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Exodus 1     Luke 4     Job 18     1 Corinthians 5

Exodus 1

Israel Increases Greatly in Egypt

Exodus 1:1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Pharaoh Oppresses Israel

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

Luke 4

The Temptation of Jesus

Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”

9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’

11 and

“ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘ “Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon

31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Jesus Heals Many

38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Synagogues

42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Job 18

Bildad Speaks: God Punishes the Wicked

Job 18:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

2  “How long will you hunt for words?
Consider, and then we will speak.
3  Why are we counted as cattle?
Why are we stupid in your sight?
4  You who tear yourself in your anger,
shall the earth be forsaken for you,
or the rock be removed out of its place?

5  “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
and the flame of his fire does not shine.
6  The light is dark in his tent,
and his lamp above him is put out.
7  His strong steps are shortened,
and his own schemes throw him down.
8  For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
and he walks on its mesh.
9  A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare lays hold of him.
10  A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
a trap for him in the path.
11  Terrors frighten him on every side,
and chase him at his heels.
12  His strength is famished,
and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
13  It consumes the parts of his skin;
the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
14  He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
and is brought to the king of terrors.
15  In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
16  His roots dry up beneath,
and his branches wither above.
17  His memory perishes from the earth,
and he has no name in the street.
18  He is thrust from light into darkness,
and driven out of the world.
19  He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
and no survivor where he used to live.
20  They of the west are appalled at his day,
and horror seizes them of the east.
21  Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
such is the place of him who knows not God.”

1 Corinthians 5

Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

The Reformation Study Bible

What I'm Reading

Can We Investigate the Universe Like A Crime Scene?

By J. Warner Wallace 2/13/2017

     When a dead body is discovered, detectives must investigate the evidence to determine the most reasonable explanation. Did the deceased die naturally? Did he suffer some kind of accident? Did he commit suicide? Was he murdered? These are the four possible explanations at any death scene. Homicide detectives are concerned only with the last one. Of the four explanations, the first three do not require the involvement of anyone other than the victim. If his or her death was an accident, the result of some natural cause, or the result of a suicide, all the evidence we might find related to the victim’s passing will ultimately come from the very room where he or she died. Every death scene involves evidence of one kind or another, but intruders turn death scenes into crime scenes. For that reason, every death investigation begins as an intruder investigation. Without evidence of an intruder, deaths are likely to be the result of natural causes, an accident, or a suicide. One simple strategy in death cases, therefore, is to ask a foundational question: “Can I account for all the evidence in this room by staying in the room?”

     During most of my early investigative career, I was a committed atheist and resolute naturalist. I rejected supernaturalism thoroughly, denying both the existence of a supernatural God and the possibility of the miraculous. I truly believed everything I observed in the universe could be explained and attributed to natural, physical causes and processes. Thinking of the universe as a “room,” I didn’t believe there was any evidence pointing to anyone outside. I certainly didn’t believe anything “extra-natural” or “supra-natural” entered this natural realm. But I hadn’t yet looked at the evidence carefully; I wasn’t an experienced investigator. Over the years, I learned how to evaluate and assemble evidential cases, and along the way—at the age of thirty-five—I was introduced to the New Testament.

     I became interested in God’s existence only after investigating the gospels as eyewitness accounts. (I describe this investigation in detail in my book Cold-Case Christianity.) The New Testament accounts passed the same four-part test I apply to all my witnesses, yet I still rejected them on the basis of their miraculous stories. As a naturalist, I believed the accounts of miracles in the biblical narratives disqualified them as reliable history. But what if I was wrong in my anti-supernatural presuppositions? It was time for me to look carefully at the evidence for God’s existence. If a supernatural being did exist, the miracles in the Gospels would be possible and maybe even reasonable. The case for God’s existence was an integral part of the case for the reliability of the Gospels.

     Like many of my death scene investigations, my examination of the natural universe required me to look at the characteristics of the “room” and determine if they could be explained fully by what already existed within the “four walls.” Was there any evidence inside the universe pointing to the existence or intervention of a supernatural being outside the universe? My most important question was, “Can I account for all the evidence in this room by staying in the room?

