Posted by: Brad Beaman | April 12, 2015

First Judge (Judges 3:7–11)

Lonavala ride 033

The title First Judge is taken from the movie First Knight. The First Knight story of Camelot. Lancelot is the courageous sword fighter. He runs the gauntlet and wins a kiss from Guinevere, the bride to be of King Arthur. Then Lancelot after another daring deed saves the life of Guinevere and lands him a spot as a knight at King Arthur’s round table.

The First night Lancelot had a moral flaw. He was found with the wife of King Arthur in his arms. He proves his loyalty to King Arthur who dies in battle. Lancelot the first night is able to marry Guinevere, rule Camelot and live happily ever after.

A better movie would have been First Judge. In this movie actor Sean Connery would have played instead of King Arthur the eighty five year old vigorous Caleb. Instead of asking someone brave enough to run the gauntlet he asks for a man brave enough to attack and capture the city Debir.

Judges 3:7–11 (see also Joshua 15:13-20; Judges 1:11-15, 1 Chronicles 4:13)

That brave volunteer marries his daughter Achsah. Othniel becomes the first judge (Judges 3:7–11). Achsah makes a push for an even greater inheritance and Othniel the hero and Achsah the fair maiden live happily ever after (well not quite). Joshua dies (Judges 2:8) the following generation forgot the Lord and forgot all the work that the Lord did for them. (Judges 2:10). This is the beginning of a pattern.

The Judges follow a terrible cycle. It begins with sin and then punishment and then repentance and then deliverance through one of the judges.

In the case of our first judge Othniel the beginning of this cycle is found in Judges 3:6-7.  The children of Israel intermarried and in that adapted the ways of the people they married and forgot the Lord God. This became the case of the prodigal people.  God’s people forgot Him and turned to worthless things. They were tested by the Canaanites who remained in the land and God’s people failed the test.

The second part of the cycle of the Judges is the punishment. The invasions and particularly this invasion was not a random historical accident.  God is not mocked. A man (or people) reap what they sow. Galatians 6:7. Sin brings punishment and judgement. This linked to Israel serving a foreign king for eight years (Judges 2:8).

We see God’s people move to a place of repentance. They cried out to the Lord (vs 9). Their abandonment of God got them nothing but misery and oppression.

God raised up a leader to deliver His people. Othniel did not settle for a comfortable live enjoying his inheritance of the upper springs with his maiden Achsah. Othniel is from the tribe of Judah and a decedent of Kenaz. This makes Othniel a relative of Caleb. His father-in-law Caleb lived in Israel under the Egyptians oppressive rule and Caleb crossed the Red Sea and spied out the land and gave a minority report. Later Caleb crossed the Jorden at flood level and experienced the hand of God in fall of Jericho.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and he became the first judge. The people of God hit rock bottom. God showed mercy to His people. He empowered his deliverer. They turned to Othniel a man of courage. God repeatedly shows his mercy to his people.

Othniel did a great work. He delivered God’s people through battle and there was peace for God’s people for forty years. In other words they served God under the leadership of Othniel for forty years.

Don’t get in the trap that repeats itself twelve times through the book of Judges with sin, punishment, repentance and deliverance. Don’t turn your back on the Lord. Don’t forget all the good things the Lord has done for you.

We want to be in our lives where God’s people ended up after all their trouble. That is where they were after Othniel by God’s Spirit took them to where they should have been all along, faithfully following the Lord their God. That was what they did with the help of the first judge Othniel for forty years.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | April 5, 2015

Wetlands Again

I went back through the Kolkata Wetlands this time by vehicle to show my wife and a friend my discoveries.

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One man enjoying a swim in the wetlands at sunset.

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Talking to some local wetlanders.

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And what I wanted to show off. The water lilies in bloom.

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And another man out at sunset in a boat.

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Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 26, 2015

How to Worship God

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Do you need to learn to do something new? How will you learn? You could read a how to book. You could watch an instructional video on the internet. But if you want to know how to worship God you should spend time in Psalm 100 the divinely inspired how to worship guide.

 Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100 shows how seriously worship was taken in Old Testament times. That in itself is enough to tell us we should take worship seriously today. There is a back and forth rhythm to this Psalm. The first part verses 1-3 was sung by a procession of worshipers as they approached the Temple gates with a thank offering to God. The second part verses 4-5 was sung by a coral group already in the Temple.

True worship overflows with joyous singing. We need to experience true worship. We are telling God, we believe in you! You are meaningful. You make a difference in my life.

Worship with joy. This is not about wearing a plastic smile and telling the world all is well when it really is not. The Psalms are too realistic for that. They have lament and anguish. But that does not rule out a place of joy in the Psalms and a place for joy in our lives.

