8/5/15

From Mark Copeland... "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT" The Fruit Of The Spirit - Self-control

                       "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT"

                 The Fruit Of The Spirit - Self-control

INTRODUCTION

1. Finally we come to the last virtue listed by Paul that is found in a
   person one who is walking in the Spirit, thereby producing the fruit
   of the Spirit:  "self-control" ("temperance", KJV)

2. In some ways, one might consider this virtue the most important...
   a. For without self-control, the "works of the flesh" cannot be
      overcome
   b. For without self-control, the other elements of the "fruit of the
      Spirit" will not be evident

3. But what exactly is "self-control"?  And how can one develop this
   virtue?

[These are questions I will attempt to answer in this final study in
this series on "The Flesh And The Spirit"...]

I. DEFINING SELF-CONTROL

   A. THE GREEK WORD IS  "EGKRATEIA" {eng-krat'-i-ah}
      1. It comes from the word "kratos" (strength), and means "one 
         holding himself in" (ROBERTSON)
      2. THAYER defines it as:  "the virtue of one who masters his
         desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites"
      3. MACKNIGHT adds the thought:  "Where this virtue subsists,
         temptation can have little influence."
      -- Immediately, then, we can see why this virtue is so necessary
         in overcoming the "works of the flesh" (such as fornication 
         and outbursts of wrath, Ga 5:19,20)

   B. IT IS FOUND ONLY THREE TIMES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...
      1. Once in Ac 24:25
         a. Where it is included along with "righteousness" and
            "judgment"
         b. "the word follows 'righteousness', which represents God's
            claims; therefore, self-control is to be man's response to
            such claims" (VINE)
      2. Once in Ga 5:23, where we see it is evidence of one walking
         in the Spirit, and being led by the Spirit
      3. And in 2Pe 1:6
         a. Here we learn that it is to be added to "knowledge"
         b. "it follows 'knowledge', suggesting that what is learned
            requires to be put into practice" (VINE)

[Self-control, then, is being in control of one's self; in the context
of the Scriptures, the control of self so as to be in harmony with the
will of God.

But it is a whole lot easier to define than it is to develop...]

II. DEVELOPING SELF-CONTROL

   A. THE SCRIPTURES DESCRIBE THE DIFFICULTY OF SELF-CONTROL...
      1. The wisdom of Solomon declared it is easier to capture a city
         than to be in control of our spirit - Pr 16:32; cf. 25:28
      2. Just controlling the tongue, is a difficult challenge...
         a. Failure to bridle the tongue renders our religion useless 
            - Jm 1:26
         b. It is easier to tame wild animals! - Jm 3:7-10

   B. HOWEVER, IN CHRIST THERE IS STRENGTH TO CONTROL SELF...
      1. Consider the dilemma described by Paul in Ro 7:14-24
         a. A dilemma experienced by one trying to do the will of God
            outside of Christ, having only the Law
         b. A dilemma that leads to...
            1) The inability to perform as one wishes, despite the will
               to do - Ro 7:18
            2) The state of captivity to the law of sin - Ro 7:23
            3) The condition of despair - Ro 7:24
         c. However, in Ro 7:25 we see a glimpse of hope, a hint of
            the answer to this dilemma (i.e., Jesus Christ!)
      2. The answer is stated very clearly in our text - cf. Ga 5:24
         a. "...those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with
            its passions and desires"
            1) This does not deny the fact there is still a battle 
               going on - cf. Ga 5:17
            2) But those in Christ have undergone a fundamental change
            3) In a way difficult to comprehend, they have "crucified
               the flesh" - Ga 5:24
         b. This took place when they were united with Christ in His
            death, in baptism...
            1) In baptism, our body of sin is put to death, crucified
               with Christ - Ro 6:3-6
            2) When we are raised from that watery grave, we rise to 
               walk in newness of life, free to live for God! - Ro 6:7,
               12-13
         c. This does not mean we are no longer tempted to sin, but in
            some significant way we are free from the "dominion" 
            (absolute rule) of sin! - cf. Ro 6:14
      3. For those in Christ, there is added strength as they "walk
         according to the Spirit"!
         a. Yes, we enjoy freedom from the "condemnation" of sin - cf.
            Ro 8:1
         b. But there is more, freedom also from the "power" of sin,
            freedom from "the law (principle) of sin and death" - Ro 8:2
            1) The "law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ"
               provides this freedom!
            2) The context suggests that this refers to the aid of the
               Spirit to help us overcome the "deeds of the body" - cf.
               Ro 8:11-14; Ep 3:16,20
         c. Isn't this what Paul was talking about in Ga 5:16-18,25?
            1) If you walk in the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of
               the body by the help of the Spirit, will you not defeat
               the lust of the flesh?
            2) Since you have been made alive in the Spirit (cf. Jn 
               3:5; Tit 3:5), should you not also walk in the Spirit
               (that is, utilize the help that is there)?

