Saturday, April 2, 2016

miracle definitions

1828 Webster's Dictionary
MIR'ACLE, noun [Latin miraculum, from miror, to wonder.]
1. Literally, a wonder or wonderful thing; but appropriately,  2. In theology, an event or effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things, or a deviation from the known laws of nature; a supernatural event. Miracles can be wrought only by Almighty power, as when Christ healed lepers, saying, 'I will, be thou clean, ' or calmed the tempest, 'Peace, be still.'
Miracle:  1. a marvellous event manifesting a supernatural act of a divine agent  2. any amazing or wonderful occurrence
Miracle:  1. A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency:
the miracle of rising from the grave  1.1. A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences:
it was a miracle that more people hadn’t been killed or injured  1.2. An amazing product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something:
a machine which was a miracle of design
[AS MODIFIER]: a miracle drug

John MacAuther
"What is a miracle? Let me give you a simple definition. A miracle is an interference with nature by a supernatural power. A miracle is something outside our box invading our little box, something outside our world coming into our world and making waves and ripples. Miracles are events in the external world wrought by the power of God. A miracle is God stepping into the universe, setting aside the normal laws of nature to do a supernature act. The Bible describes miracles usually, especially in the New Testament, in three terms: signs, wonders and mighty works. And therein you have the definition of miracles, really. They were mighty works to create wonder, to act as a sign."

Tyndale Bible Dictionary
MIRACLE A divine act by which God reveals himself to people. The classical definition of miracle assumes that it is contrary to natural law, but this is a misnomer for two reasons. First, many of the miracles of the Bible used nature rather than bypassed it (e.g., the wind that parted the Red Sea, Ex 14:21). Second, there no longer is a concept of “absolute natural laws”; rather, a phenomenon that is not readily explainable may reflect laws that scientists do not yet fully understand. In Scripture the element of faith is crucial; a natural approach cannot prove or disprove the presence of “miracle.” The timing and content of the process can be miraculous, even though the event may seem natural. The revelatory significance is also important. In every case God performed the miracle not merely as a “wonder” to inspire awe but as a “sign” to draw people to himself.

Although English speakers regularly use "miracle" to refer to a broad range of wondrous events, the biblical concept is limited to those not explainable solely by natural processes but which require the direct causal agency of a supernatural being, usually God. These occur throughout all major eras of history but do appear with greater frequency at key periods of God's self-revelation. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Proverbs in March 2016

Proverbs 1.7-9
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;

For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
1. Solomon moves seamlessly from the fear of the Lord to parents to the instruction and value of the Godly parent's teachings. Hmmmm...
2. The fear of the Lord prompts a humble teachable spirit. Lord, do that in me.
3. The parents instruction should have a timeless and "divine" quality. Our routine procedural instruction and character training should point to timeless spiritual / Gospel truths. 
Lord, help there be a connection between my daily activities, conversations, and thoughts and Your eternal realities.
Proverbs 2.16-18
To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;

-> She is "zuwr" estranged for the moral and cultural norms of the covenant.
-> Empty words of praise.
Is not faithful to her commitment, but abandons her husband.
-> Turns away from the substance of her covenant with God.
-> She is headed to death and He'll and leading people there.
Lord, help me stay committed to You, to walk in your ways, and to be faithful to the wife of my youth.
Proverbs 3.33-35
33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just,

34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.

