From Jim McGuiggan.... ON BEING A PRESENCE


A dear friend of mine heads up a thriving business which in reality is a combination of businesses and at lunch one day a while back I asked him if what he did was mainly to administrate and see that everyone did their job. My question was poorly phrased and his response broke the bounds of the question with its richness.

He said he worked at being “a presence” and that is precisely what he is in his company. He is more than an administrator and an advisor who often has to make decisions and set precedents that go against what some employees might think are warranted. He is more than a leader who determines specific policies without explaining all to his work force. He’s the visible force of the company; he embodies its spirit and heart. Even when he isn’t there, he’s there, and his vision is what shapes the direction in which the company moves forward.

Even the employees who don’t know him at a personal level to any marked degree are influenced by the “spirit” of the company for which they work and the spirit is embodied in my friend who provides “a presence” there. His presence has so shaped the firm that when they become a part of it they enter within the sphere of his influence and are affected by his vision of things and by those around them who are also affected by that vision; a vision that’s made visible by how he goes about being what he is in the workplace. I don’t believe nor do I wish to believe that all the companies in the area are crooked; that isn’t my point; but because he is a presence there I know one company I can do business with and be sure I’m getting fair, honest, courteous and satisfying treatment.

Millions of us believe we see that truth at work on a cosmic scale in the person of Jesus. We hold him to be Lord and we claim he makes decisions and determines some policies but we believe that that truth is only one facet of what we think about the Lord Jesus. As my friend is “a presence” in his company so Jesus is “a presence” in the world. 1 Peter speaks of those who haven’t seen Jesus but says of them. “Still you love him.”

My friend isn’t Jesus [there’s only one Jesus!]. I need hardly tell you that humans being humans his numerous employees at some time or another and in some way or another surely mistreat the clients—that’s life as we know it but where his spirit prevails for his company that won’t happen. I’d insist that my friend’s presence in his company is shaped by Jesus’ presence in the world and that he is, in that respect, a servant of Jesus Christ as a agent of change for good to the human society.

Not everyone goes along with the spirit of Jesus [do I need to tell you that?] but even the brilliant though confused Bertrand Russell toward the end of his life confessed that if the world was to get any better we would need to look to the spirit of Jesus Christ and his way in the world. While more needs to be said about Jesus than Russell would have allowed, Russell was right on target. My friend’s company can’t be all it can be without his “presence” and the world can’t be all it can be without the presence of the Lord Jesus who shapes the vision and the behaviour of people beyond his own peculiar People.

The point I began with was illustrated just a couple of weeks later when I had some work done and went to pay for it and the invoice was adjusted. My friend’s trusted employee and colleague chuckled as he completed the adjustment. “Don’t want the boss to think I was gouging you,” he said. Bearing in mind that a presence was there I couldn’t help saying, “That’d never happen here.”

One day when Jesus returns to right all wrongs and when as compensation he ”restores all the years the locusts have eaten” to all those who have been ceaselessly oppressed, in a world made new someone, somewhere, will smile and say, ”Let me adjust that bill. Don’t want the Boss to think I’m gouging you” and the answer will come back, ”That'd never happen here.”

©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... A Warning From The Wilderness (Hebrews 3:7-19)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                 A Warning From The Wilderness (3:7-19)


1. In the previous study, we considered "The Supremacy Of Jesus Over 
   a. Jesus was superior, not in faithfulness, but in His person and 
   b. Moses was a servant in the house of God 
   c. Jesus, however, is the builder of the house, and serves as the 
      Son over the house!

2. In He 3:6, the writer to the Hebrews affirms that "we" are the house
   of Christ...
   a. Referring to the church, which is the house of God - 1 Tim 3:15
   b. For in Christ, we are now "members of the household of God", and
      together with the faithful saints of old (including Moses) we are
      now "fellow-citizens" in the commonwealth of Israel! - cf. Ep 2:

3. Yet our status as the "house" is conditional!
   a. "whose house we are IF we hold fast...." - He 3:6
   b. We must hold fast "the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope
      firm to the end."

4. The need for steadfastness explains the exhortations in this 
   a. We saw the first exhortation in He 2:1-4, regarding the danger of
   b. Now we come to the second exhortation, regarding the danger of 
      departing from the living God - He 3:7-19

[To warn against the danger of departing, the writer appeals to...]


