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2/13/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Genesis 46     Mark 16     Job 12     Romans 16


Joseph Brings His Family to Egypt

Genesis 46:1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”

5 Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

8 Now these are the names of the descendants of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, 9 and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Yob, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.

16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, with Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons.

19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob’s wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, bore to him. 21 And the sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all.

23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all.

26 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own descendants, not including Jacob’s sons’ wives, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

Jacob and Joseph Reunited

28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.” 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”


The Resurrection

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

[     SOME OF THE EARLIEST MANUSCRIPTS DO NOT INCLUDE 16:9–20.     ]

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

9 [[     Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples

12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

The Great Commission

14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.     ]]


Job Replies: The LORD Has Done This

Job 12:1 Then Job answered and said:

2  “No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.
3  But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these?
4  I am a laughingstock to my friends;
I, who called to God and he answered me,
a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
5  In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;
it is ready for those whose feet slip.
6  The tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God are secure,
who bring their god in their hand.

7  “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
8  or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
9  Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?
10  In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind.
11  Does not the ear test words
as the palate tastes food?
12  Wisdom is with the aged,
and understanding in length of days.

13  “With God are wisdom and might;
he has counsel and understanding.
14  If he tears down, none can rebuild;
if he shuts a man in, none can open.
15  If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
16  With him are strength and sound wisdom;
the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17  He leads counselors away stripped,
and judges he makes fools.
18  He looses the bonds of kings
and binds a waistcloth on their hips.
19  He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows the mighty.
20  He deprives of speech those who are trusted
and takes away the discernment of the elders.
21  He pours contempt on princes
and loosens the belt of the strong.
22  He uncovers the deeps out of darkness
and brings deep darkness to light.
23  He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
24  He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth
and makes them wander in a trackless waste.
25  They grope in the dark without light,
and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.



Personal Greetings

Romans 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

Final Instructions and Greetings

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.

22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.

23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.

Doxology

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— (... high degrees of Christian assurance are simply not compatible with low levels of obedience. If Christ is not actually saving us, producing in us the obedience of faith in our struggle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, then our confidence that he is our Savior is bound to be undermined, imperceptibly at first, but really. This is why there is a strong link in the New Testament between faithfulness in the Christian walk and the enjoyment of assurance. Obedience strengthens faith and confirms it to us because it is always marked by what Paul calls “the obedience of faith.”) The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

The Reformation Study Bible


What I'm Reading

Are There Different Degrees of Reward in Heaven?

By J. Warner Wallace 8/29/2014

     As Christians, we believe we are saved solely by the grace of God. God sets us apart for salvation based not on anything we could do (or have done), but based instead on the free gift of salvation offered by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Our works play no role in our salvation. We cannot earn our way into Heaven, this is a gift of God, so no man or woman could ever boast they earned a place in Heaven with God:

(Eph 2:8–9) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  ESV

     But there are a number of non-Christian theists who believe salvation comes as the result of human effort in combination with the work of God (Jewish believers or Mormons for example). My Mormon friends sometimes complain orthodox Christianity ignores the behavior of believers altogether. After all, do we actually think that all believers are acceptable to God no matter what they do or how they behave? If someone simply says they believe and then lives a life exhibiting little or no evidence of their belief will they still go into Heaven? Isn’t the Mormon notion of levels of Heaven a more equitable and fair position on the nature of the afterlife?

     The beliefs of Christians are often mischaracterized. While we, as Christians, don’t believe our works have anything to do with our entry to heaven, we do understand our works have everything to do with our reward once we get there. This is clear from the Biblical record of Scripture. The Apostle John reminds us of the importance of “works” while we are here on Earth:

(Jn 9:4–5) 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  ESV

     So, why is it so important for us to “work”? Is it so that we can earn our Salvation? No, the passage we just read in Ephesians makes it clear our Salvation is not the product of our work. The issue here is not Salvation; it is reward. Christian orthodoxy describes Heaven sees as a place where rewards are distributed to the saints in accordance with the nature of their lives on earth.

     To be fair, not everyone in Christendom agrees with this idea. Some would argue all heavenly reward is measured out equally to those who are saved. So let’s examine both cases and see if we can determine the truth from a Biblical Perspective:

Click here to go to source

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

The Curious Theology Behind The Hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”

By Jack Lee 10/27/2014

     I heard Albert Mohler mention this briefly on one of his Daily Briefings so I googled to see what I could find. You need to read all of the article if you are interested.

     Should tragedy ever find me I hope, and pray, that grace would be there to carry me through it. I know it has the potential. There is a never-ending fountain of it flowing for me; “grace upon grace” I believe the scriptures call it. It’s an absolutely incredible truth for any and every Christian; it’s beautiful. It’s inspired 1000’s of hymns, one of which has always been strangely over-pious and curious to me. I refer to “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford.

     The first time I heard the story behind the hymn, I felt like a Christian wimp. How could someone have that much faith and respond that way midst such tragedy? I know grace and God can do amazing things, but to respond with such faith when you’ve lost 5 children is beyond me. I can’t help but put myself in that situation and know I would not respond that way. I would be crestfallen, angry, broken, and probably feel lost. I would be desperate and destroyed. It hurts me to even think about it. Yet, this was Mr. Spafford’s situation and he responded by writing one of the most memorable Christian hymns of all time.

     However, there is some new research that suggests Horatio Spafford, author of “It Is Well With My Soul” might not be the example of faith we all thought he was.

     The Story Behind The Hymn | If you are not familiar with the story, I’ll give you the short version. Or if you are more of a visual person, you can watch a short youtube video on it here.

     Basically. there was this chap named Horatio Spafford. He was a rather wealthy businessman that lived in Chicago in the mid 1800’s. He was a married man with 5 children.

     You need to read all the article to get the full story. So often things are not what they seem. There is also a book about it. American Priestess: The Extraordinary Story of Anna Spafford and the American Colony in Jerusalem

Click here to go to source

     Jack Lee is a husband, and father of 5, from Tulsa, OK. He currently a member and Deacon at RiverOaks Presbyterian Church (PCA). He is truth Say-er and beer snob. He used to play guitar and once attempted to sing. He prefers mountains to beaches and sweaters to swimming.

Take Up and Read: Loving Wisdom

By Kenneth Richard Samples 2/6/2018

     This current blog series on Reflections is intended to encourage Christians to read more vigorously by providing a beginner’s guide to some of the Christian classics in such fields as theology, philosophy, and apologetics. My hope is that these introductions to important Christian texts will motivate today’s believers to, as St. Augustine put it, “take up and read” (Latin: Tolle lege) these classic books.

     This week’s book, Loving Wisdom: Christian Philosophy of Religion by philosopher Paul Copan, is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of religion from a Christian perspective. Copan’s presentation of the Christian theistic worldview is philosophically and theologically sophisticated, but also accessible. This is my go-to book on the various topics relating to the philosophy of religion.

     Why Is This Author Notable? | Paul Copan is a Christian philosopher, theologian, and apologist. He serves as professor of philosophy and ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. A prolific author, Copan has written and edited over 25 books in such fields as philosophy of religion, apologetics, theology, and biblical studies.

     What Is This Book About? | Loving Wisdom offers a robust and readable presentation of the historic Christian worldview combined with a defense of the faith. Copan addresses various theological, philosophical, and apologetics issues in five parts.

