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8/23/2017
2 Chronicles 13-16
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Abijam Reigns over Judah: Idolatry and War (2 Chr 13:1–14:1)

1 Kings 15:1     Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 3 He committed all the sins that his father did before him; his heart was not true to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David. 4 Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem; 5 because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6 The war begun between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continued all the days of his life. 7 The rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 8 Abijam slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. Then his son Asa succeeded him.

Asa Reigns over Judah (2 Chr 14:1–15:19)

     9 In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah; 10 he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 11 Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his father David had done. 12 He put away the male temple prostitutes out of the land, and removed all the idols that his ancestors had made. 13 He also removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image for Asherah; Asa cut down her image and burned it at the Wadi Kidron. 14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was true to the Lord all his days. 15 He brought into the house of the Lord the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts—silver, gold, and utensils.

Alliance with Aram against Israel (2 Chr 16:1–17:1)

     16 There was war between Asa and King Baasha of Israel all their days. 17 King Baasha of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Asa of Judah. 18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and gave them into the hands of his servants. King Asa sent them to King Ben-hadad son of Tabrimmon son of Hezion of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying, 19 “Let there be an alliance between me and you, like that between my father and your father: I am sending you a present of silver and gold; go, break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.” 20 Ben-hadad listened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and lived in Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah, none was exempt: they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building; with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. 23 Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, all his power, all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24 Then Asa slept with his ancestors, and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his father David; his son Jehoshaphat succeeded him.


Abijah Reigns over Judah (1 Kings 15:1–8)

2 Chronicles 13:1     In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

     Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah engaged in battle, having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors. 4 Then Abijah stood on the slope of Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! 5 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? 6 Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord; 7 and certain worthless scoundrels gathered around him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.

     8 “And now you think that you can withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made as gods for you. 9 Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to be consecrated with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are descendants of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11 They offer to the Lord every Morning and every Evening burnt offerings and fragrant incense, set out the rows of bread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand so that its lamps may burn every Evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. 12 See, God is with us at our head, and his priests have their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O Israelites, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors; for you cannot succeed.”

     13 Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come on them from behind; thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 When Judah turned, the battle was in front of them and behind them. They cried out to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 Then the people of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the people of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hands. 17 Abijah and his army defeated them with great slaughter; five hundred thousand picked men of Israel fell slain. 18 Thus the Israelites were subdued at that time, and the people of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam, and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron with its villages. 20 Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah; the Lord struck him down, and he died. 21 But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his behavior and his deeds, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.


Asa Reigns (1 Kings 15:9–15)

2 Chronicles 14:1     So Abijah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2 Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. 3 He took away the foreign altars and the high places, broke down the pillars, hewed down the sacred poles, 4 and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to keep the law and the commandment. 5 He also removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. 6 He built fortified cities in Judah while the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. 7 He said to Judah, “Let us build these cities, and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars; the land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 8 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and two hundred eighty thousand troops from Benjamin who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty warriors.

Ethiopian Invasion Repulsed

     9 Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is no difference for you between helping the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let no mortal prevail against you.” 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The people of Judah carried away a great quantity of booty. 14 They defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was on them. They plundered all the cities; for there was much plunder in them. 15 They also attacked the tents of those who had livestock, and carried away sheep and goats in abundance, and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.


2 Chronicles 15:1     The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5 In those times it was not safe for anyone to go or come, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7 But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

     8 When Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord. 9 He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing as aliens with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 They sacrificed to the Lord on that day, from the booty that they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and with all their soul. 13 Whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced over the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.

     16 King Asa even removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the Wadi Kidron. 17 But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was true all his days. 18 He brought into the house of God the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts—silver, gold, and utensils. 19 And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.


Alliance with Aram Condemned (1 Kings 15:16–22)

2 Chronicles 16:1     In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, King Baasha of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, to prevent anyone from going out or coming into the territory of King Asa of Judah. 2 Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying, 3 “Let there be an alliance between me and you, like that between my father and your father; I am sending to you silver and gold; go, break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.” 4 Ben-hadad listened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of Naphtali. 5 When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease. 6 Then King Asa brought all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built up Geba and Mizpah.

     7 At that time the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah, and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Aram, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped you. 8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and cavalry? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the stocks, in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties on some of the people at the same time.

Asa’s Disease and Death (1 Kings 15:23–24)

     11 The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 13 Then Asa slept with his ancestors, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in the tomb that he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art; and they made a very great fire in his honor.

The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]



What I'm Reading

How (and Where) Did Judas Really Die?

By J. Warner Wallace 2/9/2015

     I’ve been writing intermittently about some of the alleged Gospel contradictions skeptics cite when arguing against the reliability of the New Testament. When two or more eyewitness accounts appear to disagree, we’ve either encountered an error on the part of one of the witnesses, are somehow misreading (or misinterpreting) the accounts, or have insufficient information to reconcile the descriptions. The death of Judas, as recorded in two places in the New Testament, appears to present us with a contradiction:

     Matthew 27:3-10 | Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.”

