Being Subject to AuthoritiesRomans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
Love for One Another (Cp Mk 12.31; Jas 2.8)8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
An Urgent Appeal11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Do Not Judge AnotherRomans 14:1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
Do Not Make Another Stumble13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. 19 Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; 21 it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. 22 The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. 23 But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Please Others, Not YourselvesRomans 15:1 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. 3 For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Gospel for Jews and Gentiles Alike7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
"Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles,
and sing praises to your name”;
10 and again he says,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
11 and again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples praise him”;
12 and again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse shall come,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.”
Paul’s Reason for Writing So Boldly14 I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15 Nevertheless on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the Gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ. 20 Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”
Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome
30 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my ministry to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.
Personal GreetingsRomans 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, 2 so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, 4 and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my relative Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
Final Instructions17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. 18 For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
21 Timothy, my co-worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.
22 I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
Final Doxology25 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
What I'm Reading
Why Is God So Hidden?
By J. Warner Wallace 9/25/2013
As a young atheist, I denied the existence of Godfor practical, experiential reasons. During my elementary school years, I found it difficult to understand why anyone would believe in God without visible evidence. I knew my parents, teachers and friends were real, because I could see them and I could see their impact on the world around me. God, however, seemed completely hidden. I often thought, “If God exists, why would He hide in this way? Why wouldn’t God just come right out and make it obvious to everyone He exists?” As I examined these questions many years later, I began to consider other factors and considerations, particularly related to the nature of “love”.
I held love and compassion in high regard, even as an unbeliever. These were values I embraced as essential to our survival as a species, and values I considered to be foundational to human “flourishing”(as many atheists commonly describe it). But love requires a certain kind of world, and if loving God does exist, it is reasonable that He would create a universe in which love is possible; a universe capable of supporting humans with the ability to love God and love one another. This kind of universe requires a number of pre-requisites, however, and these pre-requisites are best achieved when God is “hidden” in the way He often seems to be:
Love Requires Freedom | True love cannot be coerced. We love our children and we want them to love us. We cannot, however, force them to do so. When we give our kids direction and ask them to accept this direction as a reflection of their love for us, we must step away and give them the freedom to respond (or rebel) freely. If we are “ever-present”, their response will be coerced; they will behave in a particular way not because they love us, but because they know we are present (and they fear the consequence of rebellion). If God exists, it is reasonable that He would remain hidden (to some degree) to allow us the freedom to respond from a position of love, rather than fear.
Love Requires Faith | Love requires a certain amount of trust; we must trust the person who loves us has our best interest in mind, even in times of doubt. There are occasions when trust requires us to accept something as true, even though we can’t immediately see this to be the case. In essence, trust often requires “hiddenness” on the part of the “lover” if love is to be confident, powerful and transformational.
Love Requires Evidence | Love does, however, require sufficient evidence. While we may not want to coerce our children, we do need to give them sufficient reason to believe we exist, support and love them. While many non-believers may deny there is any evidence for the existence of God, the natural world has provided us with sufficient (albeit non-coercive) evidence God exists. We have the ability, however, to deny this evidence if we choose.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
Romans 14:11 & Isaiah 45:23
By James S. Stewart
(Is 45:23) 23 By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
“To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear.” NRSV
(Ro 14:11) For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.” NRSV
The first is the subject-matter of the teaching itself. What are Paul's leading themes ? The righteousness of God, the death of Jesus on Calvary, the reconciliation of the world, the eternally living and present Christ. Paul at least recognised, if some of his commentators have not, that where themes like these are concerned, you cannot in the last resort measure and explain : you can only wonder and adore. We may take it for certain that any formula or system which claims to gather up into itself the whole meaning of God's righteousness, or of Christ's redeeming work, is ipso facto wrong. The only right way to see the cross of Jesus is on your knees. The apostle himself reminds us of that, when he declares, immediately after one of his greatest accounts of his Lord's atoning death, "Before the name of Jesus every knee should bow." In this world, men kneel to what they love. And love has a way of breaking through every carefully articulated system : it sees so much more than the system-makers. Hence it is a right instinct that bids us beware of reconstructions of Paul's doctrine which claim to co-ordinate every aspect of the apostle's religious thought into a complete and perfect whole, leaving no loose ends anywhere. It is one of the great services of the Barthian movement to our generation that it keeps up an energetic protest against what it regards as a quite arrogant tendency to push systems and definitions into that ultimate region where God alone can speak. Such definitions merely indicate, as Barth declares, that "man has taken the divine into his possession ; he has brought it under his management" \ he has been forgetting that "only God Himself can speak of God." 2 But Paul never forgot that; and therefore at point after point his line of thought is interrupted by a sudden burst of doxology. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out !" "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory."
