Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 21 - Evening

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” - Malachi 4:5-6

The Coming of the Prophet Elijah

God would send Elijah the prophet in order to help divert the curse God was sending on the land. In context “the land” most likely refers to the land of Israel since Malachi is speaking to Israel, but the application would extend to the lands of any nation not heeding the words.
John the Baptist was the prophet who filled the role of Elijah (Luke 1:16) when he announced the coming of the Lord. If Jesus had been received by the Jewish nation they could have avoided the 70 AD destruction of their land that came by the hands of the Romans. The gospel period was a day of the coming of the Lord. But, this verse talks about “that great and dreadful day of the Lord” which is the day of the Lord’s return. John the Baptist announced Jesus as a lamb coming to “take away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) The next Elijah-like prophet will announce Jesus as a coming lion retuning to judge sin and to “strike the land with total destruction.” Throughout Christian history many commentators consider these verses in Malachi to be referring to the literal return of Elijah to the earth since he was translated from the earth, but not separated from his body. (2 Kings 2) This account of Elijah is combined with the similarly mysterious departure of Enoch whose body was also taken, and not found.  (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) Together Elijah and Enoch are often considered to be the two witnesses that stand powerfully against the anti-christ before the Lord returns. (Revelation 11:1-14)
The Jews of Jesus day where also looking for the return of Elijah as indicated by the disciple’s question:
“The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him.”     - Matthew 17:10-12

The word translated “total destruction” or “curse” is the Hebrew word “herem.” It refers to devoting people and things to the Lord for total destruction or as a burnt offering. The practice of applying this word is seen in the destruction of the Canaanites by Joshua, specifically, at the fall of Jericho. This verse closes the Old Testament. After the days of Malachi (515-490 BC) there were no prophets sent by God until John the Baptist began to preach in 26 AD.
Malachi states that the prophet who goes before the Lord will “turn the hearts of the parents to their children,” but also says, “the hearts of the children to their parents.” What is to be understood in this statement? It is possible that the children are to return their hearts to the faith of their fathers, the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (See Elijah tell the children of Israel to “turn their hearts back again” in 1 Kings 18:37b.) And, the “fathers” who are to turn their hearts to the children refer to the forefathers of Israel who seemed to always rebel against the work of God (see Stephen’s speech in Acts 7). These forefathers need to return to the faith and trust of a child following the Lord.
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Kakopatheo (Gr) - "Endure Hardships" (Eng) - The soldier (stratiotes) of 2 Timothy 2:3 is told to "endure hardships." kakopatheo is a compound word from kakos meaning "evil" and pathos meaning "passion." Together they mean "to suffer evil, " to endure affliction" and "to take one's share of rough treatment." The word kakopatheo in the Greek text begins with the prefix sun- which means "with." So, Paul is telling Timothy to "endure affliction along with us," "take your share of suffering along with us." The life of a Christian engaged in the Christian life will involve enduring hardships, affliction, and evil to be an effective soldier along with the rest of the "armed forces" in the body of Christ.
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Do I recognize that a positive response to God's word and obedience to God's will brings blessings?
I will avoid God's judgment and wrath by hearing his Word and obeying his standards

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text

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Guidance and direction for responsibilities and life roles


Strength to rebuke sin
Equal rights
Nigeria - shari'a law challenging federal government in North

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A stone that fell from the Temple Mount. It is a piece of the railing from the course of stones at the top of the southwest corner, and is called the Trumpeting Stone. The priestly trumpeter would have stood in the corner of this stone to sound the trumpet signaling the beginning and end of Sabbath days and festivals. (click on image for larger size)


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The Babylonian Empire (click on image for larger size)

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Someone to Quote

"The Great Commission is far more than evangelism...The Great Commission is to make disciples, 'teaching them all I have taught you.' "
- Chuck Colson

Something to Ponder

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Billy Grahm spoke to 210 million people in 185 countries.

Here’s a Fact

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In the year 722 BC Shalmaneser captured the city of Samaria (according to 2 Kings 17:3-6), but died in December of 722 and was replaced by Sargon (referred to in 2 Kings 17:5, 24-28)
A nonagonal prism, that records Sargon's expeditions lists the conquest of Samaria, "the land of the house of Omri," in 721 B.C.
In one annal Sargon says: "At the beginning of my rule, in the very first year I reigned...I besieged and conquered Samaria, led away as booty 27,290 inhabitants of it. I formed from among them a contingent of 50 chariots and made remaining (inhabitants) assume their (social) positions. I installed over them an officer of mine and imposed upon them the tribute of the former king" (ANET, 284 85).
The Bible says the same thing: "The king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Isralites to Assyria..." (2 Kings 17:6)


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"The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright."
Proverbs 1:20

Coach’s Corner

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Your desire trumps your ability, strength and knowledge. What do you want? If you have the desire you can increase your ability, you can become stronger and you can gain knowledge! 

Luke 17
New International Version (NIV)
Sin, Faith, Duty
17 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister
[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The Coming of the Kingdom of God
20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”[c]
22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day[d] will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” [36] [e]
37 “Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
  1. Luke 17:3 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman.
  2. Luke 17:12 The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
  3. Luke 17:21 Or is within you
  4. Luke 17:24 Some manuscripts do not have in his day.
  5. Luke 17:36 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Matt. 24:40.
Zechariah 6-8
New International Version (NIV)
Four Chariots
I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black, the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”
The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits[a] of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west,[b] and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”
When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.
Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit[c] rest in the land of the north.”
A Crown for Joshua
The word of the Lord came to me: 10 “Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak.[d] 12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he[e] will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ 14 The crown will be given to Heldai,[f] Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen[g] son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God.”
Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting
In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”
Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”
And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.
13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”
The Lord Promises to Bless Jerusalem
The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”
This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” declares the Lord Almighty.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Now hear these words, ‘Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built.’ This is also what the prophets said who were present when the foundation was laid for the house of the Lord Almighty. 10 Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,” declares the Lord Almighty.
12 “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. 13 Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse[h] among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing.[i] Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”
14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
18 The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.
19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”
20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”
23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
  1. Zechariah 6:5 Or winds
  2. Zechariah 6:6 Or horses after them
  3. Zechariah 6:8 Or spirit
  4. Zechariah 6:11 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak
  5. Zechariah 6:13 Or there
  6. Zechariah 6:14 Syriac; Hebrew Helem
  7. Zechariah 6:14 Or and the gracious one, the
  8. Zechariah 8:13 That is, your name has been used in cursing (see Jer. 29:22); or, you have been regarded as under a curse.
  9. Zechariah 8:13 Or and your name will be used in blessings (see Gen. 48:20); or and you will be seen as blessed

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