Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Joseph's Attitude toward others and toward God
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What attitudes toward his fellow prisoners and God does Joseph display (Genesis 40:6-8)?

Genesis 40:6-8

6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they looked distraught. 7 So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were in custody with him in his master's house, "Why are your faces sad today?" 8 "We had dreams," they said to him, "but there is no one to interpret them." Then Joseph said to them, "Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell me [your dreams]." 

Joseph pays attention to the situation of those around him.  He notices when they are distraught; he is compassionate and offers help.  However, we also see that he acknowledges the sovereignty of God.

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Posted on 12/17/2014 8:48 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014
The Effect of Paul's lifestyle in making Disciples in Ephesus
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What impresses you about the lifestyle of Paul and the disciples in Ephesus? 

Acts 19

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. (These disciples had decided that their previous lifestyle was wrong.)4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. (They actually became part of the body of Christ) 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all. 8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. (The Complete Jewish Bible says it this way: "Sha'ul went into the synagogue; and for three months he spoke out boldly, engaging in dialogue and trying to persuade people about the Kingdom of God." ) 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. (The disciples talked to everyone, everywhere all the time.) 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, Jesus/God did them through Paul.) 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. (The disciples and Paul took care of people.) 13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 [One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. 17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. (What they did was real and people respected them and what they were saying and doing. ) 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. (They were public and forthright about what they were doing and what they believed.) 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (They put their money where their mouths were.) 21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also." 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, (They helped each other and more importantly, they allowed themselves to help each other.) while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

The Riot in Ephesus

23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty." 28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions (They were loyal to each other.) from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater. 32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. (Apparently, they were honest and did not promote the Gospel by bashing someone else's beliefs.  They presented the information and those who heard came to their own conclusions.) 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it." 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

These individuals were honest, open and forthright in their beliefs.  They were loyal to the Gospel and to each other.  The big thing for me was that they not present the Gospel by bashing somebody else's religion.  Apparently, they just told people about the good news of Jesus and people, came to their own conclusions---GENTLE PERSUASION.  They did not "adopt" Christ's/the Messiah's attitudes.  The Attitude that people saw in them, the attitude that they lived was Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit living in them.  They had been baptized "into the Name of Jesus".  Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus, live in me.

 

 

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Posted on 12/17/2014 11:38 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 16 December 2014
God Prepares Jacob's Introduction to Pharaoh
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What does God do and allow to happen in Genesis 40:1-23?

Genesis 40:1-23

1 After this, the king of Egypt's cupbearer and his baker offended their master, the king of Egypt.2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned Joseph to them, and he became their personal attendant. And they were in custody for some time. 5 The cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, each had a dream. Both had a dream on the same night, and each dream had its own meaning. 6 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they looked distraught. 7 So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were in custody with him in his master's house, "Why are your faces sad today?" 8 "We had dreams," they said to him, "but there is no one to interpret them." Then Joseph said to them, "Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell me [your dreams]." 9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph: "In my dream there was a vine in front of me. 10 On the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand." 12 "This is its interpretation," Joseph said to him. "The three branches are three days. 13 In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. You will put Pharaoh's cup in his hand the way you used to when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well for you, remember that I was with you. Please show kindness to me by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this prison. 15 For I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should put me in the dungeon." 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was positive, he said to Joseph, "I also had a dream. Three baskets of white bread were on my head. 17 In the top basket were all sorts of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head." 18 "This is its interpretation," Joseph replied. "The three baskets are three days. 19 In just three days Pharaoh will lift up your head-from off you-and hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat the flesh from your body." 20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he gave a feast for all his servants. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker: 21 he restored the chief cupbearer to his position as cupbearer, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand; 22 but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had explained to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

God puts two of pharaoh's top officials in prison and the captain of the guard puts Joseph as their personal servant.  While they are in prison, God gives both of them dreams.  Both come to Joseph with their dreams and come to realize that he is a man who is enabled by God to interpret dreams.  This sets the stage for Joseph to meet Pharaoh.

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Posted on 12/16/2014 8:41 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 16 December 2014
The Process of Making Disciples
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When the faith spreads quickly, it is common for some "disciples" to get distorted or partial understandings of the gospel.  What steps can we take to see that converts understand clearly, and what can we do when we find people confused?  (For some examples, see Acts 8:14; 11:22; 14:21-23; 15:36; 18:11, 23, 26; 19:1-4.) 

