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2. MostHigh014 : Holy Groove Project - Forgive Me (Godtek Retweak) (3rd March Release)

MostHigh014 : Holy Groove Project - Forgive Me (Godtek Retweak) (3rd March Release)

Holy Groove Project - Forgive Me is coming in at the harder end of Drum & Bass, relentless driving synths, rolling sub bass and bang on drums smashing their way into the airwaves. This is definitely a crowd dropping track. Delivered by Label Worx on behalf of The Most High Records

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3. MostHigh014 : Holy Groove Project - Forgive Me (Original Mix) (3rd March Release)

MostHigh014 : Holy Groove Project - Forgive Me (Original Mix) (3rd March Release)

Holy Groove Project - Forgive Me is coming in at the harder end of Drum & Bass, relentless driving synths, rolling sub bass and bang on drums smashing their way into the airwaves. This is definitely a crowd dropping track. Delivered by Label Worx on behalf of The Most High Records

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4. The Bench by Saskia Sarginson, read by Stephanie Cannon (Audiobook extract)

The Bench by Saskia Sarginson, read by Stephanie Cannon (Audiobook extract)

The most romantic novel of 2020, this is a tragic love story spanning three decades where the love affair starts and ends on a bench. ***RICHARD AND JUDY and INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR*** A tragic love story spanning three decades, The Bench is Saskia Sarginson's most accomplished and heart-rending novel to date. For fans of One Day and A Star is Born. 'We should have a plaque too,' he says. 'What would it say?' I tilt my head. 'For Cat and Sam, who found each other and lost each other and found each other again,' I suggest. It begins at the end. It begins on a bench, on a heath, where a woman waits for a man. Ten years ago, they made a pact: On this bench, on this day, they will end a love affair that's spanned three decades, or start again. They should never have met. They should never have fallen in love. But they did, until a lie separated them for a lifetime. Can they fix the mistake, forgive the lie, erase the years in-between? Can what was lost ever truly be found? Praise for Saskia Sarginson: 'An intense and brooding read, with a brilliantly claustrophobic sense of place' Sunday Mirror on How it Ends 'An engrossing read with endearing characters thrust into traumatic circumstances. It stayed with me long after the last page' Lisa Ballantyne on How It Ends 'Outstandingly good. Part thriller, part love story, I guarantee you will not be able to put it down' Sun on The Twins 'Atmospheric, readable, beautifully evoked' Sunday Mirror on Without You 'Stunning in its insight and beautifully written' Judy Finnigan on The Twins 'This enthralling read will keep you up long into the night' Ruth Ware on The Other Me 'Inspirational and compelling' Candis Review on How it Ends 'A stunning writer with deep insight into people, their thoughts and behaviour' NZ Women's Weekly

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5. Lewis’ Biggest Lessons and Regrets of 2019

Lewis’ Biggest Lessons and Regrets of 2019

DECLARE YOUR VISION. The end of the year is time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going. I’m using this episode to share my biggest lessons and regrets from 2019. One of the most significant changes for me this year was in my romantic life. I went from being in a relationship that wasn’t working to being with someone who is a force multiplier in my life. I had to be aware of my relationship patterns to break them. Are you taking the time to investigate your past and envision your future? Or are you just going to work and coming home and putting on Netflix? It’s time to wake up to your dreams. On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about the 13 lessons I learned this year. This has been a year of transition for me, and I’m so happy with where I am right now. I’ve gone all-in on love. I can’t wait to see what big things are around the corner. So get ready to learn the things I’ve learned this year on Episode 886. In This Episode You Will Learn: The top three episodes of the year (06:00) Why you need to kill your ego (8:00) How to invest in your closest friends (12:00) What I’ve learned from romantic relationships (20:00) The importance of mission statements (28:00) How I forgive people in my past (35:00)

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6. [VOCALOID Original ]Hopeless Romantic (Synth Version) [Yuzuki Yukari]

[VOCALOID Original ]Hopeless Romantic (Synth Version) [Yuzuki Yukari]

I will edit this Later . Music and Lyrics by me. Lyrics: I love all the things that I can't forget The most important is you And even If you hate me I won't forget you Because I'm a Hopeless Romantic, who fell in love with you. Even If I hate you.... I won't forget all the nice things you said. I won't forget all the smiles you made. I wont forget the happiness... Never in this life You would say that I'm a Masochist. Or Even Stupid. But Inside of all your hate You won't remember me at the bad times. I love you, because... I'm a Hopeless Romantic A stupid romantic. who got obsessed with you. Your face, beautiful and friendly Your childish Kisses Your kindly Touch Your warmth who crossed all my body. Forgive me ... Because I'm a helpless romantic who forgot about everything to only be with you. a hopeless romantic a hopeless lover a hopeless person who's clinged with you.

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7. My Caprice (Contra Ville vs. Lucid Optics)

My Caprice (Contra Ville vs. Lucid Optics)

Contra Optics presents "My Caprice" Artwork by Cody Horwood My caprice is my love And I know that it burns fast Like a match soaked in gas. Straight through from Paris To somewhere south of Naples In a town where there is only sea, All this distance in between us All the longing so egregious Felt like some lead encasing me. But just like a mirage Seen from so far away The closer I came The more strange that it behaved. My love, that burning flame, That kept my eyes open at night Was just a bit of lust Fogging up my young mind. When the plane touched on the ground And all the waiting was done The fire in my heart Was extinguished by my one My one and only hope That like in all films which we saw Grabbing hold of you then Was the most Romantic joy of all. But my caprice is my love And I know that it burns fast Like a match soaked in gas. I've found that Love's a lie It's Conceit in a nice disguise So forgive me for my ways But you have to recognize That remorse is just for fools That I don't play this game fair Each first love feels so damn new Yet as familiar as the air. When I say "I love you true," Beware my flashing eyes Don't think I never knew How to make you say, "I love you." My caprice is my love And I know that it burns fast Like a match soaked in gas.

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8. ♨ #VirginSecrets ♨ #Personals - Top 3 Reasons Why I Stopped Dating!

♨ #VirginSecrets ♨ #Personals - Top 3 Reasons Why I Stopped Dating!

