From Jim McGuiggan... This I believe

This I believe

   I believe that God lived in eternal, joy-filled and holy fellowship in what C.S Lewis called "the land of the Trinity". The Father and Son enjoyed fellowship one with another through the Holy Spirit and rising out of that triune fellowship came the purpose to create, that the life and joy of God would be experienced beyond the Godhead.

I believe that Jesus is and was fully and completely and without addition or subtraction a man. But he was and is God being a man. Not a man being a man or an angel being a man or an exalted creature being a man—Jesus is nothing less and nothing other than God being a man.

I believe that as the creation purpose was conceived that "Jesus" was not only the agent by which creation came into being, he was the guiding thought and inspiration that shaped and determined the final form that creation would take. In addition to that, "Jesus" was the one for whom the creation came into being, that is, not only would he be the supreme expression of creation completed he would be the one glorified above all by the creation. This is Colossians 1:15-16.

I believe until the now immortal Lord of all, Jesus Christ, completes this phase of his royal reign by obliterating death for all others as he has conquered it himself that God's creative purpose will not be completed. Genesis 1 was only the beginning of the creation of God that had Jesus ultimately in view.

I believe that with humanity's fall in Adam and Eve the entire creation was dragged under the curse (compare Colossians 1:16 and 2:15) and that God's creative purpose could not be accomplished without the death of Jesus. Paul said (Colossians 1:19-20) that God "reconciled all things in heaven and on earth" to himself through the blood of Christ.

I believe that the life and cross of Christ cannot be separated from the resurrection, glorification and exaltation of Jesus Christ for it is in and through them that the new creation has begun in the person of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, while these are inextricably and essentially linked they are conceptually distinct—the cross is pivotal though never to be isolated.

I believe that in dying (and rising) Jesus accomplished something that is independent of creation's response. It is something already accomplished, fully and without reservation—he has become and is Lord of all! The sovereignty over the entire creation has come into the hands of a human—one human, Jesus Christ, the last Adam and the second man (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47). Nothing has been the same since the death—-–-exaltation of Jesus. By his death has Jesus actually accomplished anything? Yes, he has become Lord over all and because he is the Lord over all there are glorious cosmic consequences. Let me repeat: this has been actually accomplished whether or not humanity confesses it or cares about. Whether or not anyone is saved, by his redeeming life and subsequent glorification Jesus has become humanity's Saviour. If anyone is to be saved it is through him and no one else. His redeeming life, resurrection and glorification may not have changed anyone else, but they changed Jesus because he became the author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:8-9).

I believe the creation Jesus inherited was not like the creation the first Adam inherited. The creation under the first Adam came to him as "very good" and under his dominion it came to ruin. The creation that came to the last Adam had been estranged from God and he brought it all under his own sovereignty and reconciled it to his Holy Father (Colossians 1:19-20, Ephesians 1:10, 1 Peter 3:22).

I believe that what makes the creation "new" is that Jesus, the second man, is steering and bringing it to what God purposed it to be when he first created it in light of his plan before the world was. What makes it a new creation is the purpose and spirit of Jesus who is Lord of all—he means to glorify his Holy Father in the exercise of his dominion as surely as the first Adam dishonoured the Father. Imagine creation as a King's ship that has been taken over by cruel, ignorant and corrupt pirates who use it as a weapon against the King. The young Prince comes, retakes the ship and sails it to the honour of his Father.

I believe that God's massive enterprise is for the entire human race—without exception. The life and death and exaltation of Jesus Christ was purposed to benefit the entire creation. See Romans 8:18-39.

I believe that to gain his purpose God elected people at various times and places to be his chosen. They were chosen—Israel illustrates—to enjoy life with God in a peculiar relationship that they might bear witness to his creation purpose—a purpose he never lost sight of though humanity sinned. The elect were chosen unto salvation and mission (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 and Ephesians 3:10, 21). Their mission is to be a standing witness that God has reconciled the entire creation to himself in Jesus Christ.

