From Jim McGuiggan... War (2)

War (2)

 There is something that I think we should keep clear in discussing a Christian’s living in the world as a part of the body of Jesus Christ. It’s this: the Christian’s ethical judgements and actions are not based on some general moral standard but on life as it was and is lived out by Jesus Christ. The Christian’s ethical response is "gospeling" and not mere morality. When I say "mere" morality I don’t mean to cheapen moral convictions or costly moral decisions. I mean only to make it clear that the Christian is not someone who lives to a "higher moral standard" than the non-Christian but someone who lives out the life of Christ that is in them and to which they have committed themselves by faith. They do not so much live under "moral rules" as in the image of a Person—that is their identity and mission.

Christians are indeed a peculiar people. Simply viewed as "moral beings" they don’t profess to be superior to everyone else. But unlike all other people on earth they have heard the gospel of the redeeming and holy God as he has come to us in and as Jesus Christ and they have committed themselves to him in faith. They have been re-created in Christ’s image and it is his way of living that they commit to fleshing out. Indeed, it is his continuing incarnate life that they live out. They live by a different "rule" than the rest of humanity and they have a mission to the world that is peculiarly theirs.

This is not to say that the only people on earth that are morally upright are Christians! Paul knew of Gentiles who lived out the works of the Jewish Torah (Romans 2:6-16) apart from the hearing of the gospel of Christ. Paul is death on any form of Pelagianism—no one earns a right relationship with God by moral uprightness; but he certainly recognized that there were morally upright people that had not heard the Gospel and were not part of the Jewish nation. And the Old Testament prophets are filled with rebuke for the behavior of Gentile nations that did not live righteously (Daniel 4:27 illustrates). This implies that they knew of moral law and that in their lives they did not give it the homage due to it (or due to the God of it). Peter insisted that non-Christians were capable of recognizing good conduct in the lives of the Christians they were troubling (1 Peter 2:12) so non-Christians are not without a standard.
Nevertheless, Christians still operate on a different ethical basis than the one upright non-Christians operate on. A non-Christian would recognize a Christian husband’s love for his wife as indeed love for his wife but the non-Christian does not operate on the "even as" ground of the love Christ has for the church (see Ephesians 5:25). The non-Christian has not been gathered in by the gospel to faith in Jesus Christ so he does not operate on that basis. But love for wives did not begin with Jesus Christ and his gospel. In union with Christ marriage became something not less but more than it was.

The upshot of all this is that Christians should not discuss an issue like going to war on the basis of some general moral standard that is the same for everyone in the world. To do that is to miss their peculiar position, calling and the One whose body they are. There may be ten thousands reasons why a non-Christian would feel he should not commit adultery against his wife but one of them would not be 1 Corinthians 6:15-20.

Taking it as true that the Church of Christ is to further the redeeming work of Christ and rehearse the gospel about Christ we need to ask if they have any business going to war. The question is not, "Have non-Christians any business going to war?" I think that that is a further question and it might result in a different answer. The question at this point would be, "Is the kingdom of Christ furthered by Christians going to war?" We certainly don’t find it supported in Christ’s personal life and I know of no text which would yield encouragement for them to do so.
I don’t think it is helpful—and it certainly is not a good argument—to note that soldiers were not told to leave their military positions. Nowhere do we find slave owners told they must set all their slaves free. In fact, we could easily argue the reverse since the slave/master relationship was regulated rather than obliterated. I don’t suppose there would be many that would argue on that basis that having slaves is acceptable Christian behavior.

I would presently hold, then, that it isn’t enough for Christians to make "good moral arguments" in support of engaging in war. They must acknowledge who and whose they are and ask if faithfully living that out would lead them to engage in war. I think Christians should not engage in war.

