"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Flee Fornication (6:18) by Mark Copeland


                        Flee Fornication (6:18)


1. The Christians at Corinth faced great challenges in living holy
   a. The city was known for its immorality
   b. The temple of Venus hosted 1000 priestesses dedicated to
      prostitution in the name of religion
   c. Some Christians had been quite immoral prior to their conversion
      - 1Co 6:9-11
   -- And so Paul warned them to "Flee fornication" (KJV) - 1Co 6:18

2. The admonition is needed just as much today...
   a. Fornication (sexual immorality) is rampant in our culture
   b. Morality is being loosely defined (and redefined), causing many to
      engage in dangerous behavior
   c. Those who follow Christ must have a clear understanding of what is
   -- And so today people need to be warned, Flee fornication!"

[Because many are redefining morality today, we do well to first notice
the Biblical definition of that conduct which we are to flee...]


      1. The Greek word translated fornication (KJV), sexual immorality
         (NKJV) is porneia
      2. "Used generally to refer to any sexual sin" - The Complete
         WordStudy Dictionary
      3. Thus it includes any form of "illicit sexual intercourse
         - adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse
         with animals, etc." - Thayer

      1. Adultery (moichao) - to have unlawful intercourse with
         another's wife - Thayer
      2. Homosexuality (arsenokoites) - one who lies with a male as with
         a female, sodomite, homosexual, cf. 1Co 6:9; 1Ti 1:10 - ibid.
      3. Bestiality - lie carnally with an animal, cf. Lev 18:23
      4. Lewdness (aselgia) - Lasciviousness, license, debauchery,
         sexual excess, absence of restraint, insatiable desire for
         pleasure, cf. Ro 13:13 - Complete WordStudy Dictionary
         a. This word would include oral sex, which many have sought to
            redefine as not sex
         b. Which has become a major problem among many youths (with
            terrifying consequences)

[Fornication is a general term for sexual immorality; i.e., sexual
behavior between unmarrieds that rightly belongs only to husbands and
wives (cf. He 13:4).  Prohibitions against fornication can be
appreciated when we understand...]


      1. Bacterial STDs (e.g., chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea) are often
         brought on by fornication
      2. Viral STDs (e.g., genital herpes, Hepatitis B, AIDS) are incurable
      3. Many people have learned the hard way, what Solomon warned his
         son - cf. Pr 5:11-12

      1. Marriages intended for life are broken, often beyond repair
         - cf. Mt 19:4-6
      2. Children are devastated, with emotional effects lasting into
         adulthood - cf. Mal 2:16
      3. Potential for future marriages is lessened (who desires
         "damaged goods" due to STDs?)

      1. It will be hard to forgive oneself, there will be
         self-recrimination - cf. Pr 5:12-13
      2. Your soul will be deprived of good friends, whose trust you
         violated - cf. Pr 6:30-35
      3. If unrepented and unforgiven, there is no hope 
         - cf. 1Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-21; He 13:4

[We see why Paul would write "Flee fornication."  It is not to be taken
lightly!  That we might succeed in fleeing fornication, here are some
thoughts on the...]


      1. He was successful in fleeing fornication with Potiphar's wife
         - Gen 39:7-12
      2. Most importantly, he valued his relationship with God 
         - cf. Gen 39:9
      3. So flee youthful lusts, pursuing godliness instead 
         - cf. 2 Ti 2:22

      1. Who warned his son of the price of fornication 
         - Pr 5:1-6, 9-14,20-23
      2. Who counseled his children to avoid the immoral person 
         - Pr 5:7-8; 7:24-27
      3. Who encouraged his son to love the wife of his youth 
         - Pr 5:18-10; Ec 9:9

      1. Who made a terrible mistake with Bathsheba - 2Sa 11:3-5
      2. Which led to the murder of Uriah, and the death of the child
         - 2Sa 11:6-17; 12:9-19
      3. But David confessed his sin, and repented 
         - cf. 2 Sam 12:13;Ps 51:1-4


1. To flee fornication and its devastating effects...
   a. We need to have the fortitude of Joseph, and apply the wisdom of
   b. When necessary, we need the penitence of David

2. Fornication is too serious to take lightly...
   a. It can destroy your body, home, and soul
   b. Forgiveness is possible (cf. 1Co 6:11), but physical
      consequences of sin often remain (STDs)

So flee fornication, and abstain from sexual immorality, which is God's
will for you... - cf. 1Th 4:1-8

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Biblical Wisdom Still Relevant by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Biblical Wisdom Still Relevant

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

About 3,000 years ago, one of the wisest men to have ever lived penned through divine inspiration this statement: “A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Solomon’s statement speaks to the fact that in many cases, it is the emotional and spiritual attitude of an individual that sustains his or her physical existence as much or more than physical factors. On March 28, 2006, a brief article on loneliness provided some excellent modern scientific documentation for Solomon’s sentiments.
The study was in no way exhaustive since it only looked at information from about 229 adults. But the results were quite interesting. In a nut shell, the study showed that loneliness can be a potential factor that increases blood pressure. The study further indicated that when individuals became more emotionally connected to others and less lonely, their blood pressure can decrease. In fact, the authors of the study suggested that the “magnitude of the effect of loneliness on blood pressure is comparable to the magnitude of reduction that can be achieved through weight loss and exercise” (Hawkley and Berry as quoted in Minerd, 2006). Thus, one can see that the physical factors of losing weight and exercise can potentially be matched or eclipsed by the emotional attitudes of an individual, exactly as Solomon suggested.
Drs. Hawkley and Berry noted that many factors in the culture of the United States tend to increase the opportunity for loneliness and that, “under these circumstances risk of loneliness increases, and along with it so does risk of morbidity and mortality” (Minerd, 2006). In other words, emotional distress “dries the bones.”
Solomon’s ancient wisdom is as relevant to today’s society as it was to his three millennia ago. The Bible’s timeless nature is exactly the product that what would be expected from an all-knowing God Who can declare “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10).


