Hope is that thing that looks harsh reality in the eye, recognises it for what it is and still believes that everything is working toward a glorious conclusion because God has said so with an eternal "yes!" It isn't a silly optimism that can only make sense on a lovely spring morning when everything is going our way—that's not hope! Hope—at least the biblical kind—is made of stronger stuff than that. It doesn't close its eyes to tough truth, hard to handle arguments, distressing mysteries and the unceasing pain of a wrong and wronged world.

And what is there that's strong enough to look these awful realities in the eye, give them their due and then dismiss them with confidence? Cosmic troubles can only be dealt with by cosmic assurance! Only galactic-sized answers can satisfy galactic-sized questions and only the "God of all comfort" can comfort universal suffering. We Christians hope and cry one to another in the words of one of our ancient fellow-believers, "Hope thou in God!"

With money in the bank, good health and an extensive support system of friends and family we're conned into thinking that we can truly hope. When we've elected the "right" President or Prime Minister and the various houses are well-stocked with the kind of politicians we approve, we have a sense of security—hope is well grounded. But when our dwindling money can only buy us medicine and not health, when our friends have troubles of their own and can't be there for us all the time and when our pain is only augmented by the pain our families are bearing we move from dismay toward despair.

I've no wish to deny that these realities and more are part of daily living as humans and that they matter! I want to say that the hope of the world and the hope of each one of us as part of that human family is grounded nowhere else but in the work of God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. It isn't the denial of harsh realities that we proclaim it's the affirmation of undeniable truth as it is seen in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Shame on all that minister the word in God's name who feed us nothing but "nice" little sermons and "delightful" little points and "interesting" little biblical portraits and "informative" glances at this or that! These are not the truths that give us a sense of our destiny and mission to the world. These are not what fill us with purpose and the power to defy the chaos of the world and the entrenched evils that would strip us of dignity and meaning. It's the cross and what it means that disarms the authorities and powers and makes a spectacle of them; and nothing less than feeding the church on all these massive truths is the minister's business.

We need more than correct "answers" to biblical questions and more than tanker-loads of moral opinions while starving for the meaning and implications of the Incarnation, life, death, resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ to God's right hand. We need more than a "gospel" that is almost an apologetic invitation instead of a bold declaration of the fact of Christ's Lordship!

We don't need leaders whose aim is greater numbers in their churches, whose central aim is to please the religious consumers they have helped to create. We don't need ministers who are especially concerned with making a name for themselves as "fearless"; men that spend their lives correcting people at important points while depriving the church they minister to of the indispensable "gospel" that enables it to face a fierce world like ours with radiant and contagious hope in their hearts. The hope and radiance the world needs to see and hear is that which is generated by God's redeeming work in Jesus Christ. And if we don't know or really care to know how to develop that and make it the steady diet of our people then we ought to get an honorable job like digging ditches or driving a taxi.

Jesus Said: "Do Not Believe Me" by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Jesus Said: "Do Not Believe Me"

