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Acts 27-28
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The Voyage to Rome Begins

Acts 27:1     And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment. 2 So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us. 3 And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care. 4 When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.

     7 When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone. 8 Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

Paul’s Warning Ignored

     9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” 11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.

In the Tempest

     13 When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. 14 But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. 15 So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. 17 When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. 18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. 19 On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. 20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

     21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

     27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. 28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

     33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. 37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship. 38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

Shipwrecked on Malta

     39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 40 And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.

     42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

Paul’s Ministry on Malta

Acts 28:1     Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

     7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

Arrival at Rome

     11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. 12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, 14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. 15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

     16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.

Paul’s Ministry at Rome

     17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19 But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

     21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”

     23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from Morning till Evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying,

‘Go to this people and say:
“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
27     For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.” ’

     28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

     30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

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

  • Intellectual Consequence
  • Sin of Silence
  • How Does It Happen

#1   Dr. Al Mohler


#2    Dr. Al Mohler


#3    Dr. Al Mohler


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The groans of a dying man kept him awake in the little inn outside New York. He was hardened to the cries because a college friend had persuaded him to be an atheist. The next Morning he learned the man who died in the night was none other than his college friend. His faith renewed, he became America’s first foreign missionary. His name was Adonirum Judson, born this day, August 9, 1788. Adonirum and his wife sailed for India, but were forced by the British East India Tea Company to flee to Burma. There they translated Scriptures, started schools, and their work grew to over a half-million people.

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compilation by RickAdams7

It was not the outer granduer of the Roman
but the inner simplicity of the Christian
that lived through the ages.
--- Charles Lindbergh

Until you have stopped trying to be good and being pleased with the evidences of holiness in yourself, you will never open the wicket gate that leads to the more excellent way. The life ‘hid with Christ in God’—that is the more excellent way.
--- Oswald Chambers
If Thou Wilt Be Perfect...

Just when my hopes have vanished, just when my friends forsake,
Just when the fight is thickest, just when with fear I shake,
Then comes a still small whisper, “Fear not my child, I’m near!”
Jesus brings peace and comfort; I love His voice to hear.
--- J. Bruce Evans

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 4.

     Josephus Makes An Attempt Upon Sepphoris But Is Repelled. itus Comes With A Great Army To Ptolemais.

     1. Now the auxiliaries which were sent to assist the people of Sepphoris, being a thousand horsemen, and six thousand footmen, under Placidus the tribune, pitched their camp in two bodies in the great plain. The foot were put into the city to be a guard to it, but the horse lodged abroad in the camp. These last, by marching continually one way or other, and overrunning the parts of the adjoining country, were very troublesome to Josephus and his men; they also plundered all the places that were out of the city's liberty, and intercepted such as durst go abroad. On this account it was that Josephus marched against the city, as hoping to take what he had lately encompassed with so strong a wall, before they revolted from the rest of the Galileans, that the Romans would have much ado to take it; by which means he proved too weak, and failed of his hopes, both as to the forcing the place, and as to his prevailing with the people of Sepphoris to deliver it up to him. By this means he provoked the Romans to treat the country according to the law of war; nor did the Romans, out of the anger they bore at this attempt, leave off, either by night or by day, burning the places in the plain, and stealing away the cattle that were in the country, and killing whatsoever appeared capable of fighting perpetually, and leading the weaker people as slaves into captivity; so that Galilee was all over filled with fire and blood; nor was it exempted from any kind of misery or calamity, for the only refuge they had was this, that when they were pursued, they could retire to the cities which had walls built them by Josephus.

     2. But as to Titus, he sailed over from Achaia to Alexandria, and that sooner than the winter season did usually permit; so he took with him those forces he was sent for, and marching with great expedition, he came suddenly to Ptolemais, and there finding his father, together with the two legions, the fifth and the tenth, which were the most eminent legions of all, he joined them to that fifteenth legion which was with his father; eighteen cohorts followed these legions; there came also five cohorts from Cesarea, with one troop of horsemen, and five other troops of horsemen from Syria. Now these ten cohorts had severally a thousand footmen, but the other thirteen cohorts had no more than six hundred footmen apiece, with a hundred and twenty horsemen. There were also a considerable number of auxiliaries got together, that came from the kings Antiochus, and Agrippa, and Sohemus, each of them contributing one thousand footmen that were archers, and a thousand horsemen. Malchus also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen, besides five thousand footmen, the greatest part of which were archers; so that the whole army, including the auxiliaries sent by the kings, as well horsemen as footmen, when all were united together, amounted to sixty thousand, besides the servants, who, as they followed in vast numbers, so because they had been trained up in war with the rest, ought not to be distinguished from the fighting men; for as they were in their masters' service in times of peace, so did they undergo the like dangers with them in times of war, insomuch that they were inferior to none, either in skill or in strength, only they were subject to their masters.

