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2/12/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Genesis 45     Mark 15     Job 11     Romans 15


Joseph Provides for His Brothers and Family

Genesis 45:1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry. 10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’ 12 And now your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tell my father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.

16 When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go back to the land of Canaan, 18 and take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.’ 19 And you, Joseph, are commanded to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Have no concern for your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ ”

21 The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. 22 To each and all of them he gave a change of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five changes of clothes. 23 To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way.”

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”


Jesus Delivered to Pilate

Mark 15:1 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified

6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Jesus Is Mocked

16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

The Death of Jesus

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Jesus Is Buried

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.


Zophar Speaks: You Deserve Worse

Job 11:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

2  “Should a multitude of words go unanswered,
and a man full of talk be judged right?
3  Should your babble silence men,
and when you mock, shall no one shame you?
4  For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure,
and I am clean in God’s eyes.’
5  But oh, that God would speak
and open his lips to you,
6  and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!
For he is manifold in understanding.
Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.

7  “Can you find out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?
8  It is higher than heaven—what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?
9  Its measure is longer than the earth
and broader than the sea.
10  If he passes through and imprisons
and summons the court, who can turn him back?
11  For he knows worthless men;
when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?
12  But a stupid man will get understanding
when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!

13  “If you prepare your heart,
you will stretch out your hands toward him.
14  If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
and let not injustice dwell in your tents.
15  Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;
you will be secure and will not fear.
16  You will forget your misery;
you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
17  And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
its darkness will be like the morning.
18  And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
you will look around and take your rest in security.
19  You will lie down, and none will make you afraid;
many will court your favor.
20  But the eyes of the wicked will fail;
all way of escape will be lost to them,
and their hope is to breathe their last.”



The Example of Christ

Romans 15:1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Paul the Minister to the Gentiles

14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. 18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.”

Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome

22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

The Reformation Study Bible


What I'm Reading

The Unsurprising Depth and Variety of Ancient Stories Written About Jesus

By J. Warner Wallace 2/9/2018

     I get email occasionally from skeptics who challenge the historicity of Jesus due to what they see as a deficiency in the historical record. If a man such as Jesus really existed, performing miracles and rising from the dead, wouldn’t his life and resurrection have created a much larger historical “ripple” in antiquity? Wouldn’t such a life result in more than four Gospels? As it turns out, the life of Jesus produced the kind of response we would expect if it was actually true. Authors in the first four hundred years following the life and resurrection of Jesus produced a varied plethora of non-canonical writings about His incredible appearance on planet earth. Unsurprisingly, Jesus’ life did not go unnoticed by the ancient world. Dozens of documents emerged in locations all around the Mediterranean, written by authors with a variety of motivations. These authors often co-opted the person of Jesus for their own purposes, crafting a lie upon the foundational truths of the accurate canonical Gospels. The result? A number of untrustworthy legends and distortions in the following categories:

     Infancy Gospels | These texts were written in order to supplement information lacking in the four Gospels related to the childhood of Jesus. Early believers hungered for more information about this period of Jesus’ young life, and these gospels sought to satisfy that hunger. Most of these stories about Jesus are based on the “Infancy Gospel of James” and the “Infancy Gospel of Thomas”, and they appear in history well after the canonical Gospels (as they are written in response to these eyewitness accounts).

     Jewish Gospels | There were many groups of Jewish converts in early Christianity who retained their strong Jewish identity. As a result, these groups typically upheld and maintained the Mosaic Law, and their gospels reflected this theological leaning. The “Gospel of the Ebionites”, the “Gospel of the Hebrews” and the “Gospel of the Nazoreans” are the three texts representing this group. None of these texts have survived, but we do see references to them in letters written by Early Church Fathers who were critical of their theology and their representation of the life of Jesus.

     Sayings Gospels | Some early non-canonical texts related to Jesus are nothing more than a collection of sayings lacking a narrative that ties these sayings together. The “Gospel of Thomas” is one such example.

     Passion Gospels | Several ancient texts are specifically focused on the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. These accounts say nothing about His life prior to the passion. The “Gospel of Bartholomew” is one such example.

Click here to go to source

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

J. Warner Wallace Books:


Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
God's Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe
Alive: A Cold-Case Approach to the Resurrection
Cold-Case Christianity for Kids: Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective
Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith
Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith

Finding Humor and Hope in the Graveyard

By Kenneth Richard Samples 10/27/2015

     This might sound morbid to some people, but I’ve always been fascinated by the subject of death. As a youth, I found funerals much more interesting than weddings. And growing up in the Roman Catholic tradition, I thought Catholic funerals were particularly remarkable ceremonies. I can still remember the unique smell of incense filling the church at the first funeral mass I ever attended.

     My wife would tell you that I still enjoy visiting cemeteries—especially national or military memorial parks. In a cemetery I feel singularly alone with my thoughts. As a philosopher I have always hoped that by reflecting upon death’s inevitability and imminence, I might gain a deeper and more insightful perspective on living life. I suppose I have also hoped that by keeping the inescapability of my death in the front of my mind that my fear of it would lessen. Yet when I endured a life-threatening illness 12 years ago, I definitely experienced the one-of-a-kind fear and dread that comes from anticipating one’s death.

     As a college instructor I taught the philosophy class Perspectives on Death and Dying for several years. The textbook I used on thanatology (the study of death and dying) revealed that many people avoid thinking about death. In fact, the text stated that some people actually think that if they don’t think about death or in any way acknowledge it, then it may not happen to them.1 Now that is the perfect example of wishful thinking! As my former boss and apologetics mentor Walter Martin used to say: “The real death rate is one per person.”

     A Little Humor from the Graveyard | While I take the topic of death quite seriously, that doesn’t mean I can’t also make jokes about it. Along with being a philosopher, I’ve always thought of myself as something of an existential comedian. One of my many jobs while working my way through college was digging graves for one summer in 1986. Here are my ten reasons for leaving that laborious, earthy profession:

     10 Reasons for Leaving My Job as a Gravedigger

Click here to go to source

     Philosopher and theologian Kenneth Richard Samples has a great passion to help people understand the reasonableness and relevance of Christianity's truth claims. Through his writing and speaking as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), he encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical worldview level.

     An intellectual even at a young age, Kenneth's journey to faith in Christ began in earnest during his teenage years as he wrestled with a deep sense of longing and restlessness. His older brother's suicide spurred his efforts to seek answers to life's "big questions." Eventually, he began reading the Bible and attending church, but it was his sister's gift of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis that helped Kenneth to truly understand the Christian Gospel and to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying and deeply personal faith.

     Today, Kenneth focuses on demonstrating the unique compatibility of Christianity's great doctrinal truths with reason and logic. He is the author of several books, including God Among Sages, Christian Endgame, 7 Truths That Changed the World, A World of Difference, and Without a Doubt. He leads RTB's Straight Thinking podcast and also writes Reflections, a weekly blog dedicated to exploring the Christian worldview. Kenneth has spoken at universities and churches around the world on such topics as religion and worldview, the identity of Jesus, and Christian apologetics. He also makes frequent guest appearances on radio programs such as The Frank Sontag Show, Issues Etc., and Stand to Reason, lectures as an adjunct professor at Biola University, and teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California.

