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07 September - 2 Kings 13; Ezekiel 3; 2 Corinthians 10, 11


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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:28 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 13


13:1 In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria for seventeen years. 13:2 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel to sin; he didn’t depart from it. 13:3 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, continually. 13:4 Jehoahaz begged Yahweh, and Yahweh listened to him; for he saw the oppression of Israel, how that the king of Syria oppressed them. 13:5 (Yahweh gave Israel a savior, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel lived in their tents as before. 13:6 Nevertheless they didn’t depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, with which he made Israel to sin, but walked therein: and there remained the Asherah also in Samaria.) 13:7 For he didn’t leave to Jehoahaz of the people any more than fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria destroyed them, and made them like the dust in threshing. 13:8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 13:9 Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his place. 13:10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria for sixteen years. 13:11 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh; he didn’t depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel to sin; but he walked therein. 13:12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might with which he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 13:13 Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat on his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. 13:14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness of which he died: and Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over him, and said, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”

13:15 Elisha said to him, “Take bow and arrows;” and he took to him bow and arrows. 13:16 He said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow;” and he put his hand on it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 13:17 He said, “Open the window eastward;” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot!” and he shot. He said, “Yahweh’s arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Syria; for you shall strike the Syrians in Aphek, until you have consumed them.”

13:18 He said, “Take the arrows;” and he took them. He said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground;” and he struck three times, and stopped. 13:19 The man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times. Then you would have struck Syria until you had consumed it, whereas now you shall strike Syria just three times.”

13:20 Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 13:21 It happened, as they were burying a man, that behold, they spied a band; and they cast the man into the tomb of Elisha: and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. 13:22 Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 13:23 But Yahweh was gracious to them, and had compassion on them, and had respect to them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet. 13:24 Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his place. 13:25 Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Joash struck him three times, and recovered the cities of Israel.

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:29 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 3


3:1 He said to me, Son of man, eat that which you find. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 3:2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll. 3:3 He said to me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this scroll that I give you. Then I ate it; and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. 3:4 He said to me, Son of man, go to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them. 3:5 For you are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel; 3:6 not to many peoples of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words you can not understand. Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. 3:7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you; for they will not listen to me: for all the house of Israel are obstinate and hard-hearted. 3:8 Behold, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. 3:9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made your forehead: don’t be afraid of them, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 3:10 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 3:11 Go to them of the captivity, to the children of your people, and speak to them, and tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. 3:12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of Yahweh from his place. 3:13 I heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, even the noise of a great rushing. 3:14 So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away; and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; and the hand of Yahweh was strong on me. 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. 3:16 It happened at the end of seven days, that the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 3:17 Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore hear the word from my mouth, and give them warning from me. 3:18 When I tell the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. 3:19 Yet if you warn the wicked, and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. 3:20 Again, when a righteous man does turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at your hand. 3:21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man, that the righteous not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and you have delivered your soul. 3:22 The hand of Yahweh was there on me; and he said to me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with you. 3:23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and behold, the glory of Yahweh stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. 3:24 Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me on my feet; and he spoke with me, and said to me, Go, shut yourself inside your house. 3:25 But you, son of man, behold, they shall lay bands on you, and shall bind you with them, and you shall not go out among them: 3:26 and I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth, that you shall be mute, and shall not be to them a reprover; for they are a rebellious house. 3:27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall tell them, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: He who hears, let him hear; and he who forbears, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:30 AM

