4/12/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Too much Romance?


Too much Romance?

A reader recently complained that I had been going on and on about romantic love as if it were the finest expression of love there is. There’s probably some justice in the complaint—I may have been going on about it too much and I may have left the impression that love when it takes the romantic form has taken its finest form. I think it would be silly to say something like that for some exhibitions of parental love and friendship can’t be measured much less beaten by comparison.

I read something recently about young people “leaving the church” that has me reflecting on the matter. I’m neither knowledgeable nor wise enough to know all of the reasons why they do or even to fully understand a single reason why some do but I can make educated guesses as well as the next person. I’m satisfied that one of the reasons young people (and older) leave the church is that we religious people have made it clear that only religious activity (thought or action) is true living and the rest is “secular,” to be tolerated as necessity but it's not “real” living.

Going to Bible class is one true expression of real life but going to a birthday party is…is…just doing what people do; preaching a sermon is “sacred” and typing out letters for your boss at work is “secular” and loving brothers and sisters in Christ is true love while love of your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend is…is…something else.

In short, I think many of us religious people sever creation from life with God, if our actions or relationships aren’t immediately related to “churchy” things or a “churchy” setting they aren’t really of interest to God. He puts up with it but he has no real interest in it.

I think this is religious drivel!

I would insist that everything we are and do is of interest to God; that what we read, what we watch on TV or in the movies, who we relate to and how we relate to them, what we do with our money and time and energy—all that and everything else is of interest to God. I’d insist that romantic love which is a central concern of multiplied millions is of concern to God and is a part of real living. Christians will insist that God gives them the power to make money and that their income is to be viewed in light of God. These are gifts of God and we’re to respond to them in that way; they are among the means and methods by which we honour God and bless his world.

A man who will not provide for his family, Paul assures us, is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8) so when someone is digging ditches or running a little company we’re not to suggest that they’re merely “marking time” until they go to worship and Bible study or engage in evangelistic outreach at which time they’ll involve themselves in “the work of the Lord.” The bulk of our lives are lived outside the assemblies we attend and the bulk of our service to God has no connection with our corporate/congregational activities.

I think this ill-conceived division of life into sacred and secular diminishes our capacity to live wholeheartedly and we give people the impression that human loves are somehow second rate. When ministers of the Word speak to construction or office workers or parents fulfilling parental responsibilities and urge them to do more to get involved in “the work of the Lord” they usually have “churchy” activities in mind and this diminishes all else as “perhaps necessary but…”

So if we offer “churchy” things as real life and everything else hardly worth bothering with we rob people of satisfaction as well as inspiration. I’m sure I’ve done a lot of that in my earlier years and I’d like now to be able to redress the balance. The love of a boy for a girl, a man for a woman, a husband for a wife, a wife for a husband, a parent for a child, a child for a parent, a friend for a friend—all these and more spring from one centre, a human heart. They vary in ways—of course!—but there is a basic commonality in all of them; there is commitment generated by various elements and a commitment that is to show itself appropriately depending on the relationship. They’re all love taking one form or another, springing from varying elements but where they’re entered and experienced by someone who cares to honour God, they’re “Christianized” and none of them is to be despised or thought superior.

It makes no sense to say a parent’s love for a child is superior to a boy’s love for a girl. In some ways it’s comparing apples and oranges. The father’s love for his boy is not “romantic” and the boy’s love for the girl is not parental. The relationship (under God) will determine the appropriate responses. Instead of sniffing at young “romance” maybe we should grant it more attention, encourage joy in it and help young people to offer it back to God as the gift that it is.

Certainly there are things we call “romance” that are a wicked spectacle and those that are shallow and self-serving—of course! The same is true of friendship and parenthood. We must accept that there is a spectrum on which these things occur. Young children shouldn’t be hurried into “romance” and children of thirteen and fourteen shouldn’t be encouraged to have boy/girlfriends. There must be some common-sense at work in all our reflection and counsel—that's as it should be!

But none of that has anything to do with living with a religious “bah humbug” mentality toward the romantic lives of people, young and old.

