From Jim McGuiggan... War (3)

War (3)

 What Paul says in Galatians 5 about the works of the flesh is true but not everyone that thinks there are times when we should take up arms in war thinks that way because he or she is vindictive or cruel or even easily provoked. I know that we must examine more than motivation when discussing issues like this but intent or motivation is the only thing I want to look at right now. (Lurking behind all this will be the question about fulfilling a moral obligation by immoral means.)

An aspect of moral righteousness is providing for the poor and the defenseless what it is that they need. This might mean clothes, food, shelter and other such things. The Old Testament (and New) is saturated with such teaching. James says to see someone naked and hungry and to do nothing about it when you could is to be immoral.

There are those during the Nazi era who felt that it would have been immoral not to take up arms in defense of ravaged nations. At this point I’m not saying that that is a correct view, I’m simply saying that their motivation was not to ease their spleen and gut some German soldier. Tens of thousands supported the war against Hitler without ever going to the front line and they did it not simply because the government said they should or even because their neighbors thought they should. They made bullets and tanks and clothing because they felt they were paying homage to what was right. This wasn’t even a matter of self defense it was a matter of neighbor defense.

I’m not interested at this point in whether war achieves all the good some of us say it does. I’m simply saying that there are kind, gentle and decent people, who never raised their hand in anger all their lives but who freely got involved in the war effort. They did so because in their agony they looked out on nations being raped and butchered and felt they were morally obliged to do something to stop it. They were persuaded that the only way to stop it was to take up arms. It doesn’t matter that that was not good advice and it doesn’t matter if war didn’t achieve what they aimed for; they felt they should try! When they took the decision to engage in warfare they were not looking for some excuse for their malevolence because that was not in them. They wanted to put a stop to the butchering and raping of men, women and children.
It’s clear that war is an evil but is it the only evil? Is it not evil to watch while the oppressor oppresses when you could do something about it? Is it not evil to watch while the oppressor oppresses when you think you could do something about it? It may be true that to do violence to end violence is wrong and it may be true that to do violence to end violence is like getting a prostitute to quit her trade by having sex with her. But that needs to be established. Maybe a better analogy is using violence to stop a mugger assaulting and robbing an innocent citizen. Maybe a better analogy is carrying out capital punishment on a serial murderer that insists that if he ever gets free he’ll come after others. All this needs to be thought through but the point I especially want to make is that violence doesn’t always rise from a heart bent on wickedness. Sometimes it is rises out of a pursuit of what is right. Perhaps the way to what is righteous is not via war but in the hearts and minds of tens of thousands—given extreme conditions—it is. Didn’t God establish a system of judges and authorities to see to it that the defenseless and disadvantaged were not made prey? Wasn’t "punishment" a part of the armory of God against unrighteousness?

And are we not told that it was God who punished evil by sending invading armies? Did God not instruct the army of Joshua to slay everyone in certain cities (infants included)? There are those who deny that these texts tell the truth about God, but I’m not one of them so I have to take the texts into account. Then there is that text in Deuteronomy 32:25-27. The whole section speaks of God’s redemptive judgement against a wicked Israel and he says in 32:26 that he might have utterly obliterated them had he not been afraid of what the enemy might think. He said he didn’t want the enemy to think, "Our hand has triumphed, the Lord has not done all this." We worry that people might think God did it and he worries that people might think he did not do it. In a fallen world and for the greater good the Holy Father makes use of lethal violence.

Where Did Cain Get His Wife? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Where Did Cain Get His Wife?

