4/30/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Prayer and God's silence


Prayer and God's silence

I don’t want to know all the answers—I only want some understanding on numerous issues that perplex me about prayer. I don’t want to fully understand every issue generated by every question—I only want to have an understanding of the direction I should be going as I think about them. I don’t want to substitute answers to my questions for actual praying—I couldn’t keep from praying if I were ordered to!

[It irritates me more than a little when people speak to people like me who are filled with questions and treat us as if we thought “knowledge” was a substitute for living; as if we were more interested in “head” knowledge than “heart” knowledge. I don’t think that to seek understanding is one form of ducking out of real living.

While I don’t think “knowledge” is everything, I’ve no reason to believe that God gets a kick out of how we exult in our ignorance (if and when we do that). There’s nothing particularly pious about that airy dismissal of serious reflection on central issues—“Oh questions like that don’t bother me. I just trust the Lord.” Yes, I can see that trusting is right and makes sense but then some of us are bothered by such questions even though we do trust the Lord. A pursuit of understanding could easily get out of hand but so can a mindset that’s too willing to remain ignorant. Maybe we should credit one another with the best motivation while we all trust the Lord completely.]

Jesus never tried to prove that prayer “works”. He took it for granted and prayed. He might never have thought about the matter (“Does prayer work?”)—that wouldn’t surprise me in the least. When we wonder if prayer “works” it’s almost always in the context of asking “for” things; that is, when we’re making requests. Like, “Give us this day our daily bread” or, “Heal my very sick child” or, “Please bring Harold back home to us” or, “Please keep our marriage from falling apart.” This is legitimate prayer material, of course, and it’d be tragic if we couldn’t make our requests known to God. There’s no reason for us to apologize for doing it (Philippians 4:6) even though later in life we might apologize to God for some of the things we requested.

Prayer “works” as surely as a friend enjoying conversation with his friend “works”. In what way does it “work”? Well, it enriches the friendship, deepens our sense of the “personal” nature of God (you can’t pray to a “force” or a “process”) and his interest in our lives and all this has “social” consequences for the worshiper since it cultivates intimacy with God and inner strength and stability. It generates likeness to God (friends become like their friends) and that in turns means everyone around us will benefit.

Yes, but isn’t prayer all one-sided? We do all the talking and God says nothing! I can see how people can come to feel that way—how difficult can it be to understand that? I notice, however, that if we get some of the “big things” we ask for—cure from some debilitating disease, a saved marriage, a redeemed child, a serious financial rescue, and the like—then we don’t think God has been speechless. In situations like that we think he has spoken loud and clear. The truth is, even if this is a crass way to put it, I don't think we care much if we never heard the “voice” of God so long as we know he listens and responds to our requests, especially at critical moments and in major things.

Then again, while it’s true we pray audibly I would say that my speaking to God is almost always silent though conscious. If my talking with God can take place without a sound maybe God speaking to me can occur without a sound.

It’s commonplace for us to say that God “speaks” to us in scripture and we’re content with that truth. We don’t constantly feel the need to have God speak to us audibly though there are times when we’d like that (we assume the conversation would always be pleasant, don’t you know). We’d have a conversation with God and no doubt we’d fill it with the questions of the day, the things people argue about but I would guess that the main thing we’d gain by a God who speaks to us audibly is that we'd "know" he is truly there, he’s real and he truly does have an interest in us. I don’t think any of the above is strange and I’m certain that if I knew I could bear to have him speak audibly to me—that what he chooses to say to me are pleasant words rather than words of judgment about how I am living out my life before him—I know I would want that.

If he ever chooses to do that I’ll be more than happy but in the meantime I confess that I’m happy for him to speak to me in scripture and life, as he now does. It’s his chosen way to communicate at present and while there is much I don’t understand in what he has said and while I’m sure he hasn’t said anything about some of my specific questions [he’s not a divine almanac or the repository of information for Trivial Pursuit] I’m certain of his central purpose in his communicating with me (as with countless others). But how he speaks to us is less important than what he says when he does speak in his own chosen way.

He has spoken finally to us in and as Jesus Christ and that colours our understanding of all that he has said, is saying or will say in the future.

