Spiritual Training

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August 18 - Morning

"It happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous. Now they grope through the streets as if they were blind. They are so defiled with blood that no one dares to touch their garments.
'Go away! You are unclean!' people cry to them. 'Away! Away! Don’t touch us!'
When they flee and wander about, people among the nations say, 'They can stay here no longer.'
The Lord himself has scattered them; he no longer watches over them. The
priests are shown no honor, the elders no favor."
- Lamentations 4:13-16

The Failure of the False Prophet is the Guilt of Bloodshed

Jeremiah returns to hanging the blame for Jerusalem’s fall on the false teachers. The false words of Jerusalem’s prophets and the corruption of the priests make these two groups of leaders responsible for the death and captivity of Jerusalem’s people. This is the responsibility James warns teachers of in his New Testament book when he says:

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”James 3:1

Many of today’s preachers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc. should take a serious look at James’ warning beginning with his use of the word “presume” when he says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers.” The word “presume” in the NIV comes from the Greek word ginesthe, which is the verb “be” in the present tense and means “to become” and continue “being.”

James is telling the believers to stop posing as teachers. The wording of the sentence indicates that there are indeed teachers, and teachers were necessary. In fact, James considered himself a teacher. But, James is also saying that there are many more people out there trying to teach than there are real teachers. Many of those who called themselves “teacher” where not really teachers. Yet, they erred by assuming the position of a teacher (pastor, leader, preacher, etc.) and presenting themselves as such to the people of God. These wanna-be-teachers would be judged for their failure and the failure of the people who listened to them. Arrogance and conceit will lead many to assume the position.

The problems begin when those who listen to a teacher desire to hear something different than the Truth the teacher is required to know and present. At that point the teacher will be forced to choose who they are serving. Are they serving the Lord? Or, are they serving themselves, and thus need the acceptance of people? Teachers will have to discern between their own views and the doctrine presented in scripture. Is the teacher interested in voicing their own opinions and worldly philosophies while they enjoy the sound of their own voice? Or, are they committed to hearing the Word of the Lord and proclaiming it? Do they know the difference between a worldly philosophy and the Word of God? Or, do they simply know what the people are willing to accept, what book is on the best-sellers list and what is being currently being taught at the recent church-growth-seminars?

Jeremiah says the false teachers (prophets, priests, elders) of his generation were guilty of the bloodshed brought to Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s sword. Jeremiah points out that the failure of these teacher’s philosophy, theology, worldview and their promises of peace have so utterly failed that these teachers will be rejected wherever they go. These teachers will be rejected because of the guilt of bloodshed associated with their failure to properly instruct their audiences. People will say to these men who pretended to be teachers and religious leaders:

“Go away! You are unclean…Away! Away! Don’t touch us!”Lamentations 4:15

There will be NO honor for these prophets, priests, teachers and elders in the place the Lord is sending them:

“The Lord himself has scattered them; he no longer watches over them. The priests are shown no honor, the elders no favor.”Lamentations 4:16
‘Abad (Hb) - perish (Eng) - The Hebrew word ‘abad refers to the disappearance of a person or a thing. ‘Abad can mean “to perish,” “to die,” “to be lost,” “to go astray,” “to go to ruin,” “to fail,” and “to be carried off.” Leviticus 26:38, to die or cease to exist Numbers 33:52, to destroy Exodus 10:7, to be ruined Numbers 17:12-13, the process of failing Deuteronomy 4:26, carried away in captivity to perish in a foreign land
I will pray today when concerns enter my thinking.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


General Text

Zechariah 12 (520-519 BC)


Opportunity to lead someone to Christ


Avoid immorality

A view from the top down at Herod's three hanging palaces on the side of Masada. (Details)

Details of the judges Tola and Jair located on a map according to Judges 10:1-5.

