Friday, September 28, 2007

Dogs, Vomit Eaters, & Pharisees

This is going to be a disgusting article, count on it, sorry but it is one that has to be written.

Ever had a dog and watch them if they vomit. One of the most disgusting things I have ever seen is a dog throw up, and then go eat its own vomit. I have heard dogs do this because they get nutrients and so forth, but truth is, it doesn’t make any sense to me and is rather disgusting. The Bible addresses this in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 26:11 says, Dogs return to eat their vomit, just as fools repeat their foolishness. I have to tell you, when looking at this verse, in this way, I have to wonder about some people.

The Bible is clear, one of the only things we can’t do in Heaven that we can do now, is share the message of Jesus Christ with those who are not followers of Jesus. Despite knowing this, there is virtually no arguments among Christians, we have a terrible track record of telling others about Jesus effectively. There are times historically where we have done a good job, I discuss this in my presentation of Prayer Prelude to Revival. When Christians have been effective they have also been socially active, and at showing love to the populace. This is not a debatable fact, it is clear cut, and well defined in history. There are other things about effective revival, but a willingness to show love to all people, stand up for justice, and bring about social change, are clear indicators of things that have happened prior to revival around the world.

My grandfather, whom I called Paps used to have this wonderful way of showing more intelligence than most any man I ever knew. Despite having only a 3rd grade education I found him wiser than most any man I ever met. One of his sayings was, “If a man aint got no common sense, he aint got no sense at all.” I think he may have stolen that from Davy Crockett or something, but I have found that saying to have so much wisdom in it.

In John 12:32, Jesus is talking about what will occur after he has been raised from the dead, notice his words here; “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Notice the concept presented here, people will be drawn to Christ, there is no convincing, no chasing, no going after, none of that, they will draw near or come to him.

We also see an example of this in the imagery of Jesus as a shepherd. There is a wonderful book on this subject that was written by a shepherd named Philip Keller. The book titled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 is one I would recommend any follower of Jesus to get and read. If you don’t like to read, get the audio book, it is just as good. In this book though we see the full implications of what it means when the Bible talks about being a shepherd. We also see and understand what it means when Jesus is referred to as a shepherd. A shepherd is one who protects, draws close, assists, helps, heals, leads, and so forth these stupid animals called sheep. A reminder here, and it is one we shouldn’t need much reminding of, is humans in the Bible are often called sheep, and as any shepherd will tell you, sheep are stupid. Of course I am a sheep myself so don't take it personally.

There are these types of common sense things we see, a shepherd according to Keller for example, never chasses after sheep, they are careful to how they rebuke them, they realize that with only their two feet and a staff, when rebuking they tend to chase away the sheep and the sheep run further away from the master, thus putting themselves into danger. It is important for the shepherd to be gentle, kind, and non threatening to the sheep.

I like simple analogies. One of the things I have learned over the years is some things about training dogs. Now on this point, I admit, I have a lot to learn and am far from perfect. It is important I don’t use my imperfections as an excuse to not do the things I need to do. God uses the illustration above from Proverbs to talk about dogs returning to their vomit. We could use other analogies regarding dogs when looking at human behavior.

In the training process of any animal one of the worst things any trainer will tell you, you can do is to beat, yell at, confuse the animal you are working with. When you do this the animal becomes afraid, and will run away from their master. This can be dangerous as an uncontrolled animal that is afraid and running from its master may run away to never come back, or even endanger itself. If you live close to a road, it may run into traffic where it is killed by an oncoming vehicle.

Recently my daughter and her husband were visiting with their dog. They have an Italian Greyhound and let me tell you, that dog is fast. While taking the dog out to go to the bathroom Nora, (my grandpuppy) got off her leash and took off running. My son in law, Brett, was there calmly yelling out as he reached into his pocket to get a treat, “Here Nora, come on and get a treat.” He was saying this in a calm manner and the dog started to return. As she started to do so, a boy in the neighborhood yells out, ”I’ll get her!” and proceeded to chase after Nora. Nora at that point became confused and took off running away from the house and towards the highway near the house. Thankfully, Brett turned and yelled at the kid, “Shut up and don’t chase her!” The boy was somewhat shocked, stopped yelling and stopped chasing after Nora. Brett then, changing his demeanor, and tone of voice, turned towards Nora, his first word “Nora!” was sharp and loud. She turned toward her master and Brett proceeded then in a calm, loving, caring way to say, “Come here girl, come on, come and get your treat.” As Brett bent over, clapping his hands in a playful loving way, it was amazing, Nora stopped, looked toward Brett, then looked toward the boy Brett had yelled at, and she came running with her tail wagging toward her master. Brett calmly praised her, gave her, her treat, and petted her to let her know he loved her.” Personally, I think that is exactly what Jesus does, it is how he draws all people toward him, but how often we forget and do instead like the boy, stop, yell, chase and ultimately get further and further away from the cause of Christ, those very people Christ loves so much.

Message boards, and places like MySpace can be a great place, but I have found far to often, they can also be a dangerous place. Too many people who know nothing about how to love, draw near, and reach out to those needing love the most follow bad habits and end up chasing away not only those who love Jesus, but those honestly seeking, and even those who used to search but have now been driven so far away they may never come back. These are the type of people who try to justify “Righteous Anger” and things of the sort. What they continue to ignore though, is that virtually every time in the Bible you see “Righteous Anger” it is towards the religious establishment, seldom if ever towards those who aren’t religious. Jesus understood what it meant to love all people, to draw all people to him. It is a sad thing that many people who say they are followers of Jesus are too busy going back to their own vomit to realize the damage and danger they are doing.

