12/12/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Ladling out heartache *


Ladling out heartache *

"Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad…I will save My people out of your hand." So speaks God to false prophets and fortune-tellers in Ezekiel 13:22-23 (NKJV).

There's enough trouble in life that comes uncalled for without preachers and teachers ladling out heartache in the name of the Lord.

Pulpits and lecterns are dangerous places! Those that fill them face greater judgement (compare James 3:1). These are places of such power. There are earthquakes and tornados and hurricanes and tsunamis and massive volcanic eruptions and then there are words! Sensitive people, already under great pressure, melt under the words that pour from mouths breathing fire in the name of the Lord. Another sermon to preach or class to teach, fling something together, don't think too much about who's going to hear it and don't spend a lot of time worrying how well it reflects the overarching purpose of God—just pour it out and let them be dismayed who are dismayed! That's "faithful preaching"!

Don't trouble yourself that the verses you quote and ram home are addressed to apostates and the impenitent and that your hearers may well be devoted but very sensitive disciples of the Lord. If your lesson scares them witless, that's their problem; yours is only to get an introduction, three points and a conclusion, with loads of verses thrown in!

Is God Male? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1165

Is God Male?

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

Q.

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, whenever reference is made to God (or, for that matter, to the other two members of the Godhead) a male pronoun (He, Him, His, etc.) is employed. Why is this the case? Does God indeed possess gender comparable to that of humans? Is God male?
A.
God’s “gender” has been a hot topic for approximately the last two decades, owing in large part to the impact of the women’s liberation movement and the sexual revolution. Books with titles like When God was a Woman, The Feminine Face of God, Womanspirit Rising, and Beyond God the Father are leaping off bookstore shelves. Religious writers have capitulated to the “signs of the times” in attempts to make God “gender neutral.” For example, the well-known writer on science and religion (and herself a believer in God), Kitty Ferguson, placed the following disclaimer in the frontispiece to her best-selling book, The Fire in the Equations, produced and distributed by the W.B. Eerdmans company (a religious publisher).
The author of a book on the topic of science and religion needs a pronoun for God. Regardless of whether I choose to call God “he” or “she,” I find myself making a statement which I don’t wish to make. Using them interchangeably seems contrived and gets confusing. “She/he” or “he/she” is cumbersome...and one still has the problem of which gender comes first in the pairing. “It” will not do. Lacking a better solution, I have chosen to use “he,” which makes the weaker statement and is more easily interpreted as inclusive (1994, ellipses in orig.).
Major religious groups even have begun altering their views on God and the language they use to express those views. In the Inclusive Language Lectionary produced by the U.S. Council of Churches, Christ’s word for God, Abba, has been changed from “Father” to “Father and Mother,” and the word for His relationship to God has been altered from “son” to “child” (see Reuther, 1988, p. 144). At its annual conference in 1992, the Methodist Church in Great Britain concluded that “the use of female imagery is compatible with faithfulness to Scripture—indeed Scripture itself points in this direction and also gives us examples of that imagery.” The Methodist Faith and Order Commission thus recommended that, in order to avoid distortion of our image of God, both female and male images should be used to refer to Him/Her (Inclusive Language and Imagery about God, 1992). And, as British writer Hugh Montefiore noted:
Even the Church of England, while not going so far as this, has made some suggestions for inclusive language. No doubt such measures are as yet in their infancy. Teaching will in future focus on the filial relationship of Jesus to God rather than on his sonship, and on our dependence on God and on his love and care for us, rather than on his fatherhood (1993, p. 131).
What should be the Christian’s response to these kinds of innovations and the changes that stem from them? Is it scriptural to speak of God as “Mother”? Is it permissible to refer to Jehovah as “Her”?
To answer these kinds of questions, one first must know something of the nature of deity. And the only source of that kind of information is God’s Word, the Bible. While it is correct that something may be known of God through a study of the created Universe—namely “his everlasting power and divinity” (Romans 1:20)—there nevertheless are specific traits of Deity that can be explained to mankind only via supernatural revelation. Fortunately, such a revelation has been provided in the Bible. The question then becomes: “What has God revealed concerning His nature and gender?”
