From Jim McGuiggan... The US in Genesis 1.26-27

The US in Genesis 1.26-27

Who's the "us" in Genesis 1:26-27? Who was God speaking to?
I'm sure I know of no satisfactory explanation for the "us". It's more a case that some explanations are less likely than others. Some scholars have taken the view that it's a polytheistic version of the creation story that was taken and made part of the Genesis narrative. Of course Genesis 1 is explicitly concerned to expose polytheism , especially Egyptian polytheism that Israel had so recently seen shamed and exposed in the plagues. So it hardly makes sense that someone made use of a polytheistic snippet to write his narrative. 
Early Jewish interpretation took it that God was speaking to his heavenly court (compare Job 1:6 and 2:1 and perhaps, Isaiah 6:8), the angelic beings.
I tend to agree with that view and see it as God preparing to create his "masterpiece" and saying to the enthralled angelic watchers as a man might say to his children who were watching him build something (compare Job 38:4-7), "Now, let's put the finishing touch on it." 
I've said he says to the angelic watchers but it would probably be more accurate to say that he says it "in the presence" of the heavenly court. It would probably be more that he is speaking to himself. Not in any formal manner! But sort of murmuring to himself, "Now..." This might ease the little difficulty of the "our" image phrase. 
Since there is no development of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit or Satan or the resurrection, and such, in the OT I wouldn't expect a development of the plural unity of God, though there are hints of it (compare Psalm 110:1 and Jesus' use of it). So I wouldn't be prepared to rule out the plural unity of the Godhead.

The Survey Says… by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Survey Says…
by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Rarely do you hear a Christian confidently assert, “Yes, I know that I am saved!” More often than not, if a Christian is asked the question, “Do you know you are saved?,” the response goes something like this: “I hope that I am,” or “I think that I am,” or “I really don’t know if I am saved or not.” This is truly a sad state of affairs.
In light of the manner in which many Christians respond to the question, “Do you know you are saved?,” I decided to poll a particular church a few years ago to find out what kind of “assurance” the members had of their eternal salvation. I conducted an anonymous survey in a congregation of about 200 members in the heart of the “Bible Belt.” In the survey, I asked several different questions, but I deemed none more important than the one that pertained to the reader’s eternal destiny. The question read as follows: “If you died within the next ten minutes, do you believe you would go to Heaven?” The results of the survey revealed that nearly 9% of the members knew unreservedly that if they died at the time they were taking the survey, they would not go to Heaven. (Needless to say, such a response was shocking on its own merits!) Nearly 50% of the congregation was unsure as to whether they would go to Heaven. And only 40% believed they would go to Heaven if they died that very day. In other words, almost 60% of the congregation either knew they were lost or did not know if they were saved!
How sad it is that so many members of the Lord’s church (the “saved”) either know they are lost or do not have assurance that they are saved. (Is it not paradoxical to speak of the “saved lost” or the “unsure saved”?) What makes these figures even more disturbing is that (according to the results of a survey published in the U.S News and World Report in March 1991) approximately 78% of Americans fully expect to go to heaven when they die. Thus, if the particular congregation surveyed is representative of the church worldwide, Christians have even less confidence in their eternal destiny than the average person on the street. In fact, the above surveys indicate that the average American is twice as likely to claim heaven as their eternal home as the average member of the Lord’s church.
God did not send His Son to die for us so that we could be uncertain about our salvation. Rather, Jesus came so that we might know we are free from sin (John 8:32), and so that we might know we have eternal life. The apostle John wrote: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13, emp. added). By a simple self-examination in light of the Scriptures, we should be able to know whether we are saved or lost.
Christianity is not an “I-hope-so/pie-in-the-sky/by-and-by” kind of religion. Rather, it is based upon knowledge, reason, and the assurance that if we accept the grace of God and are faithful to Him, He will save us from our sins (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 2:10). It is from such knowledge that we thus derive the “peace of God that passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). How very sad that so many have forgone that peace.

