12/1/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Be of good cheer, Snoopy

Be of good cheer, Snoopy

It’s around Christmas time, it’s snowing and Snoopy is sitting all alone, shivering. Charlie Brown and (I think) Shermy, dressed against the chilly weather are looking at Snoopy (poor thing), they’re overcome with pity and decide to do something. So over they go and Shermy says, "Be of good cheer, Snoopy" and Charlie says, "Yes, be of good cheer" and off they walk leaving Snoopy as they found him. Well, not quite as they found him. He's still alone and shivering but he has that slightly perplexed look on his face as he looks at the figures walking off into the distance. There’s a big question mark in a bubble above his head.

Mr. Schulz obviously had James 2:14-16 in mind. When someone is in need and we can certainly do something about it but we leave him or her (or them) needy, having mouthed a few pious words—that’s pathetic.

There's something deeply sickening about our being warmed and filled while a million Lazuruses are lying around us in plain sight. To hoard is a sin! Of a man who had more than enough but built greater barns to hoard even more of the goods God gave him to share—of him God said, "You fool!"

Do we not too often tell people, "Be of good cheer" without giving them good reasons to be of good cheer? You don’t hear that kind of thing in the NT. "Be of good cheer" in the gospels doesn’t occur without a reason following. To frightened disciples Jesus said, "Be of good cheer, it's me." To a poor miserable and fearful wretch the Master said, "Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven." To followers frightened of having to face a world that will give them trouble and pain the Christ said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." And so it goes in all the other texts where words like these occur.

Where it’s possible and appropriate we ought to be saying, "Be of good cheer because I have the money you need and I will gladly give it to you." "Be of good cheer they have found your child that was lost." "Be of good cheer we now have a way around that difficulty." There are countless situations where we can make an immediate difference to a situation that needs changing! Sometimes we can do it alone. Sometimes it takes a handful or a multitude of us all banding together—but there are things we can and should change!

I don’t have to tell you that there are countless situations that can’t be changed immediately, no matter how many of us there are that fervently wish we could do something about them. The situation is too complex and too far-gone. The child will die, the marriage will crumble, the son will go to prison, the business will fail, tens of thousands will die in the famine, the firm will go belly-up and the employees will be out of jobs...and on...and on...and on.

That doesn’t excuse us when we leave Snoopy sitting bewildered and shivering in the snow, with a bubble over his head and a big question mark in it.

And ministers of the Word of God can’t be excused for trotting out the same well-worn moralizing week after week after week. No development of rich truth, no wrestling with the scriptures in the sight of God to strengthen the hearts of those whose immediate circumstances can’t be changed. No, instead we get the same seven-steps to moral fine-tuning, ten more reasons we should all be happy, the nineteen laws if you want a great family, eight more points showing that we’re not to "sweat the small stuff" and why it is that all our problems are "small stuff".

No attempt to develop the cosmic ramifications of what God has done and is doing in Jesus Christ. No sustained and vibrant talk of a judgment that will right all wrongs or how it is that our suffering is playing its part in the redemptive work of God on behalf of the human family. Nothing complex, nothing challenging, nothing that gives the hurt of the nations depth and meaning and dignity. Nothing but the wringing of our hands in the pulpit (or out of it) and an unsupported "Be of good cheer" as we make our way into the foyer.

In God’s name give us some reason to "be of good cheer". After a while we want more than your piteous tone, your pained look and your obvious sympathy. We get sick of that no matter how sincere it might be. And we especially get sick of the verbal hand-wringing. Plunge into the gospel and come back with something about Him that galvanizes your faith and hope. And with that help us to gallantly face down our situations that can’t immediately be changed.

Quit educating us or instructing us [of course I'm overstating my point!]—inspire us, empower us! We're tired learning how much you know, what a scholar you are; we're tired of hearing you explain—one more time— what this or that verse means before moving on to explain another; we're tired of you proving—one more time—whose doctrine is false. You've piled enough firewood in the fireplace—it's fire we want and fire we need!

All right, yes, we know that you know more than the rest of us and we know that much of what you say is accurate but we want and profoundly need the kind of truth that stuns, astonishes and empowers us to speak and stay on our feet when a "world" demands we be silent and threatens to flatten us.

