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Spiritual Training X2

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July 18 - Evening

"Ship your grain across the sea;
    after many days you may receive a return.

Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
    you do not know what disaster may
come upon the land.

If clouds are full of water,
    they pour rain on the earth.

Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
    in the place where it falls, there it will lie.

Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
    whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the path of the wind,
    or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
    the Maker of all things.

Sow your seed in the morning,
    and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
    whether this or that,
    or whether both will do equally well."

- Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Nothing is For Sure So Use All Your Opportunities


Since there are so many options that we cannot control combined with the fact there is so much we do not know we don’t want to miss an opportunity.

Solomon tells us we do not know:
  • The disasters that may come upon the land
  • The path of the wind
  • The works of God
  • What will succeed

Because of these unknown variables in life Solomon gives us two pieces of advice:
  1. First, Diversify your investments (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2)
  2. Second, Be Diligent in the things you invest in (Ecclesiastes 11:3-6)

There are several interesting verses and colorful ways that Solomon expressed these truths.

11:1 – Solomon had many ships that sailed to many countries for trade (1 Kings 9:26 and 1 Kings 10:11 and 1 Kings 10:15 and 1 Kings 10:22). Solomon was exporting grain. The old, familiar KJ translation of 11:1, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days,” is a reference to loading grain into ships for exporting. But, Solomon is not loading one ship, but “ships”. And, not sending them on one water, but “waters” which refers to several seas. This is nothing more than Solomon saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!” Why? Since you don’t know what is going to happen, you should not count on just one thing.

11:2 – Solomon advices us to invest in as many as seven or even eight ships all sailing to different ports on different seas.  
Pleroo (Gr) – fill up (Eng) – the Greek word pleroo means “to make full” and “to fill up.”
Things can be
pleroo such as:
A city in
Acts 5:28 - Jerusalem was pleroo with the disciples' teaching
A building in
John 12:3 - the house was pleroo with the fragrance
A net in
Matthew 13:48
Paul’s needs in
Philippians 4:19 - "God will supply every need of yours..."

People can be
pleroo:
Believers are
pleroo by Christ in Ephesians 1:23 - "his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."
And, again in
Colossians 2:10 - "you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority."
I will diversify my efforts, my work and my investments.
I will diligently follow up on my efforts, my work and my investments.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Improved understanding of love

Church

Testimony to the Power of God
Judiciary decisions
Iraq



A view of the Mount of Olives.
An on-site topography map found at the Broad Wall that shows details of the walls, valleys, hills, etc. of Jerusalem. (Details)




Someone to Quote

“We cannot avoid bringing our culture to church with us; it is a part of our very being. But in the light of tradition we need to sort out those cultural influences that contribute to the integrity of Christian worship from those that detract from it.” – Frank C. Senn

Something to Ponder

Irenaeus (126-203 AD) 

• Native of Asia Minor
• As a youth he had seen and heard Polycarp in Smyrna.
• He mentioned Papias frequently and must have known him.
• Became bishop of Lyons, Gaul (Spain) when the bishop died during persecution.
• Lyons was a missionary church of Asia Minor.
• Lived in Lyons during the persecution of 177.
• Took a letter to the Roman bishop Eleutherus from the confessors.
• Roman Bishop Victor was compelling the Asian churches to celebrate Easter on a different date.
• Irenaeus tried to protect Asian churches from the Roman Bishop’s pretensions and aggression.
• Roman Bishop Victor cut them off from communion.
• Irenaus said earlier Roman bishops did not demand agreement on this issue.
• Irenaus appealed to other bishops for support.
• Irenaus was martyred under Emperor Septimius Severus.

Here’s a Fact

The tomb and partial remains of the last Hasmonean King, Antigonus, has been found and identified in a suburb of Jerusalem, the Givat Hamivtar district. The discovery included an ossuary, inscription carved into the wall and skeletal remains of a decapitated person with iron nails in each of the hand bones (a third nail was present in the burial remains.) This matches the historical account of Antigonus' capture by Herod the Great in 37 BC, his flogging recorded by Dio and his decapitation by Marcus Antonius recorded by Josephus. (Details 1, 2, 3. Photos 1, 2.)

Proverb

"A man's spirit sustains him
in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?"

- Proverbs 18:14

Coach’s Corner

The greatest miracle is salvation. The godliest spiritual manifestation is the transformed soul.