35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.
Isaiah 57.15; James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5
Lord, give me the humble, submissive, and teachable spirit to receive your enabling and blessing grace.
"The world despised the widow’s mite as too small while it criticized the anointing of Bethany as wasteful, exhibitionist and unrealistic. What the disciples said about the value of the ointment and the need of the poor was perfectly true, but Jesus looks for uncalculating devotion to himself..." --R. Alan Cole on Mark 14.3-9
Proverbs 5.1-2
My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
Preserve and keep: Wisdom is not as much prize to hide as a skill to practice and keep sharp.
Lord, help me be faithful with my time in the Word and meditating on your ways.
Proverbs 6.30-32
People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; 
He who does so destroys his own soul.
Solomon seems to indicate that there is treachery in adultery that makes it more deadly and dangerous than simple theft.
Lord, help me love Wisdom and be faithful to love you and my wife.
Proverbs 6.30-32
People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. 
Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; 
He may have to give up all the substance of his house. 
Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; 
He who does so destroys his own soul.
Solomon seems to indicate that there is treachery in adultery that makes it more deadly and dangerous than simple theft.
Lord, help me love Wisdom and be faithful to love you and my wife.
Wisdom is the ounce of prevention that protects us from immorality and adultery because wisdom reminds us that sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay.
Lord, I want your wisdom to control my thoughts and actions.
Proverbs 7.4-5
4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," 
And call understanding your nearest kin,
That they may keep you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words.
23 ...
He did not know it would cost his life
Wisdom cries out as much or more to those who understand and have found knowledge as to the simple / naive. We must be regularly reminded to keep learning and living wisdom. It sounds a lot like the ideas of salvation and sanctification.
Lord, give me ears to hear and a heart to obey.
Proverbs 8-8-10
All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; 
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.
Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
The picture of foolishness is one calling out (like a giant billboard) to those who are going straight down the road to turn aside from direction and purpose to foolish, sinful horseplay.
Lord, keep my heart focused on the Way and wary of foolish distractions.
Proverbs 9.13-15
The woman called Folly is brash, she is naive 
and does not know anything.
So she sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
calling out to those who are passing by her in the way,
who go straight on their way.

Proverbs 10.19-21
19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.
Three proverbs in a row about the lips and tongue remind me to watch mine.
While the proud cheats and cuts moral corners to build uncertain security through wealth, those who humbly walk the Lord's path of integrity and justice will be preserved in the Day of God's wrath.
Lord, I want to humbly walk your firm path of justice and integrity.
Proverbs 11.1-4
1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, 
But a just weight is His delight.

2 When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom. 

3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 12.25-26
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.
The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
I am thankful for friends who encourage me along the way of wisdom.
Proverbs 13.15-17
Good understanding gains favor,
But the way of the unfaithful is hard.
Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool lays open his folly.
A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
But a faithful ambassador brings health.
The unfaithful treachery of verse 15 stands in contrast to the solid, trustworthy faithfulness that brings health and healing.
Lord, make me an extension of Your faithfulness.
Proverbs 14.15-16
The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps.
A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident.
Lord, give me a godly, thoughtful, and humble prudence.
These four proverbs are unified by the metaphor of eating/meals. Our heart's desires and attitude is more important for enjoying a feast than the food.
Proverbs 15.14-17
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. 

15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. 

16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD,
Than great treasure with trouble.

17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
Lord, give me a heart that Feds on Your wisdom and overflows with Your love and integrity.
Verse 32 is a "go to" verse for anger, but it is greatly enriched with the picture of a righteous old person whose experience has taught that God has his hand even in chance decisions.
Lord, help me grow into that seasoned saint who calmly trusts that You are at work.
Proverbs 16.31-33
31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness. 

32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. 

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.
Every time I read 1 Cor 11 I am struck by the phrase " you despise the church of God...?" especially in the context of how we treat others. A key way we value the church of God is by respecting and being thoughtful and compassionate to the people in His church.
Lord help me to love Your church people the way You do.
There is a difference between friendship and foolishness.
Lord, give me the wisdom to know which is which.
Proverbs 17.17-18
A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend.
A close Loyal friend like Jesus who doesn't just like us for how we can help them is a true treasure and asset.
We all smile and acknowledge the treasure of a good wife, but this trio of verses highlights one aspect of that relationship (and other relationships) that makes it so valuable.
Proverbs 18.22-24
22 The one who finds a wife finds what is enjoyable,
and receives a pleasurable gift from the LORD.
23 A poor person makes supplications,
but a rich man answers harshly. 
24 A person who has friends may be harmed by them,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my closer than a brother friend!
Proverbs 19.20-22
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.