     As I considered the natural “room” of the universe, I identified and listed four categories of evidence for consideration:

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

Logic: A Necessary Tool for Truth

By Kenneth R. Samples 1/31/2017

     As the nonscientist on RTB’s five-person staff scholar team, I sometimes feel like the odd man out. Because I’m a philosopher, I often look at things and think about things very differently than my science colleagues. The questions that I tend to ask, even about science, usually inquire about things from a very different perspective. I typically gravitate toward asking more philosophically oriented questions that focus more on logical relationships than science’s emphasis upon observational relationships. Yet I recently came across a provocative analogy that I think helps to show the broadly common way that my science colleagues and I both seek to discover knowledge and truth.

     Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft draws this interesting comparison in his book on logic:

Logic is one of philosophy’s main instruments. Logic is to philosophy what telescopes are to astronomy or microscopes to biology or math to physics. You can’t be very good at physics if you’re very bad at math, and you can’t be very good at philosophy if you’re very bad at logic.  Socratic Logic: A Logic Text using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles, Edition 3.1

     Analogical Thinking | I view Kreeft’s comparison of the various instruments of knowledge and truth as functioning as a stimulating analogy.

     Here’s that instrument to discipline comparison outlined. Logic’s relationship to philosophy is like

telescopes to astronomy;
microscopes to biology; and
math to physics.

     In all of these academic fields, it is possible to engage in the discipline itself without specifically using the instrument. For example, ancient people practiced astronomy long before the telescope was invented, and studies in biology went on for many centuries before the microscope was designed. Similarly, it is possible to observe the general effects of physics without the formal use of mathematics, just as a person can ask common sense philosophical questions about life without appealing to the formal aspects of logic. Even the great philosopher Aristotle, who is credited as the “father of logic,” referred to logic as a “tool” or “instrument” (Greek, organon). However, the use of these amazing instruments—whether actual artifacts (telescope and microscope) or pure conceptual realities (math and logic) discovered via the human mind—produces an increase in information and knowledge that is seemingly exponential. Both the amount of data and the depth of potential understanding is exceedingly increased by the use of the instruments. And the more skilled you are at using the instrument, the better you are in your given discipline.

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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:

4 Dimensions of Exposing Faulty Worldviews

By Dave Jenkins

     Few issues today are as important as understanding the connection between the gospel, discipleship, missions, and apologetics. I’ve learned these truths through ministering on the streets of Seattle, being in college campus ministry, and at local coffee shops around my area. Engaging in discipleship, missions, and apologetics in a manner worthy of the gospel means understanding how they relate first to the gospel and then to the Church’s mission. I hope to trace out some of these vital connections and in so doing help readers understand that the story of Jesus exposes faulty worldviews. For example, in John 4, Jesus unveils the woman at the well’s faulty worldview. He asks her questions designed to draw her closer to understanding who he is. As the woman’s understanding grows, she sees her need for Jesus. She understands that Jesus is the Son of God. Then she becomes a disciple of Jesus and goes on mission for Jesus in reaching her neighbors and town for him. This is how the gospel works.

     Jesus exposes faulty worldview stories by showing us our need for his better and truer story,then he saves us by showing us the majesty of his death and resurrection. From there he grows our understanding of himself and sends us out on mission. Part and parcel of this mission is to show the truthfulness of his story in history in comparison to the faultiness of every other story.

     Gospel | As the Church, we come together on the Lord’s Day because of the gospel. We gather to be reminded of what Jesus accomplished in his death, burial, and resurrection. We assemble together because God has taken those who were formerly not his and redeemed us through the blood of the Lamb of God. The Apostle Peter calls us to “give an answer for the reason for the hope that we have but to do so with gentleness and respect” (1 Pt. 3:15) because we are honoring Christ the Lord as holy in our hearts (1 Pt. 3:15).

     Apologetics exist not because we know all the right answers but as a result of a life centered on Christ. This is what Peter emphasized in 1 Peter 1:13-17, namely that God who is holy has called us to be his own and as a result, we’re called to manifest godly character in keeping with our status as his beloved.

     Redeemed people long to see Christ formed not only in their own lives but in the lives of others and to share their stories with others. The real work of apologetics is sharing the stories of God’s grace, goodness, and work in our lives with others. Part of apologetics does deal with objections and responds to error, heresy, and false teaching, but, before we do that, Christ must be honored preeminently in our hearts as noted in 1 Peter 3:15. We’ve been called as a people because of the gospel to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pt. 3:16) and to have a Christ-like character being formed in our lives (2 Pt. 1:3-15).

