2/6/14

From Steve Singleton... How is the Bible organized?

How is the Bible organized?

bible_200x133The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. God’s saving acts are central to each of these parts: in the Old the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage through the Exodus, and in the New the deliverance of all humankind from sin through cross and resurrection of Christ.
Both testaments are arranged in roughly chronological order, though the books are grouped according to genre, such as history, poetry, and prophecy for the Old; and biography, history, epistles, and prophecy for the New. You can take a closer look at the organization of each of the testaments by clicking on the “A” link under Introduction to the Old Testament and the “B” link under Introduction to the New Testament.

Many thanks to brother Steve Singleton, for allowing me to post from his website, deeperstudy.com.

From Ben Fronczek... Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving

By Ben Fronczek

Reading:  

Luke 17:11-18 
“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Being thankful and grateful is as old as man itself (if not older). When I think back to those early sacrifices made to God, even back to the time a Cain and Abel in Genesis, weren’t those sacrifices meant to show God appreciation and thanks? I think so.

Colossians 3 12-17 the apostle Paul writes;   

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”   

 Among other things, Paul taught that we need to be grateful and thankful.

The following proclamation was made by Governor Bradford in 1623, 3 years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth;

To all ye Pilgrims,
Inasmuch as the great father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the raids of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

(If only our leaders today would make such a proclamation)

Later our 1st president, George Washington designated the day as one of our 1st national holidays.  This Thursday is Thanksgiving; a day where we like those early Pilgrims set aside time from our busy schedules enjoy a meal together with loved ones and give thanks to God. As I see it the word of God tells us that this should be a continual, daily, practice for His children.

Ephesians 5:19-20 tells Christians to  

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, ALWAYS giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”    

And I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,  
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Thankfulness is not so much about what it is that we have been given. It is rather an attitude, an attitude of gratitude, an attitude that we as believers should especially be familiar with. This is seen throughout scripture.

Last week as we studied Daniel 6, we read how some corrupt governors convinced the king of Babylon that a law should be made to honor him by making it illegal to pray to anyone else for 30 days. In response what did we see Daniel do? That’s right, he went to his room to pray as was his habit. But do you remember what it said concerning what he regularly prayed for?

Let me read it to you: Daniel 6:10Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
It is a known fact that there are many blessing that come with having a attitude of gratitude: As we saw in our reading, it pleases our Lord who seem to appreciate the one leper that came back to thank Him for healing him.

It is a proven fact that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits. Healthcare professionals note  Grateful people may be more likely to:

-       take better care of themselves physically and mentally
-       They engage in more protective health behaviors
-       They get more regular exercise
-       They eat a healthier diet
-       They have improved mental alertness
-       They cope better with stress and daily challenges
-       They feel happier and more optimistic
-       They have stronger immune systems
-       They maintain a brighter view of the future
-       They are happier
-       Others like and appreciate them more
-       They are more optimistic
-       They are more spiritual
-       And less materialistic… and so much more!

We have seen those who have received much but are not thankful. They have an attitude of ingratitude. They are like the nine lepers who received the gift of healing but did not even take the time to say thanks.

Fulton Ousler, a famous author of many years ago, tells the story of his old Black nurse, Anna. He lovingly writes:

“She was present when his mother was born; she was there when I was born. I remember her, he said, as she sat at the kitchen table in our house, the hard old brown hands folded across her starched apron, the glistening black eyes lifted to the white-washed ceiling, and the husky old whispering voice saying, “Much obliged, Lord, for my vittles.” “Ann,” I asked, “What’s a vittle?” “It’s what you got to eat and drink, that’s vittles.” “But you’d get your vittles whether you thanked the Lord or not.” “Sure,” she said, “but it makes everything taste better to be thankful.”

