From Ben Fronczek... Are You Ready

Are You Ready

2 Peter 3
 - By Ben Fronczek

Over the past few months I have been bringing lessons from letters written by the Apostle Peter. I have to admit, I like Peter. He wasn’t the kind of guy one would imagine being a religious or holy man. When we are first introduced to Peter (called Simon), he was a fisherman. Many fishermen of that time were gruff, unkempt, vile, shabbily dressed, and often used vulgar language. He would be what we call a man’s man today. These guys were full of vigor and had hot tempers. Perhaps that’s why his friends  and fellow fisherman, James and his brother John were called the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17).  Their’s was a rough life since fishing was a very messy and physically demanding job. They must have been somewhat fearless too because some of the storms that came quickly upon the Sea of Galilee were fierce and furious. They often caught the fishermen by surprise and could easily capsize the 20 to 30 foot boats they used.

One day when Jesus showed up on the scene and said, “Follow Me.” We read that Peter and his brother Andrew, simply dropped everything and left their fishing business behind to follow Jesus. In Gospel accounts we read that Peter was outspoken, impulsive, and was still humble enough and realized that he did not even deserve to be in Jesus’ presence. At one point he told Jesus,

“Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)

Being a rugged individual Himself, Jesus and Peter seem get along great. Peter along with James and John became what we now call His inner circle and they seemed a little closer than the other apostles. Peter saw almost all the miracles that Jesus performed including Him walking on water when he had an opportunity to do the same (Matthew 14:25-33). He saw the glory of Jesus on the Mt. of transfiguration where Jesus began to glow as bright as the sun (Matt. 17:1-9). He got to listen to all those amazing teachings of Jesus first hand. He saw the death, and then three days later witness Jesus’ empty tomb, and witnessed the resurrected Christ. He heard Jesus final command, to go into all nations and make more disciples, and then baptize them and teach them to obey everything that He commanded (Matt 28:18-20). And then Peter was there to witness Jesus rising through the clouds back to heaven which was followed by the angels promising that one day again He would return the same way that he departed. (Acts 1:9-11)

Serving as the spokesman of the first believers on the day of Pentecost Peter was the first to stand up and preach the good news about Jesus to the Jews telling them about who Jesus was, and why they needed to put their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior. And in the latter part of Acts 2 he encouraged the people to repent and turn away from their sinful ways and be baptized so that their sins would be forgiven. And then we read that 3000 respond to his message and were baptized that very day. (Acts 2:37-41).

Later we also read that Peter would also be the first one to bring the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles when he goes to the home of a Roman Centurion, named Cornelius (in Acts 10). They likewise baptized his entire household opening up the way of salvation for not just the Jews but for everyone else.

Peter willingly suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even rejoiced at the fact that he was worthy to suffer disgrace for the Lord‘s sake (Acts 5:17 & 40-41). After that we do not read too much about Peter other than the fact that he served as an elder in the early Church.

As most of you know Peter was totally dedicated to Jesus even though he had a moment of weakness and denied even knowing Jesus three times the night He was arrested. There are traditional stories that state that before Peter himself was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy of being crucified like Jesus, he had to watch his wife be crucified. Trying to encourage her he was heard crying out to her, “Remember our Lord, remember our Lord.”
From an arrogant, cocky, man of thunder, he became a humble, willing, obedient servant of the Lord, even to death. He rejoiced in that day of his death, knowing that he would be reunited with his beloved Savior. The lowly fisherman became a mighty fisher of men – and one that changed and shaped the world forever and is still proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ through his writings.

I was surprised to read that many scholars believe that Peter is actually the author behind the Gospel of Mark. They believe that John Mark was simply the scribe recording Peter’s words. And then we have the letters we just studied, I & II Peter.