Minerd, Jeff (2006), “Loneliness Weighs Heavily on the Heart,” [On-line], URL: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Hypertension/tb/2947.

Atheism’s Real Agenda: Censure and Termination by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Atheism’s Real Agenda: Censure and Termination

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In 2004, Sam Harris published his New York Times bestseller The End of Faith. In that book, Harris supports atheism as the only rational view of the world. He condemns all forms of religious faith, including and especially Christianity, as detrimental and potentially dangerous. He goes so far as to suggest that some beliefs are so serious that simply holding such should be a punishable offense. He stated:
The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others (2004, pp. 52-53, emp. added).
In the immediate context, Harris is referring to militant Muslims whose religious beliefs lead them to kill infidels. Later in the book, however, we see another belief that Harris considers to be a punishable offense. On page 156, Harris discussed his view of political leaders who espouse Christian sentiments. He opined:
Men eager to do the Lord’s work have been elected to other branches of federal government as well. The House majority lead, Tom Delay, is given to profundities like “Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world. Only Christianity.” He claims to have gone into politics “to promote a Biblical worldview.” Apparently feeling that it is impossible to say anything stupid while in the service of this worldview, he attributed the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado to the fact that our schools teach the theory of evolution (2004, p. 156).

What, then, does Harris believe should happen to a person who openly claims that Christianity is the global solution to the world’s ills? Harris quipped: “We might wonder how it is that pronouncements this floridly irrational do not lead to immediate censure and removal from office” (p. 156, emp. added).
In this brief article we will not go into the facts that the Columbine shootings were inspired by evolution, that atheism is completely irrational, and that Christianity can be shown to be the only solution to the realities of this world. The sole purpose of this article is to show that atheism’s ultimate agenda is to censure those who espouse Christianity and to persecute the belief to extinction. The atheistic community is not a “live and let live” market place of ideas. Harris vividly manifests the fact that atheism views Christianity as a dangerous belief that should be quelled at all cost, including punishing those who espouse it. The “freethought” community’s idea of “freethought” is that all people are “free” to think how they like, as long as that thought process is atheistic at its core and excludes Christianity.
With atheism being one of the fastest growing beliefs in our country, it is time that Christians recognize the agenda of those leading the atheistic charge. If atheism has its way, according to bestselling atheist Sam Harris, it should be a punishable offense to publicly proclaim that Christianity is the only solution to humanity’s problems. Rue the day that atheism and its leaders become prominent enough to enforce such an agenda. For Christians, “now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Romans 13:11) and stand up for the Truth while we have opportunity.


Harris, Sam (2004), The End of Faith (New York: W.W. Norton).
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The Assumption of Mary by Moisés Pinedo


