5/26/14

From Jim McGuiggan... CHRISTIAN ADVANTAGE? (4)

CHRISTIAN ADVANTAGE? (4)

What good will these pieces on this subject do? I don’t know if they’ll do any good. On the other hand, before they're done maybe, just maybe, they’ll help some of us to depend less on divine magic for strength in our war against the world and stand up, by God’s grace, and be noble humans rather than wimps who feel God hasn’t kept his promises to strengthen us.

[“Well, you know, I really wanted to take the world on but I was expecting God to give me inner and unbeatable energizing in order to do it. But he didn’t live up to his promises.”]

It’s written all over the NT that God strengthens believers in Jesus Christ, empowering them in the war against “the world” of perverted powers and authorities. There’s no doubt about that!

The statements of empowerment are explicit and plain. Here’s the kind of thing I mean from Paul in Ephesians 3:16-21.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

It’s hard to read a text like that without thinking Christians must be super-men and women. The empowering comes from the Almighty and loving Father who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. The strength he gives is by his Holy Spirit and it occurs in our “inner being” and the strength he gives is said to be “power”.

Everything about the section seems to scorn the notion of weakness, of barely hanging on, of hardly making it.
   
 Preachers, while in the pulpit and authors in their studies, carried away by the glory of it and forgetting their own weaknesses and failings, soar to the heavens with excitement as they tell their often weary congregations that they’re the most powerful people on earth, that sin doesn’t have a chance with them and that they should be turning the world upside down. Ephesians 3:16-21 is a text like that—isn’t it?!

Wouldn’t we all just love to feel that surge of power flowing through us every moment; just love to almost hear the hum and feel the throb of spiritual power coursing through our minds and hearts? Striking sins dead as they approach, scoffing at temptations, treading them under our feet and living in glorious and virtual sinlessness! Isn’t that how the passage is preached and commonly understood and isn’t it how it looks on the surface?

Looking a gift horse in the mouth isn’t a popular practice but when the gift you depended on to gain some fine goal turns out to be a liability it can breed resentment, bitterness and despair.

Why shouldn’t we read that Ephesian text and believe what he says? I believe we should; but what does he actually say and what does he mean by what he says?

Paul says that he prays the Ephesians will be strengthened in the way he describes. He didn’t say that was their present condition, though they are indeed in Jesus Christ and are already indwelled by the Spirit. If this power Paul describes is the present possession of all who are in Jesus Christ then why does he pray that they might gain it? Whatever he has in mind, it can be obtained or he wouldn’t be praying for them to gain it.

If they presently experience anything of which he speaks they experience it only in its initial stages and if that’s the case we need to know that and we need to say that to sensitive people who tend to worry that they don't have it at all.

I think the word “power” seduces us. Paul knew what he had in mind when he used the word but what he had in mind and how the word was most commonly used in his Roman world (and ours) is not what he had in mind. At the heart of our use of power is the notion of “coercion” and force that aims to coerce.

We see the people who use “power” overwhelming those who don’t have it or who haven’t enough—it has nothing to do with persuasion or mutual agreement or non-coercive shaping; we see it as force that breaks down resistance. Like waves against a sea-wall. We even sometimes speak of the “power” of the gospel (Romans 1:16) and happily remind one another that the Greek word in that passage gave us the English word “dynamite”.

I don’t deny that in some ways and at certain times God has exercised coercive power. I suppose creation was an act of “raw power” when God sovereignly willed it and creation came to be—no persuasion, no mutual agreement; but that isn’t the only face of God’s sovereignty.

How is Paul using “power” in the Ephesians 3 text? He speaks of their being made powerful so that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith (3:17). He prays that they might be given power so they can grasp the dimensions of Christ’s love (3:18) and he prays they might have power so that they personally could know that love in order that they could be filled with all that God is (3:19).

There's nothing in this section about “brute strength”—it’s all about a power that comes in a relational way. We speak about the power of friendship or role models and we don’t have “force” in mind; it has nothing to do with coercion in any form. Friendship does indeed have “power" astonishing power but its power is never mechanical or an exchange of atoms; it isn’t like an infusion of blood that obliterates anemia. The power in this section is a dynamic power that takes it nature from the nature of the relationship between the believer and God.

