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Hey Mike,

Glad you are back and that you had a fruitful time on the US Gulf Coast.

And it is nice to see the OYB page available again at 6:00 a.m. Central European Time! ;-)

Blessings,
Andrew B

Blessings to you and all your good work, Mike.

Think that we need to maintain integrity as one of our first steps in our walk of life. Especially at work.

We maybe seen by some as demanding, kind, unfeeling, proud, fierce, etc. But if we are not consistent in our walk, we have no friends here on earth. No one will trust us nor approach us. Because without integrity, there is no proven track record on the things we say or do.

Just sharing on my thots.

Can someone, who's been around long enough, tell me here if this is true?

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:30 NET.)

Even a child is known by his acts, whether [or not] what he does is pure and right.
(Proverbs 20:11 AMP)


Why would God tell Moses to “kill” children and woman, innocent people, or are they really inocent? One of God’s attributes is his Omniscient’s; He knows everything and is not constrained by time. In fact, God dwells in Eternity, so for Him everything is in the realm of “Now.”

There may be things that seem harmful and cruel to us, like the ordering of the killing of children and woman, but God sees the end from the beginning and either we follow our own intellect, which is flawed, or we follow God’s. In this case, Moses has proven by his actions and God’s confirmation that He hears and heard from God. The Midianites practiced a form of child sacrifice, they allowed/sent their daughters to sleep with Israel to steer them away from the “conditional” Promises of God, “If you keep …I will …” They used sex as an entry or type of worship to their idol god. Besides, God had already ordered this action back in the 25th chapter, Moses was now told to carry it out before he was to die.


Interestingly enough, at least for me, Mike’s question about temptation, based on the Gospel reading, is a practical real word carrying out of how to get rid of it, temptation that is. We are to reign judiciously over our temple, our bodies.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, (1 Corinthians 6:19 AMP)

Yesterday, I received an answer to something I have been asking God about since November ‘05. I am a Type 2 Diabetic diagnosed since 2000. I have seen this as not some kind of dastardly disease but as a call for a life style change and have successfully managed my blood sugar levels to that of a non-diabetic through exercise and diet. However, for the last year, my numbers, blood pressure and glucose levels have been creeping upward until in November of 2005 they went past the benchmark and headed toward numbers hirer than what was acceptable. My primary care sent me to see an Endocrinologist and I was left scratching my head trying to figure out what was wrong.

I still exercised and my diet had not changed. I went completely whole grain, as opposed to whole wheat (yes, there is a difference) and began checking product labels more closely looking for the words “corn syrup,” the enemy, in the ingredients.


Yesterday morning @ 4:30 am, after knocking, seeking and asking, I got a revelation of what was wrong, while I was exercising with a video. What had happened was a change, although subtle, that took me down the wrong path. Sin is sin, and what is “sinful” for one, may not be sinful for someone else. Note: I am using “sinful” here as something in my lifestyle or food choice that would cause my body harm.

Several years ago, I had an insect bite on my left ankle that landed me in the hospital for several days. I had received a serious infection that I had originally thought was an ankle sprain from this bite. After a week and a half of compression and elevation, I went to the doctor and found I had a serious infection from this bite that I thought was a sprain that needed to be treated with intravenous antibiotics. The infection was in my muscle, very painful, and they were fearful it might have traveled to my anklebone. I was sent home after four days with a walker and a cane because I had lost the ability to move latterly, and I could not put any weight on my foot.

After about another two weeks I went back to work with the help of my neighbor who drove a NYC bus and whose bus route went right by my job, that was a blessing. That “blessing” continued for three years until August of 2005, when my neighbor moved to Upstate New York. The question I heard from God as I worked out to the video was this, “When is a ride, not a ride?”

Now that I have increased my exercise, which is basically walking (I know walk two to three miles during my lunchtime as well as walking a mile and ½ after work to a distant subway stop. I purchased a pedometer to keep track of how many miles I’m doing per day. I was shocked to realize that the number of steps I take to get to work, walking to the subway, changing trains, walking to work after getting off of the subway, calculated out to two miles. While riding in my neighbor’s nice car to her bus depot, riding on her big bus and being let out exactly at the door of my job I had completely eliminated those miles. Subtly, over the period of three plus years, the effects of my walking pre-ride days, had worn off and sent my numbers over the top.