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     Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, and the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine. He and his wife, Sarah, are members of Ustick Baptist Church in Boise, Idaho, where they serve in a variety of ministries. Dave received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on twitter @DaveJJenkins. Find him on Facebook or read more of his work at servantsofgrace.org.

Perichoresis In Aquinas: Fruit, Not Foundation

By Derek Rishmawy 2/14/2017

     “Perichoresis” or, in Latin, circumincessio, has been a fairly traditional term in trinitarian theology since at least the time of John of Damascus. Before he applied it to the trinitarian issue, it was used to speak of the mutual interpenetration of the human and divine natures of Christ in the incarnation. But in trinitarian theology, it speaks of the mutual indwelling of the persons of the Trinity. Scripturally, the taproot of the doctrine comes in Jesus’ discourses in John where he says things like, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” and so forth (John 14:10-11). The point is that there is a “reciprocal interiority” of Father, Son, and Spirit in that they exist within the other persons in an unconfused, but ineffable unity.

     In recent theology the concept has become sexy and made to do a lot of work in broader theological systems. For instance, in the work of types like  The Trinity and the Kingdom,  the perichoresis of the persons has been used to secure the unity of the Trinity in a social doctrine of the Trinity, while at the same time speaking to the God-world relationship.  The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity / The 1992 Bampton Lectures  has expanded it out as a “transcendental” that allows us to understand the deep, interpenetrating structures of reality. People have developed spiritualities, political and economic programs, and even marital models out of it, leaving theologians like Karen Kilby to wonder if the process of projection hasn’t been at work here.

     In any case, as I was reading Gilles Emery’s exposition  The Trinitarian Theology of St Thomas Aquinas,  he draws attention to the Thomas’ doctrine of perichoresis as something of a synthesis of his trinitarian doctrine as a whole. Given its contemporary importance, it seemed worth reviewing what this giant of Western trinitarianism had to say on the subject.

     To begin, it might seem like he has little to say, simply because neither the Greek term “perichoresis” nor the Latin term “circumincessio” appear in Thomas. But Emery notes that while the specific terms may not appear, a battery of other phrases demonstrate that the concept is deeply rooted in Thomas’ thought:

In presenting the ‘in being’ of the persons, he uses, rather, the expressions ‘union or intrinsic conjunction’, ‘interiority’, ‘intimacy’, ‘existing in’, ‘being in that which is the most intimate and most secret’ (this is how the Son is in the Father), ‘reciprocal communality of “in being,”’ ‘communal union’, etc. In every case, the communal presence of the persons excludes their confusion, because it is based in their real distinction. It rules out the ‘isolation’ of one person, since it implies a communal relationship of persons. The divine persons are not ‘solitaries’: they are ‘inseparables’. (302)
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     I’m a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School attempting to study Systematic Theology. Adopted by the Triune God. Husband of McKenna. Former college pastor. Beyond that, I am an admitted cliche: books, beer, beard, and a blog that takes too much of my time. I'm a regular contributor to sites like The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, The Local Church, Mere Orthodoxy, and Christianity Today. I also co-host a podcast called Mere Fidelity.

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 22

Why Have You Forsaken Me?
22 To The Choirmaster. According To The Doe Of The Dawn. A Psalm Of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

ESV Study Bible

Exodus 1; Luke 4; Job 18; 1 Corinthians 5

By Don Carson 2/18/2017

     “THEN A NEW KING, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt” (Ex. 1:8). Those who learn nothing from history are destined to repeat all its mistakes, we are told; or, alternatively, the only thing that history teaches is that nothing is learned from history. Whimsical aphorisms aside, one cannot long read Scripture without pondering the sad role played by forgetting.

     Examples abound. One might have expected, after the Flood, that so sweeping a judgment would frighten postdiluvian human beings into avoiding the wrath of God, but that is not what happens. God leads Israel out of bondage, deploying spectacular plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, but mere weeks elapse before the Israelites are prepared to ascribe their rescue to a god represented by a golden calf. The book of Judges describes the wretched pattern of sin, judgment, rescue, righteousness, followed by sin, judgment, rescue, righteousness – the wearisome cycle spiraling downward. One might have thought that under the Davidic dynasty, kings in the royal line would remember the lessons their fathers learned, and be careful to seek the blessing of God by faithful obedience; but that is scarcely what occurred. After the catastrophic destruction of the northern kingdom and the removal of its leaders and artisans to exile under the Assyrians, why did not the southern kingdom take note and preserve covenantal fidelity? In fact, a bare century-and-a-half later the Babylonians subject them to a similar fate. Appalling forgetfulness is not hard to find in some of the New Testament churches as well.