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Most within Christendom see Jesus as One Who expects people to accept Him “by faith.” What they mean by “faith” is that people ought to accept Jesus as the Son of God without any proof, evidence, or rational justification—simply because He claimed to be divine. Most, in fact, see faith and proof as opposites. They think one must have faith in those areas where proof is unavailable. To them, “faith” is blindly accepting what you cannot prove, and deciding to believe what you cannot know.
Tragically, this widespread malady has fomented unbelief, skepticism, and atheism. After all, God created the human mind “in His image” (Genesis 1:26). Hence, the human mind was designed to function rationally. When humans conduct themselves illogically, they are going against their natural inclination. In the face of such irrationality, the atheist rightly dismisses “Christianity” as a false system of thinking. Ironically, the atheist is equally irrational in his blind commitment to atheism and evolution—both of which contradict the evidence. [see www.apologeticspress.org]
True, undenominational, New Testament Christianity, on the other hand, is the one and only consistent, rational perspective. According to the New Testament, God never expects nor requires anyone to accept His Word without adequate proof. God empowered His spokesmen on Earth to verify their verbal pronouncements by performing accompanying supernatural acts (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4). The book of John spotlights this feature repeatedly. When Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, approached Jesus one night, he stated: “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2, emp. added). Nicodemus was a rational man! He saw evidence that pointed to the obvious conclusion that Jesus was of divine origin, and was honest enough to admit it.
Responding to critical Jews, Jesus defended His divine identity by directing their attention to the works (i.e., “supernatural actions”) He performed: “[T]he very works that I do bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36). He made the same point to His apostles on another occasion:
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves (John 14:10-11, emp. added).
Later, Jesus noted that when people refused to believe in Him as the Son of God, they were without excuse, since the evidence of His divine identity had been amply demonstrated: “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father” (John 15:24, emp. added). So their lack of faith could not be attributed to their inability to know the truth regarding the person of Jesus (cf. John 8:32).
If it is the case that God does not expect a person to believe in Him unless adequate evidence has been made available to warrant that conclusion, then we ought to expect to see Jesus urging people not to believe Him unless He provided proof for His claims. Do we find Jesus doing so while He was on Earth? Absolutely! This fact is particularly evident in Jesus’ response to the tirade launched against Him by hard-hearted Jews who refused to face the reality of His divinity. He reiterated: “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me” (John 10:25). His subsequent explicit declaration of His deity incited angry preparations to stone Him. He boldly challenged them: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38, emp. added).
Since Jesus came to the planet to urge people to render obedient submission to Him (John 3:16; 8:24), it is difficult to envision Him telling people not to believe Him. But that is precisely what He did! He has provided the world with adequate evidence for people to distinguish truth from falsehood. We can know that God exists, that Jesus is His Son, and that the Bible is the Word of God. If the evidence did not exist to prove these matters, God would not expect anyone to believe; nor would He condemn anyone for failing to believe—since He is fair and just (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:11; Peter 3:9). But the evidence does exist! We can know! All accountable human beings are under obligation to investigate and find the truth (John 8:32; 6:45; 7:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). All who desire to know the truth can find it (Matthew 5:6; 7:7-8). All who fail to do so are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20)!

From Mark Copeland... Who Was Afraid Of Jesus? (Mark 5:1-20)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                   Who Was Afraid Of Jesus? (5:1-20)


1. After calming the storm, Jesus and His disciples arrived in the
   country of the Gadarenes... - Mk 5:1
   a. A region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee
   b. Variously called Gadarenes, Gersasenes, and Gergesenes (after
      nearby cities)
   c. Also known as the Decapolis (a district of ten cities) - Mk 5:20

2. After taming a wild sea, Jesus now tames a wild man (Hendriksen)...
   a. A man possessed with unclean spirit - Mk 5:2
   b. Unable to be bound by chains, night and day crying and cutting
      himself - Mk 5:3-5
   c. Moved to worship Jesus by the legion of demons that possessed him
      - Mk 5:6-9
   d. The demons begged not to be tormented or sent out of the country
      - Mk 5:7,10
   e. Asking to be able to fill a herd of swine, they are allowed, only
      to drown them - Mk 5:11-13
   f. The swine feeders fled to tell others, who when seeing the
      demoniac in his right mind, begged for Jesus to leave their region
      - Mk 5:14-17
   g. As Jesus returns to his boat, the healed man pleads to join Him,
      but is sent home to tell others what the Lord has done - Mk 5:18-20

[In studying Mark's account of the healing of the demoniac and the
events which followed, I was struck by the fear of Jesus manifested in
this story.  So I ask, "Who Was Afraid Of Jesus?"  Was it...]


      1. They begged Jesus not to torment them - Mk 5:7
      2. Note the similarity to the unclean spirit(s) in the synagogue
         - Mk 1:23-24
      3. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil - 1Jn 3:8
      4. The demons (unclean spirits) knew the time was coming - Mt 8:29
      5. Indeed, everlasting fire is prepared for the devil and his
         angels - Mt 25:41
      6. Even now there are sinful angels bound by "chains of darkness"
         - 2Pe 2:4; Jude 9
      7. One day the devil himself will be cast into the lake of fire
         - Re 20:10
      -- Yes, the demons who were legion were terrified of Jesus!

      1. If we are not ready for the coming of the Lord - 2Th 1:7-9
      2. We too will experience everlasting fire prepared for the devil
         and his angels - Mt 25:41,46
      3. Those not in the Book of life will not escape the lake of fire
         - Re 20:15; 21:8
      -- Yes, we should be terrified of Jesus if we are not ready!

