From Ed Healy... Pray Always!

Pray Always!

How many times each day do you pause to draw strength from prayer to God? If your spirit and closeness to God seems dim it may be that you have failed to keep open your line of communication with God through prayer. Jesus received much strength this way after many arduous hours teaching and working with his disciples. The men closest to Him often observed how much prayer meant in Jesus' life. It should be of no less value in our lives.

Will prayer really change things? Yes. It is not naïve to expect life to be far richer with prayer than without prayer. Some of the wisest people in the world depend upon prayer to receive the power of God they need to sustain the strains of life. The Christian believes prayer can keep him safe from harm, help heal the sick, feed his spiritual man. Scriptural? To be sure. [1 Pet 3:12] For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Or [Phil 4:6-7] Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Peace of mind is the most sought-after commodity today. Prayer yields the peace of God. Prayer is our contact with God and His grace, for unless we pray we have no direct contact with God in this vital way. In contact with God we receive the power to make our lives full and always glowing and growing.

Prayer can be a formality, a habit or a conformity that one yields to or it can be a product of faith that makes one believe God is his Father and hears and cares and acts.

We may not know always how to ask God for what is best for us…we might even foolishly ask God for things that are wrong, but we can be assured that if our prayers are in accord with His will we shall see them answered.

Ask in Christ's name and it shall be effective. [I Jn 5:11-15] And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-- whatever we ask-- we know that we have what we asked of him. (NIV)

Jesus' influence with God the Father is used to the benefit of the one who prays in His name, or by His authority.


From Jim McGuiggan... Enter the Dragon (1)

Enter the Dragon (1)

Satan's overarching agenda is to wreck and ruin. There are suggestions in scripture that Satan rebelled against God. There is explicit mention of angelic rebellion in places like 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 and while there is no express mention of Satan in those texts they open the door for the reasonableness of a satanic apostasy. We presume Satan was created by God and since God cannot create what is inherently (by creation) evil we presume that Satan made himself God's enemy. Click here for some brief remarks on that. 

There's no reason at all to think that Satan thinks he can dethrone God! In the movie Gladiator a Roman officer surveys the ranks of the enemy who are about to engage in a battle they can't possibly win and wonders why they won't admit it. His general asks him, "Would we?" We continue to pursue lost causes for a variety of reasons and if you hate a man savagely enough you'd be willing to bring the house down on yourself if you thought it would do him an injury. When it began to look as though World War II was going against him, Hitler made it very clear that whether the Nazi regime would win or lose that this would be true:

"We shall not capitulate…no, never. We may be destroyed but if we are, we shall drag a world down with us…a world in flames…But even if we could not conquer them, we should drag half the world into destruction with us and leave no one to triumph over Germany. There will not be another 1918."

The apocalyptic visions of Revelation show the Dragon, who is identified with the great Serpent and Satan (Revelation 12:9; 20:2, and see Romans 16:20 with Genesis 3:14-15), at war with the Lamb and his armies. He seeks the destruction of the child born to be King and when thwarted in that he turns on the children of God (Revelation 12). And he makes it his business to deceive the nations so that they will worship the beast and the Dragon who gives power to the beast (Revelation 13) rather than God. 

In his poetry John Milton gives us a spellbinding description of Satan's fanatical hatred and opposition to God. Early in Book I, though racked with deep despair Satan smolders in "immortal hate" and hisses to Beelzebub, his chief ally, that his mind is fixed and that he will never bow to knee to God or sue for grace. Beelzebub wants to know the point of continuing a battle they can't win when all they'd get is more defeat and Satan rebukes him for weakness and tells him:

Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being contrary to His high will
Whom we resist. If then His providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labor must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil. 

He looks around at the desolation and gloom that has now become his kingdom and he insists that the farther from God he is the better. And with a tone of finality he sets his awful course,

Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,
Infernal World! And thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor—one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven out of Hell, a Hell out of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same…
Here at least we shall be free…
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. 

With this he goes off to build his capital, the great city Pandemonium, to which he gathers his despairing host of followers to, "Consult how we may most offend." Finding them whimpering and beaten he so rages that with words without substance he raises their courage and dispels their fears. Flags are raised, trumpets are blown and the vast host begins to shout in unison, and with swords and lances beating on their shields they frighten the Night as they swear eternal hatred against God and all he loves.

Give a Defense...to Everyone! by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Give a Defense...to Everyone!

