3/8/19

"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" A Call To Be Content (13:5-6) by Mark Copeland


 "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

  A Call To Be Content (13:5-6)

INTRODUCTION

1. In this final chapter of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", we have noticed exhortations...
   a. To let brotherly love continue - He 13:1
   b. To show love toward strangers - He 13:2
   c. To remember those in prison and others who are mistreated - He 13:3
   d. To hold marriage in honor, abstaining from fornication and adultery - He 13:4

2. We now find a warning against covetousness - He 13:5a
   a. The previous verse was a warning against "the lust of the flesh" (immorality)
   b. Here we have a warning against "the lust of the eyes" (materialism)
   -- Both of which are contrary to the love of the Father - 1Jn 2:15-17

3. Covetousness, a strong desire for material things, is strongly condemned in the Bible...
   a. Jesus said it defiles a man, and that we should beware of it - Mk 7:21-23; Lk 12:15
   b. Paul taught that covetousness...
      1) Will keep one out of the kingdom of God - 1Co 6:9-10
      2) Like fornication, should not even be named among us - Ep 5:3
      3) Is nothing less than idolatry - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
 
4. The antidote to covetousness is contentment - He 13:5b-6
   a. If we are content, then we won't be covetous
   b. Contentment is therefore an important virtue for Christians to develop...
      1) But what is "contentment"?
      2) What is the key to being content?
   
[In this lesson, "A Call To Be Content", we shall seek to answer these
questions, using the text of our lesson (He 13:5-6) and other 
scriptures that deal with the subject of contentment...]

I. THE VIRTUE OF "CONTENTMENT"

   A. CONTENTMENT DEFINED...
      1. The English word "content" means "desiring no more than what one has"
      2. The Greek word is arkeo {ar-keh'-o}, which means "to be satisfied"
      -- When one is content, they are satisfied with what they have; 
         with no desire for more, covetousness no longer becomes a problem!

   B. THE VALUE OF "CONTENTMENT"...
      1. From the pen of uninspired men...
         a. "He is richest who is content with the least." (Socrates)
         b. "He is well paid that is well satisfied." (William Shakespeare)
         c. "He who is content can never be ruined." (Chinese Proverb)
         d. "He who wants little always have enough." (Johann Georg Zimmerman)
         e. "If you are not satisfied with a little, you will not be satisfied with much." (Unknown)
         f. "The contented man is never poor, the discontented never rich." (George Eliot)
      2. Paul wrote that "...godliness with contentment is great gain." - 1Ti 6:6
         a. Godliness, which is godly living expressed in devotion to 
            God, is of great value only when accompanied with contentment
         b. For as we have seen, covetousness (a lack of contentment)
            would render any service to God of no value

   C. CONTENTMENT EXEMPLIFIED...
      1. In Fanny Crosby (1820-1925), a blind songwriter who wrote:
            O What a happy soul am I!
            Although I cannot see,
            I am resolved that in this world
            Contented I will be;
            How many blessings I enjoy
            That other people don't!
            To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
            I cannot, and I won't.
      2. In Helen Keller (1880-1968); blind, deaf, and mute, yet she 
         wrote:
            They took away what should have been my eyes,
            (But I remembered Milton's Paradise)
            They took away what should have been my ears,
            (Beethoven came and wiped away my tears)
            They took away what should have been my tongue,
            (But I talked with God when I was young)
            He would not let them take away my soul,
            Possessing that, I still possess the whole.
      3. In the aged prisoner, Paul the apostle...
         a. Who saw how his imprisonment accomplished much good - Php 1:12-14
         b. Who had learned contentment - Php 4:10-12

[The virtue of contentment richly blessed the lives of these and 
countless others.  But as Paul indicated, contentment is something 
"learned".  How then does one develop contentment?]

II. THE KEY TO CONTENTMENT

   A. TRUSTING IN GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL CARE...
      1. This is the reason given in our text for us to be content - He 13:5-6
         a. God has promised never to leave nor forsake us
         b. With the Lord as our helper, what can man do? - 1Jn 4:4
      2. This is the reason Jesus gave for us not to worry - Mt 6:25-32
         a. We are of greater value to God than the birds or flowers
         b. He providentially cares for them, will He not do the same for us?
         -- The key to receiving this care is to put God's will first in our lives - Mt 6:33
      3. Contentment comes, then, when we trust God will provide what we need!

   B. KNOWING WHAT YOU CAN'T TAKE WITH YOU...
      1. As Paul discussed contentment, he pointed out certain truths - 1Ti 6:7
         a. We brought nothing into this world
         b. It is certain we can carry nothing out! (have you ever seen
            a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer?)
      2. Why then become anxious or worked up over things...
         a. That at best are only temporary
         b. That will wear out, be stolen, or left behind (or burned up
            at the coming of the Lord - 2Pe 3:10)
      3. Contentment comes, then, from knowing that material things are only temporary

   C. REALIZING WHAT IS TRULY "ESSENTIAL" FOR LIFE...
      1. Paul also revealed what are the only true "essentials" to sustain life - 1Ti 6:8
         a. They are "food and clothing"
         b. Anything beyond this is a "luxury", for which we ought to be thankful
            1) That includes "shelter", which many believe is a necessity
            2) But millions live without shelter, and such is possible with the proper clothing
      2. Since God has promised to provide food and clothing (Mt 6:25-33), 
             we can rest knowing that our "essentials" will be provided
      3. Contentment comes, then, by realizing what is truly
         "essential" for life, for then we will realize how richly blessed we really are!

