Archives for : October2014

Did religious leaders steal Jesus’ body?

She made a false assumption. Mary came to the tomb and
found it barren. From her perspective, there was only
one plausible explanation for why this was so.

“They have taken the Lord…” (John 20:2John 20:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 She runneth therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him.

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b). “They”
whomever they were, had breached the burial chamber,
stolen the lifeless body of Christ, and then moved it
to an undisclosed location.

Atheist Richard Carrier, while neither willing nor able
to actually produce specific culprits for the burglary,
maintains that Mary was actually right./1 He asserts
that the empty tomb evidenced a theft, not a
resurrection.

But take just a moment to analyze Carrier’s flawed
logic. Truth should never be afraid of honest
investigation.

There are only two possibilities as to who might have
stolen Jesus’ body from the tomb. Either the enemies of
Christ did so, or the friends of Christ did so.

But 1) did the enemies, specifically the Jewish
religious leaders, steal Jesus’ body and–2) will that
answer stand up to real scrutiny?

Matthew’s inspired record says the chief priests and
Pharisees met with Pilate in an effort to foil any
attempts at taking Jesus’ body in the first place. They
said, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how
that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’
Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until
the third day…” (Matthew 27:63-64Matthew 27:63-64
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

63 saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said while he was yet alive, After three days I rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest haply his disciples come and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: and the last error will be worse than the first.

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a).

These men were not worried that Jesus would actually be
resurrected; they were fearful that folks such as
Joseph, Nicodemus, Mary (Matthew 27:57-61Matthew 27:57-61
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

57 And when even was come, there came a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58 this man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up. 59 And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

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) and perhaps
others, might stage a sort of mock resurrection in
order to propagate what Jesus had foretold (cf. Matthew
16:21; 20:17; 26:28; Mark 8:31Mark 8:31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

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; Luke 24:44Luke 24:44
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

44 And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me.

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).

They thought they had finally quelled Jesus and his
doctrine and wanted to make sure it wasn’t rekindled
again.

Pilate, in keeping with the religious leader’s pressing
request, secured the tomb and gave permission to set a
guard (Mattew 27:65-66, NIV; Matthew 28:11-15Matthew 28:11-15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city, and told unto the chief priests all the things that were come to pass. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave much money unto the soldiers, 13 saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and rid you of care. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continueth until this day.

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Now think about it. Why would the avowed enemies of
Jesus go to all of the trouble of preventing the theft
of his body, but then engage in the theft themselves?!

Why would they twist Pilate’s arm to protect the tomb
from any intrusion, but then steal what they had tried
so hard to secure?! What would prompt them to allegedly
pay off the security force, break the seal, and then
take possession of what they wanted nobody to acquire?!

Furthermore, when the apostles later preached a
resurrected Lord during the early days of the church
(cf. Acts 4:1Acts 4:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,

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ff), Why didn’t the religious leaders
simply produce the dead corpse of Christ?!

If they had, in fact, stolen the body, why didn’t they
display it for all to see? In so doing they would have
not only exposed the lie being propagated by Jesus’
followers, but they would have effectively killed
Christianity dead in its tracks!

The obvious reason the opponents of Jesus didn’t
produce his body was because they didn’t have it in the
first place.

Both Mary and Richard Carrier were mistaken. Nobody
took the body of Jesus. He was raised from the
dead–just as the Bible says (Acts 1:3; 2:32; 4:33Acts 1:3; 2:32; 4:33
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 To whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: 32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

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–by Mike Benson

_________
1/ Richard Carrier, “The Plausibility of
Theft,” in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave,
edited by Jeff Lowder and Robert Price, 349-368

He had a heart attack at age forty-eight

Bob worried about his death. His anxiety consumed him, day and night.

At night, unable to sleep, he paced up and down his room, worrying. In the day his stomach churned like a cement mixer as he worried still more. When would he die? How could he avoid that? Would he die of cancer?
Or would some dreadful tropical disease lay him low because he shook the hand of someone who had shaken hands with someone else from the tropics?

He lost weight and sleep. His lack of concentration led to the termination of his job.

Finally, Bob died of a heart attack at age forty-eight, which is absurdly young for such an event. His doctor said he died of stress and worry.

Worry is such a waste of time and emotional energy.
Some things we worry about never come to pass so our worry is a waste of time. Other things will hit us, regardless of whether we worry about them or not.

Certain kinds of worry are healthy if they cause us to better ourselves and prepare for the future.

But some people’s worry becomes as paralyzing as a mouse in front of a cobra. Where are our kids? It’s two past eleven! They’re in a car crash! Their bodies right now are mangled on the freeway! What will I do for the rest of my life without them?

Will our congregation survive? What if our preacher leaves? What if the young people don’t develop into faithful leaders? What if a false teacher enters the flock?

Yes! Be prepared! No, don’t worry endlessly, obsessively.

Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious
about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious
for itself. Sufficient for the day is its
own trouble” (Matthew 6:34Matthew 6:34
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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Today, after all, is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Someone else has pointed out that we should not be afraid of tomorrow because God is already there.
Will you exhibit fear or faith, consternation or confidence in God?

Don’t worry. It’s under control: His control.

–by Stan Mitchell

Walking by faith

“So she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I
do not have bread, only a handful of flour
in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and
see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that
I may go in and prepare it for myself and my
son, that we may eat it, and die'” (I Kings
17:12).

Fund-raising is the necessary price to be paid for the privilege of doing mission work. I don’t know of anyone who truly enjoys asking others for money.

If you are such a person, I commend you, if you are using that gift for good work. Most of us do it because we love the work it allows us to pursue, and because of the good use to which contributions are put.

We are fully aware that most individuals and congregations who give to us are making sacrifices in other areas in order to be able to help with our work.
It is not easy to ask an elderly person, struggling to make ends meet off of a fixed income, to give to the work of preaching in other nations.

Thankfully there are many such persons who don’t wait to be asked, but like the Macedonian Christians of the first century, beg for the privilege of helping in the Lord’s work (2 Corinthians 8:1-52 Corinthians 8:1-5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the churches of Macedonia; 2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 4 beseeching us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints: 5 and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.

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When the drought and resulting famine for which Elijah prayed had prevailed to the point of starvation, God sent him to a widow of Zarephath, saying that she was instructed to provide for him.

When he arrived he found her gathering firewood. The prophet asked for bread, and she told him that she was about to cook her last morsel of food for herself and her son, after which they must starve.

Elijah then told her to cook her last flour and oil for him. When she obeyed these seemingly selfish and greedy instructions, he told her that the flour and oil would continue until the famine was ended (1 Kings 17:141 Kings 17:14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 For thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, The jar of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that Jehovah sendeth rain upon the earth.

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).

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness, and all these things shall be
added to you” (Matthew 6:33Matthew 6:33
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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That is undoubtedly one of the most difficult of all his teachings for us to follow. We are trained from birth to walk by sight, always seeking security. We buy insurance against accident, fire, theft, illness, disability, and old age (i.e., retirement). We are constantly warned against incurring too much debt, against spending more than we have as income.

In contrast, the Holy Spirit encourages us to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:72 Corinthians 5:7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 ;

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This is not intended to prompt us to unnecessary or foolish risks in secular affairs, but rather to lead us to trust God and obey his commands, even when we do not know just what is in store for our future. God will provide for those who trust him. Just as he filled the bin and the jar for the widow of Zarephath, so he can and will supply all that we need, so long as we are seeking his righteousness first.

The fund-raiser is reminded that giving accomplishes two kinds of good. There is the good done through the work that is funded. There is also the good done to the giver, through his or her act of unselfishness, as spiritual blessings are provided by God.

“It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it” (2 Corinthians 8:10-112 Corinthians 8:10-11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 And herein I give my judgment: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to make a beginning a year ago, not only to do, but also to will. 11 But now complete the doing also; that as there was the readiness to will, so there may be the completion also out of your ability.

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Giving benefits both the giver and the recipient. If we should fail to provide opportunities for giving, we would deprive Christians of a path to great blessings.

“We are his workmanship, created for good
works, which God prepared beforehand that we
should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10Ephesians 2:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

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by Michael E. Brooks

Cookies can produce more than fat

Recently I became the cookie ghoul, but not by choice.
I was simply supporting my son in an event, when suddenly an authoritative voice appointed me guardian and custodian of some sweet treats with a clear
mandate: One cookie per person.