     An avid student of American history, Kenneth earned a BA in social science with an emphasis in history and philosophy from Concordia University and an MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. Prior to joining RTB in 1997, Kenneth worked for seven years as senior research consultant and correspondence editor at Christian Research Institute, where he regularly cohosted The Bible Answer Man, a popular call-in radio program founded by renowned apologist Dr. Walter Martin. In addition, Kenneth's articles have been published in Christianity Today, Christian Research Journal, and Facts for Faith, and he holds memberships in the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

     Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan. They have three children.


Kenneth Richard Samples Books:

How Can Christians Ease Suffering? Part 1: Reestablishing Security

By Kenneth Richard Samples 7/22/2014

     One of the most important roles of a spiritual community is to give hope for the hurting. --- Dr. Ken Jung, “Giving Hope for the Hurting”

     Why would a good and all-powerful God allow evil and suffering to exist in the world? This tough question has troubled people throughout every era of history, but I believe the historic Christian worldview provides good answers. The central apologetics answer is that God brings about greater moral and spiritual goods through allowing incidents of evil, pain, and suffering. Yet I also think Christians have the power and ability to help ease people’s suffering and thus be the vehicles of God’s love and concern to the hurting. I’ve addressed the academic answers to the problem of evil. But this series is intended as a practical, pastoral response to the challenging problem of evil, pain, and suffering.

     Lessons Learned from My Own Suffering | When I went through a life-threatening illness some 10 years ago I felt like I had been swept away in a powerful ocean current. Since my illness affected my brain (multiple abscessed brain lesions caused by a rare bacterial infection) my mental state and thinking were scattered and my basic equilibrium was off. Physically, emotionally, and intellectually I felt pulled and yanked in various directions. The experience turned my life and the life of my family upside down. I was left feeling at first numb and then overwhelmed.

     I learned firsthand that people who are going through a severe crisis need to know that someone is protecting them and looking out for them. Let me touch upon four ways that helped ease my sense of vulnerability and risk during my illness.

     1. Family Care: My wife is my soul mate and my covenant partner in life. Her love and care helped me to hold on during those very challenging days. Extended family and friends helped care for our children in order to allow my wife to spend more time with me. I was reassured that the people I care for most were safe.

Click here to go to source

     Philosopher and theologian Kenneth Richard Samples has a great passion to help people understand the reasonableness and relevance of Christianity's truth claims. Through his writing and speaking as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), he encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical worldview level.

     An intellectual even at a young age, Kenneth's journey to faith in Christ began in earnest during his teenage years as he wrestled with a deep sense of longing and restlessness. His older brother's suicide spurred his efforts to seek answers to life's "big questions." Eventually, he began reading the Bible and attending church, but it was his sister's gift of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis that helped Kenneth to truly understand the Christian Gospel and to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying and deeply personal faith.

     Today, Kenneth focuses on demonstrating the unique compatibility of Christianity's great doctrinal truths with reason and logic. He is the author of several books, including God Among Sages, Christian Endgame, 7 Truths That Changed the World, A World of Difference, and Without a Doubt. He leads RTB's Straight Thinking podcast and also writes Reflections, a weekly blog dedicated to exploring the Christian worldview. Kenneth has spoken at universities and churches around the world on such topics as religion and worldview, the identity of Jesus, and Christian apologetics. He also makes frequent guest appearances on radio programs such as The Frank Sontag Show, Issues Etc., and Stand to Reason, lectures as an adjunct professor at Biola University, and teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California.

     An avid student of American history, Kenneth earned a BA in social science with an emphasis in history and philosophy from Concordia University and an MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. Prior to joining RTB in 1997, Kenneth worked for seven years as senior research consultant and correspondence editor at Christian Research Institute, where he regularly cohosted The Bible Answer Man, a popular call-in radio program founded by renowned apologist Dr. Walter Martin. In addition, Kenneth's articles have been published in Christianity Today, Christian Research Journal, and Facts for Faith, and he holds memberships in the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

     Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan. They have three children.


Kenneth Richard Samples Books:

Thinking about Suffering and Death, Part 2

By Kenneth Richard Samples 3/20/2012

     Whether it was losing a loved one, becoming the victim of a violent crime, or facing a life-threatening illness, my immediate reaction to experiences of genuine suffering has been a profound feeling of being alone in that condition. I don’t know if other people react that way to sorrow. For me, suffering is a deeply personal issue that I don’t often discuss with other people. But I recently heard Christian psychologist Jim Wilder state that people who undergo trauma often lose a sense of relationship for a time—thus feeling personally detached and numb.

     How does the Christian faith inform the personal existential experiences of those believers visited by sorrow? And how can Christians help those who experience such trials and difficulties?

     The Gospel and the Power of Empathy | At its core, historic Christianity is a religion of suffering and comfort. This is one of my faith’s most existentially satisfying features. Allow me to offer three specific points to help believers who find themselves in the throes of a struggle.

     First, believers need to know that they never suffer alone. God is acquainted with suffering. Jesus Christ came into the world as a man and suffered with and for human beings. Of all the world’s religions, only in Christianity does God himself enter into the painful and ugly mix! His suffering on Earth and especially on the cross can transform the individual suffering of his people. Even now, in his role as the great High Priest, Jesus intercedes for believers during their great adversities (Hebrews 4:14–16). Jesus is not aloof or indifferent to human distress; he suffered as a real man.

     Second, Scripture calls all believers to live with faith (confidence and trust) in God’s goodness and sovereignty despite the presence of evil and suffering. The Bible points to the powerful examples of Abraham, Moses, Job, and Paul as examples of people who held onto this kind of faith throughout intense trials. To paraphrase a hymn, we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. Faith is trusting in God’s character when circumstances are painful and confusing. Christians can trust God in the midst of suffering because they are aware of his character and his promises (Romans 8:35–39).

Click here to go to source

     Philosopher and theologian Kenneth Richard Samples has a great passion to help people understand the reasonableness and relevance of Christianity's truth claims. Through his writing and speaking as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), he encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical worldview level.

     An intellectual even at a young age, Kenneth's journey to faith in Christ began in earnest during his teenage years as he wrestled with a deep sense of longing and restlessness. His older brother's suicide spurred his efforts to seek answers to life's "big questions." Eventually, he began reading the Bible and attending church, but it was his sister's gift of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis that helped Kenneth to truly understand the Christian Gospel and to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying and deeply personal faith.

     Today, Kenneth focuses on demonstrating the unique compatibility of Christianity's great doctrinal truths with reason and logic. He is the author of several books, including God Among Sages, Christian Endgame, 7 Truths That Changed the World, A World of Difference, and Without a Doubt. He leads RTB's Straight Thinking podcast and also writes Reflections, a weekly blog dedicated to exploring the Christian worldview. Kenneth has spoken at universities and churches around the world on such topics as religion and worldview, the identity of Jesus, and Christian apologetics. He also makes frequent guest appearances on radio programs such as The Frank Sontag Show, Issues Etc., and Stand to Reason, lectures as an adjunct professor at Biola University, and teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California.

