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2/17/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Genesis 50     Luke 3     Job 16-17     1 Corinthians 4

Genesis 50

Genesis 50:1 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. 4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’ ” 6 And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” 7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

God’s Good Purposes

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The Death of Joseph

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph’s own. 24 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Luke 3

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

Luke 3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5  Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
6  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Job 16

Job Replies: Miserable Comforters Are You

Job 16:1 Then Job answered and said:

2  “I have heard many such things;
miserable comforters are you all.
3  Shall windy words have an end?
Or what provokes you that you answer?
4  I also could speak as you do,
if you were in my place;
I could join words together against you
and shake my head at you.
5  I could strengthen you with my mouth,
and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

6  “If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
7  Surely now God has worn me out;
he has made desolate all my company.
8  And he has shriveled me up,
which is a witness against me,
and my leanness has risen up against me;
it testifies to my face.
9  He has torn me in his wrath and hated me;
he has gnashed his teeth at me;
my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
10  Men have gaped at me with their mouth;
they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
they mass themselves together against me.
11  God gives me up to the ungodly
and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
12  I was at ease, and he broke me apart;
he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
he set me up as his target;
13  his archers surround me.
He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare;
he pours out my gall on the ground.
14  He breaks me with breach upon breach;
he runs upon me like a warrior.
15  I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin
and have laid my strength in the dust.
16  My face is red with weeping,
and on my eyelids is deep darkness,
17  although there is no violence in my hands,
and my prayer is pure.

18  “O earth, cover not my blood,
and let my cry find no resting place.
19  Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
and he who testifies for me is on high.
20  My friends scorn me;
my eye pours out tears to God,
21  that he would argue the case of a man with God,
as a son of man does with his neighbor.
22  For when a few years have come
I shall go the way from which I shall not return.

Job 17

Job Continues: Where Then Is My Hope?

Job 17:1

My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
the graveyard is ready for me.
2  Surely there are mockers about me,
and my eye dwells on their provocation.

3  “Lay down a pledge for me with you;
who is there who will put up security for me?
4  Since you have closed their hearts to understanding,
therefore you will not let them triumph.
5  He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property—
the eyes of his children will fail.

6  “He has made me a byword of the peoples,
and I am one before whom men spit.
7  My eye has grown dim from vexation,
and all my members are like a shadow.
8  The upright are appalled at this,
and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.
9  Yet the righteous holds to his way,
and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.
10  But you, come on again, all of you,
and I shall not find a wise man among you.
11  My days are past; my plans are broken off,
the desires of my heart.
12  They make night into day:
‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’
13  If I hope for Sheol as my house,
if I make my bed in darkness,
14  if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’
15  where then is my hope?
Who will see my hope?
16  Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
Shall we descend together into the dust?”

1 Corinthians 4

The Ministry of Apostles

1 Corinthians 4:1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

The Reformation Study Bible

What I'm Reading

There’s More to Being a Dragon Slayer Than Simply Slaying Dragons

By J. Warner Wallace 2/14/2018

     Forgive me as I step outside my apologetics “box” for a minute and post my thoughts on one aspect of what it means to be a man. Maybe this post isn’t all that removed from my usual efforts to make a case for the Christian worldview, particularly with all the recent talk in the blogosphere related to the egalitarian / complementarian debate. I do have some observations related to “Christian masculinity”, and these ideas came to mind recently in a conversation with my son.

     It’s probably no surprise that so much literature has been devoted to the fairy tale relationship between princes and princesses. As my daughters were growing up, we watched many Disney movies featuring a princess of one nature or another. In all of these tales, a prince rescued the princess, and most of these princes had to overcome some type of “dragon”. There is a universal need, it seems, to locate and identify ourselves within this narrative. We are either princes or princesses, and all of us have an innate need to rescue or be rescued. This classic form of storytelling reflects our human identity and condition. There is much we can learn from studying its nuances.

     I am an older guy with thirty-three years of experience as a would-be dragon slayer (I met my wife Susie in 1979). I’ve tried to be very thoughtful about my approach to my marriage; I’ve learned a few things about the nature of princes in my own meager attempt to be a good one. My chief observation is this: there’s more to being a dragon slayer than simply slaying dragons. In fact, the dragon slaying part is really not what ought to define or motivate us as princes. We are dragon slayers not because we can kill the dragon, but because we have a princess to rescue. It’s our relationship to this princess that truly defines us, and at the end of the day, we can only call ourselves successful if our princesses know that they were the focus of our efforts. Our princesses must know that they were important enough to be saved and that we, as their dragon slayers, were committed to that effort.

     I’ve known a lot of police officers over the years. They were all excellent dragon slayers, but not all of them were excellent men or husbands. In fact, it seemed like many of them had been through more than their fair share of marriages and struggled deeply in their personal relationships. Some of them believed that their ability to slay the dragon was all that was necessary to define themselves as good men. They were good cops, tough and courageous, but seldom thought about what made them valuable to their wives. Dragon slaying was enough at first, but along the way they lost their focus and desire to lay down everything to save their princesses. They continued to be tough and courageous in one aspect of their lives but forgot to be tender and sacrificial in the most important area of their lives. Without a princess to save, none of us can truly call ourselves dragon slayers.

     Christian complementarianism maintains that God created men and women with the same essential (innate) dignity and personhood, but with different and complementary functions within their marital and relational settings and within the setting of God’s family (the Church). Some find this view troubling and sexist (especially when it comes to church leadership). But the Christian call to husbands and wives is the same. It is to “submit to one another” (Ephesians 5:21). This looks a bit different for each of us as, depending on whether we are a husband or a wife. Some of my Christian brothers are fond of focusing primarily on those portions of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that deals with a wife’s submission to her husband, but the important call for all of us as dragon slayers is found in Ephesians 5:25…

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

The Most Insidious Sin

By Lenny Esposito 10/16/15

The Bible warns against the sin of pride quite a bit. God tells Jeremiah, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth" (Jer. 9:23-24). James reminds us "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6), and Proverbs declares "Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished." (Prov. 16:5).