   D. UNDERSTANDING THAT MATERIAL THINGS DO NOT SATISFY...
      1. Solomon observed this inadequacy of material things - Ec 5:10
         a. Those who love silver (money) will never be satisfied
         b. The same is true with those who love abundance (what money can buy)
      2. Material things do not meet the true needs of the soul - Ecc 6:7; cf. Isa 55:1-3
         a. C. S. Lewis suggested that God placed a longing in man, 
            that man might seek for God - cf. Ac 17:26-27
         b. Sadly, many people try to fulfill that longing with material things
         c. They never succeed, for only one thing can fulfill it:  God Himself!
      3. Contentment comes, then, from understanding that material 
         things will never provide lasting satisfaction

   E. FINALLY, TRUE CONTENTMENT IS A GIFT FROM GOD...
      1. Here is another observation Solomon made in his search for life's meaning:
         a. The ability to enjoy the fruits of one's labor is a gift 
            from God - Ec 2:24-26; 3:12-13; 5:18-20
         b. On the other hand, many are allowed to "gather" and 
            "collect", but will not enjoy the fruits of their labor 
            - cf. Ec 2:26b; 6:1-2
      2. God has the ability to provide lasting satisfaction - Psa 107:8-9
         a. He promises to give that which truly satisfies (makes one  content) - Isa 55:1-3
         b. And in Christ, He enables one to be content - Php 4:11-13
      -- Contentment comes, then, when God sees fit to bless us with 
         that which truly satisfies: "the sure mercies of David" (i.e.,
         the blessings promised through the coming Messiah)

CONCLUSION

1. The virtue of contentment is a wonderful blessing, one that comes from God Himself...
   a. Whose Word reveals to us:
      1) The temporary nature of material things
      2) The inadequacy of material things to satisfy man
      3) The things that are truly essential in life
   b. Who has promised to us:
      1) To never leave us nor forsake us
      2) To provide the true essentials in life
      3) To fill our soul with that which truly satisfies
      4) To enable us to enjoy the material blessings we do acquire in life

2. But what God has promised is contingent upon what Jesus said...

   "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
   these things will be added to you" - Mt 6:33

If you desire to be truly content, you must set as your priority the
Will of God.  Have you made His Will the primary focus of your life?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Dawkins Can’t See the Forest for the Trees by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3590


Dawkins Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Richard Dawkins recently penned The Greatest Show on Earth that he believes sets forth overwhelming evidence to establish the “fact” of evolution. He wrote the book because he admitted that in his previous works, he “realized that the evidence for evolution itself was nowhere explicitly set out, and that this was a serious gap” that he “needed to close” (2009, p. vii). This self-acknowledged gap remains open, however, because the text of his newest book fails completely to state explicitly anything resembling “the evidence for evolution.”

Confirmation of the book’s failure to provide a rational case for evolution can be clearly seen in Dawkins’ discussion about trees (pp. 377-380). In his assessment of trees, Dawkins suggests that tall tree trunks are simply a waste of energy that could be disposed of “if only all the trees in the forest could come to some agreement” not to grow past a certain height. He states:
And this brings us face to face with the difference between a designed economy and an evolutionary economy. In a designed economy there would be no trees, or certainly no very tall trees: no forests, no canopy. Trees are a waste. Trees are extravagant. Tree trunks are standing monuments to futile competition—futile if we think in terms of planned economy. But the natural economy is not planned. Individual plants compete with other plants, of the same and other species, and the result is that they grow taller and taller, far taller than any planner would recommend (p. 379).
According to Dawkins, tall tree trunks are the squandered natural resources of plants that must constantly compete with other plants to capture the precious rays of sunshine that drive their nutrition production. In fact, he states that massive tree trunks “have no purpose apart from competing with other trees” (p. 379). He concludes that “the forest would look very different if its economy had been designed for the benefit of the forest as a whole” (p. 380, italics in orig.). He believes that only the idea of competition between individual trees can account for the look of a forest with massive-trunked trees filling it. In summarizing his “evidence” about trees, he states: “Everything about trees is compatible with the view that they were not designed—unless, of course, they were designed to supply us with timber, or to delight our eyes and flatter our cameras in the new England Fall” (p. 380, emp. added).

In assessing Dawkins’ conclusion about trees, it must be stressed that he has not provided any evidence by which one could conclude that “everything about trees is compatible with the view that they were not designed.” He has not shown how genetic information could spontaneously assemble itself through any known natural process that would give rise to a tree. He has not shown how genetic mutations could change one tree into another kind of tree, say an apple tree into an oak. Nor has he shown how trees could possibly share any type of ancestral relationship with animals, which he would have to do in order to defend evolution and refute creation. All Dawkins has shown is that trees have the genetic ability to grow trunks that eventually reach a certain limit of height and breadth that they cannot exceed.

Furthermore, Dawkins admits defeat, at least in his discussion of trees, when he acknowledges that a Creator could have in mind other things besides forest economy. Dawkins acknowledges that tree trunks would make perfect sense if they were designed to provide humans with timber or beauty. Yet that is precisely why the Bible explains God created the world—to be inhabited by man: “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). Not only that, but also to show the glory of God (cf. Psalm 19:1 and Isaiah 6:3). Dawkins’ obvious mistake is that he refuses to accept that the Creator of the world might have a more involved agenda than Dawkins is willing to allow or can even conceptualize. Why would Dawkins waste at least three pages of his book on “explicit evidence” supposedly proving evolution, only to admit that everything he just said about trees is not evidence of evolution “if” the Designer had humans in mind? Simply because this is the only kind of “evidence” that can be marshaled for evolution—the kind that can rationally be refuted when a correct interpretation of the facts is made available.