Ezekiel 20 New International Version (NIV)
Rebellious Israel Purged
20 In the seventh year, in the fifth month on the tenth day, some of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and they sat down in front of me.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Have you come to inquire of me? As surely as I live, I will not let you inquire of me, declares the Sovereign Lord.’
“Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man? Then confront them with the detestable practices of their ancestors and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, “I am the Lord your God.” On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands. And I said to them, “Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
“‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt. But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites. 10 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, by which the person who obeys them will live. 12 Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them holy.
13 “‘Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws—by which the person who obeys them will live—and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the wilderness. 14 But for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land I had given them—a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands— 16 because they rejected my laws and did not follow my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols. 17 Yet I looked on them with pity and did not destroy them or put an end to them in the wilderness. 18 I said to their children in the wilderness, “Do not follow the statutes of your parents or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”
21 “‘But the children rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep my laws, of which I said, “The person who obeys them will live by them,” and they desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand, and for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their parents’ idols. 25 So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; 26 I defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord.’
27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In this also your ancestors blasphemed me by being unfaithful to me: 28 When I brought them into the land I had sworn to give them and they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices, made offerings that aroused my anger, presented their fragrant incense and poured out their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them: What is this high place you go to?’” (It is called Bamah to this day.)
Rebellious Israel Renewed
30 “Therefore say to the Israelites: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will you defile yourselves the way your ancestors did and lust after their vile images? 31 When you offer your gifts—the sacrifice of your children in the fire—you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. Am I to let you inquire of me, you Israelites? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will not let you inquire of me.
32 “‘You say, “We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.” But what you have in mind will never happen. 33 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will reign over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. 34 I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered—with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. 36 As I judged your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 37 I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
39 “‘As for you, people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols. 40 For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord, there in the land all the people of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices. 41 I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy through you in the sight of the nations. 42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, you people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
Prophecy Against the South
45 The word of the Lord came to me: 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the south; preach against the south and prophesy against the forest of the southland. 47 Say to the southern forest: ‘Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to set fire to you, and it will consume all your trees, both green and dry. The blazing flame will not be quenched, and every face from south to north will be scorched by it. 48 Everyone will see that I the Lord have kindled it; it will not be quenched.’”
49 Then I said, “Sovereign Lord, they are saying of me, ‘Isn’t he just telling parables?’”
Isaiah 26-27New International Version (NIV)
A Song of Praise
26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;     God makes salvation     its walls and ramparts.

Open the gates     that the righteous nation may enter,     the nation that keeps faith.

You will keep in perfect peace     those whose minds are steadfast,     because they trust in you.

Trust in the Lord forever,     for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

He humbles those who dwell on high,     he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground     and casts it down to the dust.

Feet trample it down—     the feet of the oppressed,     the footsteps of the poor.

The path of the righteous is level;     you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,     we wait for you; your name and renown     are the desire of our hearts.

My soul yearns for you in the night;     in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth,     the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 
But when grace is shown to the wicked,     they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil     and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 
Lord, your hand is lifted high,     but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;     let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.
12 
Lord, you establish peace for us;     all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
13 
Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,     but your name alone do we honor.
14 
They are now dead, they live no more;     their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin;     you wiped out all memory of them.
15 
You have enlarged the nation, Lord;     you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself;     you have extended all the borders of the land.
16 
Lord, they came to you in their distress;     when you disciplined them,     they could barely whisper a prayer.
17 
As a pregnant woman about to give birth     writhes and cries out in her pain,     so were we in your presence, Lord.
18 
We were with child, we writhed in labor,     but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth,     and the people of the world have not come to life.
19 
But your dead will live, Lord;     their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust     wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning;     the earth will give birth to her dead.
20 
Go, my people, enter your rooms     and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while     until his wrath has passed by.
21 
See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling     to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it;     the earth will conceal its slain no longer.
Deliverance of Israel
27 In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword—     his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent,     Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
In that day—
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard:

    I, the Lord, watch over it;     I water it continually. I guard it day and night     so that no one may harm it.

    I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me!     I would march against them in battle;     I would set them all on fire.

Or else let them come to me for refuge;     let them make peace with me,     yes, let them make peace with me.”

In days to come Jacob will take root,     Israel will bud and blossom     and fill all the world with fruit.

Has the Lord struck her     as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed     as those were killed who killed her?

By warfare and exile you contend with her—     with his fierce blast he drives her out,     as on a day the east wind blows.

By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for,     and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones     to be like limestone crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars     will be left standing.
10 
The fortified city stands desolate,     an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the wilderness; there the calves graze,     there they lie down;     they strip its branches bare.
11 
When its twigs are dry, they are broken off     and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding;     so their Maker has no compassion on them,     and their Creator shows them no favor.
12 In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.


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