     Sexual failings are pretty much guaranteed to grab attention. Even in local churches, people who have fallen to sexual sin, be it adultery, homosexuality, or pregnancy outside of wedlock will cause people to talk. We tend to think sins like these are "major;" ones that carry a stigma unlike lying or addiction. Even as the culture becomes more and more sexually charged, sexual sins are held to almost a different standard. But there is a sin that is more problematic in the church than abusing sexual desire, one that no one points and whispers about: the sin of pride.

     The Leaven of Puffing Up | How much do you think about the sin of pride? How do you guard against it? While there are ministries that offer filtering of pornography for your internet connection, what filters are there for one's pride? As an apologist, I know first-hand just how easy it is to fall into pride. Anyone in a position where he or she is teaching or leading others can almost effortlessly fall into this sin. As the Bakkers built their Heritage USA center, it should have been obvious that they were no longer doing ministry toward others but constructing a monument to themselves.

     Pastors and apologists can fall into the same trap. They are trying to do God's work. They preach, they witness, and they defend the faith which is good and important work. TI truly is ministry. However, when one begins to believe the ministry is so important that they don‘t have time to sit and listen to people or their calling has a higher value than another's, they've begun to elevate not God's blessing upon them but their won self-worth. That's why I believe pride is the most insidious of sins; it is the leaven that corrupts by puffing up an individual from the inside. It replaces one's reliance on God with a reliance on one's own ability.

     The Bible warns against the sin of pride quite a bit. God tells Jeremiah, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth" (Jer. 9:23-24). James reminds us "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6), and Proverbs declares "Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished." (Prov. 16:5).

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     Lenny Esposito is president and founder of Come Reason Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, and author of the popular www.comereason.org Web site. He has taught apologetics and Christian worldview for over 17 years and has authored hundreds articles dealing with intellectually strenuous topics such as the existence of God, theology, philosophy, social issues and Biblical difficulties.
     Lenny is an in-demand speaker, teaching at conferences, churches, and schools across the nation. He is a contributor to the popular Apologetics Study Bible for Students and his articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Southern California Christian Times. He has debated many topics on faith and reason and the rationality of the Christian worldview; his most recent debate being against well-known atheists and author Dr. Richard Carrier on the question "Does God Exist?"
     Lenny is a pioneer in online ministry efforts when he began using the Web to reach others near its beginnings in 1995. He produces one of the top 16 apologetics podcasts according to Apologetics 315 and his site has been viewed millions of times by visitors from nearly every country in the world.
Lenny is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Evangelical Theological Society.

Why It Took 5 Years to Give Away This Free Christian College Campus

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra 2/7/2017

Though it was offering a free Christian college campus with a famous name—D. L. Moody—attached, for years the National Christian Foundation (NCF) couldn’t give it away.

     Then today, the charity announced that the Massachusetts campus will be donated to Thomas Aquinas College and The Moody Center.

     The Catholic and Protestant groups will take over the buildings on May 2.

     It’s been a long time coming. The 217-acre campus was the site of Moody’s first school for girls in 1879; two years later, he started one for boys on the other side of the Connecticut River. The Bible institute developed there was a forerunner of the Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago.

     In 1971, the two schools became coeducational; in 2005, they consolidated onto the west campus. That left the campus on the east side of the river empty and for sale.

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     Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra is senior writer for The Gospel Coalition and contributing editor at Christianity Today. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

A Dozen Book Favorites, Part 2

By Kenneth Richard Samples 1/9/2018

     As I wrote in part one of this series, only human beings are readers. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle thought the distinguishing feature of people is their ability to use language. And humans use their unique language ability to think, speak, write, and read.

     From a historic Christian viewpoint, the idea of human uniqueness is grounded in the biblical truth that people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27). This imago Dei endowment makes people capable of hunting and gathering truth. And since Christians affirm a propositional (words, statements) revelation from God in the Bible, they join with the Jewish tradition as People of the Book. Thus, reading is a great gift and privilege, but one may also argue that it is a responsibility according to our exalted created nature.

     12 Book Favorites | This is part two of a three-part series on some of my favorite books. (See here for part one.) The topics cover theology, philosophy, apologetics, and education. I also note how the books have been helpful to me. The books are listed in alphabetical order, not order of preference:

     5. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

     In the preface of this work, Lewis presents the idea of “mere Christianity,” which reflects far more than a book title. This term refers to a group of essential and “agreed, or common, or central” Christian doctrines (such as the Trinity, the incarnation, and the atonement) that all branches of historic Christendom affirm. Thus, the book carefully explains and defends the central beliefs and values of common Christianity. Mere Christianity was the first Christian book that I ever read, and it powerfully impacted my thinking.

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Richard Samples Books:

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 21

The King Rejoices in the LORD’s Strength
21 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.

8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 You will make them as a blazing oven
when you appear.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight;
you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.

ESV Study Bible

Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16-17; 1 Corinthians 4

By Don Carson 2/17/2018

     THE LAST CHAPTER OF GENESIS includes a section that is both pathetic and glorious (Gen. 50:15-21).

     Everything that is sad and flawed in this family resurfaces when Jacob dies. Joseph’s brothers fear that their illustrious sibling may have suppressed vengeful resentment only until the death of the old man. Why did they think like this? Was it because they were still lashed with guilt feelings? Were they merely projecting onto Joseph what they would have done had they been in his place?

     Their strategy involves them in fresh sin: they lie about what their father said, in the hope that an appeal from Jacob would at least tug at Joseph’s heartstrings. In this light, their abject submission (“We are your slaves,” 50:18) sounds less like loyal homage than desperate manipulation.

