2/3/14

From Ben Fronczek... Daniel 5 Writing on the Wall







Daniel 5    Writing on the Wall      

By: Ben Fronczek


Introduction:

I like it when I learn where certain sayings come from; like the saying ‘Writing on the wall’.  This refers to, ‘A sign of imminent danger or doom.’   The origin of this saying comes from Daniel 5 which we will be looking at today. But first a little background information:

After King Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. his son Evil-Merodack, ruled over Babylonia for 2 years (562-560). In August 560, King Evil-Merodack was assassinated by General Neriglissar, who was the Kings own brother-in-law and Nebuchadnezzar’s son in law. General Neriglissar ruled as King  for 4 years (560-556) and was succeeded by his son Labashi-Marduk in 556 who was only a boy. Because he was young and weak ruler Labashi-Marduk was murdered after reigning 9 months. Then Nabonidus became king. He was Nebuchadnezzar’s other son-in-law having married his other daughter. For commercial and military advances Nabonidus devoted spent a lot of time in North Arabia, and Edom which he conquered in 552 B.C. In his final 10 years he left his son Belshazzer in Babylon to rule it in his absence.

It was during this time when father and son ruled Babylon the Medo-Persian empire and military led by Cyrus was growing and finally marched toward Babylon. Cyrus and his army met Nabonidus and his army north of Babylon but Cyrus defeated Nabonidus.  What was left of his army fled south leaving Babylon wide open to the Medo-Persians.

Inside the city Belshazzer did not seem to concerned about the army that surrounded Babylon. You see, he considered the city impregnable. There were a double set of walls that surrounded Babylon. It is said that the walls were over 300 feet high and eighty feet wide. The walls were so thick that 4 chariots could ride abreast on top of the walls which were also surrounded by deep moats. If one were to ride around the city outside the walls, he would travel about 60 miles. The wall had 250 guard towers and rooms for soldiers to sleep. It had 100 gates, all armored with brass. If an enemy soldier managed to get over the walls and moats he would have to cross a quarter mile of bare land before he could reach the city. There was enough food warehoused for a 20 year siege and farmland within the wall to raise more if needed. The Euphrates River also flowed under the wall to provide water.

So Belshazzer was not concerned. As a matter of fact while the Medo-Persian army lay outside, Belshazzer, in defiance arrogantly hosts a HUGE party which we will read about in Daniel 5.

Read Daniel 5:1-4   (Click on site to read)

It is said that Babylon had a banquet room that could hold up to 10,000 people. Here we read that  Belshazzer threw a party for a thousand of his nobles. I am sure there were others at this feast including wives, friends, servants, musicians, and who knows how many other people.
And then Belshazzer makes a truly bad decision.  

“He gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. “

The Text goes on to say that, as ‘The king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank wine from these sacred cups,  they praised their gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.’
That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  Read 5:5-30  (Click on site to read)
Now I want you to get a feel for what takes place here and what happens.

● Babylon is surrounded by a new enemy, the Medo-Persian army and the king’s son, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson now sits on the throne in Babylon and has no concerns what so ever other than turning up his nose to them and is partying like there’s nothing is going to happen.

● In arrogance and stupidity he does something that His grandfather Nebuchadnezzar did not even consider doing. He orders his servants to bring out the sacred cups that were used in the holy temple of God and uses them to drink wine out of and offer up toasts to their false deities.

● Then a hand appears out of nowhere, just a hand, probably a big hand floating up in the air in his banquet hall. At that point I’m sure everyone went silent; people stopped talking and laughing, the music stopped, dancers stood still as every eye watched to see what this hand would do. Then a finger etched some words into the plaster on the wall.

● This definitely got everyone’s attention, especially the king’s. The text says that

“His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.”    

This guy was shaking in his boots and rightfully so.  He wanted to know what all this meant so he calls for his enchanters, astrologers, and diviners and promises to reward the one who could give him some answers. But none of them could.

● Well the Queen mother (his grandmother, Nebuchadnezzar wife) comes on the scene and tells him about Daniel who is probably now semi-retired and now in his 80’s. Daniel came and so without mincing any words, he lets the king know what this was all about and what it meant.
He told him that even though his grandfather honored the God of Heaven, and had to learn it the hard way; in verses 22-24 Daniel says,   

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.  Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.”

● And so Daniel lets him know that his reign was over and the kingdom was going to be handed over to the Medes and Persians. And we read that very night the prophecy was fulfilled, and the king was slain.