     Acts 1:15-20 | At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead be made desolate, And let no one dwell in it’; and, ‘Let another man take his office.’”

     These accounts seem to differ in two important ways. How was the “blood money” spent? Did Judas use it to purchase a piece of property or did the chief priests use it to purchase the Potter’s Field? This first alleged contradiction seems rather simple to reconcile if we are willing to layer the two accounts (this is often necessary when examining two descriptions in my cold-case investigations, especially when I no longer have access to the original witnesses). Judas threw the money into the temple and departed. The chief priests retrieved the coins and decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. Luke’s description of the purchase does not appear to be a direct quote from Peter linking Judas to the purchase, but is instead a tangential description intended for those who were not familiar with the details of the field or Judas’ death. Luke simply wanted us to know the acquisition of the field was made possible by the money Judas provided.

     But what about the manner of Judas’ death? Did he stumble to his death on that field or go off somewhere and hang himself? This aspect of the accounts can be reconciled if you know something about human anatomy and post-mortem bloating. Let me explain. The descriptions from Matthew and Luke are consistent with one another if Judas later “went away and hanged himself” in the very field purchased with the “blood money” he received from betraying Jesus. This location makes sense, given it was a permanent, public reminder of Judas’ action against Jesus. If he felt remorseful enough about his betrayal to kill himself, it is likely he might commit suicide in the one place demarking his betrayal. The “Potter’s Field” is exactly where I would expect Judas to hang himself.

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J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:

How I Started Reading the Bible Every Day: Encouragement for Parents & Children

By Don Whitney 6/8/2017

     I literally don’t remember not reading the Bible every day. Here’s how it happened.

     I’m told I started reading fairly early, reading Dick and Jane books sometime before my fifth birthday. But while I remember reading the books, I have no recollection of starting to read them.

     I do remember learning words and phrases by watching TV commercials that consisted of nothing more than an announcer reading exactly what was on the black-and-white screen. In particular I recall a long-running commercial for a Memphis-area car dealer. It was just black words on a white background, like broadcasting a 60-second video of a poster, advertising a Volkswagen Beetle. Eventually I realized that the voice-over corresponded exactly to what I was seeing, and I learned to read along. On small-market stations—such as the four channels we could receive from Memphis television in the late 1950s—local advertising was a very low-budget enterprise.

     So by sometime early in elementary school—though I don’t remember exactly when—I was able to start reading the narrative passages of Scripture.

     The Influence of the Home | I didn’t realize it at the time, but one of the greatest blessings in my life was not just learning to read at an early age, but being trained at that age to read the Bible every day. My dad modeled daily Bible reading, and lovingly encouraged me in the practice. My mother made sure I had adequate lighting above my bed, the place where I did most of my childhood reading.

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     Don Whitney has been Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY since 2005.  Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, for ten years.  He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality.

     Don grew up in Osceola, Arkansas where he came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He was active in sports throughout high school and college, and worked in the radio station his dad managed.

     After graduating from Arkansas State University, Don planned to finish law school and pursue a career in sportscasting. While at the University of Arkansas School of Law, he sensed God’s call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He then enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1979. In 1987, Don completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and later a Ph.D. in theology at the University of the Free State in South Africa.      Prior to his ministry as a seminary professor, Don was pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), for almost fifteen years.  Altogether, he has served local churches in pastoral ministry for twenty-four years.

     He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 1991; 2014), which has a companion discussion guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian?: What the Bible Says About Assurance of Salvation (LifeChange)? (NavPress, 1994), Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ (Moody Press, 1996), Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (NavPress, 2001), Simplify Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed (NavPress, 2003), Praying the Bible (Crossway 2015), and Family Worship (2006; and Crossway 2016).  His hobby is restoring and using old fountain pens.

     Don lives with his wife Caffy in their home near Louisville. She regularly teaches a class for seminary wives, and works from their home as an artist, muralist, and illustrator. The Whitneys have a married daughter, Laurelen, and a grandson.

     Don’s website address is www.BiblicalSpirituality.org.

     He is on Twitter @DonWhitney and on Facebook as Don Whitney (look for the “Public Figure” page).

How Evolutionary Virologist & Molecular Biologist, Karma Carrier, Converted to Christianity

By James Bishop 6/8/2017

     By James Bishop| Karma James Carrier, a former atheist, has a PhD in molecular biology and currently works in the biotech industry at Meso Scale Discovery that specializes in Biomarker detection and translational research. Some few years ago he studied and graduated in genetics and molecular virology at the University of British Columbia.

     Karma also runs GC Science (GC stands for Grace Chapel) on Facebook and regularly dialogues about how science points towards God’s existence rather than from it. What’s even more Karma has his black belt in karate. More information can be accessed on the Grace Chapel website, and although Karma kindly provided me with his personal written testimony readers can also engage his video testimonial on YouTube.

     People have asked Karma where he got his name. Comically he recalls that he received it after being “born to hippy parents.” Karma was an “honest to goodness hippy love child” whose mother was a Christian though in a“New Age-hippy sort of way.” She loved doing creative work in painting and making soap. On the other hand, however, his “father was not very spiritual and was closer to being agnostic.”

     Karma’s passion for science and especially evolutionary science began when he was just a child and in this way he certainly differed from most other children his age, “when I was in grade four all the kids in my class had to write about a place that they would like to visit. Most kids, chose places like Disneyworld, or Hawaii.

     I wrote that I wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands, which was the place where Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution… it was clear that I had a strong interest in science. Science in general and evolution in particular was very exciting to me. I tried to learn as much about science as I could.”

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     James is a graduate from Vega School of Brand Leadership specialising in Multimedia Design and Brand Communications. He is currently enrolled at Cornerstone Institute studying Theology and majoring in Psychology. His theological interests encompass comparative religion and the links between science and religion.

Eerily Accurate 1968 Prophecy From A 90-Year-Old Woman In Norway Is Being Fulfilled Right Before Our Eyes

By Michael Snyder 5/1/2017

     In 1968, a 90-year-old woman in Norway was given an incredible glimpse into the future. She was shown what life would be like just before World War 3 and the return of Jesus Christ, and what she saw is eerily similar to current conditions in our world today. When evangelist Emanuel Minos held meetings in the town of Valdres, Norway where she lived, this precious elderly lady shared what the Lord had shown to her with him. Minos wrote down what he was told, and it got put away in a drawer for 30 years. But after many of the things that she saw started to come to pass, Minos remembered the vision and decided to share it with the world.



     One of the reasons why I wanted to share this vision now is because it has so many parallels to other visions that I have been sharing recently. You can read her entire vision here, but in this article, I just wanted to highlight a few portions of it. One of the things that this 90-year-old woman was shown was that there would be a "lukewarmness without parallel" before Jesus comes back and that "Christians will not be open for penetrating preaching":

     A lukewarmness without parallel will take hold of the Christians, a falling away from true, living Christianity. Christians will not be open for penetrating preaching. They will not, like in earlier times, want to hear of sin and grace, law and gospel, repentance and restoration. There will come a substitute instead: prosperity (happiness) Christianity. The important thing will be to have success, to be something; to have material things, things that God never promised us in this way. Churches and prayer houses will be emptier and emptier. Instead of the preaching we have been used to for generations —like, to take your cross up and follow Jesus—entertainment, art and culture will invade the churches where there should have been gatherings for repentance and revival. This will increase markedly just before the return of Jesus.

     This prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of our eyes.

     There is a reason why you very rarely hear words such as "sin" and "repentance" in the Christian world today. In fact, for many ministries those have become extremely dirty words. It seems like everyone wants to have "happy church", and so the conviction of the Holy Spirit is suppressed as much as possible.

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     Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho's First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled "Living A Life That Really Matters" is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

What John Really Meant: The Gospel of the New Temple

By N.T. Wright

     John’s opening line must be one of the most famous initial sentences in all literature, ranking with Shakespeare’s ‘If music be the food of love, play on’, or even Melville’s dark and haunting ‘Call me Ishmael.’ And it is obvious, even at first glance, why John’s simple opening is so profound:

     It echoes the first line of Genesis.

     John’s opening move is, of course, bold. It borders (one might think) on blasphemy. Are you really sitting down to write a new Genesis?

     ‘Yes!’ replies John, ‘because that is the truth to which I am bearing witness. I am telling a story about something that has happened in which heaven and earth have come together in a whole new way, about the long and dark fulfillment of the creator’s purposes for his creation.’

     ‘And,’ John might continue, ‘since I am writing in the tradition of the Hebrew Bible, it won’t surprise you that I am telling this story of creation and new creation in terms of the fulfillment of the divine purpose in, for, and through Israel.’

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According to Wikipedia: Nicholas Thomas Wright (born 1 December 1948) is a leading British New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and retired Anglican bishop. In academia, he is published as N. T. Wright, but is otherwise known as Tom Wright.[3] Between 2003 and his retirement in 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

He writes prolifically about theology, Christian life, and the relationship of these two things. He advocates a biblical re-evaluation of and fresh approach to theological matters such as justification,[4] women's ordination,[5] and popular Christian views about life after death.[6] He has also criticised the idea of a literal Rapture.[7] Alternate source: Fulcrum website. The author of over seventy books, Wright is highly regarded in academic and theological circles primarily for his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series.[8]The third volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God, is considered by many pastors and theologians to be a seminal Christian work on the resurrection of the historical Jesus,[9][10] while the most recently released fourth volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, is hailed as Wright's magnum opus.[

N.T. Wright Books:

How Do We Cultivate The Art Of Listening Well

By Sean McDowell 8/14/2017

     Along with asking good questions, cultivating the art of listening well is one of the most important skills for Christians to develop today. And it is especially important for those who want to be effective apologists in our “argumentative” culture. Here are three brief reasons why:

     First, the Bible consistently mentions the wisdom in listening. For instance, James 1:19 says, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” As a culture, we are easily angered and quick to speak. How many of us are truly quick to listen?