     An avid student of American history, Kenneth earned a BA in social science with an emphasis in history and philosophy from Concordia University and an MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. Prior to joining RTB in 1997, Kenneth worked for seven years as senior research consultant and correspondence editor at Christian Research Institute, where he regularly cohosted The Bible Answer Man, a popular call-in radio program founded by renowned apologist Dr. Walter Martin. In addition, Kenneth's articles have been published in Christianity Today, Christian Research Journal, and Facts for Faith, and he holds memberships in the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

     Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan. They have three children.


Kenneth Richard Samples Books:

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 19

The Law of the LORD Is Perfect
19 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

ESV Study Bible

Thinking about Suffering and Death, Part 3

By Kenneth Richard Samples 3/20/2012

     Courage is a virtue that I’ve always admired and respected. Growing up I was deeply impressed and proud of my father’s strength and valor as a frontline combat soldier in World War II. By extension, I appreciate and respect all people—such as noble police officers, firefighters, and soldiers—who willingly put their life on the line for others.

     Another Kind of Courage | When I experienced a dangerous illness several years ago, I learned just how much courage it takes to be a patient facing physical suffering. Many people struggle day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year with various health concerns but seldom see themselves as being “courageous.” Yet it takes real strength and fortitude to deal with the pain, fatigue, and uncertainty that often accompany chronic illness. Facing down physical ailments and coming to grips with suffering is definitely not for cowards.

     Another thing that I learned is how a major health crisis impacts the entire person. The struggle extends beyond the physical to the mental, emotional, and spiritual areas of life. Illness isn’t just something that happens to the body. As Christian theology teaches, human beings are a union of the physical and the nonphysical (body and soul-spirit; Genesis 2:7).

     Hitting the Wall of Suffering | Hospitalized for almost a month with a raging infection in my lungs and brain, I thought that, for the most part, I was very strong in facing this trial. Previously, I had spent a lot of time in my life thinking, praying, and preparing for challenges that I knew would one day come my way. Coming to grips with one’s mortality from a Christian perspective involves building up spiritual resources that will allow one to face suffering and ultimately death itself.

     It was after being released from the hospital that I hit a wall. At that point I felt that I had used up all my resources in combating my sickness. I literally felt drained physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The greatest difficulty at that point was not the physical aspects but rather the uncertainty of not knowing whether I would ever fully recover. Would I be able to go back to work and resume my career? Would I be able to support my family? The uncertainty of it all was agonizing.

Click here to go to source

     Philosopher and theologian Kenneth Richard Samples has a great passion to help people understand the reasonableness and relevance of Christianity's truth claims. Through his writing and speaking as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), he encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical worldview level.

     An intellectual even at a young age, Kenneth's journey to faith in Christ began in earnest during his teenage years as he wrestled with a deep sense of longing and restlessness. His older brother's suicide spurred his efforts to seek answers to life's "big questions." Eventually, he began reading the Bible and attending church, but it was his sister's gift of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis that helped Kenneth to truly understand the Christian Gospel and to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying and deeply personal faith.

     Today, Kenneth focuses on demonstrating the unique compatibility of Christianity's great doctrinal truths with reason and logic. He is the author of several books, including God Among Sages, Christian Endgame, 7 Truths That Changed the World, A World of Difference, and Without a Doubt. He leads RTB's Straight Thinking podcast and also writes Reflections, a weekly blog dedicated to exploring the Christian worldview. Kenneth has spoken at universities and churches around the world on such topics as religion and worldview, the identity of Jesus, and Christian apologetics. He also makes frequent guest appearances on radio programs such as The Frank Sontag Show, Issues Etc., and Stand to Reason, lectures as an adjunct professor at Biola University, and teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California.

     An avid student of American history, Kenneth earned a BA in social science with an emphasis in history and philosophy from Concordia University and an MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. Prior to joining RTB in 1997, Kenneth worked for seven years as senior research consultant and correspondence editor at Christian Research Institute, where he regularly cohosted The Bible Answer Man, a popular call-in radio program founded by renowned apologist Dr. Walter Martin. In addition, Kenneth's articles have been published in Christianity Today, Christian Research Journal, and Facts for Faith, and he holds memberships in the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

     Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan. They have three children.


Kenneth Richard Samples Books:

Thinking about Suffering and Death, Part 4

By Kenneth Richard Samples 3/27/2012

     Christians often talk about what it means to live well but seldom do they discuss what it means to die well. So what is a “good death”? In the context of hospice, the concept of a good death involves the easing of a dying person’s suffering. But in the broader scope of life, what constitutes a good death?

     Personal experience | To speak personally, since childhood I have found death both intriguing and puzzling. As a youth, I was always more fascinated by funerals than by weddings. Just how and why a person could be alive one day and dead the next struck me as one of life’s greatest enigmas. Of course, I came to understand that biological systems break down, but still death remained mysterious.

     My father and I had a number of candid discussions about the subject. As a frontline combat soldier in history’s bloodiest war, he had seen more than his share of death. (An estimated 60 to 70 million people died in World War II.) While he found it difficult to talk about his feelings, he conveyed to me that life is short and death inevitable. He also shared with me his deep conviction concerning immortality borne of his historic Christian belief of anticipating an afterlife in the presence of his risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

     Two of my close childhood friends, Paul Goff and Scott Claud, both died in automobile accidents when they were young adults. Though it has been many years, I still think of my friends and remember the pain their families and I experienced. It is especially difficult to see your friends die when you and they are only of high school or college age. They were literally here one day and gone the next.

     When I was just out of high school, my older brother Frank took his own life after a long battle with drugs, alcohol, and mental health challenges. At the time, I was not a Christian and was embarrassed by my brother’s reckless lifestyle and horrified by his final desperate act. Upon reflection, however, I realized that, just like my brother, I myself was looking for meaning, purpose, and hope in life. To paraphrase the great Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), I was looking for “a reason to live and a reason to die.” Through my brother’s premature death, I was forced to come to grips with death and all of its scary implications. By God’s grace, I discovered Jesus Christ and His extraordinary life, death, and resurrection. I came to believe that because He rose then I will also rise from the dead on the last day.

Click here to go to source

     Philosopher and theologian Kenneth Richard Samples has a great passion to help people understand the reasonableness and relevance of Christianity's truth claims. Through his writing and speaking as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), he encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical worldview level.

     An intellectual even at a young age, Kenneth's journey to faith in Christ began in earnest during his teenage years as he wrestled with a deep sense of longing and restlessness. His older brother's suicide spurred his efforts to seek answers to life's "big questions." Eventually, he began reading the Bible and attending church, but it was his sister's gift of Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis that helped Kenneth to truly understand the Christian Gospel and to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying and deeply personal faith.

