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Re Mike's questions on judgement:

Yesterday I read a less-than-ten-word summmary of the Christian message: "We're all bastards but God loves us anyway."

Sure, we will all come before the judgement throne. But there is nothing we can do out of our own righteousness which will make us appear acceptable there. As reflected in today's Psalm - we are saved from condemnation and damnation by the grace of God.

Where sin increased,grace increased even more:Aaron's sons were struck dead as soon as they took "strange fire"into the temple yet Eli's sons sinned again and again without immediate judgement from God.Yet Aaron's line continued in priesthood while Eli's didn't.Really don't know where I'm going with this but it was the first thing that struck me as I was reading.When i think of judgement,I think we that have so much more knowlege and mercy will be judged according to how many chances to repent we've had.
Can leaders lead us astray?Eli and his sons did.They let Israel offer sacrifices that were not acceptable to God,the priests lived in sin.Today as Christians we have to realise that leaders are to be prayed for...and thank God we have the Holy Spirit to lead us out of an unhealthy gathering...
God bless you all

Every time I read a verse in dealing with the poor, I feel a pang of conviction. My job brings me into contact with the poor and for the most part their circumstances are the result of life style choices, drugs, alcohol, mental disorders and just plain bad luck. What I'm saying is I have been guilty of dealing harshly with the poor only because it is easy to judge others who are in poorer circumstances then yourself. God has convicted me on this many times and I have been slow to change, but I am thankful that God is patient with me. God knows every poor person's life from cradle to grave and all of the circumstances surrounding it. Who am I to judge these people? I'm but one back injury away from descending into povery. I keep in mind to treat all the poor with compassion and dignity and try to keep them in my prayers at all times. It certainly is not easy, but where I fail, God is victorious.
Thanks,
Jim

1 Samuel 2:22-4:22

I have heard it stated but I never, until today’s reading, saw it in scripture: God always warns us of impending judgment BEFORE judgment comes. Eli has been warned continually of his son’s behavior and does nothing about it. As High Priest, his responsibility was to teach the nation, yet he failed to even teach his sons. He may have rebuked them verbally but he never disciplined them. . But I believe the worst thing he committed was gorging himself on the fruit of his son’s misbehavior, stealing the sacrifices the people brought to the alter. Eli sent out mixed messages, what he said with his words was drowned out by the decibel level of his actions. He profited from his sons’ behavior and they new it, dulling the impact of his rebukes.

A man of God came to Eli and said to him, Thus has the Lord said: I plainly revealed Myself to the house of your father [forefather Aaron] when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house. Moreover, I selected him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer on My altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me. And I gave [from then on] to the house of your father [forefather] all the offerings of the Israelites made by fire. Why then do you kick [trample upon, treat with contempt] My sacrifice and My offering which I commanded, and honor your sons above Me by fattening yourselves upon the choicest part of every offering of My people Israel? (1 Samuel 2:27-29 AMP)

As we read on, we find this message delivered by the prophet wasn’t the first time Eli heard from God about his sons and him benefiting from his sons’ actions,

The Lord told Samuel, Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of all who hear it shall tingle. On that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I [now] announce to him that I will judge and punish his house forever for the iniquity of which he knew, for his sons were bringing a curse upon themselves [blaspheming God], and he did not restrain them. (1 Samuel 3:11-13 AMP)

I am wondering if I am seeing a pattern of how God operates. His warnings are first personal, maybe told to us in our prayer time or in dreams while we sleep. Then His warning is brought by a man of God, a prophet or other “church” worker. Finally a warning is made public in a public place, or house of worship, by someone who we are mentoring or someone who looks up to us. Then lastly, judgment comes.

My question to myself is this: How many warnings have I “blown off?” What has God been trying to get my attention about? Can I handle the embarrassment of being exposed in a public form? I think not.


To Anka, please go back and re-read the text again if you have time. Eli’s line did not immediately die out, they did not have long lives, and those who lived, would be miserable. Eli was a descendent from Aaron as all the high priests were. If you think about it, the high priestly line was destined to die out even as it was instituted. Jesus would replace the high priestly system and because He was from the tribe of Judah and not the tribe of Levi, once Jesus died the generational system of the priestly line would cease per God’s point of view and command, even if Eli’s descendents lived long happy lives.

