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Re: pornography--I had a chance to hear Clay Crosse, Christian recording artist, speak about his struggle with pornography, and how it affected his life and his marriage. He was very transparent and very humble. He has set up a ministry called Holy Homes and is launching a website soon at and I highly recommend his book, I Surrender All, as well.

Judges 11:1-12:15

In today’s reading in Judges, I couldn’t help notice how the treatment of Jephtah by his half-brothers, those that were his own, is similar to how Jesus was treated by His own in today’s Gospel reading,

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:11 KJV)

It wasn’t until he was needed that his folks called on him and that is so like what I use to do when I was in the “world.” “God I didn’t want to be bothered with you, but now I’m in trouble and I need some help. God if you are up there and if you will get me out of this, I will serve you.” Yeah sure until the next pit I fall in or trouble I get into.

Each and every time God’s people fall into despair because of their choices and call out to Him in sincerity and truth, God’s mercy and grace shows up, by way of a deliverer. But because the one that was sent was not His Son, Jesus, a multitude of rescuers, prophets, teachers show up but none could fully deliver until Jesus came, in the fullness of time.

Each and every judge in the Book of Judges, is a type of Christ; however, unlike Christ they were sinful and subject to uncontrolled passions and thus needed to be delivered themselves, from themselves.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:1-11 KJV)

May we all recognize the True Light that Jesus brought into the world. May we not cover our eyes or hide from that Light. May we realize that His Light is the True Light and anything else is counterfeit

As I read today's OT reading,it struck me just how much detail Jephthah knew about the journey Israel took from Egypt to Canaan,the reaction of the Kings of the Lands the passed through.He was exiled,yet he had heard about God,maybe feared him but he didn't know God.He felt so honoured that God had sent him that he had to do something to please God.He never really took the time to find out what would God love...take for example his obedience.Nope he just wanted to give what he assumed God would like.I thought it was really strange that he would say "the first thing that comes out to greet me"becuase usually it's the wife and/or the kids that run out to greet a guy who's been gone for long.Well the way the scripture is written,it seems he really did sacrifice her.He had to choose between disobeying God or breaking the law,it was a lose/lose situation.God didn't tell him not to carry it out like in Abraham's case.This all struck home so powerfully that there is a price we pay for hearing about God,reading about God yet not knowing Him.I wonder if Jephthah is in Heaven,he murdered his daughter.God did use Jephthah to carry out His plan but I wonder if he got the well done pat on the back.Knowing the Lord is the only way to please God.I pray that I may trully know Him.
God bless you all

Gospel of John

Why was it written? John tells us is John 20:30-31

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." NIV

John's writings of Jesus were not exhaustive, but what was written was written to convince you that:
-Chirst was Messiah (a man)
-Chirst was the Son of God (deity)
-that by believing His message you may have eternal life in His name.

His name - "Jehovah is Salvation". Salvation is of God (Jehovah) not sacraments, rituals, money, works, or any other saint - it is of God.

Nowhere in any of the Gospels does Jesus ever speak of religion. That is a man-made institution. Jesus speaks of belief, of believing, of having faith - that is what salvation is about - "saving faith" an acknowledgement of your failings and of God's plan, a belief in Christ, and a trust in God's plan and a receiving of Jesus Christ in to your life.

If you are not a believer and have a problem with "religion" - that is a red herring - that is not the issue and is just an excuse to distance yourself from God. The issue is Faith - saving faith - and if you take God at His Word. Do you accept God's Word or reject God's Word?

This point will be pounded over and over in the Gospel of John.
John 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." NIV

In verse 14 it is made clear that the Word is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came to earth to tell us what was on God's mind - He was God's Word. God's Work at this time was the plan of Salvation - that is what Jesus came to reveal to the World.

In this phrase are the concepts of Eternality, Trinity, and Deity.