It was not long before kids began rushing over to the refreshment area. Like a neurotic parrot, my repeating message began. “One cookie per person.”

Immediately, a boy who was probably in middle school snatched two cookies and was headed toward his third, before I could say, “Stop! One cookie per person.” He still began to reach toward the third cookie. “Stop!
You cannot have another one.” He finally moved on.

As I supervised this cookie table, hearts were laid bare before me. Open defiance would quickly claim two cookies. Conniving disobedience feigning compliance would either pick up a double-decker cookie wrapped in a napkin or try to get into line more than once.

I can only imagine their rationalizations.

• “Its only a cookie. What’s the big deal?”
• “I’m hungry.”
• “Who does he think he is?”
• “Where did this cookie Nazi come from?”
• “In the past I could get as many cookies as
I wanted!”
• “Nobody tells me what to do.”

The beautiful, submissive, and disciplined hearts were easy to spot as they passed through the line. Although every fiber in their body tore at them to claim multiple cookies, nevertheless they obeyed. Even in this small silly matter, they respected authority.

How could I not reflect upon Luke 16:10Luke 16:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.

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? “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much.”

Admittedly, Jesus was addressing wealth on that occasion. Nevertheless, the principle remains valid.
Small matters do provide insight into our hearts revealing those principles that will be driving larger matters.

Previously, I had never thought about cookies revealing our hearts. But then, I guess all of life continually provides small windows into what lies within.

by Barry Newton

Proper dress for Christians

Standards of modest clothing in our day have, please forgive the pun, plunged to new lows. From television to Walmart to the Internet, it seems, people are presenting themselves in various states of undress.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, we are told. Yet there are times the cover screams so loudly it’s hard to look beyond it. What should the Christian’s attitude to this be?

“Do not let your adornment be external – the
braiding of hair and the putting on of
jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let
your adorning be the hidden person of the
heart with the imperishable beauty of a
gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s
sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3,41 Peter 3:3,4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

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,
ESV).

The term “adornment” comes from the Greek word cosmos — hence “cosmetic.” We often say to someone, “The solution you’re proposing is cosmetic only,” meaning that we aren’t getting to the real cause of the problem.

One who cares only for the cosmetic, or
outer appearance, is applying Este Lauder to the face when the heart is what needs to be changed.

Yet Peter is not saying: “You should look like a bag lady.” He is saying, “Ensure that your beauty comes from the inside, the one part of you that you can actually change, and that will be beautiful even into old age.”

Does it really matter how beautiful a woman is if her heart is calloused, her mouth sharp and cruel and her attitude abrasive? On the other hand if a woman is warm and compassionate, her attitude selfless and classy, she will be beautiful all her life.

One thinks of Israelite women in Isaiah’s day:

“Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet…” (Isaiah 3:16Isaiah 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Moreover Jehovah said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet;

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Wow, the old prophet might have been walking down the streets of Hollywood or Madison Avenue by that description. So with fear and trembling, I offer these principles for ensuring a Christian version of beauty, inside and out.

Deep Down, we Know: Men know what they “appreciate” and women know what gets the looks. It’s time to be honest:
We know.

Men Should Learn to Value a Christian Woman for her Christian Character: Emphasize a woman’s Christian character, and let her know this is why you value her. Don’t be so shallow!

Women Should Develop Inner Beauty: There are some drop- dead beautiful celebrities who are ugly ducklings on the inside. Develop the characteristics that are subject to improvement, and will grow more beautiful over time.

We Should Adopt God’s Standards not the World’s: As Christians we cannot allow the world to dictate to us on this point.

Men and Women are Different: There is a difference between the way men are “wired” and women are “wired.”
I don’t know if you noticed, but men and women are different.

I understand the desire to be loved and accepted. I understand the power and pull of loneliness. But young people, believe me when I tell you that external beauty does not generally survive middle age, while internal beauty can grow and sparkle deep into old age.

Christianity is predicated on the fact that we can make our character, make our personality more attractive, and Christ-like. We don’t need to be airbrushed; we need to be heart touched.

by Stan Mitchell

Am I rich?

Would you consider yourself rich, even wealthy?

No?

Imagine doing the following, and you will get a glimpse of what life is like for more than a billion people in our world today:

* Take out all of the furniture in your house except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use your blankets for beds.

* Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit. Leave one pair of shoes.

* Empty the pantry and refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, onions, and a dash of dried beans.

* Dismantle the bathroom fixtures, shut off the running water, and remove all of the electrical wiring in your house.

* Take away your house and move your family into the tool shed. Place your house in a shantytown.

* Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and books.

* Leave only one radio for the entire shantytown.

* Throw away your bank book, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of $10.

Now, what did you say a moment ago? Are you rich?

Yes, to most people you and I are extremely wealthy.
That’s something to think about the next time we are tempted to complain about our circumstances.

The Bible says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have…” (Hebrews 13:5Hebrews 13:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.

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Think about it.

by Mike Benson

I saw all those lights, and I was confused!

“The prudent see danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 27:12Proverbs 27:12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.

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, ESV).

Some friends of mine were driving down the highway at night, pulling a trailer behind their car. Their little two year-old had an “emergency,” so they pulled over to the side of the highway, put on their hazard lights and began to attend to little Wayne’s emergency.

It was then that a car came over the rise, and plowed straight into their car. Thankfully no one was hurt — they were extremely fortunate — but in the aftermath the policeman asked the erring driver the obvious
question: “Why didn’t you slow down?”

The answer was simple. “I saw all those lights, and I was confused!”

Confused? If you’re confused by what you see on the highway, then all the more reason to slow down until your confusion is resolved.

A lot of people live that way, it seems. Heedless of warning signs, advice from friends and guidance from God, they tear down life’s highway, ignoring all the indications of danger. They simply “keep going” and “suffer for it.”

When you see those flashing lights, slow down, look carefully, and think over your next move.

by Stan Mitchell

Silencing the arguments of doubters will not silence their wrath

Anyone who shares the unadulterated Gospel will find hostility (2 Timothy 3:122 Timothy 3:12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

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). Yet, it is easier to destroy the messenger than the Message (Psalm 119:89Psalm 119:89
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89 For ever, O Jehovah, Thy word is settled in heaven.

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We must internalize the truth that the Gospel is more powerful than the arguments of fallible humanity because it comes from the omniscient God (2 Timothy 3:16-172 Timothy 3:16-17
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16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

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Saul, the mass murderer, laid waste to the church (Acts 8:1-3Acts 8:1-3
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8 1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul laid waste the church, entering into every house, and dragging men and women committed them to prison.

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), when he was forced to see his folly (Acts 9:1- 1-7; 22:4-10Acts 9:1- 1-7; 22:4-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se začne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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). Struck blind by God, he complied with Ananias who was sent to immerse him into Christ (Acts 22:16Acts 22:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.

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At some point Saul began to preach. In Acts 9:20Acts 9:20
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20 And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God.

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, the text says “immediately.” However, in Galatians 1:13-24Galatians 1:13-24
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13 For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and made havoc of it: 14 and I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me: but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. 20 Now touching the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 21 Then I came unto the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23 but they only heard say, He that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc; 24 and they glorified God in me.

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, Saul headed to Arabia to get his mind together. It’s likely that he did preach at Damascus first before going to Arabia.

If he spoke at Damascus immediately, we see the influence of the Spirit. How could Saul preach a Gospel message he knew nothing about? Clearly God was with him.

Saul went to the synagogues and confounded the scholars of the Law. He tied the Old Testament prophecies together, placing them alongside the life of Jesus, producing incontrovertible proof of Jesus’ Lordship (Acts 9:22Acts 9:22
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22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.

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We can confound our critics today as we take them through the Scriptures and knit them together into a tapestry that no man can refute. When Jesus was 12, he confounded the greatest Biblical minds in the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:46-47Luke 2:46-47
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46 And it came to pass, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions: 47 and all that heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

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Saul stood in Damascus and delivered undeniable truths shortly after he consented to the death of Stephen for doing the exact same thing in Jerusalem (Acts 6:10Acts 6:10
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10 And they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake.

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Silencing the arguments of doubters will not silence their wrath. We must have the courage to speak these truths to the lost no matter what happens to us. We have the courageous examples of the past, and we have the power of Christ behind us (Hebrews 13:5Hebrews 13:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.