We're not interested in pep-talks, sermonettes or stand-up commedians or good old boys with lots of personal stories to tell! Give us God! Give us the massive truths about God. We don't need you to be smart, at least we don't need for you to show us you're smart—we need to know and see that God is magnificent!

Give us big reasons, big truths that gives substance to your glib pulpit oracles like, "Be of good cheer!"

Be a preacher/teacher of the GOSPEL!

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

Jesus Used Logic by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=3755

Jesus Used Logic

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Jesus was undoubtedly the Master Logician. He demonstrated unsurpassed logical prowess on every occasion. One such incident occurred when He was preaching to a group that had gathered in a house. So many people were crammed into the house that four men were unable to bring a paralytic into contact with Him, so they carried him onto the roof, punched a hole through the ceiling, and lowered him down through the hole into the presence of Jesus. The text then reads:
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:5-12).
Observe that in their private thoughts the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy, since He claimed to forgive the man of his sins on the spot—an act that only Deity could rightly perform. By asking the question, “Which is easier…?,” Jesus was urging them to reason correctly and think through what was taking place. If Jesus had the power to cause a bedfast paralytic to stand up and walk, instantaneously healing him of his affliction, then He either had divine backing or He, Himself, was God. Anyone can verbally say, “Your sins are forgiven” (cf. Catholic priests). That is what Jesus meant when he used the word “easier.” For a mere human to pronounce forgiveness upon a fellow human does not make it so. How, then, can one determine whether sin is actually forgiven, i.e., that God forgave the individual? Answer: The one making the claim would either have to be God in the flesh, or he would have to have divine authority for his action, and that divine authority would have to be verified, i.e., proven and shown to be authentic.
The purpose of miracles throughout the Bible was to authenticate God’s spokesmen. To verify that his words and claims were authored by God, the speaker would perform a miracle (see Miller, 2003; cf. Hebrews 2:3-4). When an observer saw a bona fide miracle performed before his very eyes, he could know, i.e., have complete certainty, that the speaker was a genuine representative of God. Jesus, therefore, prodded the scribes to face up to the fact that if Jesus could merely speak to the paralytic and cause him to be healed, then Jesus possessed divine credentials and had every right to also forgive the man of his sins. Follow the logic:
  1. If Jesus can perform miraculous feats, then His claim to be the Son of God Who can forgive sin is true.
  2. Jesus can perform miraculous feats (He healed the paralytic on this occasion).
  3. Therefore, Jesus is the Son of God Who can forgive sin.
Having pressed this remarkably logical handling of the situation, all that remained was for Jesus to perform a miraculous feat, thereby validating His power to forgive the paralytic man of sin. So Jesus healed the man, prefaced with this logical conclusion: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (vs. 10). Jesus’ logic was impeccable, powerful, and perfectly consistent with Deity.

REFERENCES

Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.

From Mark Copeland... The Parable Of The Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

               The Parable Of The Mustard Seed (4:30-32)

INTRODUCTION

1. In "The Parable Of The Growing Seed", kingdom growth caused by the
   Word is illustrated as:
   a. Imperceptible - in that we may not always understand how the
      growth occurs
   b. Independent - in that the seed bears fruit beyond our own efforts
   c. Gradual - in that it occurs in stages, not all at once

2. To further illustrate kingdom growth by the Word of God, Jesus told
   another parable...
   a. "The Parable Of The Mustard Seed" - Mk 4:30-32
   b. That describes a kingdom destined for remarkable growth

[To appreciate the point of the parable, some background information may
be helpful on...]

I. THE MUSTARD SEED

   A. THE PLANT ITSELF...
      1. The mustard plant is well known for its hot-flavored seeds
      2. Among seeds sown in a garden it was generally the smallest
      3. As a plant, it reaches ten, sometimes fifteen feet in height
      4. In the fall of the year, its branches have become rigid, and
         the plant often serves as a shelter for birds of many kinds
         (William Hendriksen, Commentary on Matthew)

   B. PROVERBIAL USES OF THE MUSTARD SEED...
      1. The mustard seed was used frequently to describe anything that
         is small in its beginning
      2. Jesus used it on another occasion to describe one's faith - cf.
         Mt 17:20
      3. The Koran reads "Oh, my son, every matter, though it be of the
         weight of a grain of mustard seed..." (quoted by R. C. Trench)

[With this understanding of the mustard plant and its seeds, perhaps we
are better able to appreciate the meaning of the parable itself (please
read Mk 4:30-32)...]