21 There are many plans in a man's heart,
Nevertheless the LORD's counsel—that will stand.

22 What is desired in a man is kindness,
And a poor man is better than a liar.
Am I continuing to listen to instruction, seeking the Lord's direction for my life, and growing in godly wisdom, kindness, and honesty?
Lord help me to pursue you all the way to the end!
Proverbs 20.10-11
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures,
They are both alike, an abomination to the LORD.

11 Even a child is known by his deeds,
Whether what he does is pure and right.
There are some aspects of our integrity that are basic even to children, and how much more to adults. This reminds me of 1 Timothy 4:12.
Lord, help me be the example others can follow.
Proverbs 21.25-27
25 What the sluggard desires will kill him,
for his hands refuse to work.

26 All day long he craves greedily,
but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

27 The wicked person's sacrifice is an abomination;
how much more when he brings it with evil intent!
The selfish, lazy person who gives to God to get is and abomination. Lord, help me work hard and have a generous spirit toward You and others.
These two sayings of the "Thirty wise sayings" remind us that hard work and excellence, not sneaky cheating are God's way to get ahead.
Proverbs 22.28-29
28 Do not remove the ancient landmark
Which your fathers have set. 

29 Do you see a man who excels in his work?
He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
Proverbs 23.17-18
Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
For surely there is a hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off.
Verse 17a becomes a problem when we lose sight of verse 18.
Lord, I want to walk humbly in the constant awareness of who You are and with a zealous focus on my hope. Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Before we are reminded to not fret over evil doers because their end is sure, we are given a strong warning against being glad when our enemies fail. I am thinking about what that all says about my faith and attitudes toward "the opposition."
Proverbs 24.17-18; 19-20
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 

18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the wicked; 

20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Lord, help me to not be weary in well doing and give me the patience to wait on Your timing for promotions and recognition.
Proverbs 25.6-7
Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of the great; 

For it is better that he say to you, "Come up here,"
Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen
Blessed are the peace makers.
Proverbs 26.21-22
As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.
Lord, make me a wise encourager and ambassador of reconciliation.
These three-word pictures seem to describe the joy and importance of the relationships God gives us and the emptiness that comes from sacrificing them for elusive temporal happiness.
Proverbs 27.7-9
7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 

8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Lord, help me have a loyal love for you and the godly people you ha e put in my life.
It is instructive that keeping the law and pity for the poor are contrasted together with those who enrich themselves at other's expense and surround themselves with others who have also given themselves over to self-gratification. Their rejection of wise, compassionate, godliness is a rejection of God that makes Him sick!
Proverbs 28.7-9
Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son,
But a companion of gluttons shames his father.

One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion
Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.
One who turns away his ear from hearing the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination
Lord, help me continually listen to and love your good Law with a generous heart.
Sandwiched between two proverbs about the larger socio-political scene is a caution about a danger of hardening your heart and a hint about how to know your heart has become calloused.
Proverbs 28.28-29.2
When the wicked arise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase. 
He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Lord, give me that tender heart that is pained by sin and is tender and responsive to your correction.
These verses illustrate the mystery of someone who commits a big sin and doesn't even seem to realize anything is wrong.
Proverbs 30.18-20
There are three things which are too wonderful for me, 
Yes, four which I do not understand: 
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin.
This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, "I have done no wickedness."
The bottom line in these proverbs is that we should avoid things that compromise our strength or distract us from attention to our responsibilities and godly living (especially if we have leadership responsibilities of any kind).
Proverbs 31.2-5
What, my son? ...
Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
Lord, keep me focused on the mission you've given me and do not allow me to be involved with anything that keeps me from running hard for You.

