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Interesting to read your comments on Paul's purpose in writing Collossians. The phrase which struch me was: "... giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NIV)

So it is God the Father who has "qualified" us - declared us worthy - to share in the inheritance of the Kingdom. He has rescued us from darkness and brought us into His Son's Kingdom. Through the Son we have been redeemed and forgiven.

Paul writes it very vividly and with a huge depth of meaning beind each word.

21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

Interesting question, Mike, about when we should choose to join the rebellious for moral reasons. I think, in general, just joining the rebellious because they are rebellious exhibits a lack of respect for order in society. However, if the order in society is clearly evil (such as the Nazis)then the higher moral imperative is to fight against them. But the truth of the proverb still doesn't change. You still need to fear them, and you have no guarantee that things will turn out well for you.

I just watched the Pianist on DVD this week for the first time, and it was a heartbreaking movie. The Polish people (Jews and non-Jews) who resisted the Nazis were doing the right thing, but they were often killed. But what if they hadn't fought at all??

Jeremiah 2:31-4:18


Rambling thoughts:

Why do you gad or wander about so much to change your way? You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. From [Egypt] also you will come away with your hands upon your head, for the Lord has rejected those in whom you confide, and you will not prosper with [respect to] them. (Jeremiah 2:36-37 AMP)

When God’s people rely on things, people, weapons, political parties, governments, us-four-and-no-more folks instead of their strong right arm, The Lord Jehovah, the Lord Strong and Mighty, we will be pierced through because we lean on a stick that has the appearance of strength but is nothing but decaying wood.

It amazes me how we will do everything to try to get our way, break every Commandment to try to bring about an out come, yet despite our failure to get our way, our failure at playing little gods, more than likely we will not repent until we are utterly crushed by our stupidity


. THAT IS to say, If a man puts away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's, will he return to her again? [Of course not!] Would not that land [where such a thing happened] be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot [against Me] with many lovers--yet would you now return to Me? says the Lord [or do you even think to return to Me?] Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see. Where have you not been adulterously lain with? By the wayside you have sat waiting for lovers [eager for idolatry], like an Arabian [desert tribesman who waits to plunder] in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your vile harlotry and your wickedness (unfaithfulness and disobedience to God). (Jeremiah 3:1-2 AMP)

One of the things that can be clearly seen when one goes through the prophets is the imagery of a marriage relationship between God and His people. The imager of the spouse running after other men to get what she has already been given by God is so clear that a person who has no sight can see. Is it any wonder that God hates divorce? The Marriage Covenant is supposed to model on the earth, what God is to His people, their Husband.


There is so much to ponder and mediate on in Jeremiah that in seventeen plus years in reading this book over and over again, there are still lots of surprises and I am overwhelmed.

Jer1

Much as Pauls letters Jeremiah's intro sets up who he is and where his authority came from.

Jer1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." NIV

In Psalm 135 perhaps some can argue that it poetically talks about conception. Jeremiah is much different from Isaiah - his words are not as elegant - much more direct.

God knew, God formed, God chose, and God appointed.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". This is what some will have to wrestle with - it is direct and clear. Before Jeremiah was formed (at conception or as fetus) God knew him. Is it any different for any other conception? What implications should that have on our attitude toward "life"??????

I like what I heard recently about a "prophet". That a prophet is a forthteller of God's plan. A prophet is not a fortuneteller. Yes, there are certain things that are telling of future events, but overall it is about revealing God's plan.

Much of what Jeremiah revealed was God's plan for judgment.

The Almond tree
The almond tree blooms in January. It is a harbinger, a foreshadower of the spring to come. It is also a play on words - shaqed (almond tree) and shaqad (watching,waiting)in verse 12. (note: the root word for shaqed is shaqad).

So God is waiting for his Word to be fulfilled. Implying God's patience???

What word? Here it probably is the boiling pot reference to judgment.

Why is Judah going to undergo judgment?
"because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshiping what their hands have made."

OK. Rejecting God, and worshiping false gods, but also "worshiping what their hands have made". The implication is that no longer is everything considered to be from God - but man himself can create and be proud of the things he himself has done here on earth. What implications does this have for us today? Are we proud of OUR work, the things we have made for ourselves in this world????? How does God view this attitude?????

Jeremiah seems to take great comfort and belief in God's word as he always speaks in a forthright manner - no matter the audience.

Jer1:19 "They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD."
======================================================
Jeremiah 2 - Judah is bringing this upon themselves.

"'I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me.."