II. THE MEANING OF THE PARABLE

   A. THE KINGDOM OF GOD WOULD HAVE A SMALL BEGINNING...
      1. Old Testament prophecy foretold this:
         a. Concerning the Messiah - cf. Isa 11:1; 53:2-3
         b. Concerning the kingdom - cf. Dan 2:35,44 (starting out as a
            stone, becoming a great mountain)
      2. Consider this description of the beginning:  "The Son of Man
         grew up in a despised province; he did not appear in public
         until his thirtieth year; then taught for two or three years in
         neighboring villages, and occasionally at Jerusalem; made a few
         converts, chiefly among the poor and unlearned; and then
         falling into the hands of his enemies, died the shameful death
         of the cross; such, and so slight, was the commencement of the
         universal kingdom of God." - R. C. Trench, Notes On The
         Parables Of Our Lord

   B. ITS TREMENDOUS GROWTH WOULD BELIE ITS HUMBLE BEGINNINGS...
      1. Just as the "small stone" of Dan 2:35 "became a great mountain
         and filled the whole earth"
      2. The growth of the church in the 1st A.D. certainly confirmed
         the truth of Jesus' parable
         a. The 120 disciples grew to over 3000 just in one day - Ac 2:
            41-42
         b. It was soon about 5000 - Ac 4:4
         c. The number of the disciples continued to "multiply"
            1) In Jerusalem - Ac 6:7
            2) Throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria - Ac 9:31
         d. Years later, there were "myriads" of believers just in
            Jerusalem alone - Ac 21:20
      3. Today, we see the growth and influence of the kingdom in lives
         of believers worldwide!

   C. IT'S GROWTH WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO THE WORLD...
      1. In the parable, Jesus spoke of how "the birds of the air come
         and nest in its branches"
      2. What is meant by Jesus?  He does not say, but the kingdom of
         God is certainly a blessing to all who take refuge in its
         "branches"
         a. E.g., "for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but
            righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" - Ro 14:17
         b. To those seeking rest for their weary souls, the King offers
            His tender invitation to come to Him and enter His kingdom
            of rest - cf. Mt 11:28-30

{With this simple parable, Jesus offers encouragement to that small band
of disciples following Him over the hills of Palestine.  They would be a
part of something that would grow and bless the world immensely!

What about today?  The kingdom of heaven continues to grow and spread
out is branches to those who will accept it, certainly.  But can we ever
expect similar growth to that witnessed in the first century?  Consider
a few thoughts about...]

III. THE GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM TODAY

   A. THERE IS THE MATHEMATICAL POSSIBILITY...
      1. Beginning with just twenty disciples, each converting just one
         person a year, and their converts doing the same...
      2. ...the growth would be like a mustard seed!
         a. End of year  1 - 40
         b. End of year  5 - 640
         c. End of year 10 - 20,480
         d. End of year 15 - 655,360
         e. End of year 20 - 20,971,520
         f. End of year 25 - 1,342,177,280
      -- All it takes is for each person to bring one soul to Christ
         each and every year!

   B. THERE IS CERTAINLY THE SPIRITUAL POSSIBILITY...
      1. We have the same seed of the kingdom, the Word of God!
         a. Which is incorruptible, that lives and abides forever - 1Pe 1:23-25
         b. Capable of producing what God intends - cf. Isa 55:10-11
      2. While the parable of "The Four Soils" reminds us that not all
         will accept the Word of God, this parable declares that the
         kingdom will grow!
      -- Do we believe in the power of the Word of God?

   C. WHAT IS NEEDED IS PEOPLE...
      1. People with vision
         a. Who have the vision of Christ, as expressed in His parables
         b. Who look not at an apple and count the seeds, but looks at a
            seed and counts the apples (with their many seeds)!
         c. Who look at converting and developing disciples in the same
            way
      2. People willing to put the kingdom first in their lives
         a. The seed of the gospel will produce fruit, but only if it
            falls on good soil
         b. If we allow...
            1) The cares of this world
            2) The deceitfulness of riches
            3) The pleasures of life
            ...to "choke" us, we cannot bear good fruit
         c. Therefore we need to put the kingdom of God first - cf. Mt 6:33
      3. People willing to abide in Christ
         a. For apart from Christ they can do nothing - Jn 15:4-5
         b. For only they are able to bear "much fruit" - Jn 15:5
         c. And only they will be able to glorify God and be His true
            disciples - Jn 15:8
      -- Are we willing to be such people?