Third Portion

2 Corinthians 10; 11


10:1 Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 10:2 Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh; 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, 10:5 throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; 10:6 and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full. 10:7 Do you look at things only as they appear in front of your face? If anyone trusts in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again with himself, that, even as he is Christ’s, so also we are Christ’s. 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat abundantly concerning our authority, (which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for casting you down) I will not be disappointed, 10:9 that I may not seem as if I desire to terrify you by my letters. 10:10 For, “His letters,” they say, “are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is despised.” 10:11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such are we also in deed when we are present. 10:12 For we are not bold to number or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding. 10:13 But we will not boast beyond proper limits, but within the boundaries with which God appointed to us, which reach even to you. 10:14 For we don’t stretch ourselves too much, as though we didn’t reach to you. For we came even as far as to you with the Good News of Christ, 10:15 not boasting beyond proper limits in other men’s labors, but having hope that as your faith grows, we will be abundantly enlarged by you in our sphere of influence, 10:16 so as to preach the Good News even to the parts beyond you, not to boast in what someone else has already done. 10:17 But “he who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.” 10:18 For it isn’t he who commends himself who is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:31 AM

11:1 I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 11:3 But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 11:4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough. 11:5 For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best apostles. 11:6 But though I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not unskilled in knowledge. No, in every way we have been revealed to you in all things. 11:7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God’s Good News free of charge? 11:8 I robbed other assemblies, taking wages from them that I might serve you. 11:9 When I was present with you and was in need, I wasn’t a burden on anyone, for the brothers, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my need. In everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and I will continue to do so. 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no one will stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia. 11:11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows. 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion, that in which they boast, they may be found even as we. 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles. 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. 11:15 It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

11:16 I say again, let no one think me foolish. But if so, yet receive me as foolish, that I also may boast a little. 11:17 That which I speak, I don’t speak according to the Lord, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting. 11:18 Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will also boast. 11:19 For you bear with the foolish gladly, being wise. 11:20 For you bear with a man, if he brings you into bondage, if he devours you, if he takes you captive, if he exalts himself, if he strikes you on the face. 11:21 I speak by way of disparagement, as though we had been weak. Yet however any is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am bold also. 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I am more so; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. 11:24 Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one. 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I suffered shipwreck. I have been a night and a day in the deep. 11:26 I have been in travels often, perils of rivers, perils of robbers, perils from my countrymen, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the wilderness, perils in the sea, perils among false brothers; 11:27 in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, and in cold and nakedness.

11:28 Besides those things that are outside, there is that which presses on me daily, anxiety for all the assemblies. 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don’t burn with indignation? 11:30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, he who is blessed forevermore, knows that I don’t lie. 11:32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes desiring to arrest me. 11:33 Through a window I was let down in a basket by the wall, and escaped his hands.

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:25 AM

07 September 2008

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 10:54 AM

07 September 2009

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:49 AM

07 September 2010

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

WHY SOME PROCLAIM A DIFFERENT JESUS

People boast today of everything they can which will add to their prestige. Politicians in particular are very anxious about the image they are creating – what people think of them. It has to be good or they will not get re-elected, we have had a surfeit of this in recent weeks.

Our chapters in 2nd Corinthians today illustrate that attitudes like this were a problem at Corinth. It is interesting to note Paul’s tactic in writing his second letter; his opening chapters include praise for the improving spirit in the ecclesia so that “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ we will boast about you” [2 Corinthians 1:14].

Paul’s success in Corinth is creating envy and jealousy among others. We note how those who have only a limited grasp of the spiritual way of thinking with their minds largely dominated by fleshly motivations, especially boasting, they presume that others have minds that operate in the same way.

Paul says that these, “commend themselves … they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” [2 Corinthians 10:12] The real seriousness of this type of mind is that it is developed from the way of thinking that led to sin in the Garden of Eden, note how Paul makes this point. [2 Corinthians 11:3]

At Corinth it was leading some to “be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims a different Jesus to the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” [2 Corinthians 11:3,4]

If our minds do not dwell (live) with constant input from the mind of God and his son we all too quickly descend to human ways of thinking and boasting – because boasting is what it amounts to. The present generation uses the word “ego.” It is said that having self esteem is very important and many evangelical churches delight to push this theme, but it is a theme with no basis in God’s word, it undermines the spirit of humility.