TOP 3 REASONS WHY I STOPPED DATING by @EntertainerChristiLuv - The Entertainer ♥ Christi Luv ♥™ February 22, 2014 1 - The Exhausting Lies 2 - The Annoying Games 3 - The Insulting Objectification Greetings. You may be an avid dater, or you may not. You may have sought a date with me, or you may not. You may be single, or you may not. But either way, recent events with multiple individuals have compelled me to write this little opinion / experience blog, and share with anyone whom it might interest just why I stopped dating a while ago, and why I'm not convinced that I should resume any time soon. You're welcomed and encouraged to give me your honest feedback! :) I - The exhausting lies are too tiring and time wasting to sort out and filter through. II - The annoying games are too frustrating and stressful to play defense against. III - The insulting objectification is too disrespectful and demoralizing to tolerate. I - The lies and language that I have to decode when trying to get to know guys is so exhausting and time consuming that I lose interest (and patience) for the whole dating process. Here are just a few examples of such tiring translation toil discoveries: "I own my own business" = "I'm unemployed" "I'm GREAT with kids" = "I have 10 kids and you look like their next sexy baby mama" "I'm 6 feet" = "I'm 5'9 and 1/2" "I'm a photographer" = "I shoot my own collection of porn with any dumb dingbat who'll take her clothes off for me" "I'm a rapper" = "I'm a delusional wannabe who never had a strong positive male role model in my life, growing up as a child" "I'm mature" = "I'm a dirty child molesty pervert, old enough to be your daddy, with 3 ex-wives who all hate me with a passionate venom that would scare Hitler" "She cheated on me because I work hard" = "She cheated on me because I ignored the crap out of her and I would like the opportunity to ignore the crap out of you too" "Oh awesome! I'm saving myself for marriage too!" = "I started saving myself for marriage 5 seconds ago, when you told me you were saving yourself for marriage, but really I'm gonna try my damndest to get you to go as far as possible in the opposite direction of chastity" "I don't like girls who need attention" = "I don't like being in a relationship" "I don't have facebook" = "I don't want you to know who I really am or see that I may still be in a relationship with someone else, while I'm hitting on you..." "How bout you come over to my place?" = "How bout I rape you?" or "I'm a serial killer" "I work from home" = "My mom still does my laundry" "I'm a business traveler" = "I'm a settled married man with 3 clueless kids and a clinically depressed wife and I was hoping you'd be one of my young pretty dumb whores in this city" "Meet me where I live" = "I don't have a ride and I plan to charm you into becoming one of my various female chauffeurs..." "I like younger women" = "I like clueless objects that I can control" and "I'm a very small man inside, yes, younger men are braver than I am" "Drama follows me wherever I go" = "I keep pursuing the wrong people" "I, I, I, I, I" = "I'm a chronic narcissist, so there's no room in my world for anyone but meeeeeeeeee" "I saw this girl do this thing that wasn't nice or got her in trouble..." = "Please don't do that-- Oh and I kinda suck at direct communication, cause I coulda just said that, and that woulda been an enlightening conversation that would have deepened and developed our relationship, but instead I had to passively aggressively give you this 3rd person story for you to pick up the subtle hints on, which is a lot more work than anyone should feel they have to do in a friendship or romance... See how many minutes of our lives this type of communication just wasted?" "Everyone's a pervert, so stop looking for good people..." = "I'm the biggest pervert in the world, but I'm insecure about it, because I know it's f*d up, so I have to rationalize and justify it, by convincing you, me and everyone else that everyone's a sick perverted f* like me, which is absolutely NOT true, but it makes me feel better about my crusty self, to force my pervert ideology onto you" "Damn you're gorgeous!" = "Damn I wanna f* you!!!" "I LOVE your innocence" = "I would LOVE to destroy your innocence" "Girls are too complicated" = "Relationships are too hard" "I own 3 vacation houses" = "I will pay you for sex" "I'd love to be your sugar daddy" = "I will pay you for sex" "I want to spoil you" = "I will pay you for sex" "The ladies love me" = "I'm a whore" or "I want you to think I'm a whore" "Casual sex is healthy" = "I'm still definitely a whore" "I use to be a player" = "I use to be a whore, but now I'm getting old and I need a wife, so I won't die alone. So can I please pour all my gross old ugly baggage onto a pretty, sweet, young thang like you now?" "I want a girl who can take care of herself" = "I want a girl who can take care of me" "I want a woman who stays busy" = "I don't really want a relationship, I just want a shallow, superficial business arrangement that involves a lot of physical connection and very little emotional connection, but I don't want her to notice that that's all it is, to avoid the risk of her cutting me loose at any given moment, when she actually finds something real with another guy" "I like it when a woman chases me instead" = "I'm gay" "I do a lot of computer work" = "I'm a gaming fanatic" "I don't know why nobody likes me" = "I don't know how to fix my painfully annoying (or scary) personality" "I look like Blair Underwood" = "I look like Flava Flav" "I look like Michael Ealy" = "I look like Rihanna" "I look like Zac Efron" = "I look like Jonah Hill" "I look like Taylor Lautner" = "I look like Megan Fox" "I look like Mario Lopez" = "I look like George Lopez" "I look like Bruce Lee" = "I look like that naked Asian guy from The Hangover movies and Community" "I'll NEVER leave you hangin" = "I'll ALWAYS leave you hangin" And the list goes on and on till the break of dawn... It starts off entertaining, but then it just becomes draining. And as a famous viral video star once said, "Aint nobody got time for that!" II - Now lets talk about the annoying games: A) The Chasing Game B) The Dating Game C) The Claiming Game The Chasing Game {(A) Game #1} is when the guy tries to manipulate a girl into dating him (or dating him again), instead of actually listening to her wants, needs or comfort preferences. So instead of molding his game to fit her, he tries to mold her to fit his game. BIG mistake. Many guys do this. There are 3 levels of it. Level 1 - The Fake Connection Level 2 - The Sales Pitch Level 3 - The New Girl 1st - The guy pretends to connect with the girl on things that interest or matter to her, but he doesn't really care about these things or have serious interest in them. It's all just a blind, calculated tactic to trick her into thinking they share a connection. 2nd - The guy blindly pitches himself to the girl without really hearing or understanding her objection, and without truly understanding the objection, you can't effectively overcome it. So instead of hearing her problem and looking for a way to solve it (or wait it out), he just tries to blindly bash her over the head with his thoughts, feelings and desires, and then, just like all the other guys, who failed to realize they weren't the first to try this angle and fall flat, he gets surprised when it doesn't work. 3rd - Finally, the guy brings another female (or a fake non-existent female) into the equation, thinking the grass is always greener, and since women are known for their jealousy, and people are known for their superficiality (meaning the shallowness of not seeing, liking or fully appreciating someone until you see that someone else wants them), he tries to manipulate the girl that he REALLY wants into thinking that he's dating somebody else, who is usually either made up, OR an easy girl who's always been available to him, who he doesn't really want that badly, but might settle for if he can't get the girl he really wants. NOTE: But this tactic only works on smart girls AFTER they've gotten to know you, spent time with you, been romanced by you, and have decided, for sure, that they actually want and like you like that. A smart girl is NOT going to like you more just for being wanted by another woman, when she hasn't even decided that she trusts you enough to take you seriously like that for herself, or she simply hasn't let you all the way inside her heart yet. A smart girl has to know who you are, connect with you, and take you seriously, before she can be truly possessive over you. You have to build a relationship of some kind for that to happen. There must be an emotional bond first. A history with each other. Otherwise, she'll just cast you off into the friend zone for an eternity, assuming you were never seriously interested in getting to know her, as a long term romantic prospect. She certainly won't like you for acting like a prick to her, under ANY circumstances. If anything she'll hold your rude behavior and deceptive acts against you. And it's never good to lose the respect or trust of a smart girl... Cause then it's hard to win her back. So The Chasing Game = FAIL. Then there's The Dating Game {(B) Game #2}. This is when the guy actually gets the girl on a date with him, be it an exclusive date, or (usually) unexclusive date, just to get to know each other. This is when the guy tries to manipulate the girl into either being exclusive with him, or sleeping with him, or both, by acting like someone he's not, or by molding himself to fit her likes, or both, instead of just experiencing the dating process naturally, and getting to know each other honestly. So instead of seeing if they click mutually, he tries to force the click and fool her into thinking they're a perfect match-- which is both dishonest, dangerous, and a big waste of everybody's time-- if you're not really a good match for each other. Level 1 - The Fake Wealth Level 2 - The Clone Likes Level 3 - The Hidden Emotions 1st - The guy goes broke spending all his cash to impress the girl, which is truly sweet, but he's not honest about it. He pretends this is a normal, common date for him, fooling her into thinking he's always going to romance her like this, then he holds it against her later when she expects something he set her up to expect. Meanwhile she resents his dishonesty and bait-n-switch routine, plus he acts miserable, cause he's broke now lol. 2nd - Then the guy acts like he's deeply connected to all the things the girl likes or cares about, pinpointing specific hot button issues that he knows or suspects that she holds dear-- and he copies and pastes her real personality profile data into his false personality profile template, acting like her twin, to fake compatibility with her. It's admirably ambitious, yes, but disturbingly fraudulent as well. 3rd - Finally, and this is the most common level of the dating game, because unlike the 2 more ambitious positives to reach for, this is a very easy negative to simply fall into. In an effort to seem cool, or to manipulate her into thinking he's a big, emotionless tough guy (which doesn't really exist unless you're a hitman or a sociopath), the guy will hide his emotions and true feelings on matters, from the girl, instead of honestly, directly communicating to her, how he feels, what he thinks, or what he's been through. He deliberately hides his own personal truth from her, likely out of fear that she won't think he's a man, if he opens up to her honestly and directly, which is a real issue with dumb girls and mean girls, but smart girls and nice girls will NOT *EVER* hold your humanity against you, or think less of you for being honest about the depths of your true feelings. We will ALWAYS appreciate and respect you for opening up to us and being honest, sensitive and emotionally intimate with us. ALWAYS. Because we crave emotional intimacy, we thrive on it. Plus that's one big way to get a special place in our overly emotional hearts lol ^_^ We'll even understand you better and be more consciously gentle with your heart-- once you reveal to us that you have one ;) Too many guys are too insecure to expose their hearts, even to nice girls, thus the girl never lets him into her heart. Because trust is a 2-way street. I know, it's a vicious cycle, right? I guess timing really is everything... :) So The Dating Game = FAIL. Now we have The Claiming Game {(C) Game #3} - Yes, the Claim Game begins. This is when the guy tries to manipulate the girl into being exclusive with him, usually before he's truly bothered to get to know her. He just sees her (maybe even dates her briefly), but he decides that he wants her aaaaaaaaaall to himself (often when he sees that other guys want her or like her), yet he hasn't bothered to get to know her properly, and in too many cases, he hasn't even taken her out on a date yet, and sometimes they haven't even met face2face yet. But yet he just wants to stuff her in his pocket, before spending any real quality time and/or romance with her, and then he often holds it against her when she refuses to go along with this oppressive, often 1-sided pathology. Level 1 - The Scary Guilt Story Level 2 - The Secret Spy Ops Level 3 - The Insulting Style Offense 1st - The guy tries to scare and guilt the girl into not socializing with any other members of the male species, by telling her a scary or sad (or both) story, about the bad behavior of another girl, and how she either hurt or embarrassed her boyfriend. This is to do a couple things. This is to 1 - Manipulate the girl into thinking of the guy who is telling the story as her boyfriend, before he's actually reached that level of the video game, 2 - Shame the girl into feeling bad about hanging out with her current male friends, so she'll stop it, and 3 - Frighten her away from making any new male friends, even if romance never develops, and the guy and girl have not even solidified an exclusive relationship with each other yet. 2nd - The guy goes into recon mode on the girl, using soft interrogation, like asking deliberate questions in the frame of casual conversation, stalking her online, monitoring her actions, spying on her secretly, and looking for any evidence of her reaching out to others in any social capacity, especially if she looks attractive to guys. It's considered manipulation because he pretends he's not doing it or that he's too busy to call her back or text her, yet he's following her around online, watching her every move, leaving fingerprints of his presence without realizing it. This is undoubtedly the creepiest level of The Claim Game. But there's more... 3rd - The guy styles on the girl. He basically acts like a douche to her, usually without saying why, if he can even put it into words, but also, if he admits to her that he's reacting to her innocent behavior that he saw whilst he was spying on her (or playing her) like a creep, then he would have to then finally come clean and admit to her that he's been spying on her (or playing her), which is actually much worse than what he's acting mad about, and it makes him the bad guy, thus taking away his staggeringly hypocritical right to feign self-righteous angst, and instead, giving HER the right to be pissed at HIM, on at least 2 counts (1 - spying on her and 2 - styling on her + maybe 3 - playing her). NOTE: This can mean purposely ignoring her, purposely breaking your word to her, purposely embarrassing her, or purposely lashing out at her via conversation, like a hip-hop reality TV star or athlete, trying to save face in a rap battle / cast reunion show or the big game, instead of being real with her, like a sane, honest, mature individual. It's hard to get a girl to ever consider claiming you or letting you claim her once you break this trust barrier or make her feel unjustifiably disrespected. It's easy to get her to despise you or simply lose interest in you though. So guys, never get to this point. Nice girls will find it hard to forgive, tolerate or like you again after this level of emotional retardation has been reached. Plus, come on, nobody likes to feel insulted or be disrespected, and nice girls, just like nice guys, do NOT deserve that kind of treatment-- EVER. So The Claiming Game = FAIL. All these various games stress me out, absorb massive amounts of my emotional energy and deter me from wanting to be bothered with relationships at all. Because the audition process is so draining, complicated and frustrating. Even just for friendship, which is what it usually ends up as. This is only one of the many reasons why I have a love/hate relationship with humanity lol. III - So now finally we come to: The Insulting Objectification issue. First, we had The Exhausting Lies to sort through. Then we had The Annoying Games to battle against. Now we have The Insulting Objectification to escape. I put this one last because even when the lies are filtered through, and the games are paused or squashed, usually the shallow superficiality of trophy wife objectification remains -- and this is where most of my marriage proposals from guys come from. Many guys have told me they wanted to marry me. Many guys have told me they loved me. Many guys have told me they never wanted anyone more than me. Many guys have told me what every girl wants and needs to hear at least once her life. Repeatedly. So why don't I appreciate it? Because I don't believe them. I believe THEY believe them, when they say these things to me. But guys lie to themselves more than women do. So if you don't ever bother to get to know me, then you don't ever deserve to own me. I will resent you for trying to keep me all to yourself, like a pet rock, if you don't do the real work of getting to know me and deeply connect with me. Either we're in this together, or you're in this alone, buddy! But either way-- you are not gonna take me off the throne in my life, just so I can be a footstool in yours. Either we're a team, or you're a bachelor and I'm a free agent. Either we will conquer the world together, or I will conquer it without you, and eventually with someone else. But either way, I'm not gonna stop being a shooting rock star in my world, to be nothing more than a pet rock in yours. I would rather actually be alone, then to feel alone in a relationship. Because at least when you're single, you can mingle with your admirers and other single friends. But when you're alone, by yourself, in a relationship-- that's the loneliest, most painful, hard-to-explain, diminishing, and self-esteem-shattering feeling in the world. And I know this from the personal experience of being there. That is quicksand swamp that I will NOT go back to. So I'm flattered by your desire for me, but I will hate you if try to make me your trophy wife. Because I'm not a thing. I'm not a doll. I'm not a rock, plant or pet. I'm not a friggin stray cat. I'm also not your child. I'm a human being. I'm a person. But I'm also your mutual equal-- Your softer, gentler, prettier team-mate lol. And if you don't treat me like that, all the flattery and money in the world won't get me to love you, like you or keep you in my life. It's exciting when guys compete for my hand. But it's insulting when guys try to bag me like a lifeless prize, like I'm just an expensive sports car, without knowing or caring about my heart, soul or mind. Because chasing me when you know me, is the highest most flattering honor. But just trying to collect me, with no aggressive interest in learning who I am, just because I'm pretty or talented or wanted or I sparkle more than the other girls do, is the most egocentric, shallow, superficial, annoying, exhausting, insulting and pointless excuse for a loving relationship that I have ever encountered. I was tricked into that by my 1st bf-- I will NOT be duped into it again. I LEARN from MY mistakes. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I'm so happy and grateful to be wanted. But I'm so tired of almost nobody who claims to want me ever really truly trying to know who the BEEP I am! They want the gift without opening the box! Just because it's wrapped so pretty or cool and fun-looking. But I will not be your gift if you refuse to open me. I will never be ANYONE'S gift-- until they bother to unwrap the paper. That is my protest. That is my lament. That is my LITERAL "boy"-cott. That is my emotional cause. I am passionate about never again being "owned" by anyone who refuses to look under the hood and see what or who is actually inside. Take it or leave it. But that's my stance. IN SUMMARY: 1 - You don't get to own me until you get to know me. 2 - If you use manipulative games to catch me, your manipulative games will lose me-- And that is too much work to constantly be doing in a romance when relationships are already work as it is. Why you wanna add more work with silly games? And I assure you, if you gotta play games to catch a fish-- you gotta keep playing games to keep that fish-- and that is way too draining and exhausting, as time carries on, especially if either of you actually has a LIFE. 3 - I don't date liars, and I don't even prefer them as friends either. I prefer to keep my distance from liars because I don't want their disease of deception to infect any part of my life. Also, remember this: You cannot hide who you are from somebody and then expect them to like you for who you are, when all you've done your entire time with them is pretend to be someone you're not. Now look-- I don't know who's a serious gentlemen or just a really convincing fool, but I do know that I'm not actively seeking any romance in my life with anyone right now. I was really just looking for a Valentines Date lol ^_^ Or a Valentine Friend :) Not a boyfriend or a part time lover. But now I have all these seemingly decent guys knocking down my door, and I don't know what to say to any of you. Cause I don't have anything to give you. I'm drained and busy and not interested in the exhaustive audition process that is dating, which is the basic way that you get to know if someone may match you well in a romantic context. Yes, I'm usually curious about meeting new people with the laidback awareness that it could (though most likely won't) later lead to a long term romance, or (more likely) a close friendship. But right now, I have a lot of creative projects, family matters, and a social club to deal with, so I don't have the emotional energy to give to the exhausting lies, annoying games, and insulting objectification, that is the dating and romance world (AKA the people world-- cause honestly, even "friends" stress me out.) And I'm not even a hi-strung person at all. I have a Taurus Moon for pete's sake! My emotions can tolerate a lot lol ^_^ But its been my experience that whenever I rely on people, they let me down. Bad. But whenever I rely on ideas, God and myself, I succeed. See, the 1st phase of my life I spent trying to be understood and make best friends. The 2nd phase of my life I spent trying to save my generation and lead my fellow youth to the promised land. The 3rd phase of my life I spent trying to be liked and connect with new people, as the closer, familiar people in my life either moved away, got sick, or died. Then most of the new people I connected with either let me down, or vexed me. I have nothing to show for any of it. Now the wise old soul in me calls that, "Valuable Lessons Learned". But the ambitious young mind in me calls that, "Valuable Time Lost". Time I can't recoup. A wasted investment. But when I create, share and market recorded independent self-contained projects that don't require social loyalty to move forward, I always have something to show for my time spent on this planet. I always have proof of my natural contributions to this universe, that God put me in, for some reason. So now, in this phase of my life-- I'm building my kingdom. And it will be MAGNIFICENT. A kingdom that will last and won't get knocked down or washed away by the ocean shore, in a split second, like all the other types of kingdoms do. This is why I've consciously decided to put most or all of my energy into building my kingdom of the creative soul, the moral intelligence, the life education, and the altruistic humanitarian help that I believe I was put on this earth to give. I hate to sound jaded or mathematical about it, but relationships are untrustworthy, fickle, unpredictable and can fall apart like a house of cards, at a moment's notice, if you haven't thoroughly vetted your partner, yourself or your circumstances. And I'm not the master of vetting people, trust me. "People" are not my strength. "Ideas" are my strength. "People" are just my interest and need. But not my strength. Because People = Politics-- and I suck at politics lol ^_^ So in this phase of my life, I'm going to play to my strengths, which is IDEAS, and if I happen to fall in love along the way, fine. But until then, or until vetting is properly executed, the only lover I belong to is me, and no one is allowed inside my bed besides my future husband. PERIOD. That is all why I stopped dating. And I'm not convinced I should bother with it again, until I'm independently rich and famous lol :P Or secretly rich and unknown... ;) Thank you. Come again. Have a lovely day! :) ♥