As we studied these letters we read messages of hope:                             

- Peter says that God has given us everything we need for a life of godliness through our knowledge of him (Jesus). And He has also given us his great and precious promises so that through them we may participate in His own divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cause by evil desires. (1 Pet. 1:3-4)                                                                                  

 - He also lets us know that we have been given a new birth into a living hope and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- kept for you in heaven                                

- He said that we are precious to God, we are a chosen people a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to Him (1 Pet. 2:2-5 & 9)     

- He said that we should cast our anxiety on God because He cares for us. (1 Pet. 5:7)

- He said that even if you suffer Christ will restore you and make you strong (5:10)

We also saw that he gave us wise instruction:                                            

- That we should prepare our mind for action, be clear minded, be self controlled so we can pray. He wrote, be obedient children and do not conform to the evil desires we had before we were Christians. Rather, to the best of our ability we should be Holy because our heavenly Father is holy (1 Pet. 1:13-16). And we should do our best to love one another. In doing so we actually become a mechanism or a vehicle of God’s grace to others.

- We should do our best to get rid of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

- He said that we should seek to grow up in our salvation and like new born babes crave pure spiritual milk. And to our faith add goodness and to goodness add knowledge, and to knowledge add self control.. perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness and love

- Peter said that we should live our lives as strangers here in this world in reverent fear.  And that…

- We should live for God and do good, and humbly submit to those who are over us, and offer hospitality without grumbling

- He said that we should do our best to make sure our calling and election is sure.

But then he also gave us many warnings, such as:                                          

- We need to be careful, alert and self controlled because the our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He said we need to resist him and stand firm in our faith. (1 Pet.5:8-9)

- He also warns us of the fact that there will be false teachers even from within the church that we have to be careful of. These individuals are dangerous and can deceive weaker members and cause much harm to the church. (2 Pet. 2)
And finally as we close this series we come to one scary final warning and a recommendation in 2 Peter 3. To begin with, Peter reminds his readers exactly why he wrote these letter.  

“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”

He wrote these things down as reminders, to stimulate (Greek: Wake up, stir up, or arouse)  us to wholesome (or Pure) thinking. Our generation like theirs has become very lacked in thinking about or acting on spiritual matters. Other things apparently have slipped in and have become more important to many of us. Peter wanted to shake up his readers a bit for their own good. He wanted to remind them of what was written about and spoke about in the past by those OT prophets and what Jesus said.

And just like people mock and scoff at our Christian beliefs today, many doubted then, especially the warning that Jesus will come again. And when  the day of the Lord arrives a cataclysm will come as well.   

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgmentand destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Just like people of old who mocked and probably laughed at Noah and his family, people today sneer at the suggestion that such a disaster or judgment shall befall our planet today.  Peter writes here that God does not look at time like we look at time. He doesn’t have a watch or calendar, rather He is patient not wanting anyone to perish and is waiting for everyone to come to repentance (that is everyone who will).

And then he goes on to talk about the event: Read 3:10     

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”                        

Peter lets us know that this event will come unannounced, like a thief. When is going to happen? We don’t know. Peter doesn’t know, but it’s going to happen.

He said,  

“The heavens will disappear with a roar and the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”

Exactly what this means, I don’t know for sure. I don’t think anyone knows. Is it possible for something like this to happen? Based on scientific evidence our planet could be fried and burnt to a crisp in a moment’s notice. There are powers at work in the universe that few barely understand. Like: – The effect black hole moving close to our solar system. – A gamma ray burst or another  devastating blast of cosmic radiation. – The effect of something called dark energy,  or the questionable effect of the earth passing thru the galactic plane which will happen at the end of this year. This is what the Mayans warned us about that something major is about to happen.  And there may more dangers that we don’t even know about..
To Peter, it really it doesn’t matter how, or even when. What matters to him is  are you going to be ready. 

Read 3:11-15  

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[a] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.”

At this point, I believe here at the end his final letter Peter is pouring our his heart out to his readers. It is the last message we receive from him.  It doesn’t matter how or when this event is going to take place, he is more concerned about his readers being ready and living like, and being the kind of people we ought to be. And if you are living the way you should and are standing right with God you shouldn’t fear that day, rather you can look forward to it. Why, because we are looking forward to a new reality, a new and better existence for faithful men and women, in a new heavenly existence described as a new heaven and earth promised by God Himself. In that realm somehow we will be changed into spiritual beings, glorious beings like Jesus Himself. (1 Cor. 15)

The question is, are we ready? Better yet, are you ready?

