7/25/14

From Jim McGuiggan... SURPRISED BY AFFECTION


SURPRISED BY AFFECTION

There’s no doubt in my mind that 1 Thessalonians is the warmest NT letter Paul wrote. Philippians is warm too, of course, but it doesn’t have the sustained tone of 1 Thessalonians.


The letter may be the earliest writing in the NT and it's written to a new congregation of Gentiles who were influenced by the teaching of the OT covenant [see Acts 17:1-4]. They gave their lives to the Lord Jesus and a divide developed between them and the Jews [Acts 17:5]. What they would now hear from Paul would be a new way to view and respond to the OT. He would have and did teach these new converts from a pagan world that living in the Lord Jesus and having life independent of the Mosaic covenant would not mean they could live lawless lives like the pagans [1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, note especially 1-2].

[To speak ceaselessly to Christians today about the pursuit of moral excellence as if they were first century, just-out-of-paganism people makes no sense. Living lives worthy of the Lord Jesus and to walk "worthy of God" we should speak about! Yes! But every week, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation? Ceaselessly? Might as well teach ceaselessly about ancient Jewish worship because the Hebrew writer centered his appeal to Jews on that.]

Moving on. Read the short letter for yourself and note the various expressions of his deep feeling for this newly formed congregation. I’m following the NIV here but any version will do.

He speaks of himself having been “torn” from them [2:17]. He speaks of his profound concern for their welfare this way, “When we could stand it no longer” [3:1, 5]. 

Then in 3:8, having mentioned that their faith kept him on his feet he says, “For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” Now we truly live, he says—is that not marvellous?

But that isn’t enough and he bursts out [3:9], “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you.”

Again, in 3:12, he prays that they will be enriched in love and that it will overflow towards others “just as ours does for you.”

But there’s something in 2:8 that is confessional; a confession made with a suggestion of surprise in it. Paul loved all his little churches with the love of the Lord, of course, but 2:8 sounds like something happened with the Thessalonians that Paul hadn’t expected. He always preached the truth in love wherever he went but when he speaks of his experience with the Thessalonians this is how he puts it [following the NEB which goes with the NIV and the other versions]: “With such yearning love we chose to impart to you not only the gospel of God but our very selves, so dear had you become to us.” So dear had you become to us, he says. Here is a pragmatic, stern, hard-working soldier of the blessed Lord Jesus who was surprised by a deep affection for these strangers he had only recently come to know.

In essence he said, “I certainly wanted to give the gospel to you, it’s the mission of my life but in the brief time I spent with you I found I wanted to give my very self to you because…because you had become so dear to me.”

It’s true that there were more than Paul there, because over and over again he speaks of his fellows in the gospel [“we”] but a close reading suggests that Paul in particular felt the closeness of this surprising and lovely bond that appeared. In 3:1 he says “When we could stand it no longer,” but in 3:5 he says, “For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith.”

[I can’t remember where I read this point of “surprise” but it's a lovely insight.]
Friendship that is made even sweeter by a common purpose and destiny—but still friendship—is one of God’s superlative gifts. Even a sound happy marriage that doesn’t at some point become a deep friendship has not yet reached its wondrous potential.

Holy One, thank you for people who came to stay. Thank you for people who drew us into a surprising affection that they have become so dear to us. Thank you too for those lovely people, our children, our spouses and parents and family members for whom we feel such deep affection that doesn’t surprise us. Thank you for the delight we experience when we see the warm side of your brave stern soldiers of the cross.


Who Are These People? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

 http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1191

Who Are These People?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

From time to time, we are asked for clarification concerning the identity of the church of Christ. “What do churches of Christ stand for?” “What do they believe?” “Who are these people—the churches of Christ?”

One must take Bible in hand to answer these questions. In Matthew 3:2, John the baptizer declared that the kingdom of heaven was near. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus Himself announced to His disciples that He would build His church and give to them the keys of the kingdom. In Mark 9:1, Jesus further stated that some were standing in His presence who would not taste of death before they would see the kingdom of God come with power. In John 3:5, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that in order for him to enter into the kingdom of God, he would have to be “born again”—which consisted of being “born of water and the Spirit.” After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, He instructed the apostles to go into all of the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who would believe and be baptized would be saved (Mark 16:16).

