1/15/14

From Ben Fronczek... Peace

Peace

Peace, Be Still Mark 4:35-41 “ That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

(Based on a sermon by Jeff Strite)

A mother and her young daughter were at home alone. The father was gone on a trip for his company and night was coming on. Outside, it became increasingly dark and very windy. The moon was out, but the wind howled menacingly in trees and the branches of some of those trees brushed ominously against the house. As old houses will in a fierce wind-storm, the wood creaked and moaned as the house was nudged by the wind.
 
It was kind of scary, and the mother and daughter were both uneasy.
As the mother was putting her daughter to bed, the young girl looked out the window at the bright moon and asked her mother “Is the moon God’s night-light?”
The mother smiled and replied “Well, yes, you could say that”.
Her daughter thought about that for moment – then asked: “Does God turn out his light when he goes to sleep?”
“Oh, no honey, God never sleeps.”
“Oh,” said the child quietly. “Well then, if God’s going to stay up all night, there’s no sense both of us staying awake.” And with that, the little girl turned over in bed, pulled her blanket up to her neck and fell asleep.

Now, why was that little girl able to go to sleep? The night was still dark. The wind was still blowing. The house was still creaking.  And she and her mother were still all alone in that house. Everything was still the same…

Only one thing had changed. Only one thing was different?
 
The little girl knowing that God was there made all the difference.
 
Once she brought God into her bedroom, her fear faded and her faith grew. When she thought about WHO God was, and WHERE He was, and what He was capable of, she reasoned: If God was going to be up all night anyway… she knew she’d be safe, and so she could sleep peacefully.

In our text this morning, we find this simple verse: “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”Mark 4:38  Jesus was sleeping???

To understand how bizarre this must have seemed to the disciples, you need to visualize what was going on. Their boat is half way across the lake and a fierce storm begins to beat against their boat. The waves are so high they begin to spray them and even wash over the sides of the boat. So their little ship began to take on water.

In other words – they’re beginning to sink. Maybe they were bailing water out as fast as they could, but more was coming in than going out, and it’s obvious that if the storm didn’t die down… they’d be the ones who would die.

Some of these disciples are seasoned fishermen. They know about boats and what they can handle and they probably known of boats that have gone down in this kind of weather. They knew of sailors who never came home. And so they are frightened, and they’ve got good reason to be frightened.

And here is Jesus… asleep.    How can He do that???
 
Well, two reasons:  Jesus knows WHO He is, and He knows WHERE He is going. And even more obvious, He was tired

So, Who was Jesus?   He was the Son of God.  And where was He going?  He was going to the Cross. Jesus was not going to die until He’d fulfilled His destiny, and He knew that.

I believe because of those two facts – Jesus knew that the ship wasn’t going down as long as He was on board, and so He had no problem sleeping.

But the disciples were frightened and frustrated because they weren’t thinking that way. They weren’t thinking of Him as the Son of God. They weren’t thinking about Him going to a cross to die for our sin.  As far as they were concerned…They knew they were in a dangerous storm and there was a chance that the boat was going to swamp and they were going to drown.

The disciples wake him up and cry, “Teacher, Don’t You Care…?” Mark 4:38   Don’t you care???
And at that Jesus got up and He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be quiet! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
 
He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Can you just imagine the look on those disciple faces? They had to be blown away. The text says that they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Now what happened there?  Well, let’s start from the beginning.
Mark 4:35 says “On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

So whose idea was it to go to the other side of lake? It was Jesus’ idea.  Jesus was the one who said they should cross to the other side of the lake that night.

So, if it was Jesus’ idea, do you think Jesus knew this storm was coming?    Of course He did. He’s God. He knows this stuff.

So why would Jesus send His disciples into the teeth of scary storm… and then go to sleep?   Answer: To see what they’d do, and to teach them something.

This was a test. A multiple choice quiz. And in this test, the disciples had at least 3 choices:
 
1) They could try to take thing into their own hands bail until they sank.
 
2) They could remember who Jesus was and the things He had done up to that point in time and ask Him for help.   

3) OR they could do what they did.

And what did they do? They went to Jesus and they complained.
 
They didn’t go to Jesus for help. They didn’t look for Him to fix their problem.
 