[As we return to our text (Mk 5:1-20) with our question ("Who Was Afraid
Of Jesus?"), was it...]


      1. When they came to Jesus and saw the healed demoniac, they were
         afraid - Mk 5:14-15
      2. They pleaded with Jesus to depart from their region - Mk 5:17
      3. Their fear was the fear of the unknown, and they were unwilling
         to know
      4. Their fear deprived them of great blessings!
      -- Yes, the denizens of the region were foolishly afraid of
         learning more about Jesus!

      1. Of learning about Jesus, for He offers rest for our souls - Mt 11:28-30
      2. Of coming to Jesus, for He is the source of every spiritual
         blessing - Ep 1:3
      3. Of obeying Jesus, for His words will free us from the bondage
         of sin - Jn 8:31-32,34-36
      4. Of following Jesus, for His words will provide safety in life's
         storms - Mt 7:24-27
      -- No, we should not be afraid to learn whatever we can about

[Finally, as we consider "Who Was Afraid Of Jesus?", we ask if it


      1. He begged to be with Jesus, but Jesus had other plans for him
         - Mk 5:18-19
      2. He was not afraid of Jesus, nor afraid to tell others about
         Jesus - Mk 5:20
      3. Jesus had done great things for Him, and telling others led
         them to marvel - Mk 5:20
      -- No, he who was healed by Jesus was not afraid of Jesus!

      1. Of Jesus, for He loved us and washed us from our sins!- Re 1:5
      2. Of telling others about Jesus, who has given us great hope
         - 1Pe 3:15
      -- No, we who have been saved by Jesus should never be afraid of


1. Who was afraid of Jesus...?
   a. Those unwilling to repent of their sins
   b. Those unwilling to learn about Jesus

2. Who was not afraid of Jesus...?
   a. The one who appreciated what Jesus had done for him
   b. The one who was willing to tell others what Jesus had done

3. Who are we more like in this story...?
   a. The demons who were legion?
   b. The denizens of the region?
   c. The demoniac who was healed?

The nature of our relationship with Jesus reveals the answer.  Do we
want to be with Jesus?  Are we willing to tell others about Jesus?  Or
are we afraid of Jesus...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Jesus Calms The Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                    Jesus Calms The Storm (4:35-41)


1. Following a day full of teaching activity...
   a. Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to sail across the Sea of
      Galilee - Mk 4:35-36
   b. A windstorm arose, beating waves into the boat - Mk 4:37
   c. Jesus was sleeping, but was wakened by His disciples fearing their
      lives - Mk 4:38
   d. Jesus rebuked the wind and calmed the seas - Mk 4:39
   e. He then reproached His disciples for their fear and lack of faith
      - Mk 4:40
   f. Filled with great fear, His disciples expressed their awe of Jesus
      to one another - Mk 4:41

2. The account of Jesus calming the storm is well-known...
   a. Popular in many children's Bible classes
   b. The setting for the song "Master, The Tempest Is Raging"

[Many sermons and lessons have been based on this amazing miracle of
Jesus.  In this sermon, we shall touch on just a few lessons that can be
gleaned from this event, beginning with the fact that...]


      1. Being Jesus' disciples did not protect them from storms
      2. We live in a world where there are many storms, both literal
         and figurative
      3. Christians experience literal tornados, hurricanes, just like
         everyone else
      4. Christians likewise face storms such as sickness, accidents,
         disappointments, death
      5. Paul certainly experience the perils of storms and shipwrecks
         - 2Co 11:25-26
      -- Jesus does not promise exemption from the normal storms of life

      1. Jesus warned that we will experience tribulation as His
         disciples - Jn 16:33
      2. Paul did, and warned his fellow disciples - 2Co 11:24-25; Ac 14:22; 2Ti 3:12
      3. Peter wrote that we should not be surprised - 1Pe 4:12
      -- Jesus does not promise exemption from the storms of religious

[So if we find ourselves in the midst of storms, whether literal or
figurative, whether its because we are simply humans or because we are
Christians, do not think it strange.  Instead take heart knowing


