My friend Jordan shared this with me.

"The thing that has haunted me through the years is in the process of my own growth; I thought I had to register with other people the fact that I had grown by telling them in a laughing way about what I once believed. 'I believed this, I once believed that.' And I had to belittle the path which I had taken.  I had to sort of be superior to all those teachers who taught me things that I don't believe anymore.  'There will be scoffers.' Of course we grow.  But who is the person who would drive by junior high school and say, 'Phooey.'"         F. Craddock  

I think it was a brave thing for Craddock to say. Coming from such an accomplished man it has added impact. It's good that a mature man such as Craddock can and will reveal his sadness and enable us, perhaps, to see ourselves in our own smugness that we might, in the name of the patient Lord Jesus, decisively be done with it.

It’s ugly at any time but when preachers and teachers who are given the privilege to exalt the Lord Jesus engage in it, and perhaps especially in the pulpit or behind the lectern, it’s ugliness is more apparent. The sneer seems even more pronounced then, the curled lip seems to contort the mouth even more and the jeering laugh is crow-like. Imagine hearing it in slow motion, the way movies sometime present the jeering laugh of some verbal clod.

Now, in my brilliance I know better, than my fathers and mothers in the faith and my new understanding has done what? It has set me free to verbally humiliate some of those who now sit and listen to my scorn? That’s what my “freedom” and newly found wisdom does for me? Somewhere beyond the limits of our physical eyes I can easily imagine the Lord Jesus coming into the room, sitting down beside those who are now being mocked, putting his arm across their shoulders, warmly greet them and then look intently at the thief in the pulpit or behind the lectern who is working at stealing their self-respect.

We do this to our own and treat others with respect?  SEE THIS

How Humanity Should Serve God by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


How Humanity Should Serve God

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

In His manifold dealings with mankind, God consistently has reiterated the fact that, as Sovereign of the Universe, He alone is worthy to be worshipped. When He provided the Israelites with their cherished ten commandments, for example, He reminded them in no uncertain terms:
I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them; for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:2-5).
It was not enough, however, for man merely to worship God. Through the millennia, God provided specific instructions concerning not only the fact that He was to be worshipped, but the manner in which He was to be worshipped. A straightforward reading of the Scriptures reveals that apparently these instructions were set forth very early in human history. The author of the book of Hebrews substantiated this when he commented on events that transpired shortly after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and the subsequent birth of two of their children, Cain and Abel. The inspired writer observed that “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts” (Hebrews 11:4).
Whatever else might be gleaned from the Bible’s statements about these two brothers, one thing is certain: Abel’s worship to God was acceptable; Cain’s was not. The conclusion, therefore, is inescapable: Abel had obeyed whatever instructions God had given the first family regarding their worship of Him, while Cain had ignored those same instructions.
These two brothers are not the only siblings from whom such a lesson can be drawn. In the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, the story is told of two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab, his first born, and Abihu. Leviticus 10 presents a chilling commentary on the two boys’ ill-fated attempt to worship God according to their own desires, and not as God had commanded.
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them and they died before Jehovah (Leviticus 10:1-2).
The key to understanding the account, of course, is found in the fact that they offered “strange fire” that God “had not commanded.” Aaron’s two sons suffered a horrible, painful death because they ignored Jehovah’s specific commands relating to how He was to be worshipped.
In referring to the Old Testament, the apostle Paul commented: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). From the accounts of Cain and Abel, and Nadab and Abihu, we can learn a critically important lesson regarding how God views man’s worship of Him. That lesson is this: God places a premium on foundational knowledge, proper understanding, correct mental attitude, contrite spirit, and reverent obedience in matters relating to worship offered to Him!
A New Testament example not only bears this out, but also brings the matter more clearly into focus. In Matthew 6:1ff., Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their public display of ritualistic religion when He said:
Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.... And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward.... Moreover, when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward (Matthew 6:1-2,5,16).
Consider the Pharisees that Christ used as an example of how not to worship God. They gave alms; they prayed; they fasted. Under normal circumstances, would each of these acts be acceptable to God? Indeed they would. But the Pharisees performed them for the wrong reason—“to be seen of men.” In other words, although the act itself was correct, the purpose for which they did it, and the attitude with which they did it, were wrong. Hence, God would not accept their worship!
Consider additional New Testament passages that bear on this issue. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul discussed a person’s giving of his means to the Lord, and stated that “each man” was to “do according as he hath purposed in his heart; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” The purpose of the act, as well as the understanding and attitude of the worshiper, were all critical. Further, in Luke 22:19, in speaking of the memorial supper that He was instituting, Christ commanded: “this do in remembrance of me.” The Scriptures make it clear, however, that it is possible to partake of the Lord’s supper in an incorrect way (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-29), thus making it null and void in its effects. In other words, the foundational knowledge, proper understanding, correct mental attitude, contrite spirit, and reverent obedience are all vitally important. And when they are missing, the act of worship is vain.
An additional point needs to be examined as well. Sincerity alone is not enough to make an act pleasing and acceptable to God. In 2 Samuel 6, the story is told of a man by the name of Uzzah who was accompanying the Ark of the Covenant of God as it was being moved from one place to another at the command of king David. The Ark had been placed on an ox cart, and the text says simply that “the oxen stumbled” (2 Samuel 6:6). Uzzah—no doubt believing that the precious cargo was about to be tumble from its perch on the cart and be damaged or destroyed—reached up to steady the Ark (2 Samuel 6:6). But God had commanded that the Israelites were not to touch the Ark or any other holy thing of God (Numbers 4:15). And so, the moment Uzzah touched the Ark, God struck him dead (2 Samuel 6:7).
Was Uzzah sincere in what he did? Undoubtedly. But his sincerity counted for nothing because he disobeyed. Note specifically the Bible’s statement that “God smote him there for his error” (2 Samuel 6:7b). God does not want just sincerity; He wants obedience. Jesus Himself said: “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Furthermore, the way of the Lord is both restrictive and narrow, as Jesus made clear in His beautiful Sermon on the Mount (read specifically Matthew 7:13-14). In fact, Christ observed: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus later commented on the attitude of the people of His day when He said: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
These people of whom Jesus spoke did not have the foundational knowledge, proper understanding, correct mental attitude, contrite spirit, or reverent obedience God demands of those who would worship and serve Him as He has commanded. There is a valuable lesson in each of these accounts for those of us today who seek to worship and serve God. That lesson is this: we must do exactly what God has commanded, in exactly the way He has commanded that we do it. Nothing can take the place of simple obedience to the law of God. Neither sincerity nor good intentions will suffice. Only the person who reverently obeys because of adequate foundational knowledge, a proper understanding, a correct mental attitude, and a contrite spirit will be acceptable to God. That being the case, let us all strive not only to worship and serve God, but to worship and serve Him in a scriptural fashion.