(Ro 11:33–36) 33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. NRSV
(2 Co 1:3–5) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. NRSV
(1 Co 15:57) 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. NRSV
A Man in Christ: The Vital Elements of St. Paul's Religion (Classic Reprint)
Your Inner Pharisee
By Josh Moody 8/11/2017
The Pharisees are boogeymen among evangelicals, and as such, it is hard to conceive that we ourselves might be Pharisees. They are other people—bad people, legalists, judgmentalists, those who attack Christ and defend fake, hypocritical religion. “Hypocrites” is the most important descriptor. Pharisees act as if they are righteous; while they “strain out a gnat” of sin, they “swallow a camel” of evil (Matt. 23:24). They travel over land and sea to win a single convert, only to make him twice a son of hell as before (Matt. 23:15).
Surely, we are not them.
In a strict historical sense, Christians are not Pharisees. Pharisaic religion rejected Jesus as the Christ, and therefore when someone worships him as God’s Son, he is no longer a Pharisee.
But is there an essence of Pharisaism alive today, even active within creeds that embrace the divinity of Jesus, the doctrines of grace, and Trinitarian orthodoxy? If we leave aside the doctrinal and historical elements of Pharisaism, the following six areas of examination might expose our own inner Pharisee.
1. Our Prayers | Are our prayers, even if explicitly God-honoring, implicity self-exalting (Luke 18:9–11; Matt. 6:5)? For instance, do we pray to sound impressive to those who hear us?
Josh Moody Books:
- 1 John 1-12 For You
- 2 Journey to Joy: The Psalms of Ascent
- 3 Burning Hearts: Preaching to the Affections (Proclamation Trust)
- 4 7 Days to Change Your Life: Find Focus Through Intentional Living
- 5 How Church Can Change Your Life: Answers to the Ten Most Common Questions about Church
- 6 No Other Gospel: 31 Reasons from Galatians Why Justification by Faith Alone Is the Only Gospel
- 7 The God-Centered Life: Insights from Jonathan Edwards for Today
What Christians Should Know About the Alt-Right
By Joe Carter 6/14/2017
Earlier today, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution condemning the movement known as the “alt-right.”
The language of the resolution reads, in part,
WHEREAS, Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right”; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil; and be it further RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst; and be it further RESOLVED, That we earnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
The resolution initially caused confusion because many Baptists—like most other Americans—are not familiar with the movement. A majority of U.S. adults (54 percent) say they have heard “nothing at all” about the “alt-right” movement, and another 28 percent have heard only “a little” about it, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken last year.
“There were a lot of people [at the SBC annual meeting] who just weren’t familiar with what the alt-right is,” said Russell Moore, a TGC Council member and president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “And then there were others who assumed the alt-right was just a fringy group of people that they didn’t want to dignify by even mentioning them.”
Five Things We Forget About Heaven
By Gavin Ortlund 8/11/2017
In 1952, Florence Chadwick tried to swim from Catalina Island to the coast of California. For fifteen hours, she endured choppy waters, possible shark attacks, and extreme fatigue. Then a thick fog set in. She gave up.
Two months later, she tried again. This time, though it was foggy again, she made it. When asked what made the difference, she said, “The first time all I could see was the fog. The second time I kept a mental image of that shoreline in my mind while I swam.”
For me, Chadwick’s comment gives a great image of how heaven should function in our lives as we follow Jesus. In order to persevere through the fog and fatigue of life, we need a mental image of the eternal shoreline toward which we swim.
But if you’re like me, you tend to think about heaven far less than you should. Many days it’s completely off my radar screen. What’s more, when we do think about heaven, we have a lot of misconceptions about it, as Randy Alcorn has helped us understand.
So lately, I’ve been trying to think more about heaven. As I’ve done so, several features of heaven have surprised me. Think of these as qualities we often forget about heaven — parts of the shoreline most likely to be overlooked.
Gavin Ortlund (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a husband, father, minister, and writer, currently working as a research fellow at the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of Ascending Toward the Beatific Vision: Heaven as the Climax of Anselm’s Proslogion (Brill). Gavin blogs regularly at Soliloquium. You can follow him on Twitter.
But Jesus Never CLAIMED to be God? Actually, He Did—3 Times
By Alisa Childers 8/2/2017
One of the most common objections skeptics raise to the deity of Christ is the idea that Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Sure the church ended up worshiping Him as such, but this was a later development that was projected onto Jesus but wasn't something He intended to claim for Himself....or so the argument goes.
If you are expecting to find a Bible verse in which Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives and proclaims in English, and every other known language, "I am God!" You won't find it. He actually did one better....but we'll save that for the end.
Biblically, there are several ways to know that Jesus is God. He accepted worship, possessed all the eternal attributes of God, did things only God can do, and was given titles of deity. (Those are all great subjects for future blog posts.)
But Jesus did also CLAIM to be God, and here are 3 times He did just that:
Mark 14:61-62 | After His arrest, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court. The high priest asked him point blank: "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" Jesus replied, "I am...and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven."
As a lifelong church-goer, follower of Jesus, and former CCM recording artist, I experienced a period of profound doubt about my faith in my early thirties. I felt as though I had been tossed in a stormy ocean of uncertainty with no life jacket or lifeboat in sight. I didn't know where to find answers to my questions, or if answers existed at all. Did I have to accept it all on some kind of blind faith? This is my journey from unreasoned doubt into vibrant, intellectually informed faith.