     Second, many in our culture increasingly consider Christians bigoted, hateful, and intolerant. One way to counter this, and also to develop a compassionate heart for others, is to genuinely listen to other people and their perspectives.

     Third, Americans are spending an enormous amount of time on screens, which can contribute to loneliness and fragmented relationships. There is a genuine hunger to know and be known that cannot be filled by technology alone. Truly listening to people can help bring healing into many people’s lives.

     So, how does one develop the art of listening well? Here are four tips I have learned from personal experience as well as through my undergrad Communication Studies program at Biola University:

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     Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 18 books, an internationally recognized speaker, a part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.Books By Sean McDowell

Sean McDowell Books:

Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists
A New Kind of Apologist: *Adopting Fresh Strategies *Addressing the Latest Issues *Engaging the Culture
The Beauty of Intolerance: Setting a Generation Free to Know Truth and Love
Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage (Thoughtful Response)
ETHIX: Being Bold in a Whatever World
More Than a Carpenter

Is America Worth Saving?

By Larry Alex Taunton 8/14/2017

     As President, Barack Obama had what Politico called "an apology complex," viewing America, it seems, as a nation with a criminal history and himself as the instrument of retribution. During his two terms in office, America-bashing — which had gone out of style with the end of the Vietnam War and hinted of treason after 9/11 (ask the Dixie Chicks) — was suddenly fashionable again. Of course, it never really ceased to exist, it just went underground.

     But no longer.

     America-bashing is now all the rage. Making its first bold modern-day appearance under President Obama, it has become a cause célèbre with the election of President Trump. Indeed, a hatred for Donald Trump and the "deplorables" he represents is what fuels it. Trump's White House has become the flashpoint in a winner-take-all contest featuring two very different visions for America.

     One group sees America's wealth, power, and influence as an accident of history. For them, the idea of "American Exceptionalism" is not only dead, it is offensive. These people never tire of lecturing us about how out-of-step America is with the rest of the world and how she needs to get with it. America, they say, is bad for the world. Moreover, where America is exceptional — a deep suspicion of socialism and environmentalism; strongly Christian in a post-Christian world; and alone patriotic among Western nations swept up in a globalist dream — is where America is at her worst and must change.

     Others want to preserve America's uniqueness, her exceptionalism, which is anchored in a Judeo-Christian heritage that has given rise to her laws, art, literature, culture and place in the world as a refuge from just the types of governments the Left idealizes. Proponents of this vision would readily acknowledge that America's global influence has, at times, been evil, but this is, they would argue, the result of an agenda that has nothing whatsoever to do with the principles upon which America was founded. On the contrary, that agenda — championed by the Left and epitomized by America's bullying of Third World countries to adopt permissive abortion and LGBT policies — is at odds with those principles. Trump's rallying cry — "Make America Great Again" — embodies this group's fear that America is rapidly becoming something not-so-great and that it must be saved.

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     Who is Larry Alex Taunton?



  • Global Epidemic
  • Narrative & Technology
  • Eclipse of Care

#1 Robert Whitaker  
Trinity College, Dublin


 

#2 Curtis Wong and Geoffrey Rockwell   
Trinity College, Dublin


 

#3 David Healy   
Trinity College, Dublin


 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” wrote Navy Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, who died this day, August 23, 1819. Captain Perry encountered six powerful British warships in the Battle of Lake Eire during the War of 1812. With no long range firepower, the winds prevented him from getting in a safe position and the British cannons crippled his flagship. In a courageous move, he switched to the ship “Niagra,” sailed directly into the British line, firing broadside, and won the battle in fifteen minutes. To the sailors on deck he remarked: “The prayers of my wife are answered.”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Feasts, and business, and pleasures, and enjoyments,
seem great things to us, whilst we think of nothing else;
but as soon as we add death to them
they all sink into an equal littleness.
--- William Law


The immediate purpose of prayer is the accomplishing of God’s will on earth; the ultimate purpose of prayer is the eternal glory of God.
--- Warren Wiersbe  On Earth as It Is in Heaven: How the Lord's Prayer Teaches Us to Pray More Effectively

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     6. But as the truth came out in time, it appeared how the affairs of Jotapata really stood; yet was it found that the death of Josephus was a fiction; and when they understood that he was alive, and was among the Romans, and that the commanders treated him at another rate than they treated captives, they were as vehemently angry at him now as they had showed their good-will before, when he appeared to have been dead. He was also abused by some as having been a coward, and by others as a deserter; and the city was full of indignation at him, and of reproaches cast upon him; their rage was also aggravated by their afflictions, and more inflamed by their ill success; and what usually becomes an occasion of caution to wise men, I mean affliction, became a spur to them to venture on further calamities, and the end of one misery became still the beginning of another; they therefore resolved to fall on the Romans the more vehemently, as resolving to be revenged on him in revenging themselves on the Romans. And this was the state of Jerusalem as to the troubles which now came upon it.

