12/13/13

From Ben Fronczek... Electing A Savior

Electing A Savior

Electing A Savior
Isaiah 53:1-12

“Who has believed our message     and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces  he was despised,and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

OPENING: 
How many of you have noticed that there’s a Presidential election coming up? ☺

I know, you’d have to be a hermit living in a cave in the mountains with no phone or mail to escape the advertising.   America has a decision to make in a few weeks and it seems to be coming down to a choice between two men, each of which I think will lead the country in a different direction. These men have raised millions of dollars to be used so that they can try to out-campaign the other candidate.

Many today think it would be a disaster to invest all that money and effort into a candidate who is perceived as someone who is: Un-attractive, un-popular Un-presidential, and generally liked but then unliked by a majority.

Personally I don’t think the American people would even elect Jesus as their president; as our commander and chief.  Why?

Because in Isaiah 53:2b-3 he tells us:
 
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”

Now, there are those who believe that this passage is implying that Jesus was not physically attractive or as handsome as Obama or Romney. And that may have been the case. Or Isaiah may have been alluding to the fact that most of the people of Jesus’ time simply viewed Him as undesirable.

Jesus probably would never be elected President of the USA or leader of any other country. He just wouldn’t be popular enough. He wasn’t overly popular in the days of His ministry in Judea, and He wouldn’t be popular enough now.

But it wasn’t ALWAYS true. After Jesus fed the 5000 with 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish, He turned some heads… 

John 6:15 tell us: 

“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”

And when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time before His crucifixion… the crowds had the same idea: Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread palm branches they had cut in the fields.

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,  

“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:8-10

These people saw Jesus as a perfect earthly leader (at least for a while).      He was a man of power, authority and decisiveness. He could feed thousands with just a small amount of food. He could heal the sick with the touch of His hand, and raise the dead with the command of His voice.

From this perspective He could lead their nation and help Israel overthrow the hated Roman Empire and make Israel a nation to be reckoned with.
But just few days after that “Palm Sunday” event… probably some of these same people and just about everybody else in Jerusalem seem to turn on Jesus, and the crowds cried out  

“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

Why the change?   Why were those who were so excited about Him just days earlier now calling for His death?
Well, part it was because Jesus didn’t give people what they wanted.  He did not tickle their ears with false promises like some of our politicians today.  Instead, Jesus insisted on telling people things that they NEEDED to hear; even things that they DIDN’T want to hear.

And what was that message?  It was the same message then as it is today: We don’t need a politician to fix our most important problem, we need a savior! Why, because just like He let them know, we are all sinners. Our sin is the problem!
Isaiah 53 lets us know that’s why He came, he wrote:

· He was pierced for OUR TRANSGRESSIONS · Crushed for OUR INIQUITIES
 
· He came to bear OUR SINS   · He was punished to bring us peace.

Isaiah 53:6 sums it up by saying  

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Like Sheep, he wrote… we’ve all gone astray.  We have chosen to go OUR own way    – not God’s way.  And because we chose to seek our own path rather than His, God says our hearts are filled with iniquity. The root word in Hebrew for iniquity here is “twisted, Warped, distorted, or perverted”. Because we’ve chosen our own way so long, God says we’ve developed a “twisted, warped, distorted, or  perverted” character (that is compared to what it should be, and compared to His). And because we are warped, we don’t think and act the way we ought. Simply put, we are all sinners.

Solomon’s wrote 

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20

We all know that this is a unfortunate truth, we are all twisted, warped or perverted in some way,  and it’s not a very popular subject to talk about. You know what presidential candidate I liked who ran for office years ago? Ross Perot. I liked him because he had the guts to tell it like it is. He pointed at the problems and said, ‘Here they are and they have to be fixed, but it’s going to cost everyone of us.’  People did not like to hear that. People don’t want to hear what it’s going to cost them to fix their problems, especially from a political candidate. And so Mr. Perot was not elected. And likewise, Jesus did not gain a popular vote in His final days.
After that triumphal entry where people cried, “Hosanna,”  He entered the Temple area and started flipping tables over and accused the Jews of being a bunch of thieves, turning a place of worship into a den of robbers (Matthew 21:12-13)

Each day after that, the religious leaders got angrier and angrier at Jesus the more He spoke; especially when He accused them of being a bunch of show-off hypocrites. He goes on to call them snakes and a brood of vipers and condemns their evil practices. (Matthew. 23)