One thing that caught me in the reading of Samuel was the exact same portion as you mentioned Mike - about who can intercede for us. Just reminded me of the whole concept of sin/atonement that runs through the entire OT and the vital significance of Jesus in that respect. I also noted the importance of certain numerical points again - how God called Samuel 3 times before he was provided recognition, and how Jesus would often repeat phrases (Verily, verily I say unto you...) or make points 3 times also, and whether this in any way can correlate to the fact that God is 3 in 1 as our we (body/spirit/soul). Not into 'numerology' but am noticing huge numerical points that God continually uses in scripture for whatever reason. Looking forward to learning SO much more about scripture through this resource and thanks for providing it. God bless. Romayne (N. Ireland UK)

I see Eli as a Man. Not unlike men today who meaning well, serve God, do their duty and in some ways suceed. Yet still fail. In America today, as it was suppressed say fifty or sixty years ago, I see men who mean well in their jobs, ministry, government, office, even priest and pastor, and while not immediately judged, fail God Himself by failing God's children, the very fruit of thier loins. David, broke God's heart and yet Love is so much so, it could not let David die in his inniquity but judge him and help David...., help us realize the consequence of actions.
Do we really realize a heart like the Father in Heaven who is love, feels the pain of our Sin? I think not. We fail, we are forgiven, we forget we involve so much more in our error....not just people, not just a country, state, person, ourselves..., but God himself. Maybe Eli failed His children, maybe he did not fail his God though..., You know we can do something in response to our judgements...., as David did....we pour out not to anyone else necessarily our grief, pain sorrows, but to God...alone. David did. And I think, this God of Love I know, not just respects that action, but envelopes us iin himself. We may involve others obviously or not in our sin, but God is the one we need to go to, He is the one we hurt.

I have been neglectful of the poor through my life and ministry to my shame. I was taught that all that mattered was to 'get people saved'. And I was also told "The poor you wil always have with you" ( I know jesus said that but he didn't mean by that to neglect them).

God has used one of my sons who consistently ministers to poor, disadvantaged children every week in an athletic and tutoring program called Run and Read. He mobilizes his non Christian (can't seem to find enough Christians to help because they're busy 'studying about God') running club friends to serve with him.

Alongside Proverbs 14:31, I would add Jeremiah 22:16 "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD. But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion."

I Samuel 2:25, what a verse! I have lived that verse! God has taught me to fear Him in a holy way, not an earthly way. I believe my motivation today to do what is right and what is good is in part, because I have this Godly fear, not as man understand it. God has been so gracious, merciful, loving, kind, and He has given His grace to me that I may learn of the holy Spirit the will of God for my life. God has brought me out of the darkness of the sin I was living into a new light, His light of truth and justice. He has been just inhis judgement on me thus far and I am forever thankful to Him for that. It is teaching me to be a woman of God in such a way, people don't have to ask me if I know Him, they can see it in my life!
I have been given a tender heart for the poor. I do not know the same poverty many in this word live, but I do understand it in America. God has focused my attention to those wheo are living in poverty and hunger with in my own reach. I bring many poor to my home and share what ever I have with them, food, clothing, a warm bed to sleep in, a hot shower with soap and all the same things I would use to be comfortable. They are no less human than I. What better conclusion can come from honoring God in all these things than Psalm 106:3, to be happy in the Lord!

I admire you for opening your home to the poor. I sometimes give to poor people I meet on the streets, and I support a charity that cares for poor in another country. But sometimes I grow uneasy with people on the street that approach me for money when my child is with me. I have to work on my attitude for that. I just want to scream"get a job".... shame on me!
I thank the Lord that He took me out of my poverty and pray that He'll forgive and change my heart to help people no matter where they're at.

1 Samuel 2:25 stood out for me to "If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” ~ I think we always sin against God. If we sin against other people, we automaticly sin against God. This is how I approach it ... Like when people talk garbage to me, don't treat me well or whatever, it doesn't get to me like it used to. Now I just think "I'll pray for you". Jesus defenitly saved me from my sins and He still does save me from my sins. I wish I could say that I'm not a sinner, but unfortunatly I still am. Indeed "We are so very fortunate that we have someone - Jesus - who can intercede for our sins". I'm glad I have the opportunity to go to the altar to "wash my feet".

John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life". ~ What an encouragement! I use verses like this when I go out witnessing. I ask people to read this and to absorb it. Really trying to understand what it sais. Try to understand it with their hearts. Talking to me make them so close to God, to eternal life! It's only 1 prayer away!

