From Ben Fronczek... Our Precious Faith (Part 1)

Our Precious Faith (Part 1)  By: Ben Fronczek  

Can you just imagine what life would be like without having any faith whatsoever?

-  You’d never believe anything was going to work out to your benefit,

-  You would probably never try anything new because you’d fear the consequences. Life would probably be dull and without any excitement.

- Where there is no faith there is not courage to try anything new.

- You would have trust issues. You wouldn’t know who you could trust or believe about anything.  And because of this, you would probably always want to be in control because you would never have faith that anyone could do something as good as you.

- You would also not believe in anything you could not see for yourself, and even then you’d probably have doubts. Without faith you could not believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, in Heaven, or anything in the spiritual realm. As a matter of fact, there would not be too many historical or scientific facts that you could accept without faith.

-  Without faith you could not expect or hope for anything. Faith and hope go hand in hand.

- One writer I came across even said that, “Life without  faith is impossible,”    and he is probably right.

Whether you realize it or not the ability to have faith in someone or something is one of the greatest gifts that God has given each and every one of us.

But even though each and every one of us are born with, and are capable of having and expressing faith, for whatever reason some choose not to take full advantage of what God has given them. Actually none of us do 100%.

Faith is so important to God the one who wrote Hebrew wrote in 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe(or have faith) that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

So what is faith? In Hebrews 11:1 it says that, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  The NLT says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

For us as Christians, our faith moves us to trust in what God says in His word even though you may not have any physical proof or evidence it is so.

 Faith is what actually connects us all to our all powerful omnipotent God. Without faith everything about God would just be a story or fairytale to us.

When we short circuit our faith in God and what He promises, it brings about some unfortunate and tragic consequences including feeling powerless, afraid, hopeless, sad, and condemns our soul to hell.

A.W. Tozer wrote, “True faith is never found alone; it is always accompanied by expectation. The man who believes the promises of God expects to see them fulfilled. Where there is no expectation, there is no faith.”

God’s will for us is to live by faith all the time.

So what are some blessings that come when we live by faith. Pretty much the opposite of what I mentioned at the onset of this lesson.

Living by faith takes the pressure off us so we can enjoy life.

- Faith helps one believe things are going to work out for our benefit..

- It enables us to try and do new things because faith drive out fear.

- We are more courageous.

- It enables us to trust and believe in others. We don’t feel like we have to control everything because we can trust others to do things for us.

- Because faith and hope go hand in hand we become more positive and hopeful of those things that have not yet happened and that keeps our life exciting, full of expectation, positive, and joy filled.

- Where  ‘Life without  faith is impossible,’ with faith almost everything is possible. Do you remember what Paul wrote, he said “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.”     

That’s a statement of faith.

- And the greatest blessing of all is the fact that faith enables us to believe and trust in God, in Jesus, in the Spirit, in angels, in heaven itself.

- Faith even open our eyes up to the work of the devil and demons.

- And finally, the apostle Paul lets us know that one of the greatest defenses against any attack or temptation from the Satan or his forces, is faith.   In Eph 6, after he tells us to put on the full armor of God, he instructs Christians to “take up the shield of faith, (WHY, because with it) you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Your Faith is a shield. Your faith is what can protect you from all the evil, the temptations, and all the garbage that the devil, and his demon, and what this world wants to throw at you.

Paul said that your shield of faith can literally  “extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  What a powerful defensive weapon God has given us!      Our Faith is what protects us.
Developing faith and using it  will even shield you from many negative and tormenting emotions, like fear, worry, lust, doubt, guilt, and more.

When a flaming dart or temptation comes your way, the best way to overcome or prevent those feeling of fear or worry, or doubt is to pull out your faith and resist those things right away when they first come your way and try to enter your mind.

In Romans 1:17, Paul wrote that the righteous will live by faith.  When something evil, negative, or unholy comes our way we need to make a habit of letting our faith rise, lifting our shield of faith to protect our self rather that react with an emotional response.

Let me illustrate… Satan may try to wear you down and make you feel inferior, like you’ll never amount to anything, not accomplish anything…. But your faith should stand up and say, “Wait just a minute! GOD LOVES ME! He loved me so much that He was even willing to ends His son to die for me… so that I can live with Him in Glory forever. And I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!!!!”

Satan can shoot darts of temptation at us tempting us to lie, cheat, steal, lust, argue, or curse… But faith says, “Not hold on, I’m not longer a slave to sin. I don’t have  to do it. As a matter of fact, God told me to be holy because He is holy!!!”  Faith like that extinguishes those temptations.

