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27 Jun 2010
Summer of Love?
"1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: ""Love your neighbor as yourself."" 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
20 Jun 2010
The Amazing Race
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, ""Seek his face!"" Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Hebrews 12: 1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
13 Jun 2010
Wake Up Church!
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.
06 Jun 2010
Outstaying Your Welcome
"Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him: ""Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."" So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, ""Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"" As she was going to get it, he called, ""And bring me, please, a piece of bread.""
""As surely as the LORD your God lives,"" she replied, ""I don't have any bread only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.""
Elijah said to her, ""Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' ""
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, ""What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?""
""Give me your son,"" Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the LORD, ""O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?"" Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, ""O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!""
The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, ""Look, your son is alive!""
Then the woman said to Elijah, ""Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."""
30 May 2010
Three Ways of Grace
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
23 May 2010
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: ""Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ""What does this mean?""
Some, however, made fun of them and said, ""They have had too much wine.""
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ""Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
"" 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"""
16 May 2010
Arrivals and Departures
"He said to them, ""This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.""
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ""This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.""
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God."
09 May 2010
The Prodigal Daughter
"In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ""Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.""
Then she kissed them and they wept aloud and said to her, ""We will go back with you to your people.""
But Naomi said, ""Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons- would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD's hand has gone out against me!""
At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her.
""Look,"" said Naomi, ""your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.""
But Ruth replied, ""Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."" When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her."
02 May 2010
Faith and Film Series III: Up
"After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: ""Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates all the Hittite country to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
""Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.""
So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: ""Go through the camp and tell the people, 'Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.' """
25 Apr 2010
Faith and Film Series II: Avatar
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, ""Let there be light,"" and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ""day,"" and the darkness he called ""night."" And there was evening, and there was morning the first day.
And God said, ""Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water."" So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse ""sky."" And there was evening, and there was morning the second day.
And God said, ""Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear."" And it was so. God called the dry ground ""land,"" and the gathered waters he called ""seas."" And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, ""Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds."" And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning the third day.
And God said, ""Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth."" And it was so. God made two great lights the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning the fourth day.
And God said, ""Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."" So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, ""Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."" And there was evening, and there was morning the fifth day.
And God said, ""Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind."" And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, ""Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.""
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, ""Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.""
Then God said, ""I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground everything that has the breath of life in it I give every green plant for food."" And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."
18 Apr 2010
Faith and Film Series I: Julie and Julia
"Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
11 Apr 2010
I Cannot Believe Unless...
"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ""Peace be with you!"" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, ""Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."" And with that he breathed on them and said, ""Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.""
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ""We have seen the Lord!""
But he said to them, ""Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.""
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ""Peace be with you!"" Then he said to Thomas, ""Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.""
Thomas said to him, ""My Lord and my God!""
Then Jesus told him, ""Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.""
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
04 Apr 2010
Easter Sunday: Hoax, History or Hallelujah
"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ""They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!""
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, ""Woman, why are you crying?""
""They have taken my Lord away,"" she said, ""and I don't know where they have put him."" At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
""Woman,"" he said, ""why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?""
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ""Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.""
Jesus said to her, ""Mary.""
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ""Rabboni!"" (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, ""Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' ""
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ""I have seen the Lord!"" And she told them that he had said these things to her."
02 Apr 2010
Good Friday: Don't Turn the Page Yet
"As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, ""Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then "" 'they will say to the mountains, ""Fall on us!"" and to the hills, ""Cover us!"" ' For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?""
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ""Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."" And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ""He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.""
The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ""If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.""
There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ""Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!""
But the other criminal rebuked him. ""Don't you fear God,"" he said, ""since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.""
Then he said, ""Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.""
Jesus answered him, ""I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.""
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ""Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."" When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ""Surely this was a righteous man."" When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things."