      1. During storms, we are often afraid ("we are perishing!") - Mk 4:38
      2. Jesus teaches that fear is indicative of a lack of faith - Mk 4:40
      3. To overcome fear in storms, we need to grow in faith!
         a. Faith that God will protect us if it be His will - cf. Ps 46:1-3
         b. Faith that God will deliver us to His heavenly city even if
            we die - Ps 46:4-5,10-11
      -- Jesus reveals the role of faith in the midst of storms

      1. Jesus' words prepare us to withstand the storms of life - Mt 7:24-27
      2. How to pray in order to be heard by God - Mt 6:5-8
      3. To lay up treasure in heaven instead of on earth - Mt 6:19-21
      4. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness - Mt 6:31-34
      -- Jesus shares the secrets to standing strong against the storms
         of life

      1. Jesus is key to receiving mercy and grace to help in time of
         need - He 4:14-16; 7:25
      2. In anxious times, God offers peace to guard our hearts and
         minds in Christ Jesus through prayer - Php 4:6-7
      -- Jesus stands ready to calm our hearts and minds when facing

      1. The greatest "storm" all of us will face will be the Day of
         Judgment - 2Pe 3:7,10-12
      2. A day in which we will all stand before the judgment seat of
         Christ - 2Co 5:10
      3. But Christ shed His blood to spare us on that Day - Ro 5:6-10
      4. By obeying the gospel, we can have our names added to the
         Lamb's book of life and escape condemnation for our sins - cf.
         Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; Re 20:11-15
      -- Jesus stands ready to save us and protect us from the "perfect
         storm" to come


1. Everyone will face one or more storms in his or her life...
   a. Whether literally or metaphorically
   b. Whether atheist or believer

2. How shall we react when the time(s) come...?
   a. Shall we cry out like the disciples who were weak in faith ("we
      are perishing!")?
   b. Or shall we weather the storms with confident faith and calm

3. And how shall we stand on when the final storm comes...?
   a. The "perfect storm", that is, the Day of Judgment?
   b. Shall we hear Jesus say, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit
      the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"?
      - cf. Mt 25:34
   c. Or will we hear Him say, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the
      everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"? - cf. Mt 25:41

When Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, "Peace, be still", the
wind ceased and there was a great calm.  The disciples, with fear and
amazement, said:

      "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

The wind and the sea obeyed Jesus.  Shall we not obey Him who now has
all authority in heaven and on earth...? - cf. Mt 28:18-20

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Private Teaching And Its Benefits (Mark 4:33-34)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

              Private Teaching And Its Benefits (4:33-34)


1. Jesus was truly the Master Teacher...
   a. He preached often in the synagogues - Mk 1:39
   b. He taught large crowds by the sea shore - Mk 2:13; 4:1-2

2. He also taught in private...
   a. Especially regarding the parables, first told in public - Mk 4:33
   b. Which He later explained to His disciples - Mk 4:34

[The disciples of Jesus were blessed to have private instruction.  While
listening to the Word of God in a public setting is of great value, have
you considered the benefits of private teaching...?]


      1. Simply put, it is teaching in a private setting (home, office,
         park bench)
      2. Just the teacher and the learner, or at the most a small group
         of learners
      3. Where the teaching is informal, usually a dialogue rather than
         a lecture
      -- Private teaching involves a more intimate, personal environment
         for learning

      1. Jesus and His disciples in our text - Mk 4:33-34
      2. Jesus and Nicodemus - Jn 3:1-3
      3. Jesus and the Samaritan woman - Jn 4:5-26
      4. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch - Ac 8:26-40
      5. Peter and the household of Cornelius - Ac 10:24,33
      6. Aquila and Priscilla working with Apollos - Ac 18:24-26
      7. Paul as he taught in homes, including his own - Ac 20:20;
      -- The Bible is filled with examples of private teaching

[Jesus and His followers made much use of private teaching in addition
to public instruction.  To appreciate why, consider the answer to the


      1. Public teaching is at best a "shotgun" approach
         a. An audience has many people with different needs, levels of
         b. No one subject or lesson meets the interests of every person
      2. Private teaching can address an individual's needs or interests
         a. The need might be basic ("What must I do to be saved?")
         b. The interest might be academic ("I ask you, of whom does the
            prophet say this...?)
         c. The desire might be to grow in understanding ("Explain this
            parable to us.")
         d. The student might want to act immediately ("What hinders me
            from being baptized?")
      -- Public instruction cannot provide such individual attention