They were frightened and anxious and they wanted Him to wake up… so that He could be worried along with them.

You could say – they flunked the test.  Jesus calms the wind and the sea then turns to them and asks: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

A lesson was learned in that storm that day. That’s the way Jesus taught.  In elementary school, high school, or college teacher gives the lesson first, and then the test.  Jesus gave the test FIRST… then the lesson.

I believe the storm was the classroom.  And what lesson was Jesus teaching?
 
1st - If they were going to follow Him, they were going to need more faith in Him than  they had.
 
And 2nd – when He was finished with them –when they graduated from HIS school – they would be able to face even worst storms with a peace the world would not understand.

Later in His ministry before He leaves them, Jesus told them: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi and taught them, and us, that if we do what Jesus wanted, he wrote we would have “…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (and that peace would) guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7  (even during the storms)

ON the lake that night, Jesus was giving them an object lesson showing them the kind of peace they could have. When the storm was at its worst, Jesus was in control and simply stood up and He spoke to the winds and the waves.
 
“BE QUIET, BE STILL”    And there was peace.

Essentially, Jesus was teaching His disciples that when they reached the level of faith that He wanted them to have – they would trust Him even in the most difficult of times. They would have this kind of peace that could endure even in the worst of storms, whether they be threats, trials, persecution, imprisonment, or even death itself. Later we do find them sleeping peacefully after being arrested, or even singing in jail. Like the little girl that windy night, they knew that God was close at hand and was watching over them.

What about you? Have you learn to trust God that much? Do you realize that when you are in the midst of a storm that Jesus is in control. He is in the room with you and will be up all night he will lead you through that storm so you can sleep peacefully. We can try to bail ourselves out on our own (like the disciples in the boat), or we can complain to everyone including God, or we can simply turn to Him and ask for His help and then trust Him. When we turn it over to Him to handle our problems in His own time. That relieves the burden and the stress.

Just like with those disciples on the boat, sometimes Jesus teaches us this same lesson by leading us through a storm.

ILLUSTRATION: Someone once said: “Jesus does not lead His children AROUND hardship, but leads them straight THROUGH hardship. But He leads! And amidst the hardship, He is nearer to us than ever before.” Otto Dibelius

Now, that (of course) is the point. Our circumstances may not change, the storm may still rage, but when we see ourselves being led by Jesus, our attitudes change.  When we come to the realization that Jesus is in control  that will change our heart and attitude from fear and anxiety to that of peace when in that storm.

Just imagine how different their attitudes and response would have been if they only realized Who Jesus really was and What He was capable of.     Mark 4:41 tells us that when Jesus calmed the seas:“They were terrified and asked each other, “WHO is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
 
Did you get that? It’s like they didn’t have a clue as to WHO He was!!

But weren’t they there when He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear? So what were they thinking while on that boat? I guess that’s the point; they weren’t thinking.

If they’d only remembered Who Jesus was, and what He could do, just think how different this story would have been. Instead of becoming like little children who were terrified by the storm, I can see them going over to Jesus – shaking Him awake just like they did in this story. But this time it’s not in fear, but in anticipation. “Wake up Jesus. Wake up. There’s a storm swamping our boat… and we just want to know – what kind of miracle will you perform this time?”

But they didn’t do that!  They didn’t have that kind of faith.
 
Did Jesus expect these disciples to pass this test. Probably not! Rather He probably expected them to fail! Not only because of the lesson that they were to learn that day… but because of the lesson we could learn through them.

The Bible records this story about the disciples’ fears and failures in this storm so we can learn the fact that God knows we struggle in our storms, and He is more than capable of helping us as well thru those storms.

The Bible is very clear about the fact that we’re gonna have storms in our lives. Jesus Himself told His disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have troubleJn 16:33

No matter who you are or how good a live you live…There will be storms.
 
There are going to be times of trouble/heartache/loss and disappointment.

But in the midst of those storms, Jesus says, we can have peace.
 
Why? Because He will be there with us to help us thru those hard times.  In scripture He said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrew 13:5

When we realize Who is in the boat with us, and What He’s capable of doing, then the storms will not overwhelm you. And you will experience His PEACE.