These passages set the stage for the momentous events of Acts chapter 2. In that key passage, Jesus followed through with His promises. The Gospel was preached, some 3,000 hearers believed and were baptized, and the church of Christ was brought into existence. The year was A.D. 30. The place was the city of Jerusalem. In direct fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies—including Isaiah 2, Daniel 2, Joel 2, and Micah 4—Jesus established His church.

Churches of Christ today are reproductions of the church of Christ that is described in the New Testament, beginning in Acts 2. Several characteristics are discernible from the Bible that aid in seeing what it takes to be a church of Christ.

In the first place, consider what people in the first century did to become a member of the church of Christ. In Acts 2, after listening to the preaching of the Gospel, the people asked the apostles what they needed to do. Peter responded: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38). This was in fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”

The same procedure is depicted over and over again in Acts. Acts 8:12-13 records that “when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized.” In the same chapter, Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. When the eunuch saw water, he insisted upon being baptized. Philip said he could if he believed.

In Acts 10, Cornelius heard the message, believed, and was baptized. In Acts 16, Lydia listened to the message, believed, and was baptized. In the same chapter, the Philippian jailer heard the word of the Lord and was immediately baptized the same hour of the night. In Acts 18:8, many of the Corinthians heard the word, believed, and were baptized. In Acts 19:4-5, some of the citizens of Ephesus listened to Paul’s preaching, believed, and were baptized. Paul, himself, in Acts chapters 9 and 22, heard the word and was baptized to have his sins washed away.

The rest of the New Testament confirms this procedure for becoming a Christian. Paul reminded Roman Christians that on the day they were baptized, they were baptized into Christ, into His death, and were made free from sin to live a new life (Romans 6:1-7). He told the Corinthians that on the day they were baptized, they were baptized into the one body, which is the church of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). He told the Galatians that when they were baptized, they were baptized into Christ, and thus put on Christ, i.e., were clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27). Peter added his support to this same understanding by declaring that one is saved at the moment of baptism, for it is at that point that the benefits of the resurrection of Christ are applied to the believer (1 Peter 3:21).

Notice from these Scriptures that in the first century, a person became a Christian in the same way and at the same moment that he became a member of the church of Christ. First-century people heard the message of salvation and God’s will for their life. They then believed (had faith in) God and Christ (and the teaching about Them), repented of their sins, confessed the name of Christ with their mouths, and then were baptized (or immersed) in water for the remission of sins (cf. Romans 10:9-10; Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 10:22). Who are the churches of Christ? They are those churches that practice that same New Testament plan of salvation.

Second, consider how churches of Christ were organized or structured in the New Testament. Each local congregation was independent and autonomous. There was no hierarchy or denominational headquarters. Each local church was directly under the headship of Christ (Colossians 1:18). Churches of Christ had no synods, councils, or conventions that established policy or provided governing guidelines. Every single local congregation was self-governing and completely autonomous.

Within each of these churches, the New Testament teaches that men who meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are to be appointed by the church members to be elders. Other names for this function in the New Testament are bishops, pastors, shepherds, and overseers (Titus 1:5,7; Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-2). The New Testament teaches that when a church has qualified men, two or more are to be appointed to serve. Churches in the New Testament always had a plurality of elders over a single congregation (Acts 20:17; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5). These men are to function as the overseeing authorities in the local church. They shepherd and watch over the members under their charge (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4). The name “pastor” did not refer to a preacher in the New Testament, but to an elder.

New Testament churches also had deacons appointed who were to meet specific God-given qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8-13). Deacons were assigned responsibilities and tasks that involved serving the needs of the congregation (Acts 6:1-6; Philippians 1:1).

In addition to elders and deacons, churches of Christ in the first century had teachers, preachers, and evangelists (Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5; James 3:1). These men taught and preached Christian doctrine to non-Christian and Christian alike. Female Bible teachers taught women and children (Titus 2:4). All of the members participated together in the work and worship of the church in an effort to glorify God in their lives.