     Part one explores and defends the triune nature and attributes of the biblical God. Part two examines a variety of arguments for God’s existence as well as for the reality of miracles. Part three focuses on such challenging topics as evil, sin, hell, and the alleged hiddenness of God. Part four explains the critical Christian doctrines of the incarnation and atonement and illustrates Jesus’s uniqueness among the world’s religious leaders. Part five tackles such issues as the body-soul relationship along with faith, doubt, and hope.

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:

You Don’t Find Community by Looking for It

By Aaron Menikoff 2/3/2017

     You can learn a lot about a church from its website.

     Not long ago I researched a church in another state, and I could tell it cares about community. From the small groups offered to the pictures of smiling people drinking coffee together, this congregation clearly works hard to make connections. After watching a few online interviews, it was obvious they value friendship.

     Sadly, it wasn’t obvious they value Christ. I imagine they do. They’re a church, after all. But it wasn’t plain from anything I saw that they care most about proclaiming, exalting, and walking in a manner worthy of him.

     A community is an organized group of individuals united by a common trait. It could be a love of fly fishing, Harry Potter novels, or political activism. There’s something powerful, fulfilling, and comforting about meeting up with others who share an interest. Certainly churches ought to emphasize themselves as hubs of community, right?

     Yes and no.

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     Aaron Menikoff (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and author of Politics and Piety: Baptist Social Reform in America, 1770-1860 (Monographs in Baptist History)

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 19

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

12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

ESV Study Bible

Guard your hearts at all costs in the war with porn

By Brian Renshaw

     Pornography is one of the greatest dangers facing the church today. I could offer you statistics and case studies showing the devastating effects pornography is having on our church leaders but that is not needed. You know the dangers and the widespread effects of pornography. Based on statistics alone there is a reasonable chance that some reading this are physically addicted to viewing pornography. If you are not already addicted there is a greater chance that you have at least viewed pornography recently and on the verge of addiction.

     As students pursuing (or currently in) ministry we are called to a higher standard. We will be leaders in our churches where our people will be looking to us as an example. Too often in the church our leaders fall prey to sexual temptation. One well-known pastor recently admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” and numerous pastors and church leaders names have appeared on the recent Ashley Madison list.  In addition to the obvious personal and familial destruction, the people in our churches can begin to distrust the gospel and think less of the people who should be leading them.

     “TELEIOSNESS” AND JAMES | In one of the most practical books of the New Testament James, the brother of Jesus, exhorts his people to pursue of life of “teleiosness”—or in simpler terms, “wholeness.” This idea of wholeness means that our outward actions and our inward thoughts are in complete agreement with each other. “Teleiosness,” often translated as “perfection,” is not about “doing all the right things” but rather orienting our lives in line with Christian virtue. This the pursuit of holiness that is central to the Christian life.

     Along with this idea of wholeness, James also says teachers will be held to a “stricter judgment” based on their position within the church (Jas. 3:1). Granted, this is in the context leading up to a small discourse concerning our speech, but I think it can be applied more universally. As teachers and preachers of the gospel, ours is a calling to holiness. Our lives, should be marked with a wholeness in the same way that Christ showed us in the gospel stories.

     If we are engaged in pornography our life is not marked by “teleiosness” but rather “dipsychosness” (Jas. 4:8) or “double-mindedness.” Our outward actions may be righteous and holy but our lives are marked by a deep and dark addiction—pornography. We could list all the verses that pertain to sexual sins and apply that here but if you are reading this then you likely know that sexual sin is one that can erode the soul of even the godliest person.

Click here to go to source

     Brian Renshaw is a Ph.D. student in New Testament at Southern Seminary. His interests include Gospel studies, hermeneutics, theological interpretation of Scripture, and history of interpretation. He is the Director of Instructional Design for SBTS Online.

Do Large Christian Conferences Really Make a Difference? Reflections on Urbana15

By MarkKate Morse 1/21/2016

     Though I’m a conference speaker and have attended a wide-variety of large conferences, I’m a little skeptical about their long-term transformative value. Perhaps 10-20 years ago, large conferences were powerful arenas for God’s purposes. But now with so much available to people in the digital age and with younger people’s needs so different, are they worth the effort and cost?

     At times these events today can feel pretty “staged.” And sometimes they nourish an unholy need for a busy, success-oriented, me-centered gospel. We go from talk to talk, and eat and eat and eat words. We can’t stop stuffing ourselves with ideas and good feelings, but then none of it nourishes us. We barf it up on the way home. We spent money and time, but we have little to show for it in transformed lives or ministries. For this reason many groups, including Missio Alliance, have tried to re-imagine how conferences might be transformative without this gorging on ideas and input.

     So, what did I think of the most mega of mega Evangelical conferences of our day, Urbana? I was invited to be a platform speaker at Urbana in St. Louis, December 27-31, 2015. Urbana 15 had 16,000 persons in attendance with up to 8,000 streaming online. The primary events were held in the Edward Jones Dome where the Rams’ football team played. Urbana is geared towards college students, and first began in 1946 in Canada. It occurs once every three years with the express purpose of inviting students to be a part of God’s mission on campuses, in local communities, and around the world. So, what did I think about my experience of it? Can large conferences make a difference?

      I would have to say, yes. Urbana 15 did for these reasons:

     Prayer and Bible Study Always First – The scale of Urbana required an extraordinary amount of planning and managing of event details. The team planned for 3 years for this one event. But what moved me was how from the very beginning of the planning through to the very end, two things were constant: prayer and reflective Bible study. Individuals and teams of people set aside time to pray for the event, the participants, and those involved from the beginning of the planning through to the end. I had a prayer person assigned to me months before Urbana, who prayed for my preparation, and who checked in with me. During the event she was close by, so I could go to a prayer room and meet with her to pray. One entire evening was given to prayer for the Persecuted Church and for the Persecutors. The main floor was cleared so everyone could come to the field of the dome to pray around pillars representing persecutions world-wide. The students prayed for 30 minutes.

Click here to go to source

     MaryKate Morse, PhD, is professor of Leadership and Spiritual Formation in the seminary at George Fox University. Currently she is the Lead Mentor for the Doctor of Ministry in Leadership & Spiritual Formation. Raised in the Air Force, MaryKate lived in various states and overseas. She completed her BS in Secondary Education and English Literature at Longwood University in Virginia. With her husband, Randy, and small children she lived in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia and Peru doing ministry and social projects with the Aymará Indians. Upon return she did a Masters in Biblical Studies and an MDIV at Western Evangelical Seminary (now GFES). She began teaching, studied spiritual formation and direction, and was certified as a spiritual director and recorded as a pastor with the Evangelical Friends. MaryKate completed her doctorate at Gonzaga University where she studied the characteristics of renewal leadership as modeled by Jesus. She continues to explore how spiritual formation and effective leadership result in the transformation of individuals and communities especially for evangelists and front-line leaders in diverse cultural environments. After her doctorate she planted two churches and served in various administrative positions at the university including Seminary Associate Dean, Director of Hybrid programs, and University Director of Strategic Planning. She is a spiritual director and leadership mentor and coach, conference and retreat speaker, and author including Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space, and Influence and A Guidebook to Prayer. MaryKate is married to Randy and has three adult children and five grandchildren. She enjoys being with family, hiking, reading, exploring new places, and playing with her puppy, Tess. Books by MaryKate Morse:

Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space and Influence
A Guidebook to Prayer: 24 Ways to Walk with God

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     3. But, above all, the true substance of Christ is most clearly declared in those passages which comprehend both natures at once. Numbers of these exist in the Gospel of John. What we there read as to his having received power from the Father to forgive sins; as to his quickening whom he will; as to his bestowing righteousness, holiness, and salvation; as to his being appointed judge both of the quick and the dead; as to his being honoured even as the Father, [247] are not peculiar either to his Godhead or his humanity, but applicable to both. In the same way he is called the Light of the world, the good Shepherd, the only Door, the true Vine. With such prerogatives the Son of God was invested on his manifestation in the flesh, and though he possessed the same with the Father before the world was created, still it was not in the same manner or respect; neither could they be attributed to one who was a man and nothing more. In the same sense we ought to understand the saying of Paul, that at the end Christ shall deliver up "the kingdom to God, even the Father," (1 Cor. 15:24). The kingdom of God assuredly had no beginning, and will have no end: but because he was hid under a humble clothing of flesh, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and humbled himself (Phil. 2:8), and, laying aside the insignia of majesty, became obedient to the Father; and after undergoing this subjection was at length crowned with glory and honour (Heb. 2:7), and exalted to supreme authority, that at his name every knee should bow (Phil. 2:10); so at the end he will subject to the Father both the name and the crown of glory, and whatever he received of the Father, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28). For what end were that power and authority given to him, save that the Father might govern us by his hand? In the same sense, also, he is said to sit at the right hand of the Father. But this is only for a time, until we enjoy the immediate presence of his Godhead. And here we cannot excuse the error of some ancient writers, who, by not attending to the office of Mediator, darken the genuine meaning of almost the whole doctrine which we read in the Gospel of John, and entangle themselves in many snares. Let us, therefore, regard it as the key of true interpretation, that those things which refer to the office of Mediator are not spoken of the divine or human nature simply. [248] Christ, therefore, shall reign until he appear to judge the world, inasmuch as, according to the measure of our feeble capacity, he now connects us with the Father. But when, as partakers of the heavenly glory, we shall see God as he is, then Christ, having accomplished the office of Mediator, shall cease to be the vicegerent of the Father, and will be content with the glory which he possessed before the world was. Nor is the name of Lord specially applicable to the person of Christ in any other respect than in so far as he holds a middle place between God and us. To this effect are the words of Paul, "To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him," (1 Cor. 8:6); that is, to the latter a temporary authority has been committed by the Father until his divine majesty shall be beheld face to face. His giving up of the kingdom to the Father, so far from impairing his majesty, will give a brighter manifestation of it. God will then cease to be the head of Christ, and Christ's own Godhead will then shine forth of itself, whereas it is now in a manner veiled.

4. This observation, if the readers apply it properly, will be of no small use in solving a vast number of difficulties. For it is strange how the ignorant, nay, some who are not altogether without learning, are perplexed by these modes of expression which they see applied to Christ, without being properly adapted either to his divinity or his humanity, not considering their accordance with the character in which he was manifested as God and man, and with his office of Mediator. It is very easy to see how beautifully they accord with each other, provided they have a sober interpreter, one who examines these great mysteries with the reverence which is meet. But there is nothing which furious and frantic spirits cannot throw into confusion. [249] They fasten on the attributes of humanity to destroy his divinity; and, on the other hand, on those of his divinity to destroy his humanity: while those which, spoken conjointly of the two natures, apply to neither, they employ to destroy both. But what else is this than to contend that Christ is not man because he is God, not God because he is man, and neither God nor man because he is both at once. Christ, therefore, as God and man, possessing natures which are united, but not confused, we conclude that he is our Lord and the true Son of God, even according to his humanity, though not by means of his humanity. For we must put far from us the heresy of Nestorius, who, presuming to dissect rather than distinguish between the two natures, devised a double Christ. But we see the Scripture loudly protesting against this, when the name of the Son of God is given to him who is born of a Virgin, and the Virgin herself is called the mother of our Lord (Luke 1:32, 43). We must beware also of the insane fancy of Eutyches, lest, when we would demonstrate the unity of person, we destroy the two natures. The many passages we have already quoted, in which the divinity is distinguished from the humanity, and the many other passages existing throughout Scripture, may well stop the mouth of the most contentious. I will shortly add a few observations, which will still better dispose of this fiction. For the present, one passage will suffice--Christ would not have called his body a temple (John 2:19), had not the Godhead distinctly dwelt in it. Wherefore, as Nestorius had been justly condemned in the Council of Ephesus, so afterwards was Eutyches in those of Constantinople and Chalcedony, it being not more lawful to confound the two natures of Christ than to divide them.

5. But in our age, also, has arisen a not less fatal monster, Michael Servetus, who for the Son of God has substituted a figment composed of the essence of God, spirit, flesh, and three untreated elements. First, indeed, he denies that Christ is the Son of God, for any other reason than because he was begotten in the womb of the Virgin by the Holy Spirit. The tendency of this crafty device is to make out, by destroying the distinction of the two natures, that Christ is somewhat composed of God and man, and yet is not to be deemed God and man. His aim throughout is to establish, that before Christ was manifested in the flesh there were only shadowy figures in God, the truth or effect of which existed for the first time, when the Word who had been destined to that honour truly began to be the Son of God. We indeed acknowledge that the Mediator who was born of the Virgin is properly the Son of God. And how could the man Christ be a mirror of the inestimable grace of God, had not the dignity been conferred upon him both of being and of being called the only-begotten Son of God? Meanwhile, however, the definition of the Church stands unmoved, that he is accounted the Son of God, because the Word begotten by the Father before all ages assumed human nature by hypostatic union,--a term used by ancient writers to denote the union which of two natures constitutes one person, and invented to refute the dream of Nestorius, who pretended that the Son of God dwelt in the flesh in such a manner as not to be at the same time man. Servetus calumniously charges us with making the Son of God double, when we say that the eternal Word before he was clothed with flesh was already the Son of God: as if we said anything more than that he was manifested in the flesh. Although he was God before he became man, he did not therefore begin to be a new God. Nor is there any greater absurdity in holding that the Son of God, who by eternal generation ever had the property of being a Son, appeared in the flesh. This is intimated by the angel's word to Mary: "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God," (Luke 1:35); as if he had said that the name of Son, which was more obscure under the law, would become celebrated and universally known. Corresponding to this is the passage of Paul, that being now the sons of God by Christ, we "have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father," (Rom. 8:15). Were not also the holy patriarchs of old reckoned among the sons of God? Yea, trusting to this privilege, they invoked God as their Father. But because ever since the only-begotten Son of God came forth into the world, his celestial paternity has been more clearly manifested, Paul assigns this to the kingdom of Christ as its distinguishing feature. We must, however, constantly hold, that God never was a Father to angels and men save in respect of his only-begotten Son: that men, especially, who by their iniquity were rendered hateful to God, are sons by gratuitous adoption, because he is a Son by nature. Nor is there anything in the assertion of Servetus, that this depends on the filiation which God had decreed with himself. Here we deal not with figures, as expiation by the blood of beasts was shown to be; but since they could not be the sons of God in reality, unless their adoption was founded in the head, it is against all reason to deprive the head of that which is common to the members. I go farther: since the Scripture gives the name of sons of God to the angels, whose great dignity in this respect depended not on the future redemption, Christ must in order take precedence of them that he may reconcile the Father to them. I will again briefly repeat and add the same thing concerning the human race. Since angels as well as men were at first created on the condition that God should be the common Father of both; if it is true, as Paul says, that Christ always was the head, "the first-born of every creature--that in all things he might have the pre-eminence," (Col. 1:15, 18), I think I may legitimately infer, that he existed as the Son of God before the creation of the world.

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

Genesis 46; Mark 16; Job 12; Romans 16

By Don Carson 2/13/2018

     ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS to grasp is that the God of the Bible is both personal – interacting with other persons – and transcendent (i.e., above space ant time – the domain in which all our personal interactions with God take place). As the transcendent Sovereign, he rules over everything without exception; as the personal Creator, he interacts in personal ways with those who bear his image, disclosing himself to be not only personal but flawlessly good. How to put those elements together is finally beyond us, however frequently they are simply assumed in Scripture.

     When Jacob hears that Joseph is alive, he offers sacrifices to God, who graciously discloses himself to Jacob once again: “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes” (Gen. 46:3-4).

     The book of Genesis makes it clear that Jacob knew that God’s covenant with Abraham included the promise that the land where they were now settled would one day be given to him and to his descendants. That is why Jacob needed this direct disclosure from God to induce him to leave the land. Jacob was reassured on three fronts: (a) God would make his descendants multiply into a “great nation” during their sojourn in Egypt; (b) God would eventually bring them out of Egypt; (c) at the personal level, Jacob is comforted to learn that his long-lost son Joseph will attend his father’s death.

     All of this provides personal comfort. It also discloses something of the mysteries of God’s providential sovereignty, for readers of the Pentateuch know that this sojourn in Egypt will issue in slavery, that God will then be said to “hear” the cries of his people, that in the course of time he will raise up Moses, who will be God’s agent in the ten plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the granting of the Sinai covenant and the giving of the law, the wilderness wanderings, and the (re) entry into the Promised Land. The sovereign God who brings Joseph down to Egypt to prepare the way for this small community of seventy persons has a lot of complex plans in store. These are designed to bring his people to the next stage of redemptive history, and finally to teach them that God’s words are more important than food (Deut. 8).

     One can no more detach God’s sovereign transcendence from his personhood, or vice versa, than one can safely detach one wing from an airplane and still expect it to fly.

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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:

A Pilgrim's Progress Gen 46-47

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

     Genesis 46–47 contain at least four crucial, dramatic scenes that capture the action and take us the next few steps in the unfolding of this incredible story of God’s providence.

     The primary character in this portion of the drama is Jacob rather than Joseph, but it’s important that we follow Jacob at this point because he is about to move to Egypt and be reunited with Joseph. These events also trace God’s hand at work in Joseph’s life.

     Jacob Was Stunned By Events | Scene one begins at the end of Genesis 45. Jacob’s sons returned from Egypt and informed him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt (v. 26).

     “Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them” (v. 26). After more than twenty years of believing Joseph to be dead, this news was too much for Jacob to process.

     Confused by What He Heard | We don’t know if the brothers simply rushed in and blurted out their announcement with no warning, or whether there was some sort of preamble to this stunning news that is not recorded in the Scripture.

     We can imagine the confusion in Jacob’s mind at this point. As far as he was concerned, the death of Joseph was the most wrenching event of the past two decades. It must have taken him a long time to reconcile himself to the idea that his beloved boy, whom he had watched go off that day as a seventeen-year-old, was not coming home.

     If you had asked Jacob, he would have been able to describe the events of that day with all the passion of a father’s heart. He could have told of his anticipation that Joseph would be home before too long and yet of his awareness of the dangers of the trip. He could have told you what it had been like to wave to Joseph until he was beyond the horizon and out of sight.

     You may know that many of the rail platforms in Britain are very long. The trains start off slowly, and you can wave goodbye to your loved one for quite a while. But once the train disappears, you won’t see the person, no matter how long you stand there.

     I suspect that’s what it had been like for Jacob as he watched Joseph disappear over the horizon. And then he had waited for Joseph to come home, but he never came.

     And now, twenty-two years later, the same characters who had brought Joseph’s torn, bloodstained coat to Jacob were standing before him telling him his son was alive. No wonder he was stunned. He had two decades worth of information stored in the computer of his mind telling him Joseph was dead. He just couldn’t process the new information. Then, while he was trying to come to terms with the fact that Joseph was alive, his sons added a second, equally indigestible layer to the information cake he was struggling to swallow. “He is ruler of all Egypt” (v. 26).

     Can’t you just see him trying to grapple with this inexplicable mystery?

     As the boys unfolded their tale of Joseph’s kindness and his instructions to bring the family to Egypt, Jacob reeled in unbelief. But then they took him outside and showed him the carts laden with the goods Joseph had sent with them.

     Convinced by What He Saw | If what Jacob heard confused him, what he saw convinced him. His driveway was filled with carts and donkeys loaded down with good things, and he knew they didn’t belong to him.

     Furthermore, these carts weren’t Canaanite carts. The steering wheels were on the wrong side, if you like. Their markings and features told Jacob these were foreign carts.

     Jacob surveyed the scene and it suddenly sank in that what his sons were telling him was true. “I’m convinced!” he cried out. “My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28).

     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:



  • A Holy Nation
  • Q & A 8/19/2013
  • Q & A 7/26/2013

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  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Sound financial advice (3)
     2/13/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘The godly love to give!’

(Pr 21:26) All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. ESV

     The level of financial blessing God will entrust to you depends on three questions: 1) Are you mature enough to handle it? 2) Are you hoping to reap but unwilling to sow? 3) Are you a hoarder or a giver? God knows we can’t all give the same amount. Jesus honoured a widow for giving her last two coins, saying: ‘Others gave what they’ll never miss…she gave her all’ (Mark 12:44 MSG). On the other hand, businessman Barnabas ‘sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet’ (Acts 4:37 NIV 2011 Edition). The more God blesses you with, the more He holds you accountable for. Jesus said, ‘Much is required from those to whom much is given’ (Luke 12:48 TLB). At offering time, a pastor told his congregation to reach out and grab the wallet or purse of the person sitting in front of them. ‘Now,’ he said, ‘open it up and give as much as you’ve always wanted to give but felt you couldn’t afford!’ The truth is, we’re not all called to give equally but we’re all called to sacrifice equally. That levels the playing field. Isn’t it interesting how you can go to dinner at the home of somebody who doesn’t have a lot, and leave feeling like royalty because of their hospitality? That’s because the essence of generosity is self-sacrifice. God entrusts financial blessing to people who aren’t controlled by the love of money. How can you tell when you’re controlled by the love of money? Because instead of giving when God tells you to, you withhold. Understand this: when God impresses on you to sow a seed, there’s a harvest coming your way.

