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1 Kings 7
2 Chronicles 4
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Solomon’s Other Buildings

1 Kings 7:1     But Solomon took thirteen years to build his own house; so he finished all his house.

     2 He also built the House of the Forest of Lebanon; its length was one hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits, with four rows of cedar pillars, and cedar beams on the pillars. 3 And it was paneled with cedar above the beams that were on forty-five pillars, fifteen to a row. 4 There were windows with beveled frames in three rows, and window was opposite window in three tiers. 5 And all the doorways and doorposts had rectangular frames; and window was opposite window in three tiers.

     6 He also made the Hall of Pillars: its length was fifty cubits, and its width thirty cubits; and in front of them was a portico with pillars, and a canopy was in front of them.

     7 Then he made a hall for the throne, the Hall of Judgment, where he might judge; and it was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling.

     8 And the house where he dwelt had another court inside the hall, of like workmanship. Solomon also made a house like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken as wife.
Ezra 10:1-17.

     9 All these were of costly stones cut to size, trimmed with saws, inside and out, from the foundation to the eaves, and also on the outside to the great court. 10 The foundation was of costly stones, large stones, some ten cubits and some eight cubits. 11 And above were costly stones, hewn to size, and cedar wood. 12 The great court was enclosed with three rows of hewn stones and a row of cedar beams. So were the inner court of the house of the Lord and the vestibule of the temple.

Hiram the Craftsman

     13 Now King Solomon sent and brought Huram from Tyre. 14 He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work.

The Bronze Pillars for the Temple

     15 And he cast two pillars of bronze, each one eighteen cubits high, and a line of twelve cubits measured the circumference of each. 16 Then he made two capitals of cast bronze, to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17 He made a lattice network, with wreaths of chainwork, for the capitals which were on top of the pillars: seven chains for one capital and seven for the other capital. 18 So he made the pillars, and two rows of pomegranates above the network all around to cover the capitals that were on top; and thus he did for the other capital.

     19 The capitals which were on top of the pillars in the hall were in the shape of lilies, four cubits. 20 The capitals on the two pillars also had pomegranates above, by the convex surface which was next to the network; and there were two hundred such pomegranates in rows on each of the capitals all around.

     21 Then he set up the pillars by the vestibule of the temple; he set up the pillar on the right and called its name Jachin, and he set up the pillar on the left and called its name Boaz. 22 The tops of the pillars were in the shape of lilies. So the work of the pillars was finished.

The Sea and the Oxen

     23 And he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.

     24 Below its brim were ornamental buds encircling it all around, ten to a cubit, all the way around the Sea. The ornamental buds were cast in two rows when it was cast. 25 It stood on twelve oxen: three looking toward the north, three looking toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. 26 It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained two thousand baths.

The Carts and the Lavers

     27 He also made ten carts of bronze; four cubits was the length of each cart, four cubits its width, and three cubits its height. 28 And this was the design of the carts: They had panels, and the panels were between frames; 29 on the panels that were between the frames were lions, oxen, and cherubim. And on the frames was a pedestal on top. Below the lions and oxen were wreaths of plaited work. 30 Every cart had four bronze wheels and axles of bronze, and its four feet had supports. Under the laver were supports of cast bronze beside each wreath. 31 Its opening inside the crown at the top was one cubit in diameter; and the opening was round, shaped like a pedestal, one and a half cubits in outside diameter; and also on the opening were engravings, but the panels were square, not round. 32 Under the panels were the four wheels, and the axles of the wheels were joined to the cart. The height of a wheel was one and a half cubits. 33 The workmanship of the wheels was like the workmanship of a chariot wheel; their axle pins, their rims, their spokes, and their hubs were all of cast bronze. 34 And there were four supports at the four corners of each cart; its supports were part of the cart itself. 35 On the top of the cart, at the height of half a cubit, it was perfectly round. And on the top of the cart, its flanges and its panels were of the same casting. 36 On the plates of its flanges and on its panels he engraved cherubim, lions, and palm trees, wherever there was a clear space on each, with wreaths all around. 37 Thus he made the ten carts. All of them were of the same mold, one measure, and one shape.