Whether you're a seeker, a doubting Christian, or strong Christian wanting to become better at articulating your faith, I pray that this website will be a lifeboat for you. So jump in and let’s tackle the tough questions together.
I am currently a member of Grace Chapel Church in Franklin, TN and an artist in residence at Whitewater Crossing Christian Church in Cleves, Ohio.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or subjects you would like me to write about.
The Final Divide
By John Piper 11/29/1998
(Ro 2:6–11) 6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. NRSV
Heaven or Hell Awaits | Whatever else this text teaches — and it teaches many things — one thing is abundantly clear and immeasurably important for us and for our mission in this modern, secular world: namely, when your life is over on this earth, and this present age is over on this planet, God will give you either eternal life or wrath and indignation. You will receive either glory and honor and peace or you will receive tribulation and distress. Heaven or hell awaits you when you die. And both will last forever.
Let’s make sure we see this fundamental reality in this text. Verse 6: “God will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, [he will render] eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [he will render] wrath and indignation. [Now he reverses the order and gives the same alternatives again, lest we miss the point.] There will be tribulation and distress [corresponding to verse 8: “wrath and indignation”] for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace [corresponding to verse 7: “eternal life”] to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
So, whatever else you see here, please don’t miss this. What could be more important or more relevant or more urgent or more immense or more captivating than your happiness or misery for all eternity?
For all Stages of Life | Children, this is very important for you. Someday you are going to die. I hope it will be when you are very old and full of years. But you might be six or sixteen when you die. And when you die, you will either enter eternal life with God or go away under his eternal anger and misery forever. You don’t have to be afraid about this. God has given his Son, Jesus, to die for sinners so that everyone who trusts in him will not go to hell, but have eternal life (John 3:16). But you do need to care about this. So listen carefully today and ask your daddy or mommy to help you be sure that you will go to heaven and not to hell.
And teenagers, be wise and set your minds to think about what really matters in this world. Don’t be foolish and give your best energies to things that last a moment and then are gone. Don’t think that you will live a long time and deal with heaven and hell when you are old. Every day the news carries stories about teenagers dying suddenly. And if you put it off, what you may find is that your heart is so infused with the mindset of this world that you are no longer able to feel a serious spiritual affection. Oh how many times I heard my father say the ominous words of Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’” Few things are more to be feared than a godless, miserable old age unable to delight in heaven or fear hell. Do not presume that you will get serious about eternity when you are old. Do it now.
- Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture
- Don't Waste Your Life
- Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- When I Don't Desire God (Redesign): How to Fight for Joy
- A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
- Future Grace, Revised Edition: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy
- This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
- Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God's Grace
- Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (Revised Edition)
- Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power
- The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God
- Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions
- God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself
- Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ
- The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin
- Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks From a Lifetime of Preaching
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- The Dangerous Duty of Delight: The Glorified God and the Satisfied Soul
- Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition
- The Supremacy of God in Preaching
- Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
- Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It
- Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton (The Swans Are Not Silent)
- A Godward Heart: Treasuring the God Who Loves You
- The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce
- Don't Waste Your Cancer
- Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian
- The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
- Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis
- Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
- Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23
- Finally Alive
- A Godward Life: Seeing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Spectacular Sins (Redesign): And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ
- Pierced by the Word: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Soul
- God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (With the Complete Text of The End for Which God Created the World)
- Life as a Vapor: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Faith
- Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
- 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood
- What Jesus Demands from the World (Paperback Edition)
- What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible
- Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen
- Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged
- John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God
- A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
- Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent
- The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright
- The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Thinking. Loving. Doing.: A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Quest for Joy (Pack of 25) (Proclaiming the Gospel)
- Ruth: Under the Wings of God
Euthanasia Used For 4.5 Percent of Deaths in the Netherlands
By Maria Cheng 8/3/2017
LONDON (AP) — Euthanasia has become a common way to die in the Netherlands, accounting for 4.5 percent of deaths, according to researchers who say requests are increasing from people who aren’t terminally ill.
In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world that made it legal for doctors to help people die. Both euthanasia, where doctors actively kill patients, and assisted suicide, where physicians prescribe patients a lethal dose of drugs, are allowed. People must be “suffering unbearably” with no hope of relief — but their condition does not have to be fatal.
“It looks like patients are now more willing to ask for euthanasia and physicians are more willing to grant it,” said lead author Dr. Agnes Van der Heide of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.
The 25-year review published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine is based on physician questionnaires. The use of morphine and sedation which might hasten death has become common practice in the Netherlands, the authors said in the report.
The review shows that in 1990, before it was legal, 1.7 percent of deaths were from euthanasia or assisted suicide. That rose to 4.5 percent by 2015. The vast majority — 92 percent — had serious illness and the rest had health problems from old age, early-stage dementia or psychiatric problems or a combination. More than a third of those who died were over 80.