Satan can send of discouragement our way; maybe the loss of a job, or a friend, or maybe we don’t get something we had hoped to get, or something does not go our way.  But faith say, “I trust you God! You have told me that all things will work out for those that love you… and I love you!!!”   Get the idea?

But just like there were different size shields some of our shields are smaller than others. The Roman infantry soldier during this time carried large rectangular shield that could cover them from their shoulders to their knees. They were made of wood covered with leather which was soaked with water when flaming arrows were used against them. Likewise our faith should extinguish those evil darts that come our way. Another advantage of the Roman shield is that it could interlock with other soldiers shields giving them even more protection. The same thing happens when we lean on another faithful Christian for support. But the bigger the shield the more protection.

I would imagine that a babe in Christ does not have a shield quite as big as seasoned, mature Christian. Why, because we are also told that “Faith comes from hearing, by hearing the word of God.”  Rom. 10:17

The more a Christian hears God’s word, reads God’s word, studies God’s word, practices God’s word, the more his faith has an opportunity to grow and the more protection and strength we will have. WHY?  Because of what we know and understand we become stronger and our shield grows.

What a wonderful gift this thing which can grow in us, and strengthen us, and protect us, and comfort us, and enable us to see beyond this physical realm and so much more.

Over the next couple weeks I would like to bring you a couple of more lessons on this wonder blessing that God has given us which we call faith.

My Challenge for you today is: 

I want you realize that you don’t have to buckle when tempted. You don’t have to let people get to you. You don’t have to let every little dart from the evil one hurt you. You can protect yourself by pulling out your shield of faith. It is your God given armor. Why is it so powerful? Because our faith is rooted in God, and in knowing that He loves us and will protect us.

In closing I would like to read you 2 passages of scripture showing more about the grand nature and blessing of our faith.

1 Peter 1:3-7  “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, (faith) 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”  NLT

Your faith is more precious than all the gold in the world.. It saves you it protects you it fills you with hope for the future and so much more.

Hebrews 10:19-25   9 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (We should be faithful because God is faithful) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

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

From Jim McGuiggan... The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge

The Corinthians for all their giftedness [1 Corinthians 1:4-7] were missing the person and character and purpose of the God who had shown himself in and as Christ. Knowledge had become the center-piece of their religion and many of them by their intellectual ability found themselves separated in some ways from the pagan world around them. Not really by Christ, you understand, but by their grasp of the truth about Christ. They had found truth; they had become knowing ones! But, in sinners, the capacity to know, and knowledge as its fruit, has the almost invariable effect of "puffing up" (8:1).

Their intellectual grasp had freed them from polytheism and other pagan superstitions but it was this very sense of freedom that was going to their heads.

F.W. Robertson said:

"The real emancipation from false gods is reverence for the true God. For high knowledge is not negative, but positive; it is to be freed from the fear of the Many in order to adore and love the One. [in youth] the pride of intellect sustains us strongly; but a time comes when we feel terribly that the Tree of Knowledge is not the Tree of Life...Separate from love, the more we know, the profounder the mystery of life becomes; the more dreary and the more horrible becomes existence. I can conceive no dying hour more awful than that of one who has aspired to know instead of to love, and finds himself at last amidst a world of barren facts and lifeless theories, loving none and adoring nothing."

A man isn't getting to know God if the more he learns the more he leans on himself. An expanding stock of knowledge isn't the same as an expanding heart. True knowledge should increase the mystery of what is wondered at even if it is better understood. This is true of God or a dandelion. If looking at a fluffy dandelion drives us to wonder, we ought to be casting a glance heavenward and wondering about the God who made the dandelion. We ought to have the experience of one boy who grew up and found:

As wider skies broke on his view,
God greatened in his growing mind,
Each year he dreamed his God anew,
And left his older God behind.

And how could someone truly know "there is no God but one; and there is one Lord Jesus" [8:6] and still hold his brothers and sisters in contempt? Once they were all fellow-pagans, filled with ignorant superstition, self-service and happy immorality. Friends together in a great moral and spiritual darkness. Then some of them met God! The God who made himself known in and as the crucified One; and everything was filled with light. Caught up by the grandeur of the message they joined it (not quite) as they would join a new school of thought. And when they discovered some of their brothers and sisters couldn't grasp the exalted concepts of one God and one Lord, they came to despise them.

Through coming to understand and to be blessed by the cross (!) they learned to despise those for whom Christ died on the cross?