     7. But Vespasian, in order to see the kingdom of Agrippa, while the king persuaded himself so to do, [partly in order to his treating the general and his army in the best and most splendid manner his private affairs would enable him to do, and partly that he might, by their means, correct such things as were amiss in his government,] he removed from that Cesarea which was by the sea-side, and went to that which is called Cesarea Philippi 6 and there he refreshed his army for twenty days, and was himself feasted by king Agrippa, where he also returned public thanks to God for the good success he had had in his undertakings. But as soon as he was informed that Tiberias was fond of innovations, and that Taricheae had revolted, both which cities were parts of the kingdom of Agrippa, and was satisfied within himself that the Jews were every where perverted [from their obedience to their governors], he thought it seasonable to make an expedition against these cities, and that for the sake of Agrippa, and in order to bring his cities to reason. So he sent away his son Titus to [the other] Cesarea, that he might bring the army that lay there to Seythopous, which is the largest city of Decapolis, and in the neighborhood of Tiberias, whither he came, and where he waited for his son. He then came with three legions, and pitched his camp thirty furlongs off Tiberias, at a certain station easily seen by the innovators; it is named Sennabris. He also sent Valerian, a decurion, with fifty horsemen, to speak peaceably to those that were in the city, and to exhort them to give him assurances of their fidelity; for he had heard that the people were desirous of peace, but were obliged by some of the seditious part to join with them, and so were forced to fight for them. When Valerian had marched up to the place, and was near the wall, he alighted off his horse, and made those that were with him to do the same, that they might not be thought to come to skirmish with them; but before they could come to a discourse one with another, the most potent men among the seditious made a sally upon them armed; their leader was one whose name was Jesus, the son of Shaphat, the principal head of a band of robbers. Now Valerian, neither thinking it safe to fight contrary to the commands of the general, though he were secure of a victory, and knowing that it was a very hazardous undertaking for a few to fight with many, for those that were unprovided to fight those that were ready, and being on other accounts surprised at this unexpected onset of the Jews, he ran away on foot, as did five of the rest in like manner, and left their horses behind them; which horses Jesus led away into the city, and rejoiced as if they had taken them in battle, and not by treachery.

     8. Now the seniors of the people, and such as were of principal authority among them, fearing what would be the issue of this matter, fled to the camp of the Romans; they then took their king along with them, and fell down before Vespasian, to supplicate his favor, and besought him not to overlook them, nor to impute the madness of a few to the whole city, to spare a people that have been ever civil and obliging to the Romans; but to bring the authors of this revolt to due punishment, who had hitherto so watched them, that though they were zealous to give them the security of their right hands of a long time, yet could they not accomplish the same. With these supplications the general complied, although he were very angry at the whole city about the carrying off his horses, and this because he saw that Agrippa was under a great concern for them. So when Vespasian and Agrippa had accepted of their right hands by way of security, Jesus and his party thought it not safe for them to continue at Tiberias, so they ran away to Taricheae. The next day Vespasian sent Trajan before with some horsemen to the citadel, to make trial of the multitude, whether they were all disposed for peace; and as soon as he knew that the people were of the same mind with the petitioner, he took his army, and went to the city; upon which the citizens opened to him their gates, and met him with acclamations of joy, and called him their savior and benefactor. But as the army was a great while in getting in at the gates, they were so narrow, Vespasian commanded the south wall to be broken down, and so made a broad passage for their entrance. However, he charged them to abstain from rapine and injustice, in order to gratify the king; and on his account spared the rest of the wall, while the king undertook for them that they should continue [faithful to the Romans] for the time to come. And thus did he restore this city to a quiet state, after it had been grievously afflicted by the sedition.

     The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)

Proverbs 23:15-16
     by D.H. Stern

15     My son, if your heart is wise,
     then my own heart too is glad;
16     my inmost being rejoices
     when your lips say what is right.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                Prayer choice and prayer conflict

     When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and pray to thy Father which is in secret. --- Matthew 6:6.

     Jesus did not say—‘Dream about thy Father in secret,’ but ‘pray to thy Father in secret.’ Prayer is an effort of will. After we have entered our secret place and have shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot get our minds into working order, and the first thing that conflicts is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is the overcoming of mental wool-gathering. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on wilful prayer.

     We must have a selected place for prayer and when we get there the plague of flies begins—This must be done, and that. “Shut thy door.” A secret silence means to shut the door deliberately on emotions and remember God. God is in secret, and He sees us from the secret place; He does not see us as other people see us, or as we see ourselves. When we live in the secret place it becomes impossible for us to doubt God, we become more sure of Him than of anything else. Your Father, Jesus says, is in secret and nowhere else. Enter the secret place, and right in the centre of the common round you find God there all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Lore
     the Poetry of RS Thomas


                Lore

Job Davies , eighty-five
Winters old, and still alive
After the slow poison
And treachery of the seasons.

Miserable? Kick my arse!
It needs more than the rain's hearse,
Wind-drawn, to pull me off
The great perch of my laugh.

What's living but my courage?
Paunch full of hot porridge,
Nerves strengthened with tea,
Peat-black, dawn found me

Mowing where the grass grew,
Bearded with golden dew.
Rhythm of the long scythe

Kept this tall frame lithe.