Peter says that the Lord is patiently waiting for you to come to Him in faith. This promise does not cost us more than our faith and devotion. Jesus paid the price and died on the cross for every sin that we have and ever will commit. He’s the one who was willing suffer in your place for those sins as a gift to you because He loves you. All we need to do is accept that gift in faith. He wants you to confess that faith to others and do your best to turn away from doing evil things. And if you allow yourself to be baptized He said that He would remove those sins from just like a surgeon cuts away a cancer. He lets us know that if you do this you will be like a new born babe in God’s eyes. (Acts 2:37-38, 22:16; Colossians 2:9-13 & Romans 6:3-11)

Get ready and prepare because none of us know when that great day will come. For that matter we don’t know how long we are going to live. Peter pleads with us to get ready!

For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... More Fireworks in the Fog

More Fireworks in the Fog

I recently read a piece that reflected on an article that talked about suffering. The article reviewed (actually, it wasn't reviewed), we were told, claimed that the answer to human suffering was found in the book of Job. (It’d take a brave or wild man or woman to make a claim like that.) We weren’t told who wrote the article and more importantly we weren’t told what the writer of the article had said. This means we weren’t told how the writer of the original article related the book of Job to "suffering answered". We were only told how astonished the reviewer was and how harmful the piece was; which the reviewer assured us was an expression of pride and arrogance that we should ignore and regard as "man’s wisdom".

The reviewer didn't tell us why the article astonished him, why it was harmful and created havoc; we weren’t told how the astonished one knew it was merely "man’s wisdom" or why we should ignore such a piece of writing. Ignore what, for pity’s sake? The reviewer treated us to fireworks in the fog while professing to give us light. The reviewer asked us to accept his word that some article of some kind saying something or other was arrogance and harmful man's wisdom. The reviewer accused our unknown author of arrogance and sets himself up as the judge of his work without even allowing us the opportunity to give it a hearing. Hmmm.

I wouldn’t suppose that any of us would want to rely on "man’s wisdom" as over against God’s; but that’s precisely the problem, isn’t it? We often don’t know the difference between what is God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom. To warn against man’s wisdom is wise and it’s also pious—it shows our own wisdom and humility, don’t you see. But to warn without telling others what we’re warning against is worse than no warning at all. Why is this teaching "man’s wisdom" rather than that teaching? How can we tell? Who can tell us? We hear the same kind of talk when people warn us against "Liberalism" and "heresy". Some years ago a prominent figure, in an open forum, was raging away against "Liberals" and a questioner asked him what he meant by the word. He said, "Those that don’t agree with what we’ve always believed."

The old piece of advice goes this way: if you want to get rid of a troublesome dog, get it to eat soap and when it foams at the mouth yell "mad dog," shoot it immediately and make sure no one has a close look at the corpse. Then there’s the story of "Live Forever" Jones who was convicted of a criminal charge. Someone asked him why he hadn’t made any points in his defence and he said, "I was afraid if I made points they’d hang me on them."

Here’s a piece of wisdom: see if what you read makes any points. If it doesn’t—no matter how pious sounding it is—dismiss it as fatuous and a waste of your time.
It isn’t hard for me to understand why some non-believers can’t put up with our pious bleating. Sometimes we’re just too sweet to be wholesome.

©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... Introduction To The Epistle ( 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2)


                  Introduction To The Epistle (1:1-2)


1. In our study of First Thessalonians, we found it to be an epistle...
   a. Written shortly after the establishment of the church in
   b. Providing personal reflections (1Th 1-3) and apostolic
      instructions (1Th 4-5)
   c. With the theme of "Holiness In View Of The Coming Of Christ"
   d. Mentioning the coming of Christ in each of the five chapters

2. Not longer afterward Paul wrote Second Thessalonians, an epistle...
   a. Containing three short chapters
   b. In which the coming of Christ is again an important theme
   c. Encouraging Christians in time of persecution
   d. Cautioning them against false conceptions of the Lord's return

3. As we continue to wait for the coming of the Lord...
   a. There may be times when we are persecuted
   b. There are certainly many different views of the coming of the Lord

[Therefore this epistle is certainly relevant to our time.  Thus we
begin a series of lessons based on Second Thessalonians, starting with
an "Introduction To The Epistle"...]