The Assumption of Mary

by Moisés Pinedo

The “Assumption of Mary” is one of Catholicism’s newest dogmas. Proclaimed by Pope Pius XIIin 1950, in the papal bull Munificentissimus Deus, it is one of the most ambiguous, changeable, and confusing teachings of Catholicism. In fact, nobody can say exactly what Mary’s condition or circumstances were prior to her “assumption.” Soon after the introduction of this new doctrine, serious disagreement arose between Mariologists and Pius XII over whether or not Mary died, was resurrected, and then ascended to heaven, or simply ascended to heaven without dying. In spite of the Catholic claim that the pope speaks with “infallibility,” there is not yet consensus concerning the details of this dogma. Therefore, its advocates have taken the liberty of adjusting the details to better fit their developing ideas and traditions, and to make it more attractive to believers.
Although you may find many versions of Mary’s alleged assumption into heaven, one common idea, supported by Catholic tradition, is represented by the following description:
One day, when Mary, according to her custom, had gone to “the holy tomb of our Lord” to burn incense and pray, the archangel Gabriel announces her approaching death, and informs her that, in answer to her request, she shall “go to the heavenly places to her Son, into the true and everlasting life.” On her return home she prays, and all the Apostles—those who are already dead and those still alive—are gathered to her bedside at Bethlehem.... [T]he Apostles, carrying the couch on which “the Lady, the mother of God,” lay, are borne on a cloud to Jerusalem. Here Christ appears to her, and in answer to her request, declares: “Rejoice and be glad, for all grace is given to thee by My Father in heaven, and by Me, and by the Holy Ghost....” Then, while the Apostles sing a hymn, Mary falls asleep. She is laid in a tomb in Gethsemane; for three days an angel-choir is heard glorifying God, and when they are silent, all know that “her spotless and precious body has been transferred to Paradise” (Hastings, 1906, 1:683).
Many Catholics believe that Mary died before going to heaven (see “Did Mary Die?,” 1997, p. 11), but others consider her death an open question (see Mischewski, 2005). They have advocated that
Concerning Mary’s death the dogma is non-committal. It only says: “when the course of her earthly life was completed.”... As it stands now both opinions are acceptableand accepted: Mary’s death, resurrection and glorification as well as glorification at the end of her life without death (Roten, 2006, emp. added).
This doctrine is so “flexible” that it can work either way. However, this produces a dilemma since it is said that
the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, clearly and repeatedly refers to the death of the Virgin Mary. In no less than seven separate paragraphs this Apostolic Constitution refers, in one way or another, to the death of the Virgin Mary (Conte, 2006).
It is interesting that, according to some Catholics, the declaration of a supposedly infallible pope can be interpreted in two completely opposite ways. So, who has the final word concerning this and other Catholic topics? Who can say, with any degree of confidence, what one should believe?
The very fact that interpretations of this doctrine are so “flexible” makes it unreliable and incredible. In contrast, the Bible is very clear about those who left behind their earthly existence without experiencing death. Enoch “was taken away so that he did not see death” (Hebrews 11:5; cf. Genesis 5:24). Of Elijah, the Bible says that a “chariot of fire” took him without him seeing death (2 Kings 2:11). Equally clear details are given about Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 1:9). There is neither ambiguity nor the slightest hint that these historical facts are open to various interpretations.
A second reason why we should reject this Catholic dogma is its opposition to statements of Christ Himself. Speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus said: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man” (John 3:13, emp. added). This includes everyone who has died, as well as those who were taken by the Lord and did not taste death. Again, Jesus taught that those who die go to a place called hades—a place of waiting for the Final Judgment (Revelation 20:13-15) that is independent from heaven and hell (Luke 16:19-23). In John 14:3, Jesus promised His disciples, “And if I go [to heaven] and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” When the time comes for His return, Jesus will keep His promise and open the doors of heaven for all those who have obeyed Him (cf. Matthew 25:31-46). But, since He has not yet returned, we conclude from the Scriptures that none of His disciples have been taken to heaven, not even Mary.
A third reason why we should reject the dogma of Mary’s assumption is its opposition to other related biblical doctrines. Concerning the Second Coming of Christ, Paul wrote that the resurrection of the dead will occur “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52, emp. added). In contrast, the doctrine of Mary’s assumption into heaven implies that she has already undergone a transformation of her body into a glorious state. It should be obvious that it is impossible to reconcile the Catholic tradition of Mary’s assumption with the biblical doctrine of resurrection.
A fourth reason to reject this doctrine is that the New Testament does not record the ascension of Mary. Some Catholics have proposed that it is implied by the Bible since Mary’s death is not recorded. This reasoning fails to acknowledge that the Bible does not record the deaths of many people, including John, Mark, Paul, and even Pilate. Does this mean that these people (and many others whose deaths are not recorded in the Bible) ascended to heaven? To argue in this way is to argue from the silence of Scripture. To establish a historical, biblical truth, we should turn our attention from what the Bible writers did not record, to what they did record.
By the time the New Testament books were written, the alleged Assumption of Mary would have occurred. However, not one New Testament writer gives even a hint of this event’s occurrence. If this doctrine is so important (as Catholicism claims), why was it excluded from the New Testament? If Jesus promised that the apostles were going to be guided into all truth and were going to declare all of the truth of God (John 16:13), why did they not record this “significant truth” about Mary? If the Bible records the “ascensions” of Enoch and Elijah, why does it not also record Mary’s? The simple answer is that the “Assumption of Mary” never occurred; it was created by minds focused on traditions, not truth.
The papal bull of 1950 further declared that “if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined [the “Assumption of Mary”—MP], let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith” (Munificentissimus Deus, 45, emp. added). But if this dogma is so important—to the point that those who do not believe it are condemned—how do Catholic clergy and theologians explain the fact that most mainstream Catholics lived for approximately 1,400 years in ignorance of this dogma? Were the Catholics, including the popes, who lived before its declaration by Pius XII(1950), saved in their ignorance of the “Assumption”? If they did not need this “truth” for salvation prior to 1950, why do they need it now?
There is no doubt that Mary was a special woman, but just like every other human being, she lived in a world regulated by an established principle that affects all of us: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, emp. added). Mary, at the end of her earthly journey, crossed the path from life to death and met all those who “sleep” in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Like them, and us, she is waiting for the Final Judgment, when the doors of heaven will open for all those who have done the will of the Father (Matthew 25:31-46).


Conte, Ronald L. (2006), “A Summary of the Doctrine of the Dormition,” [On-line], URL:http://www.catholicplanet.com/CMA/dormition-summary.htm.
Hastings, James, ed. (1906), A Dictionary of Christ and the Apostles (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).
Mischewski, Dean (2005), “The Assumption of Mary into Heaven,” [On-line], URL:http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ct_assumption.html.
“Did Mary Die?” (1997), Catholic News, August 13, [On-line], URL:http://www.catholic.org.sg/cn/wordpress/?p=1791&page=1.
Munificentissimus Deus (1950), [On-line], URL:http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12MUNIF.HTM.
Roten, Johann (2006), “What about Mary’s Death?,” [On-line], URL:http://www.catholicweb.com/media_index.cfm?fuseaction=view_article&partnerid=48&article_id=2768.

Did Paul Write About Jesus as a Historical Person? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Did Paul Write About Jesus as a Historical Person?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