It is true that the Bible often uses masculine terms to describe God or His activities. Male names/terms are applied to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. The names for God—Yahweh, Elohim, Shaddai, Sebbaoth, Adonai, Kurios, and Theos—are all masculine gender. Furthermore, male metaphors frequently are applied to God. The psalmist cried, “The Lord is king for ever and ever” (10:16) and wrote that “like as a father pitieth his children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Nehemiah represented God as a warrior when he wrote: “Our God will fight for us” (4: 20). Jeremiah portrayed God as a spurned husband (3:1-2). Jesus likened God to a loving Father (Luke 15:11-32). The names for Christ—Iesus and Christos—are masculine. And Jesus is presented in the male roles of a shepherd (Matthew 25:32; John 10:11-18), a prophet (Luke 13:33), a priest (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 7:24-28), a bridegroom (Matthew 22:1-4), and a son (Mark 1:11; John 3:16 [John mentions the father-son relationship more than 60 times in his Gospel]; Hebrews 1:2-3).
It also is true, however, that on certain occasions God is portrayed via female images and metaphors. Isaiah 42:14 has God saying, “I cry out like a travailing woman,” and Isaiah 46:3 records God’s words as “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, that have been borne by me from their birth, that have been carried from the womb.” In Isaiah 49:15, God inquired: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, these may forget, yet will not I forget thee.” The psalmist used a female attribute in speaking of God when he said, “Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother” In Isaiah 66:13, Jehovah promised: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” In one of His parables, Jesus portrayed God as a woman diligently sweeping her house in search of a single lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). And in Matthew 23:37, Jesus employed a female figure to refer to Himself in His lament over the city of David: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets and stoneth them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
However, there are other important factors to be considered as well. In an article titled, “Is God Female?,” Steve Singleton mentioned three of them:
1. God is referred to hundreds of times with masculine names and with masculine pronouns such as “he,” “him,” and “his.”
2. God is never given a feminine name, or referred to with feminine pronouns such as “she,” her,” and “hers.”
3. This does not mean that God is male. The masculine pronouns have always had the second, generic sense, referring to both male and female, just as “Man” has been used for centuries to refer to both men and women (1978, 120[10]:154).
These are critical points that must not be overlooked in responding to those who question the “gender” of God. I began this article by asking: “Does God indeed posses gender comparable to that of humans? Is God male?” In his book, Credible Christianity, Hugh Montefiore asked and answered those same questions. “Does this mean that God is male? The very question verges on the absurd.... God exists eternally, and in the eternal sphere there is no sexual differentiation. God has no gender. He is neither male nor female” (1993, pp. 130-131, emp. in orig.). As Singleton concluded: “God is not male or female. God is God. Do you hear the answer which God gave to Moses on the mountain when Moses asked, ‘Who are you?’ God said, ‘I am that I am!’ ” (1978, 120[10]:154, emp. added).
But why is it that God has no gender? Hopefully, the answer to this question will become obvious as we study the Scriptures. God is an eternal Spirit (Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 102:27; John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 1: 8) and, as Jesus pointed out, “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). In 1 Samuel 15:29, God Himself announced: “The Strength of Israel...is not a man.” Moses wrote in Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man...neither the son of man.” Hosea repeated that affirmation: “I am God, and not man” (11:9). Time and again the Scriptures address the fact that, as a Spirit, God is invisible. John commented that “no man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18). Paul spoke of “God...whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1 Timothy 6:13,16) and of Christ as “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). He reminded the young evangelist Timothy that to the “immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17).
Spirits—because they are non-corporeal beings—have no physical body, and thus, by definition, are incapable of possessing gender. In speaking of the humans who one day will inhabit the heavenly realm, Jesus remarked that they “neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angels” (Matthew 22:30). His point was that we shall not take up our earthly gender roles in heaven, just as the angels, as spirit beings, have played no gender roles throughout their existence. Similarly, God, as a Spirit Being Who inhabits the heavenly realm, has no gender. Why, then, if God has no gender, do the Scriptures refer to Him via masculine names and metaphors? And must we refer to Him via masculine names and metaphors?