So maybe you are wondering how the Medes and Persians were able to take Babylon if it was so secure. The Greek Historian Herodotus lets us know what happened. Remember the I told you that the Babylonians had a good supply of water; they actually had a river entering the city under the walls. Well I guess while partying, Cyrus had his men upstream and they diverted most of the river away from Babylon. With the water only up to their knees, the army unexpectedly just walked right in. It is said that the army took the city so fast that the residents of Babylon did not even realize what had happened.

Lesson for us:                                                                                                 

● Those who think they are totally secure are not by what THEY have or because of what THEY do. Like Belshazzar they are just fooling themselves. It does not matter how much money, or how much power you have, or what kind of security system you have, or how good your health insurance is, or how many guns you have…we are not in control, GOD IS. HE is the one we need to put our trust in. God is the One who can exalt you or take you down!

● Second, (THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT) Don’t dishonor or mess with that which is important to God. Belshazzar messed with cups that were only meant to be used in Holy service to Yahweh. They treated these things which were holy without respect. Over and over we read in Scripture that our God is a loving God, but we also read that He is a jealous God. He does not like being disrespected. He does not appreciate it when we out of arrogance use  or misuse things which He considers important or holy as unholy. He does not like it when we imply that anything and anyone is more important than He is.

So how well do you treat the things of God? Want some examples: In the 10 commandment we are told:

 “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. (Exodos 20:3-5)

Don’t put anything in God’s place! God cares about who, what, and even how we worship.

● In the Commandments God also instructs not to even use His name in vain or as the Amplified Bible put it,  [use His name, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely];  We dishonor God if and when we do this.

● He also commands not to dishonor your mother and father, and not to kill or steal, or covet, or lie about another, or chase after another person’s spouse.
Why? People are precious to God. We are His children. Jesus told us to love others like He loved them and the church and was willing to die for them.

● Did you know that the way you act or conduct yourself around others can also dishonor God. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Romans in 2:2 concerning the hypocritical Jew, he wrote 

No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme (or speak evil about) the name of God because of you.”

What is he saying here? ‘People will mock God when they see you who claim to be a believer act selfishly, unthankful, lazy, divisive, unforgiving, mean or cruel and argumentative. When others see you acting like that as a  “Christian”, they blaspheme the name of God because of you. You dishonor God and Christ.  1 Peter 2:12 states that we should be living such a way that other will praise and Glorify God; like Daniel did before Nebuchadnezzar.

● What about His word, Do you treat it with Honor and respect? The final warning in the book of Revelations is if anyone adds to it or takes away from His word they will be cursed and will not share in the tree of life in Heaven.

So I encourage you to honor GOD and honor and respect the things of God or that which is important to Him.  Also make a commitment and point to put Him and His will first before all else. Also treat His people well with honor and respect.  Treat His word and scripture with honor and respect as something holy and precious. And if you are a Christian, act like one.

If you do, like Daniel, you will not only bring Glory to God and maybe cause others to believe in His awesome greatness, you will be blessed and made more secure than one could ever be made by any human effort!

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

From Jim McGuiggan... 1 Peter 2.18-24, doormats (2)

1 Peter 2.18-24, doormats (2)

1 Peter 2:18-24 is addressed to slaves, to people stuck in a situation they can’t change. And what does Peter tell them? He tells them (1:1-2) that they’ve been chosen by God and covenanted in Christ by the Holy Spirit and that they are to live that identity and relationship out in their present situation.

The reality they are caught up in is enslavement and for many of them it is enslavement to a harsh and abusive master. It would have been an insult to them as it would be to people in our 21st century world who are trapped in horrible situations they can’t change—it would have been an insult had he spoken glibly of those crushing circumstances as "a challenge".

That’s not what Peter did with the slave’s situation! He laid their crucifixion alongside the crucifixion of their Lord and Master and said, "See? A match!" He did them the honour of describing their sore trouble in Christian terms. He placed the suffering God called them to endure with patience and trust alongside the suffering he called Jesus to bear with patience and trust (2:20-23 and see 3:17-18, 4:12-13,19).

It doesn’t offend me that some poor soul that is daily being stretched on somebody’s wrack, says that such talk doesn’t ease the pain. Why would it offend me or even surprise me? Read the psalms—agonised protest didn’t offend God.

But listen, what if it’s the will of God, as Christ’s suffering was the will of God? What if—and this must surely have been difficult for the Philippians to swallow—what if your trouble and your very difficult life is a gift of God (Philippians 1:29-30)? Paul told these people that God had given them a double gift. "It has been granted [echarísthe, which has "charis" at the heart of it, so, graciously given, gift-like] to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."