From Jim McGuiggan... Truth and artificial legs

Truth and artificial legs

I’m not addressing these remarks to those that nothing excites. I’m afraid I don’t understand such people though they make a welcome change from a steady diet of those on the opposite end of the spectrum. But I can’t help smiling now and then when I listen to two or more people debating a political point as if life for the world depended on who is right. You must understand that I’m far from believing that politics is a waste of time or that political questions aren’t worth debating. As it is in every facet of life there are profound questions and trivia. But you’ve seen them, veins bulging, blood pressure up to high doh and eyes popping—refusing to give an inch. Some of that makes perfect sense (to some of us).

But let two religious people behave that way and the eyes of the wise ones are rolling in despair. "Wouldn’t you think they could get along without all that argument? After all they all believe in the same God." And so religious, biblical or theological issues are all reduced to a needless beating of gums. (This is often done by those who wouldn’t know a biblical text from a ship in a bottle.) It’s perfectly acceptable to take political issues seriously but we mustn’t argue about what the Bible does or does not teach or about what that teaching does or does not mean to us. To be that dismissive about religious questions is (perhaps) to say more about oneself that about those who want to thrash questions out. Here again there are questions and questions. There are some not worth spending time on. We’d do better to save our breath for cooling our soup. You understand that those aren’t the kind of questions that I bother with...ahem. Now, where was I? Yes, on questions and issues worth fully pursuing.

In a real sense it’s only those who are up to their necks in football that can speak with authority about football. It’s only those who are passionate about the life of society that can speak with authority about politics or law or crime and its only those that are up to their hearts and minds in religion or Bible that can lead us to listen well if we’re going to listen at all.

It really doesn’t help when an "outsider" castigates as trivial what the "insiders" are very serious about. At the very least, the "outsider" should give the "insiders" a good hearing and maybe they’d come to understand what’s at stake. I don’t suggest that we should all be serious students of philosophy but a bit of modesty is appropriate if we’re to rabbit on about something we haven’t spent a lot of time working at. It’s too easy to dismiss as nonsense David Hume’s remark that we only say sugar is sweet and water is wet because we’re too lazy to work with the claims. Maybe if we knew as much as Hume did, or (more modestly) gave him a hearing, we’d be slow to scoff.

But speaking as an "insider" I feel there is too much time and energy spent on too much that’s trivial in biblical, religious and theological discussion. I know I’m speaking from where I am in life and thought so I’m trying to keep that in mind as I listen and watch and talk. Whether I'm making a good fist of it is another question. There are things I’m passionate about, things I believe are much more important than others grant them, things I cannot and therefore won’t back away from unless I’m shown otherwise. I must call them as I see them and it doesn’t really matter to me that others think I’m wrong (which I may discover I have been)—I can’t think or live with integrity beyond my perceptions.

But—and this is an important but—I don’t believe that because I disagree profoundly with someone that that means I cannot join hands with them in many fine endeavours. The singer celebrity Bob Geldof and I would disagree profoundly on jugular questions about God and life but I glory in what he does for the needy in the Third World.

Episcopalian Wilfred Grenfell, a doctor who did mission work for so many years in Labrador, amputated a leg of an elderly neighbour of his, a Roman Catholic lady. Artificial legs don’t grow on Labrador bushes so when he was in America at a Congregational church he appealed for an artificial limb. A widow lady (a Methodist) offered her dead husband’s artificial leg (the husband had been a Presbyterian). So a little while later a Roman Catholic lady was walking around on an artificial leg that had belonged to a Presbyterian man, fitted by an Episcopalian doctor, donated through a Congregational church by a Methodist woman. The leg worked!

I’m not about to sink my religious convictions in a lake of sugar but I’ll be hanged if I refuse to recognise, applaud and get involved with goodness and truth wherever I’m privileged to find it.


©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... Serving God With A Pure Conscience (2 Timothy 1:3)






                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                Serving God With A Pure Conscience (1:3)

INTRODUCTION

1. The apostle Paul often spoke of having a good conscience toward
   God...
   a. In his defense before the council - Ac 23:1
   b. In his defense before Felix - Ac 24:15-16
   -- He also makes mention of it in his epistle to Timothy - 2Ti 1:3

2. The role our conscience plays is often misunderstood...
   a. Some assume it is to be the final authority for what you do
   b. "Let your conscience be your guide" is the motto for many
   -- Yet your conscience can sometimes lead you astray!