From Caleb Colley, Ph.D. ... The Omnipotence of God





http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1397


The Omnipotence of God

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

God is the only being Who possesses omnipotence. In the Oxford English Dictionary, “omnipotence” is defined as “all-powerfulness,” or “almightiness.” In other words, when God wants something to be done, it is done. God has all power in heaven and on Earth (Matthew 28:18), so unlike the limited power of humans, which is constrained by time, space, and force, God’s capabilities are limited only by His own character (see Miller, 2003). Paul wrote of God’s omnipotence in the sense that He is “above all, and through all, and in you all,” (Ephesians 4:6). God is preeminent for many reasons, not the least of which is His great power.
God has complete power over the Earth. The very first chapter of the Bible (Genesis 1) is full of references to God’s power. The words of His mouth brought the Universe into existence; He spoke the Cosmos into existence with only a word (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 11:3). In order to create the Universe, God needed no pre-existing matter with which to work; rather, He Himself spoke the very first matter into existence (see Thompson, et al., 2003a, 2003b). After He created “the heavens and the Earth,” He spoke “light” into existence on Earth (Genesis 1:3). After creating light, He created the firmament, and much more, all by the power of His word.
God has complete power over the spiritual realm. Just as the first chapter in the Bible reveals that God created light on Earth, the last chapter in the Bible reminds us that God’s power will be responsible for the eternal light in heaven (Revelation 22:5). Christ repeatedly cast out devils during His earthly ministry (Matthew 8:16; 9:32-33; 12:22), and James revealed that the demons believe in the one God of the Bible, and that because they are aware of God’s omnipotence, they tremble (Luke 8:31; James 2:19). God now limits Satan himself, keeping him from directly inhabiting people or causing people physical pain (Zechariah 13:1-2).
Only God can perform “wonders,” and only God can furnish that capability to others (Job 5:9; Psalm 72:18; John 3:2). Christ again revealed His power over the spiritual realm when He brought Lazarus’ soul back from the realm of departed spirits, and returned it to Lazarus’ body (John 11:43). Similarly, God will resurrect all the dead one day, having already determined the fate of their souls (Mark 12:26-27; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:15,32; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
God has complete power over the affairs of men. John Waddey observed: “God was known to the patriarchs as El-Shaddai, God Almighty (Exodus 6:2-3). The term Shaddai, when connected with the Hebrew word El (God) means, ‘the mighty One to nourish, satisfy and supply.’ Thus we see His power to send forth blessings for He is the all-bountiful One” (1987, p. 1). It makes sense, then, that when Moses spoke to the entire assembly of the children of Israel the lyrics of a lengthy song, he included this line: “Nor is there any that can deliver out of My [God’s] hand” (Deuteronomy 32:39). Of course, just as God has the power to bless us and deliver the righteous from spiritual harm, He also has the uncontainable power to destroy the wicked, as can be seen in His utter destruction of the world through the global Flood of Noah’s time (except eight souls; see Thompson, 1999a).
The plural form of El, Elohim, brings to light the fullness of God’s power, in that it highlights the Trinity (Psalm 38:75). Still another Old Testament expression used to denote omnipotence is Abhir, or “strong One” (Genesis 49:24; see Vos, 1994, 3:2188-2190). Jesus said that God is Spirit, emphasizing that God is not limited by impotence of flesh, as are humans (Isaiah 2:22; 31:3; John 4:24).
God’s power over the nations of the Earth is evident. Though God used the children of Israel as His means for bringing Christ to Earth, God’s power over large groups of people has never been limited to Israel. God has authority over all nations, and frequently has used them to accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 10:5; Jeremiah 25:9; Amos 1). Job said: “He makes nations great and destroys them” (Job 12:23). Kings have their dominion only because God allows it (see Custance, 1977, p. 134). Vos observed: “The prophets ascribe to Jehovah not merely relatively greater power than to the gods of the nations, but His power extends into the sphere of the nations, and the heathen gods are ignored in the estimate put upon His might (Isaiah 31:3)” [1994, 3:2189]. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was warned:
This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men…. This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses (Daniel 4:17,24-25, emp. added).
God has complete power over the devil, whom He created (though the devil was not evil at the time of his creation; see Colley, 2004). While the devil has certain powers that humans do not possess (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; see Thompson, 1999b, pp. 11-12), Satan is not omnipotent. During his temptation of Christ, Satan admitted that whatever power he possessed had been “delivered to him” (Luke 4:6). Satan had to ask for God’s permission to harm Job (Job 1:7-12). Jesus said that Satan had desired to sift Peter as wheat; that is, Satan sought the express permission of God. Without it, Satan would be powerless to tempt Peter. While God never had a beginning, Satan was created (Colossians 1:16). For this, and other reasons, Satan is not omnipotent, and his power is far less potent than the power of God. John wrote: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
If we were to try to imagine someone whose power approached God’s might, we might think of Satan. Yet, the Bible reveals that nothing is too hard for the Lord—even defeating Satan (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17). In fact, Christ already conquered the devil, and eventually will punish him everlastingly in hell (Matthew 25:41; see Thompson, 1999b, pp. 12-13). Hebrews 2:14 reads: “He [Christ] Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Milton, in Paradise Lost, wrote of Satan: “Him the Almighty Power hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky…Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms” (1.49).
God’s complete power is unending. Because God would not be God if He were not omnipotent, and because we know that God will never end, we can know that God’s power will never cease or diminish (see Colley, 2004). Furthermore, Isaiah plainly stated: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable” (40:28).