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Let us never be silenced because the lost need the Word and no matter what they have been taught, the Gospel can touch their hearts, leading to repentance (Romans 5:6-11Romans 5:6-11
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6 For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; 11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

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The sword of the Spirit cannot be defeated (Ephesians 6:17Ephesians 6:17
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17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

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). Yet, it cannot accomplish anything if it never leaves our scabbard.

–by Richard Mansel

Honor your father and mother

Anyone who claims to have all the answers to raising children is either a devout believer in the Easter bunny or unmarried.

I once asked some parents who had raised three faithful Christian children how they did it. The father surprised me (it shouldn’t have been a surprise) by saying: “Well, we prayed a lot.”

Every successful parent has prayed a lot, of that I can assure you. Every successful parent has also made mistakes. Of that I can assure you too.

I don’t mean to berate broken-hearted parents whose children no longer live a Christian lifestyle. I do hope to be an encouragement to those parents whose children are still young and in the home.

Teachers can tell a myriad of stories about being confronted with indignant parents of children whom they have reprimanded. It becomes quickly clear that the children’s lack of respect for authority came from their parents.

If I were asked what was the greatest mistake made by parents in our day, I would respond: A failure to discipline them.

By this I do not mean a return to the days when “whipping” kids was the parental default. Losing cell phone or Internet privileges (a fate considered by the young worse than death) might be used.

Use of the carrot as well as the stick helps: “If you don’t obey, this privilege will be taken away, if you obey, this privilege will be given”). Children in schools exhibit signs of great indulgence by their parents and little discipline.

“There was a time when we expected nothing of children but obedience,” Anatole Broyard observed, “as opposed to the present, when we expect everything of them but obedience.”

Kids need to be taught the following: Respect for their elders. Consideration for others. Keeping one’s word.
Humility. Whatever one’s hand finds to do, do it with all one’s might. Fairness and compassion for those less fortunate. Love for the church. Love for God.

Especially the last two: Parents, please speak positively of the church before your children. Please do not give them the impression the church is there for our harsh, mocking derision. I am not saying the church is beyond criticism, but please be aware of eager, impressionable ears.

And if I can put it kindly but clearly: If the Lord’s cause is not number one in our lives, it is unlikely it will be number one in their lives.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with promise), that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land” (Ephesians 6:1-3Ephesians 6:1-3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honor thy father and mother , 3 that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

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, ESV).

–by Stan Mitchell @ www.forthright.net

Ebola and threats to America

Threats to America: Ranked
America has been obsessive with the Ebola and ISIS pandemonium. However, one article recently ranked the current threats to America by their “actual threat value instead of the media hype.” Here is their list of the top 9 threats to America (MSN):

9. Ebola
8. Your Own Furniture – 30 Americans killed and about 40,000 injured per year.
7. ISIS
6. The Flu – Thousands die every year from the flu (typically the elderly and very young).
5. World War 3 Breaking Out in the Baltics.
4. Climate Change
3. Guns
2. Traffic Accidents – About 34,000 deaths in 2011
1. Heart Disease & Cancer – Currently the top two killers of Americans.

Agree or disagree, this list is intriguing. This list communicates a lot about our world. It speaks of current trends and ideals, realistic or otherwise. It talks of other nations’ angry and disagreements. Above all else, this list communicates the aspects our society worries about the most. In reality, most of these have a pretty low threat value. We will probably never encounter the majority of these in our lifetime, yet we continue to stress over them.

I get it. There are a lot of scary things in this world. But let’s not forget that if we are living faithfully, we have God in our corner. This is why God tells us to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6Philippians 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

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). In the absolutely worst-case scenario, a faithful Christian dies from some of these and goes to heaven (Revelation 21:4; 2:10Revelation 21:4; 2:10
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4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. 10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

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We can drive ourselves crazy by worrying about everything in this life (Matthew 6:25-34Matthew 6:25-34
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25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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). Instead of doing this, let’s abide by a good rule of thumb:
1. Stop worrying.
2. Fix what we can control (better health, safe driving, corner protectors on furniture).
3. Place everything else in God’s control.

Brett Petrillo

“A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food” (Proverbs 28:3, ESV).

The little boy slipped out of the backfield, and broke free into the secondary. The quarterback saw him, and threw a perfect spiral his way. The pass landed, soft as an autumn leaf, in his hands.

And he dropped the ball!

But that’s not the part I remember most. His father, a large man, and apparently an ex football player himself, rose from the stands, his face contorted in
anger: “No son of mine,” he yelled so that all could hear, “drops a pass like that.”

The little fellow hung his head in embarrassment, and returned to the huddle. But here is my question: If you were that little boy, would this type of paternal “motivation” make you more likely to catch a pass next time around, or to drop it?

I worry about the long-term effect of this kind of parenting on this boy, but ironically the short-term effect also falls short of the father’s desire. Likely, this little boy will not be in an emotional state to make the next play, either. Not only is his father not fulfilling his role as dad, but he is also not as good a coach as he thinks he is!

I expect the next pass to fall harmlessly to the ground, also.

Solomon tells of rainfall, which is normally beneficial, falling in a driving storm, and causing more harm than good. Rulers who intimidate their populations, spouses who nag their partners, and parents who constantly criticize their children will find that the effects are the opposite of the ones they desire.

Next time, try this: “Better luck next time! You can do it, I believe in you!”

by Stan Mitchell @ www.forthright.net

Proverbs 28:3Proverbs 28:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 A needy man that oppresseth the poor Is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

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, ESV).' data-link='http://www.abiblecommentary.com/blog/2014/10/17/a-poor-man-who-oppresses-the-poor-is-a-beating-rain-that-leaves-no-food-proverbs-283-esv/' data-summary=''>

I’m gonna die

It would not be accurate to say that he talked about it all of the time. But it would also not be accurate to say that he never talked about it.

Jesus talked about death–specifically, his death.

“From that time Jesus began to show to His
disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and
suffer many things from the elders and chief
priests and scribes, and be killed, and be
raised the third day” (Matthew 16:21Matthew 16:21
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21 From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.

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).

He told those closest to him, “I’m gonna die.”

I think of those occasions when I learned of a friend’s or loved one’s impending death. “I can’t believe it! It can’t be so!” I was in denial. In retrospect, I realize now that my reaction was pretty normal.

Peter felt the same way.

“Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him,
saying: ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You’” (Matthew 16:22Matthew 16:22
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22 And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee.

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).

He was in denial, too. Evidently, he didn’t want to talk about it either. Either he had different expectations for Jesus, or he couldn’t wrap his brain around Jesus in a tomb.

And yet the Lord kept bringing up that awful, scary subject (Matthew 17:23Matthew 17:23
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23 and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised up. And they were exceeding sorry.

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; Luke 9:22Luke 9:22
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22 saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.

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). “I’m going to die, fellas.”

So why did he keep talking about it? Why did he keep mentioning his death?

Part of the answer is that he was preparing them beforehand; He was teaching them how to work through the cross and the tomb. But part of the answer is that he was teaching them, and us by extension, how to navigate with faith through the valley of the shadow.

You see, merely talking about death didn’t kill Jesus.
The murderous crowd did that.

But talking about his death helped the twelve work through their fear, anticipatory grief and bereavement.
It helped them, whether they realized it or not at the time, to process and prepare for that awful day when Jesus would breathe his last.

This is helpful to me. I don’t know that I need to be talking about death every time that I sit down at the dinner table, but I do know there are times when I should-and must-broach the subject. especially when either I or a loved one knows that death is approaching.

* “I’m feeling scared about dying.”

* “Okay, let’s talk about it together and see what the
Bible says.”

* “It’s okay for you to go on–I don’t want to you fight
and suffer just for me.”

* “What do you want at your memorial service?”

These kinds of conversations are healthy and biblical.
Spiritually healthy people talk and communicate about any and all subjects–even death.

Jesus said, “I’m going to die, guys. Let’s talk about it.”

by Mike Benson

Homosexuals and the Catholic Church

More and more warning signs are appearing. It really started rolling when Pope Francis was elected. Just a few months into office Pope Francis said, “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” (CNN). Continuing the warning signs, a few months ago Pope Francis married 20 different couples. Some of these couples had been living together, some already had children together outside of wedlock, and some had even been married before (ABCnews). The last time a pope had married anyone was 14 years ago, back in 2000 (ibid). Since this is so rare, it makes one wonder what message the Pope is trying to send since he specifically chose these couples to marry.

