What if?

What if today

I’ve had the plague(or at least a reasonable facsimile) for a little over three weeks now. I’ve been to the doctor three times in that time frame. During one of my visits, I noticed a nurse had a question posted in her work area:

What if the only things you have today, were the things you thanked God for yesterday?

Well….. What would you have?

Would you have your health? Your job? Your spouse? Your children? Your home? Your friends? Your family?

Psalm 136:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever—
The sun to rule by day,
    For His mercy endures forever;
The moon and stars to rule by night,
    For His mercy endures forever.

10 To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn,
    For His mercy endures forever;
11 And brought out Israel from among them,
    For His mercy endures forever;
12 With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm,
    For His mercy endures forever;
13 To Him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    For His mercy endures forever;
14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it,

For His mercy endures forever;
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
    For His mercy endures forever;
16 To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
    For His mercy endures forever;
17 To Him who struck down great kings,
    For His mercy endures forever;
18 And slew famous kings,
    For His mercy endures forever—
19 Sihon king of the Amorites,
    For His mercy endures forever;
20 And Og king of Bashan,
    For His mercy endures forever—
21 And gave their land as a heritage,
    For His mercy endures forever;
22 A heritage to Israel His servant,
    For His mercy endures forever.

23 Who remembered us in our lowly state,
    For His mercy endures forever;
24 And rescued us from our enemies,
    For His mercy endures forever;
25 Who gives food to all flesh,
    For His mercy endures forever.

26 Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
    For His mercy endures forever.

Are You Wearing Shades?

Timbuk 3’s one hit wonder from the 80s, The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades comes to mind when reading John 8:12.

John 8:
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(ESV)

John 9:
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”(ESV)

John 11:
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”(ESV)

John 12:
35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”(ESV)

Acts 26:
15 And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’(ESV)

Jesus is the light of the world, if you walk with Him, you will never walk in darkness. Trouble is the majority of people are not walking with Jesus, they are walking in darkness.

Do you need sunglasses or a flashlight?

~God Bless

Blame Game

pointing finger

Why did this happen? Who’s to blame? Who’s at fault? Given a tragedy of this magnitude, someone or something has to be held accountable.

Genesis 1:
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.(ESV)

So God makes man in His own image and gives him authority and dominion over all of creation and declares that it is very good.

lemon tree

Genesis 2:
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”(ESV)

God makes a beautiful garden, full of all kinds of fruit trees in which Adam is to live and be overseer. God does give one rule/instruction/command/warning – there’s one poisonous tree in the garden, don’t eat it’s fruit because it will kill you.

Genesis 2:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.(ESV)

holding hands

So God, desiring to further bless the man He created, formed the most beautiful woman imaginable, the final piece of creation recorded by God, to be Adam’s helper, companion, friend, wife, lover, soulmate.

Where’s the tragedy? What’s the problem? The Almighty Creator of the  Universe in His benevolence created the perfect man, put him in the perfect environment, gave him the perfect woman as a wife, gave him the perfect job – ruler of the world.

The problem, God gave the perfect man and the perfect woman autonomy, freedom of choice. God loves us so much that He endowed us with the power to choose to love and obey Him or to disobey and reject Him. God wants us to freely love Him back, not forced or out of compulsion.

Genesis 3:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Satan in the guise of a serpent, provides the first temptation/test of God’s single rule – do not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Why not eat it’s fruit?

Because you will die.

Die from what?

The evil that will come from it.

Are you willing to trust a serpent over God?

guilt

Genesis 3:
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”(ESV)

Now we see the blame game.

Who’s at fault? Adam blames Eve and indirectly God, the woman YOU gave me. Eve blames the devil masquerading as a serpent. The devil doesn’t get the opportunity then to blame anyone but we know he is a constant accuser.

So who get’s blamed when tragedy strikes? 

The devil made me do it. God made me this way. Maybe it was a bad environment or a bad home life. Perhaps television shows or video games, societal influences, culture, lack of education. Man never seems to take responsibility for his actions. Another interesting observation, society seems reluctant to blame the individual for their actions, they want to blame something else for causing the individual do that which is evil or detestable.

faust

Genesis 6:
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.(ESV)

1 John 2:
16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.(ESV)

Deuteronomy 24:
16 “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.(ESV)

Romans 12:
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.(ESV)

Who’s to blame?