3. The value of a good conscience is perhaps often overlooked...
   a. Some do not listen to their conscience when they should
   b. They think nothing of the consequences of violating their
      conscience
   -- Yet ignoring your conscience can lead to sin, unbelief, and
      apostasy!

[If we desire to serve God with a "pure conscience" like Paul did (2 Ti
1:3), then we do well to learn what we can about the conscience and its
bearing on Christian living.  A good place to begin is with...]

I. THE CONSCIENCE DEFINED

   A. UNDERSTANDING THE CONSCIENCE...
      1. "that process of thought which distinguishes what it considers
         morally good or bad, commending the good, condemning the bad,
         and so prompting to do the former, and to avoid the latter."
         - Vine
      2. Note carefully:
         a. The conscience is a process of thought that distinguishes,
            i.e., makes moral judgments
         b. But it distinguishes what one "considers" morally good or
            bad
      3. The conscience has the potential to be a great aid
         a. It can encourage us to do the good and avoid the bad
         b. But only if what one considers good and bad are actually
            good and bad!
      4. Thus the conscience is like a watch
         a. It can serve a useful purpose, but only if properly set
         b. If set incorrectly (i.e., if misinformed about what is good
            or bad), then the conscience will lead us astray!

   B. THE CONSCIENCE MAY NOT ALWAYS BE A RELIABLE GUIDE...
      1. Paul had served God with a good conscience throughout his life
         - Ac 23:1
         a. Even at a time when he was persecuting Christians! - cf. Ac 26:9-11
         b. He thought (his conscience guiding him) that he must oppose
            the name of Jesus
         c. His conscience worked properly, but it had been set
            incorrectly
      3. Thus it is imperative that we ask ourselves:
         a. "Is what we 'consider' morally good or bad 'actually' good
            or bad?"
         b. "Are our moral judgments based upon God's absolute truths,
            or our own 'think so'?"
         c. I.e., "Has our conscience been properly 'set'?"

[While the conscience may not always be a reliable guide, God desires
that we have a good conscience regarding our faith, i.e., a pure
conscience (cf. 1Ti 1:5; 3:9).  So consider a few thoughts related
to...]

II. THE CONSCIENCE DEVELOPED

   A. HOW A PURE CONSCIENCE IS MADE POSSIBLE...
      1. We are all sinners, so how can we possibly have a pure
         conscience? - cf. Ro 3:23
      2. A clean conscience is made possible through Jesus' blood
         a. Old Testament sacrifices and ordinances were insufficient
            - He 9:9; cf. 10:1-4
         b. The blood of Jesus can cleanse one's conscience - He 9:14;
            cf. 1Pe 3:21
      3. Thus in baptism we make an appeal for a good conscience,
         trusting that the blood of Jesus will wash away our sins - cf.
         Ac 2:38; 22:16

   B. HOW A PURE CONSCIENCE IS MAINTAINED...
      1. A good conscience is maintained by obedience to God's will
         a. Note that failure to do what we know is right is sinful - Ja
            4:17
         b. Failure to abstain from what we know is wrong is also sinful
      2. Conduct with godly sincerity makes for a good conscience - cf.
         2Co 1:12
         a. Doing what you know is right with all sincerity develops
            confidence
         b. Thus the more you do what is good and abstain from what is
            wrong, the better and purer your conscience will be!

[By God's grace, even the rankest of sinners can have their conscience
cleansed.  Through faithfulness to Christ, they can keep that conscience
pure.  But we should also note that it is possible to have...]

