Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

September 5 - Morning

"Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand.  The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them." Hosea 14:9

He Who Has Ears to Hear...Let Him Realize and Let Him Understand

Hosea’s book ends with a call to be read so that the wise can “realize these things” and the discerning can “understand” the information and instruction recorded in this prophetic book. The hearing of this book will separate the righteous from the rebellious. The power of the Word of God is self-evident in the fact that it will call and transform the wise, the discerning and the righteous. But, the Word of God will also allow itself to be rejected by the rebellious so that they can stumble in darkness. These words of God judge men’s hearts and reveals their attitudes, their intentions and their motives to make the discerning wiser and those who despise truth more rebellious because:
“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12

The principles and practice of these verses are heard in the writing of Daniel as he records the words of the angelic figure clothed in linen during his final vision:
“Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” - Daniel 12:10

Consider yourself fortunate if Jesus’ words concerning this very topic apply to you:
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8
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Mitsvah (Hb) - Command (Eng) - the verb form of mits'vah is tsavah and tsavah means to direct one on a journey. An ancient Hebrew nomad used the rivers, mountains, rock outcroppings, trees and fields as landmarks to guide them through the Negev and the wilderness. The mits'vah of the Bible are not "commands" in the sense that the English Bible communicates to mean rules and regulations. Instead, they are directives or landmarks that we look for to guide us. They are more than opinions or suggestions since following the landmarks correctly was a matter of life and death for the nomad. But, they are there to assist the nomad. Jerusalem is the mountain of God and is often referred to as Zion, but even the word for Zion, tsiyon, itself means "landmark."
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Do I think of God and his Word as a burden that slows me down in my pursuit of life or as a light directing me daily through a dark world?
Today I will consider the Word of God and its directives as good thing!

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Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text

Luke 2 (4 BC)

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Attitude of repentance
Foreign conflicts
Morocco - divided muslim country that forbids missionary work

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A 2,000 year old Roman road in Sepphoris. Notice the wheel marks worn into the stone. It is likely that Jesus and his father, Joseph, did construction work in here in Sepphoris since it is only about a 60 minute walk (5 miles) from Nazareth. (click on image for larger size)
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Location of the plain, hill country, mountain range, rift valley and the plateau on the other side of the Jordan.
(click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

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“All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths contained in the Sacred Scriptures.” – Sir William Herschel

Something to Ponder

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God’s mark on Cain could be considered the first use of a letter, writing or marking.

Here’s a Fact

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2 Kings 3:4-5 records the revolt of Mesha, King of Moab, against Israel and King Joram (son of Ahab, Grandson of Omri). In 1886 a four foot high stone was found in ancient Moab stating:
“I, Mesha, King of Moab, made this monument to Chemosh (god of Moab) to commemorate my deliverance from Israel. Omri, king of Israel, oppressed Moab, and his son (Ahab) after him.”


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"For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths."
Proverbs 5:21

Coach’s Corner

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God is good, moral and just. We will not be far from his will if we do the same. 

2 Kings 23
New International Version (NIV)
Josiah Renews the Covenant
23 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the Lord to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the Lord, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.
Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the gateway at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which was on the left of the city gate. Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
10 He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek. 11 He removed from the entrance to the temple of the Lord the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court[a] near the room of an official named Nathan-Melek. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12 He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the Lord. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption—the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the people of Ammon. 14 Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.
15 Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin—even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. 16 Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things.
17 The king asked, “What is that tombstone I see?”
The people of the city said, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it.”
18 “Leave it alone,” he said. “Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” So they spared his bones and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.
19 Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria and that had aroused the Lord’s anger. 20 Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
26 Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger. 27 So the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.’[b]
28 As for the other events of Josiah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?
29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Necho faced him and killed him at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s servants brought his body in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.
Jehoahaz King of Judah
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 32 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done. 33 Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents[c] of silver and a talent[d] of gold. 34 Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died. 35 Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah. 37 And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done.
  1. 2 Kings 23:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  2. 2 Kings 23:27 1 Kings 8:29
  3. 2 Kings 23:33 That is, about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons
  4. 2 Kings 23:33 That is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms
Luke 2
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,     and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,     you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,     and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
  1. Luke 2:2 Or This census took place before
  2. Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
  3. Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8
  4. Luke 2:29 Or promised, / now dismiss
  5. Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
  6. Luke 2:49 Or be about my Father’s business
Ezekiel 28-29
New International Version (NIV)
A Prophecy Against the King of Tyre
28 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘In the pride of your heart     you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god     in the heart of the seas.” But you are a mere mortal and not a god,     though you think you are as wise as a god.

Are you wiser than Daniel[a]?     Is no secret hidden from you?

By your wisdom and understanding     you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver     in your treasuries.

By your great skill in trading     you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth     your heart has grown proud.
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘Because you think you are wise,     as wise as a god,

I am going to bring foreigners against you,     the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom     and pierce your shining splendor.

They will bring you down to the pit,     and you will die a violent death     in the heart of the seas.

Will you then say, “I am a god,”     in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a mortal, not a god,     in the hands of those who slay you.
You will die the death of the uncircumcised     at the hands of foreigners.
I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
11 The word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘You were the seal of perfection,     full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden,     the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you:     carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,     topaz, onyx and jasper,     lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.[b] Your settings and mountings[c] were made of gold;     on the day you were created they were prepared.
You were anointed as a guardian cherub,     for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God;     you walked among the fiery stones.
You were blameless in your ways     from the day you were created     till wickedness was found in you.
Through your widespread trade     you were filled with violence,     and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,     and I expelled you, guardian cherub,     from among the fiery stones.
Your heart became proud     on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom     because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth;     I made a spectacle of you before kings.
By your many sins and dishonest trade     you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you,     and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground     in the sight of all who were watching.
All the nations who knew you     are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end     and will be no more.’”
A Prophecy Against Sidon
20 The word of the Lord came to me: 21 “Son of man, set your face against Sidon; prophesy against her 22 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘I am against you, Sidon,     and among you I will display my glory. You will know that I am the Lord,     when I inflict punishment on you     and within you am proved to be holy.
I will send a plague upon you     and make blood flow in your streets. The slain will fall within you,     with the sword against you on every side. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
24 “‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.
25 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.’”
A Prophecy Against Egypt
Judgment on Pharaoh
29 In the tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,     you great monster lying among your streams. You say, “The Nile belongs to me;     I made it for myself.”

But I will put hooks in your jaws     and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams,     with all the fish sticking to your scales.

I will leave you in the desert,     you and all the fish of your streams. You will fall on the open field     and not be gathered or picked up. I will give you as food     to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.
Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the Lord.
“‘You have been a staff of reed for the people of Israel.
When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched.[d]
“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will bring a sword against you and kill both man and beast. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
“‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it,”
10 therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush.[e] 11 The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.
13 “‘Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. 14 I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. 16 Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’”
Nebuchadnezzar’s Reward
17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month on the first day, the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. 19 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. 20 I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign Lord.
21 “On that day I will make a horn[f] grow for the Israelites, and I will open your mouth among them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
  1. Ezekiel 28:3 Or Danel, a man of renown in ancient literature
  2. Ezekiel 28:13 The precise identification of some of these precious stones is uncertain.
  3. Ezekiel 28:13 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  4. Ezekiel 29:7 Syriac (see also Septuagint and Vulgate); Hebrew and you caused their backs to stand
  5. Ezekiel 29:10 That is, the upper Nile region
  6. Ezekiel 29:21 Horn here symbolizes strength.

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