     By contrast, Joseph weeps (50:17). He cannot help but see that these groveling lies betray how little he is loved or trusted, even after seventeen years (47:28) of nominal reconciliation. His verbal response displays not only pastoral gentleness – “he reassured them and spoke kindly to them,” promising to provide for them and their families (50:21) – it also reflects a man who has thought deeply about the mysteries of providence, about God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. “Don’t be afraid,” he tells them. “Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (50:19-20).

     The profundity of this reasoning comes into focus as we reflect on what Joseph does not say. He does not say that during a momentary lapse on God’s part, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but that God, being a superb chess player, turned the game around and in due course made Joseph prime minister of Egypt. Still less does he say that God’s intention had been to send Joseph down to Egypt in a well-appointed chariot, but unfortunately Joseph’s brothers rather mucked up the divine plan, forcing God to respond with clever countermoves to bring about his own good purposes. Rather, in the one event – the selling of Joseph into slavery – there were two parties, and two quite different intentions. On the one hand, Joseph’s brothers acted, and their intentions were evil; on the other, God acted, and his intentions were good. Both acted to bring about this event, but while the evil in it must be traced back to the brothers and no farther, the good in it must be traced to God.

     This is a common stance in Scripture. It generates many complex philosophical discussions. But the basic notion is simple. God is sovereign, and invariably good; we are morally responsible, and frequently evil.

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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 Bright and Burning Light: Robert Charles Sproul, February 13, 1939-December 14, 2017

By Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. 12/14/2017

     Most merciful Father, who hast been pleased to take unto thyself the soul of this thy servant; Grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, and who walk as yet by faith, that having served thee with constancy on earth, we may be joined hereafter with thy blessed saints in glory everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
--- The Book of Common Prayer

We cannot determine truth by counting noses.

–R.C. Sproul

     For me, the story begins as a teenager stuck in a desperate struggle with huge theological questions in the 1970s. Of course, R.C. Sproul, with firm conviction and a friendly smile, would rightly insist that the story begins in the gracious will of our sovereign, eternal, and omnipotent God. Actually, those were some of the big theological questions that had me by the throat.

     I had been confronted by teachers in high school who had declared their own atheism and ridiculed theism. I was surrounded by a culture of increasing moral relativism and the first wave of what would later be called post-modernism. I knew Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and I wanted to be faithful to him. But how?

     My struggle was spiritual and moral, but it was also irreducibly intellectual. How could I know and defend the Christian faith? I did not even know where to begin. At home and at church, I was surrounded by sweet Christians who loved me and invested their lives in me. But I had big questions they could not answer. Questions that gnawed at me and kept me awake at night. Questions that I feared could not be answered. Questions that I had no idea Christians had grappled with for centuries.

     Thankfully, I found help. I found other Christians who were struggling with the same questions, and some of them passed to me cassette tapes. At that time, the cassette was a recent invention. For me, these tapes were a lifeline – bringing me expository preaching from Dr. John MacArthur and lectures from this strangely infectious and compelling teacher at an oddly named center in Western Pennsylvania. The teacher was R.C. Sproul.

     Those tapes from R.C. Sproul were not my own. They had been passed to me after several others had listed to them. They squeaked. Nevertheless, I pounced on them like a hungry tiger. I received the tapes out of sequence. No matter – I just gained confidence and understanding with every tape.

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Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Albert Mohler Books:

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     CHAPTER 16.


This chapter contains four leading heads--I. A general consideration of the whole subject, including a discussion of a necessary question concerning the justice of God and his mercy in Christ, sec. 1-4. II. How Christ fulfilled the office of Redeemer in each of its parts, sec. 5-17. His death, burial, descent to hell, resurrection, ascension to heaven, seat at the right hand of the Father, and return to judgment. III. A great part of the Creed being here expounded, a statement is given of the view which ought to be taken of the Creed commonly ascribed to the Apostles, sec. 18. IV. Conclusion, setting forth the doctrine of Christ the Redeemer, and the use of the doctrine, sec. 19.


1. Every thing needful for us exists in Christ. How it is to be obtained.

2. Question as to the mode of reconciling the justice with the mercy of God. Modes of expression used in Scripture to teach us how miserable our condition is without Christ.

3. Not used improperly; for God finds in us ground both of hatred and love.

4. This confirmed from passages of Scripture and from Augustine.

5. The second part of the chapter, treating of our redemption by Christ. First generally. Redemption extends to the whole course of our Saviour's obedience, but is specially ascribed to his death. The voluntary subjection of Christ. His agony. His condemnation before Pilate. Two things observable in his condemnation. 1. That he was numbered among transgressors. 2. That he was declared innocent by the judge. Use to be made of this.

6. Why Christ was crucified. This hidden doctrine typified in the Law, and completed by the Apostles and Prophets. In what sense Christ was made a curse for us. The cross of Christ connected with the shedding of his blood.

7. Of the death of Christ. Why he died. Advantages from his death. Of the burial of Christ. Advantages.

8. Of the descent into hell. This article gradually introduced into the Church. Must not be rejected, nor confounded with the previous article respecting burial.

9. Absurd exposition concerning the Limbus Patrum. This fable refuted.

10. The article of the descent to hell more accurately expounded. A great ground of comfort.

11. Confirmation of this exposition from passages of Scripture and the works of ancient Theologians. An objection refuted. Advantages of the doctrine.

12. Another objection that Christ is insulted, and despair ascribed to him in its being said that he feared. Answer, from the statements of the Evangelists, that he did fear, was troubled in spirit, amazed, and tempted in all respects as we are, yet without sin. Why Christ was pleased to become weak. His fear without sin. Refutation of another objection, with an answer to the question, Did Christ fear death, and why? When did Christ descend to hell, and how? What has been said refutes the heresy of Apollinaris and of the Monothelites.