People who call the kettle black and speak the truth about things people don’t want to hear don’t go too far in the political realm. At this point rather than elect Jesus to be their Savior,  many wanted to kill Him. He let all of us know that we all have a problem. We are ALL unholy sinners and we will not be welcomed into the presence of God in heaven after we die.
Now, some folks just don’t want to hear that. They have a problem accepting the idea that they’ve got a problem, that they are broken, and they need help from someone else.
Some people simply think that they’re ok, that they are “pretty nice people”. That’s why, when people are asked if they think they are going to heaven, most will reply:  “Well sure, I’m not that bad. I never killed anyone.” They don’t see themselves as ungodly because of the things that they have or haven’t done. They view themselves by their own standards not God’s. They don’t want to hear that God is ready to throw them into Hell and lock the door.  Like the Pharisees and other religious leaders in Jerusalem when they hear the truth they get upset when Christians tell them that they are doomed and need a Savior. In their anger many choose not to elect Jesus as the Lord of their lives. What Jesus represents is not really attractive to them in that way.  He may interesting… but He is not their source of hope for salvation.

You see those religious leaders of old had a big problem. They were too proud to realize that they were in trouble and needed help; and only the kind of help that Jesus could provide. They were too proud to hear and act on that truth, and wanted to be patronized, not criticized. And we likewise put our self in a dangerous position when we do the same; when we are too proud to hear the truth, when we refuse to act on those truths, and when all we want is to be patronized and not criticized. That’s why Jesus’ preaching didn’t appeal to the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the self-righteous of His day. He exposed them for what they were. He revealed the sinful foundation of their thinking. And they hated Him for it. But Jesus did appeal to some…to those who realized they had a problem. The prostitutes and the tax collectors and the sinners… they KNEW THEY weren’t good enough, nor righteous enough to make it to heaven. They desperately needed the answers Jesus supplied. So, when Jesus came and offered them forgiveness of sins and a new life they chose to follow Him. They elected Him Savior. 

Jesus told these self righteous ones,  

“I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” Matthew 21:28-31

You see, they DIDN’T CARE if He was physically attractive or well dressed.
They didn’t care if anybody else liked Him. They had a problem… and Jesus could fix it.
If my car breaks down and I need to take it in to be fixed I don’t care how good looking my mechanic is. I don’t care how attractive his body shop is. I don’t care how clean his restroom is. All I care is: ‘Can he fix my car?’

If I am diagnosed with a disease and I have to go the hospital I don’t care how attractive my doctor is. I don’t care how fancy the room is decorated. All I care is: ‘Can they help me. Can they fix me?’

Things haven’t changed much from those days of old when the people then sneered at what Jesus had to say and what He represents. Some people are still too proud. In all reality, none of us will ever be good enough to make to heaven on our own. We need a Savior. We need Jesus. And until people realize they have a problem… they’re not going to look for His help, nor will they seek Him out. People who elect Jesus as their Savior do so because they humble enough to ·KNOW that they’ve got a problem.
 
 ·They KNOW they can never be good enough to be good enough!
 
·They KNOW they can never be nice enough to work off their sins!
 
·They know that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
God knows it too. That’s why He sent his one and only son into the world to pay the price for our sin if we so choose to accept Him.

But the sad reality is, some will never accept God’s gift for whatever reason.
Jesus made a very chilling comment once and I have to admit the reality of what He said here both scares & sadden me. 

In Matthew 7:13-14  Jesus advised,   
 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

I would like to encourage you today to make sure you are on the right road, on the right path. Don’t be too proud and turn a deaf ear on wholesome criticism; it may be for your own good. If you haven’t already, don’t let your pride get in the way of seeking Jesus’ help. Elect Jesus as you Savior. He loves us and has our best interest in mind. He is a leader like no others, He leads by example.

Based on a sermon by Jeff Strite

To read more Sermons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... OF BIRDS AND HUMANS

OF BIRDS AND HUMANS

About one thousand years before Jesus came, some poor soul was in awful trouble and poured out his heart to God (Psalm 55). "You must listen to me, please," he said, "because I’ve no one else to turn to and my enemies have me at their mercy—I’m all tangled up in their snare." He sees himself as a frightened and imprisoned bird beating its wings against its prison-bars, instinctively wanting someone to open the door. And if that were to happen it would rise into the air and head for the wide-open spaces. Of himself he says, "Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, ‘Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest’."