After the meal she thanked the Lord again and then said, “You know, it’s a funny thing about being thankful … it’s a game an old preacher taught me to play. It’s looking for things to be thankful for. Many of them you pass right by … unless you go looking for them … Take this morning, I woke up and lay there wondering … what I got to be thankful for now. And you know what, I couldn’t think of anything to thank him for. … But then from the kitchen comes the most delicious smell that ever tickled my nose–coffee.’ Much obliged, Lord, for the coffee, and much obliged, too, for the smell of it.’ “

Years passed and Ousler grew up, left home, and learned some of the hard lessons of life. One day he was called to Anna’s bedside. She was dying. He noticed her old hands were twisted with pain. He wondered what she had to be thankful for now. Just then she opened her eyes, looked at all the people around her bedside, closed her eyes again and said with a smile, “Much obliged, Lord, for such fine friends.”

One day when Abraham Lincoln served as President of the United States, an elderly lady was ushered into his private office. Lincoln noticed that she carried a covered basket beneath her arm, and he inquired, “What can I do for you Madam?”
 
Placing the covered basket on the table the lady replied, “Mr President, I have come here today not to ask any favor for anyone, nor for myself. I simply heard that you were very fond of cookies, and I came here today to present you with a basket-full which I baked just for you!”
As he listened to the lady’s words, tears welled up in the President’s eyes and began running unchecked down his face. He stood speechless for a moment, then said, “My good woman, your thoughtful and unselfish deed moves me. Thousands of people have entered this office since I became President, but you alone are the first to come asking no favor for yourself nor somebody else!”

I wonder, if the Lord doesn’t sometimes feel much the same way as Abraham Lincoln did that day. He hears millions of requests and petitions with which we bombard Him with.  Yet, how often do we stop and take time to utter a few simple words of thanks for all He has already done for us?

For the rest of our time today I would like open things up and ask some of you to share something that you are thankful for. Let the next few minutes be a time of thanksgiving worshipping and glorifying God with your testimony
(HEAR TESTIMONIES) (Or if you are reading this jot a few things down that you are grateful for)

I believe God wants us to be happy. Now let me tell you something — Don’t wait to be happy. Don’t postpone happiness until your situation changes, or you have acquired a certain thing. If you cannot be happy now you will not be happy if you get this that or the other things; for happiness is not a matter of what you have, or what situation you are in. It is a matter of who you are, your attitude and how you respond to life.

Willian Authur Ward wrote “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

If you are not content with less you will never be content with more. There are many who live in a world of, “If only.”  If only I had this…. If only this were different…. If only I could do that…. If only this had not happened in my life… Such people rarely find happiness or contentment.
It is with an attitude of gratitude you will find contentment and the peace of God.


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

From Jim McGuiggan... Preparing a child for baptism


Preparing a child for baptism

With evangelicals there's quite a bit of discussion about when children are ready to give themselves to Jesus Christ. Setting aside discussion about infant baptism and covenant inclusion what we have are questions like: "Is my child old enough?" "Does my child known enough?" "Is my child mature enough?" "Does my child 'know' what he/she is doing?" These are all sensible questions and matter a great deal to people who are convinced that there is no covenant relationship with Jesus Christ unless there is a personal commitment of faith by the believer. Being one of those, and since I take the view that infant baptism hasn't a shred of support from scripture, the questions above do make sense.

But though they make sense and though they do indeed matter I don't think there can be a generalised and satisfying answer to the questions. Children are all different! Some mature more quickly than others, some mature in some ways more quickly than others and at the same time more slowly in other ways. Their environments differ; their emotional make-up and their critical experiences differ from each other. Their parents differ and sometimes the parents aren't able to assess their children's life-experience. It makes no sense—and everyone knows it—to say, "My child gave her life to Jesus Christ when she was thirteen therefore all thirteen-year olds are capable." There are too many variables in each life for us to be able to offer blanket advice.

I'm certain we can more easily identify extreme positions than we can offer advice about children we know nothing about. Let me be silly just to make my point. He who says a three-year old child is capable of a faith commitment to Jesus Christ and he who says that no child younger than eighteen has the capacity to render a faith-commitment to Jesus will have no credibility with us. It isn't the extremes we have difficulty with.

