"WILDERNESS" is real and it speaks with a loud voice. Those who deny that human experience has a God-denying look attached to it need their eyes and ears examined. 

Israel and more particularly the Lord Jesus in the Wilderness make it clear that the last word doesn't lie with Wilderness. It lies with a faithful and sovereign God.

When Israel turned from the Red Sea and the wreck of Pharaoh’s army lying on its bank and looked at the wilderness it must have been a real let-down. A brooding, sinister place that with its moaning wind and desolate look was telling them early that it meant to bar their way home. "I’ll bury you here," you can imagine it whispering. But something like forty years later they marched in from that wilderness as the scourge of God against entrenched evil national structures. How was that possible?

Imagine we’re on a high place overlooking the wilderness in the Sinai peninsula and we’re panning it with our binoculars. As far as the eyes can see there's barrenness, stunted growth, waterless land, lower life-forms, pitiless heat, erratic boulders, a struggle for survival, scorpions and serpents competing for the shade, there's dust and the weary wind. Then down below us, suddenly, we’re met by a profusion of color and life. Tents pitched in thousands, all in order and placed with precision around a central Tent. We see herds of goats, flocks of sheep, we strain our ears and the wind carries the sound of laughter up to us, a joyous shout now and then rises to us or the sound of music. How’s this possible? Is it a mirage? Here! In the middle of all this absence of promise there is life, real life, flourishing, thriving life. How do these realities exist here? How do they sustain themselves? In the midst of curse there is this blessing? In this chaos could we expect this order and harmony and thousands who joyfully sang of their freedom? FREEDOM? Is this lunacy?

Israel’s experience in the wilderness was to be remembered for all their generations. Yahweh established the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) so that they would never forget the time when God guided them through the trackless desert (Deuteronomy 8:15), and spread a table for them in that inhospitable land (Psalms 68:8-10; 78:18-30). God wanted them to grow in their trust of him and nothing has changed.

If we panned the world of nations wouldn’t we see the kind of thing that kills hope, the kind of thing that urges us to be realistic and expect nothing. The nations aren’t only dying they’ve been dying for ages. Forever has come and gone and they’re still dying. With brutality, cruelty and callousness everywhere and cynicism and indifference everywhere else isn’t it time to admit we’re unredeemable and that a God (if there is a God) wouldn’t be worth worshipping if he could see us for what we are and still want anything to do with us?

So we lift our gaze for one more, a final, glance before turning away in despair and something catches our eye and our ear. In the middle of that wilderness of nations we see people gathered in living, joyful worship, alive with hope and proclaiming and singing in these days what people like Moses and Joshua and Caleb proclaimed in their day—gospel! The wilderness is real but so are these people! The wilderness is real but so is the God of these people. The wilderness is real but the very existence of these people in this wilderness proclaims that God is the Lord of wilderness. Any wilderness! National, international, cosmic or personal! The OT church in the wilderness and the NT church in the wilderness of the nations says things to the whole big round teeming world. 
Wilderness has a persuasive word to speak but it doesn’t have the last word.
The last word is spelled  J  E  S  U  S and he's Lord of Wilderness for he is IMMANUEL.

The Bible and Female Leadership by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Bible and Female Leadership