If you have problems with the concept of Trinity. Join the club - we are not meant to understand it. An imperfect example might be:

The Ocean, a wave, and seaspray. If you think of Jesus as a specific wave - he is lesser than the ocean (the Father), made up of the same elements, had a build-up in His ministry, and expired on earth (shore), and then returned to the ocean (Father). Sea-spray, in an imperfect example of the Holy Spirit, is made up of the same elements,is all around the ocean (Father), and finds its way onto some of mankind.
Jehovah Witnesses

Take John 1:1 and say the last part of the verse is:
'and the Word was a god'.

I have looked at enough Greek sites and heard enough people negate this to know it is poppycock.

Dr. Bruce M. Metzger of Princeton (Professor of New Testament Language and Literature):
"A frightful mistranslation." "Erroneous" and "pernicious" "reprehensible" "If the Jehovah's Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists."

Other links if you care to read up on this are below, or just "search" John 1:1, Word, God, Bible, apologetics to find your own articles.

But really all you need to do to know the JW's are categorically wrong is look at John 1:3
"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." NIV

Then go to Gen 1:1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." NIV

[God here is Elohim (creator) which by the way is in the plural indicating an OT reference to the Trinity.]

Jesus is God. Jesus is the Creator. I may be wrong, but I think of it as the Father is the architect, Jesus the builder, and the Holy Spirit is the guardian and caretaker of all that is created.

[a little bit more later today]

Jephthah and Daughter

[Anka wrote the above post last year - but other people may have the same thoughts]

Is Jephthah in Heaven?

Hebrews 11:32
"And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets," NIV

Jephthah made the honor roll of faith in Hebrews 11. I think it is safe to assume Jephthah is in Heaven.
What about the daughter and the vow?

Jephthah was insecure - based on his birth, his rejection, and being put to flight. this is exemplified by the asking for reassurances for his future role.

Yet he prayed. The Hebrew construction of verse 11 indicates Jephthah prayed to the Lord those words. He also knew Scripture. Most of his message to the ammonites was direct quotes from Scripture. Maybe some of the time in exile was spent studing Scripture and praying to God.

So Jephthah was raised up and anointed with the Spirit of God - what went wrong? Maybe he felt insecure, maybe satan was telling him he was not worthy - whatever the reason Jephthah made a silly vow to God when there was no need. And he would pay.

I am in the camp that knowing how God hated child sacrifices Deut 12:31, and Jephthah knew Scripture - that Jephthah did not sacrifice his daughter.

Biblical Hebrew can be difficult to translate, and this passage has key words with some assumptions built into the NIV translation. Some think he promised the first out of his tent to be dedicated to the Lord and he would offer up that person as an offering to the Lord. (Much like Samuel was later dedicated to the Lord using the same Hebrew words.)

Regardless, the rest of the chapter does not read like the daughter is going to be sacrificed. It is all about bemoaning not going to be married, and when the vow was fulfilled the comment was "she knew no man" (KJV). No mention of death, just not getting married.

It seems unclear, but maybe the purpose is to not make rash vows to God (Eccl 5:2,4-5). This was his ONLY child and if she remained a virgin there would be no grandkids. His line would be over. It was a rash promise to make God when he was already chosen by God (and he knew it). It would tear him up to forbear having grandkids, but at the least that was the result. At the least she led a life dedicated to the Lord - similar to a nun in the Catholic Church.

Lastly, if Jephthah had done child sacrifice, I would be very surprised to see him included with the other names in Hebrews 11.

Others may have different thoughts.

The Scripture in Judges 11 is very disturbing to me because I believe that the Bible says what it means and means what it says. Therefore, I believe that the daughter of Jephthah was offered as a burned sacrifice because Jephthah made that vow with God. The lesson here is that we are not and should not put ourselves in a position to barter with God. We are not to make deals with God that we will do something for Him if He does a particular favor for us. We are to dedicate ourselves to God on a daily basis and ask that His will be done in all that we do. We are not to try to buy his favors. Bartering means that what we have is equal to what He has so we will trade off so each of us will be justly rewarded. We can’t buy God because we have nothing to offer God that is as valuable as what God has to offer us. He is too great and we are too insignificant for that! We are just to love God and accept Him as our Savior and for that alone He will shower us with His blessings.