Leviticus 1-3
Matthew 24:1-28

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     “Man has forgotten God, that is why this has happened,” was Solzhenitsyn’s response when questioned about modern cultural. A Russian author, Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned for eight years by Joseph Stalin. He wrote The Gulag Archipelago. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, but was not allowed to leave Russia to accept it until the Soviet Government expelled him from his country on this day February 13, 1974. Alexander Solzhenitsyn warned: “I… call upon America to be more careful… Because they are trying to weaken you… do not let yourselves become weak.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     III. HUMILITY AND HOLINESS

     The fruits of holy obedience are many. But two are so closely linked together that they can scarcely be treated separately. They are the passion for personal holiness and the sense of utter humility. God inflames the soul with a craving for absolute purity. But He, in His glorious otherness, empties us of ourselves in order that He may become all.

     Humility does not rest, in final count, upon bafflement and discouragement and self-disgust at our shabby lives, a brow-beaten, dog-slinking attitude. It rests upon the disclosure of the consummate wonder of God, upon finding that only God counts, that all our own self-originated intentions are works of straw. And so in lowly humility we must stick close to the Root and count our own powers as nothing except as they are enslaved in His power.

     But O how slick and weasel-like is self-pride! Our learnedness creeps into our sermons with a clever quotation which adds nothing to God's glory, but a bit to our own. Our cleverness in business competition earns as much self-flattery as does the possession of the money itself. Our desire to be known and approved by others, to have heads nod approvingly about us behind our backs, and flattering murmurs which we can occasionally overhear; confirm the discernment in Alfred Adler's elevation of the superiority motive. Our status as "weighty Friends" gives us secret pleasures which we scarcely own to ourselves, yet thrive upon. Yes, even pride in our own humility is one of the devil's own tricks.

     But humility rests upon a holy blindness, like the blindness of him who looks steadily into the sun. For wherever he turns his eyes on earth, there he sees only the sun. The God-blinded soul sees naught of self, naught of personal degradation or of personal eminence, but only the Holy Will working impersonally through him, through others, as one objective Life and Power. But what trinkets we have sought after in life, the pursuit of what petty trifles has wasted our years as we have ministered to the enhancement of our own little selves'! And what needless anguishes we have suffered because our little selves were defeated, were not flattered, were not cozened and petted! But the blinding God blots out this self and gives humility and true selfhood as wholly full of Him. For as He gives obedience so He graciously gives to us what measure of humility we will accept. Even that is not our own, but His who also gives us obedience. But the humility of the God­blinded soul endures only so long as we look steadily at the Sun. Growth in humility is a measure of our growth in the habit of the Godward-directed mind. And he only is near to God who is exceedingly humble. The last depths of holy and voluntary poverty are not in financial poverty, important as that is; they are in poverty of spirit, in meekness and lowliness of soul.


A Testament of Devotion

Journal of John Woolman 2/13
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     In the management of my outward affairs, I may say with thankfulness, I found truth to be my support; and I was respected in my master's family, who came to live in Mount Holly within two years after my going there.

     In a few months after I came here, my master bought several Scotchmen servants, from on board a vessel, and brought them to Mount Holly to sell, one of whom was taken sick and died. In the latter part of his sickness, being delirious, he used to curse and swear most sorrowfully; and the next night after his burial I was left to sleep alone in the chamber where he died. I perceived in me a timorousness; I knew, however, I had not injured the man, but assisted in taking care of him according to my capacity. I was not free to ask any one on that occasion to sleep with me. Nature was feeble; but every trial was a fresh incitement to give myself up wholly to the service of God, for I found no helper like him in times of trouble.

     About the twenty-third year of my age, I had many fresh and heavenly openings, in respect to the care and providence of the Almighty over his creatures in general, and over man as the most noble amongst those which are visible. And being clearly convinced in my judgment that to place my whole trust in God was best for me, I felt renewed engagements that in all things I might act on an inward principle of virtue, and pursue worldly business no further than as truth opened my way.

     About the time called Christmas I observed many people, both in town and from the country, resorting to public-houses, and spending their time in drinking and vain sports, tending to corrupt one another; on which account I was much troubled. At one house in particular there was much disorder; and I believed it was a duty incumbent on me to speak to the master of that house. I considered I was young, and that several elderly friends in town had opportunity to see these things; but though I would gladly have been excused, yet I could not feel my mind clear.

     The exercise was heavy; and as I was reading what the Almighty said to Ezekiel, respecting his duty as a watchman, the matter was set home more clearly. With prayers and tears I besought the Lord for his assistance, and He, in loving-kindness, gave me a resigned heart. At a suitable opportunity I went to the public-house; and seeing the man amongst much company, I called him aside, and in the fear and dread of the Almighty expressed to him what rested on my mind. He took it kindly, and afterwards showed more regard to me than before. In a few years afterwards he died, middle-aged; and I often thought that had I neglected my duty in that case it would have given me great trouble; and I was humbly thankful to my gracious Father, who had supported me herein.

     My employer, having a negro woman, sold her, and desired me to write a bill of sale, the man being waiting who bought her. The thing was sudden; and though I felt uneasy at the thoughts of writing an instrument of slavery for one of my fellow-creatures, yet I remembered that I was hired by the year, that it was my master who directed me to do it, and that it was an elderly man, a member of our Society, who bought her; so through weakness I gave way, and wrote it; but at the executing of it I was so afflicted in my mind, that I said before my master and the Friend that I believed slave-keeping to be a practice inconsistent with the Christian religion. This, in some degree, abated my uneasiness; yet as often as I reflected seriously upon it I thought I should have been clearer if I had desired to be excused from it, as a thing against my conscience; for such it was. Some time after this a young man of our Society spoke to me to write a conveyance of a slave to him, he having lately taken a negro into his house. I told him I was not easy to write it; for, though many of our meeting and in other places kept slaves, I still believed the practice was not right, and desired to be excused from the writing. I spoke to him in goodwill; and he told me that keeping slaves was not altogether agreeable to his mind; but that the slave being a gift made to his wife he had accepted her.

1.     The number of slaves in New Jersey at this time must have been considerable, for even as late as 1800 there were over 12,000 of them. The newly imported Africans were deposited at Perth Amboy. In 1734 there were enough of them to make a formidable though unsuccessful insurrection.


John Woolman's Journal

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Requests and petitions are the prayers of hope.
Proclamation and declarations are the prayers of faith.
Praise and worship are the prayers of love.
--- John Crowder

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.
--- Booker T. Washington

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian
any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.
--- Billy Sunday

Pain draws those caught in the grip of self-sufficiency to a new understanding of need. Pain also weans us from our spiritual pride and allows us to look to God rather than reputation for strength.
--- Mark R. McMinn

... from here, there and everywhere


Proverbs 10:1-3
     by D.H. Stern

1     The proverbs of Shlomo:
A wise son is a joy to his father,
but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

2     No good comes from ill-gotten wealth,
but righteousness rescues from death.
3     ADONAI does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.


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


                The devotion of hearing

     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.

     Because I have listened definitely to one thing from God, it does not follow that I will listen to everything He says. The way in which I show God that I neither love nor respect Him is by the obtuseness of my heart and mind towards what He says. If I love my friend, I intuitively detect what he wants, and Jesus says, “Ye are My friends.” Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not consciously have disobeyed it; but most of us show such disrespect to God that we do not even hear what He says, He might never have spoken.

     The destiny of my spiritual life is such identification with Jesus Christ that I always hear God, and I know that God always hears me (John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God by the devotion of hearing all the time. A lily, or a tree, or a servant of God, may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but that I am not devoted in the right place. I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear Him. The child attitude is always “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” If I have not cultivated this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times; at other times I am taken up with things—things which I say I must do, and I become deaf to Him, I am not living the life of a child. Have I heard God’s voice to-day?