Most recently, the Vatican released a document regarding a meeting they had called, “Relatio post disceptationem,” which translates as “Report After Debate.” One specific section in this debate was entitled, “Welcoming homosexual persons.” Here is a part of this section:

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?” (Zenit).

Thankfully, the document did not proclaim any definitive changes as of yet. It does recognize some “moral problems” with homosexuality and they would have to “compromise” on doctrine. What is alarming, though, is the fact that these questions are even being asked.

This document is essentially the starting point for more conversations to happen among Catholic leaders. Over the next year or so other discussions will take place on several topics in addition to homosexuality. Once these discussions are done, the Catholic Church will then tell people what their final word is on these topics.

This is extremely unsettling. Since when are God’s laws up for debate? Since when did God allow men to discuss and decide which commands to obey? Since when are any of us allowed to change what God has already firmly decided upon?

The answer should be clear: if God has already decided, then there is nothing to discuss or debate, no matter the topic. The reason this is the case is because the faith has already been handed down “once for all” (Jude 1:3Jude 1:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.

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). God has already given us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:32 Peter 1:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue;

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English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

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). We should never expect, nor look for, nor accept anything different than what Scripture has already commanded (Galatians 1:6-9Galatians 1:6-9
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6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; 7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. 9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.

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God has always strictly warned against the changing of His commands. He gave such warnings in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 4:2Deuteronomy 4:2
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2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Jehovah your God which I command you.

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), in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 4:61 Corinthians 4:6
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6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other.

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; Revelation 22:18-19Revelation 22:18-19
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18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: 19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

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.). At times God even struck down those who dared to go beyond His commands (Leviticus 10:1-2Leviticus 10:1-2
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10 1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. 2 And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah.

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). Anyone who is questioning which of God’s laws to follow is walking on the edge of a treacherous cliff. Man does not get to give the final word. Not even the Pope has the privilege to give the final word on God’s commands. The final word belongs to God alone.

However, let’s not think for one second that this message is just for the Catholic Church or some other denomination. This message is for you and I. We must not change God’s laws just because our world disagrees. Our culture places extremely heavy pressure on us to change our ways. Let’s not be shaken. If God commands it, let’s stand with Him!

Brett Petrillo

Jesus our high priest

The Perfect Priest – Hebrews 7:23-28Hebrews 7:23-28
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: 24 but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. 25 Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore.

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Do you like your doctor? I do not have a doctor here in Swartz Creek (yet). When we first moved to Kentucky, I obtained the services of a doctor. He is close to my age and I told him that I wanted to have a doctor with whom I could grow old. We do not like to change doctors.

That is something like how the Israelites were in the Old Testament when they had priests. How would you feel if you had to bring an animal sacrifice to a priest to offer for you and your sins while you knew that he himself was dishonest or immoral?

There are some examples of that. Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10). Eli’s sons (1 Samuel 2:27-361 Samuel 2:27-36
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah, Did I reveal myself unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house? 28 and did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up unto mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation, and honorest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? 30 Therefore Jehovah, the God of Israel, saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now Jehovah saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thy house. 32 And thou shalt behold the affliction of my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel; and there shall not be an old man in thy house for ever. 33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thy heart; and all the increase of thy house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 And this shall be the sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die both of them. 35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in my heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever. 36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thy house shall come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.

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). Samuel’s sons (1 Samuel 8:31 Samuel 8:3
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3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted justice.

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). The prophets frequently rebuked the priests of Israel.

For these and other reasons, we need a permanent, perfect, holy High Priest. He is Jesus Christ. “High priest” is mentioned 17 times in the book of Hebrews!

JESUS BECAME HUMAN TO BE PRIEST – 2:17:
In verse 9, the writer says that Jesus, being the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature (1:3), was made a little lower than angels, that is, He became man “so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”

JESUS IS SYMPATHETIC AS PRIEST – 4:14-16:
Verse 15 is so encouraging! We have a high priest who can sympathize with the feelings of our weaknesses! Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted! Jesus knows what it is like to have to control your thoughts! He knows what it is like to have to control your tongue. He knows what it is like to control your attitude. He knows what it is like to be tempted in all things as we are – yet without sin! No wonder Jesus can be our priest!

JESUS’ SACRIFICE IS ETERNAL – Chapter 7:
The point of chapter 7 in comparing Jesus to Melchizedek is largely to show that Jesus is eternal. Melchizedek is actually the very first man referred to as a priest in the Old Testament. Verse 3 says that, as far as the historical record is concerned, he had no father, no mother, no genealogy. No record of his birth, no record of his death. God put him into the historical record to serve as a pattern for the coming of the high priest, who would be a priest forever.

So, in 7:23-28, the Hebrew writer summarizes what he had been saying. The former priests, under the Law of Moses, had to be appointed often because they were prevented by death from continuing in their service. I lost my medical doctor when I moved to Michigan. But I did not lose my High Priest!

JESUS OFFERED THE PERMANENT SACRIFICE – HIMSELF – 9:11-14:
Chapters 8-10 are a trilogy on the sacrifice of Christ. The writer shows that animal sacrifices could never take away sins. Because of that, the Law of Moses needed to be done away. A new covenant had to be inaugurated based, not on the death of animals, but on the death of the High Priest Himself. “All things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (9:22).

HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THIS HIGH PRIEST?
We need to hear Him – Hebrews 2:1Hebrews 2:1
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2 1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them.

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We believe Him – Hebrews 4:3Hebrews 4:3
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3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

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We confess Him – Hebrews 3:1Hebrews 3:1
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3 1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus;

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We obey Him – Hebrews 5:9Hebrews 5:9
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9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation;

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We repent of our sins – Hebrews 6:6Hebrews 6:6
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6 and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

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We must be washed with pure water – Hebrews 10:22Hebrews 10:22
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22 let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water,

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We must remain faithful unto death – Hebrews 3:6Hebrews 3:6
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6 but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.

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–Paul Holland

Adverse consequences of bullying

Over the past several years, the adverse consequences
of bullying have been brought to light. Statistics
based primarily on survey data, which have typically
found that at any given time between 20 and 30 percent
of students are involved in bullying, either as
perpetrators, victims or both.

According to researchers this action is as harmful to
the perpetrator as to the victim. For the perpetrator
there can be devastating consequences such as school
discipline, arrest, legal problems, violent
retaliation, and the haunting memory of their actions.

One man noted:

   "I still remember the names and faces of
   kids I picked on, and I'm troubled today
   with their memory and the haunting questions
   of whatever happened to them."

Victims face a multiplicity of harmful effects:

physical
mental injuries,
anxiety,
depression,
headaches,
abdominal pain
fatigue.
Suicide
violence

These harmful actions affect both the perpetrator and
the victim throughout their lives.

The action of bullying is no stranger to the inspired
text. There are examples of how people suffered, and
how far bullying could go.

Consider:

the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4,
the story of the flood in Genesis 6-9,
the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19,
the story of Isaac and Ishmael in Genesis 21,
the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25-28,
the story of Joseph and his brothers from 
    Genesis 45-50,
the story of Exodus 1-15,
the story of Gideon,
the story of the sons of Ba’al in 
    Judges 17-21,
and several of the stories of the kings in 
    Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, etc.;

In the New Testament, Paul condemns such things as
"...enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger,
disputes, dissensions, factions, envying" (Galatians
5:20-21), which are characteristic of bullying.

In essence, individuals, "who practice such things will
not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21Galatians 5:21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

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). Bullying is not only destructive to individuals physically and mentally, but also spiritually. Even though such actions are promoted as acceptable in our society one should really consider the outcome of involving themselves in such. Exhibiting Christian love would certainly be better and truly pleasing to God than tormenting the innocent.

What kind of thinker are you?

There are three basic kinds of thinking.

Egocentric thinking puts our own needs above everyone else’s.

Sociocentric thinking means that we put the group’s needs above our own.

Rational thinking strives to develop a realistic, critical sense of the world.

As babies, we are egocentric and frame the entire world in terms of our own desires. Everyone has to serve us, or we become angry. At some point as children we develop an intense need to be accepted by our peer group.

Few people break from the pack and enter into the third realm. Critical thinking requires higher thought, and we must be able to see the world outside of our own needs. We develop the courage to see ourselves critically.

The critical thinker desires to see themselves as others do so they can, to some degree, examine themselves dispassionately.

As a Christian, we consider these three forms of thinking and find a wealth of insight.

When we are immersed into Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16Acts 2:38; 22:16
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38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.

