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  1. Today
  2. None of the above. He married Michael to one-up Saul -- to publicly best, goad and humiliate the man who repeatedly tried to kill him, cancelled his marriage to his daughter Merab at the last minute, and both schemed and plotted against him constantly. It is true that the Lord was with David but marrying Michal was a purely political calculation. David probably didn’t even know her. He had been slated to marry her sister, after all, and had been willing to do so. Michal may have learned to love David later, but her infatuation of him was based on public approval and reputation, not his character. As an aside, I find it utterly repulsive that Saul would ask David to murder Philistines and then mutilate their dead bodies by cutting off a piece of their private parts as a dowry for receiving Michal. I'm certain that David could not enjoy this.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Solomon's greatest strengths and accomplishments are: Solomon builds the Temple, Solomon supports and codifies temple worship, Solomon reforms government, Solomon enjoys trading successes, Solomon takes special care for the needy in his kingdom, Solomon strengthens Israel's defenses, Solomon curates and writes proverbs and Wisdom Literature. Solomon is so gifted because in the beginning he asked for wisdom to lead the people of Israel and God was pleased with that request and in addition to wisdom gave him riches, honor and a long life if he would continue in righteous before the Lord. Which was great in the beginning but did not turn out good at the end of his life. He was not totally committed to the Lord and he followed after the whims of his wives and worshiped idols/other gods and built places of worship for them.
  5. Why does Saul send David into battle? What is the result? To what does the narrator attribute David success? This entire story is so sad. Saul is rejected by God when He chooses to anoint David instead, and then because of God's choice, a series of events cascade. Everything David does turns to gold. He's a great musician. He kills the giant. He's loved by the king's own son. He's wildly popular among the people, particularly the women. And Saul? He's forgotten, pushed to the margins and made to live out the end of his kingship, increasingly disliked and disrespected. Saul sends David into battle to kill him but like everything else this turns to David's favor. He's not only protected by God but is a great general, earning the loyalty of the men who fight under him. I'm not sure why this story bothers me so much. I suppose it's the rejection of Saul who was once chosen and ordained by God but then rejected. This is a fear of mine, not so much to be rejected by God, but to be ipassed over and left behind to live out my years God-forsaken. If it happened to Saul, who was a great man at one point, it could happen to the rest of us who are mere struggling Christians. Again, it's not a question of salvation -- eternal security means just that. It's a question of the quality of our lives on earth, God's willingness to bless us and help us weave our way to a good, love-filled and prosperous life. I struggle with the idea that God chooses some and not others, David and not Saul, Jacob and not Esau, etc. In the NT, Peter is sprung from prison as James is murdered. My other concern has to do with reading backward from our current circumstances. If we are in horrible circumstances, suffering and in spiritual pain ... watching life around us crumble ... is it our fault? It could be, of course, but maybe God just didn't choose us. Maybe we were born to be Esau or Saul, or James not Peter? I ask, Lord, for you the wisdom to sort through this, to believe that you are a loving God when the evidence, in my eyes, suggests otherwise. --- I'm back -- I answered the question, finished my devotions and couldn't stop thinking about what was written by Pastor Ralph. Anyway, Saul reminds me of a television program I watched many years ago about men on death row who were condemned to die because of their crimes yet had accepted Christ. Their sentences were not changed -- they were murdered by the government -- but their eternal condition was determined by God. I wonder if we can do/think things so "bad" that we're condemned on earth though accepted in heaven. In my own eyes, I've committed only wee sins, as if some sins are worse than others. But God may see my sin differently and though Christ's blood covers my sins in an salvific sense, he may or MAY NOT manipulate circumstances to keep me from suffering the consequences of my sins. Are we all on death row, knowing our ultimate fate has been determined in our favor, yet, like Saul, living out our lives as condemned human beings? I'd like to think God cares and loves me enough to work around the consequences of my sins, but passages like this frighten me. I want to believe that God is a caring, loving and protective father ... but, then again, what about Saul? We tend to concentrate on the passage in which God delivers, heals and miraculously provides. Saul is a corrective to what may be an one-sided, overly rosy view of God. David: "In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him." (Message version.) Saul: Everything he did turned to dust, eventually driving him mad, because the Lord rejected him.