          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 22:16
     by D.H. Stern

16     Both oppressing the poor to enrich oneself
and giving to the rich yield only loss.

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


     I can see them now as they come, very slowly and in single file, down the winding old lane. The declining sun is shining through the tops of the poplars, the zest of daytime begins to soften into the hush and cool of evening, when they come leisurely sauntering through the grass that grows luxuriously beside the road. One after another they come quietly along—Cherry and Brindle, Blossom and Darkie, Beauty and Crinkle, Daisy and Pearl. A stranger watching them as they appear round the bend of the pretty old lane fancies each of them to be the last, and has just abandoned all hope of seeing another, when the next pair of horns makes its unexpected appearance. They never hurry home; they just come. A particularly tempting wisp in the long sweet grass under the hedge will induce an instant halt. The least thing passing along the road stops the whole procession; and they stare fixedly at the intruder till he is well on his way. And then, with no attempt to make up for lost time, they jog along at the same old pace once more. It is good to watch them. When the whirl of life is too much for me; when my brain reels and my temples throb; when the hurry around me distracts my spirit and disturbs my peace; when I get caught in the tumult and the bustle and the rush—then I like to throw myself back in my chair for a moment and close my eyes. I am back once more in the dear old lane among the haws and the filberts. I catch once more the smell of the brier. I see again the squirrel up there in the oak and the rabbit under the hedge. I listen as of old to the chirp of the grasshopper in the stubble, to the hum of the bees among the foxgloves, to the song of the blackbird on the hawthorn, and, best of all—yes, best of all for brain unsteadied and nerve unstrung—I see the cows coming home.

     It is a great thing to be able to believe the whole day long that, when evening comes, the cows will all come home. That is the faith of the milkmaid. As the day drags on she looks through the lattice window and catches occasional glimpses of Cherry and Brindle, Blossom and Darkie, Beauty and Crinkle, Daisy and Pearl. They are always wandering farther and farther away across the fields; but she keeps a quiet heart. In her deepest soul she cherishes a lovely secret. She knows that, when the sunbeams slant through the tall poplar spires, the cows will all come home. She does not pretend to understand the mysterious instinct that will later on turn the faces of Cherry and Brindle towards her. She cannot explain the wondrous force that will direct Blossom and Darkie into the old lane, and guide them along its folds to the white gate down by the byre. But where she cannot trace she trusts. And all day long she clings to her sunny faith without wavering. She never doubts for a moment that the cows will all come home.

     Is there anything in the wide world more beautiful than the confidence of a good woman in the salvation of her children? For years they cluster round her knee; she reads with them; prays with them; welcomes their childish confidences. Then, one by one, away they go! The heat of the day may bring waywardness, and even shame; but, like the milkmaid watching the cows through the lattice, she is sure they will all come home. Think of Susanna Wesley with her great family of nineteen children around her. What a wonderful story it is, the tale of her personal care and individual solicitude for the spiritual welfare of each of them! And what a picture it is that Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch has painted of the holy woman's deathbed! John arrives and is welcomed at the door by poor Hetty, the prodigal daughter.

     '"The end is very near—a few hours perhaps!" Hetty tells him.

     '"And she is happy?"

     '"Ah, so happy!" Hetty's eyes brimmed with tears and she turned away.

     '"Sister, that happiness is for you, too. Why have you, alone of us, so far rejected it?"