Who Believes in Hell Anymore? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Who Believes in Hell Anymore?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A Harris poll found that while 89% of Americans believe in heaven, only 73% believe in hell (Taylor, 1998). However, even this figure is misleading, since people differ in how they define “hell.” When defined as an actual location—a place of actual torment where people will be sent—only three in ten adults (31%) believe in hell (“Beliefs,” 1996). Most Americans believe that Satan is merely a symbol for evil. Only 27% strongly believe that Satan is real (“Religious Beliefs,” 2001).
American culture has sustained a steady assault from humanistic philosophy for several decades now. This constant bombardment of irreligious values has clearly taken its toll. In school, children have been fed a steady diet of atheistic evolution which holds that human beings owe their ultimate origin to rocks, dirt, and the chance forces of nature. Television sets have surely served as a principal medium through which the moral framework has been undermined and seriously eroded. Consequently, many previously unacceptable behaviors are on the increase in society—behaviors that are far more acceptable to the American people than they ever have been in the past.
These behaviors include such things as divorce, homosexuality, premarital sex, and gambling. The use of foul language is prevalent. The average person uses God’s name in vain. Such profanity is very commonplace—especially on television and in the movies. Fundamental values like honesty have given way to dishonesty in the form of lying, cheating, and deception. Americans now pretty much expect their politicians to lie. Pornography has spread across the land through so-called “adult” bookstores, cable channels, magazines, and the Internet. Satanism, astrology, spiritualism, the occult, and New Age religion are on the increase. More and more people are embracing Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and belief in reincarnation. The courts are literally clogged because of skyrocketing crime rates, and due to the fact that more and more people are retaliating and suing one another. America is no longer a country dominated by church-going peoples—as she was for the first 150 years of her national existence. Where once, Americans were characterized as people who strongly sought freedom for Bible religion, America is more nearly seen today as a culture that strives for freedom from religion. Indeed, forces have been working to eradicate God and the Christian religion from the American way of life.
Despite the fact that Americans in general, and Christians in particular, have many things for which to be thankful, and despite the fact that things usually are not as bad as they seem, nevertheless, much evidence exists to draw the conclusion that American society has become increasingly hedonistic, anti-Christian, and out of harmony with Bible principles. In fact, in many circles in this country the Bible is not even considered to be the verbally inspired Word of God—less than half of all adults (41%) believe the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches (“Religious Beliefs,” 2001). Indeed, American civilization is deteriorating. The moral, spiritual, and religious foundation of American society—this great nation—is disintegrating.
But there is an antidote, and there is only one antidote. The nation is in desperate need of returning to the Bible—the written instructions of the one God—and to the transcendent Creator of the Universe. The nation must go back to the Bible, back to those life-giving guidelines that will make a nation strong. Only the words of God are capable of sustaining a nation, and getting its citizens through this life in such a way that they will be prepared for life beyond the grave. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
God’s words can change a person’s (or a nation’s) life by generating faith, obedience, and contentment in this life. Those words of God teach that sin is violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Sin is the only intrinsic evil in the world today. People cannot sin against God, and yet expect to be acceptable to Him. Sin, once committed, must be forgiven. But sin can be forgiven only under certain conditions that God, Himself, has specified in the Bible. If a person sins against God by violating His written revelation, and then leaves this life in an unforgiven condition, that person will be punished. Those are the facts of the matter. The Bible clearly teaches that those who leave this life with their sins unforgiven will spend eternity in hell. You cannot believe in heaven—and not believe in hell. The same Bible that teaches there is a heaven, also teaches there is a hell.
Many verses in the Bible verify this fact. Jesus said, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5). Jesus Christ believed in hell! He warned about violating God’s will, and leaving this life unforgiven (i.e., spiritually unprepared), so that one is required to spend eternity separated from God in hell. Jesus further said: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and will come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28).
In referring to the end of life on Earth, He declared: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31). Referring to the disobedient, Jesus explained: “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ ” (vs. 41). Earlier in the same chapter He had said concerning the lost, “and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vs. 30). He concluded the chapter by saying, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (vs. 46). To be consistent, a person cannot believe in eternal life, and not believe in eternal punishment. The same Greek word is used in the same verse to describe both of those realms. Just as existence with God after this life is over will be forever or eternal, so separation from God due to disobedience in this life will result in eternal punishment.
Consider another profound, even startling, statement made by Jesus: “[I]f your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire” (Matthew 18:9). Jesus was not teaching that people should mutilate their bodies. He was simply stressing the fact that whatever it takes for a person to be obedient to God in this life—to be conformed to His will, to resist the forces of temptation that try to lure one into their grasp—whatever it takes to be faithful to God, is worth the sacrifice so that the person might enter into eternity qualified to live with God forever, rather than to spend eternity in the fires of hell.
