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27 Mar 2011
Has Jesus Stepped Out for a Double-Double?
"1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, ""Give us water to drink.""
Moses replied, ""Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?""
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, ""Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?""
4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, ""What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.""
5 The LORD answered Moses, ""Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink."" So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, ""Is the LORD among us or not?"""
20 Mar 2011
"1 The LORD had said to Abram, ""Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you.
2 ""I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.""
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran."
13 Mar 2011
"2: 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, ""You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.""
3: 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ""Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?""
2 The woman said to the serpent, ""We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'""
4 ""You will not certainly die,"" the serpent said to the woman. 5 ""For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.""
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."
06 Mar 2011
"1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, ""Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.""
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ""This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!""
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. ""Get up,"" he said. ""Don't be afraid."" 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, ""Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.""
10 The disciples asked him, ""Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?""
11 Jesus replied, ""To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands."" 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist."
27 Feb 2011
The Sins That We Love VII: Gluttony
"13 Someone in the crowd said to him, ""Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.""
14 Jesus replied, ""Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?"" 15 Then he said to them, ""Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.""
16 And he told them this parable: ""The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18 ""Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I'll say to myself, ""You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.""'
20 ""But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
21 ""This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God."
20 Feb 2011
The Sins That We Love VI: Envy
"12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, ""As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.""
""Very well,"" he replied.
14 So he said to him, ""Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me."" Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, ""What are you looking for?""
16 He replied, ""I'm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?""
17 ""They have moved on from here,"" the man answered. ""I heard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.'""
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 ""Here comes that dreamer!"" they said to each other. 20 ""Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams.""
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. ""Let's not take his life,"" he said. 22 ""Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don't lay a hand on him."" Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe the ornate robe he was wearing 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, ""What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood."" His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, ""The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?""
31 Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, ""We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe.""
33 He recognized it and said, ""It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.""
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. ""No,"" he said, ""I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave."" So his father wept for him."
13 Feb 2011
The Sins That We Love V: Lust
"1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ""She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite."" 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ""I am pregnant.""
6 So David sent this word to Joab: ""Send me Uriah the Hittite."" And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, ""Go down to your house and wash your feet."" So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, ""Uriah did not go home."" So he asked Uriah, ""Haven't you just come from a military campaign? Why didn't you go home?""
11 Uriah said to David, ""The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!""
12 Then David said to him, ""Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back."" So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, ""Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.""
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: ""When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king's anger may flare up, and he may ask you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn't a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?' If he asks you this, then say to him, 'Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'""
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, ""The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.""
25 David told the messenger, ""Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.' Say this to encourage Joab.""
26 When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, ""There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 ""Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.""
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ""As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.""
7 Then Nathan said to David, ""You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul."
06 Feb 2011
The Sins That We Love IV: Pride
"9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 ""Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people robbers, evildoers, adulterers or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
13 ""But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
14 ""I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."""
30 Jan 2011
The Sins That We Love III: Sloth
"6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ""The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.""
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good."
23 Jan 2011
The Sins That We Love II: Wrath
"25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. 26 ""In your anger do not sin"": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
1 Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
16 Jan 2011
The Sins That We Love I: Greed
"32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means ""son of encouragement""), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3 Then Peter said, ""Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.""
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, ""Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?""
""Yes,"" she said, ""that is the price.""
9 Peter said to her, ""How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.""
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."
09 Jan 2011
Home By Another Way
"1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ""Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.""
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 ""In Bethlehem in Judea,"" they replied, ""for this is what the prophet has written:
6 ""'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'""
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ""Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.""
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."
02 Jan 2011
One Last Gift Under the Tree?
"3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory."