From Gary... Perfection personified

This picture reminded me of Mother's day (as if I needed any reminding) and its "cute" factor is way up there.  Some mom's (and Grand-Mom's are excellent; others, well, not so much.  But, face it- we wouldn't be here without them.  In thinking about mom's, I naturally thought of this chapter from the book of Proverbs...

Proverbs, Chapter 31

 1 The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him. 
  2 “Oh, my son!
Oh, son of my womb!
Oh, son of my vows!
  3 Don’t give your strength to women,
nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
  4 It is not for kings, Lemuel;
it is not for kings to drink wine;
nor for princes to say, ‘Where is strong drink?’
  5 lest they drink, and forget the law,
and pervert the justice due to anyone who is afflicted.
  6 Give strong drink to him who is ready to perish;
and wine to the bitter in soul:
  7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty,
and remember his misery no more.
  8 Open your mouth for the mute,
in the cause of all who are left desolate.
  9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
and serve justice to the poor and needy.”

  10 Who can find a worthy woman?
For her price is far above rubies.
  11 The heart of her husband trusts in her.
He shall have no lack of gain.
  12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
  13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works eagerly with her hands.
  14 She is like the merchant ships.
She brings her bread from afar.
  15 She rises also while it is yet night,
gives food to her household,
and portions for her servant girls.
  16 She considers a field, and buys it.
With the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard.
  17 She arms her waist with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
  18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp doesn’t go out by night.
  19 She lays her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
  20 She opens her arms to the poor;
yes, she extends her hands to the needy.
  21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household;
for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
  22 She makes for herself carpets of tapestry.
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
  23 Her husband is respected in the gates,
when he sits among the elders of the land.
  24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and delivers sashes to the merchant.
  25 Strength and dignity are her clothing.
She laughs at the time to come.
  26 She opens her mouth with wisdom.
Faithful instruction is on her tongue.
  27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
and doesn’t eat the bread of idleness.
  28 Her children rise up and call her blessed.
Her husband also praises her:
  29 “Many women do noble things,
but you excel them all.”
  30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain;
but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised.
  31 Give her of the fruit of her hands!
Let her works praise her in the gates!

This level of perfection reminds me of that old commercial  where a very attractive Woman says something like: I can bring home the bacon n' fry it up in a pan- an never ever let you forget you are a man-- because I am a W-O-M-A-N... .  Well, I think most women can not fulfill all Lemuel's mother's requirements, or be an equal to the "bacon frying" woman of the 70's, but almost every GRAND-MOM seems that way to her grand-kids!!!  Fact is- whatever their capabilities, THANK GOD FOR THE WEAKER SEX!!!  Their role in society is absolutely necessary and to be praised as often as possible!!!  Even those with a shape like a rotary phone!!!!

From Jim McGuiggan... 1 Corinthians 10.13 and God's Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 10.13 and God's Faithfulness

A reader was wondering about 1 Corinthians 10:13. "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able." Does this mean that God promises to limit the temptations we face based on our ability to resist them?
I wouldn’t understand the promise in just that way. Before I begin these remarks I need to tell you that I believe that God is faithful and provides the help his people need when faced with temptation of all kinds, anytime and anywhere. But I believe it's a richer and more complex subject than it looks on the surface. (It makes contact with how God answers prayer which is another rich and complex matter.)
This is a difficult passage although it appears straightforward. I think we need to recognise that in 1 Corinthians 10 Paul is not only saying that Israel sinned, but that they sinned and fell (fell away from God) and so lost the inheritance. The larger context of chapter 10 (see especially the later verses and the OT texts Paul quotes) is not simply about human moral weakness and the "inevitable" sins that will occur—it has to do with a much more fundamental kind of sinning. Apostasy, fellowship with demons and provoking God is in his mind. The Corinthian cultural/civil/social setting plus their own limitations were such that the temptation to depart from God was very strong. My suspicion is that that is what Paul has in mind in 10:13.
There was to be no whining as if they couldn't be faithful to God. The history of the people of God shows that what the Corinthians faced was no different than what God’s elect had faced down the centuries. Be that as it may, no one is to excuse himself by saying he had to sin.
[I believe that to be true though I think there are exceptional circumstances where a Christian may be faced with a choice between two evils. The heart would renounce both movements so the evil done does not have the believer's heart's consent. Let's leave that topic for a while. It would take us a bit off the track we're on right now. We can, God enabling, take it up later.]
If a temptation is a temptation then by its very nature it is not beyond us. If what came at us simply coerced us, made us behave in this way or that, it isn't a "temptation". God has structured the living of life (not just specific moments in our lives) so that we cannot be coerced into sinning. What does not have our heart's consent should make us question the sinful nature of the act. [That thought needs development though I'm certain of its truth.]
So that when Paul says God will not permit us to be tempted above our capacity for resistance he isn't talking about particular moments of divine intervention—he's speaking about God's pervasive providence. To me it makes no sense to say, "There’s a temptation that is absolutely beyond resisting." That is, when the temptation occurs, the human simply isn't capable to resist it. That isn't temptation, it's an "overwhelming". What I think Paul is saying is that God has not left his people powerless and fated to go down.
I can't help thinking that there's something self-defeating in saying that God enables a believer to resist provided that the believer is able to resist in order to cash in on that enabling. It's sounds a bit like offering a roadmap to a man in chains in prison to use once he gets himself out of prison. "I’m enabling you to resist temptation if you’re able to take my enabling." Hmmm.
And if 10:13 is saying nothing more than, "There is always another course of action open to a Christian when a temptation comes," then he has said nothing. It's certainly true that there is always another course of action; but that's true for any human under any circumstance—even if the person is a degenerate rebel. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to have Paul say, "God is faithful...there's always another course of action." Of course! But is that what Paul is saying?
Still, let me plainly insist that God is faithful and he does provide a way of escape and he has so structured things that we don't have to go down in sin.
So how does he do that? Moment by moment? Situation by situation? Or does Paul think of God's faithful providence on a broader base? God enables us to resist temptation in many ways and some of them have existed before we were born. His whole work of redemption, his entire work of grace with humanity is the groundwork and expression of his faithfulness. To understand Paul as saying less than that, I think, is to miss his richness here.
We make a mistake, I judge, by making every verse a commentary on moment by moment existence as if we lived that way—we don't! Every word in an author's book is written by him and has its place as part of the entire book, but it doesn't function as an independent word, isolated from all others in the book. It's as much a part of the book as any other word, as much a part of the book as all the other words together but it doesn't stand alone and shouldn't be treated as if it did. We tend to see life as a long series of independent moments, situations and experiences and we think God speaks to it in that way. I don’t believe that’s true.
Nevertheless, God does deliver us from specific temptations (that is, he enables us to honourably resist them) and we should thank him for it. But when we do, we need not think that only an hour ago (when we were faced with the awful temptation) he acted on our behalf. His enabling work—and it is his enabling work—was already in operation on our behalf long before the temptation arrived. We felt the power of his aid on Thursday at 4 p.m. but we aren't to suppose that God only began to act around that time. (Though I’m not forbidding him to do so.)
Nor should we think that he weakens the temptation by doing something to the temptation itself—he provides and protects us by doing something to us. The "ten pounds of pressure temptation" isn't made less by God as if temptations existed as objective realities independent of us. It doesn't happen (to use imagery) that Satan is heading our way with a fifty pound temptation and God forbids it by saying, "No, make that a forty-pounder." Temptations don't exist as already made realities, delivered like packages to this person and that. They're a combination of realities that includes our inner structure. Without us there is no temptation.
I think Paul is saying that God does not leave his people helpless but that he provides what they need to be his people and to be faithful as his people. I don’t believe he ever leaves any of his people helpless in the face of temptation (praise his name!).
I don’t think we should use this text to prove the theoretical possibility of our never sinning. That’s not what the text is there for. My present understand of biblical writers is that they don’t waste their time talking about interesting and theoretical questions. Paul knows they will sin and he everywhere writes with that in mind. I think the context here is their flagrant arrogance and the danger of their going down in apostasy.