     38 Then he made ten lavers of bronze; each laver contained forty baths, and each laver was four cubits. On each of the ten carts was a laver. 39 And he put five carts on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house. He set the Sea on the right side of the house, toward the southeast.

Furnishings of the Temple

     40 Huram made the lavers and the shovels and the bowls. So Huram finished doing all the work that he was to do for King Solomon for the house of the Lord: 41 the two pillars, the two bowl- shaped capitals that were on top of the two pillars; the two networks covering the two bowl-shaped capitals which were on top of the pillars; 42 four hundred pomegranates for the two networks (two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowl- shaped capitals that were on top of the pillars); 43 the ten carts, and ten lavers on the carts; 44 one Sea, and twelve oxen under the Sea; 45 the pots, the shovels, and the bowls.

     All these articles which Huram made for King Solomon for the house of the Lord were of burnished bronze. 46 In the plain of Jordan the king had them cast in clay molds, between Succoth and Zaretan. 47 And Solomon did not weigh all the articles, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.

     48 Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of the Lord: the altar of gold, and the table of gold on which was the showbread; 49 the lampstands of pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left in front of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold; 50 the basins, the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner room (the Most Holy Place) and for the doors of the main hall of the temple.

     51 So all the work that King Solomon had done for the house of the Lord was finished; and Solomon brought in the things which his father David had dedicated: the silver and the gold and the furnishings. He put them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord.

Furnishings of the Temple

2 Chronicles 4:1     Moreover he made a bronze altar: twenty cubits was its length, twenty cubits its width, and ten cubits its height.

     2 Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. 3 And under it was the likeness of oxen encircling it all around, ten to a cubit, all the way around the Sea. The oxen were cast in two rows, when it was cast. 4 It stood on twelve oxen: three looking toward the north, three looking toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. 5 It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained three thousand baths.

     6 He also made ten lavers, and put five on the right side and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as they offered for the burnt offering they would wash in them, but the Sea was for the priests to wash in. 7 And he made ten lampstands of gold according to their design, and set them in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left. 8 He also made ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left. And he made one hundred bowls of gold.

     9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court and doors for the court; and he overlaid these doors with bronze. 10 He set the Sea on the right side, toward the southeast.

     11 Then Huram made the pots and the shovels and the bowls. So Huram finished doing the work that he was to do for King Solomon for the house of God: 12 the two pillars and the bowl-shaped capitals that were on top of the two pillars; the two networks covering the two bowl-shaped capitals which were on top of the pillars; 13 four hundred pomegranates for the two networks (two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowl-shaped capitals that were on the pillars); 14 he also made carts and the lavers on the carts; 15 one Sea and twelve oxen under it; 16 also the pots, the shovels, the forks—and all their articles Huram his master craftsman made of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the house of the Lord.

     17 In the plain of Jordan the king had them cast in clay molds, between Succoth and Zeredah. 18 And Solomon had all these articles made in such great abundance that the weight of the bronze was not determined.

     19 Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of God: the altar of gold and the tables on which was the showbread; 20 the lampstands with their lamps of pure gold, to burn in the prescribed manner in front of the inner sanctuary, 21 with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold, of purest gold; 22 the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold. As for the entry of the sanctuary, its inner doors to the Most Holy Place, and the doors of the main hall of the temple, were gold.

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

  • L5 Jesus-Law
  • L6 Greater Righteousness 1
  • L7 Righteousness 2

#1   Bill Mounce


#2    Bill Mounce


#3    Bill Mounce


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Camelot and King Arthur’s Court, Knights of the Round Table and the quest for the Holy Grail… our imaginations soar with history and legend immortalized by poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was born this day, August 6, 1809. The son of a clergyman, he not only brought to life Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, but wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade, recording the courage of the British Cavalry as they rode to their deaths fighting the Russians. Honored by Queen Victoria as Poet-Laureat, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote: “Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.”