And though such truth might not ease the pain, doesn’t it transform it? If you fervently believe that the hurt being laid on you is linked to Paul’s, to the Philippians’ and ultimately to Christ’s—does that not give it glory? Compare 1 Peter 4:14. There are those that want to reduce all the talk of suffering in the NT to direct persecution for the faith. They’re wrong! Not only are they wrong they leave countless poor beaten souls with nowhere to go with their pain! Stanley Hauerwas, for example, leaves us speechless in the presence of suffering children and their anguished parents. But Christ saw all suffering as interwoven with the sin of the world, with God’s redeeming judgement, his own cross and his presence in the elect as in and through them he continues to bear the suffering of the world.

But should the abuse that Christians suffer be linked with Paul’s and Christ’s? Why would we doubt it?

Is it because much of the abuse has nothing to do with the Christian’s faith? First of all, we can’t know that. Who knows enough to deny that the very presence of faith generates some below-the-surface sinful stirrings? And do you think that everyone that hated and abused the Christ did it for religious reasons or religious convictions? "I hate him because he teaches error!" Is that what the guards that beat the blood out of him were thinking? This we know, abuse heaped on anyone is villainous and rises out of hearts and societies that oppose what Jesus Christ is and stands for. And abuse heaped on Christ’s followers is abuse endured by Christ.

Peter’s words to those that couldn’t change their circumstances changed their circumstances. They were not doormats! Whatever their abusers thought, when they beat defenceless Christians they were repeating what the world did to Jesus Christ.

But Peter and others made it clear that what was happening was a lot more than the world’s abusing Jesus Christ, a lot more than the world abusing the people of God. The world was exposing its heart and nature and demonstrating why God could/would not allow it to continue as is. And as astonishing as it sounds ("Who has believed our message?"—Isaiah 53:1) it was and is in the persons of the abused that redemption and life is offered to the world. Kings and nations and even the people of Israel (see Isaiah 49:6 and Acts 13:47) are astonished when it dawns on them that the disfigured Israel that trudges home is the means by which the world can be saved (Isaiah 52:13-15 and see John 4:22). This suffering experienced by Israel that comes to its redeeming fullness and efficacy in Jesus alone is carried on in the "body of Christ" (the church).
No one is a "doormat" who by God’s holy grace chooses to be part of Jesus Christ’s body in and through which Jesus suffers still as he rehearses his redemptive and saving life and death and exaltation.


©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... Preach The Word! ( 2 Timothy 4:1-4)

                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                        Preach The Word! (4:1-4)

INTRODUCTION

1. A solemn charge was given by Paul to Timothy...
   a. In view of the coming of the Lord and His judgment - 2Ti 4:1
   b. Pertaining to preaching the Word of God - 2Ti 4:2-4

2. It is a charge that should considered carefully by all...
   a. By those who preach the Word, in response to the Great Commission
      - Mk 16:15
   b. By those who send and support those who preach - cf. Ro 10:15

[Our text reveals that not all preaching is the same.  There is that
which pleases God, there is that which clearly displeases Him.  With the
words of Paul before us, let's first examine...]

I. PREACHING THAT PLEASES GOD

   A. PREACHING THAT IS EVER READY...
      1. "Be ready in season and out of season" - 2Ti 4:2
      2. Preaching that reveals a degree of preparation; i.e., study
         that shows...
         a. One has given attention to reading, and to doctrine - cf.
            1Ti 4:13,16
         b. One has been diligent in their learning - cf. 2Ti 2:15;
            3:14
      3. Preaching that is ready on all occasions
         a. in season - "seasonably, opportunely; when the opportunity
            occurs" - Thayer
         b. out of season - "a minister is to seek opportunities to
            preach the gospel even at such periods as might be
            inconvenient to himself, or when there might be hindrances
            and embarrassments, or when there was no stated appointment
            for preaching." - Barnes

   B. PREACHING THAT CONVINCES...
      1. "convince" - 2Ti 4:2
         a. "reprove" (KJV, NASB)
         b. "correct" (NIV)
      2. "to use such arguments as would 'convince' men of the truth of
         religion, and of their own need of it." - Barnes
      3. As Paul did in the synagogues - cf. Ac 17:2-3; 19:8

   C. PREACHING THAT REBUKES...
      1. "rebuke" - 2Ti 4:2
      2. "to admonish or charge sharply" - Thayer
      3. "chide for sin; some privately, others more publicly, according
         to the nature and circumstances of the offense; some more
         gently, others more roughly, as is needful." - Gill
      4. So Paul likewise charged Titus - cf. Tit 2:15

