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December 15 - Evening

"He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.  After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built." - First Peter 3:18-20

The Hopeless, Defeated Spirits in Prison


Verse 18 is communicating the thought that Jesus died to the physical world, but was made alive to the spiritual world as the first resurrected man. This resurrection signified a victory that had never before been attained. A physical man entered the spiritual dimension fully restored to life. This indicated the battle with sin, death, evil and the dark kingdom of Satan had been secured. Paul writes of this in First Corinthians:
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
 
                        ‘Where, O death, is your victory?
                        Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- First Corinthians 15:54-57

Peter continues in verse 19 to tell us that after  “being made alive” (or, resurrected) Jesus went and “made proclamation” of this victory to the rebellious spirits (the descendants of the nephilim of Genesis 6) who had been “imprisoned” (placed in everlasting chains until judgment in Tartarus which is found in the underworld of 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, 7) for their disobedient “in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.”  Jesus’ proclamation may have sounded similar to his words to John on the isle of Patmos:
“I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” – Revelation 1:17-18
Eleutheria (Gr) - Liberty (Eng) - eleutheria is a Greek word that means "freedom" and "independence." In Classical Greek eleutheria contrasted the full citizen who belonged to the polis (the city state) and participated with full rights of citizenship with the slave who did not participate in political activities and had someone else determine the daily life. The New Testament uses eleutheria to refer to our freedom from the legalistic Law of the Jews (Galatians 5:1) and our freedom from sin and death (Romans 8:2).
Do I seek the advice and insight of others?
I will make my own decisions, but only after considering the wisdom God has given to others.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

General Text




Personal

Discernment concerning truth and deception

Church

Avoid distractions and interference
Poor
Vanuatu - literacy is low, and there is a need for audio bibles



The crushed pavement of the road that ran along the western wall.
The broken remains of the temple mount courts above fell and crushed this pavement in 70 AD.
A model of the first century Western Wall of the Temple Mount retaining wall compared to the same stones of the remaining Western Wall today.




Someone to Quote

"Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame, Will never mark the marble with his Name." - Alexander Pope

Something to Ponder

The Bible contains about 773,692 words.
It would take you approximately 70 hours to read the whole Bible out loud.

Here’s a Fact

In a fortress on the border of Judea and Philistia near Ashdod the Yavneh Yam Ostracon was found and dated to the reign of Josiah, king of Judah, around 630-609 BC. On this ostracon (a piece of broken pottery that contains ancient writing) a worker is making an appeal to the governor to have his coat returned by the man who took it. The writer who is seeking the restoration of his coat because of two reasons: one, it was taken unjustly, or stolen; two, it is a violation of the social standard established by the Levitical law in Exodus 22:25-26. Also, this ostracon from 630 BC has the first mention of the Israel's Sabbath day in any extra-biblical writing. (Details. Translation work.)

Proverb

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." - Proverbs 15:22

Coach’s Corner

Spread your efforts and invest your time in a variety of people, activities and opportunities.

Genesis 6:1-7
New International Version (NIV)
Wickedness in the World
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
2 Peter 2:4
New International Version (NIV)
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
Jude 1:6-7
New International Version (NIV)
And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Galatians 5:1
New International Version (NIV)
Freedom in Christ
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Romans 8:2
New International Version (NIV)
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Hebrews 10
New International Version (NIV)
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,     but a body you prepared for me;

with burnt offerings and sin offerings     you were not pleased.

Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—     I have come to do your will, my God.’”
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 
“This is the covenant I will make with them     after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts,     and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts     I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
A Call to Persevere in Faith
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,     he who is coming will come     and will not delay.”
38 And,
“But my righteous one will live by faith.     And I take no pleasure     in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Colossians 4
New International Version (NIV)
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Further Instructions
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Final Greetings
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
____
Philemon 1
New International Version (NIV)
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—
also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


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