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Thanks mike for the reference to Nouwen. and his one line prayer, taken right from the gospel.
I like these shorter prayers. Another is found in Luke 18 where it simply says, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." I think the greek orthodox church must have used this one to come up with the 'pithy' Jesus prayer that is simple and so profound, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

As one reads through Leviticus 20-22, there is a constant reference to 'not defiling yourself." The priests were not to 'defile themselves' This is not so irrelevant to us in that in 2 timothy Paul exhorts his protege Timothy "to cleanse himself of anything that is 'ignoble.'
Thank you for continuing to be our 'tour guide' through this complex but wonderful word of God.

"The LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles

Ana Maria

"This is almost self-explanatory, isn't it? Here were people who were members of the priestly family and as such they were to eat the bread of God. There is no limitation against that. They could feed upon it themselves. They could grow by its strength.

Interpreted to our level, we can take the life of Christ and draw upon it for our own spiritual nourishment no matter what our personal lives are like. We are not cast out of the family of God even though there are defects. But we can't pass it to others if we have a blemish like one of these. We cannot minister until they are handled, taken care of.

In the case of the Israelites, they were set aside all their life long because of these blemishes. They may not even have been their own fault, but God said, "No one with a blemish can minister in my presence," because that would have taught a false lesson about the God who is behind the priesthood. But the glorious thing is that in the application to our lives these blemishes can be healed, they can be cleansed! We don't have to be forever set aside from ministering.

Here again we are dealing with a reason why the Christian life is often boring to many. You may know that you are a priest, that you have the opportunity of ministering to others and helping them, but perhaps you can't do it. Why? Well, it may be because there are blemishes in your life. Each of these blemishes has an antitype in the Christian economy:

Were some of these Israelite priests blind? Well, some of us are, too. We just don't see things very clearly. Our spiritual eyes are blinded. Were some of them lame? Some of us are, too. We don't walk very well. We limp and stagger and stumble and fumble and fall on our faces at times.Did they have deformed hands or feet? Well, such can be the case with us. Something in our work or walk may be faulty at times, perhaps because it has been in our family for several generations and we are afflicted with the same hereditary tendency. Are there spiritual hunchbacks in the church -- men and women with warped or twisted spiritual mentality, spiritual views, or spiritual structure in their lives? Yes, there are those among us, and they have little ministry. There is not much that they can do, other than to feed upon the life of God themselves. Are there dwarfs? There are >so many dwarfs in the Christian churches today! -- people who by this time ought to have grown to full spiritual stature, tall and strong, but instead they are pygmies, dwarfs, stunted in their growth. Are there those with a wrongful sex life, pictured here by crushed testicles? They have no ministry. They may try, but there is no power, no effectiveness. They don't deliver people, cannot heal them.

All these blemishes prevent ministry. They don't stop us from feeding upon the life of Christ, but they prevent us from ministering effectively to others, and, though we may perform the outward form of ministry, God withholds the power." - Ray Stedman


Psalm 43:1-5

Psalm 43 is actually a continuation of Psalm 42. Up to now David has tried to find peace by remembering joyful worship at God's answered prayer. That did not lift David's Spirit. Then David remembers the gift of nature and how God is ever present and soveriegn. That does not work.

David slips into even deeper despair.
3 Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.

4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.

"What a word of triumph! Now he understands that what God is doing is driving him step by step to the ultimate refuge of any believer in any time of testing: the word of God. It is the truth of God coupled with the light. The truth is God's word; the light is your understanding of it. What he is crying out for is an understanding of the word as he reads it; light, breaking out of these marvelous promises, to encourage and strengthen his heart. He says, "If you will do that, God, then my heart will be filled with joy and with gladness, and I will praise you with the harp; for you, O God, are my God, my personal God." What a revelation that is. There comes a time in all of our lives when we discover for ourselves that the ultimate refuge of any believer is in the word of God, what God has said." - Ray Stedman
"That is what this Psalmist is saying. When you can't shake the blues, and you have a depression of spirit that nothing seems to relieve; when you have tried to remember the past, and tried to recall the unshakable, unchangeable relationships that exist between you and God, but nothing helps; then there is nothing left but to rest upon his word, his truth, and to allow that to heal the heart. So the Psalmist closes again with the refrain that catches up the whole meaning of this song,

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God." {Psa 43:5 RSV}

Yes, hope in God, for he is working out his purposes. That is what the New Testament means when it says, "Having done all, stand," {cf, Eph 6;13}. Stand upon his word." - Ray Stedman


Proverbs 10:18

"He who conceals his hatred has lying lips,
and whoever spreads slander is a fool."