The answer to the first question has to do with both history and authority. From a historical standpoint, the fact is that every known ancient religion—except one—posited both gods and goddesses as beings worthy of worship. The lone exception was Judaism. Kreeft and Tacelli, in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics, addressed this matter when they wrote:
The Jewish revelation was distinctive in its exclusively masculine pronoun because it was distinctive in its theology of the divine transcendence. That seems to be the main point of the masculine imagery. As a man comes into a woman from without to make her pregnant, so God creates the universe from without rather than birthing it from within and impregnates our souls with grace or supernatural life from without. As a woman cannot impregnate herself, so the universe cannot create itself, nor can the soul redeem itself. Surely there is an inherent connection between these two radically distinctive features of the...biblical religions...: their unique view of a transcendent God creating nature out of nothing and their refusal to call God “she” despite the fact that Scripture ascribes to him feminine attributes like compassionate nursing (Is. 49:15), motherly comfort (Is. 66:13) and carrying an infant (Is. 46:3). The masculine pronoun safeguards (1) the transcendence of God against the illusion that nature is born from God as a mother rather than created and (2) the grace of God against the illusion that we can somehow save ourselves—two illusions ubiquitous and inevitable in the history of religion (1994, p. 98, emp. in orig.).
From an authoritative standpoint, as Singleton pointed out earlier, God is referred to hundreds of times throughout Scripture by masculine names and masculine pronouns—but never is given a feminine name or referred to by feminine pronouns. Thomas Rees, writing in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, addressed the matter of God as the ultimate authority figure when he wrote that “the essential nature of God, and His relation to men, is best expressed by the attitude and relation of a father to his children; but God is Father in an infinitely higher and more perfect degree than any man” (1955, 2:1261). K.C. Moser, in his book, Attributes of God, stated emphatically that “this manner of referring to God is significant” (1964, p. 12). Indeed it is. While those who were involved in the false religions that surrounded the Jews worshipped a myriad of non-existent gods and goddesses, the Israelites worshipped “Jehovah the true God, the living God, an everlasting King” (Jeremiah 10:10; cf. “the true and living God,” 1 Thessalonians 1:9, NLB; “the only God,” John 5:44). Or, as Spencer, et al. put it in their book, The Goddess Revival: “The Judeo-Christian God, unlike the gods and goddesses of pagans new and old, exists above the limitations of gender” (1995, p. 48). It is an “authority” matter—not a “gender” matter.
But must we refer to God via masculine terms? The question has nothing to do with what we would like to do, but rather with what God tells us to do. C.S. Lewis addressed this point in his book, God in the Dock:
Goddesses have, of course, been worshipped: many religions have had priestesses. But they are religions quite different in character from Christianity.... Since God is in fact not a biological being and has no sex, what can it matter whether we say He or She, Father or Mother, Son or Daughter?
Christians think that God Himself has taught us how to speak of Him. To say that it does not matter is to say either that all the masculine imagery is not inspired, is merely human in origin, or else that, though inspired, it is quite arbitrary and unessential. And this is surely intolerable (1970, p. 237, emp. in orig.).
Scripture makes it clear: “O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.... Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, ‘He made me not’; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, ‘He hath no understanding’?” (Isaiah 64:8; 29:16). Since when does the clay have the right to dictate to the potter or override his decisions? As a believer in God and His inspired Word, and yet as one speaking from an inherently masculine viewpoint, Lewis went on to say:
We have no authority to take the living and semitive figures which God has painted on the canvas of our nature and shift them about as if they were mere geometrical figures.... It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are, in our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us. But it is an old saying in the army that you salute the uniform not the wearer.... A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles... (1970, pp. 237-238, emp. added).
It is not man’s (or woman’s!) place to question God’s sovereign authority or divine will; neither falls under mankind’s jurisdiction. As Kreeft and Tacelli noted: “One issue is whether we have the authority to change the names of God used by Christ, the Bible and the church. The traditional defense of masculine imagery for God rests on the premise that the Bible is divine revelation, not culturally relative, negotiable and changeable” (1994, p. 98). Christ Himself left us the perfect example (as He always did) when He said: “Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name” (Matthew 6:9, emp. added). The fact that biblical designations of God are placed within the specific framework of the masculine settles the matter once and for all. It simply is not a matter up for discussion.