CONCLUSION

God’s omnipotence reassures us, because it is through the Divine power that His servants know that “nothing will be impossible” to those who faithfully serve Him (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:23; Philippians 4:13). Those who are not faithful to the Lord should be terror-stricken by God’s omnipotence, because, in the Day of Judgment, the very force that created the Universe will condemn them to an everlasting punishment. Vos commented that omnipotence
evokes a specific religious response. This is true, not only of the Old Testament, where the element of the fear of God stands comparatively in the foreground, but remains true also in the New Testament. Even in our Lord’s teaching the prominence given to the fatherhood and love of God does not preclude that the transcendent majesty of the Divine nature, including omnipotence, is kept in full view and made a potent factor in the cultivation of the religious mind (Matthew 6:9). The beauty of Jesus’ teaching on the nature of God consists in this, that He keeps the exaltation of God above every creature and His loving condescension toward the creature in perfect equilibrium and makes them mutually fructified by each other. Religion is more than the inclusion of God in the general altruistic movement of the human mind; it is a devotion at every point colored by the consciousness of that Divine uniqueness in which God’s omnipotence occupies a foremost place (1994, 3:2190).
Little wonder that the multitude of Revelation 19:6 cried: “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” The fact that God so willingly uses His omnipotent capacity for the ultimate benefit of His servants should motivate everyone to obey the Gospel (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). We will not escape the vengeance of God if we neglect the great salvation offered us (Hebrews 2:3).

REFERENCES

Colley, Caleb (2004), “The Eternality of God,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2565.
Custance, Arthur C. (1977), Time and Eternity and Other Biblical Studies (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Things God Cannot Do,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2292.
Lockyer, Herbert (1997), All the 3s of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Thompson, Bert (1999a), The Global Flood of Noah (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), second edition.
Thompson, Bert (1999b), Satan—His Origin and Mission (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press, 2001 reprint).
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003a), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part I],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/22.
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003b), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part II],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/26.
Vos, Geerhardus (1994), “Omnipotence,” The International Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. James Orr, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Waddey, John (1987), “The Omnipotence of God,” Firm Foundation, 104[18]:1,4, September 22.

From Mark Copeland... The First Gospel Sermon (Acts 2:22-41)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                   The First Gospel Sermon (2:22-41)

INTRODUCTION

1. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost...
   a. The promises of Joel, John the Baptist, and Jesus were being
      fulfilled!
   b. As foretold by Joel and John, a time of judgment and salvation
      was at hand!

2. After explaining the meaning of the miraculous events on that day,
   Peter...
   a. Quickly diverted their attention from the miracles to the message
   b. A message involving a crucified, risen, and exalted Lord!

[With Peter's message we find the proclamation of "The First Gospel
Sermon." For the first time, the gospel of Christ was preached and people
were told how to respond.  Let's take a closer look at...] 

I. THE SERMON

   A. JESUS ATTESTED BY GOD...
      1. Peter proclaims Jesus as a Man attested by God through His
         miracles - Ac 2:22
      2. Done in their midst, they could not deny the signs Jesus did
         while alive!

   B. JESUS PUT TO DEATH...
      1. By crucifixion, which they themselves did with lawless (Roman)
         hands - Ac 2:23
      2. Though according to God's predetermined purpose and
         foreknowledge - cf. Isa 53:10-12
      3. Jesus' death and their involvement they could not deny!