American Minute
Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Where the self-interest sleeps
and the real interest awakens
--- Oswald Chambers

He that does good for good's sake
seeks neither paradise nor reward,
but he is sure of both in the end.
--- William Penn

Fill me with gladness from above,
Hold me by strength divine;
Lord, let the glow of your great love
Through my whole being shine.
--- Unknown

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     BOOK III.

     Containing The Interval Of About One Year. From Vespasian's Coming To Subdue The Jews To The Taking Of Gamala.

     CHAPTER 1.

     Vespasian Is Sent Into Syria By Nero In Order To Make War With The Jews.

     1. When Nero was informed of the Romans' ill success in Judea, a concealed consternation and terror, as is usual in such cases, fell upon him; although he openly looked very big, and was very angry, and said that what had happened was rather owing to the negligence of the commander, than to any valor of the enemy: and as he thought it fit for him, who bare the burden of the whole empire, to despise such misfortunes, he now pretended so to do, and to have a soul superior to all such sad accidents whatsoever. Yet did the disturbance that was in his soul plainly appear by the solicitude he was in [how to recover his affairs again].

     2. And as he was deliberating to whom he should commit the care of the East, now it was in so great a commotion, and who might be best able to punish the Jews for their rebellion, and might prevent the same distemper from seizing upon the neighboring nations also,—he found no one but Vespasian equal to the task, and able to undergo the great burden of so mighty a war, seeing he was growing an old man already in the camp, and from his youth had been exercised in warlike exploits: he was also a man that had long ago pacified the west, and made it subject to the Romans, when it had been put into disorder by the Germans; he had also recovered to them Britain by his arms, which had been little known before 1 whereby he procured to his father Claudius to have a triumph bestowed on him without any sweat or labor of his own.

     3. So Nero esteemed these circumstances as favorable omens, and saw that Vespasian's age gave him sure experience, and great skill, and that he had his sons as hostages for his fidelity to himself, and that the flourishing age they were in would make them fit instruments under their father's prudence. Perhaps also there was some interposition of Providence, which was paving the way for Vespasian's being himself emperor afterwards. Upon the whole, he sent this man to take upon him the command of the armies that were in Syria; but this not without great encomiums and flattering compellations, such as necessity required, and such as might mollify him into complaisance. So Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia, where he had been with Nero, to Alexandria, to bring back with him from thence the fifth and the tenth legions, while he himself, when he had passed over the Hellespont, came by land into Syria, where he gathered together the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighborhood.

          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 22:13
     by D.H. Stern

13     A lazy man says, “There’s a lion outside!
I’ll be killed if I go out in the street!”

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
Mushrooms On The Moor
     by Frank W. Boreham


     It was in New Zealand, and I was attending my first Conference. I had only a month or two earlier entered the Christian ministry. I dreaded the Assembly of my grave and reverend seniors. With becoming modesty, I stole quietly into the hall and occupied a back seat. From this welcome seclusion, however, I was rudely summoned to receive the right hand of fellowship from the President. Then I once more plunged into the outer darkness of oblivion and obscurity. Here I remained until once again I was electrified at the sound of my own name. It seemed that the sorrows of dissension had overtaken a tiny church in a remote bush district. One of the oldest and most revered members, the father of a very large family and the leader of the little brotherhood, had intimated his intention of withdrawing from fellowship and of joining another denomination. This formidable secession had thrown the little congregation into helpless confusion, and an appeal was made to the courts of the denomination. The letter was read; and the secretary stated briefly and succinctly the facts of the situation. And then, to my amazement, he closed by moving that Mr. William Forbury and myself be appointed a deputation to visit the district, to advise the church, and to report to Conference. Mr. Forbury, he explained, was a father in Israel. His grey hairs commanded reverence; whilst his ripe experience and sound judgement would be invaluable to the small and troubled community. So far, so good. His reasoning seemed irresistible. But he went on to say that he had included my name because I was an absolute stranger. I knew nothing of the internal disputes that had rent the church. My very freshness would give me a position of impartiality that older men could not claim. Moreover, he argued, the visit to a bush congregation, and the insight into its peculiar difficulties, would be a useful experience for me. I felt that I could not decently decline; but I confidently expected that the proposal would be challenged and probably rejected. To my astonishment, however, it was seconded and carried. And nothing remained but to arrange with Mr. Forbury the date of our delegation.

