenant - cf. 1Co 7:19; 1Jn 5:3

[It is proper to ask, therefore, do we love God and our neighbor as we
should?  Do we understand what is involved in loving God and our fellow
man?  Perhaps by reflecting upon these "Two Great Commandments" we can
find the answer to such questions...]

I. THE COMMAND TO LOVE GOD

   A. UNDER THE OLD COVENANT...
      1. The Israelites were expected to love God (Deut 6:5)...
         a. "with all your heart"
         b. "with all your soul"
         c. "with all your strength"
         d. "with all your mind" - cf. Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27
            (the Septuagint has "mind, soul, strength" in Deut 6:5)
         -- Emotionally, physically, intellectually, they were to love
            God
      2. Thus they were to love God with their whole being, not like
         some who...
         a. Serve God emotionally, while committing intellectual
            suicide
         b. Serve God intellectually, but with no emotion
         c. Serve God emotionally and intellectually, but with no
            actual obedience requiring the exercise of strength (i.e.,
            action)
         -- Note how the Law stated their responsibility in Deut 10:
            12-13

   B. HOW WE ARE TO LOVE GOD TODAY...
      1. Does God expect any less of us?  Of course not!  We are to 
         love God:
         a. With all our heart - cf. 1Co 16:22 (note the use of the
            word "phileo")
         b. With all our soul (body and mind) - cf. Ro 12:1-2
         c. With all our strength - cf. He 10:36
         d. With all our mind - cf. Col 3:1; Php 4:8
      2. We demonstrate our love for God through keeping His
         commandments
         a. This is the love of God - 1Jn 5:3
         b. This is evidence that we love Jesus - Jn 14:15

   C. THE BLESSING OF KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS...
      1. We enjoy a special relationship with God and Jesus - Jn 14:21-23
      2. We will abide in the love of God - Jn 15:10; 1Jn 2:5
      3. Our prayers will be answered - 1Jn 3:22

   D. HOW TO GROW IN OUR LOVE FOR GOD...
      1. By allowing God's love for us to move us - cf. 1Jn 4:9-10;
         Ro 5:8
         a. God loved us, even while we were still sinners
         b. When we reflect upon His love for us, we will love Him
            more!
      2. By asking God to help us grow in love - cf. 2Th 3:5
         a. Paul prayed that the Lord would direct the Thessalonians
            into the love of God
         b. If he could pray such for others, can we not pray the same
            for ourselves?
      3. By praying, and growing in love when He answers - cf. Ps 116:
         1-2
         a. David loved the Lord because He heard His supplications
         b. Perhaps if we prayed more, and received answers to our
            prayers more, we would love God more!
      4. By keeping the word of God - cf. 1Jn 2:5
         a. The love of God is perfected in those who keep God's word
         b. Therefore the more we obey Him, the more our love for God
            will grow!
         
[Do we love God any less than what was expected of the Israelites?  We
certainly have compelling reasons to love Him even more (e.g., the gift
of His Son)!  Now let's consider...]

II. THE COMMAND TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR

   A. ENJOINED UPON CHRISTIANS...
      1. We owe it to our neighbors to love them - Ro 13:8a
      2. When fully applied, it fulfills what the Law required - Ro 13:
         8b-10
         a. Five of the Ten Commandments spoke to working no ill toward
            our fellow man
         b. If one truly loves his or her neighbor, they will not be
            guilty of killing, adultery, stealing, lying, or 
            covetousness
         c. For sins (and many others) do grave harm to our neighbor

   B. ENHANCED BY A NEW COMMAND...
      1. Jesus taught us to love one another - Jn 13:34-35
      2. This new command takes our love to a higher level
         a. No longer do we just love one another as we love ourselves
         b. We must love one another as Christ loved us!
            1) He loved us with the greatest love - Jn 15:13
            2) He became poor, that we might be rich - 2Co 8:9
      3. Thus no one can use low self-esteem (or low self-love) as an
         excuse not to love others as they should
   
   C. EXPERIENCED WHEN WE KEEP GOD'S COMMANDMENTS...
      1. We demonstrate true love of one another by keeping the
         commandments of God - 2Jn 5-6
      2. This is how we know that we really love one another - 1Jn 5:2
         a. Not by just claiming to love one another
         b. But by setting the proper example, and encouraging each
            other by the example we set!

   D. EDUCATED BY THE EXAMPLE OF GOD...
      1. We develop love for one another by being taught of God - cf.
         1Th 4:9-10
         a. The Thessalonians had been taught of God to love their
            brethren
         b. They did so remarkably, though there was always room for
            improvement
      2. Jesus by His own example demonstrates what true love is - 1Jn 3:16-18
      -- If we wish to learn how to love one another properly, look to
         God and Jesus!

CONCLUSION

1. How great were these two commandments...to love God, and to love
   your neighbor?
   a. "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
      - Mt 22:40
   b. "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." - Ro 13:9
   -- These two commands summed up what the Old Law required of the
      Israelites

2. When one truly loves God, and loves his neighbor as himself...
   a. He is on the road that leads to eternal life! - cf. Lk 10:25-28
   b. He is on the path that leads to the kingdom of God! - cf. Mk 12:
      28-34

If you wish to receive eternal life, and become a citizen of the
kingdom, then demonstrate your love for God by obeying His commands
(cf. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:16), and live a life of faith in Jesus that is
focused on loving God and your fellow man!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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