I believe that the cosmic reconciliation of "all things" is experienced in various ways depending on the nature of the specific "things" embraced in the "all things". Sinners, for example, are reconciled to God by his not reckoning their sins against them (2 Corinthians 5:19). I believe that the purpose of God is not exhausted in the salvation of the elect but that he offers the fruit of the redeeming, restoring and regenerating work of Jesus Christ to the non-elect (see 1 John 2:2, 1 Timothy 4:10, 2 Peter 2:1).

I believe that to take all the texts that speak of the elect and their place and role in God's unfolding of his creation purposes and conclude that that is the complete story is a serious misunderstanding of God's relationship and commitment to humanity. As surely as elect Israel did not exhaust the saving and blessing work of God in pre-Christ ages neither does his NT elect exhaust his saving and blessing work in this the Christian era.

I believe that election is the work of God through his Spirit who brings people to faith in Jesus Christ by the gospel (Philippians 1:29, Romans 10:13-15, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 1 Corinthians 1:21) and brings them into covenant relationship with God (Ephesians 2:11-22, 2 Corinthians 3:3-6).

I believe that the non-elect who have not heard the call of God by the gospel are not a single group. Along with the millions who care nothing for God or the higher life there are those who look for higher life and that they by patient continuance in well doing will gain glory, honour and immortality through the work of Jesus (Romans 2:6-16 and compare Acts 17:24-27).

I believe that those who hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and refuse it suffer eternal loss.

The Sacredness of Marriage by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Sacredness of Marriage

