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Interesting to read your comments on Paul's purpose in writing Collossians. The phrase which struch me was: "... giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NIV)

So it is God the Father who has "qualified" us - declared us worthy - to share in the inheritance of the Kingdom. He has rescued us from darkness and brought us into His Son's Kingdom. Through the Son we have been redeemed and forgiven.

Paul writes it very vividly and with a huge depth of meaning beind each word.

Jeremiah

Like Ramona said - this can be a very confusing book of the bible. I had only looked at it in a casual manner before now, and am looking forward to more indepth readings this month.
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Jer1

Much as Pauls letters Jeremiah's intro sets up who he is and where his authority came from.

Jer1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." NIV

In Psalm 135 perhaps some can argue that it poetically talks about conception. Jeremiah is much different from Isaiah - his words are not as elegant - much more direct.

God knew, God formed, God chose, and God appointed.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". This is what some will have to wrestle with - it is direct and clear. Before Jeremiah was formed (at conception or as fetus) God knew him. Is it any different for any other conception? What implications should that have on our attitude toward "life"??????

I like what I heard recently about a "prophet". That a prophet is a forthteller of God's plan. A prophet is not a fortuneteller. Yes, there are certain things that are telling of future events, but overall it is about revealing God's plan.

Much of what Jeremiah revealed was God's plan for judgment.

The Almond tree
The almond tree blooms in January. It is a harbinger, a foreshadower of the spring to come. It is also a play on words - shaqed (almond tree) and shaqad (watching,waiting)in verse 12. (note: the root word for shaqed is shaqad).

So God is waiting for his Word to be fulfilled. Implying God's patience???

What word? Here it probably is the boiling pot reference to judgment.

Why is Judah going to undergo judgment?
"because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshiping what their hands have made."

OK. Rejecting God, and worshiping false gods, but also "worshiping what their hands have made". The implication is that no longer is everything considered to be from God - but man himself can create and be proud of the things he himself has done here on earth. What implications does this have for us today? Are we proud of OUR work, the things we have made for ourselves in this world????? How does God view this attitude?????

Jeremiah seems to take great comfort and belief in God's word as he always speaks in a forthright manner - no matter the audience.

Jer1:19 "They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD."
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Jeremiah 2 - Judah is bringing this upon themselves.

"'I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me.."

Isaiah used several bride references also. The "church" is often called the Bride of Christ. It is a consistent image that God uses to refer to His relationship with us. For that reason, it is probably good to post the link for the Jewish enagement and wedding ceremony again. For those who have an interest to look at and noodle through at their leisure - so that you can see the powerful imagery of a "bride", and the implicatons for the "church".
http://www.linkjesus.com/weddingstudy.htm

Jer2:8 "The priests did not ask,
'Where is the LORD ?'
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols."

When all the leaders jump ship it is hard to imagine how the "common man" would not be influenced.

Jer2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory
for worthless idols.

Why? Would people do this to a God who over and over had manifested Himself and His power before the people.

I think: That much like today, when you reject God and His Word, you are free to align with or believe in something that "allows you to do what you want". Something that is less judgmental; something that allows man's reason to define his activities (thus rationalizing). Something that does not make one feel guilty or accountable for his/her actions. Something that allows one to follow the pursuit of pleasure - and that is OK.

Jer2:20 "Indeed, on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you lay down as a prostitute."

The Canaanite religious practices involved sexual orgy on high hill under groves (of trees). In the Torah, it was not allowed to build altars under groves of trees. Yet the Israelites went to the hills (often).

Jer2:27b "They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
'Come and save us!'"

How many times has this happened? When trouble or tragedy strikes, all of a sudden people will pray to God. Having not had much of a prayer life before that moment. How would you describe a child grown up to adulthood who never talked with his parents, never spent Holidays with family, and never seemed to care for the relationship? Then all of a sudden their is trouble and he is on his parents doorstep pleading with them for help.
[Note: This has nothing to do with the response of God or parents. My intent is just to show the imagery of a self-indulgent/self-centered child. - that is how Judah is portrayed.]

Jer2:29 ""Why do you bring charges against me?
You have all rebelled against me,"
declares the LORD."

Why do you plead with me and lay this at my doorstep, when you have all these other gods. You have all transgressed or sinned against me. (Refering to the nation of Judah).

We talked before about who we sin against when we sin - I believe that it is against God. Here it is obvious that that the Lord is saying Judah has sinned against Him.

21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

Interesting question, Mike, about when we should choose to join the rebellious for moral reasons. I think, in general, just joining the rebellious because they are rebellious exhibits a lack of respect for order in society. However, if the order in society is clearly evil (such as the Nazis)then the higher moral imperative is to fight against them. But the truth of the proverb still doesn't change. You still need to fear them, and you have no guarantee that things will turn out well for you.

I just watched the Pianist on DVD this week for the first time, and it was a heartbreaking movie. The Polish people (Jews and non-Jews) who resisted the Nazis were doing the right thing, but they were often killed. But what if they hadn't fought at all??

Where can I get a printable copy of this reading plan. I cannot be on the computer everyday, but I would love to use this plan in my daily readings.

obadiah,

http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/october.asp?version=31

There is a link on the page above to a printable plan for the year - but it is a pdf. file.

When I had to go into hospital for the whole month of August, I copied/pasted the info on the main page for the month into Word and then formatted to my own taste - handy if (like me) you didn't spot the link for the printable version anyway, or didn't want a PDF. But Adobe will let you print a single page too so possibly a neater option.

