Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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June 22 - Morning

"I lift up my eyes to you,
to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he shows us his mercy."

- Psalms 123:1-2

Looking to the Higher Power

Psalm 123 is also in the collection of psalms known as the “Songs of Ascent” sung by worshippers and visiting pilgrims as they made their way up the southern stairs during the processional portion of the temple ceremony and into the temple courts. (See photo of steps on south side below.)
This Psalm appears to have been written and originally performed after a lengthy period of community affliction and oppression (123:3-4). Psalm 123 was likely written during the Jew’s time in Babylon (exilic period) or after their return to Jerusalem (post-exilic period).
This psalm served as a source of encouragement for the community as public profession of faith in God was made by the individual and the whole community. In verse 123:1 the singular individual is likely the officiating priest. And, the plural of verse 123:2 is the response of the community.
The statement to “lift up my eyes” is reference to prayer. And, the comparison to male slaves looking to their master and female slaves looking to their mistress is an all-inclusive call to everyone in the community to pray since we all are dependent on the Lord.
The lyrics of Psalm 123 focus on the fact that the people on earth are completely dependent on the God who is above. The people below look upward toward their God who is not merely above them, but is also “enthroned” in “heaven” above their afflictions and ruling over the powers that oppress them below on earth.
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Yisrael (Hb) - Israel (Eng) – Yisrael is a sentence name whose oldest discovered inscription has been found in the Egyptian victory song inscribed in Merneptah’s 1225 BC burial temple at Thebes. The Hebrew word for God, El, is identifiable in Yisra-el. Genesis 32:29 and Hosea 12:4 make El (“God”) the object of the sentence name Yisrael so it means “striver with El” or “the one who contends with El.” Other interpretations make El the subject and interpret the verb part of Yisra-el (Isra-el) to mean “upright,” “shines,” “heals,” “rules,” “contends.” This would interpret Yisrael to mean “El is upright” or “El rules.” Some have suggested Yisrael was a war cry such as “May El contend.” Yisrael (Israel) is used more than 2,500x in the OT.
Am I trusting in God’s mercy or depending on my own strength?

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text




Vice President

Dr. Carl Rasmussen in a field in the Hill Country of Benjamin in June.
(Read Dr. Rasmussen's Blog. See Dr. Carl Rasmussen's photos online HolyLandPhotos.org)
Details of 1 Kings 15:25-34 concerning the conflict between Baasha of Judah and Nadab of Israel.

Someone to Quote

"A yearning for physical wealth has replaced our longing for spiritual maturity."
- Galyn Wiemers

Something to Ponder

Men are significantly more likely than women to claim no religious affiliation. Nearly one-in-five (or, about 20%) men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13% of women.
(The Pew Forum, source)

Here’s a Fact

Critic of Intelligent Design: Simple question: sum up for me how Intelligent Design describes the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem?

Response: Simple answer. Almost exactly the same way evolutionists would describe the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem.


"The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful."

- Proverbs 22:12

Coach’s Corner

 Do what is right today even when no one is watching, because you are planting the seeds for a better world tomorrow.

Saul Takes His Life
31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.
Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.
The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.
Jeremiah 9
New International Version (NIV)

Oh, that my head were a spring of water     and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night     for the slain of my people.

Oh, that I had in the desert     a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people     and go away from them; for they are all adulterers,     a crowd of unfaithful people.

“They make ready their tongue     like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth     that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another;     they do not acknowledge me,” declares the Lord.

“Beware of your friends;     do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver,     and every friend a slanderer.

Friend deceives friend,     and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie;     they weary themselves with sinning.

You live in the midst of deception;     in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the Lord.
Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:
“See, I will refine and test them,     for what else can I do     because of the sin of my people?

Their tongue is a deadly arrow;     it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,     but in their hearts they set traps for them.

Should I not punish them for this?”     declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself     on such a nation as this?”
I will weep and wail for the mountains     and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled,     and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled     and the animals are gone.
“I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,     a haunt of jackals; and I will lay waste the towns of Judah     so no one can live there.”
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.”
17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;     send for the most skillful of them.
Let them come quickly     and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears     and water streams from our eyelids.
The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:     ‘How ruined we are!     How great is our shame! We must leave our land     because our houses are in ruins.’”
Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;     open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail;     teach one another a lament.
Death has climbed in through our windows     and has entered our fortresses; it has removed the children from the streets     and the young men from the public squares.
22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:
“‘Dead bodies will lie     like dung on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper,     with no one to gather them.’”
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom     or the strong boast of their strength     or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:     that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,     justice and righteousness on earth,     for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
25 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
Proverbs 30
New International Version (NIV)
Sayings of Agur
30 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God,
    but I can prevail.

Surely I am only a brute, not a man;     I do not have human understanding.

I have not learned wisdom,     nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.

Who has gone up to heaven and come down?     Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?     Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son?     Surely you know!

“Every word of God is flawless;     he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Do not add to his words,     or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;     do not refuse me before I die:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;     give me neither poverty nor riches,     but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you     and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal,     and so dishonor the name of my God.
“Do not slander a servant to their master,     or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
“There are those who curse their fathers     and do not bless their mothers;
those who are pure in their own eyes     and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
those whose eyes are ever so haughty,     whose glances are so disdainful;
those whose teeth are swords     and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth     and the needy from among mankind.
“The leech has two daughters.     ‘Give! Give!’ they cry.
“There are three things that are never satisfied,
    four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
the grave, the barren womb,     land, which is never satisfied with water,     and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’
“The eye that mocks a father,     that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,     will be eaten by the vultures.
“There are three things that are too amazing for me,     four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,     the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas,     and the way of a man with a young woman.
“This is the way of an adulterous woman:     She eats and wipes her mouth     and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’
“Under three things the earth trembles,     under four it cannot bear up:
a servant who becomes king,     a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
a contemptible woman who gets married,     and a servant who displaces her mistress.
“Four things on earth are small,     yet they are extremely wise:
Ants are creatures of little strength,     yet they store up their food in the summer;
hyraxes are creatures of little power,     yet they make their home in the crags;
locusts have no king,     yet they advance together in ranks;
a lizard can be caught with the hand,     yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
“There are three things that are stately in their stride,     four that move with stately bearing:
a lion, mighty among beasts,     who retreats before nothing;
a strutting rooster, a he-goat,     and a king secure against revolt.
“If you play the fool and exalt yourself,     or if you plan evil,     clap your hand over your mouth!
For as churning cream produces butter,     and as twisting the nose produces blood,     so stirring up anger produces strife.”

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