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Since its inception, the United States of America has been a country whose Founding Fathers recognized the need for God in public life, and the need for Bible principles of morality to govern and structure American society. Our Founding Fathers recognized that if our country ever strayed significantly away from these foundational moral, spiritual, and ethical principles, we would be doomed as a nation. For 150 years, our society recognized the importance of what some are calling the “traditional family,” i.e., a husband and a wife who marry for life and rear their children together. Divorce was almost unheard of in this country. When it did occur, it was regarded as deviant behavior. Family disruption in the form of separation, divorce, and out-of-wedlock birth were kept to a minimum by strong religious, social, and even legal sanctions. Immediately after World War II, most American children grew up in a family with both biological parents who were married to each other.
This state of affairs held sway up through the 1940s and 1950s. In fact, disruption of the traditional American family reached a historic low in the 1950s and early 1960s. But then something happened (see Whitehead, 1993). Beginning in about 1965, the divorce rate suddenly skyrocketed, more than doubling over the next fifteen years. By 1974, divorce passed death as the leading cause of family breakup. By 1980, only fifty percent of children could expect to spend their entire childhood with both their parents. Now half of all marriages end in divorce. Every year a million children go through divorce or separation, and almost as many more are born out of wedlock. People who remarry after divorce are more likely to break up than couples in first marriages. The same is true for couples who just live together.
Overall child well-being has declined, despite a decrease in the number of children per family, an increase in the educational level of parents, and historically high levels of public spending. The teen suicide has more than tripled. Juvenile crime has increased and become more violent. School performance has continued to decline. Some sociologists are now recognizing the incredibly harmful effect these circumstances are having on our country and the homes of America. They are beginning to realize the relationship between family structure and declining child well-being. Some are even admitting that the social arrangement that has proved most successful in ensuring the physical survival and promoting the social development of the child is the family unit of the biological mother and father.
But our society as a whole has been slow to see family disruption as a severe national problem. Why? A fundamental shift has occurred in our culture with reference to religious and moral value. Much of our society has jettisoned the Bible as the absolute standard of behavior. The Bible is no longer considered to be the authoritative regulator of daily living. Many, perhaps most, Americans no longer feel that divorce is wrong. “Irreconcilable differences” and “incompatibility” are seen as perfectly legitimate reasons for divorce—flying directly in the face of Bible teaching. Many Americans no longer feel that a couple simply living together without marriage is morally wrong. By the mid-1970s, three-fourths of Americans said that it is not morally wrong for a woman to have a child outside marriage.
We could debate the causes of this basic cultural shifting. I would argue that the influence of evolution and humanism in our educational system, the impact of feminism, the increased participation of women in the work force to the neglect of their children, the widespread prosperity that we enjoy as a nation (causing us to forget God and to indulge ourselves)—these and other factors have contributed to our moral decline. Hollywood, television, and the cinema have unquestionably glamorized, defended, and promoted divorce, premarital sex, unwed motherhood, abortion, and the use of alcohol, filthy language, and many other immoral behaviors.
Ironically—and tragically—the media have been working overtime to discredit the married, two-parent family by playing up instances of incest, violence, and abuse. If a family has religious inclinations, its members are depicted on programs as weirdoes and deviants. In fact, it is surely disgusting to the sensibilities of the morally upright that what was once mainstream and normal (i.e., the religious, church-going, two-parent family) is being demonized and ridiculed, while behavior that once was considered deviant, reprehensible, and immoral is paraded before society—on TV, in the news, and in the courts—as the social norm. Anyone who lifts a finger to speak against such immorality is berated as “homophobic,” “prejudiced,” “judgmental,” “mean-spirited,” and guilty of a “hate crime.”
Two illustrations of the undermining of the marriage relationship as God intended are the recent decisions regarding homosexuality by the United States Supreme Court and the Episcopal Church. By a 62-45 vote, the Episcopal House of Bishops elected the denomination’s first homosexual bishop on August 5, 2003 (see Duin, 2003). Only days earlier, the Supreme Court ruled that sodomy laws are unconstitutional—even though sodomy was treated as a criminal offense in all of the original thirteen colonies and eventually every one of the fifty states (see Robinson, 2003; “Sodomy Laws,” 2003). Sadly, a generation has arisen who simply does not share the values of its parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Sexual fidelity, lifelong marriage, and parenthood are simply no longer held up as worthwhile personal goals.
All of this self-centeredness has taken its greatest toll on the children. The erosion of basic moral values in exchange for pluralism, the growing tolerance of moral and ethical diversity, the shifting of emphasis to choice, freedom, and self-expression, have all inflicted great damage on marriage and the family—especially the children. The fuller body of empirical research now documents a number of startling conclusions:
  1. Divorce almost always brings a decline in the standard of living for the mother and children, plus a dependence on welfare; children in single-parent homes are far more likely to propagate the same behavior.
  2. Children never fully recover from divorce. Five, ten, fifteen years after a divorce, the children suffer from depression, under-achievement, and ultimately, their own troubled relationships.
  3. Young adults from disrupted families are nearly twice as likely as those from intact families to receive psychological help.
  4. Children in disrupted families are nearly twice as likely as those in intact families to drop out of high school. Those who remain in school show significant differences in educational attainment from those children who grow up in intact families.
  5. Remarriage does not reproduce nor restore the intact family structure. The latest research confirms that stepparents cannot replace the original home.
  6. For children whose parents divorced, the risk of divorce is two to three times greater than it is for children from married parent families.
These findings—and many others—underscore the importance of both a mother and a father in fostering the emotional well-being of children. But even more far-reaching effects have been documented—effects that impact society at large beyond the confines of the family. Authorities now are beginning to admit that a central cause of our most pressing social problems (i.e., poverty, crime, and school performance) is the breakup of the traditional American family.
What is even more startling is the fact that as an institution, marriage has lost much of its legal, religious, and social meaning and authority. For most of American history, marriage was one of the most important rites of passage in life. But now, marriage has lost much of its role and significance as a rite of passage. Sex is increasingly detached from the promise or expectation of marriage. Cohabitation is emerging as a significant experience for young adults. It is now replacing marriage as the first living together union. It is estimated that a quarter of unmarried women between the ages of 25 and 39 are currently living with a partner, and about half have lived at some time with an unmarried partner. Referring to this state of affairs as “the deinstitutionalization of marriage,” researchers at the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University concluded: “Taken together, the marriage indicators do not argue for optimism about a quick or widespread comeback of marriage. Persistent long-term trends suggest a steady weakening of marriage as a lasting union, a major stage in the adult life course, and as the primary institution governing childbearing and parenthood” (Popenoe and Whitehead, 1999).
Make no mistake: the social science evidence clearly documents the fact that the breakdown of the traditional two-parent, biological husband-wife family is a major factor contributing to the overall moral, religious, and ethical decline of our country. The social fabric of American civilization is literally tearing apart. The social arrangement that has proved most successful in ensuring the physical survival, and promoting the social development, of the child is the family unit of the biological mother and father. America is in deep trouble.
Our society is not likely to solve these massive problems. The liberal elite has been operating with great vigor for over forty years to push our country into “value neutrality” and “political correctness.” The clear-cut restraints and distinctions between right and wrong so typical of American culture in the past have been systematically dismantled. Relativism has taken the place of objective, absolute truth. The glorification of the individual has encouraged people to determine for themselves right and wrong—rather than looking outside themselves to the Transcendent Creator of the Universe. Consequently, whatever the individual feels is right is sanctioned as right—at least for that individual. The absolute standard of moral value and human behavior—that previously governed our nation—has been successfully supplanted. Subjectivity reigns supreme, and God has been effectively severed from human culture. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:12).