The angels and the whole heavenly host serve the Lord with gladness. This Psalm is filled with joy. Make a joyful noise. True emphasis is not on a professional recital, but on the right attitude in your heart.

Shout to the Lord all the earth. Worship experience is meant for everyone it is not to be hoarded. Let the whole world know. He is God and He is worthy of praise. This is a time for celebration.

A glad shout when we come together and worship the King of Kings. All this gladness was in anticipation of the Messiah. What about now? We have even more reason to worship with joy and gladness. We worship in awe. Since we worship an awesome God it only makes sense that we worship with a sense of awe.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

The Lord is God. He alone is God. He is perfect, eternal and immortal. To God belongs honor and glory forever and ever! There is only one God and there is no one else like Him. He is supreme the great “I Am”. Worship God. We are standing on holy ground. When we worship with a sense of who God is we will worship with a sense of awe.

Can you imagine the original scene here? The Children of Israel coming to the temple of Jerusalem with their offering and singing “The Lord is God.” There was no doubt a sense of awe as they worshipped God in the original setting of this Psalm. Why should we approach God and worship Him with any less reverence?

Who made us? God. Who helped God make us? No one. God made us without the help of anyone. The term “self-made man” is not theologically correct. We are who we are by the grace of God. The creation should reverence his creator. God is the maker and owner of all. Man should worship his creator. We worship the God who made us.

There is stewardship. God owns all and we are stewards of what we have been entrusted with. Keeping in mind that we are clay in the potter’s hand that he is creator and we are creation then we understand God is our rightful owner. Then we worship God with true worship. Service flows from our lives. We are His people. Not we ourselves.

We are the sheep of His pasture. Twice in this passage the Lord gives an invitation to come to Him. He invites us to come with joyful songs. He invites us to enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts. There is an invitation to walk in the light that God has given. We know that light through the promised coming Messiah Jesus Christ. We are His people because we have been bought with a price.

God is the great shepherd and we are His people. Our pursuit is to know the shepherds voice and strengthen our relationship with Him. To be His people means to know Him. The Christian life becomes the great adventure only when we seek to know Him more.

God is so good. His love never fails and never changes. Stop to think where you would be right now without God? What would your future be without God? Who can we trust like we trust God who never breaks His promises. What is your eternal destiny without the grace of God? Our Heart should overflow with gratitude when we worship God. How thankful you should be for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. That thankfulness should abound in our praise.

It is amazing that we can know God. That is what verse three is telling us. We should have Joy, awe and gratitude. His invitation is for you to know Him. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;  his faithfulness continues through all generations.

About Salvation in Jesus Christ

Posted by: Brad Beaman | May 9, 2014

Sharp Top Trail Photo Essay

Our family set out to trek to Sharp Top Peak, Virginia. We started just on the other side of Abbot Lake.

Lake Abbot

It was a 1.5 mile hike to the summit.

Sharp To Trail

The hike is billed as a “steep and strenuous” hike.

Peaks of Otter

Columbine flowers in bloom.

Columbine Flowers

This hike is the most popular of the Peaks of Otter. Our daughter saw some of her Liberty University friends and classmates on the trail.

Sharp Top Peak

There is Abbot lake below where we started the trek.

Peaks of Otter

On top we had the view of Otters Peaks  with the Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny mountains to the west.

Sharp Top Peak

Here are the details of our trek:  Sharp Top Trail Hike

 

Posted by: Brad Beaman | May 3, 2014

London Tower Photo Esaay B&W

Layover in London to the Tower Bridge

London Les Meserables

Started from London Bridge

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This described us looking to Seize the day.

Seize the day London

Tower Bridge from London Bridge

London Bridge

New Medical tower

London Medical tower

View of Thames

tower view

Royal Drum Roll

Drum roll

Details of the Thames River walk

Thames River

London Tower

London Tower

Final Shot back to airport

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Posted by: Brad Beaman | March 29, 2014

Father-Son Camping Photo Essay

We started our camp out going straight for the ropes.

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We need to go up the rock face at just the right place.

Kathothia reppelling

We have to work our way up the narrow passage up the rock face.

kathothiya MP

Now for the instruction for safe rappelling.

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on the face of Kathothiya.

reppelling MP

To the camp. Celebrate victory! We are still in disbelief we just did this repel.

Kathotiya camp

Next day ancient cave paintings and the zip line.

Kathotiya cave paintings

Father zips right into the water. Ha Ha Ha!

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Son has to demonstrate how the zip line is done.

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Good time by all. First father-son camp out a success!

 

 

Posted by: Brad Beaman | March 4, 2014

Don’t forget the Miracle

What do these stones mean?
There are some things you just don’t want to forget. If you win a sporting event you have a trophy to stand as a tangible reminder of that accomplishment. When you graduate you receive a diploma to frame and put on your wall. That diploma represents great expenditures of time and money.