   C. JESUS RAISED FROM THE DEAD...
      1. God raised Jesus, having loosed the pains of death - Ac 2:24
      2. Peter offered three proofs that Jesus rose from the dead
         a. David's prophecy, fulfilled in Jesus - Ac 2:25-31; cf. Ps 16:8-11
         b. Eyewitness testimony, by the twelve apostles - Ac 2:32; cf.
            Ac 1:21-22
         c. Outpouring of the Spirit, which the audience themselves saw
            and heard - Ac 2:33
      3. Compelling evidence to those who were present!

   D. JESUS EXALTED AS LORD AND CHRIST...
      1. The outpouring of the Spirit was the result of Jesus'
         exaltation - Ac 2:33
      2. Jesus' exaltation was also prophesied by David - Ac 2:34-35;
         cf. Ps 110:1
      3. Thus the crucified Jesus was now Lord and Christ! - Ac 2:36

[Powerfully, effectively, Peter presented Jesus as a good man who was
crucified, raised from the dead, and now exalted as both Lord and Christ.
As we continue, let's notice...]

II. THE RESPONSE

   A. THE REACTION...
      1. They were cut to the heart (convicted of their sin) - Ac 2:37
         a. This implies they believed the message about Jesus
         b. As told:  "know assuredly that God has made Jesus...Lord
            and Christ" - cf. Ac 2:36  
      2. They asked Peter and the apostles, "What shall we do?" - Ac 2:37
         a. Indeed what can one do, what should one do?
         b. Some say there is nothing one can do, for that would
            suggest salvation by works
         c. But obedience is not inconsistent with salvation by faith 
            - cf. Ro 1:5; 6:17; 16:25-26
         d. Indeed, Christ is the author of salvation to all who obey!
            - He 5:9; cf. 1Pe 1:22
         e. Thus the gospel must be obeyed! - cf. 1Pe 4:17; 2Th 1:7-8
         f. Even as Paul was told to go to Damascus, where he would be
            told what he must do - cf. Ac 9:6; 22:6
         g. And as Cornelius was to send for Peter, who would tell him
            what he must do - cf. Ac 10:5-6,33,47-48

   B. THE REPLY...
      1. They were told to repent - Ac 2:38
         a. Which is what Jesus wanted His apostles to proclaim - cf.
            Lk 24:46-47
         b. To repent is to make the decision to turn from one's sins
            toward obeying God
      2. They were told to be baptized - Ac 2:38
         a. Which is what Jesus wanted His apostles to proclaim - cf.
            Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15-16
         b. To be immersed in the name of Jesus for the remission of
            sins - cf. Ac 22:16
      3. That they might received the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38
         a. That is, to receive the Holy Spirit as a gift (for more,
            see here)
         b. Which had been promised and now poured out - cf. Ac 2:33
         c. And was now promised to all those who obey Christ - cf. Ac 2:39; 5:32

   C. THE RESULT...
      1. Following further exhortation:  "Be saved (save yourselves,
         ESV) from this perverse generation" - Ac 2:40
      2. 3000 gladly received his word and were baptized - Ac 2:41
      3. Those baptized were "added" by the Lord to His church - Ac 2:41; cf. Ac 2:47

CONCLUSION

1. What an amazing conclusion to a day that started with amazing
   events...
   a. Jesus was proclaimed as a crucified, raised and exalted Lord!
   b. Three thousand souls responded immediately to the gospel!

2. When the gospel is shared, what should people do...?
   a. Believe (know assuredly, with conviction that Jesus is the Lord
      who died for them) - Ac 2:36
   b. Repent of their sins (make the decision to turn from sin and turn
      to God) - Ac 2:38
   c. Be baptized for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy
      Spirit - Ac 2:38-39

Is that what you were told to do when the gospel of Christ was shared
with you?  Or were you told a "different gospel" (cf. Ga 1:6-10)?  To
ensure that you are truly saved, make your response the same as those
souls on the Day of Pentecost...

   Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day
   about three thousand souls were added to them. ~ Ac 2:41

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading April 30






Bible Reading   

April 30

The World English Bible




Apr. 30
Deuteronomy 15, 16

Deu 15:1 At the end of every seven years you shall make a release.
Deu 15:2 This is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother; because Yahweh's release has been proclaimed.
Deu 15:3 Of a foreigner you may exact it: but whatever of your is with your brother your hand shall release.
Deu 15:4 However there shall be no poor with you; (for Yahweh will surely bless you in the land which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it;)
Deu 15:5 if only you diligently listen to the voice of Yahweh your God, to observe to do all this commandment which I command you this day.
Deu 15:6 For Yahweh your God will bless you, as he promised you: and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.
Deu 15:7 If a poor man, one of your brothers, is with you within any of your gates in your land which Yahweh your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your poor brother;
Deu 15:8 but you shall surely open your hand to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wants.
Deu 15:9 Beware that there not be a base thought in your heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and your eye be evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing; and he cry to Yahweh against you, and it be sin to you.
Deu 15:10 You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him; because that for this thing Yahweh your God will bless you in all your work, and in all that you put your hand to.
Deu 15:11 For the poor will never cease out of the land: therefore I command you, saying, You shall surely open your hand to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor, in your land.
Deu 15:12 If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, and serves you six years; then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.
Deu 15:13 When you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty:
Deu 15:14 you shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, and out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress; as Yahweh your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.
Deu 15:15 You shall remember that you were a bondservant in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your God redeemed you: therefore I command you this thing today.
Deu 15:16 It shall be, if he tells you, I will not go out from you; because he loves you and your house, because he is well with you;
Deu 15:17 then you shall take an awl, and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also to your female servant you shall do likewise.
Deu 15:18 It shall not seem hard to you, when you let him go free from you; for to the double of the hire of a hireling has he served you six years: and Yahweh your God will bless you in all that you do.
Deu 15:19 All the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock you shall sanctify to Yahweh your God: you shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock.
Deu 15:20 You shall eat it before Yahweh your God year by year in the place which Yahweh shall choose, you and your household.
Deu 15:21 If it have any blemish, as if it be lame or blind, any ill blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to Yahweh your God.
Deu 15:22 You shall eat it within your gates: the unclean and the clean shall eat it alike, as the gazelle, and as the hart.
Deu 15:23 Only you shall not eat its blood; you shall pour it out on the ground as water.
Deu 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to Yahweh your God; for in the month of Abib Yahweh your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.
Deu 16:2 You shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Yahweh shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there.
Deu 16:3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it. You shall eat unleavened bread with it seven days, even the bread of affliction; for you came forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
Deu 16:4 There shall be no yeast seen with you in all your borders seven days; neither shall any of the flesh, which you sacrifice the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
Deu 16:5 You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates, which Yahweh your God gives you;
Deu 16:6 but at the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell in, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt.
Deu 16:7 You shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your God shall choose: and you shall turn in the morning, and go to your tents.
Deu 16:8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread; and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to Yahweh your God; you shall do no work therein.
Deu 16:9 You shall count for yourselves seven weeks: from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain you shall begin to number seven weeks.
Deu 16:10 You shall keep the feast of weeks to Yahweh your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give, according as Yahweh your God blesses you:
Deu 16:11 and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your male servant, and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates, and the foreigner, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are in the midst of you, in the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there.
Deu 16:12 You shall remember that you were a bondservant in Egypt: and you shall observe and do these statutes.
Deu 16:13 You shall keep the feast of tents seven days, after that you have gathered in from your threshing floor and from your winepress:
Deu 16:14 and you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your male servant, and your female servant, and the Levite, and the foreigner, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your gates.
Deu 16:15 You shall keep a feast to Yahweh your God seven days in the place which Yahweh shall choose; because Yahweh your God will bless you in all your increase, and in all the work of your hands, and you shall be altogether joyful.
Deu 16:16 Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tents; and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty:
Deu 16:17 every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of Yahweh your God which he has given you.
Deu 16:18 You shall make judges and officers in all your gates, which Yahweh your God gives you, according to your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
Deu 16:19 You shall not wrest justice: you shall not respect persons; neither shall you take a bribe; for a bribe does blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
Deu 16:20 You shall follow that which is altogether just, that you may live, and inherit the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Deu 16:21 You shall not plant for yourselves an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Yahweh your God, which you shall make for yourselves.
Deu 16:22 Neither shall you set yourself up a pillar; which Yahweh your God hates.
Apr. 30, May 1
Luke 17