This whole section shows there were tensions and cracks in the fellowship between the "strong" and the "weak". The strong thought the stupidity of polytheism was obvious (compare 8:4) so the only thing for the weak was for the strong to teach them and for them to grow to be like the strong. In the meantime, not everyone had the freedom that comes with correct views (8:7).

The ignorant were weak in knowledge, but that's not the same as being weak in purpose to please God (compare Romans 14:6-8). If the strong, claiming to "know" God walk all over their weaker brothers and sisters to their destruction (8:11), they are despising and slaying those ignorant ones for whom Christ died. If that's the case, then who are the truly strong and weak? But more to the point, how could they know the God who in and as Christ Jesus became on of the weak to save the weak?

The cross is strength operating from the position of weakness. The cross is God standing alongside and siding with the weak against the world-spirit and its corrupt powers that enslaved the sinful weak.

The cross says the weak are worth dying for. To act in opposition to that in the name of "knowing" God is not to know the God of the cross who died for the weak and ignorant (among whom the knowing ones were once numbered).

Jeremiah 9:24 (quoted twice by Paul in the Corinthian literature) says: "'Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord."

The job of the strong is to make the weak strong (no bad thing) but they wanted to carry it out from a position of power and strength rather than to become weak. "Make them come up; after all they're the ones with the problem, they're the weak and we are the strong. We have truth on our side."

In this they refuse the pattern of the Christ who was crucified "in weakness" (2 Corinthians 13:4) and who in becoming weak became strong to carry out God's purpose [Romans 1:16, 2 Corinthians 4:5-7]. If He who knew God in completeness made the ultimate move toward weakness to gain the weak what does that say about the knowing ones who despise and isolate the weak and the ignorant?

Paul makes the point that because of Christ's example in showing us what knowing God means (1 Corinthians 9:22; 11:1) the weak have veto power over our knowledge and the true and genuine liberties that come from it.

Well, it isn't quite veto power over our knowledge, but veto power over some of the things we do with that greater knowledge (which is the potential for greater power). The needs and vulnerability of others places limits on our power and puts a fence around our liberties. The loveless heart that worships knowledge will resent such restraints, but the lover doesn't wish to be completely free.

Greater knowledge is not despised, nor is it ever consigned to oblivion. It is given a context it is knowledge "en Christo" and its purpose is to serve the God who has shown himself as the reconciler of the world in and as the crucified Christ, the one who identified with the weak.

©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 Mark Copeland... Strong In The Grace Of Christ (2 Timothy 2:1)

                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                  Strong In The Grace Of Christ (2:1)


1. The danger of apostasy is very real, as evident from Paul's second
   epistle to Timothy...
   a. Those in Asia had forsaken Paul, including Phygellus and
      Hermogenes - 2Ti 1:15
   b. Some had strayed from the truth, in particular Hymenaeus and
      Philetus - 2Ti 2:16-18

2. The possibility of apostasy explains Paul's admonitions to Timothy...
   a. Such as those found in the first chapter - cf. 2Ti 1:13-14
   b. Such as that found at the beginning of the second chapter - 2 Ti 2:1

3. To avoid apostasy ourselves, we too must "be strong in the grace that
   is in Christ Jesus"...
   a. But what grace is there in Christ?
   b. And how can we be strong in this grace?

[These are questions we shall answer in this study.  First, let's


      1. In Christ there is no condemnation for sin - Ro 8:1
      2. For we have forgiveness of sins, redemption through His blood
         - Ep 1:7
      -- We are therefore "justified" (declared "not guilty") by His
         grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus! - cf. Ro 3:24

      1. Jesus offers to free us from the dominion of sin - Jn 8:31-36
      2. He does this by giving us His Spirit - Jn 7:37-39; cf. Ro 8:2,
      -- We are therefore "strengthened" by God through His Spirit inf
         the inner man - cf. Ep 3:16

      1. Jesus revealed that we cannot bear fruit apart from Him - Jn 15:4-5
      2. By His grace we are enabled to be a functioning member of His
         body - Ro 12:6
      3. We can have an abundance for every good work - 2Co 9:8
      -- We are therefore "enabled" by God for service as stewards of
         His grace - cf. 1Pe 4:10-11

      1. Jesus has given us "good hope" by His grace - 2Th 2:16
      2. By His grace we become heirs of eternal life - Tit 3:7
      -- We are therefore "positioned" to be the recipients of even more
         grace to come! - cf. 1Pe 1:13; Ep 2:7

[This review certainly does not exhaust the benefits of His grace, but
hopefully will encourage us to heed Paul's admonition to be strong in
the grace of Christ.  Now for some thoughts on...]