CONCLUSION

1. The potential for the kingdom's amazing growth rests in the Person
   who reigns as its King...
   a. Those who will abide in Christ can be used by Him to produce the
      remarkable growth in the kingdom illustrated by this parable
   b. As per Paul:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens
      me." - Php 4:13

2. Brethren, allow "The Parable Of The Mustard Seed" to serve as...
   a. An encouragement - The kingdom is destined for great things,
      despite its small beginnings
   b. A reminder - If we are going to be useful to the Master in this
      ever growing kingdom, we must "abide in Him" so we can "bear much
      fruit"

For those not yet Christians, why not rest your weary wings in this
great tree called "the kingdom of God"...?

   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I
   am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your
   souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

                                                   - Mt 11:28-30

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Parable Of The Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

               The Parable Of The Growing Seed (4:26-29)

INTRODUCTION

1. Of the many parables taught by Jesus, there is one found only in
   Mark's gospel...
   a. It is "The Parable Of The Growing Seed"
   b. Recorded in Mk 4:26-29 (Read)

2. The setting of this parable is the same as when Jesus told...
   a. The parable of "The Four Soils" - cf. Mk 4:1-20
   b. The parable of "The Mustard Seed" - cf. Mk 4:30-32

[Let's begin by taking a closer look the parable itself...]

I. THE PARABLE ANALYZED

   A. WHAT IT REVEALS ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD...
      1. It describes how the Word of God produces fruit (i.e., how the
         kingdom grows)
         a. The "seed" is not identified in this parable as the Word of
            God
         b. But it was defined as such in the parable of "The Sower"
            - cf. Mk 4:14; Lk 8:11
      2. The growth produced by the Word is a mystery - Mk 4:26-28a
         a. The sower can sow the seed and see it sprout and grow
         b. But the growth is beyond his comprehension, and even grows
            by itself
      3. The growth produced by the Word is gradual - Mk 4:28b-29
         a. It doesn't all occur at once
         b. But step by step:  first the blade, then the head, then the
            full grain
         c. But through such growth the harvest eventually comes - Mk 4:29
      -- So the kingdom grows mysteriously and gradually by virtue of
         God's Word

   B. COMPARING THIS PARABLE WITH "THE FOUR SOILS"...
      1. The parable of "The Four Soils" emphasizes human responsibility
         a. The seed did not produce the desired fruit unless it fell on
            good soil
         b. It takes "a good and noble heart" for the seed to produce
            fruit! - cf. Lk 8:15
      2. The parable of "The Growing Seed" stresses the divine power
         within the Word
         a. A "good and noble heart" cannot bear fruit by itself!
         b. It takes Seed that has within itself the power to germinate
            and grow in good soil
      -- This parable emphasizes the need to trust in the power of the
         Seed (God's Word)

[Yes, the Word is the "seed" which contains the power for spiritual life
and growth when planted in the soil of a good and noble heart!  We may
not fully comprehend the true working of that power, but the parable
illustrates how we can still use it!  And for that, let's now
consider...]

II. THE PARABLE APPLIED

   A. THE WORD OF GOD IS A POWERFUL "SEED"...
      1. It can cause us to be "born again" - 1Pe 1:22-25; Jm 1:18
      2. It can help us to "grow" - 1Pe 2:1-2
      3. It can indeed "save your souls" - Jm 1:21
      4. It is living and powerful, filled with Spirit-giving life - He 4:12; Jn 6:63
      -- Never underestimate the power of the Word of God!