13. Of the resurrection of Christ. The many advantages from it. 1. Our righteousness in the sight of God renewed and restored. 2. His life the basis of our life and hope, also the efficacious cause of new life in us. 3. The pledge of our future resurrection.

14. Of the ascension of Christ. Why he ascended. Advantages derived from it.

15. Of Christ's seat at the Father's right hand. What meant by it.

16. Many advantages from the ascension of Christ. 1. He gives access to the kingdom which Adam had shut up. 2. He intercedes for us with the Father. 3. His virtue being thence transfused into us, he works effectually in us for salvation.

17. Of the return of Christ to judgment. Its nature. The quick and dead who are to be judged. Passages apparently contradictory reconciled. Mode of judgment.

18. Advantages of the doctrine of Christ's return to judgment. Third part of the chapter, explaining the view to be taken of the Apostles' Creed. Summary of the Apostles' Creed.

19. Conclusion of the whole chapter, showing that in Christ the salvation of the elect in all its parts is comprehended.

1. All that we have hitherto said of Christ leads to this one result, that condemned, dead, and lost in ourselves, we must in him seek righteousness, deliverance, life and salvation, as we are taught by the celebrated words of Peter, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," (Acts 4:12). The name of Jesus was not given him at random, or fortuitously, or by the will of man, but was brought from heaven by an angel, as the herald of the supreme decree; [254] the reason also being added, "for he shall save his people from their sins," (Matt. 1:21). In these words attention should be paid to what we have elsewhere observed, that the office of Redeemer was assigned him in order that he might be our Saviour. Still, however, redemption would be defective if it did not conduct us by an uninterrupted progression to the final goal of safety. Therefore, the moment we turn aside from him in the minutest degree, salvation, which resides entirely in him, gradually disappears; so that all who do not rest in him voluntarily deprive themselves of all grace. The observation of Bernard well deserves to be remembered: The name of Jesus is not only light but food also, yea, oil, without which all the food of the soul is dry; salt, without which as a condiment whatever is set before us is insipid; in fine, honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, joy in the heart, and, at the same time, medicine; every discourse where this name is not heard is absurd (Bernard in Cantica., Serm. 15). But here it is necessary diligently to consider in what way we obtain salvation from him, that we may not only be persuaded that he is the author of it, but having embraced whatever is sufficient as a sure foundation of our faith, may eschew all that might make us waver. For seeing no man can descend into himself, and seriously consider what he is, without feeling that God is angry and at enmity with him, and therefore anxiously longing for the means of regaining his favour (this cannot be without satisfaction), the certainty here required is of no ordinary description,--sinners, until freed from guilt, being always liable to the wrath and curse of God, who, as he is a just judge, cannot permit his law to be violated with impunity, but is armed for vengeance.

2. But before we proceed farther, we must see in passing, how can it be said that God, who prevents us with his mercy, was our enemy until he was reconciled to us by Christ. For how could he have given us in his only-begotten Son a singular pledge of his love, if he had not previously embraced us with free favour? As there thus arises some appearance of contradiction, I will explain the difficulty. The mode in which the Spirit usually speaks in Scripture is, that God was the enemy of men until they were restored to favour by the death of Christ (Rom. 5:10); that they were cursed until their iniquity was expiated by the sacrifice of Christ (Gal. 3:10, 13); that they were separated from God, until by means of Christ's body they were received into union (Col. 1:21, 22). Such modes of expression are accommodated to our capacity, that we may the better understand how miserable and calamitous our condition is without Christ. For were it not said in clear terms, that Divine wrath, and vengeance, and eternal death, lay upon us, we should be less sensible of our wretchedness without the mercy of God, and less disposed to value the blessing of deliverance. For example, let a person be told, Had God at the time you were a sinner hated you, and cast you off as you deserved, horrible destruction must have been your doom; but spontaneously and of free indulgence he retained you in his favour, not suffering you to be estranged from him, and in this way rescued you from danger,--the person will indeed be affected, and made sensible in some degree how much he owes to the mercy of God. But again, let him be told, as Scripture teaches, that he was estranged from God by sin, an heir of wrath, exposed to the curse of eternal death, excluded from all hope of salvation, a complete alien from the blessing of God, the slave of Satan, captive under the yoke of sin; in fine, doomed to horrible destruction, and already involved in it; that then Christ interposed, took the punishment upon himself and bore what by the just judgment of God was impending over sinners; with his own blood expiated the sins which rendered them hateful to God, by this expiation satisfied and duly propitiated God the Father, by this intercession appeased his anger, on this basis founded peace between God and men, and by this tie secured the Divine benevolence toward them; will not these considerations move him the more deeply, the more strikingly they represent the greatness of the calamity from which he was delivered? In short, since our mind cannot lay hold of life through the mercy of God with sufficient eagerness, or receive it with becoming gratitude, unless previously impressed with fear of the Divine anger, and dismayed at the thought of eternal death, we are so instructed by divine truth, as to perceive that without Christ God is in a manner hostile to us, and has his arm raised for our destruction. Thus taught, we look to Christ alone for divine favour and paternal love.