The growth of power in a Christian is the deepening of his/her relationship with God in Christ. The relationship isn’t only the way to power, it is the power Paul speaks of. Paul is praying that God will enrich and deepen their relationship with him and that is the empowering he has in mind. The mystery of how an honorable friendship grows between two humans is like the mystery of how we grow in our relationship to God through Jesus. There is no reduction of our humanity; there is a free and growing commitment that is power that results in more power.

God doesn’t take people who turn to Christ and pour some kind of divine energy into them so that they are invulnerable to temptation and sin. He’s a Holy Father to them—weak and wayward at times though they may be (see what Paul says to the Ephesians in 4:25-31) and in the free exchange of a commitment to each other (note 3:17) the relationship deepens and strength increases.

Spiritual and moral strength comes from God but there's no divine magic. Don't ask for that! He isn't interested in producing "Stepford Wives"—he wants a free loving relationship with you and he'll bring it about with your agreement and in the meantime he works through you for the human family.

[To be continued, God enabling.]

©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 Wayne Jackson, M.A. ... The Blind Bookwriter




http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=400

The Blind Bookwriter

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.

In logic, the Law of Teleology affirms that “where there is design, there must be a designer”—a point conceded by infidels (see Ricci, 1986, p. 190). Thus, even unbelievers have recognized that the design argument is a weapon to be reckoned with in the arsenal of apologetics.
One of the most influential presentations of the design argument was made by English theologian William Paley his work, Natural Theology, in 1802. In the very first paragraph of his celebrated treatise, Paley contended that if one were walking through a waste area and came upon a stone he might, without evidence to the contrary, assume that it simply had lain there forever. On the other hand, if one stumbled upon a watch, due to the fact that the timepiece had integrated parts that moved in concert for the purpose of marking time, one would be forced to conclude that this object was not an accident; rather, it had been designed, and therefore had a designer. Paley then proceeded, by analogy, to argue that the design apparent in nature was evidence of a Grand Designer, namely, God.
Numerous attempts have been made to negate the force of Paley’s logic. Perhaps one of the most significant of these—at least in our age—has been the work of British scientist, Richard Dawkins, who has described himself as “a fairly militant atheist, with a fair degree of active hostility toward religion” (as quoted in Bass, 1990, p. 86). Dawkins, a lecturer in animal behavior at Oxford University, has achieved a degree of fame from several books he has written. In 1976, he authored The Selfish Gene, in which he set forth his theory of genetic determinism (although he would deny that appellation). Akin to E.O. Wilson’s concept of “sociobiology,” it attempts to explain animal/human behavior on a strictly genetic basis. Genes, Dawkins has contended, are the key to understanding animal behavior. But aren’t men animals, according to evolutionary theory? Yes, but in order to escape the logical consequence of his argument (which would suggest that since man is an animal, he is not responsible for his behavior), the claim is made that humans, in their evolutionary progress, have broken free from the genes that program them.
Dawkins has boasted that his work brings home the reality of the ruthless, mechanistic explanation of human existence. “You are for nothing. You are here to propagate your selfish genes. There is no higher purpose to life” (Bass, 1990, p. 60). And, Dawkins has admitted, he is gratified that in reading his book, people are “losing religious faith” (Bass, 1990, p. 60). According to Dawkins, “religion is very largely an enemy of truth” (Bass, 1990, p. 87). He has characterized the idea that man was created by God as a “blasphemy” that atheists “have to fight against” (as quoted in Watson, 1987, p. 11).
In 1986, Dr. Dawkins authored another significant book, The Blind Watchmaker, in which he attempted to negate the widespread influence of Paley’s work. Dawkins vociferously declared that the intent of the book was to negate the influence of Paley because the “apparent design” that is characteristic of Earth’s creatures “cries out for an explanation” (p. ix). He even defined biology as “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” (p. 1). According to Dawkins, however, evolution—with its unconscious, automatic process called “natural selection”—is the blind watchmaker behind the wonderful world of living organisms. Dawkins recognizes, of course, that substituting blind evolution for an Intelligent Creator as an explanation for the “apparent design” upon the Earth is a formidable task. Thus, his attempt to prepare the minds of his readers for this propagandizing venture is quite interesting.
First, the professor complained that “Darwinism seems more in need of advocacy than similarly established truths in other branches of science” (p. xi). What he means is this: whereas in genuine science certain truths/laws are demonstrable, and thus quite evident, such is not the case with evolution. Hence, evolution must have special pleading!
Second—incredibly—Dawkins frustratingly says: “It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe” (p. xi, emp. added). That is absolutely correct, for the human brain was designed to think logically, and evolutionary theory is not logical. It is not reasonable to assume that chaos gave rise to order, that the nonrational produced the rational, that nonliving evolved into the living, that nonconscious became conscious, that amoral developed morality, etc. The simple fact is, people do not accept evolution because it is the logical thing to do; rather, many believe it because they have a vested interest in not wanting to acknowledge the Creator!
The sacred Scriptures vividly describe those who refuse to have God in their knowledge, indeed, whose senseless hearts are darkened (Romans 1:21,28). Some of them have even written books. But they are blind bookwriters who resist the obvious evidence.