REFERENCES

Ferguson, Kitty (1994), The Fire in the Equations (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Inclusive Language and Imagery about God (1992), (Peterborough, England: Methodist Faith and Order Commission).
Kreeft, Peter and Ronald K. Tacelli (1994), Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Lewis, C.S. (1970), God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Montefiore, Hugh (1993), Credible Christianity: The Gospel in Contemporary Society (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Moser K.C. (1964), Attributes of God (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Rees, Thomas (1955), “God,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr, et al. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 2:1250-1264.
Reuther, R.R. (1988), “Feminism and Jewish-Christian Dialogue,” The Myth of Christian Uniqueness, ed. J. Hick and P. Knitter (London: SCM Press).
Singleton, Steve (1978), “Is God Female?,” Gospel Advocate, 120[10]:145,154, March 9.
Spencer, Aida B., et al. (1995), The Goddess Revival (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

From Mark Copeland... Beware Of Leaven (Mark 8:14-21)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                       Beware Of Leaven (8:14-21)

INTRODUCTION

1. Following the disputation with the Pharisees, Jesus warned His
   disciples...
   a. As they sailed the Sea of Galilee from Dalmanutha to Bethsaida
      - Mk 8:10,13,22
   b. Charging them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of
      Herod - Mk 8:15
   c. Matthew's gospel mentions the Sadducees (often aligned with Herod)
      - Mt 16:6,11-12

2. The disciples at first misunderstood...
   a. They thought it was because they had forgotten to take bread - Mk 8:14-16
   b. Jesus corrected their misunderstanding, reminding them of His
      miracles - Mk 8:17-21
   c. Then they understood that "leaven" referred to "doctrine" - cf. Mt 16:11-12

3. Leaven is a good metaphor for doctrine...
   a. Both operate with subtlety
   b. Both are very potent
   c. Both gradually spread their influence

[What doctrines or characteristics of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and
Herodians might Jesus have been warning about?  Are there parallels
today that we would should beware today? Let's start with...]

I. THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES

   A. THE PHARISEES THEN WERE...
      1. A religious and political group noted for its conservatism
         a. They were strict observers of the Law of Moses
         b. They also adopted "the traditions of the elders",
            interpretations of the Law that had been handed down  - cf.
            Mk 7:1-5
      2. Jesus described them as "blind leaders of the blind" - Mt 15:12-14
         a. They made the commandments of God of no effect by their
            traditions - Mt 15:3-6
         b. They were often hypocrites, teaching one thing and
            practicing another - Mt 15:7-8; 16:3; 23:1-4,27-28; cf. Lk 12:1
         c. They did their works to be seen of men - Mt 23:5
         d. They loved the attention and special treatment by others
            - Mt 23:6-7
         d. They wore religious titles - Mt 23:8-10
         e. They prevented others from finding the way to the kingdom of
            heaven - Mt 23:13
         f. They used their religion to make money and impress others
            - Mt 23:14
         g. They didn't make people better, they made them worse! - Mt 23:15
         h. They made distinctions where God did not - Mt 23:16-22
         i. Though sticklers for some commandments, they ignored others
            - Mt 23:23-24
         j. They honored men of God who went before them, but were more
            like those who persecuted the people of God - Mt 23:29-31
      -- They were the more conservative religious group in Jesus' day

   B. THE PHARISEES TODAY ARE THOSE WHO...
      1. Teach and practice traditions of men, instead of the commands
         of God
      2. Teach one thing, while practicing another
      3. Do things to be seen of men, wearing special garments, and
         using religious titles
      4. Do not truly show people the way to the kingdom of heaven
      5. Use religion to make money and impress others
      6. Make distinctions where God has made none
      7. Stress some commands, but neglect others as unnecessary
      -- Religious conservatives are susceptible to being like the
         Pharisees today

[Now let's consider...]

II. THE LEAVEN OF THE SADDUCEES

   A. THE SADDUCEES THEN WERE...
      1. A religious and political group noted for its liberalism
         a. Included many powerful members of the priesthood - Ac 5:17
         b. They insisted only the laws found in the Pentateuch were
            binding
         c. They rejected "the traditions of the elders"
         d. They did not believe in the resurrection, spirits, angels
            - Ac 23:8; Mt 22:23
         e. They did not believe in rewards or punishment after death,
            nor in heaven or hell
      2. Jesus charged them with two faults - Mt 22:23-29
         a. They did not know the Scriptures
            1) Even those scriptures they held to be true!
            2) For Jesus used the Pentateuch to show their error - Mt22:31-32; Exo 3:6
         b. They did not know the power of God
            1) Like many liberals, they were influenced by rationalism
            2) They assumed that if they could not comprehend something,
               it could not be true
            3) They failed to believe what Gabriel and Jesus both knew:
               that with God, nothing is impossible! - Lk 1:37; Mt 19:26
      -- They were the more liberal religious group in Jesus' day

