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on the matt 25:34-41 reading..it seems it's salvation based on works.All it says that those who did good works are accepted,those who didn't are not.Take the open your door to stranger bit,if you take the passage literally,in the times we live in,that's not a wise thing to do...if you live in a 3rd world country and you have the poor all around you...what do you do...if you give some and don't give the rest,you feel guilty,if you don't give at all...you feel guilty.
I read about being saved by grace and not by good works in romans but how do I add that up with this?

Hi all

Thanks stef for introducing yourself yesterday. You prompted me to introduce myself because I am also a South African living in England - Reading, to be precise. I also missed the roll call on 23rd of Jan because I was on holiday and didn't have internet access.

So hello everyone. I normally do the readings at 7am. I am loving travelling on this journey with all of you. I have never read the whole Bible through, despite being a Christian for years. Every attempt has failed miserably. However, to read the Bible together with Mike and a whole interactive community has been riveting. I have been particularly surprised at the richness of the Old Testament, and we're only in Exodus!

Blessings to you all.

I,too, never got to introduce myself. I'm both an educator and psychologist, originally from the Philippines, lived in Taiwan for a couple of years, then in San Diego, CA and now here in New York. My late husband was a missionary educator but passed away years ago.

I do enjoy reading and reflecting on God's Word before I start my work day
and go through the commentaries if I have the time in the morning or before I retire at night.
Thanks for the insights, sharings and reflections.

Exodus 28:1-43

I’m running late this morning so I’m going to deal with something I heard taught and have not really researched; although I’ve checked the commentaries I have and not seen this mentioned, but that doesn’t mean there is no truth in it.

And you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet [stuff] around about its skirts, with gold bells between them; A gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, round about on the skirts of the robe. Aaron shall wear the robe when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes [alone] into the Holy of Holies before the Lord and when he comes out, lest he die there. (Exodus 28:33-35 AMP)

Interspaced around the bottom of Aaron’s skirt is a bell and a fruit, a bell and a fruit … The bell represents a “Gift of the Spirit” and the pomegranate represents the “Fruit of the Spirit,” a bell and a fruit. Anyone who has seen the inside of a pomegranate knows that there are a lot of red seed surrounded by fleshy, juicy fruit (An answear to why it is called Fruit of the Spirit and not Fruits?) Bells sound an alarm to heed danger or to get your attention to warn, delight, instruct etc. The purpose being it stops you in your tracks.


“The fruit of the Spirit refers to the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility) and self-control. “ (From: http://www.crossroads.ca/response/fruits.htm)


“The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural endowments for service and are given according to the character of the ministry that is to be fulfilled. The purpose of all gifts is the same: to edify the Body (the Church).” (From: http://www.crossroads.ca/response/gifts.htm)

What I heard taught was this, Bell clanging against bell would be harsh and certainly not melodic so God has placed a fruit next to a bell to soften the tone and sound. We are to temper our gifts with fruit.

In what we have called the Love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul gives a list of gifts which use of, if one doesn’t operate in love, a fruit, there is no benefit for the believer.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NET.)

Fruit doesn’t replace the gifts its just that their use must be tempered with Fruit, a gift and a bell, or a bell and a gift.

Grace and peace,

Ramona

Hi, Anka

Re: works v. grace
As I was reading that passage today I also thought that it could be interpreted that way easily, but I know that grace is not the result of works.

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Eph. 2: 8-10

In the parable the people didn't even realize that they were serving Christ or neglecting Him--they were just living out that which was within them. Ephesians tells us that we are saved by grace and not works, so we can't boast. But we have good works to do set out in front of us, and even that is God's grace to us. I think as a believer it is very important to look around me and make sure that I am taking the opportunities that God has given me to do good works, because it is a chance to serve Him (not so that I can get into heaven.)

As my beloved wife Rosetta of 30 years battles breast cancer we have found psalms like Psalm 31 extremely comforting in that the emotions expressed are our own. Although my wife's prognosis is good we are deep into chemotherapy treatments and have six months to go and then radiation begins, but through it all we have clung to Psalm 31:14 "But I/we are trusting you, O LORD, saying, "You are my/our God!" My/ Our future is in your hands...."

Yes, I have read A Grief Observed. I loved the rawness of Lewis'emotion for the loss of his wife. As well, Shadowlands, the movie that tells the same story of Lewis (played by Anthony Hopkins) and Joy Davidson, also reflects the authenticity of one who suffers for the loss of a loved one in a way that is truly human and ennobling to the human experience of suffering, pain and loss. Very few meaningless platitudes in that story.

My wife has devoured Pastor David Jeremiah's book called A Bend in the Road a devotional study he wrote on the psalms after his battle with cancer. I would highly recommend reading that book whether you have cancer or not.