With marriage there is the wedding band that serves notice that you joined your life together with your spouse. The wedding anniversary is remembered each year. And when you have a baby to remember that you have……. Well you don’t need any reminder for that. The baby is not going to let you forget.

What about when God does a miracle in your life? How are you going to remember what God has done? In Joshua Chapters 3-4 we read that God works a miracle among his people. Not just the miracle but we also find out how the people set up a marker that will keep a remembrance of what happened for generations.

And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Joshua 3:7

When God does something among His people that is along the lines of dividing the Red Sea, then that is worth remembering. The moment needs to be remembered. Crossing the Jordan was a great moment in the history of Israel. It was marked as an occasion not soon to be forgotten.

God is a living God who works in the lives of his people and they know He is a living God. Praise God that He is alive and Jesus is the living God who has risen from the dead. God is at work in the world and the lives of His people.

God’s not dead. He is alive! Don’t let forty years in the wilderness mislead you. The living God is among you. Has He seemed silent? When you read the Psalms you find even David felt that way. But God is the living God at work in your situation.

The Ark of the Covenant represents the power of God. If anyone moved carelessly with the ark it would mean death. There is a warning never to forget the set-apartness of God. Crossing the Jordan at flood level with the Ark of the Covenant is an epic event.

God demonstrated through this miracle His awesome power. Some descriptions of this account make it seem like there was a mudslide and the Israelites sloshed through the mud into the promise land. In verse 4:13 it says the waters were cut off. I picture in my mind an invisible barrier and the waters were stacked up.

God performed a miracle and established Joshua as an instrument of His power. It was of the magnitude when God divided the Red Sea and established Moses as an instrument of His power. And far from sloshing though the mud the Israelites crossed on dry ground (Joshua 4:24). From time to time Almighty God works a miracle so that the people of earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful.

The crossing of the Jordan goes alongside the dividing of the Red Sea, Jesus calming the storm, the lame walking the blind seeing and the resurrection of the dead in establishing the living almighty God is working among His people.

As a testimony of Gods work a marker was erected. There were twelve stones to commemorate God’s miracle. This marker was to serve as a teaching tool. When the children ask their parents what do the stones mean then the story should be retold (Joshua 4:21).

The assumption here is that children ask questions. When we prayed over dinner our daughter asked, does God eat food?

When God manifests himself then make a marker in your life. A great spiritual experience is to chart the miracles God has done in your life. These miracles could be your salvation, a healing, hearing God speak or a financial provision.

Of course it is not enough to simply remember the past. We remember God’s work in our life but we do not rest on the past. We need a testimony that is fresh and communicates God’s power.

Joshua told the people to get ready. “For tomorrow,” he said, “the Lord will do a great miracle.” (Joshua 3:5)

It is exciting to look back on what God has done. It s even more exciting to get ready for the great miracle God will do. We need to get ready for what God is going to do. He is still the same living and powerful God.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | March 2, 2014

Bhimbetka Photo Essay

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter 40 kilometers outside Bhopal.

Bhimbetka

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter has humans living since the Paleolithic period.

Bhimbekta Rock Shelter

Bhimbetka paintings date start from the Mesolithic Period.

Bhimbekta cave paintings

Tortoise Rock Bhimbetka Rock Shelter

Tortoise Rock Bhimbetka

Kids climbing at Bhimbetka Rock Shelter

Bhimbetka rock climb

There are so many painted animals (252) that this part of Bhimbetka is called the zoo.

Bhimbetka zoo

The mythical baor at Bhimbetka Rock Shelter. This is different because the animal is hunting man where other paintings have the man hunting the animals.

Bhimbetka Mythical Baor

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter

Bhimbetka family

Cavemen at Bhimbetka Rock Shelter

Bhimbetka cave men

There were amazing tree and rock formations at Bhimbetka.

Bhimbetka

Bhimbetka formation.

Bhimbetka

Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 16, 2014

Week in Rajasthan Photo Essay

Spent week in Rajasthan and on the train out to the Western Rajasthan area.

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Sunrise on the train near Bikaner.

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Weaver making rugs in Western Rajasthan.

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This bridge was west of Ajmer.

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Overview of Jaipur from Nahargarh Fort.

Nahargarh Fort

Water Palace in Jaipur

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Brass band at Rambagh Palace.

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Night at Rambagh Palace and yes, I hang out at thousand dollar a night hotels.

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Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 7, 2014

Kathotiya Rock Paintings Photo Essay

I had a fun time exploring Kathotiya today morning.
Bhopal
This was my guide Vijay Kathotiya.
Kathotiya Guide
I would have missed a lot without Vijay’s guidance.