The Gnawing Worm of the Soul
By Cyprian of Carthage 8/23/2017
In her book Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies, author Rebecca DeYoung writes about envy and its destructive power:
“Why are we envious? Whom do we envy? And why does envy lead to such destructive impulses? While there is something ugly and malicious about envy—Gregory the Great lists anger as a vice that arises from it—there is obviously something self-destructive, self-hating about envy too. A poem by Victor Hugo recounts an opportunity granted to Envy and Avarice to receive whatever they wished, on the condition the other receive a double portion. Envy replied, ‘I wish to be blind in one eye.’ The envious person resents another person’s good gifts because they are superior to his or her own. It’s not just that the other person is better; it is that by their comparison their superiority makes you feel your own lack, your own inferiority, more acutely”.
Cyprian of Carthage joins us today to offer some thoughts on this vice and ways to guard against it. —Renovaré Team
But what a gnawing worm of the soul is it, what a plague-spot of our thoughts, what a rust of the heart, to be jealous of another, either in respect of his virtue or of his happiness; that is, to hate in him either his own deservings or the divine benefits—to turn the advantages of others into one’s own mischief—to be tormented by the prosperity of illustrious men—to make other people’s glory one’s own penalty, and, as it were, to apply a sort of executioner to one’s own breast, to bring the tormentors to one’s own thoughts and feelings, that they may tear us with intestine pangs, and may smite the secret recesses of the heart with the hoof of malevolence. To such, no food is joyous, no drink can be cheerful. They are ever sighing, and groaning, and grieving; and since envy is never put off by the envious, the possessed heart is rent without intermission day and night.
Other ills have their limit; and whatever wrong is done, is bounded by the completion of the crime. In the adulterer the offense ceases when the violation is perpetrated; in the case of the murderer, the crime is at rest when the homicide is committed; and the possession of the booty puts an end to the rapacity of the thief; and the completed deception places a limit to the wrong of the cheat. Jealousy has no limit; it is an evil continually enduring, and a sin without end. In proportion as he who is envied has the advantage of a greater success, in that proportion the envious man burns with the fires of jealousy to an increased heat. …
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
by Bill Federer
An English astronomer, he became world renown for the discovery of the planet “Uranus.” He was noted for his recognition of double stars. Using the technology of the late eighteenth century, he constructed the greatest reflecting telescopes of his time, and with them cataloged and studied the nebulae and galaxies as had never been done before. For his accomplishments, he was knighted by the Royalty. His name was Sir William Herschel, and he died this day, August 25, 1822. Commenting on the grandeur of the heavens, Sir William Herschel stated: “The undevout astronomer must be mad.”
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
There is another kind of virtue that may find employment for those retired hours in which we are altogether left to ourselves and destitute of company and conversation; I mean that intercourse and communication which every reasonable creature ought to maintain with the great Author of his being. The man who lives under an habitual sense of the divine presence keeps up a perpetual cheerfulness of temper, and enjoys every moment the satisfaction of thinking himself in company with his dearest and best of friends. The time never lies heavy upon him: it is impossible for him to be alone. His thoughts and passions are the most busied at such hours when those of other men are the most inactive. He no sooner steps out of the world but his heart burns with devotion, swells with hope, and triumphs in the consciousness of that presence which everywhere surrounds him; or, on the contrary, pours out its fears, its sorrows, its apprehensions, to the great Supporter of its existence.
--- Joseph Addison
You don’t have to read very far in your Bible to discover that God forgives His servants and restores them to ministry. --- Warren Wiersbe” Be Amazed (Minor Prophets): Restoring an Attitude of Wonder and Worship (The BE Series Commentary)
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
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
4. But now there fell out a terrible sedition among them within the city; for the inhabitants themselves, who had possessions there, and to whom the city belonged, were not disposed to fight from the very beginning; and now the less so, because they had been beaten; but the foreigners, which were very numerous, would force them to fight so much the more, insomuch that there was a clamor and a tumult among them, as all mutually angry one at another. And when Titus heard this tumult, for he was not far from the wall, he cried out, "Fellow soldiers, now is the time; and why do we make any delay, when God is giving up the Jews to us? Take the victory which is given you: do not you hear what a noise they make? Those that have escaped our hands are in an uproar against one another. We have the city if we make haste; but besides haste, we must undergo some labor, and use some courage; for no great thing uses to be accomplished without danger: accordingly, we must not only prevent their uniting again, which necessity will soon compel them to do, but we must also prevent the coming of our own men to our assistance, that, as few as we are, we may conquer so great a multitude, and may ourselves alone take the city."
5. As soon as ever Titus had said this, he leaped upon his horse, and rode apace down to the lake; by which lake he marched, and entered into the city the first of them all, as did the others soon after him. Hereupon those that were upon the walls were seized with a terror at the boldness of the attempt, nor durst any one venture to fight with him, or to hinder him; so they left guarding the city, and some of those that were about Jesus fled over the country, while others of them ran down to the lake, and met the enemy in the teeth, and some were slain as they were getting up into the ships, but others of them as they attempted to overtake those that were already gone aboard. There was also a great slaughter made in the city, while those foreigners that had not fled away already made opposition; but the natural inhabitants were killed without fighting: for in hopes of Titus's giving them his right hand for their security, and out of a consciousness that they had not given any consent to the war, they avoided fighting, till Titus had slain the authors of this revolt, and then put a stop to any further slaughters, out of commiseration of these inhabitants of the place. But for those that had fled to the lake, upon seeing the city taken, they sailed as far as they possibly could from the enemy.
