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ACAD – Give Grace: John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.[b]

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own,[c] and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,[d] full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[e] The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is the only Son, himself God, who[f] is close to the Father’s heart,[g] who has made him known.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but he confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”[h] And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said,

“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why, then, are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah,[i] nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Chosen One.”[j]

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed[k]). He brought Simon[l] to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas”[m] (which is translated Peter[n]).

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[o] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Footnotes
a.1.4 Or through him. And without him not one thing came into being that has come into being. In him was life
b.1.9 Or He was the true light that enlightens everyone coming into the world
c.1.11 Or to his own home
d.1.14 Or the Father’s only Son
e.1.16 Or grace in place of grace
f.1.18 Other ancient authorities read is the only Son who
g.1.18 Gk bosom
h.1.20 Or the Christ
i.1.25 Or the Christ
j.1.34 Other ancient authorities read the Son of God
k.1.41 Or Christ
l.1.42 Gk him
m.1.42 Aramaic for rock
n.1.42 Greek for rock
o.1.51 Both instances of you in 1.51 are plural in Greek
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ACAD – Women & Truth: 1 Esdras 4

[About Esdras: First Book of Esdras, also called Greek Ezra, abbreviation I Esdras, apocryphal work that was included in the canon of the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible) but is not part of any modern biblical canon; it is called Greek Ezra by modern scholars to distinguish it from the Old Testament Book of Ezra written in Hebrew. Originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew, I Esdras has survived only in Greek and in a Latin translation made from the Greek.]

Then the second, who had spoken of the strength of the king, began to speak: “Gentlemen, are not men strongest, who rule over land and sea and all that is in them? But the king is stronger; he is their lord and master, and whatever he says to them they obey. If he tells them to make war on one another, they do it, and if he sends them out against the enemy, they go and conquer mountains, walls, and towers. They kill and are killed and do not disobey the king’s command; if they win the victory, they bring everything to the king—whatever spoil they take and everything else. Likewise those who do not serve in the army or make war but till the soil; whenever they sow and reap, they bring some to the king, and they compel one another to pay taxes to the king. And yet he is only one man! If he tells them to kill, they kill; if he tells them to release, they release; if he tells them to attack, they attack; if he tells them to lay waste, they lay waste; if he tells them to build, they build; if he tells them to cut down, they cut down; if he tells them to plant, they plant. All his people and his armies obey him. Furthermore, he reclines, he eats and drinks and sleeps, but they keep watch around him, and no one may go away to attend to his own affairs, nor do they disobey him. Gentlemen, why is not the king the strongest, since he is to be obeyed in this fashion?” And he stopped speaking.

Then the third, who had spoken of women and truth (and this was Zerubbabel), began to speak: “Gentlemen, is not the king great, and are not men many, and is not wine strong? Who is it, then, who rules them or has the mastery over them? Is it not women? Women gave birth to the king and to every people that rules over sea and land. From women they came, and women brought up the very men who plant the vineyards from which comes wine. Women make men’s clothes; they bring men glory; men cannot exist without women. If men gather gold and silver or any other beautiful thing and then see a woman lovely in appearance and beauty, they let all those things go and gape at her and with open mouths stare at her, and all prefer her to gold or silver or any other beautiful thing. A man leaves his own father, who brought him up, and his own region and clings to his wife. With his wife he ends his days, with no thought of his father or his mother or his region. Therefore you must realize that women rule over you!

“Do you not labor and toil and bring everything and give it to women? A man takes his sword and goes out to travel and rob and steal and to sail the sea and rivers; he faces lions, and he walks in darkness, and when he steals and robs and plunders, he brings it back to the woman he loves. A man loves his wife more than his father or his mother. Many men have lost their minds because of women and have become slaves because of them. Many have perished or stumbled or sinned because of women. And now do you not believe me?

