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ACAD – Faith & Pleasing God: Hebrews 11

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable[e] sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death, and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith, with Sarah’s involvement, he received power of procreation, even though he was too old, because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better homeland, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom he had been told, “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked blessings for the future on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, “bowing in worship over the top of his staff.” By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his burial.

By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger, for he persevered as though[k] he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death; they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented — of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground.

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

Reference: New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

Footnotes
11.1 Or reality
11.1 Or evidence
11.2 Gk by this
11.3 Or was not made out of visible things
11.4 Gk greater
11.4 Gk through it
11.11 Other ancient authorities read By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered
11.22 Gk his bones
11.23 Other ancient authorities add By faith Moses, when he was grown up, killed the Egyptian, because he observed the humiliation of his brothers and sisters
11.26 Or the Messiah
11.27 Or because
11.28 Gk would not touch them
11.31 Or unbelieving
11.37 Other ancient authorities add they were tempted

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Video MR3.4: Partnership of Different Strengths

This portion of the discussion explores the concept of partnership of different strengths. Is the last part of our #Zoom discussion on Adam/Adamah and Chavah/Eve in Part 3 of Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles. All told, we were on the line for about four hours and touched on many topics and themes. It’s been quite the learning exercise editing long videos down to shorter conversational pieces.

Partnership of Different Strengths

The next discussion on Elizabeth/Zechariah and Mary/Joseph (MR Part 5) is tentatively planned for Saturday, December 19, 9:00am Mountain Time. I’m aiming to keep it under 1.5 hrs. 😉 Email BibleStudy@harvest-life.org for link details.

 

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3
Video Part 3.4: Partnership with Different Strengths
Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

  • God – The Ultimate Everything
  • What idea are you choosing above your relationship with God?
  • How important is being equally yoked with your partner?
  • Church Hurts: Looking for a compatible congregation
  • Nomads in transition
  • If you generalize, you will generally be in trouble.

Dorina’s questions

  • Can Believers in Jesus marry non-believers?
  • Is a solitary faith journey okay?

Reference verses:

Related posts:

Related book:

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Video MR 3.1: Prelude: Womanhood Juxtaposed with The Crown on Netflix

“Who do you think you are? The Queen of England?”

Have you ever wondered who Elizabeth II, the Queen of England thinks she is? This first part of our third Marriage & Relationship study discussion explores the roles of women within a discussion of The Crown on Netflix.

The last two #Zoom discussions were recorded and I’m working to get them posted to this blog. As I review them for editing, I’m convinced this series should have been titled “Bible Conversations with Friends” or something similar. The faceless voice you hear in this video is my long-time friend, Dorina. When Dorina and I met over thirteen years ago in a corporate office in New York City, she didn’t identify herself as a believer and I had just begun my intentional faith walk and Bible learning.

Over the years, I’ve ascended and descended on the waves of life. There were some points when Dorina considered herself an ashiest or agnostic but would still engage in conversations about my faith journey. Four years ago, she began her own intentional faith walk and has been most interested in discussing marriage and divorce, ergo the title of this series. I’m truly glad to be able to share some of our great conversations with you all! Even better, you’re welcome to join us! Email for up-to-date details.

You can watch Part 3.1 of the discussion on Adam & Eve here:

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles
Part 3: Adam/Adamah + Chavah/Eve | Man + Woman | Human + Spirit
Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Video Part 3.1: Prelude: Womanhood Juxtaposed to The Crown on Netflix

  • Intro: Culture of Womanhood
  • Navigating roles of woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother | Queen, Princess, Prime Minister
  • Which role(s) do you abdicate in your life?
  • Which role(s) do you focus on daily or regularly?
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Quote: When will I know?

Miles Morales: When will I know I’m ready?
Peter B. Parker: You won’t. It’s a leap of faith. Thats all it is, Miles. It’s a leap of faith.

Later….

Peter B. Parker: How do I know I won’t screw up again?

Myles Morales: You don’t. It’s…

Peter B. Parker: I know… a leap of faith.

from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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ACAD – Rejected: Numbers 14

The People Rebel

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the Israelites. And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes  and said to all the congregation of the Israelites, “The land that we went through as spies is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are no more than bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” But the whole congregation threatened to stone them.

Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? I will strike them with pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”

Moses Intercedes for the People

But Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for in your might you brought up this people from among them, and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O Lord, are in the midst of this people; for you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go in front of them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you kill this people all at one time, then the nations who have heard about you will say, ‘It is because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land he swore to give them that he has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ And now, therefore, let the power of the Lord be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying,

‘The Lord is slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
forgiving iniquity and transgression,
but by no means clearing the guilty,
visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
to the third and the fourth generation.’

Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now.”

Then the Lord said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked; nevertheless — as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord — none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. Now, since the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys, turn tomorrow and set out for the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.”[a]

An Attempted Invasion is Repulsed

And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying: How long shall this wicked congregation complain against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites, which they complain against me. Say to them, “As I live,” says the Lord, “I will do to you the very things I heard you say: your dead bodies shall fall in this very wilderness; and of all your number, included in the census, from twenty years old and upward, who have complained against me, not one of you shall come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.” I the Lord have spoken; surely I will do thus to all this wicked congregation gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.

And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report about the land— the men who brought an unfavorable report about the land died by a plague before the Lord. But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh alone remained alive, of those men who went to spy out the land.