The Bible is clear, we will know who really loves God by how they love others. We will know it by their love and by the fruit they have. If people aren’t making a change in someone else’s life for the good, if they aren’t reaching those who are searching for God, if they are chasing them away as opposed to drawing them near, I think it is common sense that they may not be serving God nearly as much as they are serving their own ego and pride. God help us all build bridges, and show love to all people, no matter their religion, sexuality, denomination, or anything we may perceive as being different from us. The bottom line is Jesus loved them and for those who choose to be like Jesus, we must love them to.

As an example, here is a wonderful video that shows how a dog is loving the discipline, yet looking forward to the praise and treet, plus is constantly drawn to their master. Just double click on the video, if the video isn' there, just click on the link below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqbVbPvlDoM


Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus. Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
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To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Strawman" Truth or Fiction? Who To Believe!

I have to say, the last few days have been a little unorthodox for me. I actually got into a little bit of an argument with a non Christian, an Atheist in fact over his innuendo and comments that were misleading regarding a private exchange we had that he made public, and the negative comments towards two guests on my radio program last week, both who were atheists. He alluded that they were not fit to represent Atheist thought and ideals, even though the show was not about debate, it was about friendship and learning from people. Ill be frank, I came to the conclusion, even more so, that there are as many screwed up Atheists out there as there are Christians. I guess dogma, and rudeness is not exclusive to Christians.

This individual in a response to another Christian referenced that, “the word neighbor meant specifically just your tribe, not everyone.” He also stated, “In one part of the Bible (I forget which off hand) Jesus refuses to heal someone because they are of a different tribe. He later reluctantly does so, but isn't very happy about it. I don't have time to look it up on blueletterbible right now.” I was somewhat confused, since I have spent quite a bit of time on this subject in the past, so I decided to do some checking.

The first thing that bothered me about this is that the King James Version of the Bible is the version when using this verse, in that the quotation by the author looks at “Thee” for example as part of the word usage. In fact his original quote where this came up was, “Actually, the earliest copy of that part of the bible that I am aware of roughly translate love thee neighbor (of one's tribe) as you would love thee self. You can see "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Erhman for the exact reference and translation. I think you would get a lot out of that book. I highly recommend.” Now I have several issues with this, and a concern as I believe legitimate debate is started and finished with integrity. At any part of a debate if a lack of integrity is shown, then the value of debate is lost. I don’t presume to know all things regarding things I haven’t studied. I will comment on things I know about, but try to be careful as to the intent of what I say, and the legitimacy behind the thought and concepts. It is dangerous when one presents a point of fact, when in reality, a quick check can and often does show the reality that the person making the comment is off base, and more likely than not trying to present a point of their belief, when in reality it is not truth.

Let me be quick here to point out part of my concern when looking at the words of others. First, as one who uses words, (often times too many) I believe words mean things. I also believe whoever came up with the concept of “sticks and bones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was an idiot. Words do hurt; I could give myriads of examples. I have said, “The English language is too limited to not use the words that best fit the situation.” That said I must present my first point of contrast with one who would present Biblical concepts and teachings, when in reality they don’t believe the Bible and have issues with Christians. A point I don’t take offense at, but do take offense when they present their views as Biblical, when in reality they are not consistent with Biblical concepts.

My first point of offense; notice how the person uses language only contained in the King James Version, “thee.” Also notice how they use the wording of “neighbor.” The first point that led me to some examination of their comments is that the word “neighbor,” is never used in the King James Version. Did you hear that? The word is never used, and the example used by this person has right off the bat, a point of concern because they are misquoting scripture, which has to lead one to examine, are they also misquoting the concept and teachings of Scripture?

On the terminology of neighbor, let’s look at a few facts.

The word neighbor or a derivative of the word appears in the:
King James Version: 0 times
New King James Version: 142 times
New International Version: 137 times
New American Standard Version: 135 times
New Living Translation: 124 times
Contemporary English Version: 55 times
Today’s New International Version: 143 times

What is my point? It is actually twofold. First, the translation quoted, never uses the term neighbor, and the second purpose is to illustrate that different words are used in different translations for different purposes. In fact, just like today, when the Bible was written, there were different meanings for the word neighbor. This isn’t to debate the legitimacy of the Bible, Scripture, or any of those things as this is not the point of this article. The intent is to simply look at the reality that people can’t just use the language they want when trying to present their points. There has to be a measure of integrity when doing this, and I believe that without integrity on simple matters like this, one has to question the integrity of bigger issues when they come up. For example, if one will mislead, misquote to present their view on an issue like this, even if done innocently, then one is certainly within their rights to question intent on the bigger things, like the reality or teachings of Jesus Christ. This becomes a critical issue especially since so many are so quick to not only tear apart Christianity, but to tear apart the existence of Jesus Christ, and in a separate way, the integrity of The Bible.

I will now go to the second part of the attempt to tear down the concept of neighbor as is practiced by many Christians, that is, all people on the planet are neighbors according to Biblical teachings, and that Jesus practiced exclusivity, or selective neighbor practices, which is not a part of Biblical tradition.

We must see the importance of the contemporary definition of neighbor, since that definition is what many base their view on.

