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Yesterday again I heard someone mention jews in a really degrading way and wondered what"what in the world do you have against them?"Here again I see God warns Solomon that if he/Israel turned to other gods He would reject the temple and make Israel an object of ridicule...exactly what's happening today.
Like the OT days,we are now either serving God or slaves to the devil.David had mighty men who were not Israelites so even foriegners then had a chance to worship God and serve him out of love.Now we see those enslaved to satan going deeper in sin and soon the cup will be filled up like it did in Noah's time,Sodom and Gomorah,etc.
Just a thought...Did Solomon have God's approval to give out towns in Israel to a foreign king?
Should we seek to be like Jesus or Solomon....Wisdom without total surrender to God could lead to pride and separation from God.Jesus was in total obedience....Solomon wasn't.Just a thought...if Solomon had asked for grace to always walk in God's council(totally dependent on God)compared to wisdom to do it all on his own would he not have fared better?Solomon so far sought no one's council for he was the wisest man on earth...so far not even God's council did he seek................
My newest plan to keep up my readings on the OYB is to wake up by 5am so I have sufficient time to have my quiet time with God in prayer and His word:)...I pray God sustains me in my desire and keeps me awake the rest of the day:).....Guess this is my way of literally seeking the kingdom of God first:)
God bless you all

>>What is the focus in your life? Is it Jesus? Is it godly wisdom? Are you following Jesus with all that you are? Are taking up your cross daily? Are you following Jesus all the way up that hill?
>>

Hmmm, Anka answered your questions sort of indirectly. Before I clicked on the response and read her (Anka's) comment, my mind ran too the Word's of Jesus:

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33 AMP)

Jesus’ second coming, that last Advent, is when He will return as a Warrior King. The people of the day were confused about the order. They through first the Messiah would conquer the political kingdom first, sin second. Just like today, people are confused on why people sin, do wrong and think wrong. They first think it is the environment, social and political, that causes people to sin. “He/She was raised in a dysfunctional family; the political system, Democratic/Socialist/Communist etc, causes people to violate the law and sin.” No, it is man’s condition first: the sin state, then the political system will follow. God said so to Solomon in answer to Solomon’s prayer/petition:

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP)

When Jesus Comes again, man’s choice will be taken away He will return to put all things under His feet. We first must make God the ruler of our heart then everything else follows.

Grace and peace,
Ramona


Excellent idea to wake up earlier to set a good start for the day! I've been trying to do that, if for only 10-20 minutes. It definately makes a differance. Jesus did it, why shouldn't we?

Simon Magus

Before we get to Simon - a CONTROVERSY.

The fact that these Christians received the Holy Spirit in what seems to be a subsequent experience to their salvation has caused much controversy; there have been different explanations offered.

i. Some say they were never saved to begin with under Philip’s preaching. When Peter and John came, they really trusted in Jesus and then received the Holy Spirit.

ii. Some say they were really saved, and then in a subsequent experience, they received the Holy Spirit in a pattern that believers should follow today.

iii. Some say they were really saved at Philip’s preaching, yet God, in a unique move, withheld the gift of the Holy Spirit until it could be bestowed on them by Peter and John. God’s purpose in this was to ensure continuity between the church in Jerusalem and the new church in Samaria, guarding against division.

iv. Some say they were really saved and did really receive the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, but were given special gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit at the laying on of hands by Peter and John. - all of above by David Guzik

Personally, I need to think about this some more - so I am just offering the four explanations.
======================================================

NOTE: Simon offerd to buy the power of laying on hands to give the Holy Spirit. The practice of purchasing offices or influence in the church became known as "Simony", because it is done in the same spirit as this Simon.

There is a lot of discussion and controversy over this man in commentaries - and for that matter the early church fathers. Was he saved or not? Was he a "true believer?

Legends (urban?) abound, but there are sources that say Simon ended up in Rome and had at best controversial effect on Christianity at worst direct conflicts with Peter. Father of Gnosticsm, claimed deity, went back to magic - I guess it all needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Form extra-biblical sources there is a link to the Jewishencyclopedia below. I chose this article because it also cites early church writings as sources - in case anyone wants to read further.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=798&letter=S
======================================================
If the above is even partially true, then I come to the question of: Why was Simon not really a believer?

Simon supposedly believed and was baptized? There is precedent at least for the belief part. In John 2:23-25 people in Jerusalem saw signs (miracles) by Christ and "believed". Yet Jesus did not entrust himself to them as He knew what was in man (their hearts). If you do not truly "believe" the act of baptism on Simon's part means nothing.