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Amid the polarization that plagues American civilization in general, and Christendom in particular, one chasm continues to widen between those who wish to conform to Bible protocol and those who wish to modernize, update, adjust, and adapt Scripture to secular society. The cry of those who are pressing the feminist agenda is that the church in the past has restricted women in roles of leadership and worship simply because of culture and flawed hermeneutical principles. They say we are the product of a male-dominated society and have consequently misconstrued the contextual meaning of the relevant biblical passages. As attitudes soften and biblical conviction weakens, Scripture is being reinterpreted to allow for expanded roles for women in worship. At least some of this propensity for compromise is due to the skeptic’s insistence that God, the Bible, and Christians suffer from misogyny.
The central passage in the New Testament that indicates gender role in the home is Ephesians 5:22-33. The premier passage that treats gender roles in worship is 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Both passages indicate that men, i.e., adult males (andras), are to be holy, spiritual leaders in the home and in worship, while women are admonished to be modest and unassuming, and to fulfill the critical responsibilities assigned to them by God. What conceivable reason would the inspired writer (Paul) have for placing any limitations on either men or women? Was his concern prompted by the culture of that day? Was Paul merely accommodating an unenlightened, hostile environment, or asserting his own chauvinistic tendencies? The Holy Spirit gave the reason for the limitations, and that reason transcends all culture and all locales. Paul stated that men are to be kind, loving, nurturing leaders, and women are to submit to that leadership in the home and the church, because Adam was created before Eve. Here is the heart and core of God’s will concerning how men and women are to function and interrelate.
God’s original design for the human race entailed the creation of the male first as an indication of the man’s responsibility to be the spiritual leader of the home and the church. That is his functional purpose. Woman, on the other hand, was specifically designed and created for the purpose of being a subordinate (though not inferior) assistant. This feature of Creation explains why God gave spiritual teaching to Adam before Eve was created, implying that Adam had the created responsibility to teach his wife (Genesis 2:15-17). It explains why the female is twice stated to have been created to be “an help meet for him,” i.e., a helper suitable for the man (Genesis 2:18,20, emp. added). This explains why the Genesis text clearly indicates that in a unique sense, the woman was created for the man—not vice versa. It explains why God brought the woman “to the man” (Genesis 2:22)—not vice versa—again, as if she was made “for him.” Adam confirmed this understanding by stating “the woman whom You gave to be with me” (Genesis 3:12, emp. added). It explains why Paul argued on the basis of this very distinction: “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Corinthians 11:9, emp. added). It further clarifies the implied authority of the man over the women in his act of naming the woman (Genesis 2:23; 3:20). The Jews understood this divinely designed order, evidenced by the practice of primogeniture (“firstborn” male). God’s creation of the man first was specifically intended to communicate the authority/submission principle for ordering the human race (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:8). Indeed, the evolutionists, skeptics, atheists, feminists, and theological liberals who disdain this reality are faced with the stubborn reality that gender distinction is inherently built into the created order via a host of clear cut emotional, psychological, and physiological differences between men and women—from chromosomes, to life span and muscle strength (cf. Jacobsen, 2007). Paul pinpoints perhaps the most prominent and distinguishing feature: the ability of females to bear children (1 Timothy 2:15).
Bible teaching on difference in role in no way implies a difference in worth, value, or ability. Galatians 3:28 (“neither male nor female”), 1 Timothy 2:15 (“she shall be saved”), and 1 Peter 3:7 (“heirs together of the grace of life”) all show that males and females are equals as far as their person and salvation status is concerned. Women are often superior to men in talent, intellect, and ability. Women are not inferior to men anymore than Christ the Son is inferior to God the Father, citizens are inferior to the President, or students are inferior to teachers. The role of women in the home and in the church is not a matter of control, power, or oppression. It is a matter of submission on the part of all human beings to the will of God. It is a matter of willingness on the part of God’s creatures, male and female, to subordinate themselves to the divine arrangement regarding the sexes. The biblical differentiation is purely a matter of function, assigned tasks, and sphere of responsibility. The tragic mistreatment of women through the centuries in countries and cultures around the world by men who have abused and misused their authority in no way discredits the biblical principle.
A massive restructuring of values and reorientation of moral and spiritual standards has been taking place in American culture for over 50 years now. The dismantling of scriptural gender differentiation is one facet of this multifaceted effacement and erosion of biblical values. Virtually every sphere of American culture has been impacted. To the extent that God’s will for the proper functioning of the human race deteriorates, to that extent we will continue to see the unraveling of America’s foundational values and increasing social confusion and disorientation.
Many talented, godly women possess abilities and talents that would enable them to surpass many of the male worship leaders functioning in the church today. However, the Bible stands as an unalterable, eternal declaration of God’s will on the matter. By those words we will be judged (John 12:48). May all people bow humbly and submissively before the God of Heaven in conformity to His perfect will for people.


Jacobsen, Joyce (2007), The Economics of Gender (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing), third edition.

From Mark Copeland... The Gift Of Living Water (John 4:10-14)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   The Gift Of Living Water (4:10-14)


1. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, He spoke of "living
   a. He approached her for a drink on His way to Galilee - Jn 4:3-8
   b. She was amazed that He, a Jew, would speak to her, a Samaritan
      woman - Jn 4:9
   -- Jesus used the opportunity to tell her about "living water" - Jn 4:10-14

2. Questions abound about "the gift of God" and "living water" in this
   a. What is "the gift of God"?
      1) Many say it refers to Jesus
      2) Others believe it refers to the salvation He offers
   b. What is the "living water" Jesus offers?
      1) Many say it is a figure for salvation or eternal life
      2) Others apply it to the Holy Spirit, because of Jn 7:37-39
   -- Are they two different things, or one and the same?