6. Hereupon Titus sent one of his horsemen to his father, and let him know the good news of what he had done; at which, as was natural, he was very joyful, both on account of the courage and glorious actions of his son; for he thought that now the greatest part of the war was over. He then came thither himself, and set men to guard the city, and gave them command to take care that nobody got privately out of it, but to kill such as attempted so to do. And on the next day he went down to the lake, and commanded that vessels should be fitted up, in order to pursue those that had escaped in the ships. These vessels were quickly gotten ready accordingly, because there was great plenty of materials, and a great number of artificers also.
7. Now this lake of Gennesareth is so called from the country adjoining to it. Its breadth is forty furlongs, and its length one hundred and forty; its waters are sweet, and very agreeable for drinking, for they are finer than the thick waters of other fens; the lake is also pure, and on every side ends directly at the shores, and at the sand; it is also of a temperate nature when you draw it up, and of a more gentle nature than river or fountain water, and yet always cooler than one could expect in so diffuse a place as this is. Now when this water is kept in the open air, it is as cold as that snow which the country people are accustomed to make by night in summer. There are several kinds of fish in it, different both to the taste and the sight from those elsewhere. It is divided into two parts by the river Jordan. Now Panium is thought to be the fountain of Jordan, but in reality it is carried thither after an occult manner from the place called Phiala: this place lies as you go up to Trachonitis, and is a hundred and twenty furlongs from Cesarea, and is not far out of the road on the right hand; and indeed it hath its name of Phiala [vial or bowl] very justly, from the roundness of its circumference, as being round like a wheel; its water continues always up to its edges, without either sinking or running over. And as this origin of Jordan was formerly not known, it was discovered so to be when Philip was tetrarch of Trachonitis; for he had chaff thrown into Phiala, and it was found at Paninto, where the ancients thought the fountain-head of the river was, whither it had been therefore carried [by the waters]. As for Panium itself, its natural beauty had been improved by the royal liberality of Agrippa, and adorned at his expenses. Now Jordan's visible stream arises from this cavern, and divides the marshes and fens of the lake Semechonitis; when it hath run another hundred and twenty furlongs, it first passes by the city Julias, and then passes through the middle of the lake Gennesareth; after which it runs a long way over a desert, and then makes its exit into the lake Asphaltites.
8. The country also that lies over against this lake hath the same name of Gennesareth; its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees very well with those several sorts, particularly walnuts, which require the coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty; there are palm trees also, which grow best in hot air; fig trees also and olives grow near them, which yet require an air that is more temperate. One may call this place the ambition of nature, where it forces those plants that are naturally enemies to one another to agree together; it is a happy contention of the seasons, as if every one of them laid claim to this country; for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men's expectation, but preserves them a great while; it supplies men with the principal fruits, with grapes and figs continually, during ten months of the year 7 and the rest of the fruits as they become ripe together through the whole year; for besides the good temperature of the air, it is also watered from a most fertile fountain. The people of the country call it Capharnaum. Some have thought it to be a vein of the Nile, because it produces the Coracin fish as well as that lake does which is near to Alexandria. The length of this country extends itself along the banks of this lake that bears the same name for thirty furlongs, and is in breadth twenty, And this is the nature of that place.
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)
by D.H. Stern
and set your mind on the right way.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The fruitfulness of friendship
I have called you friends. --- John 15:15.
We never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we abandon in every particular. Self-surrender is the most difficult thing—‘I will if …!’ ‘Oh well, I suppose I must devote my life to God.’ There is none of the joy of self-sacrifice in that.
As soon as we do abandon, the Holy Ghost gives us an intimation of the joy of Jesus. The final aim of self-sacrifice is laying down our lives for our Friend. When the Holy Ghost comes in, the great desire is to lay down the life for Jesus; the thought of sacrifice never touches us because sacrifice is the love passion of the Holy Ghost.
Our Lord is our example in the life of self-sacrifice—“I delight to do Thy will, O My God.” He went on with His sacrifice with exuberant joy. Have I ever yielded in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If Jesus Christ is not the lodestar, there is no benefit in the sacrifice; but when the sacrifice is made with the eyes on Him, slowly and surely the moulding influence begins to tell.
Beware of letting natural affinities hinder your walk in love. One of the most cruel ways of killing natural love is by disdain built on natural affinities. The affinity of the saint is the Lord Jesus. Love for God is not sentimental; to love as God loves is the most practical thing for the saint.
“I have called you friends.” It is a friendship based on the new life created in us, which has no affinity with our old life, but only with the life of God. It is unutterably humble, unsulliedly pure, and absolutely devoted to God.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
Song (Song at the Year's Turning)
Wandering, wandering, hoping to find
The ring of mushrooms with the wet rind,
Cold to the touch, but bright with dew,
A green asylum from time's range.