      1. Public teaching does not lend itself to asking questions
         a. Some venues traditionally frown on asking questions (e.g.,
            during a sermon)
         b. Shy people are often are too intimidated to ask questions in
         c. Personal questions are not always suitable for public
      2. Private teaching is well suited for questions
         a. Related to one's interests or spiritual level
         b. Without fear of ridicule or interruption
      -- Private teaching allows for inquiry and follow-up questions

      1. Successful people have their mentors and advisors
         a. Olympic athletes have personal coaches
         b. Serious fitness buffs have personal trainers
      2. The disciples benefited by their time with Jesus - cf. Ac 4:13
      3. Personal spiritual training is part of God's plan - cf. 2Ti 2:2
         a. Don't think you need a personal teacher?
         b. Then you need to be a teacher! - cf. He 5:12
      -- Private teaching provides opportunity for accelerated and
         advanced learning


1. Willingness to listen to public preaching and teaching is
   a. Do you listen to sermons in worship?  Good!
   b. Do you attend and participate in Bible classes at church?  Great!

2. But if you want to really get serious about your salvation and
   spiritual growth...
   a. Find a personal "spiritual fitness" trainer
   b. Attend a home Bible study, or start one in your home

After the two disciples walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, they
said to one another:

   "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the
   road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" - Lk 24:32

Their experience (hearts excited by learning) is often shared today by
many people who are willing to go beyond just attending church, to
become involved in the private teaching of the Word of God.

If you would like to experience the benefits of private teaching, please
let us know...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 2