On one occasion, Jesus addressed Himself to the religious leaders of His day. These were religious men, and yet Jesus said to them, “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). That was a rhetorical question. Jesus was saying they were so wicked, they were so evil, they were so out of step with God’s will in this life, that He saw no way for them to leave this life without facing condemnation in hell. He also noted: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42). How can a person possibly listen to those words, spoken by Jesus Christ Himself, and yet say hell does not exist?
The apostle Paul described the fate of those who live out of harmony with God’s will when he spoke of those “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). He then stated, “but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil” (Romans 2:8).
In Revelation 20:15, we find this declaration: “[A]nyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” John further recorded: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). There will be a hell. There will be eternal punishment for those who leave this life, having sinned against God, having violated His will, and having failed to receive forgiveness for those sins in the appointed way. Hence, it is imperative to know how to be forgiven.
How is forgiveness attained? The Bible answer to that question is—only through Christ. He is the Savior of all those who truly want to be saved. He is the only one who could atone for human sin and provide the antidote. The New Testament gives definitive teaching on how to be saved initially (in order to become a Christian), and how to maintain that saved status.
Jesus said, “[I]f you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). So the number one prerequisite to being saved and acceptable to God is to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus further said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 17:6). Those are Jesus’ own words. His apostles declared: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). These passages teach that Jesus Christ is the only avenue through Whom a person might be saved. A person must believe in the person of Jesus Christ, and in His Word. The writer of Hebrews wrote: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (11:6). Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). So the New Testament teaches that the first thing a person must do to be acceptable to God, and to avoid hell, is to believe in Jesus Christ by trusting in His Word. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17).
But, second, a person must repent of his or her sin. Jesus said, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5). The biblical doctrine of repentance means that, having come to a belief in Christ and His Word, the individual must change his mind about his past conduct, and his previous erroneous viewpoints. He must put those things behind him, changing his mind in order to bring his thinking into harmony with the Word of God.
Third, the New Testament teaches that a person must confess the deity of Jesus. Paul wrote that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
So a person must believe in Jesus Christ and His Word, turn from sin by changing the mind about that sin, and then confess the Lordship and deity of Christ with the mouth. But then the New Testament teaches that a person must be immersed in water in order to contact the blood of Christ and be forgiven of sin. Jesus, Himself, said, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). What does it mean to be “born of water and the Spirit”? It means to be immersed in water according to the instructions given by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 5:26).
Many other passages make this point clear. For instance, Paul told the Galatian Christians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (3:27). That is, a person is clothed with Christ in the action of water baptism. Peter said, “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). So water immersion is the point at which a person is saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No wonder Ananias said to Saul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
To summarize, these Scriptures teach that in order to become a Christian, a person must hear the word, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. When that person rises from the waters of baptism, he stands cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ. That person is now a Christian. After becoming a Christian, however, the individual is not given a guarantee that he automatically will be accepted in eternity. It depends upon whether he continues to live faithfully (Revelation 2:10). To remain saved, a person must live the Christian life faithfully, and take advantage of the means by which he may continue to be forgiven of sin. Living the Christian life faithfully includes frequent study of the Word of God in order to know how to live the Christian life, and to receive motivation to comply. When the Christian sins, he must repent of that sin, confess it, and pray to God for forgiveness (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9; James 5:20). In this fashion, the Christian may continue to be forgiven by the blood of Jesus while living the Christian life.
Make no mistake. A person dares not leave this life unforgiven and unprepared. The only hope is to commit to Jesus, and be obedient to God in this life. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). After all, “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). And, “the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Is there a hell? Absolutely! The Bible teaches the existence of hell as certainly as it teaches the existence of heaven, God, and Christ. Hell may be summarized as everlasting fire, everlasting punishment, everlasting destruction, outer darkness, damnation, hell fire, and a lake of fire. If a person believes the Bible, or believes in Jesus Christ, or believes in God—he or she must believe in hell.
While perhaps hell may not be the best or the most mature motivation for loving God and for living faithfully to Him, fear of hell certainly is a legitimate reason, and a valid scriptural motive for causing a person to contemplate his conduct in this life, in order to be prepared to leave this life in good graces with God. The reader is urged to bring his or her life into compliance with the God of heaven by believing in His Son, repenting of past sins, confessing the name of Christ, and being immersed in water for the remission of those sins.


