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July 17 - Morning

"Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger.

The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?

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?"

- Ecclesiastes 6:10-12

Avoid Meaninglessness by Accepting God's Reality


Arguing with God is futile.
  • The way the universe operates “has already been named.
  • What humanity is” was established by God.
  • No one is going to get anywhere living like these things are not true.
  • God is stronger and the things he has established are firm.

Wisdom is to accept this and begin to work with what you have been given. But, if you want to continue to argue with Truth and fight the system of Reality with you worldly philosophies and human reason then know this:

“The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” – Ecclesiastes 6:11

This verse from Ecclesiastes 6:11 means something like this:

The more you present your evil philosophies as substitutes for the truth, the less things are going to make sense. The more alternate realities you teach, the more confused you are going to be. Now, how is that going to help anybody?

The summary is this: We only know the parts we can see and understand. The rest we cannot perceive or comprehend. God knows what he is doing. God is eternal and we are but a shadow passing through.

Once again, to find any meaning or purpose in this vain life we will have to begin with faith in God. To continue to struggle against God’s Truth is to continue further in your spiral into a worldview that only concludes that our existence is meaningless.

Our focus is not to grieve for the things we cannot understand or to call the world unfair. The primary thing for us is to know God. He is wise, good and fair. Then, you can relax and enjoy the goodness that has been given to man while you trust God concerning the things that are beyond your understanding.

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Zanah (Hb) - harlot (Eng) - The Hebrew word zanah refers to sexual immorality by a woman, but is at times also used to refer to a man's sexual immorality. The Lord used zanah to predict Israel’s worshipping of other gods in the future in Deuteronomy 31:16 Zanah is used often in the book of Hosea in reference to the prophet Hosea’s wife, Gomer, and also zanah is used to refer to Israel in Hosea 9:1.
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I will resist false philosophies that lead away from God's Truth and the Reality he created. I will not argue worthless arguments of despair, but will instead proclaim words of Truth and live a life of Joy.


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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

General Text



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Personal

Your Godly influence on others

Church

Peace among members

World

Iraq

Nation

United States Marines


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The remains of a quarry in the Western Wall tunnels that was used to produce ashlar stones for building in Jerusalem and the Western Wall. (Details of Western Wall tunnels. Quarry 1, 2.)
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A view of the top of the southeast corner of the Temple Mount as seen from the Kidron Valley.
(Details and photos of the Kidron Valley here.)
1 Chronicles 21
New International Version (NIV)
David Counts the Fighting Men
21 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”
But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”
The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.
But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.
Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”
The Lord said to Gad, David’s seer, 10 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”
11 So Gad went to David and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 12 three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”
13 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”
14 So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. 15 And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.
17 David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”
David Builds an Altar
18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.
20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.
22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”
23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”
24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
25 So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. 26 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.
27 Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there. 29 The tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.
Ezekiel 17
New International Version (NIV)
Two Eagles and a Vine
17 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set forth an allegory and tell it to the Israelites as a parable. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: A great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon. Taking hold of the top of a cedar, he broke off its topmost shoot and carried it away to a land of merchants, where he planted it in a city of traders.
“‘He took one of the seedlings of the land and put it in fertile soil. He planted it like a willow by abundant water, and it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs.
“‘But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water. It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.’
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots. 10 It has been planted, but will it thrive? Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?’”
11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Say to this rebellious people, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Say to them: ‘The king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and carried off her king and her nobles, bringing them back with him to Babylon. 13 Then he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him, putting him under oath. He also carried away the leading men of the land, 14 so that the kingdom would be brought low, unable to rise again, surviving only by keeping his treaty. 15 But the king rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt to get horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Will he break the treaty and yet escape?
16 “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, he shall die in Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose treaty he broke. 17 Pharaoh with his mighty army and great horde will be of no help to him in war, when ramps are built and siege works erected to destroy many lives. 18 He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Because he had given his hand in pledge and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.
19 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will repay him for despising my oath and breaking my covenant. 20 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment on him there because he was unfaithful to me. 21 All his choice troops will fall by the sword, and the survivors will be scattered to the winds. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken.
22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”
Isaiah 18-20
New International Version (NIV)
A Prophecy Against Cush
18 
Woe to the land of whirring wings     along the rivers of Cush,

which sends envoys by sea     in papyrus boats over the water.
Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
    to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech,     whose land is divided by rivers.

All you people of the world,     you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains,     you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds,     you will hear it.

This is what the Lord says to me:     “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine,     like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone     and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,     and cut down and take away the spreading branches.

They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey     and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer,     the wild animals all winter.
At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty
from a people tall and smooth-skinned,     from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech,     whose land is divided by rivers—
the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.
A Prophecy Against Egypt
19 A prophecy against Egypt:
See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud     and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him,     and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.

“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—     brother will fight against brother,     neighbor against neighbor,     city against city,     kingdom against kingdom.

The Egyptians will lose heart,     and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,     the mediums and the spiritists.

I will hand the Egyptians over     to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,”     declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

The waters of the river will dry up,     and the riverbed will be parched and dry.

The canals will stink;     the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither,

    also the plants along the Nile,     at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile     will become parched, will blow away and be no more.

The fishermen will groan and lament,     all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water     will pine away.

Those who work with combed flax will despair,     the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
10 
The workers in cloth will be dejected,     and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.
11 
The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;     the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh,     “I am one of the wise men,     a disciple of the ancient kings”?
12 
Where are your wise men now?     Let them show you and make known what the Lord Almighty     has planned against Egypt.
13 
The officials of Zoan have become fools,     the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples     have led Egypt astray.
14 
The Lord has poured into them     a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,     as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
15 
There is nothing Egypt can do—     head or tail, palm branch or reed.
16 In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them.
18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun.
19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”
A Prophecy Against Egypt and Cush
20 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— at that time the Lord spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.
Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame. Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame. In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”
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Knowing God without knowing our wretchedness leads to pride. Knowing our wretchedness without knowing God leads to despair. Knowing Christ gives the balance."
- Blaise Pascal


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353 Emperor Constantine’s three sons:

1. Constantine II
2. Constans
3. Constantius

• They killed hundreds of their father’s offspring except Gallus who was sick and Julian who was a youth when Constantine died in 337.

• Constans slew Constantine II and then was killed by a barbarian in battle.

• Constantius became sole emperor in 353.

• Constantius began a violent suppression of heathen religion when he pillaged and destroyed temples, gave booty to the church and prohibited all sacrifices and worship of images in Rome, Alexander, and Athens.

• Obviously, many people became “Christian” (if only in lip service).

• Constantius was an Arian and punished those who held to Nicene orthodoxy.

Athanasius wrote at this time:

“Satan, because there is no truth in him, breaks in with axe and sword. But the Savior is gentle, and forces no one, to whom he comes, but knocks and speaks to the soul . . . If we open to him, he enters; but if we will not, he departs. For the truth is not preached by sword and dungeon, by might of an army, but by persuasion and exhortation. How can there be persuasion where fear of the emperor is uppermost? How exhortation, where the contradicter has to expect banishment and death?”


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A priestly mansion occupied by a family of temple priests was uncovered in 2013 along the south wall of the Old City Jerusalem only a short distance from the Temple. (Details 1, 2. Photos 1, 2)


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"If a man pays back evil for good,
evil will never leave his house."

- Proverbs 17:13


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