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Via Negativa
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Via Negativa

Why no! I never thought other than
  That God is that great absence
  In our lives, the empty silence
  Within, the place where we go
  Seeking, not in hope to
  Arrive or find. He keeps the interstices
  In our knowledge, the darkness
  Between stars. His are the echoes
  We follow, the footprints he has just
  Left. We put our hands in
  His side hoping to find
  It warm. We look at people
  and places as though he had looked
  At them, too; but miss the reflection.


The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     Lessons for Everyday Living

     PROLOGUE

     At the end of many generations, there will arise a man, Akiva ben Yosef by name. (Mena ḥot 29b)

     A story: Many years ago, there was a man who worked very hard at his job. His responsibilities demanded a lot from him—patience, thoughtful planning, constantly being alert for signs of trouble. At times he had to fight to protect those in his charge. All in all, he did quite well in his work.

     Rabbi Akiva was a shepherd forty years. (Sifrei Devarim 357)

     In his occupation, he often found himself alone with his thoughts during long stretches of boredom. More and more, he began to sense an emptiness within himself. There were other things that he longed to do, opportunities he had dreamed of, but after so many years of doing one thing, he despaired of ever being able to open the door to these new worlds. “I just don’t know enough.”

     What were Akiva’s beginnings? It is said: Up to the age of forty, he had not yet studied a thing. (Avot derabbi Natan 6)

     Then, two things happened to change the course of his life. First, he met someone special who said to him: “I see your incredible potential. You have the capability of going out in new directions and excelling. Believe in yourself as much as I believe in you, and I’ll be there to help you.”

     When Raḥel, Kalba Savua’s daughter, saw that even though he was unassuming there was something extraordinary about him, she said, “If I am willing to be betrothed to you, will you attend a house of study?” (Ketubbot 62b–63a)

     He was heartened by these words but still had his doubts. “Maybe if I were younger.… It’s too late now.… I can’t start all over again, not at my age, not at this point in my life. There is too much I don’t know, too much I don’t understand.…”

     One time, standing by the mouth of a well in Lydda, he inquired, “Who hollowed out this stone?” … And he was told, “Akiva … it was water falling upon it constantly, day after day.” At that, Akiva asked himself: Is my mind harder than this stone? I will go and study at least one section of Torah.

     It was then that the second event occurred, another incident that would shape his life. It was not a blinding revelation from Heaven that told him what to do. It was not a close call with death that made him reevaluate who he was and where he was going. It was a very ordinary, mundane experience: He chanced upon a rock that had a deep impression cut into it. He looked closely and saw that what had carved into the solid stone was nothing more than drops of water continuously falling on the same spot, day after day, year after year. He suddenly realized: “If this can happen in nature, then it can happen to me as well. I’m going to begin to learn, a little each day, until I feel comfortable with what I know.”

     He went directly to a school, and he and his son began reading from a child’s tablet. Akiva took hold of one end of the tablet and his son the other. The teacher wrote down alef and bet for him, and he learned them. Alef to tav and he learned them. The book of Leviticus and he learned it. He went on studying until he learned the whole Torah. (Avot derabbi Natan 6)

     With encouragement from a friend and the strength that was within, he decided to take the first step. He felt awkward and out of place, even a bit like a child. Some laughed at him. At first, few people took him seriously. “It’s just a phase he’s going through,” they said. After a while, though, people stopped laughing. They saw his persistence and felt his sincerity. Then they, too, began to see the incredible potential that had been lying dormant within him for all those years. As time passed, the man created a new life for himself, opening many of those doors that he had once dreamed about. He came to touch the lives of countless others, not only with what he had to say, but also with how he had turned around his own life.

     He went away and for twelve years sat in a house of study in the presence of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua. At the end of twelve years, he arose and returned to his home, bringing with him 12,000 disciples.

     As can be seen from the rabbinic texts above, the story we have told is a tale that goes back some nineteen centuries. Yet it is also a contemporary parable, one that speaks to our own modern society. Many of us share Akiva’s sense that something is missing in life. We may turn to our religious heritage, seeking help and guidance in facing the very complex and frightening challenges of the world in which we live. We want to know how to maintain our honesty in a business environment that is often ruthless and cutthroat. Parents need to know what to teach about relationships, love and sex, how to convey a positive message to their children in a world that is often scary and negative. We are looking for a way to find happiness and fulfillment in a specialized society where choices made decades ago continue to have an impact on our lives. All of us are searching for a way to understand suffering and the meaning of life and death.

     … Had not Rabbi Akiva arisen in his time, the Torah might have been forgotten in Israel. (Sifrei Devarim 48)

     Like Akiva, we feel that we just do not know enough. Our education may have made us experts in specific areas of life, but it also narrowed our focus, leaving so much that we have not explored. As intelligent, successful men and women, we may find ourselves feeling inadequate and uncomfortable when confronting disciplines that are unfamiliar to us, be they science, technology, medicine, finance … or religion. We sense that the Bible and the later Jewish tradition that evolved from it may have something to say to us. Some of us have tried on our own to study religious texts like the Talmud, only to be lost and baffled. Even in translation, the traditional Talmud text, with its organic style and complex thoughts, is overwhelming. We may feel inept and incompetent, and respond either by turning to a member of the clergy or a teacher to give us “the answers,” or by avoiding the subject of religious matters totally.

     … Had not Rabbi Akiva arisen in his time, the Torah might have been forgotten in Israel. (Sifrei Devarim 48)


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 Thirteenth Chapter / Resisting Temptation

     SO LONG as we live in this world we cannot escape suffering and temptation. Whence it is written in Job: “The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” (Job 7:1) Everyone, therefore, must guard against temptation and must watch in prayer lest the devil, who never sleeps but goes about seeking whom he may devour, find occasion to deceive him. No one is so perfect or so holy but he is sometimes tempted; man cannot be altogether free from temptation.

     Yet temptations, though troublesome and severe, are often useful to a man, for in them he is humbled, purified, and instructed. The saints all passed through many temptations and trials to profit by them, while those who could not resist became reprobate and fell away. There is no state so holy, no place so secret that temptations and trials will not come. Man is never safe from them as long as he lives, for they come from within us—in sin we were born. When one temptation or trial passes, another comes; we shall always have something to suffer because we have lost the state of original blessedness.

     Many people try to escape temptations, only to fall more deeply. We cannot conquer simply by fleeing, but by patience and true humility we become stronger than all our enemies. The man who only shuns temptations outwardly and does not uproot them will make little progress; indeed they will quickly return, more violent than before.

     Little by little, in patience and long-suffering you will overcome them, by the help of God rather than by severity and your own rash ways. Often take counsel when tempted; and do not be harsh with others who are tempted, but console them as you yourself would wish to be consoled.

     The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are.

     Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.

     Someone has said very aptly: “Resist the beginnings; remedies come too late, when by long delay the evil has gained strength.” First, a mere thought comes to mind, then strong imagination, followed by pleasure, evil delight, and consent. Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.

     Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, others toward the end, while some are troubled almost constantly throughout their life. Others, again, are tempted but lightly according to the wisdom and justice of Divine Providence Who weighs the status and merit of each and prepares all for the salvation of His elect.