     Today, Kenneth focuses on demonstrating the unique compatibility of Christianity's great doctrinal truths with reason and logic. He is the author of several books, including God Among Sages, Christian Endgame, 7 Truths That Changed the World, A World of Difference, and Without a Doubt. He leads RTB's Straight Thinking podcast and also writes Reflections, a weekly blog dedicated to exploring the Christian worldview. Kenneth has spoken at universities and churches around the world on such topics as religion and worldview, the identity of Jesus, and Christian apologetics. He also makes frequent guest appearances on radio programs such as The Frank Sontag Show, Issues Etc., and Stand to Reason, lectures as an adjunct professor at Biola University, and teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California.

     An avid student of American history, Kenneth earned a BA in social science with an emphasis in history and philosophy from Concordia University and an MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. Prior to joining RTB in 1997, Kenneth worked for seven years as senior research consultant and correspondence editor at Christian Research Institute, where he regularly cohosted The Bible Answer Man, a popular call-in radio program founded by renowned apologist Dr. Walter Martin. In addition, Kenneth's articles have been published in Christianity Today, Christian Research Journal, and Facts for Faith, and he holds memberships in the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

     Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan. They have three children.


Kenneth Richard Samples Books:

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     CHAPTER 14.

HOW TWO NATURES CONSTITUTE THE PERSON OF THE MEDIATOR.

This chapter contains two principal heads: I. A brief exposition of the doctrine of Christ's two natures in one person, sec. 1-4. II. A refutation of the heresies of Servetus, which destroy the distinction of natures in Christ, and the eternity of the divine nature of the Son.

Sections.

1. Proof of two natures in Christ--a human and a divine. Illustrated by analogy, from the union of body and soul. Illustration applied.

2. Proof from passages of Scripture which distinguish between the two natures. Proof from the communication of properties.

3. Proof from passages showing the union of both natures. A rule to be observed in this discussion.

4. Utility and use of the doctrine concerning the two natures. The Nestorians. The Eutychians. Both justly condemned by the Church.

5. The heresies of Servetus refuted. General answer or sum of the orthodox doctrine concerning Christ. What meant by the hypostatic union. Objections of Servetus to the deity of Christ. Answer.

6. Another objection and answer. A twofold filiation of Christ.

7. Other objections answered.

8. Conclusion of the former objections. Other pestilential heresies of Servetus.

1. When it is said that the Word was made flesh, we must not understand it as if he were either changed into flesh, or confusedly intermingled with flesh, but that he made choice of the Virgin's womb as a temple in which he might dwell. He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For we maintain, that the divinity was so conjoined and united with the humanity, that the entire properties of each nature remain entire, and yet the two natures constitute only one Christ. If, in human affairs, any thing analogous to this great mystery can be found, the most apposite similitude [245] seems to be that of man, who obviously consists of two substances, neither of which however is so intermingled with the other as that both do not retain their own properties. For neither is soul body, nor is body soul. Wherefore that is said separately of the soul which cannot in any way apply to the body; and that, on the other hand, of the body which is altogether inapplicable to the soul; and that, again, of the whole man, which cannot be affirmed without absurdity either of the body or of the soul separately. Lastly, the properties of the soul are transferred to the body, and the properties of the body to the soul, and yet these form only one man, not more than one. Such modes of expression intimate both that there is in man one person formed of two compounds, and that these two different natures constitute one person. Thus the Scriptures speak of Christ. They sometimes attribute to him qualities which should be referred specially to his humanity and sometimes qualities applicable peculiarly to his divinity, and sometimes qualities which embrace both natures, and do not apply specially to either. This combination of a twofold nature in Christ they express so carefully, that they sometimes communicate them with each other, a figure of speech which the ancients termed ijdiwmavtwn koinoniva (a communication of properties).

2. Little dependence could be placed on these statements, were it not proved by numerous passages throughout the sacred volume that none of them is of man's devising. What Christ said of himself, "Before Abraham was I am," (John 8:58), was very foreign to his humanity. I am not unaware of the cavil by which erroneous spirits distort this passage--viz. that he was before all ages, inasmuch as he was foreknown as the Redeemer, as well in the counsel of the Father as in the minds of believers. But seeing he plainly distinguishes the period of his manifestation from his eternal existence, and professedly founds on his ancient government, to prove his precedence to Abraham, he undoubtedly claims for himself the peculiar attributes of divinity. Paul's assertion that he is "the first-born of every creature," that "he is before all things, and by him all things consist," (Col. 1:15, 17); his own declaration, that he had glory with the Father before the world was, and that he worketh together with the Father, are equally inapplicable to man. These and similar properties must be specially assigned to his divinity. Again, his being called the servant of the Father, his being said to grow in stature, and wisdom, and favour with God and man, not to seek his own glory, not to know the last day, not to speak of himself, not to do his own will, his being seen and handled, [246] apply entirely to his humanity; since, as God, he cannot be in any respect said to grow, works always for himself, knows every thing, does all things after the counsel of his own will, and is incapable of being seen or handled. And yet he not merely ascribes these things separately to his human nature, but applies them to himself as suitable to his office of Mediator. There is a communication of ijdiwvmata, or properties, when Paul says, that God purchased the Church "with his own blood," (Acts 20:28), and that the Jews crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8). In like manner, John says, that the Word of God was "handled." God certainly has no blood, suffers not, cannot be touched with hands; but since that Christ, who was true God and true man, shed his blood on the cross for us, the acts which were performed in his human nature are transferred improperly, but not ceaselessly, to his divinity. We have a similar example in the passage where John says that God laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Here a property of his humanity is communicated with his other nature. On the other hand, when Christ, still living on the earth, said, "No man has ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven," (John 3:13), certainly regarded as man in the flesh which he had put on, he was not then in heaven, but inasmuch as he was both God and man, he, on account of the union of a twofold nature, attributed to the one what properly belonged to the other.

     Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain      Institutes of the Christian Religion

Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

By Don Carson 2/12/2018

     IN MARK 15 PEOPLE SPEAK better than they know.

     “What shall I do, then,” Pilate asks, “with the one you call the king of the Jews?” (15:12). Of course, he utters the expression “king of the Jews” with a certain sneering contempt. When the crowd replies, “Crucify him!” (15:13, 14), the politically motivated think this is the end of another messianic pretender. They do not know that this king has to die, that his reign turns on his death, that he is simultaneously King and Suffering Servant.

     The soldiers twist together a crown of thorns and jam it on his head. The hit him and spit on him, and then fall on their knees in mock homage, crying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” (15:18). In fact, he is more than the King of the Jews (though certainly not less). One day, each of those soldiers, and everyone else, will bow down before the resurrected man they mocked and crucified, and confess that he is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11).

     Those who passed by could not resist hurling insults: “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” (15:29-30). The dismissive mockery hid the truth they could not see: earlier Jesus had indeed taught that he himself was the real temple, and anti-type of the building in Jerusalem, the ultimate meeting-place between God and human beings (John 2: 19-22). Indeed, Jesus not only insisted that he is himself the temple, but that this is so by virtue of the fact that this temple must be destroyed and brought back to life in three days. If he had “come down from the cross” and saved himself, as his mockers put it, he could not have become the destroyed and rebuilt “temple” that reconciles men and women to God.

