An easy to print version of this email can be found here. Thank you for sharing a print version with others.
Bob & Brenda Bagley -
An easy to print version of this email can be found here. Thank you for sharing a print version with others.
Bob & Brenda Bagley -
F. Sword of the Spirit
"The offensive armor, as described by Josephus, consisted of the pilum or throwing spear! the gladius or Spanish sword! and the pugio or dagger slung on the left and right sides respectively." (H. M. D. Parker! The Roman Legions, p. 251)
"Weapon training was most important. The intelligent use of the sword is mentioned particularly in a surviving Roman training manual.
Our only offensive weapon is the Word of God. (Heb. 4:12) Christ fought Satan in the desert with this weapon. (Matt. 4:1-11) We are never wasting our time when we are sharpening our swords-do not let it get rusty.
G. The armor must be put on properly.
It is to be donned with prayer. (Eph. 6:18; Acts 4:29-31) We are foot soldiers-God is in control.
II. The Energy
A. The Jewish priest and general Flavius Josephus lived during the zenith of Rome's
military glory. He was made a citizen by Vespasian and traveled with the legions. Roman soldiers always carried their weapons with them-even in peace. "Every soldier is every day exercised, and that with great diligence, as if it were in time of war, which is the reason why they bear the fatigues of battle so easily." (Josephus, The Jewish War, Book III, Chap. 5)
“By their military exercises the Romans instill into their soldiers fortitude not only of body but also of soul. Fear, too, plays its part in their training. For they have laws which punish with death not merely desertion of the ranks, but even a slight neglect of duty. And their generals are held in even greater awe than the laws .... This perfect discipline makes the army an ornament of peace-time and in war welds the whole into a single body-so compact are their ranks, so alert their movements in wheeling to right or left, so quick their ears for orders, their eyes for signals, their hands to act upon them." (Josephus, The Jewish War, Book III, Chap. 5).
If only we could become as familiar with our weapon. (Acts 17:11)
B. What caused their military downfall and finally the downfall of Rome?
Nearly all historians agree Rome brought about its own downfall. “The enervated soldiers abandoned their own, and the public defense; and the pusillanimous indolence may be considered as the immediate cause of the downfall of the empire." (Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.III, pp. 271-27
After graduating from high school in northern New York, Pastor Ames served in the U.S. Navy for nine years. In 1974 he earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. While pioneering a church in Memphis, TN, Rev. Ames earned a master's degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. Pastor Ames has served churches in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and New York. He has also started and administrated Christian schools in the locations he has served. Rev. Ames currently pastors the Wesleyan Church in Boonville, Indiana, and is administrator of Indiana Wesleyan Academy with grades K-12. He is also a doctor of ministry candidate at Oakland City University.
A man dies and goes to heaven.
Of course, St. Peter meets him at the .
St. Peter says, "Here's how it works.
You need 100 points to make it into heaven
You tell me all the good things you've done,
and I give you a
certain number of points for each item,
depending on how good it w as.
When you reach 100 points, you get in."
"Okay," the man says,
married to the same woman for 50 years
and never cheated on her, even in my heart."
"That's wonderful," says St.Peter, "that's worth three points!"
"Three points?" he says.
"Well, I attended church all my life
"Terrific!" says St. Peter. "That's certainly worth a point."
"I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter
for homeless veterans."
"Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he says.
"Two points!?!! "Exasperated, the man cries.
"At this rate the only way I'll get into heaven
is by the grace of God."
points! Come on in!"
We often try to fix problems
with WD-40 and duct tape.
God did it with nails
"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through Faith - and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God - not by works,
so that no one can boast."Ephesians 2:9 NIV
Guest Sermon by
Rev. Robert D. Shofner, Jr.
We’re going to spend some time on the story of Job to try to find some answers to the question: “Where Is God When It Hurts?”
Job, chapter 1, starting with the first verse.
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
“His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job's regular custom.” (Job 1:1-5 NIV)
Let’s pause there for a moment.
The story of Job begins in the land of Uz . Now we have to try to figure out where Uz was. Verse 3 says it was east, but east of what? Well, where do the people of Israel live? (This is not a trick question, friends!) Where do the people of Israel live? Israel . The point of this is that Job was not part of Israel . He wasn’t one of God’s chosen people. This is quite a unique book in that it does not involve the history, the story of Israel . We could put the setting like this: “In a long ago time, and a far away place.” And the reason for that is that the problems in this book are the problems of the human race. All of us are part of the story of Job.
In the beginning of this story, everything is as we think it should be. Job is a pious man. He is so cautious in his spiritual life that he even offers sacrifices for his children just in case they sinned in their hearts. Maybe God is easily offended. Job’s not taking any chances.