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9. Genesis 19-20 (The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah & Abraham Lies About Sarah Again)

Genesis 19-20 (The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah & Abraham Lies About Sarah Again)

Genesis 19 - The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah A. The two angels come to Sodom. 1. (1-3) Lot convinces the angelic visitors to stay with him. Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. a. Now the two angels came to Sodom: The two visitors that departed from Abraham in Genesis 18:22 as he and the Lord continued their conversation now came to Sodom. For the first time they are identified as angelic beings, who first accompanied the Lord as He visited Abraham at Mamre (Genesis 18:1-2). i. We have no reason to believe that Lot knew that these were angels; to him, they probably seemed to be distinguished guests with an air of righteousness and morality about them. b. Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom: There was a steady progression of compromise in Lot’s life. He went from looking toward Sodom (Genesis 13:10), to pitching his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12), to living in Sodom (Genesis 14:12) and losing everything. Now Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, indicating he was a civic leader. i. The gate area of an ancient city was sort of a town-hall, where the important men of the city judged disputes, conferred with one another, and supervised those who entered and left the city. ii. Lot himself was a righteous man who was grieved by the sin he saw around him (2 Peter 2:7-8), but because of his compromise few of his family and none of his friends were saved. Compromise destroyed his testimony. c. He insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house: The hospitality offered to the visitors was not unusual, but the urgency with which Lot offered it was. 2. (4-5) The wickedness and depravity of the men of Sodom. Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” a. Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us: These citizens of Sodom clearly came to homosexually abuse and rape these two visitors. They were willing to break all principles of hospitality and morality for their own violent and carnal gratification. b. The men of the city...both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house: This shows that the entire city was given over to this violence and immorality, and that this behavior wasn’t unusual, but accepted among the men of Sodom. i. In Ezekiel 16, God later condemned and rebuked the great sin of Judah in the latter days of the divided monarchy. He compared Jerusalem to the ancient city of Sodom, saying they were like sisters. Then, God compared the sins of Sodom to the sins of Jerusalem at that time: Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit. (Ezekiel 16:49-50) ii. The point of the Ezekiel passage was not to say that the only sins of Sodom that made them targets of judgment were the sins of pride, idleness, injustice to the poor, and such. Instead, those were the sins of Sodom also shared by her later “sister” Jerusalem. The Genesis text makes it plain that God was also grieved by their sexual violence and immorality, which is probably included in the Ezekiel list of sins under the words committed abomination. c. That we may know them carnally: The sin of the men of Sodom is plainly connected to their homosexuality. There is no doubt the Bible declares homosexual conduct is sin (Romans 1:26-28). i. The Bible condemns homosexuality in the same context as it condemns incest and bestiality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). If we ignore the word of God at the point of homosexual conduct, then we have no standing to say any of the other three sins are sin. ii. Homosexual advocates have an interest in saying homosexuals are exactly like everyone else, except they love and have sex with people of their own gender. Yet when the conduct of homosexuals is observed, this is not the case. iii. We can look at the statistics on the number of partners homosexuals have: 43% of homosexuals say they have had 500 or more sexual partners in their lifetime. Only 1% of homosexuals say they have had four or less sexual partners in their lifetime. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 77% of homosexuals say they have met sexual partners in a city park, 62% in a homosexual bar, 61% in a theater, 31% in a public restroom. Only 28% of homosexuals said they had known their partners for at least a week before participating in homosexual sex. iv. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons why males pursue and give in to homosexual desires is because they want to immerse themselves in a lifestyle of dangerous sex with no inhibitions or obstacles, and sense that sex with other men is an easier path to this. No wonder Paul connects “burning lust” and a debased mind with male homosexuality in Romans 1:27-28. v. Homosexuals also have an interest in saying that up to 10% of the population is homosexual. But the most reliable statistics show only 2.3% of men in their 20’s and 30’s report ever having had a homosexual experience. Only 1.1% reported being exclusively homosexual. These low figures agree with several other surveys and those conducted in Britain and France. vi. Homosexuals also have an interest in saying they were “born that way.” All attempts thus far to prove this have been based more on wishful thinking than solid biological research, but if it is found to be the case, so what? The Bible teaches we are all born with a predisposition to sin. It shouldn’t surprise us that some 2% of the population finds this predisposition expressed in homosexual desire. vii. Homosexuals also have an interest in defining themselves as “gay,” a word that used to mean “happy” or “carefree,” but it is a poor description of a lifestyle that has such a high rate of death, disease, and suicide. 3. (6-9) Lot bargains for the life and safety of his guests. So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. a. Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! This was a difficult argument for Lot to make. He and the men of Sodom had a completely different standard for deciding what was wicked and what was not. i. The difference in their standards points to an important question: If we abandon the Bible’s guide for sexual morality, what guide for sexual morality will we follow? To simply do as one pleases is not enough. b. I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish: The offer was horrible and cannot be justified. The men of Sodom showed a shocking demonstration of depravity, but we are just as shocked at the willingness of Lot to give up his daughters to the mob as we are at the sinful desire of the mob itself. i. We understand it a little more when we consider the low place of women in the pre-Christian world and the very high place of any guest in your home. It was understood a guest was to be protected more than your own family. c. This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting like a judge: This shows Lot’s feeble efforts at providing moral and spiritual leadership were rejected and mocked by the men of Sodom. i. Perhaps Lot thought that through compromise he might reach these men, but just the opposite happened. They had no respect for him whatsoever, even though his friendly-first approach led him to call such wicked men my brethren. 4. (10-11) Angelic protection at the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. a. The men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door: It must have taken great, perhaps supernatural, strength to do what the angels did at the door. Perhaps for the first time Lot began to understand that his guests were more than men. b. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness: Obviously, the work of striking the men blind was supernatural. Now the mob had a physical blindness appropriate to their moral blindness. B. The angels’ deliverance of Lot. 1. (12-14) The angels warn Lot; Lot warns his family. Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city; take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. a. Have you anyone else here? The angels were not omniscient, knowing everything. Knowing the members of Lot’s family was something that spiritual beings could easily observe, but at this point even these angels did not know it apart from Lot’s answer. b. To his sons-in-law: Lot’s daughter were unmarried and had not known a man (Genesis 19:8). These men were sons-in-law by the ancient practice of binding betrothal, not yet by marriage. c. We will destroy this place…the Lord has sent us to destroy it: For the first time, Lot heard of the work of these supernatural guests. Sodom was destined for judgment, but God wanted to spare Lot and his family. d. He seemed to be joking: The effect of Lot’s life of compromise was clear. When he spoke with utmost seriousness to his sons-in-law about the judgment of God, they did not believe him. Not even they would be saved from the judgment to come. i. The life of Lot shows us that it is possible to have a saved soul and a wasted life. Lot would be saved, but his life would accomplish nothing, as in 1 Corinthians 3:15: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 2. (15-16) The angels try to hurry Lot and his family. When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. a. Arise, take your wife and your two daughters: The two sons-in-law would be left behind as the angels urged Lot to escape the coming destruction that would bring judgment on Sodom. b. While he lingered: Too much of Lot’s heart was in Sodom, so he was not anxious to leave the city. This lack of urgency to obey God (even when it is necessary and good for you) is a common sign of compromise and a backslidden condition. c. They brought him out and set him outside the city: In Genesis 18 Abraham asked God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if there were ten righteous found there. Because there were not ten righteous people, God did not spare the city. But He still answered the heart of Abraham’s prayer by bringing Lot and his family out of Sodom, even if it was almost against’ Lot’s will. i. Lot was in the worst of all possible places. He had too much of the world to be happy in the Lord, and too much of the Lord to be happy in the world. 3. (17-22) The escape from Sodom. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. a. Escape for your life! Do not look behind you: The angels seemed far more urgent to rescue Lot and than Lot and his family were to be rescued. This is strange, but common in spiritual things. b. Please, no, my lords! Lot seemed pathetic and whimpering in his prayer, especially in contrast to the bold intercession of Abraham in Genesis 18. c. I cannot do anything until you arrive there: This answers the question, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25). God, bound by His own righteousness and honor, could not bring this judgment on Sodom until the righteous people were delivered. d. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar: Zoar means small or insignificant. It was the little city Lot bargained with the angel about. C. God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. 1. (23-26) The cities destroyed, Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. a. When Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord: As the angel said in Genesis 19:22, judgment could not come upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot and his family were safe in Zoar. Otherwise, it would violate God’s promise to Abraham, at least in principle. b. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah: These cities were judged completely and severely, but only after God confirmed their great wickedness and gave them a righteous witness in Lot. i. Today, many think these cities are buried under the Dead Sea, and their complete destruction is a testament to God’s judgment and grace in delivering His righteous people. ii. Before this destruction the area of Sodom was unbelievably beautiful and productive, like the garden of the Lord (Genesis 13:10). Yet, this great privilege and blessing did not turn their hearts toward God. iii. As well, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah saw more of the power, grace, and mercy of God than any of the other people of the region. They had been delivered from ruin by God’s work through Abraham. They heard the testimony from Melchizedek and saw the example of Melchizedek and Abraham. c. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt: Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt because she looked back behind, after the angels had specifically said Do not look behind you (Genesis 19:17). Some think she lingered behind and was caught up in the cataclysm somehow, but it was probably a unique judgment of God on her for the state of her heart (a love for Sodom and regret for its destruction) shown by her looking back. i. “The word looked back has the connotation of looking intently. It might possibly be rendered lagged back, or maybe even returned back.” (Morris) ii. In referring to the end times, Jesus uttered some almost cryptic words in Luke 17:32: Remember Lot’s wife. In other words, no Christian should have a heart like Lot’s wife as we see the end of the age, a heart that loves the world, and will in some sense, regret the judgment God will bring on it. iii. We need to look forward to our deliverance, not back at a world passing away and ripe for judgment. 2. (27-29) Abraham learns of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt. a. Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord: We sense that Abraham, with deeply moved memory of the previous day, wanted to remember his meeting with God. b. He saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace: When Abraham saw the smoke of the these cities and their destruction, he could know that his request was answered. God delivered Lot before the destruction came. 3. (30-32) Lot and his daughters live in a wilderness cave. Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” a. Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains: We don’t know why Lot and his daughters became dissatisfied with Zoar – or the people of Zoar because dissatisfied with them. Yet for some reason, the left the small city of Zoar and went to the mountains and dwelt in a cave. b. Let us make our father drink wine: Lot and his family lost everything in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Even so, they quickly had a stock of wine. They either brought this with them or they obtained it in Zoar. c. We will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father: This is a remarkable - and seemingly desperate sin from Lot’s daughters. Some suggest that they believed that the whole world had perished with Sodom and Gomorrah, and it was now their responsibility to “repopulate” the earth. However, their brief time in Zoar was enough to show there were other people. i. Evidently they decided it was the only thing to do under the circumstances, except to trust God, which did not seem to occur to them at all. Obviously living in Sodom affected more than Lot. The effects were also clearly seen in his daughters. 4. (33-38) Moab and Ammon are born from this incestuous relationship. So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, “Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day. a. The firstborn went in and lay with her father: We may be uncomfortable with the idea that the Bible includes the record of such disgraceful sins. i. Yet, Donald Barnhouse observes: “It is far better for children to learn the facts of life from the Word of God where sin is condemned than from dirty words on alley walls, or from lewd stories. No one can escape knowledge of sin…these things are never mentioned without being accompanied by the stern warnings that God hates sin and punishes it.” ii. “Ironically, in his own drunkenness Lot carried out the shameful act that he himself had suggested to the men of Sodom: he lay with his own daughters.” (Sailhamer) b. Moab; he is the father of the Moabites…Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon: Their descendants would become enemies and obstacles for Israel, just like the descendants of Ishmael. Lot’s life ended in ruin (past, present, and future), all because of his love for the world. Genesis 20 - Abraham Lies About Sarah Again A. Abraham’s lie, God’s protection. 1. (1-2) Abraham lies in a similar manner as before. And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. a. Abraham journeyed from there to the South: After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham moved. Perhaps he did not want to live in the hills overlooking the destroyed region any longer, and be reminded of those people and the judgment visited upon them. b. Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” Abraham’s concern was probably not because Sarah looked like a young beauty at 90 years of age. We can surmise that she was reasonably attractive at that age, but more importantly she was connected to one of the richest and most influential men of the region. In that day, a harem was sometimes more of a political statement than a romantic statement. i. We should not ignore the idea of Sarah’s attractiveness even in old age. “She had in some measure been physically rejuvenated, in order to conceive, bear, and nurse Isaac, and possibly this manifested itself in renewed beauty as well.” (Morris) c. She is my sister: This is the same lie Abraham told back in Genesis 12:10-13. He showed that it was easy to slip back into sinful habits. Abraham stumbled in a place that he stumbled before. Instead of trusting God to keep his family together, he devised his own plan to do it. His plan would fail completely. i. Age does not automatically sanctify us. Unless yielded to the Spirit of God, we will repeat in our old age the sinful patterns of our youth. 2. (3-7) God threatens judgment upon Abimelech for taking Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” a. Indeed you are a dead man: This was a scary thing to hear from God, even in a dream. But the point had to be made to Abimelech, even though he could truly say he acted in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands. i. This may seem drastic, but the stakes were high. “Suppose Abimelech had taken Sarah and God had not intervened? Two seeds would have been at the door to Sarah’s womb, and to this day an element of doubt would cling to the ancestry of our Lord.” (Barnhouse) b. I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart: Because Abimelech’s heart was right in this regard, God kept him from worse sin. God’s protecting power can guide even a pagan king. i. Despite Abraham’s failure to really trust God in the situation, God was not going to abandon him. He would not let Abimelech touch Sarah. That womb was going to bring forth the son of promise, who would eventually bring forth God’s Messiah. God would not leave this matter up to man. c. For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you: Even though Abraham was in sin, he was still a prophet and man of powerful prayer. God’s mercy did not leave Abraham, even though Abraham didn’t trust God the way he should. B. Abraham is rebuked again. 1. (8-10) Abraham (just like last time) suffers rebuke from a heathen king. So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” a. You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done: It is sad to see that Abimelech - the pagan king - was in the right, and Abraham - the man of God was in the wrong, and Abimelech told Abraham so. b. What did you have in view, that you have done this thing? This was a logical question for Ahimelech to ask Abraham. Abraham certainly did not have the Lord in view when he lied and failed to trust God. 2. (11-13) Abraham’s excuse. And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ’ ” a. Surely the fear of God is not in the place: This was Abraham’s excuse for his sinful deception, but the real problem was that the fear of God wasn’t in Abraham. If he really respected the Lord, His commandments, His promises, and His protection, then Abraham would have never trusted in his own efforts to keep his family together. b. Indeed she is truly my sister: This was another attempt to justify his lie, by saying it was really the truth. But a half-truth, said with intent to deceive, is always a whole lie. c. When God called me to wander from my father’s house: This was an indirect way of blaming God for the problem. Abraham claimed that God sent him out on this dangerous journey upon which Abraham had to protect himself. i. “There is a terrible meaning in this verb wander which Abraham uses. The Hebrew word occurs exactly fifty times in Scripture and never in a good sense. It is used of animals going astray, of a drunken man reeling, or staggering, of sinful seduction, of a prophet’s lies causing the people to err, of the path of a lying heart. Six other words are translated wander, any one of which Abraham might have used, but he used the worst word available.” (Barnhouse) ii. “Abraham should have said: ‘Forgive me, Abimelech, for dishonoring both you and my God. My selfish cowardice overwhelmed me, and I denied my God by fearing that He who called me could not take care of me. He is not as your gods of wood and stone. He is the God of glory. He is the living God, the Creator, the most High God, possessor of heaven and earth. He told me He would be my shield and my exceeding great reward, and supplier of all my needs…In sinning against Him, I sinned against you. Forgive me, Abimelech.’” (Barnhouse) 3. (14-18) Abimelech’s gift recompenses Sarah, and Abraham prays for him. Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelech said, “See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” Then to Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody.” Thus she was reproved. So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; for the Lord had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. a. Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham: In showing such generosity to Abraham, Abimelech was essentially heaping coals of fire on Abraham’s head (as in Romans 12:20). Abraham should give gifts to Abimelech, because Abraham was in the wrong. i. Also, it is interesting to see Abraham accepted these gifts, when he had refused gifts from a pagan king previously (Genesis 14:21-24), because he wanted no one to think a man had made him rich. Here, because of Abraham’s compromise, he found it hard to reclaim the same high moral ground. b. I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver: We can imagine the irony in Abimelech’s voice when he referred to Abraham as Sarah’s brother. c. Thus she was reproved: The ancient Hebrew word for reproved is yakach. It has the idea of “set right,” so it is debatable if Sarah was set right by Abimelech’s rebuke, or if she was found to be right because of her humble submission in this occasion. In a sense, both were true.