God Bless!

John 1:6 can apply to all of us "There was a man sent from God whose name was John...He came to be a witness of the Light.. Great truth. God uses individual men and women like John to make a difference in the world.

On another note, "There was a man sent from God whose name was William Wilberforce, the great slave abolitionist, and social reformer.." I have seen the Amazing Grace movie three times in the last month on the big screen. What a great example of being 'salt and light' to this world was William Wilberforce. If you haven't seen it yet, please find a theater where it's playing and you'll be inspired to 'be that person sent from God' to make a difference not only in preaching the gospel but 'being the gospel to others...

Funny you mention the gospel of John, the movie (well, i guess not since we start John today :p) but my dad just gave me his copy of it last week and told me to watch it, its the best film he's ever seen regarding Jesus bcos, well, its pure scripture. Coming from him, that means its really good, because he is highly critical of any that falls short of really well done...which is a good point, we want Biblical accuracy. BUt anyway, I will do my best to watch it tomrrw!

I love the Gospel of John ... the light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it... Jesus loves us, loved us even though we didn't understand or know who He is. The book of John always makes me feel "loved" by Jesus, in a special way.

Psalm 101:2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house
with blameless heart.

3 I will set before my eyes
no vile thing.
The deeds of faithless men I hate;
they will not cling to me.
These verses have always been a red flag to me to walk in holiness and purity EVEN when noone is looking!:) It's sometimes hard, in my flesh, to not watch things on TV that aren't "right" before God, especially if I'm alone and noone will know. We have a "no rated R" rule in my house , but sometimes PG13's aren't quite holy either! :) So I'm working on setting before my eyes no vile thing, and trying to train up my son that way too. It is difficult in this day and age. But I keep praying, and the Lord helps me.

Hey! Last week I told you I'd missed you, but never said why.
Today is a perfect example of why.
Thanks for your suggestion to PRAYERFULLY
read John, and ask God to help me know Jesus
more this year than ever before. I never thought of that.
I'm not as excited as you say in your blog.
For some reason, the Old Testament is more exciting.
But when you said prayerfully read and
ask, I know God will answer and something's gonna happen.

In regards to your thought some have probably
dropped out...
I can tell you from my experience
since I made the decision this year, it has been one thing
after another, all "battling" to keep me out of the Word!
Coming here is encouraging and both you/those who share,
probably don't realize how much of a blessing you are!
Thank You Lord and thanks you brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mike and Pat,

re: Jephthah and daughter

I will just reitierate. What you are reading is an English translation. The Hebrew is tricky here, and I am not sure the flavor of Jephthah's vow, or what happens after the daughter's two month sojourn is accuratley reflected.

Literal Hebrew translation of verse 31 is:
"then it hath been, that which at all cometh out from the doors of my house to meet me in my turning back in peace from the Bene-Ammon -- it hath been to Jehovah, or I have offered up for it -- a burnt-offering.'"

It seems like if it was a person - they would be dedicated to the Lord (like Samuel), and maybe if an animal offered as a sacrifice.

Regardless it is a very tricky translation. I believe the original Hebrew and Greek transcripts are inerrant. I would not make the same claim for some translations that all too many people depend on to form opinions.

The vow was foolish and unnecessary, and I think the Holy Spirit here is saying to be cautious what you promise the Lord. I think the punishment for the foolish vow was that the line of Jephthah died with him, that his daughter served the Lord and remained a virgin for her life. That is a very severe punishment for a culture that emphasized family lines. It is especially hard for Jephthah who was spurned and made too feel insignificant in his early years. Grandkids he could have loved and treated differently would have been a great comfort to him - but because of his vow it was not to be.

