Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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March 21 - Morning

"But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, 'Get up; let’s go.' But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, 'Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!

- Judges 19:25-30

A Desperate Call to Action


Chapter 19 of Judges begins with a Levite who had found work in the land of Ephriam returning to Bethlehem to get his concubine. His concubine, the text says, was “unfaithful” and went back to her father’s house in Bethlehem. But, as the story unfolds we find that she may have left the Levite in Ephriam to escape a dangerous, unhealthy domestic relationship.

The Levite goes to get his wife (or, concubine) in Bethlehem after four months. On the return trip back to Ephriam as the sun was setting they had a chance to spend the night in safety in Jerusalem (then called Jebus, and still occupied the Jebusites). Instead, the Levite wanted to press on into the land of Benjamin to spend the night among Israelites in Gibeah or Ramah. The Levite and his concubine spent the night in the home of a man, until the house was attacked by men who desires where like those of the men of Sodom when Lot’s house was attacked. To protect himself and his host the Levite sent his wife (concubine) out to these men.

The depth of Israel’s social and private sin is beyond comprehension. How quickly Israel sank as a culture in a 200 year period (From 1405 BC, when Joshua led them into the Promised Land, until here in the book of Judges around the year 1200 BC.)

The Levites unbelievable behavior becomes even more calloused. The dismembering of his concubine and the distribution of her parts was a call to Israel to respond of be judged for their negligence. This method of distributing the parts of a dismembered body will be used by King Saul in 1 Samuel 11:5-11 when he dismembers his oxen and uses the parts to call the men of Israel to war against the Ammonites.

An ancient account from Mari in Mesopotamia documents this practice at this time in history. Bahdi-Lim, a local governor in Mesopotamia, needs the troops to assemble from the settlements, but they are not moving in that direction even though he has sent several appeals and has waited several days. The governor sends a letter to the king of Mari suggesting that a prisoner be taken from jail and his body dismembered and displayed among these settlements to induce a fear that will induce the people to assemble for battle. This was the practice in Mari near the time of the book of Judges.

“To my lord, speak. Bahdi-Lim, your servant, speaks as follows: For five full days I have waited for the Hanaeans, but the people do not gather. The Hanaeans have arrived from the steppe and established themselves among the settlements. Once, twice, I have sent to the settlements and the appeal has been made. But they have not gathered together, and for the third day they have not gathered. Now, if I had my way, a prisoner in jail should be killed, his body dismembered, and transported to the area between the villages as far as Hundum and Appan, in order that the people would fear and gather quickly, and I could make an attempt to accordance with the command which my lord has given to carry out the campaign quickly.” (details and text here and here.)
This practice is repeated by King Saul in 1 Samuel 11:5-11.
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Yad (Hb) – Hand (Eng) – yad is the Hebrew word that means “hand,” “side,” “alongside.” Yad is used as a “bank” of a river in Daniel 10:4, and “manhood” (or, the male sex organ) in Isaiah 57:8; 57:10; and 7:20. The main use of Yad is to refer to the hand which is part of the human body. Yad is used to refer to power in 1 Samuel 23:7 and taking an oath in Genesis 14:22 and Proverbs 11:21
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Do I make plans and organize my time?
I will be diligent to make plans, manage my time and organize the things that are important to me.



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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

General Text




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Personal

To say peaceful words

Church

Heal the broken
Illegal Aliens
Burkina Faso



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Mosaic of storks at the Heptagegon Church at Tabgha on the northwest shore of Galilee. This is a church from 350 AD that is built over the rock that is believed to have been where Jesus multiplied the five loaves and two fishes. This is based merely on tradition. (Details herehere and here.)
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Details of Friday of Jesus' final week.




Someone to Quote

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"The wrath of God is as terrible as His grace is lovely." 
- Johann Peter Lange

Something to Ponder

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"Constantine reigned until 337. He is known as 'the Great.' As an instrument in God's hand he enabled Christians to worship freely; but the good that his reign brought was a mixed blessing. It had its evil as well as its good aspect. If peace came to the Church, so too did worldliness. Multitudes took up with Christianity who had no experience of conversion and of the work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart. Quality was sacrificed to quantity. The fire of persecution had kept the Church pure; toleration resulted in the introduction of elements which boded ill for the future." - S.M. Houghton, Sketches From Church History, p. 21.

Here’s a Fact

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Cosmological Argument used to Prove God exists:

1
. Limited, changing beings exist (example: you)
2
. The present existence of every limited, changing being is caused by another. So, this existence comes from another existing being.
3
. These causes cannot be infinite. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes of these existing beings.
4
. There is a first Cause of the present existence of these beings.
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. This first cause must be: …an eternal being …infinite …unchanging …one ...necessary
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. This model argument exactly matches the God of Scripture

Proverb

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"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
- Proverbs 21:5

Coach’s Corner

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Sailors do not row across the ocean without the use of the wind, but neither do they merely trust the wind to randomly blow them to their desired destination. In order to cross the great sea a good sailor must make personal efforts and harness the greater power of the wind.

1 Samuel 11:5-11
New International Version (NIV)
Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out together as one. When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.
They told the messengers who had come, “Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, ‘By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be rescued.’” When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated. 10 They said to the Ammonites, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you like.”
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
Daniel 10:4
New International Version (NIV)
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris,
Isaiah 57:8
New International Version (NIV)

Behind your doors and your doorposts     you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed,     you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love,     and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.
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Isaiah 57:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 
You wearied yourself by such going about,     but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewal of your strength,     and so you did not faint.
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Isaiah 7:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also.
1 Samuel 23:7
New International Version (NIV)
Saul Pursues David
Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.”
Genesis 14:22
New International Version (NIV)
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,
Proverbs 11:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 
Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,     but those who are righteous will go free.
Numbers 13
New International Version (NIV)
Exploring Canaan
13 The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. These are their names:
from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zakkur;
from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori;
from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;
from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph;
from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun;
from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu;
10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi;
11 from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi;
12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli;
13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael;
14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi;
15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki.
16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
Report on the Exploration
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Judges 17
New International Version (NIV)
Micah’s Idols
17 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”
Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!”
When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.”
So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.
Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.
Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”
“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”
10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” 11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12 Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. 13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”
Deuteronomy 30
New International Version (NIV)
Prosperity After Turning to the Lord
30 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Offer of Life or Death
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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