Many improvisations have evolved since the first century as regards church government and organization. But, in summary, the simple structure of Christ’s church according to the New Testament consisted of elders who shepherded the flock, deacons who ministered to the congregation, preachers and evangelists who proclaimed the Gospel, and all other members of the local congregation who worked and worshipped under the oversight of the elders. Who are the churches of Christ? They are those churches that follow this simple New Testament format.

Third, how is the church of Christ to be designated? What are the scriptural names by which God’s people are to be known? The New Testament clearly states that the group of saved people was called the “church of Christ” (Romans 16:16). Remember, Jesus Himself stated that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). The church, therefore, belongs to Christ, Who is the Head of the body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Sometimes His church was referred to merely as “the church” (e.g., Acts 8:1). “Church” simply means “called out,” and refers to the fact that Christians have been called out of the world and into Christ’s kingdom.

Sometimes, Christ’s church was referred to as “the kingdom” (Matthew 16:19), “the kingdom of God” (Mark 9:1; John 3:5), “the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3), or “the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). We also find the “church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2) and the “church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15)—no doubt references to Jesus’ deity as owner. We also find the “body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). Several other names are found in the New Testament for Christ’s church. But observe that most of the names that men have given to their denominational organization are not found in the New Testament. Churches of Christ are those who seek to be scriptural in name.

The same applies to the designations for individual members. The number one name by which church members are to be known is the name “Christian” (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16; Isaiah 62:1-2). This is the name which indicates that one belongs to Christ. Other names included “disciples” [which means “learners”] (Acts 20:7), “saints” (1 Corinthians 1:2), “brothers” (1 Corinthians 15:1), “sons of God” (Romans 8:14), “children of God” (1 John 3:1), “priests” (1 Peter 2:9)—and several other names. These are scriptural names.

But what about the many religious titles and designations used today? The denominational concept of a clergy is foreign to the New Testament. Preachers in the New Testament were merely Christians who prepared themselves to teach others. They were not set apart as a special class of religious people. They did not receive special titles like “reverend” or “pastor” or “father” (Matthew 23:9). Such designations are manmade and serve only to cultivate the praise of men, when, in fact, all praise belongs to God (Luke 4:8).

So who are the churches of Christ? They are those churches that wear the name of Christ—individually and collectively. As the apostle Peter stated, “neither 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). “If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:16).

A fourth identifying mark of the church of Christ in the New Testament is seen in the absence of denominational trappings. For example, churches of Christ had no official creeds, church manuals, or confessions of faith to which members had to subscribe. The only authoritative document for governing belief and practice was the Bible. The Bible presents itself as the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God—the only reliable guide to get humans from this life to heaven. Who are the churches of Christ? They are those churches that rely solely on the Bible for direction.

A fifth and final facet of the church of Christ in the New Testament is her worship practice. Churches of Christ have reproduced simple New Testament worship in their services—nothing more and nothing less. When one examines the New Testament, one finds that first-century churches engaged in five worship activities on Sunday. First, they met together for the important purpose of partaking of the Lord’s Supper, which consisted of bread and grape juice as symbols of the body and blood of Christ offered on the cross (Matthew 26:26-29; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 10:16-21; 11:20-34). Christians observed the Lord’s Supper every Sunday and only on Sunday. Second, the early church engaged in prayer together (Acts 2:42; 1 Timothy 2:1-8). Third, Christians sang religious songs together (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Their congregational singing was unaccompanied by musical instruments. Fourth, they participated in Bible study, either by public reading of the Scriptures or as taught by a preacher or teacher (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Titus 2:15). Finally, Christians contributed their money on the first day of the week as a treasury from which the Lord’s work could be carried out (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
New Testament worship is extremely simple and unpretentious—free from the hype and glitter that bored humans frequently fabricate. Who are the churches of Christ? They are those churches that have restored simple New Testament worship in their congregations. They meet together every first day of the week and commune together around the Lord’s Table; they sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together; they contribute a percentage of their income to carry on the work of the church; they pray together; and they study the Word of God together.

Members of churches of Christ are certainly not perfect. Just as in the first century, churches of Christ are composed of imperfect people. But the superstructure of the New Testament church has been set in place. It therefore is possible for anyone to be simply a Christian—a member of the church we find described in the New Testament—the church of Christ.