While I presently judge we can do nothing do determine with precision when this child or that is ready to give him/herself to Jesus in faith, we can certainly do something about taking seriously a child's growing sense that she/he is being called by the gospel. It simply won't do for parents to dismiss a child's expression that he/she wants to belong to Jesus in a faith relationship.

It may well be that when my child comes saying, "I want to become a Christian" that she is responding merely to some want to do what a friend of hers did—so as not to be left out of anything, don't you know. Hearing someone say something that frightens her might result in this emotional surge. (Her parents are Christ's and she has heard something that suggests to her that if she isn't a Christian she will never see her parents again—no wonder she wants to become a Christian.) List your own illustrations of what I'm getting at.

But there are times when we're uncertain about motivation even though in our wise love for the child we think she is not yet "able" to say yes to Jesus in trust with the full consent of her heart to enter a covenant relationship.

Let's say, for discussion's sake, that she's twelve or thirteen. She an ordinary little girl; enjoys life, plays children's games, watches children's television programmes and sometimes pouts like a little girl when she's crossed. It would be easy for adults to note all that and conclude that she isn't "adult enough" to give a heart's consent and surrender to the Lord (especially if she still sleeps with a doll in bed beside her).

But it's just as easy to watch adults playing their childish games and draw a similar conclusion. See the programs they watch, note the games they play and how they pout and sulk if they're beaten or crossed in their desires by a spouse or a boss.

That we wrestle with such questions is a good thing for it shows we're interested in something vitally important and that we won't breezily dismiss them with barely a thought. Once we come to think that this child's conscience is awakening, that she is coming alive to the message of the gospel and Jesus' call on her we will not (certainly should not!) airily put her off even if we remain uncertain.

We mustn't give her the impression that her feelings and thoughts are not to be taken seriously but we're not to give her the impression that she is an adult. However we work with the matter it can only help her if she knows we're anxious to give her a hearing and to help her, while we live up to our own responsibility toward her as our child. To put her off making a public commitment to Jesus with a few sentences while we're watching television or heading for work or whatever should be avoided under all circumstances but especially if she is repeatedly raising the issue.

If the boy or the girl is persistent and anxious (that will be determined by those who are in the position to know) even if (in our scenario) the parents are still in doubt, it might be best to set the wheels in motion for the child's surrender to the Lord. Once all who love the child and are in the position to know best [at least better than anyone else] if the time is right for him/her to enter a covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus the following suggestions might be useful.
What I have to say from this point is not meant as some "this is how it should be done" program but some suggestions as to the direction I think we should go if we're to act wisely and well.

I think the child should be told how wonderful it is that they are going to become Christ's covenant child because he has loved them all his/her life.

I think he/she should be told that what she/he is going to do is a solemn and joyous commitment and that he/she must prepare for it.

I think the church leaders should be consulted and asked for input on what can be done to make this momentous event memorable and substantial.

I think a period of time (maybe four to six weeks, for perhaps thirty minutes a session) should be set aside to bring the lovely matter to a conclusion.

I think a room in the meeting-house (or a home other than his/her own) should be committed to which the child travels "to prepare" herself/himself to meet the Lord.

I think the parents and select people should be there to make the child aware that his/her purpose is being taken with the joyful seriousness it deserves.

I think a curriculum should be devised for the occasion that includes foundational truths about God and the gospel and the Body of Christ into which she/he is to be brought and received by the Lord.

I think it should be announced to the assembly in the presence of the child what the child is doing in preparation to give his/her life to the Lord, and the assembly should be asked to pray for and encourage this person at this special time.

I think when all this heart preparation is done and the time has come to immerse this child into a faith-union and covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that it should be done in the presence of the entire assembly. 

I think that his/her first engagement in holy communion at the Lord's Supper should be underscored perhaps by having them come to the front to be served first.

