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I have wondered off my main goal or purpose for reading through the Bible when I began the New Year. My goal is embodied in the New Living Translation of David’s son Solomon’s advice in the Book of Ecclesiastes 7:13, Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?

It is exciting to read about David and his victories, it is comforting to know that it is not so much the external behavior but the thoughts and intents of the heart that determine our relationship and thus our fellowship with God. But I should return, repent and go back to my first intent. Finding out how God does things and fall into line.

I am an application person; I’m always looking to see how to apply a discovered biblical principal to my life. How do I incorporate that principal that pattern into my life so that it becomes the very fiber of my being. But lately I find myself trying to pattern myself, modeling my behavior after these great people of faith that I have been reading about and noting those people who have failed miserably, like Saul and Eli. Yet today, while walking in the morning I realized that looking at Abraham, Moses, Israel/Jacob, David etc., was the wrong thing to do because each and every one is flawed.

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth telling them in his first letter to them,
PATTERN YOURSELVES after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). (1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP). We are only to follow, imitate look toward the great men and women of faith as long as they are following Christ. To do that we must know Christ, we must be familiar, up close and personal, with Him and not standing a far off garnering our information from what others say He is. If we do that then we are just like stalkers trying to force ourselves, our depraved lifestyles, our perverted way of thinking upon Him. We become “namedroppers” tying to give the appearance of instead of being truly what He has created us to be.

Come to think of it, the Old Testament gives us a clear picture of man’s failure of 1) redeeming himself, and 2) redeeming others. The Old Testament points out the failure of man to solve the sin problem leading us into the New Covenant redemption plan through Jesus Christ.

As famous as King David remains to this day, as wise as his son Solomon was, the Wisdom of Jesus surpasses them all. If I am my sights toward godly men then I am already setting myself up to sin. Sin means to miss the mark, as in archery, in both Hebrew and Greek. If I aim to model flawed men who have fallen short of the bulls eye then I too will set myself up to miss because I have set my mark far away from God’s bulls eye. I am thankful to be reading about David and his failures because it shows me that even the best of godly men and women are no match for the savior Jesus Christ. This revelation stokes my desire to know Him better and more intimately.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Ramona:

Great insights! Good reminders and I appreciate your sharing.

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In "Bible Manners and Customs of the Bible," by James M. Freeman, it says that "anciently not only lambs, but other animals were by many persons allowed to eat with them at their tables, and to lie with them in their beds. The Arabs of today keep pet lambs as we keep lap-dogs."

I cannot help but wonder if the death of this child he had with Bathsheba did not influence how David failed to discipline his children.

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Yesterday someone, I think it was Kristie, remarked about Bathsheba's complicity in the adultery, and I thought I would share from In "Bible Manners and Customs of the Bible," by James M. Freeman, about the "PROMENADE ON THE ROOF."

"1. After his customary afternoon rest had been taken, David walked on the flat roof of his palace. In the cool of the evening the roofs of the houses are occupied by family groups who go there for air and exercise. In Daniel 4:29 we have an account of the walk of another king. Instead of walked 'in' the palace, the marginal reading is 'upon' the palace. It was on the roof that Nebuchadnezzar walked, and from there he obtained that view of his great city which lifted his heart with pride and made him forget God.
"2. The bath in which Bathsheba was washing was in the court-yard secluded from all ordinary observation, but yet visible from the palace roof."

I don't know if that clarifies it any better, but thought I would share it.
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Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

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The significance of this is just mind-boggling. The Holy Spirit came and went with the Hebrew text; people were not "filled" with the Holy Spirit, and were not sealed, primarily because the promised Messiah had not yet come and the redemption of sins was more a covering with the blood of animals as a type of Christ.

But with the risen Christ, the Holy Spirit actually "indwells" believers. We have the benefit of God with us!