It isn’t hard to imagine what floods through the high strung bird, frantic with fear and knowing without understanding that this isn’t life—it isn’t hard to imagine the surge that goes through it when it finds its way to the sky and freedom no longer barred. All the power in its tiny body exerted skyward; the little heart beating like a boiler house at some logging factory—free! Freedom! Enemies below, the skyward spiral, the joy, the delicious joy of relief, and the realisation of what it was made for—freedom, in the bright blue sky! All that’s worth having remains; nothing lost that makes life worth living. The psalmist imagines all this and turns to the God that can give it to him.

Nineteen hundred years after the birth of the Christ, in America, where the great Depression had really taken hold, when tens of millions were jobless, hungry, homeless and despairing, Albert Brumley read Psalm 55 and wrote the hymn, "I’ll Fly Away". He knew that for those who trusted in God, the crushing circumstances of life weren’t the whole story and that one day prison bars would be shattered and the believer would fly home; home to freedom and to the wide-open spaces.

Yes, yes, but what does that hope have to do with the present almost intolerable burdens? Well, for one thing, it says that the burden doesn’t have the last word and that can’t be bad news. I can only imagine how it must be for those who do not believe, especially if their lives are a prolonged purgatory. To live in chronic misery from birth to death, with no one to help and then to die in squalid poverty—end of story? Now that would be inexpressible horror. Never freedom! Never hope of freedom! Only kidding ourselves when we say that maybe something will change; knowing full well there’s not the ghost of a chance?

There are those who think that genuine believers are escapists, that they’re people who don’t want to face life with steady eyes. This is untrue. Real believers are precisely those that take troubled existence and life most seriously. And it’s because they take the whole of it seriously—the lives of others as well as their own— that they turn to God and say,

"You will not leave us alone in this and you are surely offering better to all our fellow humans."

Then comes Jesus and says, "I am come that you might have life to the full and I am the resurrection and the life."

Here, tell me this: has God made a commitment to every human born on this planet? Every human in every age? If he has, then tell me this: how does that commitment show itself to multiplied millions whose lives from birth to death are stories of prolonged crucifixions? Who look heavenward in despair and have never heard a word of the gospel of God in Jesus Christ?

Think noble things of God!

©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... Holding Up Under Hard Times ( 2 Thessalonians 1:3-7)

               "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"

                  Holding Up Under Hard Times (1:3-7)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Paul began his second epistle to the Thessalonians, he expressed
   thanksgiving...
   a. Thanksgiving which he felt compelled to offer - 2Th 1:3a
   b. Thanksgiving which was fitting - 2Th 1:3b

2. He was thankful regarding their faith and love...
   a. Their faith was growing exceedingly - 2Th 1:3c
   b. Their love toward each other was abounding - 2Th 1:3d

3. Indeed, he was even boastful regarding their faith and patience...
   a. Boasting of them among the churches of God - 2Th 1:4a
   b. Boasting of their faith and patience in the midst of persecution
      - 2Th 1:4b

4. The perseverance of the Thessalonians is certainly worthy of note...
   a. They were a congregation that was born in tribulation - cf. Ac 17:
      1-9
   b. Persecution evidently continued, yet they endured - 2Th 1:4

[What can we learn from the Thessalonians about "Holding Up Under Hard
Times"?  First of all, they serve as a reminder that...]

I. HARD TIMES HAPPEN

   A. THIS MAY SURPRISE SOME...
      1. Contrary to the promulgators of the gospel of health and
         wealth, who would have us believe that becoming a Christian is
         the key to success in life
      2. Many suffer disappointment because of the trials they face as
         new Christians

   B. THE BIBLE WARNS OF HARD TIMES...
      1. Jesus warned His apostles - Jn 15:19-20; 16:33
      2. The apostles warned the disciples - Ac 14:22; 1Th 3:4; 2 Ti 3:12

   C. WE CAN EXPECT HARD TIMES...
      1. We are not spared the affects of sin and evil in this world
         a. We still live in a world with sickness and death
         b. We may often suffer the consequences of choices made by
            others
      2. We can anticipate persecution because we are Christians
         a. Our families, friends, and foes may ostracize or even
            physically persecute us
         b. We have an adversary who seeks to devour us - cf. 1Pe 5:8-9

[Be thankful if you seem to be spared trials and tribulations, but be
prepared for difficulties in life that will inevitably come.  From the
example of the Thessalonians we learn that...]