Colossians 1:1-17

Paul is writing to Colossae as Mike points out because of the danger of false teachings. Primary amongst these was the "gnostics". Gnostics believed that worthy individuals received divine revelation from God. This further revelation led them to argue things of the church from a "mystical" standpoint, and were contrary to the teachings of the gospel. [More on this later]
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Col1:1-14

Quick hits:

- Paul is back to a greeting that emphasizes his position of authority:
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,.."

-"Grace and peace to you from God our Father": I have been remiss in pointing out that it is always "Grace and Peace" not "Peace and Grace". Why? Because you cannot have Peace until you receive the Grace of God.

-"..we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus..": It is not about faith. Today "faith" is a word bandied around a good deal. "faith" in what? Paul is glad because he has heard of their 'faith IN Christ".

-"..from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven.."

Just like in Ephesians, and in Philippians "but our citizenship is in heaven" - here the Greek verb tense indicates that your certain expectations are now and will continue to be stored up in heaven.

- Notice in praying that Paul expresses desires and then thanks:
DESIRES
asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will
in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might

THANKS
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness
brought us into the kingdom of the Son

Paul in his prayer is desiring a growth in spiritual maturity, and thanking God for the gift of Salvation (which is assured). Salvation is of God.
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Supremecy of Christ

Four false teachings of the Gnostics:
1)It failed to appreciate that Jesus Christ is fully God as well as fully man.
2)It failed to understand that we are made complete in Christ alone.
3)It did not understand the full and complete sovereignty of Christ over all creation.
4)Tried to put the believer under the law and promoted legalistic ideas for living the Christian life. - Gil Rugh
http://www.biblebb.com/files/gr971.htm

Paul's Refuting of these ideas:

Col1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."

Many people have trouble with the idea in Genesis of man being made in the "image" of God. Perhaps the concept is made clearer here when refering to Christ. Image - Gk. eikon from which we get the word "icon". Icon means a representation of something, and connotes a "manifestation" of that thing. Christ is the representation and manifestation of God. While our manifestation as the "image" of God is imperfect because of the fall - Christ is perfect.

Some cults and religious sects will say Christ was created. They will point to this passage and say - 'See, Jesus is the firstborn'.

"firstborn" has had a different context throughout the Bible.

"The firstborn had the right of inheritance. He had the supreme position in the family. In other words, the firstborn got a double portion of the inheritance. This kept the family fortune intact, so to speak, the land and so on...But it does not always mean the one born first in time. It carries the connotation of the one who is supreme, the one who is in the place of honor." - Gil Rugh (ibid.)

Examples:
-Ishmael was born first, but Isaac had the rights of firstborn.
-Esau is born first but Jacob has the rights of firstborn.
-Ex4:22b "..This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son." Israel is not the first nation in existence, it is highest ranking and holds the position of honor with God.
-Psalm89 in a messianic prophecy "..Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth." Jesus will be in the line of David - but He will be supreme.

Jesus is supreme over all creation.

How so?
Col1:16 "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by (alternate translation:through)him and for him.

I often think of it as: God is the Architect, Christ is the supplier of materials and builder, and Holy Spirit is overseer. Perhaps that is too simplistic?????

All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him. "through him" is interesting because it implies to me that all the energy and materials came from Christ (through Him). I think you will be hard pressed to find a scientist who will sign on to this observation :) "for Him" is one of the supports for my belief that all this (the universe, earth, and man) is a "love gift" from the Father to the Son.

What does this mean? Well, all this is metaphorically God's house. He gets to make the rules. It doesn't matter if you like the rules, or think it is ok to break the rules.

Example:
Someone has a house, and you get to stay there for a while. The owner is absent, but has either told you or written down what is acceptable and not acceptable actions in the house. You proceed to trash the house, party in the house, neglect the house, etc. The owner returns. What is the first thing the owner will do? Does he have the right to kick you out? Based on what?
[Note: ignoring forgiveness, redemption, etc - just focusing on house and rules and the rights of the owner (creator of the house).]

Col1:17 "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Christ is eternal. Before all things, Christ exists. "Before Abreham was born, I am. IN HIM is the power that sustains and maintains the creation that He has brought into existence. Deists will not be happy with this thought:)

Jeremiah 2:31-4:18


Rambling thoughts:

Why do you gad or wander about so much to change your way? You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. From [Egypt] also you will come away with your hands upon your head, for the Lord has rejected those in whom you confide, and you will not prosper with [respect to] them. (Jeremiah 2:36-37 AMP)

When God’s people rely on things, people, weapons, political parties, governments, us-four-and-no-more folks instead of their strong right arm, The Lord Jehovah, the Lord Strong and Mighty, we will be pierced through because we lean on a stick that has the appearance of strength but is nothing but decaying wood.

It amazes me how we will do everything to try to get our way, break every Commandment to try to bring about an out come, yet despite our failure to get our way, our failure at playing little gods, more than likely we will not repent until we are utterly crushed by our stupidity


. THAT IS to say, If a man puts away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's, will he return to her again? [Of course not!] Would not that land [where such a thing happened] be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot [against Me] with many lovers--yet would you now return to Me? says the Lord [or do you even think to return to Me?] Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see. Where have you not been adulterously lain with? By the wayside you have sat waiting for lovers [eager for idolatry], like an Arabian [desert tribesman who waits to plunder] in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your vile harlotry and your wickedness (unfaithfulness and disobedience to God). (Jeremiah 3:1-2 AMP)

One of the things that can be clearly seen when one goes through the prophets is the imagery of a marriage relationship between God and His people. The imager of the spouse running after other men to get what she has already been given by God is so clear that a person who has no sight can see. Is it any wonder that God hates divorce? The Marriage Covenant is supposed to model on the earth, what God is to His people, their Husband.


There is so much to ponder and mediate on in Jeremiah that in seventeen plus years in reading this book over and over again, there are still lots of surprises and I am overwhelmed.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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