The atmosphere at Corinth seems to have been very much like that in Australia today. We need God’s word IN our thoughts every day to help keep out the fleshly attitudes that surround us. Paul says, don’t you realize Christ is IN you? Those who are baptised must realize this as fully as they can – as must those who are thinking about baptism.
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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:03 AM

07 September 2011

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

"THE MEEKNESS AND GENTLENESS OF CHRIST"

This world is full of distractions; there have never been so many! Especially for the young; at every twist and turn of daily life there are “voices” and “words” clamouring for attention. These “voices” might come via iPods and the like, mobile phones or whenever they turn on their Computer.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians we read today can in some ways be applied to the present situation. The church there had been established for some years and the believers were being distracted by some who were full of their own self importance and creating problems. He writes, “I Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” [2 Corinthians 10:1]. This was the attitude Christ had toward his genuine followers, but not toward his jealous opponents. Paul saw them as being more like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which reasoned that God did not mean what he said! They were blind to the fact that his words were from God. [John 8:28,38,47]

It is the same today: God’s words get wilfully distorted. Paul writes, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” [2 Corinthians 11:3,4]

Tragically the world has seen so many different gospels over the centuries, it is only the regular reading of God’s word, so wonderfully preserved, that provides the foundation to truly walk in Christ’s footsteps – at the same time we must have the spirit of “meekness and gentleness” whenever we seek to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” [2 Corinthians 10:5] Finally, note how this chapter ends, “it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” May the Lord commend you on that day for being faithful to his word, turning from this world’s distractions to daily read and meditate on his word as the essential foundation to your life.
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Posted 07 September 2012 - 04:31 AM

07 September 2012

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

"THEY MEASURE THEMSELVES BY ONE ANOTHER"

It is human nature to constantly draw comparisons between “us” and “them.” This is particularly evident in the “game” of politics. Paul, as he starts to draw his 2nd letter to the Corinthians to a conclusion, expresses concern about certain influences upon them which were not spiritually healthy. He writes, “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have power to destroy strongholds” [2 Corinthians 10:4]

The weapons Paul is interested in, because they are vital as affecting our ‘eternity’, are not physical weapons; they are those which destroy the “strongholds” of wrong thinking. Paul next states, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. …” [2 Corinthians 10:5] It is the words of Christ and the words his apostles were inspired to say and write which “destroy arguments” founded on human reasoning, which are even more dangerous when they are expressed as a “lofty opinion” seeming to be an extension of God’s revealed word.

Paul writes of “our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up …” [2 Corinthians 10:8], but he is concerned about “those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another they are without understanding.” [2 Corinthians 10:12] Real understanding and genuine faith will only increase when it is built up on a true “knowledge of God” [2 Corinthians 10:5] as found in his revealed word.

Paul says, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” [2 Corinthians 11:3-4].

It is those who “measure themselves by one another” instead of the word of God that distort the nature and message of Jesus Christ. The end result, as history shows, has been to portray Jesus as equal to God himself and to create a “different gospel” rather that the gospel that was first preached to Abraham [Galatians 3:7-9]. May we, through our constant reading and reflection on the words of Scripture learn to fully measure ourselves, our beliefs and hopes, by the actual words that God has inspired and that have been preserved to our day.
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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:16 AM

07 September 2013

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

“ … PROCLAIMS A DIFFERENT JESUS”

People boast today of everything they can which they hope will add to their prestige. Politicians in particular are very anxious about the image they are creating – what people think of them. It has to be good or they will not get re-elected. We have had a surfeit of this in Australia these last few weeks.

Our chapters in 2nd Corinthians today illustrate that attitudes like this were a problem at Corinth. It is interesting to note Paul’s tactic in writing his second letter; but first, his opening chapters include praise for the improving spirit in the ecclesia so that “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ we will boast about you” [2 Corinthians 1:14].