REFERENCE

Dawkins, Richard (2009), The Greatest Show on Earth (New York: Free Press).

Considering Our Cosmic Home: Reflections from the 2012 Venus Transit by Branyon May, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=688

Considering Our Cosmic Home: Reflections from the 2012 Venus Transit

by Branyon May, Ph.D.



Time lapse image of the
2012 Venus transit
Recently, humanity was treated to a rare event in the heavens; from our vantage point on Earth we were able to see the transit of the planet, Venus, across the visible disk of the Sun. A planetary transit is analogous to an eclipse, because it involves one object passing through the line of sight between two other objects. Similar to a solar eclipse, especially a partial solar eclipse, where the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun and blocks a portion of the Sun’s light, a transit of Venus occurs when Venus passes between Earth and the Sun blocking our view of a region of the Sun’s disk. Since this type of event requires a very precise alignment of the Sun, Venus, and Earth, it is quite rare. Although the previous alignment occurred only 8 years ago, in 2004, you have to look back historically to 1882 to find the next previous alignment, and looking to the future it will not be until the year 2117 before the alignment happens again (Espenak, 2012). Thus, in all likelihood, being 105 years in the future, there will be no one alive in 2117 who saw or was old enough to remember this year’s transit of Venus. (For those who may have missed seeing any of the event or press coverage, see the links at the end of the article for more images and videos.) At this point, let’s pause and contemplate some unique considerations this recent transit event offers.
Astronomically, the Sun and Venus are the brightest and third brightest celestial objects in Earth’s skies (the Moon being second), and historically are two of the most studied celestial objects. Ancient records dating back to the Babylonian civilization around 3000 B.C., reference this bright celestial object, and other civilizations such as the Chinese, Egyptian, and Greek civilizations include observations and cultural lore about Venus. Interestingly, historical references sometimes called Venus the “morning star” or “evening star,” and specifically the ancient Greeks called Venus by two names (Phosphorus and Hesperus) supposing it to be two different objects (Squyres, 2012). The two-object idea isn’t completely unreasonable, since for a portion of our year Venus precedes the Sun in the sky and for the other portion of the year it seems to follow the Sun across the sky. In fact, Venus is never more than about 48 degrees from the Sun in the sky (termed its greatest elongation, and is due to its orbit being inside Earth’s orbit). In fact, 2 Peter 1:19 makes reference to the “day star,” which is translated from the Greek word for phosphorus.
Commonly called “Earth’s Twin” or our “Sister Planet,” Venus is not only the planet that travels in its orbit closest to Earth’s orbit, but has such nicknames because it is nearly identical in size and mass. (Actually, the time of the transit of Venus represents the period of time for closest approach to Earth). When we consider this comparison it brings to mind the question, “What would an Earth transit event look like?” If we were to step outside of our own orbit and align ourselves looking back toward Earth, similar to the alignment we have seen with Venus and the Sun, then based on the similarity between Earth and Venus we actually have our answer. An Earth transit would basically provide the same stunning sight—a single distinguished planet, a fraction the size of the Sun, slowly crossing the wide, intensely bright solar landscape. Earth, too, is more than 100 times smaller in diameter than the Sun and approximately one million times smaller by volume. Therefore, this rare event of Venus’ transit affords us an interesting self-reflection to consider our own planet’s size, scale, design, and place in the Solar System.
Consider: as we watched Venus traverse the Sun’s disk, we were watching Earth’s closest planetary neighbor pass in front of Earth’s nearest stellar companion. Likely the most obvious observation from this event was the size comparison. Venus’s dark silhouette against the Sun’s surface portrayed such a small planet, but the truth is that the actual physical size comparison is even more extreme than what was observed. At the time of the 2012 transit, Venus’s angular diameter was approximately 58 arcseconds while the Sun’s was approximately 1,890 arcseconds, a factor of 32.6 times greater (Odenwald, 2012). However, since Venus was much closer to Earth than the Sun it appeared larger than if it had been at equal distance. This fact means the size of the Sun versus Venus is even more dramatic than the transit view appeared. In actuality the Sun is greater than 100 times the diameter of Venus and greater than one million times the volume, providing a perspective for the true scale of our Solar System. Sometimes the statement is made, “The Universe just has too much wasted space to be the result of an intelligent creator” (see Miller, 2003 for an article addressing that subject). However, this incredible scale of size and distance within our Solar System illustrates (1) the infinite nature of the Creator, and (2) an important aspect to God’s design for our life-sustaining planet. The following considerations should help illuminate some of the usefulness and purpose for the scales we see.
How does Earth compare to our nearest planetary companion? Although Venus and Earth are approximately equal in size and mass, Venus is an interesting case study in planetary characteristics, since in actuality, it is extremely different from Earth in most ways. From a distance we first notice that Venus is enshrouded in a thick atmosphere of clouds. This atmosphere is far thicker than Earth’s, mostly composed of carbon dioxide (CO2), and has an atmospheric surface pressure 90 times greater. To experience an equal amount of pressure on Earth you would have to travel nearly one kilometer below the surface of the ocean (“Venus,” 2012). Venus’s carbon dioxide dominated atmosphere, along with solar irradiance being double that of Earth’s (caused by its closer proximity to the Sun), results in Venus having the hottest average surface temperature in the entire solar system, over 860 degrees Fahrenheit (464 degrees Celsius). Such an incredible temperature means liquid water is not present on its surface, compared to more than 70% coverage on Earth’s surface, and incredibly, even metals such as lead and zinc would melt on its surface (Bentor, 2010). Another major contrast between the two planets is the presence of a strong magnetic field. Earth’s rather fast rotation is thought to drive a dynamo effect that maintains a steady and sufficiently strong field to provide a finely tuned cocoon of protection from the dangerous streams of charged particles flowing from the Sun through the inner Solar System. By contrast, Venus has an extremely slow rotation, which causes its day to be longer than its year, and lacks any magnetic field and associated protection from the solar wind. When we consider our “Sister Planet,” we find that it is not a “Twin” where we would want to or could live. These observations lead to the simple acknowledgement that Earth’s position in the Solar System is well-tuned and finely designed for life to thrive. The Earth shows itself to differ from all other planets in that it possesses all the necessary constituent elements to make it suitable for human life.
Observations of Venus have been linked to prominent times in history and have served to mark events and history, as many major celestial observations and events have. Examples of such help to illustrate just how important the view of our Universe is, and how the created purpose specified in Genesis has been demonstrated: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years” (1:14). The consistent, unwavering behavior of the motion of the planets—behavior which allows scientists to predict precisely when Venus will transit in this way again decades in the future—is not a characteristic that would result from randomness, mindlessness, and accidental processes as evolutionary theories suppose. Rather, such behavior points to the existence of laws governing the Universe and its planets—laws which could not have written themselves, but rather, were written by the Great Lawmaker of the Universe (Job 38:33).
Venus Multimedia:
1)      NASA video:
3)      NASA Image of the Day Gallery: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2271.html
4)      Sky and Telescope viewing from around the globe: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/2012-Venus-Transit-ST-Reports-157500315.html