     The day came, and we set out. It took the train just four hours to convey us to the lonely station from which we emerged upon a wilderness of green bush and a maze of muddy tracks. Mr. Forbury had visited the district frequently, and knew it well. We called upon several settlers in the course of the afternoon, taking dinner with one, and afternoon tea with another. And then we proceeded to the home of the seceder. The place seemed alive with young people. The house swarmed with children.

     'How are you, John?' inquired my companion.

     'Ah, William, glad to see you; how are you?'

     They made an interesting study, these two old men. Their forms were bent with long years of hard and honourable toil. Their faces were rugged and weatherbeaten, wrinkled with age, and furrowed with care. They had come out together from the Homeland years and years ago. They had borne each other's burdens, and shared each other's confidences, through all the days of their pilgrimage. Their thoughts of each other were mingled with all the memories of their courtships, their weddings, and their earlier struggles. A thousand tender and sacred associations were interwoven, in the mind of each, with the name of the other. When fortune had smiled, they had delighted in each other's prosperity. In times of shadow, each had hastened to the other's side. They had walked together, talked together, laughed together, wept together, and—very, very often—prayed together. They had been as David and Jonathan, and the soul of the one was knit to the soul of the other. Hundreds of times, before the one had come to settle in this new district, they had walked to the house of God in company. And now a matter of doctrine had intervened. And, with such men, a matter of doctrine is a matter of conscience. And a matter of conscience is the most stubborn of all obstacles to overcome. I looked into their stern, expressive faces, and I saw that they were no triflers. A fad had no charm for either of them. They looked into each other's faces, and each read the truth. The breach was irreparable.

     We sat in the great farm kitchen until tea-time. I felt it was no business of mine to broach the affairs that had brought us. Several times I thought that Mr. Forbury was about to touch the matter. But each time it was adroitly avoided, and the conversation swerved off in another direction. Once or twice I felt half inclined to precipitate a discussion. Indeed, I was in the act of doing so when our hostess brought in the tea. A snowy cloth, home-made scones, delicious oat-cake, abundance of cream—how tempting it all was! And how unattractive ecclesiastical controversy in comparison! We sat there in the twilight for what seemed like an age, talking of everything under the sun. Of everything, that is to say, save one thing only. And there brooded heavily over our spirits the consciousness that we were avoiding the one and only subject on which we were all really and deeply thinking.

     After tea came family worship. I was invited to conduct it, and did so. After reading a psalm from the old farm Bible, we all kneeled together, the flickering flames of the great log-fire flinging strange shadows on the whitened wall and rafters as we rose and bowed ourselves. I caught myself attempting, even in prayer, to make obscure but fitting reference to the special circumstances that had brought us together. But the reticence of my companion was contagious. It was like a bridle on my tongue. The sadness of it all haunted me, and paralysed my speech; and I swerved off again at every threatened allusion. We sat on for awhile, they on either side of the roomy fireplace, and I between them, whilst the good woman and her daughters washed up the tea-things. The clatter of the dishes, and the babel of many voices, made it impossible for us to speak freely on the subject nearest our hearts. At length we rose to go. I noticed, on the part of my two aged companions, a peculiar reluctance to separate. Each longed, yet dreaded, to speak. There was evidently so much to be said, and yet speech seemed so hopeless.

     At last our friend said that he would walk a few steps with us. We said good-bye to the great household and set off into the night.