II. FAITH, LOVE, AND PATIENCE IS NEEDED

   A. FAITH THAT GROWS EXCEEDINGLY...
      1. Faith that is:
         a. A strong conviction in things unseen - He 11:1
         b. Created by the Word of God - Ro 10:17
         c. Constantly growing - 2Th 1:3
      2. This is the kind of faith that sustains one in persecution
         a. Remember the faith of Job! - Job 19:25-27
         b. Recall the faith of Habakkuk! - Hab 3:17-19

   B. LOVE THAT ABOUNDS TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER...
      1. Love that is:
         a. Taught by God Himself - cf. 1Th 4:9
            1) Through the example of the Father's love - 1Jn 4:9-11
            2) Through the example of the Son's love - 1Jn 3:16
         b. Increasing more and more - cf. 2Th 1:3; 1Th 4:10; 3:12
      2. This is the kind of love that sustains one in hard times
         a. Even as it comforted Paul in his tribulation - 1Th 3:6-7
         b. So we can endure persecution when we are surrounded by
            brotherly love!

   C. PATIENCE THAT HOLDS UP UNDER TRIAL...
      1. Patience that is:
         a. Based upon the hope that we have - Ro 8:25
         b. Developed by reading the Scriptures - Ro 15:4
         b. Needed if we are to receive the promise - He 10:36
         c. Strengthened the more we look unto Jesus - He 12:1-3
      2. This is the kind of patience that makes us even stronger!
         a. It makes us complete, lacking nothing - Jm 1:3-4
         b. Giving us experience, which can strengthen our hope even
            more - Ro 5:3-4

[As long as our faith is growing, our love for one another is abounding,
and our patience remains firm, we will be "Holding Up Under Hard
Times".  We can also take heart in knowing that...]

III. RECOMPENSE IS COMING

   A. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE RIGHTEOUS...
      1. For God's people who have endured tribulation with faith and
         patience
         a. Which is evidence of God's righteous judgment to come - 2 Th 1:4-5
         b. Having been made worthy of the kingdom through their
            suffering - 2Th 1:5
            1) Though we must never forget that it is God who qualifies
               us for the kingdom - cf. Col 1:12
            2) He is the one Who perfects, establishes, strengthens, and
               settles us - 1Pe 5:10
      2. For those who have caused tribulation for His people - 2Th 1:6

   B. GOD WILL REPAY THOSE WHO TROUBLE HIS PEOPLE...
      1. Tribulation will come upon them, a righteous recompense - 2 Th 1:6; cf. Ro 2:4-11
      2. Paul will describe the nature of this tribulation more fully in
         2Th 1:8-9

   C. GOD WILL GIVE HIS TROUBLED PEOPLE REST...
      1. Also a righteous recompense - 2Th 1:6-7
      2. The same rest enjoyed by Paul, Silas, Timothy ("rest with us")!
         - 2Th 1:7
      3. This rest to be given when the Lord is revealed from heaven
         with His mighty angels - cf. 1Th 4:16-17

CONCLUSION

1. We will consider what more Paul has to say about that great day in
   our next study - cf. 2Th 1:7-10

2. What we have seen so far should help us to endure trials and
   tribulations...
   a. Don't be surprise by hard times, God's Word has told us they will
      come
   b. Look to God and His Word for the faith, love, and patience needed
      to sustain us
   c. Anticipate the coming of the Lord, who will bring us rest even as
      He brings judgment upon those who trouble us!

Is your faith growing exceedingly?  Is your love abounding?  Are you
patiently enduring what trials come upon you, looking for the rest to
come when Jesus returns?