Finally for now, this “love thing” may be reduced by atheists to nothing other than chemical reactions and the “love word” can be used by the sheerly sensual as a cover for sexual greed or domineering parents when they try to live their lives again through their children. Nevertheless, love’s presence in the world—love at its struggling best—defies the cruelty and lust and selfishness of the world. In light of all the bad it can be easy for many to think the entire planet is wrong—wrong through and through, that there is nothing in it of worth or merit. Then comes love; the love of a parent for a child, a girl for a boy, a grown man for a woman who is everything to him, the love of a stranger for another stranger and all of the sudden we see a light in the darkness. God is at work in the world after all and he makes himself present not only in "churchy" stuff.

Charlie Chaplin, the famous comedian, wrote a song called, This is My Song. It has always struck me as a tremendous argument for the presence of God in the world. I “Christianize” it, of course and like many others before me I would say that you can look at the cross and think, “How can there be a good God over the world when there’s such an instrument of torture in it?” Then we look at Jesus who is on the cross and can ask, “How can there not be a good God over the world when there’s one like him in it?” One Jesus Christ offsets the world’s absolute gloom. If he has been/is in it then we can't simply write WRONG across the entire human enterprise. Something else (Someone else) is at work!

Chaplin’s lyrics don’t work very well in the early part of the song so I’ve substituted others that I think carry Chaplin’s aim better than his. The young woman who made a hit of the song many years ago, Petula Clark, thought the words were too insipid and sweet and at first refused to record it and Harry Secombe who made a hit of it again, some weeks later, had some words altered. I’d send you to either one of them on YouTube but neither have the lyrics I think the song deserves though they sing it well. [Why don't I simply give you lyrics and skip my own croaking of the song? Because Chaplin's melody has tremendous power and the changed lyrics help but here's Secombe's great rendering of the song. Click]

One of Chaplin’s lines addressed to love says: “The world cannot be wrong if in this world there’s you.” I believe that! GK Chesterton marvellously tells us that when we see a young man and woman in love, committed to one another in honour, we’re seeing another Adam and Eve. Begin your reflection from there.

Click here is you wish to hear the re-worded earlier stanzas.

From Eric Lyons, M.Min. ... What is Bigger and More Incomprehensible than the God of Christians?