     I shall never forget that walk! It was a clear, frosty evening. The moonlight was radiant. Every twig was tipped with silver. The smallest object could be seen distinctly. I watched the rabbits as they popped timidly in and out of the great gorse hedgerows. A hare went scurrying across the field. I felt all at once that I was an intruder. What right had I to be in the company of these two aged brethren in the very crisis of their lifelong friendship? No Conference on earth could vest me with authority to invade this holy ground! I made an excuse, and hurried on, walking some distance in front of them. But the night was so still that, even at that distance, had a word been uttered I must have heard it. I could hear the clatter of hoofs on the hard road two miles ahead. I could hear the dogs barking at a farmhouse twice as far away. I could hear a rabbit squealing in a trap on the fringe of the bush far behind us. But no word did I hear. For none was uttered. Side by side they walked on and on in perfect silence. I once paused and allowed them to approach. They were crying like children. Stern old Puritans! They were built of the stuff that martyrs are made of. Either would have died a hundred deaths rather than have been false to conscience, or to truth, or to the other. Either would have died a hundred deaths to save the other from one. Neither could be coaxed or cowed into betraying one jot or tittle of his heart's best treasure. And each knew, whilst he trembled for himself, that all this was true of the other as well. Side by side they walked for miles in that pale and silvery moonlight. Not one word was spoken. Grief had paralysed their vocal powers; and their eyes were streaming with another eloquence. They wrung each other's hands at length, and parted without even saying good-night!

     At the next Conference it was the junior member of the deputation who presented the report. He simply stated that the delegation had visited the district without having been able to reconcile the differences that had arisen in the little congregation. The Assembly formally adopted the report, and the deputation was thanked for its services. It seemed a very futile business. And yet one member of that deputation has always felt that life was strangely enriched by the happenings of that memorable night. It puts iron into the blood to spend an hour with men to whom the claim of conscience is supreme, and who love truth with so deathless an affection that the purest and noblest of other loves cannot dethrone it.

Mushrooms on the Moor
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

The cross in prayer

     At that day ye shall ask in My name. --- John 16:26.

     We are too much given to thinking of the Cross as something we have to get through; we get through it only in order to get into it. The Cross stands for one thing only for us—a complete and entire and absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is nothing in which this identification is realized more than in prayer.

     “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.” Then why ask? The idea of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God. If we pray because we want answers, we will get huffed with God. The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect, and our spiritual huff shows a refusal to identify ourselves with Our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God’s grace.

     “I say not that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.” Have you reached such an intimacy with God that the Lord Jesus Christ’s life of prayer is the only explanation of your life of prayer? Has Our Lord’s vicarious life become your vital life? “At that day” you will be so identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.

     When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to fix the blame on someone else. That is always a snare of Satan. You will find there is a reason which is a deep instruction to you, not to anyone else.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
The Epitaph
     the Poetry of RS Thomas

                The Epitaph

You ask me what it was like?
  I lived, thought, felt the temptation
  Of spirit to take matter
  As my invention, but bruised my mind
  On the facts: the old stubbornness
  Of rock, the rough bark of a tree,
  The body of her I would make my own
  And could not,
          And yet they ceased;
  With the closing of my eyes they became
  As nothing. Each day I had to begin
  Their assembly, as though it were I
  Who contrived them. The air was contentment
  Of spirit, a glass to renew
  One's illusions, Christen me, christen me,
  The stone cried. Instead I bequeathed
  It these words, foreseeing the forming
  Of the rainbow of your brushed eyes
  After the storm in my flesh.


Searching For Meaning In Midrash

     On November 19, 1863, thousands gathered on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. A portion of the field was being dedicated as a cemetery for those who had died in what was the turning point of the Civil War.

     As we learn in Garry Wills’s masterful book Lincoln at Gettysburg, the program for the day included musical selections, a prayer, and a benediction. The president of the United States was asked to make a few “dedicatory remarks.” Edward Everett was to deliver the major speech of the day, the Gettysburg Address. Everett had a distinguished career: minister, professor, congressman, senator, ambassador, secretary of state, vice presidential candidate, president of Harvard University. He had the reputation as the greatest orator of his day. Everett was asked in September to prepare a speech for a date one month later. He replied that he would need almost two months to prepare.