Each individual is responsible to God for their own actions without exception.

Be cautious here, you may start to think that by your own merits you are good enough, after all, you’re not as bad as the majority of society.

We are all sinners, we are all guilty, there is none righteous…..but one

James 2:
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.(ESV)

Romans 3:
10 as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one;
11  no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.(ESV)

Praise be unto God for He offers mercy, grace and redemption to all who believe in Jesus! Pray that God will send revival to our land.

~God Bless

Nine Principles of Baseball and Life

Jacob and Tyler

Nine Principles of Baseball and Life
by Raymond Angelo Belliotti

Baseball is about parents taking their children to local fields and teaching them the sport. Baseball is about the bonding of parents and children in the context of 150 years of history and the excitement of the infinite possibilities of summer. Baseball is about preseason practices, with everyone playing a variety of positions, no one keeping score, everyone energized, yelling, and engaged. Baseball is passing down an American legacy, reinforcing family love, teaching values and a way of life, sharing joy and triumph, sorrow and defeat. Baseball can illustrate and enhance the meaning in our lives. Baseball is only a distant cousin to organized games, all star tournaments, or names appearing in the local sports pages.

My Sicilian parents taught me values about life that are applicable to playing baseball. My father made it clear: if I acted inappropriately on a baseball field, no umpire, no coach, no league official would have to intervene. He would run onto the field himself and physically drag me off. He was not in attendance to be embarrassed by a son who had not learned proper values. The most important rule: approach any task with great enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and with appreciation for the opportunity to participate. My 9 principles of baseball are more fundamentally 9 principles of living a rewarding life.

1. NO EXCUSES.

Do not blame teammates, umpires, coaches, fans, or the position of the moon for your performance. Take responsibility for what happens on the field. Stand up, make no excuses, refuse the excuses that others might offer you. Excuses get in the way of learning because mistakes are denied. Be accountable. Remember you are not expected to be a perfect performer. No one is. Baseball is not an easy game to play.

2. PLAY WITH HONOR.

Always hustle, run out every ground ball and pop up, encourage your teammates, especially after an error, bad pitch, or a strike out, carry yourself with pride and dignity. Do not in frustration throw equipment. Do not ridicule another team or an opposing player’s name, physical appearance, skill. Do not taunt. Do not distract an opposing player with low-level antics. Be positive with teammates. Never ridicule or criticize your teammates. They need your encouragement the most immediately after they have made a mistake. Show your teammates, your opponents, the entire world the values you hold dear by how you play.

3. BE RELENTLESS.

Never Yield. Never Yield. Regardless of what the scoreboard says, you are never defeated unless you give up, unless you go belly up. No opponent can make you do this. Giving up is something you do. Regardless of what the scoreboard says, no opponent can extinguish the flame in your heart or crush the intensity of your will without your consent. Never surrender.

4. SLAY YOUR OWN DEMONS, THEN SLAY DRAGONS.

Ignore those things outside your control: the judgments of umpires, the conduct and ability of other teams, the weather, your amount of playing time, the final score (this is a tough one). Do not show frustration or disappointment. Do not allow your opponents to gain joy from your inability to cope with self-pity. Do not throw equipment or whine in anger or slump your shoulders. Such behavior impresses no one. Maintain your poise. Learn, prepare, and focus on the next event. We cannot change the past. Instead, we should focus on the next action with determination, joy, and resolve.

5. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THOSE THINGS UNDER YOUR CONTROL.

Your effort, your attitude, your commitment, and your approach to the game are under your control. Be enthusiastic, play with great effort, conduct yourself appropriately, meet this opportunity with great joy. Listen to your coaches. Be alert, play smartly, know the signs. You are always accountable. How you react to situations and circumstances reveals the person you are and the person you might become.

6. PLAY THE GAME ONE PITCH AT A TIME.

Focus on the current pitch. If you are a pitcher, what are you throwing now and where? If you are a fielder, what are you going to do if the ball is hit to you? If you are a base-runner, what are you going to do on a fly ball, line drive, ground ball, to the right side, to the left side? If you are a batter, what are you trying to accomplish on this pitch? If you are on the bench, how are you helping your team be successful?