And God gave him a wonderful life; the richest and greatest man in the east. The amount of blessing he experiences is directly proportional to the amount of obedience he offers toward God. We’ll come back to that idea, so hold on to it.
But trouble is coming to the land of Job . Uz will become a place where very bad things happen to a very good man. Uz will be a place not just where suffering comes, but where it comes with no warning and with no explanation, and creates confusion and despair.
And I say that because everyone in this room will spend some time in that land of Uz . Some of you are right there now. This is your story.
In verse 6, there’s a radical shift in the scenery. It will help us a lot in the study of Job to think of it like a play. It’s a play where there are two stages. There’s an upper stage – that’s the activity in heaven. And there’s a lower stage – that features the activity going on down on earth. We, the readers, are able to see what’s going on on both stages, the upper and lower. This is crucial to the story, that we know what’s going on on both stages. But the characters on earth do not; all they see is the lower stage. They know nothing about what’s going on on the upper stage, which we’ll read about now. Verse 6.
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’
“Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him (that’s another phrase we’ll come back to); he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’
“‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. (Crucial question) ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’
“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” (Job 1:6-12
And Satan exits the upper stage. And Job loses everything; his servants, his livestock, his children. And we wait to see his response, to see if Satan was right. Verse 20.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
‘Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.’
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:20-22 NIV)
Did not sin. We are told that Job grieves and expresses it in outward ways that were common in that time … he tore his clothing and shaved his head. These were clear signs of intense mourning. Then he falls to his knees and worships. He speaks words of blessing and praise. His response is both sorrow and worship. And in all this, he did not sin by blaming God.
In chapter 2, we switch back to the upper stage.
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.’
“‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.’
“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’” (Job 2:3-6 NIV)
From here on out, the action’s going to be down here on earth. So we want to talk for a moment about what’s going on in heaven. Because at first glance, this action in heaven looks very confusing. It looks like some sort of cosmic wager between God and Satan in which God is using Job and his family as pawns to win a bet.
But that’s not what’s going on at all. The key question on the upper stage, the key question of the whole book is, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Does Job fear God for nothing? Here’s what Satan is saying: “Job is devoted to you, God, and worships you because it’s in his self-interest to do it. You scratch his back, he scratches yours. Quid pro quo.” Satan is charging God with being naïve. “You think Job loves you. The truth is, he loves you the same way children love the ice cream man. You turn off the faucet of blessing and watch how fast he’ll turn off the faucet of devotion. And he’s the best man on earth. All the rest of them are worse than him.”
Here’s what’s being expressed in these thoughts. The whole idea of a self-giving covenant between God and people is a farce. It’s all a farce. The reality of the universe is that everybody’s looking out for number one – quid pro quo. That’s Latin for “one thing in return for another.” And this philosophy is extremely current. The dominate view of human nature in the secular culture of our day is called evolutionary biology. This teaches that human beings are simply gene carriers programmed to engage in whatever behavior will maximize the odds that their genes will survive. Same idea … expressed centuries ago.
Now, the writer of Job makes masterful use of irony throughout this book. And the ultimate irony is this: we think this is a book where God is on trial. With all the suffering in the world, can God be truly good? On the lower stage, that is the primary question. But we see the upper stage, we see there is a God in heaven. So, in reality, this is a book where the human race is on trial and Satan (whose name means “the Accuser”) is the prosecuting attorney pointing his finger at us, saying, “People are nothing more than slaves to their self-interest. The whole thing is a farce. People will only love God when He gives them what they want.”
God says, “No. Satan has it all wrong! This view is cynical, warped, misguided and wrong.” God says, “At the core of this universe is self-giving, self-sacrificing love. Human beings were made to know and give that kind of love. And that is a destiny that matters even more than pleasure or pain.”
Now Job, of course, has no idea how high the stakes are. God’s purpose in this is not to convince Satan of something at all. This story is really aimed at us. Moving on.
“So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.” (Job 2:7-8 NIV)
Job gets hit with a second wave of suffering. His body is afflicted with a pain that most of us can’t even imagine. But this time his response is different. This time he does not fall to the ground and worship. This time he does not say, “May the name of the Lord be praised.”
This time he goes and sits on an ash heap, maybe in the town dump. Maybe he’s grieving. Maybe he’s isolated since people may be afraid he has leprosy. His wife comes to him and speaks for the first and last time in this drama. She says, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 NIV) Can you imagine having your loved one say that to you? This could not have been very encouraging to Job. This is not a Dale Carnegie type of thing to say.