Bible Reading   

December 2

The World English Bible

Dec. 2
Ezekiel 21-24

Eze 21:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 21:2 Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and drop your word toward the sanctuaries, and prophesy against the land of Israel;
Eze 21:3 and tell the land of Israel, Thus says Yahweh: Behold, I am against you, and will draw forth my sword out of its sheath, and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked.
Eze 21:4 Seeing then that I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:
Eze 21:5 and all flesh shall know that I, Yahweh, have drawn forth my sword out of its sheath; it shall not return any more.
Eze 21:6 Sigh therefore, you son of man; with the breaking of your thighs and with bitterness you will sigh before their eyes.
Eze 21:7 It shall be, when they tell you, Why do you sigh? that you shall say, Because of the news, for it comes; and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it comes, and it shall be done, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 21:8 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 21:9 Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says Yahweh: Say, A sword, a sword, it is sharpened, and also furbished;
Eze 21:10 it is sharpened that it may make a slaughter; it is furbished that it may be as lightning: shall we then make mirth? the rod of my son, it condemns every tree.
Eze 21:11 It is given to be furbished, that it may be handled: the sword, it is sharpened, yes, it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the killer.
Eze 21:12 Cry and wail, son of man; for it is on my people, it is on all the princes of Israel: they are delivered over to the sword with my people; strike therefore on your thigh.
Eze 21:13 For there is a trial; and what if even the rod that condemns shall be no more? says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 21:14 You therefore, son of man, prophesy, and strike your hands together; and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the deadly wounded: it is the sword of the great one who is deadly wounded, which enters into their chambers.
Eze 21:15 I have set the threatening sword against all their gates, that their heart may melt, and their stumblings be multiplied: ah! it is made as lightning, it is pointed for slaughter.
Eze 21:16 Gather you together, go to the right, set yourself in array, go to the left, wherever your face is set.
Eze 21:17 I will also strike my hands together, and I will cause my wrath to rest: I, Yahweh, have spoken it.
Eze 21:18 The word of Yahweh came to me again, saying,
Eze 21:19 Also, you son of man, appoint two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come; they both shall come forth out of one land: and mark out a place, mark it out at the head of the way to the city.
Eze 21:20 You shall appoint a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and to Judah in Jerusalem the fortified.
Eze 21:21 For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he shook the arrows back and forth, he consulted the teraphim, he looked in the liver.
Eze 21:22 In his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build forts.
Eze 21:23 It shall be to them as a false divination in their sight, who have sworn oaths to them; but he brings iniquity to memory, that they may be taken.
Eze 21:24 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because you have come to memory, you shall be taken with the hand.
Eze 21:25 You, deadly wounded wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day is come, in the time of the iniquity of the end,
Eze 21:26 thus says the Lord Yahweh: Remove the turban, and take off the crown; this shall be no more the same; exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high.
Eze 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: this also shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
Eze 21:28 You, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh concerning the children of Ammon, and concerning their reproach; and say you, A sword, a sword is drawn, for the slaughter it is furbished, to cause it to devour, that it may be as lightning;
Eze 21:29 while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies to you, to lay you on the necks of the wicked who are deadly wounded, whose day is come in the time of the iniquity of the end.
Eze 21:30 Cause it to return into its sheath. In the place where you were created, in the land of your birth, will I judge you.
Eze 21:31 I will pour out my indignation on you; I will blow on you with the fire of my wrath; and I will deliver you into the hand of brutish men, skillful to destroy.
Eze 21:32 You shall be for fuel to the fire; your blood shall be in the midst of the land; you shall be no more remembered: for I, Yahweh, have spoken it.
Eze 22:1 Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 22:2 You, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? then cause her to know all her abominations.
Eze 22:3 You shall say, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: A city that sheds blood in the midst of her, that her time may come, and that makes idols against herself to defile her!
Eze 22:4 You have become guilty in your blood that you have shed, and are defiled in your idols which you have made; and you have caused your days to draw near, and are come even to your years: therefore have I made you a reproach to the nations, and a mocking to all the countries.
Eze 22:5 Those who are near, and those who are far from you, shall mock you, you infamous one and full of tumult.
Eze 22:6 Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone according to his power, have been in you to shed blood.
Eze 22:7 In you have they set light by father and mother; in the midst of you have they dealt by oppression with the foreigner; in you have they wronged the fatherless and the widow.
Eze 22:8 You have despised my holy things, and have profaned my Sabbaths.
Eze 22:9 Slanderous men have been in you to shed blood; and in you they have eaten on the mountains: in the midst of you they have committed lewdness.
Eze 22:10 In you have they uncovered their fathers' nakedness; in you have they humbled her who was unclean in her impurity.
Eze 22:11 One has committed abomination with his neighbor's wife; and another has lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law; and another in you has humbled his sister, his father's daughter.
Eze 22:12 In you have they taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest and increase, and you have greedily gained of your neighbors by oppression, and have forgotten me, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 22:13 Behold, therefore, I have struck my hand at your dishonest gain which you have made, and at your blood which has been in the midst of you.
Eze 22:14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I, Yahweh, have spoken it, and will do it.
Eze 22:15 I will scatter you among the nations, and disperse you through the countries; and I will consume your filthiness out of you.
Eze 22:16 You shall be profaned in yourself, in the sight of the nations; and you shall know that I am Yahweh.
Eze 22:17 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 22:18 Son of man, the house of Israel is become dross to me: all of them are brass and tin and iron and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are the dross of silver.
