Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 10 - Morning

"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." - Jonah 2:8

False Philosophies Obscure the Discernment of Grace

As Jonah sinks into the sea he thinks of the idol worshipping pagan sailors that threw him into the waters. “Grace” is the word hesed which is the word for the covenant relationship Israel had with God. This word is translated “mercy,” “kindness,” “grace.” Hesed is the kindness, mercy or grace a person receives because they are loved by God who has offered them a relationship, or specifically, a relationship that is sealed in a covenant. Miles Coverdale coined the phrase “lovingkindness” in 1535 to translate the Hebrew word hesed (or, chesed) for his English translation of the Old Testament in the Coverdale Bible. Other translations use the phrase “steadfast love” or “constant love” to communicate the meaning of the word “hesed.”
It is interesting that Jonah is thinking about the hopeless state of the pagan sailors who are currently safe and secure on the ship, while Jonah himself is sinking into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. In his desperate state of rebellion Jonah turns confidently to the “grace,” or hesed, he has in God, but recognizes that those who embrace false philosophies and false religions are forfeiting a covenant relationship with God. This is true even in this case where the idol worshippers are pagans heading to a foreign land. The offer is still available. In fact, as the story of Jonah goes, Jonah has been sent by God to the pagan people in the city of Nineveh in the land of the Assyrians to call them into a relationship of right standing with their creator. So, in 759 BC the people of Ninevah did receive hesed from God.
The Hebrew word translated “idols” is “lying vanities,” vanities of vanities,” or “vain things” which identify not merely stone or metal images, but the empty, false and destructive philosophies and world views that accompany these empty views of reality. People who cling to false philosophies or corrupt world views are missing out on the offer of “grace,” “mercy” and “lovingkindness” God desires to bestow upon them.
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Raqiya (Hb) - Expanse (Eng) - from the root word raqa which refers to the process of hammering out a piece of gold or other metal into thin plates. The word raqa is used Isaiah 40:19 - "As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays (raqa) it with gold."
Raqa is also used in Numbers 16:39 when Eleazar hammered bronze for the altar covering.
If this word is allowed to mean the same thing in reference to the water above the earth in Genesis 1:7 when it says "God made the expanse." Then this
Raqiya was "hammered" water used to hold the waters above. This "expanse" (NIV) or "firmament" (KJ) ("hammered out sheets of water") could then be the "floodgates of heaven" that were opened to begin Noah's Flood. If this is the case then these hammered sheets of water would have filtered out harmful sun rays. This would be part of the explanation for the longevity of life on earth before the flood in the Genesis account.
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Am I practicing some habit or holding some attitude that is causing me to forfeit God's grace in some area in my life? I will identify a worthless attitude or a distracting habit today to make room for God.

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Complete Text

General Text

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Experience God's presence
Myanmar - church unity

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The fields outside of Bethlehem in the hill country of Judah. (click on image for larger size)
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Details of the "Gates of Hades" or the Temple to Pan in Caesarea Philippi. (click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

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“Back to the Bible or back to the jungle.” – Luis Palau

Something to Ponder

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Cyril wanted to translate the Bible for the Slavic people, but they had no alphabet. So he invented an alphabet for them so he could translate the Bible into their language.

Here’s a Fact

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Jesus preached  in the synagogue in Capernaum and healed a man in the synagogue. The foundation of this synagogue has been found. (Mark 1:21-28)


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"Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray."
- Proverbs 10:17

Coach’s Corner

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It sounds like an oxymoron, but contentment is one of the most powerful traits necessary for developing greatness in the plan God has for you, because at that point you may start working instead of wishing and dreaming you were someone else. 

2 Kings 24:20-25:30
New International Version (NIV)
20 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.
The Fall of Jerusalem
Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
25 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured.
He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him.
They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 10 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
16 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed. 17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar.
18 The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. 19 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and five royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of the conscripts who were found in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed.
So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
22 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be over the people he had left behind in Judah. 23 When all the army officers and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jaazaniah the son of the Maakathite, and their men. 24 Gedaliah took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.”
25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. 26 At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.
Jehoiachin Released
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.
Matthew 5
New International Version (NIV)
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,     for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,     for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,     for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,     for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,     for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,     for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Ezekiel 42
New International Version (NIV)
The Rooms for the Priests
42 Then the man led me northward into the outer court and brought me to the rooms opposite the temple courtyard and opposite the outer wall on the north side. The building whose door faced north was a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide. Both in the section twenty cubits from the inner court and in the section opposite the pavement of the outer court, gallery faced gallery at the three levels. In front of the rooms was an inner passageway ten cubits wide and a hundred cubits long. Their doors were on the north. Now the upper rooms were narrower, for the galleries took more space from them than from the rooms on the lower and middle floors of the building. The rooms on the top floor had no pillars, as the courts had; so they were smaller in floor space than those on the lower and middle floors. There was an outer wall parallel to the rooms and the outer court; it extended in front of the rooms for fifty cubits. While the row of rooms on the side next to the outer court was fifty cubits long, the row on the side nearest the sanctuary was a hundred cubits long. The lower rooms had an entrance on the east side as one enters them from the outer court.
10 On the south side along the length of the wall of the outer court, adjoining the temple courtyard and opposite the outer wall, were rooms 11 with a passageway in front of them. These were like the rooms on the north; they had the same length and width, with similar exits and dimensions. Similar to the doorways on the north 12 were the doorways of the rooms on the south. There was a doorway at the beginning of the passageway that was parallel to the corresponding wall extending eastward, by which one enters the rooms.
13 Then he said to me, “The north and south rooms facing the temple courtyard are the priests’ rooms, where the priests who approach the Lord will eat the most holy offerings. There they will put the most holy offerings—the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings—for the place is holy. 14 Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places that are for the people.”
15 When he had finished measuring what was inside the temple area, he led me out by the east gate and measured the area all around: 16 He measured the east side with the measuring rod; it was five hundred cubits. 17 He measured the north side; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod. 18 He measured the south side; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod. 19 Then he turned to the west side and measured; it was five hundred cubits by the measuring rod. 20 So he measured the area on all four sides. It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the holy from the common.

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