   C. WHAT THEN IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?
      1. First, trust in God's Word, that by His grace...
         a. Our old man of sin was indeed crucified with Christ in our
            baptism - Ro 6:6
         b. We did indeed crucify the flesh with its passions and 
            desires - Ga 5:24
         c. That God can indeed strengthen us by His Spirit in the 
            inner man - Ep 3:16
         d. That with God's help we can do all things according to His
            will - Php 4:13
      2. And then, with such faith, continue the process begun in our
         baptism...
         a. Put to death the deeds of the body - Ro 8:13
         b. Put to death our members here on the earth - Col 3:5,8-9
         c. Put ON the new man...
            1) A process which also began in baptism, when we put on
               Christ - Ga 3:27
            2) A process which continues as we grow daily - cf. Col 3:
               10-14
         d. Work as though it all depended upon you - Php 2:12
         e. But remember that you are not alone, that God is at work in
            you too!- Php 2:13

CONCLUSION

1. As one cooperates with God in the doing of His Will, self-control
   will be a natural by-product (i.e., evidence that one is walking in
   the Spirit)

2. We cannot overestimate the importance of developing "self-control"
   in our lives...
   a. Without it, we cannot defeat the temptations that come our way
   b. Without it, we cannot overcome the works of the flesh 
   c. Without it, we cannot grow as we should in Christ
   d. Without it, we cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit!

3. Yet in Christ we have every reason, every motivation, to develop the
   virtue of "self-control"
   a. We have been set free from the dominion of sin
   b. We have the aid of God through His indwelling Spirit
   c. We even have the assurance of forgiveness when we fall (1Jn 1:9), 

knowing that as long as we are willing to repent and try
      again, there is help from God!
   -- The key question is, "Do we trust the Lord to help us, enough so
      to walk by faith and do His Will?"

This brings to an end our study on "The Flesh And The Spirit".  I hope
that in some small way I have encouraged you to "walk in the Spirit",
and NOT to "fulfill the lust of the flesh".   The over-riding reason
for doing so is found in Paul's own words:

  "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Ga 5:25)

In truth, by the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Spirit"
(Tit 3:5) God saved us and caused us to be "born again of the water and
the Spirit" (Jn 3:5).  Since in our baptism God has made us alive by
the Spirit of God, shouldn't we seek to walk in such a way so as to
produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

Let the Land Rest by Kyle Butt, M.A.