Other things, little things, could be done to emphasise "the moment". The room at the appointed time could have his/her name put on it and the time appointed. The night before the morning of baptism could be made a special evening in the home, some people appointed for the purpose could call him/her and commend them to God.

The object of it all is to focus the mind of the child and the minds of the parents and the assembly on what is happening. My own view is that the "salvation" and "conversion" of children in this situation is taken far too lightly, off-handed almost, and where that occurs it's tragic.

There is more than one benefit to such a period of preparation (however it is structured). Once completed we will know that this child wasn't simply expressing a momentary and passing emotional desire. We will know that this child's coming to Christ in a covenant commitment mattered not only to the child. When this boy or girl is buried into Christ's death and rises again in Christ's resurrection everyone will have had the opportunity to hear again cries around the cross, the rumbling of a great grave stone and the good news, "He is not here. He is risen just as he said."

From Mark Copeland... Why Paul Died A Happy Man ( 2Timothy 4:6-8,18)

                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                  Why Paul Died A Happy Man (4:6-8,18)

INTRODUCTION

1. The Bible is silent regarding the death of the apostle Paul...
   a. "The tradition is...that Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded on
      the Ostian Road just outside of Rome." - ISBE
   b. "We have the concurrent testimony of ecclesiastical antiquity,
      that he was beheaded at Rome, by Nero, in the great persecutions
      of the Christians, by that emperor, A.D. 67 or 68." - Smith

2. The Bible does reveal Paul's anticipation of death...
   a. He knew when it was imminent - 2Ti 4:6
   b. He expressed a strong confidence concerning his demise - 2Ti 4:
      7-8,18

[In view of his closing words to Timothy, we can say that Paul died a
happy man.  How was Paul able to approach death with such serenity and
joy concerning the future?  Consider first...]

I. HIS VIEW OF DYING

   A. AN OFFERING...
      1. "I am already being poured out as a drink offering" - 2Ti 4:6
         a. 'poured out' may allude to his anticipation of shedding
            blood (via beheading)
         b. 'as a drink offering' - "when an animal was about to be
            slain in sacrifice, wine was poured on it as a solemn act of
            devoting it to God; cf. Num 15:5; 28:7,14" - Barnes
      2. His death was just another way to offer himself as a sacrifice
         to God
         a. He encouraged all to offer themselves as spiritual
            sacrifices - Ro 12:12
         b. Thus he sought to magnify Christ, even in the manner of
            death - Php 1:20
      3. Have we thought of "how we die" as a way to magnify Christ?
         a. We may not die a martyr's death, as did Paul
         b. But we can demonstrate the death of a believer with hope

   B. A DEPARTURE...
      1. "the time of my departure is at hand" - 2Ti 4:6
         a. 'departure' (analusis) - "a metaphor drawn from loosing from
            moorings preparatory to setting sail" - Thayer
         b. "The true idea of death is that of loosening the bands that
            confine us to the present world; of setting us free, and
            permitting the soul to go forth, as with expanded sails, on
            its eternal voyage. With such a view of death, why should a
            Christian fear to die?" - Barnes
      2. Like Peter, who also did not view death as ceasing to exist
         a. Peter viewed his death as 'exit' (exodos) - 2Pe 1:15
         b. An "allusion to the Israelites going out of Egypt, and
            marching for Canaan's land; this world being, like Egypt, a
            place of wickedness, misery, and bondage; as heaven, like
            Canaan, a place and state of rest and happiness." - Gill
      3. Paul looked forward to departing to be with Jesus - Php 1:23
         a. To be with Christ is 'far better' - cf. 2Co 5:6-8
         b. Jesus would have the promise to be with Him to be a comfort
            to us - Jn 14:1-3
      4. Do we view death as the beginning of a journey?
         a. A journey long anticipated?
         b. A journey for which preparation has been made?