From Mark Copeland... God's Gift Of Eternal Life (Romans 6:22-23)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                  God's Gift Of Eternal Life (6:22-23)


1. An familiar verse is that found at the end of Romans six...

   "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
   in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 6:23)

2. This passage is often used to suggest that eternal life is...
   a. A gift given when one becomes a Christian
   b. A gift requiring no effort on the part of the recipient(s)

3. It is true that elsewhere we learn that....
   a. Eternal life is described as a "present possession", enjoyed now
      by the Christian - 1Jn 5:13
      1) Referring to a relationship made possible by knowing God and
         Jesus - cf. Jn 17:2-3
      2) A feature of that which Jesus describes as the "abundant life"
         - cf. Jn 10:10
   b. Salvation is not merited or earned - cf. Tit 3:4-7
      1) Even though it does require obedience - He 5:9
      2) The gospel contains that which must be obeyed - cf. 2Th 1:8;
         1Pe 4:17

4. But in the context of Romans six, the gift of eternal life as
   described by Paul...
   a. Is not a present possession, but something received at the end of
      life! - cf. Ro 6:22
   b. Is received not without effort, but as the result of a holy life!
      - cf. Ro 6:22

[As we carefully consider verse 22 along with the rest of the chapter,
note first that eternal life is...]


      -- Paul begins chapter six by revealing:
      1. One who dies to sin should no longer live in sin - Ro 6:1-2
      2. He who has died has been freed from sin - Ro 6:7

      -- He then explains how and when one dies to sin:
      1. Where we are baptized into His death - Ro 6:3-4
      2. Where we are united together in the likeness of His death - Ro 6:5
      3. Where our old man was crucified with Him - Ro 6:6
         a. That the body of sin might be done away with
         b. That we should no longer be slaves of sin

[Those who have died to sin in baptism have been set free from sin. But
now note that according to verse 22 eternal life is...]


      -- Consider what Paul wrote:
      1. We have died to sin - Ro 6:1-2
      2. We now live with Christ - Ro 6:8-11
      3. We are not to let sin reign and have dominion over us - Ro 6:

      -- Consider what is now the duty of Christians:
      1. We are to present ourselves to God as alive from the dead - Ro 6:13
      2. We are to present our members as instruments of righteousness
         to God - Ro 6:13
      3. We have become slaves of righteousness through obedience - Ro 6:16-18

[As slaves of God, we are now to be obedient slaves of righteousness.
From verse 22 we learn that eternal life will therefore be...]


      -- They were slaves of sin:
      1. When they presented their members as slaves of uncleanness and
         lawlessness - Ro 6:19
      2. When they were free in regard to righteousness - Ro 6:20
      3. When they produced shameful fruit leading to death - Ro 6:21

      -- They are now slaves of righteousness:
      1. For the purpose of holiness - Ro 6:19c
      2. For the fruit leading to holiness - Ro 6:22

[Finally, from verse 22 we learn that for those who have the fruit of
holiness, eternal life is...]


   A. AT THE END...
      -- Eternal life is given to those:
      1. Having died to sin - Ro 6:22a,1-11
      2. Having become slaves to God - Ro 6:22b,12-18
      3. Having had the fruit of holiness - Ro 6:22c,19-21

      -- Some observations concerning that which comes at the end:
      1. Some translations say "everlasting life" (KJV, NKJV), but it is
         the same expression translated "eternal life" in verse 23
      2. Here Paul speaks of our "future hope", given at the Judgment:
         a. Of which Jesus often spoke - Mt 25:46; Mk 10:29-30
         b. As Paul did elsewhere - Ro 2:4-7; Tit 1:2; 3:7
         c. Pertaining to that life with God we enter into in the age to
            come - cf. Re 21:3-7


1. From our study of the context of Ro 6:22-23, we have seen that
   eternal life is...
   a. Given to those who have been set free from sin
   b. Given to those who have become slaves to God
   c. Given to those who have the fruit of holiness
   d. Given at the end of life

2. If so, then how is eternal life called a "gift" (or "free gift")...?
   a. Because it requires the kindness, love, mercy and grace of God
      - cf. Tit 3:4-7
   b. Despite our obedience, we have not earned or merited this gift of
      eternal life

3. Do we desire to receive "God's Gift Of Eternal Life"?  Then one must
   a. Have I been set free from sin by dying to sin in baptism?
   b. Have I become a slave to God, presenting myself as a servant of
   c. Am I bearing the fruit of holiness in my life?