     'Hetty stepped to the door with a feeble gesture of the hands. She knew that, worn as he was with his journey, if she gave him the chance he would grasp it and pause, even while his mother panted her last, to wrestle for and win a soul—not because she, Hetty, was his sister, but simply because hers was a soul to be saved. Yes, and she foresaw that sooner or later he would win; that she would be swept into the flame of his conquest. She craved only to be let alone; she feared all new experience; she distrusted even the joy of salvation. Life had been too hard for Hetty.' And on another page we have an extract from Charles's journal. 'I prayed by my sister, a gracious, tender, trembling soul; a bruised reed which the Lord will not break.'

     The cows had all come home. The milkmaid's faith had not failed.

     The happiest people in the world, and the best, are the people who go through life as the milkmaid goes through the day, believing that before night the cows will all come home. It is a faith that does not lend itself to apologetics, but, like the coming of the cows, it seems to work out with amazing regularity. It is what Myrtle Reed would call 'a woman's reasoning.' It is because it is. The cows will all come home because the cows will all come home.

'Good wife, what are you singing for?
you know we've lost the hay,
And what we'll do with horse and kye
is more than I can say;
While, like as not, with storm and rain,
we'll lose both corn and wheat.'
She looked up with a pleasant face,
and answered low and sweet,
There is a Heart, there is a Hand,
we feel but cannot see;
We've always been provided for,
and we shall always be.'

'That's like a woman's reasoning, we must because we must!'
She softly said, 'I reason not, I only work and trust;
The harvest may redeem the hay, keep heart whate'er betide;
When one door's shut I've always found another open wide.
There is a Heart, there is a Hand, we feel but cannot see
We've always been provided for, and we shall always be.'

     The fact is that the milkmaid has a kind of understanding with Providence. She is in league with the Eternal. And Providence has a way of its own of keeping faith with trustful hearts like hers. I was reading the other day Commander J. W. Gambier's Links in my Life, and was amused at the curious inconsistency which led the author first to sneer at Providence and then to bear striking witness to its fidelity. As a young fellow the Commander came to Australia and worked on a way-back station, but he had soon had enough. 'I was to try what fortune could do for a poor man; but I believed in personal endeavour and the recognition of it by Providence. I did not know Providence.'

     'I did not know Providence!' sneers our young bushman.

     'The cows will all come home,' says the happy milkmaid.

     But on the very same page that contains the sneer Commander Gambier tells this story. When he was leaving England the old cabman who drove him to the station said to him, 'If you see my son Tom in Australia, ask him to write home and tell us how he's getting on.' 'I explained,' the Commander tells us, 'that Australia was a big country, and asked him if he had any idea of the name of the place his son had gone to. He had not.' As soon as Commander Gambier arrived at Newcastle, in New South Wales, he met an exceptionally ragged ostler. As the ostler handed him his horse, Mr. Gambier felt an irresistible though inexplicable conviction that this was the old cabman's son. He felt absolutely sure of it; so he said:

     'Your name is Fowles, isn't it?'

     He looked amazed, and seemed to think that his questioner had some special reason for asking him, and was at first disinclined to answer. But Mr. Gambier pressed him and said, 'Your father, the Cheltenham cab-driver, asked me to look you up.'

     He then admitted that he was the man, and Mr. Gambier urged him to write to his father. All this on the selfsame page as the ugly sneer about Providence!

     And a dozen pages farther on I came upon a still more striking story. Commander Gambier was very unfortunate, very homesick, and very miserable in Australia. He could not make up his mind whether to stay here or return to England. 'At last,' he says, 'I resolved to leave it to fate.' The only difference that I can discover between the 'Providence' whom Commander Gambier could not trust, and the 'fate' to which he was prepared to submit all his fortunes, is that the former is spelt with a capital letter and the latter with a small one! But to the story. 'On the road where I stood was a small bush grog-shop, and the coaches pulled up here to refresh the ever-thirsty bush traveller. At this spot the up-country and down-country coaches met, and I resolved that I would get into whichever came in first, leaving it to destiny to settle. Looking down the long, straight track over which the up-country coach must come, I saw a cloud of dust, and well can I remember the curious sensation I had that I was about to turn my back upon England for ever! But in the other direction a belt of scrub hid the view, the road making a sharp turn. And then, almost simultaneously, I heard a loud crack of a whip, and round this corner, at full gallop, came the down coach, pulling up at the shanty not three minutes before the other! I felt like a man reprieved, for my heart was really set on going home; and I jumped up into the down coach with a great sense of relief!' And thus Mr. Gambier returned to England, became a Commander in the British Navy, and one of the most distinguished ornaments of the service. He sneers at 'Providence,' yet trusts to 'fate,' and leaves everything to 'destiny'! The milkmaid's may be an inexplicable confidence; but this is an inexplicable confusion. Both are being guided by the same Hand—the Hand that leads the cows home. She sees it and sings. He scouts it and sneers. That is the only difference.