Temptation given into, temptation that does not seem like temptation, is subtle. Something that may seem to be needful, in fact it may be needful at the time, we think, can come in and shipwreck your life. When my neighbor first offered to drive me in, a friend gave me a warning that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to go. “Maybe you should stay home until you’re fully healed,” she said. And, after all I had accumulated six months worth of sick time and staying home, besides driving my crazy feeling immobilized and “lazy,” would be most helpful for my mental state and keep me active, or did it really?

So when is a ride not really a ride? Or, could that ride have taken me on a journey to a place where I didn’t want to be?

Grace and peace,
Ramona


P.S.

MIKE--welcome back!!!

welcome back, ditto andrews message...thanks for all your effort and its super to have it early again i really appreciate it..
God bless,
stef

Numbers 31 (NKJV)
16
Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17
Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately.
18
But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately.
19
And as for you, remain outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.
20
Purify every garment, everything made of leather, everything woven of goats’ hair, and everything made of wood.”

~~~

Sin is a very potent thing. It is so easy to think that "it does not matter if I follow others and do this particular thing. After all, many others are doing it."

What IT is, if IT is sin, then IT is wrong.

God's grace is available to us to be like the Lord Jesus-- through His Spirit, His Grace, and His Strength-- to resist evil by overcoming it with good.

May we find CREATIVE WAYS this day to see evil, resist evil, and then overcome evil with good.

Vance

Yes, temptations are strong. But interestingly, temptation is not something dramatic or big. For example there can be numerous temptations we face every single day. Ramona mentioned his own bunch of temptations that had physical implications. Similarly, there are temptations to lie, cheat in small ways, look at women lustfully (and vice versa for women!) , money, material possessions, POWER AND INFLUENCE for their own sake.

I must mention one temptation that I have to grapple with every now and then. This is the temptation of intellectual philosophies that threaten to undermine my Christian faith. They tempt me to the Other Side or Sides... For example consider some quotes from Voltaire (Famed French writer and philosopher) ,

1.) ''If we do not find anything pleasant, at least we shall find something new.''
2.) Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

3.) ''If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.''

Voltaire,like many other intellectuals may sound hauntingly convincing. Not long ago I also read Da Vinci Code. It is not great literature. But it can create storms of doubt in the human mind. It can leave faith jaded.

I also get riven apart by other concepts like deism (God made the world and left it to its own devices) , Inclusiveness:...How much inclusion of other religions and cultures can be tolerated within Christianity? (Remember that in the past too Christianity has already morphed from Hebrew Culture, to Roman culture to European and currently to overwhelmingly American Evangelical/ Baptist flavour.

Some of the inclusion and morphing is inevitable anywayz... For Example Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages since this world is so super diverse. It is interesting to note that in Arabic Bible God, the Father is referred to as ''Allah'' (since this is Arabic word for God) And similarly in other languages, Biblical God has other local names. And when I contrast this huge picture with KJV only folks I can't help laughing out loud.

Should we conclude people who are reading Bible in China, Arab world, Africa, Russia, Japan, Korea are reading Satan's gospel? Would God be so limited that He would intend salvation only for those living in the English speaking world with reasonably good literacy skills?

As for the doubts of today's believers. It would be interesting to refer to Bible before we condemn anyone for doubting. It is noteworthy and remarkable that Peter denied Christ three times at a very critical time, John, the baptist wondered out loud if Jesus was the real Christ or should they wait for another one, Thomas wanted to poke his fingers into the wounds of Christ in order to believe his resurrection. And these were the most faithful people who had the privillege to live with Jesus!!!

No wonder, we too need to see tangible proofs sometimes. We wonder if God is really listening to our grievances and prayers? I would say my biggest temptation or sin is that every now and then I doubt and gravitate towards Atheism or Agnosticism.

This is my honest reflection. And I,m not scared to mention it. Because in the end God will judge us according to sincerity of our hearts rather than how blindly we believed every word in the Bible that we came across.

So, God help the doubters! Amen.

PS- By the way, I came across this weird quote by Martin Luther which is interesting to reflect on: ''Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.'' ??? What you make of it?

Emberglow makes some very valid and good points. In particular, I liked this comment:

"It would be interesting to refer to Bible before we condemn anyone for doubting."

The Bible is a book of history (though some would doubt that). Because it is a historical book, there are historical checks to verify if what the Lord spoke through the Bible is true.

I also like this comment by Emberglow:

"Voltaire,like many other intellectuals may sound hauntingly convincing. Not long ago I also read Da Vinci Code. It is not great literature. But it can create storms of doubt in the human mind. It can leave faith jaded."