https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=841

Let the Land Rest

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Throughout history, God has used the Earth to provide man with all of his physical needs. From the beginning of man’s existence on this planet, Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Earth and cultivated crops. In fact, when God punished Adam for sinning, his punishment involved hard labor in the field. From the time of Adam to the present, one of man’s most valuable commodities has been land. Without fertile ground, crops have no place to grow, animals have no place to graze, and humans have nothing to eat.
God always has known how important it is for man to have fertile land. For this reason, He gave the children of Israel explicit instructions on how to care for their land. In Leviticus 25:3-5 Moses wrote: “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” But what would happen to the land if the children of Israel (or anyone else, for that matter) did not take care to protect the land? The American “Dust Bowl” of the early part of the twentieth century provides a fitting answer to such a question.
Beginning in the early 1930s, several western states in America began to have serious problems with agricultural production. The late 1920s had seen a huge demand for wheat, and many farmers in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas planted crops year after year. What they failed to factor into their farming practices was the fact that the land could not sustain growth of the same crop repeatedly without a period of rejuvenation. Nutrients and bacteria (specifically, nitrogen-fixing bacteria) that had been removed from the land as a result of the never-ending sowing-and-reaping cycles needed time to be replaced. But the farmers did not allow the land that precious time, and as a result, the grasses that normally grew in the fields to protect the land from erosion were unable to do so. When matters were complicated by a severe drought and dangerous windstorms in the region, the ground was too weak, and too fragile, to sustain either itself or its crops.
Huge gusts of fifty-mile-an-hour winds moved through the area, causing massive dust storms that filled houses, destroyed valuable farm equipment, and swept away millions of tons of valuable topsoil. People thus referred to this time and place in America as the “Dust Bowl.” Few epochs in the history of the United States have paralleled the Dust Bowl for sheer destruction, depression, and poverty. Sadly, such despair and suffering could have been avoided if the denizens of the Dust Bowl states simply had obeyed God’s commands to grant their vaunted land a period “of solemn rest.” Why is it that we as humans find it so difficult to listen to and obey our Creator?

God Cannot Lie by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.




https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1383

God Cannot Lie

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Can God be limited? Many Bible passages proclaim that God is all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing. While God is unlimited by time, space, or force, His very character has determined that He will never do some things, because to do them would be inconsistent with His principles—viz., God’s nature prevents Him from such things. For example, God cannot lie. Observe what the Bible has to say about God’s honesty and, therefore, His reliability.
Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
1 Samuel 15:29: “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”
Psalm 92:15: “To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
Malachi 3:6: “For I am the Lord, I do not change.”
Romans 3:4: “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.”
Titus 1:2: “[I]n hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”
Hebrews 6:18: “[I]t is impossible for God to lie.”
James 1:17-18: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
God is the only being Who is incapable of lying. Everything that God said would happen before now, has happened—just as He said it would. Since God knows all things past, present, and future (and since He is completely honest), it is impossible for Him to speak untruths (see Colley, 2004). One striking characteristic of the Bible is that it contains a large collection of statements attributed to God. Some of these statements are predictions of future occurrences, some are warnings, some are instructions, some are revelations concerning the Divine character, and some are statements of simple fact. One common thread runs through all of God’s recorded statements: they are all true. God has never “gone back” on a promise. God has never lied—He has never even made an “honest mistake.” God, in revealing His message to humans, has not held back truths that we need (2 Peter 1:3). Likewise, Jesus was completely honest, even when telling a hard truth meant putting Himself in danger (Matthew 23:28-33; 1 John 3:5).
God is not tempted to lie. No one can catch Him in a compromising position, or give Him an opportunity to make Himself appear more impressive by making up false accomplishments or attributes. He is perfect in every way, so even if His character did permit Him to lie, the potential for personal gain, which serves as many people’s motivation to lie, would not affect Him.
Paul, who stated so boldly in his letter to Titus that God cannot lie, wrote to Titus while he worked among the Cretans, who were known for their dishonesty. Furthermore, Cretans were accustomed to a pantheon, which included various gods, all with different personalities, so when Paul emphasized that God does not lie, he not only was giving Titus a practical teaching tool, but also was showing that Christianity is distinct from the polytheism that surrounded the church of Christ at Crete (see “God Cannot Lie,” 1996; “Why Crete?,” n.d.). People are more likely to serve a God upon Whom they can unquestionably depend. In fact, take away God’s trustworthiness, and He is no longer God. Philosopher RenĂ© Descartes, in his fourth meditation, wrote:
To begin with, I recognize that it is impossible that God should ever deceive me. For in every case of trickery or deception some imperfection is to be found; and although the ability to deceive appears to be an indication of cleverness or power, the will to deceive is undoubtedly evidence of malice or weakness, and so cannot apply to God (1984, p. 37).
Humans often lie. God made humans in His image and likeness, but, unlike God, humans commit sin (see Lyons and Thompson, 2002a,b). On occasion, we say things that are false, not because we intend to lie, but because we lack accurate information. Sometimes, while we know the truth, we choose to relay false information to others. Often, we are not comfortable with frankly telling people what they need to know. The words of humans are frequently so undependable that we sometimes use lie detectors in attempts to determine who is telling the truth, and who is not. Apparently, some humans are so “good” at lying, that even the polygraph test has now been proven ineffective in detecting lies (Vergano, 2004).
The devil is the father of lies. Jesus said: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). The dishonesty of Satan is one of the features that makes him the complete opposite of God; God speaks the truth exclusively, while Satan speaks only lies. The angels who, at one time, chose to follow Satan, are partakers in his deceit (see Thompson, 1999). Satan does not tell lies because he wants humans to avoid the pain that truth often brings. Rather, he lies because he hopes that humans will believe falsehoods and, eventually, be damned because they reject the truth of God (1 Peter 5:8). The fact that the devil keeps “no truth in him” is one of the reasons why heaven and hell are so far separated (Matthew 25:41; Luke 16:26). God cannot associate with the impurity that dishonesty brings.