Luk 17:1 He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no occasions of stumbling should come, but woe to him through whom they come!
Luk 17:2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.
Luk 17:3 Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him.
Luk 17:4 If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."
Luk 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
Luk 17:6 The Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you would tell this sycamore tree, 'Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
Luk 17:7 But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say, when he comes in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down at the table,'
Luk 17:8 and will not rather tell him, 'Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink'?
Luk 17:9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not.
Luk 17:10 Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.' "
Luk 17:11 It happened as he was on his way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee.
Luk 17:12 As he entered into a certain village, ten men who were lepers met him, who stood at a distance.
Luk 17:13 They lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
Luk 17:14 When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." It happened that as they went, they were cleansed.
Luk 17:15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice.
Luk 17:16 He fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan.
Luk 17:17 Jesus answered, "Weren't the ten cleansed? But where are the nine?
Luk 17:18 Were there none found who returned to give glory to God, except this stranger?"
Luk 17:19 Then he said to him, "Get up, and go your way. Your faith has healed you."
Luk 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The Kingdom of God doesn't come with observation;
Luk 17:21 neither will they say, 'Look, here!' or, 'Look, there!' for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."
Luk 17:22 He said to the disciples, "The days will come, when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.
Luk 17:23 They will tell you, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Don't go away, nor follow after them,
Luk 17:24 for as the lightning, when it flashes out of the one part under the sky, shines to the other part under the sky; so will the Son of Man be in his day.
Luk 17:25 But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Luk 17:26 As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days of the Son of Man.
Luk 17:27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:28 Likewise, even as it happened in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
Luk 17:29 but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:30 It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Luk 17:31 In that day, he who will be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away. Let him who is in the field likewise not turn back.
Luk 17:32 Remember Lot's wife!
Luk 17:33 Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.
Luk 17:34 I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed. The one will be taken, and the other will be left.
Luk 17:35 There will be two grinding grain together. One will be taken, and the other will be left."
Luk 17:36 Two will be in the field: the one taken, and the other left."
Luk 17:37 They, answering, asked him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the body is, there will the vultures also be gathered together."



From Gary.... Yaba duba doo!!!



 (Click on the link above to view)

(Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey)


Watch this video; I have, several times!!!  There is a connection between the two of them that is amazing; and that connection is love.  That is LOVE in all caps!!!  Did I mention that you should watch this video??? Take some time and JUST DO IT!!!  And then I thought of Jesus...

John, Chapter 13

Joh 13:1  Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end


Ashleigh loves Pudsey and that sentiment is obviously returned- enthusiastically!!! Jesus loved those who followed him to the end; do we return such love, or not?  I know how I feel about this and hope you feel the same....

ps. How about that song at the end of the video- you know, the one from the sitcom, the Golden Girls. "THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND" Makes me just want to say "Thank you, Jesus"!!!!!




4/29/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Prayer for Forgiveness

Prayer for Forgiveness

We apologize Lord for the uncleanness we’ve harboured and even nurtured as well as the overt acts of wickedness we’ve engaged in.

We apologize for our bitterness and smugness, for our curled lips and the contempt with which we’ve received strugglers against sin. A contempt we’ve shamefully nurtured and even justified.

We repent of our arrogance; an arrogance that led us to think we’re wise enough to know the whole story, wise enough to lump all sinners together, “knowing” there was no genuineness in the repentance of any of them. Taking their frequent moral losses as proof of their unrepentant heart rather than construing them as proof that they’re fighting an awful battle for spiritual survival. We apologize Lord because you pour out the warmth of your grace on us even while in our spite we often withhold our sunshine from those who shiver in the dark of their sin, lonely and cold and despairing.

We repent for keeping our rain from falling on hot fevered souls who burn with shame—keeping it from them because they aren’t quite to our liking and giving it, when we do, only to those who grovel in our presence or ceaselessly carry themselves as if they are second class citizens.
We apologize for our satisfaction with the shallowness and selectivity of our love to others when yours is fathomless and universal.
We apologize that our cheerful commitment to love and righteousness is so fitful when yours is changeless and for the grudging way we offer forgiveness, the cool way we offer fellowship, the stiff way we greet the returned or returning prodigal when you greet all of us which such rejoicing and generosity.

We apologize for the self-satisfaction and self-congratulation we feel when we look in the mirror and we repent that we’ve narrowed your demand on our lives to the “manageable proportions” of loving those who love us which hides the fact that we fail by justifying our refusal to extend love to enemies and to bless those that curse us and to do good to those that despitefully use us and all while we congratulate ourselves on our moral maturity.

Forgive us for comparing ourselves too favourably with others and refusing to compare ourselves with Christ who shows us all to be shabby at best.

Forgive us for taking the credit when it happens to be true that we are more devoted than some others. Forgive us for not taking seriously your question: “Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”

Forgive us when we impatiently dismiss the crushing disadvantages of those whose moral struggle shows less success than ours even while their struggle is a nobler and braver struggle than our own.