In his book, The Pagan Christ, Tom Harpur claims that the story of Jesus was mythical. To bolster his assertion that there never was a real human named Jesus as depicted in the gospel accounts, Harpur alleges that the apostle Paul, whose writings were penned before the gospel accounts, never mentioned Jesus as a historical figure. Harpur wrote: “The earliest writings in the New Testament, which make up more than one-quarter of its total content, are the letters of the Apostle Paul. What is absolutely striking about them is their virtual silence on the whole subject of a historical Jesus of Nazareth” (2004, p. 166). Harpur believes this claim to be of such force that “[t]here is no question that this is the datum that ultimately stares down the proponents of historicity.... Paul never once mentions the man Jesus, in the full historical sense” (pp. 166-167).
Harpur, anticipating the fact that many who read Paul’s writings see that the apostle mentioned Jesus, wrote:
Of course, a critic will argue that Paul does occasionally speak of Jesus by name. This is quite true. But today, most Bible theologians agree that even when he does so, he is not talking about a man of flesh and blood, a historical person, any more than the Egyptians were when they spoke of Iusa millennia earlier.... Yes, Paul does talk about “this Jesus whom we have seen,” and at times he gives the impression he has an interest in an actual person, but closer examination shows that he really is speaking always of mystical visions of an exalted, spiritual being whom he calls Christ (pp. 167-168).
Is it true that Paul only mentioned Jesus “occasionally” and never referred to Him as a flesh and blood human being? Certainly not. In fact, it is amazing that Harpur could make such an outlandish, unscriptural claim and still have his book published by anyone familiar in the least with Paul’s writings.
The fact of the matter is Paul often spoke of Jesus in terms that cannot be understood correctly in any way other than as a historical, flesh-and-blood human being. Paul used the name “Jesus” 218 times in his writings (Strong, 2001, p. 453), not counting other names for Jesus like Christ or Lord. For Harpur to say Paul “occasionally” mentioned Jesus is outright dishonesty. Paul used the name Jesus five times in the first eight verses of Romans, seven times in the single-chapter book of Philemon, and 22 times in the brief, four-chapter book of Philippians. An honest account of Paul’s writings shows that they are replete with Jesus’ name, containing it an average of two and a half times per chapter.
Not only did Paul repeatedly mention Jesus, but he specifically stressed that Jesus had come in the flesh as a real human being. For instance, in 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul wrote: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” To elucidate what he meant by the word “man,” Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (emp. added).
Any attempt to turn Paul’s phrase “in the likeness of men” into some sort of spiritual, mystical appearance is doomed to failure. Furthermore, Paul more specifically mentioned that “the likeness of men” that he discussed in Philippians meant human flesh. Paul wrote to the Romans about “Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3, emp. added). The apostle further mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:13 that Jesus “witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate” (emp. added).
Harpur’s major contention is that Paul did not mention details about Jesus’ life such as His birthplace in Bethlehem, His mother’s name, or His specific miracles. Yet, if the guiding hand of God produced the New Testament documents, it makes perfect sense that such information would not be repeated in Paul’s writings, since it was so thoroughly documented in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In truth, the fact that Paul repeatedly alludes to Jesus in the flesh, but does not reiterate the various details of the gospel accounts, shows that Paul coincides with the Gospel writers, but was independent of them as well. Why would God need to record for the fifth time the various miracles and facts about Jesus’ life in the writings of Paul? Paul consistently dealt with many of the events in Jesus’ life such as His death, burial, resurrection, trial before Pilate, birth according to the seed of David, and the overarching fact that He took on the form of a human. Harpur’s complaint that Paul did not mention enough of the details that are recorded in the gospel accounts is a criterion that he and his fellow skeptics have arbitrarily chosen and that proves nothing.
Harpur’s false assertion that “Paul was a mystic, and he knew only the mystical Christos, Christ not ‘after the flesh’ but after the spirit” (p. 172) lacks scholarly integrity and biblical foundation. The obvious truth is that Paul saturated his writings with the name of Jesus and repeatedly stressed that Jesus had come in the flesh as a historical human being. The details he left out of his writings accord perfectly with what one would expect from divine inspiration, and show that, while he acknowledged the historical Jesus, his writings serve as testimony independent of the gospel accounts.


Harpur, Tom (2004), The Pagan Christ (New York: Walker).
Strong, James (2001 reprint), The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Nelson).

“How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


“How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Stuart Clark, of New Scientist magazine, recently asked the question, “How come Earth got all the good stuff?” Of all the planets in our solar system that allegedly formed naturalistically “from the same cloud of gas and dust that surrounded the sun more than 4.5 billion years ago,” why is “Earth...so suitable for life” (Clark, 2008, 199[2675]:29)? Stuart acknowledged:
We know that its distance from the sun provides the right amount of heat and light to make the planet habitable, but that alone is not enough. Without the unique mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur that makes up living things, and without liquid water on the planet’s surface, life as we know it could not have evolved. Chemically speaking, Earth is simply better set up for life than its neighbours. So how come we got all the good stuff? (p. 29).
How did Earth get to be just the right distance from the Sun so that it receives “the right amountof heat and light to make the planet habitable” (emp. added)? How did Earth get such a “uniquemix” of all the elements that make up living things? How did Earth “acquire its life-giving water supply?” (p. 29). Did Earth become the “just-right” planet by happenstance?
Clark said that our best hope to find clues about Earth’s origin is from meteorites, since “they formed at the same time as the planets” (p. 29). However, he admitted: “[T]here are subtle differences that are proving tough to explain. For example, the mix of oxygen isotopes in chondritic meteorites does not match those found on Earth. So far no one knows why, but since oxygen is the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust...it is a mystery that cannot be ignored” (p. 29, emp. added). Regarding Earth’s “life-giving water supply,” Clarke suggested that “[t]he most popular explanation is that the water arrived later, in the form of icy comets from the outer solar system that rained down in the period known as the ‘Late Heavy Bombardment.’ As yet, though, there is no firm evidence to confirm this as the source of Earth’s water” (p. 30).
Though atheistic scientists have attempted to answer these and similar questions for many years, still no one has a legitimate naturalistic explanation for what New Scientist calls our planet’s “biggest mysteries” (p. 28). To conclude that Earth received just the right amount of “carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulphur” by time, chance, and non-intelligence is irrational. When does time, chance, and non-intelligence ever produce such wonderful effects? To conclude that the estimated 326 million cubic miles of water on Earth (“How Much Water...?,” 2008) are the result of “icy comets from the outer solar system” raining down on Earth millions of years ago is equally absurd.
The fact is, adequate non-intelligent, random, naturalistic causes for the “just-right” Earth do not exist. The only rational explanation for the precise design of Earth, the cosmos as a whole, and life on Earth is an intelligent supernatural Creator.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).
For 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, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22).
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).


Clark, Stuart (2008), “How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?,” New Scientist, 199[2675]: 29-30, September 27.
“How Much Water is on Earth?” (2008), Livescience.com, [On-line], URL:http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/070621_llm_water.html.