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2052

What is Bigger and More Incomprehensible than the God of Christians?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In a recent TIME magazine article, wherein senior staff writer David Van Biema interviewed renowned atheist Richard Dawkins and theist Francis Collins, Dawkins made a comment about the existence of God that revealed a serious flaw in his case against Creation and Christianity. Although he believes the idea of “a supernatural intelligent designer” is “refutable,” he speculated, saying, “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed” (quoted in Van Biema, 2006, 168[20]:55). Thus, every “God” ever conceptualized by mankind is simply too small and too comprehensible for Dawkins.
It certainly is the case that gods of various religious groups of the past and present have lacked size and intelligence. The gods of ancient Egypt were exposed as counterfeit when the God of Israel demonstrated His superiority over them. He brought 10 plagues on Egypt, executing judgment “against all the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4), that (among other things) man might “know that Jehovah is greater than all gods” (Exodus 18:11, ASV). In Elijah’s day, Jehovah God revealed His supremacy over Baal on Mount Carmel when He sent fire down from heaven, totally consuming Elijah’s sacrifice (1 Kings 18:20-38), while the sacrifices of Baal’s prophets lay quiescent. Then, “[w]hen all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God’” (1 Kings 18:39). Furthermore, the millions of Hindu gods of the past and present also lack sufficient magnitude and intelligence. They are lifeless, powerless, man-made idols that both atheists and theists rightly refuse to acknowledge.
To conclude, however, that no one from any religion has ever proposed a God that is of adequate size and mystery is simply untrue. What about the God of the Bible? Considering that approximately two billion people on Earth claim to believe in this God (see “Major Religions...,” 2005), Dawkins no doubt had the God of Christians in mind when he said, “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.” What (or Who) could be larger, mightier, and more incomprehensible than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God that Christians worship and serve?
The God of the Bible is omnipresent. The psalmist proclaimed: “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me (139:7-10, NASB). Try as he might, no one can hide from God (Jeremiah 23:23-24). He is everywhere. His eyes “are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3). “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13, emp. added).
God not only is omnipresent, He also knows everything. Numerous passages of Scripture clearly teach that God is omniscient. The psalmist declared that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (44:21) and that “His understanding is infinite” (147:5). Of Jehovah, the psalmist also wrote:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether (139:1-4).
God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:20, emp. added). Not only does He know the past and the present, but the future as well (Acts 15:18; cf. Isaiah 46:10). There is nothing outside of the awareness of God. What’s more, at the end of time, He “will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14, emp. added).
Perhaps the most awesome attribute of Jehovah is His unlimited power. He is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1). Nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14). As Job confessed to God, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (42:2, emp. added). By simply speaking, God can create that which is visible from that which is invisible (Hebrews 11:3; cf. Genesis 1), and can turn the physical into the celestial (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). He can turn water into wine simply by desiring it to happen (John 2:1-10). He can miraculously heal a paralytic by merely willing it to “be done” (Matthew 8:13). He can raise a man from the dead simply by commanding him to “come forth” (John 11:43). The God of Christians is omnipotent.
What more does Dawkins need from a god? By definition, the God of the Bible could not be any bigger, more powerful, or more intelligent than He already is. Jehovah is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. In addition, He is eternal (cf. Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 102:27; Revelation 1:8). He is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). What could be “bigger” and “more incomprehensible” for finite humans to grasp?
Nothing is bigger than God. Nothing is more powerful than God. And no one can rationally fathom a being more intelligent than God. As far as being “a whole lot more incomprehensible,” the psalmist addressed God’s unfathomable intelligence, confessing that “[s]uch knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (139:6, emp. added). God said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Centuries later Paul praised the “depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” exclaiming “[h]ow unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33, emp. added). Indeed, there are “the secret things” that “belong to the Lord our God,” which we will never know this side of eternity, and perhaps not even on the other side (Deuteronomy 29:29). Thankfully, the one true and living God did reveal a substantial amount of information about Himself through nature, and much more through the Scriptures (Romans 1:20; Deuteronomy 29:29), that we might “have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
The God that the prominent, militant atheist Richard Dawkins said would exist, “if there is a God,” actually does exist. Sadly, Dawkins and millions of others simply have “refused to have God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:28, ASV), for which “they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

REFERENCES

“Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents” (2005), [On-line], URL: http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html.
Van Biema, David (2006), “God vs. Science,” TIME, 168[20]:48-55, November 13.

From Mark Copeland... Let Not Many Of You Become Teachers (James 3:1-12)

                         "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"

                Let Not Many Of You Become Teachers (3:1-12)
                                 
INTRODUCTION

1. In our study of "The Epistle Of James", we now come to the third
   chapter...

2. In verses 1-12, we find:
   a. A WARNING against too many becoming teachers - 1-2
   b. A DISCOURSE on the untamable tongue - 3-12

3. In a time where "verbal abuse" is often epidemic, and where "self-
   proclaimed teachers" engage in all sorts of heated religious
   discussions, there is much we can learn from this passage

[First, let's notice...]

I. THE "WARNING" (1-2)

   A. "LET NOT MANY OF YOU BECOME TEACHERS"
      1. Note carefully:
         a. James does not say, "Let not many of you BE teachers"
         b. But rather, "Let not many of you BECOME teachers"
      2. This passage is not just a rebuke of those who try to BE
         teachers before they are ready, but a warning that many should
         not even BECOME teachers in the future!
      3. It is a mistake to believe that EVERYONE should become a
         teacher at some point in their service to Christ!
         a. Paul illustrated time and again that the body of Christ has
            many members, and not all members do not have the same
            function!
            1) To the saints at Rome - Ro 12:3-8
            2) To the church at Corinth - 1Co 12:12-31 (note esp.
               verse 29, where Paul with a rhetorical question implies
               that not all are to be teachers)
         b. Peter likewise taught that God's grace toward is "manifold"
            (multi-faceted) and that we should exercise our respective
            abilities accordingly - 1Pe 4:10-11
      4. In view of what Paul, Peter, and James wrote, we should be
         careful before we apply He 5:12-14 to mean that EVERYONE
         should one day be teachers (the author of Hebrews may have
         been writing to a select audience, whom he knew ought to have
         been teachers)