[One's view of death will determine one's attitude toward it.  Paul's
view of it as an offering and a departure helped him approach dying with
a joyful anticipation.  He was also comforted by...]

II. HIS PRECIOUS MEMORIES

   A. HE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT...
      1. "I have fought the good fight" - 2Ti 4:7
         a. The Christian life is often described as a conflict or a war
            - cf. Ep 6:10-17
         b. "That noble conflict with sin, the world, the flesh, and the
            devil, Paul now says he had been able to maintain." - Barnes
      2. Paul could look back over his life with satisfaction
         a. Not that he was sinless, but he had found mercy - 1Ti 1:
            12-16
         b. Not that he was perfect, but he always tried to do better
            - Php 3:12-14
      3. Will we at life's end be able to look back at a fight well
         done?
         a. Having received the mercy Jesus offers for our sins?
         b. Having fought the good fight of faith, laying hold on
            eternal life? - 1Ti 6:12

   B. HE FINISHED THE RACE...
      1. "I have finished the race" - 2Ti 4:7
         a. Paul compared the Christian life to running a race - cf.
            1Co 9:24-26
         b. An endurance race, not a sprint - cf. He 12:1-2
      2. Paul could look back over his life with contentment
         a. He had run the race to win, with certainty
         b. He had not given up, but pressed on to the goal - Php 3:13-14
      3. Will we at life's end be able to look back at a race well run?
         a. Completing the race of faith set before us?
         b. Or letting the sin of unbelief to easily ensnare us? - He 12:1

   C. HE KEPT THE FAITH...
      1. "I have kept the faith" - 2Ti 4:7
         a. Either "I have steadfastly maintained the faith of the
            gospel" - Barnes
         b. Or "I have lived a life of fidelity to my Master" - ibid.
      2. Paul could look back over his life with happiness
         a. He had kept and guarded the faith (gospel) entrusted to him
            - 1Ti 1:11
         b. He had maintained faithfulness to Jesus, despite great
            suffering - 2Ti 1:12
      3. Will we at life's end be able to look back on a faith that has
         been kept?
         a. Holding fast to the words of eternal life in the gospel of
            Jesus Christ?
         b. Remaining strong in our faith in Jesus as our Lord and
            Savior?

[Paul could die a happy man because of his precious memories.  Looking
back, he could see take comfort in knowing he had fought hard, run well,
and kept the faith.  Looking forward, he was able to die a happy man
because of...]

III. HIS GLORIOUS HOPE

   A. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS...
      1. "there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness" - 2Ti 4:8
         a. Crown (stephanos) - "the wreath or garland which was given
            as a prize to victors in public games" - Thayer, cf. 1Co 9:
            24-25
         b. "metaphorically the eternal blessedness which will be given
            as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ: the
            crown (wreath) which is the reward of the righteousness"
            - Thayer
         c. "a crown won in the cause of righteousness" - Barnes
         d. Also described as the "crown of life" - cf. Jm 1:12; Re 2:10
      2. "which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that
         Day" - 2Ti 4:8
         a. Jesus has been appointed to judge the world one Day - cf. Ac 17:30-31
         b. He will judge the living and the dead - 2Ti 4:1; cf. 2 Co 5:10
         c. For some, a day of condemnation; for others, a day to be
            glorified - 2Th 1:7-12
      3. "not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing"
         - 2Ti 4:8
         a. The same hope, the same reward, is available to others
         b. Provided they likewise desire His coming - e.g., Re 22:20
        c. "Greek, 'have loved, and do love'; habitual love and desire
            for Christ's appearing, which presupposes faith (cf. He 9:28)" - JFB
         d. Thus we are to set our hope on the grace that is to be
            revealed - cf. 1Pe 1:13
      4. Are we looking forward to same reward that Paul had?
         a. To be received on the Day of Judgment?
         b. Such that we love and eagerly look forward to His appearing?