The fact remains that there is a God in heaven (Daniel 2:28). God has spoken to the human race through His written Word, i.e., the Bible. In that inspired communication, He has designated the structure of society. He created male and female with the intention for one man to marry one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). Here is the foundational building block of humanity. That is His simple will on the matter. He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). The only way He permits divorce is if one marriage partner divorces the other marriage partner for the one reason that the marriage partner has committed fornication, i.e., illicit sexual intercourse. Upon that basis alone, God allows the innocent partner to put away that unfaithful mate and form a second marriage (Matthew 19:3-9).
God intended for the husband and wife to produce children who, in turn, are to receive nurturing and care from their parents in a stable, loving home (Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21). In this divinely ordained institution of the home, God intended that children receive the necessary instruction and training to prepare them to be productive, honest, God-fearing, hard-working citizens of their country. The home was designed by God to impart to each succeeding generation proper religious, moral, and social principles that would in turn make their nation strong and virtuous. The Bible is filled with references to the essential ingredients of healthy family life (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:7-9; 6:1-9; 11:18-21; 32:46-47; Psalm 127; Proverbs 5:15-20; 6:20-35; 11:29; 12:4; 14:1; 15:25,27; 17:1,13; 31:10-31), including proper parenting skills (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15,17; Ephesians 6:1-4).


How simple! The solution to the confusion and corruption that has gripped American civilization is simple—if hearts are humbly yielded to the will of God. If we could get our families back on track according to God’s will, we could get our nation back on track. It starts with you and me. We must believe in, affirm to others, and conform ourselves to the sacredness of marriage.


Duin, Julia (2003), “Gay Bishop Sets Off Talk of Episcopal Schism,” The Washington Times, [On-line], URL: http://www.dynamic.washtimes.com/print_story.cfm?StoryID=20030806-123147-7931r.
Popenoe, David and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (1999), “What’s Happening to Marriage?” [On-line], URL: http//marriage.Rutgers.edu/Publications/pubwhatshappening.htm.
Robinson, B.A. (2003), “Criminalizing Same-Sex Behavior,” [On-line], URL: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_laws1.htm.
“Sodomy Laws in the United States,” (2003), [On-line], URL: http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/usa.htm.
Whitehead, Barbara (1993), “Dan Quayle Was Right,” The Atlantic Monthly, [On-line], URL: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/family/danquayl.htm.

From Mark Copeland... Freedom From Sin (Romans 8:1-25)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                       Freedom From Sin (8:1-25)


1. How seriously do we take the problem of sin...?
   a. The guilt of sin?
   b. The power of sin?
   c. The corruption of sin?

2. Do we really appreciate the freedom from sin...?
   a. That we can experience now in our lives?
   b. That we can look forward to in the future?

[In Ro 8:1-25, Paul writes about the freedom from sin that one finds in
Christ.  To appreciate more fully the blessings we have in Christ,
consider that there is first...]