©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, theabidingword.com.

From Caleb Colley, Ph.D. ... The Omniscience of God

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1394

The Omniscience of God

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

God is the only One Who possesses limitless knowledge. The Illustrated Oxford Dictionary defines “omniscience” as “knowing everything,” and the Bible certainly ascribes omniscience to God (Psalm 139:1-4; cf. Woods, 1988, p. 34). Consider a sample of what the Bible reveals about God’s omniscience: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “Can anyone teach God knowledge, since He judges those on high?” (Job 21:22, emp. added). Consider a few of the implications of God’s omniscience.
God knows every past action. At times, humans struggle to interpret history because we often lack complete historical information. The eternal God, Who had no beginning, has no problems seeing clearly through the mists of time, for history is ever before Him (Isaiah 57:15). God emphasized this when He told Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I Am Who I Am.” John 8:58 reads: “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.’ ” In the Day of Judgment, we will be judged based on God’s complete knowledge of our history (see Revelation 20:12). God cannot be taught anything about the past (Isaiah 40:14).
God knows every present action. Psalm 33:13-15 reads: “The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.” Despite the uniqueness of each person, God understands everyone individually, and knows everyone personally (see Matthew 10:29-30). God even knows everything that is done privately (Matthew 6:4), so no one can hide from God (see Kizer, 2001, p. 7). God cannot be taught anything about the present (Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 4:5).
God knows every future action. The fact that God gave prophets the capability to predict accurately very specific events in the distant future is one of the great evidences for the inspiration of the Bible (Thompson, 1999, p. 19). God has emphasized repeatedly that He knows the future, perhaps never more emphatically than when Jesus Himself prophesied (see Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 8:31; John 2:19-22). The fact that God knows the future does not imply that humans somehow lose freedom of choice. Just because God knows that something will happen, does not mean that He causes it (see Bales, 1974, p. 49). God cannot be taught anything about the future (Acts 17:31; John 14:3).
God knows every human thought. King David addressed his son: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Psalm 94:9-10 reads: “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct, He who teaches man knowledge?” God cannot be taught anything about the content of human intellect (Acts 15:8).
God knows what humans need. Ecclesiastes 2:26 reads: “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight….” Noah of old would have perished in the Flood had God not given him a way of escape. The Israelites could not have conquered Canaan without divine guidance and protection. God has promised that He will provide for the physical needs of those who serve Him (Matthew 6:24-34). Most important, God has identified the problem of sin and death and provided the only possible solution—the blood of His Son (1 Peter 1:18-19).
God knows what is right and wrong, because He defines morality and truth—His Word is the standard for righteous judgment. Hannah wanted desperately to have a child, but she was unable to do so. In her fervent request for God’s intervention, she prayed: “…the Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3). God has revealed what to do in order to please Him, and He knows of our obedience and disobedience (Proverbs 15:3).
What is the proper response to God’s omniscience? The inspired apostle Paul provided a fitting answer in Colossians 3:24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Those who refuse to serve the Lord should be frightened by God’s omniscience, because God knows of every sin. And unforgiven sin will be punished (Psalm 90:8; Romans 6:23). For God’s children, however, the implications of God’s knowledge are sources of peace and strength (2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 3:22; Romans 11:33). Ultimately, the God Who knows everything will judge humans based on how we use the knowledge that has been revealed to us. We must act based on our knowledge to prepare for eternity.

REFERENCES

Bales, James D. (1974), The Biblical Doctrine of God (Shreveport, LA: Lambert).
Kizer, Drew (2001), “Omniscience,” Words of Truth, 38[11]:6-7, November.
Thompson, Bert (1999), In Defense of the Bible’s Inspiration (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Woods, Guy N. (1988), “What is Meant by ‘God’s Omniscience and Omnipresence’?,” Gospel Advocate, 130[2]:34, February.

From Mark Copeland... The Outpouring Of The Spirit (Acts 2:1-21)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 The Outpouring Of The Spirit (2:1-21)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous lesson, we saw how Jesus's disciples waited for the
   promise of the Spirit...
   a. They assembled together - Ac 1:12-14
   b. They prayed together - Ac 1:14
   c. They prepared by selecting Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot 
      - Ac 1:15-26

2. In Acts 2, we read of significant events that occurred on one day...
   a. The outpouring of the Spirit
   b. The first gospel sermon
   c. The beginning of the Lord's church

[In this lesson, let's direct our focus on the first:  the outpouring of
the Spirit.  Beginning with...]