     So the forgetfulness of Egypt’s rulers, aided by a change of dynasty, is scarcely surprising. A few hundred years is a long time. How many Christians in the West have really absorbed the lessons of the evangelical awakening, let alone of the magisterial Reformation?

     Not far from where I am writing these lines is a church that draws five or six thousand on a Sunday morning. Its leaders have forgotten that it began as a church plant a mere two decades ago. They now want to withdraw from the denomination that founded them, not because they disagree theologically with that denomination, not because of some moral flaw in it, but simply because they are so impressed by their own bigness and importance that they are too arrogant to be grateful. One thinks of seminaries that have abandoned their doctrinal roots within one generation, of individuals, not the least scholars, who are so impressed by novelty that clever originality ranks more highly with them than godly fidelity. Nations, churches, and individuals change, at each step thinking themselves more “advanced” than all who went before.

     To our shame, we forget all the things we should remember.

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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:

5 Things Singles Wish Married Couples Knew

By Jennifer Grisham 2/16/2017

     As my church has been going through 1 Corinthians, we’ve talked a lot about marriage and singleness. Ever since we looked at 1 Corinthians 7, I’ve had interesting conversations with my single and married friends.

     In my experience, here are five things singles wish married couples knew.

     1. God settles the solitary in a family—and it might be yours. | Psalm 68:6 says, “God settles the solitary in a home.” One way God does this is through the church. He creates homes both from biological families and from beautiful friendships that become like family.

     The first time I dealt with the difficulty of being single, my community group leader noticed I was struggling. We talked about it, but that’s not what helped most. What helped most was becoming part of her family. It was celebrating birthdays and holidays, going to dinner with them, spending time with her children, and just being loved by them. They were and will always be family to me.

     I encourage you to make your single friends part of your life and your family. Don’t assume we’re too busy to have dinner with you on a Friday or Saturday night. We love your kids! (Babysitting doesn’t count. Your single friend isn’t just your babysitter.)