   B. DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL...
      1. "the Lord will deliver me from every evil work" - 2Ti 4:18
         a. Deliverance from the efforts of evil men and Satan to
            destroy him
         b. "he expected afflictions as long as he was in the world, but
            he knew that God would support him under them; and in his
            own time and way deliver out of them;" - Gill
      2, Not deliverance from death per se
         a. He knew his martyrdom was near - cf. 2Ti 4:6
         b. But in the Lord, even death can be a deliverance from evil
            - cf. Isa 57:1
      3. Do we have the same confidence for victory that Paul had?
         a. Knowing that the Lord will always be with us?
         b. Trusting that the Lord will deliver us through any hardship?

   C. PRESERVATION FOR THE KINGDOM...
      1. "and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom" - 2Ti 4:18
         a. Paul looked forward to future manifestation of the kingdom
         b. The same "everlasting kingdom" of which Peter wrote - cf.
            2Pe 1:11
         c. The same "kingdom" Jesus promised to those on His right hand
            - cf. Mt 25:34
      2. Paul had confidence in the preserving power of the Lord
         a. Knowing that God could finish what He started - cf. Php 1:6
         b. Knowing that He would provide a way of escape in every
            temptation - cf. 1Co 10:13
         c. Thus praying for the preservation of others - 1Th 5:23
      3. Do we have the same trust in the preservation of the Lord that
         Paul had?
         a. Knowing that the Lord will likewise keep us for the kingdom?
         b. Knowing that we are 'kept by the power of God through
            faith'? - cf. 1Pe 1:5

CONCLUSION

1. Paul was able to die a happy man, because of...
   a. His view of dying
   b. His precious memories
   c. His glorious hope
   -- For such reasons one can truly say, "Blessed are the dead who die
      in the Lord from now on..." - Re 14:13

2. If we also approach death...
   a. As an opportunity to praise God and the beginning of a journey
   b. Having fought the good fight, having finished the race, and having
      kept the faith
   c. Looking forward to the crown of righteousness, knowing he will
      deliver us from evil, and will
      preserve us for his heavenly kingdom
   -- Then we too will say concerning the Lord, "To Him be glory forever
      and ever. Amen!" - 2Ti 4:18

May our anticipation of death one day mirror that of the apostle Paul...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011


From Gary... Bible Reading February 6


Bible Reading   

February 6

The World English Bible

Feb. 6
Genesis 37

Gen 37:1 Jacob lived in the land of his father's travels, in the land of Canaan.
Gen 37:2 This is the history of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. Joseph brought an evil report of them to their father.
Gen 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a coat of many colors.
Gen 37:4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and they hated him, and couldn't speak peaceably to him.
Gen 37:5 Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him all the more.
Gen 37:6 He said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed:
Gen 37:7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves came around, and bowed down to my sheaf."
Gen 37:8 His brothers said to him, "Will you indeed reign over us? Or will you indeed have dominion over us?" They hated him all the more for his dreams and for his words.
Gen 37:9 He dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, "Behold, I have dreamed yet another dream: and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me."
Gen 37:10 He told it to his father and to his brothers. His father rebuked him, and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Will I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves down to you to the earth?"
Gen 37:11 His brothers envied him, but his father kept this saying in mind.
Gen 37:12 His brothers went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.
Gen 37:13 Israel said to Joseph, "Aren't your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." He said to him, "Here I am."
Gen 37:14 He said to him, "Go now, see whether it is well with your brothers, and well with the flock; and bring me word again." So he sent him out of the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
Gen 37:15 A certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field. The man asked him, "What are you looking for?"
Gen 37:16 He said, "I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, please, where they are feeding the flock."
Gen 37:17 The man said, "They have left here, for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.' " Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan.
Gen 37:18 They saw him afar off, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to kill him.
Gen 37:19 They said one to another, "Behold, this dreamer comes.
Gen 37:20 Come now therefore, and let's kill him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, 'An evil animal has devoured him.' We will see what will become of his dreams."
Gen 37:21 Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, "Let's not take his life."
Gen 37:22 Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him"--that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father.
Gen 37:23 It happened, when Joseph came to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him;
Gen 37:24 and they took him, and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty. There was no water in it.
Gen 37:25 They sat down to eat bread, and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
Gen 37:26 Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?
Gen 37:27 Come, and let's sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not let our hand be on him; for he is our brother, our flesh." His brothers listened to him.
Gen 37:28 Midianites who were merchants passed by, and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. They brought Joseph into Egypt.
Gen 37:29 Reuben returned to the pit; and saw that Joseph wasn't in the pit; and he tore his clothes.
Gen 37:30 He returned to his brothers, and said, "The child is no more; and I, where will I go?"
Gen 37:31 They took Joseph's coat, and killed a male goat, and dipped the coat in the blood.
Gen 37:32 They took the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, "We have found this. Examine it, now, whether it is your son's coat or not."
Gen 37:33 He recognized it, and said, "It is my son's coat. An evil animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces."
Gen 37:34 Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days.
Gen 37:35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, "For I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning." His father wept for him.
Gen 37:36 The Midianites sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard.