3. Though this is said in accommodation to the weakness of our capacity, it is not said falsely. For God, who is perfect righteousness, cannot love the iniquity which he sees in all. All of us, therefore, have that within which deserves the hatred of God. Hence, in respect, first, of our corrupt nature; and, secondly, of the depraved conduct following upon it, we are all offensive to God, guilty in his sight, and by nature the children of hell. But as the Lord wills not to destroy in us that which is his own, he still finds something in us which in kindness he can love. For though it is by our own fault that we are sinners, we are still his creatures; though we have brought death upon ourselves he had created us for life. Thus, mere gratuitous love prompts him to receive us into favour. But if there is a perpetual and irreconcilable repugnance between righteousness and iniquity, so long as we remain sinners we cannot be completely received. Therefore, in order that all ground of offence may be removed, and he may completely reconcile us to himself, he, by means of the expiation set forth in the death of Christ, abolishes all the evil that is in us, so that we, formerly impure and unclean, now appear in his sight just and holy. Accordingly, God the Father, by his love, prevents and anticipates our reconciliation in Christ. Nay, it is because he first loves us, that he afterwards reconciles us to himself. But because the iniquity, which deserves the indignation of God, remains in us until the death of Christ comes to our aid, and that iniquity is in his sight accursed and condemned, we are not admitted to full and sure communion with God, unless, in so far as Christ unites us. And, therefore, if we would indulge the hope of having God placable and propitious to us, we must fix our eyes and minds on Christ alone, as it is to him alone it is owing that our sins, which necessarily provoked the wrath of God, are not imputed to us.

4. For this reason Paul says, that God "has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world," (Eph. 1:3, 4). These things are clear and conformable to Scripture, and admirably reconcile the passages in which it is said, that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," (John 3:16); and yet that it was "when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," (Rom. 5:10). But to give additional assurance to those who require the authority of the ancient Church, I will quote a passage of Augustine to the same effect: "Incomprehensible and immutable is the love of God. For it was not after we were reconciled to him by the blood of his Son that he began to love us, but he loved us before the foundation of the world, that with his only begotten Son we too might be sons of God before we were any thing at all. Our being reconciled by the death of Christ must not be understood as if the Son reconciled us, in order that the Father, then hating, might begin to love us, but that we were reconciled to him already, loving, though at enmity with us because of sin. To the truth of both propositions we have the attestation of the Apostle, God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,' (Rom. 5:8). Therefore he had this love towards us even when, exercising enmity towards him, we were the workers of iniquity. Accordingly in a manner wondrous and divine, he loved even when he hated us. For he hated us when we were such as he had not made us, and yet because our iniquity had not destroyed his work in every respect, he knew in regard to each one of us, both to hate what we had made, and love what he had made." Such are the words of Augustine (Tract in Jo. 110).

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

  • Impossibility of Salvation 1 Luke 18:18-27
  • Pt 2
  • Pt 3

     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Seven seconds (1)
     2/17/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Let your light…shine before men.’

(Mt 5:16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ESV

     Jesus said, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ When you’re in darkness, you see the light before you see the carrier of the light, right? The old saying, ‘First impressions are lasting impressions,’ is true. One communications expert says: ‘You’ve got just seven seconds to make the right first impression. As soon as you make your entrance, you broadcast verbal and nonverbal signals that determine how others see you. In business those crucial first seven seconds can decide whether you win that new account, or succeed in a tense negotiation. Are you confident? Comfortable? Sincere? Glad to be there? In that first seven seconds, you shower your audience with subtle “clues”. And whether people realise it or not, they respond immediately to your facial expressions, gestures, stance, and energy. They react to your voice – the tone and pitch. Audiences, whether one or one hundred, instinctively size up your motives and attitudes.’ Whether you’re speaking, selling, interviewing, or dating, your appearance, attitude, and approach make all the difference in the world. People can tell a lot in seven seconds. They may decide they don’t want to hear anything you have to say, or they may be struck by how much they’re drawn to you. Henry Ward Beecher said: ‘There are persons so radiant, so genial, so kind, so pleasure-bearing, that you instinctively feel in their presence that they do you good, whose coming into a room is like bringing a shining lamp there.’

Leviticus 11-12
Matthew 26:1-25

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     A baseball star, Billy Sunday played for the Chicago White Sox in the 1890’s. Born in an Iowa log cabin, his father, a Union Army soldier, died of an pneumonia and Billy grew up in an orphanage. While recovering from a baseball injury, he began attending YMCA meetings. A national sensation occurred this day, February 17, 1889, when Billy Sunday preached his first sermon as an evangelist in Chicago. Over the next 46 years 100 million people would hear him. In his animated style, Billy Sunday said: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     An awful solemnity is upon the earth, for the last vestige of earthly security is gone. It has always been gone, and religion has always said so, but we haven't believed it. And some of us Quakers are not yet undeceived, and childishly expect our little cushions for our little bodies, in a world inflamed with untold ulcers. Be not fooled by the pleasantness of the Main Line life, and the niceness of Germantown existence, and the quiet coolness of your well-furnished homes. For the plagues of Egypt are upon the world, entering hovel and palace, and there is no escape for you or for me. There is an inexorable amount of suffering in all life, blind, aching, unremovable, not new but only terribly intensified in these days.

     One comes back from Europe aghast at having seen how lives as graciously cultured as ours, but rooted only in time and property and reputation, and self-deluded by a mild veneer of religious respectability but unprepared by the amazing life of commitment to the Eternal in holy obedience, are now doomed to hopeless, hopeless despair. For if you will accept as normal life only what you can understand, then you will try only to expel the dull, dead weight of Destiny, of inevitable suffering which is a part of normal life, and never come to terms with it or fit your soul to the collar and bear the burden of your suffering which must be borne by you, or enter into the divine education and drastic discipline of sorrow, or rise radiant in the sacrament of pain.

     One comes back from Europe to plead with you, you here in these seats, you my pleasant but often easy-living friends, to open your lives to such a baptism of Eternity now as turns this world of tumbling change into a wilderness in your eyes and fortifies you with an unshakable peace that passes all understanding and endures all earthly shocks without soul­ destroying rebelliousness. Then and then only can we, weaned from earth, and committed wholly to God alone, hope to become voices crying in this wilderness of Philadelphia and London, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in this desert a high­way for our God" (Isa. 40:3). These are old truths. But now is no time for enticing novelties but for a return to the everlasting truths of life and suffering and Eternity and unreserved commitment to Him who is over all.