Eze 22:19 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you are all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
Eze 22:20 As they gather silver and brass and iron and lead and tin into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire on it, to melt it; so will I gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will lay you there, and melt you.
Eze 22:21 Yes, I will gather you, and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst.
Eze 22:22 As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so you will be melted in its midst; and you will know that I, Yahweh, have poured out my wrath on you.
Eze 22:23 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 22:24 Son of man, tell her, You are a land that is not cleansed, nor rained on in the day of indignation.
Eze 22:25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in its midst, like a roaring lion ravening the prey: they have devoured souls; they take treasure and precious things; they have made her widows many in its midst.
Eze 22:26 Her priests have done violence to my law, and have profaned my holy things: they have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they caused men to discern between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Eze 22:27 Her princes in its midst are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, that they may get dishonest gain.
Eze 22:28 Her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions, and divining lies to them, saying, Thus says the Lord Yahweh, when Yahweh has not spoken.
Eze 22:29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery; yes, they have troubled the poor and needy, and have oppressed the foreigner wrongfully.
Eze 22:30 I sought for a man among them, who should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none.
Eze 22:31 Therefore have I poured out my indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I brought on their heads, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 23:1 The word of Yahweh came again to me, saying,
Eze 23:2 Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:
Eze 23:3 and they played the prostitute in Egypt; they played the prostitute in their youth; there were their breasts pressed, and there was handled the bosom of their virginity.
Eze 23:4 The names of them were Oholah the elder, and Oholibah her sister: and they became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem Oholibah.
Eze 23:5 Oholah played the prostitute when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbors,
Eze 23:6 who were clothed with blue, governors and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses.
Eze 23:7 She bestowed her prostitution on them, the choicest men of Assyria all of them; and on whoever she doted, with all their idols she defiled herself.
Eze 23:8 Neither has she left her prostitution since the days of Egypt; for in her youth they lay with her, and they handled the bosom of her virginity; and they poured out their prostitution on her.
Eze 23:9 Therefore I delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, on whom she doted.
Eze 23:10 These uncovered her nakedness; they took her sons and her daughters; and her they killed with the sword: and she became a byword among women; for they executed judgments on her.
Eze 23:11 Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet was she more corrupt in her doting than she, and in her prostitution which were more than the prostitution of her sister.
Eze 23:12 She doted on the Assyrians, governors and rulers, her neighbors, clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.
Eze 23:13 I saw that she was defiled; they both took one way.
Eze 23:14 She increased her prostitution; for she saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion,
Eze 23:15 girded with girdles on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them princes to look on, after the likeness of the Babylonians in Chaldea, the land of their birth.
Eze 23:16 As soon as she saw them she doted on them, and sent messengers to them into Chaldea.
Eze 23:17 The Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their prostitution, and she was polluted with them, and her soul was alienated from them.
Eze 23:18 So she uncovered her prostitution, and uncovered her nakedness: then my soul was alienated from her, like as my soul was alienated from her sister.
Eze 23:19 Yet she multiplied her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth, in which she had played the prostitute in the land of Egypt.
Eze 23:20 She doted on their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of donkeys, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
Eze 23:21 Thus you called to memory the lewdness of your youth, in the handling of your bosom by the Egyptians for the breasts of your youth.
Eze 23:22 Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will raise up your lovers against you, from whom your soul is alienated, and I will bring them against you on every side:
Eze 23:23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them; desirable young men, governors and rulers all of them, princes and men of renown, all of them riding on horses.
Eze 23:24 They shall come against you with weapons, chariots, and wagons, and with a company of peoples; they shall set themselves against you with buckler and shield and helmet all around; and I will commit the judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments.
Eze 23:25 I will set my jealousy against you, and they shall deal with you in fury; they shall take away your nose and your ears; and your residue shall fall by the sword: they shall take your sons and your daughters; and your residue shall be devoured by the fire.
Eze 23:26 They shall also strip you of your clothes, and take away your beautiful jewels.
Eze 23:27 Thus will I make your lewdness to cease from you, and your prostitution brought from the land of Egypt; so that you shall not lift up your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt any more.
Eze 23:28 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will deliver you into the hand of them whom you hate, into the hand of them from whom your soul is alienated;
Eze 23:29 and they shall deal with you in hatred, and shall take away all your labor, and shall leave you naked and bare; and the nakedness of your prostitution shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your prostitution.
Eze 23:30 These things shall be done to you, because you have played the prostitute after the nations, and because you are polluted with their idols.
Eze 23:31 You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore will I give her cup into your hand.
Eze 23:32 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: You will drink of your sister's cup, which is deep and large; you will be ridiculed and held in derision; it contains much.
Eze 23:33 You shall be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of your sister Samaria.
Eze 23:34 You shall even drink it and drain it out, and you shall gnaw the broken pieces of it, and shall tear your breasts; for I have spoken it, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 23:35 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because you have forgotten me, and cast me behind your back, therefore bear you also your lewdness and your prostitution.
