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It struck me that God said the same things about how to treat aliens twice in consecutive chapters.I think God watches each of our actions towards unbelievers and isn't happy when we forget we were saved by grace not by works.The verse in Matt 24:15-20 stood out to me.I wonder if pastors who tell their flock they can turn the keys of heaven so their prayers are not heard don't desecrate the pulpit(temple)as well.Please don't get me wrong,I love my pastor and I have nothing against pastors but it hurts to see so many cases of people hurt by the very person that should help them find healing in Christ.I see so many of the false prophets at work and I also see some who become false without even realising they are on the wrong path.It is so important to study the word so that it leads us to where God wants cos our understanding is so limited(at least I know mine is).
As I start a new phase in my life I realise I'll put more effort to find time to study the bible.It kinda reminds me how pharoh gave the people more work so they wouldn't go to worship God..
About dressing up to go to church,yes I do agree(even though I don't dress up).If you are going to meet the king then you need to honour him by looking your best.Well I've always been a jeans person trying to change to look more responsible even at work..so I'm still working on that:).I believe however that God will be more impressed by my attitude to his word and my prayer life than if I were to go all dressed up to church and not be right with God in my heart.
Where I come from,there are a lot of people who use church as a social function,people actually spend a lot of money on "sunday" clothes and put on a sunday face(with a sunday attitude as well).
How many times in church have christians hugged and blessed each other then at home or work get nasty(well I have).I know God sees me on the inside so I want to work on being a light(my folks are unbelievers and keep criticising people who go to church and do worse things than they{the aliens}do)to others cos I know personally I need it more than to dress up.Can anyone imagine a nicely dressed lady who didn't have a bath...if my spiritual side doesn't smell too good....gotta have a bath before I dress up..God bless you all

I didn't understand the part in matt that said flee to judea and the mountains when you see the abomination that causes desolation standing in the holy place....run?I don't get it...run to the word?...praise God?

Hey Mike,

I DON'T think we aer getting to casual in our wearing of clothes. I just wear casual clothes. Yes your thing bout the queen of England is true, and i certainly think we should respect god more than the queen, but i don't know about clothes. God judges you on the heart, not what you wear. He doesnt' care what you wear. If casual clothes is what you wear, and you are being yourself, then i think you should do it.

Anka,

These passages refer to the end of times. There are different interpretations of these passages depending on your theological bent.

My understanding: This is at the mid-point of Tribulation, and the AntiChrist is in Jerusalem and the "great" (Horrific) Tribulation is about to start.

Jesus is telling the Jewish people to run when this happens, and flee to the mountains. Some think this is Petra in Jordan. The reason: it will be horrible at that time, especially if you are Jewish nationality. (If Satan can destroy the Jew, then the Bible will be a lie.)

It is in this refuge, that the Jewish people will ultimately recognize Jesus as Lord, and then HE will come.

That is a quick and dirty thumbnail sketch.

Anka,

Great discussions yesterday on Slavery. I had a couple of thoughts.

1) When the nation ultimately gets established the family is the "providing" unit. There is no Gov't programs and the "priesthood" does not seem to get involved.

What happens when the family can not take care of themselves. Father dead, injured, too many children to feed, or just tough situations. People voluntarily put themselves into "slavery".

2)If you are semi-nomadic and there is a battle, and the men are killed and driven off. What happens to the women and children of losing side? If you leave them in desert - they will surely die. They get taken in as slaves, so that bloodlines are kept separate.

3) Remember: Ultimately it was Christians that stopped the Slave trade in Europe and put pressure on stopping it here in U.S.

Re: the Law
The only "Law" that exists to that point is capricious Kingly/pharoah law, and then in 1780 BC came Hammurabi's Code. Everything in that Code was punishible by Death or loss of Limb.

God's Law was revolutionary and light years more merciful than Hammurabi's Code. It was the first time the concept of relative punishment to fit the crime was even approached.

The Law as we will see had blessings and curses involved. The CURSE of the Law was nailed to the Cross (Gal 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree), the blessings of the Law still exist.

The difference is the core value of Law that Jesus talked about is inscribed in our hearts.
Jer 31:33
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

(Notice all the "I WILL's)


Mike's ?

