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I have to admit the kings have become a handful for me...I just don't seem to keep track who's whose son and what who did...it was interesting to note that although Jehoahaz did evil in the eyes of God,God was still merciful...and his son Jehoash although he had no regard for God and did evil in His sight,seemed to be fond of Elisha whom he called his father....strange...What also seems strange is that Elisha had a double portion of the annointing....his bones had raised the dead...yet he himself died due to an illness....
I believe when you have a passion for God in your heart and you seek Him,no matter where you are God'll make sure you are taught his ways.I had planned to read the bible through a few times and failed...the God showed me a way to do it..May God lead us all to those who are searching and whose hearts are ready to receive God...may God sustain us in praying for those whose hearts are hardened so that they too may be ready to receive Him...May God keep our hearts steadfast and our hopes alive even when it seems we're in the eye of a tornado....
God bless you all

Anka,

I meant to post this about "double portion" back in 2Kings. It makes sense to me - otherwise why not ask for three, four or five times as much? Double portion was used for a reason, and must have had a Biblical reference - I think the comment below might be correct.

The idea of a double portion was not to ask for twice as much as Elijah had, but to ask for the portion that went to the firstborn son, as in Deuteronomy 21:17. Elisha asked for the right to be regarded as the successor of Elijah, as his firstborn son in regard to ministry. Yet Elisha had already been designated as Elijah’s successor (1 Kings 19:19). This was a request for the spiritual power to fulfill the calling he already received.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1202.htm

Thanks for jogging my failing :( memory.

A comment about the 'rough and gruffness' of Elijah and Elisha. Although there are times their behaviour seems odd, I like that they are not 'modeling' this "miss good manners' approach to the kingdom way of life. They remind me of wild eyed, passionate, hard driving people like John the baptist. I sometimes think that Christians equate nice behaviour with authentic godliness. Whatever their 'quirks' they model to me 'originality and spontaneity'. Rarely does it say they dishonoured God by their 'oddness'. I think erwin McManus' is on to something profound in his book The Barbarian Way. He suggests we have become way too civilized as Christians. Christianity has become a pseudoynm for politeness and proper manner, yada, yada. We have managed to 'hush' out the passion in the lives of our young and some have opted for other non Christian spiritualities that they will surely find wanting, but for a time find appealing.

thanks Elijah and Elisha for being real and for modeling the God life in its various dimensions. We may not understand you but let's let Jesus have the final word on these guys from Luke 1:17 "And he will go before the Lord, IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom fo the righteous--to make a people ready for the Lord."

And james said of elijah in James 5:17 "Elijah was a man just like us...."

I believe the language in the graphic for Psalm 146 is Dutch . . . I want to thank God and you, Mike, for this resource and for the encouragement to continue reading God's Word every day!

Proverbs 18:2
"Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions." This is a great verse. And good advice from Mike about being a better listoner rather than talking all the time. If you are somewhat of an extravert like I am, (one who talks before thinking) It is very good advice to follow. Thinking before writting also applies.

John, I know that you weren't really rebuking me and I didn't take offense. You are not the first person that researched information that I have passed along to others that has proven to be incorrect. I've sent E-mails out to friends and family without checking them out completely to see whether they are false or not. Sometimes we speak more than we liston or don't think before speaking. I'm don't take offense to anyones wisdom or the truth.

Being a visual person, I was in awe of the photo's of the ruins which showed the buildings that were carved in Rock in Petra. I would love to visit that country to see them for myself. Quite amazing.

Luciano Del Monte, commented about the rough and gruffness of the behavior of Elijah and Elisha. These men were some of the major prophets whose stories are told throughout the bible. We have many examples of modern day leaders and men of God that have very strong personalites. God uses each of us, in a way that we might not even understand. Those whose hearts follow the Lord and yield to His teachings and wisdom, are all valuable and mighty to God. He made us all different for a reason. I always learn something different when I read about the mighty men and woman in bible. Praise God for leaders like Elijah and Elisha.

Anka, I admit all these characters have been a handful for me too, as far as understanding goes. I appreciate always your heartfelt comments and thoughful prayers to the group. Blessings, Laura

2Kings13

Elisha had become sick: Even men of faith and miracles are not immune to sickness and disease. This great man became sick like others whom he had healed as a channel of the power and blessing of God.

With the illness of which he would die: Though God used Elisha on many occasions to heal others, God appointed this illness to be the means of taking Elisha from this world. God has no one single way that He does this; it is a mistake to believe that all the godly die in their sleep without a hint of prior illness.

Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face: This reaction of the king of Israel might seem strange, having just read the description of the sin and evil that marked his reign. However, it is important to remember that Joash was not a worshipper of the false gods; he was a false worshipper of the true God. He had some respect for the true God, and therefore some regard and honor for Elisha.

i. “Dear friends, let us seek so to live that even ungodly men may miss us when we are gone.” (Spurgeon)

“It was an ancient custom to shoot an arrow or cast a spear into the country which an army intended to invade. . . . The dart, spear, or arrow thrown, was an emblem of the commencement of hostilities.” (Clarke)

“The window was opened eastward toward Syria and specifically toward Aphek, the most strategic site between Damascus and Samaria. Aphek was the city where Ahab had defeated the Syrians years earlier (1 Kings 20:26).” (Dilday)

When the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet: This is one of the more strange and unusual miracles in the Bible. There is little explanation and the silence of the record suggests that there was not inherent power in the bones of Elisha to resuscitate others. This seems to be a unique, one-time miracle to bring honor to the memory of this great prophet....We can also be brought to life by our contact with these dead prophets.

Three times Joash defeated him: Elisha had promised Joash these three victories over the Syrians. We can supposed that especially after the third victory King Joash wished he had shot more arrows through the window at the invitation of Elisha.
http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1213.htm
======================================================2Kings14

Going agasinst Edom

2 Chronicles 25:5-16 gives more background to this event. Amaziah gathered a huge army in Judah to go against Edom - three hundred thousand choice men, able to go to war, who could handle spear and shield. He also hired 100,000 mercenary soldiers from Israel. But a prophet came and warned him to not use the soldiers from Israel, because God was not with that rebellious and idolatrous kingdom. Amaziah was convinced to trust God, send the mercenaries from Israel away, and accept the loss of the money used to hire them. God blessed this step of faith, and gave them a convincing victory over the Edomites.

Amaziah trusted God for the victory over Edom; but immediately after the victory his heart turned from God: Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. (2 Chronicles 25:14)

Again, 2 Chronicles 25:5-16 gives more background to this event. When Amaziah sent away the Israelite mercenaries, they were not happy – even though he paid them for not fighting against Edom (they probably counted on receiving much more from the spoil of battle). As they returned to Israel, they raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon, killed three thousand in them, and took much spoil (2 Chronicles 25:13). This was the political motivation for Amaziah’s attack against Israel.

He had reason to believe he would be successful. He had recently assembled a 300,000 man army that killed 20,000 Edomites in a victory over Edom (2 Chronicles 25:5, 11-12). Jehoahaz seemed very weak, having only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers after being defeated by the Syrians (2 Kings 13:7)...Amaziah had a mighty army and Jehoash had a weak army. Yet God gave Israel the victory over Judah to rebuke the idolatry of Amaziah.

The reign of Jeroboam II was a time of economic, political, and material prosperity for Israel. Yet it was not because of their own merit or goodness, but because of God’s great mercy to Israel.

i. Archaeology confirms the economic might of Jeroboam II. In the age prior to Jeroboam II, the houses in Israel’s cities were roughly the same size. But archaeologists find a change starting in the eighth century b.c. - ancient cities like Tirzah have a neighborhood of large, expensive houses and another neighborhood of small, crowded structures, smaller than the houses from previous years. The larger houses are filled with the marks of prosperity, and the oppressive rich of Israel thought they could find safety there - but God’s judgment came against those houses as well (Amos 3:13-15).

Then Zechariah his son reigned in his place: Zechariah was the fourth generation of the Jehu dynasty, and it was prophesied that the dynasty of Jehu would continue for four generations (2 Kings 10:30).


i. “From the time of Jeroboam’s death, declension set it, ending, less than seventy years later, in its final overthrow and dissolution. Prophetic ministry was from this time greatly increased. ‘Such is the way of our gracious God,’ and unknown writer says, ‘that when judgment is near to approach, then testimony is multiplied.’” (Knapp)

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1214.htm

Me too!!!!

"Anka, I admit all these characters have been a handful for me too, as far as understanding goes. I appreciate always your heartfelt comments and thoughful prayers to the group. Blessings, Laura"

I am sure Study bibles must have charts of Kings, but here is an online one that I find useful.

http://www.geocities.com/thekingsofisrael/kings.html

Acts 18

Apollos

Apollos (short form of Apollonius), an Alexandrian Jew, had evidently taken advantage of the education of that city and especially its Jewish community. Alexandria, known for its museum, library and ancillary learning facilities, boasted a Jewish population containing scholars who had produced the Septuagint and later counted Philo the philosopher among their ranks....