Let’s say a word about Mrs. Job at this point, because Mrs. Job gets dumped on a lot by preachers. But think about this, remembering that she and Job are real people with real feelings. She, too, lost all that she had. She, too, lost all of her children. She will now have to care for a horribly diseased husband until he dies. Then she, who used to be the matriarch of the wealthiest family in the land, will be utterly alone and destitute. And she gave voice to thoughts that may have occurred to Job. Before we judge her too harshly, we should ask ourselves how we might react in a similar situation.
Look at how he did respond.
“You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV). The words “and not trouble” can be translated “and not evil.” Job is struggling to understand if God is the kind of God who sends evil. Is God really good? That’s the burning question on the lower stage right now.
Notice the phrase at the end of verse 10: “in all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” It’s a little hint of what’s going on inside of him. After the first wave of suffering Job faced, we are told that “in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Now there’s a little qualification: “Job did not sin in what he said.” But in his heart, Job is beginning to struggle. He’s over the initial numbness. But he’s not expressing it in words – yet.
Chapter 2, verse 11, we’re told that Job’s friends hear all about the troubles that came upon him. They want to see him, and they do; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, Dadgum the Termite, they all come. Okay, that last one I just made up. Just wanted to see if you’re paying attention.
They set out from their homes and meet with Job to give him comfort. More irony. Job used to be famous because he was the greatest in wealth. Now he’s famous because he’s the greatest in suffering.
They’re going to sympathize with him. The text uses the Hebrew word, “nod” which means to rock back and forth … a body movement. We see this when a person goes through a tremendous trauma, they rock themselves back and forth, like a mother with a baby.
Verse 12: “When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.” (Job 2:12-13 NIV)
They could hardly recognize him. They knew he was bad, but nothing could prepare them for this. Then they did something remarkable.
“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:13 NIV)
Imagine sitting with someone, in silence, for seven days. We get uncomfortable with silence after 10 seconds. Just imagine seven days and seven nights. This was such a powerful act that it became a part of Jewish life even today. In Jewish tradition, they will speak of “sitting Shiva.” Literally, this means “sitting sevens.” Friends will come to sit with one who mourns for a period of a week.
This is a great example of what Paul meant when he wrote to the church at Rome : “Mourn with those who mourn.” He doesn’t say, “Fix them.” He doesn’t say, “Give them lots of wise advice.” He doesn’t say, “Get them on the right track.” He says, “Mourn with them.”
Interesting thing. After seven days they’ll start talking, a lot, and they’ll get in trouble for it because their words were not so great, but their silence was brilliant.
I want to wrap this up with some questions to ponder. Do you have friends who would sit with you through a time of suffering? Do you have people who would sit quietly with you just for the sake of offering support? If so, give thanks to God. If not, think seriously about connecting more deeply with this church family who can support and comfort you.
Also, ask yourself who would be comforted by your presence if they were hurting. Do you have people you can sit with when they are in need of a friend? If not, commit to deepen your relationships and be sure to make yourself available to those who are in need.
We want to take this seriously, because no one should have to sit on the ash heap by themselves.
We’ll continue the saga next time.
Heavenly Father, studying the life and suffering of Job is difficult on many levels. We question why he had to suffer. We question why we have to suffer. If You are all good, then why is there so much bad in this world? Lead us to find the answer in Your Word. And grant us the blessing of being a friend to one who suffers, and may we be blessed, in our turn, with such friends.
And the people said, “Amen.”
|I'm looking forward to... |
being home schooled and meeting new friends and playing baseball
and swimming a lot and wearing shorts everyday.
Being in the viligis.
I'm looking forward to eating their food and what it will taste like.
I'm going to miss...
My best friend Cody and I will miss the snow. I will miss my school and I will also miss going to my church and going to football games.
I will miss my kosins!
Next Goal 90%
We will be commissioned by our home church when we hit 90%. To reach this goal we need a few more Partners!
5 Partners @ $25 a month
4 Partners @ $50 a month
3 Partners @ $75 a month
2 Partners @ $100 a month
1 Partner @ $500 a month*
*Still looking for an Anchor Sponsor. Individual, Business owner, Church
Toni Speaking in Redkey at Ladies Night
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
This past month, I had the privilege of sharing this verse on a Friday night with the ladies at Redkey Community Baptist Church! At my mother-in-law’s request, I was so blessed to have gone & shared. The Lord laid this verse on my heart, and I’m thankful that He was able to use me. Praise Him for working through me! Oh yeah, afterwords Kinsey & Elle pampered some of the ladies using their make-up & nail polishing skills :)
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