A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Uncertainty as to our relationship with God is one of the most enfeebling and dispiriting of things. It makes a man heartless. It takes the pith out of him. He cannot fight; he cannot run. He is easily dismayed and gives way. He can do nothing for God. But when we know that we are of God, we are vigorous, brave, invincible. There is no more quickening truth than this of assurance.
--- Horatius Bonar

What is the essential difference between the Christian and the not-a-Christian, between the spiritual beauty and the moral beauty? It is the distinction between the Organic and the Inorganic. Moral beauty is the product of the natural man, spiritual beauty of the spiritual man.
--- Henry Drummond

The tears of Christ are the pity of God. The gentleness of Jesus is the long-suffering of God. The tenderness of Jesus is the love of God. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
--- Alexander MacLaren

Our knowledge of God, self and Scripture are all interrelated, and our capacity to understand any one of these elements will add to our ability to understand the others.
--- Mark R. McMinn

... from here, there and everywhere

Journal of John Woolman 2/17
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     Chapter III.   1749-1756. His Marriage -- The Death of his Father -- His Journeys into the upper part of New jersey, and afterwards into Pennsylvania -- Considerations on keeping Slaves, and Visits to the Families of Friends at several times and places -- An Epistle from the General Meeting -- His journey to Long Island -- Considerations on Trading and on the Use of Spirituous Liquors and Costly Apparel -- Letter to a Friend.

     ABOUT this time, believing it good for me to settle, and thinking seriously about a companion, my heart was turned to the Lord with desires that he would give me wisdom to proceed therein agreeably to his will, and he was pleased to give me a well-inclined damsel, Sarah Ellis, to whom I was married the 18th of eighth month, 1749.

     In the fall of the year 1750 died my father, Samuel Woolman, of a fever, aged about sixty years. In his lifetime he manifested much care for us his children, that in our youth we might learn to fear the Lord; and often endeavored to imprint in our minds the true principles of virtue, and particularly to cherish in us a spirit of tenderness, not only towards poor people, but also towards all creatures of which we had the command.

     After my return from Carolina in 1746, I made some observations on keeping slaves, which some time before his decease I showed to him; he perused the manuscript, proposed a few alterations, and appeared well satisfied that I found a concern on that account. In his last sickness, as I was watching with him one night, he being so far spent that there was no expectation of his recovery, though he had the perfect use of his understanding, he asked me concerning the manuscript, and whether I expected soon to proceed to take the advice of friends in publishing it? After some further conversation thereon, he said, "I have all along been deeply affected with the oppression of the poor negroes; and now, at last, my concern for them is as great as ever."

     By his direction I had written his will in a time of health, and that night he desired me to read it to him, which I did; and he said it was agreeable to his mind. He then made mention of his end, which he believed was near; and signified that though he was sensible of many imperfections in the course of his life, yet his experience of the power of truth, and of the love and goodness of God from time to time, even till now, was such that he had no doubt that on leaving this life he should enter into one more happy.

     The next day his sister Elizabeth came to see him, and told him of the decease of their sister Anne, who died a few days before; he then said, "I reckon Sister Anne was free to leave this world?" Elizabeth said she was. He then said, "I also am free to leave it"; and being in great weakness of body said, "I hope I shall shortly go to rest." He continued in a weighty frame of mind, and was sensible till near the last.

     Second of ninth month, 1751. -- Feeling drawings in my mind to visit Friends at the Great Meadows, in the upper part of West Jersey, with the unity of our Monthly Meeting, I went there, and had some searching laborious exercise amongst Friends in those parts, and found inward peace therein.

John Woolman's Journal

Proverbs 10:12-14
     by D.H. Stern

12     Hate stirs up disputes,
but love covers all kinds of transgressions.

13     On the lips of the intelligent is found wisdom,
but a stick is in store for the back of a fool.
14     Wise people hide their knowledge,
but when a fool speaks, ruin is imminent.

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 inspiration of spiritual initiative

     Arise from the dead. --- Eph. 5:14.

     All initiative is not inspired. A man may say to you—‘Buck up, take your disinclination by the throat, throw it overboard, and walk out into the thing!’ That is ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes in and says, in effect, ‘Buck up,’ we find that the initiative is inspired.

     We all have any number of visions and ideals when we are young, but sooner or later we find that we have no power to make them real. We cannot do the things we long to do, and we are apt to settle down to the visions and ideals as dead, and God has to come and say—“Arise from the dead.” When the inspiration of God does come, it comes with such miraculous power that we are able to arise from the dead and do the impossible thing. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life comes after we do the ‘bucking up.’ God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says—“Arise from the dead,” we have to get up; God does not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand—“Stretch forth thy hand,” and as soon as the man did so, his hand was healed, but he had to take the initiative. If we will do the overcoming, we shall find we are inspired of God because He gives life immediately.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Is A Museum Peace?
     the Poetry of RS Thomas

                Is A Museum Peace?

  Peace? I asked. Am I the keeper
  Of the heart's relics, blowing the dust
  In my own eyes? I am a man;
  I never wanted the drab role
  Life assigned me, an actor playing
  To the past's audience upon a stage
  Of earth and stone; the absurd label
  Of birth, of race hanging askew
  About my shoulders. I was in prison
  Until you came; your voice was a key
  Turning in the enormous lock
  Of hopelessness. Did the door open
  To let me out or yourselves in?
  from a Welsh Testament


The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul

     The Sixteenth Chapter / Bearing With The Faults Of Others

     UNTIL God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus—perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly.

     If, after being admonished once or twice, a person does not amend, do not argue with him but commit the whole matter to God that His will and honor may be furthered in all His servants, for God knows well how to turn evil to good. Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure.