   B. WHY MANY SHOULD NOT BECOME TEACHERS...
      1. Teachers shall receive "a stricter judgment"
         a. There is a grave responsibility involved in teaching others
         b. We can lead people to TRUTH - but we just as easily lead
            them to ERROR!
         c. Just as with elders (He 13:17), those who teach will be
            held accountable if they mislead others!
      2. Because we all "stumble in many things"
         a. Everyone has faults, and with many people the improper use
            of the tongue is a major one
         b. But it takes spiritual maturity ("a perfect man") not to
            stumble in word!

[So James cautions against many people trying to become teachers.  This
should not discourage any from trying to find out if teaching is a gift
that they might have if nurtured along, but one should proceed with
humility and caution.

In verse 2 James briefly mentions the power of the tongue over the
body.  He elaborates on this theme as we now consider...]

II. THE "DISCOURSE" ON THE UNTAMABLE TONGUE (3-12)

   A. THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE BIT AND RUDDER (3-4)
      1. Both illustrations are used to demonstrate that a small member
         (like the tongue) can control the body
         a. A bit controls a horse
         b. A rudder controls the ship
      2. So our tongue controls the body...
         a. If you speak a lie, it won't be long before you find yourself
            living a lie
         b. If you speak suggestively in an immoral manner, it won't be
            long before you begin acting immorally!
      3. The power of the tongue to direct is easily applied to the
         dangers of teaching...
         a. The teacher's speech can easily set the mood of the class
            or congregation
         b. He can easily direct the congregation in an uplifting way,
            or just as easily direct the congregation in a discouraging
            way
      4. Should not this power to direct via the tongue humble those 
         who teach, and caution the spiritually immature?

   B. THE ILLUSTRATION OF A LITTLE FIRE (5-6)
      1. A small fire can easily cause great destruction (remember the
         Great Chicago Fire?)
      2. So it is with the tongue!
         a. A loose tongue can ruin one's reputation
         b. It can also destroy churches, families, friendships
      3. In describing an uncontrolled tongue, James uses very vivid
         terms to make his point:  The tongue is...
         a. A fire
         b. A world of iniquity
         c. So set among our bodies that it defiles the whole body
         d. That which sets on fire the course of nature
         e. That which is itself set on fire by hell!
      4. Should not this power to destroy and defile both ourselves and
         others caution us in becoming teachers?

   C. THE DIFFICULTY OF TAMING THE TONGUE (7-12)
      1. Despite being able to tame wild animals, man is unable to tame
         the tongue!
         a. It is an unruly evil!
         b. It is full of deadly poison!
      2. I understand James to be somewhat hyperbolic here for the sake
         of emphasis...
         a. It is true that no MAN (by himself) can tame the tongue
         b. But with GOD'S help, we can tame it (as David prayed in
            Ps 141:3)
         c. And with GOD'S help, we MUST tame it - cf. Ep 4:29; Col 4:6
      3. As a further example of how difficult it is to tame the tongue,
         James uses a very common (and relevant) problem
         a. I.e., blessing God and cursing men
         b. Something we are very likely to do, especially on Sundays
            1) We spend time in worship, blessing God
            2) But in driving home, we might curse men (other drivers
               who pull out in front of us)
         c. Racists and bigots are often guilty of "blessing God and
            cursing men"!
      4. But with the illustrations of a spring, a fig tree and a 
         grapevine, James shows the inconsistency of this!
         a. What comes forth is a true indication of what is inside
         b. Just as Jesus taught in Mk 7:20-23
         c. Despite all the praises we offer God, it is the curses
            against man that reveals the true person inside!

CONCLUSION

1. Again, these examples of the misuse of the tongue should humble and
   caution all those who would become teachers

2. But they should also serve as a warning for us all, whether we teach
   or not, that we need to seek God's help in controlling the tongue!