Acts 8:14

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

They pay attention to what is going on around them and when people are new they don't abandon them.

Acts 11:22

News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

Once again, they stay in communication with each other.

Acts 14:21-23

21 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

They proclaimed/declared/showed the good news repeatedly to them; they don't abandon them but come back to them and strengthen and encourage them to --- REMAIN TRUE TO THEIR FAITH, I.E. TRUST IN JESUS.  When they do leave, they make sure that leaders are in place and trained to carry on.  Finally, they pray for them and most important…COMMIT THEM TO THE LORD.

Acts 15:36

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."

Once again, they stay in contact with them and pay attention to how they are doing.

Acts 18:11, 23, 26

11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God…23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples….26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

They devoted time to teach them the Word of God.  But even more important is that they are hospitable and patient with those who they teach.  This is huge!!!!

Acts 19:1-4

1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. 4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus."

They seek out other believers and when they find them they help them and the focus remains BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS!

To summarize:  The first and foremost thing must be the Gospel.  That must be the focus of our dealings with others.  It must be proclaimed or preached continuously.  But I don't think this was meant that everyone must be a Billy Graham.  They talked about it consistently.  They were patient; they were kind; they were hospitable.  They didn't kick people to the curb just because they didn't believe correctly, or they didn't have all the knowledge.  They spent time with people and they were committed enough to maintain contact with them.  They encouraged them and patiently taught them but the focus of everything was to remain true to their faith or TRUST IN JESUS!  They didn't get caught up in side issues.

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Posted on 12/16/2014 11:25 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 15 December 2014
The Significance of "Laying on of Hands"
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What did the laying on of hands signify in 19:6?  Why did these disciples need the vivid evidence of the Spirit's presence?  (Compare 2:4-6, 8:14-17, 10:44-47.)

 Acts 19:6

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Acts 2:4-6

2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Acts 10:44-47

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,

(Excerpt from Bakers Evangelical Dictionary)

....The concept of separation may also explain why the imposition of hands occurs so frequently (although not invariably) in connection with the coming of the Holy Spirit or with the giving of the gifts that the Spirit distributes ( Acts 8:17-19 ; 19:6 ; cf. 1 Tim 4:14 ; 2 Tim 1:6 ). Since God's Spirit is the Spirit that sanctifies or sets apart (hence the term "Holy Spirit"), it inevitably separates those on whom it falls from the world around them. Moreover, by the gifts it distributes, God's Spirit separates some from others within the church for special tasks.

There is a sense in which the idea of separation for a special purpose, so clearly visible in many instances, binds together all the occurrences of the phrase. Even in the context of formal blessings and astonishing miracles, the imposition of hands signifies the separation of a person, a people, or even a bodily part ( Mark 8:25 ) as the recipient of an unusual manifestation of God's grace.....

The context of chapter 19 supplies the background as to why the "laying on of hands" was so important for these men.   It would seem to me that throughout the chapter, numerous references are made that the Word of the Lord spread throughout the province of Asia.  The evangelization is so effective that it causes a confrontation with the trade guilds in Ephesus.  These twelve men were the beginning of the great work that was done.  They needed to see and know that they were special, in the sense that they had a special purpose and empowerment for the work ahead which was carried out in a powerful way.  

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Posted on 12/15/2014 11:16 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 8 December 2014
The Foundation of Joseph
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What character traits does Joseph show in Genesis chapter 39?

Joseph actions show that he is a capable administrator; he is loyal and is a man of integrity. 

But his most important character trait is revealed in verse 9

 "No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?"

Joseph's behavior, his loyalty toward his master, his integrity, is tremendously effected by his realization that God is Sovereign and he, Joseph, is accountable to Him.

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Posted on 12/08/2014 9:05 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 7 December 2014
The Necessity of Accepting Jesus as the Messiah
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What do you learn from Acts 18:24-19:7 that is relevant to the Body of Christ today? 