Nowhere does it say Simon aksed or received the Holy Spirit from Peter or John? Did Simon believe because of the message of Philip, or because of his "magic" background he was enthralled by signs and wonders? Maybe Simon thought if he professed faith and was baptized, he would get some of those powers. Regardless, it is not written that he asked Philip or offered money to Philip for that kind of power.

Maybe it was not until Simon saw what he perceived as "real power" from Peter and John that he stepped up with the money offer. Which led to Peter's rebuke. Was Peter treating simon as a believer or non-believer????

David Guzik commented:
What prevented Simon from coming to a genuine belief in Jesus? Probably it was pride. Before the coming of Philip and the gospel, Simon was an admired holy man in the region, and had been admired for a long time (Acts 8:11), so much so that people declared, This man is the great power of God (Acts 8:10). A proud person might give an outward display of faith because it is the “right” thing to do in the eyes of others, but in the secret place of their heart, they may fail to submit to Jesus Christ.

If this is the case, I can definately identify with Simon. I had read and understood Gospel of John with my "head", but I had great difficulty giving my "heart" to God. The desire to "submit" my will to God's will was a much more difficult process than intellectually acknowledging Christ. For me it definately went back to "stubbornness and pride". I wanted salvation, but in my heart - I did not want anybody "running my life".

I shudder to think of my current Christian life, if the Holy Spirit had not convicted me of my stubborness and pride, and caused me to come "fully" to God and Accept Jesus as my Savior.

I wonder if Simon got that same conviction and ignored it????? As Sue says - so many questions?????

1Kings 9&10

Random notes:

Temple and Palace completed 24 years after Solomon came to throne.

"It was the hour when the accomplishment of work means the relaxation of effort. That is always a perilous hour, and the greater the work done the graver the peril. A life which has been full of activity, when that activity ceases, demands some new interest, and will find it, either high or low, noble or ignoble." (Morgan)

vs. 4
Solomon asked to walk as David walked. David is a "human standard", but certainly not an impossible standard. As long as Solomon had a heart for God and sought forgiveness when he transgressed, he would be all right.

vs. 11
King Solomon then gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee: This was not good. Hiram was indeed a friend to both David and Solomon, but the land of Israel was given to Israel by divine decree. Trading Israel's land for a glorious temple and palace was not a good deal....Hiram nicknamed the cities Kabul, which literally means "good-for-nothing." - David Guzik

Even back then the area of Galilee (Jesus' future home) was not thought of very highly.
======================================================
The Queen of Sheba:

Sheba (also known as Sabea) was where modern day Yemen is today (Southern Arabia). We know from geography this was a wealthy kingdom, with much gold, spices, and precious woods. History also tells us that they were known to have queens as well as kings.

The Queen came with questions:
"The hard questions were not just riddles, but included difficult diplomatic and ethical questions . . . The test was not an academic exercise but to see if he would be a trustworthy business party and a reliable ally capable of giving help." (Wiseman)

Queen praised the God of Israel:

This is an example of what God wanted to do for Israel under the promises of the Old Covenant. God promised Israel that if they obeyed under the Old Covenant, He would bless them so tremendously that the world would notice and give glory to the Lord God of Israel.

If we take the Queen of Sheba as an example of a seeker, we see that Solomon impressed her with his wealth and splendor, and also impressed her personally. But she returned home without an evident expression of faith in the God of Israel. This shows that impressing seekers with facilities and programs and organization and professionalism isn't enough.

Jesus used the Queen of Sheba as an example of a seeker: The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:42) If the Queen of Sheba sought Solomon and the splendor of his kingdom so diligently, how much more should people today seek Jesus and the glory of His Kingdom.

According to Ethiopian tradition - fanciful stories, perhaps - the Queen of Sheba wanted a son by Solomon, and he obliged her. Her child was named Menilek, and he became the ancestor of all subsequent Ethiopian monarchs.

Sources: John MacArthur, J. Vernon Mcgee, and http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1110.htm

I Kings 9-10:29
Reading and visualizing the opulence of Solomon’s palace and the wealth he held in gold can make one forget that although he wrote the majority of Proverbs, Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes 5:10

10 Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless.

And

Proverbs 16
16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

Although all that came to visit Solomon, including the Queen of Sheba, understood that it was God’s blessing upon Solomon that gave him the Wisdom from God, which allowed him to get wealth, in spite of the warning given to Israel’s future kings (Deut.14-20), wealth and fame does not by itself mean that one is blessed by God.