Kathotiya Vijay
He threw a rock down there to warn the snakes and Lungar monkeys etc. The rock went down and down before hitting bottom.

Kathotiya ridge
Then Vijay went down too so I just followed him.

Kathotiya cave
I was ready to see the rock paintings.

Kathotiya paintings
The rock paintings are from the Paleolithic age claimed to be 17,000 years old.

Kathotiya wall

There are different color painting, red is one of the colors.

Kathotiya red painting

White rock painting.

Kathotiya white

Kathotiya is mainly a Bhil Tribe area. Actually the Bhils live in the jungle area outside the village. Painting Kathotiya

Feel the breeze!

Kathotiya breeze

Cycle rental in a remote Bhil village. That is what I’m talking about!

Kathotiya cycle

I was served local Badari fruit with my chai.
Kathotiya chai

Back to Kathotiya for a overnight tent camping later?

Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 1, 2014

Gypsy Highway Photo Essay

Our family has felt like gypsies lately and then lo and behold we meet some real gypsies with their camels so we stopped to take some photos. Their sheep were behind them too.

gypsy highway

They were traveling outside Bhopal

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Quenching a desert thirst.

drink in the desert

Good bye to our new Gypsy friends.

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Posted by: Brad Beaman | January 25, 2014

Cloud by day, Fire by night

BCS camp fire

Our family has moved twice in the last sixty days. And now guess what! We are waiting to find out if we will stay where we are for the next few months or if we need to move to the next “encampment” in a few days. All this moving has made me refer to the Cloud by day, Fire by night of the Israelites in the wilderness.

Some years ago a software engineer from Israel who lived in a nearby apartment asked me if he could cut some branches from the trees in our yard. He needed them to make a booth on top of his apartment to remember the time Israel would follow the cloud by day, fire by night and live in temporary shelters. The Jewish people remember that history by celebrating the festival of booths each year.

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Exodus 13:21-22

Believers in Christ also should remember how Israel followed the cloud by day and the fire by night. We are told that it happened as an example for them for our instruction 1 Corinthians 10:11.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11

This will not necessarily mean a physical move. Following the cloud by day, fire by night is about a step of faith not a physical move. As followers of Christ we need to follow the fire of the Holy Spirit. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). We Pilgrims on our journey in Christ need to be sure we do not miss the move of the Spirit. When the Spirit leads we need to move from the encampment of our comfort zone to the unfamiliar.

I wonder if we need to move a third time in sixty days? Our family lived in one place for fifteen years. But this is a different season for us. I hope we are ready to go or ready to stay. We need to be willing to follow the pillar of fire, the presence of God the leading of the Holy Spirit. All believers in Christ must be led by the Spirit.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | January 20, 2014

Lodi Garden Photo Essay

Lodi gardens in Delhi is known as “Best Urban Oasis in Asia” Here are a few pictures from my January morning walk through Lodi Gardens.

Muhammad Shah Sayyid’s Tomb from the dynasty 1414-1451.

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There was lots of crazy stuff going on with the animals. They all seemed to involve a squirrel.

This was two parrots attacking a squirrel and then getting into the squirrel hole in the tree.

Lodi Garden

The squirrels had the parrot outnumbered and chased off the parrot.

Lodi Garden

The squirrel gets the honey from the Lodi garden honey comb.

Lodi Garden

Twisted tree.

Twisted tree in Lodi

That’s me I was really in Lodi Gardens.

Brad Beaman in Lodi

Not sure why this see hear say no evil statue is at Lodi

Lodi

Posted by: Brad Beaman | January 13, 2014

Introduction to Colossians

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There are two New Testament books written to Colossians from Paul. The two books are Colossians and also Philemon, a personal letter to Philemon but also a letter meant for the churches at Colossae and Laodicea. There is no record in the book of Acts of Paul ever preaching the gospel in Colossae. For this reason we have to look for clues about how the church started in the two letters Colossae and Philemon and make some assumptions from what happened during Paul’s two years at Ephesus.

Colossians is one of Paul’s prison epistles and most scholars believe Paul wrote this letter during his Roman imprisonment about 61AD. Paul mentions in Colossians 1:17 that it was his close associate Epaphras who preached the gospel in Colossae. The work in Colossae probably started during Paul’s third missionary journey when he set up a gospel training school at the Hall of Tyrannus outside of Ephesus.

Paul had covered a lot of ground during his journeys but he just could not be everywhere at once. It was common for him to mention in his letters his desire to visit a place, but he just could not at least for the time being. By his third missionary journey Paul had come up with a way to multiply himself and that was the school at the hall of Tyrannus.

At Tyrannus Paul could pour into disciples and they could go out and cover all the places Paul would never have the time or health to reach. With this strategy Paul could even be in prison and the work would carry on.