In order to have a contemporary understanding of the word neighbor, I went to http://www.dictionary.com/. Their definition follows:

Neighbor Pronunciation [ney-ber]
Noun
1. A person who lives near another.
2. A person or thing that is near another.
3. One's fellow human being: to be generous toward one's less fortunate neighbors.
4. A person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans: to be a neighbor to someone in distress.
5. (Used as a term of address, esp. as a friendly greeting to a stranger): Tell me, neighbor, which way to town?
Adjective
6. Situated or living near another: one of our neighbor nations.
Verb (used with object)
7. To live or be situated near to; adjoin; border on.
8. To place or bring near.
Verb (used without object)
9. To live or be situated nearby.
10. To associate with or as if with one's neighbors; be neighborly or friendly (often fol. by with).

With this definition we can now look at Biblical definitions of neighbor. To do this I used the Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Since the concept of the word neighbor as used by Jesus is under question, I looked at the New Testament since the words and usage of the word by Jesus only occurs in the New Testament.

In the New Testament, there are only 3 definitions used for the word neighbor. I will look at word usage in the New Testament, and only the words used by Jesus. Their definitions and texts follow:

Then Jesus said to the man who had invited him:

When you give a dinner or a banquet, don't invite your friends and family and relatives and rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return, and you will be paid back. Luke 14:12

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…and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep."

Jesus said, "In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over ninety-nine good people who don't need to."

Jesus told the people another story:
What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won't she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found the coin I lost." Luke 15: 6-9

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The man's neighbors and the people who had seen him begging wondered if he really could be the same man. John 9:8

The Greek word used here is: geiton. It denotes and implies one living in the same land. This is obvious by looking at the context above. In other words, a contemporary application may imply that those living next to you on your street, those living in your town, or even those living in your country. It is clear from the usage of the word that in it is used here in the context of those that are close by,

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Now let’s look at the second definition for the word neighbor and the passages where it is used:

…her neighbors and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad. Luke 1:58

Interestingly enough the Greek word used here, perioikos, is only used this one time in the New Testament. It is used here as a noun and implies living around or being near. This isn’t a passage where Jesus used the word so wouldn’t be applicable to the argument being presented here.

----------------------

Now let’s look at the third and final definition of the word used, and some of the passages where it is used.

Then Jesus asked, "Which one of these three people was a real neighbor to the man who was beaten up by robbers?" Luke 10:36

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…and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep."

Jesus said, "In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over ninety-nine good people who don't need to."

Jesus told the people another story:
What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won't she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found the coin I lost." Luke 15: 6-9 (notice this was used with an earlier term, it is easy to understand, as the word is used more than once, thus more than one definition of the word used. In other words, both definitions apply here.)

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Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10, (see note above about not being the words of Jesus so not in question here.)

-------------------

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' Matthew 5:43

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Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 19:19

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And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:39

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The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." Mark 12: 31-33

---------------

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

The Greek word used here is plesion and it means, near. This said, there is a much wider range than many may understand, especially so with the English understanding of the word neighbor. According to Strongs, and numerous others, there is a need to understand that in the culture and time the word is used, “There were no farmhouses scattered over the agricultural areas of Palestine; the populations, gathered in villages, went to and fro to their toil. Hence domestic life was touched at every point by a wide circle of neighborhood. The terms for neighbor were therefore of a very comprehensive scope. This may be seen from the chief characteristics of the privileges and duties of neighborhood…”

Several things have to be noted, only one seeking to prove a point, would add to the concept that Jesus was exclusive when in reality he was implying that your neighbor was all of those around you, your next door neighbor, your community, your region, your state, your world. This point is made no more clearly than the passages referred to as The Good Samaritan Story where Jesus went out of his way to call someone in another state, in fact someone often despised, as neighbor. It is in this context, with a understanding of the prejudice, hatred, and views of most Jews towards Samaritans that one can come to this obvious conclusion. One should also note that Jesus is talking about a total stranger in another land, perceived as a different nationality, a different religion, and a different race. He is taking the process of neighbor to new territory, one that is not inclusive to those living close by, or to those who are of the same belief. In fact, the Samaritan represents all people, even ones enemy.

Here is a challenge for all who follow Jesus, we have to be careful in the debate we engage in because of the falsehoods and misperceptions that others will present. It is important we know the truth, and when one states that “the word neighbor meant specifically just your tribe, not everyone,” we have to understand, we are being told a lie. The facts are, Jesus calls Christians to love all people, Atheists, Homosexuals, Methodists, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, all people. It is clear from looking at the Greek, and the actual words of Jesus as recorded in the Bible, that Jesus gives clear understanding that your neighbor is all people.

There are other aspects of logic to be understood when engaging in debate or argument of this nature. You have to look at the contextual components of the Bible, and look for clear understanding. There are many examples that those who have issues with Jesus take certain verses of the Bible out of context. I won’t go into those as this discourse has been long enough and I haven’t addressed all points of disagreement here. For example the comment; “In one part of the Bible (I forget which off hand) Jesus refuses to heal someone because they are of a different tribe. He later reluctantly does so, but isn't very happy about it. I don't have time to look it up on blueletterbible right now.” There is an assumption that Jesus didn’t want to heal the person, but we don’t have the verse or passage to review the contextual aspect. In reality, the Bible is very clear, Jesus healed every single person who asked him. There is also clear indication that Jesus came to earth for ALL people, not just a select few. Anyone who would present otherwise has a position to present, when in reality there is ample teaching that much of the growth of the early Christian church took place because of the outreach to Gentiles. It is an aspect people like to nit pick around, but the reality is, not only Paul, but Jesus, was involved in extensive out reach, love, and compassion to those outside of the Jewish faith. While there is an instance where Jesus tells individuals to stay away from Gentiles, when looking at the entire context, it becomes clear this was done based on strategy, giftedness and so forth. It is also clear there were times Jesus specifically reached out to Gentiles and the “world” and times we see others reaching out to Gentiles (anyone who is not a Jew.)