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10. :: Harmonik Diferan Album 2013 ::

:: Harmonik Diferan Album 2013 ::

In a world where doubts are constantly being raised about the authenticity of the body parts of some of the most glamorous women in the media, the group Harmonik has taken it upon itself to praise the female sex on being “Naturel”…or natural. This song is one of many refreshing tracks to be found on the group’s album Diferan . “Naturel” tells the story of girls who hop into the club with mutant-seeming body parts that raise eyebrows. It also recounts the hair-raising moments everyday guys with names like Jean-Luc and Alain face when their respective girlfriends surprise them with breast augmentation jobs. M’prefere lè lè li natirèl Original se li ki pi bon… I like it natural You’re better off with what you were born with It’s really touching to see guys encouraging women to love their bodies and scoff those who go to extremes to achieve ideal beauty. If “Naturel” is about preaching self-love, self-acceptance, and self-contentment to the female gender, “Ou Se” (You Are…) ought to be called a psalm of sort, a psalm in the ears a woman—from a guy who absolutely adores her. The lyrics of the song are backed up by a really syrupy melody, and contain all these cute little metaphors. And plenty of vulnerability! Co-lead singer Mackendy “Mac D” Talon sings: Mwen fè’w kado tout nanm mwen… Ou ba nanm mwen manje Ou se somèy Ou banm aspirasyon viv Pa gen yon bout nan mwen ou pa wè Paske mwen ba wou tout sa’m genyen I’m wholeheartedly handing my soul over to you You feed my soul You’re my sleep You make me wanna live There’s not one side of me you haven’t seen ‘Cause I’ve given you all I have Si’w wè pye’m chape Kite mele’m kite’m tonbe pou ou… Si wè’m aji tankou yon ti bebe Se paske mwen danmou Ou se mèt mwen, ou se propriyete’m Ou se klète obskirite’m If I trip Who cares—I gladly fall over you If I’m acting like some little baby It’s because I’m in love You’re my master, and my legal and rightful owner You’re the light that brightens up my darkness And if “Ou Se” is indeed a psalm, “Mèsi” is a prayer of gratitude at the feet of a loving woman. “Mèsi” [Thank You] is undoubtedly the anthem of every man and woman whose heart was hacked to pieces by a bad romance, and who swore off love—supposedly forever—only to find the true love that makes them backtrack on their promise never to fall in love again. Here is a sample of the lyrics as sung by co-lead singer Sanders Solon: Ou montre mwen tout fi pa menm Ou fè’m rekwe nan lanmou Ou fè mwen wè lanmou yon lòt jan You showed me every girl isn’t the same You’ve made me believe in love again You’ve helped me see love from a different angle More than anything, the song is about the importance of expressing gratitude to that special person in our lives. harmonik8 The oddball on Diferan, “Apa’w Fache” (So, You’re Mad) serves as a sort of self-booster track for the group Harmonick. It’s about putting haters in their place, one of those you-ain’t-seen-nothing-yet type of tracks, and features another performer by the name of Shabba. “Ou Pa Ka Hang” (You Can’t Hang) has nothing to do with romance. It calls out senseless club denizens on their foolishness and on their vain attempts to get women’s attention by trying to impress them with faux VIP status. So much anguish, so much moaning and groaning is conveyed “Otan” (Enough). The song comes across as truly a perfect fit for co-lead singer Mac D, as his voice seems to have a lot of built-in hurt and pain. The setting for “Otan”? A relationship that’s more like a misery-ship. There’s plenty of distrust, agony, lack of communication, and there’s some indication that there could just be infidelity involved. Deterioration is just around the corner, one suspects. Listen to these words: Mwen pa konn antre’w, mwen pa konn soti’w… Se pa konsa nou te komanse Di mwen kote sa mal pase-o Don’t know when you come in, don’t know when you leave This ain’t how it was towards the beginning Tell me where we went wrong Ou fè tout sa ou vle, san yon retisans Pitò ou repanse You do whatever you feel like, without as much as a little restraint Looks to me like you need to rethink things a bit Now, the woes of love are forgotten when the song “Illegal” makes its entrance. Chak fwa mwen tande vwa’w Se kòmsi Bondye kap pale, e fòm tande Every time I hear your voice It’s like God speaking to me and I have no choice but to listen Oh! Now, that’s some love! Tout sa mwen vle fè’w Mwen pral fè ou ilegal Everything I’m wanting to do with you Everything I’m going to do isn’t exactly legal Mwen pral fè’w deraye, debòde, depale… Mwen pral fè’w site non mwen pou tout latè tande I’m going to make you go haywire, go crazy, and stutter I’m going to make you shout my name for everyone around the globe to hear Listening to this “Illegal”, I couldn’t help but think of “I’m a Freak”, and “Ill Nana”—two songs by the group Carimi—and draw contrasts. Whereas those two aforementioned songs are about exploiting a woman for a tryst, “Illegal” is about sharing tender moments in a monogamous relationship. The woman is truly given respect as an equal partner in “Illegal”, whereas in “I’m a Freak” and “Ill Nana”, the treatment she receives hinders on disrespect. Diferan—the album’s title track—is well, different. Its storyline is about the neighborhood ugly duckling who sets his sight on the most beautiful and popular girl around. This song is really original, lyrical-wise. Men can be as insecure as they want to be, but they are not expected to verbalize it. But listening to the lyrics as sung by Mac D, “Diferan” shows that not only is it alright for men to be insecure about their looks, but there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with them conveying it with utter honesty to a woman. Mwen pa flannè, ni mwen pa konn abiye Men mwen konesans ak la rezon… Gade nan kè’m wa wè I am by no means a dandy, and I can’t dress to save my life But I’m smart, and I’m pretty reasonable… Look directly in my heart, and you’ll see “Bèl Ti Moman” (Good Times), sung by a third lead singer Nickenson Prud’homme, delineates all those relationships we continuously hold on to, no matter how toxic they are, just because can’t let go of a few, isolated happy moments. In the end, those relationships have to be let go slowly but surely, as the rare glorious moments cannot really override the emotional damage done by less happier moments. Looking for a song laced with plenty of begging, supplication, and more begging? “Mwen Bouke” (I’m Had It Up to Here) is your track! What a song! A cheater confessed, and he was forgiven, or so he thought. She had sworn him forgiveness, but every time she thinks of his betrayal, she can’t help but feel stabbed at the heart again! What more can he say to be forgiven, what more! Yeah, it’s easy for him to say! He wasn’t the one who received the emotional blow of being cheated on. Singer Mac D sings: Cheri mwen bouke, mwen bouke sipliye Ba’m yon chans pou’m met lanmou’m a levidans Sispann releve yon pènn ki aleje Mwen bouke mande’w Mande’w padon Babes, I’m tired of doing all this begging Give me the opportunity to show you how much I love you Stop trying to open the scabs of a wound that’s healing I’m tired of asking… Asking for you to forgive me Ooh, all that begging! Ooh! And the voice of the singer is so aggrieved, so sorrowful, so repentant, so passionate, you want to sign a petition to ask this girl to please, please find it in her heart somehow to forgive his trespasses. He’s bouke! “Diferan” ends on an open-ended note. Let’s hope that the ugly toad gets the pretty girl, and that the cheater in “Mwen Bouke” is dumped for good. But, we do leave in a topsy-turvy world, so most likely the pretty and popular girl will continue to be haughty and write off the good guy and the girl being supplicated in “Mwen Bouke” might forgive completely, only to be on cheated again. But to the credit of the cheater in “Mwen Bouke”, he does sound repentant, and he’s hard at work trying to make amends. Shall we revisit the song again? Mwen panse ou ta'p chanje Cheri, mwen bouke Mwen pa mande pou ou padone mwen, dijou ak landemen Mwen fè tout sa mwen kapab, pou'm pa refè'w kriye Mwen pa konn kiyes pou'm envoke pou'w ka bliye Mwen gen enpresyon ou jwenn plezi, nan fè'm krezi Mwen santi mwen bouke, bouke mande'w padon Toumante'm, paske ou pa vle'm ankò Why do I have to say, pou'w ka repran'm ankò Ou mache sou kè'm ase Just let it go Years have gone by I thought you’d change Baby, I’m tired I’m not asking you to forgive me overnight I’m doing my best not to bring you any more pain I don’t know who to pray to anymore to get you to forgive me I get a feeling that you’re getting some sick pleasure out of driving me crazy I’m fed up with saying sorry I’m tormented over the fact that you don’t want me anymore What more can I say, so you can take me back You’ve walked all over my heart, as it is Just let it go Mwen pa twompe’w ankò… Tout sa pa sifi Pou dat mwen prizonye’w Mete’w sou yon pedestal Tout sa pa sifi Finalman, mwen bouke I’m not cheating on you anymore And that’s still not enough I’ve been your prisoner for a minute I’ve put you above everything And yet, none of that is enough At this point, I’m fed up It’s hard to forget the dazzling “Mwen Bouke”, with its graceful melody and superb arrangements. The vocal skills of Solon, and Talon are utilized effectively. There’s a lot of passion in the voices of these singers, as if they’ve both lived the story that the song chronicles. The three singers that make up Harmonik—Prud’homme, Solon, and Talon—are three pretty boys, but they are pretty boys who can sing, and sing fairly well. The album Diferan is oh, so romantic.The finger-pointing, and excessive woman-blaming is at a reasonable level. The melodies are rather sweet, and the songwriting is by no means hackneyed. The songwriters who worked on the album truly found new ways to convey the intricacies of love, and the song “Diferan” is one of the best examples of this. Between “Mèsi”, “Otan”, “Bèl Ti Moman”, “Mwen Bouke”, Diferan has enough tracks to fill the life of the average romantic with a soundtrack for every stage of love, whether it’s grieving loss of love, the positives of love, and the most intimate moments of a relationship. source Haitian Music Review, Diferan By Harmonik