3. Like others, I  believe "the gift of God" and "living water" are one
   and the same...
   a. "Now it is quite clear that our Lord means the same thing,
      whatever it may be, by the two expressions, 'the gift of God' and
      'the living water.'" - Maclaren
   b. "When Jesus spoke about 'the gift of God,' He meant 'living
      water.'" - Hendriksen
   -- Though I can appreciate why many believe "the gift of God" is
      Jesus - cf. Jn 3:16

4. Like others, I tend to think "living water" in this passage may refer
   to the Holy Spirit...
   a. "By this living water is meant the Spirit..." - Matthew Henry
   b. "From [Jn 7:37-39] it is plain, that our Savior here by the living
      water he speaks of understood the Holy Spirit." - Poole

[That "living water" in Jn 4:10-14 may be an allusion to the gift of the
Holy Spirit comes from examining the nature of this "living water"
described by Jesus both here and in Jn 7.  For example...]


      1. "...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will
         never thirst" - Jn 4:14
      2. "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink" - Jn 7:37

      1. Yes, upon our conversion
         a. Those who repent and are baptized receive the gift of the
            Spirit - Ac 2:38-39
         b. Those who are baptized are made to "drink" of the Spirit 
            - 1Co 12:13
      2. Yes, as we continue to seek to be filled with the Spirit
         a. We are not to be drunk with wine, but filled with the Spirit
            - Ep 5:18-19
         b. The implication may be that filling comes through "drinking"
         c. How do we continue to drink of the Spirit?  I would suggest
            in these ways:
            1) Singing and making melody in our heart - Ep 5:18-19
            2) Feeding upon the Word of God, which is the sword of the
               Spirit - Ep 6:17
            3) Praying for strength through the Spirit - Ep 3:16; cf. Lk 11:13

[Thus we see a similarity between the "living water" of Jesus and what
is said concerning the Spirit and the Christian.  The similarity


      1. "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will
         never thirst." - Jn 4:14
      2. "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink." - Jn 7:37

      1. Yes, as prophesied by Isaiah - cf. Isa 44:3
      2. Yes, if by quenching our thirst one means meeting our spiritual
         a. Such as our need for the love of God - cf. Ro 5:5
         b. Such as our need for our love for God - cf. Ro 8:15; Ga 4:6
         c. Such as our need to mortify the flesh - cf. Ro 8:12-13
         d. Such as our need to abound in hope - cf. Ro 15:13
         e. Such as our need for inner strength - cf. Ep 3:16

[In many ways the Spirit quenches our spiritual thirst!  As we continue
to note the similarity between "living water" and the Spirit in the life
of the Christian, we next observe...]


      1. "the water that I shall give him will become in him..." - Jn 4:14
      2. "out of his heart..." - Jn 7:38

      1. Yes, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit - 1Co 6:19
      2. Yes, for the Spirit dwells in us if we are Christ's - Ro 8:9,11

[How the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian may be a mystery; that He
does, there is no doubt.  Note another similarity between "living water"
and the Spirit in the life of the Christian...]


      1. "a fountain of water springing up" - Jn 4:14
      2. "will flow rivers of living water" - Jn 7:38

      1. Yes, by moving the Christian to "cry out" Abba, Father - Ro 8:15; Ga 4:6
      2. Yes, by helping the Christian to "abound" in hope - Ro 15:13
      3. Yes, by producing "fruit" in the life of the Christian - Ga 5:

[The fruit of the Spirit truly refreshes the soul of the Christian as
"living water" does the thirsty soul.  Finally, note one more similarity
between "living water" and the Spirit in the life of the Christian...]


      1. "a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." - Jn 4:14
      2. Note:  the "living water" is not everlasting life itself,
         rather it results in everlasting life

      1. Yes, for through the Spirit we wait for the hope of
         righteousness - Ga 5:5
      2. That hope, of course, is eternal life - Tit 1:2
      3. By the Spirit whom God poured out on us abundantly through
         a. We are renewed and justified by God's grace - Tit 3:5-6
         b. Thus made heirs according to the hope of eternal life - Ti 3:5-7
      4. And sowing to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting
         life - Ga 6:8

1. While the "living water" in Jn 4:10-14 may pertain to salvation, I
   believe it has particular reference to the gift of the Spirit in the
   life of the Christian...
   a. Salvation involves both justification and sanctification
   b. The Holy Spirit certainly plays a role in both - cf. 1Co 6:11; Ti 3:4-7
   c. And the Spirit is given to those who become Christians - Ac 2:
      38-39; 5:32; Ga 4:6
   -- It certainly has such reference in Jn 7:37-39

2. If so, then we might understand Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman
   as follows...
   a. "If you knew the gift of God" - If you knew what God is willing to
      give you (i.e., the Spirit)
   b. "...and who it is who says to you..." - That He is the Messiah,
      the one who will pour out the Spirit on all flesh - cf. Jn 1:33;
      Ac 2:33
   c. "...He would have given you living water..." - i.e., the Holy
      1) The same promise made to all believers in Jn 7:37-39
      2) Though not fully given until He was glorified (after His
         resurrection and ascension)