Thanks Mike for allowing this interlude to not just be 'heady' in our approach to Scripture reading but to allow The Word to soak deeply into our pain which I'm sure some readers are also processing today as e journey through OYB.

I'm sooo sorry...I joined the blog on the 28th of Jan and just took it from there...didn't know there was a roll call.
My name is Anka,29..I'm in Romania now(I'm both nigerian and romanian).I discovered the blog while searching for a bible study.I read at online mostly mornings and evenings.I never really got to read the bible before,it's my first time and I find this blog so enlightening.It sure is a blessing to read along with all of you because I've learnt so much.
God bless you all

Wanted to mention a book I read on Grief which helped me at times of personal loss - Awakening from Grief: Finding the Road Back to Joy
by John E. Welshons...I found it helpful.
Beyond that I want to say how great it is to be part of the blog - and it is amazing isn't it Mike how many comments the blog gets now - it is great to see the numbers growing. thanks to everyone for sharing.

I want to elaborate on what Micah girl wrote regarding the sheep (right hand of the “King” folk) and the goats (left hand of the “King” folk). On my ride into work I reread the passages several times and say something for the very first time.

Those placed on the right hand of the “King” response to all the things he said they did (feed and gave drink to the hungry and thirsty, showed hospitality and clothed the stranger as well as nursing the sick and visit those in prison, said they didn’t do any of that for the King. They didn’t keep a laundry list of their deeds. However those on the left did as per the text,

"Then they will reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn't help you?' (Mat 25:44) Everything they did they kept a running score. Hmmm, a lot to think about.

Anka,

As I posted yesterday, I believe we are saved by the gifts of "Grace" and "Faith". So Salvation is locked in or out based on our accepting Christ as our Savior.

However, our rewards if we are saved, or our punishment if we do not accept Christ, have different levels based on our works.

Two quotes from bible.org under the Secton "The Expression of God's Justice."

"...but the justice of God will be expressed by different levels of punishment"

"...believers will be rewarded in Heaven on the basis of their works."

http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=232

If you ever have doubts or need reinforcement on the idea of Salvation by faith through grace, don't listen to me (for it) or others (against it) - go to the primary source. The Bible (and God). Link below has a list of 27 verses that might help.

http://www.carm.org/doctrine/justification_verses.htm

Anka, thanks for your question. Yes Micah Girl is right I believer in that we are saved by grace, but our works are evidence of that grace in our lives. Ramona's observations are interesting too.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts on Psalm 31 as well. I thought of my 78 year old mother who has a slowly progressing illness....long story, but she is in pain, and she is slowly having to give up her independence. We talked about these things in the Psalm---suffering and God's goodness and that he will be faithful to us to the end of our lives.

"Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!"

Matt 25:31-40

Some interesting things inthese passages - at least to me. :)

Remember Gen 48 when Jacob went to bless his grandsons, Manessah and Ephraim. It was important who was under Jacob's right hand. In ancient Israel the right hand was considered the hand of blessing and honor. It was the hand of inheritance. It is no mistake that the sheep are to the King's right.

From Matt 25:34 we get these three concepts:

"The source of those people's salvation was God's blessing. They will enter into the kingdom because of God's sovereign grace; God redeemed those people out of His sovereign love." - John MacArthur

"A person inherits something because he is a member of the family. To receive an inheritance from God means you belong to the family of God. That status is achieved by placing your faith in Christ (Titus 3:5; John 1:12). If you are a child of God, you are a joint heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17)." - John MacArthur

It is comforting to know that this is all part of God's Soverign plan. "Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"
===========================
Finally, the concept of "brothers" in verse 40. Those who are saved are children of God, inheritors of heaven, and Christ's brothers. those who are not saved are NOT Christ's brothers.

Hebrews 2:11
"Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers."

It may seem harsh, so I leave it up to the individual to decide. But is Christ referring to what you do to the Brothers in Christ? Should not preclude works to non-believers and prayers for the unsaved, but as far as "opening doors, taking care of, visiting, etc." Those may be specific things we do with members of the church, our fellow Christians. Just something to think about.