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11. Nehemiah 10-13 (Israel’s Covenant with God; Dedication of the Wall; Nehemiah’s Reforms)

Nehemiah 10-13 (Israel’s Covenant with God; Dedication of the Wall; Nehemiah’s Reforms)

Nehemiah 10 - Israel’s Covenant with God A. Roster of those who signed the covenant. 1. (1-8) Nehemiah and the priests signed the covenant. Now those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests. a. Those who placed their seal on the document: At the end of Nehemiah chapter 9, the people had come to a place of decision, and now, collectively, the nation was going to do something about it by entering into a covenant. i. Nehemiah 8:38 gives the sense of this: And because of all this, we make a sure covenant and write it; and our leaders and our Levites and our priests shall seal it. ii. In Nehemiah 8:38, make a covenant is literally “cut a covenant”; covenants were not made in the ancient world, they were cut - because almost always an animal was sacrificed as part of the covenant. A covenant always cost something, and our point of decision will cost us something - the self-life, comfort, ease, some of the passing pleasures of this world. Count the cost to see if it’s worth it! b. Those who placed their seal on the document: It was wonderful for the nation as a whole to feel that something had to be done about the sin problem among them. But it was meaningless unless individuals came forth to say “we will do something about this.” Here are the leaders (84 in all) willing to put their name on the line for the covenant before God. c. On the document: These people in Nehemiah’s day knew what covenants were all about, and how important they were to God. They remembered God made a covenant with Abraham, promising that both a nation and the Messiah would descend from him; God made a covenant with Moses and the nation of Israel when He gave them the law at Mount Sinai; God made a covenant with King David, promising the Messiah would come from his family. But the greatest covenant, the New Covenant instituted by the Messiah, was yet to come. 2. (9-13) The Levites who signed the covenant. The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, and Kadmiel. Their brethren: Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Bani, and Beninu. 3. (14-27) The civic leaders who signed the covenant. The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah. B. The terms of the covenant. 1. (28-29) The making of the covenant with God. Now the rest of the people; the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding; these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes: a. Now the rest of the people: The 84 mentioned previously sealed the covenant, but the rest of the people - that is, everyone who had knowledge and understanding - also made the covenant with God. b. Entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law: In making the covenant, they agreed to accept a curse from God if they did not obey His law. They accepted the curse as a form of His correction, to bring them back to obedience. i. Many of us have done a similar thing. We probably didn’t pray “God, curse me if I disobey You.” But many of us have prayed, “Lord, whatever it takes I want to follow You. Whatever it takes I want to be Your man.” That is essentially praying the same thing, and that is a good prayer. c. Their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding: They made this covenant publicly; though its most significant meaning was between the individual and God, it was also important that other people be witness to the covenant. A public covenant meant accountability. 2. (30) Their first area of decision: we will be faithful to God when it comes to our romantic relationships. We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; a. We would not give our daughters as wives to the people of the land: This promise was addressed to parents. This is because in that day, parents made the marriage decisions, not the people getting married. i. If this covenant were to be repeated today, it wouldn’t be focused towards the parents, but towards the individuals who wanted to get married. b. We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land: This preserved the important principle that a follower of God should only marry another similarly committed follower of God. It is obvious by experience and observation that it is important to carefully and prayerfully choose your spouse. i. Many of us have remarkable stories of how we came together with our mate - some stories are romantic, and others are kind of strange. Once we are together, God wants to make that marriage something special before Him, and desires to draw the couple closer together as they draw closer to God, as the sides of a triangle come closer as they come higher up. ii. But if one is not now married, it is important for them to make the same kind of covenant. If one has given their life to serving Jesus Christ, there will be difficulty if they marry someone who has given their life to something else. If one is in that situation now, God can do great things, but one should never knowingly choose to be in that place from the beginning. iii. The whole idea of marriage is closely connected to the idea of covenant. Malachi 2:14 says, Yet she is your companion, and your wife by covenant. Marriage is a covenant, between the husband and wife, between them and all family and witness, but most importantly, between them and God. iv. When we understand marriage as a covenant, we have something to bond us together that is stronger than society’s expectations, more constant than romantic love, and more certain than happy times - we have a covenant. 3. (31) Second area of decision: we will be faithful to God when it comes to doing business. If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. a. If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day: Under the Old Testament law, God said that no one could buy or sell anything on the Sabbath day. These citizens of Jerusalem had been breaking this law, and they now covenant with God to obey it. b. We would not buy it from them on the Sabbath: The motive for breaking this law was clear. They could make more money selling on seven days of the week instead of six days. This was a covenant to only make money in ways that were obedient and glorifying to God. i. This is a great challenge for the church today, when many are in careers where they have the opportunity to make money in ways that are plain wrong. We need to have the same heart they had here, and covenant before God to only make money in ways that are obedient and glorifying to Him. ii. Many of us - as was true in Nehemiah’s day - slip into these practices subtly. We don’t wake up in the morning saying we’re going to cut corners, cheat others, and defraud the system. We do it because we think we need to - bills need to be paid, the kids need things, and so on. Then we do it because it works. But we don’t really need to; if we trust God, He will take care of us. We should never trust our slick ways of doing business more than we trust God in heaven. 4. (32-39) The third area of decision: we will be faithful to God when it comes to supporting God’s work. Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. We cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the LORD our God as it is written in the Law. And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the LORD; to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God. a. To exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: They laid down a yearly tax to support the workings of the temple. They required people to bring wood to the temple on a rotating basis. They committed themselves to obey the command to bring the firstborn and the firstfruits, and the tithe (ten percent of the produce of their land) unto the house of God. i. They simply did two things. First, they agreed to give as God had commanded (the firstborn, firstfruits, and the tithe). Second, they agreed to give as the special need required (the one-third of a shekel tax and the wood). ii. Firstborn and firstfruits were risky ways to give, because your land might not yield much more produce, and your cow or ewe might not give birth again - yet the first still belonged to God, and was given to the priests. God promised to bless this giving of the firstfruits and firstborn in faith: Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10). b. We will not neglect the house of our God: If before they covenanted to make money only in ways that would glorify God, here they covenant to spend their money in ways that glorify God - and beginning it all with giving unto the Lord. c. We will not neglect the house of our God: Simply said, the Bible says we need to be givers. Not so much for the sake of those we give to, but because giving sets our heart right about material things. God Himself is the greatest giver. i. If you hold on to money so tightly that you will not be a giver, than you have revealed where your heart is when it comes to money. ii. The New Testament speaks with great clarity on the principle of giving; that giving should be regular, planned, proportional, and private (1 Corinthians 16:1-4); that it must be generous, freely given, and cheerful (2 Corinthians 9). iii. If you are reluctant to be a giver as the Bible says you should, simply talk to those who are. Ask them if it has been a blessing or a curse in their life to give as God says to. God promises He will never owe us anything, and we cannot out-give God - though the return is often far better than dollars and cents. Nehemiah 11 - The Citizens of Jerusalem A. Recruiting citizens of Jerusalem. 1. (1) Those who will live in Jerusalem. Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities. a. To bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem: It wasn’t enough to see the city walls rebuilt and the spiritual renewal of the people of Jerusalem; now they concerned themselves with getting more people into the city. i. For a city to prosper and be great, it must be populated. And for more than seventy years, Jerusalem had been nothing but a ghost town. Now, over the last eighty or so years, it has been repopulated, with a new temple built (under Ezra) and the walls rebuilt (under Nehemiah). But the city still needed more people. ii. Nehemiah also knew the bigger the population of Jerusalem, the greater the resources for defense and strength in battle. He didn’t rebuild the walls just to see some conquering army come and break them down again! b. Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: It was good that the leaders of the people set the example by living in Jerusalem. Leaders must set the pattern by their lives. They had no right to expect the people to live in Jerusalem if they themselves were not living there. c. One out of ten: The rest of the people submitted themselves to a lottery system, where one out of ten would be selected to move from the surrounding regions into the city of Jerusalem. So, in the end, at least ten percent of Judah’s population would live in Jerusalem. 2. (2) Blessing the citizens of Jerusalem. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. a. And the people blessed all the men: Apart from the leaders (who had a special obligation) and those selected in the lottery (who were also obligated), there were all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. These men had a special blessing. i. They had a unique pioneer spirit. They had the ability to endure some measure of hardship or discomfort to accomplish a greater work for God’s kingdom. ii. It was in these days in the rebuilding of Jerusalem that God asked and important question through the prophet Zechariah: For who has despised the day of small things? (Zechariah 4:10). The answer is, “Many of us have!” But these who offered themselves to willingly live at Jerusalem, so as to take what is small and build it up before the Lord, have decided to not despise the day of small things. b. To dwell at Jerusalem: If such a blessing is reserved for those who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem, there was something special about the challenge of living in Jerusalem. i. To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-order your view of material things. You had to give up land in your previous region and take up some kind of new business in Jerusalem. ii. To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-arrange your social priorities, certainly leaving some friends and family behind in your old village. iii. To live in Jerusalem, you had to have a mind to endure the problems in the city. It had been a ghost town for 70 years, and was now basically a slightly rebuilt, somewhat repopulated ghost town. The city didn’t look all that glorious and it needed work. iv. To live in Jerusalem, you had to live knowing you were a target for the enemy. There were strong walls to protect you, but since Jerusalem was now a notable city with rebuilt walls, the fear was more from whole armies than bands of robbers. The old village was nice, but not in much danger from great armies. v. The Bible tells us there is a city coming down from heaven to earth, when God is done with this earth as we know it, and it calls that city New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2). People don’t want to be citizens of the New Jerusalem for the same reasons many didn’t want to be citizens of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem. B. Roster of those living in Jerusalem and in Judea. 1. (3-24) Leaders who lived in Jerusalem. These are the heads of the province who dwelt in Jerusalem. (But in the cities of Judah everyone dwelt in his own possession in their cities; Israelites, priests, Levites, Nethinim, and descendants of Solomon’s servants.) Also in Jerusalem dwelt some of the children of Judah and of the children of Benjamin. The children of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the children of Perez; and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Col-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni. All the sons of Perez who dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred and sixty-eight valiant men. And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah; and after him Gabbai and Sallai, nine hundred and twenty-eight. Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer, and Judah the son of Senuah was second over the city. Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, and Jachin; Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the leader of the house of God. Their brethren who did the work of the house were eight hundred and twenty-two; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchijah, and his brethren, heads of the fathers’ houses, were two hundred and forty-two; and Amashai the son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, and their brethren, mighty men of valor, were one hundred and twenty-eight. Their overseer was Zabdiel the son of one of the great men. Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the heads of the Levites, had the oversight of the business outside of the house of God; Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the leader who began the thanksgiving with prayer; Bakbukiah, the second among his brethren; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred and eighty-four. Moreover the gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren who kept the gates, were one hundred and seventy-two. And the rest of Israel, of the priests and Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, everyone in his inheritance. But the Nethinim dwelt in Ophel. And Ziha and Gishpa were over the Nethinim. Also the overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha, of the sons of Asaph, the singers in charge of the service of the house of God. For it was the king’s command concerning them that a certain portion should be for the singers, a quota day by day. Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was the king’s deputy in all matters concerning the people. a. These are the heads of the province: This extensive list includes tribal leaders (of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin), military men, priests, Levites, gatekeepers, and civil and royal servants. b. Who dwelt in Jerusalem: All these notable men and their families took the lead by choosing to settle in Jerusalem, setting a good example for all God’s people. 2. (25-36) Jewish villages and towns throughout Judea. And as for the villages with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt in Kirjath Arba and its villages, Dibon and its villages, Jekabzeel and its villages; in Jeshua, Moladah, Beth Pelet, Hazar Shual, and Beersheba and its villages; in Ziklag and Meconah and its villages; in En Rimmon, Zorah, Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages; in Lachish and its fields; in Azekah and its villages. They dwelt from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom. Also the children of Benjamin from Geba dwelt in Michmash, Aija, and Bethel, and their villages; in Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah; in Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim; in Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat; in Lod, Ono, and the Valley of Craftsmen. Some of the Judean divisions of Levites were in Benjamin. Nehemiah 12 - Dedication of the Wall A. Priestly and Levitical families. 1. (1-11) Priests and Levites in the days of Zerubbabel, the high priest. Now these are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the heads of the priests and their brethren in the days of Jeshua. Moreover the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah who led the thanksgiving psalms, he and his brethren. Also Bakbukiah and Unni, their brethren, stood across from them in their duties. Jeshua begot Joiakim, Joiakim begot Eliashib, Eliashib begot Joiada, Joiada begot Jonathan, and Jonathan begot Jaddua. 2. (12-21) Priests in the days of Joiakim. Now in the days of Joiakim, the priests, the heads of the fathers’ houses were: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; of Melichu, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; of Abijah, Zichri; the son of Minjamin; of Moadiah, Piltai; of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; and of Jedaiah, Nethanel. 3. (22-26) Levites during the reign of Darius the Persian. During the reign of Darius the Persian, a record was also kept of the Levites and priests who had been heads of their fathers’ houses in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua. The sons of Levi, the heads of the fathers’ houses until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib, were written in the book of the chronicles. And the heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and give thanks, group alternating with group, according to the command of David the man of God. Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers keeping the watch at the storerooms of the gates. These lived in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe. B. The dedication ceremony. 1. (27-29) Gathering the Levites for the dedication ceremony. Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem. a. The sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem: The Levites had many responsibilities in the life and worship of Israel, but one of the most important jobs they had was to lead the people in songs of worship and praise to God. b. To celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing: Mostly, they did not sing without musical instruments. Here are specifically mentioned cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. i. There are at least twenty-two different musical instruments mentioned in the Bible, including the harp, the lyre (an ancient guitar), horns, trumpets, flutes, tambourines, drums, cymbals, and bells. ii. The Levites were specially appointed to use these instruments to lead the people in worshipping God through singing. c. Sons of the singers . . . the singers had built themselves villages: There were also specially appointed singers. The singers in Nehemiah’s day had a close-knit bond, both by families and living arrangements. i. Since the job of these singers was to lead the people in worship of God, they had to be good singers; but more importantly, they had to be people of worship themselves. ii. There is a huge difference between being a great singer and being a great leader of songs of worship to God. Worship should be excellent, but it isn’t entertainment. The goal isn’t to give the people a good feeling (though that may happen), but to give glory and honor to God. 2. (30) Purification. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall. a. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves: They did this first. They could not effectively lead the people in worship of God unless they walked in purity before the Lord. b. And purified the people: The next did this. They brought cleansing to the people the way the Bible said to, knowing that only a purified people could really worship and praise God. i. Some might silently object here; they may say, “I know a person who goes to church and seems to be lost in beautiful praise and worship to God, and I also know their life is rather impure outside the church walls. It sure seems they are worshipping God, but are personally impure.” ii. Something is wrong there; probably, their worship is not a true worship of God in spirit and in truth, but instead a “soulish” experience. All that inwardly moves a person in a deep way is not necessarily of the spirit; it can be of the soul. One of the great works of the Word of God is to divide between that which is truly spiritual and that which is merely soulish (Hebrews 4:12). iii. Without purity, we can’t worship God in spirit and in truth, as Jesus commanded us to (John 4:24). Psalm 24:3-4 asks, Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, and it means it in the sense of bringing praise to God. iv. We can be made pure and clean before God today, right now, by doing what the Bible says to do - not in following an Old Testament ceremony, but by receiving the word of the New Testament: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) c. The gates, and the wall: Third, their surroundings were purified. Purified surrounding help us to walk in purity consistently. The homes and offices of many Christians could use a good purification and cleansing. 3. (31-43) Two choirs lead Jerusalem in joyful praise. So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs. One went to the right hand on the wall toward the Refuse Gate. After them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, and some of the priests’ sons with trumpets; Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph, and his brethren, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. Ezra the scribe went before them. By the Fountain Gate, in front of them, they went up the stairs of the City of David, on the stairway of the wall, beyond the house of David, as far as the Water Gate eastward. The other thanksgiving choir went the opposite way, and I was behind them with half of the people on the wall, going past the Tower of the Ovens as far as the Broad Wall, and above the Gate of Ephraim, above the Old Gate, above the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped by the Gate of the Prison. So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God, likewise I and the half of the rulers with me; and the priests, Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minjamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. The singers sang loudly with Jezrahiah the director. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off. a. Appointed two large thanksgiving choirs: The two large choirs were called thanksgiving choirs for good reason. All praise and worship must have a strong element of thanksgiving to God for it to be genuine. i. Notice that the singers sang loudly. They had to be heard, because as glorious as the instruments were, the people would follow the lead of the singers in worship. b. God made them rejoice with great joy: God did this with the choirs assembled, and the people spread all about. They were then overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving, considering all God had done. c. The women and the children also rejoiced: This tremendous experience of worship was for everyone. There weren’t some who weren’t able to worship. d. The joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off: Their worship was a testimony to others, and what others heard was not so much the singing itself as the joy. We often worry about others hearing us sing; but what God wants to hear and what others should hear is not so much your singing, but your joy. 3. (44-47) Other aspects of this day of joy. And at the same time some were appointed over the rooms of the storehouse for the offerings, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions specified by the Law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who ministered. Both the singers and the gatekeepers kept the charge of their God and the charge of the purification, according to the command of David and Solomon his son. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. In the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah all Israel gave the portions for the singers and the gatekeepers, a portion for each day. They also consecrated holy things for the Levites, and the Levites consecrated them for the children of Aaron. a. Some were appointed over the rooms of the storehouse for the offerings: This was a day of giving. People brought their offerings, firstfruits, tithes to the storehouse of the Levites, and they did it with joy because they enjoyed supporting the priests and Levites ministering on their behalf. b. Both the singers and the gatekeepers kept the charge of their God and the charge of the purification: This was a day of purity. It was an ongoing concern, not a one-time ceremony. c. They also consecrated holy things for the Levites: It was a day of consecration. Holy things were set apart for the Levites, speaking of the separation unto God. Nehemiah 13 - Nehemiah’s Reforms A. True worship leads to the nation’s obedience. 1. (1-2) Hearing the law brings a call to obedience. On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God, because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing. a. No Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God: As the people drew near to God in worship (as seen in Nehemiah 11 and 12), they became aware of God’s standards. In this case the standard stated in Deuteronomy 23:3-4, where the Ammonites and Moabites were not to be regarded as part of Israel. b. Because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water: The Ammonites and Moabites were singled out because of their devious schemes against Israel, when Israel came into the promised land - at least a thousand years before this. i. Long before the Ammonites and Moabites had schemed against Israel, God had made a promise to the father of the Jewish people, Abraham: I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you (Genesis 12:3). The command about the Ammonites and the Moabites is a simple fulfillment of this promise. c. Should ever come into the assembly of God: This meant to be regarded as one of the people of Israel and people of God. It meant one could fully participate in the spiritual life of Israel. i. An Israelite became a part of God’s covenant by birth; but an Ammonite or Moabite could not. They had to become a part of the covenant by choice - by joining with God’s covenant people and leaving their own people. ii. This command was a powerful message - both then and now. It said to these Ammonites and Moabites, “You are not a part of the people of God by birth. You must make a choice. You can not live the thinking and deeds of your anti-God culture, and truly join in the spiritual life of God’s people. Unless you leave one and join the other, you will never really be a part of this spiritual life. Come join us!” d. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing: This refers to the events of Numbers 22-24, where God blessed Israel, even though the prophet Balaam wanted to curse them. It also reminds us that God is able - more than able - to turn any curse into a blessing. 2. (3) After hearing God’s command, Israel obeys and separates from the mixed multitude. So it was, when they had heard the Law, that they separated all the mixed multitude from Israel. a. They separated all the mixed multitude from Israel: They could have thought of 20 reasons to not do what the word of God plainly told them to do. Instead, they simply obeyed. i. They might have made familiar excuses: · “That command was made long ago, and speaks to a different time.” · “Things are different now.” · “Let’s not go overboard.” · “Let’s assign a task force to examine the issue.” b. The mixed multitude: This refers to those who wanted to associate with the people of Israel, but did not want to count the cost and make a full commitment. i. Even today, there may be people of good will in churches; honorable people, who respect God and His word. Yet they are part of the mixed multitude because they have not received God’s covenant of salvation in Jesus. Such people are welcome, but it should be understood where they stand. B. Nehemiah’s reforms. 1. (4-9) Temple reforms. Now before this, Eliashib the priest, having authority over the storerooms of the house of our God, was allied with Tobiah. And he had prepared for him a large room, where previously they had stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, the tithes of grain, the new wine and oil, which were commanded to be given to the Levites and singers and gatekeepers, and the offerings for the priests. But during all this I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Then after certain days I obtained leave from the king, and I came to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room. Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. a. But during all this I was not in Jerusalem: This section indicates that Nehemiah left Jerusalem and went back to his duties in the Persian court. He was gone from Jerusalem for anywhere from 10 to 12 years. i. Nehemiah left sometime after the remarkable spiritual revival noted in the recent chapters. But the real test of revival - the real test of God’s work in our lives - is the long term. It is seeing where we are with the Lord ten years after a season of great work. b. I came to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah: When Nehemiah came back, he saw that Eliashib the priest had entered into agreements with one of the enemies of Nehemiah’s work of rebuilding the wall - Tobiah. i. Incidentally, Tobiah was an Ammonite (Nehemiah 2:10) - one of the very mixed multitude that had been put out of the assembly of God’s people some 10 years before. At this point in the record of Nehemiah, Tobiah was not only present among the assembly, he actually rented rooms in the temple courts. ii. Apparently, Tobiah had not changed over the years. He did not join the people of God in the terms of His covenant. The problem was evident to Nehemiah - but Eliashib was completely blind to it. c. And it grieved me bitterly: There were many reasons why this was so distressing to Nehemiah. i. Because rooms in the courts of the temple of God were being occupied by a man not only a pagan, but who also had a history of actively opposing God’s work in the days of Nehemiah. ii. Because it reflected so badly on Eliashib (a man who was a spiritual leader in Israel) and those around him. It showed that if Eliashib was blind to a problem area, there was also no one around him who could confront him with the problem. iii. Because it made Nehemiah question the lasting value of the spiritual revival he witnessed when last in Jerusalem. d. Therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room: Nehemiah wasn’t one just to sit back and grieve. He took action - throwing all Tobiah’s stuff out of the rooms he occupied in the temple courts, then ceremonially cleansing the rooms, and finally by putting the rooms to their proper use - as storerooms for the sacred things of the temple. i. Nehemiah is much like Jesus when He cleansed the temple from those who profaned it. Both Jesus and Nehemiah had the wisdom to not confuse love with being “nice” - and the wisdom to know when to take bold action. 2. (10-14) Financial reforms. I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them; for each of the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to his field. So I contended with the rulers, and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their place. Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse. And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouse Shelemiah the priest and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah; and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered faithful, and their task was to distribute to their brethren. Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for its services! a. I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them: The people did not obey God’s word regarding giving. Because of the lack of support, those who should give their time to the service of God and His people (the Levites and the singers) could not - and they had to leave that service. b. Why is the house of God forsaken? The lack of giving was a way of forsaking the house of God. c. I gathered them all together and set them in their place: Nehemiah set the situation right by expecting the Levites and the singers to recommit to the work of serving God and His people as they should. He also reorganized the collection and accounting of the people’s tithes and gifts. 3. (15-22) Priority reform. In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions. Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day. Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy! a. In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath: The Sabbath was being ignored in disobedience to God’s clear command under the Old Covenant. Foreigners sold and the people of Israel bought. i. At the root, this was a problem of priorities. There is nothing wrong with buying and selling, only when our desire to buy and sell, to make money or spend money, becomes more important to us than honoring God. This was a clear way the people of Israel were putting making and spending money before glorifying God. ii. The New Testament makes it clear we are not under the law of the Sabbath in the same sense Israel was under the Old Covenant (Colossians 2:16-17); but we are certainly under the same obligation to make honoring God more important than making money or spending money. b. You bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath: Nehemiah knew that sin was not only a personal issue. When such open sin is winked at and left uncorrected among God’s people, it invites the correcting hand of God. i. Nehemiah wasn’t going to sit still for this; he threatened If you do so again, I will lay hands on you! He did not mean the gentle laying on of hands for prayer, but the rough laying on of hands for correction. 4. (23-31a) Relationship reform. In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?” And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite; therefore I drove him from me. Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. Thus I cleansed them of everything pagan. I also assigned duties to the priests and the Levites, each to his service, and to bringing the wood offering and the firstfruits at appointed times. a. In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab: In the years Nehemiah was away the Israelites had resumed their practice of intermarrying with the pagan nations surrounding them. This was in dramatic disobedience to God’s command. b. So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear: From this strong reaction of Nehemiah, we gather he considered this to be the most dangerous of their sins - pursing ungodly romance, and getting involved in romantic relationships God had said “no” to. i. His example of Solomon is well taken (Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? . . . pagan women caused even him to sin). If Solomon, one of the wisest and most blessed men ever, sinned with unwise and ungodly romance then no one else should consider themselves invulnerable. 5. (31b) Conclusion: Nehemiah’s clear conscience. Remember me, O my God, for good! a. Remember me: At the end of it all, Nehemiah knew he did his best to make the people of God strong, safe, and secure. Beyond that, he also led them to be pure, worshipful, and obedient. b. Remember me, O my God, for good! Yet, Nehemiah certainly carried a sense of failure. In Nehemiah 10 the people made a solemn covenant to God that they would not do three things: have ungodly romantic relationships (10:30), buy and sell on the Sabbath (10:31), and support the work of God with money as He commanded (10:32-39). i. Nevertheless, in Nehemiah 13, some 10 to 12 years later, Israel was steeped in the exact sins they vowed to stop. Nehemiah had to address the problems of ungodly romantic relationships (13:23-31), buying and selling on the Sabbath (13:15-22), and failing to support the work of God as He commanded (13:10-14). ii. In Nehemiah 10:39 the people promised: we will not neglect the house of our God. But later in Nehemiah 13:11, Nehemiah had to ask: Why is the house of God forsaken? It was forsaken because Israel did not keep its promises before God. iii. This makes a point vividly clear: the law - that is, rules, vows, promises, covenants, and the such, are all ultimately powerless to stop sin. Only the grace of God, alive and flowing in our lives, can give us the power to truly overcome sin. iv. Paul expresses this in Romans 8:3, among other places: For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Too many Christians look for victory in the making of rules, of vows, of promises - and fail to find it, because all those things tend to make us look to ourselves, instead of looking to Jesus. v. The Old Testament history of Israel, from beginning to end, illustrates this. When the nation was first born at the Exodus, despite the most spectacular miracles, displays of God’s glory, and revelation of the law, the people sinned, by crediting a gold calf with their deliverance from Egypt! And now here, at the end of the Old Testament history of God’s people in the promised land, Nehemiah is pulling hair out - his own and those of sinners - because they couldn’t keep their promises to God. vi. If we could be saved by our own promises, by our own commitment to Jesus, then His death would have been noble, but unnecessary. We aren’t saved by some vow we make, or some leaf we turn over, but by trusting in who Jesus is, and what He has done to save us.