  6. Last week
  7. The old testament Sacrifice was just a teaching method on how and what God requires for forgiveness of sin. But only until a more perfect, better sacrifice, which is Jesus! You have to be trained in how to do anything correctly, so the old testament was a training in how to please God with our sacrifice, and only the ones acceptable by God, which he taught. There is no need to keep these rituals by the Jews or anyone else because Jesus is the sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world.. God said so!!! Our sacrifices now are to be our praises coming from mouths that speak his name and sincere humble hearts and the willingness to following and doing his will and keeping his commandments!! Sincere praise! Sincere and humble hearts!! Love for God and our fellow man. Holiness, righteousness faithfulness as He is!!! Our Praise to God and living according to his word is what He requires of his followers, His people, called by His name!!! His church, His chosen!! We are to walk in the light of the world and Jesus is the way the truth and the life,.Jesus is the light of the world and the only way to God the father and eternal life!! For all people, regardless of race color or creed or nationality or religious sect.
  8. Why do we so often forget that “the battle is the Lord’s”? What does that phrase actually mean? How can we avoid the arrogance of pulling God into our battles (“God is on my side”), rather than engaging in His battles (“I am on God’s side”)? This is a good question that II cannot answer adequately. I'll try, but this is going to fall wayyyy short. Here's the issue as I see it: Are all of our battles really the Lord's? Lets say that I am in the midst of a battle, something like an inner battle of self-discipline or anger, or an outer battle of being unjustly demoted in the workplace. Are these God's battles or are they my battles? Does God expect me to fight battles I have the strength to win by myself, or to turn all battles over to Him and His legions of angel armies for Him to fight for me? What's my role ... what's His? There are battles I cannot win by myself, battles so large and overwhelming that I drop on my knees in prayer and beg God to battle for me. These are the biggies, the existential battles, the battles for life and death, for victory in circumstances that require beating impossible odds. I have no doubt that God is with me in these sorts of battles. But what about the battles that I could win if I concentrated and was organized or whatever? Do I ask God to fight for me when I'm capable of fighting for myself? Are these battles of the Lord? I'm not so sure. I'm not even sure they rise to the level of "battles." The idea that doing what I can do in the battles of life is somehow a sign of arrogance is breathtaking to me -- perhaps it's being responsible, doing the task in front of me, stretching my abilities to the max and then asking God to carry on when I cannot go any further. Perhaps expecting God to fight our battles is a sign of spiritual, emotional and moral weakness. If God gives us the strength to fight, it may be the case that He's expecting us to use it! I pull God into my battles when I cannot win without Him. If I pull God into my battle with cancer, for example, it's not that I'm trying to corral God into solving this problem, but that I simply can't solve it without Him. And even then, I'm not sure He is concerned with solving the problem as I would think it to be solved. After all, plenty of Christians have died of cancer and my hunch is they all prayed to be healed. There are a few times when we stand and let God fight our battles, but in my life experience, these are the exception, not the rule. Usually, God expects us to fight our own battles. How we do this while being humble and willing to turn on His dime ... that's the life quest. We are to fight battles prayerfully, both before fighting and during the fight. We are to thank Him for victory even though we-ourselves fought with everything in our power. In a real sense, everything that happens is pre-choreographed by God and we only think we're fighting battles, because the outcome has been determined. But, again, we have only our own perspective. We fight because we can and must. We ask Him for help when our strength falters. We ask Him for guidance. We ask for wisdom. And then, we plunge ahead because we have no choice; the battle must be fought. We have no idea what are His battles. His ways are inscrutable. So we fight our battles hoping that He smiles on our effort. We fight knowing that at some point our own abilities will be tapped out and we'll have to rely on Him to win. We fight knowing that what we think is an existential battle may be a defeat (to us) that is part of His will. Transcendent and unknowable ... that's our God. By fighting our own battles, we hope to fight His battles as well. The two conflate, not because our battles are such a big deal to God, but because that's all we have in life. We have battles. That's what we give to Him.