     Everett began his oration with these words: “Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature.” Everett’s speech took two hours. One interesting footnote: Everett had a bladder problem, and required a tent near the site of the speech so that he could relieve himself just before and after his long talk.

     The president’s remarks were very brief—only 272 words. There are no photographs of him delivering the speech because, as the story goes, he was finished before the photographers had a chance to set up their cameras. Lincoln, of course, began with words that became immortal, taking their place as the greatest speech in American history: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

     A postscript: Everett later wrote to Lincoln, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.” To which Lincoln responded, “… you could not have been excused to make a short address, nor I a long one. I am pleased to know that in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure.…”


     Yom Kippur lasts an entire day, and the traditional Jew spends a good part of those twenty-four hours in the synagogue. Many a worshiper has asked (probably at the point when hunger and fatigue simultaneously set in), “Why do I have to sit here so long? Why can’t we do all this in a couple of hours?”

     Becoming a better person—a goal of Yom Kippur—isn’t something that happens overnight. It can’t even happen after a twenty-four hour period of introspection. Still, there is a great deal to be said for focusing on the theme of self-improvement one entire day each year. It can force us to dig deeper inside ourselves, to think more creatively, to be more self-reflective and evaluative.

     Similarly, there is something positive to be said for sticking to a value, a vision, or a project over the long term. It grows on us. We learn a little more about it, and ourselves, over time. And we don’t necessarily end with what we started with.

     The Hebrew word לְהַאֲרִיךְ/l’ha’arikh, “to prolong,” does not necessarily mean “to be long-winded.” In our case, it means something more like “to be long-willed.” In a day and age when quick fixes and instantaneous therapies are popular, we have to remember the long term. It may not be easier, but it is often more successful and more rewarding overall.

Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     August 6

     My lover is mine and I am his. --- Song of Songs 2:16.

     This marriage union with Christ is the most noble and excellent union. ASIN: B007SRUATE

     There is a closer union in this holy marriage than there can be in any other. In other marriages, two make one flesh, but Christ and the believer make one spirit. “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (
1 Cor. 6:17). The joy that flows from the mystic union is inexpressible and glorious (1 Peter 1:8).

     This union with Christ never ceases. Other marriages are soon at an end. Death cuts asunder the marriage knot, but this conjugal union is eternal. You who are once Christ’s spouse will never again be a widow. “I will betroth you to me forever” (
Hos. 2:19).

     In this life there is only the contract. The glorious completing and solemnizing of the marriage is reserved for heaven. There is the wedding supper of the Lamb
Rev. 19:9). “And so we will be with the Lord forever”
1 Thess. 4:17). So death merely begins our marriage with Christ.

     Have we chosen Christ to set our love on, and is this choice founded on knowledge? Have we consented to the match? It is not enough that Christ is willing to have us, but are we willing to have him? God does not so force salvation on us that we shall have Christ whether we want to or not. We must consent to have him. Many approve of Christ but do not give their consent. And this consent must be pure and genuine. We consent to have him for his own worth and excellence.

     Have we taken Christ? Faith is the bond of the union. Christ is joined to us by his Spirit, and we are joined to him by faith. Faith ties the marriage knot.

     Have we given ourselves to Christ? Thus the spouse in the text says, “I am his,” as if she had said, “All I have is for the use and service of Christ.” Have we made a surrender? Have we given up our names and wills to Christ? When the Devil solicits by a temptation, do we say, “We are not our own, we are Christ’s; our tongues are his, we must not defile them with oaths; our bodies are his temple, we must not pollute them with sin”? If it is so, it is a sign that the Holy Spirit has produced this blessed union between Christ and us.
--- Thomas Watson

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

On This Day
     Death in the Catacombs  August 6

     The leaders of the early church included two men named Sixtus. The first served as bishop of Rome from about 117 to 127. Sixtus II occupied the same office in 257–258.