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     Jennifer Grisham serves as director of administration at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas, and administrator of Doxology & Theology. She's a graduate of Baylor University and a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Find her on Twitter or at jkgrisham.com.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     5. When it is asked then how Christ, by abolishing sin, removed the enmity between God and us, and purchased a righteousness which made him favourable and kind to us, it may be answered generally, that he accomplished this by the whole course of his obedience. This id proved by the testimony of Paul, "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous," (Rom. 5:19). And indeed he elsewhere extends the ground of pardon which exempts from the curse of the law to the whole life of Christ, "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law," (Gal. 4:4, 5). Thus even at his baptism he declared that a part of righteousness was fulfilled by his yielding obedience to the command of the Father. In short, from the moment when he assumed the form of a servant, he began, in order to redeem us, to pay the price of deliverance. Scripture, however, the more certainly to define the mode of salvation, ascribes it peculiarly and specially to the death of Christ. He himself declares that he gave his life a ransom for many (Mt. 20:28). Paul teaches that he died for our sins (Rom. 4:25). John Baptist exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," (John 1:29). Paul in another passage declares, "that we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood," (Rom. 3:25). "Again, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom. 5:9). Again "He has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," (2 Cor. 5:21). I will not search out all the passages, for the list would be endless, and many are afterwards to be quoted in their order. In the Confession of Faith, called the Apostles' Creed, the transition is admirably made from the birth of Christ to his death and resurrection, in which the completion of a perfect salvation consists. Still there is no exclusion of the other part of obedience which he performed in life. Thus Paul comprehends, from the beginning even to the end, his having assumed the form of a servant, humbled himself, and become obedient to death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:7). And, indeed, the first step in obedience was his voluntary subjection; for the sacrifice would have been unavailing to justification if not offered spontaneously. Hence our Lord, after testifying, "I lay down my life for the sheep," distinctly adds, "No man taketh it from me," (John 10:15, 18). In the same sense Isaiah says, " Like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth," (Is. 53:7). The Gospel History relates that he came forth to meet the soldiers; and in presence of Pilate, instead of defending himself, stood to receive judgment. This, indeed, he did not without a struggle, for he had assumed our infirmities also, and in this way it behoved him to prove that he was yielding obedience to his Father. It was no ordinary example of incomparable love towards us to struggle with dire terrors, and amid fearful tortures to cast away all care of himself that he might provide for us. We must bear in minds that Christ could not duly propitiate God without renouncing his own feelings and subjecting himself entirely to his Father's will. To this effect the Apostle appositely quotes a passage from the Psalms, "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God," (Heb. 10:5; Ps. 40:7, 8). Thus, as trembling consciences find no rest without sacrifice and ablution by which sins are expiated, we are properly directed thither, the source of our life being placed in the death of Christ. Moreover, as the curse consequent upon guilt remained for the final judgment of God, one principal point in the narrative is his condemnation before Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, to teach us, that the punishment to which we were liable was inflicted on that Just One. We could not escape the fearful judgment of God; and Christ, that he might rescue us from it, submitted to be condemned by a mortal, nay, by a wicked and profane man. For the name of Governor is mentioned not only to support the credibility of the narrative, but to remind us of what Isaiah says, that "the chastisement of our peace was upon him;" and that "with his stripes we are healed," (Is. 53:5). For, in order to remove our condemnation, it was not sufficient to endure any kind of death. To satisfy our ransom, it was necessary to select a mode of death in which he might deliver us, both by giving himself up to condemnations and undertaking our expiation. Had he been cut off by assassins, or slain in a seditious tumult, there could have been no kind of satisfaction in such a death. But when he is placed as a criminal at the bar, where witnesses are brought to give evidence against him, and the mouth of the judge condemns him to die, we see him sustaining the character of an offender and evil-doer. Here we must attend to two points which had both been foretold by the prophets, and tend admirably to comfort and confirm our faith. When we read that Christ was led away from the judgment-seat to execution, and was crucified between thieves, we have a fulfilment of the prophecy which is quoted by the Evangelist, "He was numbered with the transgressors," (Is. 53:12; Mark 15:28). Why was it so? That he might bear the character of a sinner, not of a just or innocent person, inasmuch as he met death on account not of innocence, but of sin. On the other hand, when we read that he was acquitted by the same lips that condemned him (for Pilate was forced once and again to bear public testimony to his innocence), let us call to mind what is said by another prophet, "I restored that which I took not away," (Ps. 69:4). Thus we perceive Christ representing the character of a sinner and a criminal, while, at the same time, his innocence shines forth, and it becomes manifest that he suffers for another's and not for his own crime. He therefore suffered under Pontius Pilate, being thus, by the formal sentence of the judge, ranked among criminals, and yet he is declared innocent by the same judge, when he affirms that he finds no cause of death in him. Our acquittal is in this that the guilt which made us liable to punishment was transferred to the head of the Son of God (Is. 53:12). We must specially remember this substitution in order that we may not be all our lives in trepidation and anxiety, as if the just vengeance which the Son of God transferred to himself, were still impending over us.

6. The very form of the death embodies a striking truth. The cross was cursed not only in the opinion of men, but by the enactment of the Divine Law. Hence Christ, while suspended on it, subjects himself to the curse. And thus it behoved to be done, in order that the whole curse, which on account of our iniquities awaited us, or rather lay upon us, might be taken from us by being transferred to him. This was also shadowed in the Law, since twm`a

, the word by which sin itself is properly designated, was applied to the sacrifices and expiations offered for sin. By this application of the term, the Spirit intended to intimate, that they were a kind of kaqarmavton (purifications), bearing, by substitutions the curse due to sin. But that which was represented figuratively in the Mosaic sacrifices is exhibited in Christ the archetype. Wherefore, in order to accomplish a full expiation, he made his soul to !`