  9. Narrow and straight road of holiness. Solomon was charged to follow the statues, ordinances, testimonies of the Torah. He wasn't to called to be wavering like the idol worshipper during the incident of Prophet Elijah and the backslidden. No pagan temples, no more walking with those of pagan religions. Solomon started to be unequally yoked in marriage. Ungodly political alliances wrecked havoc for Israel: Kings Ahab, Omri and Ahab were responsible for the prevelent idol worship that came into Israel Ungodly friends, neighbors and even family members who have been born again. They cannot understand the Full Gospel due to a shroud over their eyes. The spirit of compromise amongst Church associates can cause a Bible student to back slide. Backsliding is the opposite of integrity. This is what the Prophet Ezekiel preached against: backsliding. Ezekiel underscores this is many of his sermons and visions. Truly it is a serious matter to fall in the hands of the angry God. Ezekiel chapters 8-10 touch on this matter of secret sins and hidden abomination. The Shekinah glory of God left the Temple, little by little due to the persistent idol and ungodly agendas in the Temple.
  10. David didn’t ask the soldiers about possible strategies or approaches, but about the rewards he would get if he killed Goliath. When he explained to Saul why he could kill Goliath, he gave his shepherding resume which included killing big, aggressive animals … like Goliath. David did say he believed God would deliver him because God had delivered him in the past. He had a history of deliverance with God. So, I don’t think David’s explanation had much to do with his faith. He wasn’t a lethal warrior but a kid hardened by exposure to nature, much like many people who live on the border of civilization and wilderness. In the American context, I’ve read about men and boys who killed wolves and bears protecting their flocks and cattle … though not with slingshots. This used to be common. My father, who died a few weeks ago at the age of 96, told me he used to spend hours hitting birds with his slingshot, so even that skill hadn’t died in the contemporary West! David said He expected God to rescue him basing that expectation on past experiences of dangerous animals and prevailing over them. In his mind, David attributed his success to God, not his own skill, even though he touted his skill, not faith, before Saul. Saul’s motive for letting David try to kill the giant fascinates me. Here was a king with an army too frightened to take him on, man to man. Only after forty days of taunting, when no one responded, did David decide to volunteer himself for the task of killing Goliath. Note that Saul was out of options. No regular soldier had been willing to go on this suicide mission in spite of rewards Saul had offered. Note that David asked about the rewards. The rewards were important to David. He wanted the gibs! Saul was in a good position politically. The extremely rare possibility that David would prevail would obviously benefit Saul. The more likely consequence of David’s death would not be considered a victory for the Philistines as David was just a kid. It, too, would benefit Saul. So it was a win-win situation for Saul. Politically, he’d win either way – in fact, forcing Goliath to fight a child demeaning both Goliath and the Philistines, which is why Goliath complained. He knew he was being set up. Saul did not act out of faith. He was a man of political expedience who saw the situation for what it was. To send a boy to his death, as Saul was willing to do, just to mock Goliath, was not an act of faith but of callous disregard for his own people. To say, “God help you,” is not a faith-claim either. It’s a common expression, one that doesn’t express faith, but, strangely, of disbelief in God’s timely redemption. Saul didn’t exclaim or predict victory before David’s encounter, but merely expressed a half-hearted(?) hope that God would help David. Saul is not an appealing man in these passages.
  11. Manifest presence of God. Yahweh manifesting His Presence akin to a pillar of fire or cloud by day. In the Pentecostal movement, there are accounts of such events. During times of revival, or during healing services, eyewitnesses have report such occurences. Evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman often talked about this phenomena: her services were quite low-key devoid of hype and drama. God's approval of such a Temple. Such a holy presence, a sure sign of God's ordination. No such occurrence when the Ark of the Covenant was placed on an ox cart; the wrath of God was manifested. Two sons of Aaron offered an unholy fire; the wrath of God was meted out. Truly it is dire to fall into the hands of an angry God. When we study the Bible, when we pray as a church and as we go to evangelistic outreaches: the Shekinah glory of God rests upon us. However; we work out our salvation in trembling and in fear. Galatians 5:16....we walk in the Spirit, the Shekinah glory of God rests upon us.