A passage many use to condemn Jesus in this area, and one I think the person was referring to follows:

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15: 21-28

While some are critical of Jesus because of his initial reluctance to heal this woman, they leave out several points, one, Jesus used this as a teaching illustration, and secondly, his comment towards the end where he tells her she has great faith and actually praises her.

There are more examples but this is a good place to start and hopefully, I have used a few facts, supported by textual examples and actual definitions of words used to show that we who follow Jesus have to be prepared, and that we who call ourselves Christians have to be aware of how the Bible is often misquoted. Bottom line, our neighbor is all people, even Atheists, and Jesus loves all people, even those who aren’t Jewish.


Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
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MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
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The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

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Friday, September 21, 2007

God Can Be Funny Sometimes



This morning I am doing a simple post, one you can check out by going to The Virtual Pew Message Boards. I did the following while doing the post for the Daily Bible reading at those message boards. It is a worthwhile reminder to visit the message boards, but also to remind you that you can take part in the daily Bible readings. There is a verse for the day, and a passage that will assist you in reading the Bible in a year. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day, no biggie, just start wherever you want, while there, if you have any questions, thoughts, share them, we can learn from each other. Now understand, while I appreciate the discipline of trying to read the Bible in a year, it isn’t required, again, read and comment on what you want.

As mentioned earlier, this is a simple posting, it comes from the coincidences of doing the posting this morning. Here is the comment I made this morning after making the post for the day in the forums for the Bible Study daily readings.

I know a little unusual to reply to my own post here, especially so early. This morning as I write these out though, I am listening to several songs that seem so much to be supporting what I am reading and praying about. It is kind of funny how God works sometimes.

I really pray that individuals are using this, I have been faithful to read and post each post, and it has blessed me. To read God's Word, and then reflect on where we may be at in a certain point of our life, it always amazes me at how appropriate passages from the Bible can be, and how they can always seem to relate to situations one may be going through. For me, at least for the last three or four days, it has been the Psalms.

Now as I finish writing this this morning, another song kicks in, it is The Alarm singing the song The Stand, the first line is, "Come on down and meet your maker, come on down and make the stand." Like I said, God can be funny some times.

Now check out the links below to get to that message board and daily Bible reading.

Of course before you get to the link for the Bible reading, you can see a glimpse of The Alarm from an interview on Canadian Television. The interview is with Eddie McDonald who I also got to interview some years ago. You will see a cut from the video The Stand which is worth sticking around until the end of the video. Now if you see the video, just double click on it, if you don't then click on the following link. Oh yea, I used to have hair like that as well, hard to imagine I know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7-mI0A_KR4


Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information
The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Free Movie, Iraq for Sale. What Happens When Greed Takes Over?

I recently watched, for the first time the 2006 documentary, Iraq for Sale. The film was the first film to raise substantial production funds from small donations given on line, from 3,000 people in the amount of $267,892 in 10 days. The film, originally intended to be a short, became a full length documentary feature raising the ire of many around the world including Americans, Allies, Enemies, and yes, even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ.

The documentary looks at the actions of various contracting companies currently in Iraq assisting the United States Military, and according to some, the Iraqi people. The companies Blackwater, K.B.R. – Halliburton, CACI and Titan are looked at and investigated in some detail. While watching this film, I for one couldn’t help but recognize the concept of greed among many multinational corporations. I can’t help but be reminded of the words of Jesus and throughout the Bible on the concept of greed:

Jesus said to his disciples, "It's terribly hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of heaven! Matthew 19:23

Some will ask what this has to do with the documentary, I am providing several links that will allow you to watch the movie online, free and for no charge, and at that point you can make the determination yourself. I would encourage you to watch this movie, which surprisingly enough, has few detractors disputing the facts of the movie. Despite numerous efforts, the filmmakers, through the closing credits shows ample efforts of the film makers to contact various corporations to obtain their views on the contents of the movie. This is done especially so after a blatant lie is used in the Washington Post that stated to the contrary. Thankfully the film makers have the entirety of this event on film to back up their side of the story.

The viewer is provided information that shows an effort to line the pockets of major national corporations at the expense of the lives of civilians and military serving in Iraq. The film also shows the fleecing of the American public via tax dollars and expenditures given to these corporations. From lavish motel rooms, to paying over $200,000 for the use of each automobile in a fleet of automobiles that consists of vehicles able to be purchased for $40,000 in America., we see tax payers ripped off, and taking away from the work military personnel are trained for. We also see things like charging our government $40 for a six pack of Coke that was actually bottled, and manufactured in Iraq. We see the fleecing of ideals and services that would protect troops, save tax payers money, and in the process provide opportunity of liberty for Iraqi people. There is no disputing that the contracting out of services has costs both Iraqi, and American lives, not just military, but civilian. For all practical purposes there is only one word to describe these multi national corporation executives, who draw salaries ranging from 22 Million to 45 million dollars per year, that word, is greed.