©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... Who Do You Say That Jesus Is?

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                Who Do You Say That Jesus Is? (8:27-30)


1. On the road from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His
   disciples two questions...
   a. "Who do men say that I am?" - Mk 8:27-28
   b. "But who do you say that I am?" - Mk 8:29-30

2. The responses to such questions concerning Jesus' identity...
   a. Have been many and varied
   b. Both in Jesus' day and today

[It is the most important question people could ask themselves, for
their response determines their destiny both in this life and the life
to come.  Let's take a look at...]


      1. King Herod thought this when he heard about Jesus - Mk 6:14
      2. Perhaps motivated by guilt for having beheaded John - Mk 6:16

   B. ELIJAH...
      1. Likely based on their misunderstanding of Malachi's prophecy
         - Mal 4:5
      2. Which Jesus explained referred to John the Baptist - Mt 17:10-13

      1. As mentioned in Matthew's account of this conversation - Mt 16:14
      2. Who some Jews expected to be resurrected as a precursor to the

      1. One of the old prophets risen again
      2. As mentioned in Luke's account of this conversation - Lk 9:19

      1. Some had identified Jesus with Beelzebub, that is, Satan - Mt 10:25
      2. So thought some of the scribes and Pharisees - Mk 3:22; Mt 12:24

      1. So thought some of His family - Mk 3:21; cf. Jn 7:5
      2. As did many others - Jn 10:30

      1. As per Mark's gospel, Peter said "You are the Christ" - Mk 8:27
         a. Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew)
         b. Meaning, "the Anointed One"
      2. As per Matthew, Peter added "The Son of the living God" - Mt 16:16
         a. God's Son in an unique sense, not true of any mortal
         b. As confessed by others (Nathanael, Martha, John)  - Jn 1:49;
            11:27; 20:31

[Opinions of Jesus' identity were quite diverse during His ministry.
Today, it is not much different...]


      1. Some skeptics deny He ever existed
      2. Yet the Encyclopedia Britannica uses 20,000 words to tell about
         Jesus and never hints that He did not exist

   B. GOOD MAN...
      1. Many say He was simply a good man, a good teacher, akin to
         Mahatma Gandhi
      2. Yet the Biblical claims do not leave us this option:  "You can
         shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a
         demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.
         But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His
         being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
         He did not intend to." - C. S. Lewis

   C. PROPHET...
      1. Many believe He was a prophet of God, but not the Son of God
      2. So teaches the religion of Islam

      1. As professed by Christians today, and to them He is so much
      2. As indicated by this list:

              * 100 Biblical Names And Titles Of Jesus *


1. We have seen what people said about Jesus...
   a. Then - during His earthly ministry
   b. Now - by atheist, agnostic, skeptic, and believer

2. But the key question today is this:  "Who do YOU say that Jesus
   b. Your answer will determine your eternity - cf. Mt 10:32-38; Ac 17:30-31
   a. Your answer will determine how you live today - cf. Mt 28:18-20

My prayer is that you would join with Peter and countless others and
confess to Jesus:

            "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Why not confess Jesus now, as you obey the gospel of Christ (e.g., Ac
8:35-38).  For you will either confess Him now, or confess Him later
when it is too late...! - cf. Php 2:9-11

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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