   B. THE SADDUCEES TODAY ARE THOSE WHO...
      1. Take portions of God's word, but reject the rest; such as those
         who:
         a. Accept the words of Jesus, but not His apostles - contra Jn 13:10; Ac 2:42; 1Co 14:37
         b. Accept the words of His apostles, but hold that ALL of
            Jesus' teachings in the gospels are Old Covenant teaching
            - contra Mt 28:20; Ac 20:35; 1Ti 5:18b; Lk 10:7
      2. Accept human reason over divine revelation
         a. Who will not accept a Biblical doctrine unless it makes
            sense to them
         b. A dangerous position to hold, since God has chosen to
            confound the wise and arrogant with the foolishness of the
            gospel message - cf. 1Co 1:18-31
         c. Some doctrines revealed may contain elements beyond man's
            ability to fully comprehend (such as the mystery of
            godliness:  God manifested in the flesh - 1Ti 3:16; or the
            nature of the Godhead itself)
         d. A child-like trust is more becoming of a Christian - cf. Mt 18:3; Ps 131:1-3
      3. Rule out the power of God
         a. Rejecting any doctrine, any promise, of the Scriptures if
            conceived as not being possible
         b. Such as the creation, the virgin birth, the miracles of
            Jesus, the resurrection of the dead
         c. But once we accept the premise that with God all things are
            possible, we cannot reject Biblical testimony just because
            it does not fit our preconceived ideas of what is possible
      -- Religious liberals are susceptible to being like the Sadducees
         today

[Finally, let's consider...]

III. THE LEAVEN OF THE HERODIANS

   A. THE HERODIANS THEN WERE...
      1. Jews who supported the dynasty of Herod, though it was mostly a
         puppet of Rome
      2. Not a religious sect, but a political party; secular minded
         rather than spiritually minded
      3. They would align themselves with the Pharisees when convenient
         - Mk 3:6; 12:13
      4. They were often interchangeable with the Sadducees - cf. Mk 8:15 with Mt 16:6
      -- They were politicos first, who used religion to promote their
         cause

   B. THE HERODIANS TODAY ARE THOSE WHO...
      1. Believe the solution lies in politics, not the gospel
      2. Are more interested in worldly matters than the kingdom of God
         a. When the kingdom of God should come first - Mt 6:33; Php 3:20
         b. When we are to be pilgrims and sojourners - 1Pe 2:11-12
         c. Where we are to avoid worldly attachments - 2Co 6:14-7:1
      3. Use religion when convenient to get the support of the masses
      -- Political activists are susceptible to being like the Herodians
         today

CONCLUSION

1. The parallels between then and now are striking...
   a. Pharisees - religious fundamentalists
   b. Sadducees - religious liberals
   c. Herodians - political activists

2. Jesus' warning is sorely needed today...
   a. "Take heed, beware of the leaven..."
   b. For it is so easy to become like those who opposed our Lord

How can we ensure that we do not become like the Pharisees, Sadducees,
or the Herodians?  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
with Jesus and His apostles as our spiritual guides and mentors...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 12