Acts 8:14-40

This statement spoken by Peter to the former Sorcerer, Simon, intrigues me because I have understood for several years that the majority of people in the world do not know what a gift is. A gift by its very nature is supposed to be freely given that means no strings attached. Because we don’t know what a gift really is we work hard at trying to earn it, or like Simon the Sorcerer, we try to buy it. We may not use currency to try to gain the gift but we may try to use “works-in-kind” as a means to pay.

A so-called gift giver may be giving a false gift as a way to manipulate or control someone’s behavior or a bribe disguised as a gift. If we have been given so called gifts to manipulate our behavior we may reject a gift if we don’t like the conditions. Either way our image of what a gift really is flawed. Thus when God’s offer of salvation is handed to us we don’t know how to receive. Many reject salvation because they don’t feel they have enough in their personal arsenal of “works” to pay for the gift or think they are unworthy.

This misunderstanding about how we see gifts came to me in two parts. A beautiful women, a nun, handed me something wrapped in tissue paper and said she needed to explain something to me. She asked me, “Do you know the difference between a gift and a present?” A started to fumble for some response that seemed somewhat intelligent then I realized this could be a life changing experience so I said, “No.” She then proceeded to explain to me that a gift was something the giver dearly valued. It was something they really wanted to keep for themselves but because they valued the relationship more than the item or thing, they were willing to give up the gift. A present was something you bought in a store or made just to give away. What she handed me was a cross, made by a Navaho Indian, that had a heart in the center. That heart, she said, was the heart of Christ. That Indian had given this pendent to her and she now giving it to me.

Isn’t that what God did for us? He gave his sinless valuable Son, Jesus, to us, to be a substitute offering and payment for our sins.

The second part of my revelation about gifts came to me when someone told me I didn’t know how to receive a gift. Upon asking them what they meant they explained that receiving a gift did not mean that I was obligated to them. I could either take the gift or reject it; I could use the gift once taken or I could let it gather dust in a corner somewhere, everything was on me. Once the gift they offered left their hands it no longer belonged to them and they would never ask me how I used it, but they would be willing to hear from me what I did with it. That was a true gift giver.

The Ethiopian Eunuch was a recipient of The Gift. As he searched for understanding, God sent Philip, the Evangelist, who left a thriving ministry to hand off a gift that had been given to him. I don’t think this Ethiopian official was a stranger to the text he was reading, I believe he was looking for understanding of the scripture before him. After all as a Jewish convert, he was commanded to study, but so often the case we study but do not understand.

God felt the life of this man was so important that he removed a minister from his large congregation to give him what he, the Eunuch, had been searching for, TRUTH! And please note that Philip do not go back to his congregation in Samaria, God sent him to a new place, Caesarea. God loves us so much that he will disrupt the course of someone’s life to minister to us.

God is not like this Proverb
25 14 A person who doesn't give a promised gift is like clouds and wind that don't bring rain

A promised gift can be something you were told you were getting but didn’t get, or it could be something you received and was told it was a gift but you found out it was a bribe or extortion.
Psalm 130:1-8

Is this not a Psalm for those battling depression or is this not a Psalm.

1 From the depths of despair, O LORD,
I call for your help.

God is just so awesome, isn’t He? No matter what pit we find ourselves in God cares and He hears. It may seem like he has abandoned us but as the sixth verse implies, like the sentry, or watchman, wait for the coming of the dawn, so we who are caught up in the pits of life long for the dawning of God. Moreover, remember the darkest part of the twenty-four hour cycle is right before the Son comes up.

Proverbs 17:2-3

I’ve heard someone say that we are not paid by how much work we do we are paid based on our value. If we seek for and acquire wisdom, a commodity that is definitely lacking in today’s societies, that wisdom will elevate us in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Hi!
I just found your blog and really think it's wonderful. I've shared it with the readers of my own blog as well. You have a wonderful ministry here. May God continue to bless you and all those who read & listen to your works.

Tiffany

Verses that stood out for me today:
Acts 8:20 "But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought!".
Psalm 130:5 "I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word".
Proverbs 17:3 "Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but the Lord tests the heart".