   B. TWO WAYS TO UTILIZE THE POWERFUL "SEED"...
      1. By receiving it into our own hearts (for spiritual growth)
         a. Here we are talking about the growth of the kingdom of God
            in our lives
         b. Of course, we must receive it properly
            1) With a good and noble heart - Lk 8:15; cf. Ac 17:11
            2) With meekness - Jm 1:21
            3) As babies longing for their mothers' milk - 1Pe 2:2
            4) "Laying aside" those things that would "choke" the Word
               - cf. Jm 1:21; 1Pe 2:1
         c. When so received, growth will occur
            1) But remember the parable, for the growth will be gradual
               - Mk 4:28
            2) Therefore the need to feed daily on the Word, "that you
               may grow thereby" - 1Pe 2:2
      2. By sowing it as far and wide as we possibly can (for kingdom
         growth)
         a. Here we are talking about the growth of the kingdom of God
            in the world
         b. Like the sower in the parable of "The Sower", we must sow
            the seed everywhere
         c. But like the sower in the parable of "The Growing Seed", we
            must remember...
            1) Growth comes through the divine power of the seed
               a) It is God who gives the increase - cf. 1Co 3:5-7
               b) We are simply "seed-throwers" and "water-boys"!
            2) Growth comes in stages, not all at once
               a) There will be days when all we seem to be doing is
                  "sowing"
               b) There will be days when all we seem to be doing is
                  "waiting"
            3) Like the farmer, then, we must be patient - cf. Jm 5:7
      -- In our lives and in the world, spiritual growth occurs only
         through the Word!

CONCLUSION

1. The general lessons in the parable of "The Growing Seed" are these...
   a. In the kingdom of God, as in the kingdom of nature, we are
      laborers together with God
   b. The results depend on Him, and for the perfection of these results
      He takes His own time

2. That being the case...
   a. Our duty is to sow the seed, it is for God to give the increase
      - cf. 1Co 3:6-9
   b. Having sown the seed, we must wait for God's Word to perfect the
      growth - cf. Php 1:6

3. Therefore this parable teaches us to trust and hope in power of the
   Word of God...
   a. Do we trust in its power to save the lost?
      1) Or do we look to gimmicks designed by men?
      2) The gospel is God's power to save! - cf. Ro 1:16-17
   b. Do we trust in its power to save your own soul?
      1) Or do we look to self-help methods that promise but really
         can't deliver?
      2) The Word of God is what is capable of saving our souls! - cf.
         Jm 1:21

Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother?  Both in the world, and
in your own life as well...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Take Heed What You Hear (Mark 4:21-25)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   Take Heed What You Hear (4:21-25)

INTRODUCTION

1. When we have opportunities to hear or read the Word of God...
   a. Are we aware that we will be judged by we how give heed?
   b. That the blessings we receive are proportionate to how we hear?

2. During His ministry, Jesus began teaching in parables...
   a. To the public He would tell the parables - Mk 4:1-2
   b. In private He would explain them to His disciples - Mk 4:10-12,
      33-34

3. In "The Parable Of The Four Soils" Jesus...
   a. Illustrated how not all receive the Word as they should
   b. Ended with the cry, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" - Mk 4:9

[After explaining the parable, Jesus exhorted His disciples to "Take
Heed What You Hear" (Mk 4:21-25).  Let's first consider Jesus' words...]

I. AS CHARGED TO THE DISCIPLES

   A. THAT WHICH IS HIDDEN IS TO BE MADE KNOWN...
      1. Jesus asked rhetorical questions involving a lamp - Mk 4:21
      2. What was hidden would be revealed, what was secret should come
         to light - Mk 4:22
      3. The context regards His use of parables and the ultimate
         intention of His teaching
         a. Jesus spoke publicly in parables at the time - Mk 4:11
         b. The meaning was explained privately - Mk 4:33-34
         c. But His teaching was meant one day to be proclaimed abroad
         d. His disciples would be involved in publicly proclaiming it
            - cf. Mt 10:27
      4. Thus they were to pay close attention to what He was saying
         - Mk 4:23
      -- Jesus intended one day for all to hear and know His teaching

   B. TAKE HEED WHAT YOU HEAR...
      1. Jesus charged His disciples to take heed what they hear - Mk 4:24a
      2. The importance of taking heed is repeatedly stressed - Mk 4:
         24b-25
         a. "With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
         b. "To you who hear, more will be given"
         c. "For whoever has, to him more will be given"
         d. "But whoever does not have, even what he has will be take
            away from him"
      3. This is illustrated in the parable of The Talents
         a. Talents given according to each person's ability - Mt 25:15
         b. Those who utilized their talents received more
            responsibility - Mt 25:20-23
         c. The one talent man lost that which he did not utilize - Mt 25:24-28
         d. "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will
            have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he
            has will be taken away." - Mt 25:29
      -- Jesus promised more for those who take heed to what they hear,
         utilize what they have

[Jesus spoke these words to prepare and motivate His disciples for their
future service.  Let's now reflect on His words...]

