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I have to say I was so amazed by God's mercy in the OT reading today.The Israelites knew they were offending God by worshipping other gods,they did it anyway.When trouble hit,God told them to go get help from their gods,in His anger God said "I will no longer save you".Then Israel got rid of their gods,they got to the "thy will be done with us"part,pleaded to be saved and God couldn't bear their misery any longer.Like the loving father He is,He just had to forgive them............
I couldn't help but wonder if these disciples/followers weren't there when Christ was crucified.Didn't they hear about the temple curtain or see the sun darken?Did they not listen to Jesus' teachings?Maybe they heard what suited them or they didn't get it because they had preconcieved notions of what the saviour should be like.We hear God's promises,but sometimes forget He asks us to play a part as well...I'm sure in Abraham's wildest dreams he never imagined that to become a blessing he had to be ready to sacrifice what he probably loved most.Well for some of us,just doing what God's told us to do is a huge sacrifice..thank God for his grace:))
God bless you all

Judges 9:22-10:18

How long does it take for God’s vengeance to rear it’s head? How long does it take a known murderer, appointed by his “relatives” to reap the rewards of his sin? In God’s Perfect Timing. In today’s reading we see that three years was all it took for Abimelech to be destroyed by the very people who placed him in power, each party, leadership and those he lead, were “taken out” by each other.

Within the narrative, we see each trying to get back at each other, a one-up-menship, if you will; but, it was God’s timing that allowed each group to keep their appointment with judgment. In the true meaning of the literary tragedy, both the character flaws of Abimelech and the people who appointed them led to their own self-destruction. Without God the only character is bad character. Selfish and self-centered the people had picked a ruler that was related by DNA only and unfit for the job. Yet God, in spite of their flaws, worked out everything for his purpose.

Abimelech’s story and the people who put him in power is going on today. We take men who are “bramble bushes” promising shade where there can never be shade because of bad character, and turn on them when we don’t get what we want. Men/women who never had it within them to met our expectations because they are not God, despite our effort to make them a god. We go along to get along in hopes that we will grab the crumbs from the tyrants table if we join the posse and muscle our way to the front, near our god. We remain loyal to something and someone that is unloyal to any kind of righteous principle and are surprised when we find no stability. And when our expectations are not met, we turn on our “false” god and rage, while shaking our fist at God.

Whom have I attached myself too, whom have I made an alliance with, whom have I submitted myself too who is not God and never can be?

Yes, I totally agree that the Lord Jesus is with us. May our eyes be opened to Him as well. We need to take time to cultivate our relationship and our awareness of His Presence.

This reminds me of this song:
“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; open the eyes of my heart. I want to see You; I want to see You.” Also, there is a song of Psalm 100 that I learned as a new believer.

It is good to take time to celebrate the discipline of worship in joy and praise.

I need to always take more time to be in God’s Presence, to be holy. Then God can, by His matchless grace, “reproduce the ideal Servant of the Lord” within me. (Isaiah 54:17, Amplified Bible)
~~~

Judges 10 (NKJV)
10
And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!”
11
So the LORD said to the children of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines?
12
Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and Maonites [ or Midianites ] oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand.
13
Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.
14
Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”
15
And the children of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.”
16
So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

NOTE:
I note verse 16: “…And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.” This shows God still loves His people even when we are disobedient. THANK GOD that He is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. When we break covenant, HE DOES NOT.

Also note verse 13: “Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.” If we keep insisting on what we want, we may get it—and then regret it for many years. Let us keep our minds and hearts rooted in the Lord so we do not become ensnared

GOD CARES DEEPLY

Though I do not entirely understand it, I know this: The true and living God has fashioned us in His own image, personalities with emotions. Thus, it does not surprise me that God, Who is THE Personality also has “emotions”. Notice I placed “emotions” in quotes when referring to the God Most High.

When I say that, immediately people think of the so-called gods of the Greeks and Romans who had very volatile and sinful emotions. YET IT CAN BE SAFELY SAID THAT GOD CARES DEEPLY ABOUT US, AND RESPONDS DEEPLY.

Yet, it should not surprise us that God can be saddened, be grieved, can be happy, can rejoice, etc. God is REAL! God is not a stone. God is ALIVE! In fact, all of what is LIFE and ALIVE and REAL emanates from God.

When God responds with joy or sorrow to the human condition, we need to take note. For in a world that is full of confused emotional states, how God responds to us shows us what pure, holy, true and real feelings are.

On one hand, God is the Most High – so far above us that our human minds could never grasp Him.
Romans 11 (NKJV)
33
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Yet, as God has revealed Himself to us, there are many instances where God responded with a real sense of feeling. See some instances below.

Genesis 6 (NKJV)
6
And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Zephaniah 3 (NKJV)
17
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

And who could forget Jesus—Who is the glory of God (according to Hebrews 1:1)—as He responded to various people and situations?

Luke 19 (NKJV)
41
Now as He drew near, He saw the city [i.e., Jerusalem] and wept over it,
42
saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

John 11 (NKJV)
34 And He said, “Where have you laid him [i.e., Lazarus]?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35
Jesus wept.
36
Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