      1. The quotation in verses 7-11 is from Ps 95:7-11
         a. In which the Holy Spirit warned Israel not to be like the 
            fathers in the wilderness
         b. A warning which the Hebrew writer found just as necessary
            in his day
      2. In the wilderness, the Israelites had...
         a. Hardened their hearts in rebelling against God
         b. Tested (tried) God with their lack of faith
      3. This they did many times during the forty years of wandering,
         but especially...
         a. At the beginning, with the incident at Massah ("tempted") 
            and Meribah ("contention") - cf. Ex 17:1-7
         b. Toward the end, with the incident at Kadesh - Nu 27:14; 
            cf. 20:1-13

      1. God became angry with that generation in the wilderness for 
         their persistent rebellion - e.g., Ps 106:13-33
      2. So God swore that they would not enter His rest - cf. Nu 14:
         a. Of those over the age of 20 when they departed from Egypt, 
            only Caleb and Joshua entered the promised land
         b. The rest (of which there were 603,548 men) died in the 

[Because of hardened hearts Israel departed from God which led to 
rebellion.  In turn, they fell short of the Canaan rest that had been 
promised them.

With "A Warning From The Wilderness" fresh on their minds, the writer
then exhorts his brethren by warning them of...]


      1. A believer can develop "an evil heart of unbelief"
         a. Remember that the recipients of this epistle were "holy 
            brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling" - He 3:1
         b. The warning against developing a heart of unbelief presumes
            a real possibility
         c. Thus a "believer" can become an "unbeliever"!
      2. Unbelief is produced as one is "hardened through the 
         deceitfulness of sin"
         a. Sin is deceitful...
            1) Promising pleasure, power, and prestige
            2) In the short term that may be true, but such things are
               "passing" (temporary)
               - e.g., He 11:25; 1Jn 2:17
         b. Because of its deceitfulness, it is easy to become 
            1) I.e., to be stubborn and not heed the Word of God
            2) It happened to Israel, and it can happen to us!
      3. The consequence of unbelief is "departing from the living God"
         a. As one grows in unbelief, so they drift away from God
         b. While a believer remains in fellowship with God, an 
            unbeliever can only depart further and further away from 

      1. This is how a believer avoids becoming an unbeliever!
      2. Through mutual edification on a daily basis, we can prevent 
         the "hardening" that comes from sin's deceitfulness
      3. An important part of such exhortation is our assembling
         together - cf. He 10:24-25
         a. Which should certainly involve our assemblies on the first
            day of the week - e.g., Ac 20:7
         b. But with a need for "daily exhortation", should we be 
            content to limit our assembling to one service a week?
         c. If we have the opportunity to assemble more often, 
            shouldn't we?
      4. Even if it is only by phone, we should seek to "exhort one 
         another daily"!

      1. Once again we see the conditional nature of our participation
         with Christ
         a. We are the house of Christ "...IF we hold the fast the
            confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end."
            - He 3:6
         b. We have become partakers of Christ "...IF we hold the 
            beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end," - He 3:
      2. What about the security of the believer?
         a. The "believer" does indeed enjoy the assurance of his 
         b. But we have seen that a "believer" can develop "an evil 
            heart of unbelief"; i.e., become an "unbeliever" - He 3:12
         c. When a "believer" becomes an "unbeliever", what promises of
            security and salvation there may be to the believer are no
            longer applicable!
         -- Thus the many warnings to remain faithful, including that 
            of our Lord's - Re 2:10

[The danger of departing from God is so great, that the writer of 
Hebrews returns to "A Warning From The Wilderness"...]


      1. Quoting again from Ps 95:7-8
      2. The Hebrew writer applies the quotation to Christians
         a. They need to "hear His (God's) voice" - remember He 1:1-2;
         b. That is, hear with a desire to hearken, for they too can 
            easily harden their hearts "as in the rebellion"

      1. In the case of the Israelites, who was it that rebelled?
         a. All those who came out of Egypt (save Joshua and Caleb)!
         b. Though led by Moses, they still rebelled!
         -- We may have been delivered by Christ from the bondage of 
            sin, but rebellion is still possible!
      2. In the case of the Israelites, with whom was God angry forty
         a. Those who sinned
         b. And who died in the wilderness as a result of their lack of
         -- If we become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, 
            shall we escape judgment?
      3. In the case of the Israelites, who did God not allow in the 
         promised land?
         a. Those who did not obey!
         b. Those who developed unbelief!
         -- Shall we enter our promised rest if we disobey through 


1. When the apostle Paul related some of the same experiences of Israel
   in the wilderness, he wrote:

   "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were
   written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have 
   come." - 1Co 10:11

2. It is for our own admonition that we have such warnings as that 
   found in our text...
   a. For the deceitfulness of sin is just as strong today
   b. For the hardening of one's heart is just as dangerous today
   c. For departing from God is just as possible today
   -- Thus the potential for falling short of our promised rest is just
      as much a reality for us as it proved to be for the Israelites in
      the wilderness!