Let the Thessalonians be an encouragement to us in "Holding Up Under
Hard Times"!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading December 13






Bible Reading   

December 13

The World English Bible




Dec. 13
Hosea 5-8

Hos 5:1 "Listen to this, you priests! Listen, house of Israel, and give ear, house of the king! For the judgment is against you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah, and a net spread on Tabor.
Hos 5:2 The rebels are deep in slaughter; but I discipline all of them.
Hos 5:3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, Ephraim, you have played the prostitute. Israel is defiled.
Hos 5:4 Their deeds won't allow them to turn to their God; for the spirit of prostitution is within them, and they don't know Yahweh.
Hos 5:5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face. Therefore Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their iniquity. Judah also will stumble with them.
Hos 5:6 They will go with their flocks and with their herds to seek Yahweh; but they won't find him. He has withdrawn himself from them.
Hos 5:7 They are unfaithful to Yahweh; for they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their fields.
Hos 5:8 "Blow the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah! Sound a battle cry at Beth Aven, behind you, Benjamin!
Hos 5:9 Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke. Among the tribes of Israel, I have made known that which will surely be.
Hos 5:10 The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark. I will pour out my wrath on them like water.
Hos 5:11 Ephraim is oppressed, he is crushed in judgment; Because he is intent in his pursuit of idols.
Hos 5:12 Therefore I am to Ephraim like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness.
Hos 5:13 "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, Then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to king Jareb: but he is not able to heal you, neither will he cure you of your wound.
Hos 5:14 For I will be to Ephraim like a lion, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear in pieces and go away. I will carry off, and there will be no one to deliver.
Hos 5:15 I will go and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face. In their affliction they will seek me earnestly."
Hos 6:1 "Come, and let us return to Yahweh; for he has torn us to pieces, and he will heal us; he has injured us, and he will bind up our wounds.
Hos 6:2 After two days he will revive us. On the third day he will raise us up, and we will live before him.
Hos 6:3 Let us acknowledge Yahweh. Let us press on to know Yahweh. As surely as the sun rises, Yahweh will appear. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth."
Hos 6:4 "Ephraim, what shall I do to you? Judah, what shall I do to you? For your love is like a morning cloud, and like the dew that disappears early.
Hos 6:5 Therefore I have cut them to pieces with the prophets; I killed them with the words of my mouth. Your judgments are like a flash of lightning.
Hos 6:6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Hos 6:7 But they, like Adam, have broken the covenant. They were unfaithful to me, there.
Hos 6:8 Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity; it is stained with blood.
Hos 6:9 As gangs of robbers wait to ambush a man, so the company of priests murder in the way toward Shechem, committing shameful crimes.
Hos 6:10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing. There is prostitution in Ephraim. Israel is defiled.
Hos 6:11 "Also, Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, when I restore the fortunes of my people.
Hos 7:1 When I would heal Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered, also the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood, and the thief enters in, and the gang of robbers ravages outside.
Hos 7:2 They don't consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness. Now their own deeds have engulfed them. They are before my face.
Hos 7:3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
Hos 7:4 They are all adulterers. They are burning like an oven that the baker stops stirring, from the kneading of the dough, until it is leavened.
Hos 7:5 On the day of our king, the princes made themselves sick with the heat of wine. He joined his hand with mockers.
Hos 7:6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, while they lie in wait. Their baker sleeps all the night. In the morning it burns as a flaming fire.
Hos 7:7 They are all hot as an oven, and devour their judges. All their kings have fallen. There is no one among them who calls to me.
Hos 7:8 Ephraim, he mixes himself among the nations. Ephraim is a pancake not turned over.
Hos 7:9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he doesn't realize it. Indeed, gray hairs are here and there on him, and he doesn't realize it.
Hos 7:10 The pride of Israel testifies to his face; yet they haven't returned to Yahweh their God, nor sought him, for all this.
Hos 7:11 "Ephraim is like an easily deceived dove, without understanding. They call to Egypt. They go to Assyria.
Hos 7:12 When they go, I will spread my net on them. I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will chastise them, as their congregation has heard.
Hos 7:13 Woe to them! For they have wandered from me. Destruction to them! For they have trespassed against me. Though I would redeem them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
Hos 7:14 They haven't cried to me with their heart, but they howl on their beds. They assemble themselves for grain and new wine. They turn away from me.
Hos 7:15 Though I have taught and strengthened their arms, yet they plot evil against me.
Hos 7:16 They return, but not to the Most High. They are like a faulty bow. Their princes will fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue. This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Hos 8:1 "Put the trumpet to your lips! Something like an eagle is over Yahweh's house, because they have broken my covenant, and rebelled against my law.
Hos 8:2 They cry to me, 'My God, we Israel acknowledge you!'
Hos 8:3 Israel has cast off that which is good. The enemy will pursue him.
Hos 8:4 They have set up kings, but not by me. They have made princes, and I didn't approve. Of their silver and their gold they have made themselves idols, that they may be cut off.
Hos 8:5 Let Samaria throw out his calf idol! My anger burns against them! How long will it be until they are capable of purity?
Hos 8:6 For this is even from Israel! The workman made it, and it is no God; indeed, the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
Hos 8:7 For they sow the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind. He has no standing grain. The stalk will yield no head. If it does yield, strangers will swallow it up.
Hos 8:8 Israel is swallowed up. Now they are among the nations like a worthless thing.
Hos 8:9 For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has hired lovers for himself.
Hos 8:10 But although they sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them; and they begin to waste away because of the oppression of the king of mighty ones.
Hos 8:11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning, they became for him altars for sinning.
Hos 8:12 I wrote for him the many things of my law; but they were regarded as a strange thing.
Hos 8:13 As for the sacrifices of my offerings, they sacrifice flesh and eat it; But Yahweh doesn't accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins. They will return to Egypt.
Hos 8:14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire on his cities, and it will devour its fortresses."