REFERENCES

Bass, Thomas (1990), “Interview with Richard Dawkins,” Omni, 12[4]:58-60,84,86-89, January.
Dawkins, Richard (1986), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).
Ricci, Paul (1986), Fundamentals of Critical Thinking, (Lexington, MA: Ginn Press).
Watson, David C.C. (1987), “A Reply to Richard Dawkins,” Origins, pp. 10-11, May.

From Mark Copeland... Walking In The Fear Of The Lord (Acts 9:31)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 Walking In The Fear Of The Lord (9:31)

INTRODUCTION

1. In writing about the early church, Luke recorded:

   "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee
   and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the
   Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
                                                       - Ac 9:31

2. In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul told them:

   "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in
   my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out
   your own salvation with fear and trembling;" - Php 2:12

3. The concept of "fear and trembling" in connection with God is not
   a popular concept today...
   a. People prefer to hear about God's love, longsuffering and mercy
   b. When we point out God's righteous indignation, holiness, and
      justice, some say "My God is not like that!"
   c. The emphasis on God's love and mercy today is probably a reaction
      to the "hell, fire, and brimstone" preaching of another generation

4. But could it be that we have gone to other extreme...?
   a. Where there is no concept of fear and trembling as it relates to 
      the Christian?
   b. Could this be why many Christians are apathetic in their service?
   c. Have we forgotten Whom we should fear if we are negligent in our 
      service? - cf. Mt 10:28

5. In this lesson, I hope to accomplish three things...
   a. Define the fear of the Lord
   b. Point out why the fear of the Lord is important to the Christian
   c. Suggest how we can develop a healthy fear of the Lord without going
      to either extreme

[Let's begin by...]

I. DEFINING THE "FEAR OF THE LORD"

   A. THE WORD "FEAR"...
      1. The Hebrew word is yir'ah and is used in the Old Testament
         to describe:
         a. Fear, terror
         b. Awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear)
         c. Fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety
      2. The Greek word is phobos, and it is used to describe:
         a. Fear, dread, terror
         b. that which strikes terror

   B. WITH REGARDS TO THE FEAR OF THE LORD, IT IS OFTEN DEFINED AS
      REVERENCE OR AWE...
      1. Which is fine as far as it goes...
      2. But I wonder if this definition truly goes far enough...
      3. For though the terms reverence and awe imply a place for
         "trembling", do most make the connection?

   C. FEAR OF THE LORD SHOULD INCLUDE A PLACE FOR TREMBLING...
      1. Even as Paul indicated by combining "fear and trembling" - Php 2:12
      2. The Greek word for "trembling" is tromos (a trembling or quaking
         with fear)
      3. Just as one would likely tremble in the presence of one who
         could take our life, so Jesus taught us to fear the Lord - Mt 10:28

   D. A PROPER FEAR OF THE LORD WOULD THEN INCLUDE...
      1. "reverence and awe..."
      2. "being afraid to offend God in any way" - Hendriksen
      3. A trembling and quaking if one knows they have offended God and
         have not obtained forgiveness! - cf. He 10:26-27,30-31; 12:28-29

[The value of such an attitude is seen as we continue and now notice...]