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8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt[a] in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

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The Holy Spirit will convict the world of:

I. sin
II. righteousness
III. judgment

(1) Sin:
~~~because men do not do not believe in me
(2) Righteousness:
~~~because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer
(3) Judgment:
~~~because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

(It (truly) is finished!
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he will guide you into all truth
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Holy Spirit

I want to follow up on Sue's post. The work of the Holy Spirit is explained here in terms of what the Spirit will do regarding the "world", and then what will he do for the "believer". The convicting and condemning of the world all revolves around Christ.

John 16:8-11
"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."

THE WORLD
The key to understanding verse 8 is the Greek word translated "reprove" (elegch[ma]o). It has two meanings--condemn and convince. In the first sense it speaks of convicting with a view toward judgment or sentencing. It's a courtroom term. The judge used it to declare guilt and pronounce judgment. The Holy Spirit reproves men by declaring them guilty. Men merit that condemnation because they have rejected Jesus Christ. Although it is the Holy Spirit who makes the declaration, His is not the One who carries out the condemnation. That responsibility belongs to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (John 5:27-29)....

...Elegch[ma]o can also mean "convince." The Holy Spirit condemns men and He convinces them that they need Jesus Christ. The convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit precedes the condemning ministry--if we do not respond to convincing we will be condemned.

We are convinced by the Holy Spirit when we have a subjective realization of guilt. But why does the Holy Spirit want us to grasp the full realization of our sinfulness? Because an awareness of our sinfulness bring us to an understanding of our need for a Savior.

SIN
Note that "sin" is singular not plural in verse 9. Primarily the Holy Spirit doesn't convict unbelievers of all the sins they're ever committed. Rather He concentrates on convicting them of the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ, which is consistent with the Spirit's ministry of revealing Christ.

RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Holy Spirit wants to show us the righteousness of Christ so we'll understand our sinfulness....One ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convince people that Jesus is righteous. To do that the Spirit will use the Bible and the godly lives of Christians.

JUDGMENT
God has judged Satan and will judge the world as well. If Jesus Christ can judge the greatest sinner in the universe He can and will judge unbelievers. God crushed Satan at Calvary, and that judgment is the guarantee that others will be judged. The Holy Spirit reveals the folly of rejecting Christ.

--from THE WORLD down lifted from a John Macarthur sermon.
http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sg1559.htm

PAST,PRESENT, AND FUTURE

John 16:13
"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." NIV

As Sue said and the text reads - The Holy Spirit will "guide you into all truth". The sense here as before is a "complete" teaching.

Note how Jesus also reveals in a "complete" way through three chapters of John. Just another example of why one should not isolate verses but put everything written into context to discover the full meaning of message.

PAST
John 14:26
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

PRESENT
John 15:26
"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me."

FUTURE
John 16:13b
"...He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

The True Vine

I am going to take a mulligan here as I missed yesterday's posting.

I agree with Sue (yesterday's post) that these verses do not deal with unbeliever(s) when talking about not bearing fruit. This puts us at odds with Bob Deffingbaugh and John Macarthur.

I will explain my thinking below, and if I am right - it will explain much to Andrew B. and others who do not see a "munificent" flowing of the Holy Spirit in their lives, churches, etc.
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Once Judas left in chapter 13, Christ is speaking to "only" believers. He is comforting them, instructing them, and beginning to explain to them the gift of Grace that the Father will send them in the form of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that the "vine" instruction" is Jesus explaining what should be the response to that Grace.

John 15:1-2
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." NIV

Jesus is the "TRUE" vine. By implication there are false vine(s).

"Exactly what the Lord does to the unfruitful branch depends on how the Greek verb airo is translated. It can mean “takes away” as in the King James tradition (also translated that way in John 1:29). Then it would refer to the discipline of physical death (1 Cor. 11:30). However, the same word may mean “lifts up” (as in John 8:59). Then it would be the positive ministry of encouraging the fruitless branch by making it easier to get light and air, and hopefully, to bear fruit."

MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

The branches that are fruitful are pruned(purged,cleansed). Greek word is "kathairo" from which we get "catharsis". This word is used outside of Biblical text by Greek farmers who wash grain and get the dirt and filth off of kernels. We are cleansed by the "WORD". By being continuosly cleansed by the "WORD" believer will bear more fruit.

How does this happen? By remaining IN Him. That is our response to Grace. We are saved by believing IN Him, but we bear fruit by remaining IN Him. Being a disciple is a commitment.