  12. I'm answering this in the middle of the Western war against Russia now occurring in the Ukraine. To understand this war, I have been reading/watching Telegram channels and other social media accounts from Western, Ukrainian and Russian fighters as well as from mercenaries from various parts of the world. What strikes me is the constant mocking and taunting that goes on from all participants, but mostly from the weakest side, the losers in this war. I don't know this for a fact, but I'd guess that taunting is a behavior that can be seen in all wars. It's probably been done since the earliest wars, too. In Homer, Hector taunted Patroclus, even though he was dead. There are hundreds of other examples just in Homer. The goal of taunting is to demoralize or intimidate one's opponent, to goad them into making premature forays or stupid decisions. It's a psychological technique, that is -- psychological warfare. David is young. He reacted in an immature way that some interpret as bravery. He didn't have the emotional maturity to see war-taunts for what they were -- psychological techniques to wear down and belittle. So he reacted. Understandably. The overlay of his faith makes David's response better than a knee-jerk reaction of a young patriot. He thought Goliath was demeaning God, not merely his nation. He was eager to defend not only nation (which I think was a big part of his response) but also his God. "Is there not a cause ..." Yes, there are causes greater than ego, mistaken anger and patriotism. That's what this story is about. It's not about David, Goliath or even Eliab, but about the CAUSE that is greater than all human emotions and reactions, that is, the cause of defending faith in God. I find Eliab's treatment of David sadly predictable. He was the sensible, older brother in a culture that put a huge premium on birth order. David, in their eyes, was the kid brother that had no status or future. David had been reduced to being a delivery boy for his warrior brothers. So, it's understandable that Eliab wouldn't take David seriously nor did he want to be embarrassed by David's bravado. I don't think Eliab was jealous as there was nothing to be jealous of ... yet. Instead, Eliab didn't want to be humiliated as the older brother of a boy who took on Goliath, a job for men, and then was flayed alive by him, which I'm certain Eliab thought would happen.
  13. Yes, apparently one woman is not enough for his wants. A womanizer does not treat a wife as she should be treated. He is not looking out for his wife's needs, but his own. Not true love as it should be, but a love to gratify self and his own lusts. Having a womanizer for a father is not an good example for his children and they might grow up just like him. They are seeking love from their father and their father's mind is somewhere else. If his child is a girl, she might not pick a good husband but one that is just like her father and never be happy in life. No, sexual access is not compatible with Christian discipleship because they are opposite, one seeks self, Christian discipleship seeks God!
  14. Q25. (HEBREWS 2:1) Why is gradual drifting more dangerous than suddenly giving in to a temptation? How can you protect yourself from drifting away from the Lord? As a thought occurs more and more often, we start accepting the idea of it, or at least feeling comfortable with it, and our defences are weakened. The same with sin. As sin takes more and more control of our lives, we become immune to it and accept it as the norm – we start backsliding. We become spiritually lethargic. If we are not careful this can lead to apostasy. The moment we start to let go of the Word and neglect praying, that is the beginning of drifting away. The only way we can protect ourself from drifting further and further away from our Lord is to hold on to the Word, and our fellowship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We need to recognize the danger early.
  15. Q24. Of the list of 7 of Solomon's weaknesses, which two or three do you think are most damaging. Why does persistent sin ruin such an accumulation of good works that Solomon did? One of the most damaging weaknesses was his marriage to so many women from pagan countries. It is through these marriages that his wives, who were allowed to continue worshipping their false gods, had temples and altars for these pagan gods built. This led to the introduction of idolatry in Israel. This also led to another weakness - his extravagant living. Solomon lived lavishly, and expensively, burdening his people with high taxes. He used a lot of state wealth to entertain and please his many wives and concubines. We see this in the construction of his palace which took 13 years, whereas God’s temple took only 7 years in comparison. His sinful life starts with his marriage to pagan wives, in disobedience to God’s command; then he builds shrines for the wives’ pagan gods; then he starts worshipping these gods as well. This is a slippery slope of sin, which can only lead to ruin and destruction - we know where this ends. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
  16. Q23. From the list above, which do you think are Solomon's five or six greatest strengths and accomplishments? Why is Solomon so gifted? Initially his love for God, his obedience to God; and his continued following in David’s footsteps which resulted in him building on his father’s successes. The building of the temple. Making use of all the materials and prep work David had begun. His perseverance in seeing this 7 year project to completion. His amazing intellect and administrative skills. His care of the needy. His Wisdom literature left as his legacy. He was abundantly gifted. The Holy Spirit must have been constantly at work in Solomon’s life. Guiding and directing him into wise decisions. The more he obeyed God the greater was his effectiveness, but sadly as he strayed away from God, we see more and more of his weaknesses becoming evident.