     Carlyle spent the early years of his literary life, until he was nearly forty, among the mosshags and isolation of Craigenputtock. It was, Froude says, the dreariest spot in all the British dominions. The house was gaunt and hungry-looking, standing like an island in a sea of morass. When he felt the lure of London, and determined to fling himself into its tumult, he took 'one of the biggest plunges that a man might take.' But in that hour of crisis he built his faith on one great golden word. 'All things work together for good to them that love God,' he wrote to his brother. And, later on, when his mother was in great distress at the departure of her son, Alick, for America, Carlyle sent her the same text. 'You have had much to suffer, dear mother,' he wrote, 'and are grown old in this Valley of Tears; but you say always, as all of us should say, "Have we not many mercies too?" Is there not above all, and in all, a Father watching over us, through whom all sorrows shall yet work together for good? Yes, it is even so. Let us try to hold by that as an anchor both sure and steadfast.' Which is another way of saying, 'It is all right, mother mine. Let them wander as they will whilst the sun is high; when it slants through the poplars the cows will all come home!'

     The homeward movement of the cows is part of the harmony of the universe. Man himself goeth forth, the psalmist says, unto his work and to his labour until the evening. Until the evening—and then, like the cows, he comes home. It is this sense of harmony between the coming of the cows on the one hand, and all their environment on the other, that gave Gray the opening thought for his 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard':

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
    The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
  The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
    And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

     Here are two pictures—the tired ploughman and the lowing herd both coming home; and the two together make up a perfect harmony. It is a stroke of poetic genius. We are made to feel the weariness of the tired ploughman in order that we may be able to appreciate the restfulness of the evening, the solitude of the quiet churchyard, and the cows coming slowly home. I blamed myself at the beginning for sometimes getting caught in the fever and tumult of life; but then, if I never knew such exhausting experiences, I should never be able to enjoy the delicious stillness of the evening, I should never be able to see the beauty of the herd winding so slowly o'er the lea. It is just because the ploughman has toiled so hard, and done his work so well, that his weariness blends so perfectly with the restfulness of the dusk. For it is only those who have bravely borne the burden and heat of the day who can relish the sweetness and peace of the twilight. It is a man's duty to keep things in their right place. I do not mean merely that he should keep his hat in the hall, and his book on the shelf. I mean that, as far as possible, a man ought to keep his toil to the daylight, and his rest to the dusk.

     Dr. Chalmers held that our three-score years and ten are really seven decades corresponding with the seven days of the week. Six of them, he said, should be spent in strenuous endeavour.

     But the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, and should be spent in Sabbatic quiet. That ideal is not always capable of realization. For the matter of that, it is not always possible to abstain from work on the Lord's Day. But it is good to keep it before us as an ideal. We may at least determine that, on the Sunday, we will perform only deeds of necessity and mercy. And, in the same way, we may resolve that we will leave as little work as possible to be done in the twilight of life. It was one of the chiefest of the prophets who told us that 'it is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.' If I were the director of a life insurance company, I should have that great word blazoned over the portal of the office. If, by straining an extra nerve in the heyday of his powers, a man may ensure to himself some immunity from care in the evening, he is under a solemn obligation to do so. The weary ploughman has no right to labour after the cows come home.

     For, in some respects, the sweetest part of the day follows the coming of the cows. I have a notion that most of the old folk would say so. During the day they fancied that the cows had gone, to return no more. But they all came home. 'And now,' says old Margaret Ogilvy, 'and now it has all come true like a dream. I can call to mind not one little thing I ettled for in my lusty days that hasna' been put into my hands in my auld age. I sit here useless, surrounded by the gratification of all my wishes and all my ambitions; and at times I'm near terrified, for it's as if God had mista'en me for some other woman.' They wandered long, that is to say, and they wandered far. But they all came home—Cherry and Brindle, Blossom and Darkie, Beauty and Crinkle, Daisy and Pearl—they all came home. Happy are all they who sing in their souls the milkmaid's song, and never, never doubt that, when the twilight gathers round them, the cows will all come home!