 
Dec. 13
1 John 3

1Jn 3:1 Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn't know us, because it didn't know him.
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is.
1Jn 3:3 Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
1Jn 3:4 Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness.
1Jn 3:5 You know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.
1Jn 3:6 Whoever remains in him doesn't sin. Whoever sins hasn't seen him, neither knows him.
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
1Jn 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
1Jn 3:9 Whoever is born of God doesn't commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can't sin, because he is born of God.
1Jn 3:10 In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn't do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn't love his brother.
1Jn 3:11 For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
1Jn 3:12 unlike Cain, who was of the evil one, and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because his works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
1Jn 3:13 Don't be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesn't love his brother remains in death.
1Jn 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
1Jn 3:16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
1Jn 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him?
1Jn 3:18 My little children, let's not love in word only, neither with the tongue only, but in deed and truth.
1Jn 3:19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him,
1Jn 3:20 because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
1Jn 3:21 Beloved, if our hearts don't condemn us, we have boldness toward God;
1Jn 3:22 and whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.
1Jn 3:23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded.
1Jn 3:24 He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us.

From Gary... My Prism



 
Pilate said: "... what is truth?"  Given the circumstances of this statement, it sounds a bit "off hand"; that is, treating a deep subject as a trivial or an inconsequential matter.  But what if it was not?  Suppose Pilate had considered "Truth" and decided on his own parameters of the concept?  This could be true; Pilate might well have been a man of introspection and contemplation.  Men of importance were placed in positions of importance by an Emperor who wanted to STAY Emperor.  The thing about Pilate was- he didn't recognize ABSOLUTE TRUTH when it was right in front of him.  This error was a product of his thinking, undoubtedly influenced greatly by the power and majesty of ancient Rome.  In Pilate's mind, it is easy to see how Rome's greatness would preclude any genuine wisdom outside of that originating from that great city on the Tiber.  Yet, truth there was- and truth that had a wisdom embedded within it that was of a calibre that put the glory of Rome to shame. Yes, it was his "thinking" that blinded Pilate and the question that comes to mind this cold morning is... What do I think about- and why?  As a starting point, please consider the following passage from the book of Philippians...

Philippians, Chapter 4
 8  Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  9 The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you. 10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity.  11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it.  12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.  13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Paul was a subject of Rome; he was part of a conquered people.  But he was free because of his thinking.  Not free by his own efforts, but rather free because he considered, correctly recognized and OBEYED the WILL OF GOD as revealed through Jesus.  He intellectually considered the things that were profitable for correct living (verse 8) and practically acted upon those truths (verse 9).  So, his thinking led to a God-controlled life. No obstacle was so great that it could not be overcome, no concept so lofty that the Almighty did not have the perfect answer.  Nothing in Heaven or Earth can overcome the will of God in the lives of those dedicated to serve HIM!!!  And so we come to the graphic above; for it is not just a bottle, it is a prism.  For me, it represents the word of God, through which I perceive all things.  And when I do this, I am able to perceive both truth in concept and in daily living. And it is truly  beautiful!!!  Too bad Pilate couldn't get it!!!  Do you???