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Excuse me as this is the first time I write to you. Thanks v. much of having this on-line bible. I read the one-year bible in hard copy before. Just about one year ago I found this on-line one-year bible & is v. happy to read it daily. But may I express an opinion to Mike that would you please have your comments in more separate paragraphs even in points form for easy reading? You know to read on-line is quite difficult & it will be much better if the format is user-friendly. Thanks so much!

I really related today to the drawing of "Levels of Commitment". I had not seen it before and realized that I'm not at the top of the drawing where I hope one day to be. I'm still a "work in progress".

First I would like to thank you for a wonderful job giving points of reflection on every day readings.

Today's reading on Leviticus made me think how God selected his people. He asked them to change many things to follow him, and they did. They were not perfect but they learned to turn away from traditional ways of doing things like making sacrifices to idols. Now I know why God selected them even though they were not perfect, they were obedient

Psalm 42
BOOK II : Psalms 42-72

Just read something interesting. The five books in Psalms match the themes of the first five books of the bible. Psalm 1-41 matches Genesis - the book of foundations.

The second book of psalms starting here with Psalm 42 matches up with Exodus -the story of redemption. It is most fittingly introduced by the forty-second Psalm, which is an expression of the confidence of man in God in a time of trouble.
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"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God."

"As the deer running through the woods longs for water, so his soul is thirsting after God. He has reached the place in his experience where he knows only God can meet his need. He longs to come into a relationship of freshness and revitalizing fellowship that will mean his soul thirst will be quenched." - Ray Stedman

but there is delay. When God does not seem to answer - that is the time that tests men's faith.

David is being taunted by enemies and he draws up an image of when God answered prayer, and David led the worship and praise up to the temple. David is hopping this will allay his fears.
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Remembering joyful celebration of answered prayer does not work.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,"

The answer is Faith. Believe and know that you will be praising God in the future.

And David tries another memory. One from a time in northern Israel when the sound of waterfalls and the silence of nature reminded him of God.

7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

On that occasion he could hear the waterfalls of that mountainous region, the thundering cataracts. He became aware of how they seemed to be calling to one another, "deep calling unto deep," and it reminded him that the deeps in God call out to the deeps in man.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

He is remembering that the nature of God is linked up to the nature of the believer and that relationship never changes. Even though he does not feel anything, they are there; these silent deeps in God calling out to the deeps in man. This usually steadies him strengthens him and helps him.
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Second memory does not work either.

David is still despondent, and the question is thrown repeatedly at David - "Where is your God?"

In the end Faith is the only reply -
"Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God."

In the end we must all trust in, rely on, and depend on God. Psalm 43 is a continuation of Psalm 42.

Proverbs 10:17

"He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."

The righteous are a reflection of the Lord's light, glory, and his salt here on earth - when we trust, are humble, submit to God's Will and have reverence for God (the heart of David - Psalm 25) we "show" the way to life. People want what we have.

Mike is spot on! When we pursue the path of folly as a non-believer, or even as a Christian, we have an effect on others. We drag others down with us. Our influence on others will be noted at judgment time - not for salvation as that is based on our acceptance or rejection of Christ - but in determing levels of rewards (believers) and levels of punishment (the non-believer.)

Satan

Since Satan is mentioned in Mark 8:33 I thought I would bring up a few things.

From the "Barna Group"
"Six out of ten Americans (59%) reject the existence of Satan, indicating that the devil, or Satan, is merely a symbol of evil. Catholics are much more likely than Protestants to hold this view - 75% compared to 55% - although a majority of both groups concur that Satan is symbolic."
http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=122

In Mark 8:33 I will grant that it can be argued that Satan is a real entity or that the concept is one of a "nebulous evil force". I will also grant that nationally I am in the minority in my view of Satan as a "real entity". It always seems strange to me when a person believes in God, and angels, yet Satan isn't real.

As an unbeliever, I tried to prove the Bible wrong, and after quite a bit of time, I couldn't prove my hypothesis. I understand that people have different views of the Bible and that some will spiritualize, allegorize, metaphorize, etc. the Bible. I believe the Bible is straightforward, and when I disagree with such a person mentioned above: The only point I want to make is that while we may disagree about interpretation, let us be real clear on what the Bible "says" on the issue.

So what does the bible say on "Satan".

Old Testament

Satan is mentioned in Genesis, Job, and Zechariah. There is controversy over Genesis and I admit that different views on Satan can be argued in Genesis. So for now I would like to mention Job and Zechariah.

In Chapter of Job:

Let us play the analogy game -
"God is real", "Job is real", and "Satan is "______".

"Classical Torah scholarship has not doubted Job's existence."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_(person)

Christians that believe Job is real cite:
Ezek 14:14, 14:20 and James 5:11.

In Zech 3:

"the angel of the Lord is real", "Joshua is real", "Satan is "______".

As stated before, I believe references in O.T. to THE angel of the Lord represent Christ. I would submit vs.4 as proof (at least in this instance).

Zech 3:4
"...Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you."

Joshua here in Zech. has been referring to the High Priest in place in Jerusalem after the return from Babylonian Captivity. A real person.

Even if the chapter is a "good vs. evil" story, and I think it is such a story. Where Angel represents Good, Joshua represents Israel, and Satan represents Evil. IMO the characters that represent these roles are all "real".

Enough for now, I will tackle some New Testament passages later today.

If this is interesting to you, or you have been struggling with your understanding of Satan, I would suggest perusing through these two links.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/109

http://www.apologeticspress.org/modules.php?name=Read&cat=1&itemid=112

Satan

New Testament

While there are quite a few places in N.T. that Satan can be regarded as an "entity" or as evil that is just a "nebulous force", the important thing is that it could be considered either one.