America the Beautiful? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


America the Beautiful?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Have you ever walked the white, sandy beaches of Florida or hiked the hills of Tennessee? Have you stood at the base of a giant California Redwood or sat atop the Rocky Mountains overlooking the Great Plains? “From sea to shining sea,” the United States of America is a beautiful country. As Katharine Bates wrote in the latter part of the 19th century, “God shed his grace” on this country of “spacious skies…amber waves of grain…purple mountain majesties” and “fruited plains.” Few countries can claim so many diverse, splendid sights as America. Physically speaking, America is “the beautiful”! (How anyone can live in this blessed country and maintain “there is no God,” is mindboggling).
Spiritually speaking, however, America has lost its moral compass. In reality, it is a filthy, ungodly nation. Instead of printing and disseminating Bibles (as did our Founding Fathers), which inform children that they are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), we print millions of taxpayer-funded textbooks that tell young people they came from slime. Instead of abhorring and detesting the sin of homosexuality (as did our first Commander in Chief [“George…,” 1778] and as does God [Genesis 19; Romans 1:24-32]), our current President embraces the perversion of homosexuality. Instead of hating the shedding of innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17), many millions of Americans elect representatives who support the murder of innocent, unborn children.
Oh, but do not think that evolution, homosexuality, and abortion are the only spiritual diseases infecting this country. Rather than acknowledge fornication, adultery, and impurity as sin (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10), most Americans, including many so-called Christians, embrace these actions as normal, fun, and innocent. Evil entertainment is more prolific and easily accessible than ever in our country’s history. The number one downloaded song on iTunes only a few weeks ago was Brittany Spears’ latest hit titled simply “3.” What is “3”? Only a song about “gettin’ down with 3P” (i.e., three people having sexual relations together at the same time). This former number one song glamorizes sin from beginning to end. Twice in the song Spears specifically mocks that which the Bible says separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), saying, “Livin’ in sin is the new thing (yeah).” How many people in this “Christian nation” are walking around singing this song? How many “Christians” currently have this song on their iPod? [NOTE: I spoke with a small group of Christian teens recently, one of whom admitted to having already downloaded this song on her cell phone.]
How is it that a television series largely about single women’s sexual escapades (Sex and the City) gets nominated for 50 Emmy Awards (winning seven times) during its six seasons on television? Why are songs, television shows, and movies (e.g., The 40-Year-Old Virgin) that mock purity and celebrate sin so popular? Why is the fruit of the Spirit (faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc.) continually ridiculed, while the works of the flesh (sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, etc.) are constantly paraded as acceptable lifestyles of “good people”? Because most Americans, even many “Christian” Americans, have forgotten God and grown accustomed to calling “evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Righteousness is ridiculed regularly, while sin is celebrated incessantly.
America most certainly was founded by men who professed faith in God, read the Scriptures regularly, and made many proclamations and policies that closely mirrored biblical teachings (see Miller, 2008). America was not founded by Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists. Our Founding Fathers claimed to be Christians, and believed that the God of the Bible was instrumental in the establishment of this nation. At one time in our country’s history, atheism, homosexuality, adultery, lewdness, etc. were considered repulsive and rarely celebrated publicly. Today, however, America is far from being a “Christian nation.” We live in a physically beautiful, God-given country which, sadly, is filled with ungrateful, ungodly non-believers and hypocritical “Christians.”
May God help the faithful children of God (1) to keep “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27), while (2) reflecting the light of Jesus Christ to a sin-stained country in need of a great spiritual awakening.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).


Miller, Dave (2008), The Silencing of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“George Washington, March 14, 1778, General Orders” (1778), The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799, from ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, [On-line], URL:http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit (gw110081)).

Contents of the Ark of the Covenant by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Contents of the Ark of the Covenant

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Following Israel’s exodus from Egypt, God instructed them to make a small wooden ark (box) overlaid with gold. The ark was 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high (or about 3.75 x 2.25 x 2.25 feet) and was called the “Ark of the Testimony” or the “Ark of the Covenant” because it contained the tablets of stone whereon the Ten Commandments were written (Exodus 25:16). According to 1 Kings 8:9, “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone” (emp. added; cf. 2 Chronicles 5:10). The writer of Hebrews, however, indicated that the ark contained “the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (9:4). How can both of these passages be correct?
First, it may be that the Hebrews writer was indicating that the pot of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tablets were in close proximity to the ark, but not necessarily that all three were “in” the ark. Although most English translations refer to what was “in” (NKJV; Greek en) the ark or what the ark “contained” (NIV, RSV), the uses of the Greek preposition en “are so many and various, and oft. so easily confused, that a strictly systematic treatment is impossible” (Danker, 2000, p. 326). Greek lexicographers give numerous definitions for this word, including: among, within the range of, near, before, in the presence of, etc. (Danker, pp. 326-330). Perhaps the writer of Hebrews only intended to communicate that Aaron’s rod, the container of manna, and the tablets of stone were all in close proximity to the ark in the Most Holy Place (the tablets being in the ark, while the manna and rod were “before” the ark; cf. Exodus 16:33-34; Numbers 17:10).
Second, it is also very possible that all three items were literally inside of the ark at one time, but not all of the time. Whenever comparing two or more Bible passages that might initially appear contradictory, one must be sure that the same time frame is under discussion. Such is not the case with Hebrews 9:4 and 1 Kings 8:9. In Hebrews 9, the inspired writer refers to the time of Moses, when “a tabernacle was prepared” (vs. 2; cf. Exodus 25-40). The statement in 1 Kings 8:9 (as well as 2 Chronicles 5:10) is from the time of Solomon, when he built the Temple, approximately 500 years after the tabernacle was constructed. Is it possible that the Ark of the Covenant once contained the tablets of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod, while at another time (i.e., five centuries later) the ark contained only the tablets of stone? Most certainly (cf. 1 Samuel 4-5).
What about the allegation that “Aaron’s staff could hardly have fit anyway, since the ark was a box only 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 cubits” (Wells, 2009)? The fact is, no one knows the length of Aaron’s rod. Rods served many purposes (e.g., for support, for administering punishment, as a symbol of authority, etc.; see Allen, 1996, p. 1022) and came in various sizes. In Aaron’s case, it appears that his rod was more of a symbol of his God-given authority than just a mere walking stick. What’s more, even if Aaron had used his rod for support, he may have only been five feet tall and needed a walking stick that was just 3½ feet long. Considering that an average walking cane today is only about three feet long, it should not be surprising that Aaron’s rod could have fit into a box that was nearly four feet long.
Indeed, the wording of 1 Kings 8:9 and Hebrews 9:4 are different. But reasonable explanations exist for the variation. There is no doubt that two different time periods are under discussion. Furthermore, as with many Hebrew and Greek words, it may be that the Greek en (in Hebrews 9:4) should be understood in a broader sense. Whatever the precise contents of the Ark of the Covenant at any given time in history, rest assured, 1 Kings 8:9 and Hebrews 9:4 are not contradictory.