   D. PREACHING THAT EXHORTS...
      1. "exhort" - 2Ti 4:2
      2. "to encourage and strengthen by consolation" - Thayer
      3. "as the ministers of the Gospel are in some cases to be
         'Boanergeses', sons of thunder, so other cases they should be
         Barnabases, sons of consolation; and comfort distressed minds,
         by preaching the comfortable doctrines of peace, pardon,
         righteousness and salvation by Jesus Christ." - Gill

   E. PREACHING THAT IS LONGSUFFERING...
      1. "with all longsuffering" - 2Ti 4:2
      2. "patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging
         wrongs" - Thayer
      3. "with a patient and persevering spirit if you are opposed;"
         - Barnes
      4. Shown toward both the faint-hearted and hardhearted - cf. 1 Th 5:14; 2Ti 2:24-25

   F. PREACHING THAT IS DOCTRINAL...
      1. "and teaching" - 2Ti 4:2
         a. "doctrine" (KJV)
         b. "instruction" (NASB)
      2. "that which is taught, doctrine, teaching, concerning
         something; the act of teaching, instruction" - Thayer
      3. "in a way that is instructive and teaching, and in agreement
         with the doctrine of the Scriptures, which are profitable for
         that purpose." - Gill

[Preaching that pleases God is "well-rounded":  ready at all times,
seeking to persuade, rebuking when necessary, yet with all longsuffering
instructing others in the doctrine of the Lord.  Contrast that with...]

II. PREACHING THAT DISPLEASES GOD

   A. PREACHING UNSOUND DOCTRINE...
      1. The time will come when some will not endure 'sound doctrine'
         - 2Ti 4:3
         a. Lit., "healthful doctrine"
         b. "doctrine contributing to the health of the soul, or to
            salvation." - Barnes
      2. Times of which Paul had already warned Timothy
         a. When people will give heed to deceiving spirits - 1Ti 4:1-2
         b. When people will be lovers of self and pleasure - 2Ti 3:1-2
      3. They will want to hear things 'according to their own desires'
         - 2Ti 4:3
         a. That justifies their sinful behavior, rather than rebukes
            them for it
         b. When guilty of things "contrary to sound doctrine" (e.g.,
            sodomy) - cf. 1Ti 1:10
         c. Not being told such things are 'unhealthy' to their soul
            (e.g., homosexuality) - cf. 1Co 6:9-10

   B. PREACHING TO ENTERTAIN...
      1. People will have "itching ears" - 2Ti 4:3
         a. "loving to have their ears scratched and tickled with smooth
            things; that are pleasing and agreeable to natural men, and
            carnal minds;" - Gill
         b. "Endless curiosity, an insatiable desire of variety; and
            they get their ears tickled with the language and accent of
            the person, abandoning the good and faithful preacher for
            the fine speaker." - Clarke
         c. They will love to hear even true preachers, if they are
            eloquent - cf. Eze 33:30-33
      2. They will "heap for themselves teachers" - 2Ti 4:3
         a. There will be plenty of teachers willing to accommodate them
         b. People will find the teachers that please them
      3. The sad result of such preaching - 2Ti 4:4
         a. People "will turn their ears away from the truth"
            1) The truth of God will not interest them
            2) They will have no time to hear what the truth has to say
         b. They will "be turned aside to fables"
            1) "Believe any kind of stuff and nonsense;" - Clarke
            2) "as one has justly observed, 'Those who reject the truth
               are abandoned by the just judgment of God to credit the
               most degrading nonsense.'" - ibid.
            3) Or as attributed to G. K. Chesterton:  "He who does not
               believe in God will believe  in anything."

CONCLUSION

1. The truthfulness of the words by Clarke, Chesterton, and apostle Paul
   can easily be seen today...
   a. People will reject the Word of God, but believe in witchcraft,
      UFOs, channeling, etc.
   b. People will reject the Gospel of Christ, but accept religious
      traditions of men
   c. People reject "sound doctrine", but accept "unhealthy teaching"
      that endangers body and soul

2. The problem is the type of "preaching" people want to listen to...
   a. They listen to be entertained, to justify fulfilling the lusts of
      the flesh
   b. They do not listen to be saved, to learn the way of righteousness

Those who dare to preach, and those who desire to hear, should make sure
the preaching is that which pleases God!  Have you responded in
obedience to the preaching of God's Word...? Ro 6:17-18
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading February 3