3. That is why we need to "exhort one another daily"...
   a. To encourage one another to remain strong in faith - He 3:19
   b. To encourage one another to remain strong in obedience - He 3:18
   -- Have you exhorted your brother or sister lately?

Finally, did you notice how "faith" and "obedience" were used 
interchangeably in these last two verses?  These terms are not opposed
to one another, for in fact Paul himself wrote about "obedience to the
faith" (Ro 1:5; 16:26).  Faith is dead unless there is obedience (Jm 
2:17,26), and so those who truly believe will obey.

That is why Jesus can be described as "the author of eternal salvation
to all who obey Him" (He 5:9).  Have you obeyed Jesus by obeying His
gospel? - cf. Ro 10:16; 2Th 1:7-8; 1Pe 4:17

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading March 1

Bible Reading  

March 1

The World English Bible

Mar. 1
Exodus 11

Exo 11:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Yet one plague more will I bring on Pharaoh, and on Egypt; afterwards he will let you go. When he lets you go, he will surely thrust you out altogether.
Exo 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let them ask every man of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold."
Exo 11:3 Yahweh gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people.
Exo 11:4 Moses said, "This is what Yahweh says: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt,
Exo 11:5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of livestock.
Exo 11:6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been, nor shall be any more.
Exo 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel a dog won't even bark or move its tongue, against man or animal; that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel.
Exo 11:8 All these your servants shall come down to me, and bow down themselves to me, saying, "Get out, with all the people who follow you;" and after that I will go out.' " He went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.
Exo 11:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "Pharaoh won't listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt."
Exo 11:10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he didn't let the children of Israel go out of his land. 
Mar. 1, 2
Mark 3

Mar 3:1 He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered.
Mar 3:2 They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him.
Mar 3:3 He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up."
Mar 3:4 He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?" But they were silent.
Mar 3:5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.
Mar 3:6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Mar 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea,
Mar 3:8 from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him.
Mar 3:9 He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him.
Mar 3:10 For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him.
Mar 3:11 The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!"
Mar 3:12 He sternly warned them that they should not make him known.
Mar 3:13 He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him.
Mar 3:14 He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach,
Mar 3:15 and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
Mar 3:16 Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter;
Mar 3:17 James the son of Zebedee; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges, which means, Sons of Thunder;
Mar 3:18 Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot;
Mar 3:19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. He came into a house.
Mar 3:20 The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mar 3:21 When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, "He is insane."
Mar 3:22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul," and, "By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons."
Mar 3:23 He summoned them, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mar 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mar 3:26 If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end.
Mar 3:27 But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.
Mar 3:28 Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme;
Mar 3:29 but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"
Mar 3:30 -because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Mar 3:31 His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him.
Mar 3:32 A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, "Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you."
Mar 3:33 He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"
Mar 3:34 Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, "Behold, my mother and my brothers!
Mar 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."

From Gary... Pregnancy, foolishness and male "knowledge"

I chuckled when I read this today.  I suppose someone was trying to be "cute" and impart "knowledge" concerning the gentle sex. Even though there is some truth in some of the things above, there is more humor than truth.  No, perhaps the word humor could be better replaced with folly- you know, the "wisdom" of a fool.  And so, I come once again to the Scriptures for an associated concept...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 3
 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise.  19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He has taken the wise in their craftiness.”  20 And again, “The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless.”

I am unsure as how to best express this so I will just take a stab at it... men do not understand women (and we never will). To say otherwise is foolishness. Like so many things in this world we think we "know" things and know nothing. Remember being told that margarine was better than butter or that coffee would stunt your growth. And what about all those medicines advertised on TV that have LONG descriptions of harmful side effects? Today, I am going to focus on simplicity and start with my own perception of what I should really know. I think I will begin with the Bible...