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Genesis 3:20 says that Eve was the “mother of all living.” If that is the case, where, then, did her son Cain find a wife?
Many infidels and skeptics have used this apparent inconsistency as evidence for the allegorical or mythological nature of the early Genesis record, in opposition to plain historicity as advocated by biblical conservatives. While it is true the Bible is not specific on this matter, there is no difficulty in suggesting a reasonable solution that does no violence to Scriptural interpretation.
The most common solution is to propose that Cain married a near relative—perhaps a sister. Initially this may seem a radical idea, but as we will note, it is the most realistic option. We are told in specific terms that Adam and Eve had three sons—Cain, Abel, and sometime later, Seth. However, we also are told that Adam was the father of “other sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:4). Eve had borne Cain and Abel soon after leaving Eden (Genesis 4:1-2), but she could have had other children between their birth and Abel’s death, and between that murder and the birth of Seth. In any case, one female offspring could later have become Cain’s wife. [Some have inquired as to whether or not Cain could have married someone else not of Adam and Eve’s family—viz., a woman of other people whom God had created. In light of Scripture, this is not a possibility. The Bible makes it plain (Genesis 3:20) that Eve was the “mother of all living” (emp. added). If Adam was the first man (1 Corinthians 15:45) and if Eve was the mother of all, then it is clear that there were no “other people” left for Cain to marry. The population of the Earth came directly through the lineage of Adam and Eve.] There would have been no shortage of potential mates. A glance at the rapidly growing population of the antediluvian world (Genesis 4-6) shows that the people of those times were prodigious; they took seriously God’s command to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)!
Many people immediately see a problem with marriages that must, of necessity, be incestuous in nature. Remember, however, that incest itself was outlawed only with the coming of the Mosaic covenant (Leviticus 18). There was no need for strict laws on marriage partners in the early Patriarchal Age (apart from the divine “one man, one woman, for life” institution), and for at least one good reason: during this time, man was in a relatively pure state, at least physically, having left not long before the perfect condition in which he was created and the Garden that had sustained his life. Adam and Eve could have lived forever had it not been for their corruption by sin, and their consequent expulsion from Eden (Genesis 3:1-6). Hence, no harmful genetic traits had emerged at this point that could have been expressed in the children of closely related partners. However, after many generations, and especially after the Noahic Flood (Genesis 6-9), solar and cosmic radiation, chemical and viral mutagens, and DNA replication errors, led to the multiplication of genetic disorders. God protected His people by instituting strict laws against incestuous marriages in the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus. Needless to say, more genetic disorders have arisen in the world population since the time of Moses, and thus it is even more important to avoid marrying a close relative. Christianity thus far has insured that such rules have been carried forward into modern laws in the western world.

From Mark Copeland... Paul's Roman Citizenship (Acts 22:22-30)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 Paul's Roman Citizenship (22:22-30)


1. As Christians, we enjoy a special citizenship...
   a. Our citizenship is in heaven - Php 3:20
   b. We are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's family
      - Ep 2:19
   c. As such, we are in one sense pilgrims and sojourners in this world
      - 1Pe 2:11

2. But we also have an earthly citizenship...
   a. As citizens of an earthly nation in this world 
   b. Thus we enjoy "dual citizenship," if you will

[At times, this "dual citizenship" works to our advantage, as it did for
Paul when his life was in jeopardy in Jerusalem.  Turning to our text
(Ac 22:22-30), let's consider some things about...]


      1. When Paul defended himself before the mob in Jerusalem...
         a. They listened to him quietly until he mentioned being sent
            to the Gentiles - Ac 22:1-2,22
         b. When they again called for Paul to be put to death - Ac 22:22-23; cf. Ac 21:36
      2. The Roman commander, determining to know the truth...
         a. Ordered Paul back into the barracks - Ac 22:24
         b. Prepared to have Paul examined by scourging - ibid.
         c. A form of torture involving beating with leather thongs in 
            which were inserted rough pieces of bone or metal

      1. About to be scourged, Paul asked the centurion a question...
         a. Is it lawful to scourge a Roman who has not been condemned?
            - Ac 22:25
         b. Prompting the centurion to go to the commander, urging
            caution - Ac 22:26
         c. The centurion's caution reflects the magistrates' fear at
            Philippi - cf. Ac 16:35-39
      2. The commander questioned Paul about his Roman citizenship...
         a. Paul confirmed that he was a Roman - Ac 22:27
         b. The commander boasted of his purchased citizenship - Ac 22:28
         c. Paul claimed to be a born citizen, evidently a higher status
            of citizenship
      3. The response to Paul's claim was immediate...
         a. Those about to scourge him withdrew from Paul - Ac 22:29
         b. The commander was afraid for having bound a Roman - ibid.
      4. Knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen, the commander...
         a. Was determined to know why Paul was accused by the Jews - Ac 22:30
         b. Arranged for a legal hearing before the Sanhedrin council
            - ibid.