Isaiah used several bride references also. The "church" is often called the Bride of Christ. It is a consistent image that God uses to refer to His relationship with us. For that reason, it is probably good to post the link for the Jewish enagement and wedding ceremony again. For those who have an interest to look at and noodle through at their leisure - so that you can see the powerful imagery of a "bride", and the implicatons for the "church".
http://www.linkjesus.com/weddingstudy.htm

Jer2:8 "The priests did not ask,
'Where is the LORD ?'
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols."

When all the leaders jump ship it is hard to imagine how the "common man" would not be influenced.

Jer2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory
for worthless idols.

Why? Would people do this to a God who over and over had manifested Himself and His power before the people.

I think: That much like today, when you reject God and His Word, you are free to align with or believe in something that "allows you to do what you want". Something that is less judgmental; something that allows man's reason to define his activities (thus rationalizing). Something that does not make one feel guilty or accountable for his/her actions. Something that allows one to follow the pursuit of pleasure - and that is OK.

Jer2:20 "Indeed, on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you lay down as a prostitute."

The Canaanite religious practices involved sexual orgy on high hill under groves (of trees). In the Torah, it was not allowed to build altars under groves of trees. Yet the Israelites went to the hills (often).

Jer2:27b "They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
'Come and save us!'"

How many times has this happened? When trouble or tragedy strikes, all of a sudden people will pray to God. Having not had much of a prayer life before that moment. How would you describe a child grown up to adulthood who never talked with his parents, never spent Holidays with family, and never seemed to care for the relationship? Then all of a sudden their is trouble and he is on his parents doorstep pleading with them for help.
[Note: This has nothing to do with the response of God or parents. My intent is just to show the imagery of a self-indulgent/self-centered child. - that is how Judah is portrayed.]

Jer2:29 ""Why do you bring charges against me?
You have all rebelled against me,"
declares the LORD."

Why do you plead with me and lay this at my doorstep, when you have all these other gods. You have all transgressed or sinned against me. (Refering to the nation of Judah).

We talked before about who we sin against when we sin - I believe that it is against God. Here it is obvious that that the Lord is saying Judah has sinned against Him.

Colossians 1:1-17

Paul is writing to Colossae as Mike points out because of the danger of false teachings. Primary amongst these was the "gnostics". Gnostics believed that worthy individuals received divine revelation from God. This further revelation led them to argue things of the church from a "mystical" standpoint, and were contrary to the teachings of the gospel. [More on this later]
======================================================
Col1:1-14

Quick hits:

- Paul is back to a greeting that emphasizes his position of authority:
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,.."

-"Grace and peace to you from God our Father": I have been remiss in pointing out that it is always "Grace and Peace" not "Peace and Grace". Why? Because you cannot have Peace until you receive the Grace of God.

-"..we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus..": It is not about faith. Today "faith" is a word bandied around a good deal. "faith" in what? Paul is glad because he has heard of their 'faith IN Christ".

-"..from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven.."

Just like in Ephesians, and in Philippians "but our citizenship is in heaven" - here the Greek verb tense indicates that your certain expectations are now and will continue to be stored up in heaven.

- Notice in praying that Paul expresses desires and then thanks:
DESIRES
asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will
in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might

THANKS
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness
brought us into the kingdom of the Son

Paul in his prayer is desiring a growth in spiritual maturity, and thanking God for the gift of Salvation (which is assured). Salvation is of God.
======================================================
Supremecy of Christ

Four false teachings of the Gnostics:
1)It failed to appreciate that Jesus Christ is fully God as well as fully man.
2)It failed to understand that we are made complete in Christ alone.
3)It did not understand the full and complete sovereignty of Christ over all creation.
4)Tried to put the believer under the law and promoted legalistic ideas for living the Christian life. - Gil Rugh
http://www.biblebb.com/files/gr971.htm

Paul's Refuting of these ideas:

Col1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."

Many people have trouble with the idea in Genesis of man being made in the "image" of God. Perhaps the concept is made clearer here when refering to Christ. Image - Gk. eikon from which we get the word "icon". Icon means a representation of something, and connotes a "manifestation" of that thing. Christ is the representation and manifestation of God. While our manifestation as the "image" of God is imperfect because of the fall - Christ is perfect.

Some cults and religious sects will say Christ was created. They will point to this passage and say - 'See, Jesus is the firstborn'.

"firstborn" has had a different context throughout the Bible.

"The firstborn had the right of inheritance. He had the supreme position in the family. In other words, the firstborn got a double portion of the inheritance. This kept the family fortune intact, so to speak, the land and so on...But it does not always mean the one born first in time. It carries the connotation of the one who is supreme, the one who is in the place of honor." - Gil Rugh (ibid.)