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), we are added to the body of Christ (Acts 2:47Acts 2:47
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47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

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; Ephesians 1:22-23Ephesians 1:22-23
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22 and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

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). Once we are in Christ (Galatians 3:27Galatians 3:27
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27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

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; Romans 6:3-4Romans 6:3-4
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3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.

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), we are transformed by the gospel so that Christ becomes the Lord of our life (Romans 12:1-2Romans 12:1-2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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His Word becomes our domain (John 1:1-5,14John 1:1-5,14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

The Gospel According to St. John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us , full of grace and truth.

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), and we must immerse ourselves in it.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light
to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that
I will keep your righteous judgments” (Psalm
119:105-106, NKJV).

In Christ, we develop a spiritual mindset so that we make our decisions based on God’s Word (Romans 8:1-6Romans 8:1-6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:

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; John 14:15John 14:15
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15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.

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; 2 Timothy 3:16-172 Timothy 3:16-17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

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). We remain within that Word as a perpetual boundary (Colossians 3:17Colossians 3:17
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

17 And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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; 1 Corinthians 4:61 Corinthians 4:6
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other.

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The three forms of thinking above are fleshly to the extent that they do not include God’s voice. As Christians that must be our only realm of thought.

“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” (Philippians 2:5-7Philippians 2:5-7
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;

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Once we develop a spiritual mindset, we can think critically about ourselves and the world. While we must put others above ourselves, that must always be secondary to Christ (Philippians 2:4,16Philippians 2:4,16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. 16 holding forth the word of life; that I may have whereof to glory in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain neither labor in vain.

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Satan establishes a form of truth that resists Biblical truth and uses his human facilitators to force all of us to accept this new standard.

Without Christ, Satan is working very hard at Groupthink where we put the good of the group above everything else. This is how Satan will bring society inline with his beliefs. Groupthink pares down human language and ideas until they are subsumed into what the group [Satan] desires.

Groupthink, however, is a misnomer, because it is not based on pure democracy but a dictatorial system where peer pressure forces their will on people by violence, if necessary. Except instead of an evil government, Satan is the dark power behind the veil.

When Christians become more afraid of societal standards than we are of God’s, we begin to accept abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia and all kinds of depravity.

In order to save the world, we must remain focused on God-thinking and teach others to develop this mindset before it’s too late. Corrupt patterns of thought will doom the world, and we must avoid that certain death so we can save some.

–by Richard Mansel

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10Luke 11:9-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

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NKJV).

We had walked from Katithok to Dordor in the middle hills of Nepal to have a Bible Study at the home of a family there. When the study was completed the mother of the lady in whose home we had studied asked us to come with her to her house. It was a 15 to 20 minute walk around the village and through some terraced crop land to her home.

When we arrived it was obvious why she wanted us to visit. She is obviously very poor, and quite elderly, so unable to work. Her home was one room, with thatched roof well past needing to be replaced and walls of sticks held together with a few rickety poles of framing. She pointed out all of the problems and asked us to help her improve her house.

As humans, we have limited resources, and therefore are often unable to meet all the needs with which we are confronted. Jesus pointed out that even so, a good father or neighbor will often inconvenience himself to give to his children or to friends who request something from him (Luke 11:5-8; 11-13Luke 11:5-8; 11-13
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; 7 and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee? 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth. 11 1 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; 7 and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee? 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 14 And he was casting out a demon that was dumb. And it came to pass, when the demon was gone out, the dumb man spake; and the multitudes marvelled. 15 But some of them said, By Beelzebub the prince of the demons casteth he out demons. 16 And others, trying him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you. 21 When the strong man fully armed guardeth his own court, his goods are in peace: 22 but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him his whole armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. 23 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 The unclean spirit when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and finding none, he saith, I will turn back unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more evil than himself; and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. 27 And it came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, he began to say, This generation is an evil generation: it seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30 For even as Jonah became a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. 33 No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, putteth it in a cellar, neither under the bushel, but on the stand, that they which enter in may see the light. 34 The lamp of thy body is thine eye: when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when it is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35 Look therefore whether the light that is in thee be not darkness. 36 If therefore thy whole body be full of light, having no part dark, it shall be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining doth give thee light. 37 Now as he spake, a Pharisee asketh him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner. 39 And the Lord said unto him, Now ye the Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness. 40 Ye foolish ones, did not he that made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean unto you. 42 But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 43 Woe unto you Pharisees! for ye love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces. 44 Woe unto you! for ye are as the tombs which appear not, and the men that walk over them know it not. 45 And one of the lawyers answering saith unto him, Teacher, in saying this thou reproachest us also. 46 And he said, Woe unto you lawyers also! for ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 So ye are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build their tombs. 49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and some of them they shall kill and persecute; 50 that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51 from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary: yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation. 52 Woe unto you lawyers! for ye took away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. 53 And when he was come out from thence, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press upon him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things; 54 laying wait for him, to catch something out of his mouth. 12 1 In the mean time, when the many thousands of the multitude were gathered together, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 3 Wherefore whatsoever ye have said in the darkness shall be heard in the light; and what ye have spoken in the ear in the inner chambers shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, who after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pence? and not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not: ye are of more value than many sparrows. 8 And I say unto you, Every one who shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9 but he that denieth me in the presence of men shall be denied in the presence of the angels of God. 10 And every one who shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues, and the rulers, and the authorities, be not anxious how or what ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in that very hour what ye ought to say. 13 And one out of the multitude said unto him, Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me. 14 But he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 and he reasoned within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. 23 For the life is more than the food, and the body than the raiment. 24 Consider the ravens, that they sow not, neither reap; which have no store-chamber nor barn; and God feedeth them: of how much more value are ye than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit unto the measure of his life? 26 If then ye are not able to do even that which is least, why are ye anxious concerning the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God doth so clothe the grass in the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; how much more shall he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: but your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 Yet seek ye his kingdom, and these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell that which ye have, and give alms; make for yourselves purses which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief draweth near, neither moth destroyeth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; 36 and be ye yourselves like unto men looking for their lord, when he shall return from the marriage feast; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may straightway open unto him. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, and if in the third, and find them so blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not have left his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh. 41 And Peter said, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto all? 42 And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. 45 But if that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant, who knew his lord's will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; 48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more. 49 I came to cast fire upon the earth; and what do I desire, if it is already kindled? 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51 Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law. 54 And he said to the multitudes also, When ye see a cloud rising in the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it cometh to pass. 55 And when ye see a south wind blowing, ye say, There will be a scorching heat; and it cometh to pass. 56 Ye hypocrites, ye know how to interpret the face of the earth and the heaven; but how is it that ye know not how to interpret this time? 57 And why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? 58 For as thou art going with thine adversary before the magistrate, on the way give diligence to be quit of him; lest haply he drag thee unto the judge, and the judge shall deliver thee to the officer, and the officer shall cast thee into prison. 59 I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the very last mite. 13 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, think ye that they were offenders above all the men that dwell in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 6 And he spake this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. 7 And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why doth it also cumber the ground? 8 And he answering saith unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down. 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath day. 11 And behold, a woman that had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years; and she was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself up. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands upon her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue, being moved with indignation because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, answered and said to the multitude, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the day of the sabbath. 15 But the Lord answered him, and said, Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years, to have been loosed from this bond on the day of the sabbath? 17 And as he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame: and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. 18 He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? 19 It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof. 20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened. 22 And he went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and journeying on unto Jerusalem. 23 And one said unto him, Lord, are they few that are saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; 26 then shall ye begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets; 27 and he shall say, I tell you, I know not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without. 29 And they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last. 31 In that very hour there came certain Pharisees, saying to him, Get thee out, and go hence: for Herod would fain kill thee. 32 And he said unto them, Go and say to that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way to-day and to-morrow and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

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). The desire to give to those in need is a natural response, even to selfish humans.

God on the other hand has unlimited resources plus an infinite love and generosity.

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. . . . The world is mine and all its fullness” (Psalm 50:10, 12Psalm 50:10, 12
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10 For every beast of the forest is mine, And the cattle upon a thousand hills. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; For the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

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“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20Ephesians 3:20
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20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

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God is the giver of all good things, the source of light (1 John 1:51 John 1:5
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5 And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

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), life (Genesis 2:7Genesis 2:7
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7 And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

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3 seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue;

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11 For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, 5 not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

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), material necessities (Matthew 6:31-33Matthew 6:31-33
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31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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17 And yet He left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness.