May David's prayer be our own:

    Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be
    acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

                                                 (Psalms 19:14)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading April 12



Bible Reading 

April 12

The World English Bible


Apr. 12
Numbers 15, 16

Num 15:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 15:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you have come into the land of your habitations, which I give to you,
Num 15:3 and will make an offering by fire to Yahweh, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or as a freewill offering, or in your set feasts, to make a pleasant aroma to Yahweh, of the herd, or of the flock;
Num 15:4 then he who offers his offering shall offer to Yahweh a meal offering of a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of oil:
Num 15:5 and wine for the drink offering, the fourth part of a hin, you shall prepare with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb.
Num 15:6 Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meal offering two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the third part of a hin of oil:
Num 15:7 and for the drink offering you shall offer the third part of a hin of wine, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 15:8 When you prepare a bull for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or for peace offerings to Yahweh;
Num 15:9 then shall he offer with the bull a meal offering of three tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil:
Num 15:10 and you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 15:11 Thus shall it be done for each bull, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the young goats.
Num 15:12 According to the number that you shall prepare, so you shall do to everyone according to their number.
Num 15:13 All who are native-born shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 15:14 If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, or whoever may be among you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh; as you do, so he shall do.
Num 15:15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you, a statute forever throughout your generations: as you are, so shall the foreigner be before Yahweh.
Num 15:16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.
Num 15:17 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 15:18 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you come into the land where I bring you,
Num 15:19 then it shall be that when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall offer up a wave offering to Yahweh.
Num 15:20 Of the first of your dough you shall offer up a cake for a wave offering: as the wave offering of the threshing floor, so you shall heave it.
Num 15:21 Of the first of your dough you shall give to Yahweh a wave offering throughout your generations.
Num 15:22 When you shall err, and not observe all these commandments, which Yahweh has spoken to Moses,
Num 15:23 even all that Yahweh has commanded you by Moses, from the day that Yahweh gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations;
Num 15:24 then it shall be, if it be done unwittingly, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh, with the meal offering of it, and the drink offering of it, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering.
Num 15:25 The priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to Yahweh, and their sin offering before Yahweh, for their error:
Num 15:26 and all the congregation of the children of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them; for in respect of all the people it was done unwittingly.
Num 15:27 If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering.
Num 15:28 The priest shall make atonement for the soul who errs, when he sins unwittingly, before Yahweh, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven.
Num 15:29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unwittingly, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them.
Num 15:30 But the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or a foreigner, the same blasphemes Yahweh; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Num 15:31 Because he has despised the word of Yahweh, and has broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.
Num 15:32 While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
Num 15:33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation.
Num 15:34 They put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him.
Num 15:35 Yahweh said to Moses, The man shall surely be put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside of the camp.
Num 15:36 All the congregation brought him outside of the camp, and stoned him to death with stones; as Yahweh commanded Moses.
Num 15:37 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 15:38 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue:
Num 15:39 and it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all the commandments of Yahweh, and do them; and that you not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to play the prostitute;
Num 15:40 that you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.
Num 15:41 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am Yahweh your God.