I LOVE Proverbs 17:3! It makes me think about people who forget that the Lord can look into their hearts. He can test their hearts! I know people that claim to be Christians, they have said 'the prayer', so they are reborn, they come to church on Sundaymorning every week, they come to Bibleclass ... but they gossip, they drink (not only drink but get drunk!), they let mammon rule their lives (everything needs to be expensive AND big) and in Church they act like they are clean and pure. I know these things, not out of gossip, I know these things because I'm talking about some of my relatives. Yes ... it's so painfull for me to see. It's like seeing Jekyll and Hyde in church on Sundaymorning! They lie, they cheat and not on me ... because I don't care what they do and how they do it. Well, I DO care, but there's nothing for me to do to chance this situation. But I wonder if they do know that God can test their hearts. They'll tell our pastor "Yes, I admit that I drink, but not till I'm drunk and not every day!". But I know that's not true ... They talk about me behind my back, I know that for a fact ... and it just saddens me that they really think they're saved. I know, I'm not God and I'm not the one who has to judge them. But I do read the Bible and the Bible is God's Word. I read the Bible a LOT and God is pretty clear about things. The Bible is clear about what's wrong or right. I'm not saying that I'm perfect and without sin, but I'm not doing it on purpose! I'm living in God's Path ... laying my life in His hands, every day ...

1 Kings 9:4-5 ESV And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, 'You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'

God is such a forgiving God and His mercy endures forever! Listen closely to what God says about David. He said David "walked with integrity of heart and uprightness." Wow! We all know that David had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered. Most of us would probably call those two things more than a 'mistake.' But you know, David was a man after God's own heart and through it all, he never quit worshiping God or apostasized in any way. David recognized his sins, repented or turned from them; he never made them a lifestyle or continued in them.

If one searches the Scriptures you will find some other good things God says about David. We've probably all heard it said that God sees our potential and what He made us to be. Here is a good example of once God forgives us, we are clean in His sight. "He is just and faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

This story and so many others of how God uses imperfect people to achieve His will is one of the most encouraging concepts I have grasped from reading the Bible. He can still use me...and you! Praise the Lord!

Just to let y'all know, I started reading the OYB the first of this year and it has been one of the best 'habits' I have ever created. I look so forward to getting up in the mornings and reading the Scriptures. God never fails to speak to me through His Word. I have enjoyed reading your blog, but have not had the time to contribute comments. Keep up the good job!

I was listening to a sermon early this morning about King Solomon, talking about the dangers of excess anything. not just physically like wealth; too much and we may forget God nor poverty lest we steal. Same spirituality, if we live in sin figuring grace will cover us or we live in legalism thinking about our righteousness. We need a balance. we need to be in the middle.
God did bless Solomon with wealth bcos He was pleased Solomon asked for wisdom above all else. He did right in God's eyes (well, so far) and was blessed. thought it was funny, the merchant ships brought gold, silver, ivory, and monkies. haha. how random!
Jesus was our example because He lived in service to others, He sought nothing for Himself.

Amazing in Acts how God placed Phillip in the Ethiopian's way right as he was pondering scripture and he received salvation! God still does this today...wen we are pondering, God sends someone or something to answer or question if we truly seek an answer.
Also....good point that God makes it possible for all men to come to Him, He will send out someone to that seeker. Theres no “man living in a country“ that never was given a chance to accept Jesus, God will judge fairly and righteously. I am also heard on the radio a record number of ppl are having dreams/visions of Jesus in some muslim countries, and coming to faith bcos of this. Jesus will go Himself to ppl still, just like with Saul/Paul.

I love Psalms! I’m feeling it! I so cant wait to be redeemed from this world!!

Acts 8:14-24 – v14-18: When Samaritans heard the word of God, Philip sent word to the apostles Peter and John to come pray that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he (the Holy Spirit) had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in water in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon the magician saw that the Spirit was given by the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money to have this gift. QUESTION: How does Philip know that the Holy Spirit has not come to any of the Samaritans yet? Does the Holy Spirit come automatically to a person when he receives Jesus as his Lord and Saviour? How about when a person is baptized in water in Jesus name, does he automatically receive the Holy Spirit? The answer seems to be apparent – NO, therefore Philip had to ask the apostles for help. Later on we also saw Simon the magician after seeing how the Holy Spirit is received through laying of hands, it impressed Simon so much that he asked for the same gift. QUESTION: The Holy Spirit is invisible, so what did Simon see that could have impressed a magician like himself. Did Simon see the Holy Spirit? No, so it must be when the Holy Spirit when has filled a person, something happens which is visible or audible. We see in Acts 2:4 that when the people are filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Simon the magician must have seen the people speaking in tongues as they were being filled by the Holy Spirit. Application: The question we ought to ask ourselves is that are we already filled with the Holy Spirit? If yes, how do we know? Do we need to speak in tongues when we are filled with the Holy Spirit? Is tongues still relevant for us today?

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