“Beliefs: Heaven and Hell” (1996), Barna Research Online, [On-line], URL: http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PageCategory.asp?CategoryID=3.
“Religious Beliefs Vary Widely by Denomination” (2001), Barna Research Online, [On-line], URL: http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID=92&Reference=A.
Taylor, Humphrey (1998), “Large Majority of People Believe They Will Go to Heaven,” [On-line], URL>: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=167.

Mark Copeland... Paul's Defense Before The Mob (Acts 22:1-21)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                Paul's Defense Before The Mob (22:1-21)


1. We left Paul barely surviving a beating at the hands of an angry mob 
   - Ac 21:30-36

2. When he appealed to the Roman commander who saved him to grant him an
   opportunity to speak to the people - Ac 21:37-39

[Paul was given the opportunity, and was able to quiet down the mob with
a motion of his hands (Ac 21:40).  The mob quieted down further when Paul
spoke in Hebrew (Ac 22:1-2)...]


      1. A Jew born in Tarsus of Cilicia - Ac 22:3
      2. Brought up in Jerusalem - Ac 22:3
         a. At the feet of Gamaliel - cf. Ac 5:34
         b. Taught according to the strictness of the Law (i.e., a
            Pharisee) - cf. Php 3:5
         c. Zealous toward God, just like they were - cf. Php 3:6
      3. His persecution of the church - Ac 22:4-5
         a. Persecuted this "Way" to death - cf. Ac 26:9-11
         b. Imprisoning men and women - cf. Ac 8:3
         c. To which the high priest and council could bear witness - cf.
            Ac 9:1-2
         d. From whom he received letters to synagogues in Damascus to 
            arrest those of the "Way" and bring them to Jerusalem - cf.
            Ac 9:1-2 

      1. On the road to Damascus - Ac 22:6-11
         a. Near Damascus, about noon, a great light from heaven shone 
            around him
            1) Falling to the ground, he heard a voice:  "Saul, Saul, why
               are you persecuting Me?"
            2) Paul answered, "Who are you, Lord?"
            3) The voice answered, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are
         b. Those who were with him were afraid
            1) They saw the light
            2) They did not hear (understand) the voice - cf. Ac 9:7
         c. The conversation continued between Paul and Jesus
            1) Paul:  "What shall I do, Lord?"
            2) Jesus:  "Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be
               told all things which are appointed for you to do."
         d. Blinded by the light, Paul was led by the hand into Damascus
      2. In the city of Damascus - Ac 22:12-16
         a. The arrival of Ananias - cf. Ac 9:10-14
            1) A devout man according to the law
            2) Having a good testimony of all the Jews who dwelt in
            3) Who healed Paul of his blindness
         b. The message from Ananias - cf. Ac 9:15-16
            1) "The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should
               know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of
               His mouth."
            2) "For you will be His witness to all men of what you have
               seen and heard."
         c. The command from Ananias - cf. Ac 9:6
            1) "And now why are you waiting?"
            2) "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling
               on the name of the Lord."

      1. Of the Lord, on a later visit to Jerusalem - Ac 22:17
      2. Of the Lord, telling him to flee Jerusalem - Ac 22:18-20
         a. For they would not receive his testimony concerning the Lord
         b. Even though Paul was telling them his persecution of the
         c. Even though Paul participated in the stoning of Stephen 
      3. Of the Lord, telling him to go to the Gentiles - Ac 22:21
[At this point the mob refused to listen further, and Paul had to be
taken away by the Roman soldiers (Ac 22:22-24).  Our next study will
continue with what happened next, but for now...]


      1. Note Paul's politeness under trying circumstances
         a. We saw earlier his polite appeal to the commander - Ac 21:37
         b. Now he addresses a mob wanting to kill him as "brethren and
            fathers" - Ac 22:1
         c. Demonstrating what he later taught others - cf. Col 4:6;
            2Ti 2:24-26
      2. Note Paul's purpose in recounting his conversion
         a. In the context of his earlier history, it was to explain his
         b. It was not "witnessing" (telling your conversion story) as 
            often done today
         c. In Acts, witnessing is always in regards to Jesus' 
            resurrection - cf. Ac 1:8,22; 2:32
         d. No one ever told their "conversion story" as a method of
            evangelism in the NT
         e. Such "witnessing" encourages one to believe in Jesus based on
            another's experience rather than on apostolic testimony 
            concerning Jesus' resurrection - cf. Jn 17:20
         f. Such "witnessing" calls for people to base their faith on
            subjective and often exaggerated stories rather than in the 
            objective eye-witness testimony of the apostles!