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

                Prayer in the Father’s hearing

     Father, I thank Thee that thou hast heard Me.
--- John 11:41.

     When the Son of God prays, He has only one consciousness, and that consciousness is of His Father. God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God is formed in me the Father will always hear my prayers. I have to see that the Son of God is manifested in my mortal flesh. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,” the ‘Bethlehem’ of the Son of God. Is the Son of God getting His chance in me? Is the direct simplicity of the life of God’s Son being worked out exactly as it was worked out in His historic life? When I come in contact with the occurrences of life as an ordinary human being, is the prayer of God’s Eternal Son to His Father being prayed in me? “In that day ye shall ask in My name.…” What day? The day when the Holy Ghost has come to me and made me effectually one with my Lord.

     Is the Lord Jesus Christ being abundantly satisfied in your life or have you got a spiritual ‘strut’ on? Never let common sense obtrude and push the Son of God on one side. Common sense is a gift which God gave to human nature; but common sense is not the gift of His Son. Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son; never enthrone common sense. The Son detects the Father; common sense never yet detected the Father and never will. Our ordinary wits never worship God unless they are transfigured by the indwelling Son of God. We have to see that this mortal flesh is kept in perfect subjection to Him and that He works through it moment by moment. Are we living in such human dependence upon Jesus Christ that His life is being “manifested in our mortal flesh”?

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

     the Poetry of RS Thomas


  of the spirit! What
  Century, love? I,
  Too; you remember --
  Brescia? This sunlight reminds
  Of the brocade. I dined
  Long. And now the music
  Of darkness in your eyes
  Sounds. But Brescia,
  And the spreading foliage
  Of smoke! With Yeats' birds
  Grown hoarse,
  Of the years, is this
  Your answer? The long dream
  Unwound; we followed
  Through time to the tryst
  With ourselves. But wheels roll
  Between and the shadow
  Of the plane falls. The
  Victim remains
  Nameless on the tall
  Steps. Master, I
  Do not wish, I do not wish
  To continue.


Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Exodus 19:7–9

     Hearing isn’t like seeing.

     BIBLE TEXT / Exodus 19:7–9 / Moses came and summoned the elders of the people and put before them all that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered as one, saying, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the people’s words to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.” Then Moses reported the people’s words to the Lord.…

     MIDRASH TEXT / Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael, Yitro 2 / Then Moses reported.… Rabbi Elazar ben Parata says, “But what did the Omnipresent One say to Moses to tell Israel? And what did Israel tell Moses to say to the Omnipresent One? Since it says, ‘Moses went and repeated to the people [all the commands of the Lord and all the rules]’ (Exodus 24:3). He [Moses] said to them, ‘If you receive the punishments with joy, you also receive the reward. And if not, you’ll receive misfortunes.’ Thus, they received the punishments with joy.” Rabbi says, “But what did the Omnipresent One say to Moses to tell Israel? And what did Israel tell Moses to say to the Omnipresent One? They said, ‘We want to hear it directly from our king. Hearing from an underling is not like hearing from the king.’ The Omnipresent One said, ‘Give them what they asked for, “that the people may hear when I speak with you” ’ ” (Exodus 19:9). Another interpretation: They said, “We want to see our king. Hearing isn’t like seeing.” The Omnipresent One said, “Give them what they asked for, ‘for on the third day the Lord will come down, in the sight of all the people, on Mount Sinai’ ” (Exodus 19:11).

     CONTEXT / When the Israelites stood at Sinai, ready to receive the Law from God, Moses acted as intermediary between God and the people. Moses tells the people God’s laws, and the people answer that they will faithfully observe these laws. Moses repeats this to God. (The Rabbis call God הַמָּקוֹם/Ha-Makom, “the Place,” because of the belief that God could be found in every place. Thus, we have translated Ha-Makom as “the Omnipresent One.”) Moses reports God’s instructions to the people and the people’s responses to God.