Acts 18:24-19:7

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. 27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ…….1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. 4 Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

Halfway there…Repentance…A view of no hope….Accept/Trust Jesus……God lives in us.  The main focus needs to be that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ and that He died for our sins according to the scriptures; He was buried; and that He rose again three days later, according to the Scriptures.  It's important that people realize that they are sinners, that there is something inside them that is keeping them from God that is leading them toward their death.  But at this point, everything looks futile, we are doomed.  But the good news is that CHRIST, JESUS, THE MESSIAH, CAME JUST LIKE THE SCRIPTURES SAID HE WOULD AND HE WAS CRUCIFIED AND DIED FOR OUR SINS, TO WASH AWAY OUR SINS, THAT WHICH KEEPS US FROM GOD.  AND HE LIVES JUST LIKE THE SCRIPTURES SAID HE WOULD.  It was only when people, who had come to the point when they realized that they were sinners and that they were doomed, HEARD about JESUS, when they were given this opportunity to turn to Him and accept what He had done for them….only then were they baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  It's like the bottom line!  The gospel needs to be our primary focus, not social change, not doing activities, but the message, the message, and the message!  THERE IS HOPE!

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Posted on 12/07/2014 9:03 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 7 December 2014
The Tearing Down and Rebuilding of Joseph
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What does God allow to happen to Joseph in Genesis 39:1-23?

Genesis 39:1-23

1 Now Joseph had been taken to Egypt. An Egyptian [named] Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, serving in the household of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made everything he did successful, 4 Joseph found favor in his master's sight and became his personal attendant. Potiphar also put him in charge of his household and placed all that he owned under his authority. 5 From the time that he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house because of Joseph. The Lord's blessing was on all that he owned, in his house and in his fields. 6 He left all that he owned under Joseph's authority; he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. 7 After some time his master's wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, "Sleep with me." 8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority. 9 No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?" 10 Although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her. 11 Now one day he went into the house to do his work, and none of the household servants was there. 12 She grabbed him by his garment and said, "Sleep with me!" But leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran outside. 13 When she realized that he had left his garment with her and had run outside, 14 she called the household servants. "Look," she said to them, "my husband brought a Hebrew man to us to make fun of us. He came to me so he could sleep with me, and I screamed as loud as I could. 15 When he heard me screaming for help, he left his garment with me and ran outside." 16 She put Joseph's garment beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him the same story: "The Hebrew slave you brought to us came to me to make fun of me, 18 but when I screamed for help, he left his garment with me and ran outside." 19 When his master heard the story his wife told him-"These are the things your slave did to me"-he was furious 20 and had him thrown into prison, where the king's prisoners were confined. So Joseph was there in prison.

God allows Joseph to be sold as a slave and two things begin: Joseph is humbled and he also begins to acquire a reputation as a very capable individual.  He is sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, a very influential official.  God prospers Potiphar because of Joseph.  But the incident with Potiphar's wife causes Joseph's imprisonment in the Pharaoh's prison.  It is interesting to note that Potiphar doesn't kill Joseph.  Actually, he saves Joseph's life while trying to save face with his wife; he apparently knows that Joseph is actually innocent.  While in prison God also provides for Joseph, who finds favor with the prison warden.  His abilities prosper his new master.  Through all of this Joseph's reputation is growing and he is moving closer and closer to the ultimate place that God has planned for him-prime minister to the Pharaoah. 

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Posted on 12/07/2014 9:02 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 6 December 2014
The Necessity of Receiving the Holy Spirit
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Why was it necessary to receive the Holy Spirit?  (See John 3:5-6, 14:26; Romans 8:1-17, 26-27.)

John 3:5-6

5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

John 14:26

26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Romans 8:1-17, 26-27

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory…..26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

An individual doesn't receive the Holy Spirit unless he has made the decision to accept that Jesus is the Messiah and Trust Him as their Savior.  This decision means that we have decided to trust in Jesus' sacrifice, His shedding of His blood to cleanse us of our sins, or sin nature, that which keeps us from following God, that which makes us hostile to Him, that which leads us to death.  Only when we allow ourselves to be cleansed by His blood, by trusting in Him, will the Holy Spirit come and dwell in us; and unless He, the Holy Spirit/God, dwells in us we are not a part of Him and He is not a part of us; we remain dead; our spirit remains dead.  But once we have made the decision to believe/trust in Jesus, we will receive the Holy Spirit; we will become part of Christ/Messiah/God.  We have become IMMERSED/BAPTIZED into His being.  He rejuvenates us, leads us, teaches us and enables us to follow God and obey Him…He brings us peace with ourselves, with others, with Him…He brings us SHALOM.  When the Holy Spirit lives in us, God lives in us…..SHALOM.

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Posted on 12/06/2014 8:55 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 6 December 2014
Judah and Tamar -- The Beginning of the Royal Line
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How does Judah behave in Genesis 38:1-30?