~~~
Thus, when I hear people say in modern society, “God loves me”. What they mean is this: “God loves me. It does not matter what I do, we all will go to heaven and love God because God loves us.”

Actually… God responds deeply to us—when we do what is right and when we sin. And knowing this, adds real “force” to how He responds. If our joy is deep, HOW MUCH MORE must God rejoice in us when we do right? If our anger against evil is real, HOW MUCH MORE must God’s perfect and just anger against sin be when we do wrong?

THANK GOD He is patient and longsuffering. He always gives us many chances to know and love Him, and to love truth.

The book of Hosea contains one of the most beautiful examples of how God being deeply moved, as well as God’s commitment to us – to love us. Thank God that He is not mere man.

Hosea 11 (NKJV)
7
My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High,
None at all exalt Him.
8
“ How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
9
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.

Vance

Do you believe that Jesus is journeying along side you in your Walk today?
To answer, your question, yes. I feel like Jesus is walking with me in this one Year Bible study each day.

Awesome readings! I also cant wait to get into John!! woohoo!

pride is a battle we must all overcome with the help of God himself =)

Luke 24

Luke’s Gospel opened with devout believers at the temple, praying for the long-expected Messiah. It closes at the same place with devout believers praising and blessing God for answered prayer and for accomplished redemption. It is a lovely climax to what Renan called the most beautiful book in the world. Amen.

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

These two were not apostles, but disciples. They had spent time with the Lord and had been exposed to Jesus' teachings and been told the kingdom of God was near.

Now they were sad, and their discussion (in the Greek) actually means they were heatedly talking - perhaps arguing over Jesus. they thought they were following the Messiah, and now they thought they must have been wrong. They were sad. Perhaps at wasted time, perhaps that to them the kingdom of God was not near.

Jesus came to them - actually caught up with the two disciples. This is much the same way God acts with us. God draws us to Him - we in our sinful state do not attempt to find the Lord.

Then Jesus opened their minds to Scripture, eyes to see, and finally mouths to proclaim.

This is exactly how it us with new believers. I can vouch for the Scripture part. I had read some of the Bible at times over the years - but nothing sunk in or made sense. Certainly did not see the link from OT to the New. Thought the parables and lessons were nice moral stories. However, when God was drawing me, and I actually wanted to know the truth and prayed to a God I did not really know - at the age of 48 - the Gospel of John made sense. I got it!

Since I have been a Christian (the last three years) I see the connection, I understand God's plan, it makes sense. I see the world around me, and what is and what isn't of God.

Finally, because my mind has been opened, and my eyes see - I proclaim at every opportunity the message and Good news of the Lord.

[If you are reading this blog and have not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior - the remedy is simple. Ask God to open your mind to the Scriptures and reveal the Truth to you. If you are sincere in your request - done with the right heart - you will see the same thing as I did and these disciples on the road to Emmaus.]
======================================================
[Repost from last year - and last time I will post the links from the OT regarding Christ.]

Luke 24
v.27
"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." NIV

v.44b-45
"Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." NIV

What did Jesus show them and open their eyes to regarding Scripture (only Old Testament at that time)?

Perhaps something like Pastor Stephen Davey outlined in one of his sermons - showing how Christ is pointed to in each of the Old Testament books.