This proverb contrasts the man who hides his hatred by insincere words and the man who openly reveals it by slandering his neighbor. The first is a hypocrite, the second is a fool, and there is not much to choose between them. A third alternative, and one that believers should learn to practice, is not to harbor any hatred at all.
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville



I think Mark 8:38 does refer to the Second coming and Jesus is commenting on Judgment. If you are ashamed of Jesus' words, and cannot accept him as Lord and Savior then He will be ashamed of you and your judgment will be damnation. Jesus has yet to return in his Father's glory, or with holy angels.

Mark 9:1 I think is talking about the transfiguration. My response to this is based on the Matthew account, but would apply here also.

From Jan 26th:
If you look at the Greek words for "coming" (Gk. erchomai) and "kingdom" (Gk. basileia) and tweak them with alternate meanings, then perhaps the verse reads like this:

"Verily I say unto you, There are some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man appearing in his royal majesty."

Peter and John commented on the transfigurion:

2peter 1:16-18
"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."

John 1:14
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only..."

On the mount, to those three (some), Jesus pulled back the veil and gave them a display of the glory He had promised.


The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit

There is faith, and there is faith. There is belief, and there is belief.

The disciples had faith - they EXPECTED something to happen when they tried to throw the demon out of the boy. The disciples had been successful in the past at throwing out demons - why did they fail????

"Well, if you think it through, you can see what had happened. They had faith, but it had changed from faith in God to faith in the process they were following. They thought that if you said the right words, and followed the right ritual, that the demon would have to leave. Without their even realizing it, they had transferred their faith from confidence in a God who can act, to a formula that can bring it about. This is what we often do. We get to thinking that it is the words we say, or the way we say them, or what is happening in our lives, which is the real reason things happen, rather than the God who acts. Jesus reproved them for this, said their faith must be in God himself, if it is to be a fresh and vital faith." - Ray Stedman
Praying in the will of God.

The father said, "I do believe; help my unbelief!"

The father was humble. The father was submissive. The father trusted Jesus.

He said he believed, but admitted that the had unbelief in him also. the father asked Jesus (God) to take that unbelief out of him, because he could not. God wants us to believe, asking him to take unbelief (doubt) out of our hearts is something God honors and answers. that is praying in the Will of God.

Once the father uttered this short type of prayer with a sincere heart - Jesus cast out the demon(s).
29He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer.

"He does not mean prayer uttered at the moment, because Jesus himself did not pray when he cast out this demon. He is not talking about a certain kind of prayer that you say at the moment you want to relieve somebody of a demon. No, what he means is a life style of prayer. "This kind cannot be driven out except by a heart which is kept fresh and alive and in touch with God by a life of prayer." That is where Jesus' power came from. He was always in touch with the Father. He was always drawing upon his Father's power. He always walked in reliance upon God. He referred every event of his existence to the God who indwelt him, and he prayed consistently and constantly to the Father, in expectation of his working. This is what he is talking about -- maintaining a fresh and vigorous relationship with God, and trusting in him. This is a life of prayer." - Ray Stedman

[Note: Sorry, as I have been lifting a lot out of other sermons the last two days. I have a lot going on right now, and someone dear to me is sick, and another is in the Hospital.]

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I don't understand the following:

Leviticus -
... There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:

2 But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother.

11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

At first it looks like they can and then the latter verse seems like they cannot defile himself for the sake of the closest kins.

I also could not get passed the reading in Leviticus 19:20 - 20And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.

Everyone else was put to death in the corresponding verses; however, although an act of fornication was comitted - they were not put to death.

Because she was not free?


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