...We encounter less difficulty, though, if we take Apollos to be a knowledgeable, fervent but unregenerate disciple of John the Baptist who believes Jesus is the Messiah but does not understand the present saving significance of his death and resurrection. Further, he is unaware of what Pentecost means for all who are baptized in the name of Jesus. The way of the Lord that he knows, then, is not the gospel, but God's way of salvation set forth in the promises of the Old Testament (Is 40:3-5/Lk 3:4-6; compare 1QS 8:13-14).

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/index.php?action=getCommentaryText&cid=5&source=1&seq=i.51.18.3

Aquilla and Priscilla

I am lucky to have some Aquilla and Priscilla's in my church. The church I attend is evangelical and was started by some professors from the State University so they could worship at a place that taught the Bible.

Usually if I run into trouble during bible reading - I can go to different people and ask what they think. Through dialogue I can come up with a satisfactory interpretation. On a few occasions I have said something that caused someone to approach me, sometimes causing me to rethink my statements.

It has been great for my growth, and my fellowship, and I have learned a lot from these people - especially as the pastors do not always have "free time" to discuss things "one on one".

"God always wants us to go deeper. We have sipped where we might have drunk deeply, we have drunk deeply where we might have waded, and we have waded where we might have gone full out and plunged in!" - David Guzik

Acts 19

Extraordinary miracles

Literally, the phrase unusual miracles could be translated, miracles not of the ordinary kind. Even if we should “expect” miracles, these are the unexpected sort!

Observations on these unusual miracles.

i. Note that these were unusual miracles; we should not expect that God would continue to use this method to bring healing.

ii. God delights in doing things in new and different ways; so we receive whatever is proven to be from the hand of God, but we pursue only that which we have a Biblical pattern for.

iii. God will stoop down to meet us even in our crude superstitions. This never means that God is pleased with our superstition, but that in His mercy He may overlook them to meet a need.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4419.htm

Mike I like your “rough and gruff” question. I for one believe we do not allow the Holy Spirit to tell us how to respond to any given situation or we suppress what we are being led to say and the tone we are being led to speak it in because we are in fear. We fear what others will think of us or that we will offend others. Many of us even believe that if we speak ever so gentile then the person or people we are speaking to will come running to the Lord either for Salvation or to Repentance.

I have been so “rough and gruff” from time to time when speaking or dealing with people at times I have even looked around and said, “Who said that?” I have even dealt gently with people who were out of control, belligerent and just plan “off-the-hook,” when I just wanted to bop the on the head. In a bible study I was leading on the unproductive fig tree, one of the people who lived on the street, a man, became so unruly because of the topic, he began cursing and shouted, “Why are you bringing up this Bible stuff?” I told him, “To seat down, shut up or leave; after all this is a church.” The authority, volume and intensity of my voice stunned even me. About 18 months latter, as I entered a subway train that a very seldom take I hear someone call my name. Recognizing no one on the I proceeded to take a seat. Again, I heard my name and then he added, “This is Padro.” Here before me was the man who had been out of control now in front of me in his right mind and I didn’t even recognize him. He had cleaned himself up, got into rehab, reconnected with his family and was going to church for a reason other than getting a free meal. I was absolutely stunned. When the original incident happened, there were none too few people rebuking me for my “attitude.” However, that “attitude” was what God used to speak to him.

When directed by the Holy Spirit, “rough and gruff” or “sweet as peaches,” God gives you the “attitude” needed to get the job done.

I was struck that the verses in Proverbs 18 are an excellent commentary on the history of Judah and Israel:

2Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

3When the wicked arrive, contempt, shame, and disgrace are sure to follow.

However, in the middle of our sin, God is still faithful to His covenant. Even though Israel, not being faithful to the covenant, God STILL IS FAITHFUL to the covenant -- because of Abraham's obedience AND because of God, Who cannot lie and Who is unchangeable.

THANK GOD... for God !

Also, I am reminded of what it seys in the New Testament, 2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV):
if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

-------------

Also, it should be obvious that our OBEDIENCE or our DISOBEDIENCE does not only affect and shape us (it clearly does), but it shapes and affects our families and our communities.

Thnk of the Palestinians and other Arabs who are choosing to embrace a mentality of "justice" that includes killing innocent people. This finds expression when terrorists blow innocent people in the name of "justice"...and mothers hold these people up as "heroes" to their children. Then, children want to be like that.

Yet, Abraham's obedience touched not just Isaac and Jacob (thank God for that !!), but also God Himself. And God, who noted Abraham's obedience, literally steps into history and changes it so His covenant with Abraham is fulfilled.

ARE WE OBEYING TODAY? If not, Why?