REFERENCES

Bentor, Yinon (2010), “Periodic Table: Melting Point,” Chemical Elements, http://www.chemicalelements.com/show/meltingpoint.html.
Espenak, Fred (2012), “Six Millennium Catalog of Venus Transits: 2000 BCE to 4000 CE,” NASA Eclipse Web Site, http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/transit/catalog/VenusCatalog.html.
Miller, Dave (2003), “The Universe—A ‘Waste of Space’?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1207.
Odenwald, Sten (2012), “The Cultural Impact of the Transit of Venus,” 2012 Transit of Venus—Sun-Earth Day: Shadows of the Sun, http://venustransit.nasa.gov/2012/articles/ttt_76.php.
Squyres, Steven W. (2012), “Venus,” History.com, http://www.history.com/topics/planet-venus.
“Venus” (2012), Nine Planets, http://nineplanets.org/venus.html.

Consider God’s Creation—Think About God’s Greatness by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1591


Consider God’s Creation—Think About God’s Greatness

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Christians in the 21st century think too little about God’s creation; consequently, we think too little about God. We are so enamored with ourselves—our schedules, our work, our technology, our extracurricular activities, etc., that we often fail to see the stars and smell the roses. Today, perhaps more than any time in history, man misses the apparently simple things in life that should cause us to meditate continually upon the greatness of the Creator. Of course, nothing is more important for Christians to meditate on than God’s Word (Psalm 1:2; see Lyons, 2011), but in conjunction with God’s special revelation (His Word), we ought to ponder about how God’s amazing natural revelation testifies to His infinite power, intelligence, and care.
Time and again, Holy Writ points to God’s creation as proof of His greatness. Since the time of Job, Noah, and going as far back as Adam, man has learned some wonderful things about God by considering His amazing creation. Paul wrote: “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20, emp. added).
Perhaps no other book of the Bible leads man to deeper meditation on God’s greatness than the book of Psalms. Yet, interestingly, oftentimes this same inspired book turns man’s attention to God’s creation. In Psalm 8, for example, the psalmist praised the excellent name of the Lord Who set His “glory above the heavens,” Who made the Moon, stars, man, and even “the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.” What did the psalmist conclude? “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:9). In Psalm 19:1, we are reminded that “[t]he heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” In Psalm 33, we learn of one of the reasons that humanity is to fear and stand in awe of the Lord (33:8)—because “by the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (33:6,9).
Consider the climax of the book of Job, when God spoke to the patriarch out of a whirlwind. Instead of informing Job of the exact reasons for his serious suffering, God spoke to him about His creation. Beginning in Job 38:39 and going through chapters 39, 40, and 41, God spoke to Job about several different animals, including the lion, the hawk, Behemoth, and Leviathan. Of all of the things God could have said to Job, He spent some 77 verses talking about some of His animal creation. He chose to teach Job about His all-powerful, all-knowing, supreme nature by describing some of His magnificent animal creation.
The prophet Isaiah once wrote about being allowed to see a vision of the throne of God. In the Lord’s presence were angelic beings crying out one to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3). What is the basis of this praise? What is one reason we should be driven to worship God? Isaiah revealed one of the pillars of God’s praise in the very next line: “The whole earth is full of His glory” (6:3).
Indeed, the beauty, splendor, and design of God’s creation should drive us closer to the Creator. His “fingerprints” should make us stand in awe of Him. They should drive us to our knees in worship of Him. And they should compel us to tell others about Him. As the psalmist sang, we should “declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised” (96:3-4).

REFERENCE

Lyons, Eric (2011), “Take Time with the Text,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/article/1130.