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3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

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Regrettably, none of us can provide for every need of the poor or helpless in this earth. However, that does not relieve us from the obligation to help when we can.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10Galatians 6:10
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10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.

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“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27James 1:27
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27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

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As Christians, we are “to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1Titus 3:1
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3 1 Put them in mind to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready unto every good work,

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). We must give as we can, sharing the blessings which God has so liberally bestowed upon us. By doing so we not only obey Jesus’ commands, but we give testimony to the love and glory of God.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16Matthew 5:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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There are times (frequently) when each of us – even the wealthiest – have needs which cannot be satisfied by man alone. At all such times we should remember our Father’s richness and love and ask him for help. As James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5James 1:5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

5 But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

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We have learned to be dependent upon government, charities, and even our family and friends. Their ability and willingness to help is limited at best. Let us not forget that we have an all-powerful and loving Father whose resources never cease, and who will never tire of helping his children. “God is love” (1 John 4:81 John 4:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

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by Michael Brooks

Whippin’ sermons

Over 30+ years of ministry, I’ve occasionally heard various church members say, “Preacher, I think we need a sermon on_____________________.”

The subject suggestions have been as diverse as those who offered them. Frequently, but not always, the proposals leaned towards moral issues like modesty, sex, or beverage alcohol.

Sometimes they gravitated more towards specific doctrinal issues like marriage and divorce, giving, or the oneness of the church.

I’ve always been curious as to what really prompts people to offer sermon suggestions in the first place.

Sometimes I’ve been courageous enough to inquire as to why they think a particular message needs to be addressed.

What I’ve discovered from listening is that some brethren request specific sermons because they’ve got a burr in their saddle.

They’re aggravated with a fellow church member who doesn’t meet their own personal–dare I say it–Pharisaic expectations, and so sermon suggestions are tendered as a means of fixing folks. “So-and-so is doing this…and so you need to preach a good sermon on this”–whatever this may be.

I call these, “whippin’ sermons.” Whippin’ sermons are where I’m urged to preach on pet subjects and verbally whip a church member or members into submission.

In essence, Mike needs to tell off weak members via the pulpit in one glorious fire and brimstone message; he needs to correct folks and one whippin’ sermon will do the trick.

I’ve never been able to find quick-fix, duct-tape, whippin’ sermons in the Bible. I do find occasions where some preached with improper motives (cf.
Philippians 1:15-16Philippians 1:15-16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 the one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel;

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What I do find in the Scriptures is where prophets and preachers did a lot of seed planting (Luke 8:4-8; 11- 15Luke 8:4-8; 11- 15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