7. FOCUS ON BEHAVIOR, NOT OUTCOMES.

The results of your performance are not fully under your control. The other team may be very good, or very bad. The bounces may go your way, or not. But your behavior and approach are under your control. At the end of the game, you, perhaps only, know whether you gave 100%, whether you did all you could to help your team. Those players who did are winners, those players who did not are losers, regardless of what the scoreboard says. Winners take care of the things within their control, enjoy their participation, and are justifiable proud of their effort. Losers make excuses, lose their poise readily, wallow in self-pity, and surrender at the slightest sign of adversity.

8. THE BEST PLAYERS ARE THE BEST LEARNERS.

Players who are coach-able are always trying to learn more about being successful ballplayers and people. They listen and apply what their coaches and teachers suggest. Are you coach-able? If you are, you are a winner. If you are not, you are a loser, regardless of what the scoreboard says.

9. BE A JOYOUS WARRIOR!

Be enthusiastic, positive, give 100%, understand that relentless effort in the pursuit of excellence is its own reward. The joyous warrior exemplifies the slogan “No Retreat & No Surrender.” Win with humility, lose with dignity.

Ray.Belliotti

 

This article was written by Raymond Angelo Belliotti and remains his property. We appreciate him allowing us to reprint his article here.  Raymond Angelo Belliotti is the Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York/Fredonia. He can be reached at belliott@fredonia.edu.

Related: Philosopher sees baseball as teaching the game of life

Forgiveness Is A Hug

 the-prodigal-son

The Parable Of The Forgiving Father

Luke 15:
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”(ESV)

The father received his wayward son with an exuberant, rejoiceful, reconciliatory embrace but the older brother refused to enter the same house as his younger brother. True forgiveness is demonstrated by a hug!

Luke 15:
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”(ESV)

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:
After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.(KJV)

Are you holding a grudge? It’s probably time to let that past offense go. Life is short and time is running out, seek reconciliation and forgiveness. You’re never more like God the Father than when you forgive someone their trespasses against you.

~God Bless

Wiles of The Devil

sneaky duck

Sure they look soft and cuddly but they may be decoys for a more sinister objective. Beware!

Genesis 3:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.(ESV)

What questions come to mind when reading this portion of scripture?

  1. Is a snake more crafty than a squirrel, pig, or cow? Maybe it’s the lisp they speak with.
  2. Was talking animals a common occurence in the garden of Eden? I think I might have been a bit suspicious of a talking snake encouraging me to disobey God.
  3. Was Adam prohibited from cutting down and making a bonfire out of the poisonous tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
  4. Was Adam standing there not saying anything the whole time the serpent was tempting Eve, v.6 says Eve “gave some to her husband who was with her”?
  5. Would it have been wrong for Adam to have bashed the serpent in the head with a rock?

What observations did you make from this section of scripture?

  1. Only two trees were specifically mentioned, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. see Genesis 2:15-17
  2. Satan knows scripture and is very good at twisting it for his purposes.
  3. Eve added to God’s command of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, to also not touch it. Perhaps Adam didn’t relay it to her correctly. Which may have added to the temptation as I can imagine the serpent holding the fruit and not suffering any ill effects.
  4. The more you think about yielding to a sin the more desirable it becomes and the more likely you are to fall to it.
  5. Immediately after eating this wonder fruit, the first bit of knowledge they received, hey we’re naked, resulted in shame, which is almost always the first consequence of sin.

This section of scripture reminds me of the time Jesus was tempted by satan. How did Jesus respond to the temptations? By accurately quoting scripture in the face of each temptation. In both instances satan quoted and/or misquoted scripture.

satanic fruit

Temptation of Eve

Genesis 3:
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 

What did God actually say?

Genesis 2:
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

So we see satan masquerading as a serpent, misquoting God by adding one word, not, and negating what God said and thereby creating doubt in Eve’s mind as to the goodness of God.

How does satan work? It seems the first thing he attempts to do is create doubt in God; in His faithfulness, in His trustworthiness, in His character. What was his first question to Eve? 