From Mark Copeland... The Healing Of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

               The Healing Of Blind Bartimaeus (10:46-52)


1. As we continue our studies in the gospel of Mark...
   a. Jesus and His disciples are making their way toward Jerusalem
      - cf. Mk 10:32
   b. We now come to the last healing miracle described in the gospel of
      Mark - Mk 10:46-52

2. It involves the healing of a blind man near the city of Jericho...
   a. Identified by name as Bartimaeus
   b. Whose persistence, faith, and gratitude can serve as an example
      for us today

[Let's first take a closer look at...]


      1. The city
         a. Mark reports that the miracle occurred on the way out of
            Jericho - Mk 10:46
         b. Luke says it occurred on the way to Jericho - Lk 18:35
         c. There were two Jerichos at the time of Jesus, about 15 miles
            NE of Jerusalem
         d. The old Jericho from the days of Joshua was mostly abandoned
         e. The new Jericho built by Herod the Great was an attractive
         f. It may be the miracle occurred as Jesus was leaving one and
            heading to another - Expositor's Bible Commentary
      2. The crowd
         a. Included Jesus' disciples and a 'great multitude' - Mk 10:46
         b. The multitude was likely even greater because it was the
            time many Jews were on their way to Jerusalem observe the
      3. The blind man
         a. Matthew reveals that there were actually two blind men - Mt 20:29-32
         b. Luke focuses his account on "a certain blind man" - Lk 18:35-43
         c. Mark does also, identifying him by name, Bartimaeus - Mk 10:46
         d. Bartimaeus sat by the road, begging - Mk 10:46

      1. The desperate plea
         a. Learning that Jesus of Nazareth was walking by, Bartimaeus
            began to cry out
         b. "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" - Mk 10:47
         c. Many sought to silence him, but he cried out all the more
         d. "Son of David, have mercy on me!" - Mk 10:48
      2. The gracious healing
         a. Jesus commanded for Bartimaeus to be called
         b. Some encourage him:  "Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling
            you." - Mk 10:49
         c. He throws aside his outer garment (which might hinder his
            steps) and comes to Jesus - Mk 10:50
         d. Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants Him to do - Mk 10:51
         e. "Rabboni (Master, Teacher, cf. Jn 20:16), that I may receive
            my sight."
         f. Jesus' response:  "Go your way; your faith has made you
            well." - Mk 10:52
      3. The new disciple
         a. Immediately Bartimaeus receives his sight - Mk 10:52
         b. He follows Jesus on the road, glorifying God - cf. Lk 18:43

[The people that saw this miracle also praised God (Lk 18:43).  How
might we best praise God for such a miracle?  Perhaps by learning from
the example of blind Bartimaeus.  In that regard, here are...)