  17. Q22. (1 KINGS 11:3) Is it fair to conclude that Solomon is a womanizer who lusts after women? How does a womanizer treat a wife? How does having a womanizer for a father affect the children? Is sexual excess compatible with Christian discipleship? Most definitely. With all his wisdom he is unable to control his lusts. With so many wives it is impossible to have a personal relationship with any one of them. I think they are mostly treated like sex objects. In the same manner I cannot see him spending quality time with some of his children. He must have had numerous children and could not have spent a one on one with anyone of them. To me he is an absent father. Our Lord Jesus had explained that marriage is a divinely ordained union, that a man must have only one wife (Matt 19:4-6).
  18. What was different about Mary's "How?" question (1:34) to the angel from Zechariah's "How?" question Mary was asking how a pregnancy could happen since she was faithfully betrothed. Zechariah’s how was asking how after years of failure.(1:18)? Why was Mary rewarded and Zechariah disciplined? Both were rewarded, by the miracle promised, but Zechariah was kept from leaking the name, and his silence brought attention that God was doing something different right now. Spiritual people would understand, others would think punishment. Walking things out is not always pleasant. But it is important to obey. Secular people often make fun of the virgin birth. Does this passage actually teach that Jesus was born of a virgin? Yes. If so, why is this important to our understanding of who Jesus was and is? The breaking of the Adamic line. Fulfillment of the prophecies. Why is Mary frightened? How many people in her knowledge have encountered an Angel? Is her fear reflective of unbelief? Reflective, just how does this fit into reality for me. Why is it so hard for us to accept being a servant? Is it easy to understand God created you special and for a purpose? No. It takes time to sink in. Why do we have such trouble being submissive to God? Self is our biggest sin. Have you had any experiences where God has taught you to be a willing servant? Several. I was praying for promotion to have more funds for giving. Holy Spirit said “you have a problem with pride!” ME ‘What?” “You want to buy with YOUR money. Do you want the money or the stuff!” I said the stuff. In short order I was moving bread and pastries by the van load, not a few loafs. The Holy Spirit laughed as I drove one day with my van filled to the seat tops with pies, cookies, cakes, and bread. “Did you ever plan to buy this much bread?”… it went on for six months every day. I wanted the express to maturity, God said no after months of prayer. I asked why. Because it is the believers walk… one step at a time.