I do believe that when we sin it does have an effect on people around us.Because the spirit is not in full control of us "when we sin".And we know better to not sin, and there is so much bad temptation all around us. Yes the Lord has done a miracle in my life and I'am so very thankful for that.Praise God for that!Yes I do believe that money or anything materialist can never buy true happiness.I believe that true happiness is knowing the Lord."Thanks so much for what you do in putting these Bible blogs together".

Can man sin against man and/or God?

I thought that was a good question. My first inclination was all sin is against God.

My reasoning. Man cannot forgive sin. He can forgive offences, debts, etc. But only God can forgive sin. Therefore Sin can only be against God.

They are his rules, his righteous way of living - when we break HIS rules we sin against HIM.

Did some searching and found a decent post at the following link.

http://www.christianpatriot.com/03_06_2006.htm

John 5:29

[repost from last year]

For the last year I have led a Bible study on the Gospel of John. The leadership position came by default - as no one else wanted to lead the weekly discussions. The group is made up of several denominations of Christian faith.

Verse 29 provided some lively discussion as some people staked a claim based on this verse that good works will lead to heaven.

John 5:29
"and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." NIV

This shows the danger of taking verses in isolation. I found a couple of paragraphs from a sermon that talks about verse 29.

[Our old theologians used to say that you can distinguish justification (the forgiveness of sins) from sanctification (the purification of our lives) but you cannot separate them. They always go together. Anyone whose sins are forgiven will live a godly life because God only forgives the sins of those whose lives he intends to transform. That is why the Bible teaches us that we cannot claim to be forgiven if we are not, at the same time, living a righteous life. In this world, of course, our righteousness is deeply imperfect to be sure, but still, that is the way the Bible always speaks. "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." (1 John 3:10)

We want to qualify that statement. We want to hurry on somehow to take the bite and the sting out of that statement made by the same apostle who wrote the Gospel we are reading these Sunday mornings. We do not like to hear such definitive pronouncements about the absolute necessity of obedience if we are to stand in the judgment of God. But such statements are everywhere in the Bible. We meet them at every turn. God’s people will be righteous people, obedient people. They will serve the Lord. People who do not and will not are not God’s people no matter how vigorously they protest their loyalty to him. Which is why those who do good will rise to live and those who do evil will rise to be condemned.]

http://www.faithtacoma.org/sermons/John/John16.5.16-30.May28.00.htm
(there are other supportive verse citings at this link)

"God’s people will be righteous people, obedient people. They will serve the Lord. People who do not and will not are not God’s people no matter how vigorously they protest their loyalty to him." - from end of above sermon notes.

Goes hand in hand with Matt 7:21-23
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" NIV

The will of the Father is that we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Savior/Redeemer. That we Believe in HIM. That we Receive HIM.

Again the "knew" Christ speaks of is Gk. -"ginosko" - an intimate knowledge where Christ and the person are one, with you abiding in Christ and He in you. If you do nto have this intimate relationship with Christ, then nothing you do on your own will be good enough. It will be rooted in your will and what you think is right. Not in the Will of God.

I often lift up a prayer to God that people who desire to walk a righteous path would first realize that they need to Believe IN and Receive Christ. If not - they will go the way of non-believers in verse 23 of Matthew.

John 5:24-47

Quick hits

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24 NIV

What is Jesus'word - that you believe in Him (and receive Him) who was sent. If you do that and acknowledge it is the Father who sent Jesus then...

According to the Greek tenses - present active indicative - you have and will always have "eternal life" - You have crossed over - [Perfect active indicative - completed action because you have eternal life] - from death to life.
======================================================
Another way to look at verse 29 is those who have done good - listened, heeded and accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Those who did evil rejected Christ - may have listened, but did not heed His words and are condemned.

Remember what happened to all the people in the OT who rejected the One True God - the sentence is death. It is the same here - except this is eternal separation from God.
======================================================
Testimonies To Chirst

- John the Baptist

- Jesus' signs and wonders - the new beliver - the crippled man from the pool of Behthesda may have been standing in their midsts as Jesus spoke.

- The Father through the Holy Spirit. The ones who reject Jesus' word never get this testimony. But the ones who have come to believe have been moved by the Holy Spirit.

- Scripture. It points to Christ - but they refuse to come to Him. If they do not believe Scripture (God's Word) that points to Christ - they never will believe wht Christ (the Word) says.

Why?

Jesus points it out at the end of the readings:

PRIDE

It is pride that universally always keeps one from coming to Christ.