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

The word apologetics derives from the Greek apologia, which means to defend or give a defense. Christian apologetics, then, is the defense of the Christian belief system.
The passage in 1 Peter 3:15 often is hailed as “the apologetic verse” because of its command to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense [apologian] to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
The inspired apostle instructed believers to be ready to give a defense. Offering a defense for the hope that lies within the heart of faithful Christians often is an easy thing to do. Whenever a person is surrounded by others of “like precious faith,” it proves an easy task to boldly defend New Testament Christianity. Perhaps it is for that very reason that Peter carries the thought a step farther by saying that Christians should stand ready to offer a defense “to everyone who asks you.”
Imagine Peter penning these words as his mind drifted back to the hour of Jesus’ arrest and trial. Shortly before the events of that night unfolded, Peter boldly and bravely had declared that he would die with Christ. Yet once the murderous mob confiscated His Lord, Peter was reduced to lurking in the shadows and following at a distance. His weakness and ignominy would only multiply as he was ushered into the courtyard of the High Priest. Waiting for him outside the trial was an enemy he was unable to fight—one so fierce and heinous that his mouth seemingly could not utter a defense of either his faith or his Lord. That enemy was…a servant girl!
“You also were with Jesus of Galilee” she accused. And Peter, who had been one of the first disciples to declare that Christ was the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), and who had been the one among the disciples to voice his affirmation that Christ alone had the words of life (John 6:68), stood dumbfounded as he cowardly muttered, “I do not know what you are saying” (Matthew 26:70).
Peter had faced a primordial challenge to his faith—and had failed that challenge miserably. He thus knew from firsthand experience exactly how it felt to have his faith collapse under the weight of pressure from the enemy. Yet only a few weeks after his shameful denial, the Lord granted him the privilege of preaching the sermon that opened wide the doors of the Kingdom on the Day of Pentecost.
Peter’s admonition to those who were to follow after him, therefore, becomes somewhat like the warning of a loving mother who has burned her hand on the stove many times and wants to save her child from making the same mistake and enduring the same pain. Peter’s life-changing experience, no doubt, was why the apostle urged every Christian to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” He understood all too well the alternative—denying the Lord in the face of the enemy—and knew far better than most that it was too horrible to contemplate.

From Mark Copeland... David’s Son And David’s Lord (Mark 12:35-37)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                David’s Son And David’s Lord (12:35-37)


1. Teaching in the temple on Tuesday of the Last Week, Jesus easily
   silenced His critics...
   a. Those who questioned His authority - Mk 11:27-33
   b. The Pharisees and Herodians, regarding taxes - Mk 12:13-17
   c. The Sadducees, regarding the resurrection - Mk 12:18-27
   d. A scribe, regarding the foremost commandment - Mk 12:28-34

2. Jesus then asked the Pharisees a question...
   a. Concerning the Christ (Messiah) as the son of David - Mk 12:35
   b. How could that be if David by inspiration called the Christ
      "Lord"? - Mk 12:36-37
   c. Seemingly a conundrum they could not answer

3. The passage Jesus referenced was Psalms 110...
   a. The most frequently quoted OT text in the NT
   b. Quoted or alluded to 33 times in the NT - D. M. Hay

[While the Pharisees could not answer, we have the benefit of completed
revelation to understand how the Christ could be both David’s son and
David’s lord, and how Jesus proved to be both...]


      1. As prophesied to David, with Solomon as a prefigure of Christ
         - 2Sa 7:12
      2. As promised by the prophets - Isa 11:1-5; Jer 23:5-6; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25
      -- At the time of the NT, the common Jewish expectation was that
         the Christ would be a descendant of David

      1. Jesus was David’s son through the royal ancestry of Joseph - Mt 1:1-17
         a. Matthew’s gospel shows that Jesus was the royal descendant
            of David
         b. Following the lineage of David through his son Solomon - Mt 1:6
      2. Jesus was David’s son through the fleshly ancestry of Mary - Lk 3:23-38
         a. Luke’s gospel shows that Jesus was the fleshly descendant of
         b. Following the lineage of David through his son Nathan - Lk 3:31
      -- Jesus was a descendant of David on both sides of His family
         (mother and step-father)!

[Jesus’ question was not to cast doubt on Christ as David’s son.  It
served to stump His critics for they did not comprehend how David’s son
could also be David’s lord. Today, we understand how...]


      1. As prophesied by David in the text Jesus quoted - Ps 110:1-7
         a. The Christ would be David’s lord
         b. Ruling at God’s right hand as both king and priest forever
      2. As prophesied by Isaiah - Isa 9:6-7
         a. The Christ would be a Son, Mighty God, Everlasting Father
         b. Over a government with no end
      3. As prophesied by Micah - Mic 5:2
         a. The Christ born in Bethlehem would be a ruler
         b. Who would be from everlasting!
      -- OT prophecy declared the kingship and deity of the Christ!

      1. As accepted and claimed by Jesus
         a. Jesus accepted the title "Son of God" in worship - Mt 14:33
         b. Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of God" - Jn 5:25;
            10:36; 11:4
      2. As proclaimed by others
         a. God called Jesus His Son - Mt 3:17; 17:5
         b. Peter confessed Jesus as the Son of God - Mt 16:16
         c. Mark began his gospel declaring Jesus as the Son of God - Mk 1:1
         d. The angel Gabriel spoke of Jesus as the Son of God - Lk 1:35
         e. John the Baptist testified that Jesus is the Son of God - Jn 1:34
         f. Nathaniel, Martha, and John confessed Him as the Son of God
            - Jn 1:49; 11:27; 20:31
      3. Being called the Son of God alludes to His pre-existence
         a. As expressed in John’s prologue to his gospel - Jn 1:1-2
         b. As claimed by Jesus Himself - Jn 8:56-58
         c. As taught by the apostle Paul - Php 2:5-7
      -- NT scriptures clearly declare the deity of the Christ!

      1. Jesus now has all authority in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
      2. All things (including David in heaven!) have been subjected to
         Him - Ep 1:20-23; 1Pe 3:22
      3. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth - Re 1:5
      4. The King of kings and Lord of lords - 1Ti 6:14-15; Re 17:14
      5. Who will reign until all enemies are placed under His feet,
         death being the last - Ps 110:1; 1Co 15:24-26
      -- NT scriptures clearly declare the kingly reign of the Christ!


1. This is the answer to the conundrum posed by Jesus...
   a. The Christ is David’s son by virtue of His incarnation in the
      lineage of David
   b. The Christ is David’s lord by virtue of His eternal deity and
      present reign!

2. The apostle Paul would later write that Jesus is...
   a. The Son of David according to the flesh - Ro 1:3
   b. The Son of God as evidenced by His resurrection - Ro 1:4
   c. "Our Lord" - Ro 1:3

Not only did David rightly call his Son "lord", but so should we.  Have
we accepted David’s Son (Jesus) as Lord, serving Him as "volunteers in
the day of Your power"...? - cf. Ps 110:3; Lk 6:46

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 14

Bible Reading   

January 14

The World English Bible

Jan. 14
Genesis 14

Gen 14:1 It happened in the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of Goiim,
Gen 14:2 that they made war with Bera, king of Sodom, and with Birsha, king of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, and Shemeber, king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar).
Gen 14:3 All these joined together in the valley of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea).
Gen 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year, they rebelled.
Gen 14:5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came, and the kings who were with him, and struck the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
Gen 14:6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, to Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
Gen 14:7 They returned, and came to En Mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and struck all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that lived in Hazazon Tamar.
Gen 14:8 The king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar) went out; and they set the battle in array against them in the valley of Siddim;
Gen 14:9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five.
Gen 14:10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and those who remained fled to the hills.
Gen 14:11 They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way.
Gen 14:12 They took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Gen 14:13 One who had escaped came and told Abram, the Hebrew. Now he lived by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were allies of Abram.
Gen 14:14 When Abram heard that his relative was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.
Gen 14:15 He divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them to Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
Gen 14:16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative, Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Gen 14:17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
Gen 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High.
Gen 14:19 He blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen 14:20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand." Abram gave him a tenth of all.
Gen 14:21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people, and take the goods to yourself."
Gen 14:22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up my hand to Yahweh, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth,
Gen 14:23 that I will not take a thread nor a sandal strap nor anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'
Gen 14:24 I will accept nothing from you except that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their portion."

From Gary... Enemies

One fundamental fact of life: If you are living a worthwhile life- you will have enemies. The unfortunate truth is that some people will HATE you for your beliefs. Some people will do everything they can to harm you in every way they can; and delight in doing so.  Do everything you can to be at peace with those around you, but FOLLOW GOD.  Paul says:

Philippians, Chapter 3
 17 Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have us for an example.  18 For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ,  19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things.  20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself. 

Be convinced in your heart of the truth and be willing to pay the price for your beliefs. Stand up for God in this world. Winston Churchill is correct, BUT ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT HE IS IN AGREEMENT WITH THE SCRIPTURES.