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12. My Caprice (Contra Ville vs. Lucid Optics)

  • Published: 2012-04-02T01:24:58Z
  • By Justjoey
My Caprice (Contra Ville vs. Lucid Optics)

Contra Optics presents "My Caprice" Piano, bass, drums, recording, production, mixing, mastering by Lucid Optics Guitar, vocals by Mitch Waldman Saxophone by Brenden Carol Artwork by Cody Horwood My caprice is my love And I know that it burns fast Like a match soaked in gas. Straight through from Paris To somewhere south of Naples In a town where there is only sea, All this distance in between us All the longing so egregious Felt like some lead encasing me. But just like a mirage Seen from so far away The closer I came The more strange that it behaved. My love, that burning flame, That kept my eyes open at night Was just a bit of lust Fogging up my young mind. When the plane touched on the ground And all the waiting was done The fire in my heart Was extinguished by my one My one and only hope That like in all films which we saw Grabbing hold of you then Was the most Romantic joy of all. But my caprice is my love And I know that it burns fast Like a match soaked in gas. I've found that Love's a lie It's Conceit in a nice disguise So forgive me for my ways But you have to recognize That remorse is just for fools That I don't play this game fair Each first love feels so damn new Yet as familiar as the air. When I say "I love you true," Beware my flashing eyes Don't think I never knew How to make you say, "I love you." My caprice is my love And I know that it burns fast Like a match soaked in gas.

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13. Saunder Jurriaans Interlude

  • Published: 2013-05-14T01:06:41Z
  • By Nomi Ruiz
Saunder Jurriaans Interlude Jessica 6 T-Shirts now available at After an extensive world tour in support of ‘See The Light’, her electronic dance music debut as Jessica 6, after her stint fronting Hercules & Love Affair, singer/songwriter Nomi Ruiz was offered an artist residency at Alanna Heiss’ Clocktower Gallery, a legendary New York City alternative art space for exhibitions, performances, long-term and site-specific installations, and artist residencies. In 1976, Heiss founded P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the Clocktower became an auxiliary space for artist residencies and group shows of emerging artists. For two months, Nomi installed herself in the Clocktower’s artist production studio. Located on the top floor of a 19th Century McKim, Mead & White building in Lower Manhattan, the Clocktower has presented formative work by some of the most important artists of our time, including Gordon Matta-Clark, Max Neuhaus, Lynda Benglis, Dennis Oppenheim, Vito Acconci, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Laurie Anderson, David Tudor, Marina Abramovid, and Christian Marclay, among many others. Today, the Clocktower presents a full program of exhibitions, performances, and residencies that honor the spirit of the alternative spaces movement by focusing on experimental, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational projects. Upon entering the Clocktower’s production studio, Nomi began sifting through past material which she had archived over the last 10 years. She began piecing together an album containing some of her most personal works, an album titled ‘Borough Gypsy’ which had since become a myth after entering the world of Electronic Dance Music. With ‘Borough Gypsy’, Nomi Ruiz takes the listener on a lo-fi cassette tape trip down memory lane using the grit of 90’s Hip Hop combined with Soul and acoustic folk elements. She relives intimate moments of her life growing up in Brooklyn, New York at a time when gang culture ran rampant. Topped with her poetic journalism, somber vocal arrangements and catty alter-ego rhymes, she weaves the tale of an urban gypsy who wheels and deals in sex, love, drugs, and darkness while sifting through the psychological effects of her upbringing. She touches on topics such as being abandoned by her father and its effects on her dangerous romantic tendencies in the loopy track titled ‘Scarred’, where she declares, “...father left me when I was just a child, so I spent all my life following his shadow, and here you are...”. She also deals with filling the shoes of a mistress through the raunchy-humor of ‘Maybe She Suspects’ produced by German producer Goersch, and describes her physical transformation in the self-produced ‘Burn All These Bones’ where she sings, “spawned from a body confused in its shame, told I would never live up to its name, each bit of flesh on me under your blade...”. The album unfolds in a collage of sound. Like a long ride in a taxi cab or subway cart, the sounds of traffic, trains, horses, children playing, guitarists on street corners, beat boxers, vinyl and tape are all sewn together with the Boom Bap of 90’s Hip Hop and the constant thread that is Nomi’s voice which pours out in poetry that reads right off the pages of her journal. An album 10 years in the works, you get a solid sense of its history in each track. Take for instance the gothic folk ballad ‘Pray Away The Pain’ where you can hear Sierra Cassady’s (Cocorosie) operatic voie recorded at a bunker in Holland, Nomi’s grandmother reciting the rosary in her apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York and a swelling cello recorded in a hotel room in Paris, all pieced ther and topped off with her vocals which were recorded at the Clocktower Gallery’s artist production studio. Nomi also reveals a collaboration with rapper Ill Bill, formerly of the underground hip hop group Non Phixion. Together they play out the street corner tale of a grand love affair between a prostitute and a drug lord, slinging dirty poetry back and forth between the vinyl scratching, children’s shouts and hand claps, basketball court stomps and dusty piano loops in ‘Life or C.R.E.A.M.’ The album comes full circle with a dedication to Nomi’s muse, her older brother, as she looks back and somehow manages not only to forgive, but idolize him for his destructive street gang lifestyle and its effects on her upbringing on the track ‘Brotherhood’ Borough Gypsy leaves you with the gritty after taste of a love affair with the dark corners of New York, where you’re always at risk of not only having your heart stolen, but also your wallet.