“Is not the king great in his authority? Do not all lands fear to touch him? Yet I have seen him with Apame, the king’s concubine, the daughter of the illustrious Bartacus; she would sit at the king’s right hand and take the crown from the king’s head and put it on her own and slap the king with her left hand. At this the king would gaze at her with mouth agape. If she smiles at him, he laughs; if she loses her temper with him, he flatters her, so that she may be reconciled to him. Gentlemen, why are not women strong, since they do such things?”

Then the king and the nobles looked at one another, and he began to speak about truth: “Gentlemen, are not women strong? The earth is vast, and heaven is high, and the sun is swift in its course, for it makes the circuit of the heavens and returns to its place in one day. Is not the one who does these things great? But truth is great and stronger than all things. The whole earth calls upon truth, and heaven blesses it. All the works quake and tremble, and with it[a] there is nothing unrighteous. Wine is unrighteous; the king is unrighteous; women are unrighteous; all humans are unrighteous; all their works are unrighteous and all such things. There is no truth in them, and in their unrighteousness they will perish. But truth endures and is strong forever and lives and prevails forever and ever. With it there is no partiality or preference, but it does what is righteous instead of anything that is unrighteous or wicked. Everyone approves its deeds, and there is nothing unrighteous in its judgment. To it belongs the strength and the kingship and the power and the majesty of all the ages. Blessed be the God of truth!” When he stopped speaking, all the people shouted and said, “Great is truth and strongest of all!”

Then the king said to Zerubbabel,[b] “Ask what you wish, even beyond what is written, and we will give it to you, for you have been found to be the wisest. You shall sit next to me and be called my Kinsman.” Then he said to the king, “Remember the vow that you made on the day when you became king, to build Jerusalem and to send back all the vessels that were taken from Jerusalem, which Cyrus set apart when he began[c] to destroy Babylon and vowed to send them back there. You also vowed to build the temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was laid waste by the Chaldeans. And now, O lord the king, this is what I ask and request of you, and this befits your greatness. I pray, therefore, that you fulfill the vow whose fulfillment you vowed to the King of heaven with your own lips.”

Then King Darius got up and kissed him and wrote letters for him to all the treasurers and governors and generals and satraps, that they should give safe conduct to him and to all who were going up with him to build Jerusalem. And he wrote letters to all the governors in Coelesyria and Phoenicia and to those in Lebanon, to bring cedar timber from Lebanon to Jerusalem and to help him build the city. He wrote in behalf of all the Jews who were going up from his kingdom to Judea, in the interest of their freedom, that no officer or satrap or governor or treasurer should forcibly enter their doors; that all the region that they would occupy should be theirs without tribute; that the Idumeans should give up the villages of the Jews that they held; that twenty talents a year should be given for the building of the temple until it was completed and an additional ten talents a year for burnt offerings to be offered on the altar every day, in accordance with the commandment to make seventeen offerings; and that all who came from Babylonia to build the city should have their freedom, they and their children and all the priests who came. He wrote also concerning their support and the priests’ vestments in which they were to minister. He wrote that the support for the Levites should be provided until the day when the temple would be finished and Jerusalem built. He wrote that land and wages should be provided for all who guarded the city. And he sent back from Babylon all the vessels that Cyrus had set apart; everything that Cyrus had ordered to be done, he also commanded to be done and to be sent to Jerusalem.

When the young man went out, he lifted up his face to heaven toward Jerusalem and praised the King of heaven, saying, “From you comes the victory; from you comes wisdom, and yours is the glory. I am your servant. Blessed are you, who have given me wisdom; I give you thanks, O Lord of our ancestors.”

So he took the letters and went to Babylon and told this to all his kindred. And they praised the God of their ancestors because he had given them freedom and permission to go up and build Jerusalem and the temple that is called by his name, and they feasted, with music and rejoicing, for seven days.