The wicked brag about their deepest desires. Those greedy people hate and curse you, LORD. Psalm 10:3

It is important we realize our own habits of greed can get us to a place where we are accepting of actions like this. It is a shame, especially when considering that after an hour and a half of research, I could not find a single web site that disputed the claims made in the documentary Iraq for Sale. I’m not saying they are not out there, I know they likely are, but do a simple google for movies like Sicko, Bowling for Columbine, or any number of others and you will find dissenting views on the first page of your google. Not so with Iraq for Sale. This leads me to the conclusion, that much of what is presented must be factual, and if in fact it is factual, there is much to be concerned about, not only for American citizens and military but all of those serving in Iraq.

By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down. Proverbs 29:4

For each of us, whether it be the greed for millions of dollars or the greed for hundreds, or even small things like a car or possessions, greed is wrong. The Bible is clear on that, and all religions teach against the self serving concepts of greed. It drives an individual to the point where they no longer care about the hungry, the poor, the divorced wife or husband, the single mother or father, or any other variable of people we can think of who may be in need. It is dangerous because it places at the highest place of value on the individual of self. This is dangerous because at that point, a self serving generation can loose the very concept and nature of God. The loss is in the command to love God, and show the love to God by showing love to others who need it. Love that should be shown to a poor child, a minority being persecuted because of their skin color, or the different lifestyle of one we are not accustomed to. I would go so far as to say, we can even get to the point where it is easy to ignore the needs of those like us, and ultimately justify the hate and discrimination of those we call enemy, or “sinful.” All strange and foreign concepts when it comes to being like Jesus, which all Christians are called to do, and be.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Ephesians 5:3

In a way it is kind of funny, in another, really sad. The truth is, many are so quick to point a finger at the sins of the world centering on sexual sin, whether that be homosexuality, living together without being married or whatever. Yet, greed is mentioned in the same category of sins as those things in the Bible. I know many will be critical of this thinking it is a blast on the war in Iraq, while the truth is, it addresses the greed of those who take advantage of not only the American Tax Payer, but the Soldier serving in Iraq, and those losing their lives under the pretext that they are in Iraq to rebuild Iraq. Greed by these corporations should have all who call Jesus leader and forgiver up in active with a righteous anger. It is the indication that America, because of her lack of concern over things like this, has some serious soul searching to do. All people, especially those who say they are followers of Jesus, need to live out our talk. We can’t say we love God in one breath, while at the same time standing up and allowing The Lost, The Last, and The Least to be abused, taken advantage of, and seen as nothing more than a means to an end of getting the things some greedy people or countries want. At the point countries, corporations, or people are willing to do this, whether for oil, money or power, it is nothing more than greed. At that point, people of God have to stand up, repent, turn away, and do justice. Followers of Jesus, will you stand up or will you remain sitting on your hands? How will God respond to your answer?

But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? 1 John 4:20

The following links will enable you to watch the documentary Iraq for Sale. Click on the direct link if the videos don't appear, if they appear, simply double click on the video link.

Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szrrbLQpE9s



Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffD5lkXdBgY



Part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCi_hTV12W8



Part 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YzTXpkJyCQ



Part 5:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DtYHSd1DW0



Part 6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhQgZaFJzIQ



Part 7:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85Vx7313QfA



Part 8:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN4E3IFbWgI



Part 9:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huZzw0VFPNM



Part 10:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fHGbBiAsM





Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry. Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information


The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587


Listen Live

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Bible / For Those Interested & Reading Through The Bible In A Year

I know many have enjoyed the Daily Verse and Through The Bible In A Year postings I have been making. I am grateful for that and want everyone to know that is going to continue, albeit in a different form. In an effort to save time I am going to be posting those daily verses and daily Bible readings on a single page at The Virtual Pew Website, http://www.thevirtualpew.com/. The postings will go onto our message boards there and you can click here to get to those message boards. As a result of making this change I will save at least 30 minutes a day, and provide better services and ministry through The Virtual Pew.

There are benefits of doing this for those reading as well. I have been going through the daily readings myself as I do the transfer over to the main page and making verse transitions easier for the reader. In this process I find myself at times having questions about various things in the Bible. Questions that I know myself and Pastor Dave would benefit from looking at as well as any other person involved in ministry. I am going to try, and firmly believe that Pastor Dave will help as well in responding with our thoughts regarding questions you may have that come up from the daily readings. Those questions could of recent have a wide range of topics that could be discussed, such as: Does God become angry? What is The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel and is their a record of it? Why did the soldiers fall to the ground when they asked Jesus who he was in the Garden? As you can see there are all kinds of questions, many some seldom talk about. It would be a challenge to myself, or any other follower of Jesus to have to search and try to answer your questions. Of course there is no guarantee that we can, or that they will be answered. There is a guarantee that there is a better chance of being answered if you post on the message boards your questions, and also a guarantee that at least some of us will think about it, and on occasion, attempt to answer the questions you may have. In other words, the primary benefit of driving traffic to the message boards at The Virtual Pew is that we can learn and grow together. It is taking the approach of the study of scripture to the masses.

On this note, I have for a long time called the Bible, The Ultimate Love Letter From God, The Creator Of The Universe. I can think of few things that are as important as a daily reading of this book God gave us all. It amazes me at the number of people who talk about the Bible, but in reality, know so little about it. The truth is, if we don’t read it, don’t study it, not only will we continue on in ignorance, but we may miss out on information that can be beneficial to us. I firmly believe that the Bible is a book that can give us direction in so many areas, direction that will provide comfort, joy, wisdom, and knowledge. All of which can be of benefit in helping us in our day to day life.