     If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves. Their great liberty displeases us, yet we would not be denied what we ask. We would have them bound by laws, yet we will allow ourselves to be restrained in nothing. Hence, it is clear how seldom we think of others as we do of ourselves.

     If all were perfect, what should we have to suffer from others for God’s sake? But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another’s burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man’s virtue is best revealed in time of adversity—adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.

The Imitation Of Christ

Take Heart
     February 17

     Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
--- Luke 22:60–62.

     Our Lord’s look at Peter was a revival of all Peter’s looking to Jesus. ( C.H. Spurgeon's sermons on men of the New Testament (Library of Spurgeon's sermons) ) The Lord’s look at Peter took effect because Peter was looking at the Lord. Do you catch it? If the Lord had turned and looked at Peter and Peter’s back had been turned, that look would not have reached Peter nor affected him. The eyes met to produce the desired result. Notwithstanding all Peter’s wanderings, he was anxious about his Lord and therefore looked to see what was done with him. Even while he warmed his hands at the fire, he kept looking into the inner hall. His eyes were constantly looking in the direction of the Lord Jesus. While he wandered about among the maids and serving men, talking to them—fool that he was—yet still he would steal a glance to see how it fared with the man he loved. He had not given up the habit of looking to his Lord. If he had not still, in a measure, looked to his Master, how would the look of Jesus have been observed by him? [Christ’s] eye must look through your eye to get to your heart. The remainders of faith are the sparks among the ashes of piety, and the Lord blows on these to raise a fire. If you have given up the outward forms of religion, it is a grievous fault. But if you still inwardly look to the Crucified, there is something in you to work on, there is an eye that can receive the look of Jesus. Oh, that you who have this lingering faith in the Lord may now receive a look from him that will work in you a bitter, salutary, saving repentance, without which you can never be restored!

     The whole process may not have occupied more than a second of time—“The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter”—less time to do than it takes to tell. Yet in that instant an endless work was done.

     That look of Christ also opened the sluices of Peter’s heart. He went out and wept bitterly. There was a gall in the tears he wept, for they were the washings of his bitter sorrow. Dear friends, if we have sinned with Peter, God grant us the grace to weep with Peter. Sin, even though it be forgiven, is a bitter thing.
--- C. H. Spurgeon

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

On This Day   February 17
     Modern Martyrs

     In 1971 Idi Amin overturned the government of Uganda while President Obote was out of the country. He immediately dissolved Parliament, suspended the constitution, and outlawed political activity. His army began raiding homes and arresting foes. All Asians were expelled. Americans were killed. Robbers were shot on sight. A reign of terror ensued.

     On January 30, 1977, Anglican Bishop Festo Kivengere preached to a large outdoor crowd, charging, “God entrusts governments with authority. But authority has been misused in our country by force.” The audience trembled, for in the crowd were officers of the dreaded State Research Bureau. The following Saturday, soldiers arrested Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum, dragging him from his bed at 1:30 A.M. Church leaders immediately sent a letter to Amin, saying, This is the climax of what has been constantly happening to our Christians. We have buried many who have died as a result of being shot and there are many more whose bodies have not yet been found.

     On February 17 Uganda Radio announced Luwum’s death in a car wreck. The real story was pieced together later. Luwum had been taken to Amin’s torture chamber and permitted to hold a brief prayer meeting with other prisoners. Then he was shoved into a Land Rover and driven to a compound near the capital. Amin himself came to the lodge, demanding Luwum sign a prepared confession of plotting to overthrow the government. A war of wills followed, and at length Luwum was forced to strip. He was whipped mercilessly.

     Still Luwum refused to sign the confession, praying for his tormentors instead. This sent Amin into a rage. He screamed obscenities, struck the archbishop, and commanded the soldiers to repeatedly molest him. Finally Amin drew his pistol and shot Luwum twice through the heart.

     Ironically, Protestants in Uganda had been planning for the 100th birthday of Christianity in their country. A group of gifted young Christians was producing a play about the first martyrs in Uganda. A week after Luwum’s death, the young people themselves became martyrs, their bodies later found a few miles outside Kampala.

     Be on your guard! You will be taken to courts and beaten with whips in their meeting places. And because of me, you will have to stand before rulers and kings to tell about your faith. But before the end comes, the good news must be preached to all nations.
--- Mark 13:9,10.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - February 17

     “Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi.” --- Genesis 25:11.

     Hagar had once found deliverance there and Ishmael had drank from the water so graciously revealed by the God who liveth and seeth the sons of men; but this was a merely casual visit, such as worldlings pay to the Lord in times of need, when it serves their turn. They cry to him in trouble, but forsake him in prosperity. Isaac dwelt there, and made the well of the living and all-seeing God his constant source of supply. The usual tenor of a man’s life, the dwelling of his soul, is the true test of his state. Perhaps the providential visitation experienced by Hagar struck Isaac’s mind, and led him to revere the place; its mystical name endeared it to him; his frequent musings by its brim at eventide made him familiar with the well; his meeting Rebecca there had made his spirit feel at home near the spot; but best of all, the fact that he there enjoyed fellowship with the living God, had made him select that hallowed ground for his dwelling. Let us learn to live in the presence of the living God; let us pray the Holy Spirit that this day, and every other day, we may feel, “Thou God seest me.” May the Lord Jehovah be as a well to us, delightful, comforting, unfailing, springing up unto eternal life. The bottle of the creature cracks and dries up, but the well of the Creator never fails; happy is he who dwells at the well, and so has abundant and constant supplies near at hand. The Lord has been a sure helper to others: his name is Shaddai, God All-sufficient; our hearts have often had most delightful intercourse with him; through him our soul has found her glorious Husband, the Lord Jesus; and in him this day we live, and move, and have our being; let us, then, dwell in closest fellowship with him. Glorious Lord, constrain us that we may never leave thee, but dwell by the well of the living God.