Serpent: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Eve: Well, not exactly He said we should not eat from just that one tree or even touch it for that matter.

Serpent: Oh really? (As the serpent picks one of the fruit and takes a bite) You know the real reason God doesn’t want you eating from this tree, He’s selfish, He’s afraid, He’s mean, He doesn’t want you to be like Him.

Eve: You know those are the best looking fruit in the entire garden, the serpent just ate one and he seems fine, it looked incredibly juicy, and my goodness, if I will become as wise as God – why wouldn’t He want us eating any of these? He doesn’t care about us and what we need, we’re practically starving and He’s keeping the best for Himself!

snow white

A few thoughts here,

  1. God’s plans are always for your ultimate good. He loves you and gave His son to die for you.
  2. Satan is a liar and deceiver, he hates God and you, his only desire is for your harm.
  3. You better know scripture better than the devil because he is going to misquote it.
  4. Anytime anyone or anything has you questioning the character of God, satan is behind it.

Temptation of Jesus

Matthew 4:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your Godand him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.(ESV)

stones to bread

Satan: If you are really the Son of God, why don’t you prove it to me by turning these stones into bread and eat some, after all you must be hungry after fasting for 40 days.

Jesus: Deuteronomy 8 says:3  “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Satan: Oh, ok, so you’re living by everything God says then why don’t you throw yourself from the top of the temple because scripture says “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up,lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Note: Satan is quoting Psalm 91:11-12, though he left out part of it. “11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

Jesus:  Deuteronomy 6 says: 16 You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

Satan: well….well….uh…ok….I tell you what, here’s my best offer, fall down and worship me and I’ll give you the world!

Note: Jesus doesn’t debate with satan over whether he could deliver on his promise, He focuses on the bigger issue.

Jesus: Deuteronomy 6 says: 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.

Jesus did not for even a second consider anything other than the Father’s will and that’s how it should be for us. When temptations arise, ask yourself if this in part of the Lord’s will for you and does if conform to scripture, all of scripture, not parts taken out of context?

Beware the wiley one.

~God Bless

Discipline Is Not A Four Letter Word

What comes to mind when you hear the word discipline?

Is it positive or negative?

Why?

Most people consider discipline as something negative and I suppose it is at the time the discipline is occurring. It may come from childhood when your parents disciplined you for bad or undesirable behavior but does that make discipline a bad thing? If you think of people that are “disciplined”, who comes to mind? Athletes that train for years for competition, members of the military that prepare for combat, bodybuilders that follow a strict diet and exercise regimen, doctors and lawyers that spend 8, 10, 12 years or more in school and training.

Deuteronomy 8:
Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.(ESV)

Job 5:
17 “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.(ESV)

Psalm 50:
16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips? 17 For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you.(ESV)

Proverbs 3:
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.(ESV)

Proverbs 5:
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.(ESV)

Proverbs 6:
20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over  you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.(ESV)

Proverbs 12:
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.(ESV)

Proverbs 13:
24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.(ESV)

Proverbs 15:
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness. 10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.(ESV)

1 Corinthians 9:
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.(ESV)

Ephesian 6:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.(ESV)

Hebrews 12:
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not disciplineIf you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.(ESV)

Discipline is not enjoyable at the time but we all know it is important to anyone desiring to live a happy, successful life – here and now and in the here after. Learn discipline from the Lord, allow Him to sand off the rough edges in your life to reap the blessings He has for you.

~God Bless

The LORD is mighty to save!

re-Ver(sing) Verses

Zephaniah 3:17 - The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 | NIV (1984) | Other Versions | Context

Brief

I think it wouldn’t be unfair to claim that the book of Zephaniah is one of the least known books of the Bible, if not the least. The books of the minor prophets were split into two parts, the first 9 books being of pre-exilic times, meaning they were written before the Babylonians conquered and exiled Judah, and largely contains prophesies regarding the destruction and the exile. The last 3 books are post-exilic, written during or after the return of Israel from Babylon to the promised land. Zephaniah is the last of the pre-exilic books, and could be said to be a form of summary of…

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Thanksgiving to God

Psalm 136:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;


to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;


14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 to him who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;


22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.(ESV)