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Weekly Readings, July 14-27, 2013

Two fig trees that are in my mother in-law's yard. In the past week they've produced 8 gallons of figs.
Over the past 2 weeks I've read:
Galatians chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6;
1 Thessalonians chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5;
2 Thessalonians chapters 1, 2, 3;
1 Timothy chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6;
2 Timothy chapters 1, 2, 3, 4;
Titus chapters 1, 2, 3;
Philemon 1 chapter;
James chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
All above scripture read from NKJV MacArthur Study Bible.

In addition I read over the past two week's: Revelation chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. This month's reading was from the English Standard Version. In 2013 I'm reading Revelation 12 times in 12 different translations. So far I've read from King James Version, New King James Version, New American Standard Bible, New English Bible, Common English Bible, New Living Translation Study Bible, and the English Standard Version. 

In the Old Testament there are many references to the fig tree. In my MacArthur Study Bible the grapevine, olive tree and fig: "symbolized great abundance of the Promised Land...To live under one's own vine and fig tree meant to enjoy ideal circumstance."
The fig tree also represented Israel itself and God's judgment against His people. See Hosea 9:10 and Joel 1:7. 
In the New Testament Jesus used the fig tree to symbolize His chosen nation who had rejected Jesus, and thus they were barren, fruitless.
"Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, 'Let no fruit grow on you ever again.' Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, 'How did the fig tree wither away so soon?' So Jesus answered and said to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matthew 21:18-22; see also Mark 11:12-14.
I'm reading Grounded in the Faith by Kenneth Erisman. Erisman begins by teaching from the Ten Commandments. Commandment number two: "You shall have no other gods before Me."  Exodus 20:3. Erisman defines worshiping other gods as, "Mentally shaping God from what we think he is like." That is placing a god before God. Fixating and shaping a god that we define, as God.
I'm a member of a few Facebook groups that state they are a body of believer's discussing (whatever a member brings up for a topic.) Once I joined the groups I found out not all members are believers in Jesus Christ. Some are atheists, some agnostics, some state they're believers but they won't read the Bible because they don't believe it's relevant or true. Further, some believe they're Christian's but don't believe it is necessary to read God's word because it might not be God's word, and well it's just not important to do this, after all God can be found anywhere.
In some commentaries it is believed that the story of Jesus and the fig tree is not literal, but a parable. Either way Jesus is using the fig tree symbolically. The fig tree had leaves, but no figs; it is a tree that looks beautiful, but has not produced fruit.
William Barclay in his NT commentary states: "Profession without practice is condemned. The Tree had leaves; the leaves were a claim to have figs; the tree had no figs; its claim was false; it was an empty profession; therefore it was doomed. The Jewish nation professed faith in God; were they not the chosen people and was God not their God? But, in spite of their profession, in practice they were out for the blood of God's son; therefore they stood condemned....Profession without practice is something of which we are all more or less guilty. It does incalculable harm to the Christian Church; and it is doomed to disaster, for it produces a faith which cannot do anything else but wither away." Page 281, The Gospel of Matthew Volume Two.

How can we call ourself a Christian, which means a follower of Jesus Christ, if we do not read God's word which is the Bible. Even Jesus believed Scripture to be relevant and valid. "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-20.
In Hebrews: "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Chapter 4:12-13.
To those people who think the Bible is corrupted and thus cannot be trusted, to me they're no different that a ship that has no rudder. They're adrift on an ocean whose current and wind take them anywhere. They are a people without hope.
If a person who claims they are a Christian and they don't read God's word not only can they not produce fruit, but they have shaped God into a god of their own liking. A god that fits in well with their mind and feelings and lifestyle.

Are you reading your Bible? 


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