     “He saved others but he can’t save himself” (15:31). Wrong again – and right again. This is the man who voluntarily goes to the cross (14:36; cf. John 10:18). To say “he can’t save himself” is ridiculously limiting. Yet he couldn’t save himself and save others. He saves others by not saving himself.

     “Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe” (15:32). But what kind of Christ would they then have believed in? A powerful king, doubtless – but not the Redeemer, not the Sacrifice, not the Suffering Servant. They could not long have believed in him, for the basis of this transformation in them was the very cross-work they were taunting him to abandon.

     “Surely this man was the Son of God” (15:39). Yes; more than they knew.

Click here to go to source

Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).

Don Carson Books:

An Illustration Of Forgiveness

Excerpt from The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances by Alistair Begg

     There is so much that is striking about the account before us in Genesis 45. Joseph forgave not in word only, but also in deed. Consider what he did for the brothers who had mistreated him so cruelly.

     Simply put, the events of Genesis 45 are an amazing illustration of Joseph’s forgiving heart.

     Joseph’s brothers had driven him as far away from them as they could. But when it was his turn to be in control, he said, “Come close to me” (v. 4).

     Joseph’s brothers had sent him off as a captive to Egypt on the back of a mangy camel. But he gave them fine Egyptian carts for their journey home (v. 21).

     Joseph’s brothers were willing to leave him to die of thirst and starvation in the pit. But he gave them provisions for the trip back to Canaan (v. 21).

     Joseph’s brothers had torn his clothes off, but he gave them clothes (v. 22).

     Joseph’s brothers had sold him for money, but he gave Benjamin three hundred shekels of silver (v. 22). Joseph even gave his brothers wise counsel, knowing their tendencies. “Don’t quarrel on the way!” (v. 24).

     Do you see what is happening here? Joseph returned their every evil, cruel, and merciless acts with goodness and kindness and mercy. Centuries before Paul’s words were ever written, Joseph was a living illustration of the admonition, “ ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.’… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:20–21; see also Matthew 5:44–48).

     Jesus revolutionizes lives by His forgiveness in order that forgiven lives might be revolutionary in their impact. This is the impact the church is to make on the world. We’re supposed to be the forgiving ones. But do you think conservative evangelicalism is viewed by the rank and file of people in the United States as an example of this kind of revolutionary forgiveness?

     Not a chance. We’re known as the protesters, the sign wavers, the shouters—and even, sometimes, the shooters. Our culture has us pegged as a special interest group. We have been placed in a neat little economic and political pigeonhole. And we have largely done it to ourselves by trying to make our impact in the economic and political arenas at the expense of kingdom living.

     Jesus did not come to set up a political or economic kingdom. Of course, there are justifiable concerns in the culture that we must address. And sometimes that requires taking an adversarial role. But have you ever considered what would happen if we really tried to overcome evil with good? If we took the time and personnel and money and resources at our disposal to open our hearts and homes to drug addicts, to AIDS victims, and to girls who are pregnant without wanting to be, the impact would be incredible.

     If we start on an individual basis to transform our streets and our culture, when people drive down the street they will say, “See that house? Those people took in three pregnant girls, and they’re taking care of them. Can you believe it? It’s amazing what’s happening in that house.”

     That is letting your light shine before men in such a way that they will praise your Father in heaven (see Matthew 5:16). That is exactly what was happening in Genesis 45. The brothers saw the carts, clothes, and cash Joseph provided. They heard his counsel. And they headed home no doubt mystified that they, who had offended their brother so greatly, should be on the receiving end of such dramatic, tangible forgiveness.

     Dr. Alistair Begg | (Trent University; London School of Theology; Westminster Seminary) was born in Scotland and spent the first 30 years of life in the United Kingdom. Since September of 1983, he has been the senior pastor at Parkside Church in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. He is the daily speaker on the national radio program Truth For Life which stems from his weekly Bible teaching at Parkside. He and his wife, Susan, have three grown children.

Dr. Alistair Begg Books:





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  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Sound financial advice (2)
     2/12/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Gather…in the good years…Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.’

(Ge 41:35–36) 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.” ESV

     Joseph gave Pharaoh some sound financial advice that we would all do well to live by: ‘Gather into the royal storehouses all the excess crops of the next seven years, so that there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come. Otherwise, disaster will surely strike’ (vv. 35-36 TLB). And how did Pharaoh respond? ‘Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh’ (v. 37 TLB). Your future security is guaranteed if you practise these three scriptural principles: 1) Tithe. ‘“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”’ (Malachi 3:10 NLT). 2) Save. Discipline yourself to invest a percentage of your income in savings. Don’t worry that it’s a modest amount, just make it a priority! If you don’t, you’ll spend it on other things and never achieve your long-term goals for college, retirement, or helping the work of the Lord. 3) Get out of debt. After tithing to God and saving for the future, strive to pay off all your financial obligations. Stop paying the bare minimum on your credit cards. By not repaying them in full every month, you end up paying much more than you should. Put as much as you can towards retiring outstanding debt, even if you have to stretch yourself and do without a few things for a while. In the long run, you’ll be way ahead.

Exodus 39-40
Matthew 23:23-39

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Can you believe it? Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the exact same day, February 12, 1809, but their lives had completely different effects. Lincoln is best known for freeing the slaves by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, affirming that all men are equal. Darwin is best known for the theory of evolution, arguing that all men are not equal because some are more evolved. Darwin’s theory has been used by atheists to explain away belief in God, whereas the last act of Congress signed by Lincoln, before he was shot, was to place the phrase “In God We Trust” on all our national coin.

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     Once having the vision, the second step to holy obedience is this: Begin where you are. Obey now. Use what little obedience you are capable of, even if it be like a grain of mustard seed. Begin where you are. Live this present moment, this present hour as you now sit in your seats, in utter, utter submission and openness toward Him. Listen outwardly to these words, but within, behind the scenes, in the deeper levels of your lives where you are all alone with God the Loving Eternal One, keep up a silent prayer, "Open thou my life. Guide my thoughts where I dare not let them go. But Thou darest. Thy will be done." Walk on the streets and chat with your friends. But every moment behind the scenes be in prayer, offering yourselves in continuous obedience. I find this internal continuous prayer life absolutely essential. It can be carried on day and night, in the thick of business, in home and school. Such prayer of submission can be so simple. It is well to use a single sentence, repeated over and over and over again, such as this: "Be Thou my will. Be Thou my will," or "I open all before Thee. I open all before Thee," or "See earth through heaven. See earth through heaven." This hidden prayer life can pass, in time, beyond words and phrases into mere ejaculations, "My God, my God, my Holy One, my Love," or into the adoration of the Upanishad, "0 Wonderful, 0 Wonderful, O Wonderful." Words may cease and one stands and walks and sits and lies in wordless attitudes of adoration and submission and rejoicing and exultation and glory.

     And the third step in holy obedience, or a counsel, is this: If you slip and stumble and forget God for an hour, and assert your old proud self, and rely upon your own clever wisdom, don't spend too much time in anguished regrets and self-accusations but begin again, just where you are.

     Yet a fourth consideration in holy obedience is this: Don't grit your teeth and clench your fists and say, "I will! I will!" Relax. Take hands off. Submit yourself to God. Learn to live in the passive voice-­ a hard saying for Americans and let life be willed through you. For "I will" spells not obedience.