What to do? Stay green.
Never mind the machine,
Whose fuel is human souls.
Live large, man, and dream small.


Poems of R.S. Thomas

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Exodus 33:17–23


     BIBLE TEXT / Exodus 33:17–23 / And the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have truly gained My favor and I have singled you out by name.” He said, “Oh, let me behold Your Presence!” And He answered, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim before you the name Lord, and the grace that I grant and the compassion that I show. But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for man may not see Me and live.” And the Lord said, “See, there is a place near Me. Station yourself on the rock and, as My presence passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and shield you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.”

     MIDRASH TEXT/ Exodus Rabbah 45, 5 / He said, “Oh, let me behold Your Presence!” Rabbi Tanḥuma bar Abba opened, “For it is better to be told, ‘Step up here,’ than to be degraded [in the presence of the great]” (
Proverbs 25:7). Hillel says, “When I lower myself, I am raised, and when I raise myself, I am lowered. It is better for a person to be told, ‘Go up!’ than to be told, ‘Go down!’ David said, ‘[Who is like the Lord our God, who] enthroned on high …’ (Psalm 113:5). When I raise myself, they lower my place, thus, ‘Enthroned on high.’ And when I lower myself, they raise me, as it says, ‘[Who] sees what is below [in heaven and on earth?]’ (Psalm 113:6). What caused me to see all the lands, as it is written, ‘David became famous throughout the lands’ (1 Chronicles 14:17)? Because I lowered myself.”

     CONTEXT / In the Book of Exodus, soon after the incident of the Golden Calf, Moses asks God, “Oh, let me behold Your Presence!” Moses wants to be more intimate with the Holy One. Because Moses has gained God’s favor, God accedes to his request. The Rabbis understand this as God raising Moses. Thus, Rabbi Tanḥuma bar Abba opened his interpretation with a verse from Proverbs, “For it is better to be told, ‘Step up here,’ than to be degraded [in the presence of the great].” Rabbi Tanḥuma quotes only half of the verse; the knowledgeable student would know the entire verse and its context in Proverbs. The previous verse states, “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence; do not stand in the place of nobles” (
Proverbs 25:6). And the following verse, the one quoted in the Midrash text, continues the theme of “Know your place.” It’s better to be in a low position and be raised than to be in a high position and lowered. Moses knew his place and was humble in God’s presence. Therefore, God responded positively, raised him, and showed him a glimpse of the Divine Presence.

     Hillel continues this thought and says, “When I lower myself, I am raised, and when I raise myself I am lowered”. Therefore, it is better for a person to be told, “Go higher!” than to be told, “Go lower.” Hillel counsels us to be humble and then raised rather than to be conceited and then put down.

     The Midrash next quotes a verse from the
Psalms, ascribed to David and describing God:

  Who is like the Lord our God,
  who, enthroned on high,
  sees what is below,
  in heaven and on earth?

     This verse is well known from Hallel, the Psalms of praise recited on holidays. The phrase הַמַּגְבִּיהִי/hamagbihi, “on high,” could also be translated “raised,” and the Hebrew is from the same root as the word Hillel uses in the phrase when I raise myself. This verse reiterates the idea that those who raise themselves are lowered, and those who lower themselves are raised. Apparently, the Rabbis understood David to be referring to himself in this verse, though in its context, it refers to God, the One who is “enthroned on high.” David then asks, What caused me, as ruler, to see all the lands around Israel under my control, as it is written, “David became famous throughout the lands”? Hillel finds proof for David’s fame from his humility. He became famous—that is, was seen by others as “high and mighty”—because he acted in a lowly, humble manner: Because I, David, lowered myself. Though we might not think of David as being so humble in saying “I was rewarded for my modesty,” Hillel thought this of David.


Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     August 23

     The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. --- John 3:35.

     The next thing proposed was, in order to enlarge our faith, to speak of the extent of this store and treasure that Christ has, the Father having placed everything in his hands.
(
The RS Thomas And Other Practical Works Of The Late Reverend And Learned Mr. Ralph Erskine V9)

     If everything is in his hands, then all the attributes of God are in him. There is nothing that the Father has, except his personality, but the Son has, as Mediator; “All that belongs to the Father is mine” (John 16:15). Here then is an ocean where you and I may dive forever and never get to the bottom.

     Having everything, he has all the wisdom of God: “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Poor, foolish sinner, who has no wisdom, knowledge, nor understanding, here is a treasure for you—Christ, “who has become for us wisdom from God” (1 Cor. 1:30).

     Having everything, he has all the power of God: “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (vv. 23–24).

     Poor feeble soul, who can do nothing, here is a good bargain for you to take hold of; it is he who can work in you both to will and do. You are not called to come to Christ except by the power of Christ, which is the power of God. You are to receive him who can give you power to receive him. Having everything, he has all the holiness of God; he is said to be made by God our sanctification, and surely here is an immense fountain of sanctity, the infinite holiness of God. O poor, vile polluted sinner, who has lost the image of God by the fall of the first Adam and the deficiency of his holiness, here is a better head and husband for you, in whom is all the fullness of the deity, that you may be given fullness in him.
--- Ralph Erskine


Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day
     Bartholomew’s Day  August 23

     When 10-year-old Charles IX became king of France in 1560, his mother, Catherine de Medici, seized power as queen regent then tried to stabilize her religiously divided country. She tilted first toward Protestants then toward Catholics. Skirmishes broke out; and between 1561 and 1572 there were 18 massacres of Protestants, 5 of Catholics, and 30 assassinations. Civil war loomed.