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE "FEAR OF THE LORD"

   A. FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS, WE LEARN...
      1. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7
      2. The fear of the Lord will cause one to hate evil - Pr 8:13
      3. The fear of the Lord will prolong life - Pr 10:27
      4. The fear of the Lord provides strong confidence and is a
         fountain of life - Pr 14:26-27
      5. The fear of the Lord prompts one to depart from evil - Pr 16:6
      6. The fear of the Lord leads to a satisfying life, and spares one
         from much evil - Pr 19:23
      7. The fear of the Lord is the way to riches, honor, and life!
         - Pr 22:4

   B. WITHOUT THE FEAR OF THE LORD...
      1. We close ourselves to the treasures of God's wisdom and 
         knowledge!
      2. We will flirt with evil and be corrupted by it
      3. Our lives are likely to be shortened by our refusal to heed 
         God's word (e.g., suffering STDs because we did not heed His 
         Word on sexual relationships)
      4. We will not come to know the love of God that gives us
         assurance and confidence of our salvation
      5. When fallen into sin, we will not be motivated to repent and
         turn to God!
      6. We will not be motivated to truly "work out our own salvation"!

[Without the fear of the Lord, we cannot please God (cf. Isa 66:1-2).
Only the person who "trembles at His Word" has God's promise to receive
His tender mercy! (cf. Ps 103:17-18).  But how does one develop the
proper fear of the Lord without going to the extreme of earlier
generations...?]

III. DEVELOPING THE "FEAR OF THE LORD"

   A. IT COMES THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD...
      1. Just as "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of
         God" - cf. Ro 10:17
      2. The children of Israel were told to gather every seven years to
         read and hear the Word - Deut 31:10-13
      3. The purpose?  "...that they may learn to fear the Lord"! - cf. 
         Deut 31:13
      4. As one reads the Word of God, they should gain a healthy degree
         of the fear of the Lord
         a. Consider the words of Paul in Ro 2:4-11
         b. And the words of Peter in 2Pe 3:7-14

   B. THE WORD OF GOD, PROPERLY USED, MAINTAINS A PROPER BALANCE...
      1. To avoid extremes, we must read all of God's Word
         a. Some read only portions that reveal God's love and mercy, and
            have no fear of the Lord
         b. Others focus on the fire, hell and brimstone passages, and 
            know nothing of God's everlasting loving kindness
         c. The one develops an attitude of permissiveness that belittles
            God's holiness and justice
         d. The other develops a psychosis of terror that forgets God's 
            grace and compassion
      2. Even in passages noted above, the context of each speaks much of
         God's grace and forgiveness for those who will repent!
      3. So we must be careful how we use the Word of God, but use it we
         must!

CONCLUSION

1. The Psalmist wrote...

   "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, 
   And to be held in reverence by all those around Him." - Ps 89:7

2. Why do we need to fear the Lord?  So we will be sure to work out our 
   salvation with fear and trembling! - Ac 9:31; Php 2:12

3. The warning is necessary, for as it is written in Hebrews...

   "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us
   fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed
   the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word
   which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith
   in those who heard it." - He 4:1-2

   And again...

   "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone
   fall according to the same example of disobedience." - He 4:11

4. With the proper fear of the Lord, we will "work out our salvation", we
   will "be diligent to enter into that [heavenly] rest"...!