What We Are (part 4a) SHEEP by Ben Fronczek

http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?p=1539

What We Are (part 4a) SHEEP


In this series of lessons which I have titled ‘What We Are’, so far we have seen that Jesus referred to us as salt, light, and a branch.
In the next two lessons, I would like to discuss the significance of the Lord calling us sheep. We are referred to as sheep over and over in the Bible.
The Bible makes no less than 220 references to sheep. I am by no means an expert when it comes to sheep. Even though there are many sheep throughout Washington County, I don’t know anyone who owns any. I therefore had to read up on sheep to prepare for this lesson because sheep were very important and significant to those who lived during Bible times. So in order to understand the figures and analogies made to sheep I had to learn more about them.
Many of us are drawn to interesting stories about animals in nature. There is even a channel on cable TV called, Animal Planet. But when I read this story about sheep I have to admit, I was a bit stunned. It goes like this.
It concerns of real news story that came out of Turkey. It went on to report that hundreds of sheep followed oneanother right off a cliff in Eastern Turkey. Hundreds plunged to their death while shepherds looked on with dismay. The first 400 sheep walked off the cliff and fell 15 m or about 50 feet to their death in a ravine in Vin province, in eastern Turkey, near the Iranian border. But fortunately the first 400 broke the fall of another 1100 animals who follow them over the cliff.
What had happened is that the shepherds (or the hired worker that we suspose to watch the sheep) neglected the flock while eating breakfast leaving the sheep to roam free. One sheep wandered off the cliff and 1499 others followed. After the first 400 fell, the pile got so deep at the bottom of the cliff it became like a big fluffy pillow which cushioned the fall of those to follow which saved 1100 sheep that took the same plunge.
After reading this story I thought it was interesting that the Bible would refer to us as sheep. From Psalm 23 where David wrote that, “Lord is my shepherd,” to the last day and a judgment scene in Matthew 25, where we are told that all the people of the Earth will stand before Jesus but will be separated into two lines; one to the left like goats, and to the right like sheep. The Bible refers to us as sheep over and over.
At first I was a bit put off with the analogy that we are sheep because quite frankly as you can see from this true story from Iran, sheep are not exactly the smartest creatures out there. As a matter of fact they are considered a fairly dumb animal.
But after I took the time and honestly thought about it, I thought maybe we are more like sheep than we’d like to admit. And you may think or feel we aren’t as dumb as those sheep. And I say, ‘Oh really, consider this!”:
– How many of us have heard about the of the danger of smoking or drinking too much alcohol, or the danger of drugs, or even driving too fast, or driving intoxicated, or using your cell phone to text or talk? Yet every day we see people with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, or hear about others who ruin their life or die from drinking too much, or from taking drugs, or from reckless driving with a cell phone in hand or, driving too fast. For some reason we just don’t learn from others mistakes. The definition of intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
– We are told over and over how to eat right and take care of our self and the benefits of exercise, and the importance of removing stress from our life, but we still go to McDonald’s and eat Dunkin’ Donuts. We stress ourselves out by doing too much. We take on to much at and run around like chickens with our heads cut off, running late all the time or worrying about our future. And even though we know exercise is good for us we still don’t do it.
– We are told not to touch. But what do we do, we reach out and touch anyway. We are told that something is unsafe and dangerous for us to do but what do we do? We go ahead and do it anyway. We are told that a certain lifestyle is wrong, is sinful, will rob us of joy and peace, but what do we do? We do it anyway. We are told not to look at certain things and not to get involved with certain things, or hang around certain people because they may be dangerous or hurt us in some way but what do we do? We follow them anyway. And just like the sheep, we find ourselves jumping off different cliffs just like everyone else. We may acquire knowledge but we do not seem to know how to use it. I figure this makes us a bit less than intelligent because even though we have acquired facts and knowledge, we are nto very good at apply it.
– And have you looked at how people entertain themselves or what they consider us fun now a day? I’m not sure about these people who take their bikes to the top of the mountain and decide to drive it down a rocky path. Or those who jump out of the helicopter onto the top of the mountain and ski down it on the snowboard jumping off cliffs in avalanche prone areas. Or what about those young people who take their skateboard and jump up onto the handrail of a cement staircase and try slide down it. Haven’t they seen those programs on TV where people wipe out and hurt themselves?
When it comes right down to it, we really aren’t that smart, at least when compared to God, and Jesus, and even compared to the devil. Yes we may have our intellectual moments, but I won der. The same guy who may have four college degrees, who is an engineer or someone who can design a rocket ship or build a computer from scratch, that same guy may not even be able to talk to his wife or kids or keep his marriage together.
He may not even be able to do the simplest things around his own home to take care of himself. Many are book smart but have no common sense. I don’t think we are as smart as we think. Despite all the evidence, millions do not even believe that there is a God in Heaven.
In first Corinthians 3:18-19 it says, that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.
Some of you have read the book of Job. If you remember the very end of the book God questions Job but after questioning him Job cannot answer. All that Job could do was repent in dust and ashes for thinking and speaking arrogantly and foolishly as he did throughout that book.
I am not here to insult anyone with this message today, but sometimes we need a reality check. In Romans 12:3, the apostle Paul wrote “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.”