Allen, L.C. (1996), “Rod,” New Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Douglas (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), third edition.
Danker, Fredrick William (2000), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature(Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), third edition.
Wells, Steve (2009), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/.

Jesus taught religious freedom by Roy Davison


Jesus taught religious freedom

Through the ages, terrible atrocities have been committed because of religious intolerance. Religions have been persecuted, and religions have persecuted others. Such atrocities are almost always related to political power.

Millions have been murdered.
During the first few centuries after Christ, Christians were severely persecuted and murdered by pagans and Jews. The pagans were offended because Christians refused to worship the pagan gods and the emperor. The Jews viewed Christians as heretics.
The Christians did not retaliate because Jesus taught His followers to love their enemies and to do good to those who hate them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35).
From the seventh to the eleventh century, by force of arms, Muslims spread their religion around the Mediterranean from Asia Minor, along the northern coast of Africa, and into Spain. Church buildings were destroyed, church leaders were murdered, and Christianity was exterminated where Muslims gained political power.
With regard to unfaithful Muslims who “wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve,” the Koran commands1: “If they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them” (Chapter 4:89). With regard to “unbelievers” the Koran says: “I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!” (Chapter 8:12). Another translation of the Koran interprets this more graphically: “Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”2 When a peace treaty with idolaters expires, the following is commanded: “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” (Chapter 9:5).
Some Muslims try to soften these teachings, but it cannot be denied that through the centuries, and also at the present time, these passages in the Koran have been used to promote and justify much persecution, war, terrorism and murder. 
The establishment of worldwide Muslim totalitarian government is a tenant of Islam.
From the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, Crusades were organized in Europe in an attempt to conquer Jerusalem by force of arms. Thousands of Muslims were murdered and their villages were destroyed.
The Crusaders called themselves Christians but they were not Christians. They did not follow the teachings of Jesus at all!
At the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church used the Inquisition to murder those who opposed its authority. It was a capital crime to read the Bible without the permission of the Church.
In 1536 William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake in Vilvoorde, Belgium by Catholic authorities. His crime? Publishing the Bible in English and exposing false doctrines of the Roman Church.
When Protestants came to power in certain countries, they sometimes persecuted Catholics and other Protestants who did not agree with them.
On October 27, 1553, Michael Servetus was burned to death at Geneva, Switzerland at the instigation of John Calvin.
In the twentieth century many religion-related atrocities were committed.
Six million Jews, men women and children, were murdered by the Nazis by shooting, in mobile gas vans and at mass extermination camps. The Nazis also exterminated gypsies and people with physical defects or mental illness.
Seven hundred thousand Muslims were evicted from their homes in Palestine and forced to spend the rest of their lives impoverished in refugee camps in the desert.
Conflicts involving religion in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia resulted in the murder of millions of innocent people.
Atheistic communism persecuted and murdered countless believers of all faiths in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Jesus taught tolerance and religious freedom.
All persecution is contrary to the doctrine of Christ. Although apostasy is to be refuted and false teachers are to be expelled from the church, Christians are not to persecute others or use coercion to prevent others from practicing their religion.
Once when Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem, they were refused lodging in a Samaritan village. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:54-56). Christians may not use Old Testament examples to justify violence. The teaching of Jesus is on a higher plain, is of a different spirit.
Not only does Jesus teach against persecuting others, we are not even to forbid them: “Then John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us’“ (Luke 9:49, 50 //Mark 9:38-40).
Some have misapplied this passage to teach that we should fellowship false teachers. But Jesus did not condone what this person was doing. He simply taught religious freedom. We are not to ‘forbid’ others.
Paul explains: “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18).
Some who are now Christians in Flanders, first started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Others who are now Christians, first studied the Bible with Mormons. As they continued studying the Scriptures, however, they rejected the errors of these groups, and learned the truth of the gospel.
Although false teachers are not to be permitted to teach in the church, it is not our task as Christians to prevent them from proclaiming their beliefs in general. It is our task, however, to refute their false doctrine. Religious freedom does not mean that we must remain silent in the face of religious error.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Christians combat false doctrine by preaching the truth. We refute false arguments and capture the thoughts of men by preaching the Word of God. Rather than being overcome by evil, we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Although we can sympathize with oppressed peoples who mistakenly think force of arms can set them free, it does not work. Jesus said: “Put away your sword, for all who draw the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). You cannot overcome evil with evil. An attempt to do so only multiplies evil.
Jesus showed us how to overcome evil with good by going to the cross and rising victorious from the grave to become King of kings and Lord of lords. He tells us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
The most powerful weapons on earth are not guns and bombs, but words. If you want to have influence for good, learn to speak and write well. And, of course, the most powerful words of all by far are the words of God.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Christians are proponents and defenders of religious freedom. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Unchristian teaching is to be refuted, but true followers of Christ do not persecute others or prevent them from practicing their religion. Amen.
Roy Davison

1 These quotations are from “The Koran Interpreted, A translation by A.J.Arberry” considered to be one of the most scholarly and unbiased translations of the Koran into English.