Paul’s success in Corinth was creating envy and jealousy among others. We note how those who have only a limited grasp of the spiritual way of thinking show how their minds are dominated by fleshly motivations; this is evident in what they talk about, which amounts to boasting

Paul says that these, “commend themselves … they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” [2 Corinthians 10:12] The real seriousness of this type of mind is that it is developed from the way of thinking that led to sin in the Garden of Eden, note how Paul makes this point. [2 Corinthians 11:3]

At Corinth it was causing some to “be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” Paul says, “if someone comes and proclaims a different Jesus to the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” [2 Corinthians 11:3-4]

This can and does happen today, that is why there are so many different churches. Our minds must have a constant input from the mind of God and his Son, through reading and meditation on his word or we will descend to human ways of thinking and boasting – because boasting is what it amounts to. The present generation uses the word “ego.” It is said that having self-esteem is very important and many evangelical churches delight to push this theme, but it is a theme with no basis in God’s word, it undermines the spirit of humility.

The atmosphere at Corinth was in danger of becoming parallel to that in Australia today. We need God’s word IN our thoughts every day to help keep out the fleshly attitudes that surround us. Paul says, don’t you realize Christ is IN you? Those who are baptised need to realize this as fully as they can – as must those who are thinking about baptism.
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Posted 07 September 2014 - 06:59 AM

07 September 2014

2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11

"THE MEEKNESS AND GENTLENESS OF CHRIST"

 

Our world is full of distractions; these seem to increase every year! This is especially so for the young; at every twist and turn of daily life they encounter “voices” “words” and messages clamouring for their attention. These “voices” might come via iPods, mobile phones or whenever they turn on their Laptop.

The words of Paul to the Corinthians we read today can be applied to the present situation. The church in Corinth had been established for some years and the believers were being distracted by some who were full of their own self-importance and were creating problems. We read, “I Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” [2 Corinthians 10:1]. This was the Christ-like attitude Paul had toward the genuine heart-motivated believers there, but it was a challenge to have it toward those who envied his popularity and sought to undermine his work for the Lord; we remember how our Lord responded to those who were envious of his popularity. Paul was putting into practice what Christ had said, “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden … Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart…” [Matthew 11:28-29].

We see how Paul expresses his distress at the attitude of many in Corinth who were not doing this. It is the same today: God’s words get wilfully distorted. Paul writes, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” [2 Corinthians 11:3-4].

Tragically the ‘Christian’ world has seen so many different gospels over the centuries, it is only the regular and prayerful reading of God’s word, so wonderfully preserved, that provides the foundation for us to truly walk in Christ’s footsteps – and, at the same time, to be motivated to develop the spirit of “meekness and gentleness.” This should apply equally as much when we seek to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” [2 Corinthians 10:5] May we find that, on at least some occasions, “the soft answer” [Proverbs 15:1] can penetrate the hard hearts we encounter.

Finally, note how this chapter ends; “it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” May the Lord commend you on that day for being faithful to his word, and in turning from this world’s distractions to daily read and meditate on his word knowing they provide an essential foundation for all you think and do.
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- DC
 



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Posted 07 September 2015 - 06:02 AM

07 September 2015
 
2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11  
 
“TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE TO OBEY CHRIST"
            
What a remarkable man Paul was.  From being the foremost persecutor of the believers until he was struck blind – and heard the voice of Jesus challenging him as he neared Damascus – he was turned around to be the very opposite!  His statements [Acts 9:4; 22:8-10] show the drama of this! 
            
He had already done what he was urging the Corinthians (and us) to do. It is evident Paul at first went through an intense learning period to embrace in his mind the whole gospel. The teaching of Christ that "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required" [Luke 12:48] was impressed on his mind.  We read today, in 2 Corinthians 10 how he appealed to the example he had set them (and us) that "we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" [2 Corinthians 10:5]
            
Although the circumstances are different Gods' call for commitment by Ezekiel has similarities.  We read today how God tells him, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked ... that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand."  [Ezekiel 3:17-18]  Do we sense the degree of responsibility for us today in this "whenever we read" – and opportunities follow?
            