Let Jesus be your author (source) of eternal life as you humbly obey
Him... - cf. He 5:9; Mk 16:15-16 

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading August 20

Bible Reading  

August 20

The World English Bible

Aug. 20
Job 17-19
Job 17:1 "My spirit is consumed. My days are extinct, And the grave is ready for me.
Job 17:2 Surely there are mockers with me. My eye dwells on their provocation.
Job 17:3 "Now give a pledge, be collateral for me with yourself. Who is there who will strike hands with me?
Job 17:4 For you have hidden their heart from understanding, Therefore you shall not exalt them.
Job 17:5 He who denounces his friends for a prey, Even the eyes of his children shall fail.
Job 17:6 "But he has made me a byword of the people. They spit in my face.
Job 17:7 My eye also is dim by reason of sorrow. All my members are as a shadow.
Job 17:8 Upright men shall be astonished at this. The innocent shall stir up himself against the godless.
Job 17:9 Yet shall the righteous hold on his way. He who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger.
Job 17:10 But as for you all, come on now again; I shall not find a wise man among you.
Job 17:11 My days are past, my plans are broken off, as are the thoughts of my heart.
Job 17:12 They change the night into day, saying 'The light is near' in the presence of darkness.
Job 17:13 If I look for Sheol as my house, if I have spread my couch in the darkness,
Job 17:14 If I have said to corruption, 'You are my father;' to the worm, 'My mother,' and 'my sister;'
Job 17:15 where then is my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?
Job 17:16 Shall it go down with me to the gates of Sheol, or descend together into the dust?"
Job 18:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
Job 18:2 "How long will you hunt for words? Consider, and afterwards we will speak.
Job 18:3 Why are we counted as animals, which have become unclean in your sight?
Job 18:4 You who tear yourself in your anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you? Or shall the rock be removed out of its place?
Job 18:5 "Yes, the light of the wicked shall be put out, The spark of his fire shall not shine.
Job 18:6 The light shall be dark in his tent. His lamp above him shall be put out.
Job 18:7 The steps of his strength shall be shortened. His own counsel shall cast him down.
Job 18:8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he wanders into its mesh.
Job 18:9 A snare will take him by the heel. A trap will catch him.
Job 18:10 A noose is hidden for him in the ground, a trap for him in the way.
Job 18:11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall chase him at his heels.
Job 18:12 His strength shall be famished. Calamity shall be ready at his side.
Job 18:13 The members of his body shall be devoured. The firstborn of death shall devour his members.
Job 18:14 He shall be rooted out of his tent where he trusts. He shall be brought to the king of terrors.
Job 18:15 There shall dwell in his tent that which is none of his. Sulfur shall be scattered on his habitation.
Job 18:16 His roots shall be dried up beneath. Above shall his branch be cut off.
Job 18:17 His memory shall perish from the earth. He shall have no name in the street.
Job 18:18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
Job 18:19 He shall have neither son nor grandson among his people, nor any remaining where he sojourned.
Job 18:20 Those who come after shall be astonished at his day, as those who went before were frightened.
Job 18:21 Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous. This is the place of him who doesn't know God."
Job 19:1 Then Job answered,
Job 19:2 "How long will you torment me, and crush me with words?
Job 19:3 You have reproached me ten times. You aren't ashamed that you attack me.
Job 19:4 If it is true that I have erred, my error remains with myself.
Job 19:5 If indeed you will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach;
Job 19:6 know now that God has subverted me, and has surrounded me with his net.
Job 19:7 "Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard. I cry for help, but there is no justice.
Job 19:8 He has walled up my way so that I can't pass, and has set darkness in my paths.
Job 19:9 He has stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.
Job 19:10 He has broken me down on every side, and I am gone. My hope he has plucked up like a tree.
Job 19:11 He has also kindled his wrath against me. He counts me among his adversaries.
Job 19:12 His troops come on together, build a siege ramp against me, and encamp around my tent.
Job 19:13 "He has put my brothers far from me. My acquaintances are wholly estranged from me.
Job 19:14 My relatives have gone away. My familiar friends have forgotten me.
Job 19:15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maids, count me for a stranger. I am an alien in their sight.
Job 19:16 I call to my servant, and he gives me no answer. I beg him with my mouth.
Job 19:17 My breath is offensive to my wife. I am loathsome to the children of my own mother.
Job 19:18 Even young children despise me. If I arise, they speak against me.
Job 19:19 All my familiar friends abhor me. They whom I loved have turned against me.
Job 19:20 My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh. I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
Job 19:21 "Have pity on me, have pity on me, you my friends; for the hand of God has touched me.
Job 19:22 Why do you persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Job 19:23 "Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Job 19:24 That with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!
Job 19:25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, he will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:26 After my skin is destroyed, then in my flesh shall I see God,
Job 19:27 Whom I, even I, shall see on my side. My eyes shall see, and not as a stranger. "My heart is consumed within me.
Job 19:28 If you say, 'How we will persecute him!' because the root of the matter is found in me,
Job 19:29 be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishments of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment."