     We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit.

     In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest.

     When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress.

     Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on their own strength in great ones.


The Imitation Of Christ

Persian Names Of The Month
     Chodesh Nisan
     The Month of Nisan

     "Hashem said to Moshe and Aharon in the Land of Egypt, 'This month shall be for you the beginning of the months; it shall be for you the first of the months of the year.' " (Shemot, 12:1-2)

     Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, a great thirteenth century Jewish scholar of Spain, later of Israel, writes in his commentary to the Five Books of Moses, in explanation of the above verses, Shemot,12:1-2, as follows: "The verses mean that this month should be counted first. And beginning with it, should the count proceed to the second, the third, and so on, till the end of the sequence of months with the twelfth month. For the purpose that this month should be a commemoration of the Great Miracle. For every time we mention the months, the Miracle will be alluded to. It is for that reason that the months do not have names in the Torah, but rather they are identified by number…" "

     And it is similar to the way that days are referenced with reference to the Day of Shabbat; for example, the First Day of Shabbat (for Sunday), and the Second Day of Shabbat (for Monday), …Thus, when we call the Month of Nisan "the first" and Tishrei "the seventh," the meaning is the first with reference to the Redemption and the seventh with reference to it…" "

     And our Rabbis have mentioned this matter, and they said that the names of the months came back with us from Bavel. For originally they had no "names" for us, and the reason is that they were "in commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt." But when we returned from Bavel, and the prophecy of "it will no longer be said 'by the Life of Hashem, who took the Jewish People out of Egypt,' rather it will be said 'by the life of Hashem, who raised up and brought the People of Israel from the Northern Land' (Yirmiyahu 16:14-15) was fulfilled, we changed our practice and began to call the months by the names which were used in those lands, as a reminder that we had been there, and that it was from there that Hashem took us out…"

     "For these names, Nisan, Iyar and the rest are Persian names, and appear only in the Books of the Prophets who prophesied in Bavel, and in Megilas Esther… And still today, the non-Jews in those lands use the names Nisan and Tishrei, etc. as we do. And thus we are following the same practice with reference to the second redemption as we did in connection with the first."

     Names of the Month - This month has three names: 1. "Rosh Chodoshim," or "HaChodesh HaRishon," the First Month 2. "Chodesh HaAviv," - The Spring-time Month 3. Nisan

     1') It is called the "First Month," because it is the Month of Redemption, the month of the Exodus of the Jewish People from slavery in Egypt, the House of Bondage. The Society of Egypt was built on the institution of Slavery. Slaves were used to build treasure cities, such as Pitom and Raamses (Shemot 1:11), and the Pyramids, giant tombs for the Pharaohs (possibly hinted at when the Jewish People complained to Moshe, "Are there not enough graves in Egypt that you had to take us out to die in the desert?" (Shemot 14:11))

     No individual slave, nor group of slaves, and certainly no enslaved nation had ever escaped from slavery in Egypt.

     2') It is called the "Chodesh HaAviv," the Spring-time Month, because the Hebrew Calendar is set up so that the month must fall in the Spring. This is to satisfy the G-dly requirement whereby Hashem said to the Jewish People, "You are leaving today, in the Month of Spring-time!"

     This is accomplished by having a calendar which is basically "lunar;" that is, dependent on the revolution of the moon around the earth (once every twenty-nine and a half days, approximately), but adjusted in a "shanah me'uberet," a "leap year" (literally, a "pregnant" year), by adding an additional month of Adar. If not for the adjustment, Nisan, with Pesach, would travel through the seasons of the year, much as Ramadan, the Moslem Holy Month, based on the totally lunar Moslem Calendar, migrates through the seasons.

     3') The Name "Nisan" is of Babylonian-Persian origin, as are the names of all the twelve months of the Hebrew Calendar. But it also has the suggestion of Spring-time, or blossoming, because the similar word, "nitzan," in Hebrew, means a blossom.

     The Zodiac sign of Nisan is the "kid," the young goat, that animal which was worshipped in Egypt, but which the Jewish People were commanded to sacrifice as the Pesach sacrifice.

Teachers Commentary
     Israel vs. Egypt

     One of the purposes expressed in the design of the plagues which the Lord brought on Egypt was so that “you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Ex. 11:7). Anyone looking at the two peoples would have made a distinction between them. But not the distinction the Lord made!

     The Israelites themselves were conditioned to evaluate … and to bow in shame, before the culture and power of Egypt. Everything that men tend to value … the evidences of accomplishment, all the wealth, the education … were there in a high degree in Egypt. Archeologists still wonder at the mechanical feats of that people. Mathematicians and astronomers are amazed at the precise measurements that allowed great pyramids to mark with various architectural features the exact time of summer and winter solstices.

     The Israelites were slaves. Mere tools to be used by the master race, then tossed aside when they had served their purpose. Worthless. Poor. Subhuman. The Jews were beneath the notice of men.

     But God made His own distinction between Egyptian and Jew! And God’s value system is different than man’s! God affirmed the worth and value of the slave people. In doing so, God not only kept the covenant He had made with Abraham, but God also shouted out for all to hear that no man is “nothing” to Him.

     We value what men do.

     God values what men are.

     The Prophet Hosea beautifully revealed God’s attitude and helps us see that the distinction God drew between Egypt and Israel was no mere legal act, performed to honor a previous contract. It was that. But God also acted in compassion, expressing deep love and concern for the suffering.

     When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.… It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love, I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. --- Hosea 11:1, 3–4.

     The confrontation between these two peoples is important for us to see. We too are forced to choose between the value system each represents. We too are challenged to have compassion on the downtrodden of this world … and in compassion to reflect the character and the values of our God.


The Teacher's Commentary

Take Heart
     February 13

     About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
--- Matthew 27:46–47.

     I find in [Jesus Christ] the loneliness of grandeur. ( Wind on the Heath (Morrison Classic Sermon Series, The) ) Jesus was supremely lonely, because he was supremely great. There is a type of character with which we are all familiar that makes few demands on the love of others. It is severe. It aims at self-sufficiency. It will not lean hard on anyone. And while we may admire that type of character—and do so justly for it is often noble—we must remember it is not the character of Christ. It was the passion of Christ’s heart that people should trust him. It was the yearning of his soul that people should love him. In those rare moments when he was understood, he was thrilled to the finest fiber of his being.

     And it is when we think how people misunderstood him and were blind to all that he was and all he lived for that we realize the loneliness of Christ. To crave for love and, craving, not to find it, to have one’s every action misinterpreted, to feel that one’s dearest do not sympathize, to long for trust and to be met with scorn—for certain natures quivering with life there is no loneliness that can compare with that, and such was the loneliness of the Redeemer. I do not imagine that had you seen the Christ you would have said, “There goes a lonely man.” The Pharisees never thought to call him lonely. They called him the friend of publicans and sinners. But the ecstasy of joy that filled his soul when one understood him and cried, “You are the Christ,” betrays how unutterably lonely he had been. Was ever anyone misunderstood like this man? “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—and they thought he was calling for Elijah. It is only when you remember that, and all akin to it in the Evangel, that you come to feel how awful and unceasing must have been the loneliness of Christ.
--- George H. Morrison


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

On This Day   February 13
     But It Does Move

     Genuine science and correctly taught Scripture are never in conflict, for the same God created both. But endless damage occurs when either is misinterpreted and used to condemn the other. Here is one of church history’s saddest, sorriest examples.

     Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer and physicist who made his first scientific discoveries while a student in Pisa. He dropped out of the university for lack of money, but returned at age 25 to teach mathematics. He formulated laws about gravity by conducting novel experiments like dropping weights from the leaning tower of Pisa. He devised the law of the pendulum by watching a lamp swing from the cathedral ceiling. His fame spread across Europe, drawing both students and criticism.

     In 1609 he began building telescopes and making spectacular discoveries about the heavenly bodies. Galileo was a Christian who believed that God’s world and God’s Word were both valid objects for study. Using one of his telescopes, he even showed Pope Paul V some of his findings. But he was nonetheless attacked by the church, for his discoveries contradicted traditional teachings. Some clergymen condemned the whole study of astronomy by quoting Acts 1:11: “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky?”

     In 1632 Galileo was called before the Inquisition to answer charges that his writings violated church teaching. Despite being 70 years old and infirm he was forced to travel from Florence during the winter, arriving in Rome on a litter on February 13, 1633. Historians are unsure whether Galileo, during his trial, was tortured or simply threatened with torture. In any event, the old scientist was forced to read a statement renouncing his views — especially his observation that the earth moves around the sun — confessing them as “errors and heresies.” A legend persists that having read his recantation, Galileo muttered, E pur si muove — “But it moves after all.”

     Galileo remained under house arrest, treated badly by church officials, until he became blind and feeble. He died on a winter’s day in 1642 in the presence of his son and two of his pupils.

     The heavens keep telling the wonders of God, And the skies declare what he has done. They don’t speak a word, And there is never the sound of a voice. Yet their message reaches all the earth, And it travels around the world.
--- Psalm 19:1,3,4.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - February 13

     “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” --- 1 John 3:1,2.

     “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” Consider who we were, and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is powerful in us, and you will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are called “the sons of God.” What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness the son expects from his father, and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ. As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honour: “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” We are content to be unknown with him in his humiliation, for we are to be exalted with him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” That is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled under foot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live: you must live simply by faith on Christ. With all these things against us, now—in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be—now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” “Ah, but,” you say, “see how I am arrayed! my graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory.” But read the next: “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him.” The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies, then shall we see him as he is.


          Evening - February 13

     “There is therefore now no condemnation.”
--- Romans 8:1.

     Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman, thy Saviour’s blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a right now to approach thy Father’s throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou wast once unable to see thy Father’s face: thou canst see it now. Thou couldst not speak with him: but now thou hast access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless? He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now that thou art justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept it for thee. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all his merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour!

     “A debtor to mercy alone,
     Of covenant mercy I sing;
     Nor fear with thy righteousness on,
     My person and offerings to bring:
     The terrors of law and of God,
     With me can have nothing to do;
     My Saviour’s obedience and blood
     Hide all my transgressions from view.”


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

Amazing Grace
     February 13

          MY SAVIOR’S LOVE

     Words and Music by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856–1932

     Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
(Ephesians 5:2)


     Love saw a guilt of sin, and sought a basis of pardon.
     Love saw the defilement of sin, and sought a way of cleansing.
     Love saw the depravity of sin, and sought a means of restoration.
     Love saw the condemnation of sin, and sought a method of justification.
     Love saw the death of sin, and sought a way of life.
     Love sought—Love found!
--- Unknown


     Historians have noted that the ancient Greeks expressed three levels of love: Eros Love—a “give me” kind of love; Philia Love—a “give and take” kind of love. “You love me and I’ll love you;” and Agape Love—an “unconditional” kind of love. “I love you simply for who you are.”

     Our Savior’s love was agape love in its highest form. He loved us enough to leave heaven’s best, to suffer humiliation and death for a world of rebellious sinners. Only when we are gathered in glory with the ransomed of the ages and see His face will we fully know the meaning of this divine love. In the meantime, however, the scriptural command is that we are to live a life of love that ministers to the needs of others as a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

     “My Savior’s Love” was written by Charles H. Gabriel, the most popular and prolific gospel song writer of the 1910–20 decade, which was the height of the Billy Sunday/Homer Rodeheaver evangelistic crusades. This song first appeared in the hymnal titled Praises, published in 1905.

     I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean.
     For me it was in the garden He prayed, “Not My will, but Thine;” He had no tears for His own griefs but sweat drops of blood for mine.
     In pity angels beheld Him, and came from the world of light to comfort Him in the sorrows He bore for my soul that night.
     He took my sins and my sorrows; He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calv’ry and suffered and died alone.
     When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, ’twill be my joy thru the ages to sing of His love for me.
     Chorus: How marvelous! how wonderful! and my song shall ever be: How marvelous! how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!


     For Today: John 3:16; 15:12, 13; Ephesians 2:4–7; 1 John 3:16; 4:9, 10.

     Try to approach each event of the day with this question: “How would Jesus have shown His love in this situation?”

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday, February 13, 2018 | Epiphany


Tuesday Of The Last Week After Epiphany
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 26, 28
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 36, 39
Old Testament     Proverbs 30:1–4, 24–33
New Testament     Philippians 3:1–11
Gospel     John 18:28–38

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 26, 28
26 Of David.

1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.

4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O LORD,
7 proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.

8 O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
and the place where your glory dwells.
9 Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.

28 Of David.

1 To you, O LORD, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.

3 Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with the workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors
while evil is in their hearts.
4 Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more.

6 Blessed be the LORD!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 36, 39

36 To The Choirmaster. Of David, The Servant Of The Lord.

1 Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.

5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.

10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.

39 To The Choirmaster: To Jeduthun. A Psalm Of David.

1 I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:

4 “O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!”

Old Testament
Proverbs 30:1–4, 24–33

30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.
The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!

24 Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces.

29 Three things are stately in their tread;
four are stately in their stride:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and does not turn back before any;
31 the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king whose army is with him.

32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
33 For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife.

New Testament
Philippians 3:1–11

3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. 2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Gospel
John 18:28–38

28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.


The Book of Common Prayer


Pessimist Gen 47:8-10 & 45:25-28
s2-029 6-1-2014 | Brett Meador





Genesis 46, 47:1-11
m2-028 6-4-2014 | Brett Meador






Doctrine of Christ Part 31:
The Work of Christ (24)
The Post-Mortem Appearances
Dr. William Lane Craig





Doctrine of Christ Part 32:
The Work of Christ (25)
The Post-Mortem Appearances
Dr. William Lane Craig






Doctrine of Christ Part 33:
The Work of Christ (26)
Resurrection Theories
Dr. William Lane Craig





Doctrine of Christ Part 34:
The Work of Christ (27)
Resurrection Theories
Dr. William Lane Craig






Doctrine of Christ Part 35:
The Work of Christ (28)
Resurrection Theories
Dr. William Lane Craig





Postconservative Mood in Evangelical Theology 1
Roger E. Olson | Acadia Divinity College






Postconservative Mood in Evangelical Theology 2
Roger E. Olson | Acadia Divinity College





Postconservative Mood in Evangelical Theology 3
Roger E. Olson | Acadia Divinity College






Lord's Prayer - My Version
Richard S. Adams





Psalms for Reflection
Richard S. Adams