Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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October 13 - Evening

"When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.  So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus." - Acts 9:26-30

Saul Joins the Church in Jerusalem


Saul, the great persecutor of the church, had left Jerusalem three years before to arrest the believers who had fled his persecution. Now, the same man returns to Jerusalem professing that Jesus was the Messiah. Obviously, the Jerusalem church was suspicious! There is no better way to get to the heart of the church than to feign allegiance. But, Saul’s “friendship” problems and trust issues reached further than the fact his former enemies were leery of his motivation. It is a known practice that a Jew who confessed Jesus as Messiah could be cut off socially from his Jewish culture which would include employment, family relations, inheritance and social status. So, Saul returns to the glorious city of Jerusalem rejected by Jewish society and unwelcomed in the church.
An acquaintance of Saul’s, possibly from his earlier days, named Barnabus trusted Saul’s conversion and believed his intentions were pure. We can speculate that Barnabus, who himself was a Jew from a foreign land of Cyprus (near Paul’s home country of Cilicia) and a Levite, may have known Saul before either of their conversions. Barnabus who must have known Saul’s integrity “brought him to the apostles.” (Barnabus’ name was Joseph and his spiritual gift was encouragement which he used to edify the church, thus his name Barnabus, Bar Newaha [Aramaic], or Son of Encouragment, Acts 4:36. So, Barnabus’ spiritual gift became his name.)
While in Jerusalem Paul says in Galatians he only met Peter and James, the brother of Jesus.
“After three years I went up to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and stayed with him for fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles, except James, the Lord’s brother.” – Galatians 1:18

Saul began to debate his former Greecian Jewish friends in the synagogue concerning the Messiahship of Jesus. Most likely, because of his superior training and excellent debate skills, Saul believed he could reason with the Jews and lead them to a glorious revival to their Messiah Jesus. But, to Paul’s disappointment they responded just like he had previously and vowed to kill him. So, after a fifteen day “revival” in Jerusalem Saul fled for his life back to his home country.
Ploutos (Gr) - Riches (Eng) - the Greek word ploutos is where the English gets the word plutonic (rock formed by solidification at a great depth below the earth's surface) and plutocrat (government by the wealthy). The Greek word ploutos originally referred to abundant wealth and riches in the Greek language. In the philosophy of Plato (400 BC) the concept of ploutos divided into material ploutos and ploutos that was not material things, but yet very beneficial to society. This second division included things such as wisdom, character, education, etc. The New Testament uses ploutos to refer to great physical wealth, but also to spiritual wealth as in Ephesians:
"..the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches (ploutos) of God's grace that he lavished on us..." - Ephesians 1:7-8
Do I use my spiritual gift? Do I allow God to minister to others through me?
I will trust God to provide opportunities and provide the strength to minister to people.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Children

Church

Avoid immortality
Health care
Russia - minority groups face exploitation and rejection



This is the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The current building was inaugurated by the Crusaders who rebuilt it in 1149. This site was honored by first century Christians, buried by Hadrian in 135, identified by local believers in 326, covered by Constantine’s church by 335, which was then destroyed by the Persians in 614, only to be rebuilt and destroyed again by the Muslim Caliph Hakim in 1009. The right (east) half of the main entrance to the church was walled shut by the Muslims after the Crusaders lost Jerusalem in 1187. (click on image for larger size)
One of the early battles of the Maccabean Revolt where Judas and his forces defeat Seron on the Beth-Horon Pass.
General Seron leads the 6,000 Seleucid troops down the Mediterranean coast then turns east towards Jerusalem through Lydda and up the steep ascent of Beth-horon. Judas chooses to
meet him with his 1,200 men on a steep narrow pass between Lower Bethhoron and Upper Beth-horon.
Judas again divides his men into three groups.
Two on the sides of the pass and he and his elite troops called "The Faithful" at the head of the pass. General Seron crosses the Plain of Sharon and tokes the first valley that leads to Jerusalem. This road ascends 1,500 feet in two miles and at times is a narrow trail. At the top of a narrow trail Judas shows himself and his elite troops.
Seron decides he could easily drive through the few Maccabean troops. Seron continues up the pass to reach Judas only to find himself trapped. Then Judas sounds the shofars and the archers and slingers fire on the trapped Seleucid troops.
Seron is killed and the Seleucids tear off their armor, throw down their weapons and are chased back to the costal plain. Judas has now defeated two generals and defeated two armies. The surrounding nations begin to talk about the Macabees in Judah. The Maccabee revolt has become a major rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. (click on image for larger size)



Someone to Quote

"To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself that, 'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,' and to preach therefrom that, 'in the sweat of other man's faces shalt thou eat bread,' to my mind, can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity." - Abraham Lincoln

Something to Ponder

The Jordan River begins at the base of Mount Hermon and drops 3,300 feet in elevation before it reaches the Dead Sea.

Here’s a Fact

Skeptics rejected the existence of Belshazzar and the biblical account in Daniel 5 and 8. The discovery of a couple of clay cylinders in the 1854 and 1880's that had belonged to Babylonian King Nabonidus mention his son Belshazzar. On these clay cylinders inscribed in cuneiform text from the 500's BC King Nabonidus prays for his son Belshazzar on one cylinder and mentions Belshazzar on the other.
The cylinders were found in Ur and Sippar. They are about four inches long. This find confirms the fact that whoever wrote the book of Daniel had to be an eye witness of the events in Daniel 5 and 8 since history from 450 BC and down does not record Belshazzar. These cylinders completely undermine the textual critics who claim that the book of Daniel was a forgery written around 165 BC, instead of by Daniel himself in the 500's BC as the author of the book claims. (Photos. Details)

Proverb

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
- Proverbs 13:20

Coach’s Corner

When your conscience says, “No.” Don’t! 

Acts 14
New International Version (NIV)
In Iconium
14 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the gospel.
In Lystra and Derbe
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
The Return to Antioch in Syria
21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
Matthew 12:15-50
New International Version (NIV)
God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,     the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him,     and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 
He will not quarrel or cry out;     no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 
A bruised reed he will not break,     and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 
    In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Jesus and Beelzebul
22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.
30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Sign of Jonah
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Job 37
New International Version (NIV)
37 
“At this my heart pounds     and leaps from its place.

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,     to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.

He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven     and sends it to the ends of the earth.

After that comes the sound of his roar;     he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds,     he holds nothing back.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;     he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’     and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

So that everyone he has made may know his work,     he stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;     they remain in their dens.

The tempest comes out from its chamber,     the cold from the driving winds.
10 
The breath of God produces ice,     and the broad waters become frozen.
11 
He loads the clouds with moisture;     he scatters his lightning through them.
12 
At his direction they swirl around     over the face of the whole earth     to do whatever he commands them.
13 
He brings the clouds to punish people,     or to water his earth and show his love.
14 
“Listen to this, Job;     stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 
Do you know how God controls the clouds     and makes his lightning flash?
16 
Do you know how the clouds hang poised,     those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 
You who swelter in your clothes     when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 
can you join him in spreading out the skies,     hard as a mirror of cast bronze?
19 
“Tell us what we should say to him;     we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 
Should he be told that I want to speak?     Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
21 
Now no one can look at the sun,     bright as it is in the skies     after the wind has swept them clean.
22 
Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;     God comes in awesome majesty.
23 
The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;     in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 
Therefore, people revere him,     for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”

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