  19. What do we learn about Zechariah and Elizabeth in 1:5-7? They are beyond 60 years old, past child bearing years. Both are of priestly lineage. What kind of people are they? Devout and Godly . What is Zechariah's job? A priest of the Abijah crew. Why do you think it happened that the "lot" fell upon Zechariah to be the officiating priest for offering incense on this particular day? The Holy Spirit interviewed to bring assurance to God’s plan. What does the offering of incense represent? Presentation of the peoples prayers before God. The Angel Gabriel's message involves twelve separate points about John the Baptist's birth and ministry in verses 13-17. That Gabriel himself was sent. Which are most important to you? God ensures we know our destiny if obedient. He also makes sure there are exclamation marks on certain events. Which do you think would have been most important to the people of John's time? The silence showing he had seen a powerful vision and the delivering of the prophetic word confirming their understanding after the birth of John. Specifically, which part of this prophecy does Zechariah question and disbelieve? That he and Elizabeth would conceive a child at their age. (1:18) Why do you think he can't believe it? It was to be miraculous and that was rare in his day. What kinds of things are we unable to believe that God does in spite of us today? Most people believe none of God’s promises. They treat word declairatins as myth, fable, or untrue. What are the symptoms of unbelief in a Christian? Lack of conviction in something explicit in the word. How does unbelief hurt a disciple's life? Unbelief is essentially rebellion. It blocks your prayers. What is the cure for unbelief, do you think? Experience where the reality of the word is active before your eyes. Extra credit. What is the difference between unbelief and asking the hard questions? The Holy Spirit is with us for training. His rebukes are very corrective. How is the latter necessary to solid faith? Obey as directed and experience the delivery of the promise. Extra credit. Compare and contrast Zechariah's reaction to the angel's announcement to Mary's (1:34, 38). Zechariah had to believe a told would occur . Elizabeth the physical signs. What is the difference between her question and his? Believe for a miracle is truely coming vs you have received a miracle and are walking out its completion from seed to birth. Why does God "punish" Zechariah (if that is what you call it)? I do not see it as punishment. Often we are given a prophetic insight so we can pray but we are not to speak, watchman not watchdog. It was important that this was known to be very special, his silence was an exclamation mark at the beginning. What effect do you think it has in his life? He had been given the name. That identity was his to carry and his alone. I have a word I have carried since 1987. It shall come to pass. I am just now stepping into that ministry’s beginning. What effect do you think it has on those observing Elizabeth's pregnancy and birth? Many knew from Zechariah’s silence God was acting. How do you categorize this -- as punishment, discipline, rebuke, chastisement, or something else? Emphasis on the God they serve is acting now! Though we discipline our children, why do you think we resist the concept that God can punish his servants? We are not open to learning until correction, obedience, and blessing come in order. Proving that it is God’s way in our lives. Listen, obey, receive. For a good father corrects his children.
  20. What sources does Luke use as he prepares his Gospel? (1:2). Eye witnesses. What does it mean to be a "servant of the word"? (1:2) Inexwhobis committed to serving the Lords good news and the kingdom of God. What does such a servant do? Perform tasks as needed for his Lord. How does such a servant act? Faithful emissary. Deliverer of messages or ministry. What is the "word" he serves? Jesus the Word of Bod, the a abundance of God’s heart. What makes Luke an especially good narrator of Jesus' life? He was a technical organized researcher. How has he prepared for this task? (1:3) Personal interviewing eyewitnesses. Is there any way to find "certainty" about the Christian faith? Examine The record of the witnesses. How certain is the Gospel of Luke? As good as multiple eye wittness accounts can be. What is the certainty we seek? To know the truth of Jesus intention for us as our times desciples.Why do we seek certainty? (1:4) Faith is based on working truth, not myths and fables.
  21. Q25. (Hebrews 2:1) Why is gradual drifting more dangerous than suddenly giving in to a temptation? You are a wear of what you are doing. How can you protect yourself from drifting away from the Lord Focus on our LORD JESUS CHRIST
  22. Q24. Of the list of 7 of Solomon's weaknesses, which two or three do you think are most damaging. Solomon worships on the High Places. Fatherhood. Idolatry. Why does persistent sin ruin such an accumulation of good works that Solomon did? GOD hate sin.
  23. Q23. From the list above, which do you think are Solomon's five or six greatest strengths and accomplishments? Solomon is extremely intelligent, a genius of sort. Solomon built the Temple. Solomon enjoy trading successes. Solomon strengthens Israel's defence. Solomon reforms government. Why is Solomon so gifted? GOD gave him wisdom.
  24. Q22. (1 Kings 11:3) Is it fair to conclude that Solomon is a womanizer who lusts after women? Yes How does a womanizer treat a wife? Solomon doesn't seek his women to be true partners. None has a good, reliable husband who loves and cares for her. How does having a womanizer for a father affect the children? They have no father to care for them personally and guide them to manhood. Is sexual excess compatible with Christian discipleship? No