Let’s face it we can barely keep ourselves from getting in trouble. Yes maybe we are more like sheep than we realize. That’s why I believe it’s so important for us to have a look at sheep and the need for our Shepherd Jesus
Besides sheep being a bit dumb, they also have a tendency to become a bit restless so they are prone to wander and get lost. Even if you give them everything they want and need (the green pastures and the still waters),sooner or later they will just wander off. They will not only wander off from the green pastures, but also from one another. It is the shepherd job to hold them together, guides them, give them direction and give them what they need. And when a lamb goes astray, the shepherd will go and look for it and bring it back to his flock. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way.” As you know, we also have a tendency to go astray. Psalm 119:176 the author wrote, “I have wandered away like a lost sheep come find me.”
Some sheep even take or lead others astray as they wander off. That is why so many fell off the cliff in our opening story. But a good Shepherd has a solution for those sheep of who are prone to lead others away. It may seem drastic, but it usually solves the problem. Here’s another story I came across that illustrates what he does.
A woman visiting Switzerland came to a sheepfold on one of her daily walks. She saw the shepherd seated on the ground with his flock around him. Nearby, on a pile of straw lay a single sheep which seem to be suffering. Looking closely, the woman saw that its leg was broken. Her sympathy went out to the suffering sheep and she looked up inquiringly to the shepherd as to what happened. “I broke it myself,” said the shepherd sadly and then explained. “Of all the sheep and my flock, this was the most wayward. It would not obey my voice and would not follow when I was leading the flock. On more than one occasion, it wandered off to the edge of the cliff and not only was it disobedient; it was leading other sheep astray.
Based on my experience with this kind of sheep, I knew that I had no choice, so I broke its leg. The next day I tried to bring food but it tried to bite me. After letting it lie alone for a couple of days, I went back to it and it not only eagerly took the food, but also licked my hand and showed every sign of submission and affection.
And now let me say this. When this sheep is well it will be a model sheep to the entire flock. Instead of leading the others away, it will be an example of devotion and obedience. In short, a complete change will come over the life of the wayward sheep. It will learn obedience through its suffering.
So the shepherd literally had to break that defiant lamb’s leg to protect it and the other sheep because they can get in trouble real quick. They not only get lost easy, they can fall in pits and are not able to defend themselves from potential predators.
When was the last time you saw a sign that said “Beware of sheep” hanging on someone’s house. Or have you ever seen wide-eyed animals fleeing for their lives at the bleating of sheep. It’s not going to happen. Sheep simply aren’t dangerous. They are virtually defenseless.
Their best defense is to stay close to the shepherd and remain in the flock. The same is true for us. When we are out of fellowship with God and isolated from other Christians, we are most vulnerable. We need the shepherd’s wisdom and strength to survive, as well as the comfort and encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ; even if he has to break us a little.
Maybe you wonder why some people seem to get all the blessings, the big houses, the nice cars, the good jobs and big bank accounts, and you as a Christian struggle so much, be financially, or physically, maybe emotionally, or maybe even with your relationships. The answer may simply be that you are one of his sheep and those others are not.
In Revelation 3:19, the Lord said“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.”
Do you think that Joseph enjoyed the years he spent as a slave in Potiphar’s house, or the years he spent in prison despite the fact he was an innocent man? He probably prayed ‘Why Lord why?’ countless times.
Only God know how to prune and groom us so that He can really help us and use us to bless others. In the last lesson we read that even if we bear a little fruit the Master gardener (God) will prune us so that we will become even more fruitful.
We have to remember that God is a whole lot wiser and smarter than we are. He is the good and wise Shepherd. He is wiser than smarter than we ever will be. He knows exactly what will happen if he gives you that big house and that money, and those other nice things if you are not ready for them.
As a boy Joseph was not ready to lead Egypt, and at 40 years old Moses was not ready to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Like David, God would use the hardship of living in the lonely wilderness with sheep to help him become a leader and a man of faith.
The Good Shepherd also knows what will help us become the man or woman of faith we are meant to become.
In the Sermon on the Mount, the first beatitude Jesus said is, ‘Blessed are those who are poor in spirit.’ As I have said before, being poor in spirit refers to having a humble attitude which may come from being broken. I’ve compared it to a wild stallion that bucking bronco full of his own proud spirit.
It isn’t until the rider breaks that spirit that the horse becomes trainable and useful. Only then can he become useful to his master and others.
So maybe we are not the wisest or most intelligent creatures in the universe. We do make mistakes. We don’t apply what we know. We get lost at times. We are unsure about what direction we should go in life. But it’s nice to know that we have someone who is watching over us, someone who has our back and is protecting us behind the scene. He prompts us and guides us, and provides what we need, disciplines us, and does things that may seem hard… but in the end they will help us be more useful in some way.
Don’t be the one who is defiant and cause others to go astray and stumble. Jesus said that it would be better if such a person had a millstone tied around his neck and get thrown in the sea than to cause anyone to stumble, especially the little ones.
We need to remember, we are His sheep and He loves us. And to prove it He already died for us to save us. So my encouragement is to trust in Him, Trust in His leadership. Listen to Him when He speaks from His holy word or in your heart. And even it you keep doing dumb things and mess us, He’ll always be there for you.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com