      1. Initially, by obeying the gospel of Christ through:
         a. Faith and confession, through which comes righteousness and
            salvation - Ro 10:9-10
         b. Repentance and baptism, through which comes forgiveness of
            sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38
      2. Continually, as the promise of His abiding presence is
         contingent on:
         a. Keeping His Word - Jn 14:21,23
         b. Observing His commandments - Mt 28:20
         c. Avoiding lukewarmness of service - Re 3:15-19
      -- The grace of Christ comes to those who are "doers" of the Word,
         and not "hearers only" - cf. Jm 1:22-25

      1. Prayer is the conduit through which we receive wonderful
         blessings in Christ:
         a. Forgiveness of sins when we sin - Ac 8:22; 1Jn 1:9
         b. Strength from God by His Spirit in the inner man - Ep 3:16
         c. Peace that surpasses understanding and overcomes anxiety
            - Php 4:6-7
      2. Thus the many admonitions to be diligent in prayer, such as:
         a. "continue earnestly in prayer" - Col 4:2
         b. "pray without ceasing" - 1Th 5:17
         c. "be serious and watchful in your prayers" - 1Pe 4:7
      -- The grace of Christ comes to those who come boldly to the
         throne of grace - cf. He 4:14-16

      1. Fellowship with other Christians is very important:
         a. It was a mark of the early church - Ac 2:42
         b. Christians are to be interdependent on one another - 1Co 12:12-14,17-22
      2. Thus the admonitions related to encouraging one another:
         a. Through daily exhortation, to avoid unbelief - He 3:12-14
         b. Through frequent assembling, to stir up love and good works
            - He 10:24-25
      -- The grace of Christ comes to those belonging to a body in which
         each part does its share - cf. Ep 4:15-16


1. Brethren, wonderful is the grace of Christ!  Yet Christians were
   a. Not to receive the grace of God in vain - 2Co 6:1-2
   b. To be careful lest anyone fall short of the grace of God - He 12:15

2. To ensure that we benefit from the riches of grace in Christ, then
   let us be strong in grace...
   a. Through obedience to His Word
   b. Through fervency of prayer
   c. Through interaction with brethren

Are you diligent in your efforts to be strong in the grace of Christ

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 21

Bible Reading  

January 21

The World English Bible

Jan. 21
Genesis 21

Gen 21:1 Yahweh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did to Sarah as he had spoken.
Gen 21:2 Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
Gen 21:3 Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.
Gen 21:4 Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
Gen 21:5 Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.
Gen 21:6 Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me."
Gen 21:7 She said, "Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."
Gen 21:8 The child grew, and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
Gen 21:9 Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.
Gen 21:10 Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this handmaid and her son! For the son of this handmaid will not be heir with my son, Isaac."
Gen 21:11 The thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son.
Gen 21:12 God said to Abraham, "Don't let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your handmaid. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For from Isaac will your seed be called.
Gen 21:13 I will also make a nation of the son of the handmaid, because he is your seed."
Gen 21:14 Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder; and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Gen 21:15 The water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
Gen 21:16 She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, "Don't let me see the death of the child." She sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.
Gen 21:17 God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Don't be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.
Gen 21:18 Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand. For I will make him a great nation."
Gen 21:19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the bottle with water, and gave the boy drink.
Gen 21:20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the wilderness, and became, as he grew up, an archer.
Gen 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran. His mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.
Gen 21:22 It happened at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, "God is with you in all that you do.
Gen 21:23 Now, therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son. But according to the kindness that I have done to you, you shall do to me, and to the land in which you have lived as a foreigner."
Gen 21:24 Abraham said, "I will swear."
Gen 21:25 Abraham complained to Abimelech because of a water well, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.
Gen 21:26 Abimelech said, "I don't know who has done this thing. Neither did you tell me, neither did I hear of it, until today."
Gen 21:27 Abraham took sheep and cattle, and gave them to Abimelech. Those two made a covenant.
Gen 21:28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
Gen 21:29 Abimelech said to Abraham, "What do these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves mean?"
Gen 21:30 He said, "You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, that it may be a witness to me, that I have dug this well."
Gen 21:31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because they both swore there.
Gen 21:32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Abimelech rose up with Phicol, the captain of his army, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
Gen 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God.
Gen 21:34 Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines many days.
Jan. 21, 22
Matthew 11