Eze 23:36 Yahweh said moreover to me: Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? then declare to them their abominations.
Eze 23:37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands; and with their idols have they committed adultery; and they have also caused their sons, whom they bore to me, to pass through the fire to them to be devoured.
Eze 23:38 Moreover this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my Sabbaths.
Eze 23:39 For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and behold, thus have they done in the midst of my house.
Eze 23:40 Furthermore you have sent for men who come from far, to whom a messenger was sent, and behold, they came; for whom you did wash yourself, paint your eyes, and deck yourself with ornaments,
Eze 23:41 and sit on a stately bed, with a table prepared before it, whereupon you did set my incense and my oil.
Eze 23:42 The voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with men of the common sort were brought drunkards from the wilderness; and they put bracelets on the hands of them twain, and beautiful crowns on their heads.
Eze 23:43 Then said I of her who was old in adulteries, Now will they play the prostitute with her, and she with them.
Eze 23:44 They went in to her, as they go in to a prostitute: so went they in to Oholah and to Oholibah, the lewd women.
Eze 23:45 Righteous men, they shall judge them with the judgment of adulteresses, and with the judgment of women who shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.
Eze 23:46 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will bring up a company against them, and will give them to be tossed back and forth and robbed.
Eze 23:47 The company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.
Eze 23:48 Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.
Eze 23:49 They shall recompense your lewdness on you, and you shall bear the sins of your idols; and you shall know that I am the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 24:1 Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 24:2 Son of man, write you the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon drew close to Jerusalem this same day.
Eze 24:3 Utter a parable to the rebellious house, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh, Set on the caldron, set it on, and also pour water into it:
Eze 24:4 gather its pieces into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.
Eze 24:5 Take the choice of the flock, and also a pile of wood for the bones under the caldron; make it boil well; yes, let its bones be boiled in its midst.
Eze 24:6 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the bloody city, to the caldron whose rust is therein, and whose rust is not gone out of it! take out of it piece after piece; No lot is fallen on it.
Eze 24:7 For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it on the bare rock; she didn't pour it on the ground, to cover it with dust.
Eze 24:8 That it may cause wrath to come up to take vengeance, I have set her blood on the bare rock, that it should not be covered.
Eze 24:9 Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the bloody city! I also will make the pile great.
Eze 24:10 Heap on the wood, make the fire hot, boil well the flesh, and make thick the broth, and let the bones be burned.
Eze 24:11 Then set it empty on its coals, that it may be hot, and its brass may burn, and that its filthiness may be molten in it, that its rust may be consumed.
Eze 24:12 She has wearied herself with toil; yet her great rust doesn't go forth out of her; her rust doesn't go forth by fire.
Eze 24:13 In your filthiness is lewdness: because I have cleansed you and you weren't cleansed, you shall not be cleansed from your filthiness any more, until I have caused my wrath toward you to rest.
Eze 24:14 I, Yahweh, have spoken it: it shall happen, and I will do it: I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to your ways, and according to your doings, shall they judge you, says the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 24:15 Also the word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 24:16 Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke: yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears run down.
Eze 24:17 Sigh, but not aloud, make no mourning for the dead; bind your headdress on you, and put your shoes on your feet, and don't cover your lips, and don't eat men's bread.
Eze 24:18 So I spoke to the people in the morning; and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.
Eze 24:19 The people said to me, Won't you tell us what these things are to us, that you do so?
Eze 24:20 Then I said to them, The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
Eze 24:21 Speak to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pities; and your sons and your daughters whom you have left behind shall fall by the sword.
Eze 24:22 You shall do as I have done: you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.
Eze 24:23 Your tires shall be on your heads, and your shoes on your feet: you shall not mourn nor weep; but you shall pine away in your iniquities, and moan one toward another.
Eze 24:24 Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you will do: when this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord Yahweh.
Eze 24:25 You, son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their heart, their sons and their daughters,
Eze 24:26 that in that day he who escapes shall come to you, to cause you to hear it with your ears?
Eze 24:27 In that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped, and you shall speak, and be no more mute: so you will be a sign to them; and they shall know that I am Yahweh.

Dec. 2
James 5

Jas 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you.
Jas 5:2 Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten.
Jas 5:3 Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days.
Jas 5:4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies.
Jas 5:5 You have lived delicately on the earth, and taken your pleasure. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
Jas 5:6 You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous one. He doesn't resist you.
Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain.
Jas 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Jas 5:9 Don't grumble, brothers, against one another, so that you won't be judged. Behold, the judge stands at the door.
Jas 5:10 Take, brothers, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we call them blessed who endured. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the Lord in the outcome, and how the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Jas 5:12 But above all things, my brothers, don't swear, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your "yes" be "yes," and your "no," "no;" so that you don't fall into hypocrisy.
Jas 5:13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises.
Jas 5:14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord,
Jas 5:15 and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Jas 5:16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.
Jas 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months.
Jas 5:18 He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.
Jas 5:19 Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,
Jas 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.