From Jim McGuiggan... What the Holy Spirit won't do

What the Holy Spirit won't do

John 16:13-14 has this to say. "When he the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you."
For many years there was little written about the Holy Spirit and that's a loss that believers could scarcely afford but the Holy Spirit himself was partly responsible for that because he did such a glorious job in glorifying Jesus Christ. In this text Jesus without apology insists that the Holy Spirit would not speak from himself; that is, he acts as one that delivers truth that is given to him. And as it turns out, the things he speaks about are the things of Christ, to whom the Spirit brings glory. If we take God’s unfolding drama seriously—that is, in the way that God has unfolded it, it will not be surprising that the Spirit doesn’t speak about himself or from himself. God’s creation purpose comes to its climax in Jesus Christ as the Lord of the new creation.
Every now and then we find people who will talk of no one else but the Holy Spirit and part of the reason for that is that for so long no one talked about him. These people are (perhaps) over-compensating for what is in some ways a shameful silence during which the Spirit has been completely ignored. And when people have been starved (so to speak) of something rich it is hardly surprising if they should gorge themselves when the opportunity arises.
[Of course there are those that think they’re talking about the Holy Spirit when they’re really talking about themselves—about their experience of the Holy Spirit. At a much more sinister level there are those that convince us that they know they’re talking about themselves. Even while they use the words "the Holy Spirit said to me one morning while I was shaving..." (Yes, I did hear a prominent preacher say that in just the tone I’ve implied.) I think we’re supposed to come away with the impression that these speakers are on very intimate terms with a member of the Godhead.]
It’s important to bear in mind that this passage is particularly about the Holy Spirit and not about Jesus or the Father, so it becomes almost a job description. The passage has nothing to say about his person-hood and nature (though there are implications here), but about how he will go about his business, which, in this text, is to develop the meaning and further the purposes of Jesus Christ.
Those who would urge us to "go back to the simple teachings of Jesus" should pay attention to this text. The apostolic witness and the development of the truth about Jesus Christ should not be ignored—especially in light of such a passage. Jesus does not think that what the Spirit will do in them was a step backward. To ignore the Gospels would be tragic in every way that something can be tragic but to dismiss the NT epistles would be no less catastrophic. The Gospels are more than "simple" historical records of slices of Jesus’ life but the epistles teach us the meaning of much that we read in the Gospels.
These verses should give warning to preachers/teachers that ceaselessly talk to believers about the believers. The central responsibility of the church is to proclaim the glory of God in Jesus Christ. Its business is not to look ceaselessly at its own image. The business of its leaders and ministers of the Word is to take of Christ’s and give it to the church for the world, to the glory of God.
Ministers of the word are to feed the church of God with the word of the Sprit of God in keeping with God’s eternal purposes. It’s not in looking within that we’ll find courage and strength and joy and purpose and outreach. If we gain these and more we’ll gain them in being astonished by his grace and power and faithfulness and joy-filled holiness.
What have we preachers/teachers to do with presenting ourselves or leading the people of God to gaze endlessly at themselves (in praise or criticism)?
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com

What Did You Expect? by Kyle Butt, M.A.


What Did You Expect?

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

In contrasting the God of Israel with the pagan idols of old, the prophet Isaiah issued a challenge to those who believed in the potency of their pagan deities. Isaiah said this about the idols: “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them…. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods” (41:22-23). According to Isaiah, any deity that could consistently forecast the future would be recognized as a true God, while any unable to tell the future should be relegated to the rubbish pile of false religions. In order to prove that the God of Israel was the true God, Isaiah quoted this from the mouth of God: “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times thins that are not yet done” (46:9-10). Truly, Isaiah’s God could tell the future. The fall of Babylon, the reign of Cyrus, and the coming Messiah are but a few of the more prominent examples found within the book of Isaiah itself. In fact, the writers of the New Testament quoted the book of Isaiah more often than any other book of the Old Testament. The first-century Jewish community respected the book of Isaiah as inspired and infallible. Yet, the majority of first century Jews missed one of the main points of the book—that the coming Messiah would be not only a conquering king, but also a suffering servant.
Much of the time, people find what they want to find. During the time that Isaiah wrote his prophecy, the children of Israel suffered persecution from the surrounding nations. Years after Isaiah wrote, the nation of Israel fell into even greater troubles, even being led away into captivity by the Babylonians and being scattered throughout many different nations. During their various persecutions, they began to formulate a picture of the promised Messiah. The Coming One was He of whom it was spoken:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
From this prophecy, what else could one expect but a mighty, conquering Savior Who would carry the burden of the government on His own two shoulders; a sovereign Ruler the likes of David, Who would sit on the throne of a united, far-reaching kingdom? How Israel longed for such a Ruler Who would cast the burden of foreign bondage from their backs and lead them into a physical kingdom, victorious and everlasting!
However, Isaiah did not paint a one-sided picture of the Messiah. In fact, the entire chapter of Isaiah 53 details a suffering servant who would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” This suffering Messiah would be oppressed, afflicted, bruised, and stricken. At His death He would be counted among the wicked, led as a lamb to the slaughter. This picture of the Messiah was not of a conquering warrior, but rather of a beaten servant, carrying the sins of the world.
Of course, the pictures painted by the prophets were not mutually exclusive. The conquering power of the Messiah would result from His ability to bear the sins of the world through suffering and shame. But for most of the first-century Jews, a suffering Messiah was too much to bear. When Christ came from the despised Nazareth as a lowly carpenter’s son, He just wasn’t what they expected. They taunted Him to prove His power when they said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Matthew 27:42). They failed to recognize the “time of their visitation” because they kept in mind only the prophecies that they liked—only those pictures that suited their fancy.
Let us learn a valuable lesson from those first-century Jews. What we expect from Christ is not always what we find. Christ’s Gospel was not one of health and wealth on this Earth. It was not one of moral laxity, or a half-hearted call to devotion. The Christ of the New Testament turned over moneychangers’ tables, set fathers against sons, cried out against divorce, and demanded undivided adoration. When we see something in the character of Christ that we did not expect to find, let us not join the majority of first-century Judaism in rejecting Christ and His Word based on a one-sided acceptance of the evidence. Instead, let us probe deeper for the full portrait of our Savior, based onall the evidence. Let us have the courage to go where that evidence takes us so that we can join the apostle Andrew in saying, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).