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the
fear of God." - 2Co 7:1

Are we perfecting holiness in the fear of God...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... Bible Reading May 26


Bible Reading  

May 26

The World English Bible

May 26
Judges 9, 10

Jdg 9:1 Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brothers, and spoke with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,
Jdg 9:2 Please speak in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are seventy persons, rule over you, or that one rule over you? Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.
Jdg 9:3 His mother's brothers spoke of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.
Jdg 9:4 They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which Abimelech hired vain and light fellows, who followed him.
Jdg 9:5 He went to his father's house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, being seventy persons, on one stone: but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.
Jdg 9:6 All the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem.
Jdg 9:7 When they told it to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said to them, Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.
Jdg 9:8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign over us.
Jdg 9:9 But the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, with which by me they honor God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?
Jdg 9:10 The trees said to the fig tree, Come and reign over us.
Jdg 9:11 But the fig tree said to them, Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?
Jdg 9:12 The trees said to the vine, Come and reign over us.
Jdg 9:13 The vine said to them, Should I leave my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?
Jdg 9:14 Then said all the trees to the bramble, Come and reign over us.
Jdg 9:15 The bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
Jdg 9:16 Now therefore, if you have dealt truly and righteously, in that you have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the deserving of his hands
Jdg 9:17 (for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian:
Jdg 9:18 and you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy persons, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother);
Jdg 9:19 if you then have dealt truly and righteously with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:
Jdg 9:20 but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.
Jdg 9:21 Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Jdg 9:22 Abimelech was prince over Israel three years.
Jdg 9:23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
Jdg 9:24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and that their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.
Jdg 9:25 The men of Shechem set an ambush for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.
Jdg 9:26 Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him.
Jdg 9:27 They went out into the field, and gathered their vineyards, and trod the grapes, and held festival, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
Jdg 9:28 Gaal the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn't he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: but why should we serve him?
Jdg 9:29 Would that this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech." He said to Abimelech, Increase your army, and come out.
Jdg 9:30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.
Jdg 9:31 He sent messengers to Abimelech craftily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers are come to Shechem; and behold, they constrain the city to take part against you.
Jdg 9:32 Now therefore, go up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field:
Jdg 9:33 and it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early, and rush on the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then may you do to them as you shall find occasion.
Jdg 9:34 Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
Jdg 9:35 Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people who were with him, from the ambush.
Jdg 9:36 When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the tops of the mountains. Zebul said to him, You see the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.
Jdg 9:37 Gaal spoke again and said, Behold, there come people down by the middle of the land, and one company comes by the way of the oak of Meonenim.
Jdg 9:38 Then said Zebul to him, Where is now your mouth, that you said, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that you have despised? go out now, I pray, and fight with them.
Jdg 9:39 Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
Jdg 9:40 Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and there fell many wounded, even to the entrance of the gate.
Jdg 9:41 Abimelech lived at Arumah: and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, that they should not dwell in Shechem.
Jdg 9:42 It happened on the next day, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech.
Jdg 9:43 He took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field; and he looked, and behold, the people came forth out of the city; He rose up against them, and struck them.
Jdg 9:44 Abimelech, and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and the two companies rushed on all who were in the field, and struck them.
Jdg 9:45 Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and killed the people who were therein: and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.
Jdg 9:46 When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into the stronghold of the house of Elberith.
Jdg 9:47 It was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
Jdg 9:48 Abimelech got him up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it up, and laid it on his shoulder: and he said to the people who were with him, What you have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
Jdg 9:49 All the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire on them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
Jdg 9:50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.
Jdg 9:51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and there fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut themselves in, and got them up to the roof of the tower.
Jdg 9:52 Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
Jdg 9:53 A certain woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull.
Jdg 9:54 Then he called hastily to the young man his armor bearer, and said to him, Draw your sword, and kill me, that men not say of me, A woman killed him. His young man thrust him through, and he died.
Jdg 9:55 When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man to his place.
Jdg 9:56 Thus God requited the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in killing his seventy brothers;
Jdg 9:57 and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God requite on their heads: and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Jdg 10:1 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim.
Jdg 10:2 He judged Israel twenty-three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.
Jdg 10:3 After him arose Jair, the Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years.
Jdg 10:4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkey colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havvoth Jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.
Jdg 10:5 Jair died, and was buried in Kamon.
Jdg 10:6 The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and served the Baals, and the Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook Yahweh, and didn't serve him.
Jdg 10:7 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the children of Ammon.
Jdg 10:8 They troubled and oppressed the children of Israel that year: eighteen years oppressed they all the children of Israel that were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.
Jdg 10:9 The children of Ammon passed over the Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.
Jdg 10:10 The children of Israel cried to Yahweh, saying, We have sinned against you, even because we have forsaken our God, and have served the Baals.
Jdg 10:11 Yahweh said to the children of Israel, Didn't I save you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?
Jdg 10:12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and you cried to me, and I saved you out of their hand.
Jdg 10:13 Yet you have forsaken me, and served other gods: therefore I will save you no more.
Jdg 10:14 Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.
Jdg 10:15 The children of Israel said to Yahweh, We have sinned: do you to us whatever seems good to you; only deliver us, we pray you, this day.
Jdg 10:16 They put away the foreign gods from among them, and served Yahweh; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
Jdg 10:17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. The children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpah.
Jdg 10:18 The people, the princes of Gilead, said one to another, What man is he who will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.