Someone to Quote

"It is true, a man that is born again of God, may, through surprise, or the violence of a temptation, fall into an act of sin: witness the adultery of David, and Peter's denial of his Master. But then, like them, he quickly rises again, goes out from the world, and weeps bitterly; washes the guilt of sin away by the tears of sincere repentance, joined with faith in the blood of Jesus Christ; takes double heed to his ways for the future, and perfects holiness in the fear of God."
- George Whitefield

Something to Ponder

Isaiah 40:22 clearly identifies the earth as a sphere. Mankind still thought the earth was flat for another 2,000 years.

Here’s a Fact

A seal inscribed with the words “Belonging to Abdi servant of Hoshea” has been found. King Hosea was the last king of the northern kingdom of Israel.
Details 1, 2.
Photos 1, 2, 3.


"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out."
- Proverbs 18:15

Coach’s Corner

Personal growth increases your personal potential. The failure to learn and the refusal to change is the rejection of increasing your opportunity for success.

2 Kings 2 New International Version (NIV)
Elijah Taken Up to Heaven
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.
The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”
“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”
And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.
Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
17 But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
Healing of the Water
19 The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”
20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” 22 And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
Elisha Is Jeered
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Zechariah 12 New International Version (NIV)
Jerusalem’s Enemies to Be Destroyed
12 A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
Mourning for the One They Pierced
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Jeremiah 38-39New International Version (NIV)
Jeremiah Thrown Into a Cistern
38 Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehukal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people when he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be given into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’”
Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”
“He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”
So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.
But Ebed-Melek, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and said to him, “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.”
10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melek the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”
11 So Ebed-Melek took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, 13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.
Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah Again
14 Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to the third entrance to the temple of the Lord. “I am going to ask you something,” the king said to Jeremiah. “Do not hide anything from me.”
15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I give you an answer, will you not kill me? Even if I did give you counsel, you would not listen to me.”
16 But King Zedekiah swore this oath secretly to Jeremiah: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has given us breath, I will neither kill you nor hand you over to those who want to kill you.”
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live. 18 But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from them.’”
19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”
20 “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. 21 But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me: 22 All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you:
“‘They misled you and overcame you—     those trusted friends of yours. Your feet are sunk in the mud;     your friends have deserted you.’
23 “All your wives and children will be brought out to the Babylonians. You yourself will not escape from their hands but will be captured by the king of Babylon; and this city will be burned down.”
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know about this conversation, or you may die. 25 If the officials hear that I talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; do not hide it from us or we will kill you,’ 26 then tell them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to Jonathan’s house to die there.’”
27 All the officials did come to Jeremiah and question him, and he told them everything the king had ordered him to say. So they said no more to him, for no one had heard his conversation with the king.
28 And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.
The Fall of Jerusalem
This is how Jerusalem was taken:
In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it. And on the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the city wall was broken through. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls, and headed toward the Arabah.
But the Babylonian army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.
The Babylonians set fire to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him, and the rest of the people. 10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: 12 “Take him and look after him; don’t harm him but do for him whatever he asks.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard, Nebushazban a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officers of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him back to his home. So he remained among his own people.
15 While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him: 16 “Go and tell Ebed-Melek the Cushite, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city—words concerning disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. 17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. 18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.’”
Psalm 74 New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 74
A maskil of Asaph.

O God, why have you rejected us forever?     Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?

Remember the nation you purchased long ago,     the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—     Mount Zion, where you dwelt.

Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,     all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;     they set up their standards as signs.

They behaved like men wielding axes     to cut through a thicket of trees.

They smashed all the carved paneling     with their axes and hatchets.

They burned your sanctuary to the ground;     they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.

They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”     They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.

We are given no signs from God;     no prophets are left,     and none of us knows how long this will be.
How long will the enemy mock you, God?     Will the foe revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?     Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
But God is my King from long ago;     he brings salvation on the earth.
It was you who split open the sea by your power;     you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan     and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
It was you who opened up springs and streams;     you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
The day is yours, and yours also the night;     you established the sun and moon.
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;     you made both summer and winter.
Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord,     how foolish people have reviled your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;     do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Have regard for your covenant,     because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;     may the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;     remember how fools mock you all day long.
Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,     the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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