A Testament of Devotion

Journal of John Woolman 2/12
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     I kept steadily to meetings, spent first-day afternoons chiefly in reading the Scriptures and other good books, and was early convinced in my mind that true religion consisted in an inward life, wherein the heart does love and reverence God the Creator, and learns to exercise true justice and goodness, not only toward all men, but also toward the brute creatures; that, as the mind was moved by an inward principle to love God as an invisible, incomprehensible Being, so, by the same principle, it was moved to love him in all his manifestations in the visible world; that, as by his breath the flame of life was kindled in all animal sensible creatures, to say we love God as unseen, and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature moving by his life, or by life derived from him, was a contradiction in itself. I found no narrowness respecting sects and opinions, but believed that sincere, upright-hearted people, in every society, who truly love God, were accepted of him.

     As I lived under the cross, and simply followed the opening of truth, my mind, from day to day, was more enlightened, my former acquaintance were left to judge of me as they would, for I found it safest for me to live in private, and keep these things sealed up in my own breast. While I silently ponder on that change wrought in me, I find no language equal to convey to another a clear idea of it. I looked upon the works of God in this visible creation, and an awfulness covered me. My heart was tender and often contrite, and universal love to my fellow-creatures increased in me. This will be understood by such as have trodden in the same path. Some glances of real beauty may be seen in their faces who dwell in true meekness. There is a harmony in the sound of that voice to which Divine love gives utterance, and some appearance of right order in their temper and conduct whose passions are regulated; yet these do not fully show forth that inward life to those who have not felt it; this white stone and new name is only known rightly by such as receive it.

     Now, though I had been thus strengthened to bear the cross, I still found myself in great danger, having many weaknesses attending me, and strong temptations to wrestle with; in the feeling whereof I frequently withdrew into private places, and often with tears besought the Lord to help me, and his gracious ear was open to my cry.

     All this time I lived with my parents, and wrought on the plantation; and having had schooling pretty well for a planter, I used to improve myself in winter evenings, and other leisure times. Being now in the twenty-first year of my age, with my father's consent I engaged with a man, in much business as a shop-keeper and baker, to tend shop and keep books. At home I had lived retired; and now having a prospect of being much in the way of company, I felt frequent and fervent cries in my heart to God, the Father of Mercies, that he would preserve me from all taint and corruption; that, in this more public employment, I might serve him, my gracious Redeemer, in that humility and selfdenial which I had in a small degree exercised in a more private life.

     The man who employed me furnished a shop in Mount Holly, about five miles from my father's house, and six from his own, and there I lived alone and tended his shop. Shortly after my settlement here I was visited by several young people, my former acquaintance, who supposed that vanities would be as agreeable to me now as ever. At these times I cried to the Lord in secret for wisdom and strength; for I felt myself encompassed with difficulties, and had fresh occasion to bewail the follies of times past, in contracting a familiarity with libertine people; and as I had now left my father's house outwardly, I found my Heavenly Father to be merciful to me beyond what I can express.

     By day I was much amongst people, and had many trials to go through; but in the evenings I was mostly alone, and I may with thankfulness acknowledge, that in those times the spirit of supplication was often poured upon me; under which I was frequently exercised, and felt my strength renewed.

     After a while, my former acquaintance gave over expecting me as one of their company, and I began to be known to some whose conversation was helpful to me. And now, as I had experienced the love of God, through Jesus Christ, to redeem me from many pollutions, and to be a succor to me through a sea of conflicts, with which no person was fully acquainted, and as my heart was often enlarged in this heavenly principle, I felt a tender compassion for the youth who remained entangled in snares like those which had entangled me. This love and tenderness increased, and my mind was strongly engaged for the good of my fellow-creatures. I went to meetings in an awful frame of mind, and endeavored to be inwardly acquainted with the language of the true Shepherd. One day, being under a strong exercise of spirit, I stood up and said some words in a meeting; but not keeping close to the Divine opening, I said more than was required of me. Being soon sensible of my error, I was afflicted in mind some weeks, without any light or comfort, even to that degree that I could not take satisfaction in anything. I remembered God, and was troubled, and in the depth of my distress he had pity upon me, and sent the Comforter. I then felt forgiveness for my offence; my mind became calm and quiet, and I was truly thankful to my gracious Redeemer for his mercies. About six weeks after this, feeling the spring of Divine love opened, and a concern to speak, I said a few words in a meeting, in which I found peace. Being thus humbled and disciplined under the cross, my understanding became more strengthened to distinguish the pure spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart, and which taught me to wait in silence sometimes many weeks together, until I felt that rise which prepares the creature to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to his flock.

     From an inward purifying, and steadfast abiding under it springs a lively operative desire for the good of others. All the faithful are not called to the public ministry; but whoever are, are called to minister of that which they have tasted and handled spiritually. The outward modes of worship are various; but whenever any are true ministers of Jesus Christ, it is from the operation of his Spirit upon their hearts, first purifying them, and thus giving them a just sense of the conditions of others. This truth was early fixed in my mind, and I was taught to watch the pure opening, and to take heed lest, while I was standing to speak, my own will should get uppermost, and cause me to utter words from worldly wisdom, and depart from the channel of the true gospel ministry.


John Woolman's Journal

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me.
--- Oswald Chambers

Abandonment to God is of more value than personal holiness!
--- Oswald Chambers

The Bible -- banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it, dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.
--- Charles Colson

... from here, there and everywhere


Proverbs 9:13-18
     by D.H. Stern

13     The foolish woman is coarse;
she doesn’t think, and she doesn’t know a thing.
14     She sits at the door of her house
or on a seat at the heights of the city,
15     calling to those who pass by,
to those going straight along their ways,
16     “Whoever is unsure of himself, turn in here!”
To someone weak-willed she says,
17     “Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18     But he doesn’t realize
that the dead are there,
and that those who accept her invitation
are in the depths of Sh’ol.


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


                Must I listen?

     And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
--- Exodus 20:19.

     We do not consciously disobey God, we simply do not heed Him. God has given us His commands; there they are, but we do not pay any attention to them, not because of wilful disobedience but because we do not love and respect Him. “If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments.” When once we realize that we have been ‘disrespecting’ God all the time, we are covered with shame and humiliation because we have not heeded Him.

     “Speak thou with us … but let not God speak with us.” We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us. Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. If it is only the servant’s voice we hear, we feel it is not imperative, we can say, ‘Well, that is simply your own idea, though I don’t deny it is probably God’s truth.’

     Am I putting God in the humiliating position of having treated me as a child of His while all the time I have been ignoring Him? When I do hear Him, the humiliation I have put on Him comes back on me—‘Lord, why was I so dull and so obstinate?’ This is always the result when once we do hear God. The real delight of hearing Him is tempered with shame in having been so long in hearing Him.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

The Bright Field
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
  to illuminate a small field
  for a while, and gone my way
  and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
  of great price, the one field that had
  the treasure in it. I realize now
  that I must give all that I have
  to possess it. Life is not hurrying
  on to a receding future, nor hankering after
  an imagined past. It is the turning
  aside like Moses to the miracle
  of the lit bush, to a brightness
  that seemed as transitory as your youth
  once, but is the eternity that awaits you.