Proverbs in February 2016

I don't think it is a mistake that the fear of the Lord is right next to verse about listening to your parents' instruction. I am thinking of applications for children and parents
Lord, help me listen to those you've put into my life to speak wisdom into my life and help me instruct others in a way that encourages them to have a health fear of you.
Proverbs 1.7-9
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, 
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

8 My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;

9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
Proverbs 2.1-2
1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you, 

2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
The first eight verses of this "sermonette" are the conditional "if," and verse nine begins the "then" part. It is worth noting that Solomon'a first condition could be described as a teachable spirit that embraces and seek's God's wisdom and instruction.
Lord, give me a heart that is desirous and receptive to your wise ways.
Proverbs 3.27-28
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it," 
When you have it with you.
Proverbs paints a picture of wisdom and understanding that takes pleasure in kindness and the ability to pay promptly. It's an orientation that our good God demonstrated in Christ's ministry then and now.
Lord, make me more like You.
After chapter three's impassioned pleas to GET wisdom we see a focus on the importance to KEEP wisdom. Loyalty, devotion, and commitment to this principled way of life are just as key as seeking it in the first place.
I am thinking about the mechanisms in my routine that help me remember and follow wisdom. Lord, save AND keep me.
Proverbs 4.5-6
Get wisdom! Get understanding! 
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
rachaq That's how far we should stay from temptation. "How close can I get and still be safe?" is almost always the wrong question.
Proverbs 5.7-8
Therefore hear me now, my children,
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Remove your way far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house,
"I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility to sin, a pain to feel it near"
It is interesting that two of the sins are closely related. I am thinking about how Christ's life and ministry was characterized by the opposites.
Lord, make me more like Jesus!
Proverbs 6.16-19
These six things the LORD hates, 
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

1. A proud look, 
2. A lying tongue, 
3. Hands that shed innocent blood, 
4. A heart that devises wicked plans, 
5. Feet that are swift in running to evil, 
6. A false witness who speaks lies, 
7. And one who sows discord among brethren.
I remember reading something to the effect that the action of a command was like the body, and the belief in the truth of the command was its soul. A body without a souk is dead, There may not be a better illustration of that than the immoral woman here.
Proverbs 7.13-15
So she caught him and kissed him;
With an impudent face she said to him: 
"I have peace offerings with me;
Today I have paid my vows.
So I came out to meet you,
Diligently to seek your face, And I have found you.
Lord, help me to keep AND believe your commands.
Proverbs 8.6-8
Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;
For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
Excellent, right, true, and righteous--not not wicked and perverse. 
Let my words be like that too.
Wisdom is primarily a disposition to receive correction and instruction. It's about being more concerned with doing right than looking right.
Lord, thank you for putting wise people in my life. Help me grow in humility and the desire to be like You.
Proverbs 9.6-8
Forsake foolishness and live, 
And go in the way of understanding.
"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Verse one sets the stage with how a son pleases or disappoints godly parents. Then verses 2-3 begin to flesh out the description. It's not the rich wicked son who brings joy and will ultimately endure.
Lord, help me to be righteous and satisfied with your abundant blessings on my wife.
Proverbs 10.1-3
The proverbs of Solomon: 
A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death.
The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.
Verses 18-19 give the what and verse 20 the why. 
Lord, help me think and walk in the way you delight.
Proverbs 11.18-20
The wicked man earns an empty wage,
but the one who sows righteousness, a true reward.
Genuine righteousness leads to life,
but pursuing evil leads to death.
Those with twisted minds are detestable to the LORD,
but those with blameless conduct are His delight.
I am thinking about the sense in which false words are rash or reckless and how truthful wisdom promotes health.
Lord, help me take care to speak Your enduring truth.
Proverbs 12.17-19
He who speaks truth declares righteousness, 
But a false witness, deceit.
There is one who speaks [rashly is] like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.
The truthful lip shall be established forever,
But a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Proverbs 13.20-22
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