That’s not to say that all groups who bear the name “church of Christ” are following the New Testament portrait of the church. A church may have a scriptural name without engaging in scriptural worship. Some churches of Christ are in the process of going off into apostasy as they restructure the church and make unscriptural changes. We cannot endorse such churches, merely because they continue to wear the name “church of Christ.”

You can be a member of the New Testament church. You do not have to settle for a manmade denomination. We urge you to study what the New Testament says about the church of Christ.

From Mark Copeland... Paul's Defense Before The Council (Acts 23:1-10)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

             Paul's Defense Before The Council (23:1-10)

INTRODUCTION

1. Previously, we studied Paul's defense before the mob...
   a. Permitted by the Roman commander seeking the truth about Paul
   b. Which ended with an outburst by the mob against Paul

2. We now have the opportunity to consider Paul's defense before the
   council...
   a. Arranged by the Roman commander still trying to find out why Paul
      was so hated
   b. Which quickly ended with dissension among the council members
      themselves

[While Paul's defense before the council did not help the Roman
commander much, several things are mentioned that are helpful to us as
Christians today.  Let's first review the text (Ac 23:1-10)...]

I. PAUL'S DEFENSE BEFORE THE COUNCIL

   A. ANGERED THE HIGH PRIEST...
      1. Paul claimed a clear conscience - Ac 23:1
      2. This angered Ananias the High Priest, who had Paul struck - Ac 23:2
      3. Paul responded, not knowing that Ananias was the High Priest 
         - Ac 23:3
         a. "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!"
         b. "For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you
            command me to be struck contrary to the law?"
      4. When informed that Ananias was High Priest, Paul was 
         conciliatory - Ac 23:4-5
         a. "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest..."
         b. "...for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler
            of your people.'"

   B. DIVIDED THE SADDUCEES AND PHARISEES...
      1. Seeing Sadducees and Pharisees, Paul identified himself as a
         Pharisee - Ac 23:6; Php 3:5
         a. "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee"
         b. "Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being
            judged!"
      2. A dispute then arose between the Sadducees and the Pharisees
         - Ac 23:7-9
         a. Because they disagreed about such things as the resurrection,
            angels, and spirits
         b. The Pharisees sided with Paul, defending Him

[The dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees became great, and
once again the Roman commander feared for Paul's life, sending soldiers
to take Paul back into the barracks (Ac 23:10).  At this point, allow
me to make...]

II. SOME OBSERVATIONS

   A. REGARDING PAUL'S CONSCIENCE...
      1. Paul had a clear conscience about his past - Ac 23:1
         a. Something he strove to do - Ac 24:16; 2Ti 1:3
         b. Even though he had persecuted Christians - Ac 26:9-11
      2. This illustrates that following your conscience is not always a
         sure guide
         a. For your conscience is like a clock:  it is correct only if
            properly set
         b. If misinformed, your conscience could mislead you time and
            again
      3. It is imperative that we properly inform our conscience
         b. Not with opinions and doctrines of others (including self)
            - Pr 14:12; 28:26; Jer 10:23
         b. But with the truth of God's Word - Ps 119:104-105

   B. REGARDING PAUL'S OUTBURST...
      1. When commanded to be struck on the mouth, Paul rebuked the high
         priest - Ac 23:2-3
         a. "God will strike you, you white-washed wall!" (i.e., a
            hypocrite) - cf. Mt 23:37
         b. "For you to sit to judge me according to the law, and do you
            command me to be struck contrary to the law?" - cf. Lev 19:15
      2. While Paul did not know (or recognize) it was the high priest, 
         his words were prophetic
         a. Josephus depicted Ananias as one of the very worst of the
            high priests, known for his pro-Roman sentiments, his extreme
            cruelty, and his greed - John B. Polhill (NAC)
         b. Less than ten years later, Ananias came to an untimely end at
            the hand of Jewish freedom fighters - ibid.
      3. Informed of Ananias' identity as High Priest, Paul quickly
         apologized - Ac 23:4-5
         a. The Law taught that one should not speak evil of a ruler
            - Exo 22:28; Ec 10:20
         b. The New Testament teaches likewise - cf. 2Pe 2:10; Jude 8-10
      4. Paul's outburst is difficult to justify, but consider two
         possibilities:
         a. He simply lost his temper (as most would do), but quickly
            brought it under control
         b. He was moved by the Spirit with righteous indignation to
            pronounce judgment on the hypocritical Ananias
      5. In any case, we should look to his teaching rather than his
         example - cf. 2Ti 2:24-26
 