In today reading I was moved by Psalm 31:9-18
12So my heart will sing to you. I can't keep silent.
Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever.
I was very ill last year, and by the Grave of God I'm doing so much better.
"My heart will sing to you" is just how I feel. I can't be quiet about how blessed I am that Christ healed me. I look back and I can't believe how sick I was, and now how well I'm doing. Every day that I do something that I was not able to so, I smile and Thank God. Thanks for todays reading, it has truely put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Have a blessed day, Peggy

Hello all:
As always today's readings, commentaries, scripture verses and comments have all been very enlightening. I apprecaite all the resources and books mentioned which have to do with grief, something we will all have to deal with some day in our lives. I believe that as Christians we all have opportunities to do God's work and ministry which is what we are called to do such as the reading today in Matthew 25:34-41 made mention of. All of God's work can't be left up to paid clergy who are often over booked and stressed out. I know how hard their life is because I am related to a minister. I have asked her to review this site and have told how great a resource that it is. I am so glad that there were so many good comments today from most of the regulars that come in here. This will be a good way that she can sort of get familiar with some of you. Today's readings and comments will be a good introduction.

One that note, I would like to introduce my sister that we can call pastor Judy. If she is reading the blog today along with comments, I hope she will feel free to join in with us. The role call that some of the others have mentioned was done earlier in the year. If I recall correctly the questions asked were: 1. When do you like to read the bible. 2.Brief description about ourselves, and anything else that we would like to mention.

Judy, If you are reading this today I hope you have enjoyed it. I'll see you soon.
Your sister Laura

Thank you, Ramona for what you shared today. I heard a teaching on the bell-pomegranate/gifts-fruit theme about 15 years ago. This is the first I've ever heard it again although the Lord has brought it to my mind over and over through the years.

To add my comments to the roll call: I'm Ann from Mississippi and read my OYB in the evening. I’m reading from the New Living Translation using an actual Bible. I've read the OYB 3 times previously, but not for about 5 years. I teach a Sunday School class and have my class reading along with me. Then I teach on Sunday something from the reading for the week. I have used comments from some of you as I have shared with my class….so thanks everyone! :-) I appreciated the links from Micah Girl yesterday as I am thinking ahead to my lesson for this week. As with Mike’s pictures, it really helps me to visualize the images we are reading about!

To All!!

While walking during my lunch time this dropped in my sprit/mind. First I received a question while walking, “You’ve visited a prison before, is that a memory you can soon forget?” My answer was, “No.” So I got to thinking about the depth of the Gospel and the Words of God and His Son and when I got back to my office I went back and read the Gospel reading again.

We are assuming that the depth of the mandate to feed the hungry, give drink to those that are thirsty, visit and comfort those that are sick and in prison is actual food, clothing, natural sickness and a maximum security prison. We may be assuming that the prison is actual concrete and steal, and yes, all the things I have just mentioned are part of our call but there is something much deeper.

The prophet Isaiah spoke this words under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and Jesus claimed them in Luke 4:18,

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
(Isa 61:1-3)

There are more powerful prisons then those made of concrete and steal and they are the prisons of our minds that keep us out of our promises. They are the words that speak to us and tell us what we can’t do and become and where we can’t go. There are people who are walking around in darkness and hungry for spiritual enlightenment. There are people who have not had the privilege of enjoying the Bread of Life, that is Jesus because they have no one to “break up” the bread because they have no spiritual teeth to chew and swallow. There is a world thirsting for the Living Water Jesus talks about in the fourth chapter of John to the woman at the well.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry but we must not forget to feed the “hungry.”


Thank God for the ability to receive revelation while walking at lunch time.

Again, Grace and peace,
Ramona

Must get back to work

Kristie,Luch+Rosetta:"He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge"I am glad your loved ones know God and have hope...may God continue to shine his face upon you.Thanks for the explanation,links and the comments..God bless you all

Mike...I've only recently started to read some of your posts. I'm a 43 yr old father in Chicagoland.

I'm in my 15th week of grieving for my 4 year old daughter Christine, so Psalm 31 verse 10 hit home today. Since the beginning of the year, I have been reading the One Year Bible that I rec'd for Christmas. Every single day has something to say to me!

I have not read A Grief Observed yet, but have read other books of grief geared toward parents of children who've gone to see the Lord.

Shortly after Christine died, I began to blog about my feelings etc...Your blog will help me through this hard time as well.

peace to you Mike.

Hi Marty. Glad you are with us. I will will keep you in my prayers Brother! I offer a humble bit of bible comfort...Proverbs 3:5-6. Read it over and over about 10 times. I can't explain it's healing power, but it works for me.

Street Preacher (Josh), welcome to the OYB blogroll!
http://www.chipbennett.net/wordpress/index.php/2006/02/street-preacher/

Reflections (Marty), welcome to the OYB blogroll!
http://www.chipbennett.net/wordpress/index.php/2006/02/reflections/

Anka (et al),
These words aren't original to me, but what do you make of this thought: "Salvation by grace; judgment by works." Do we make a mistake by confusing salvation and judgment, creating an identity between the two, when in fact they are two separate things?

Bald Man,

I like it, and much more concise than my post :)

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