II. AS APPLIED TO US TODAY

   A. THAT WHICH WAS HIDDEN HAS BEEN MADE KNOWN...
      1. Things kept private were to be made public after His
         resurrection - cf. Mk 9:9
      2. The Spirit would be given to guide the apostles into all the
         truth - Jn 16:12-13
      3. They were to proclaim the gospel and His commandments to all
         - Mk 16:15; Mt 28:19-20
      4. The apostles (including Paul) were faithful to their charge
         - Ac 20:27
      5. What was once a "mystery" has now been revealed - Ro 16:25-26;
         Ep 3:3-5,8-9
      -- In the New Testament, that which was hidden can now be known by
         all!

   B. TAKE HEED WHAT YOU HEAR...
      1. The need to take heed to what we hear is still the same
      2. Consider the importance of listening carefully:
         a. To be blessed - cf. Mt 13:16-17
         b. To have faith - cf. Ro 1:16-17; 10:17
         c. To bear fruit - cf. Lk 8:15; Col 1:6
         d. To prevent apostasy - cf. He 2:1-3
         e. To avoid rejection and condemnation - cf. Mt 10:14-15; Ac 13:44-49; Mt 12:41-42
         -- For more, see "How Well Do You Listen?"
      3. The principle of measure remains the same - Mk 4:24-25
         a. "With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
         b. "To you who hear, more will be given"
         c. "For whoever has, to him more will be given"
         d. "But whoever does not have, even what he has will be take
            away from him"
      -- For those willing give careful heed to the Word of God, they
         will be richly blessed!

CONCLUSION

1. There is a well known maxim:  "You get out of something what you put
   into it."

2. Does this not explain why many get little out of religion and the
   Bible in particular...?
   a. They have little interest in spiritual matters
   b. They make little effort to learn what the Bible says
   c. Their interest in spiritual things declines with time

3. Yet Jesus promises for those willing to "Take Heed What You Hear"...
   a. "With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you"
   b. "To you who hear, more will be given"
   c. "For whoever has, to him more will be given"

That is why some never stagnate in their spiritual growth, why their
faith is refreshed and renewed daily (cf. 2Co 4:16).  And so together
with Jesus we offer the following admonition:

              "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
                               (Mk 4:23)