The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Love Constraining to Obedience
     John Newton & William Cowper

  No strength of nature can suffice
  To serve [the] Lord aright;
  And what she has, she misapplies,
  For want of clearer light.

  How long beneath the law I lay
  In bondage and distress!
  I toil’d the precept to obey,
  But toil’d without success.

  Then to abstain from outward sin
  Was more than I could do;
  Now, if I feel its pow’r within,
  I feel I hate it too.

  Then all my servile works were done
  A righteousness to raise;
  Now, freely chosen in the Son,
  I freely choose his ways.

  What shall I do was then the word,
  That I may worthier grow?
  What shall I render to the Lord?
  Is my enquiry now.

  To see the Law by Christ fulfill’d,
  And hear his pard’ning voice;
  Changes a slave into a child, (Rom 3:31)
  And duty into choice.


Olney Hymns: In Three Books. ... - Scholar's Choice Edition

Sonata / Apace
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

Plato? I have read
  him. And Aristotle?
  Yes, he, too. The Comedy
  that is Divine. Paradise
  Lost and recovered
  by much letting
  of vocabulary’s blood.
  I have been Stone Man,
  Renaissance Man; have seen
  forests of steel grown
  from human libido.
  I have known thought
  put on speed and the bone’s
  truth always before it.
  From killing at close
  quarters I kill now
  from afar, plunging,
  like Crammer, but
  retracting nothing,
  my hand in the machine.


The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     Lessons for Everyday Living

     PREFACE

     What began as a weekly Talmud study session, a ḥavruta of two friends, has become a book. There are numerous people who have helped us along the way, and we are grateful to each and every one of them.

     The members of our congregations, Temple Beth Torah of Westbury and Congregation Shaarei Shalom-South Baldwin Jewish Center, have supported us continuously both in pastoral duties and in our studies of traditional Jewish texts. Our officers and board members have been encouraging as we worked on this book. We owe special thanks to our secretaries, Jane Bauman and Barbara Mazzei, for their help on various parts of the manuscript.

     Our teachers Dr. Richard Kalmin and Dr. Burton Visotzky have been an ongoing source of guidance and inspiration. They read through drafts of the manuscript and generously gave numerous suggestions. Their teaching has not only helped us avoid errors in translation and interpretation but also has enhanced our appreciation of the Talmud.

     Many have offered us advice and counsel in the preparation of the manuscript. Early in the writing process, Elisheva Urbas and Nessa Rapoport gave us guidance concerning publication. Arnie Gordon and Libby Rosenberg read early drafts of the manuscript as interested laypeople, helping us to make the book more understandable and user-friendly. Rabbi Miles Cohen, Dr. Stephen Garfinkel, Dr. Neil Gillman, Dr. David Golomb, Dr. Judith Hauptman and Dr. David Marcus made suggestions which improved the text. Rabbi Sidney Greenberg, Rabbi Jack Riemer, Rabbi Saul Teplitz, Annette M. Botnick, and Danny Siegel helped us track down stories on the Talmud.

     The staff of JPS has been a delight to work with. We especially thank Dr. Ellen Frankel, our editor, and Christine Sweeney, our project editor. When we might have veered off course, they steered us in the right direction.

     We give thanks to God for having allowed us the privilege of being involved in this endeavor.
--- Michael Katz
--- Gershon Schwartz


Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul

     The Twelfth Chapter / The Value Of Adversity

     IT IS good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men.

     When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands fully that perfect security and complete peace cannot be found on earth.


The Imitation Of Christ

Teachers Commentary
     God is a great dramatist

     In a series of striking confrontations, God acted out on history’s stage a play which communicated, as words alone could not, the reality of His power and personal concern for Israel. It is helpful for us to read these chapters with the drama of these confrontations in view: to discover, with the men and women of that time, the identity of God and the identity of those on whom God set His love.

     Moses’ old enemy, Thutmose III, was dead. The new Pharaoh, Amenhotep II, was probably about 22 when confronted by the 80-year-old Moses. More than age contrasted when these two men met. There was a confrontation between lifestyles and attitudes as well: a confrontation between meekness and pride. Moses had been 40 years in Egypt, nurtured to be a somebody. For 40 years in the desert he had learned that he was a nobody. Now God would show what He could do with a somebody who was willing to be a nobody.

     Not so the young Pharaoh. In Egypt, society was structured around religion: a religion in which secular and sacred distinctions were lost, and the Pharaoh was himself considered a god. In official monuments the Pharaoh was often called neter nefer, the perfect god. We even have records in which a courtier describes Amenhotep II, this young man confronting Moses, as neter aa, the great god! Imagine the pride of Amenhotep. Imagine Moses speaking in the name of the Lord God of Israel (e.g., “God of slaves!”). How easy it is to visualize the haughty pride that moved Amenhotep to respond, “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go” (
Ex. 5:2).

     Through the succeeding judgments we watch the Pharaoh coming to know the Lord … and struggling against Him. At first judgments fail to move Pharaoh. Then, under the pressure of the supernatural, Pharaoh promised to yield … only to return to his pride and obstinacy when a miraculous plague was removed. Even after the ultimate judgment, striking against his son and the firstborn of every Egyptian, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent an army to pursue freed Israel.

     In the confrontations between these two men we see in stark contrast the patience and steadfastness of faith against the backdrop of a self-exalting pride. It is this kind of pride which will not permit men to bow to God, even when it is clearly for their own good.


The Teacher's Commentary

Take Heart
     February 12

     As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. --- John 13:30.

     I find in [Judas] the loneliness of sin.( Wind on the Heath (Morrison Classic Sermon Series, The) ) Having received the sop at the Last Supper, he went immediately out, and it was night. Why did he hurry from that little company? Nobody drove him from the supper table. Christ did not rise with clenched hands of loathing and hound him onto the bosom of the dark. In that brief hour everything is intense, and you see in a flash into the heart of things—into the infinite love of the Redeemer, into the infinite loneliness of sin.

     We sometimes talk in our foolish way of social sins. We might as reasonably talk of gentle murder. There is no such thing in the world as social sin. Sin is the mightiest of antisocial forces. Sin is disruptive in its very nature. It shatters homes and disintegrates companionship. It raises barriers between classes and cleaves society down to its very deeps. Your little child goes singing through the house and jabbers to you of a hundred trifles. And then some day the child is strangely silent and shuns you and forgets the little songs. And then you know at once that there is something troubling that little conscience and that the one path to communion is confession. Sin separates the parent from the child. Sin separates the engaged from his or her beloved. We think that sin is going to make us happy, and in the end it only makes us lonely. From every company, from all society, from love and fellowship, from home and heaven, sin drives the sinner out into the night. Why did our Lord, in that so perfect parable, speak of the one sheep as going astray? Why not five of them—why not a score of them—where there were a hundred in the flock? It is one of those touches that reveal the Master that from one hundred he separated one, as teaching us the loneliness of sin. One coin, from all the cottage treasury; one sheep, from all the congregated flock; one son, off to a far land from all the dear companionship of home. So Judas, having received the sop, and the Devil having entered into him, went immediately out, and it was night.