     The latter rose to the position during the unfortunate reign of Emperor Valerian when the empire was ravaged by plagues, droughts, earthquakes, tornadoes, and tidal waves. Valerian was initially tolerant toward Christians, but as natural disasters rocked his realm, he superstitiously began to blame the church. Edicts were issued against bishops and priests, and decrees forbade the gathering of Christians for worship. Churches were closed to the living Christians and cemeteries were closed to the dead ones.

     The followers of Christ, however, were not daunted, and within a year Valerian realized his edicts were failing. In July, 258 he ordered bishops, priests, and deacons executed. He confiscated church property and denied civil privileges to believers. Members of the royal court who espoused Christianity were made slaves on imperial estates. One prominent church leader was tied to a bull and driven up and down the streets until his brains were dashed out.

     Sixtus II had become bishop of Rome just as Valerian was issuing his orders. He created a small chapel in the catacombs, and there he met secretly with his faithful flock. One day as he taught the people, imperial soldiers burst in and seized him. He was rushed before a judge, condemned, and taken back to the catacombs where, on August 6, 258, he was put to death in his episcopal chair. Several of his deacons also perished.

     Three weeks later in North Africa, Bishop Cyprian of Carthage was brought before another imperial judge. When challenged, he declared, “I am a Christian bishop. I know no gods but the only true God.”

     “Have you made up your mind to that?” asked the Roman.

     “A good mind,” replied Cyprian, “cannot alter.” He was soon escorted to a natural amphitheater where his head was severed. In many parts of the empire, the persecution of 258–259 was the bloodiest the church had yet endured.

     Be brave when you face your enemies. Your courage will show them that they are going to be destroyed, and it will show you that you will be saved.

--- Philippians 1:28

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - August 6

     “Watchman, what of the night?” --- Isaiah 21:11.

     What enemies are abroad? Errors are a numerous horde, and new ones appear every hour: against what heresy am I to be on my guard? Sins creep from their lurking places when the darkness reigns; I must myself mount the watch-tower, and watch unto prayer. Our heavenly Protector foresees all the attacks which are about to be made upon us, and when as yet the evil designed us is but in the desire of Satan, he prays for us that our faith fail not, when we are sifted as wheat. Continue O gracious Watchman, to forewarn us of our foes, and for Zion’s sake hold not thy peace.

     “Watchman, what of the night?” What weather is coming for the Church? Are the clouds lowering, or is it all clear and fair overhead? We must care for the Church of God with anxious love; and now that Popery and infidelity are both threatening, let us observe the signs of the times and prepare for conflict.

     “Watchman, what of the night?” What stars are visible? What precious promises suit our present case? You sound the alarm, give us the consolation also. Christ, the polestar, is ever fixed in his place, and all the stars are secure in the right hand of their Lord.

     But watchman, when comes the Morning? The Bridegroom tarries. Are there no signs of his coming forth as the Sun of Righteousness? Has not the Morning star arisen as the pledge of day? When will the day dawn, and the shadows flee away? O Jesus, if thou come not in person to thy waiting Church this day, yet come in Spirit to my sighing heart, and make it sing for joy.

     “Now all the earth is bright and glad
     With the fresh morn;
     But all my heart is cold, and dark and sad:
     Sun of the soul, let me behold thy dawn!
     Come, Jesus, Lord,
     O quickly come, according to thy word.”

          Evening - August 6

     “Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” --- Psalm 72:19.

     This is a large petition. To intercede for a whole city needs a stretch of faith, and there are times when a prayer for one man is enough to stagger us. But how far-reaching was the psalmist’s dying intercession! How comprehensive! How sublime! “Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.” It doth not exempt a single country however crushed by the foot of superstition; it doth not exclude a single nation however barbarous. For the cannibal as well as for the civilized, for all climes and races this prayer is uttered: the whole circle of the earth it encompasses, and omits no son of Adam. We must be up and doing for our Master, or we cannot honestly offer such a prayer. The petition is not asked with a sincere heart unless we endeavour, as God shall help us, to extend the kingdom of our Master. Are there not some who neglect both to plead and to labour? Reader, is it your prayer? Turn your eyes to Calvary. Behold the Lord of Life nailed to a cross, with the thorn-crown about his brow, with bleeding head, and hands, and feet. What! can you look upon this miracle of miracles, the death of the Son of God, without feeling within your bosom a marvellous adoration that language never can express? And when you feel the blood applied to your conscience, and know that he has blotted out your sins, you are not a man unless you start from your knees and cry, “Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Can you bow before the Crucified in loving homage, and not wish to see your Monarch master of the world? Out on you if you can pretend to love your Prince, and desire not to see him the universal ruler. Your piety is worthless unless it leads you to wish that the same mercy which has been extended to you may bless the whole world. Lord, it is harvest-time, put in thy sickle and reap.