     In a bid for peace, Catherine, a Catholic, offered her daughter in marriage to Protestant Henry of Navarre. Henry came to Paris for the wedding, accompanied by thousands of Huguenots (French Protestants). The city trembled, and rumors spread that Huguenots were planning to kidnap the royal family. Clanging anvils across Paris betrayed the making of weapons. On August 23, 1572 Catherine and Charles were sequestered in the palace. About 10 P.M. Catherine warned Charles of imminent insurrection, working him into a fever, telling him Huguenots were planning to seize him. Charles suggested the rebels be arrested. It was too late for that, Catherine retorted. She roared and raged and threatened to flee France. Charles, nerves wracked, ran from the room about midnight screaming, “By the death of God, since you choose to kill … I consent! But then you must kill all the Huguenots in France. … Kill them all! Kill them all!”

     The gates of the city were closed. Word spread among the troops, “Kill! The king commands it.” As church bells pealed 3 A.M., swords were drawn. Protestant leader Gaspard de Coligny was seized, strung by the heels, and his hands and genitals were lobbed off and sold. Huguenots and their children were dragged into the streets and slain. Embryos torn from dead mothers were smashed against the pavement. The sun, rising over Paris on St. Bartholomew’s Day, revealed thousands of Protestant corpses.

     The cries of butchered Huguenots rang in the king’s head, day and night. “Who but you is the cause of all this?” he shouted to his mother. “God’s blood, you are the cause of it all!” His constitution failed and he began seeing visions of his victims. He ranted and raved and died at age 23. “What evil counsel have I followed!” he cried. “O my God, forgive me! I am lost!”

  The wicked are a restless sea tossing up mud.
  But I, the LORD,
  have promised that none who are evil
  Will live in peace.
--- Isaiah 57:20,21.


On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - August 23

     “The voice of weeping shall be no more heard.”
--- Isaiah 65:19.

     The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone. There are no broken friendships, nor blighted prospects in heaven. Poverty, famine, peril, persecution, and slander, are unknown there. No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens. They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified. No “evil heart of unbelief” prompts them to depart from the living God; they are without fault before his throne, and are fully conformed to his image. Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. They weep no more, because all fear of change is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They dwell within a city which shall never be stormed; they bask in a sun which shall never set; they drink of a river which shall never dry; they pluck fruit from a tree which shall never wither. Countless cycles may revolve, but eternity shall not be exhausted, and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it. They are for ever with the Lord. They weep no more, because every desire is fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything which they have not in possession. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, all the faculties, are completely satisfied; and imperfect as our present ideas are of the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, yet we know enough, by the revelation of the Spirit, that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fulness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite beatitude. That same joyful rest remains for us. It may not be far distant. Ere long the weeping willow shall be exchanged for the palm-branch of victory, and sorrow’s dewdrops will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


          Evening - August 23

     “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” --- Ephesians 3:17.

     Beyond measure it is desirable that we, as believers, should have the person of Jesus constantly before us, to inflame our love towards him, and to increase our knowledge of him. I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus’ college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of him, welling up with his love, even to overrunning; hence the apostle prays “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” See how near he would have Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in the heart itself. “That he may dwell”; not that he may call upon you sometimes, as a casual visitor enters into a house and tarries for a night, but that he may dwell; that Jesus may become the Lord and Tenant of your inmost being, never more to go out.

     Observe the words—that he may dwell in your heart, that best room of the house of manhood; not in your thoughts alone, but in your affections; not merely in the mind’s meditations, but in the heart’s emotions. We should pant after love to Christ of a most abiding character, not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame, fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar which never went out. This cannot be accomplished except by faith. Faith must be strong, or love will not be fervent; the root of the flower must be healthy, or we cannot expect the bloom to be sweet. Faith is the lily’s root, and love is the lily’s bloom. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart’s love except you have a firm hold of him by your heart’s faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love him. If love be cold, be sure that faith is drooping.

Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Amazing Grace
     August 23

          SITTING AT THE FEET OF JESUS

     Source of words and music unknown

     
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42)

     The story of Martha the worker and Mary the worshiper (Luke 10:38–42) illustrates an important spiritual principle: We please our Lord most when we learn to sit at His feet in adoration and worship before trying to serve Him in our own strength. Sitting implies our humble dependence upon Him and a sense of quietness of soul that indicates our willingness to hear. We can become so busy with life’s pursuits, even worthy Christian activities, that we do not hear the still small voice of God. Or sometimes we pursue God in spiritual spectaculars. But like the story of Elijah on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:11, 12), the Lord does not always reveal Himself in the wind, fire, or earthquake, but sometimes in the stillness of the small voice.