Let me be as plain as I can here, I have had many people question me about my ability to overcome the hatred, and difficulties of my life. I will say, without question, that most of the time, the strength, comfort, and knowledge of how to do so has come from the study of the Bible. I believe in it so much, that when I speak in a public forum, and recite a passage from the Bible, I follow an old Mennonite tradition of at some point, asking the people to: “out of respect of the ultimate love letter given by God, if you are able to stand, please stand while we read His word.” I know a lot of churches do this, but many others don’t, that is okay, but for me, I want to make sure people understand the amount of respect I have for God’s Word, The Bible.

Now as mentioned earlier, The Daily Verse and Through the Bible in a Year daily readings will no longer be at The Virtual Pew Article Boards, or at MySpace. I will include among my listing of links a link to The Virtual Pew Message Boards where you can see the daily readings and verse. I would encourage you to bookmark this page, and to visit on a regular basis. If not signed up at the message boards, sign up, join, and ask questions or make comments as you desire or the Bible Study threads or any other thread. Thanks for understanding, and looking forward to seeing you at The Virtual Pew Message boards.

To go directly to the Bible Study Thread at The Virtual Pew Message boards, click this link and bookmark it.

Click Here to Go to The Virtual Pew Daily Verse and Read The Bible in a Year Passages

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

The following is a short video with a Bible Quiz, take it, listen, and decide if the study of The Bible is something you should consider. Just double click on the video, if the video don't appear, click the following link.
http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=2c25cf5ed131317fe88d


Here is the link to an old film, one with some problems, but none the less a recognition by many of the importance of The Bible.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHVmXBG-kIU



Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Big Brother 8 Tribute

I am not going to say much today, other than for the Big Brother 8 Fans, you may not get much out of this, especially if you haven't been watching this year. For those who have been watching the program, I think you will appreciate this. Stay through until the completion of the credits, because it isn't over until it is over. Some truths in here and would appreciate knowing what you think. The Video will follow the information regarding The Virtual Pew.

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information


The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew

Donations to The Virtual Pew - http://www.furches.org/donations/index.html
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group
The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page
To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

Phone Number to Call During the Show, (Please never call prior to the start of the show) - (646) 716-8587

Listen Live


If You See The Video Below, Just Double Click On It. If You Don't See It Just Click On The Following Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64Q5lV7EJlo

September 14 Daily Verse, Read The Bible In a Year



The Work of the Holy Spirit

John 16 (4) I was with you at the first, and so I didn't tell you these things. (5) But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. (6) You are very sad from hearing all of this. (7) But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.

(8) The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God's justice and the judgment. (9) The Spirit will show them that they are wrong about sin, because they didn't have faith in me. (10) They are wrong about God's justice, because I am going to the Father, and you won't see me again. (11) And they are wrong about the judgment, because God has already judged the ruler of this world.

(12) I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand. (13) The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn't speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. (14) The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. (15) Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you.

Sorrow Will Turn into Joy

(16) Jesus told his disciples, "For a little while you won't see me, but after a while you will see me. "

(17) They said to each other, "What does Jesus mean by saying that for a little while we won't see him, but after a while we will see him? What does he mean by saying that he is going to the Father? (18) What is this 'little while' that he is talking about? We don't know what he means."

(19) Jesus knew that they had some questions, so he said:

You are wondering what I meant when I said that for a little while you won't see me, but after a while you will see me. (20) I tell you for certain that you will cry and be sad, but the world will be happy. You will be sad, but later you will be happy.

(21) When a woman is about to give birth, she is in great pain. But after it is all over, she forgets the pain and is happy, because she has brought a child into the world. (22) You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel. (23) When that time comes, you won't have to ask me about anything. I tell you for certain that the Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. (24) You have not asked for anything in this way before, but now you must ask in my name. Then it will be given to you, so that you will be completely happy.

(25) I have used examples to explain to you what I have been talking about. But the time will come when I will speak to you plainly about the Father and will no longer use examples like these. (26) You will ask the Father in my name, and I won't have to ask him for you. (27) God the Father loves you because you love me, and you believe that I have come from him. (28) I came from the Father into the world, but I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.

(29) The disciples said, "Now you are speaking plainly to us! You are not using examples. (30) At last we know that you understand everything, and we don't have any more questions. Now we believe that you truly have come from God."

(31) Jesus replied:

Do you really believe me? (32) The time will come and is already here when all of you will be scattered. Each of you will go back home and leave me by myself. But the Father will be with me, and I won't be alone. (33) I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.

-------------------------------

King Joash of Judah
(2 Kings 12.1-16)

2 Chronicles 24 Joash was only seven years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled forty years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba.

(2) While Jehoiada the priest was alive, Joash obeyed the LORD by doing right. (3) Jehoiada even chose two women for Joash to marry so he could have a family.

(4) Some time later, Joash decided it was time to repair the temple. (5) He called together the priests and Levites and said, "Go everywhere in Judah and collect the annual tax from the people. I want this done right away--we need that money to repair the temple."