John 1:5

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." NIV

"understood" - "This word means that the darkness cannot get hold of the light, cannot appropriate it, cannot possess it, cannot apprehend it. The Apostle Paul asks, "What fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14). These are mutually exclusive: the moment you introduce one, the other has to flee. Darkness and light cannot exist together." - Ray Stedman

What is needed is a witness to the light to enable man to understand what the light is and what it means - enter John the Baptist. john the Baptist is that witness.
John 1:12-13

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." NIV

vs 13
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." KJV

Two years ago at christmas, after hearing my testimony a childhood friend asked me if "born again" was in the Bible. I referred her to Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus. While that conversation says being "born again" (or from above)is required to enter the Kingdom of God, it does not lay out the criteria like John 1:12-13.

Received him - "lambano"
to take
1) to admit, receive
2) to receive what is offered
3) not to refuse or reject
4) to receive a person, give him access to one's self

Believed in his name
The "in" here is "eis" and translates better "with respect to his name".
His name is Jesus - Yeshua - or translated "Jehovah is Salvation"
http://www.biblestudysite.com/prepositions.htm (see vi)

The right to become - "exousia"
delegated power or authority

Children of God NOT by:

-bloodlines - we are not born a "believer" by family or ethnicity.

-human decision - it is not us who decide we are beleivers, but God. God decides based on your heart and your words of prayer to Him. We cannot just say - I am a believer and "poof we are a "beleiver". We CAN go to God in repentance with the right heart and acknowledge our unworthiness, and accept and receive Christ into our life - and God will declare us "righteous".

-- not of the will of man. No one else - your parents, a priest, pastor, nor friend can make you a "beleiver". It is between you and God.

"But born of God"
or since it is a second birth - born "again" - based on your decision to believ in and receive Christ into your life.
So, take Him in - give Christ access to your "self", believe "Jehova is Salvation" (and that you cannot do anything to earn salvation), and you have the right and authority bestowed by God to be born of God - a child of God.

The right and authority does not make you perfectly sanctified - it is the beginning of your "eternal life" (that is why you are refereed to as a "child). There will be many peaks and valleys in the road as God through the Holy Spirit molds and shapes you in Christ's image. But regardless your salvation is secure - you are a co-heir to heaven.

Again this whole process is personal and between you and God. It is not done by bloodlines or some "easy decision", or by anyone elses say-so.

It is YOU who must believe in and receive Christ.

In Judges, concerning Jephthah and his vow, i read extensively long commentary by Vernon McGee, it convinced me that Jephthah did not offer his daughter as a burnt offering, first, thats murder and God never has or will accept a human as a dead sacrifice, He has called us to be a "living sacrifice". He was grieved bcos he would not have grandchildren n his line wouldnt continue and it says his daughter was obedient. As we know wen God called Abraham to offer up Isaac, it was a test, He never intended Isaac to be sacrificed. The only human sacrifice was Jesus, tho both God and man, He was without sin.
The beginning of John is amazing, where He relays Jesus is the`Word and always existed, "so the Word became flesh". Jesus is the I am, He always existed.

v 12-13 "But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God."
Here is the proof, we must be born again, not merely, yes, i know Jesus died for our sins, satan himself knows that. We have to be transformed. Its a miracle from God as well.

My study bible says regarding the term "backslider": This term, so often used by the prophets, is here used in such a way to clarify who is a backslider. He belongs in the category of the fool, the wicked and the disobedient and he is contrasted with the godly wise. It is a word that the prophets used of apostate unbelievers.

Prov. Back wen i was going through a severe depression, constantly thinking of suicide, I was the girl who laughed the most. No one knew the pain i was in. i still laugh a lot, but i just remember coming home feeling like i was hiding my pain and it was awful. I felt like I was everybody's clown, but i was desperately hurting under it all. I was tired of being everyone's clown, cheering everyone up, being silly, making everyone laugh...no one was there to cheer me up. that was yrs ago, God brought me thru that. I now know many who laugh the loudest are hurting the most!

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