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE OUTPOURING

   A. THE DAY...
      1. It was the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:1
      2. Called the Feast of Weeks in the OT, celebrating the wheat
         harvest - Exo 34:22
      3. Pentecost means "fifty", observed fifty days after the
         Passover - Lev 23:15-16
      4. Thus observed on a Sunday, the first day of the week
      5. Jesus had ascended to heaven just ten days before - cf. Ac 1:3,9-11

   B. THE EVENT...
      1. "they were all with one accord in one place" - Ac 2:1
         a. The entire company of 120 disciples, or just the apostles?
         b. The pronoun "they" points back to the nearest antecedent
            noun ("apostles") - cf. Ac 1:26
         c. "They" were sitting in one house (120 people in one house?)
            - cf. Ac 2:2
         d. Those who spoke were Galileans, suggesting the apostles 
            - cf. Ac 2:6
         e. For the apostle  were from Galilee, while the 120 disciples
            were from all over Palestine
      2. The sudden arrival of audible and visual signs - Ac 2:2-3
         a. A sound as of a mighty rushing wind, filling the house
            where they were sitting
         b. Divided tongues, as of fire, sitting upon each of them
      3. Enabling the apostles to speak in foreign languages - Ac 2:4-11
         a. They were filled with the Holy Spirit
         b. They began to speak with other tongues (i.e., foreign
            languages)
         c. Drawing the attention of devout Jews from other nations
            assembled for Pentecost
         d. Everyone heard them speak in their own language - cf. Ac 2:6,11

      C. THE REACTION...
         1. Those who understood were amazed and marveled, though
            perplexed - Ac 2:7-8,12
         2. Those who did not understand the languages simply mocked 
            - Ac 2:13
         3. Peter explained that it was too early for them to be drunk
            - Ac 2:14-15

[The circumstances of the Spirit's outpouring were indeed amazing.  What
was significant about it...?]

II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OUTPOURING

   A. PROCLAIMED BY JOHN THE BAPTIST...
      1. One was coming who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire
         - Mt 3:11
      2. Separating wheat from chaff, gathering the one and burning the
         other - Mt 3:12

   B. FORETOLD BY JESUS...
      1. Jesus told His apostles this would happen - Ac 1:4-5
      2. It would empower them to be His witnesses - Ac 1:8

   C. EXPLAINED BY PETER...
      1. The events were prophesied by Joel - Ac 2:16; cf. Joel 2:28-32
      2. Who foretold of the Spirit's outpouring - Ac 2:17-18
      3. In a time of judgment (70 A.D.?), but also a time of salvation
         - Ac 2:19-21; cf. Mt 3:11-12
      4. What they saw and heard was also evidence of Jesus' resurrection and
         exaltation to the right hand of God as Lord and Christ! - cf. Ac 2:32-36

   D. MENTIONED BY PAUL...
      1. The Spirit had been poured out abundantly through Jesus Christ
         - Tit 3:5-7
         a. Saving people through the washing of regeneration and
            renewing of the Spirit - cf. Jn 3:5
         b. Leading to justification by grace and becoming heirs of
            eternal life - cf. 1Co 6:11
      2. By the Spirit we have been baptized and drunk freely - 1Co 12:13
         a. Baptized into one body (i.e., the church) - cf. Col 1:18
         b. Made to drink of the Spirit - cf. Jn 7:37-39

CONCLUSION

1. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost...
   a. The promises of Joel, John the Baptist, and Jesus were being
      fulfilled
   b. It proved that Jesus rose from the dead and was exalted to the
      right hand of God!
   c. As foretold by Joel and John, a time of judgment and salvation
      was at hand!

2. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost...
   a. Some benefits were temporary, serving to reveal and confirm the
      Word
   b. Other benefits are age-lasting, offering salvation and
      sanctification to all who obey

We learn more of the work of the Holy Spirit as we make our way through
the Acts of the Apostles.  For now, remember what Peter said to those who
had witnessed the events on that day:

   Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be 
   baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
   and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the 
   promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar
   off, as many as the Lord our God will call." ~ Ac 2:38-39

Three thousand Jews responded favorably by being baptized on that day (Ac
2:41).  Have you responded in the same way...? 

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012