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Romans

1) Like Mike I am humbled at Paul's prayer request. It seems no matter how many lists I make, computer aided memo, or remember in my head - I always forget someone or something each day. My prayer life is way better than when I was saved, but it is still woefully lacking. Praise God, that the Holy Spirit makes up for my ineptitude in this area.

2) I was impressed by the sheer number of people Paul greets at the end of Romans. Men AND Women, who were integral to the "body of Christ" in Rome.

3) Rom 16:7 has provided some discussion as to who is an "apostle". I thought I understood, but need to think on it more - (definately a non-essential :). John MacArthur has an answer to this question, and I merely post it for info.
http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/1301-N-16.htm

There is also an issue that Junias may be a women's name that would lead to interesting discussion involving leadership in the church. However, from the Greek and few articles I find - there is no definitive way to tell the gender of Junias.

Chronicles

Here is an article on Sennacherib's prism an archeological find that talks about the siege of Jerusalem from the Assyrian perspective. Also cites Herodotus and Josephus.

For those that have an interest:
http://www.bible-history.com/empires/prism.html

II Chronicles 32-33:13

An unholy alliance that is what this invasion is about; the reason Sennacherib is jockeying to position himself to knock down the door is because Assyria was given a foothold. Israel made them, Judah made them my country, the USA has made them and every other country on the face of the earth has made them, unholy alliances. Since countries are made up of its people as in math, it is a principal—the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, the country only does what its people do, only it does it on a macro level.

We make relationships not based on their righteousness but based on what we can get and what that relationship will do for us. Israel, Judah and we ourselves, sin because we fail to submit to God who is the only whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. God is the whole and God is also the great I Am, the parts. God is the I Am everything you need me to be, yet we fail to seek Him, but we will seek others to get what we should be getting from God.

I believe Assyria entered Judah because she had already invited Assyria into her midst, just like Israel did, and she failed to learn from her sister Israel’s mistake (II Kings 15-16), you can’t make peace with someone who has war in their heart, in Israel’s’ case you can’t buy peace. You cannot bribe the devil. If you do you are giving him a foothold into your life, your house, and the lives of your children’s children.

Hezakiah not only repeated what Israel did, he also followed in his predecessors footsteps, King Ahaz, giving Assyria a bribe to back off or come to Judah’s aid.

At that time King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel attacked Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz, but were unable to conquer him. (At that time King Rezin of Syria recovered Elat for Syria; he drove the Judahites from there. Syrians arrived in Elat and live there to this very day.) Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, "I am your servant and your dependent. March up and rescue me from the power of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who have attacked me." Then Ahaz took the silver and gold that were in the Lord's temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as tribute to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria responded favorably to his request; he attacked Damascus and captured it. He deported the people to Kir and executed Rezin. When King Ahaz went to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria in Damascus, he saw the altar there. King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a drawing of the altar and a blueprint for its design. Uriah the priest built an altar in conformity to the plans King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. Uriah the priest finished it before King Ahaz arrived back from Damascus.
(2Ki 16:5-11 NET.).

Also in II Kings, Hezekiah states that he had a treaty with the Assarians, violated that treaty then pays for that violation.

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria, who was at Lachish, "I have violated our treaty. If you leave, I will do whatever you demand." So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay three hundred units of silver and thirty units of gold.
(2Ki 18:13-14 NET.)


God delivered Hezekiah from the enemy, but the enemy came back after Hezekiah’s death. The enemy was not the king the enemy was the Kingdom of Assyria itself, not the men who ruled.

Jesus said, Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces. (Mat 7:6 AMP). I believe when we look for alliances with others without forming an alliance with God to defeat our enemies, we may be successful using our own skills and cunning, but we are only delaying the attack, the enemy will be back. Bribing the enemy won’t work, appeasing him may last until he gets tired of using you as entertainment but he will turn and rend you to pieces.

The things that belong to God, are God’s. We cannot take what is holy and pay the enemy off, it won’t work.

God is in the miracle business; however, it is one thing to need a miracle because sin is in the earth, but is is another to need a miracle because of bad choices. We run the risk of "testing" God when we make the same bad choices over and over and over again. This is tough stuff to think about.

2 Chronicles 32 (NKJV)
7
“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.
8
With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

NOTE:
We have the wonderful opportunity to meditate on, and wait in the Lord’s Presence daily in worship and praise so that we can know that we know that we know—that “with us is the LORD our God”.

May people know we are different by our lives and our words. May people be encouraged and challenged just by who we are. May people see the Lord Jesus in us.

Acts 4 (NKJV)
13
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
~~~

2 Chronicles 32 (NKJV)
31
However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

NOTE:
God knows what is in our hearts. However, we need to know. I think I know what is in my heart, but do I really? I need God’s Spirit to show me.

And I need to regularly spend time in prayer and in the words of the Lord Jesus so I really see my heart before God.

Mark 7 (NKJV)
20
And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.
21
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22
thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
23
All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
~~~

“God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” WOW!

I am convinced this was God’s Mercy and Love in action, to show Hezekiah that he really needed to rely on God—and that he should never forget it.

We can have—and we must have—inner strength in the inner man of our spirits that sustain and refresh us. However, our strength is from being “poor in spirit”.

Psalm 51 (NKJV)
17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart— these, O God, You will not despise.
~~~

2 Chronicles 33 (NKJV)
10
And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen.
11
Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks [That is— nose hooks], bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon.
12
Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13
and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

NOTE:
THANK GOD that Hezekiah’s son Manasseh finally “knew that the LORD was God”. But what a tragically unnecessary route to go to discover that!

Surely Manasseh saw his father follow after the Lord and he saw the benefit of following the Lord.

Manasseh also saw his father’s faults and sins, and how the Lord dealt with Hezekiah as a result of those.

We really need to pray for the children of the world, of our nation, and of our families! THEY ARE THE NEXT GENERATION!

What kind of generation will they be? May we “strive together with [them] in prayers to God for” the children! (Adapation of Romans 15:30).

Romans 15 (NKJV)
26
For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.
27
It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.

NOTE:
Thank God for Israel. Thank God for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Thank God for David and all for all of his descendants who followed wholeheartedly after the Lord.

THANK GOD FOR THE LORD JESUS—the son of David, the son of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.

May we pray daily and give out of the monies with which God has blessed us to the Christians in Jerusalem and in the nearby Arabic nations.

Thank God for the oldest Christian communities which are in Israel and in Arabic nations (like Turkey, Egypt, etc.)

May we pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem.

Amen.

Vance


As I read the stories of the Kings of Israel, I'm encouraged by the fact that God always gives his forgiveness to those who truly repent. One generation would fall, but the other would take up His cause. An individual King would fall, then realize his sin, and take up His cause again. I also know, that when I fail, I can renew my love for Him and take up His cause again. What a blessing, and an encouragement!

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