          Evening - February 17

     “Whereas the Lord was there.” --- Ezekiel 35:10.

     Edom’s princes saw the whole country left desolate, and counted upon its easy conquest; but there was one great difficulty in their way—quite unknown to them—“The Lord was there”; and in his presence lay the special security of the chosen land. Whatever may be the machinations and devices of the enemies of God’s people, there is still the same effectual barrier to thwart their design. The saints are God’s heritage, and he is in the midst of them, and will protect his own. What comfort this assurance yields us in our troubles and spiritual conflicts! We are constantly opposed, and yet perpetually preserved! How often Satan shoots his arrows against our faith, but our faith defies the power of hell’s fiery darts; they are not only turned aside, but they are quenched upon its shield, for “the Lord is there.” Our good works are the subjects of Satan’s attacks. A saint never yet had a virtue or a grace which was not the target for hellish bullets: whether it was hope bright and sparkling, or love warm and fervent, or patience all-enduring, or zeal flaming like coals of fire, the old enemy of everything that is good has tried to destroy it. The only reason why anything virtuous or lovely survives in us is this, “the Lord is there.”

     If the Lord be with us through life, we need not fear for our dying confidence; for when we come to die, we shall find that “the Lord is there”; where the billows are most tempestuous, and the water is most chill, we shall feel the bottom, and know that it is good: our feet shall stand upon the Rock of Ages when time is passing away. Beloved, from the first of a Christian’s life to the last, the only reason why he does not perish is because “the Lord is there.” When the God of everlasting love shall change and leave his elect to perish, then may the Church of God be destroyed; but not till then, because it is written, JEHOVAH SHAMMAH, “The Lord is there.”

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     February 17


     Words and Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1838–1876

     As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
(John 15:9)

     The wonder of Jesus’ deep love for each of us has been expressed in this text in beautiful but childlike language by the noted musician of early Gospel music, Philip P. Bliss. After attending a service where the hymn “O How I Love Jesus” was sung repeatedly, Bliss thought, “Have I not been singing enough about my poor love for Jesus and shall I not rather sing of His great love for me?” Soon he completed both the words and music of one of the all-time favorite children’s hymn, which is widely sung and enjoyed by adults as well.

     Philip Bliss was the dynamic and very talented song writer and associate of evangelists D. L. Moody and Major Daniel W. Whittle. Bliss’ commanding height and impressive personality made his singing and song leading outstanding features in any evangelistic service. His gift for writing Gospel hymns was also exceptional. Still widely used today are such other Bliss favorites as: “Wonderful Words of Life,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Hold the Fort,” “Hallelujah, What a Savior,” and “Almost Persuaded.” One of his music colleagues, George C. Stebbins, stated:

     There has been no writer of verse since his time who has shown such a grasp of the fundamental truths of the Gospel, or such a gift for putting them into a poetic and singable form.

     The third stanza of this simple but very appealing hymn is especially meaningful when we realize that Philip Bliss died suddenly at the age of 38 in a tragic train accident. His many stirring hymns, however, have lived on. They all focus clearly on important biblical truths, but none is more moving than the reminder in this text that Jesus loves even me.

     I am go glad that our Father in heav’n tells of His love in the Book He has giv’n; wonderful things in the Bible I see—this is the dearest that Jesus loves me.
     Tho I forget Him and wander away, still He doth love me wherever I stray; back to His dear loving arms would I flee when I remember that Jesus loves me.
     O if there’s only one song I can sing when in His beauty I see the great King, this shall my song in eternity be: “O what a wonder that Jesus loves me!”
     Chorus: I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me; I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves even me.

     For Today: Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 4:9–12.

     Take time to thank your Lord once more for His great love for you personally, a love that cannot be comprehended but can only be gratefully accepted by faith. Sing as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Saturday, February 17, 2018 | Lent

Saturday After Ash Wednesday
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 30, 32
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 42, 43
Old Testament     Ezekiel 39:21–29
New Testament     Philippians 4:10–20
Gospel     John 17:20–26

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 30, 32
30 A Psalm Of David. A Song At The Dedication Of The Temple.

1 I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

32 A Maskil Of David.

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 42, 43
42 To The Choirmaster. A Maskil Of The Sons Of Korah.

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

43 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
deliver me!
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Old Testament
Ezekiel 39:21–29

21 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward. 23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.

25 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”

New Testament
Philippians 4:10–20

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

John 17:20–26

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

The Book of Common Prayer

Genesis 50
s2-032 6-22-2014 | Brett Meador

The Trinitarian Testimony
of Jesus’ Coming Luke 21:8
John MacArthur

God’s Plan Demands
Christ’s Return 1 Luke 21:8
John MacArthur

God’s Plan Demands
Christ’s Return 2 Selected Scripture
John MacArthur

The World in Conflict and Distress Luke 21:9-11
John MacArthur

Jesus’ Description of the
Temple’s Destruction Luke 21:5-7
John MacArthur

Confronting Error with Condemnation, Not Conversation Luke 20:45-47
John MacArthur

A Diagnosis of the Christ-Rejecters Luke 20:19-26
John MacArthur

The Murder of God’s Son:
A Prophetic Parable 1 Luke 20:9-18
John MacArthur

The Murder of God’s Son:
A Prophetic Parable 2 Luke 20:9-18
John MacArthur

Fitting Rewards from the
Returning King Luke 19:11-27
John MacArthur

A Sinner Meets a Seeking
Savior 1 Luke 19:1-10
John MacArthur

A Sinner Meets a Seeking
Savior 2 Luke 19:1-10
John MacArthur

A Blind Beggar Receives
Saving Sight Luke 18:35-43
John MacArthur

Approaching the Cross with
Determined Anticipation 2 Luke 18:31-34
John MacArthur

Approaching the Cross with
Determined Anticipation 3 Luke 18:24-30
John MacArthur