--------------

I have heard Oral Roberts say many times that his mother instructed him over and over when he was growing up:

"Stay little in your own eyes, and always obey God."

I think the language in the graphic is Dutch. No, I can't read it, but with all the o's in between consonants, that's what it looks like

~Let me know your thoughts in the Comments below if you think rough and gruff should be in our personality mix at all today?

Jesus calls us to be humble as He was. But, I remember when He entered the temple and saw how the people had defiled it...He was tough and gruff. Therefore I believe that we should only be that way if we are defending God stand against evil, or defending our lives or the lives of others. I also remember when Jesus called the Pharisees vipers and whitened sarcophagus. But, He was still humble against verbal attacks. The humbleness He portrayed on the cross was because of the love He feels for us and the obedience He has towards His father. The popular phrase; "What would Jesus do" is a hard thing to live be. There are so many times we Christians try our best to walk in His example but, it is virtually impossible. That is why I am sooooo grateful for His mercy. We serve a mighty Lord!!!!!

~Are you teachable? Or do you know it all?
The famous philosopher Plato before he died said: "I only know that I know nothing." I must agree with him :-)


~If God protects foreigners, orphans and widows, should we protect these folks in our communities as well?
Yes we should protect them. We are the church... God commands us to love our neighbor's as ourselves.

~How in your life today are you caring for orphans and widows and foreigners?
I help support an orphanage in India. The orphanage consists of 34 children; it is a Christian orphanage in a very pagan country. Various widows live in that orphanage with there small babies. These are called half orphans, because they care for their children, but are fed by the orphanage. The ministry is called "Grace TotalLife Ministry". It is run by Pastor Sunder Lal. He is listed as one of my favorite friends on my profile. Please check to see if you too would like to help.

~(can anyone identify this language? I'm sure one of our readers can...) Yes, It is Dutch. I know that Mae can identify it. Right Mae?":-)

~What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings?
Psalm 146
"The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down."

As I was looking at the pictures and reading the psalm it really touched me that God says here:
" raiseth them that are bowed down".. When a person is homeless they are either on the floor sleeping or walking with there head down. I pray that God will supply there every need. That they would find comfort int he Lord.

"The LORD preserveth the strangers; " Here in Miami we have migrant workers that work the field because no one else wants to do it. They have no legal rights. No one defends them. They are victims of cruel violence. Sometimes people get in there homes at night and steel the little they have and vandalize there homes and sometimes even beat them. Please pray for these people. They need so much and are ignored by society

Yes, that is Dutch..I only know cause I got it wrong earlier this year. Our dear Mae corrected me! I have never been to Petra.
In Acts when Aquila and Priscilla were teaching Apollos, i have heard that scripture used wen discussing women teaching men. It is ok for women to teach men if there are no men who are qualified to step up, such as the case with Deborah. Also, they did it as a husband/wife team.

I liked this Psalm: "Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish."

I think sometimes we become too reliant on other people. I mean its good we love, help, be with people, but we must know they are ppl. I have seen so many turn from God and devote themselves to their romantic relationships over God. BAD CHOICE! I certainly have been prone to that, God has pulled me away many times...its actually very painful! but, God loves me so He disciplines me. Ppl fail us, always. thats just a fact. Jesus Christ never fails!
"Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God"

I think one way to be kind to foreigners is regarding illegal immigrants. I live in southern CA, its a hot topic here. yes, ppl are to abide by laws..but God is above the laws and God told us to love one another and care for the foreigner, to have compassion on others!

I think I may need some ruff and gruff myself. While this is hardly a place to air our personal problems, I am crying out to my one year bible family. I am 42, very healthy, and really quite well functioning. My only daughter graduated from high school and my mom retired on Friday. These two events have me so thrown off. I can't stop crying, I can't stop worrying about my inability to pay for my daughter to go to college and yet I know it will work out somehow. I feel afraid because my parents have always been financially stable and strong and now they are not, and it's time for me to grow up. I feel like I need a good talking to, a ruff and gruff moment of "shake it off, knock it off and grow up!" I just need some help. You are all "strangers", but I read your words everyday, and respect you greatly. Sorry about the inappropriateness of this note in this forum. Thanks.

In referenct to the kings, here is a link that charts the reign of the kings of Israel and Judah, as well as the prophets within each king's reign.

Hope this is helpful in keeping us up with the timing of events.

http://www.ldolphin.org/kings.html

I have been to Petra and YES go when you get the opportunity. It is so much larger in reality than when you see it in pictures or movies. Thank you for pointing out that Sela was Petra; I did not realize that.
AND I believe that it will be the place where Israel runs to be saved during the Tribulation.

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