And so it is commonly accepted that one of the disciples at the hall of Tyrannus who was instrumental in all of Asia hearing the gospel and starting churches in cities Paul never reached was Epaphras. Paul said You learned the gospel from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf (Colossae 1:7-8). Epaphras was the key man for the Asian tri-city area of Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis. Paul said “I vouch for Epaphras that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Colossians 4:13. Epaphras probably started the Laodicea church that met at Nympha’s house (Colossians 4:15) and the Philemon church that met at either Philemon’s or Archippus’s house (Philemon 2).

Epaphras was the ideal disciple/church planter to carry the gospel and start the church in Colossae. He was a local son of the soil Colossian. Epaphras could have made the one hundred mile journey back and forth from Ephesus to Colossae with relative ease. His fellow Colossians were also making that same journey all the time. They would be going from the smaller city of Colossae to the big port city of Ephesus for trade and supplies.

Epaphras would learn from Paul how to proclaim the gospel and start churches and raise up leaders. Paul uses the 2 Timothy 2:2 strategy at the hall of Tyrannus. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”. Paul rises up Epaphras at the Hall of Tyrannus.

After spending some time at the Tyrannus School Epaphras would head up river or along one of the Roman Roads to Colossae and put what he learned into practice. When he reached Colossae he would teach what he learned to Archippus. Epaphras learned from Paul and he in turn raised up Archippus to lead the Colossian church (probably it happened this way at Colossae). Paul is raising up multi generational leaders. Timothy is even on the scene when Epaphras is in Rome with Paul (Philemon 1, Colossians 1:1).

The hall of Tyrannus strategy worked brilliantly because both Paul and Epaphras are together in prison in Rome and the work is carrying on. Of course the churches at Colossae and Laodicea certainly do face threats from prevalent outside harmful philosophies. Paul is trying to steer the churches clear of their harmful influence in writing the Colossian letter. The church at Colossae has a powerful prayer warrior in Epaphras who regularly intercedes for them too.

The distance and trip from Ephesus and Colossae are very practical. On the other hand the meeting up in a Roman prison of Paul and two Colossians of Epaphras and Onesimus is striking. What were Epaphras and Onesimus these two Colossians doing with Paul in Rome? No one can answer for sure but it seems that Onesimus the escaped slave of Philemon was “free” to travel back to Colossae with Tychicus and Epaphras was not.

Whatever reason Epaphras came to Rome is uncertain but that he brought news to Paul of the growing spiritual fruit and love in the Spirit is certain (Colossians 1:6). Epaphras also brought news of the threats of heresy facing the church in Colossae. Paul is writing to protect the church from the threats of philosophies that diminish the supremacy of Jesus. The letter to Colossians very clearly articulates the supremacy of Jesus and his total sufficiency for salivation. Tychicus would carry the letter back to Colossians and take Onesimus back to Colossae. The Colossian letter was to be read in all the churches in the area.

Here are those mentioned by name in the book of Colossians and the references:

Paul:  Colossians 1:1, 23 4:18
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, Colossians 1:1
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Colossians 1:23
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18

Timothy: Colossians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, Colossians 1:1

Tychicus: Colossians 4:7-9
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
Tychicus is also mentioned 4 other times in the NT Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12.

Aristarchus: Colossians 4:10
My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Colossians 4:10
Also we find Aristarchus in Acts 19:29, Acts 20:4, 27:2, Acts. Acts 27:2, Philemon 1:24.

Onesimus: Colossians 4:9
He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. Colossians 4:9
Also more about him in Philemon 10-16

Mark: Colossians 4:10
My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Col 4:10
Also verses mentioning Mark are: Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15: 2 Tim 4:11 Philemon 24

Jesus call Justus:  Colossians 4:11
Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews[a] among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. Colossians 4:11

Epaphras: Colossians 1:7-8, 4:12-13
You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant,[a] who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1:7-8
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Colossians 4:12-13
Also a reference in Philemon 23

Luke: Colossians 4:14
Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Colossians 4:14

Demas: Colossians 4:14
Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Colossians 4:14
Also Demas is mentioned in Philemon 24 and 2 Tim. 4:10
“Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” This man of wavering impulse who surrendered the passion of sacrifice and sank in the swirling waters of the world, is a true reflection of the thought that where our love is, there we finally are. 2 Tim. 4:10

Nympha: Colossians 4:15
Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. Colossians 4:15

Archippus: Colossians 4:17
Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” Colossians 4:17
Philemon 2

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ Colossians 1:15-23

Posted by: Brad Beaman | October 28, 2013

Torna Photo Essay

Torna fort view from Velhe village the where the Trek begins.

Torna Fort

It is called the “eagle’s nest” as one of the highest forts of Pune district. I saw some amazing eagles on the way up and on top.