  25. Oh wow, God has blessed you with such an amazing teaching gift. I have so benefitted from your contributions.
  26. This is one of the most sobering passages in the bible, one that fills me with fear -- from this passage I learn that the Spirit within me is "on loan" and His presence is contingent on my behavior. This is the conclusion that has to be reached. I can pray and hope that God will never forsake or leave me, but the fact is God did leave Saul. The text plainly states this. Thus, He could leave me, too. Though David was sent to Saul's court to comfort him, surely there were many musicians who could have done that job well, or better. It's almost as if God is goading Saul with David's presence, making Saul find comfort in the songs of the boy/man who would eventually replace him. It's as if the CEO of a blue chip agreed to sponsor a 20-year-old intern who later turned on him and became the CEO! I don't know God's perspective on this, but clearly David was given insight into the government's workings and the mind of an increasingly mentally ill man. Knowing Saul's emotional weaknesses helped David overtake him, perhaps with compassion -- knowing how the government ran gave David superficial though first-hand insight into an institution as he grew into the role of king. David, obviously, had been young and clueless about the government. Maybe David made helpful contacts during this time? Maybe he gained a particular interest in the judiciary or the military? Who knows. I assume that Pastor Ralph's question about things that tend to prevent us from learning from God in the midst of circumstances refers to our own circumstances. Right now, my circumstances are terrible and have been for many years. Perhaps that's why I fear what God could do: I was not particularly disobedient -- I don't know of any egregious sin that God found so repulsive that He abandoned me -- I know that I continue to be a sinful person who makes little slights, ignores His small voice, has wrong priorities, etc. Am I listening to HIm? Yes, I'm trying. Could I do better? I could always do better, which is the problem. Are there other things that prevent me from learning about Him? I don't think so except attitudinal issues like being defeated, depressed and fearful of the future. What could make me more teachable? Ultimately, I pray that when this ends -- and I believe it will though I have low times of despair -- I can genuinely praise God for rescuing and delivering me, that I attribute surviving these circumstances to Him, not my own determination and will power, and see Him in a positive light, as a God of love, not a God who looked away from me as I was impatiently praying. I pray that God does not treat me as He did Saul and that I haven't done anything to merit His rejection. Most posters believe Saul had earned God's wrath. In a sense, we all merit His wrath, don't we? Unlike you, I don't see Saul as worse than the typical Christian. I don't see Saul as meriting special condemnation. Saul was an impatient man trying to exercise leadership in a tight spot and in a time when God did not come in a timely way after he had so importunately prayed. Saul did wrong -- no doubt about this -- but his sin seems understandable to me. He was trying to do the right thing, felt the pressure of time, and being a leader made a decision which, in his eyes, had to be made. This is why I fear the future, that the God who came down so hard on Saul may come down hard on me ... again. Sometimes horrible circumstances are deserved. Most of the time they are not.
  27. Eventually would come the Babylonian captivity. Prophet EZEKIEL sermons and visions underscores this very important fact. Prophet Jeremiah saw the devastating blitzkrieg of Jerusalem. Prophet Ezekiel had various visions of the Shekinah glory of God in a pagan land. Ezekiel and the Hebrew Diaspora would be comforted in the land of Babylon: the presence of the Lord would be with them despite the surrounding pagan religions. God would be present amongst His people; He would abode in their hearts when they would gather to hear the Word of God and pray. In the land of Babylon, they did not have synagogues nor a central temple to offer sacrifices in accordance with the Torah. The Temple is the People of God. Prophet Ezekiel stated YAHWEH SHAMMAH. Chapter 48:35. That will be the name of the City in the vision of Ezekiel. The Millennial Temple in the Book of Ezekiel doesn't have the Ark of the Covenant: the various sacrifices and temple procedures differ from the Levitical sacrifices and laws. Ezekiel underscores the presence of God amongst the people. Purpose of the Temple is a point of contact, a gathering place for the People of God the ecclesia, the called out ones, to worship the Lord and to be instructed. Nothing wrong in itself! A church building should be conducive for busy people to recharge. A nice Church building is a tool to instruct and train people, including being conducive for corporate worship.
  28. Those who are rich in this present world are not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.. To please God, the wealthy should do good, be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. Those that are rich in this world, must not be high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. That is how they define their self worth. They think they are better than others and that makes them arrogant. Their hope is in their finances, not God and finances cannot save them.
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