Genesis 38:1-30

1 And it came about at that time, that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her and went in to her. 3 So she conceived and bore a son and he named him Er. 4 Then she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan. 5 She bore still another son and named him Shelah; and it was at Chezib that she bore him. 6 Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." 9 Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. 10 But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also. 11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Remain a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up"; for he thought, "I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers." So Tamar went and lived in her father's house. 12 Now after a considerable time Shua's daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when the time of mourning was ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 It was told to Tamar, "Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep." 14 So she removed her widow's garments and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face. 16 So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, "Here now, let me come in to you"; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, "What will you give me, that you may come in to me?" 17 He said, therefore, "I will send you a young goat from the flock." She said, moreover, "Will you give a pledge until you send it?" 18 He said, "What pledge shall I give you?" And she said, "Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow's garments. 20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman's hand, he did not find her. 21 He asked the men of her place, saying, "Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?" But they said, "There has been no temple prostitute here." 22 So he returned to Judah, and said, "I did not find her; and furthermore, the men of the place said, 'There has been no temple prostitute here.' " 23 Then Judah said, "Let her keep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her." 24 Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry." Then Judah said, "Bring her out and let her be burned!" 25 It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, "I am with child by the man to whom these things belong." And she said, "Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?" 26 Judah recognized them, and said, "She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah." And he did not have relations with her again . 27 It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. 28 Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, "This one came out first." 29 But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, "What a breach you have made for yourself!" So he was named Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

Initially Judah appears to be a hypocritical dirt-bag.  He doesn't mind the Canaanites and he really likes their women; in this respect he resembles his uncle Esau.  He apparently didn't think too much about what his father or grandfather thought about marrying Canaanites.  He has some loyalty toward his sons; but that is really only superficial.  He is more than willing to kick his daughter-in-law Tamar, who apparently isn't a Canaanite, to the curb.  This guy has no qualms about using the local cathouses.  He doesn't really care about the prostitutes he uses, but apparently he doesn't want anyone to know he's using them.  His hypocrisy becomes evident when he finds out that Tamar is pregnant and in his righteous indignation he demands her death.  That is, until, it is revealed that his daughter-in-law is pregnant by him.  It is only then, that he realizes that it was his responsibility to take care of his deceased son's family, i.e. widow.  He goes so far as to state that Tamar is actually more righteous than he (no kidding).  He also decides that since she is his daughter-in-law, he's going to quit having sex with her.  It is amazing to consider the material that God chooses to use.  But let's be thankful, that He sees us as we will be, not as we are.  

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Posted on 12/06/2014 8:26 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 5 December 2014
Baptism Into Christ Jesus
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Why was it essential to be baptized in the name of Jesus, not just for repentance as John had done? (See Romans 6:3-11.)

Romans 6:3-11 (NIV)

3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-

Romans 6:3-13 (Complete Jewish Bible)

3 Don't you know that those of us who have been immersed into the Messiah Yeshua have been immersed into his death? 4 Through immersion into his death we were buried with him; so that just as, through the glory of the Father, the Messiah was raised from the dead, likewise we too might live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was put to death on the execution-stake with him, so that the entire body of our sinful propensities might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For someone who has died has been cleared from sin. 8 Now since we died with the Messiah, we trust that we will also live with him. 9 We know that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, never to die again; death has no authority over him. 10 For his death was a unique event that need not be repeated; but his life, he keeps on living for God. 11 In the same way, consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God, by your union with the Messiah Yeshua. 12 Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal bodies, so that it makes you obey its desires; 13 and do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument for wickedness. On the contrary, offer yourselves to God as people alive from the dead, and your various parts to God as instruments for righteousness.

This is not talking about going through some ritual but something that is much more profound.  The only way we can live is to be united with Jesus.  The only way we can have righteousness is to have His righteousness and we cannot have that unless He lives in us and that can't happen unless we accept that He is the Messiah, the Christ and our Savior.  Until we do that we cannot be cleansed by His blood.   

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Posted on 12/05/2014 8:50 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 5 December 2014
Jacob's Sons -- The Raw Material in God's Plan
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With the exception of Joseph, Reuben and Judah, what can we learn about Jacob's other sons from reading these verses (Genesis 37:4, 8, 11, 19-20, 23-28, 31-35)?

4 His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms…." 8 Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words…11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind…19 They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer ! 20 "Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!"… . 23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him; 24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 "Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt…31 So they took Joseph's tunic, and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; 32 and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, "We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son's tunic or not." 33 Then he examined it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!" 34 So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, "Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son." So his father wept for him.

