Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 22 - Morning

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account." - Luke 1:1-3

Interviewing the Eye Witnesses and Investigating the Facts

Luke begins his book by telling the reader that he himself has:
  • “carefully investigated everything”
  • interviewed “eyewitnesses”
  • examined the authorized accounts “handed down to us”
  • wrote a orderly account of the historical narrative
To think that Luke is writing something that is unreliable is to say the author is lying in the very introduction of the book. Luke intends for his book to be read as historical fact.
Luke says that many people in 57 AD had already “undertaken to draw up an account” of the details concerning the Life of Jesus. The words “an account” are from  “diegesis” in the Greek, a word that is used consistently to refer to literature written as a historical narrative presented with details and order. The author, Luke, is not writing fiction, allegory, philosophy, poetry or a novel. Luke, who was a medical doctor from Antioch, was most likely trained in the medical school at Troas where he joined Paul’s missionary team in 49-50 AD. Luke was with Paul during his imprisonment in Caesarea (57-59) and Paul’s two-year imprisonment in Rome (60-62). Luke could have used these years to collect information, interview people who had firsthand experience with Jesus and then investigated facts. In fact, this is what Luke says in his introduction to the book we call the Gospel of Luke.
Luke begins by saying that many people have already tried to record the things concerning Jesus - “many have undertaken to draw up an account.” Luke states that he, too, wanted “to write an orderly account,” or literally, “accurately in order.” This phrase refers to a systematic and logical account. In 1:2 Luke uses the Greek word “paradidomi” (translated “handed down”) to refer to the authorized traditions carefully preserved and taught among the churches concerning the life of Jesus in 57 AD, twenty-seven years after the resurrection. Remember the apostles were still alive and serving as witnesses to the life and teachings of Jesus.
Luke also spent time talking to “eyewitnesses” of Jesus. This could have included conversations and interviews with Jesus’ mother Mary, any number of the 120 disciples from the Upper Room in Acts 1:15, people who had been healed or people who had listened to Jesus teach. In fact, with this in mind, it is interesting that only Luke gives us details of some of the events in Jesus life. These accounts most likely came from people who were present or directly involved in the events that were interviewed by Luke. Thirty-five percent of Luke’s gospel is unique and not found in the other gospels. No writer records these events other than Luke who also provides details and conversation around these events:
  • The story of the birth of John the Baptist and the conversation between Gabriel and Zechariah in the Temple (Luke 1)
  • Gabriel’s conversation with Mary announcing the birth of Jesus  (Luke 1:26-38)
  • Mary’s visit to see Elizabeth and Mary’s song of praise (Luke 1:39-56)
  • Details of the birth of Jesus including the visit of the shepherds (Luke 2:1-39)
  • Jesus in the Temple as a 12 year old boy and his parents leaving him behind (Luke 2:41-52)
  • Zacchaeus in Jericho (Luke 19)
  • Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
  • Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
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Anaw (Hb) - Meek (Eng) - Anaw means "to be low," "to be humble" and is translated "meek." Anaw is a desirable character trait when it refers to being meek before God, but it is not a virtue to be trampled, used and laid low by men. Psalm 37:11 says the anaw will inherit the land. Micah 6:8 says the anaw will walk humbly before God, act justly and love mercy.
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Do I recognize the Scriptures to be an accurate historical acount?
Do I consider the Bible to a collection of ancient documents based on eyewitness accounts and the recordings of careful investigation guided by the Holy Spirit?
I will not read the Bible as if it were a fairytale.
I will not read the Bible as if it were a book of magic potions.

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text

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For favor with people


Attitude of encouragement
Freedom of Religion
Nigeria - integrity, unity and courage in church leadership

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The Siloam Inscription was written in 701 BC and discovered in 1880. It was engraved in the wall of the tunnel, but later chiseled out of the bedrock and taken to a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Inscribed by one of Hezekiah’s workmen near the western end of the tunnel close to the Pool of Siloam, it reads:
[…when] (the tunnel) was driven through. And this was the way in which it was cut through: While [ . . .] (were) still [ . . . ] axes, each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellows, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the heads of the quarrymen was 100 cubits.  - Siloam Inscription, engraved in 701 BC (click on image for larger size)
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Map of the Cities of Israel (click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

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“By faith alone,
through grace alone,
by the Scriptures alone.”

“Sola fide,
sola gratis,
sola Scriptura”

Something to Ponder

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" 'And the common people heard Him gladly, for He taught them as one having authority.' These sentences reveal the very heart of effective speaking."
– Albert Jeremiah Beveridge (1862-1927),
American historian, US senator

Here’s a Fact

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It was claimed by skeptics that there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1.But, in 1843 Paul Botta discovered Sargon's palace (and, his name was engraved in the bricks that lined the palace walls).When excavated by the Oriental Institute of the U of Chicago the walls of Sargon's palace record Sargon's capture of Ashdod that was mentioned in Isaiah 20. A monumental stela honoring his victory at Ashdod was found in the excavation of Asdod.


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"Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life."
- Proverbs 22:22-23

Coach’s Corner

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Read a prayer, recite a prayer or quote one of the Psalms when you can’t pray or have nothing to say in prayer. 