[Paul certainly used his Roman citizenship to his advantage.  But what
are our duties as Christians in regards to our earthly citizenship? Let's
use this opportunity to review what they are...]


      1. As taught by Paul - Ro 13:1-5
      2. As taught by Peter - 1Pe 2:13-14
      3. Whenever there is a conflict, we must obey God rather than man
         - Ac 5:29
      1. To pay taxes, customs - Ro 13:6-7
      2. To pay respect toward authorities - Ro 13:7; 1Pe 2:17
      3. Whether we approve their political or personal behavior (e.g.,

      1. For kings and all in authority - 1Ti 2:1-2
      2. That we might lead quiet, peaceful, godly lives - 1Ti 2:2; 1Th 4:11
      3. Christians who pray in this way serve their country in very
         powerful way!
         a. God does not hear the prayers of the wicked - 1Pe 3:12
         b. If not for the righteous, this world would be in dire 
      4. Think of Christians as spiritual chaplains, serving their 
         country as military chaplains serve their country ministering
         to their fellow soldiers

1. As Christians living in the world, we have an earthly citizenship...
   a. As citizens of the nations granted by birth or other means
   b. We must be careful to fulfill our God-given duties as citizens
   c. And as did Paul, utilize our rights as citizens when they serve
      God's purposes

2. As Christians living in the world, we have a heavenly citizenship...
   a. That calls us to be spiritual priests making intercession for all
   b. That calls us to be peacemakers as we serve the Prince of peace
   c. That cautions us to place our heavenly citizenship over our earthly

For in the end, we are still pilgrims and sojourners.  But properly
discerned and lived, our "dual citizenship" can be a blessing for both
God and country...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading July 24