      1. We learn that Paul was not saved on the road to Damascus
         a. Perhaps converted in the sense of having his view of Jesus
         b. But after arriving in Damascus, he was still in his sins!
            - Ac 22:16
         c. Despite three days of praying and fasting (faith and
            repentance) - cf. Ac 9:9,11   
      2. We learn that Paul's sins were washed away in baptism
         a. As the Lord had Ananias tell Paul "what to do" - Ac 22:16;
            cf. Ac 9:6
         b. As the Spirit-led Peter told both Jews and Gentiles - Ac 2:38; 10:48
         c. Jesus' blood washes away sin at the point of baptism - Ro 6:3-7; Col 2:12-13
      3. We learn how one calls upon the name of the Lord (Ac 22:16)
         a. One is saved by calling upon the name of the Lord - Ac 2:21;
            Ro 10:13
         b. Peter told people how to call upon his name:  via baptism! 
            - Ac 2:38
         c. Peter wrote that baptism saves:  as an appeal to God for a 
            clean conscience - 1Pe 3:21


1. Paul's defense before the mob is the first of several; he will defend
   a. Next, before the Sanhedrin council (Ac 23)
   b. After that, before two Roman governors (Felix, Ac 24, Festus, Ac 25)
   c. Then, before Herod Agrippa (Ac 26)
   d. Ultimately, before the Roman emperor Nero

2. Luke's record of Paul's defenses may have served several purposes...
   a. To help whoever ("most excellent Theophilus"? Lk 2:4) handled
      Paul's appeal to Nero 
   b. To help all better understand Paul's conversion and ministry as
      an apostle of Christ

As we continue in our study of Acts, may such understanding serve us
well regarding our own conversion and ministry as servants of Christ...!