4 And when a great multitude came together, and they of every city resorted unto him, he spake by a parable: 5 The sower went forth to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it. 6 And other fell on the rock; and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And other fell amidst the thorns; and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. 8 And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 11 1 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; 7 and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee? 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 14 And he was casting out a demon that was dumb. And it came to pass, when the demon was gone out, the dumb man spake; and the multitudes marvelled. 15 But some of them said, By Beelzebub the prince of the demons casteth he out demons. 16 And others, trying him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you. 21 When the strong man fully armed guardeth his own court, his goods are in peace: 22 but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him his whole armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. 23 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 The unclean spirit when he is gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and finding none, he saith, I will turn back unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more evil than himself; and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first. 27 And it came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, he began to say, This generation is an evil generation: it seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30 For even as Jonah became a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. 33 No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, putteth it in a cellar, neither under the bushel, but on the stand, that they which enter in may see the light. 34 The lamp of thy body is thine eye: when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when it is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35 Look therefore whether the light that is in thee be not darkness. 36 If therefore thy whole body be full of light, having no part dark, it shall be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining doth give thee light. 37 Now as he spake, a Pharisee asketh him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner. 39 And the Lord said unto him, Now ye the Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness. 40 Ye foolish ones, did not he that made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean unto you. 42 But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 43 Woe unto you Pharisees! for ye love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces. 44 Woe unto you! for ye are as the tombs which appear not, and the men that walk over them know it not. 45 And one of the lawyers answering saith unto him, Teacher, in saying this thou reproachest us also. 46 And he said, Woe unto you lawyers also! for ye load men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe unto you! for ye build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 So ye are witnesses and consent unto the works of your fathers: for they killed them, and ye build their tombs. 49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and some of them they shall kill and persecute; 50 that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51 from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary: yea, I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation. 52 Woe unto you lawyers! for ye took away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. 53 And when he was come out from thence, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press upon him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things; 54 laying wait for him, to catch something out of his mouth. 12 1 In the mean time, when the many thousands of the multitude were gathered together, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 3 Wherefore whatsoever ye have said in the darkness shall be heard in the light; and what ye have spoken in the ear in the inner chambers shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, who after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pence? and not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not: ye are of more value than many sparrows. 8 And I say unto you, Every one who shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9 but he that denieth me in the presence of men shall be denied in the presence of the angels of God. 10 And every one who shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues, and the rulers, and the authorities, be not anxious how or what ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in that very hour what ye ought to say. 13 And one out of the multitude said unto him, Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me. 14 But he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 and he reasoned within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. 23 For the life is more than the food, and the body than the raiment. 24 Consider the ravens, that they sow not, neither reap; which have no store-chamber nor barn; and God feedeth them: of how much more value are ye than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit unto the measure of his life? 26 If then ye are not able to do even that which is least, why are ye anxious concerning the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God doth so clothe the grass in the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; how much more shall he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: but your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 Yet seek ye his kingdom, and these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell that which ye have, and give alms; make for yourselves purses which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief draweth near, neither moth destroyeth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; 36 and be ye yourselves like unto men looking for their lord, when he shall return from the marriage feast; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may straightway open unto him. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, and if in the third, and find them so blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not have left his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh. 41 And Peter said, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto all? 42 And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. 45 But if that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant, who knew his lord's will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; 48 but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more. 49 I came to cast fire upon the earth; and what do I desire, if it is already kindled? 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51 Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law. 54 And he said to the multitudes also, When ye see a cloud rising in the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it cometh to pass. 55 And when ye see a south wind blowing, ye say, There will be a scorching heat; and it cometh to pass. 56 Ye hypocrites, ye know how to interpret the face of the earth and the heaven; but how is it that ye know not how to interpret this time? 57 And why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? 58 For as thou art going with thine adversary before the magistrate, on the way give diligence to be quit of him; lest haply he drag thee unto the judge, and the judge shall deliver thee to the officer, and the officer shall cast thee into prison. 59 I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the very last mite. 13 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, think ye that they were offenders above all the men that dwell in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 6 And he spake this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. 7 And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why doth it also cumber the ground? 8 And he answering saith unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down. 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath day. 11 And behold, a woman that had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years; and she was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself up. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands upon her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue, being moved with indignation because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, answered and said to the multitude, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the day of the sabbath. 15 But the Lord answered him, and said, Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years, to have been loosed from this bond on the day of the sabbath? 17 And as he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame: and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. 18 He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? 19 It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof. 20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened. 22 And he went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and journeying on unto Jerusalem. 23 And one said unto him, Lord, are they few that are saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; 26 then shall ye begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets; 27 and he shall say, I tell you, I know not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without. 29 And they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last. 31 In that very hour there came certain Pharisees, saying to him, Get thee out, and go hence: for Herod would fain kill thee. 32 And he said unto them, Go and say to that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way to-day and to-morrow and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 14 1 And it came to pass, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him. 2 And behold, there was before him a certain man that had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not? 4 But they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a well, and will not straightway draw him up on a sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer again unto these things. 7 And he spake a parable unto those that were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief seats; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a marriage feast, sit not down in the chief seat; lest haply a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him, 9 and he that bade thee and him shall come and say to thee, Give this man place; and then thou shalt begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place; that when he that hath bidden thee cometh, he may say to thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have glory in the presence of all that sit at meat with thee. 11 For everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 12 And he said to him also that had bidden him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just. 15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16 But he said unto him, A certain man made a great supper; and he bade many: 17 and he sent forth his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a field, and I must needs go out and see it; I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 And the servant came, and told his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor and maimed and blind and lame. 22 And the servant said, Lord, what thou didst command is done, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and constrain them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper. 25 Now there went with him great multitudes: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? 29 Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace. 33 So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34 Salt therefore is good: but if even the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill: men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 15 1 Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing near unto him to hear him. 2 And both the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake unto them this parable, saying, 4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and his neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance. 8 Or what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth together her friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Even so, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of thy substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country; and there he wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 But when he came to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: 19 I am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 and bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry: 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called to him one of the servants, and inquired what these things might be. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 But he was angry, and would not go in: and his father came out, and entreated him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, and I never transgressed a commandment of thine; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 but when this thy son came, who hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou killedst for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that is mine is thine. 32 But it was meet to make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. 16 1 And he said also unto the disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. 2 And he called him, and said unto him, What is this that I hear of thee? render the account of thy stewardship; for thou canst be no longer steward. 3 And the steward said within himself, What shall I do, seeing that my lord taketh away the stewardship from me? I have not strength to dig; to beg I am ashamed. 4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 5 And calling to him each one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6 And he said, A hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bond, and sit down quickly and write fifty. 7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, A hundred measures of wheat. He saith unto him, Take thy bond, and write fourscore. 8 And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light. 9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles. 10 He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 14 And the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things; and they scoffed at him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man entereth violently into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fall. 18 Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth one that is put away from a husband committeth adultery. 19 Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day: 20 and a certain beggar named Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table; yea, even the dogs come and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom: and the rich man also died, and was buried. 23 And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted and thou art in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us. 27 And he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house; 28 for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 But Abraham saith, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead. 17 1 And he said unto his disciples, It is impossible but that occasions of stumbling should come; but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2 It were well for him if a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother sin, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4 And if he sin against thee seven times in the day, and seven times turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye would say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou planted in the sea; and it would obey you. 7 But who is there of you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit down to meat; 8 and will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 9 Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded? 10 Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do. 11 And it came to pass, as they were on their way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off: 13 and they lifted up their voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go and show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, with a loud voice glorifying God; 16 and he fell upon his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 Were there none found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger? 19 And he said unto him, Arise, and go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. 20 And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you. 22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, Lo, there! Lo, here! go not away, nor follow after them: 24 for as the lightning, when it lighteneth out of the one part under the heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things and be rejected of this generation. 26 And as it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: 30 after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he that shall be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away: and let him that is in the field likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to gain his life shall lose it: but whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I say unto you, In that night there shall be two men on one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 There shall be two women grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 36 [There shall be two men in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.] 37 And they answering say unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Where the body is, thither will the eagles also be gathered together. 18 1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night, and yet he is longsuffering over them? 8 I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? 9 And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. 13 But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. 14 I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 15 And they were bringing unto him also their babes, that he should touch them: but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, saying, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, even God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother. 21 And he said, All these things have I observed from my youth up. 22 And when Jesus heard it, he said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich. 24 And Jesus seeing him said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Then who can be saved? 27 But he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28 And Peter said, Lo, we have left our own, and followed thee. 29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30 who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life. 31 And he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets shall be accomplished unto the Son of man. 32 For he shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and shamefully treated, and spit upon: 33 and they shall scourge and kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, and they perceived not the things that were said. 35 And it came to pass, as he drew nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. 39 And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41 What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole. 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. 19 1 And he entered and was passing through Jericho. 2 And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the crowd, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran on before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. 11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called ten servants of his, and gave them ten pounds, and said unto them, Trade ye herewith till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent an ambassage after him, saying, We will not that this man reign over us. 15 And it came to pass, when he was come back again, having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants, unto whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. 16 And the first came before him, saying, Lord, thy pound hath made ten pounds more. 17 And he said unto him, Well done, thou good servant: because thou wast found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Thy pound, Lord, hath made five pounds. 19 And he said unto him also, Be thou also over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I kept laid up in a napkin: 21 for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that which thou layedst not down, and reapest that which thou didst not sow. 22 He saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I am an austere man, taking up that which I laid not down, and reaping that which I did not sow; 23 then wherefore gavest thou not my money into the bank, and I at my coming should have required it with interest? 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take away from him the pound, and give it unto him that hath the ten pounds. 25 And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds. 26 I say unto you, that unto every one that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him. 27 But these mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. 28 And when he had thus spoken, he went on before, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, Go your way into the village over against you; in which as ye enter ye shall find a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat: loose him, and bring him. 31 And if any one ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say, The Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went away, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they threw their garments upon the colt, and set Jesus thereon. 36 And as he went, they spread their garments in the way. 37 And as he was now drawing nigh, even at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen; 38 saying, Blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from the multitude said unto him, Teacher, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said, I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out. 41 And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 45 And he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold, 46 saying unto them, It is written, And my house shall be a house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of robbers. 47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him: 48 and they could not find what they might do; for the people all hung upon him, listening. 20 1 And it came to pass, on one of the days, as he was teaching the people in the temple, and preaching the gospel, there came upon him the chief priests and the scribes with the elders; 2 and they spake, saying unto him, Tell us: By what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? 3 And he answered and said unto them, I also will ask you a question; and tell me: 4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men? 5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why did ye not believe him? 6 But if we shall say, From men; all the people will stone us: for they are persuaded that John was a prophet. 7 And they answered, that they knew not whence it was. 8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. 9 And he began to speak unto the people this parable: A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent unto the husbandmen a servant, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 And he sent yet another servant: and him also they beat, and handled him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 And he sent yet a third: and him also they wounded, and cast him forth. 13 And the lord of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will reverence him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned one with another, saying, This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15 And they cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16 He will come and destroy these husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. 17 But he looked upon them, and said, What then is this that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner? 18 Every one that falleth on that stone shall be broken to pieces; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust. 19 And the scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him in that very hour; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he spake this parable against them. 20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, who feigned themselves to be righteous, that they might take hold of his speech, so as to deliver him up to the rule and to the authority of the governor. 21 And they asked him, saying, Teacher, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, and acceptest not the person of any, but of a truth teachest the way of God: 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, 24 Show me a denarius. Whose image and superscription hath it? And they said, Caesar's. 25 And he said unto them, Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's. 26 And they were not able to take hold of the saying before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace. 27 And there came to him certain of the Sadducees, they that say that there is no resurrection; 28 and they asked him, saying, Teacher, Moses wrote unto us, that if a man's brother die, having a wife, and he be childless, his brother should take the wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died childless; 30 and the second: 31 and the third took her; and likewise the seven also left no children, and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection therefore whose wife of them shall she be? for the seven had her to wife. 34 And Jesus said unto them, The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the place concerning the Bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. 39 And certain of the scribes answering said, Teacher, thou hast well said. 40 For they durst not any more ask him any question. 41 And he said unto them, How say they that the Christ is David's son? 42 For David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 43 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. 44 David therefore calleth him Lord, and how is he his son? 45 And in the hearing of all the people he said unto his disciples, 46 Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts; 47 who devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater condemnation. 21 1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men that were casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than they all: 4 for all these did of their superfluity cast in unto the gifts; but she of her want did cast in all the living that she had. 5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and offerings, he said, 6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in which there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 7 And they asked him, saying, Teacher, when therefore shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when these things are about to come to pass? 8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not led astray: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am he; and, The time is at hand: go ye not after them. 9 And when ye shall hear of wars and tumults, be not terrified: for these things must needs come to pass first; but the end is not immediately. 10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 and there shall be great earthquakes, and in divers places famines and pestilences; and there shall be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they shall lay their hands on you, and shall persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name's sake. 13 It shall turn out unto you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate beforehand how to answer: 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to withstand or to gainsay. 16 But ye shall be delivered up even by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18 And not a hair of your head shall perish. 19 In your patience ye shall win your souls. 20 But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand. 21 Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein. 22 For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 25 And there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows; 26 men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable: Behold the fig tree, and all the trees: 30 when they now shoot forth, ye see it and know of your own selves that the summer is now nigh. 31 Even so ye also, when ye see these things coming to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all things be accomplished. 33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 34 But take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly as a snare: 35 for so shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 But watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. 37 And every day he was teaching in the temple; and every night he went out, and lodged in the mount that is called Olivet. 38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him. 22 1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put him to death; for they feared the people. 3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4 And he went away, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might deliver him unto them. 5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 6 And he consented, and sought opportunity to deliver him unto them in the absence of the multitude. 7 And the day of unleavened bread came, on which the passover must be sacrificed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and make ready for us the passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we make ready? 10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house whereinto he goeth. 11 And ye shall say unto the master of the house, The Teacher saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 for I say unto you, I shall not eat it, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he received a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 for I say unto you, I shall not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 And the cup in like manner after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you. 21 But behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of man indeed goeth, as it hath been determined: but woe unto that man through whom he is betrayed! 23 And they began to question among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. 24 And there arose also a contention among them, which of them was accounted to be greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles have lordship over them; and they that have authority over them are called Benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For which is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am in the midst of you as he that serveth. 28 But ye are they that have continued with me in my temptations; 29 and I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, 30 that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and ye shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: 32 but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, with thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, until thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. 35 And he said unto them, When I sent you forth without purse, and wallet, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. 36 And he said unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a

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). They scattered the seed–Word, cultivated it, fertilized it, and watered it in anticipation of an eventual God-given harvest (1 Corinthians 3:61 Corinthians 3:6
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6 I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

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).