Bible Reading 

July 24

The World English Bible

July 24
2 Chronicles 4-6

2Ch 4:1 Then he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits its length, and twenty cubits its breadth, and ten cubits its height.
2Ch 4:2 Also he made the molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass; and its height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits encircled it.
2Ch 4:3 Under it was the likeness of oxen, which encircled it, for ten cubits, encircling the sea. The oxen were in two rows, cast when it was cast.
2Ch 4:4 It stood on twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set on them above, and all their hinder parts were inward.
2Ch 4:5 It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was worked like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily: it received and held three thousand baths.
2Ch 4:6 He made also ten basins, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as belonged to the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.
2Ch 4:7 He made the ten lampstands of gold according to the ordinance concerning them; and he set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
2Ch 4:8 He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. He made one hundred basins of gold.
2Ch 4:9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
2Ch 4:10 He set the sea on the right side of the house eastward, toward the south.
2Ch 4:11 Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins. So Huram made an end of doing the work that he did for king Solomon in the house of God:
2Ch 4:12 the two pillars, and the bowls, and the two capitals which were on the top of the pillars, and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars,
2Ch 4:13 and the four hundred pomegranates for the two networks; two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars.
2Ch 4:14 He made also the bases, and the basins made he on the bases;
2Ch 4:15 one sea, and the twelve oxen under it.
2Ch 4:16 The pots also, and the shovels, and the forks, and all its vessels, did Huram his father make for king Solomon for the house of Yahweh of bright brass.
2Ch 4:17 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah.
2Ch 4:18 Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.
2Ch 4:19 Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables with the show bread on them;
2Ch 4:20 and the lampstands with their lamps, to burn according to the ordinance before the oracle, of pure gold;
2Ch 4:21 and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, of gold, and that perfect gold;
2Ch 4:22 and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the fire pans, of pure gold: and as for the entry of the house, the inner doors of it for the most holy place, and the doors of the main hall of the temple were of gold.
2Ch 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of Yahweh was finished. Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver, and the gold, and all the vessels, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God.
2Ch 5:2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2Ch 5:3 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month.
2Ch 5:4 All the elders of Israel came: and the Levites took up the ark;
2Ch 5:5 and they brought up the ark, and the Tent of Meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; these did the priests the Levites bring up.
2Ch 5:6 King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled to him, were before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude.
2Ch 5:7 The priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim.
2Ch 5:8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its poles above.
2Ch 5:9 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen outside: and there it is to this day.
2Ch 5:10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put there at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.
2Ch 5:11 It happened, when the priests were come out of the holy place, (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, and did not keep their divisions;
2Ch 5:12 also the Levites who were the singers, all of them, even Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and their brothers, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them one hundred twenty priests sounding with trumpets;)
2Ch 5:13 it happened, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Yahweh; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised Yahweh, saying, For he is good; for his loving kindness endures forever; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of Yahweh,
2Ch 5:14 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of Yahweh filled the house of God.
2Ch 6:1 Then spoke Solomon, Yahweh has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
2Ch 6:2 But I have built you a house of habitation, and a place for you to dwell in forever.
2Ch 6:3 The king turned his face, and blessed all the assembly of Israel: and all the assembly of Israel stood.
2Ch 6:4 He said, Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who spoke with his mouth to David my father, and has with his hands fulfilled it, saying,
2Ch 6:5 Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be prince over my people Israel:
2Ch 6:6 but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
2Ch 6:7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
2Ch 6:8 But Yahweh said to David my father, Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart:
2Ch 6:9 nevertheless you shall not build the house; but your son who shall come forth out of your body, he shall build the house for my name.
2Ch 6:10 Yahweh has performed his word that he spoke; for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised, and have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
2Ch 6:11 There have I set the ark, in which is the covenant of Yahweh, which he made with the children of Israel.
2Ch 6:12 He stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands
2Ch 6:13 (for Solomon had made a bronze scaffold, five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and on it he stood, and kneeled down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;)
2Ch 6:14 and he said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven, or on earth; who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart;
2Ch 6:15 who have kept with your servant David my father that which you promised him: yes, you spoke with your mouth, and have fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day.
2Ch 6:16 Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, keep with your servant David my father that which you have promised him, saying, There shall not fail you a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children take heed to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.
2Ch 6:17 Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, let your word be verified, which you spoke to your servant David.
2Ch 6:18 But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can't contain you; how much less this house which I have built!
2Ch 6:19 Yet have respect for the prayer of your servant, and to his supplication, Yahweh my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant prays before you;
2Ch 6:20 that your eyes may be open toward this house day and night, even toward the place where you have said that you would put your name; to listen to the prayer which your servant shall pray toward this place.
2Ch 6:21 Listen to the petitions of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: yes, hear from your dwelling place, even from heaven; and when you hear, forgive.
2Ch 6:22 If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath is laid on him to cause him to swear, and he comes and swears before your altar in this house;
2Ch 6:23 then hear from heaven, and do, and judge your servants, bringing retribution to the wicked, to bring his way on his own head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
2Ch 6:24 If your people Israel be struck down before the enemy, because they have sinned against you, and shall turn again and confess your name, and pray and make supplication before you in this house;
2Ch 6:25 then hear from heaven, and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land which you gave to them and to their fathers.
2Ch 6:26 When the sky is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against you; if they pray toward this place, and confess your name, and turn from their sin, when you afflict them:
2Ch 6:27 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, and of your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on your land, which you have given to your people for an inheritance.
2Ch 6:28 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there be;
2Ch 6:29 whatever prayer and supplication be made by any man, or by all your people Israel, who shall know every man his own plague and his own sorrow, and shall spread forth his hands toward this house:
2Ch 6:30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place and forgive, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of the children of men;)
2Ch 6:31 that they may fear you, to walk in your ways, so long as they live in the land which you gave to our fathers.
2Ch 6:32 Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, when he shall come from a far country for your great name's sake, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm; when they shall come and pray toward this house:
2Ch 6:33 then hear from heaven, even from your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you for; that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, and fear you, as does your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by your name.
2Ch 6:34 If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you toward this city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for your name;
2Ch 6:35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
2Ch 6:36 If they sin against you (for there is no man who doesn't sin), and you are angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive to a land far off or near;
2Ch 6:37 yet if they shall repent themselves in the land where they are carried captive, and turn again, and make supplication to you in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done perversely, and have dealt wickedly;
2Ch 6:38 if they return to you with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have carried them captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, and the city which you have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for your name:
2Ch 6:39 then hear from heaven, even from your dwelling place, their prayer and their petitions, and maintain their cause, and forgive your people who have sinned against you.
2Ch 6:40 Now, my God, let, I beg you, your eyes be open, and let your ears be attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place.
2Ch 6:41 Now therefore arise, Yahweh God, into your resting place, you, and the ark of your strength: let your priests, Yahweh God, be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in goodness.
2Ch 6:42 Yahweh God, don't turn away the face of your anointed: remember your loving kindnesses to David your servant.
Jul. 24, 25
Acts 15