And finding instead the harsh ways
Of the ruinous wind and the clawed rain;
The storm's hysteria in the bush;
The wild creatures and their pain.
Selected poems, 1946-1968
BIBLE TEXT / Leviticus 4:1–3 / The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelite people thus: When a person unwittingly incurs guilt in regard to any of the Lord’s commandments about things not to be done, and does one of them—If it is the anointed priest who has incurred guilt, so that blame falls upon the people, he shall offer for the sin of which he is guilty a bull of the herd without blemish as a sin offering to the Lord.
MIDRASH TEXT / Leviticus Rabbah 5, 6 / If it is the anointed priest who has incurred guilt. The anointed priest brings about atonement, and [he himself] requires atonement. Rabbi Ḥiyya taught, “Since the anointed one brings about atonement and the community [requires] atonement, it is best that the one who brings about atonement should come before those who require atonement, as it has been taught, ‘[Aaron shall then offer his bull of sin offering,] to make expiation for himself and his household’ (Leviticus 16:11). ‘His household’—this is his wife.”
Another interpretation: If it is the anointed priest who has incurred guilt. Does the anointed priest sin? Rabbi Levi said: “Pitiful is the province where the physician has gout, and the foreman has only one eye, and whose defender turns prosecutor in capital cases.”
CONTEXT / The first section of chapter four of the Book of Leviticus (4:3–12) deals with the priest who has sinned. “If it is the anointed priest who has incurred guilt.…” It is followed by paragraphs that then deal with the whole community of Israel, which has sinned (13–21), a chieftain who has sinned (22–26), and finally the individual who has sinned (27–31). The Midrash is addressing the question: Why this particular order? A logical response is that the anointed priest must first seek atonement for himself before he can effect it for others: It is best that the one who brings about atonement should come before those who require atonement.… A proof for this view comes from Leviticus 16:11, in the description of the Yom Kippur ritual on the great Day of Atonement. The text says Aaron was to make expiation “for himself and his household.” The Rabbis interpreted this as meaning first for himself, next for his wife, and finally for the whole house of Israel.
“His household”—this is his wife. In the Talmud (Gittin 52a), we read: Rabbi Yosé taught, “I never referred to my wife as ‘my wife’ … but rather as ‘my house’.” Rashi explains this by saying, “For all the needs of the house were taken care of by her hands, and she is the essence of the house!”
Does the anointed priest sin? The Midrash has a hard time believing that a religious leader like the anointed priest could actually have committed a sin. There is an expectation that such a figure would live by a higher moral code than the average person. Rabbi Levi emphasizes this point by the analogy to a doctor, a foreman, and a lawyer. If a doctor can’t keep himself healthy, how can he be expected to take care of his patients? If the building foreman, the one who levels walls during construction by means of his expert eye, is half blind, then he can’t do an adequate job. (The rare Aramaic word is alternately explained as “overseer of the treasury,” “watchman,” or “guide.”) If the defending attorney acts like the prosecutor, woe to the client!
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. --- John 3:35.
Let us come to and believe in this glorious One.
(The RS Thomas And Other Practical Works Of The Late Reverend And Learned Mr. Ralph Erskine V9) For a stimulus to action, consider, is it possible that we can desire a better pattern to follow in trusting in Christ than his eternal Father, who has entrusted him with everything? “Here is my servant, whom I uphold” (Isa. 42:1), or, as the word signifies, “my servant, whom I trust.” Isn’t it best loving whom God loves and trusting whom he trusts?
Consider, too, that those who believe cannot miss salvation, for it is in the hands of Christ to give to all comers. Those who do not believe cannot escape damnation, for, “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3)—so great a Savior, who has everything in his hands?
His Father crowned Christ with this honor, so you cannot put more honor on the Father or on Christ than by putting everything you have in his hands and going to him for everything you stand in need of. When you go to him and make use of this treasure, you join with his Father in putting a crown of glory on his head.
Consider for reason to look to this Jesus that everything is placed in Christ’s hands so that he may give it out to you. Why has our Lord Jesus received gifts, even the gift of everything? He “gave gifts to men” (Eph. 4:8).
Do not say, then, “It cannot be for me”; yes, it is for you. Let faith say, “It is for me—for me—that everything was placed in Christ’s hands.”
It is not possible that he will keep all closed in his hands and give out nothing. No; it stands on his honor as Mediator; it stands on his credit as the church’s treasurer and the Father’s trustee to give from that treasure of grace and fullness that is given to him for our behalf. He would not be faithful to his trust if he would give out none of that treasure to poor sinners. When unbelief says, “Oh! He will give out nothing to me,” let faith step in and say, “I hope he will give to me from his fullness, because his name is Faithful and True.” And here is a door of faith even for sinners who are yet unbelievers, that there is a glorious and sweet necessity lying on Christ to give from his grace and fullness to human sinners—and why not to you?
