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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Hair Today, Grace Tomorrow

What can I say to this great post besides stating that taking an everyday life situation and turning it into a powerful Bible lesson is a gift.

Blessings and enjoy!

The Recovering Legalist

Battles

You have probably heard it said before, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. At least that’s a common saying when it comes to parenting. Of course, there are sometimes when the battle chooses you, but for the most part, we can decide which battle should take priority. When it comes to my daughter getting her hair cut, well, I’ve decided that is a battle I am willing to invest few resources.

The other day my youngest, Haley, came to me and told me that she wanted to have her hair cut – and I mean CUT! I must admit, the idea of my beautiful little girl having her pretty hair scissored from her head made me sad. On the other hand, I was not as mournfully brokenhearted as Katie, Haley’s older sister. But, when she explained to me why she wanted it cut, and what she wanted it…

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The Love of our Heavenly Father

How amazing, that we can be called the very children of He who breathed the universe into existence. No other Father could keep us that way.

Blessings and enjoy!

Elihu's Corner

This is part 2 of the series “God’s love is the Greatest Love.” For the previous post, click here.

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One of the greatest tragedies for a young child is to grow up without a good father. For one thing, fathers provide protection, establish balance, and are often essential to a child’s understanding of how men and women should behave toward one another.

Fathers are a vital part of the family unit.

In ages past, fathers often treated their children as though they ought to be seen and not heard, rarely showing affection and often remaining aloof. This explains why many of the old preachers and pastors framed God as wrathful and distant. In our current culture, many hear “God is our Father” and do not believe He actually exists or cares because their own fathers are likewise absent or uncaring.

How we view earthly fathers directly affects how we relate to our Heavenly Father.

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“Mamma Had Enough” Comedy By Mark Lowry

Some funny was just what The Great Physician ordered this morning.

Blessings and enjoy!

emotionalpeace

Laughter lifts your mood and is a great stress reducer.

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Zacchaeus-“Bad” Man-“Good” Man

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Luke 18:18-23

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

Good man vs bad man. Clearly, as we discussed in an earlier post, Zacchaeus was a “bad” man. Zacc the Weasel! By any standard of then or now, Zacchaeus was the very dregs of humanity, and not deserving of mercy from God or man.

Now, we have the “Cream of the crop.” Just as clearly, the rich  young ruler was “good.” He was the best of the best. He was a ruler, likely a very important man in the local Jewish congregation. Like Saul of Tarsus, he was “a jew of the jews, ” most likely. A good, good man.

I have read and read on this passage and discovered an amazing thing; theologians really like to over complicate things. I have read writings and debates on works righteousness, Lordship salvation, and so many other things my head hurts. I plan to keep this simple, as I think it is actually….simple. What can we determine quickly and simply from this story?

The rich young ruler was a good person. He certainly thought so, at any rate. When Jesus told him what he had to do to enter Heaven, he was pretty quick to respond that he had those things nailed.

Clearly, those things were never going to be sufficient to save the rich young ruler. Some folks read this passage as a list of requirements that, if met, would earn one a place with God eternally. Jesus’ quick response to the man, laying out exactly what one had to do, negate that. It’s as if the young ruler said, “Look at what I did Jesus! Now let me in the Kingdom.” I don’t see Jesus’ response as continuing the salvation laundry list at all. In effect, Jesus told this man, “No, no…your list is not enough, and it will never be enough.”  See those words….”follow me?” Those words matter. What do we see elsewhere in God’s Word? We see…believe….believe on me…faith. Follow me.

The rich young ruler left lost. He was “sorrowful.” This matters. Despite the impressive list of credentials the fellow brought to the table, he left “sorrowful.” He remained just as lost and outside the Kingdom as when he arrived.

The rich young ruler rejected Jesus for the same reasons we reject him today.

He wanted salvation his way. Like so many, this man wanted to work his way to heaven on terms he found personally satisfactory to himself. He, like so many today, created a god of his own liking.

He refused to give up himself. Not only did he want his achievements to earn him a place in Heaven, buy he wanted to hold on to his “stuff.” He was sorrowful because he was very rich. This man was not sad because he was rich; he was sad because he knew he had to give up himself. He was sad because he could not have his cake and eat it too.

Luke 18:24-27

And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

Who can be saved? Can a rich man be saved? Of course. The rich young ruler was not denied salvation over his wealth. Read the last verse up above. “The things which are impossible with men.” That is very important. Salvation through men, or the efforts of men, is impossible. No person can secure their own salvation; no person can secure the salvation of another. Again, read the verse; “The things which are impossible with men…….. are possible with God.”

Now, let’s move back to Zaccheus, and see just what God can make possible even among the worst of us…that’s coming Monday.

Prayer…Part 4 – Be Careful…You Might Just Get What You Pray For!

Finally! Another installment in this great series on prayer.
Blessings and enjoy!