Mat 11:1 It happened that when Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.
Mat 11:2 Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
Mat 11:3 and said to him, "Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?"
Mat 11:4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
Mat 11:5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
Mat 11:6 Blessed is he who finds no occasion for stumbling in me."
Mat 11:7 As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Mat 11:8 But what did you go out to see? A man in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses.
Mat 11:9 But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet.
Mat 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
Mat 11:11 Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
Mat 11:12 From the days of John the Baptizer until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14 If you are willing to receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come.
Mat 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 11:16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions
Mat 11:17 and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you didn't dance. We mourned for you, and you didn't lament.'
Mat 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.'
Mat 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children."
Mat 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn't repent.
Mat 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Mat 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
Mat 11:23 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will go down to Hades. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until this day.
Mat 11:24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, on the day of judgment, than for you."
Mat 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.
Mat 11:26 Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight.
Mat 11:27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows the Son, except the Father; neither does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and he to whom the Son desires to reveal him.
Mat 11:28 "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

From Gary... Bible Reading January 22

Bible Reading  

January 22

The World English Bible

Jan. 22
Genesis 22

Gen 22:1 It happened after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" He said, "Here I am."
Gen 22:2 He said, "Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, even Isaac, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of."
Gen 22:3 Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.
Gen 22:4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off.
Gen 22:5 Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you."
Gen 22:6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together.
Gen 22:7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, "My father?" He said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
Gen 22:8 Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they both went together.
Gen 22:9 They came to the place which God had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood.
Gen 22:10 Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.
Gen 22:11 The angel of Yahweh called to him out of the sky, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" He said, "Here I am."
Gen 22:12 He said, "Don't lay your hand on the boy, neither do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."
Gen 22:13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and saw that behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
Gen 22:14 Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh Will Provide. As it is said to this day, "On Yahweh's mountain, it will be provided."
Gen 22:15 The angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of the sky,
Gen 22:16 and said, "I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
Gen 22:17 that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your seed greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies.
Gen 22:18 In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."
Gen 22:19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. Abraham lived at Beersheba.
Gen 22:20 It happened after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah, she also has borne children to your brother Nahor:
Gen 22:21 Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram,
Gen 22:22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel."
Gen 22:23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
Gen 22:24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

From Gary... What is next?

Eyes WIDE OPEN, FUNNY EXPRESSION AND WRINGING HANDS tell you something.  What is Next? That is what it says to me.  Anxiety, apprehension, uncertainty, along with the expectation of "BAD NEWS" seems to be just around the corner.  All of us have experienced this feeling one time or another.  We just KNEW something BAD was next, something we just KNEW we were not going to like.  This happens occasionally, but what if it happens when we read the Scriptures???? Read on to see what I mean...

Acts, Chapter 22
 1 “Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense which I now make to you.” 

  2  When they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they were even more quiet. He said,  3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict tradition of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as you all are this day.  4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.  5 As also the high priest and all the council of the elders testify, from whom also I received letters to the brothers, and traveled to Damascus to bring them also who were there to Jerusalem in bonds to be punished.  6 As I made my journey, and came close to Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light shone around me from the sky.  7 I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’   8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.’ 

  9  “Those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they didn’t understand the voice of him who spoke to me.  10 I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Arise, and go into Damascus. There you will be told about all things which are appointed for you to do.’   11 When I couldn’t see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.  12 One Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews who lived in Damascus,  13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ In that very hour I looked up at him.  14 He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth.  15 For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.  16 Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ 

  17  “When I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance,  18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’   19 I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you.  20 When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’ 

  21  “He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’  

  22  They listened to him until he said that; then they lifted up their voice, and said, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he isn’t fit to live!”
It is easy to criticize the Jews for reacting so violently at Paul's mention of the Gentiles, but even though they were wrong, The Jews can still teach us something about the Scriptures.  Their lesson to us is simple: Do not approach the WORD OF GOD with preconceived ideas.  Before you begin to say "I don't do that", think about this...  Today, millions of people have been "converted" to Christ by a simple recitation of the "sinner's prayer".  This occurs nowhere in the Scriptures; it is a man-made idea.  One that many religious people cling dearly to.  Before you become too upset, re-read verse 16 above.  God says that one washes away sins at the time of BAPTISM; THAT IS HOW ITS DONE!!!  "What is next" for you? Will you react as the Jews did (verse 22) or investigate what the Bible says about baptism for yourself.  Right now, I feel like the kid in the picture because frankly, I too, WONDER WHAT IS NEXT????!!!!!