But the Levites were in no hurry to follow the king's orders. (6) So he sent for Jehoiada the high priest and asked, "Why didn't you send the Levites to collect the taxes? The LORD's servant Moses and the people agreed long ago that this tax would be collected and used to pay for the upkeep of the sacred tent. (7) And now we need it to repair the temple because the sons of that evil woman Athaliah came in and wrecked it. They even used some of the sacred objects to worship the god Baal."

(8) Joash gave orders for a wooden box to be made and had it placed outside, near the gate of the temple. (9) He then sent letters everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem, asking everyone to bring their taxes to the temple, just as Moses had required their ancestors to do.

(10) The people and their leaders agreed, and they brought their money to Jerusalem and placed it in the box. (11) Each day, after the Levites took the box into the temple, the king's secretary and the high priest's assistant would dump out the money and count it. Then the empty box would be taken back outside.

This happened day after day, and soon a large amount of money was collected. (12) Joash and Jehoiada turned the money over to the men who were supervising the repairs to the temple. They used the money to hire stonecutters, carpenters, and experts in working with iron and bronze.

(13) These workers went right to work repairing the temple, and when they were finished, it looked as good as new. (14) They did not use all the tax money for the repairs, so the rest of it was handed over to Joash and Jehoiada, who then used it to make dishes and other gold and silver objects for the temple.

Sacrifices to please the LORD were offered regularly in the temple for as long as Jehoiada lived. (15) He died at the ripe old age of one hundred thirty years, (16) and he was buried in the royal tombs in Jerusalem, because he had done so much good for the people of Israel, for God, and for the temple.

Joash Turns Away from the LORD

(17) After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the leaders of Judah went to Joash and talked him into doing what they wanted. (18) Right away, the people of Judah stopped worshiping in the temple of the LORD God, and they started worshiping idols and the symbols of the goddess Asherah. These sinful things made the LORD God angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem, (19) but he still sent prophets who warned them to turn back to him. The people refused to listen.

(20) God's Spirit spoke to Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest, and Zechariah told everyone that God was saying: "Why are you disobeying me and my laws? This will only bring punishment! You have deserted me, so now I will desert you."

(21-22) King Joash forgot that Zechariah's father had always been a loyal friend. So when the people of Judah plotted to kill Zechariah, Joash joined them and gave orders for them to stone him to death in the courtyard of the temple. As Zechariah was dying, he said, "I pray that the LORD will see this and punish all of you."

Joash Is Killed

(23) In the spring of the following year, the Syrian army invaded Judah and Jerusalem, killing all of the nation's leaders. They collected everything of value that belonged to the people and took it back to their king in Damascus. (24) The Syrian army was very small, but the LORD let them defeat Judah's large army, because he was punishing Joash and the people of Judah for turning away from him.

(25-26) Joash was severely wounded during the battle, and as soon as the Syrians left Judah, two of his officials, Zabad and Jehozabad, decided to revenge the death of Zechariah. They plotted and killed Joash while he was in bed, recovering from his wounds. Joash was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. (27) The History of the Kings also tells more about the sons of Joash, what the prophets said about him, and how he repaired the temple. Amaziah son of Joash became king after his father's death.

--------------------------------

Psalm 81
[By Asaph for the music leader. ]
God Makes Us Strong

(1) Be happy and shout to God who makes us strong!
Shout praises to the God of Jacob.
(2) Sing as you play tambourines
and the lovely sounding stringed instruments.
(3) Sound the trumpets and start the New Moon Festival.
We must also celebrate when the moon is full.
(4) This is the law in Israel,
and it was given to us by the God of Jacob.
(5) The descendants of Joseph were told to obey it,
when God led them out from the land of Egypt.

In a language unknown to me, I heard someone say:
(6) "I lifted the burden from your shoulder
and took the heavy basket from your hands.
(7) When you were in trouble, I rescued you,
and from the thunderclouds, I answered your prayers.
Later I tested you at Meribah Spring.

(8) "Listen, my people, while I, the Lord, correct you!
Israel, if you would only pay attention to me!
(9) Don't worship foreign gods
or bow down to gods you know nothing about.
(10) I am the LORD your God. I rescued you from Egypt.
Just ask, and I will give you whatever you need.

(11) "But, my people, Israel, you refused to listen,
and you would have nothing to do with me!
(12) So I let you be stubborn
and keep on following your own advice.

(13) "My people, Israel, if only you would listen
and do as I say!
(14) I, the LORD, would quickly defeat your enemies
with my mighty power.
(15) Everyone who hates me would come crawling,
and that would be the end of them.
(16) But I would feed you with the finest bread
and with the best honey until you were full."

Click here for booking information to have Pastor Mike come speak or perform, from speaking to music or magic, something for all groups.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, at MySpace. Become a part of a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information,all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives. You can also contact me for a free e-book pre edit version of The Keystone Kid at mike@thevirtualpew.com

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and by all means, spread the word.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sept. 13 - Daily Verse And Read The Bible In A Year




Jesus Is the True Vine

John 15 Jesus said to his disciples:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (2) He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit. (3) You are already clean because of what I have said to you.

(4) Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. (5) I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. (6) If you don't stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burned in a fire.

(7) Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered. (8) When you become fruitful disciples of mine, my Father will be honored. (9) I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. (10) If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.

(11) I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. (12) Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you. (13) The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. (14) And you are my friends, if you obey me. (15) Servants don't know what their master is doing, and so I don't speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.

(16) You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. (17) So I command you to love each other.

The World's Hatred

(18) If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. (19) If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don't belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. (20) Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say.