     This is a strange world, and that is invariably the way of it. Every sin you conquer in the battle helps you to a richer comradeship. Every sin you deliberately cling to is a mighty power in you making for loneliness, and to be lonely forever—that is hell.
--- George H. Morrison


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

On This Day   February 12
     The Sin of Simony

     A man named Simon brought money to the apostles in Acts 8, trying to purchase spiritual power. Peter, ever blunt, replied, “You and your money will both end up in hell if you think you can buy God’s gift!” We aren’t sure of Simon’s outcome, but he unwittingly lent his name to church history. A deplorable practice arose during the Middle Ages — the buying of church offices and positions — and it was called simony.

     Simony was so widespread by the eleventh century that the 22-year-old German king, Henry III, grieved for the church. On December 20, 1046, he called a synod in Sutri, 25 miles from Rome, to discuss the problem. Pope Gregory VI chaired the proceedings. But Gregory was among the worst simonites, having “bought” the papacy. When Henry reminded the churchmen of the need for integrity and purity among God’s leaders, Pope Gregory spoke these remarkable words to the synod: I, Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, do hereby adjudge myself to be removed from the pontificate of the Holy Roman Church, because of the enormous error which by simoniacal impurity has crept into and vitiated my election.

     He asked, “Is it your pleasure that it be so?” The assembled clergymen answered unanimously: “Your pleasure is our pleasure; therefore so let it be.” Gregory descended from his throne, removed his pontifical robes, fell to his knees, begged forgiveness, and fled the country.

     But now another problem arose: None of the assembled bishops was unstained by simony. They had all bought their positions. After searching the land, an honest man named Suidger, bishop of Bamberg, was elected pope, but he lived less than a year. The next two popes also died quickly. Then Bruno was found, a good-looking, well-educated man of unblemished character and sincerity. Summoned to Rome, he arrived barefoot, dressed as a pilgrim and weeping. The people sang hymns of praise and consecrated him Pope Leo IX on February 12, 1049. He battled simony all his days, paving the way for the reforms later enacted under his associate and successor, Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII).

     Simon noticed that the Spirit was given only when the apostles placed their hands on the people. So he brought money and said to Peter and John, “Let me have this power too!” … Peter said to him, “You and your money will both end up in hell if you think you can buy God’s gift! Get rid of these evil thoughts and ask God to forgive you.”
--- Acts 8:18-20,22.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - February 12

     “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” --- 2 Corinthians 1:5.

     There is a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales—in this side he puts his people’s trials, and in that he puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to his crew. It is a blessed thing, that when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of the Spirit. One reason is, because trials make more room for consolation. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart—he finds it full—he begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it. Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles, is this—then we have the closest dealings with God. When the barn is full, man can live without God: when the purse is bursting with gold, we try to do without so much prayer. But once take our gourds away, and we want our God; once cleanse the idols out of the house, then we are compelled to honour Jehovah. “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies.


          Evening - February 12

     “He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” --- John 14:16.

     Great Father revealed himself to believers of old before the coming of his Son, and was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the God Almighty. Then Jesus came, and the ever-blessed Son in his own proper person, was the delight of his people’s eyes. At the time of the Redeemer’s ascension, the Holy Spirit became the head of the present dispensation, and his power was gloriously manifested in and after Pentecost. He remains at this hour the present Immanuel—God with us, dwelling in and with his people, quickening, guiding, and ruling in their midst. Is his presence recognized as it ought to be? We cannot control his working; he is most sovereign in all his operations, but are we sufficiently anxious to obtain his help, or sufficiently watchful lest we provoke him to withdraw his aid? Without him we can do nothing, but by his almighty energy the most extraordinary results can be produced: everything depends upon his manifesting or concealing his power. Do we always look up to him both for our inner life and our outward service with the respectful dependence which is fitting? Do we not too often run before his call and act independently of his aid? Let us humble ourselves this evening for past neglects, and now entreat the heavenly dew to rest upon us, the sacred oil to anoint us, the celestial flame to burn within us. The Holy Ghost is no temporary gift, he abides with the saints. We have but to seek him aright, and he will be found of us. He is jealous, but he is pitiful; if he leaves in anger, he returns in mercy. Condescending and tender, he does not weary of us, but awaits to be gracious still.

     Sin has been hammering my heart
     Unto a hardness, void of love,
     Let supplying grace to cross his art
     Drop from above.


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

Amazing Grace
     February 12

          WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS

     Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. (Deuteronomy 21:23)

     Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

     Not father or mother has loved you as God has, for it was that you might be happy He gave His only Son. When He bowed His head in the death hour, love solemnized its triumph; the sacrifice there was complete.
--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

     This beloved hymn, with its plaintive modal sound, is one of the best known of our authentic American folk hymns. Like all true folk music, the origins of this text and music remain unknown. It is simply the product of devout people who, when reflecting seriously on the sacrificial gift of God’s Son, respond spontaneously with amazed adoration for this “wondrous love.”

     One typical folk hymn characteristic found in these words is the repetition of key phrases such as “O my soul” and “I’ll sing on.” Since folk music is generally learned aurally without the assistance of the printed page or musical notation, such repetition is necessary. Note also how effectively the curving melodic lines enhance the thought and personal application of the words.

     The hymn first appeared in 1835 in a collection titled William Walker’s Southern Harmony. These simply stated words with their appealing music have since ministered to people everywhere, extolling the profound truth of Christ’s love for each of us. Allow the hymn to move you to awe even now.

     What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
     When I was sinking down, sinking down, when I was sinking down, sinking down; when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside His crown for my soul; Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
     To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing; to God and to the Lamb I will sing; to God and to the Lamb who is the great “I Am,” while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing; while millions join the theme, I will sing.
     And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on; and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on.


     For Today: Numbers 21:8; Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:14–18; 1 John 3:1; Revelation 1:5, 6.

     Reflect once again on the wondrous love of Christ in your behalf. Determine to share your Lord and His wondrous love with another.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Monday, February 12, 2018 | Epiphany


Monday Of The Last Week After Epiphany
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 25
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 9, 15
Old Testament     Proverbs 27:1–6, 10–12
New Testament     Philippians 2:1–13
Gospel     John 18:15–18, 25–27

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 25
25  Of David.

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

11 For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

19 Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
for I wait for you.

22 Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 9, 15

9  To The Choirmaster: According To Muth-Labben. A Psalm Of David.

1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

3 When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13 Be gracious to me, O LORD!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

17 The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

19 Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O LORD!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

15 A Psalm Of David.

1 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the LORD;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

Old Testament
Proverbs 27:1–6, 10–12

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
a stranger, and not your own lips.
3 A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
4 Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
10 Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,
and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is near
than a brother who is far away.
11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
that I may answer him who reproaches me.
12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.

New Testament
Philippians 2:1–13

2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Gospel
John 18:15–18, 25–27

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.


The Book of Common Prayer


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