Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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June 19 - Evening

"The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord!"

- Psalms 113:4-9

The Glorious Lord Looks Down From Eternity to Help


Psalm 113 is a contrast between the Lord’s exalted position and the petty situations of common people. Yet, the glorious Lord is concerned about the common and the mundane. In a way the concept of this Psalm finds ultimate fulfillment in Philippians 2:4-11:

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Psalm 113 is the first of seven psalms sung at Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. Psalms 113-118 were a set of seven Psalms known as the Hallel. Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the feast meal and Psalms 115-118 were sung after.

This first Psalm of the Hallel series first calls all his servants to “Praise the Lord” (halelu-yah) because the Lord is “high above all nations” and “his glory above the heavens.” The Lord is seated high above the earth. There is no one like the Lord.

Yet, this opening of the Hallel collection also points out that this same mighty, high and glorious God “looks far down” to “the earth” to raise “the poor from the dust” and lift “the needy from the ash heap.” It is this glorious God who is even aware and concerned about “barren woman” who has no home and no children. The Lord looks down from the highest position to give the barren woman a home filled with joy and children.

The incarnation of the Lord is clearly anticipated in this Psalm as it is in the accounts or songs of praise by these women:

Notice that the Lord not only helps them or assists them, but super-abundantly exalts them to the seat of royalty and overflows their homes with joy. If the Lord is concerned about the weak and the lowly and intervenes to benefit the insignificant then as his people we should have this same attitude. Let us not consider our positions in life to be too great to help those who we could help or assist in this life.
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Epithesis (Gr) – the act of placing something on someone/something (Eng) – the Greek word epithesis is used in the NT in the following ways:

Mark 5:23 – Jesus epithesis (epitithemi) his hands to heal (Luke 13:12)
Matthew 19:13 – Jesus epithesis his hand on children to bless them
Luke 24:50 – Jesus epithesis with his hands
Acts 8:17-18 – epithesis to receive Holy Spirit
Hebrews 6:2 – epithesis is one of the elementary teachings about Christ
1 Timothy 4:14 – epithesis hands to receive spiritual gift (2 Timothy 1:6)
Acts 6:6 – epithesis hands to install deacons
1 Timothy 5:22 – epithesis hands to install church leadership
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I will let the Lord work through me today to help the needy and to be a blessing to someone looking for an answer or deliverance or hope.



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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




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Personal

To be a good friend

Church

World outreach
Agriculture
India



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Original 2,000 year old fresco on the walls at Masada in one of Herod's bath houses. (Details 1, 2)
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Panoramic view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives




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Someone to Quote

"Nature is God's first missionary. Where there is no Bible there are sparkling stars. Where there are not preachers there are spring times...
If a person has nothing but nature, then nature is enough to reveal something about God."

- Max Lucado

Something to Ponder

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Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) wrote King John of England (1166-1216) on April 21, 1214

"The King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ...has established in the Church His kingdom and His priesthood...and over all He has set up one whom He has appointed as His Vicar on earth, so that, as every knee is bowed to Jesus...so all men should obey His Vicar and se to it that there may be one fold and one shepherd. For the sake of God all secular kings so venerate this Vicar that unless they strive to serve him devotedly they doubt that they are reigning properly. To this, most beloved son, you have wisely attended..."

Here’s a Fact

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John’s disciples Ignatius and Polycarp both refer to Luke’s book of Acts in their writings around 110 AD.

Proverb

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"A king's rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass."
- Proverbs 19:12

Coach’s Corner

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In Scripture God encourages us to choose life and to choose carefully how we live it.

Zephaniah 1
New International Version (NIV)
The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:
Judgment on the Whole Earth in the Day of the Lord

“I will sweep away everything     from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.

“I will sweep away both man and beast;     I will sweep away the birds in the sky     and the fish in the sea—     and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”
“When I destroy all mankind
    on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord,

“I will stretch out my hand against Judah     and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,     the very names of the idolatrous priests—

those who bow down on the roofs     to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord     and who also swear by Molek,

those who turn back from following the Lord     and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord,     for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;     he has consecrated those he has invited.

“On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice     I will punish the officials     and the king’s sons and all those clad     in foreign clothes.

On that day I will punish     all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods     with violence and deceit.
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“On that day,”     declares the Lord, “a cry will go up from the Fish Gate,     wailing from the New Quarter,     and a loud crash from the hills.
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Wail, you who live in the market district;     all your merchants will be wiped out,     all who trade with silver will be destroyed.
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At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps     and punish those who are complacent,     who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing,     either good or bad.’
13 
Their wealth will be plundered,     their houses demolished. Though they build houses,     they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards,     they will not drink the wine.”
14 
The great day of the Lord is near—     near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;     the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 
That day will be a day of wrath—     a day of distress and anguish,         a day of trouble and ruin,     a day of darkness and gloom,         a day of clouds and blackness—
16 
    a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities     and against the corner towers.
17 
“I will bring such distress on all people     that they will grope about like those who are blind,     because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust     and their entrails like dung.
18 
Neither their silver nor their gold     will be able to save them     on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
In the fire of his jealousy
    the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end     of all who live on the earth.
Ecclesiastes 4-6
New International Version (NIV)
Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness
Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
I saw the tears of the oppressed—     and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—     and they have no comforter.

And I declared that the dead,     who had already died, are happier than the living,     who are still alive.

But better than both     is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil     that is done under the sun.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Fools fold their hands     and ruin themselves.

Better one handful with tranquillity     than two handfuls with toil     and chasing after the wind.
Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:

There was a man all alone;     he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil,     yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked,     “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless—     a miserable business!

Two are better than one,     because they have a good return for their labor:
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If either of them falls down,     one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls     and has no one to help them up.
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Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.     But how can one keep warm alone?
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Though one may be overpowered,     two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Advancement Is Meaningless
13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Fulfill Your Vow to God
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Do not be quick with your mouth,     do not be hasty in your heart     to utter anything before God. God is in heaven     and you are on earth,     so let your words be few.

A dream comes when there are many cares,     and many words mark the speech of a fool.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
Riches Are Meaningless
If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.
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Whoever loves money never has enough;     whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.     This too is meaningless.
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As goods increase,     so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners     except to feast their eyes on them?
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The sleep of a laborer is sweet,     whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance     permits them no sleep.
13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,
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    or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children     there is nothing left for them to inherit.
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Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,     and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil     that they can carry in their hands.
16 This too is a grievous evil:
As everyone comes, so they depart,     and what do they gain,     since they toil for the wind?
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All their days they eat in darkness,     with great frustration, affliction and anger.
18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?

Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,     yet their appetite is never satisfied.

What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain     by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?

Better what the eye sees     than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless,     a chasing after the wind.
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Whatever exists has already been named,     and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend     with someone who is stronger.
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The more the words,     the less the meaning,     and how does that profit anyone?
12 For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

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