From Mark Copeland... "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?" Regarding Its Preservation And Translation?

                       "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?"

              Regarding Its Preservation And Translation?


1. Has the Bible we have today been altered or corrupted...?
   a. We have no original "autographs" (manuscripts penned by the
   b. All we have are copies of copies, made over the years

2. How do we know there hasn't been...
   a. Significant changes or errors made in the process of copying?
   b. Collusion (secret cooperation for deceitful purposes) by those who
      possessed the early copies?

3. It is not uncommon to hear such statements as...
   a. "The Bible was corrupted by the Catholic church who possessed it"(Mormons, JWs)
   b. "Only Catholic Bibles are reliable, since the church possesses the oldest copies" (Catholics)

4. Yet it possible to have confidence in the Bible, that it...
   a. Contains the Scriptures as they were originally written
   b. Is free from attempts to twist the Scriptures to support a
      particular church or doctrine

[This confidence comes from keeping two things in mind:  1) Textual
evidence for the Biblical documents, and 2) Translation guidelines for
selecting a translation of the Bible.  [Let's first take a look at


      1. The Massoretic Text (900 A.D.)
         a. Earliest complete text of Hebrew OT, copied by Jewish
            scribes called the Massoretes
         b. Comparison with earlier Greek and Latin versions
            1) Reveal vary careful copying
            2) With little deviation during the thousand years from 100 B.C. to 900 A.D.
      2. The Dead Sea Scrolls (150 B.C. - 70 A.D.)
         a. Discovered in 1947, containing copies of OT books dating back to 100 B.C.
         b. Compared with the "Massoretic Text" of 900 A.D., they
            confirm the careful copying of Jewish scribes for over 1000 years!
      3. The Septuagint version of the OT (200 B.C.)
         a. A Greek translation of the OT, done in 200 B.C. by 70 scholars
         b. It also confirms the accuracy of the copyists who gave us the Massoretic Text
      -- In his book, Can I Trust My Bible, R. Laird Harris concluded,
         "We can now be sure that copyists worked with great care and
         accuracy on the Old Testament, even back to 225 B.C....Indeed,
         it would be rash skepticism that would now deny that we have
         our Old Testament in a form very close to that used by Ezra
         when he taught the word of the Lord to those who had returned
         from the Babylonian captivity."

      1. The number of the manuscripts
         a. Over 4,000 Greek manuscripts
         b. 13,000 copies of portions of the N.T. in Greek
      2. The location of the manuscripts
         a. Found in various places:   Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy
         b. Making collusion very difficult (not one church or religion contains them all)
      3. The date of the manuscripts
         a. Several papyri fragments have been dated to within 50-100
            years of the original
         b. We have several nearly complete N.T. Greek manuscripts
            within 300-400 years
            1) Codex Sinaiticus, found near Mt. Sinai
            2) Codex Alexandrinus, found near Alexandria in Egypt
            3) Codex Vaticanus, located at the Vatican in Rome
      4. The variations of the manuscripts
         a. The vast majority are very minor (spelling, differences in
            phraseology, etc.; modern translations often note the differences in footnotes)
         b. Only 1/2 of one percent is in question (compared to 5 percent for the Iliad)
         c. Even then, it can be stated:  "No fundamental doctrine of
            the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading...It cannot
            be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the
            Bible is certain:  especially is this the case with the New
            Testament." - Sir Frederick Kenyon (authority in the field
            of New Testament textual criticism)
      5. Other translations of the manuscripts
         a. More than 1,000 copies and fragments in Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, Ethiopic
         b. 8,000 copies of the Latin Vulgate, some almost dating back
            to Jerome's original translation (ca. 400 A.D.)
      6. Writings of the early "church fathers" (100-400 A.D.)
         a. Early religious leaders who left 1000s of quotations of the
            NT in their writings
         b. Even if all the NT manuscripts and translations were to
            disappear overnight, it would be possible to reconstruct the
            NT from their quotations, with the exception of 15-20 verses
      -- The evidence is sufficient to show that the Greek text of the
         New Testament has been faithfully preserved, without the
         possibility of collusion or corruption by any one religious party or faction