      1. Bartimaeus displayed persistence despite the efforts of others
         to silence him
      2. He exemplifies the truth of what Jesus taught about persistence
         - Mt 7:7-8
      3. Are we willing to be persistent in our prayers? - cf. Lk 18:1-8

   B. FAITH...
      1. Bartimaeus was healed because of his faith
      2. Similar to the woman healed of a flow of blood - Mk 5:34
      3. Do we have the faith to receive what is God's will for us?
         - cf. 1Jn 5:14

      1. Bartimaeus followed Jesus and glorified God
      2. Like the Samaritan leper, he expressed gratitude - Lk 17:12-19
      3. Do we express gratitude for the many blessings God gives us?
         - cf. 1Th 5:14


1. Bartimaeus, who many sought to silence, has much to teach us about...
   a. Persistence
   b. Faith
   c. Gratitude

2. May the healing of blind Bartimaeus serve to always remind us to...
   a. Persist in our requests to God
   b. Develop the faith necessary to receive such requests
   c. Never fail to express gratitude when God answers our prayers

Finally, note that Bartimaeus followed Jesus.  Are you willing to show
your gratitude to Jesus by following Him as His disciple, responding to
the gospel of Christ...? - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

Luke 18:35 (NKJV)

35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging.

From Gary... Bible Reading January 3

Bible Reading   

January 3

The World English Bible

Jan. 3
Genesis 3

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Has God really said, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?' "
Gen 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat,
Gen 3:3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' "
Gen 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, "You won't surely die,
Gen 3:5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.
Gen 3:7 The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Gen 3:8 They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.
Gen 3:9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"
Gen 3:10 The man said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Gen 3:11 God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
Gen 3:12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
Gen 3:13 Yahweh God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Gen 3:14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."
Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
Gen 3:17 To Adam he said, "Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
Gen 3:18 Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field.
Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Gen 3:20 The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Gen 3:21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.
Gen 3:22 Yahweh God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever..."
Gen 3:23 Therefore Yahweh God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.


Jan. 3,4
Matthew 2

Mat 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 2:2 "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him."
Mat 2:3 When Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Mat 2:4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born.
Mat 2:5 They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written through the prophet,
Mat 2:6 'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel.' "
Mat 2:7 Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared.
Mat 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him."
Mat 2:9 They, having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was.
Mat 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Mat 2:11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Mat 2:12 Being warned in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way.
Mat 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."
Mat 2:14 He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt,
Mat 2:15 and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men.
Mat 2:17 Then that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,
Mat 2:18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; she wouldn't be comforted, because they are no more."
Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,
Mat 2:20 "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child's life are dead."
Mat 2:21 He arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Mat 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee,
Mat 2:23 and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

From Gary... The answer is...

Some things in life are just hard to understand; math is one of them. I completely agree with the first paragraph but reject the second. Why? because that second one is sheer stupidity. Now, those of you who know me well, realize that I actually love things like the above because they show the irony in life; for even the most intelligent among us can fall prey to someone just a touch smarter. Make no mistake- the smartest adversary you will ever face is the Devil (Lucifer, Satan, the adversary, scratch- whatever). But, even he can be defeated- it just takes THE WORD OF GOD.

Matthew, Chapter 4 (WEB)
  1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  2 When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward.  3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 

  4  But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” 

  5  Then the devil took him into the holy city. He set him on the pinnacle of the temple,  6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you.’ and, 
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.’”

  7  Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not test the Lord, your God.’” 

  8  Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.  9 He said to him, “I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.” 

  10  Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’” 

  11  Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and served him.

Like that little second paragraph at the top, Satan's arguments twist the truth. Jesus puts him in his place, though, because he knows the WORD OF GOD.  While you and I will never have the depth of understanding that Jesus obviously has, we can know enough to attain to heaven and stay on the path that leads there.  So, in this upcoming year, study, study, study- for there will be a testing by the evil one. You do want to pass don't you?

PS. The answer to the "math quiz" is that there is no answer. Stupid questions make for stupid answers. So, make up you own answer; personally, I like- a duck in a row-boat eating half a pizza because the barn was red!!!   Anyone out there have one you would like to share- feel free to do so!!!!