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when talking about the womans bronze mirrors you quoted 1 Corinthians 13:12 ( "now we see in a glass darkly but then we shall see face to face...."i find this verse to be the answer when one comes to the end of human understanding and you just cant explain something inthe Bible or as often happens you start discussing a point of view and many people have differing opinions and it could become quite tense as people believe fervently in their point of view..there are times when we have to come to the point of saying were not able to understand everything,one day it will be revealed to us ..for now relax and believe fervently in the important (essential)things.

"By their fruits you shall know them." God's Word reflected in our actions and the way we live our lives and relate to our fellowmen/women will bring
disciples to God's kingdom here on earth!

You're right, Stef, let's focus on the essentials but of course even that people cannot agree on----what one considers significant may be inconsequential to another. But with God's grace, we'll be able to see what God wants us to see.

When I read this Exodus passage, I step back and see the character of God revealed. To "create" and "craft" this holy tent, tabernacle, place...requires a skill, dedication, care and precision. All the design and engineering is ordered by God. It was important to put such care into its creation. Therefore, this reading may seem monotnous, but isn't there revealed a pace, a deliberateness, steadiness, a rhythm, and orderliness...all showing a picture of God. He himself is orderly, deliberate and controlled. He is the master creator. Something of great value and significance requires great care. It is not to be thrown together casually, impulsively, disrespectfully. And things of quality and value are built one step at a time, carefully. Is it not so with our lives? We do not grow physically from baby to adulthood overnight. We do not reach spiritual maturity without the slow character building circumstances that shape who we are. Thank God for such portions of scripture that allow us to see His nature! We are in such a hurry all the time. As Americans, we are consumed with productivity, so much so that equate our self worth with what we "produce". I am so glad to see that God "produced" for six days and then rested for one day.I am glad He is patient with us allowing us to "grow" up in Him accepting our moments of fear, uncertainty, and our moments of faith and courage.

In fact, there is only one command in these verses: “make disciples of all nations” (that’s the only imperative in the original Greek). But, that command is encircled on the one hand by a breathtaking statement of fact (“All authority…) and on the other by a comprehensive promise (“and surely I am with you always,…), and explained by three activities / participles (“as you go”, “baptizing”, “teaching”), which are the inescapable tasks to undertake in order to fulfil the command!
Perhaps “going, baptizing and teaching” are illustrative rather than saying all there is to say. Or perhaps, each embraces a significant portion of what is involved in making disciples.

I love Matthew 28:18. It tells us that Jesus now has *complete* authority in heaven and on earth. What reassurance!

My other verse today for me, "Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others." Psalm 34:14.

I don't know about you but sometimes I have to work EXTREMELY hard to live in peace with others. Often times the most challenging place is at work. But I have to be a light and be at peace.

Couple of thoughts on matthew 28:18-20. First one is that it is good to remember that Jesus is speaking to "you" in the plural. He is speaking to a community of people who are to take responsibility to make disciples of all the nations. It's such a daunting taks that He would never commission us alone.

secondly, dallas willard in his recent book The Great Omission says the least practiced part of these verses is where it says, "teaching them to do". we emphasize teaching and more teaching, but underemphasize helping people and ourselves 'to do' all that He said and did. And we have enough in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7 to keep us going in terms of what we should obey and what He wants us to teach others 'to do'.

RE John's post yesterday.

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me"? must be among the most haunting, bewildering words in history. Thank you, John, for helping us see another perspective and sharing that link. It makes a lot more sense to me than the usual interpretation.

Great Commission encourages many to go on mission trips, which is wonderful and makes sense. However, I believe that often times the mission field many of us are called to "go" into is in our own backyards.
Mike I believe that same, I also believe that we should journey with the person not just ask them to attend church with us, not just read the bible or just give them resources; but to truly walk with them. Take them along the way to developing a relationship with God, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

Life Transformation Groups - anyone familiar with these
I am not sure if this is the same thing however a friend of mine is inpregnanted with the idea of ministry. We don't call them bible study groups or church it's called Journey Groups. Our mission is to reach those people who might not ever step foot in church. I believe in this ministry because I talk to many folks who won't attend church for one reason or another, but they all say they love God. Those are the people we want to reach as well as those with a curiousity. Its almost like Hermant Mehta who according to the Wall Street Journal wanted to find out if he was "missing something" as an atheist. So he went on ebay with this proposition he would spend 1 hour of church attendance for each $10.00 bid. I would have bidded because my pray is that I can be a light in all I say and do that might bring others to Him. I talk about the bible via email all day at work with my friends. I absolutely enjoy talking about the word.

First--what is the name of the artist who created the painting above showing Jesus leaving his tomb? It is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

I attend what is called a Life Group. I don't know exactly what you mean by Life Transformation Group but we meet as 'young married couples' in our homes each week. There are hundredes of Life Groups in my church but ours just happens to be focused on study as couples. Normally we meet and discuss either a certian topic or use a study guide from a Christian bookstore. Lately though our pastor is on a sermon series and he created DVD's that are given out to the Life Groups each week that look into that week's sermon more indepth. He has questions he asks and we discuss, pray and have fellowship that follows his questions.