SGM

By Patrick Hawthorne

prayer_requests

I was writing on the will of God and just could not move forward.  The words were not flowing smoothly.  As I stopped to ask the Lord what the problem might be, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirt to head in this current direction.  Actually, this is exactly what walking in the will of God is about.  It is about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to go in the direction the Father desires.  That is how Jesus operated when He walked the earth and how we too should operate.

Back to the point, I felt that the Holy Spirit wanted me to caution you to be honest with your praying and to think about the consequences of what could happen if He grants the petition you are seeking.  I know this is an odd thing to write, but we must prepare ourselves to…

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Speaking Well

Well, pretty sure I need to read this one through several more times…then some more after that! Great lessons on controlling our mouths here.
Blessings and enjoy!

Learning To Be Full Of Grace And Truth.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18, NIV).

God wants us to be careful of what we say. He wants us speaking well of others. Easier said than done sometimes right? Let me share some thoughts about what that means.

Speaking well of others does not mean…

  1. Not holding each other accountable. Matthew 18:15-17, If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan…

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God’s Love is the Greatest Love

Everybody knows, I love a good series. So, for the next few nights we will be following this great series on Love by Elihu.

Blessings and enjoy!

Elihu's Corner

God's love is everlasting

We long to be loved, don’t we?

Unfortunately, we tend to spend most of our time “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

We expect our best friends to manifest their unwavering loyalty, only to be wounded when they seem to have forgotten us. We seek approval on social media, and inevitably come up short. We long for our spouse to love us with fervent devotion, but illness, stress, and apathy so often weaken the intensity of their love.

Human love is capricious, but the love of God endures forever.

The words in the above verse, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” are spoken by the only One who can speak them with absolute truth and confidence.

In your daily bible study, take note of the countless times God demonstrates His love. Commit such verses to your heart. Write them down and memorize them. When dark times…

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Is love always good?

God loves every ONE, but does He love every THING?
Blessings and enjoy!

clydeherrin

The Bible says a lot about love.  We are told that God is love.  He has demonstrated his love by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to die as a sacrifice for our sins so we can be forgiven.

God requires that we love others as well.  Jesus said that the two greatest commands are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are even commanded to love our enemies.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that all love is good.  Jesus has told us that loving him should have priority over all other loves.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 

Matthew 10:37

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Zacchaeus-Zacch the Weasel

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Luke 19:2

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

So, who was this man Zacchaus, really? Was he the wee little, warm fuzzy fellow we saw from the children’s song in the previous post? Well, it seems fairly certain that that depiction does not really capture the essence of just who Zacchaeus really was. Not only that, but understanding some about who he was, and what his nature likely was, does a great deal to help us understand what was really happening in this passage.

To help us understand a bit about Zacchaeus, it helps to understand a some about exactly how he earned his living. Zacchaeus was a publican. As I try to describe this, I am piecing it together from various things I read, so I may not get all the particulars exactly correct, but the point will be made.

The Romans were quite efficient in their rule of the areas which they had conquered an place under their rule; one way they often did this was to utilize the indigenous peoples of an are to basically rule and administrate on behalf of them, under their authority of course. In this case, Publicans would have been Jews appointed by the Roman to fulfill certain roles. Often Publicans would oversee certain types of public works projects, such as various infrastructure projects. One very important role, especially in the days of Jesus, was the role of tax collector for the Roman Empire.

Tax collection then was different than what we think of now. The Romans didn’t establish tax levies and then wait expectantly for those who owed to file tax returns. What we see is what I have seen referred to as “tax farming.” The Romans would establish a certain level of income they expected from a particular area, and solicit bids from certain men, those interested in being tax collectors. Upon acceptance of a bid, the bidder would prepay the agreed upon income to the Romans, and then the “fun” would begin.

If any collector retained failed to collect his already paid levy to the government, he went broke. If he only collected what was required, he simply broke even. I hope we can see here, how this all shapes up now. The Romans did not care how much a publican collected from the ones who paid; they only cared about their predetermined levy. How did publicans make money? Obviously by collecting above and beyond the required levy. Zacchaeus would have been no more then the Jewish Mafia of the day. Protection rackets are NOT a recent development!

Maybe I read too much into the nature of this man, but I really don’t think so. I think understanding just who he was will help us to better understand later events as we move through this passage.

So, who was he? Zacchaeus was likely are hard, tough, ruthless man with no qualms concerning what he had to do or say to accomplish his goals. He must have been very good at what he did, as he was the “chief.” He certainly did not rise to the top of the particular heap by being a nice guy. Publicans in general were hated by fellow Jews, as they were considered traitorous lackeys of the Romans, on an equal level with prostitutes. It seem likely Zacchaeus didn’t care even a little about all of that.

So, rather than a happy, wee little fellow, what me most likely see here is a man who was selfish, greedy, ruthless, and only out for himself.

Why does this matter? Stay tune to find out!

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