Examples:
-Ishmael was born first, but Isaac had the rights of firstborn.
-Esau is born first but Jacob has the rights of firstborn.
-Ex4:22b "..This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son." Israel is not the first nation in existence, it is highest ranking and holds the position of honor with God.
-Psalm89 in a messianic prophecy "..Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth." Jesus will be in the line of David - but He will be supreme.

Jesus is supreme over all creation.

How so?
Col1:16 "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by (alternate translation:through)him and for him.

I often think of it as: God is the Architect, Christ is the supplier of materials and builder, and Holy Spirit is overseer. Perhaps that is too simplistic?????

All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him. "through him" is interesting because it implies to me that all the energy and materials came from Christ (through Him). I think you will be hard pressed to find a scientist who will sign on to this observation :) "for Him" is one of the supports for my belief that all this (the universe, earth, and man) is a "love gift" from the Father to the Son.

What does this mean? Well, all this is metaphorically God's house. He gets to make the rules. It doesn't matter if you like the rules, or think it is ok to break the rules.

Example:
Someone has a house, and you get to stay there for a while. The owner is absent, but has either told you or written down what is acceptable and not acceptable actions in the house. You proceed to trash the house, party in the house, neglect the house, etc. The owner returns. What is the first thing the owner will do? Does he have the right to kick you out? Based on what?
[Note: ignoring forgiveness, redemption, etc - just focusing on house and rules and the rights of the owner (creator of the house).]

Col1:17 "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Christ is eternal. Before all things, Christ exists. "Before Abreham was born, I am. IN HIM is the power that sustains and maintains the creation that He has brought into existence. Deists will not be happy with this thought:)


Jeremiah 2:31-4:18
In reading today’s passage, I wonder if there are any “Jeremiahs” walking around today that we are totally ignoring. We have the tendency to think judgment belongs to someone else and the person who is walking around shouting our doom is, well, just plan crazy.

I’ve always found it fascinating how God always uses the language of marital infidelity to describe his people’s idolatry. What is there in marriage that represents God’s Kingdom? People who are “stepping” out on there spouses usually use a multitude of excuses and justifications; however, if God uses the imagery marital faithlessness to describe out pursuit of other god’s then we can learn a great deal about God’s covenant with us and the covenant

For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: Break up your ground left uncultivated for a season, so that you may not sow among thorns. (Jer 4:3 AMP)

Although not stated in the text, I’ve sometimes read this and think on this verse when I come across people who have been in, lets say, very rough “life styles,” who then immerse themselves in the scriptures and just go plum crazy. The Word of God is powerful and sometimes we try to mix that power with a corrupt lifestyle, thinking that the Word will cancel out the corruption. I do not know why I think of that when I read Jeremiah 4:3, except that Jesus compared the “seed” to the Word of God and the soil to our hearts. And I do know several people who have fallen into mental illness after having been enmeshed in drugs and vice, then when caught or exposed, descended into madness upon picking up the Bible.

Colossians 1:1-17


For those of us looking and seeking for our purpose in life, this chapter contains a powerful pray that can be personalized as well as prayed for others. Not only does it seek to help us find our purpose it also prayers for the power of God to enable to fulfill what we have called and been created to do in the Kingdom of God:

For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints' inheritance in the light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves

>>This is one of those Proverbs I need to chew on a bit more. If anyone has insights on this one, please post up in the Comments below! >>

I think it’s all about prospective.

My son, [reverently] fear the Lord and the king, and do not associate with those who are given to change [of allegiance, and are revolutionary],
(Pro 24:21 AMP)

1) You could capitalize “king” and then you would have the Words of Jesus to obey. ["If you love me, you will obey my commandments. (Joh 14:15 NET.)]

2) This was written specially to Judah, though Judah, did have some wicked and fallen, very fallen kings and one queen who was totally “off the hook.”

3) From reading this Book, I am convinced we get the leadership we deserve, in my humble estimation, and since we serve our choices, we need to either change our lifestyle, renew our minds and then we will get better leadership when we find ourselves living in a wicked nation. Remember Elijah suffered through the famine called down in Israel although he was God’s man. (I Kings 17-18). Although Elijah did get himself a brook, a raven and a widow to feed him. God always provides a way out.

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (1Co 10:13 AMP)

Any more thoughts and PERSPECTIVES?

JEREMIAH 3
22
"My wayward children," says the LORD, "come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts."