CONCLUSION

How should we respond to the truthfulness of God? We should be grateful because we serve a God Who will not go back on His word. God’s honesty means that He will fulfill His promise of eternal life for those who serve Him. Imagine a scenario in which you approach His throne on Judgment Day, having fulfilled the requirements for appropriating the redeeming blood of Christ to your soul, only to find that God has changed the rules! You no longer would be able to enter heaven, because God had not been honest with you. We should be grateful because God is not required to be forthright with us, anymore than He is required to love us enough to offer His Son as a sacrifice for sin. Nonetheless, He is all-merciful, all-caring, and fortunately, completely honest. We are assured that every word of God is a “sure word” (2 Peter 1:19), because we know God has a detailed history of making His word good.
As we strive to be godly, we must be honest with ourselves, and with others (Luke 8:15; Romans 12:17). If we practice deceit, no one will believe we are truly followers of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 8:21, we read: “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (KJV). Following this precept will earn us “high esteem” in the eyes of God and men (Proverbs 3:4).

REFERENCES

Colley, Caleb (2004), “The Omniscience of God,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2562.
Descartes, René (1984), The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press).
“God Cannot Lie” (1996), [On-line], URL: http://www.ivmdl.org/wil.cfm?study=117.
Lyons, Eric, and Bert Thompson (2002a), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ [Part I],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/123.
Lyons, Eric, and Bert Thompson (2002b), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ [Part II],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/125.
Thompson, Bert (1999), Satan: His Origin and Mission (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Vergano, Dan (2004), “Telling the Truth About Lie Detectors, [On-line], URL: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-09-lie_x.htm.
“Why Crete?” (no date), World Health Organization, [On-line], URL: http://www.nsph.gr/who-harvard/whyCrete.html.

Cause and Effect—Scientific Proof that God Exists by Kyle Butt, M.A.