21 Evil pursues sinners,
But to the righteous, good shall be repaid.

22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
I was struck by the strong sense of community, family, and legacy in these verses.
Those backsliders who are laughing it up may be hiding grief or haven't come into it yet.
Lord, make me a pleasant, beneficial person (Heb. towb) who is genuinely satisfied by you.
Proverbs 14.13-14
Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, 
And the end of mirth may be grief.
The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways,
But a good man will be satisfied from above.
Proverbs 15.15-18
All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD,
Than great treasure with trouble.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
A wrathful man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger allays contention.
A pleasant disposition, long suffering, and a simple honest life are more central to joy than abundance. Stuff is temporary. Focus on the eternal.
Lord, make me a blessing!
Everybody grows old, but how sweet it is when that silver hair is testimony to the inner strength and righteousness that come from a long history of walking in the way of the Lord's wisdom.
I want to be like that when I grow up. Lord, please do that in me.
Proverbs 16.31-32
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, 
[If] it is found in the way of righteousness.
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Proverbs 16.27-28
He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
Lord, help me have Your knowledge and understanding spirit that makes me quick to listen.

Proverbs 18.10-12
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
The rich man's wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem. 
Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.
The old hymn says "My hope is in the Lord," but some have overconfident trust in their own resources.
Lord, you are my strong tower, give me the humble faith to keep my hope in you.
We can have many plans and ideas, but need a teachable spirit and commitment to the Lord's counsel in order to be kind and true.
My gracious and faithful Lord, I want to be like you.
Proverbs 19.20-22
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, 
That you may be wise in your latter days.
There are many plans in a man's heart,
Nevertheless the LORD's counsel—that will stand.
What is desired in a man is kindness,
And a poor man is better than a liar.
Proverbs 20.22-23
22 Do not say, "I will recompense evil";
Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

23 Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD,
And dishonest scales are not good.
Sometimes we are tempted to take matters into our own hands. But these proverbs encourage us to carry on with integrity and let the Lord prosper and defend.
Lord, increase my confidence in Your truth and faithfulness.
Self-control and cunning of the wise are contrasted with the brash irreverence of the Scorner.
Lord, help me to walk humbly before You.
Proverbs 21.22-24
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty, 
And brings down the trusted stronghold.

23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.

24 A proud and haughty man—"Scoffer" is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride.
I think we miss so much when we pluck individual proverbs out of their context. Here's another angle on parenting. It's keeping our kids out of the thorn patches of life. 8-9 are great too.
Lord, give me the good sense and character to stay out of the thorns and on the fairway.
Proverbs 22.5-6
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; 
He who guards his soul will be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Envy and zeal are to sides of the same word. We should keep that focus on the Blessed Hope and not get distracted my temporary temporal success.
Lord, keep my eye on the prize.
Proverbs 23.17-18
Do not let your heart envy sinners, 
But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
For surely there is a hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 24.30-31
I went by the field of the lazy man,
And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
And there it was, all overgrown with thorns;
Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down.
That reminds me that I need to work on that flowerbeds in my backyard.
Lord, help me make time for the things.that are important to You.
Proverbs 25.11-13
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.
12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear. 
13 Like the cold of snow in time of harvest Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
Lord, who can I bless and encourage with my words today?
Proverbs 26.3-5
3 A whip for the horse,
A bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the fool's back.

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, 
Lest you also be like him
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes
Fools just don't get it and it takes a wise person to know the best approach for dealing with them in various situations.
Lord, give me hears to hear and a humble desire to do right in your eyes.
Knowledge does not save, but neither is biblical faith the proverbial "leap in the dark." --Duane Liftin in Word Vs. Deed
Proverbs 27.15-17
A continual dripping on a very rainy day
And a contentious woman are alike;
Whoever restrains her restrains the wind,
And grasps oil with his right hand.
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
There is a difference between being an annoying and ineffective nag and being used by God to sharpen another's character. 
Lord, make me the latter.
 Proverbs 28.25-26
25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. 

26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
This reminds me of that classic hymn, Trust and Obey. 
Lord, help me walk humbly before my God.
Proverbs 29.25-27
25 The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. 