Flpwer bee Torna

I started at Velhe village 65 kilometers from Pune. Velhe is 2,399 feet and went to 4,570 feet a climb of 2,149. It was categorized HC by my MapMyRide program and said I burned 3,000 calories going up and down and both ways was 5 and one-half miles.

I climbed solo and never saw another person for the 5 hours when I left Velhe village and returned. I just left my information on the windshield and told the Velhe police I was going up.

Torna

I saw many crabs along the path and this was the largest I saw.

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I saw Rajgad easily and also other forts could be seen Sinhagad and even Raigad.

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Torna Fort famous as the first fort captured by Shivaji in 1643. He hit the jackpot with a load of gold captured to continue his campaigns.

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I just followed the ridge up to the cloud.

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The flowers were very similar to Kaas a world heritage biodiversity spot 100 kilometers away.

Flower beatle Torna

This is the ridge that is to be hiked to trek from Torna to Rajgad.

Torna Fort

Torna is also called PRACHANDAGAD meaning massive fort. This was the view toward Raigad.
Tora Fort

Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 27, 2013

Long live King Solomon!

My friend used to joke with me that I was one of God’s spoiled children. I agree with him that much has gone my way. But if anyone was ever born with a silver spoon in their mouth it was Solomon.

Solomon had all the advantages life could offer. He had a God-fearing home with his father being a man after God’s own heart. He inherited wealth and was given the best education. He had the equivalent of a PhD in many sciences, botany (study of plants), dendrology (study of trees), and zoology (study of animals). In addition he was lettered in literature.

Then there were the political advantages that Solomon inherited. He received the throne of Israel when the kingdom was at its zenith. The death of King David meant the assent of Solomon to the throne of Israel. Solomon took the throne during what could be called the “golden age of Israel”.  The entire world looked to Israel.

Solomon was David’s tenth son. He was the second son of Bathsheba. The first son died after King David’s sin, adultery and murder. But in God’s grace He gave David another son through Bathsheba.

In 2 Samuel 12:24-25 The Lord gave King David another son through Bathsheba. Nathan the prophet who seems to have had a special burden for Solomon brought word that the Lord had a special love for Solomon. He had two names.

Solomon: Which means Peace.

Jedidiah: Which means loved of the Lord.

1 Chronicles 29 We read how David orchestrated so much for Solomon to follow as king and gave Solomon a great blessing prayer for him to prosper and to build the great temple of God in Israel sometimes called “Solomon’s Temple.” Not because this temple was for Solomon but built during Solomon’s reign for the glory of Almighty God.

In verse 29:25 It says the Lord exalted Solomon at this time while King David was about to die. Royal majesty was bestowed on Solomon like had never been seen in Israel.

There was a challenge to Solomon taking the throne, but it was more of a final challenge to King David who was still living and declared Solomon the air to the throne.  David’s oldest son Adonija made a self-proclaimed claim on the throne without David’s knowledge (1 Kings 1).

To get the wheels of justice turning Nathan the prophet begins to act. He tells Bathsheba that Adonijah is undermining her son Solomon’s claim to the throne (1 Kings 1:11). This caused Bathsheba to swing into action   (1 Kings 1:17) and Solomon is anointed as King (1 Kings 1:39). The priest anointed Solomon with oil, blew the trumpet and all the people shouted “Long Live King Solomon!”

David gives a death-bed challenge to King Solomon.

1 Kings 2:1-4

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

In 1 Kings 2:10-11 King David dies. The greatest King ever in the history of Israel except for the Messiah who came as the second King David. To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48). Succeeding David as King will be a challenge.

Solomon faced his first test as king from his oldest brother Adonijah.  This challenge came when their father David died and it came to Solomon at the risk of his life. Adonija’s foolish action results in his own death and now the kingdom is firmly in Solomon’s hands (1 Kings 2:46)

Solomon started with so much. He did not squander his opportunity. The Queen of Sheba later said the half had not been told regarding the greatness of Solomon.

You may not have been given as much as Solomon; inheritance of billions, the most influential kingdom of any era. All at a time of religious fervor of the people. But I would suppose if you are reading this you have been given much.

In 1 Chronicles 1:29 David Prayed,

And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion

to keep your commands, statutes and decrees

He was given wisdom. But tragically at the end of his life he became a foolish wise man and strayed from the ways of the Lord that David prayed he would follow.