   C. REGARDING PAUL'S HOPE...
      1. Paul spoke of the hope and resurrection of the dead - Ac 23:8
      2. He often connected the resurrection of the dead to our hope - Ac 24:15; 26:6-8
      3. He wrote of the redemption of our body as the hope for which we
         are saved - Ro 8:23-25
      4. He wrote the resurrection of the dead is a crucial element of 
         our faith - 1Co 15:12-19,50-54
      5. Thus the resurrection of the body is a crucial element of the 
         "one hope" - cf. Ep 4:4

CONCLUSION

1. From Paul's defense before the council, we can learn important things
   about...
   a. The importance, yet limitation as a guide, of having a good
      conscience before God
   b. The sin of speaking evil about those who rule over us
   c. The connection between our hope in Christ and the bodily 
      resurrection from the dead

2. How then do we compare with the apostle Paul...?
   a. Do we strive for a good conscience, making sure that it is in 
      harmony with God's will?
   b. Are we careful not to speak evil about those in positions of
      authority?
   c. Is the resurrection of our bodies a strong element of our hope
      that we have in Christ?

One day we will have to give a defense, not before a council of men,
but before the judgment seat of Christ (2Co 5:10).  

Are we giving serious thought as to how we will be judged at that
time...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2013

From Gary... Bible Reading July 25

Bible Reading 

July 25

The World English Bible
 
July 25
2 Chronicles 7-9

2Ch 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Yahweh filled the house.
2Ch 7:2 The priests could not enter into the house of Yahweh, because the glory of Yahweh filled Yahweh's house.
2Ch 7:3 All the children of Israel looked on, when the fire came down, and the glory of Yahweh was on the house; and they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped, and gave thanks to Yahweh, saying, For he is good; for his loving kindness endures for ever.
2Ch 7:4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before Yahweh.
2Ch 7:5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
2Ch 7:6 The priests stood, according to their offices; the Levites also with instruments of music of Yahweh, which David the king had made to give thanks to Yahweh, (for his loving kindness endures for ever), when David praised by their ministry: and the priests sounded trumpets before them; and all Israel stood.
2Ch 7:7 Moreover Solomon made the middle of the court holy that was before the house of Yahweh; for there he offered the burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat.
2Ch 7:8 So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt.
2Ch 7:9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
2Ch 7:10 On the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that Yahweh had shown to David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
2Ch 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of Yahweh, and the king's house: and he successfully completed all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of Yahweh, and in his own house.
2Ch 7:12 Yahweh appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him, I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice.
2Ch 7:13 If I shut up the sky so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
2Ch 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2Ch 7:15 Now my eyes shall be open, and my ears attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place.
2Ch 7:16 For now have I chosen and made this house holy, that my name may be there forever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.
2Ch 7:17 As for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my ordinances;
2Ch 7:18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, according as I covenanted with David your father, saying, There shall not fail you a man to be ruler in Israel.
2Ch 7:19 But if you turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
2Ch 7:20 then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have made holy for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
2Ch 7:21 This house, which is so high, everyone who passes by it shall be astonished, and shall say, Why has Yahweh done thus to this land, and to this house?
2Ch 7:22 They shall answer, Because they abandoned Yahweh, the God of their fathers, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them, and served them: therefore has he brought all this evil on them.
2Ch 8:1 It happened at the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of Yahweh, and his own house,
2Ch 8:2 that the cities which Huram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.
2Ch 8:3 Solomon went to Hamath Zobah, and prevailed against it.
2Ch 8:4 He built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the storage cities, which he built in Hamath.
2Ch 8:5 Also he built Beth Horon the upper, and Beth Horon the lower, fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
2Ch 8:6 and Baalath, and all the storage cities that Solomon had, and all the cities for his chariots, and the cities for his horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
2Ch 8:7 As for all the people who were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel;
2Ch 8:8 of their children who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel didn't consume, of them did Solomon conscripted forced labor to this day.
2Ch 8:9 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and rulers of his chariots and of his horsemen.
2Ch 8:10 These were the chief officers of king Solomon, even two-hundred fifty, who ruled over the people.
2Ch 8:11 Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David to the house that he had built for her; for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places where the ark of Yahweh has come are holy.
2Ch 8:12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to Yahweh on the altar of Yahweh, which he had built before the porch,
2Ch 8:13 even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tents.