'That is not the way I understand it. That is not the way I was raised. What you say is different than what I believe. That does not make sense to me. My friends agree with me, and we do not believe what you say. The authorities and media do not agree with you (Jesus). That is not what I was taught in school. Smart people do not fall for such a path to God.'

Unless one humbles himself and gets rid of all the "I's and me's" concerning Salvation, they will never heed Jesus' words.

Unless one is humble and comes to God recognizing there is nothing they can bring to the table - heck, they can't even get to the table - to impress God enough to get into heaven - they are condemned.

Unless one is humble, recognizes man's sinful nature and repents to God with a right heart - there is no hope of salvation.

One must be in this state to be able to hear and heed Jesus' words. Only then can one believe in Him and receive Him and have (right now) eternal life.

1 Samuel 2:22-4:22

Quick hits

The sons of Eli were "wicked" - they appropriated the sacrificial offerings for themselves and had their way with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of meeting (tabernacle). They did what the Canaanite priests did - they had learned well. They did not listen to their father in his old age - as they had never been restrained from youth and had become wicked.

Meanwhile:
"And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men."

[Note the similarity to what is said about Jesus in his youth.]
======================================================
Prophecy Against the House of Eli

Eli was "heavy" and so while he may have talked about stopping their activity - it seems implied here that Eli went ahead and ate richly from the food appropriated by his sons.

While an Ok high priest (and judge) - Eli was not able to restrain his sons thereby corrupting the priesthood.

Prophet says and the Lord later affirms to Samuel - the line of priests would be replaced, those not killed immediately would never live past their prime, and Eli's sons and Eli himself would die on the same day.

The new priestly line would begin with Zadok during David's reign.
======================================================
The LORD Calls Samuel

God had been silent throughout the end of Judges and has been silent here in opening of 1 Samuel. God has been active and personal like He always is - but His Word (through prophets) has been absent. That is going to change now.

"One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.."

[Some possible spiritual metaphors here - Eli's sight may be metaphor for his spiritual strength was waning. Lamp not gone out - may have been foreshadowing the capture of the ark. the glory departing from Israel.]

Eli's sons had no regard for the Lord. Samuel did not yet know the Lord - but he would. Precedent for Samuel sleeping in the tent was seen before when Joshua slept there with Moses.

"the LORD was with Samuel as he grew up," and God kept His Word (as He always does.)

God started speaking to Israel again through Samuel and it went out to all Israel. God revealed himself to Samuel through His Word.
======================================================
The Philistines Capture the Ark

-God is never consulted.
-Wicked men (Eli's sons) accompany the ark.
- Bad theology and bad history by the Philistines regarding '"gods" and the plagues in the desert'. this is always the case when people do not know God - they do not get it right.
- Eli and his sons die - prophecy beginning to be fulfilled.
- The "glory" has departed from Israel. The Lamp is now out.


OOPS forgot
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This is tough because there are a lot of people who want money for alcohol or drug use and there are some ppl who are truly needy. My sister's friend had a roommate who did that for a living. Stood out on the streets begging for money and made hundreds a day, rather then getting an actual job, that was her job. I see many men for example who arent disabled, perfectly able to work and I will pass those ppl up. I remember seeing the same lady out on a corner for at least 2 yrs, she was a very large woman...not to be mean, but she didnt look like she was going hungry, and i would drive by her on my way to my job which i wasnt fond of, but i went regardless and it angered me..here i was going to work and she just stood on the corner and begged, thats not right.
2 Thes. 3:10 says plainly: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
There are ppl who fall on hard times, are disabled, have problems, its hard to discern sometimes who truly is in need. God knows our hearts and desire to help others. i have given to ppl I later found out duped me, but I just have to let God deal with them. Recently I ran into the same lady twice in the same week and two different locations many miles apart, once at a gas station, next in front of a grocery store and she had a different story each time. The first time i gave to her, the second time I confronted her and she denied it was her at the gas station and got upset with me and stormed away. I think its best to give to charities and well, whatever God puts on your heart. Many times i have offered to buy them food, go pick out what you want and i'll pay for it, and they made some excuse...so its a tough call. I never want to turn away someone truly in need, personally i think its best to give to organizations that can not only distribute food to them, but distribute the gospel of Jesus Christ to their souls. Thats what they truly need!

Great readings today. I really love the OT, i used to think that was all boring, but that was my ignorance, its really fascinating! I think i was listening to that same sermon a couple weeks ago about nobody sins in a vacuum. How much things can affect others that we have no idea about, or disregard as not being a big deal.

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