Also, there are at least 5 times a year that we go in the community and either do something for/with people. In December we went to a local nursing home and sang and got to meet some of the residents. Just last week we went to a local DHS childrens home and had fun hanging out with the kids and playing games. We have also volunteered at different shelters/homes for other jobs as well as 'adopting' families for Christmas.

I would love to take on your challenge of giving the OYB to 5 people this year! I think that would be an awesome honor!

New Testament and Psalms today are especially wonderful today and even though I hate to admit that the Old Testament verses seem 'boring' to me in a way... I really appreciate the fact that there was SO MUCH going on there and that the care and the value of everything that was done is not as common in building/creating things today. I can't think of much around in my town today that is as documented and as precise in construction. They really built it with CARE and precision because it was that IMPORTANT! --and it just makes me think about times when I feel like I can't do enough to show how much I love someone/something--always wanting to do MORE, MORE!!!!

I love the victory of Christ. He is not here, He is risen! You can see a sign that says that in His 'apparent' tomb today in Israel. This is definitely the heart of Christianity! these elements must all be the foundation or else the doctrine should be rejected. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus was fully man, fully God, Jesus was crucified and was resurrected on the 3rd day, Jesus' atonement satisfied the Father, He makes intercession for His who believe on Him.
Yes, the great commission is the spread the news! not all of us all called out to other places, but with today's technology, we have access to people all over the world. hello, we have myspace...i'm sure we all have made friends with ppl near, far, all over the place. we need to use whatever means God has given us to tell others of Him.
I used to get so tired of the pervy messages i would get from guys on here..i would ignore them or tell them to leave me alone. then God told me, hey, i love these guys too. So if guys want to write me messages, including very dirty ones, I just tell them about Christ's love for them. they will either listen or ignore it and go somewhere else...most have just ignored me or laughed at me. oh well, I did something at least. But I think myspace is a great way to establish friendships with ppl we could never meet in our circles of life and share the news! I sent out a Bible to a very dear friend of mine who i met here who is 6000 miles away, they arent saved yet, but they are reading the bible and i am just praying for this person always! We need God's love, we need His spirit cause we cant have his love any other way. My flesh is not a very loving person, i need Christ to love through me!! I'm useless on my own!

I love psalms, i admit i was brokenhearted today, i just wanted to die and was crushed in spirit. the enemy tells me to just off myself, to be totally blunt. fortunately its a Wednesday so i went to church and let God minister to me, then talked with a friend and i am totally restored! I know he is near to me when i am brokenhearted, he hears me. It gets so hard sometimes...
I love this promise: 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
The thing is, we just cant see it! thats why faith is so important, i didnt even have faith earlier but God still restored me. I knew not to lean to my own understanding, but it was soooo hard not to. I just didnt know what to do...God told me to go to church, spend time with Him. I am restored but i'm sure the enemy is getting ready to pounce again. But I must remember God delivers me, He always does!
If anyone reads this, can you keep me in prayer?...i'll be very honest here, I get tempted a lot to kill myself. Not as much as before, but i still get it and I just have to trust God wont let go of me even if I let go.

Verses that stood out for me:
Matthew 28:19 "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit".
Psalm 34:15 "The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help".
Psalm 34:18 "The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time".
Proverbs 9:10 "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment".

This year will you seek ways to encourage others in your life to read God's Word? ~ Well, not only this year LOL I'll encourage others for the rest of my life! God's Word is just so awesome, it changed my life completely! I love it soooooooooo much and I want everybody to know!!!! Reading God's Word and hearing God's Word is the best!!! I was only going to go 2 days to the Bible Conference ... but I just HAVE to hear everything! The Words fill me with joy and happiness! I learn so much and I don't want it to stop ... but unfortuniatly it ends Friday ....

In reference to the book of Leviticus, Bob Deffinbaugh does offer some very usefull information for those people who have difficulties in reading through this book of bible. The reasons he gives is that people find it either boring, too bloody or not relevent to today's society or to the new testiment study of Jesus and His ministry. He tries to shed some light and bring relevance by saying that the old testiment sacrifices happened before Jesus came on the scene and explains why attointment for sin was necessary as it was in the time of Jesus and as it is today. I'll cut and paste some of what I felt were the highlights of what Bob said using his words rather than using my words to explain.

The bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Heb. 13:10-16).

In the Mark 9 passage cited above, I believe that the key to the interpretation to this text is to be found in understanding the role salt played in some of the Old Testament sacrifices, such as found in Leviticus 2:13. The same can be said of the other portions of the New Testament where New Testament concepts are conveyed in Old Testament terminology. If we don’t understand the Old Testament terminology and concepts, we will not grasp the New Testament meaning.

We then have three compelling testimonies from the New Testament of the importance of a study of the Book of Leviticus. First, there is the citation of texts from Leviticus by our Lord and His apostles. Second, there is the recurrence of Old Testament theology in the New. And third, there is the dependence of the New Testament writers on Old Testament terminology.

If you don't have time to read all that Bob says at least read the conclusion of his writting at the end. Hang in there and try to get through this difficult book in the bible. God will teach you something and reveal Himself to you in many ways.

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