Act 15:1 Some men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you can't be saved."
Act 15:2 Therefore when Paul and Barnabas had no small discord and discussion with them, they appointed Paul and Barnabas, and some others of them, to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.
Act 15:3 They, being sent on their way by the assembly, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. They caused great joy to all the brothers.
Act 15:4 When they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all things that God had done with them.
Act 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Act 15:6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter.
Act 15:7 When there had been much discussion, Peter rose up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the nations should hear the word of the Good News, and believe.
Act 15:8 God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us.
Act 15:9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Act 15:11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are."
Act 15:12 All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations through them.
Act 15:13 After they were silent, James answered, "Brothers, listen to me.
Act 15:14 Simeon has reported how God first visited the nations, to take out of them a people for his name.
Act 15:15 This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,
Act 15:16 'After these things I will return. I will again build the tabernacle of David, which has fallen. I will again build its ruins. I will set it up,
Act 15:17 That the rest of men may seek after the Lord; All the Gentiles who are called by my name, Says the Lord, who does all these things.
Act 15:18 All his works are known to God from eternity.'
Act 15:19 "Therefore my judgment is that we don't trouble those from among the Gentiles who turn to God,
Act 15:20 but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.
Act 15:21 For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
Act 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brothers.
Act 15:23 They wrote these things by their hand: "The apostles, the elders, and the brothers, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: greetings.
Act 15:24 Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law,' to whom we gave no commandment;
Act 15:25 it seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
Act 15:26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Act 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth.
Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things:
Act 15:29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, it will be well with you. Farewell."
Act 15:30 So, when they were sent off, they came to Antioch. Having gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter.
Act 15:31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over the encouragement.
Act 15:32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them.
Act 15:33 After they had spent some time there, they were sent back with greetings from the brothers to the apostles.
Act 15:34 But it seemed good to Silas to stay there.
Act 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Act 15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's return now and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing."
Act 15:37 Barnabas planned to take John, who was called Mark, with them also.
Act 15:38 But Paul didn't think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and didn't go with them to do the work.
Act 15:39 Then the contention grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away to Cyprus,
Act 15:40 but Paul chose Silas, and went out, being commended by the brothers to the grace of God.
Act 15:41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the assemblies.

From Gary... Make a daily habit of change

Recently, I had some lunch with friends from New Jersey (a few weeks ago) and during the course of the conversation one of them told me how amazed he was that I was able to write this blog as much as I do.  Well, frankly, some days it is just not that easy; however, once I actually sit down to write, usually something comes to me.  And this little quote from J.C. Maxwell does apply.  Because, well, just the act of writing does change things- it changes me. And I find that the habitual re-consideration of the Bible makes me a stronger Christian for the effort. You might say that I am receiving exhortation myself by my own efforts at exhorting others.  Paul puts it this way...

Hebrews 10:22-25 NASB
(22)  let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
(23)  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
(24)  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
(25)  not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

When I habitually read the Scriptures, they change me; when I consider them I become more steadfast in the faith and when I think of others more than myself, I am learning to express love.

Gary - repeat verses 22ff. daily; or as often a day as you really desire to go to heaven!!!