3. Are we enjoying the benefits of "The Gift Of Living Water" that Jesus
   a. It begins by responding to Christ in baptism - cf. Ac 2:38; 1Co 12:13
   b. It continues by being careful not to "quench" the Spirit - cf.
      1Th 5:19; e.g., Ac 7:51

May our attitude be like that of the Samaritan woman:  "Sir, give me
this water..." - Jn 4:15

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading September 24

Bible Reading  

September 24

The World English Bible

Sept. 24
Psalms 98-100

Psa 98:1 Sing to Yahweh a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand, and his holy arm, have worked salvation for him.
Psa 98:2 Yahweh has made known his salvation. He has openly shown his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
Psa 98:3 He has remembered his loving kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Psa 98:4 Make a joyful noise to Yahweh, all the earth! Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!
Psa 98:5 Sing praises to Yahweh with the harp, with the harp and the voice of melody.
Psa 98:6 With trumpets and sound of the ram's horn, make a joyful noise before the King, Yahweh.
Psa 98:7 Let the sea roar with its fullness; the world, and those who dwell therein.
Psa 98:8 Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the mountains sing for joy together.
Psa 98:9 Let them sing before Yahweh, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
Psa 99:1 Yahweh reigns! Let the peoples tremble. He sits enthroned among the cherubim. Let the earth be moved.
Psa 99:2 Yahweh is great in Zion. He is high above all the peoples.
Psa 99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name. He is Holy!
Psa 99:4 The King's strength also loves justice. You do establish equity. You execute justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Psa 99:5 Exalt Yahweh our God. Worship at his footstool. He is Holy!
Psa 99:6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel among those who call on his name; they called on Yahweh, and he answered them.
Psa 99:7 He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud. They kept his testimonies, the statute that he gave them.
Psa 99:8 You answered them, Yahweh our God. You are a God who forgave them, although you took vengeance for their doings.
Psa 99:9 Exalt Yahweh, our God. Worship at his holy hill, for Yahweh, our God, is holy!
Psa 100:1 Shout for joy to Yahweh, all you lands!
Psa 100:2 Serve Yahweh with gladness. Come before his presence with singing.
Psa 100:3 Know that Yahweh, he is God. It is he who has made us, and we are his. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psa 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name.
Psa 100:5 For Yahweh is good. His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations.

Sept. 24
2 Corinthians 4

2Co 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don't faint.
2Co 4:2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
2Co 4:3 Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish;
2Co 4:4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.
2Co 4:5 For we don't preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake;
2Co 4:6 seeing it is God who said, "Light will shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.
2Co 4:8 We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair;
2Co 4:9 pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed;
2Co 4:10 always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2Co 4:11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh.
2Co 4:12 So then death works in us, but life in you.
2Co 4:13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, "I believed, and therefore I spoke." We also believe, and therefore also we speak;
2Co 4:14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will present us with you.
2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
2Co 4:16 Therefore we don't faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 while we don't look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

From Gary... Worrying

I had a difficult day on Tuesday: I worked on a computer problem for hours and hours and met a "brick wall". Finally, I made a decision about my obstacle and chose another path instead.  I realized that if God really wanted me to do this particular thing, it would be done, period.  So, this picture meant a lot to me today.

Jesus said:

Luke 12:16-31 NASB
(16)  And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive.
(17)  "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'
(18)  "Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
(19)  'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'
(20)  "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'
(21)  "So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
(22)  And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.
(23)  "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
(24)  "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!
(25)  "And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?
(26)  "If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
(27)  "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
(28)  "But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!
(29)  "And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.
(30)  "For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.
(31)  "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Then, I thought a bit about "worry" and looked up this definition...

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (gcide)
Worry Wor"ry, n.; pl. Worries.
   A state of undue solicitude; a state of disturbance from care
   and anxiety; vexation; anxiety; fret; as, to be in a worry.
   "The whir and worry of spindle and of loom." --Sir T. Browne.
   [1913 Webster]

Humm, a state of "undue solicitude"; makes sense to me. And then, I should have known that, for the Father... "knows that you need...". Worry then, would seem to be a lack of placing God first in your life and not correctly seeking HIM and HIS RULE (kingdom).  I will try to remember these things the next time I see myself begin to fret over something.  However, I am not going to "beat myself up" over all this, for I remember that I did ultimately decide to leave my problem up to God.  Now, I guess its time to wait to see what God will do about my technical problem.  I Wonder what HE WILL DO.... In the meantime, I will just enjoy the cartoon and perhaps smile a bit!!!