Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 29 - Evening

"How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." -Matthew 16:11-12

Teaching and Doctrine are to Life What Yeast is to Bread

Yeasts are microorganisms classified in the Fungi kingdom. Yeast permeates the dough and converts the sugars into carbon dioxide. This gas causes the dough to rise when pockets or bubbles of gas are formed. The presence of yeast affects the whole batch of dough. The yeast determines what the bread will look like.  Even though yeast is small and produces invisible gas its presence will leave a visible impression on the bread.
Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee to dock at Bethsaida on their way to Caesarea Philippi. Apparently, the disciples had forgotten to bring bread for the trip but had not yet told Jesus.  In the boat on their way to Bethsaida Jesus says, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  Because the disciples are so concerned with having forgotten to bring bread and, most likely, are blaming each other for the oversight (Think children traveling in the back seats of the family van!) they miss Jesus’ point completely thinking he has discovered (or, divinely knows) of their blunder.
Instead Jesus was warning against the teaching of the groups that opposed his claim to being the Messiah. Jesus was not warning against the scriptures that the Pharisees and Sadducees used, but against their teaching and commentary concerning those scriptures. 
Poor teaching, inaccurate interpretation, or selectively twisting verses out of context is dangerous and is much more destructive than many recognize. Bad doctrine is just like the microorganism called yeast, which is virtually invisible and produces a gas that is unperceivable. The effect of yeast altars the final shape, texture and taste of the bread. So does Bible teaching, doctrine and theology altar the thoughts, words and actions of a believer. Some Christians may be completely unaware of its presence, but teaching (or, lack thereof) does leave a visible impression on the life of a believer.
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Sunathleo (Gr) - Striving (Eng) - Sunathleo is built from the root word athleo which means "to strive" or "to contend." We get our word "athlete" from athleo.
The prefix sun- means "together." The word
sunathleo then means "to strive together" or "to contend together." It is the picture of two or more athletes working together as a team instead of as individuals to win the championship or to achieve the goal.
Paul uses the word
sunathleo in Philippians 1:27:
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving (sunathleo) together as one for the faith of the gospel."
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Living the Christian life is a team sport.
Am I not only "striving" to live as a Christian, but am I "striving together" with my team to live as Christians?
I will work with other Christians to contend for victory in the Christian life together.

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

General Text

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Church staff
Business owners
Panama - spriritual growth of believers
and theological
training for leaders

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David's city of Jerusalem is circled with the Hinnom Valley on the left, the Kidron Valley on the right and the Temple Mount today's walled city of Jerusalem to the top. (click on image for larger size)
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A drawing of the gates and walls built by Solomon on the Ophel south of the Temple Mount. (click on image for larger size)

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Someone to Quote

“Lord, make me see your glory in every place.” – Michelangelo

Something to Ponder

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The largest five groups of Christians are:
Roman Catholic (1 billion); Greek Orthodox (230 million); Baptists (100 million); Lutherans (87 million); Methodist (75 million); Reformed (75 million).

Here’s a Fact

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The tomb of Philip (Acts 8; 21:8) has been discovered in Hierapolis where he is recorded as having been martyred. A first-century Roman tomb in Hierapolis was found inside a church that had been built around Philip's tomb in the 300's.


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"Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction."
- Proverbs 29:18

Coach’s Corner

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When you want to see God work then keep walking in his ways even after you have reached your limits of patience, trust, work, joy, love, mercy, etc.

John 13
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
Nehemiah 13
New International Version (NIV)
Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
13 On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.
Before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was closely associated with Tobiah, and he had provided him with a large room formerly used to store the grain offerings and incense and temple articles, and also the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil prescribed for the Levites, musicians and gatekeepers, as well as the contributions for the priests.
But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.
10 I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. 11 So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.
12 All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. 13 I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.
14 Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.
15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day. 16 People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”
19 When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21 But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.
23 Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25 I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. 27 Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I drove him away from me.
29 Remember them, my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.
30 So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. 31 I also made provision for contributions of wood at designated times, and for the firstfruits.
Remember me with favor, my God.
Psalm 126
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 126
A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,     we were like those who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter,     our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations,     “The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us,     and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,     like streams in the Negev.

Those who sow with tears     will reap with songs of joy.

Those who go out weeping,     carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy,     carrying sheaves with them.

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