Aug. 20
Romans 1
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Good News of God,
Rom 1:2 which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
Rom 1:3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
Rom 1:4 who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Rom 1:5 through whom we received grace and apostleship, for obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name's sake;
Rom 1:6 among whom you are also called to belong to Jesus Christ;
Rom 1:7 to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.
Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the Good News of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers,
Rom 1:10 requesting, if by any means now at last I may be prospered by the will of God to come to you.
Rom 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established;
Rom 1:12 that is, that I with you may be encouraged in you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.
Rom 1:13 Now I don't desire to have you unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you, and was hindered so far, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
Rom 1:14 I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish.
Rom 1:15 So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome.
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For in it is revealed God's righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, "But the righteous shall live by faith."
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Rom 1:19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.
Rom 1:21 Because, knowing God, they didn't glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves,
Rom 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Rom 1:26 For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature.
Rom 1:27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.
Rom 1:28 Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Rom 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil habits, secret slanderers,
Rom 1:30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful;
Rom 1:32 who, knowing the ordinance 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.

From Gary... Put the fire back in fire rainbow

Today, an old friend of mine (Thomas Aldrich, from the mid sixties) posted this picture on facebook. Now, I know that I have posted pictures of fire rainbows before and honestly I thought I had posted this one.  But, after searching though the posts on this blog- it was nowhere to be found!!!  The thing is- I remember Thomas' comments about it; how that it was something that he had never seen before (and I hope I am quoting him correctly, when I say this) and how beautiful it was. MY FIRST THOUGHT WHEN I SAW THIS- well, I have seen this; done that.  Then, something "clicked" in me and I realized that I had lost that sense of amazement for the seer wondrous beauty of it. Then I wondered, do I feel the same way about God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and the church.  Is there a remnant of the excitement I first had when I became a Christian? Consider these three verses from the book of Psalms and ask yourself- Have I put the fire back in the fire rainbow of my faith?????
Psalms 51:10-12 NASB
(10)  Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(11)  Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
(12)  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

LORD, give us the capacity to see beauty both around us coupled with the understanding of what it means to be a Christian!!!  Let us look at the world with new eyes to see and new ears to hear. Help us never to be dull in our understanding of YOU or YOUR WORD!!! And let these words from the 51st Psalm echo in our lives.  And please, give us more fire when we see rainbows!!!!