If we do not remain IN Him, as a believer something happens, and it is best relayed by this commentary that also links up to David's actions in our readings of Old Testament.

"Verse 6 has caused much difference of opinion. Some believe that the person described is a believer who falls into sin and is subsequently lost. Such an interpretation is in direct contradiction to the many verses of Scripture which teach that no true child of God will ever perish. Others believe that this person is a professor—one who pretends to be a Christian but who was never born again. Judas is often used as an illustration.
We believe that this person is a true believer because it is with true Christians that this section is concerned. The subject is not salvation but abiding and fruitbearing. But through carelessness and prayerlessness this believer gets out of touch with the Lord. As a result, he commits some sin, and his testimony is ruined. Through failure to abide in Christ, he is thrown out as a branch—not by Christ, but by other people. The branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. It is not God who does it, but people. What does this mean? It means that people scoff at this backslidden Christian. They drag his name in the mud. They throw his testimony as a Christian into the fire. This is well illustrated in the life of David. He was a true believer, but he became careless toward the Lord and committed the sins of adultery and murder. He caused the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. Even today, atheists ridicule the name of David (and of David’s God). They cast him, as it were, into the fire."

MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

So Jesus is speaking to believers, encouraging them to remain in Him, and bear fruit. If they do not there spiritual life will "wither" up and be discarded by the "world". There will be no effective testimony, no fruit, and no "flowing" of the Holy Spirit. To get back in the "ABIDE IN HIM" state, is simple - pray, ask forgiveness, not for sins (they were all forgiven on Cross), but forgiveness for grieving the Trinity, acknowledging the "sins", and ask to be restored to "fellowship status" with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Do it with the "right" heart and you will be restored. Then you will begin to bear fruit.


Proverbs chapter 16 verse 5 today teaches us: "The LORD despises pride; be assured that the proud will be punished."

For me, this is a constant reminder of what happened to Satan when he allowed his pride to overtake him - it's the one area of my life I've been shocked to come face to face with, having previously (wrongly) considered I couldn't be proud in any sense - just shows how you can be utterly decieved - if I'm not being proud (about not being proud to start with!), then I transgress into his other major fault - arrogance. The Lord took me in hand and gently showed me the many areas of my life where my attitude wandered heavily into these attributes sadly. Trying to be humble is the toughest call in my opinion - someone once said that if you think you're humble, then you're not - that was hard to consider, but I can see the truth in it.

Mike's other question: - "Do you believe suffering can be good for you? Can it teach you to pay attention to God? " is one close to my heart in some respects. I became heavily disabled just over a decade ago, at a point in my life where it seemed to be the absolute worst thing that could happen. My (late) hubby was an alcohlic at the time, and my income was the only thing keeping us with a roof over her head. However, the Lord incredibly opened up tons of doors to enable us both to start up a charity for my main condition (fibromyalgia), which rapidly snowballed in size and which provided me with something I'd never had in my life before - a means to be able to help many other people more than myself. In doing so, I ended up becoming a close friend to THE top world authority on the condition, meeting loads of other important docs, and gaining a respect which has now provided me with tons of 'favours' in return in a sense. ALthough I handed the charity over to some others to run in the fuller sense a few years after Stephen died, I'm still involved in many aspects of its running in other ways. Since I have deteriorated more the past 2 years, I have to admit I have had more times when I wonder what contribution am I possibly making to the body, when I'm housebound, and unable to get out or interact socially, yet again, the Lord (through others) has shown me that I do still do much work between the charity helpline etc, and online by sharing my beliefs with all and sundry and putting scriptural messages in my emails (as signatures) along with some other thigns.

So I would contend that He does indeed use us in every situation, and while we may not know why, we can firmly stand on His promises that our lives are of value to Him, and He will use us if we ask Him to. I always think of that famous saying about God's Tapestry of our lives - how from the underside (where we are) it all looks a total mess of threads, but He sees the top which shows the fuller picture from start to finish, and He will complete what He has started.

I've been exceptionally blessed to never taste depression throughout my time of illness, but know many others who battle with it even as Christians, which is sad. I truly think the key is trust - if we totally trust Him for our lives, then we MUST not worry about the future, nor concern ourselves with the outcome of the present in a negative sense. He is our AWESOME GOD and I praise Him for leading me to this site, where I can learn so much from all of you who've been here a lot longer than me, and are superb in placing up expositional and edifying posts. God bless, Romayne

I have been trying to get the Trackback to work, without success so far, so this is to provide link to an OYB related post on my weblog.

http://isthistheway.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/05/the_indwelling_.html

Greetings,
Andrew B

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