     Speak, Lord, in the stillness while I wait on Thee;
     Hushed my heart to listen in expectancy.
     Speak, Thy servant heareth! Be not silent, Lord;
     Waits my soul upon Thee for the quick’ning word!

--- E. May Grimes

     Learning to listen to God’s voice is one of the important factors in our spiritual growth. When we are silent before Him in the enjoyment of His presence and His Word, we gain His wisdom, insights, and the renewal of our strength for daily living. May the people who see and know us say of us even as it was said of the early disciples—“they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

     Sitting at the feet of Jesus, O what words I hear Him say! Happy place—so near, so precious! May it find me there each day! Sitting at the feet of Jesus, I would look upon the past, for His love has been so gracious—It has won my heart at last.
     Sitting at the feet of Jesus, where can mortal be more blest? There I lay my sins and sorrows, and, when weary, find sweet rest. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, there I love to weep and pray, while I from His fullness gather grace and comfort ev’ry day.
     Bless me, O my Savior, bless me, as I sit low at Thy feet! O look down in love upon me, let me see Thy face so sweet! Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus; make me holy as He is; may I prove I’ve been with Jesus, who is all my righteousness.


     For Today: 2 Kings 22:19; Psalm 130:5; Isaiah 30:15; 57:15; Matthew 11:29; 2 Corinthians 4:16

     Be especially sensitive to God’s still small voice in your life. Let this awareness of His presence and concern encourage and empower you. Use this hymn to help ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday August 23, 2016 | After Pentecost


Proper 15, Wednesday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 119:145–176
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 128, 129, 130
Old Testament     2 Samuel 18:19–23
New Testament     Acts 23:23–35
Gospel     Mark 12:13–27

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 119:145–176

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD.
I will keep your statutes.
146 I cry to you; save me,
that I may observe your decrees.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 In your steadfast love hear my voice;
O LORD, in your justice preserve my life.
150 Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near;
they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, O LORD,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your decrees
that you have established them forever.

153 Look on my misery and rescue me,
for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O LORD;
give me life according to your justice.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts;
preserve my life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth;
and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.

161 Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous ordinances.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O LORD,
and I fulfill your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before you.

169 Let my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your promise,
for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 128, 129, 130

A Song of Ascents.

1 Happy is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways.
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the LORD.

5 The LORD bless you from Zion.
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
6 May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!

A Song of Ascents.

1 “Often have they attacked me from my youth”
—let Israel now say—
2 “often have they attacked me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed on my back;
they made their furrows long.”
4 The LORD is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5 May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward.
6 Let them be like the grass on the housetops
that withers before it grows up,
7 with which reapers do not fill their hands
or binders of sheaves their arms,
8 while those who pass by do not say,
“The blessing of the LORD be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

A Song of Ascents.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

Old Testament
2 Samuel 18:19–23

19 Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, “Let me run, and carry tidings to the king that the LORD has delivered him from the power of his enemies.” 20 Joab said to him, “You are not to carry tidings today; you may carry tidings another day, but today you shall not do so, because the king’s son is dead.” 21 Then Joab said to a Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. 22 Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you have no reward for the tidings?” 23 “Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the Plain, and outran the Cushite.

New Testament
Acts 23:23–35

23 Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, “Get ready to leave by nine o’clock tonight for Caesarea with two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter to this effect:

26 “Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, but when I had learned that he was a Roman citizen, I came with the guard and rescued him. 28 Since I wanted to know the charge for which they accused him, I had him brought to their council. 29 I found that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but was charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”

31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him during the night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the horsemen go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what province he belonged to, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod’s headquarters.

Gospel
Mark 12:13–27

13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.” 16 And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21 and the second married the widow and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church

Book Of Common Prayer
     On The Same Day | Vigil | Holy Day


Eve Of St. Bartkolomew
Evening Prayer—Eves Of Apostles And Evangelists
Years 1 & 2

On the same date: Proper 16, Tuesday

Psalms     Psalm 48, 122 or Psalm 84, 150
Old Testament     Isaiah 43:10–15 or Isaiah 52:7–10
New Testament     Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14 or Matthew 9:35–10:4

Index of Readings

Psalms
Option A
Psalm 48, 122

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites.

1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
3 Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.

4 Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
7 as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God establishes forever.     Selah

9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10 Your name, O God, like your praise,
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
13 consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

OR
Option B
Psalm 84, 150

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.     Selah

5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!     Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

Old Testament
Option A
Isaiah 43:10–15

10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses, says the LORD.
13 I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
I work and who can hinder it?

14 Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I will send to Babylon
and break down all the bars,
and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation.
15 I am the LORD, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.

OR
Option B
Isaiah 52:7–10

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

New Testament
Option A
Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

     “See, the home of God is among mortals.
     He will dwell with them as their God;
     they will be his peoples,
     and God himself will be with them;
4     he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
     Death will be no more;
     mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
     for the first things have passed away.”

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

OR
Option B
Matthew 9:35–10:4

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church



















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