https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=879 

Cause and Effect—Scientific Proof that God Exists

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

The Universe exists and is real. Every rational person must admit this point. If it did not exist, we would not be here to talk about it. So the question arises, “How did the Universe get here?” Did it create itself? If it did not create itself, it must have had a cause.
Let’s look at the law of cause and effect. As far as science knows, natural laws have no exceptions. This is definitely true of the law of cause and effect, which is the most universal and most certain of all laws. Simply put, the law of cause and effect states that every material effect must have an adequate cause that existed before the effect.
Material effects without adequate causes do not exist. Also, causes never occur after the effect. In addition, the effect never is greater than the cause. That is why scientists say that every material effect must have an adequate cause. The river did not turn muddy because the frog jumped in; the book did not fall off the table because the fly landed on it. These are not adequate causes. For whatever effects we see, we must present adequate causes.
Five-year-olds are wonderful at using the law of cause and effect. We can picture a small child asking: “Mommy, where do peaches come from?” His mother says that they come from peach trees. Then the child asks where the trees come from, and his mother explains that they come from peaches. You can see the cycle. Eventually the child wants to know how the first peach tree got here. He can see very well that it must have had a cause, and he wants to know what that cause was.
One thing is for sure: the Universe did not create itself! We know this for a scientific fact, because matter cannot create matter. If we take a rock that weighs 1 pound and do 50,000 experiments on it, we never will be able to produce more than 1 pound of rock. So, whatever caused the Universe could not have been material.
FROM NOTHING COMES NOTHING
I know that it is insulting to your intelligence to have to include this paragraph, but some people today are saying that the Universe evolved from nothing. However, if there ever had been a time when absolutely nothing existed, then there would be nothing now, because it always is true that nothing produces nothing. If something exists now, then something always has existed.
THE BIBLE SPEAKS ABOUT THE CAUSE
The Bible certainly is not silent about what caused the Universe. In the very first verse of the first chapter of the first book it says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” Acts 17:24 records: “God, who made the world and everything in it…He is Lord of heaven and earth.” Exodus 20:11 notes: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.”
  • God is undoubtedly an adequate cause, since He is all-powerful. In Genesis 17:1, God told Abraham “I am Almighty God.”
  • He came before this material world, fulfilling the criteria that the cause must come before the effect. The psalmist wrote: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).
  • And He definitely would instill within mankind the concept of morality, since He is a God of morals. Titus 1:2 says that He cannot lie.
Only God fits the criteria of an adequate cause that came before the Universe.
WHY DOES GOD NOT HAVE A CAUSE?
Hold on just a minute! If we contend that every material effect must have a cause, and we say that only God could have caused the Universe, then the obvious question is: “What caused God?” Doesn’t the law of cause and effect apply to God, too?
There is a single word in the law of cause and effect that helps provide the answer to this question—the word material. Every material effect must have a cause that existed before it. Scientists formulated the law of cause and effect based upon what they have observed while studying this Universe, which is made out of matter. No science experiment in the world can be performed on God, because He is an eternal spirit, not matter (John 4:24). Science is far from learning everything about this material world, and it is even farther from understanding the eternal nature of God. There had to be a First Cause, and God was (and is) the only One suitable for the job.
CONCLUSION
The law of cause and effect is a well-established law that does not have any known exceptions. It was not conjured up from the creationists’ magic hat to prove the existence of God (although it does that quite well). The evidence is sufficient to show that this material Universe needs a non-material cause. That non-material Cause is God. If natural forces created the Universe, randomly selecting themselves, then morality in humans never could be explained. Why is this Universe here? Because “in the beginning, God….”

Does This Sound Like America? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.






https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=984


Does This Sound Like America?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

For those who are willing to learn from God, His Word provides insight on the ebb and flow of human civilization throughout world history. It records an uncanny pattern of the rise and fall of nations. Consider two passages of Holy Writ that sound eerily like America’s current condition. Both spoken to another nation, the first was written over three millennia ago:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).
Here is an excellent overview of the history of America and the circumstances enjoyed by Americans—from the Pilgrims in the 1600s, to the Founders in the 1700s, to the American populace for the first two centuries. But with the social ferment since the 1960s, the rest of the passage is now ominously apropos:
Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God...—then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.... Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them... (Deuteronomy 8:11-19a, emp. added).
This section also describes America’s current physical, moral, and spiritual direction. Large numbers of Americans are forgetting God, neglecting His commands and laws, even rejecting Him with a prideful attitude. This rejection is occurring even as the nation has enjoyed unparalleled financial prosperity—comfortable homes, clothes, cars, and an unbelievable variety of foods. How many Americans recognize the nation’s abundance as the gift of God? And what’s more, as the nation jettisons the moral and spiritual principles of the Bible, they are embracing other philosophies, ideologies, and religions. Consequently, the passage forthrightly declares what must come next:
I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 8:19b-20, emp. added).
A second passage from God’s inspired Word, written to Israel some 2,500 years ago, also images America’s condition:
You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to go in and possess. So the people went in and possessed the land; You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they wished. And they took strong cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all goods, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and grew fat, and delighted themselves in Your great goodness (Nehemiah 9:23-25, emp. added).
What better description of the history of America, beginning with the Pilgrims, who came to these shores largely to evade religious persecution that challenged their right to practice the Christian religion in accordance with their own interpretation of the Scriptures? For 200 years, America prospered and “grew fat” from prosperity and progress. Not all has been perfect (e.g., slavery, mistreatment of native Americans, etc.), but many Americans, until the 1960s, in general terms “delighted themselves in [God’s] great goodness.” But now what is happening?
Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; And they worked great provocations (Nehemiah 9:26, emp. added).
Observe: in the 1960s, the baby-boomer generation not only rebelled against the Christian teaching and Christian morality embodied in their World War II-generation parents, they commenced a relentless, intense assault on all who oppose them. Evolutionists, atheists, and humanists, who work feverishly to expel God from the country, vilify as ignoramuses and dimwits the Christians who resist them; those who work to enact sexual anarchy in the land by promoting same-sex marriage, denounce as homophobic hatemongers the Christians who resist them. The growing number of welfare recipients, who embrace the unchristian belief that their fellow citizens owe them a living, label their gainsayers as unloving, selfish, and lacking compassion. And the list goes on.... So what will be the end result? The passage continues:
Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them (Nehemiah 9:27, emp. added).
It is obvious that America is following the same road to destruction that other nations in the past have followed. The question is: “Will Americans wake up and see their digression before it is too late?” The only hope of America is for a sizeable percentage of its citizenry to turn to God with a contrite heart and restore the Christian orientation that once characterized American civilization. As the passage points out: “And in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven; And according to Your abundant mercies You gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies” (Nehemiah 9:27). In the words of the psalmist: “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit’” (Isaiah 57:15).
Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1-2, emp. added).
Sadly, “they shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear” (Nehemiah 9:29). What will Americans do?