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

Amazing Grace
     August 6


     James Rowe, 1865–1933

     For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

     I may not understand, Lord, but one day I shall see
     Thy loving hand was taking pains to fashion me like Thee.

--- Unknown

     There is much about the word predestined that is difficult to understand. One very obvious lesson that can be learned, however, is that God planned ahead of time for His children to be like His Son. The Scriptures teach that Christ has left us an example, and that we should seek to imitate Him and follow in His steps (Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:21). Like our Lord, we have been called to have the spirit of a servant, spending and being spent, meeting the needs of others. But we cannot develop a Christ-like life merely on the basis of religious activity or even an accumulation of biblical knowledge, as important as knowledge and sound doctrine are to Christian living. Rather, spiritual maturity—Christ-like living—is the result of an implicit obedience to God’s will for our lives, even as our Lord was always obedient to the will of His Father. This awareness of God’s purposes is made possible as the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to us through the Scriptures.

     Nothing demonstrates the truthfulness of our verbal witness for Christ more than a life in which the very character of Jesus is clearly evident. This hymn has been used to help Christian people in this spiritual desire and development since it was first written by an American Gospel musician, James Rowe, and published in the Make Christ King Hymnal in 1912.

     Earthly pleasures vainly call me—I would be like Jesus; nothing worldly shall enthrall me—I would be like Jesus:
     He has broken ev’ry fetter—I would be like Jesus; that my soul may serve Him better—I would be like Jesus:
     All the way from earth to glory—I would be like Jesus; telling o’er and o’er the story—I would be like Jesus:
     That in heaven He may meet me, I would be like Jesus; that His words “Well done” may greet me, I would be like Jesus:
     Refrain: Be like Jesus—this my song—in the home and in the throng, be like Jesus all day long! I would be like Jesus.

     For Today: 2 Corinthians 3:8; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 Peter 2:21

     “Great oaks from little acorns grow—and character from deeds you sow.” Earnestly seek to bring Christ-like attitudes and actions into every area of life. Sing as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Sunday, August 6, 2017 | Holy Day

The Transfiguration
Years 1 & 2

Morning Prayer

Psalms     Psalm 2, 24
Old Testament     Exodus 24:12–18
New Testament     2 Corinthians 4:1–6

Index of Readings

Psalm 2, 24

1 Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the LORD has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Happy are all who take refuge in him.

Of David. A Psalm.

1 The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the LORD,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.     Selah

7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory.     Selah

Old Testament
Exodus 24:12–18

12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

New Testament
2 Corinthians 4:1–6

4 Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Evening Prayer

Psalms     Psalm 72
Old Testament     Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14
New Testament     John 12:27–36a

Index of Readings

Psalm 72

Of Solomon.

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.

5 May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May his foes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts.
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.

12 For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live!
May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.

18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.

20 The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended.

Old Testament
Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14

9 As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took his throne,
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
and its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

13 As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
14 To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed.

New Testament
John 12:27–36a

27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34 The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

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

Apocalypse, Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls
Craig R. Koester   
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Apocalypse, ... 2
Craig R. Koester   
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

MLK And A Post-Racial America
Kelso    Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Great Themes Romans 3
Robert Gagnon   
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Great Themes in Romans 4
Robert Gagnon   
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Confession of Belhar I   Various
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Confession of Belhar 2   Various
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Why Christian Filmgoers Should Care More About Beauty
Stan Williams   Biola University