[While the text of the Bible has been remarkably preserved in its
original languages, how can we be sure that the version we use is
faithful in its translation of the text?  Here are some...]


      1. Some translations are the work of one person; for example:
         a. The Living Bible, by Kenneth Taylor
         b. Which is not really a translation, but a paraphrase
      2. Though well intentioned, such translations often:
         a. Express the views of one person
         b. Convey the theological bias of that individual
      3. It is better to find translations produced by a committee of scholars
         a. With often hundreds of experts in Hebrew and Greek
         b. Who examine and critique each other's work in the

      1. Some translations are the work of one religious group; for
         a. The New World Translation
         b. Produced by Jehovah's Witnesses
      2. Such translations are often slanted to prove doctrines
         favorable to the group
         a. E.g., the NWT translation of Jn 1:1-2 ("the Word was a god")
         b. E.g., the NWT translation of Col 1:16-17 (inserting "other"
            four times)
      3. It is better to find translations produced by representatives
         from different backgrounds
         a. Who are members of different religious organizations
         b. Who check each other's work to prevent theological bias

      1. King James Version (KJV)
         a. A classic, but somewhat archaic
         b. Many people have problems with or misunderstand the old English
      2. New King James Version (NKJV)
         a. An updated KJV, desiring to preserve the beauty of the KJV
         b. My personal choice, very easy to read
      3. American Standard Version (ASV)
         a. Most literal to the Greek, but therefore harder to read
         b. Almost out of print
      4. New American Standard Bible (NASB)
         a. An update to the ASV
         b. My second choice, though often wordy
      5. Other translations useful as references:
         a. New International Version (NIV) - easy to read, but prone to theological bias
         b. New American Bible (NAB) - approved for Catholics, useful to
            show differences in doctrine are not due to translations


1. Can we trust the Bible?  Yes, because...
   a. The Hebrew and Greek manuscripts (though copies) have been providentially preserved
   b. Translations are available that are free from theological bias

2. Yes, it is possible to have confidence in the Bible, that it...
   a. Contains the Scriptures as they were originally written
   b. Can be read without fear that it has been tainted to support a
      particular church or doctrine

We can trust the Bible...do you? - cf. Jm 1:21-22

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading February 17

Bible Reading 

February 17

The World English Bible

Feb. 17
Genesis 48

Gen 48:1 It happened after these things, that someone said to Joseph, "Behold, your father is sick." He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Gen 48:2 Someone told Jacob, and said, "Behold, your son Joseph comes to you," and Israel strengthened himself, and sat on the bed.
Gen 48:3 Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
Gen 48:4 and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.'
Gen 48:5 Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, will be mine.
Gen 48:6 Your issue, who you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.
Gen 48:7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem)."
Gen 48:8 Israel saw Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?"
Gen 48:9 Joseph said to his father, "They are my sons, whom God has given me here." He said, "Please bring them to me, and I will bless them."
Gen 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he couldn't see. He brought them near to him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
Gen 48:11 Israel said to Joseph, "I didn't think I would see your face, and behold, God has let me see your seed also."
Gen 48:12 Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
Gen 48:13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near to him.
Gen 48:14 Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Gen 48:15 He blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
Gen 48:16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads, and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
Gen 48:17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him. He held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head.
Gen 48:18 Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father; for this is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head."
Gen 48:19 His father refused, and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will be great. However, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his seed will become a multitude of nations."
Gen 48:20 He blessed them that day, saying, "In you will Israel bless, saying, 'God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh' " He set Ephraim before Manasseh.
Gen 48:21 Israel said to Joseph, "Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers.

Gen 48:22 Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow."


From Gary... Surprise!!!

Puns. I enjoy puns!!!  I guess what I enjoy about them is the surprise at the turn of meanings in the language. While I like surprises, there are some topics that I just DO NOT WANT TO BE SURPRISED ABOUT!!!!

Matthew, Chapter 24 (WEB)
  37  “As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.   38  For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship,   39  and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.   40  Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left;   41  two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left.   42  Watch therefore, for you don’t know in what hour your Lord comes.   43  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.   44  Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don’t expect, the Son of Man will come. 

Topic 1: Being unprepared for Jesus' return.
Topic 2: Not having obeyed God from the heart.

Read, Learn, Do!!!

Don't put it off; we really do not know if this will be our last day on EARTH!!!