Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 16 - Morning

"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.' " - Zephaniah 1:12

Remove the Wine from the Dregs

We know that Zephaniah prophesied at the same time as Jeremiah, and after 623 (when the book of the Law was discovered in the Temple) because Zephaniah quotes from this book of the Law, or Deuteronomy, four times (1:13, 15, 17; 2:2).
“Search” refers to a diligent, detailed search that involves looking in every corner and sifting through things. Zephaniah is predicting the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 BC, but Josephus records a similar thorough “searching” through the underground sewers of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD in order to kill or capture every Jew.
“Dregs” or “lees” are the refuse or deposits of dead yeast, residual yeast from the fermentation of wine, or the remnants with the sediment that must be removed to preserve the desirable flavor of the wine.
Zephaniah uses the image of wine that becomes harsh when it is not removed from the dregs. Wine is supposed to be processed by pouring it back and forth to separate the wine from the dregs. If this doesn't happen, a crusty layer forms on the wine while it ferments too long and the wine's flavor becomes bitter and harsh. The wine must be removed from the dregs so that its flavor is not ruined.
The men of Judah had become complacent since they had not separated themselves from the evil or the corruption of their culture. So, the bitter, harsh flavor of worldliness had ruined the flavor of their lives. The image of “wine left on its dregs” represents the complacent attitude toward God and a calloused heart towards God’s Spirit.
One of the areas in which their complacency had allowed them to error was their judgment of God’s activity in their communities. They assumed that since they were not instantly punished when they lived in sin and rebellion (or, stayed mixed with the dregs) that the Lord was not going to do anything. Since they were complacent, they figured God would also be complacent. But, God promises he will be taking swift action against them.
Jeremiah uses the image of wine left with its dregs in Jeremiah 48:11,
“Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another – she has not gone into exile. So she tastes as she did and here aroma is unchanged. But days are coming, when I will send me who pour from jars, and they will pour her out; they will empty her jars and smash her jugs.”
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Shiqquts (Hb) - Abomination (Eng) - shiqquts describes detestable and vile acts, objects, or images. The root word for shiqquts is shqts meaning "blemish" or "impurity."
Shiqquts is word was used to describe the idolatrous practices of the pagans, as well as the horrible things God’s rebellious people would do. False gods such as Ashtoreth (Phonecians), Molech (Ammonites) and Chemosh (Moabites) were all identified as shiqquts because they were blemished, impure deities used to imitate the pure and holy True God. Daniel spoke of the
"abomination of desolation" and Jesus referred to Daniel's reference by calling it "the abomination that causes desolation." (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15)
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Do I think that God is inactive in my world? Is this attitude making me complacent? Today I will try to find evidence the God is still active in the world today as the judge, the savior and the ever attentive Creator.

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text

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Relationships at work


Perseverance in service to saints
Illegal drugs
New Zealand - young people affected by secular emphasis in education

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Rocks on the shore of the Dead Sea covered with salt residue.
(click on image for larger size)
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The lands ruled by King Herod the Great and how they were divided up after his death. (click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

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"Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms."
– C.S. Lewis

Something to Ponder

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No Christian or Jew accepted the Apocrypha until Augustine embraced it around 400 AD and allowed it to influence his doctrine.
It was not canonized by the Catholic Church as Scripture until April 8, 1546 at the Council of Trent.

Here’s a Fact

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The 1,770 foot tunnel dug during Hezekiah’s administration still flows with water and an inscription describing the digging of the tunnel has been found in agreement with 2 Kings 20:20.


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"The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives."
- Proverbs 16:17

Coach’s Corner

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A small adjustment today can make a great difference in tomorrow’s direction. 

Daniel 10
New International Version (NIV)
Daniel’s Vision of a Man
10 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”
20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.
Matthew 15
New International Version (NIV)
That Which Defiles
15 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,     but their hearts are far from me.

They worship me in vain;     their teachings are merely human rules.’”
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
Daniel 7
New International Version (NIV)
Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
“The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
“While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
“As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,     and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow;     the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire,     and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,     coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him;     ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated,     and the books were opened.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
The Interpretation of the Dream
15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.
“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things:
17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’
19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

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