(21) People will do to you exactly what they did to me. They will do it because you belong to me, and they don't know the one who sent me. (22) If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin.

(23) Everyone who hates me also hates my Father. (24) I have done things that no one else has ever done. If they had not seen me do these things, they would not be guilty. But they did see me do these things, and they still hate me and my Father too. (25) That is why the Scriptures are true when they say, "People hated me for no reason."

(26) I will send you the Spirit who comes from the Father and shows what is true. The Spirit will help you and will tell you about me. (27) Then you will also tell others about me, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16 I am telling you this to keep you from being afraid. (2) You will be chased out of the Jewish meeting places. And the time will come when people will kill you and think they are doing God a favor. (3) They will do these things because they don't know either the Father or me. (4) I am saying this to you now, so that when the time comes, you will remember what I have said.

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Jehoiada Makes Joash King of Judah
(2 Kings 11.4-21)

2 Chronicles 23 After Ahaziah's son Joash had hidden in the temple for six years, Jehoiada the priest knew that something had to be done. So he made sure he had the support of several army officers. They were Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. (2) These five men went to the towns in Judah and called together the Levites and the clan leaders. They all came to Jerusalem (3) and gathered at the temple, where they agreed to help Joash.

Jehoiada said to them:

Joash will be our next king, because long ago the LORD promised that one of David's descendants would always be king. (4) Here is what we will do. Three groups of priests and Levites will be on guard duty on the Sabbath--one group will guard the gates of the temple, (5) one will guard the palace, and the other will guard Foundation Gate. The rest of you will stand guard in the temple courtyards. (6) Only the priests and Levites who are on duty will be able to enter the temple, because they will be the only ones who have gone through the ceremony to make themselves clean and acceptable. The others must stay outside in the courtyards, just as the LORD has commanded. (7) You Levites must protect King Joash. Don't let him out of your sight! And keep your swords ready to kill anyone who comes into the temple.

(8) The Levites and the people of Judah followed Jehoiada's orders. The guards going off duty were not allowed to go home, and so each commander had all his guards available--those going off duty as well as those coming on duty. (9) Jehoiada went into the temple and brought out the swords and shields that had belonged to King David, and he gave them to the commanders. (10) They gave the weapons to the guards, and Jehoiada then made sure that the guards took their positions around the temple and the altar to protect the king on every side.

(11) Jehoiada and his sons brought Joash outside, where they placed the crown on his head and gave him a copy of the instructions for ruling the nation. Olive oil was poured on his head to show that he was now king, and the crowd cheered and shouted, "Long live the king!"

(12) As soon as Queen Athaliah heard the crowd cheering for Joash, she went to the temple. (13) There she saw Joash standing by one of the columns near the entrance, which was the usual place for the king. The commanders and the trumpet players were standing next to him, and the musicians were playing instruments and leading the people as they celebrated and blew trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes in anger and shouted, "You betrayed me, you traitors!"

(14) Right away, Jehoiada said to the army commanders, "Don't kill her near the LORD's temple. Take her out in front of the troops, and be sure to kill all of her followers!" (15) She tried to escape, but the commanders caught and killed her near the gate where horses are led into the palace.
(16) Jehoiada asked King Joash and the people to join with him in being faithful to the LORD. They agreed, (17) then rushed to the temple of the god Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and the idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

(18) Jehoiada assigned the priests and Levites their duties at the temple, just as David had done. They were in charge of offering sacrifices to the LORD according to the Law of Moses, and they were responsible for leading the celebrations with singing. (19) Jehoiada ordered the guards at the temple gates to keep out anyone who was unclean.

(20) Finally, Jehoiada called together the army commanders, the most important citizens of Judah, and the government officials. The crowd of people followed them as they led Joash from the temple, through the Upper Gate, and into the palace, where he took his place as king of Judah. (21) Everyone celebrated because Athaliah had been killed and Jerusalem was peaceful again.

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Psalm 80
[A psalm by Asaph for the music leader. To the tune "Lilies of the Agreement."]
Help Our Nation

(1) Shepherd of Israel, you lead the descendants of Joseph,
and you sit on your throne
above the winged creatures.
Listen to our prayer and let your light shine
(2) for the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Save us by your power.

(3) Our God, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.

(4) LORD God All-Powerful, how much longer
will the prayers of your people make you angry?
(5) You gave us tears for food,
and you made us drink them by the bowlful.
(6) Because of you, our enemies who live nearby
laugh and joke about us.
(7) But if you smile on us, we will be saved.

(8) We were like a grapevine you brought out of Egypt.
You chased other nations away and planted us here.
(9) Then you cleared the ground,
and we put our roots deep, spreading over the land.
(10) Shade from this vine covered the mountains. Its branches
climbed the mighty cedars (11) and stretched to the sea;
its new growth reached to the river.

(12) Our Lord, why have you torn down the wall
from around the vineyard?
You let everyone who walks by pick the grapes.
(13) Now the vine is gobbled down by pigs from the forest
and other wild animals.

(14) God All-Powerful, please do something!
Look down from heaven and see what's happening
to this vine.
(15) With your own hands you planted its roots,
and you raised it as your very own.

(16) Enemies chopped the vine down and set it on fire.
Now show your anger and destroy them.
(17) But help the one who sits at your right side,
the one you raised to be your own.
(18) Then we will never turn away.
Put new life into us, and we will worship you.

(19) LORD God All-Powerful, make us strong again!
Smile on us and save us.

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