You have been given much. You have the riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ placed in your hand. To whom much is given much is required. You have been given a heart to keep faithful to God.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | March 25, 2015

Wetlands Photo

Water Lilies at Kolkata Wetlands on a foggy morning bicycle ride.
Water Lilies
Photo SOOC (straight out of camera)

Posted by: Brad Beaman | March 16, 2015

Old Dhaka Photo Essay

“Old Dhaka will side-swipe you with it’s overwhelming intensity, and leave impressions that will never fade.” So says Lonely Planet and I went out by bicycle on a Sunday morning, the first work day of the week to see if Old Dhaka would really side-swipe me. I started out with a quick look at “Kella Lalbagh” the fort built from 1678-1684.
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Then I had a Paratha breakfast near Lalbagh and searched the narrow roads for the Bara Katra which is the oldest building in Dhaka originally a palace built in 1644.

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This tea stall was directly across from Bara Katra. I already had tea at Lalbagh Fort but they pulled me in and I had tea again.

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When I reached Showari Ghat the intensity began.

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There was a log jam on Sadarghat–Gabtoli Road, a log jam with real logs.

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I was offered plenty of opportunities to ride across the Buriganga River in the small wooden boats.

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Passengers coming off the ferry that just crossed the Buriganga.

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I was trying to find the Ahsan Manzil and and when I asked a local shop worker who was deep frying some items pointed me to a winding passage. I could barely push my bicycle through it is was so narrow. Incredibly I popped out at at the Gol Talab just near the palace.

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I climbed a building of shops and still under construction.

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View of Ahsan Manzil – Pink Palace from an adjacent building.

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At the Ahsan Manzil  I received an offer to buy my bicycle. How could I sell my “old friend” I replied. It was obvious to him the bicycle was brand new. It was also obvious to me he did not have the money to buy my bicycle. I took a ride down Bangshal Road (Bicycle Street). That was enough of being side-swiped by Old Dhaka for that day.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 21, 2015

Sundarbans Family Trip

We left Kolkata 7 AM to Jharkhali to visit the Sundarbans. This is the view from the Jharkhali watchtower. Sundarbans are is a mangrove forest where the 700 Rivers of Bangladesh and Hooghly of India pour into the Bay of Bengal. 1 The forest department has a Mangrove nursery to promote new or endangered varieties. 2 The Sundarbans are five times the size of the Florida Everglades and the main attraction is spotting a Bengal Tiger in the wild. We saw injured tiger in captivity being nursed back to health. 3 We drove from Kolkata in the morning did the watchtower, zoo and boat ride at Jharkhali and then drove back later that day. 5 I went fishing where the Bidhyadari River meets the Malta River but did not catch any fish. Our boat stirred up the ducks on the river. 6 We enjoyed having our whole family together. 7 The boat motor broke when we were out the full distance. 8 The boat operator called another boat to come and tow us in. That is our tow boat coming toward us. 10 We actually enjoyed quietly floating on the river with no engine sound. 12

Posted by: Brad Beaman | February 4, 2015

Calcutta Botanical Garden Photo Essay

Trees do grow along the Hooghly. I went by bicycle to Calcutta Botanical Garden and I saw this abandoned old building has a huge tree growing out of the second story. 20150203_094256
The Calcutta Botanical Garden was established in 1787.

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The Calcutta Botanical Garden is officially Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden.

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It is across the Hooghly River from Calcutta in Howrah. The giant water lilies give some of the best photos of the gardens but I am there during the end of winter when they are dried up to spring back to like later.

 

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The gardens contains the world famous Great Banyan.

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The Banyan looks more like a forest than a tree.

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The Great Banyan tree is estimated to be about 1200 to 1250 years old.

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The Great Banyan is Botanically known as Ficus benghalensis. This one has been listed in the Guinness book of world records  with the largest canopy.

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You can see Kolkata from the park as you look across the River.

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This botanical garden is credited with the pilot testing tea in India before establishing Tea plantations in Assam.

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Posted by: Brad Beaman | January 15, 2015

Dependence on God

flat veiw

What is your favorite book? What is mine you ask? Well it is How to get Better Grades and Have More fun.  It can be purchased on Amazon for a penny and I recommend you get a copy. If you don’t want to spend one penny (plus shipping and handling) then at least read the free look inside part here: See Better Grades book

In this book Steve Douglas makes reference to a sociology study conducted on students regarding study habits and grades. They divided the students in two groups. One group studied two hours per day or  less.  The second group studied four hours per day or more. The study found that those who study two hours per day or less earned higher grades in University than those that studied four hours per day or more. I told you I liked this book!

There were a lot of factors in how the first group made higher grades. They included how the students listen in class and how the students could discern what was important come test time. The finding is that working harder doesn’t always mean better results. The no pain no gain mantra does not always hold true.

Now let’s add to that “horse sense” a spiritual principal found in Psalm 127. Any work we do without dependence on God is doomed to fail. If you leave God out you will accomplish nothing. That is what we find when we dig out the meaning of Psalm 127. You can’t start a new venture or maintain an old venture unless the Lord blesses. If you leave God out you will accomplish nothing. Psalm 127 tells us how vain human effort really is. That is the meaning that wise old Solomon is getting at in Psalm 127.