III. THE CONSCIENCE DESTROYED

   A. MUCH HARM CAN BE DONE TO THE CONSCIENCE...
      1. We can violate our conscience, which is sinful - Ro 14:22-23
      2. We can defile our conscience, leading to unbelief - e.g., Ti
         1:15
      3. We can sear our conscience, leading to apostasy - e.g., 1 Ti 4:1-2

   B. IGNORING OR VIOLATING THE CONSCIENCE IS DANGEROUS...
      1. A guilty conscience can soon lead to a hardened conscience
         a. E.g., once our conscience is hardened regarding attendance
            - cf. He 10:25
         b. ...it is more likely to become hardened against doing what
            is right in other areas
      2. A hardened conscience can lead to a heart of unbelief - cf. He 3:12
         a. The deceitfulness of sin hardens one's heart
         b. A hard heart can begin to question what one once believed

CONCLUSION

1. Brethren, can we say together with...
   a. The writer of Hebrews:  "...for we are confident that we have a
      good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably"? - He 13:18
   b. The apostle Paul:  "I thank God, whom I serve with a pure
      conscience..."? - 2Ti 1:3

2. If not, and our conscience has not yet become so hardened that we
   will not heed, then we need to...
   a. Come to God's Son for the cleansing of our conscience through His
      blood
   b. Come to God's Word for the proper understanding of what is
      actually right and wrong
   c. Come to God's Family through frequent assembling to exhort us to
      do what is good

Why not serve God with a pure conscience today...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 15


Bible Reading   

January 15

The World English Bible




Jan. 15
Genesis 15


Gen 15:1 After these things the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Don't be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."
Gen 15:2 Abram said, "Lord Yahweh, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
Gen 15:3 Abram said, "Behold, to me you have given no seed: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir."
Gen 15:4 Behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir, but he who will come forth out of your own body will be your heir."
Gen 15:5 Yahweh brought him outside, and said, "Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." He said to Abram, "So shall your seed be."
Gen 15:6 He believed in Yahweh; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.
Gen 15:7 He said to him, "I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it."
Gen 15:8 He said, "Lord Yahweh, how will I know that I will inherit it?"
Gen 15:9 He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
Gen 15:10 He brought him all of these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he didn't divide the birds.
Gen 15:11 The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
Gen 15:12 When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him.
Gen 15:13 He said to Abram, "Know for sure that your seed will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years.
Gen 15:14 I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great wealth,
Gen 15:15 but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried in a good old age.
Gen 15:16 In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full."
Gen 15:17 It came to pass that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
Gen 15:18 In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:
Gen 15:19 the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
Gen 15:20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
Gen 15:21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." 

 
Jan. 15, 16
Matthew 8

Mat 8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
Mat 8:2 Behold, a leper came to him and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean."
Mat 8:3 Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I want to. Be made clean." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Mat 8:4 Jesus said to him, "See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Mat 8:5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him,
Mat 8:6 and saying, "Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented."
Mat 8:7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."
Mat 8:8 The centurion answered, "Lord, I'm not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
Mat 8:9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and tell another, 'Come,' and he comes; and tell my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed, "Most certainly I tell you, I haven't found so great a faith, not even in Israel.
Mat 8:11 I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven,
Mat 8:12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Mat 8:13 Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed." His servant was healed in that hour.
Mat 8:14 When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever.
Mat 8:15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her. She got up and served him.
Mat 8:16 When evening came, they brought to him many possessed with demons. He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick;
Mat 8:17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He took our infirmities, and bore our diseases."
Mat 8:18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side.
Mat 8:19 A scribe came, and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
Mat 8:20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
Mat 8:21 Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father."
Mat 8:22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
Mat 8:23 When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Mat 8:24 Behold, a violent storm came up on the sea, so much that the boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep.
Mat 8:25 They came to him, and woke him up, saying, "Save us, Lord! We are dying!"
Mat 8:26 He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Mat 8:27 The men marveled, saying, "What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Mat 8:28 When he came to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way.
Mat 8:29 Behold, they cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?"
Mat 8:30 Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them.
Mat 8:31 The demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of pigs."
Mat 8:32 He said to them, "Go!" They came out, and went into the herd of pigs: and behold, the whole herd of pigs rushed down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water.
Mat 8:33 Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons.
Mat 8:34 Behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus. When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.

From Gary... Smart honesty




In case you have never heard of him, here is some info...