From Jim McGuiggan... Christians, Jews and Torah

Christians, Jews and Torah

Some Christians say silly things about the Jewish Torah. They think its moral teaching has been abolished. They think that it’s a legalist’s handbook written by God himself. They think that God gave Israel the Torah knowing full well that they couldn’t keep it; and then he got mad at them all the time for not keeping it. They think the Torah demanded sinlessness if Israel was to maintain a relationship with God. They think that the Jewish Torah is the same thing as the generalised moral law that the Western world always talks about. They think the Torah required that one earn a relationship with God though, of course, no one could do that. They think that the moral and religious teaching of the Torah (and the OT in general) has no relevance for Christians. All of the above I’ve read and continue to hear. I’ve even said some of it in the past.
Paul wrote the book of Romans to Christians—Jew and Gentile. No one disputes that. In dealing with Christian moral and ethical response, he calls on the teaching of the Torah and says that Christians are obligated to it. For example, in 13:8-10, he insists that Christians should owe no one anything "except to love one another." And why does he say they should love one another? The NT in many other places will give us many reasons why we should love one another but Paul gives us one reason in this text. He says we’re to love one another "for"—what follows is why we should love one another. For "love is the fulfilment of the law." He then proceeds to quote from the Decalogue. The word "law" (nomos) here designates the Torah from which Paul quotes the strictures against adultery, stealing and the like.
Yes, but these are Christians he writes to. We can understand if he said we’re to love one another "for" Christ loved us all and we’re to be like Christ. This would be true and central to the Christian faith. But why would he say we’re to love one another because love fulfils the Torah? What does the Torah have to do with us?
Part of the answer of course, is that the ethical response God asked of Israel and is proclaimed in the Torah is as true now as ever it was and it’s true for the entire Christian community. To rip away the first thirty-nine books of the Bible as irrelevant to us is sheer nonsense. And it only adds insult to injury to dismiss them and then call on them as "illustration material" as if that’s all that Paul had in mind in Romans 15:4.
A full response to the Torah involves more than upright behaviour—it would call to Jews to accept the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, in whom God has reconciled the world to himself. The Torah had more than one role to play in God’s drama of redemption so it doesn’t help anyone if we reduce it to "a call to live uprightly".
But to deny that the NT writers call us to bring our lives into line with the ethical and moral teaching of the Torah is silly. To the Gentile Galatians Paul makes a similar use of the Torah in 5:13-14. This has added significance since he fairly explodes in anger when Jews want to make Jewish proselytes out of Gentile Christians (see chapter 2 and elsewhere in the epistle). He will not tolerate for a moment the idea that Gentiles have to become Jews to be treated as fellow-Christians in full fellowship and yet he calls on Gentiles to live by the Torah’s love command. He then goes on to insist that they follow the Spirit. So being guided by the Spirit and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit don't conflict with fleshing out the central call of the Torah. They’re all part of the Christian’s ethical and moral response to God.
But Christians aren’t the only people that say silly things about the Torah. Some Messianic Jews that receive Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah do the same thing.