Bible Reading   

February 3

The World English Bible


Feb. 3
Genesis 34

Gen 34:1 Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
Gen 34:2 Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, and humbled her.
Gen 34:3 His soul joined to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young lady, and spoke kindly to the young lady.
Gen 34:4 Shechem spoke to his father, Hamor, saying, "Get me this young lady as a wife."
Gen 34:5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter; and his sons were with his livestock in the field. Jacob held his peace until they came.
Gen 34:6 Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to talk with him.
Gen 34:7 The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it. The men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; a which thing ought not to be done.
Gen 34:8 Hamor talked with them, saying, "The soul of my son, Shechem, longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.
Gen 34:9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.
Gen 34:10 You shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it."
Gen 34:11 Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will tell me I will give.
Gen 34:12 Ask me a great amount for a dowry, and I will give whatever you ask of me, but give me the young lady as a wife."
Gen 34:13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with deceit, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister,
Gen 34:14 and said to them, "We can't do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised; for that is a reproach to us.
Gen 34:15 Only on this condition will we consent to you. If you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised;
Gen 34:16 then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
Gen 34:17 But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our sister, and we will be gone."
Gen 34:18 Their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son.
Gen 34:19 The young man didn't wait to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter, and he was honored above all the house of his father.
Gen 34:20 Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying,
Gen 34:21 "These men are peaceful with us. Therefore let them live in the land and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
Gen 34:22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people, if every male among us is circumcised, as they are circumcised.
Gen 34:23 Won't their livestock and their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let us give our consent to them, and they will dwell with us."
Gen 34:24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor, and to Shechem his son; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
Gen 34:25 It happened on the third day, when they were sore, that two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword, came upon the unsuspecting city, and killed all the males.
Gen 34:26 They killed Hamor and Shechem, his son, with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away.
Gen 34:27 Jacob's sons came on the dead, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Gen 34:28 They took their flocks, their herds, their donkeys, that which was in the city, that which was in the field,
Gen 34:29 and all their wealth. They took captive all their little ones and their wives, and took as plunder everything that was in the house.
Gen 34:30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have troubled me, to make me odious to the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I am few in number. They will gather themselves together against me and strike me, and I will be destroyed, I and my house."
Gen 34:31 They said, "Should he deal with our sister as with a prostitute?"



Feb. 1, 2, 3
Matthew 17

Mat 17:1 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.
Mat 17:2 He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.
Mat 17:3 Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.
Mat 17:4 Peter answered, and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let's make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
Mat 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
Mat 17:6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.
Mat 17:7 Jesus came and touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid."
Mat 17:8 Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.
Mat 17:9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Don't tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."
Mat 17:10 His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
Mat 17:11 Jesus answered them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and will restore all things,
Mat 17:12 but I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they didn't recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. Even so the Son of Man will also suffer by them."
Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptizer.
Mat 17:14 When they came to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling down to him, saying,
Mat 17:15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is epileptic, and suffers grievously; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.
Mat 17:16 So I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him."
Mat 17:17 Jesus answered, "Faithless and perverse generation! How long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring him here to me."
Mat 17:18 Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.
Mat 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, "Why weren't we able to cast it out?"
Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Mat 17:21 But this kind doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting."
Mat 17:22 While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men,
Mat 17:23 and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up." They were exceedingly sorry.
Mat 17:24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma coins came to Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma?"
Mat 17:25 He said, "Yes." When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"
Mat 17:26 Peter said to him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt.
Mat 17:27 But, lest we cause them to stumble, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."



From Gary... Calendars, Truth and Choices...


OK, since when are there NINE days in a week?  Curious, I did a little research on the net and found out that there are current 40 different calendars in use today. I put a couple of links below for those of you who may have an interest in such things and I hope you will find the reading interesting. So, are there nine days in a week?  What is the truth about such things?
http://astro.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html

http://www.calleman.com/content/articles/Mayan_Calendars_NineNine_dayCount.htm

The truth seems to be that you use the calendar you wish because of your goals for keeping track of time.  For me, The International Standard of the Gregorian Calendar works just fine. And if you read all the information above, you will probably get a headache, just like I did.  So, what is the truth??? This is a familiar theme to those of us who call themselves Christians- and here is why...

John, Chapter 18
 33  Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 

  34  Jesus answered him, “Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?” 

  35  Pilate answered, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?” 

  36  Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn’t be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.” 

  37  Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?” 

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 

  38  Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” 
When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
  39 But you have a custom, that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Therefore do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 

  40  Then they all shouted again, saying, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.


Now, we can argue all day long about which calendar to use and from certain perspectives many differing views could be correct.  But, Jesus- What about Jesus???  His life is documented in extreme detail and was witnessed by thousands.  For most of the world, time is divided up into the categories of before Christ (B.C.) and after Christ (A.D. [anno domini] ).  No one else has ever risen from the dead and won't (at least until Jesus comes again).  What is truth? Is Jesus really a king?  Your decision does matter- eternally!!!!

By the way...  Barabbas can't do a thing for you, JESUS CAN!!!!  Choose wisely!!!