• Genesis – He is the prophesied seed who
will crush the serpent’s head; He is the
brother betrayed by His kinsmen, whose
betrayal will lead to their deliverance;
• Exodus – He is the great “I AM”; He is the
Passover Lamb whose blood protects His
people from the angel of death and the
wrath of God; He is manna from heaven
and water from the rock;

• Leviticus – He is the tabernacle of God
among men:
• He is the brazen alter – signifying His
death which gives entrance;
• He is the brazen laver – promising to
cleanse us from every sin;
• He is the bread – signifying food that
gives everlasting life;
• He is the golden lamp stand – the light
of the world that will never be
extinguished;
• He is the altar of incense – perpetually
interceding on our behalf;
• He is the veil – through Him is the only
access into the presence of God;
• He is the ark – He embodies that holy
place where heaven touches earth;
• He is the Holy of Holies – in Him
dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.

• Numbers – He is the great hope in whom
all can safely put their trust; He is the great
High Priest who will never fail;
• Deuteronomy – He is the Lord our God; He
is the city of refuge where criminals may
run for protection;
• Joshua – He is the champion over every
enemy that stands in the way of God’s
people;
• Judges – He is the angel of God,
empowering the weak and pursuing the
wandering; He is the perfection of grace
and patience toward His wandering people;
• Ruth – He is the wealthy landowner who
redeems His gentile bride from hopeless
poverty; placing her in the family line of
royalty; giving her the right to everything
of His vast estate;
• I and II Samuel – He is the name of the
Lord, in whose strength young men of faith
conquer enemies and slay giants;
• Kings and Chronicles – He is the sovereign
King behind and above all kingdoms, both
pagan and God-fearing;
• Ezra – He is the keeper of divine promise to
Israel and the hand that liberates His people
from bondage;
• Nehemiah – He is the re-builder of broken
lives and the restorer of broken fellowship;
• Esther – He is behind the scenes,
outsmarting the evil one and seeing that His
remnant remain, whispering into the ear of
a young queen that for such a time as this,
she has been crowned.
• Job – He is the majestic One who rides
upon the wind and commands the lightning;
He is the Lord of mystery who does not
explain life, but reveals He is sovereign
over all of life;
• Psalms – He is the rock of refuge, the
Shepherd of the sheep, the tower of shelter,
the sweet honey of revelation, thirstquenching
water, a crucified Savior, and a
sin forgiving Redeemer;
• Proverbs – He is everlasting wisdom;
divine counsel for those who accept His
invitation to turn aside and listen;

• Ecclesiastes – He is eternal satisfaction
over every earthly desire; He is the One to
be remembered in the days our youth;
• Song of Solomon – He is the Bridegroom
who pursues His bride, stopping at nothing
until she is safely in His arms;
• Isaiah – He is Emmanuel, the suffering
Savior, the One crushed for our iniquities
and the coming Prince of Peace whose
strong shoulder will one day bear the
governments of the world;
• Jeremiah – He is the branch of
righteousness who brings justice and
equity; He is the promised One who will
write a new covenant on the hearts of His
people;
• Lamentations – He is the father who
disciplines the sons He loves;
• Ezekiel – He is resurrection power,
breathing life into dry bones and bringing
life from death; He is the faithful leader regathering
His wandering flock;
• Daniel – He is the stone, cut without hands,
rejected by kingdoms, yet smiting the false
image and filling the earth with His glory;
He is the one whose Kingdom will not end;
• Hosea – He is the faithful husband of the
faithless wife;
• Joel – He is the hope of His people, the
strength of the children of Israel;
• Amos – He is the wrath of God against
oppressors; He is the promise of vineyards
and gardens where His children will one
day rest;
• Obadiah – He ascends Mount Zion as the
deliverer who judges the kingdoms of this
world and inaugurates His own everlasting
reign;
• Jonah – He is the fulfillment of the sign that
after three days and three nights, the Son of
Man will come forth vindicating the
righteousness of God and resurrection
power;
• Micah – He is the One who pardons our
iniquities; who does not retain His anger
forever; who delights in unchanging love;
He is the one who treads our iniquities
under His feet; who casts all our sins into
the depths of the sea;
• Nahum – He is slow to anger and great in
power; of Him the mountains quake and the
hills dissolve, yet He is a safe haven for all
who hide in Him;
• Habakkuk – He is radiant like sunlight;
whose strength makes our feet like the
hinds feet, and makes us walk on high
places;
• Zephaniah – He is the One who will gather
those who grieve and those who are lame
and those who are outcast; He is the One
who will turn their shame and despair into
everlasting praise;
• Haggai – He is the victorious Lord of hosts
who will shake the heavens and the earth as
He overthrows the nations of this world; He
is the One who will wear His chosen people
as jewels around His omnipotent fingers;
• Zechariah – He stands with His redeemed
on the Mount of Olives; His holiness will
be praised, even by the inscriptions on the
bells of horses’ bridles as they gallop
through the city of His glory – “Holy to the
Lord” will be their praise for the Messiah;
• Malachi – He is the divine Refiner, sitting
over the smelting pot of His universe,
purifying His chosen people as silver and
gold; He is the great King, who does not
change; and for all those who believe in
Him, He will one day rise with healing in
His wings!