I. THE AUTHOR (1:1a)

   A. PAUL...
      1. Confirmed by a reference to his own signature at the end - 2 Th 3:17
      2. Early sources in church history that attribute this letter to
         Paul include:  Clement of Alexandria (200 A.D.), Tertullian
         (200 A.D.), and Irenaeus (200 A.D.)

      1. Silvanus, also known as Silas
         a. Who together with Paul established the church in
            Thessalonica - Ac 17:1-4
         b. Who joined Paul in the salutation of the first letter - 1 Th 1:1
      2. Timothy, also known as Timotheus
         a. Paul's son in the faith - cf. 1Ti 1:2
         b. Who also joined Paul in the salutation of the first letter
            - 1Th 1:1
         c. And served as Paul's emissary to Thessalonica - 1Th 3:1-2,6

[Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were naturally concerned about the welfare
of the church in Thessalonica.  Let's now review some things about...]


      1. It was the capital and largest city of the Roman province of
      2. Located on the Egnatian Way, a major road from Rome to the
         eastern provinces
      3. The city served as a center of trade and commerce
      -- Today, it is known as Thessaloniki (formerly Salonica)

      1. Its establishment is recorded in Ac 17:1-9
         a. On his second journey, Paul and his companions had just left
         b. Traveling through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they arrived at
         c. Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath as an opportunity
            for evangelism
         d. For three weeks he reasoned with the Jews, converting some
            and a number of prominent Gentiles
         e. Unbelieving Jews soon caused a disturbance, forcing Paul to
      2. Despite such ominous beginnings, a strong church was
         a. It quickly gained a good reputation - 1Th 1:8
         b. It was mostly Gentiles - 1Th 1:9
         c. Members included Jason (Ac 17:9), Aristarchus and Secundus
            (Ac 20:4)
      3. From the first letter we learn...
         a. Persecution of the church had continued, giving Paul grave
            concern - 1Th 3:1-5
         b. Yet they had remained strong, giving Paul great comfort
            - 1Th 3:6-8

[Encouraged by what Timothy had reported, Paul wrote the first epistle.
But it was not long after that Paul found it necessary to write


   A. THE PLACE...
      1. In our study of First Thessalonians, we suggested Corinth as
         the place from which it was written
         a. Paul had only been gone a short time - 1Th 2:17-18
         b. He had sent Timothy from Athens, who had returned - 1 Th 3:1-6
         c. Yet Paul did not stay long in Athens - Ac 17:16-18:1
         d. And Timothy came back from Macedonia after Paul arrived in
            Corinth - Ac 18:5
         -- Thus the first letter was likely written soon after Paul's
            arrival in Corinth
      2. The second letter appears to been written just a few months,
         perhaps a year later
         a. Paul stayed in Corinth eighteen months - Ac 18:11
         b. If Paul wrote the first letter at the beginning of his stay,
            he could have easily written the second letter toward the
            end of his stay
         -- Thus the second letter was likely also written from Corinth

   B. THE DATE...
      1. Paul arrived in Corinth sometime around 50-52 A.D.
      2. Writing the second epistle toward the end of his stay, the date
         would be 53 A.D.

[Now let's consider...]


      1. From the letter itself, it appears that the church at
         Thessalonica remained strong in the Lord despite persecution
         - cf. 2Th 1:3-4
      2. But it is apparent from this letter that misunderstanding about
         the Lord's coming was present in the church
         a. Some of the members were being troubled by false reports
            - cf. 2Th 2:1-2
         b. Others had stopped working, perhaps assuming that the Lord's
            imminent return meant one did not need to work anymore
            - cf. 2Th 3:11-12
      3. Paul appears to have a threefold purpose in writing this
         a. To encourage them in their steadfastness under persecution
         b. To correct their misunderstanding about the imminence of the
            Lord's return
         c. To instruct the congregation on what disciplinary action to
            take toward those who refused to work