Career

Marshall Keeble began preaching in 1897 with the support and encouragement of his father-in-law, S.W. Womack and other preachers. About 1920, he met and became a lifelong friend of A. M. Burton, who provided funding for him. In 1942, he helped found and became the first president of Nashville Christian Institute.[2]
At the age of 83, Keeble became a world traveler. On his first journey (summer of 1962), he and Lucien Palmer toured Palestine, then proceeded on to Nigeria, where Keeble preached day and night to large audiences.[3] While in Nigeria, he was made an honorary chief of one tribe.[2] The second journey began in October 1962, which took Keeble, Palmer, and Houston Ezell all the way around the world. Their first stop was Nigeria, where Keeble engaged in training preachers and preparing for the construction of the Nigerian Christian Secondary School in Ukpom. The main administrative building at NCSS is named Keeble Hall in his honor. The Christians in Nigeria also pleaded with Keeble to start a hospital there, and he relayed the plea from pulpits back in America. Partly as a result, the Nigerian Christian Hospital was founded in 1965. From Nigeria, the three travelers went on to Ethiopia, India, Singapore, and Korea, among other places. Finally, they returned home via Hawaii and Los Angeles.[4]
In 1965, he was honored by Harding University with an honorary Doctor of Law degree.[2] Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement appointed him a Colonel Aide-de-Camp. He was the first African-American so honored in Tennessee history.[1] He preached his last sermon on April 17, 1968, three days before his death. He was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery (Nashville, Tennessee).[2]

Legacy

It has been estimated that during his life, he baptized over 40,000 people around the world.[2Keeble was also primarily responsible for the establishment of several Christian schools, of which the primary surviving example is Southwestern Christian College. He also helped establish the Silver Point Christian Institute (now the West End Church of Christ Silver Point) in 1909.[5]



Want to know more...  


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Keeble



An episode last night led me to think of this brother.  It started several days ago, when our oldest dog, Buddy, was laying on the floor with his blanket.  Linda and I both talked about it and decided that Buddy needed his own "bed".  So, a couple of days ago, Linda bought him one.  He took to it right away and now he sleeps in it often.  Well, last night, we went to bed at the usual time and I told Pal to go "In", meaning to go into his cage for bedtime- he readily complied as always, because he loves it in there.  Next, I looked at Buddy, pointed my finger in the proper direction and said "bed".  Now, I had never done this before, so I didn't know exactly what he would do, but, to my surprise, he immediately headed in that direction.  He stopped, looked back at me as if to say "are you sure" and continued to bed again. Stopped again, looked at Linda this time and when she said "bed", jumped onto the sofa and into his new bed.  Again, first time for this.  This alone is notable, but, remember- Buddy is 12 going on 13.  Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks!!!  If that is true for dogs, then how about people???

All this started today, when I viewed a video, my sister-in-law, Karen Rifenburg, had posted on facebook. This is one smart little squirrel...



https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=704364939607865&set=vb.166337376743960&type=2&theater


Putting Marshall Keeble, Buddy and this little squirrel together made me think of this passage from the New Testament...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 1
  20  Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  21 For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.  22 For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,  23 but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,  24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  26 For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;  28 and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are:  29 that no flesh should boast before God.  30 But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:  31 that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

Most of us are "Normal"- meaning average. Oh, we may have a strong point here or there, but again, most of us are "Normal".  The great thing about this is, God wants even the average person.  It is a good thing you don't have to be smart or clever or wise or educated because then not many of us would make it to heaven. I like the above quote: "You don't have to be smart to obey the Gospel...just honest".  Today, take a few moments and read the first Gospel sermon, listed below...

(Acts, Chapter 2)
  14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words.  15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day.  16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 
  17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions.
Your old men will dream dreams.
  18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days,
I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
  19 I will show wonders in the sky above,
and signs on the earth beneath;
blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
  20 The sun will be turned into darkness,
and the moon into blood,
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
  21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

  22  “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in your midst, even as you yourselves know, 23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed;  24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him, 
‘I saw the Lord always before my face,
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.
  26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope;
  27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,
neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay.
  28 You made known to me the ways of life.
You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

  29  “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,  31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay.  32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.  33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear.  34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, 
‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand,
  35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

  36  “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

  37  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 

  38  Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”  40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 

  41  Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls.

Honestly ask yourself: Have I obeyed the commands found in verse 38?  If not- do the smart thing and obey now.  You will have plenty of time in heaven to be thankful you did!!!!