©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

From Gary... Bible Reading August 5






Bible Reading  

August 5

The World English Bible



Aug. 5
Ezra 4-6
Ezr 4:1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to Yahweh, the God of Israel;
Ezr 4:2 then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' houses, and said to them, Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as you do; and we sacrifice to him since the days of Esar Haddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.
Ezr 4:3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, said to them, You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to Yahweh, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
Ezr 4:4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
Ezr 4:5 and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezr 4:6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
Ezr 4:7 In the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of his companions, to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian character, and set forth in the Syrian language.
Ezr 4:8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:
Ezr 4:9 then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites,
Ezr 4:10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar brought over, and set in the city of Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth.
Ezr 4:11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent to Artaxerxes the king: Your servants the men beyond the River, and so forth.
Ezr 4:12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews who came up from you are come to us to Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations.
Ezr 4:13 Be it known now to the king that if this city is built, and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and in the end it will be hurtful to the kings.
Ezr 4:14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace, and it is not appropriate for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore have we sent and informed the king;
Ezr 4:15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: so you shall find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time; for which cause was this city laid waste.
Ezr 4:16 We inform the king that, if this city be built, and the walls finished, by this means you shall have no portion beyond the River.
Ezr 4:17 Then sent the king an answer to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and in the rest of the country beyond the River: Peace, and so forth.
Ezr 4:18 The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
Ezr 4:19 I decreed, and search has been made, and it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
Ezr 4:20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, custom, and toll, was paid to them.
Ezr 4:21 Make a decree now to cause these men to cease, and that this city not be built, until a decree shall be made by me.
Ezr 4:22 Take heed that you not be slack herein: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
Ezr 4:23 Then when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Ezr 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezr 5:1 Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel prophesied they to them.
Ezr 5:2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them.
Ezr 5:3 At the same time came to them Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and their companions, and said thus to them, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
Ezr 5:4 Then we told them after this manner, what the names of the men were who were making this building.
Ezr 5:5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease, until the matter should come to Darius, and then answer should be returned by letter concerning it.
Ezr 5:6 The copy of the letter that Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, and Shetharbozenai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were beyond the River, sent to Darius the king;
Ezr 5:7 they sent a letter to him, in which was written thus: To Darius the king, all peace.
Ezr 5:8 Be it known to the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls; and this work goes on with diligence and prospers in their hands.
Ezr 5:9 Then asked we those elders, and said to them thus, Who gave you a decree to build this house, and to finish this wall?
Ezr 5:10 We asked them their names also, to inform you that we might write the names of the men who were at the head of them.
Ezr 5:11 Thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and are building the house that was built these many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.
Ezr 5:12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
Ezr 5:13 But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, Cyrus the king made a decree to build this house of God.
Ezr 5:14 The gold and silver vessels also of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;
Ezr 5:15 and he said to him, Take these vessels, go, put them in the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place.
Ezr 5:16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundations of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now has it been in building, and yet it is not completed.
Ezr 5:17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
Ezr 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.
Ezr 6:2 There was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll, and therein was thus written for a record:
Ezr 6:3 In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, let the house be built, the place where they offer sacrifices, and let its foundations be strongly laid; its height sixty cubits, and its breadth sixty cubits;
Ezr 6:4 with three courses of great stones, and a course of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house.
Ezr 6:5 Also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and brought again to the temple which is at Jerusalem, everyone to its place; and you shall put them in the house of God.
Ezr 6:6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the River, you must stay far from there.
Ezr 6:7 Leave the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place.
Ezr 6:8 Moreover I make a decree what you shall do to these elders of the Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the River, expenses be given with all diligence to these men, that they be not hindered.
Ezr 6:9 That which they have need of, both young bulls, and rams, and lambs, for burnt offerings to the God of heaven; also wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the word of the priests who are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail;
Ezr 6:10 that they may offer sacrifices of pleasant aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
Ezr 6:11 Also I have made a decree, that whoever shall alter this word, let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this:
Ezr 6:12 and the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow all kings and peoples who shall put forth their hand to alter the same, to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with all diligence.
Ezr 6:13 Then Tattenai, the governor beyond the River, Shetharbozenai, and their companions, because that Darius the king had sent, did accordingly with all diligence.
Ezr 6:14 The elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Ezr 6:15 This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
Ezr 6:16 The children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.
Ezr 6:17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Ezr 6:18 They set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
Ezr 6:19 The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Ezr 6:20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were pure: and they killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brothers the priests, and for themselves.
Ezr 6:21 The children of Israel who had come again out of the captivity, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, ate,
Ezr 6:22 and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for Yahweh had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