      1. Everyone is guilty of sin - Ro 3:23; 1Jn 1:8
      2. Even if one committed just one sin (if such were possible!)
         - Jm 2:10-11
      3. Unforgiven sin separates us from God - Isa 59:1-2
      4. The ultimate condemnation is death (esp. the 'second' death)
         - Ro 6:23; cf. Re 21:8
      -- That all are guilty of sin is the main point of Romans 1-3

      1. From condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus - Ro 8:1;
         cf. Ga 3:27
         a. For in Christ there is propitiation, redemption,
            justification - Ro 3:24-26
         b. For in baptism there is death to sin, newness of life - Ro 6:3-8
      2. Who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the
         Spirit - Ro 8:1,4
         a. Explained more fully later in the chapter (and in this
         b. Also in Paul's epistle to the Galatians - cf. Ga 5:16-26
      3. Made possible by:
         a. The law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
            - Ro 8:2
            1) Which sets one free from the law of sin and death - cf.
               Tit 3:4-7
            2) The law of sin and death which enslaves, mentioned in Ro 7:21-25
         b. The death of Christ - Ro 8:3-4
            1) Doing what the Law of Moses could not do
            2) Condemning sin in the flesh
            3) Fulfilling the righteous requirement of the Law for us
      -- That justification (no condemnation) is found in Christ is the
         theme of Romans 4-7

[Thus the freedom from sin that we enjoy in Christ involves freedom from
the condemnation of sin.  But there is more!  There is also...]


      1. The problem of sin is not limited to guilt
         a. As if the guilt of sin weren't bad enough!
         b. Sin also has power to enslave a person so they can't do what
            they want to do!
      2. Jesus described the power of sin - Jn 8:31-34
         a. The freedom under consideration is freedom from the slavery
            of sin!
         b. When one commits sin, they become a slave of sin!
      3. Paul vividly depicted his life under the bondage of sin - Ro 7:14-24
         a. He was "sold under sin"
         b. He could not do what he wanted, and what he did not wish to
            do, he did
         c. He found that "sin dwells in me"
         d. Though he desired to do good, "how to perform what is good I
            do not find"
         e. He was brought "into captivity to the law of sin which is in
            my members"
         f. It made him "wretched", crying out for deliverance from
            "this body of death"
      -- Sin has the power to enslave, and mankind needs deliverance!

      1. For those who live according to the Spirit, not the flesh - Ro 8:5-8
         a. By setting their minds on the things of the Spirit, not the
            things of the flesh
         b. Whereby they can enjoy life and peace, not death
         c. Whereby they can submit to God and please Him, while those
            in the flesh cannot
      2. For those who have the indwelling Holy Spirit - Ro 8:9-11
         a. A blessing for those who belong to Christ - cf. Jn 7:37-39;
            Ac 2:38; Tit 3:4-7
         b. Providing life to our mortal bodies that were dead because
            of sin - cf. Ro 6:12-14
      3. For those who by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body
         - Ro 8:12-13
         a. Who are no longer indebted to live according to the flesh
            - cf. Ro 6:16-19
         b. But can now live according to the Spirit - cf. Ga 5:25; Ep 3:16
      4. For those who are children of God, joint-heirs with Christ - Ro 8:14-17
         a. Led by the Spirit of God, by Whom they cry, "Abba, Father"
            - cf. Ga 4:6
         b. Heirs of glory with Christ, if willing to suffer with Him
      -- With help from the Holy Spirit, we can break free from the
         bondage of sin!

[Freedom from the condemnation of sin and the power of sin!  What more
could we ask for?  How about...]


      1. Because of sin, mankind experiences physical death - cf. 1Co 15:22a; Gen 3:22-24
         a. Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden
         b. Access to the tree of life was lost, thus physical death
      2. Because of sin, even the creation was placed under a curse
         - cf. Gen 3:17
         a. Subjected to futility - Ro 8:20
         b. In bondage to corruption - Ro 8:21
         c. Groaning and laboring with birth pangs - Ro 8:22; cf. Isa 24:4-6
      -- The effects of sin has permeated all of creation!