Bible Reading   

December 12

The World English Bible


Dec. 12
Hosea 1-4

Hos 1:1 The word of Yahweh that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hos 1:2 When Yahweh spoke at first by Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, "Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and children of unfaithfulness; for the land commits great adultery, forsaking Yahweh."
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; and she conceived, and bore him a son.
Hos 1:4 Yahweh said to him, "Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease.
Hos 1:5 It will happen in that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."
Hos 1:6 She conceived again, and bore a daughter. Then he said to him, "Call her name Lo-Ruhamah; for I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, that I should in any way pardon them.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by Yahweh their God, and will not save them by bow, sword, battle, horses, or horsemen."
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived, and bore a son.
Hos 1:9 He said, "Call his name Lo-Amm; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can't be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'
Hos 1:11 The children of Judah and the children of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint themselves one head, and will go up from the land; for great will be the day of Jezreel.
Hos 2:1 "Say to your brothers, 'My people!' and to your sisters, 'My loved one!'
Hos 2:2 Contend with your mother! Contend, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; and let her put away her prostitution from her face, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
Hos 2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and make her bare as in the day that she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and kill her with thirst.
Hos 2:4 Indeed, on her children I will have no mercy; for they are children of unfaithfulness;
Hos 2:5 For their mother has played the prostitute. She who conceived them has done shamefully; for she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'
Hos 2:6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, that she can't find her way.
Hos 2:7 She will follow after her lovers, but she won't overtake them; and she will seek them, but won't find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.'
Hos 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and multiplied to her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
Hos 2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my new wine in its season, and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness.
Hos 2:10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one will deliver her out of my hand.
Hos 2:11 I will also cause all her celebrations to cease: her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her solemn assemblies.
Hos 2:12 I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, about which she has said, 'These are my wages that my lovers have given me; and I will make them a forest,' and the animals of the field shall eat them.
Hos 2:13 I will visit on her the days of the Baals, to which she burned incense, when she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and went after her lovers, and forgot me," says Yahweh.
Hos 2:14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
Hos 2:15 I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she will respond there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Hos 2:16 It will be in that day," says Yahweh, "that you will call me 'my husband,' and no longer call me 'my master.'
Hos 2:17 For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth, and they will no longer be mentioned by name.
Hos 2:18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the sky, and with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, and will make them lie down safely.
Hos 2:19 I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
Hos 2:20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know Yahweh.
Hos 2:21 It will happen in that day, I will respond," says Yahweh, "I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth;
Hos 2:22 and the earth will respond to the grain, and the new wine, and the oil; and they will respond to Jezreel.
Hos 2:23 I will sow her to me in the earth; and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; and I will tell those who were not my people, 'You are my people;' and they will say, 'My God!' "
Hos 3:1 Yahweh said to me, "Go again, love a woman loved by another, and an adulteress, even as Yahweh loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods, and love cakes of raisins."
Hos 3:2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley.
Hos 3:3 I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days. You shall not play the prostitute, and you shall not be with any other man. I will also be so toward you."
Hos 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without sacred stone, and without ephod or idols.
Hos 3:5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return, and seek Yahweh their God, and David their king, and shall come with trembling to Yahweh and to his blessings in the last days.
Hos 4:1 Hear the word of Yahweh, you children of Israel; for Yahweh has a charge against the inhabitants of the land: "Indeed there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Hos 4:2 There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break boundaries, and bloodshed causes bloodshed.
Hos 4:3 Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone who dwells therein will waste away. all living things in her, even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky; yes, the fish of the sea also die.
Hos 4:4 "Yet let no man bring a charge, neither let any man accuse; For your people are like those who bring charges against a priest.
Hos 4:5 You will stumble in the day, and the prophet will also stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother.
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you may be no priest to me. Because you have forgotten your God's law, I will also forget your children.
Hos 4:7 As they were multiplied, so they sinned against me. I will change their glory into shame.
Hos 4:8 They feed on the sin of my people, and set their heart on their iniquity.
Hos 4:9 It will be, like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and will repay them for their deeds.
Hos 4:10 They will eat, and not have enough. They will play the prostitute, and will not increase; because they have abandoned giving to Yahweh.
Hos 4:11 Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding.
Hos 4:12 My people consult with their wooden idol, and answer to a stick of wood. Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have been unfaithful to their God.
Hos 4:13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery.
Hos 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes; so the people without understanding will come to ruin.
Hos 4:15 "Though you, Israel, play the prostitute, yet don't let Judah offend; and don't come to Gilgal, neither go up to Beth Aven, nor swear, 'As Yahweh lives.'
Hos 4:16 For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will Yahweh feed them like a lamb in a meadow.
Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols. Leave him alone!
Hos 4:18 Their drink has become sour. They play the prostitute continually. Her rulers dearly love their shameful way.
Hos 4:19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings; and they shall be disappointed because of their sacrifices.

 
Dec. 12
1 John 2

1Jn 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
1Jn 2:3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 One who says, "I know him," and doesn't keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn't in him.
1Jn 2:5 But whoever keeps his word, God's love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him:
1Jn 2:6 he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.
1Jn 2:7 Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
1Jn 2:8 Again, I write a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shines.
1Jn 2:9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn't know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1Jn 2:12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
1Jn 2:13 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.
1Jn 2:14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1Jn 2:15 Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's.
1Jn 2:17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever.
1Jn 2:18 Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.
1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they didn't belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us.
1Jn 2:20 You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
1Jn 2:21 I have not written to you because you don't know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn't have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Therefore, as for you, let that remain in you which you heard from the beginning. If that which you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son, and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 This is the promise which he promised us, the eternal life.
1Jn 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray.
1Jn 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don't need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.
1Jn 2:28 Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1Jn 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of him.

From Gary... People, Power and Possibility


I look at this picture and I recall a little magnet that used it be on our refrigerator.  It said something like: "Be patient, God isn't finished with me yet"!!!  How true, how necessary!!!  I have faults and so do you, but the power of God can make me into someone better- and it can you as well. Unhappy with your life- Paul was; a sought the LORD three times to remove his "Thorn in the flesh". And God answered him with the verse seen above.  The thing is... GOD ANSWERED HIM!!!!  He cares and will work with us, if we will but let HIM!!!! So, let him, already- and be all you can be. One more thing- DO IT TODAY!!!!