I concur with others. Unless there are unforseen circumstances - the clothes should be neat and clean, but I do not believe a suit/tie or Sunday dress is required. God knows our hearts.

Which also goes to a previous thought onprayer. It matters how you connect with God, not your body positioning. Different people do it different ways. The important thing is the connection.

Our NT readings today and tomorrow are commonly referred to as The Olivet Discourse (since Jesus was speaking with His disciples while sitting on The Mount of Olives). His teachings are especially fascinating because we are reading what Jesus Himself had to say about His second 'coming and the end of the age.'
But reading prophecy is sooooo difficult to understand sometimes. Perhaps the most difficult verse today is verse 15:
"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation', spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- "Understand"? Ha!

But I did find an interesting explanation of this verse: http://www.gotquestions.org/abomination-desolation.html Hope this is helpful.

Would appreciate anyone sharing your thoughts on what Jesus says to us about His second coming from our readings today and tomorrow.
God bless you all,
Jeff

[Tried to post this earlier (9:00 am Central European Time) but TypePad was not accepting comments.]

Re Mike's question about dressing for church, I had the same thought as Anka. We have already read somewhere that God looks on the heart. He knows our motivation. He is not impressed by outward show. However, if we dress as a sincere, heart-driven, act of worship, He will know.

I'm now going for a shower before I go out to church. ;-)

Have a blessed Sunday!

Should we dress up to go to church? Hmmm. I have dressed up and dressed down for church. I visited my son who lives in the Seattle Washington area and thought I was dressed down; but, when I got to church I found that I was dressed up. God wants our hearts not our clothes. However I do think we need to be aware of our personal hygiene in church so as not to distract others from the message; come to think of it, when we are in any place where there is a crowd, we should be sure we do not offend by our lack of hygiene. We must remember to emit the fragrance of Christ and not be an odor of the world, literarily and figuratively.
What is the appropriate dress for church? Having clothes on, being appropriately clothed so as not to cause a distraction. And women should be sure they do not wear clothing that is sexually provocative. Men are visual beings (God made them that way), and can be easily distracted by our choice of clothing or lack there of.

Upon visiting churches, I have found that churches that have many members that are poor and unskilled will dress up; and churches that are middle to upper middle class with high skills tend to dress down, at least in New York City and the outskirts of Seattle.

Exodus 21:22-23:13

Today’s Old Testament passages give “flesh” to Commandments five through ten, with a dash of skin to numbers one through four. Responsibility and accountability are found in these chapter and verses, responsibility to God and man, and accountability for actions that violate men and the community’s relationship to each other and God. I don’t know why I never saw this previously I just saw a bunch of rules and regulations to follow but this is all about right living in the midst of community and right actions toward God, who created us and thus the One who wrote the How-To-Manual

And if men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her child is born prematurely, but there is no serious injury, he will surely be punished in accordance with what the woman's husband will put on him, and he will pay what the court decides. But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:22-25 NET.)

When things like the above happen, people fighting or even rough housing where there are people around going about their daily business, when someone is hurt or injured, the people involved usually try to “excuse” their way out of it. “He/She made me so mad I couldn’t help myself, You just don’t know what they did to me.” The word “Sorry” is bantered about as if just the sound of that word justifies everything. God says, “No, you are not excused by use of the word, “Sorry.”. You must restore to its original state.” In fact, the Hebrew word, shâlam, where shâlôm, the word peace is derived from, implies restoration. Come to think of it, isn’t that what God will do when He ushers in the “New Jerusalem,” bring everything back to the “In the Beginning” state?

Grace and peace,
Ramona

In Matthew 24:16-22 I wonder if Jeses is talking about the day the Romans destroy the temple. This would make the story make alot of sense, to runaway and not go back to get anything.

I feel that your dress code in church should be secondary to your attendance. In this day and age of poor church participation, we should not be adding to the "reasons" why we can't attend. Jesus in Mat 23:13 had a real problem with the hipocracy of the Pharisees. "You shut the kingdom of heaven in mens faces..." Too much pomp and circumstance existed among these men that made the walk with God very difficult. Earlier in that same chapter, verse 5 we see our Lord observing... "They make their phylacteries wide and tassels on their garments long." All the while pointing out how shallow they were in their hearts. My dress code in church is as my mood dictates. sometimes I dress up and other time you will find me in shorts and sandles. I'm thinking Jesus would approve of the sandles. I will leave you with one quote from another popular Jew written a few thousand years later. "...I'd like to say, we'd do OK...forever in blue jeans" Neil Diamond. (I apologise to those brothers and sisters here who find quoting our contemporaries inappropriate for this forum) :D

Joe,

I think you are right if you look at verse 2, but then the conversation changes direction in verse 3.