      1. Encouragement in persecutions - 2Th 1:1-12
         a. Salutation, and thanksgiving for their spiritual growth
            - 1:1-4
         b. Encouragement in trials in view of the coming of Christ
            - 1:5-10
         c. His prayer for them - 1:11-12
      2. Enlightenment about the coming of the Lord - 2Th 2:1-17
         a. The apostasy must come first - 2:1-12
         b. Steadfastness encouraged - 2:13-17
      3. Exhortation to Christian living - 2Th 3:1-18
         a. A request for prayer, and a prayer for them - 3:1-5
         b. A charge to discipline the disorderly - 3:6-15
         c. Concluding remarks - 3:16-18


1. With an emphasis on remaining steadfast, an appropriate theme for
   this epistle would be:

         "Steadfastness While Waiting For The Coming Of Christ"

2. In keeping with such a theme, I offer the following passage as the
   key verses of the epistle:

   "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you
   were taught, whether by word or our epistle.  Now may our Lord Jesus
   Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us
   everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts
   and establish you in every good word and work." - 2Th 2:15-17

As we proceed through this epistle, it will be my prayer that our study
will lead to steadfastness in our service to God as we wait for the
coming of Jesus, that we might truly be recipients of His grace and
peace (2Th 1:2)!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 12

Bible Reading   

December 12

The World English Bible

Dec. 12
Hosea 1-4

Hos 1:1 The word of Yahweh that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hos 1:2 When Yahweh spoke at first by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, "Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and children of unfaithfulness; for the land commits great adultery, forsaking Yahweh."
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; and she conceived, and bore him a son.
Hos 1:4 Yahweh said to him, "Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease.
Hos 1:5 It will happen in that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."
Hos 1:6 She conceived again, and bore a daughter. Then he said to him, "Call her name Lo-Ruhamah; for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, that I should in any way pardon them.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by Yahweh their God, and will not save them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen."
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son.
Hos 1:9 He said, "Call his name Lo-Amm; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can't be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'
Hos 1:11 The children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint themselves one head, and will go up from the land; for great will be the day of Jezreel.
Hos 2:1 "Say to your brothers, 'My people!' and to your sisters, 'My loved one!'
Hos 2:2 Contend with your mother! Contend, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; and let her put away her prostitution from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
Hos 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and make her bare as in the day that she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and kill her with thirst.
Hos 2:4 Indeed, on her children I will have no mercy; for they are children of unfaithfulness;
Hos 2:5 For their mother has played the prostitute. She who conceived them has done shamefully; for she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'
Hos 2:6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, that she can't find her way.
Hos 2:7 She will follow after her lovers, but she won't overtake them; and she will seek them, but won't find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.'
Hos 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and multiplied to her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
Hos 2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my new wine in its season, and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness.
Hos 2:10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one will deliver her out of my hand.
Hos 2:11 I will also cause all her celebrations to cease: her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her solemn assemblies.
Hos 2:12 I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, about which she has said, 'These are my wages that my lovers have given me; and I will make them a forest,' and the animals of the field shall eat them.
Hos 2:13 I will visit on her the days of the Baals, to which she burned incense, when she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and went after her lovers, and forgot me," says Yahweh.
Hos 2:14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
Hos 2:15 I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she will respond there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Hos 2:16 It will be in that day," says Yahweh, "that you will call me 'my husband,' and no longer call me 'my master.'
Hos 2:17 For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth, and they will no longer be mentioned by name.
Hos 2:18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the sky, and with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, and will make them lie down safely.
Hos 2:19 I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
Hos 2:20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know Yahweh.
Hos 2:21 It will happen in that day, I will respond," says Yahweh, "I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth;
Hos 2:22 and the earth will respond to the grain, and the new wine, and the oil; and they will respond to Jezreel.
Hos 2:23 I will sow her to me in the earth; and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; and I will tell those who were not my people, 'You are my people;' and they will say, 'My God!' "
Hos 3:1 Yahweh said to me, "Go again, love a woman loved by another, and an adulteress, even as Yahweh loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods, and love cakes of raisins."
Hos 3:2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley.
Hos 3:3 I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days. You shall not play the prostitute, and you shall not be with any other man. I will also be so toward you."
Hos 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without sacred stone, and without ephod or idols.
Hos 3:5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return, and seek Yahweh their God, and David their king, and shall come with trembling to Yahweh and to his blessings in the last days.
Hos 4:1 Hear the word of Yahweh, you children of Israel; for Yahweh has a charge against the inhabitants of the land: "Indeed there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Hos 4:2 There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break boundaries, and bloodshed causes bloodshed.
Hos 4:3 Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone who dwells therein will waste away. all living things in her, even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky; yes, the fish of the sea also die.
Hos 4:4 "Yet let no man bring a charge, neither let any man accuse; For your people are like those who bring charges against a priest.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble in the day, and the prophet will also stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother.
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you may be no priest to me. Because you have forgotten your God's law, I will also forget your children.
Hos 4:7 As they were multiplied, so they sinned against me. I will change their glory into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people, and set their heart on their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 It will be, like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and will repay them for their deeds.
Hos 4:10 They will eat, and not have enough. They will play the prostitute, and will not increase; because they have abandoned giving to Yahweh.
Hos 4:11 Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding.
Hos 4:12 My people consult with their wooden idol, and answer to a stick of wood. Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have been unfaithful to their God.
Hos 4:13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery.
Hos 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes; so the people without understanding will come to ruin.
Hos 4:15 "Though you, Israel, play the prostitute, yet don't let Judah offend; and don't come to Gilgal, neither go up to Beth Aven, nor swear, 'As Yahweh lives.'
Hos 4:16 For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will Yahweh feed them like a lamb in a meadow.
Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols. Leave him alone!
Hos 4:18 Their drink has become sour. They play the prostitute continually. Her rulers dearly love their shameful way.
Hos 4:19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings; and they shall be disappointed because of their sacrifices.