 
Feb. 6, 7
Matthew 19

Mat 19:1 It happened when Jesus had finished these words, he departed from Galilee, and came into the borders of Judea beyond the Jordan.
Mat 19:2 Great multitudes followed him, and he healed them there.
Mat 19:3 Pharisees came to him, testing him, and saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?"
Mat 19:4 He answered, "Haven't you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,
Mat 19:5 and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall join to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?'
Mat 19:6 So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don't let man tear apart."
Mat 19:7 They asked him, "Why then did Moses command us to give her a bill of divorce, and divorce her?"
Mat 19:8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been so.
Mat 19:9 I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries her when she is divorced commits adultery."
Mat 19:10 His disciples said to him, "If this is the case of the man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry."
Mat 19:11 But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but those to whom it is given.
Mat 19:12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it."
Mat 19:13 Then little children were brought to him, that he should lay his hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.
Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, "Allow the little children, and don't forbid them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ones like these."
Mat 19:15 He laid his hands on them, and departed from there.
Mat 19:16 Behold, one came to him and said, "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"
Mat 19:17 He said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."
Mat 19:18 He said to him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, " 'You shall not murder.' 'You shall not commit adultery.' 'You shall not steal.' 'You shall not offer false testimony.'
Mat 19:19 'Honor your father and mother.' And, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "
Mat 19:20 The young man said to him, "All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?"
Mat 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Mat 19:22 But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.
Mat 19:23 Jesus said to his disciples, "Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty.
Mat 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
Mat 19:25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"
Mat 19:26 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Mat 19:27 Then Peter answered, "Behold, we have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?"
Mat 19:28 Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Mat 19:29 Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life.
Mat 19:30 But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.


From Gary... What if the "wrong end of the telescope" really is the right way after all?


Some say Christianity is "Nonsense".  Some simply choose NOT TO BELIEVE!!! They use their own cultured intelligence aided by the knowledge that the LEARNED, KNOW better than to believe such nonsense and therefore harden their hearts.  BUT, they are wrong!!!  Of all the beliefs out there, Christianity alone is founded on facts.  Jesus really lived, died and rose again. This is extremely well documented and only the foolish would dare to contradict this fact.  However, the "great ones" will always seem great to themselves and therein lies the problem....

1 Corinthians, Chapter 1
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.  19 For it is written, 
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”

  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.” 

Think you are smart- there is always someone smarter!!! Someone who looks at things so differently than you do that their genius is not always discernible.  Again, no matter how smart THEY are, they have limitations and faults. The most obvious is their mortality.  God is omniscient (all-knowing) and eternal.  Knowing all forever is impossible for a mere human to compete with.  The Dr. Suess poster above is cute, but it does led me to one very serious conclusion: I should not take myself too seriously; but should consider God very carefully!!!  

Remember....

31 that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”