     There is one interchange that particularly interested the Rabbis:

     And the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.” Then Moses reported the people’s words to the Lord.…

     Rabbi Elazar ben Parata therefore asks, “But what did the Omnipresent One say to Moses to tell Israel?” God spoke to Moses, but there was no instruction to Moses to repeat these words to the people, nor does the text say—as it does explicitly elsewhere—that Moses reiterated God’s commands to the Israelites. In addition, “What did Israel tell Moses to say to the Omnipresent One?” The text says that “Moses reported the people’s words to the Lord,” How could Moses report what was not said, or at least not said explicitly in the text? (Elsewhere, we’re told exactly what the people said, and that Moses repeated those same words to God.)

     Rabbi Elazar ben Parata then answers his own question: Since it says, ‘Moses went and repeated to the people [all the commands of the Lord and all the rules]’ (Exodus 24:3). Rabbi Elazar contends that these are the words that they shared. The exact conversation is simply not recorded in the Bible itself. Often, the Rabbis fill in details in the biblical text, based on either oral tradition or what they assumed happened. Rabbi Elazar offers a plausible conversation that “took place” between God, Moses, and the Israelites:

     He [Moses] said to them, “If you receive the punishments with joy, you also receive the reward. And if not, you’ll receive misfortunes.” Thus, they received the punishments with joy.

     Another explanation is given by Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi, the political head of the Jewish community of Israel in the third century and the codifier of the Mishnah. He envisions that they, the Israelites, said, “We want to hear it directly from our king. Hearing from an underling is not like hearing from the king.” The Omnipresent One said, “Give them what they asked for—and then, quoting a verse from this chapter—‘that the people may hear when I speak with you.’ ”

     Another interpretation, this one anonymous: They, the Israelites, said, “We want to see our king. Hearing isn’t like seeing.” Rather than saying “We don’t want God’s agent,” they say, “We want to see—not only hear—God.” The Omnipresent One said, “Give them what they asked for. God agrees, and the proof for this can be found in verse 11, which states that “on the third day the Lord will come down, in the sight of all the people, on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:11).” God has agreed to “come down” to the people, not only to be heard but also to be seen by them.

Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     August 9

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

     This mystic union affords much comfort to believers in several cases. (The Essential Works of John Flavel)

     In the case of the disrespect and unkindness of the world. Though we live in an unkind world, we have a kind husband. The Father’s love to Christ is the pattern of Christ’s love to his spouse. This love of Christ as far exceeds all created love as the sun outshines the light of a torch. Though the world hates me, Christ still loves me.

     In the case of weakness of grace. You are the spouse of Christ, and he will bear with you as the weaker vessel. Will a husband divorce his wife because she is weak and sickly? This is the spouse’s comfort when she is weak. Her Husband can infuse strength into her: “My God has been my strength” (Isa. 49:5).

     In the case of death. When believers die, they go to their husband. When a woman is engaged, she longs for the day of marriage. After the saints’ funerals, their marriage begins. God is wise; he lets us meet with changes and troubles here so that he may wean us from the world and make us long for death. When the soul is divorced from the body, it is married to Christ.

     In the case of passing sentence at the day of judgment. O Christian, your husband will be your judge. If the Devil brings indictments against you, Christ will obliterate your sins in his blood. Christ cannot pass sentence against his spouse without passing it against himself, for Christ and believers are one. Oh, what a comfort this is!

     In the case of the saints’ suffering. The church of God is exposed in this life to many injuries, but she has a husband in heaven who is mindful of her. Now it is a time of mourning with the spouse because the Bridegroom is absent. But shortly she will end her mourning. Christ “will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces” (Isa. 25:8). Christ will comfort his spouse. He will solace her with his love; he will take away the cup of trembling and give her the cup of consolation. She will forget all her sorrows, being called into the banqueting house of heaven and having the banner of Christ’s love displayed over her.
--- Thomas Watson

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

On This Day
     The Cain Ridge Revival  August 9

     Christianity fell away following the American Revolution. A Scotsman traveling through the South saw “few religious people.” Francis Asbury found “not one in a hundred” concerned about religion. Alcoholism was rampant, and universalism and deism captivated the infant nation.