Dec. 12
1 John 2

1Jn 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
1Jn 2:3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 One who says, "I know him," and doesn't keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn't in him.
1Jn 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, God's love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him:
1Jn 2:6 he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.
1Jn 2:7 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
1Jn 2:8 Again, I write a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shines.
1Jn 2:9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn't know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1Jn 2:12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
1Jn 2:13 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.
1Jn 2:14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1Jn 2:15 Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's.
1Jn 2:17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever.
1Jn 2:18 Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.
1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they didn't belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us.
1Jn 2:20 You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
1Jn 2:21 I have not written to you because you don't know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn't have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Therefore, as for you, let that remain in you which you heard from the beginning. If that which you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son, and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 This is the promise which he promised us, the eternal life.
1Jn 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray.
1Jn 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don't need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.
1Jn 2:28 Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1Jn 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of him.

From Gary... Things

This has to be my favorite car of all time!!!  Something says it is a Dusenberg or an Excalibur, but I don't really don't know.  Anyway, I love this car.  I know that I will never have it (unless something life-changing happens) but it is sort of nice to imagine having it.  Funny how the days of ones life seem to intertwine in a commonality of thought!!!  Just last night our preacher (Larry Schatzer) taught on the parables again and guess which one he chose...

Luke, Chapter 12
 13  One of the multitude said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 

  14  But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”   15 He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.” 

  16  He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man produced abundantly.  17  He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’  18  He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.   19  I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 

  20  “But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’   21  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 

  22  He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear.   23  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  24  Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds!   25  Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height?   26  If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest?   27  Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   28  But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?   29  Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious.   30  For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things.   31  But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.   32 Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.   33  Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys.   34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Everyone likes nice things, but with them comes a danger of giving them too high a priority in life.  God knows our needs and abundantly supplies them. But the things we lust after... well- not so much!!!   Still, seemingly unimportant gifts can mean a lot.  Just before Linda and I were married, I was working with my father in Mechanicville, N.Y. as a plumber's helper and when the lady of the house (Mrs. Flilippo Falco) heard that I was getting married, she dissappeared for awhile and returned with a gift (an inch square little book with Bible Verses in it).  I have kept that little book for over 45 years now and intend to do so for the rest of my life.  Why?  Because it means something to me.  If someone who is a stranger can show kindness like that- well, then there really is hope for the human race.  Gifts don't have to be fancy or expensive to be valuable, but if God decides to use someone to bring a little pleasure into your life, be happy with whatever you receive.  Still, there is that car...  Stop, Gary... remember the verse you just read...

31  But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.