 
May 26, 27
John 6

Joh 6:1 After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias.
Joh 6:2 A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick.
Joh 6:3 Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples.
Joh 6:4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
Joh 6:5 Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?"
Joh 6:6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Joh 6:7 Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little."
Joh 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,
Joh 6:9 "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?"
Joh 6:10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Joh 6:11 Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired.
Joh 6:12 When they were filled, he said to his disciples, "Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost."
Joh 6:13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten.
Joh 6:14 When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, "This is truly the prophet who comes into the world."
Joh 6:15 Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Joh 6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,
Joh 6:17 and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them.
Joh 6:18 The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing.
Joh 6:19 When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid.
Joh 6:20 But he said to them, "It is I. Don't be afraid."
Joh 6:21 They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
Joh 6:22 On the next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except the one in which his disciples had embarked, and that Jesus hadn't entered with his disciples into the boat, but his disciples had gone away alone.
Joh 6:23 However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
Joh 6:24 When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn't there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
Joh 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
Joh 6:26 Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.
Joh 6:27 Don't work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him."
Joh 6:28 They said therefore to him, "What must we do, that we may work the works of God?"
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
Joh 6:30 They said therefore to him, "What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you do?
Joh 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.' "
Joh 6:32 Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly, I tell you, it wasn't Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven.
Joh 6:33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
Joh 6:34 They said therefore to him, "Lord, always give us this bread."
Joh 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
Joh 6:36 But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don't believe.
Joh 6:37 All those who the Father gives me will come to me. Him who comes to me I will in no way throw out.
Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
Joh 6:39 This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Joh 6:41 The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down out of heaven."
Joh 6:42 They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, 'I have come down out of heaven?' "
Joh 6:43 Therefore Jesus answered them, "Don't murmur among yourselves.
Joh 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.
Joh 6:45 It is written in the prophets, 'They will all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me.
Joh 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father.
Joh 6:47 Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.
Joh 6:48 I am the bread of life.
Joh 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
Joh 6:50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die.
Joh 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Joh 6:52 The Jews therefore contended with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Joh 6:53 Jesus therefore said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don't have life in yourselves.
Joh 6:54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him.
Joh 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me.
Joh 6:58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven-not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever."
Joh 6:59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
Joh 6:60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?"
Joh 6:61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?
Joh 6:62 Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.
Joh 6:64 But there are some of you who don't believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn't believe, and who it was who would betray him.
Joh 6:65 He said, "For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father."
Joh 6:66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Joh 6:67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You don't also want to go away, do you?"
Joh 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Joh 6:69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Joh 6:70 Jesus answered them, "Didn't I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?"
Joh 6:71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve.

From Gary... Turning sadness into joy



To many of you out there, this will be an unfamiliar face, but not to me. Karen Carpenter had a truly amazing voice and is missed.  In a way, this picture is a bit unusual, for it appears to be an early one, that is, before she started to show the deadly effects of the eating disorder that eventually killed her.  The song the Carpenters sing is a sad one and after listening to it, frankly, it took the positive "edge" off my day.  And then I remembered...
2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 (NASB)
2Co 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2Co 1:4  who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2Co 1:5  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2Co 1:6  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
2Co 1:7  and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
Need encouragement? Who doesn't from time to time? Remember this passage of Scripture and realize that no matter how tough life is- God will always be there to comfort.  The thing is... HE is always there, but do you allow HIM in?