The Appearance of Evil by T. Pierce Brown

http://www.oldpaths.com/Archive/Brown/T/Pierce/1923/appear.html

The Appearance of Evil

Since I was a small child, I have heard my mother and all sorts of other wonderful persons admonish, "Abstain from the very appearance of evil." In a good number of those occasions, if it were a preacher who gave the admonition, he would usually add, "1 Thessalonians 5:22." My memory even tells me that I have read many times from the Bible, "Shun the very appearance of evil," but I find no version that reads that way, so I conclude that my memory is faulty. Now, I am reasonably well convinced by what little logic I have, and what I know of the Bible that it is a good idea to shun that which SEEMS to be evil. Those things that are of a doubtful nature should not normally be practiced. It may be that some impelling reason may be given for doing something of a questionable nature under some circumstances. For example, I do not think it appropriate to go into a tavern or a house of ill repute, normally, but would do so if I thought a soul could be brought out and saved by my going.

Almost every one of the persons whom I have heard quote or misquote 1 Thessalonians 5:22 did it with this thought in mind: "You should not only abstain from whatever IS wrong, you should abstain from whatever SEEMS or APPEARS to be wrong." This scripture was then used to prove that contention. The trouble is, that is NOT what that scripture says. The difficulty is partly brought about by the fact that in English the word "appear" has at least two meanings. If we should say, "The man HAD an angry appearance," we would normally mean that it seemed to us that he was angry. It would be equivalent to, "He appeared angry." If we should say, "The man MADE an angry appearance," we would mean that he WAS angry, and came on the scene that way -- not just that he seemed to be so. It would be equivalent to, "He appeared, angry." Note the comma. I find no example in the Bible of the word used in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, translated "appearance," meaning, "seemed to be."

Since I know that the Bible teaches in Romans 14:14, "To him that esteemeth anything unclean, to him it is unclean," and in verse 23, "He that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith," I have no hesitancy in teaching that from Eve on down it would have been better not to even face toward sin, "pitch the tent toward Sodom," "walk in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scoffer." I advise persons generally to abstain from things that even seem to be evil. But I do feel most strongly that we who preach the gospel are especially obligated to make as sure as we can that we neither misquote God's Word, or misuse what we properly quote to uphold a truth. A point that cannot be upheld without an improper exegesis of a passage of scripture is not worth upholding.
The Greek text in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 reads, "APO PANTOS EIDOUS PONEROU APECHESTHE." This may be translated, "From every form of wickedness abstain." "EDIOUS" is the genitive singular of "EIDOS" which is in the KJV translated "appearance" once, "fashion" once (Luke 9:29), "shape" twice (Luke 3:22, John 5:37) and "sight" once (2 Cor. 5:7). In NO case have I found it used in the sense of something that merely SEEMS to be. Both ASV and RSV translate, "Abstain from every FORM of evil." Williams translates, "Continue to abstain from every SORT of evil." Phillips says, "Steer clear of evil in any form." The Amplified Bible says, "Abstain from evil -- shrink from and keep aloof from it -- in whatever form or whatever kind it may be." The Berkeley Version says, "Keep away from evil in every form." Beck says, "Keep away from every kind of evil." Only in the New Testament in the Translation of Monsignor Ronald Knox have I found it translated like this, "rejecting all that has a look of evil about it."

If anyone knows of any reason why we need to misquote or misapply this or any other scripture to prove a point, no matter how good the point, I should be happy to hear from him.
T. Pierce Brown

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

Bible Reading March 8-10 by Gary Rose


Bible Reading March 8-10

World  English  Bible

Mar. 8
Exodus 18

Exo 18:1 Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, how that Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt.
Exo 18:2 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, received Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her away,
Exo 18:3 and her two sons. The name of one son was Gershom, for Moses said, "I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land".
Exo 18:4 The name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, "My father's God was my help and delivered me from Pharaoh's sword."
Exo 18:5 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness where he was encamped, at the Mountain of God.
Exo 18:6 He said to Moses, I, your father-in-law Jethro, have come to you with your wife, and her two sons with her.
Exo 18:7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent.
Exo 18:8 Moses told his father-in-law all that Yahweh had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardships that had come on them on the way, and how Yahweh delivered them.
Exo 18:9 Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which Yahweh had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
Exo 18:10 Jethro said, "Blessed be Yahweh, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
Exo 18:11 Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all gods because of the thing in which they dealt arrogantly against them."
Exo 18:12 Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Aaron came with all of the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God.
Exo 18:13 It happened on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from the morning to the evening.
Exo 18:14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, "What is this thing that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning to evening?"
Exo 18:15 Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God.
Exo 18:16 When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws."
Exo 18:17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you do is not good.
Exo 18:18 You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone.
Exo 18:19 Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You represent the people before God, and bring the causes to God.
Exo 18:20 You shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do.
Exo 18:21 Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God: men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
Exo 18:22 Let them judge the people at all times. It shall be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge themselves. So shall it be easier for you, and they shall share the load with you.
Exo 18:23 If you will do this thing, and God commands you so, then you will be able to endure, and all of these people also will go to their place in peace."
Exo 18:24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said.
Exo 18:25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
Exo 18:26 They judged the people at all times. They brought the hard causes to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
Exo 18:27 Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.

Mar. 9
Exodus 19

Exo 19:1 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
Exo 19:2 When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain.
Exo 19:3 Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
Exo 19:4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;
Exo 19:6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
Exo 19:7 Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him.
Exo 19:8 All the people answered together, and said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.
Exo 19:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever." Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh.
Exo 19:10 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments,
Exo 19:11 and be ready against the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai.
Exo 19:12 You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, 'Be careful that you don't go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death.
Exo 19:13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain."
Exo 19:14 Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
Exo 19:15 He said to the people, "Be ready by the third day. Don't have sexual relations with a woman."
Exo 19:16 It happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled.
Exo 19:17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain.
Exo 19:18 Mount Sinai, all it, smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
Exo 19:19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.
Exo 19:20 Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Exo 19:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Yahweh to gaze, and many of them perish.
Exo 19:22 Let the priests also, who come near to Yahweh, sanctify themselves, lest Yahweh break forth on them."
Exo 19:23 Moses said to Yahweh, "The people can't come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, 'Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.' "
Exo 19:24 Yahweh said to him, "Go down and you shall bring Aaron up with you, but don't let the priests and the people break through to come up to Yahweh, lest he break forth on them."
Exo 19:25 So Moses went down to the people, and told them.