2Ch 8:14 He appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, the divisions of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their offices, to praise, and to minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required; the doorkeepers also by their divisions at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.
2Ch 8:15 They didn't depart from the commandment of the king to the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.
2Ch 8:16 Now all the work of Solomon was prepared to the day of the foundation of the house of Yahweh, and until it was finished. So the house of Yahweh was completed.
2Ch 8:17 Then went Solomon to Ezion Geber, and to Eloth, on the seashore in the land of Edom.
2Ch 8:18 Huram sent him ships and servants who had knowledge of the sea by the hands of his servants; and they came with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and fetched from there four hundred fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
2Ch 9:1 When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great train, and camels that bore spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she talked with him of all that was in her heart.
2Ch 9:2 Solomon told her all her questions; and there was not anything hid from Solomon which he didn't tell her.
2Ch 9:3 When the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
2Ch 9:4 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their clothing, his cup bearers also, and their clothing, and his ascent by which he went up to the house of Yahweh; there was no more spirit in her.
2Ch 9:5 She said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in my own land of your acts, and of your wisdom.
2Ch 9:6 However I didn't believe their words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it; and behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me: you exceed the fame that I heard.
2Ch 9:7 Happy are your men, and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you, and hear your wisdom.
2Ch 9:8 Blessed be Yahweh your God, who delighted in you, to set you on his throne, to be king for Yahweh your God: because your God loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore made he you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.
2Ch 9:9 She gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and spices in great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
2Ch 9:10 The servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones.
2Ch 9:11 The king made of the algum trees terraces for the house of Yahweh, and for the king's house, and harps and stringed instruments for the singers: and there were none like these seen before in the land of Judah.
2Ch 9:12 King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatever she asked, besides that which she had brought to the king. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants.
2Ch 9:13 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,
2Ch 9:14 besides that which the traders and merchants brought: and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.
2Ch 9:15 King Solomon made two hundred bucklers of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one buckler.
2Ch 9:16 he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
2Ch 9:17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
2Ch 9:18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the stays.
2Ch 9:19 Twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other on the six steps: there was nothing like it made in any kingdom.
2Ch 9:20 All king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
2Ch 9:21 For the king had ships that went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
2Ch 9:22 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
2Ch 9:23 All the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
2Ch 9:24 They brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and clothing, armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
2Ch 9:25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he stationed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
2Ch 9:26 He ruled over all the kings from the River even to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.
2Ch 9:27 The king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars to be as the sycamore trees that are in the lowland, for abundance.
2Ch 9:28 They brought horses for Solomon out of Egypt, and out of all lands.
2Ch 9:29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, aren't they written in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
2Ch 9:30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
2Ch 9:31 Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

From Gary... Better than snacks

Today was movie day (courtesy of Humana Gold plus)! Enjoyed both the flick and the free snacks!! The only way it could have been better, would have been to have these "reinvented oreo's" on the menu!!!  However, the motto- "If its free; its for me" does apply. And then I thought of Exodus chapter 16 and manna from heaven. How could you top that?  well, how about thinking about John chapter 6... 

John 6:26-35 NASB
(26)  Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
(27)  "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."
(28)  Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?"
(29)  Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
(30)  So they said to Him, "What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?
(31)  "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'"
(32)  Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
(33)  "For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
(34)  Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread."
(35)  Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

Ephesians 2:8 NASB
(8)  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Snacks are great, but you can't live on them. However, when God gives you a gift, now that really is a gift!!! Better than any oreo I could ever imagine (any place, any time).  And if that gift just happens to be of a spiritual nature- well how can you top something that lasts forever???