So where does it seem clear that it can only be one of those choices.

"...consider the emphasis on Satan within the whole of the Sacred Text, the importance placed on the fact of his existence by both biblical writers and the Son of God Himself, and the critical role he has played in the necessity of God’s great plan of salvation for mankind."
http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/109

Matt 12:26
"If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?"

How does a nebulous force cast out a nebulous force? Notice himself (Gk. Heautou)is a personal pronoun - not "itself".

Luke 22:31
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat."

How does a nebulous force ask or better translated "demand" anything?

1John 3:8
"He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning..."

How does a nebulous force sin? It is evil and just IS. Sinning is an action taken by an entity, not some passive state of being in the wrong.

Matt 13:39
"and the enemy who sows them is the devil...."

Jesus is explaining the parable. He is explaining what the symbolism represents - the real person or thing.

Good place to stop. With a clear example by our Savior.

I realize that these examples and many others will not change the minds of those who believe Evil is a nebulous force. But for those of you who haven't made up your mind, are not sure, or are new to Chrisitianity; I implore you, do not believe me,nor an article I post, nor a liberal theologian, nor spiritual books. Instead:

Go to the primary source. Go to the "Word" and do a word study on Satan, Devil, evil one, tempter, etc. Pray about what you read, reflect on it, and make up your own minds.

What does the Bible say, not how it applies in your life or based on pre-conceived notions.

Wow…a lot of versus stood out to me today.

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Leviticus 19:26 (NLT)
26 … “Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft.
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How many people do you know that are seeing fortune-tellers? I know a few and I don’t understand their reasons, except that they don’t know Jesus, and when I mention to them that the answers they are looking for can be found in know Jesus they look at me like I’m from another planet. But then I guess maybe we are; God planet? :-{D

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Leviticus 19:28 (NLT)
28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the LORD.
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“Do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.” It seems like every one you look at these days, men and women, have tattoos. Not just small one, but huge portraits on the body. These people take great pride in them and also on the number of them. I don’t understand this practice either. The worst thing I saw was a baby; that’s right A BABY, with a tattoo. What is this world coming to? I suppose being followers of Jesus we know where the world is going.

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Leviticus 19:31 (NLT)
31 “Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the LORD your God.
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The act of holding cyanoses is ever growing in popularity. If people want to contact the dead I say, lead a life following Christ and upholding His commandments and His ways and when we leave this body we will be in the presence of all those who died before us in Christ. What a wonderful reunion that will be! “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.”

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Leviticus 19:32 (NLT)
32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.
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Something many people need to relearn today. Working as an instructor at a Community College I was walking in to the building one day and a mother was waiting to pick up her son. When she yelled from the car window to please hurry, the (and I use this term very loosely) young man swore at her using language that I think would have embarrassed a dock worker (sorry to stereotype, it’s not meant to degrade dock workers). It stopped me in my tracks and my first reaction was to turn around and give the kid a good swift kick in the hind end. But then I heard how his mother replied to him and I understood where he learned it. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, but at that point I wanted to kick the butt of the mother. Again…what is this world coming to? How long Jesus? How long must we wait for you to come?

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Leviticus 20:9-10, 13 (NLT)
9 “Anyone who dishonors[h] father or mother must be put to death. Such a person is guilty of a capital offense.
10 “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.
13 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.
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I couldn’t help notice offenses that God feels are capital offenses and deserves death. A child who dishonors his parents should be put to death. I don’t think there would be too many young people around in today’s world if this was still practiced.

Committing adultery is a capital offense. Both the man and the women are to be put to death. How many people do you know who are in adulterous relationships and how many people are in an adulterous relationship that we don’t know about? I don’t want to even imagine.

Verse 13 really stood out to me today, homosexuality; punishable by death. I like the NKJ translation of this verse. God calls homosexuality an abomination. Abomination is a really strong word of dislike to me and shows God total discuss with this act. Yet look around you today. Every where you look homosexuality is not only being talked about as an acceptable way of life, it’s being celebrated! Adoption centers awarding children to same sex couples. States attempting to make it legal for them to marry and share in each others benefits! TV shows and movies celebrating it. I can go on and on but I have to stop about this one. I am totally fed up with being told I have to accept their life style! It’s not that I will ever stop loving the people because God teaches us to love everyone, but I don’t have to accept their life style they are living. I watched a short video this morning on www.endtime.com that I’d like to share with on this topic if you’re interested. Here is the YouTube URL: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xbi-utKAI0g

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Mark 8:29, 33, 38 (NLT)
“Don’t you understand yet?”
29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.[b]”
33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!”
38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
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When Jesus ask his disciples, “Don’t you understand yet?”, I could hear sorrow in His voice along with a-bit of lost patience. I don’t think Jesus ever lost His patience, but after everything His disciples saw and heard, and they still didn’t get it, I could hear the fatigue and sorrow in His voice. I know for myself that when I’m teaching a topic and the students see me perform an experiment and hear me talk about the topic in several different ways, and they still don’t get it I sometimes want to just sigh and ask, don’t you understand yet? I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have Jesus ask me that question.

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Proverbs 10:17 (NLT)
17 People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
but those who ignore correction will go astray.
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I think we all have to accept discipline to stay on the correct path. I can account for several times in my life when I was doing something that I knew in my heart was not pleasing to God and I can also remember (after the fact) being disciplined to bring me back. Without discipline and correction we would all go astray and I think rather quickly, especially in the world in which we live today. I can remember my father applying discipline to me as a youth and then telling me that one day I would thank him for it. I thought at the time, what are you…nuts? Thank you for punishing me? The fact of the matter is, is that I did thank him, many times and I think we need to thank God for providing His discipline in our lives because without it we would all be lost.

Yours in Christ
Skip

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