      1. The glorious liberty of the children of God! - Ro 8:18-22
         a. To be revealed one day - cf. Col 3:4; 2Th 2:10; 2Pe 1:13
         b. Making any present suffering unworthy to be compared
         c. Even the creation will be delivered from the bondage of
            1) Note that Paul does not say that the creation will be
               delivered into its own liberty
            2) But into the glorious liberty of the children of God
            3) The present heavens and earth will "pass away", and there
               will be new heavens and a new earth - cf. 2Pe 3:10-14;
               Re 21:1-7
      2. Involving our own resurrection, for which we hope - Ro 8:23-25
         a. The redemption of our body, which we eagerly await - cf. Ac 23:6
         b. Saved for this very hope, for which we wait with
            perseverance - cf. Ac 24:15-16
      -- With the resurrection of the dead, the creation of a new heaven
         and new earth, the corruption of sin will be no more!


1. The freedom from sin that is available in Christ involves...
   a. Freedom from the condemnation of sin
   b. Freedom from the power of sin
   c. Freedom from the corruption of sin

2. Unless we receive the freedom from sin found only in Christ...
   a. We remain guilty of sin
   b. We remain enslaved to sin
   c. We remain under the corruptive influences of sin

But by responding to the gospel of Christ with an obedient faith,
freedom from the devastating effects of sin can be ours, with a hope of
glorious liberty when Christ returns...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading August 22

Bible Reading  

August 22

The World English Bible

Aug. 22
Job 24-26
Job 24:1 "Why aren't times laid up by the Almighty? Why don't those who know him see his days?
Job 24:2 There are people who remove the landmarks. They violently take away flocks, and feed them.
Job 24:3 They drive away the donkey of the fatherless, and they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
Job 24:4 They turn the needy out of the way. The poor of the earth all hide themselves.
Job 24:5 Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert, they go forth to their work, seeking diligently for food. The wilderness yields them bread for their children.
Job 24:6 They cut their provender in the field. They glean the vineyard of the wicked.
Job 24:7 They lie all night naked without clothing, and have no covering in the cold.
Job 24:8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for lack of a shelter.
Job 24:9 There are those who pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor,
Job 24:10 So that they go around naked without clothing. Being hungry, they carry the sheaves.
Job 24:11 They make oil within the walls of these men. They tread wine presses, and suffer thirst.
Job 24:12 From out of the populous city, men groan. The soul of the wounded cries out, yet God doesn't regard the folly.
Job 24:13 "These are of those who rebel against the light. They don't know its ways, nor abide in its paths.
Job 24:14 The murderer rises with the light. He kills the poor and needy. In the night he is like a thief.
Job 24:15 The eye also of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, 'No eye shall see me.' He disguises his face.
Job 24:16 In the dark they dig through houses. They shut themselves up in the daytime. They don't know the light.
Job 24:17 For the morning is to all of them like thick darkness, for they know the terrors of the thick darkness.
Job 24:18 "They are foam on the surface of the waters. Their portion is cursed in the earth. They don't turn into the way of the vineyards.
Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters, so does Sheol those who have sinned.
Job 24:20 The womb shall forget him. The worm shall feed sweetly on him. He shall be no more remembered. Unrighteousness shall be broken as a tree.
Job 24:21 He devours the barren who don't bear. He shows no kindness to the widow.
Job 24:22 Yet God preserves the mighty by his power. He rises up who has no assurance of life.
Job 24:23 God gives them security, and they rest in it. His eyes are on their ways.
Job 24:24 They are exalted; yet a little while, and they are gone. Yes, they are brought low, they are taken out of the way as all others, and are cut off as the tops of the ears of grain.
Job 24:25 If it isn't so now, who will prove me a liar, and make my speech worth nothing?"
Job 25:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
Job 25:2 "Dominion and fear are with him. He makes peace in his high places.
Job 25:3 Can his armies be counted? On whom does his light not arise?
Job 25:4 How then can man be just with God? Or how can he who is born of a woman be clean?
Job 25:5 Behold, even the moon has no brightness, and the stars are not pure in his sight;
Job 25:6 How much less man, who is a worm, the son of man, who is a worm!"
Job 26:1 Then Job answered,
Job 26:2 "How have you helped him who is without power! How have you saved the arm that has no strength!
Job 26:3 How have you counseled him who has no wisdom, and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
Job 26:4 To whom have you uttered words? Whose spirit came forth from you?
Job 26:5 "Those who are deceased tremble, those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
Job 26:6 Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.
Job 26:7 He stretches out the north over empty space, and hangs the earth on nothing.
Job 26:8 He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not burst under them.
Job 26:9 He encloses the face of his throne, and spreads his cloud on it.
Job 26:10 He has described a boundary on the surface of the waters, and to the confines of light and darkness.
Job 26:11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his rebuke.
Job 26:12 He stirs up the sea with his power, and by his understanding he strikes through Rahab.
Job 26:13 By his Spirit the heavens are garnished. His hand has pierced the swift serpent.
Job 26:14 Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways. How small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?"