 
Aug. 5, 6
Acts 21

Act 21:1 When it happened that we had parted from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
Act 21:2 Having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail.
Act 21:3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo.
Act 21:4 Having found disciples, we stayed there seven days. These said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:5 When it happened that we had accomplished the days, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed.
Act 21:6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.
Act 21:7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers, and stayed with them one day.
Act 21:8 On the next day, we, who were Paul's companions, departed, and came to Caesarea. We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Act 21:9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Act 21:10 As we stayed there some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Act 21:11 Coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit: 'So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.' "
Act 21:12 When we heard these things, both we and they of that place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Act 21:14 When he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The Lord's will be done."
Act 21:15 After these days we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we would stay.
Act 21:17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly.
Act 21:18 The day following, Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present.
Act 21:19 When he had greeted them, he reported one by one the things which God had worked among the Gentiles through his ministry.
Act 21:20 They, when they heard it, glorified God. They said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
Act 21:21 They have been informed about you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs.
Act 21:22 What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come.
Act 21:23 Therefore do what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow.
Act 21:24 Take them, and purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them, that they may shave their heads. Then all will know that there is no truth in the things that they have been informed about you, but that you yourself also walk keeping the law.
Act 21:25 But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written our decision that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from strangled things, and from sexual immorality."
Act 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them.
Act 21:27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him,
Act 21:28 crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place. Moreover, he also brought Greeks into the temple, and has defiled this holy place!"
Act 21:29 For they had seen Trophimus, the Ephesian, with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
Act 21:30 All the city was moved, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the doors were shut.
Act 21:31 As they were trying to kill him, news came up to the commanding officer of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
Act 21:32 Immediately he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. They, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, stopped beating Paul.
Act 21:33 Then the commanding officer came near, arrested him, commanded him to be bound with two chains, and inquired who he was and what he had done.
Act 21:34 Some shouted one thing, and some another, among the crowd. When he couldn't find out the truth because of the noise, he commanded him to be brought into the barracks.
Act 21:35 When he came to the stairs, it happened that he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd;
Act 21:36 for the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!"
Act 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he asked the commanding officer, "May I speak to you?" He said, "Do you know Greek?
Act 21:38 Aren't you then the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins?"
Act 21:39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people."
Act 21:40 When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with his hand to the people. When there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,

From Gary... Problems


Okay, this is interesting. Well, this must be a very large room and a very large and very strong (my guess is that its made of iron) BED!!! Unlike a lot of other things like this, this picture is very straightforward and TELLS YOU it is a Brainteaser. So, this is NOT meant to be reality, just something concocted to get you to think a bit.  If, I were a cynical sort of person, I would wonder if there was a veiled purpose for even posing the question. Sounds like something a political might ask. And Thursday, August 6, we will be hearing way to many trick and misleading things during the two republican debates. Some people just love to argue and this has been going on for a very, very long time- even the church is not immune...

1 Timothy, Chapter 6 (WEB)
    1 Let as many as are bondservants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine not be blasphemed.  2 Those who have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brothers, but rather let them serve them, because those who partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. 

  3  If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn’t consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness,  4 he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, insulting, evil suspicions,  5 constant friction of people of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such. 

The world may be willing to tolerate malicious argumentation, but the church cannot. Those that cause problems must be disciplined- or else the church will eventually be destroyed.
 
I will watch the debates, but do not expect much, except verse number 4 repeated again and again. However, I expect that Donald will TRUMP them all.

PS. I think the answer to the brainteaser is four- a bed has four legs!!!