Footnotes
4.36 That is, heaven
4.42 Gk him
4.44 Cn: Gk vowed
[Note: The books from 1 Esdras through 3 Maccabees are recognized as Deuterocanonical Scripture by the Greek and the Russian Orthodox Churches. They are not so recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, but 1 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh (together with 2 Esdras) are placed in an appendix to the Latin Vulgate Bible.]
Resource: BibleGateway.com, New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
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Video MR2.0: Marriage & Relationship Series Intro

This first video for the Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles series is an introduction of me (LaShawnda), my company and the study series. I also begin to explore the importance of naming. Each meeting is focused on one or two Biblical couples. We explore the main theme, elements, issues and lessons of their marriage and dominant relationships. For the longer discussions, the videos will be cut up into parts. Video Part 2.1 is a larger discussion of Abraham/Sarah and Hosea/Gomer. The proposed discussion questions for these couples are posted in Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 2 .

 

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles Bible Study Series Part 2:

  • Topic: Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah + Hosea and Gomer
  • Text: Genesis 12-13, 15-18, 20-22: Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah
  • Text: Book of Hosea: Hosea and Gomer

Video Part 2.0

  • Series Intro
  • Importance of Naming

We meet bi-weekly. Join the conversation! Subscribe to Harvest-Life-org. Feel free to post comments and questions below.

#bible #biblestudy #discussion #learningwithfriends #adamandeve #manwoman #humanspirit #humanity #spirituality #genesis #harvestlife #harvestlifer #harvestlifeorg

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BOOK REVIEW: Close Enough to Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul

Close Enough to Hear God Breathe: The Great Story of Divine Intimacy

What is your idea of intimacy and fidelity?

Before reading Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, my thoughts about intimacy and fidelity revolved around an indefinable amount of trust. Greg Paul doesn’t discount the importance of trust, however he shows its process by painting a portrait of physical closeness – a proximity – that ties two individuals together emotionally and spiritually. Such ties forge a trust that deepens intimacy and ensures fidelity. This closeness sounds like a soft puff of air, an almost inaudible exhale or a quiet relaxed heartbeat deep in the chest cavity your head is resting on.

The story of his agelong fidelity to the people of Israel tells me that the Father has not abandoned me, his child, either. He never will. My sin is the proving ground of his grace.

The Fall, and my own willful disobedience, has broken the image of my Father in me, like a mirror shattered into a thousand shards. Yet each jagged piece still in some small way reflects an aspect of his being, and he will not dispose of it. The Fall is not the utter ruin of my relationship with him, but the proof of its ultimate inviolability. He is not sweeping those shards into a dust pan to be thrown into the trash, cursing the inconvenience. He is gathering them, every sparkling sliver. Assembling them into a new mosaic of his identity uniquely reflected in mine.   ~ from Close Enough to Hear God Breathe

Greg Paul is a great storyteller, he weaves his story into God’s eternal Great Story so intricately that the reader can’t help but to insert thoughts of their own story while reading. In reading Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, I gained a new level of appreciation for imagination, interpersonal communication and the art of writing a good story.

The title suggests a deep level of intimacy with God. As a Bible-believing and practicing Christian, I thought I had a firm grasp on the level of intimacy God expects to have with His creation – with me – but Greg Paul shared his growth, experiences and insights in such a way that the reader becomes aware that whatever their current level of intimacy with their Maker, they can always go deeper – much deeper. Paul parallels his relationship with God with his relationship with people. His stages of intimacy in his physical life – as a son, brother, friend, husband, father, worker, etc – had a direct impact on his spiritual intimacy with Father God.

Throughout Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, Paul re-imagines snippets of the Bible-story. He re-imagines so well in fact that it comes across as a first-hand account from an eye-witness. It’s an intuitively inclusive way to experience scripture. From the beginning of the book to the last word, Paul’s insightful words beckons the reader, drawing them into a tender, warm, loving, and fatherly embrace where he shares an intimate portrait of his home life, his ministry and his relationship with his Maker. He outlines and exposes the correlation between his relationships (family, friends and community members) and God’s relationship with humanity. He does an excellent job of keeping his “little” story, as he calls his life, in perspective with the great divine story that is God and man striving together.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking deeper relationship with their Creator.

Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.  ~ Isaiah 1:15-20

 

Greg Paul Close Enough to Hear God Breathe: The Great Story of Divine Intimacy Paperback,  224 pages, $15.99US Thomas Nelson, 2011 1400203007 978-1400203000
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”