26 Many seek the ruler's favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD. 

27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.
It's a mistake to seek from people what ultimately only comes from God.
Lord, give me the faith put my hope and expectation in You.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior / Tulsa Bible Church Men's Bible study 2015-2016 / Lesson 21--“Christ Before Pilate”--Mark 15:1-23

Lesson 21--Christ Before Pilate”--Mark 15:1-23
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark 14:69-15:26 to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 15:1-20 in a more literal or more dynamic version than you usually use.   
1.     ID: (15:1-15, 43-45)  Read through this account and make as many observations about Pilate as the text in Mark allows. 
CR: Going beyond:  Check to see if the other Gospel accounts (Matt. 27:1-2, 11–23; Luke 23:1–5, 13–23; John 18:28–19:15) contradict or support your observations.
2.     ID/WS/CR: (15:1-5)  What accusation(s) did Mark record the chief priests, etc. make against Jesus before Pilate?  What about Jesus made Pilate marvel (thaumaz┼Ź)?  What other accusations do the other Gospels record?  (Matt. 27:1-2, 11–23; Luke 23:1–5, 13–23; John 18:28–19:15)
3.     ID: (15:6-10)  What was the governor’s custom at Passover?  Does the text give any hints why Pilate offered to turn Jesus loose?  Who else did Pilate also offer to release?
4.     ID: (15:11-15)  Why did the crowd chose to have the other prisoner released?  How did the crowd respond to Pilate offering to release Jesus?  What did Pilate do to gratify the crowd?
5.     ID: (15:16-20)  What happened to Jesus in the Praectorium?  Did any details catch your attention? 
6.     ID/CR: (15:21-23)  Who was “volunteered” to carry Jesus’ cross?  Who was he?  (Use a Bible dictionary.)  Where did they bring Jesus to be crucified?  (TripAdvisor pictures)
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     Have you ever had people falsely accuse you?  How did you respond?  Why?
2.     It is remarkable how the chief priests were able to whip the crowds into a frenzy.  How do we avoid getting caught up in a similar situation?
3.     Pilate knowingly and intentionally freed the guilty and condemned to innocent.  How do you think he justified it in his mind?  What are things that put pressure on you to make similar compromises?
4.     Can you think of Scriptures that indicate how (or why) Jesus was able to keep his composure through the stress of all the false accusations and unfair punishment?
5.     Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response?  Have your sins been forgiven?
Going Beyond:  1.  What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?  q The Bible   q God  q God the Father  
q Jesus Christ    q The Holy Spirit    q Man   q Salvation   q The Church   q Angels & Satan   q Future Things –