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14. Velocraptor Swayze

Velocraptor Swayze

“Velociraptor Swayze” You feel bad about yourself. You feel sad about yourself. You feel bad and mad and sad about yourself. So why don’t you go chase after a monster!? (What’ll I do?) And when you get your imposter, like a hungry velociraptor, Bring me his head on a birthday cake. Serve it up with a monster blood milkshake. Bring me his head on a birthday cake Serve it up with a monster misery milkshake. Today, I will trim my whiskers On my nose and my ears With a regular pair of scissors. Henry and I, We will toast to the sky To sadness and her twin sister. Because the heart can forgive a flagrant foul once or twice. Honey, thrice does not make a fragrant flower, Only sour wasted heart ache. So why don’t you go chase after a monster!? (What’ll I do?) And when you get your imposter, like hungry velociraptor, Bring me his head on a birthday cake Serve it up with a monster blood milkshake. Come get this monster, baby. Through my tonsils poke a hole. Get down like Patrick Swayze. Through my tushy push a pole. Make my dead ass eat a caramel apple. You’re in total control. High-five my eyeballs in front of your best friend To their total chagrin. Because the heart can forgive a flagrant foul once or twice. Honey, thrice does not make a fragrant flower, Only sour wasted heart ache… So why don’t you go chase after a monster?! And when you get your imposter, like a hungry velociraptor, Bring me his head on a birthday cake. Ecce Shnak’s first full-length album, “Metamorphejawns,” is a study of change. Everybody from Siddhartha Gotama to Ovid to your friend Larry will tell you that change is a basic challenge of human life. This fact is as old as the hills. But the present century, fraught with the perils of climate chaos, artificial intelligence, resurgent fascism, and other kinds of madness might be the most uproarious period in human history. While these wild winds are added to the storm of human life, the throes of romantic love, sexuality, and loneliness in the lives of individuals do not relent, either. “Metamorphejawns” is music that attempts to struggle with and respond to these endlessly changing changes earnestly and positively, both in seriousness and in good humor, with Ecce Shnak’s wildly idiomatic synthesis of styles, irreverent-but-not-misanthropic lyrics, and party attitude.

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15. A Country Marriage Proposal (version 1)

A Country Marriage Proposal (version 1)

Song about a man trying to ask a woman to marry him but he is afraid she will say no. So he stalls as long as he can. The lyrics to this song is about a man afraid and nervous to ask his girlfriend to marry him, yet, this demo makes him sound too overly hyper. I left the song up in case an artist is looking for a country western love song like this. I like to always look on the brighter side of things. You never know. When I sent this song to the song demo service, I wrote in the production notes to make this a slow romantic style song. I told them the style I hear for this song is like "All My Life" Ki-C & JoJo. But they ignored my notes. I was not happy and told that song service to redo this song. They said I would have to pay the same production price again. I was disappointed because I gave them production notes how I wanted my song produced. I posted this song anyway and called it version 1. It was originally called "Will You Marry Me", but due to it being made into a country western genre I changed it to "A Country Marriage Proposal." Another song demo service is working on reproducing this song to a version 2. There are benefits to having more than one version of a song. It will make that song easier to be picked up by a record label. My favorite motto is when life throws you lemons make lemonade. Lyricist: Blessing Lovelight Musicians/Vocals: Song Demo Service ---------- Lyrics: Darling we've been seeing each other for some time now, right Your picture next to my bed is the last thing I see at night Your family all likes me and I like them too I've been completely faithful during this long courtship with you I've been wanting to ask you something since a long long time ago I've been wanting to ask you something but I'm afraid you'll say no When we first met I tried hard to get you to notice me again and again I knew I wanted you to be the mother of my children way back then I know I'm not the most handsomest or make a lot of money right now But I'm faithful hard working and will treat you this I vow I've been wanting to ask you something since a long long time ago I've been wanting to ask you something but I'm afraid you'll say no Beating around the bush a lot baby so I'll just get to it Had some past problems that's resolved and some things I did quit I've cleaned up my act and want a chance to prove to you I will provide A man just needs a good woman in his life to be his helper and guide I've been wanting to ask you something since a long long time ago I've been wanting to ask you something but I'm afraid you'll say no I've been wanting to ask you something since a long long time ago I've been wanting to ask you something but I'm afraid you'll say no Sweetheart there's no other woman in this entire universe for me but you Past relationships failed because there were many doubts but not with you I promise to get to the point, I'm just nervous, forgive me... My love (pause)...... will you please marry me

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16. Moonlight Sonata (psychtrance goth mix) james wf roberts

Moonlight Sonata (psychtrance goth mix) james wf roberts

We all know Beethoven's famous first movement from the Moonlight Sonata....This is a modern dark romantic twist on that...famous song. After reading the now infamous Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament; in which Beethoven writes to his brother of impending doom more lost love. total deafness. facing obscurity... " Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me? You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. From childhood on, me heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I was ever inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible). Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to withdraw myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly I was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, "Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf." Ah, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed.--Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands. If I approach near to people a hot terror seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed. Thus it has been during the last six months which I have spent in the country. By ordering me to spare my hearing as much as possible, my intelligent doctor almost fell in with my own present frame of mind, though sometimes I ran counter to it by yielding to my desire for companionship. . -- This is my statement to the man whom I have always admired the most. Hear the dark bells, and the rushing, whoosing tides of fate. The only sound he could hear was that whooshing sound. The Fates are conspiring against Herr Beethoven and this is my mark of respect to my hero. The composer as Hero.

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17. 3 - Home Away From Heaven

3 - Home Away From Heaven

There are two separate [but similar] accounts of Jesus being anointed. One involves Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, weeping at His feet, and the other mentions a nameless woman breaking the famous alabaster box. There are also conflicting opinions on the chronology of this event; so I have chosen to insert this story on the third day. Jesus loved Lazarus, and his sisters, and his town. So much so, that he spent each night there for the last week of His life. Within this house, He also experienced perhaps the most intimate and romantic moment ever recorded. [If you are unfamiliar with the customs governing the physical interaction between Jewish men and women, the suggestive nature of this story will shock you.] As a compromise, I chose to focus on saying goodbye to the town of Bethany itself, making sure to reference His promise to Mary ["acknowledging her gesture whenever this story is told"] and His comment to Judas in regard to the importance of His burial preparations. But without doubt, the romantic overtone of this intimate act is maintained. See the lyrics below: I come from a kingdom that's hidden from your sight, and reaches to the sky I've known a passion that words cannot describe, however hard I try But I still stutter when I see it in your eyes, you catch me by surprise It makes my body shutter and it cuts me down to size but I know that I'm alive So break the bottle open The scent of your devotion is rising in the air calming all my fears and capturing my cares I've been a stranger in every place I go, but no one seems to know Born into a manger to be buried in a stone, I'm only flesh and bone I may never find another to call my own before I'm dead and gone Home away from heaven, you're my heaven away from home And I know I'm not alone So break the bottle open Anoint me with your potion, my body to prepare Wet me with your tears and dry me with your hair They'll tell stories all about you and try the best they can But they'll never understand what we mean to each other The poor will always be among you but I'll be gone again So remind me while you can what we meant to each other Before I meet my end My beloved Bethany, there's nowhere else I'd rather be than right here I guess it's destiny, you saw what no one else could see all these years My beloved Bethany, you know I'll treasure every memory that we share Oh When you wept for me, you emptied out the rest of me I never knew was there Not a word was spoken My heart's already broken beyond what I can bare So drown me in your tears and wrap me in your hair Bethany I'm going to a kingdom that's hidden from your sight I hope you can forgive me but I have to say goodbye

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18. Farewell to Hirta [1985]

Farewell to Hirta [1985]

Played by the composer on Guild GMCD 7141 [1998]. Reproduced here by kind permission of NIcholas Dicker, CEO of Guild Music.{wbc.srecord}# Hirta is not a person, but an island; more properly several. The archipelago of St Kilda (Hirta in Gaelic) lies some fifty miles west of the Outer Hebrides. Beyond lies only Rockall. On the main island of this otherwise ultima thule lived for centuries a uniquely interbred and self-supporting community of seldom more than two hundred. St Kilda boasts the highest sea cliffs in Great Britain, its summit rising fourteen hundred feet sheer out of the Atlantic. The islands present one of the most awesome sights in the world when approached in rough weather, and form a fitting backdrop to the human tragedy with which they are linked. With the encroachment of ocean-going tourism in the late nineteenth century the islanders experienced humiliation by creatures as from another world. They succumbed mortally to the newly imported common cold, they discovered the meaning of material wealth, and with it envy, they lost their dignity and innocence, and their young began to leave for the mainland and beyond. Survival had depended upon an astoundingly perilous harvesting of seabirds from the vertiginous cliffs using primitive abseiling techniques. As the able-bodied began to set their faces towards the wider world beyond, so gradually died a 'perfect' microcosm society such as our generation may possibly ignore at its peril. In 1930, with infinite sorrow but at their own request, the remaining thirty-six islanders were evacuated to the Scottish mainland, where, with a pragmatism entirely typical of remote, centralized British government, these people who had never before beheld a tree were mostly given employment in the Forestry Department. From 1957 until very recently a small army presence on St Kilda monitored missile firing from Benbecula. The roofless stone houses of the solitary village, kept by the National Trust for Scotland in defiance of immense elemental odds, stand as a memorial to a time that is gone. In 1930, as the islands faded behind the horizon for the last time, one of those departing was heard to murmur "May God forgive those that have taken us from St Kilda", and at this point the stoical islanders finally gave way to tears. On such a fine August evening as it then was and I have since seen, the vision of the sun setting at one's back, away behind Boreray, the precipitous, uninhabitable north island, is such as to imprint itself upon the mind for life. Farewell to Hirta was written two years before my own visit, in response to no less haunting photographic images seen in a television documentary. Subsequent first-hand experience presented no reasons to revise it. Despite its chronology of events the music is, and always was, an attempt to capture the impressions described above, and to honour the feelings of that small group who had made their final journey away a half-century earlier, one of whom was to recall, "To me it was peace living in St Kilda and to me it was happiness, dear happiness. It was a far better place". The style of this piece is unapologetically romantic, perhaps even Schubertian in its simple aim to conjure sorrow in a major key. Its dedication is to my mother, who was fond of it and whose death in 1995 might be thought to add another layer of meaning: music, one would like to imagine, for a far better place..? F.P.

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19. Stitches Will Stay In My Heart

Stitches Will Stay In My Heart

Stitches Will Stay In My Heart is a medium tempo ballad with some pop vibes written, composed and produced by Alex Reséndiz. This is a song about healing the wounds caused by a harming relationship, learning to deal with them, and moving on from the pain. Lyrics I've been longing lately for you, baby Wondering heavily why the aster's wilting Why do I keep hoping for you to come back? If you were the one who broke me apart Easily, I could just blame you and feign that I didn't played a part But I was the one who decided to trust you no matter what Now, the years have passed and my tears started to dry With each new mark on the calendar And I know that I could end it in the most childish way Shouting I hate you But forgiveness's the path that I choose Yeah, the tears won't last But the stitches will stay in my heart Golden necklace, shining, but it seems so dull now Broken promise, harming, but the wound healed real fast Lost in the middle of nowhere, no way I'll go back Woke up on the concrete, in my own tears I drowned Easily, I could forget you and feign that you didn't played a part But every time I try you decide that you should go through the door Now, each time you want, you show back and turn all the tables in my room And I know that you could come back in the most romantic way Saying I love you But indifference's the path that we choose Yeah, the feels won't last But the stitches will stay in my heart Thank you for your loving Guess that it wasn't what I wanted 'Cause when I wake up in the morning I feel sadder than I did before, oh Thank you for our loving Guess that it wasn't what I needed 'Cause the pain that you had brought me Ain't comparable to nothing, no Thank you for your loving (for our loving) Guess that it wasn't what I wanted (what I really wanted) 'Cause if I'm being honest (ooh) I'd never felt worse Easily, I could forgive you and let all my feelings go But the flashbacks blind me as I'm walking on a wire Now, I'll start my journey so I'll finally move on And I will end this in the most mature way Thinking: “I loved you...” But our chapter is now fully closed So I save as draft But the stitches will stay in my heart

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20. Me & You

Me & You

Chef Dog Worldwide

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