Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 4 - Evening

"You must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always." - Hosea 12:6

The Two Sides of Repentance

Sometime between 755-725 BC Hosea told northern Israel that if they were to return to God thattwo basic things would be seen in their lives to indicate their conversion was sincere:
1) Their treatment of people
2) Their attitude towards God

This is similar to Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-39 which identify the two greatest commands:
1) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul and with all your mind.”
2) “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus applied these guidelines to test to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:19-22. The young man had dedicated his entire life to God and had expressed his extreme love for God from his youth by faultlessly obeying the commandments of God. But, when Jesus asked him to show the same extreme dedication to the second of the “greatest commands” the rich young man staggered. The young man could not show the same extreme love for people as he had to God. He could not make a similar commitment to men by giving all his possessions to the poor.  Repentance is a two side coin, or a double edged sword, according to Hosea and Jesus.
Hosea describes a true return to God as:
1) treating others in LOVE and JUSTICE – notice both love and justice are required. There is never a time that one of these can properly exist perfectly without the balance of the other. Love can simply be described as selflessness, and justice is basically fair consequences for behaviors, words and attitudes.
2) trusting God by continually waiting for him to manifest –  a key word is “always” (NIV) or “continually (ESV, NAS) to describe “wait for your God.”  “Continually waiting on God” means to do so in every situation and to not be trusting in yourself or any other identity/system/philosophy.  

It needs to be noted that during the time of Hosea, sometime between 750-686 BC, Micah also picks up on these two great commandments with these very similar words in Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God

Hosea 12:6 is immediately followed by ten verses which once again disclose the intense level of northern Israel’s apostasy. These social evils towards men along with faithless towards God violates both of the two great commandments and indicates how far away Israel actually was from showing the signs of repentance that God demands. In Hosea 12:7-13:2 God accuses Israel of:
Dishonest scales
Boasting in wealth
Hiding sin with wealth
Being a wicked people
Being a worthless people
Trusting sacrifices
Provoking God
Contempt for God
Idol worship
Human sacrifices
Kissing the Calf Idol
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mesites (Gr) – mediator (Eng) – from the Greek word “mesos”
(“in the middle” or “in the midst”).
“Mesos” was a word for neutrality in Greek courts and the man who sat in the middle to negotiate between two parties represented in court. Jesus “mediated” a better covenant with better promises in Heb.8:6.
(also see 1 Tim.2:5)
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Am I practicing both love and justice?
While I wait for the Lord to establish his kingdom, I will demonstrate the qualities of the King:
Love and Justice.

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text

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Humility among leaders
Montenegro - fighting within Orthodox community

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This is the back wall of Herod's lower palace of the three hanging palaces at Masada. Here you can see some of the original wall covering and paint (fresco) in the back ground. The brighter paint and and wall covering has been restored. When Josephus described these pillars he called them marble pillars. That was the way they were designed to look to the guests. Here we see they were circular shaped rock that were stacked and then covered with plaster and fluted to give the appearance of marble.
(click on image for larger size)
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Map detailing the borders of Herod the Great's kingdom after it was divided up after his death around 4 BC near the time of Jesus' birth. (click on image for larger size)

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Someone to Quote

“The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.”
– Charles Dickens

Something to Ponder

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There were many social issues and problems for Jesus to take a stand against or to speak out against, but the issue he chose was the spiritual corruption of the religious leaders (or, “the clergy”)…and, then they killed him.

Here’s a Fact

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Josephus, a Jewish historian from 70 AD, wrote:
“At that time lived Jesus, a wise man, if he may be called a man, for he performed many wonderful works. He was a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews and Gentiles. This was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the instigation of the chief men among us, had condemned him to the cross, they who before had conceived as affection for him, did not cease to adhere to him; for, on the third day, he appeared to them alive again, the divine prophets having foretold these and many wonderful things concerning him. And the sect of the Christians, so called from him, has not yet died out.”


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"My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart."
Proverbs 4:20

Coach’s Corner

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As a believer it is no longer me alone, but it is Christ living in me to form himself to do his will. 

Luke 1:5-44
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
  1. Luke 1:35 Or So the child to be born will be called holy,
Ezekiel 26-27
New International Version (NIV)
A Prophecy Against Tyre
26 In the eleventh month of the twelfth[a] year, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, because Tyre has said of Jerusalem, ‘Aha! The gate to the nations is broken, and its doors have swung open to me; now that she lies in ruins I will prosper,’ therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. She will become plunder for the nations, and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar[b] king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons. 10 His horses will be so many that they will cover you with dust. Your walls will tremble at the noise of the warhorses, wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city whose walls have been broken through. 11 The hooves of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. 13 I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. 14 I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.
15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Tyre: Will not the coastlands tremble at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan and the slaughter takes place in you? 16 Then all the princes of the coast will step down from their thrones and lay aside their robes and take off their embroidered garments. Clothed with terror, they will sit on the ground, trembling every moment, appalled at you. 17 Then they will take up a lament concerning you and say to you:
“‘How you are destroyed, city of renown,     peopled by men of the sea! You were a power on the seas,     you and your citizens; you put your terror     on all who lived there.
Now the coastlands tremble     on the day of your fall; the islands in the sea     are terrified at your collapse.’
19 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I make you a desolate city, like cities no longer inhabited, and when I bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you, 20 then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of long ago. I will make you dwell in the earth below, as in ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, and you will not return or take your place[c] in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
A Lament Over Tyre
27 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre. Say to Tyre, situated at the gateway to the sea, merchant of peoples on many coasts, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘You say, Tyre,     “I am perfect in beauty.”