The Ascension

Luke 24:51 "While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven."

I listen to different people on the radio and TV and some scoff at the idea that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven. They say it is never mentioned in the Bible.

They are wrong - there are at least three places in the NT (from Acts on - where Christ is mentioned in bodily form in heaven). We will get to that in time.

But that is not my question? My question is how they can miss the bodily ascension here in this verse.

Here you have Luke - educated, writing in the best Greek of all the Gospels, who has excellant credentials and references from both secualar and religious historians down thru the ages. Luke who is so meticulous and careful about verifying facts and stories. Which leads me to my question:

If it wasn't a bodily ressurection, how would Luke know that Jesus was taken up into heaven? If Luke had not seen it - or had not interveiwed eye-witnesses - it seems to me Luke would have phrased it a diferent way.

You cannot see a Spirit ascend - so either Luke or multiple eyewitnesses saw a body being taken up into heaven.

Judges

I don't think we have had a book yet in the OT that epitomizes my theory that one of the enduring links in the Bible is our need to trust in, rely on, depend on God - including Salvation.

The cycles - repeated over and over in Judges.

(1) Israel would sin in the sight of God;
(2) God would send punishment in the form of war and captivity;
(3) Israel would cry out to God;
(4) God would call out a judge (a savior or deliverer);
(5) Israel would enter a time of peace and rest.

Israel would always fall back into sin - it is man's nature. After receiving punishment - they call on God - and God would deliver.

The important thing here is ISrael could do nothing to deliver themselves - only God could deliver, and He would only do so when Israel repented and called on Him.

Sound familiar. Put your "name" in the place of Israel. There is nothing you can do to deliver yourself from your state of sin or the things God is using to humble you. It is only when you recognize this and call on the Lord that He acts.

The difference is the "judges" in Israel are temporary - Jesus is permanent. Our times may still be turbulent - but the peace and rest comes in knowing that you can depend on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide you through your travails.
======================================================
Gideon

"In the moment of public temptation to self-aggrandizement, Gideon gave the right answer [refusing to be made king]. Immediately afterwards, he began the incremental process of undermining it--a few perks, a bit of gold, a few extra wives, an idol. His life deteriorated, and though he didn't suffer most from it, the next generation suffered horribly because the son he left behind was an angry, godless man." - Steve Zeisler

Our actions when we sin can have far reaching effects even beyond our lives. Such was the case with Abimelech.

Abimelech was godless and worked evil - because he rejected god and was wicked - his punishment like all who reject the ONE TRUE GOD is death. An explicit example is made and stated here for Abimelech. For those who recject God and Christ now the punishment is eternal separation from God.
======================================================
Judges 10

vs. 15-16 "But the Israelites said to the LORD, "We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now." Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer." NIV

"...one of the things that we need to understand about Canaanite religion is that it is very localized. Each god is a small god. They each have their own tribe. They have their own hill on which they are to be worshiped. They have a territory where they are counted on to be effective at bringing rain for crops and increase to livestock. They're limited in geography; you can't take an idol with you and make it work someplace else. They're also limited in time; they are brought into being, they wax in power and potency, and then they grow impotent and tired." Steve Zeisler

How can they fall for these gods when compared with Yahweh - who is absolutely without limits?

Answer: It is easier and more pleasurable to worship the gods of the canaanites. In the end - however you pay a horrible price.

Here the Israelites repent and ask for help - but it is only when they demonstrate their words by throwing out idols and serving the Lord that the Lord has mercy.

The Lord knew their heart and was moved. If you are seeking God - what does God see in your heart???? If you are a believer - when you pray to God - what does God see in your heart???? Afterall - He knows...He knows.

I wanted to know where you got the picture of the woman reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus garment? Name of painter, site, or email.

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