When Moses told these words to all the Israelites, the people mourned greatly. They rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why do you continue to transgress the command of the Lord? That will not succeed. Do not go up, for the Lord is not with you; do not let yourselves be struck down before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will confront you there, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, even though the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, had not left the camp.Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them, pursuing them as far as Hormah.


Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 14:25 Or Sea of Reeds


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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You speak either truth or falsehood.

Either all of your words are true or your whole statement is false.

If you want me to believe you, don’t use false words because I am aware that subtle deception led to the fall of mankind.

Someone who is fiercely opposed to my views regarding the innateness of human dignity and equality of every human being, no matter what our skin looks like or what faith someone claims, tagged me to a video last week. The video was of Marcus Rogers, a black male member of the United States Army who is stationed in South Korea (the link was via the Tea Party). He was talking about how all our trust needs to be in God… and nothing should be done on our own behalf because God will do it all (paraphrased). To support his premise, he equated Black Lives Matter to ISIS. When he stated that people fighting for the right of human beings to live, simply to live, and the right to live without the threat of state-sanctioned physical abuse or murder to a group of people whose primary agenda is to destroy human life and culture wherever they go, everything else he said was tainted and suspect and I was unable to agree with anything he said.

God says that He will fight our battles, but He also calls us to be present for the battles. We have to physically prepare. He does not send us into battle unprepared which means we will have many skirmishes. We have to show up. We can’t fight if we aren’t present. We have to believe – have faith – that He will deliver us as victors in the battles He has placed us in. Without faith it is impossible to please God, ergo to do anything for Him (Hebrews 11:6).  If we choose not to show up, not to prepare, not to believe, then we have removed ourselves from the battle and from the possibility of victory.

The difference in the two above statements is why it’s important to know your Bible. It’s important to know what God’s instructions are. His instructions inform us of His expectations for us. If people who yearn for freedom only sit home and wait for God to free them, they will never become free. They will forever be trapped in their own cage of inactivity and faithlessness.

For illustration, I point you to shepherd David (1 Samuel 17) and shepherd Moses (Exodus 14). David went into battle, with no military experience, with his sling, five stones, his shepherd’s staff and his faith in God. His declaration to Goliath is one of my favorite in the Bible, it was also paraphrased by Bree Newsome when she removed the Confederate flag at the South Carolina State House on June 27, 2015: “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!”

David said:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”  ~ 1 Samuel 17:45-47

During the Exodus, Moses instructed the people to stand still and watch God save them. God corrected him immediately – “Tell the people to keep going!”

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”  ~ Exodus 14:13-18

The person who tagged me to the incredibly offensive video and instructed me to listen to it with my “spiritual ears” also instructed me to stay home when many in my city took to the streets to protest the non-indictments of police officers who had killed people in the public view, i.e. on camera and in front of witnesses. I don’t live any part of my life without my faith, so everything I hear is filtered in the presence of the Spirit who envelops me. May this also be true for you.

Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given —and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”  ~ Mark 4:23-25

just America Andy_Marlette_Ferguson_Cartoon

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Thoughts On Faith and Prayer: BEAUTY FOR ASHES

by Pastor Carter Conlon

Listen here: Beauty for Ashes

(9min 31sec)

Reference verses

Isaiah 61:1-4

The Lord’s Message of Freedom

The Lord God has put his Spirit in me,
because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken,
to tell the captives they are free,
and to tell the prisoners they are released.
He has sent me to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness
and the time when our God will punish evil people.
He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad
and to help the sorrowing people of Jerusalem.
I will give them a crown to replace their ashes,
and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow,
and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness.
Then they will be called Trees of Goodness,
trees planted by the Lord to show His greatness.

They will rebuild the old ruins
and restore the places destroyed long ago.
They will repair the ruined cities
that were destroyed for so long.

Luke 4:20-27

Jesus closed the book, gave it back to the assistant, and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue was watching Jesus closely. He began to say to them, “While you heard these words just now, they were coming true!”

All the people spoke well of Jesus and were amazed at the words of grace he spoke. They asked, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

Jesus said to them, “I know that you will tell me the old saying: ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ You want to say, ‘We heard about the things you did in Capernaum. Do those things here in your own town!’” Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, a prophet is not accepted in his hometown. But I tell you the truth, there were many widows in Israel during the time of Elijah. It did not rain in Israel for three and one-half years, and there was no food anywhere in the whole country. But Elijah was sent to none of those widows, only to a widow in Zarephath, a town in Sidon. And there were many with skin diseases living in Israel during the time of the prophet Elisha. But none of them were healed, only Naaman, who was from the country of Syria.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land. 

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ACAD – New Self: Isaiah 57

Israel’s Futile Idolatry

The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness. But you, draw near, sons of the sorceress, offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman. Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit, you who burn with lust among the oaks,[aunder every green tree, who slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks? Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have brought a grain offering. Shall I relent for these things? On a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and there you went up to offer sacrifice. Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your memorial; for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, you have gone up to it, you have made it wide; and you have made a covenant for yourself with them, you have loved their bed, you have looked on nakedness.[bYou journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far off, and sent down even to Sheol. You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, “It is hopeless”; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint.[c]

Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me, did not lay it to heart? Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and you do not fear me? I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you. When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain.

Comfort for the Contrite

And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 57:5 Or among the terebinths
  2. Isaiah 57:8 Or on a monument (see 56:5); Hebrew on a hand
  3. Isaiah 57:10 Hebrew and so you were not sick

English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.