     But in 1800 scattered revivals erupted like geysers in the backlands of Kentucky. People gathered under makeshift arbors while the Gospel was preached, sometimes accompanied by emotional outbursts. Barton Stone, pastor of the Presbyterian church at Cain Ridge (near Lexington), hearing of the camp meetings, witnessed one for himself—The scene was passing strange. Many fell down as slain in battle and continued for hours in an apparently motionless state—sometimes for a few moments reviving and exhibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered.

     His church at Cain Ridge immediately planned a camp meeting for the first weekend of August, 1801. The church could hold 500; but workers, fearing an oversized crowd, threw up a large tent. Church families opened homes, barns, and cabins to the expected visitors.

     But they didn’t expect 20,000! Hordes arrived by horse, carriage, and wagon. Prayer and preaching continued around the clock on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Excitement mounted; cries and screams pierced the hazy summer air; men swooned; women were seized by spasms; children fell into ecstasy; so many fainted that the ground was covered with bodies like a battlefield. Then the “jerks” broke out. Their heads would jerk back suddenly, frequently causing them to yelp. I have seen their heads fly back and forward so quickly that the hair of females would crack like a whip.

     On Monday, August 9, 1801, food and supplies were exhausted, and so were the worshipers. Many left; but others came to take their places. Four more days of singing, preaching, shrieking, and jerking continued before the geyser died down. Between 1,000 and 3,000 had been converted, and the news was the buzz of the region. People across the new nation began discussing the revival of Christianity, and the Cane Ridge Revival is considered one of the most important religious gatherings in American history.

     Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. --- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - August 9

     “The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it.” --- Revelation 21:23.

     Yonder in the better world, the inhabitants are independent of all creature comforts. They have no need of raiment; their white robes never wear out, neither shall they ever be defiled. They need no medicine to heal diseases, “for the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick.” They need no sleep to recruit their frames—they rest not day nor night, but unweariedly praise him in his temple. They need no social relationship to minister comfort, and whatever happiness they may derive from association with their fellows is not essential to their bliss, for their Lord’s society is enough for their largest desires. They need no teachers there; they doubtless commune with one another concerning the things of God, but they do not require this by way of instruction; they shall all be taught of the Lord. Ours are the alms at the king’s gate, but they feast at the table itself. Here we lean upon the friendly arm, but there they lean upon their Beloved and upon him alone. Here we must have the help of our companions, but there they find all they want in Christ Jesus. Here we look to the meat which perisheth, and to the raiment which decays before the moth, but there they find everything in God. We use the bucket to fetch us water from the well, but there they drink from the fountain head, and put their lips down to the living water. Here the angels bring us blessings, but we shall want no messengers from heaven then. They shall need no Gabriels there to bring their love-notes from God, for there they shall see him face to face. Oh! what a blessed time shall that be when we shall have mounted above every second cause and shall rest upon the bare arm of God! What a glorious hour when God, and not his creatures; the Lord, and not his works, shall be our daily joy! Our souls shall then have attained the perfection of bliss.

          Evening - August 9

     “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” --- Mark 16:9.

     Mary of Magdala was the victim of a fearful evil. She was possessed by not one devil only, but seven. These dreadful inmates caused much pain and pollution to the poor frame in which they had found a lodging. Hers was a hopeless, horrible case. She could not help herself, neither could any human succour avail. But Jesus passed that way, and unsought, and probably even resisted by the poor demoniac, he uttered the word of power, and Mary of Magdala became a trophy of the healing power of Jesus. All the seven demons left her, left her never to return, forcibly ejected by the Lord of all. What a blessed deliverance! What a happy change! From delirium to delight, from despair to peace, from hell to heaven! Straightway she became a constant follower of Jesus, catching his every word, following his devious steps, sharing his toilsome life; and withal she became his generous helper, first among that band of healed and grateful women who ministered unto him of their substance. When Jesus was lifted up in crucifixion, Mary remained the sharer of his shame: we find her first beholding from afar, and then drawing near to the foot of the cross. She could not die on the cross with Jesus, but she stood as near it as she could, and when his blessed body was taken down, she watched to see how and where it was laid. She was the faithful and watchful believer, last at the sepulchre where Jesus slept, first at the grave whence he arose. Her holy fidelity made her a favoured beholder of her beloved Rabboni, who deigned to call her by her name, and to make her his messenger of good news to the trembling disciples and Peter. Thus grace found her a maniac and made her a minister, cast out devils and gave her to behold angels, delivered her from Satan, and united her for ever to the Lord Jesus. May I also be such a miracle of grace!