Your domain was on the high seas;     your builders brought your beauty to perfection.

They made all your timbers     of juniper from Senir[d]; they took a cedar from Lebanon     to make a mast for you.

Of oaks from Bashan     they made your oars; of cypress wood[e] from the coasts of Cyprus     they made your deck, adorned with ivory.

Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sail     and served as your banner; your awnings were of blue and purple     from the coasts of Elishah.

Men of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen;     your skilled men, Tyre, were aboard as your sailors.

Veteran craftsmen of Byblos were on board     as shipwrights to caulk your seams. All the ships of the sea and their sailors     came alongside to trade for your wares.
“‘Men of Persia, Lydia and Put     served as soldiers in your army. They hung their shields and helmets on your walls,     bringing you splendor.
Men of Arvad and Helek     guarded your walls on every side; men of Gammad     were in your towers. They hung their shields around your walls;     they brought your beauty to perfection.
12 “‘Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of goods; they exchanged silver, iron, tin and lead for your merchandise.
13 “‘Greece, Tubal and Meshek did business with you; they traded human beings and articles of bronze for your wares.
14 “‘Men of Beth Togarmah exchanged chariot horses, cavalry horses and mules for your merchandise.
15 “‘The men of Rhodes[f] traded with you, and many coastlands were your customers; they paid you with ivory tusks and ebony.
16 “‘Aram[g] did business with you because of your many products; they exchanged turquoise, purple fabric, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies for your merchandise.
17 “‘Judah and Israel traded with you; they exchanged wheat from Minnith and confections,[h] honey, olive oil and balm for your wares.
18 “‘Damascus did business with you because of your many products and great wealth of goods. They offered wine from Helbon, wool from Zahar 19 and casks of wine from Izal in exchange for your wares: wrought iron, cassia and calamus.
20 “‘Dedan traded in saddle blankets with you.
21 “‘Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your customers; they did business with you in lambs, rams and goats.
22 “‘The merchants of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; for your merchandise they exchanged the finest of all kinds of spices and precious stones, and gold.
23 “‘Harran, Kanneh and Eden and merchants of Sheba, Ashur and Kilmad traded with you. 24 In your marketplace they traded with you beautiful garments, blue fabric, embroidered work and multicolored rugs with cords twisted and tightly knotted.
“‘The ships of Tarshish serve     as carriers for your wares. You are filled with heavy cargo     as you sail the sea.
Your oarsmen take you     out to the high seas. But the east wind will break you to pieces     far out at sea.
Your wealth, merchandise and wares,     your mariners, sailors and shipwrights, your merchants and all your soldiers,     and everyone else on board will sink into the heart of the sea     on the day of your shipwreck.
The shorelands will quake     when your sailors cry out.
All who handle the oars     will abandon their ships; the mariners and all the sailors     will stand on the shore.
They will raise their voice     and cry bitterly over you; they will sprinkle dust on their heads     and roll in ashes.
They will shave their heads because of you     and will put on sackcloth. They will weep over you with anguish of soul     and with bitter mourning.
As they wail and mourn over you,     they will take up a lament concerning you: “Who was ever silenced like Tyre,     surrounded by the sea?”
When your merchandise went out on the seas,     you satisfied many nations; with your great wealth and your wares     you enriched the kings of the earth.
Now you are shattered by the sea     in the depths of the waters; your wares and all your company     have gone down with you.
All who live in the coastlands     are appalled at you; their kings shudder with horror     and their faces are distorted with fear.
The merchants among the nations scoff at you;     you have come to a horrible end     and will be no more.’”
  1. Ezekiel 26:1 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text does not have month of the twelfth.
  2. Ezekiel 26:7 Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, of which Nebuchadnezzar is a variant; here and often in Ezekiel and Jeremiah
  3. Ezekiel 26:20 Septuagint; Hebrew return, and I will give glory
  4. Ezekiel 27:5 That is, Mount Hermon
  5. Ezekiel 27:6 Targum; the Masoretic Text has a different division of the consonants.
  6. Ezekiel 27:15 Septuagint; Hebrew Dedan
  7. Ezekiel 27:16 Most Hebrew manuscripts; some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac Edom
  8. Ezekiel 27:17 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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