2 As translated by M. H. Shakir.

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading July 26, 27 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading July 26, 27 
(World English Bible)

July 26
2 Chronicles 10-12
2Ch 10:1 Rehoboam went to Shechem; for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
2Ch 10:2 It happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it, (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of king Solomon), that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
2Ch 10:3 They sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came, and they spoke to Rehoboam, saying,
2Ch 10:4 Your father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make you the grievous service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, lighter, and we will serve you.
2Ch 10:5 He said to them, Come again to me after three days. The people departed.
2Ch 10:6 King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel do you give me to return answer to this people?
2Ch 10:7 They spoke to him, saying, If you are kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.
2Ch 10:8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.
2Ch 10:9 He said to them, What counsel do you give, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke that your father did put on us lighter?
2Ch 10:10 The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, Thus you shall tell the people who spoke to you, saying, Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter on us; thus you shall say to them, My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.
2Ch 10:11 Now whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
2Ch 10:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come to me again the third day.
2Ch 10:13 The king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
2Ch 10:14 and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
2Ch 10:15 So the king didn't listen to the people; for it was brought about of God, that Yahweh might establish his word, which he spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
2Ch 10:16 When all Israel saw that the king didn't listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, Israel: now see to your own house, David. So all Israel departed to their tents.
2Ch 10:17 But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
2Ch 10:18 Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was over the men subject to forced labor; and the children of Israel stoned him to death with stones. King Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
2Ch 10:19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David to this day.

2Ch 11:1 When Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand chosen men, who were warriors, to fight against Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
2Ch 11:2 But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
2Ch 11:3 Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
2Ch 11:4 Thus says Yahweh, You shall not go up, nor fight against your brothers: return every man to his house; for this thing is of me. So they listened to the words of Yahweh, and returned from going against Jeroboam.
2Ch 11:5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah.
2Ch 11:6 He built Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
2Ch 11:7 Beth Zur, and Soco, and Adullam,
2Ch 11:8 and Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
2Ch 11:9 and Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
2Ch 11:10 and Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin, fortified cities.
2Ch 11:11 He fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and stores of food, and oil and wine.
2Ch 11:12 In every city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong. Judah and Benjamin belonged to him.
2Ch 11:13 The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their border.
2Ch 11:14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons cast them off, that they should not execute the priest's office to Yahweh;
2Ch 11:15 and he appointed him priests for the high places, and for the male goats, and for the calves which he had made.
2Ch 11:16 After them, out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of their fathers.
2Ch 11:17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years; for they walked three years in the way of David and Solomon.
2Ch 11:18 Rehoboam took him a wife, Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;
2Ch 11:19 and she bore him sons: Jeush, and Shemariah, and Zaham.
2Ch 11:20 After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom; and she bore him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
2Ch 11:21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.)
2Ch 11:22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah to be chief, even the prince among his brothers; for he was minded to make him king.
2Ch 11:23 He dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his sons throughout all the lands of Judah and Benjamin, to every fortified city: and he gave them food in abundance. He sought for them many wives.

2Ch 12:1 It happened, when the kingdom of Rehoboam was established, and he was strong, that he forsook the law of Yahweh, and all Israel with him.
2Ch 12:2 It happened in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had trespassed against Yahweh,
2Ch 12:3 with twelve hundred chariots, and sixty thousand horsemen. The people were without number who came with him out of Egypt: the Lubim, the Sukkiim, and the Ethiopians.
2Ch 12:4 He took the fortified cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
2Ch 12:5 Now Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, who were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, Thus says Yahweh, You have forsaken me, therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
2Ch 12:6 Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, Yahweh is righteous.
2Ch 12:7 When Yahweh saw that they humbled themselves, the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves: I will not destroy them; but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.
2Ch 12:8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants, that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
2Ch 12:9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and the treasures of the king's house: he took all away: he took away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
2Ch 12:10 King Rehoboam made in their place shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, who kept the door of the king's house.
2Ch 12:11 It was so, that as often as the king entered into the house of Yahweh, the guard came and bore them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
2Ch 12:12 When he humbled himself, the wrath of Yahweh turned from him, so as not to destroy him altogether: and moreover in Judah there were good things found.
2Ch 12:13 So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which Yahweh had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there: and his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess.
2Ch 12:14 He did that which was evil, because he didn't set his heart to seek Yahweh.
2Ch 12:15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, aren't they written in the histories of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer, after the manner of genealogies? There were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.
2Ch 12:16 Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his place.

July 27
2 Chronicles 13-15
2Ch 13:1 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.
2Ch 13:2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
2Ch 13:3 Abijah joined battle with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: and Jeroboam set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, who were mighty men of valor.
2Ch 13:4 Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel:
2Ch 13:5 Ought you not to know that Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
2Ch 13:6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up, and rebelled against his lord.
2Ch 13:7 There were gathered to him worthless men, base fellows, who strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.
2Ch 13:8 Now you think to withstand the kingdom of Yahweh in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and there are with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods.
2Ch 13:9 Haven't you driven out the priests of Yahweh, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves after the manner of the peoples of other lands? so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams, the same may be a priest of those who are no gods.
2Ch 13:10 But as for us, Yahweh is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and we have priests ministering to Yahweh, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites in their work:
2Ch 13:11 and they burn to Yahweh every morning and every evening burnt offerings and sweet incense: the show bread also set they in order on the pure table; and the lampstand of gold with its lamps, to burn every evening: for we keep the instruction of Yahweh our God; but you have forsaken him.
2Ch 13:12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with the trumpets of alarm to sound an alarm against you. Children of Israel, don't you fight against Yahweh, the God of your fathers; for you shall not prosper.
2Ch 13:13 But Jeroboam caused an ambush to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambush was behind them.
2Ch 13:14 When Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind them; and they cried to Yahweh, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.
2Ch 13:15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened, that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
2Ch 13:16 The children of Israel fled before Judah; and God delivered them into their hand.
2Ch 13:17 Abijah and his people killed them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
2Ch 13:18 Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on Yahweh, the God of their fathers.
2Ch 13:19 Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with its towns, and Jeshanah with its towns, and Ephron with its towns.
2Ch 13:20 Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and Yahweh struck him, and he died.
2Ch 13:21 But Abijah grew mighty, and took to himself fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters.
2Ch 13:22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the commentary of the prophet Iddo.