Mar. 10
Exodus 20

Exo 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 "I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 "You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Exo 20:6 and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 "You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;
Exo 20:11 for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.
Exo 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Exo 20:13 "You shall not murder.
Exo 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 "You shall not steal.
Exo 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."
Exo 20:18 All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.
Exo 20:19 They said to Moses, "Speak with us yourself, and we will listen; but don't let God speak with us, lest we die."
Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid, for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before you, that you won't sin."
Exo 20:21 The people stayed at a distance, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Exo 20:22 Yahweh said to Moses, "This is what you shall tell the children of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
Exo 20:23 You shall most certainly not make alongside of me gods of silver, or gods of gold for yourselves.
Exo 20:24 You shall make an altar of earth for me, and shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I record my name I will come to you and I will bless you.
Exo 20:25 If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stones; for if you lift up your tool on it, you have polluted it.
Exo 20:26 Neither shall you go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed to it.'


Mar. 8
Mark 6

Mar 6:1 He went out from there. He came into his own country, and his disciples followed him.
Mar 6:2 When the Sabbath had come, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many hearing him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things?" and, "What is the wisdom that is given to this man, that such mighty works come about by his hands?
Mar 6:3 Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" They were offended at him.
Mar 6:4 Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house."
Mar 6:5 He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people, and healed them.
Mar 6:6 He marveled because of their unbelief. He went around the villages teaching.
Mar 6:7 He called to himself the twelve, and began to send them out two by two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
Mar 6:8 He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse,
Mar 6:9 but to wear sandals, and not put on two tunics.
Mar 6:10 He said to them, "Wherever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from there.
Mar 6:11 Whoever will not receive you nor hear you, as you depart from there, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them. Assuredly, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"
Mar 6:12 They went out and preached that people should repent.
Mar 6:13 They cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who were sick, and healed them.
Mar 6:14 King Herod heard this, for his name had become known, and he said, "John the Baptizer has risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him."
Mar 6:15 But others said, "He is Elijah." Others said, "He is a prophet, or like one of the prophets."
Mar 6:16 But Herod, when he heard this, said, "This is John, whom I beheaded. He has risen from the dead."
Mar 6:17 For Herod himself had sent out and arrested John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, for he had married her.
Mar 6:18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Mar 6:19 Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him, but she couldn't,
Mar 6:20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly.
Mar 6:21 Then a convenient day came, that Herod on his birthday made a supper for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.
Mar 6:22 When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you."
Mar 6:23 He swore to her, "Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom."
Mar 6:24 She went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" She said, "The head of John the Baptizer."
Mar 6:25 She came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptizer on a platter."
Mar 6:26 The king was exceedingly sorry, but for the sake of his oaths, and of his dinner guests, he didn't wish to refuse her.
Mar 6:27 Immediately the king sent out a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring John's head, and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
Mar 6:28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the young lady; and the young lady gave it to her mother.
Mar 6:29 When his disciples heard this, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
Mar 6:30 The apostles gathered themselves together to Jesus, and they told him all things, whatever they had done, and whatever they had taught.
Mar 6:31 He said to them, "You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile." For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
Mar 6:32 They went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Mar 6:33 They saw them going, and many recognized him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to him.
Mar 6:34 Jesus came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.
Mar 6:35 When it was late in the day, his disciples came to him, and said, "This place is deserted, and it is late in the day.
Mar 6:36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages, and buy themselves bread, for they have nothing to eat."
Mar 6:37 But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." They asked him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give them something to eat?"
Mar 6:38 He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go see." When they knew, they said, "Five, and two fish."
Mar 6:39 He commanded them that everyone should sit down in groups on the green grass.
Mar 6:40 They sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties.
Mar 6:41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves, and he gave to his disciples to set before them, and he divided the two fish among them all.
Mar 6:42 They all ate, and were filled.
Mar 6:43 They took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and also of the fish.
Mar 6:44 Those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Mar 6:45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the multitude away.
Mar 6:46 After he had taken leave of them, he went up the mountain to pray.
Mar 6:47 When evening had come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he was alone on the land.
Mar 6:48 Seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them, about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and he would have passed by them,
Mar 6:49 but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;
Mar 6:50 for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he immediately spoke with them, and said to them, "Cheer up! It is I! Don't be afraid."
Mar 6:51 He got into the boat with them; and the wind ceased, and they were very amazed among themselves, and marveled;
Mar 6:52 for they hadn't understood about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Mar 6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.
Mar 6:54 When they had come out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,
Mar 6:55 and ran around that whole region, and began to bring those who were sick, on their mats, to where they heard he was.
Mar 6:56 Wherever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch just the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched him were made well.

Mar. 9, 10
Mark 7

Mar 7:1 Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem.
Mar 7:2 Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault.
Mar 7:3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don't eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.
Mar 7:4 They don't eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches.)
Mar 7:5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why don't your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?"
Mar 7:6 He answered them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7 But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
Mar 7:8 "For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men-the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things."
Mar 7:9 He said to them, "Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Mar 7:10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother;' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'
Mar 7:11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban, that is to say, given to God;" '
Mar 7:12 then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother,
Mar 7:13 making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this."
Mar 7:14 He called all the multitude to himself, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Mar 7:15 There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man.
Mar 7:16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Mar 7:17 When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable.
Mar 7:18 He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Don't you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can't defile him,
Mar 7:19 because it doesn't go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus making all foods clean?"
Mar 7:20 He said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man.
Mar 7:21 For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts,
Mar 7:22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
Mar 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mar 7:24 From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn't want anyone to know it, but he couldn't escape notice.
Mar 7:25 For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet.
Mar 7:26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter.
Mar 7:27 But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Mar 7:28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
Mar 7:29 He said to her, "For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
Mar 7:30 She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.
Mar 7:31 Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis.
Mar 7:32 They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him.
Mar 7:33 He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue.
Mar 7:34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!"
Mar 7:35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly.
Mar 7:36 He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it.
Mar 7:37 They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"