Num 16:1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
Num 16:2 and they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown;
Num 16:3 and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, You take too much on you, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and Yahweh is among them: why then lift yourselves up above the assembly of Yahweh?
Num 16:4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face:
Num 16:5 and he spoke to Korah and to all his company, saying, In the morning Yahweh will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to him: even him whom he shall choose he will cause to come near to him.
Num 16:6 Do this: take censers, Korah, and all his company;
Num 16:7 and put fire in them, and put incense on them before Yahweh tomorrow: and it shall be that the man whom Yahweh does choose, he shall be holy: you take too much on yourselves, you sons of Levi.
Num 16:8 Moses said to Korah, Hear now, you sons of Levi:
Num 16:9 seems it but a small thing to you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of Yahweh, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them;
Num 16:10 and that he has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? and do you seek the priesthood also?
Num 16:11 Therefore you and all your company are gathered together against Yahweh: and Aaron, what is he that you murmur against him?
Num 16:12 Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, We won't come up:
Num 16:13 is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, but you must also make yourself a prince over us?
Num 16:14 Moreover you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: will you put out the eyes of these men? we won't come up.
Num 16:15 Moses was very angry, and said to Yahweh, "Don't respect their offering: I have not taken one donkey from them, neither have I hurt one of them."
Num 16:16 Moses said to Korah, You and all your company go before Yahweh, you, and they, and Aaron, tomorrow:
Num 16:17 and each man take his censer, and put incense on them, and each man bring before Yahweh his censer, two hundred fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.
Num 16:18 They each took his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron.
Num 16:19 Korah assembled all the congregation against them to the door of the Tent of Meeting: and the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the congregation.
Num 16:20 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Num 16:21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
Num 16:22 They fell on their faces, and said, God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?
Num 16:23 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 16:24 Speak to the congregation, saying, Get away from around the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
Num 16:25 Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
Num 16:26 He spoke to the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.
Num 16:27 So they got them up from the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little ones.
Num 16:28 Moses said, Hereby you shall know that Yahweh has sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of my own mind.
Num 16:29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then Yahweh hasn't sent me.
Num 16:30 But if Yahweh make a new thing, and the ground open its mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain to them, and they go down alive into Sheol; then you shall understand that these men have despised Yahweh.
Num 16:31 It happened, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground split apart that was under them;
Num 16:32 and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who appertained to Korah, and all their goods.
Num 16:33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into Sheol: and the earth closed on them, and they perished from among the assembly.
Num 16:34 All Israel that were around them fled at the cry of them; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up.
Num 16:35 Fire came forth from Yahweh, and devoured the two hundred fifty men who offered the incense.
Num 16:36 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 16:37 Speak to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter the fire yonder; for they are holy,
Num 16:38 even the censers of these sinners against their own lives; and let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before Yahweh; therefore they are holy; and they shall be a sign to the children of Israel.
Num 16:39 Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burnt had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar,
Num 16:40 to be a memorial to the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger, who isn't of the seed of Aaron, comes near to burn incense before Yahweh; that he not be as Korah, and as his company: as Yahweh spoke to him by Moses.
Num 16:41 But on the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, You have killed the people of Yahweh.
Num 16:42 It happened, when the congregation was assembled against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the Tent of Meeting: and behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Yahweh appeared.
Num 16:43 Moses and Aaron came to the front of the Tent of Meeting.
Num 16:44 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 16:45 Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. They fell on their faces.
Num 16:46 Moses said to Aaron, Take your censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense thereon, and carry it quickly to the congregation, and make atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from Yahweh; the plague is begun.
Num 16:47 Aaron took as Moses spoke, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on the incense, and made atonement for the people.
Num 16:48 He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
Num 16:49 Now those who died by the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides those who died about the matter of Korah.
Num 16:50 Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the Tent of Meeting: and the plague was stayed.