Strange as it may sound, it is not a preacher’s job to fix anybody. Correct (2 Timothy 3:16-4:32 Timothy 3:16-4:3
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16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. 4 1 I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts;

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), yes; fix, no. It’s not his job to tomahawk members of the body of Christ into compliance.

It is his God-given responsibility is to scatter the precious Word–seed on different soils and then let God do his part (Isaiah 55:10-11Isaiah 55:10-11
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10 For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

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A preacher knows the seed is good. He knows some soil is good. He also knows some soil will soften over time given the right conditions.

Have you ever heard of a person who listened to just one whippin’ sermon and obeyed in totality?

More likely what you’ve witnessed is that over time, with repetitive, consistent, loving seed-planting and instruction, as well as godly influence and patience (1 Peter 3:1-41 Peter 3:1-4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 1 In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 2 beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

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), a person eventually came to the truth and made a successive, gradual change.

If either a preacher or a farmer forces seed on blacktop, you can be certain there won’t be any growth or legitimate conversion. That’s true in the field as well as in the pew.

Do I covet sermon suggestions? Absolutely! Do I intend to preach one-hit wonders so that somebody can vicariously get at somebody else in the assembly? Not for a minute.

Give that a thought the next time you find yourself saying, “Preacher, I think we need a sermon on____________________.” The person who may really need a whippin’ won’t be the “weak” brother, but you.

by Mike Benson

ISIS and Ebola

If one were to ask what ISIS and Ebola have in common it seems that both are deadly, strike fear into those who know about them, and their reputation is well known.  It’s an unseemly but congruent parallel with how God worked in the OT to give the children of Israel victory over wicked nations.

We can first understand the message Moses gave to Israel about why God was going to give them victory over nations mightier than they; “Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deut 9:5Deut 9:5
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5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thy heart, dost thou go in to possess their land; but for the wickedness of these nations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may establish the word which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

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). And so it was when the spies came to Jericho, Rahab said, “…I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed (Jos 2:9-10Jos 2:9-10
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9 and she said unto the men, I know that Jehovah hath given you the land, and that the fear of you is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond the Jordan, unto Sihon and to Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

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).

When you read about the extent of God’s punishment for the nations that He destroyed, it demonstrates just how little we understand of God’s work and way.  His message to Saul, “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1Sam 15:3am 15:3
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!

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). It’s hard to understand the reason behind this direction but we know it was for His purposes and when Saul disobeyed, he was taken from power.

But there were also terrible diseases that God used for destruction and in fact, it’s interesting He told Israel that He would protect them, “And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee” (Deut 7:15Deut 7:15
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15 And Jehovah will take away from thee all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, will he put upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

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). And later He promised to punish them with disease if they did not observe His commands, “Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed” (Deut 28:59Deut 28:59
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59 then Jehovah will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

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When you read messages from God you’ll see the direction to “fear not”; the only exception being to fear Him. Samuel’s admonition would serve us well today, “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you” (1Sam 12:24am 12:24
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!

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). Jesus commanded us to do the same, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:2Matt 10:2
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2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

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). I don’t know how God is working all things today, but we should know that He rules in the kingdoms of men (Dan 4:32-35Dan 4:32-35
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32 and thou shalt be driven from men; and they dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; thou shalt be made to eat grass as oxen; and seven times shall pass over thee; until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hair was grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. 34 And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

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), that Christ has all power in Heaven and earth (Mtt 28:18tt 28:18
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!

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), and that all things are working for good to those who love God (Rom 8:28Rom 8:28
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28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

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).  Let’s be guided by faith and fear of God, rather than of man or disease.

–Matthew Johnson

 

choosing righteousness over unrighteousness

Telling people they are rejecting Jesus will provoke an angry outburst and an accusation of judging. Their emotionally charged response highlights an important problem in Christianity.

Countless people are rejecting Jesus and they have no idea they are guilty of such a heinous act. All they know is that claiming to be a Christian is sufficient for them. It is immaterial that their claims have nothing to do with their lifestyles and morality.

It comforts us to have control over everything in our world. Making up our own rules is intoxicating. As a result, the world is full of people who claim they are spiritual but not religious, so they can design their own spirituality.

They desire the feeling without any change in their lives. They will not cede control of their lives to anyone, including God. They want God to be their servant, ready to clean up their messes. They will put their fleshly preferences and peers over their souls and when time allows, and when the mood strikes, they will recall God for a few blessings.

God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:92 Peter 3:9
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9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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) and we must remember that God is love (1 John 4:81 John 4:8
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8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

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However, we also have the responsibility to choose righteousness over unrighteousness (Deuteronomy 30:15- 19Deuteronomy 30:15- 19
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Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se začne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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; Ezekiel 18:19-23Ezekiel 18:19-23
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19 Yet say ye, Wherefore doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? when the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 21 But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 None of his transgressions that he hath committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? saith the Lord Jehovah; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live?

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).

If we see things from God’s perspective, we will be healthier spiritually. God established the ground rules of freewill, conditions that we love, so we must accept the boundaries God has given us.

In John 12:26John 12:26
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26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.

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, Jesus tells us that following and serving him are one and the same. If we serve Jesus, we will be honored by God and glorify Christ (John 12:26John 12:26
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26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.

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; Ephesians 3:20-21Ephesians 3:20-21
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20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen.

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If we walk with Christ, we will walk in the light (John 12:35John 12:35
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35 Jesus therefore said unto them, Yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while ye have the light, that darkness overtake you not: and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

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; John 8:12John 8:12
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12 Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.

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; 1 John 1:51 John 1:5
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5 And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

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). In John 1:1-5,14John 1:1-5,14
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The Gospel According to St. John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us , full of grace and truth.

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we find that Jesus is the Word, the very thoughts and expressions of God. To follow the Word is to walk in the light, while a dismissal of the Word leads us to darkness. Jesus cannot be separated from the Word.

“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46John 12:46
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46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness.

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, NKJV).

We know that Jesus will be the judge at the judgment day (2 Timothy 4:12 Timothy 4:1
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4 1 I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

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, Romans 2:15Romans 2:15
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15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them);

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). Yet, John 12:47John 12:47
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47 And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

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says that Jesus will not judge us. The next verse clarifies when Jesus says, “the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48John 12:48
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48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.

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We accept Jesus by accepting his Word. Conversely, rejecting the Word is to reject the Christ. Our claims, titles, beliefs and rationalizations will have no effect on our eternal destiny.

The ultimate decision will be made by two facts:

One, are we in Christ, by God’s standards (Acts 2:38,47Acts 2:38,47
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38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

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; Romans 6:3-4Romans 6:3-4
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3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.

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; 1 Corinthians 12:131 Corinthians 12:13
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13 For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.

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; Galatians 3:27Galatians 3:27
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27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

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). If we are in Christ, we will not miss heaven (Romans 8:1Romans 8:1
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8 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.

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Second, our works, meaning our obedience, are an inescapable aspect of our salvation (Matthew 16:27Matthew 16:27
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27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds.

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; Revelation 20:12Revelation 20:12
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12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.

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We cannot hope to enter heaven without the grace of God, no matter how perfectly we have lived (Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
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8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory.

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; Luke 17:10Luke 17:10
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10 Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do.

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). However, our works, meaning our daily walk in Christ, is evidence of our allegiance (James 2:24James 2:24
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24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.

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We cannot separate Jesus from the Word. It is blasphemous to even try. We must live the Word if we will follow the Savior. Submission, not superiority is the spiritual order of the day.

by Richard Mansel