2Ch 14:1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David; and Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet ten years.
2Ch 14:2 Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of Yahweh his God:
2Ch 14:3 for he took away the foreign altars, and the high places, and broke down the pillars, and cut down the Asherim,
2Ch 14:4 and commanded Judah to seek Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
2Ch 14:5 Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the sun images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
2Ch 14:6 He built fortified cities in Judah; for the land was quiet, and he had no war in those years, because Yahweh had given him rest.
2Ch 14:7 For he said to Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars; the land is yet before us, because we have sought Yahweh our God; we have sought him, and he has given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
2Ch 14:8 Asa had an army that bore bucklers and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred eighty thousand: all these were mighty men of valor.
2Ch 14:9 There came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an army of a million troops, and three hundred chariots; and he came to Mareshah.
2Ch 14:10 Then Asa went out to meet him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
2Ch 14:11 Asa cried to Yahweh his God, and said, Yahweh, there is none besides you to help, between the mighty and him who has no strength: help us, Yahweh our God; for we rely on you, and in your name are we come against this multitude. Yahweh, you are our God; don't let man prevail against you.
2Ch 14:12 So Yahweh struck the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.
2Ch 14:13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar: and there fell of the Ethiopians so many that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before Yahweh, and before his army; and they carried away very much booty.
2Ch 14:14 They struck all the cities around Gerar; for the fear of Yahweh came on them: and they despoiled all the cities; for there was much spoil in them.
2Ch 14:15 They struck also the tents of livestock, and carried away sheep in abundance, and camels, and returned to Jerusalem.

2Ch 15:1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded:
2Ch 15:2 and he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: Yahweh is with you, while you are with him; and if you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
2Ch 15:3 Now for a long season Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law:
2Ch 15:4 But when in their distress they turned to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.
2Ch 15:5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out, nor to him who came in; but great troubles were on all the inhabitants of the lands.
2Ch 15:6 They were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God troubled them with all adversity.
2Ch 15:7 But you be strong, and don't let your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded.
2Ch 15:8 When Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominations out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from the hill country of Ephraim; and he renewed the altar of Yahweh, that was before the porch of Yahweh.
2Ch 15:9 He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who sojourned with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that Yahweh his God was with him.
2Ch 15:10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
2Ch 15:11 They sacrificed to Yahweh in that day, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep.
2Ch 15:12 They entered into the covenant to seek Yahweh, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul;
2Ch 15:13 and that whoever would not seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
2Ch 15:14 They swore to Yahweh with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.
2Ch 15:15 All Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and Yahweh gave them rest all around.
2Ch 15:16 Also Maacah, the mother of Asa the king, he removed from being queen, because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah; and Asa cut down her image, and made dust of it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.
2Ch 15:17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.
2Ch 15:18 He brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.
2Ch 15:19 There was no more war to the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.

Jul. 26, 27
Acts 16

Act 16:1 He came to Derbe and Lystra: and behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewess who believed; but his father was a Greek.
Act 16:2 The brothers who were at Lystra and Iconium gave a good testimony about him.
Act 16:3 Paul wanted to have him go out with him, and he took and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts; for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
Act 16:4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered the decrees to them to keep which had been ordained by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.
Act 16:5 So the assemblies were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Act 16:6 When they had gone through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Act 16:7 When they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit didn't allow them.
Act 16:8 Passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
Act 16:9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night. There was a man of Macedonia standing, begging him, and saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us."
Act 16:10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go out to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the Good News to them.
Act 16:11 Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a straight course to Samothrace, and the day following to Neapolis;
Act 16:12 and from there to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the foremost of the district, a Roman colony. We were staying some days in this city.
Act 16:13 On the Sabbath day we went forth outside of the city by a riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down, and spoke to the women who had come together.
Act 16:14 A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul.
Act 16:15 When she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay." So she persuaded us.
Act 16:16 It happened, as we were going to prayer, that a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling.
Act 16:17 Following Paul and us, she cried out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation!"
Act 16:18 She was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" It came out that very hour.
Act 16:19 But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
Act 16:20 When they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, "These men, being Jews, are agitating our city,
Act 16:21 and set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans."
Act 16:22 The multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates tore their clothes off of them, and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
Act 16:23 When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely,
Act 16:24 who, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison, and secured their feet in the stocks.
Act 16:25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Act 16:26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were loosened.
Act 16:27 The jailer, being roused out of sleep and seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
Act 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, "Don't harm yourself, for we are all here!"
Act 16:29 He called for lights and sprang in, and, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas,
Act 16:30 and brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
Act 16:31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
Act 16:32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his house.
Act 16:33 He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was immediately baptized, he and all his household.
Act 16:34 He brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his household, having believed in God.
Act 16:35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, "Let those men go."
Act 16:36 The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go; now therefore come out, and go in peace."
Act 16:37 But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us publicly, without a trial, men who are Romans, and have cast us into prison! Do they now release us secretly? No, most certainly, but let them come themselves and bring us out!"
Act 16:38 The sergeants reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,
Act 16:39 and they came and begged them. When they had brought them out, they asked them to depart from the city.
Act 16:40 They went out of the prison, and entered into Lydia's house. When they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them, and departed.