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Eusebius, who lived in the 4th centuries, tells us (Historia Ecclesiastica, II) on the authority of certain Greek historians that Pilate fell into such calamities that he committed suicide.  Various apocryphal writings have come down to us, written from the 3rd to the 5th centuries, with others of a later date, in which legendary details are given about Pilate.  In all these a favorable view is taken of his character; hence, the Coptic church came to believe that he became a Christian, and enrolled him among the number of its saints.  His wife, to whom tradition gives the name of Claudia Procula, or Procla, is said to have been a Jewish proselyte at the time of the death of Jesus, and afterward to have become a Christian.  Her name is honored along with Pilate's in the Coptic church, and in the calendar of saints honored by the Greek church her name is found against the date October 27.
We find not unkindly references to Pilate in the discovered fragment of the Gospel of Peter, which was composed in the 2nd century.  In the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus, which belongs to the 4th or 5th century, we find in the first part, called the Acts of Pilate, a long account of the trial of Jesus.  It tells how the standards in the hall of judgment bowed down before Jesus, in spite of the efforts of the standard-bearers, and others who attempted it, to hold them erect. It tells also how many of those who had been healed by Jesus bore testimony to Him at the trial.  There has also come down to us, in various forms (e.g. in the Acts of Peter and Paul), a letter, supposed to be the report of Pilate to Tiberius, narrating the proceedings of the trial, and speaking of Jesus in the highest terms of praise.  Eusebius, when he mentions this letter, avers that Tiberius, on perusing it, was incensed against the Jews who had sought the death of Jesus (Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 2).  Elsewhere (Historia Ecclesiastica, IX, 5) he recounts that under Maximin forged Acts of Pilate, containing blasphemies against Christ, were circulated with consent of the emperor.  None of these, if they ever existed, have come down to us.  In the Paradosis Pilati we read that Caesar, being angry with Pilate for what he had done, brought him to Rome as a prisoner, and examined him.  When the Christ was named, all the gods in the senate-chamber fell down and were broken.  Caesar ordered war to be made on the Jews, and Pilate, after praying to Jesus, was beheaded.  The head was taken away by an angel, and Procla, seeing this, died of joy.  Another narrative, of late date, recounts that Pilate, at his trial, wore the seamless robe of Jesus; for this reason Caesar, though filled with anger, could not so much as say a harsh word to Pilate; but when the robe was taken off, he condemned Pilate to death.  On hearing this, Pilate committed suicide.  The body was sunk in the Tiber, but such storms were raised by demons on account of this that it was taken up and sunk in the Rhone at Vienne.  The same trouble recurred there, and the body was finally buried in the territory of Losania (Lausanne).  Tradition connects Mt. Pilatus with his name, although it is probable that the derivation is from pileatus, i.e. the mountain with a cloud-cap.
Philo (Legatio ad Caium, xxxviii) speaks of Pilate in terms of the severest condemnation.  According to him, Pilate was a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as obstinate.  Philo calls him a man of most ferocious passions, and speaks of his corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending and most grievous inhumanity.  This is very highly colored and probably much exaggerated; certainly the instances given do not bear out this description of the man.  Much of what he says of Pilate is in direct opposition to what we learn of him in the Gospels.  There he appears to us as a man who, in spite of many undoubted faults, tries hard to conduct the trial with fairness.  Pilate had the ethics of his class, and obviously tried to act up to the standard which he had formed.  There was in him, however, no deep moral basis of character, as is shown by the utter skepticism of his question, "What is truth?"  When he found that the doing of strict justice threatened to endanger his position, he reluctantly and with a great deal of shame gave way to the demands of the Jews.  He sent Jesus to the cross, but not before he had exhausted every expedient for saving Him, except the simple and straightforward one of dismissing the case.  He had the haughtiness of the dominant race, and a profound contempt for the people over which he ruled.  This contempt, as we have seen, continually brought him into trouble. He felt deeply humiliated at having to give way to those whom he utterly despised, and, in the manner of a small mind, revenged himself on them by calling Christ their king, and by refusing to alter the mocking inscription on the cross.  It is certain that Pilate, in condemning Jesus, acted, and knew that he acted against his conscience.  He knew what was right, but for selfish and cowardly reasons refused to do it.  He was faced by a great moral emergency, and he failed. We rest on the judgment of our Lord, that he was guilty, but not so guilty as the leaders of the chosen people.

Also see these excellent articles:

Lesson 21:  Mark 15:1-23

1.  The idea here is to hone our observation skills so we can have all the details Mark offers.  It can be helpful to check with parallel passage to see whether we have made any incorrect assumptions beyond what the text says.
2.  When you look at accusations the other Gospels add, you should ask yourself the question, “Why did Mark mention the ones he did and not the others?”  What truth is being emphasized by his selection?
6. The link to TripAdvisor for pictures is a little unconventional, but they are good pictures and help to plant it into the real world.  Have any of your men been to Israel and seen Golgotha?

3. It bothers me how easy it is to justify just about anything we want to do.  I hope that it will bother you and your men too.  How can we make it more difficult for ourselves to do that?
4. Let’s zoom in on what our thinking should be in these circumstances.  I put a link to one to get you started, but your men should have some others that have been helpful to them.  This is a question that the older men should be able to share some wisdom on.
5.  Talk about the Gospel in this passage!  :o)