The disciples specifically ask about when he would be coming (Gk. Parousia)? Well Christ is already there, what do they mean "coming"? They mean his "second coming".

In verse 3 they also ask about the "end of the world"(KJV), or "end of the age"(NIV). This matches up with the idea of Christ returning to end an age and begin a "new age."

As bad as the Roman times were(70A.D.)they did not match up to Jesus' physical description of the earth and political climate. Further the allusion to the Book of Daniel would imply a desecration in the temple not a destruction of the Temple.


Regarding the issue of clothing and dress, I believe casual has become common throughout the world in the business sector as well as at church. It is kind of a sign of the times. Most of the younger people today do seem to be more casual than say the over 60 crowd. On that note I am in agreement with John and Anka, with the comments that God looks at the heart and whats on the inside not on outside. What is important is our relationship with Christ and being in fellowship and worship with others. As long as clothing is clean and neat, modest and respectible, it will probably be appropriate for church. If you are going on a job interview, speaking in public or want to stand out from the rest by making some sort of statement, than your dress will usually represent the image we are trying to project.

Interesting reading today about the "eye for an eye" "tooth for a tooth concept" which I believe is the beginning of government and law which God and Christ are the forfront of. The punishment fitting the crime sort of speak. God's punishment has never been as harsh as man's. We have seen that throughout the history of mankind. Very interesting to think about in this perspective.

I enjoyed todays readings and comments. Laura

I agree that we need to 'dress up' for church but dress up the 'inner man' as Paul said in Colossians 3:12 "Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."

The only other 'definitive' word in the Scriptures that I see that is not prescriptive for us but descriptive is in James 2:2 and following, where the writer doesn't commend people for 'dressing up externally' but rather rebukes people for 'dressing up' for external reasons for insincere motives. In fact, listen to James, Jesus half brother "For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed up in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes, if you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, You go stand over there, or else sit on the floor--well, doesn't this discrimination show that you are guided by the wrong motives?"
Now am I against 'dressing up'for church? Of course note. But I don't think there's a clear cut answer. Each culture dresses up externally according to their culture. If you ask Elizabeth Elliott how the native people dressed up in Ecuador when they went to church it would look a lot different than how parishoners in the midwest dress up or some other part of the country.

I believe we need to think real hard before we begin to define what is 'appropriate dress'. I have worked with young adults for over 25 years and we have lost a lot of them to these external issues. Some have grown up with parents and grandparents who so emphasized the 'externals' that these kids got the Message all garbled up. I would be the last to ever suggest that people who wear nice clothes to church aren't godly. God forbid, but at the same time, I think people should think twice before they make accusative comments of people not 'dressing up' for church and of 'being disrepectful in the "house of God.' These dear believers should reread the context of James. I think it's true that some of the greatest barriers to people embracing the gospel of Jesus are not theological but cultural.

I'm playing catch up tonight & I have been reading some things (of course) that I don't remember:

Exodus 20:26 - And you may not approach my altar by steps. If you do, someone might look up under the skirts of your clothing & see your nakedness.

I was shocked...had never thought of that myself?!?!?! Sounds like young teenage boys looking up their classmates dresses when ever they got a chance.

Also, have you ever thought of why they always want to "stone" something or someone to death; surely there was a better & quicker method (with a sword or spear or such). It is like they want it to be slow & suffering into death; like no compassion of getting it over & done with quickly?! Has anyone else ever wondered about this...stoning to death?!?!?!

I'm so thankful that Jesus came as a propitiation for all these laws...like where I read in Exodus 19:15 - He told them, "Get ready for an important event two days from now. And until then, abstain from having sexual intecourse."

Now I can somewhat understand why the Catholic priests are to be celibate...thinking that they are standing before God the Holy One. But becasue of Jesus, we can come before His Throne at any time...even after intercourse. Sure makes it a lot easier on married folk on Sunday morning!!! :)

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