 
Apr. 12, 13
Luke 8

Luk 8:1 It happened soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God. With him were the twelve,
Luk 8:2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out;
Luk 8:3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuzas, Herod's steward; Susanna; and many others; who served them from their possessions.
Luk 8:4 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.
Luk 8:5 "The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it.
Luk 8:6 Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
Luk 8:7 Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
Luk 8:8 Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Luk 8:9 Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean?"
Luk 8:10 He said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables; that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'
Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Luk 8:12 Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
Luk 8:13 Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.
Luk 8:14 That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
Luk 8:15 That in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Luk 8:16 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light.
Luk 8:17 For nothing is hidden, that will not be revealed; nor anything secret, that will not be known and come to light.
Luk 8:18 Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has."
Luk 8:19 His mother and brothers came to him, and they could not come near him for the crowd.
Luk 8:20 It was told him by some saying, "Your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to see you."
Luk 8:21 But he answered them, "My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it."
Luk 8:22 Now it happened on one of those days, that he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples, and he said to them, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out.
Luk 8:23 But as they sailed, he fell asleep. A wind storm came down on the lake, and they were taking on dangerous amounts of water.
Luk 8:24 They came to him, and awoke him, saying, "Master, master, we are dying!" He awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and it was calm.
Luk 8:25 He said to them, "Where is your faith?" Being afraid they marveled, saying one to another, "Who is this, then, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?"
Luk 8:26 They arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee.
Luk 8:27 When Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man out of the city who had demons for a long time met him. He wore no clothes, and didn't live in a house, but in the tombs.
Luk 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, "What do I have to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torment me!"
Luk 8:29 For Jesus was commanding the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For the unclean spirit had often seized the man. He was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters. Breaking the bands apart, he was driven by the demon into the desert.
Luk 8:30 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion," for many demons had entered into him.
Luk 8:31 They begged him that he would not command them to go into the abyss.
Luk 8:32 Now there was there a herd of many pigs feeding on the mountain, and they begged him that he would allow them to enter into those. He allowed them.
Luk 8:33 The demons came out from the man, and entered into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned.
Luk 8:34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country.
Luk 8:35 People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Luk 8:36 Those who saw it told them how he who had been possessed by demons was healed.
Luk 8:37 All the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked him to depart from them, for they were very much afraid. He entered into the boat, and returned.
Luk 8:38 But the man from whom the demons had gone out begged him that he might go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,
Luk 8:39 "Return to your house, and declare what great things God has done for you." He went his way, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
Luk 8:40 It happened, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.
Luk 8:41 Behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. He fell down at Jesus' feet, and begged him to come into his house,
Luk 8:42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as he went, the multitudes pressed against him.
Luk 8:43 A woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her living on physicians, and could not be healed by any,
Luk 8:44 came behind him, and touched the fringe of his cloak, and immediately the flow of her blood stopped.
Luk 8:45 Jesus said, "Who touched me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes press and jostle you, and you say, 'Who touched me?' "
Luk 8:46 But Jesus said, "Someone did touch me, for I perceived that power has gone out of me."
Luk 8:47 When the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared to him in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
Luk 8:48 He said to her, "Daughter, cheer up. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
Luk 8:49 While he still spoke, one from the ruler of the synagogue's house came, saying to him, "Your daughter is dead. Don't trouble the Teacher."
Luk 8:50 But Jesus hearing it, answered him, "Don't be afraid. Only believe, and she will be healed."
Luk 8:51 When he came to the house, he didn't allow anyone to enter in, except Peter, John, James, the father of the child, and her mother.
Luk 8:52 All were weeping and mourning her, but he said, "Don't weep. She isn't dead, but sleeping."
Luk 8:53 They were ridiculing him, knowing that she was dead.
Luk 8:54 But he put them all outside, and taking her by the hand, he called, saying, "Child, arise!"
Luk 8:55 Her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately. He commanded that something be given to her to eat.
Luk 8:56 Her parents were amazed, but he commanded them to tell no one what had been done.



From Gary... False?

Loafers??? Talk about putting your foot in your mouth!!!  As a preview to a sandwich, this looks good to me, but as shoes that BECOME A SANDWICH- NOT SO MUCH!!!!  Well, what do we have here? Bread masquerading as foot-ware. Phony, false, misleading, fraudulent, deceiving, devious and the list could go on and on and on.  Its a good thing that does happen in "Christianity", isn't it???  Well, in fact it does.  When people superimpose their own ideas on what the Bible teaches, or something other than what the Bible teaches they are false teaches, they err.  The Scriptures call them false prophets and I like what Jesus has to say about them...

Matthew, Chapter 7
 15  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.   16  By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?   17  Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit.   18  A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.   19  Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.

I have never met a person who wanted to follow a false prophet, so why does it happen?  More importantly, how do you identify one? Jesus tells us in the above passage.  The fruit (results) of what they teach will identify them. If the results of their teaching has a different outcome that the Scriptural examples -BEWARE!!! Sometimes people can really talk a good game and so you really have to listen and analyse what is being said between the lines.  A quick way I tell truth from error is this: Does what is being taught harmonize with what the entire Bible teaches as a whole or the book which it comes from and the surrounding text? This requires work, so don't be a loafer- listen, learn, be discerning and most of all see what the outcome of the teaching is. As far as those loafers in the picture go- I wouldn't wear them- BUT, I would put some meatballs and sauce in them and have some lunch.