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of  painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

There are contrasting ways to go about any task. There is striving, pushing and fighting verses a dependence on God. There is a human effort that leaves God out verses a quiet trust in Almighty God as provider. And which way you approach your tasks will be the difference of frustration or blessing.

If you are not careful you could see Psalm 127 as two disjointed thoughts. In verses 1-2 there is talk about trusting God and in verses 3-5 the verses talk about having children. But there is one theme that runs through the whole Psalm and that is dependence on God.

The same theme with different examples. There is one who builds a house. There is one who watches a city and one who builds a family. In all the examples there is a need to trust God.

It is futile to build a house without God. You can read in the title that this Psalm is a Psalm of Solomon. This may refer to the temple that was built and dedicated during Solomon’s reign. The principle applies generally to all builders. Any work is vein unless God is in it. All labor will fail without the blessing of God.

The only endeavor worth working for is that which is aligned with the will of God. Anything else is a wasted effort. Hard work won’t cut it. If God is not in it all the latest technology tools, political connections, financial resources, manpower all come to nothing.

The example is those who built the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-8). At Babel they had all the resources but God was not in it. Contrast the tower of Babel to rebuilding a temple in the book of Ezra. In Ezra unlikely people with no resources built a house to completion.

The great building that are erected without God will crumble and serve no purpose. Unless the Lord is in it then it is vain. The blessing rests with those who labor in dependence on God. It is vain to labor without God. It is vain to watch the city without God. It is vain to rise up early without laboring in the Lord. Three times the word vain rings out.

The city is not going to be safe no matter how many watchman are posted unless the Lord does the watching. All of these activities must have the sanctions of God. When the Lord watches He will not sleep or slumber (Psalm 124: 4). A man can both labor and watch, but without the Lord he has done nothing.

It is not a matter of working harder. It is a matter of seeking the Lord more. You can toil and work and get up early and go to bed late. God is blessing those who are His beloved in their sleep. Wow! Here is the guy working hard without God getting nowhere.  Then there is the guy trusting in the Lord sleeping and while sound asleep resting in the Lord he is prospering.

Of course this is not an invitation to become a lazy sluggard. But doing things God’s way will get more done while they sleep that one without God struggling striving and “eating the bread of anxious toil.” Jesus was able to sleep while the storm raged and the disciples worked frantically in vain to do something.

God sends children as a blessing. Children should be seen as a gift and heritage of the Lord. We should never take our family for granted, but trust in God in total dependence for Him to build a healthy family. The builder of the home needs dependence on God.

Children are to their father what sharp arrows are to the warrior. They protect him when he is old. God has given a blessing of riches in children. God has been promising a blessing to those that trust Him and children are a part of that blessing.

Children are living treasures and to have many children is better than financial wealth. Pray regularly that all children walk with Him and serve Him faithfully. That is a spiritual legacy. There are many wealthy people that would give their riches to have loving children. There is a blessing in having a full quiver.

Children are a gift of God. You must depend on God to build your home just as you would need to depend on him to build a house or watch a city. Unless we depend on God what we do is vain.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | January 3, 2015

Get ready for 2015

20140314_181333Are you ready for 2015? Do you have the spiritual essentials for this new year? Here are eight qualities that will serve you well for 2015:

  1. Faith
  2. Moral excellence
  3. Knowledge
  4. Self-control
  5. Perseverance
  6. Godliness
  7. Brotherly kindness
  8. Love

Let each one of these qualities build on the other. Just keep adding them on. That’s what Peter tells us to do:

Applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  2 Peter 1:5-7 NASB

What do you think 2015 is going to look like? I’m expecting great things from God.

If these eight qualities are yours and increasing………you got 2015 nailed.

Posted by: Brad Beaman | December 14, 2014

Cycling Kolkata Wetlands Photo Essay

The Kolkata cyclists picked the wetlands for their December 14 ride. This was my introduction to a group ride in Kolkata.

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The Kolkata wetlands cover 125 square kilometers, and include salt marshes and salt meadows.

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There are about 100 plant species, which have been recorded in and around the East Calcutta Wetlands.
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The fishponds produce 26 million pounds of fish annually.
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The area attracts migratory birds.
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There was a mixture of road and off road on this ride.
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The interesting local custom note was to visit and sample the production of Bengali’s favorite jaggery sweet called Nolen Gur wich is a Date Palm jaggery. The date palm sap is collected at night in an earthen pot and at dawn the post are brought down and production begins. The sap is then poured into shalti (an iron cauldron), which is then placed on an earthen oven. Over the oven fire with constant stirring it slowly begins to take on a golden color and honey like consistency.
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And yes Nolen Gur is good!
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