JEREMIAH 4
1
"O Israel, come back to me," says the LORD. "If you will throw away your detestable idols and go astray no more,
2
and if you will swear by my name alone, and begin to live good, honest lives and uphold justice, THEN YOU WILL BE A BLESSING TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD, AND ALL PEOPLE WILL COME AND PRAISE MY NAME."
3
This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.
4
Cleanse your minds and hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.

NOTE:
Wow!

WE ARE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM – and we participate in the CALLING and BLESSING of Abraham—because of Jesus!

Galatians 3 (Amplified)
26
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.
27
For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ.
28
There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29
And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham's Seed], then you are Abraham's offspring and [spiritual] heirs according to promise.

May we become and fulfill the covenant which God called for Abraham—what the Father established forever by the Life, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus—the covenant of the Gospel:
“…THEN YOU WILL BE A BLESSING TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD, AND ALL PEOPLE WILL COME AND PRAISE MY NAME."

Our own holiness does not make us righteous. The Lord Jesus, by His grace does. Yet, because God is holy, we must be holy BECAUSE we are His children.

Hebrews 12 (Amplified)
14
Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.

Vance


I agree with MG on the rebellious against a government in a situation like the German resistance during the Nazi regime. What is the saying? All it takes for evil to persist is for good men to do nothing.
My other comment would be to you Mike. C.S. Lewis was also evangelized by creation. One has to be careful though, that one recognizes and worships the Creator, not the created.

I certainly love Col. 1:15:17. "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God."
Now how do those false religions answer to that? Many of them claim Jesus is not God. They try to explain away the words in the Bible...'oh, it doesnt mean that!' Well, what does it mean? I think it means: Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. lol. sounds like Christ=God to me!

Jer 2(cont)
More rejection, more rationalizing, judgment affirmed
======================================================
Jer 3

Jer3:1 "If a man divorces his wife
and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
Would not the land be completely defiled?
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—
would you now return to me?"
declares the LORD." NIV

According to the Law, remarriage is not allowed. It is hard to tell from the different translations whether God is remarking on Israel's coming back, or asking Israel to return.

If God is asking Israel to return, then this is an interesting foreshadowing because it would violate the Law. The foreshadowing would be that God's grace overcomes the Law. God's Grace can trump all - and without it we would not be saved.

Jer3:10 " In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the LORD." NIV

God hates hypocrisy. He despises lukewarm attitudes (playing both sides of the fence - see Rev 3:15-16 comments on church of Laodicea.)God can deal with true love or true rejection - but do not try to con God. Do you think he does not know your heart? Do you think there is some lukewarm worship and relationships with God around the world? Checking in on Sunday, and going our own way the rest of the week?


Jer3:11 "The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah." NIV

In the Hebrew: Israel who has turned away from is more righteous than Judah who is deceitful in their attitude toward me. Echoing comment from Jer 3:10.

The lord can deal with those who have turned away:
'Return, faithless Israel,'vs.11
"Return, faithless people," vs.14
"Return, faithless people; vs.22

When you have turned away all the Lord asks is you turn back (Return). When you are deceitful, you cannot turn back, because that would mean you would have to confront your deceit. In the rationalized mind you never admit that you turned in the first place.

Ah, there is one more condition - Repent. Return and repent of your sins.

Jer3:13
Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the LORD your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed me,' "
declares the LORD.

Return and repent - the same as what is required for a believer today who has fallen away from the Lord in sin. Turn back to God, repent of your sins, and God will restore you.

Jer3:15 "Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding."

Leaders here, and for us - the promise is the same in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Then a picture of the future:

Jer3:16-17
"In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD."

Some day in the future (has not happened in full yet) - the ark will not be needed (it is gone). Jerusalem will be the throne of the Lord (not the mercy seat between the cherubim on the ark). In those days Judah and Israel will walk as one, and live in the land promised to Abraham.

More entreaties, some wailing, and it appears Jeremiah pleading for some repentance from Israel.


About the question on the Proverb about fearing both God and "the king" - Martin Luther King, Jr. immedidately comes to mind. Had he not practiced "civil disobedience" against unjust laws that allowed people to be discriminated against because of the color of their skin/race, our country (USA) would still accept second class citizenship. That was not the way the our country was founded. And yes, people were jailed, beaten and lost their lives, however, the cause was so great the punishment didn't matter.

It's 2008! Where are all the readers of His word? I pray for many to see this bog and respond to the God who is calling you through this ministry, even though we have turned to other gods. Don't waste His Love. Receive it and spread it far and wide today. Count the stars and know His love for you. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you. Thanks, Mike. You know what I mean.

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