Aug. 22
Romans 3

Rom 3:1 Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Much in every way! Because first of all, they were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Rom 3:3 For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God?
Rom 3:4 May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written, "That you might be justified in your words, and might prevail when you come into judgment."
Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what will we say? Is God unrighteous who inflicts wrath? I speak like men do.
Rom 3:6 May it never be! For then how will God judge the world?
Rom 3:7 For if the truth of God through my lie abounded to his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?
Rom 3:8 Why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), "Let us do evil, that good may come?" Those who say so are justly condemned.
Rom 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way. For we previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.
Rom 3:10 As it is written, "There is no one righteous; no, not one.
Rom 3:11 There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God.
Rom 3:12 They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not, so much as one."
Rom 3:13 "Their throat is an open tomb. With their tongues they have used deceit." "The poison of vipers is under their lips;"
Rom 3:14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
Rom 3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood.
Rom 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways.
Rom 3:17 The way of peace, they haven't known."
Rom 3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God.
Rom 3:20 Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction,
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;
Rom 3:25 whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God's forbearance;
Rom 3:26 to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what manner of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
Rom 3:28 We maintain therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.
Rom 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Isn't he the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
Rom 3:30 since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith.
Rom 3:31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish the law.

From Gary... A question of inward seeing

Yogi Berra once said:   
You can observe a lot by just watching. (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yogi_berra.html)  

This is true!!! However, you can't know everything by just watching.  Consider this picture for just a moment; if you were standing on the rock ledge in the upper part of the picture, you may or may not be able to see the rocks below.  So, where you are standing makes a difference as to what you can see!!!  The same thing is true with people- you may or may not be able to see who they really are; I mean, inside.  Sometimes you can know a person for many years and then they do something that completely surprises you and you to wonder if you ever really knew them at all!  Then, there is this passage from the book of 1st Corinthians...

1 Corinthians 2:1-11 NASB
(1)  And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.
(2)  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
(3)  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,
(4)  and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
(5)  so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
(6)  Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
(7)  but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
(8)  the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
(10)  For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
(11)  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

Who am I? This is a question that almost everyone asks at one time or another.  I think that this question changes over time, as we progress in our lives.  And the thing is- no one really knows how you change but you (and of course, God). But, what about God? Do we really know HIM?  The answer is yes and no. Yes, because the Spirit has revealed him through the medium of the Scriptures. And No, because those characteristics that are absolute (such as eternality, purity, omnipotence, omniscience, etc..) are beyond our absolute comprehension because only God has them.  BUT, God did send Jesus, so that we might have a glimpse of what God in human flesh would be and that will have to be enough!!!   And when HE speaks, we should listen...

Matthew 28:18 NASB
(18)  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
John 12:45-50 NASB
(45)  "He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.
(46)  "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
(47)  "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
(48)  "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
(49)  "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
(50)  "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."

A great part of who you really are (underneath the surface, I mean) is really about the choices you make throughout your life. They define and describe you in ways that simply cannot be seen. Question: Gary (or whoever)- What will you do about Jesus; today?????