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 1



Bible Reading   

December 1

The World English Bible



Dec. 1
Ezekiel 17-20

Eze 17:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;
Eze 17:3 and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: A great eagle with great wings and long feathers, full of feathers, which had various colors, came to Lebanon, and took the top of the cedar:
Eze 17:4 he cropped off the topmost of the young twigs of it, and carried it to a land of traffic; he set it in a city of merchants.
Eze 17:5 He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful soil; he placed it beside many waters; he set it as a willow tree.
Eze 17:6 It grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and its roots were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs.
Eze 17:7 There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and behold, this vine did bend its roots toward him, and shot forth its branches toward him, from the beds of its plantation, that he might water it.
Eze 17:8 It was planted in a good soil by many waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.
Eze 17:9 Say you, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up its roots, and cut off its fruit, that it may wither; that all its fresh springing leaves may wither? and not by a strong arm or much people can it be raised from its roots.
Eze 17:10 Yes, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind touches it? it shall wither in the beds where it grew.
Eze 17:11 Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 17:12 Say now to the rebellious house, Don't you know what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took its king, and its princes, and brought them to him to Babylon:
Eze 17:13 and he took of the seed royal, and made a covenant with him; he also brought him under an oath, and took away the mighty of the land;
Eze 17:14 that the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand.
Eze 17:15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape who does such things? shall he break the covenant, and yet escape?
Eze 17:16 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he broke, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.
Eze 17:17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company help him in the war, when they cast up mounds and build forts, to cut off many persons.
Eze 17:18 For he has despised the oath by breaking the covenant; and behold, he had given his hand, and yet has done all these things; he shall not escape.
Eze 17:19 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: As I live, surely my oath that he has despised, and my covenant that he has broken, I will even bring it on his own head.
Eze 17:20 I will spread my net on him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will enter into judgment with him there for his trespass that he has trespassed against me.
Eze 17:21 All his fugitives in all his bands shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered toward every wind: and you shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken it.
Eze 17:22 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also take of the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain:
Eze 17:23 in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it; and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all birds of every wing; in the shade of its branches shall they dwell.
Eze 17:24 All the trees of the field shall know that I, Yahweh, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish; I, Yahweh, have spoken and have done it.
Eze 18:1 The word of Yahweh came to me again, saying,
Eze 18:2 What do you mean, that you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?
Eze 18:3 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, you shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins, he shall die.
Eze 18:5 But if a man is just, and does that which is lawful and right,
Eze 18:6 and has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither has defiled his neighbor's wife, neither has come near to a woman in her impurity,
Eze 18:7 and has not wronged any, but has restored to the debtor his pledge, has taken nothing by robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment;
Eze 18:8 he who has not given forth on interest, neither has taken any increase, who has withdrawn his hand from iniquity, has executed true justice between man and man,
Eze 18:9 has walked in my statutes, and has kept my ordinances, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 18:10 If he fathers a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, and who does any one of these things,
Eze 18:11 and who does not any of those duties, but even has eaten on the mountains, and defiled his neighbor's wife,
Eze 18:12 has wronged the poor and needy, has taken by robbery, has not restored the pledge, and has lifted up his eyes to the idols, has committed abomination,
Eze 18:13 has given forth on interest, and has taken increase; shall he then live? he shall not live: he has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be on him.
Eze 18:14 Now, behold, if he fathers a son, who sees all his father's sins, which he has done, and fears, and does not such like;
Eze 18:15 who has not eaten on the mountains, neither has lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, has not defiled his neighbor's wife,
Eze 18:16 neither has wronged any, has not taken anything to pledge, neither has taken by robbery, but has given his bread to the hungry, and has covered the naked with a garment;
Eze 18:17 who has withdrawn his hand from the poor, who has not received interest nor increase, has executed my ordinances, has walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.
Eze 18:18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother, and did that which is not good among his people, behold, he shall die in his iniquity.
Eze 18:19 Yet say you, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? when the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live.
Eze 18:20 The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.
Eze 18:21 But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:22 None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live.
Eze 18:23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Yahweh; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live?
Eze 18:24 But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.
Eze 18:25 Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, house of Israel: Is my way not equal? Aren't your ways unequal?
Eze 18:26 When the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and dies therein; in his iniquity that he has done shall he die.
Eze 18:27 Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Eze 18:28 Because he considers, and turns away from all his transgressions that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:29 Yet says the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
Eze 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord Yahweh. Return you, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Eze 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, in which you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, house of Israel?
Eze 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord Yahweh: therefore turn yourselves, and live.
Eze 19:1 Moreover, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
Eze 19:2 and say, What was your mother? A lioness: she couched among lions, in the midst of the young lions she nourished her cubs.
Eze 19:3 She brought up one of her cubs: he became a young lion, and he learned to catch the prey; he devoured men.
Eze 19:4 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit; and they brought him with hooks to the land of Egypt.
Eze 19:5 Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her cubs, and made him a young lion.
Eze 19:6 He went up and down among the lions; he became a young lion, and he learned to catch the prey; he devoured men.
Eze 19:7 He knew their palaces, and laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and its fullness, because of the noise of his roaring.
Eze 19:8 Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces; and they spread their net over him; he was taken in their pit.
Eze 19:9 They put him in a cage with hooks, and brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him into strongholds, that his voice should no more be heard on the mountains of Israel.
Eze 19:10 Your mother was like a vine, in your blood, planted by the waters: it was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
Eze 19:11 It had strong rods for the scepters of those who bore rule, and their stature was exalted among the thick boughs, and they were seen in their height with the multitude of their branches.