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

Amazing Grace
     August 9


     Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915

     What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36, 37)

     In every believer there is a constant struggle between the old nature, which is attracted to the world, and the new nature, which responds to God. These two opposing natures will never cease to struggle as long as we are residents of this world. Worldliness can be described as anything that tends to draw us away from God and limits us from being all that He wants us to be. Separation from the world, however, does not mean that we are to live in isolation from individuals within the world, whether they be saint or sinner. We cannot represent our Lord if we remain aloof from the needs of those around us. There must always be that fine balance in our lives between a closeness and total commitment to Christ and an availability and helpful contact with those in our everyday world,.

     A Christian’s goal in life is to “cease from sin” and thus starve the old nature, which tends to be selfish, hateful, and greedy. Although it is true that we will never achieve a sinless perfection until we reach heaven, this should never keep us from striving and saying with Fanny Crosby, “Take the world, but give me Jesus.” Like the blind poetess, the goal of someday having a “clearer, brighter vision” when we see our Lord face to face makes the struggles of this life all worthwhile.

     Take the world, but give me Jesus—All its joys are but a name; but His love abideth ever, thru eternal years the same.
     Take the world, but give me Jesus—Sweetest comfort of my soul; with my Savior watching o’er me, I can sing tho billows roll.
     Take the world, but give me Jesus—Let me view His constant smile; then thruout my pilgrim journey light will cheer me all the while.
     Take the world, but give me Jesus—In His cross my trust shall be; till, with clearer, brighter vision, face to face my Lord I see.
     Chorus: O the height and depth of mercy! O the length and breadth of love! O the fullness of redemption—Pledge of endless life above!

     For Today: Galatians 5:16–18; Ephesians 3:17–19; Philippians 1:20–24; 1 John 2:15

     Reflect on your spiritual goals for life. Make a list of the activities and disciplines necessary for their achievement. Invite the Holy Spirit’s help. Carry this musical truth as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Wednesday, August 9, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 13, Wednesday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 119:97–120
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 81, 82
Old Testament     2 Samuel 9:1–13
New Testament     Acts 19:1–10
Gospel     Mark 8:34–9:1

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 119:97–120

97 Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is always with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn away from your ordinances,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O LORD, according to your word.
108 Accept my offerings of praise, O LORD,
and teach me your ordinances.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your decrees are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.

113 I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115 Go away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope.
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually.
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes;
for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you count as dross;
therefore I love your decrees.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 81, 82

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
4 For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.

I hear a voice I had not known:
6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.     Selah
8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11 “But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
and their doom would last forever.
16 I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

A Psalm of Asaph.

1 God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?     Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk around in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 I say, “You are gods,
children of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince.”

8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
for all the nations belong to you!

Old Testament
2 Samuel 9:1–13

9 David asked, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and he was summoned to David. The king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “At your service!” 3 The king said, “Is there anyone remaining of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?” Ziba said to the king, “There remains a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” 4 The king said to him, “Where is he?” Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6 Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul came to David, and fell on his face and did obeisance. David said, “Mephibosheth!” He answered, “I am your servant.” 7 David said to him, “Do not be afraid, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan; I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you yourself shall eat at my table always.” 8 He did obeisance and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon a dead dog such as I?”

9 Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 You and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him, and shall bring in the produce, so that your master’s grandson may have food to eat; but your master’s grandson Mephibosheth shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so your servant will do.” Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

New Testament
Acts 19:1–10

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.

8 He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

Mark 8:34–9:1

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 9 1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

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

Church Changes and Theological Education
James R. Nieman   Yale

Embodiment, Choice, and Action
Margaret Farley   Yale

Youth's Questions
Roland Martinson   Yale

Desires, Loves, and Reasons
Margaret Farley   Yale

Freedom Matters
Margaret Farley   Yale

Intellectual Consequence of Christian Belief 1
Dr. Al Mohler   Reformed Theological Seminary

Sacrificial Lamb of God
Matthew Barrios and Chelsea De Luca
Biola University

Spiritual Growth Through Eating God's Food
Robert Saucy   Biola University