--- Ralph Erskine
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Curtain Call August 25
The last great Roman persecution against the church occurred during the reign of Diocletian, a son of slaves, who became emperor in 284. Diocletian seemed tolerant of Christians at first. His wife and daughter studied Christian writings. But as the new faith grew and large church buildings began appearing in major cities, the emperor put Christianity to the rack. One of the strangest incidents occurred in 303 when Diocletian attended a play in Rome. In the performance, actors clothed in white made fun of Christian rituals and habits. One of them, Genesius, ran onto the stage and fell to the floor crying, “I feel so heavy. I want to be made light. I want to die as a Christian that on that day I may fly up to God as a refuge.” A mock priest and an exorcist ran to his side, performing rituals including a fake baptism.
The crowd roared with laughter. But Genesius had grown up in a Christian home, and his pagan ways had failed to destroy his Christian roots. He was suddenly haunted with pangs of conviction so strong that he cried out, “I want to receive the grace of Christ, that I may be born again, and be set free from the sins which have been my ruin.”
Many in the crowd thought he was still acting. But he rose, interrupting the play. Looking at the audience he said, “Illustrious emperor, and all you people who have laughed loudly at this parody, believe me! Christ is the true Lord!”
Diocletian, enraged, immediately ordered Genesius stretched onto a device of agony called the hobbyhorse. As the tortures increased, his skin was torn with sharp hooks and his sides burned with torches. But the actor kept repeating, “There is no king except Christ, whom I have seen and worship. For him I will die a thousand times. I am sorry for my sin, and for becoming so late a soldier of the true king.”
The tortures failed to dissuade him, and the curtain fell on his life when he was beheaded on this day, August 25, 303.
The LORD our God was with our ancestors to help them, and I pray that he will be with us and never abandon us. May the LORD help us obey him and follow all the laws and teachings he gave our ancestors. I pray that the LORD our God will remember my prayer day and night.
--- 1 Kings 8:57-59a.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - August 25
“His fruit was sweet to my taste.”
--- Song of Solomon 2:3.
Faith, in the Scripture, is spoken of under the emblem of all the senses. It is sight: “Look unto me and be ye saved.” It is hearing: “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Faith is smelling: “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia”; “thy name is as ointment poured forth.” Faith is spiritual touch. By this faith the woman came behind and touched the hem of Christ’s garment, and by this we handle the things of the good word of life. Faith is equally the spirit’s taste. “How sweet are thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my lips.” “Except a man eat my flesh,” saith Christ, “and drink my blood, there is no life in him.”
This “taste” is faith in one of its highest operations. One of the first performances of faith is hearing. We hear the voice of God, not with the outward ear alone, but with the inward ear; we hear it as God’s Word, and we believe it to be so; that is the “hearing” of faith. Then our mind looketh upon the truth as it is presented to us; that is to say, we understand it, we perceive its meaning; that is the “seeing” of faith. Next we discover its preciousness; we begin to admire it, and find how fragrant it is; that is faith in its “smell.” Then we appropriate the mercies which are prepared for us in Christ; that is faith in its “touch.” Hence follow the enjoyments, peace, delight, communion; which are faith in its “taste.” Any one of these acts of faith is saving. To hear Christ’s voice as the sure voice of God in the soul will save us; but that which gives true enjoyment is the aspect of faith wherein Christ, by holy taste, is received into us, and made, by inward and spiritual apprehension of his sweetness and preciousness, to be the food of our souls. It is then we sit “under his shadow with great delight,” and find his fruit sweet to our taste.
Evening - August 25
“If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” --- Acts 8:37.
These words may answer your scruples, devout reader, concerning the ordinances. Perhaps you say, “I should be afraid to be baptized; it is such a solemn thing to avow myself to be dead with Christ, and buried with him. I should not feel at liberty to come to the Master’s table; I should be afraid of eating and drinking damnation unto myself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” Ah! poor trembler, Jesus has given you liberty, be not afraid. If a stranger came to your house, he would stand at the door, or wait in the hall; he would not dream of intruding unbidden into your parlour—he is not at home: but your child makes himself very free about the house; and so is it with the child of God. A stranger may not intrude where a child may venture. When the Holy Ghost has given you to feel the spirit of adoption, you may come to Christian ordinances without fear. The same rule holds good of the Christian’s inward privileges. You think, poor seeker, that you are not allowed to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; if you are permitted to get inside Christ’s door, or sit at the bottom of his table, you will be well content. Ah! but you shall not have less privileges than the very greatest. God makes no difference in his love to his children. A child is a child to him; he will not make him a hired servant; but he shall feast upon the fatted calf, and shall have the music and the dancing as much as if he had never gone astray. When Jesus comes into the heart, he issues a general licence to be glad in the Lord. No chains are worn in the court of King Jesus. Our admission into full privileges may be gradual, but it is sure. Perhaps our reader is saying, “I wish I could enjoy the promises, and walk at liberty in my Lord’s commands.” “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” Loose the chains of thy neck, O captive daughter, for Jesus makes thee free.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE
Frances R. Havergal, 1836–1879
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31)
In this day of self-centered living and pleasure-oriented lifestyle, the total commitment to God of body, mind, and possessions portrayed in this text is difficult for many Christians to achieve. Even though we realize that we have nothing we have not received and that we are only stewards of the good gifts God has entrusted to us, we often fail to apply this basic truth to our daily lives:
The gold that came from Thee, Lord, to Thee belongeth still;
Oh, may I always faithfully my stewardship fulfill.