Eze 19:12 But it was plucked up in fury, it was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up its fruit: its strong rods were broken off and withered; the fire consumed them.
Eze 19:13 Now it is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land.
Eze 19:14 Fire is gone out of the rods of its branches, it has devoured its fruit, so that there is in it no strong rod to be a scepter to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
Eze 20:1 It happened in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of Yahweh, and sat before me.
Eze 20:2 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 20:3 Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Is it to inquire of me that you have come? As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I will not be inquired of by you.
Eze 20:4 Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Cause them to know the abominations of their fathers;
Eze 20:5 and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In the day when I chose Israel, and swore to the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I swore to them, saying, I am Yahweh your God;
Eze 20:6 in that day I swore to them, to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.
Eze 20:7 I said to them, Cast you away every man the abominations of his eyes, and don't defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.
Eze 20:8 But they rebelled against me, and would not listen to me; they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said I would pour out my wrath on them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
Eze 20:9 But I worked for my name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, among which they were, in whose sight I made myself known to them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
Eze 20:10 So I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
Eze 20:11 I gave them my statutes, and showed them my ordinances, which if a man does, he shall live in them.
Eze 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies them.
Eze 20:13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they didn't walk in my statutes, and they rejected my ordinances, which if a man keep, he shall live in them; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I said I would pour out my wrath on them in the wilderness, to consume them.
Eze 20:14 But I worked for my name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them out.
Eze 20:15 Moreover also I swore to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands;
Eze 20:16 because they rejected my ordinances, and didn't walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
Eze 20:17 Nevertheless my eye spared them, and I didn't destroy them, neither did I make a full end of them in the wilderness.
Eze 20:18 I said to their children in the wilderness, Don't you walk in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols.
Eze 20:19 I am Yahweh your God: walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them;
Eze 20:20 and make my Sabbaths holy; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am Yahweh your God.
Eze 20:21 But the children rebelled against me; they didn't walk in my statutes, neither kept my ordinances to do them, which if a man do, he shall live in them; they profaned my Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out my wrath on them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.
Eze 20:22 Nevertheless I withdrew my hand, and worked for my name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them forth.
Eze 20:23 Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries;
Eze 20:24 because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes, and had profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.
Eze 20:25 Moreover also I gave them statutes that were not good, and ordinances in which they should not live;
Eze 20:26 and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that opens the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 20:27 Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In this moreover have your fathers blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
Eze 20:28 For when I had brought them into the land, which I swore to give to them, then they saw every high hill, and every thick tree, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering; there also they made their pleasant aroma, and they poured out there their drink offerings.
Eze 20:29 Then I said to them, What means the high place whereunto you go? So its name is called Bamah to this day.
Eze 20:30 Therefore tell the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Do you pollute yourselves after the manner of your fathers? and play you the prostitute after their abominations?
Eze 20:31 and when you offer your gifts, when you make your sons to pass through the fire, do you pollute yourselves with all your idols to this day? and shall I be inquired of by you, house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I will not be inquired of by you;
Eze 20:32 and that which comes into your mind shall not be at all, in that you say, We will be as the nations, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
Eze 20:33 As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, will I be king over you:
Eze 20:34 and I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of the countries in which you are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out;
Eze 20:35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face.
Eze 20:36 Like as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with you, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 20:37 I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;
Eze 20:38 and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and those who disobey against me; I will bring them forth out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 20:39 As for you, house of Israel, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Go you, serve everyone his idols, and hereafter also, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts, and with your idols.
Eze 20:40 For in my holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, says the Lord Yahweh, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them, serve me in the land: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your offerings, with all your holy things.
Eze 20:41 As a pleasant aroma will I accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries in which you have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you in the sight of the nations.
Eze 20:42 You shall know that I am Yahweh, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country which I swore to give to your fathers.
Eze 20:43 There you shall remember your ways, and all your doings, in which you have polluted yourselves; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that you have committed.
Eze 20:44 You shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have dealt with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, you house of Israel, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 20:45 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 20:46 Son of man, set your face toward the south, and drop your word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the field in the South;
Eze 20:47 and tell the forest of the South, Hear the word of Yahweh: Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burnt thereby.
Eze 20:48 All flesh shall see that I, Yahweh, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.
Eze 20:49 Then said I, Ah Lord Yahweh! they say of me, Isn't he a speaker of parables?
 

Dec. 1
James 4

Jas 4:1 Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Don't they come from your pleasures that war in your members?
Jas 4:2 You lust, and don't have. You kill, covet, and can't obtain. You fight and make war. You don't have, because you don't ask.
Jas 4:3 You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.
Jas 4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Jas 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously"?
Jas 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Jas 4:7 Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Jas 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Jas 4:9 Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom.
Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Jas 4:11 Don't speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Jas 4:12 Only one is the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge another?
Jas 4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow let's go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit."
Jas 4:14 Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.
Jas 4:15 For you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that."
Jas 4:16 But now you glory in your boasting. All such boasting is evil.
Jas 4:17 To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn't do it, to him it is sin.