Ezra 7
New International Version (NIV)
Ezra Comes to Jerusalem
After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.
Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra
11 This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law, a man learned in matters concerning the commands and decrees of the Lord for Israel:
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings,
To Ezra the priest, teacher of the Law of the God of heaven:
13 Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. 14 You are sent by the king and his seven advisers to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to the Law of your God, which is in your hand. 15 Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely given to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 together with all the silver and gold you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for the temple of their God in Jerusalem. 17 With this money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and sacrifice them on the altar of the temple of your God in Jerusalem.
18 You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God. 19 Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in the temple of your God. 20 And anything else needed for the temple of your God that you are responsible to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury.
21 Now I, King Artaxerxes, decree that all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates are to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, the teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you— 22 up to a hundred talents[a] of silver, a hundred cors[b] of wheat, a hundred baths[c] of wine, a hundred baths[d] of olive oil, and salt without limit. 23 Whatever the God of heaven has prescribed, let it be done with diligence for the temple of the God of heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons? 24 You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.
25 And you, Ezra, in accordance with the wisdom of your God, which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them. 26 Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.[e]
27 Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way 28 and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.
  1. Ezra 7:22 That is, about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons
  2. Ezra 7:22 That is, probably about 18 tons or about 16 metric tons
  3. Ezra 7:22 That is, about 600 gallons or about 2,200 liters
  4. Ezra 7:22 That is, about 600 gallons or about 2,200 liters
  5. Ezra 7:26 The text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic.
Luke 18
New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The Little Children and Jesus
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
  1. Luke 18:20 Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20
Zechariah 9-11
New International Version (NIV)
Judgment on Israel’s Enemies
A prophecy:
The word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrak     and will come to rest on Damascus— for the eyes of all people and all the tribes of Israel     are on the Lord—[a]

and on Hamath too, which borders on it,     and on Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.

Tyre has built herself a stronghold;     she has heaped up silver like dust,     and gold like the dirt of the streets.

But the Lord will take away her possessions     and destroy her power on the sea,     and she will be consumed by fire.

Ashkelon will see it and fear;     Gaza will writhe in agony,     and Ekron too, for her hope will wither. Gaza will lose her king     and Ashkelon will be deserted.

A mongrel people will occupy Ashdod,     and I will put an end to the pride of the Philistines.

I will take the blood from their mouths,     the forbidden food from between their teeth. Those who are left will belong to our God     and become a clan in Judah,     and Ekron will be like the Jebusites.

But I will encamp at my temple     to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people,     for now I am keeping watch.
The Coming of Zion’s King

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!     Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,     righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey,     on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim     and the warhorses from Jerusalem,     and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations.     His rule will extend from sea to sea     and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth.
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,     I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;     even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
I will bend Judah as I bend my bow     and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, Zion,     against your sons, Greece,     and make you like a warrior’s sword.
The Lord Will Appear
Then the Lord will appear over them;     his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet;     he will march in the storms of the south,
    and the Lord Almighty will shield them. They will destroy     and overcome with slingstones. They will drink and roar as with wine;     they will be full like a bowl     used for sprinkling[c] the corners of the altar.
The Lord their God will save his people on that day     as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land     like jewels in a crown.
How attractive and beautiful they will be!     Grain will make the young men thrive,     and new wine the young women.
The Lord Will Care for Judah
Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime;     it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people,     and plants of the field to everyone.

The idols speak deceitfully,     diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false,     they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep     oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

“My anger burns against the shepherds,     and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord Almighty will care     for his flock, the people of Judah,     and make them like a proud horse in battle.

From Judah will come the cornerstone,     from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow,     from him every ruler.

Together they[d] will be like warriors in battle     trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets. They will fight because the Lord is with them,     and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

“I will strengthen Judah     and save the tribes of Joseph. I will restore them     because I have compassion on them. They will be as though     I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God     and I will answer them.

The Ephraimites will become like warriors,     and their hearts will be glad as with wine. Their children will see it and be joyful;     their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.

I will signal for them     and gather them in. Surely I will redeem them;     they will be as numerous as before.

Though I scatter them among the peoples,     yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive,     and they will return.
I will bring them back from Egypt     and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon,     and there will not be room enough for them.
They will pass through the sea of trouble;     the surging sea will be subdued     and all the depths of the Nile will dry up. Assyria’s pride will be brought down     and Egypt’s scepter will pass away.
I will strengthen them in the Lord     and in his name they will live securely,” declares the Lord.
Open your doors, Lebanon,     so that fire may devour your cedars!

Wail, you juniper, for the cedar has fallen;     the stately trees are ruined! Wail, oaks of Bashan;     the dense forest has been cut down!

Listen to the wail of the shepherds;     their rich pastures are destroyed! Listen to the roar of the lions;     the lush thicket of the Jordan is ruined!
Two Shepherds
This is what the Lord my God says: “Shepherd the flock marked for slaughter. Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise the Lord, I am rich!’ Their own shepherds do not spare them. For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the Lord. “I will give everyone into the hands of their neighbors and their king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue anyone from their hands.”
So I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I got rid of the three shepherds.
The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them
and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.”
10 Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord.
12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.
14 Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel.
15 Then the Lord said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.
“Woe to the worthless shepherd,     who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye!     May his arm be completely withered,     his right eye totally blinded!”
  1. Zechariah 9:1 Or Damascus. / For the eye of the Lord is on all people, / as well as on the tribes of Israel,
  2. Zechariah 9:10 That is, the Euphrates
  3. Zechariah 9:15 Or bowl, / like
  4. Zechariah 10:5 Or ruler, all of them together. / They

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