xecutable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading July 23


Bible Reading 

July 23

The World English Bible

July 23
2 Chronicles 1-3
2Ch 1:1 Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and Yahweh his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.
2Ch 1:2 Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every prince in all Israel, the heads of the fathers' houses.
2Ch 1:3 So Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the Tent of Meeting of God, which Moses the servant of Yahweh had made in the wilderness.
2Ch 1:4 But David had brought the ark of God up from Kiriath Jearim to the place that David had prepared for it; for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem.
2Ch 1:5 Moreover the bronze altar, that Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of Yahweh: and Solomon and the assembly were seeking counsel there.
2Ch 1:6 Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before Yahweh, which was at the Tent of Meeting, and offered one thousand burnt offerings on it.
2Ch 1:7 In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, "Ask what I shall give you."
2Ch 1:8 Solomon said to God, You have shown great loving kindness to David my father, and have made me king in his place.
2Ch 1:9 Now, Yahweh God, let your promise to David my father be established; for you have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.
2Ch 1:10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this your people, that is so great?
2Ch 1:11 God said to Solomon, Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of those who hate you, neither yet have asked long life; but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge my people, over whom I have made you king:
2Ch 1:12 wisdom and knowledge is granted to you; and I will give you riches, and wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings have had who have been before you; neither shall there any after you have the like.
2Ch 1:13 So Solomon came from the high place that was at Gibeon, from before the Tent of Meeting, to Jerusalem; and he reigned over Israel.
2Ch 1:14 Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had one thousand four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
2Ch 1:15 The king made silver and gold to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the lowland, for abundance.
2Ch 1:16 The horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt and from Kue; the king's merchants purchased them from Kue.
2Ch 1:17 They brought up and brought out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred pieces of silver, and a horse for one hundred fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.
2Ch 2:1 Now Solomon purposed to build a house for the name of Yahweh, and a house for his kingdom.
2Ch 2:2 Solomon counted out seventy thousand men to bear burdens, and eighty thousand men who were stone cutters in the mountains, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
2Ch 2:3 Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As you dealt with David my father, and sent him cedars to build him a house in which to dwell, even so deal with me.
2Ch 2:4 Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of Yahweh my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him incense of sweet spices, and for the continual show bread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts of Yahweh our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel.
2Ch 2:5 The house which I build is great; for great is our God above all gods.
2Ch 2:6 But who is able to build him a house, seeing heaven and the heaven of heavens can't contain him? who am I then, that I should build him a house, save only to burn incense before him?
2Ch 2:7 Now therefore send me a man skillful to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and who knows how to engrave all manner of engravings, to be with the skillful men who are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.
2Ch 2:8 Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon; for I know that your servants know how to cut timber in Lebanon: and behold, my servants shall be with your servants,
2Ch 2:9 even to prepare me timber in abundance; for the house which I am about to build shall be great and wonderful.
2Ch 2:10 Behold, I will give to your servants, the cutters who cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.
2Ch 2:11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, "Because Yahweh loves his people, he has made you king over them."
2Ch 2:12 Huram continued, "Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who has given to David the king a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, that should build a house for Yahweh, and a house for his kingdom.
2Ch 2:13 Now I have sent a skillful man, endowed with understanding, of Huram my father's,
2Ch 2:14 the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan; and his father was a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson, also to engrave any manner of engraving, and to devise any device; that there may be a place appointed to him with your skillful men, and with the skillful men of my lord David your father.
2Ch 2:15 Now therefore the wheat and the barley, the oil and the wine, which my lord has spoken of, let him send to his servants:
2Ch 2:16 and we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as you shall need; and we will bring it to you in floats by sea to Joppa; and you shall carry it up to Jerusalem."
2Ch 2:17 Solomon numbered all the foreigners who were in the land of Israel, after the numbering with which David his father had numbered them; and they were found one hundred fifty-three thousand six hundred.
2Ch 2:18 He set seventy thousand of them to bear burdens, and eighty thousand who were stone cutters in the mountains, and three thousand six hundred overseers to set the people at work.
2Ch 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where Yahweh appeared to David his father, which he made ready in the place that David had appointed, in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
2Ch 3:2 He began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
2Ch 3:3 Now these are the foundations which Solomon laid for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was sixty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.
2Ch 3:4 The porch that was before the house, its length, according to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits, and the height one hundred twenty; and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
2Ch 3:5 The greater house he made a ceiling with fir wood, which he overlaid with fine gold, and ornamented it with palm trees and chains.
2Ch 3:6 He garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim.
2Ch 3:7 He overlaid also the house, the beams, the thresholds, and its walls, and its doors, with gold; and engraved cherubim on the walls.
2Ch 3:8 He made the most holy house: its length, according to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits, and its breadth twenty cubits; and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
2Ch 3:9 The weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. He overlaid the upper chambers with gold.
2Ch 3:10 In the most holy house he made two cherubim of image work; and they overlaid them with gold.
2Ch 3:11 The wings of the cherubim were twenty cubits long: the wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house; and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.
2Ch 3:12 The wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house; and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub.
2Ch 3:13 The wings of these cherubim spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were toward the house.
2Ch 3:14 He made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and ornamented it with cherubim.
2Ch 3:15 Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty-five cubits high, and the capital that was on the top of each of them was five cubits.
2Ch 3:16 He made chains in the oracle, and put them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
2Ch 3:17 He set up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.

From Gary... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10... zzzz's


Each and every day I see what is new on FACE-BOOK.  As I read the various articles and looked at the posts since yesterday, it struck me how much brother Ed Healy has been posting on a daily basis for a long time now. If you have never been to his website (http://theabidingword.com/logos/index.html), please do. You will find some wonderful posts there. So much so, that I have re-posting them to my own blogs for what must be several years now!!! And, after I left face-book and started reviewing my jpegs, it occurred to me how much I am blessing by his work (and many others as well)!!! So, it should come as no surprise that I thought of a song from that old movie starring Bing Crosby- White Christmas.  Please do click on the link above (Counting your blessings) and then take a few minutes to actually think about them; I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much God has richly blessed you in the here and now!!!  But what about the there and then after the "now".  That's where the Bible comes in....

Ephesians 1:1-23 NASB
(1)  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
(2)  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3)  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
(4)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
(5)  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
(6)  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
(7)  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
(8)  which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
(9)  He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
(10)  with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
(11)  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
(12)  to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
(13)  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
(14)  who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
(15)  For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,
(16)  do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
(17)  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
(18)  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
(19)  and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
(20)  which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
(21)  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(22)  And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
(23)  which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Well, blessings are not just for the "then", its also the "now"(for those who are Jesus' disciples Christians). I am not going to list all the blessings that are found in this chapter- you should really read and reflect on this one yourself.  As always, you have a choice of whether or not to think about such things, but I hope you do-