It was said of Frances Ridley Havergal, author of this text, that the beauty of a consecrated life was never more perfectly revealed than in her daily living. She has rightfully been called “The Consecration Poet.”
“These little couplets that chimed in my heart one after another” were for Frances Havergal the result of an Evening in 1874 passed in pursuing a deeper consecration of herself to God. “Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King” was personally significant for Frances. She was naturally very musical and had been trained as a concert soloist with an unusually pleasant voice. Her musical talents could have brought her much worldly fame. However, she determined that her life’s mission was to sing and work only for Jesus. The line “Take my silver and my gold” was also sincerely phrased. At one time Frances gathered together her many fine pieces of jewelry and other family heirlooms and shipped them to the church missionary house to be used for evangelizing the lost. Nearly fifty articles were sent with “extreme delight.”
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee; take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee; take my voice and let me sing always only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages for Thee; take my silver and my gold—not a mite would I withhold.
Take my love—my God, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store; take myself—and I will be ever, only, all for Thee, ever, only, all for thee.
For Today: 1 Chronicles 29:5; Matthew 22:37; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
Express once more your gratitude for all of God’s gifts. Dedicate yourself more completely to His glory and service. Sing these words of consecration as you go ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Friday, August 25, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 15, Friday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 140, 142
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 141, 143:1–11 (12)
Old Testament 2 Samuel 19:24–43
New Testament Acts 24:24–25:12
Gospel Mark 12:35–44
Index of Readings
Psalm 140, 142
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1 Deliver me, O LORD, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
2 who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah
4 Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net,
along the road they have set snares for me. Selah
6 I say to the LORD, “You are my God;
give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications.”
7 O LORD, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot. Selah
9 Those who surround me lift up their heads;
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall on them!
Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
11 Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil speedily hunt down the violent!
12 I know that the LORD maintains the cause of the needy,
and executes justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall live in your presence.
A Maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A Prayer.
1 With my voice I cry to the LORD;
with my voice I make supplication to the LORD.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
3 When my spirit is faint,
you know my way.
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look on my right hand and see—
there is no one who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for me.
5 I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Give heed to my cry,
for I am brought very low.
Save me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
7 Bring me out of prison,
so that I may give thanks to your name.
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.
Psalm 141, 143:1–11 (12)
A Psalm of David.
1 I call upon you, O LORD; come quickly to me;
give ear to my voice when I call to you.
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.
3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not turn my heart to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with those who work iniquity;
do not let me eat of their delicacies.
5 Let the righteous strike me;
let the faithful correct me.
Never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head,
for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
6 When they are given over to those who shall condemn them,
then they shall learn that my words were pleasant.
7 Like a rock that one breaks apart and shatters on the land,
so shall their bones be strewn at the mouth of Sheol.
8 But my eyes are turned toward you, O GOD, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me,
and from the snares of evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I alone escape.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.
2 Samuel 19:24–43
24 Mephibosheth grandson of Saul came down to meet the king; he had not taken care of his feet, or trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes, from the day the king left until the day he came back in safety. 25 When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?” 26 He answered, “My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, ‘Saddle a donkey for me, so that I may ride on it and go with the king.’ For your servant is lame. 27 He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. 28 For all my father’s house were doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to appeal to the king?” 29 The king said to him, “Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land.” 30 Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take it all, since my lord the king has arrived home safely.”
31 Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. 32 Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 The king said to Barzillai, “Come over with me, and I will provide for you in Jerusalem at my side.” 34 But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35 Today I am eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36 Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward? 37 Please let your servant return, so that I may die in my own town, near the graves of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you.” 38 The king answered, “Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you.” 39 Then all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king crossed over; the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. 40 The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.
41 Then all the people of Israel came to the king, and said to him, “Why have our kindred the people of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?” 42 All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, “Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense? Or has he given us any gift?” 43 But the people of Israel answered the people of Judah, “We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?” But the words of the people of Judah were fiercer than the words of the people of Israel.
24 Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him.
27 After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
25 Three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem 2 where the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews gave him a report against Paul. They appealed to him 3 and requested, as a favor to them against Paul, to have him transferred to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, planning an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. 5 “So,” he said, “let those of you who have the authority come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him.”
6 After he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. 7 When he arrived, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem surrounded him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. 8 Paul said in his defense, “I have in no way committed an offense against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against the emperor.” 9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?” 10 Paul said, “I am appealing to the emperor’s tribunal; this is where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. 11 Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor.” 12 Then Festus, after he had conferred with his council, replied, “You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go.”
35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’
37 David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight. 38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church