They are violent, jealous, dishonest, greedy, lacking in compassion, impulsive and liars; they lack self-control.

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Posted on 12/05/2014 8:17 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 4 December 2014
Repentance Alone is not the Answer
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Both Apollos and the disciples Paul met had a similar gap in their information about the gospel.  What did they not know (18:25, 19:2-3)?

Acts 18:25

He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Acts 19:2-3

2 and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3 So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied.

They did not know about the Baptism with or by the Holy Spirit.  They had been brought to a point in their lives where they knew that they had a problem; they had repentance; they knew that they had to change.  But they didn't know how to solve the problem.  They were, so to speak, at the end of the line, with no visible way to go.   

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Posted on 12/04/2014 8:47 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 4 December 2014
Jacob's Son Judah
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What do we learn about Jacob's son,  Judah in these verses(Genesis 37:26-27?)

26 Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 "Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers listened to him.

Judah apparently has the ability to influence others; he is a leader; his brothers listen to him.  Now he isn't particularly ethical here.  In other words, this is not a perfect person.  He's not against making a buck by selling off his brother.  His behavior also smacks of bending the situation to his own ends, i.e. avoiding killing his brother by selling him to others who can kill him, if they choose.

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Posted on 12/04/2014 8:11 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014
The Importance of Baptism into Jesus and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
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Why are baptism into Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit important in your life?  How do your attitudes and actions reflect those events? 

Realizing that one is a sinner and acknowledging that fact is crucial.  But the decision to accept Jesus as the Messiah, as the savior is the bottom line.  Until you allow Him to wash you and allow Him to occupy your heart, you have no life.  Until one becomes part of Jesus and He becomes part of the individual, one is still dead.  Unless we are part of Jesus and He is actually part of us and controlling our lives, we will continue in our sinful and destructive lives, we don't have a chance of changing that.  If we are a part of Jesus and He is in us, when we are seeing with His eyes and hearing with His ears and understanding with His mind, only then will our lives, attitudes and actions change.   Only then will we truly thirst for righteousness and hate doing wrong.  The issue for a believer, every day and every moment is allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit, allowing Jesus, allowing God, to control our lives, to control my life.  There is no life unless one is part of Jesus and Jesus/God is part of us.  We are baptized or immersed in Him when we accept that He is the Messiah and our Savior.

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Posted on 12/03/2014 8:34 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Jacob's Son Reuben
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What character qualities do we see in Reuben in this chapter (Genesis 37:21-22, 29-32)?

 21 But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, "Let us not take his life." 22 Reuben further said to them, "Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him"-that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father…29 Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments. 30 He returned to his brothers and said, "The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?" 31 So they took Joseph's tunic, and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; 32 and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, "We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son's tunic or not."

Reuben is actually loyal to his father and this loyalty actually extends to his brother Joseph.  He is also compassionate, perceiving his father's grief at the loss of Joseph.  However, he is not able to influence his brothers; he is not considered to be a leader.

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Posted on 12/03/2014 8:06 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014
The Manifestations of Fellowship
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How did Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos show their fellowship/partnership with Paul in 18:18-28?    (See also Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

Acts 18:18-28

18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. 24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. 27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. 28 For On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. He vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Part of Paul's work was strengthening the church; part of it was proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah; part of his work was encouraging others in the Lord.  He also looked for leaders to carry on with the work, i.e., Timothy.  In this respect he found Priscilla and Aquila and while he was with them he imparted the vision of what was being done and needed to be done.  They in turn, do what Paul has done by listening to Apollos, realizing that he was one who was to be a servant of God, they invite him to their home, they probably explain very patiently the way of the Lord more adequately, enabling him to grow; they encourage him, introduce him to other believers and do whatever they can to make his ministry successful. 

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

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Posted on 12/02/2014 8:28 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014
The Young Joseph
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What character qualities do we see in Joseph in this passage (Genesis 37:2, 5-11)?

2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father…5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more . 6 He said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had; 7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf." 8 Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

He is his father's favorite and apparently he has recognizable business ability.  He is loyal to his father.  However, at this point, he apparently doesn't care too much about what his brothers think of him.  He's not worried about offending them, not noticing or caring that he is pouring gas on an already volatile family situation.  

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Posted on 12/02/2014 8:00 AM by Larry G
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