Back to Paul's words.  We see how totally committed he had become, and, as a result, he is more aware how the Corinthians "measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another" and as a result "they are without understanding" [2 Corinthians 10:12]  This is what the Pharisees did!
            
We must constantly measure our thoughts, words and actions by the word of God.  The divine word, so readily available to us, must be absorbed by us more and more. If we fail to do this, we will find, as Paul warns the Corinthians that, "(y)our thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ" [2 Corinthians 11:3]  When we "take every thought captive to obey Christ" and develop this spirit of  "sincere and pure devotion" – then we will have more and more spiritual strength to follow ever more closely in the footsteps of both Ezekiel and Paul.    
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Posted 11 September 2016 - 05:19 AM

07 September 2016
 
2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11  
 
"THE MEEKNESS AND GENTLENESS OF CHRIST"
 
What tough and challenging lives were experienced by those who were called to serve God.  This 'feeling' stirred our hearts as the read about the life of Elisha - and how "when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him" [2 Kings 13:14] 
            
So often, those who are a source of spiritual strength, at least in the Bible's record, are not appreciated, until they are about to complete their mortal life.  The "king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. [2 Kings 13:22] "But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ..." [2 Kings 13:23] Is this compassionate spirit of the LORD appreciated - today - because of the work and sacrifice of His Son?
            
A fundamental principle was spelt out in today's chapter 3 in Ezekiel - the prophet is told to proclaim, "'Thus says the Lord GOD.' He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house. " [Ezekiel 3:27] Of course, we show whether we "hear" (today we can say, 'read') by how we react to God's message. How “rebellious” toward God is today’s world!  We need the spirit of Ezekiel! Can we develop a similar spirit?  Let us put this alongside Paul’s spirit! 
            
We saw today how Paul challenged the Corinthians as we read chapter 10 of his 2nd letter. "I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ ... For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ...."  [2 Corinthians 10:3-5] 
            
We meditate on how Christ himself took "every thought captive" as he endured temptation - wrestling with the ways of human thinking, sometimes - in his case - the temptation to do the 'right' thing the 'wrong' way – this was before he began his ministry.   Paul faced the same challenges after being confronted by Christ outside Damascus, he “went away into Arabia.” [Galatians 1:17].  
            
In our case we must lay the foundation to overcome the various challenges which face us, often day after day, by making sure we develop "the meekness and gentleness of Christ."
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- DC


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Posted 10 September 2017 - 04:18 AM

07 September 2017
 
2 Kings 13
Ezekiel 3
2 Corinthians 10; 11
 
"PAUL … ENTREAT YOU BY THE MEEKNESS … OF CHRIST"
 
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 10, starts with an impassioned appeal to them. His appeal challenges us to consider the extent to which we (and others) are influenced by the way people try to influence others to accept and believe what they are saying!
 
Let us ponder the way we (and others) try to influence other people to believe us! The worst example is probably seen in the arguments in Parliament! But, within religious circles, over the years, we see a multitude of examples! How little meekness was shown! How many different churches! Now let us look at the way Paul appeals to the believers in Corinth.
 
"I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ ..." Paul proceeds to appeal to them to see how "we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" [2 Corinthians 10:5]. This is far more than ­ considering - what he said!  
 
Paul was successful in the approach of 'meekness' and 'gentleness' so that in that generation (and at least one or two following) Paul's approach resulted in many of the idol worshipers having a total change of heart! This is more that acquiring an 'academic' belief.
 
Would that we had a Paul among us today! Look at the reaction he caused among the Thessalonians! We read at the end of the First chapter of his First Letter to them ­  of  "the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come" [1 Thessalonians 1:9-10].
 
Paul's approach, together with other Apostles, resulted in the ancient world accepting and practicing "the meekness … of Christ." Can we see any of that approach today? Paul's aim was to get them to "obey Christ." That obedience results in 'the meekness' and 'gentleness of Christ' being seen in us: food for our deep and careful thought today! This is the next vital stage beyond our saying 'I believe …'!
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- DC





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