~~~

People who have questions about the Bible, or who are opposed to the Lord Jesus and the Bible have real questions that we can begin to answer -- as we build relationships with them IN LOVE.

For great resources on preparing on how to properly respond to honest questions about the Da Vinci Code, I refer you to these web sites:

1.
www.equip.org/store/topical.asp?Keyword=da+vinci+code&Div=Keyword&List=all

There are some resources here for free to read, others to purchase

2.
www.leaderu.com

DO A SEARCH FOR " DA VINCI CODE ", and you will find a wealth of resources.

YES... it takes time to study.

We are called to "be ready to give an account for the certain, guaranteed hope that is in us" (I Peter 3:15).

Also, we are called to joyful study by our Lord:

2 Timothy 2:15 (Amplified)
15
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

GOD BLESS YOU.

Vance

Hi; I copied Mike's picture of the parched ground to show my kids when I share my quiet time from Ps. 63 with them tonight. Ps. 63:6-8 were the first verses, by the way, that I ever memorized as a new Christian in 1975: "...my soul clings to You..." He has been faithful.

In response to Emberglow's question about the Martin Luther quote: someone once said, "Love God and do what you want." I wonder if this is what Martin Luther meant. As I grow in love and intimacy with the Father, I know His mind and want His will. Ps. 37:4 states that as I delight in God, He "will give me the desires of my heart." What He desires, I will have as my desires.

Of course if you love God you must hate sin. But not for performance's sake: only because it keeps me from that oneness and intimacy that allow me to know Him and His will, by hearing His voice clearly. Blessings.

I welcome temptation in my life just as Jesus did when he walked out into the desert for 40 days. (He knew what was waiting for him out there!) I think of it as one of God's greatest "gifts". This lent season has had a profound affect on me in that I am discovering new ways to love my Teacher. I treat temptation as a means to draw closer to God. When I reject it, I can feel the warmth of my Lord's grace upon me. I can't think of anything (not even prayer) that provides as much satisfaction and oneness with God. Of course when I say "not even prayer..." I show my ignorance. Often rejecting temptation takes prayer... and alot of it!!

PS: Welcome back Mike! Nothing like returning to work so that you can rest eh! ;)

Welcome back. Enjoyed your comments about Relief work. My husband took a group of students with CCC last year. He noticed too as you did to the great work the faith-based organizations were doing. Gov't can only do so much!He went to Pass Christian and New Orleans. Big difference. The small town of PC was so welcoming and inviting. Wonder what God thought when Mardi Gras was plastered over the TV....after all the Christians have been doing. The TV execs need to be doing this OYB blog to see the truth!!! And the residents of NO, after being wiped out by Katrina.....don't they fear God yet?

These passages speak alot about temptation, sin, and the blotting out of sin. But what spoke to me the most was how the plunder of the solideiers did not all belong to just them. There was a mandate from God to give them their due as conqueors but that they were in service to a greater populace. That a portion went to God and the temple caretakers as well as to the people.
It speaks to the idea that our victories are not our own but are God's to uplift many and to show his glory.
Did you notice that after they gave God his due and a portion to the people- that they gave another offering of thanksgiving above what was required.

Give him thanks in all your victories!!! (Or should I say HIS victories!!)

Cory,

The idea of total destruction of a people has been discussed before on this board. It is always a difficult topic.

1) We were not there.
2) The people involved had always rejected God, but usually there is time for repentence between God's judgment and the carrying out of sentence.
3)The type of worship and lifestyle employed by conquered people had all kinds of "couplings" that may have carried diseases that would have wiped out Israelites.
4) Boys growing up in that culture might feel obligated to revenge their father and mother - leading to a revolt.
5)Girls who had never slept with a man would reinforce the idea of rampant STD's.

In the end, I think we have to fall back on verses like the one's below - which will be studied later.

Is. 55:8-9
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Job 40:6-14
Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:

"Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

"Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?

Do you have an arm like God's,
and can your voice thunder like his?

Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.

Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at every proud man and bring him low,

look at every proud man and humble him,
crush the wicked where they stand.

Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.

Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.

Temptation of Christ

For those with an interest - a devotional on the "temptation"

Excerpts below:

"Jesus believed in the reality of the devil or Satan. He has more
to say about the devil than anyone else in the Bible...."

"Does it matter whether or not we believe in the devil? If we
reject the whole idea of the devil and the supernatural, we are reduced
to explaining evil in terms of genetic disposition and environmental
influences, and proposing that the only remedy is education and
appealing to the goodness of human nature...."

"It is consistent for the atheist, who rejects God and the whole
spiritual realm, to reject belief in the devil. What is totally
inconsistent is to accept one part of the spiritual realm, God, and to
reject the other. The existence of the devil is a necessary part of
consistent theism. Can you continue to accept the idea of God revealing
himself to us about the devil, while rejecting what he claims to say
about the devil? Can you listen to Jesus Christ while rejecting the
devil he speaks about? What satisfactory account can you give to the
chaos in the world if there is not a destructive force of evil at work?
How can you make any sense of atonement for sin on the Cross if there is
no devil?......."

http://listserv.episcopalian.org/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0403a&L=virtuosity&H=1&P=1952

Translations of Bible

Whenever there are inconsistencies between translations of the Bible, I always find it helpful to go back to the Hebrew (O.T) and Greek (N.T) texts. Most issues can be cleared up by doing a little "linguistic evaluation".

Temptation of Christ

Do not like the NIV here because it leaves out some of the Greek text.

Nevertheless,I believe it is a straightforward story that tells of preparation for Jesus' ministry. In the Garden, the first "son of God" failed in his temptation test; this "perfect man" was victorious in his confrontation with God's adversary.

[NOTE: this account would have peaked the interest of Greek audience. Adam's story would have explained the flaws of mankind down to the present. However, in Luke's gospel there is now hope as the "perfect man" has passed his first test.]

Had forgotten that Jesus' temptation was not just at the end, but throughout the time in wilderness.

Had to speedread bob's bible.org commentaries, and will go back later tonight to re-read the commentaries.

I think satan's plan is to get Jesus to sin, and therefore nullify the prophecies in O.T. He could no longer be that spotless sacrifice.

Jesus' example is to resist temptation through scripture - something that has worked well at times for me. Later in Gethsemene it is with prayer. So, to combat the devil (evil,temptation) use the "Word" and prayer.
======================================================

A REQUEST

76% of Catholics and 56% of Protestants do not believe in the devil. (Barna, 1996?)

I have stated that I believe Satan is a real entity - an adversary of God. My request is for someone that does not believe Satan is real: explain Luke 4:1-13 in metaphorical, allegorical, spiritual, or other terms. Or provide a link to such an analysis.

A common response is: 'John, it is just a lesson on how to resist temptation in our lives.'

That is fine, but I am more interested in an explanation of each temptation, Jesus' response and how it applies to overcoming this temptation from a "nebulous evil force" aspect.

I am trying to understand how people think that come to different conclusions than me regarding scripture. Do it anonymously or not. I will not respond, but just take it in as "food for thought". Thanks in Advance.

Mike,

Welcome back. You did good to keep up with postings while you were gone, and what you did was important work. May God bless you.

It is interesting that in the following passages Paul is focusing on the basics rather than the theology or Bible readings. Also, once again read these verses in contrast with Martin Luther's quote.

Martin Luther: '' Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.''

Paul: ''Do you not realise that people who do evil will never inherit the kingdom of God? Make no mistake-the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, the self-indulgent, sodomites, thieves, misers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers, none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.''

1 Corinthians 6:9

Full Martin Luther quote: (I don't know anything more nor have an opinion on Luther - but thought full context might be helpful)

The Letter to Melanchthon ends with the famous “sin boldly” statement:

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly,  but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world]  we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness,  but, as Peter says,  we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.  No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.”

Detailed analysis here with footnotes:

http://www.ntrmin.org/Be%20a%20sinner%20and%20sin%20boldly%20web.htm#a3
======================================================

Paul is speaking to the Corinthians about Christians bringing lawsuits against each other - but bringing them before non-Christian judges.

Reminds them of those that are unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom. Then lists examples and follows with:

1Cor6:11
"And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."NIV

My comment:
'Show the fruits of your repentence'. The repentence that led you to salvation. Quit sinning against one another that you would even have to consider going to these judges.

[off the top of my head since I never studied 1Corinthians]


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