, i.e., a propitiatory victim for sin (as the prophet says, Is. 53:5, 10), on which the guilt and penalty being in a manner laid, ceases to be imputed to us. The Apostle declares this more plainly when he says, that "he made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," (2 Cor. 5:21). For the Son of God, though spotlessly pure, took upon him the disgrace and ignominy of our iniquities, and in return clothed us with his purity. To the same thing he seems to refer, when he says, that he "condemned sin in the flesh," (Rom. 8:3), the Father having destroyed the power of sin when it was transferred to the flesh of Christ. This term, therefore, indicates that Christ, in his death, was offered to the Father as a propitiatory victim; that, expiation being made by his sacrifice, we might cease to tremble at the divine wrath. It is now clear what the prophet means when he says, that "the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all," (Is. 53:6); namely, that as he was to wash away the pollution of sins, they were transferred to him by imputation. Of this the cross to which he was nailed was a symbol, as the Apostle declares, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ," (Gal. 3:13, 14). In the same way Peter says, that he "bare our sins in his own body on the tree," (1 Peter 2:24), inasmuch as from the very symbol of the curse, we perceive more clearly that the burden with which we were oppressed was laid upon him. Nor are we to understand that by the curse which he endured he was himself overwhelmed, but rather that by enduring it he repressed broke, annihilated all its force. Accordingly, faith apprehends acquittal in the condemnation of Christ, and blessing in his curse. Hence it is not without cause that Paul magnificently celebrates the triumph which Christ obtained upon the cross, as if the cross, the symbol of ignominy, had been converted into a triumphal chariot. For he says, that he blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross: that "having spoiled principalities and powers he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it," (Col. 2:14, 15). Nor is this to be wondered at; for, as another Apostle declares, Christ, "through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God," (Heb. 9:14), and hence that transformation of the cross which were otherwise against its nature. But that these things may take deep root and have their seat in our inmost hearts, we must never lose sight of sacrifice and ablution. For, were not Christ a victim, we could have no sure conviction of his being ajpoluvtrwsi", ajntivlutron, kai; iJlasthvrion, our substitute-ransom and propitiation. And hence mention is always made of blood whenever scripture explains the mode of redemption: although the shedding of Christ's blood was available not only for propitiation, but also acted as a laver to purge our defilements.

7. The Creed next mentions that he "was dead and buried". Here again it is necessary to consider how he substituted himself in order to pay the price of our redemption. Death held us under its yoke, but he in our place delivered himself into its power, that he might exempt us from it. This the Apostle means when he says, "that he tasted death for every man," (Heb. 2:9). By dying he prevented us from dying; or (which is the same thing) he by his death purchased life for us (see Calvin in Psychopann). But in this he differed from us, that in permitting himself to be overcome of death, it was not so as to be engulfed in its abyss but rather to annihilate it, as it must otherwise have annihilated us; he did not allow himself to be so subdued by it as to be crushed by its power; he rather laid it prostrate, when it was impending over us, and exulting over us as already overcome. In fine, his object was, "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage," (Heb. 2:14, 15). This is the first fruit which his death produced to us. Another is, that by fellowship with him he mortifies our earthly members that they may not afterwards exert themselves in action, and kill the old man, that he may not hereafter be in vigour and bring forth fruit. An effect of his burials moreover is that we as his fellows are buried to sin. For when the Apostle says, that we are ingrafted into the likeness of Christ's deaths and that we are buried with him unto sin, that by his cross the world is crucified unto us and we unto the world, and that we are dead with him, he not only exhorts us to manifest an example of his death, but declares that there is an efficacy in it which should appear in all Christians, if they would not render his death unfruitful and useless. Accordingly in the death and burial of Christ a twofold blessing is set before us--viz. deliverance from death, to which we were enslaved, and the mortification of our flesh (Rom. 6:5; Gal. 2:19, 6:14; Col. 3:3).

8. Here we must not omit the descent to hell, which was of no little importance to the accomplishment of redemption. For although it is apparent from the writings of the ancient Fathers, that the clause which now stands in the Creed was not formerly so much used in the churches, still, in giving a summary of doctrine, a place must be assigned to it, as containing a matter of great importance which ought not by any means to be disregarded. Indeed, some of the ancient Fathers do not omit it, [255] and hence we may conjecture, that having been inserted in the Creed after a considerable lapse of time, it came into use in the Church not immediately but by degrees. [256] This much is uncontroverted, that it was in accordance with the general sentiment of all believers, since there is none of the Fathers who does not mention Christ's descent into hell, though they have various modes of explaining it. But it is of little consequence by whom and at what time it was introduced. The chief thing to be attended to in the Creed is, that it furnishes us with a full and every way complete summary of faith, containing nothing but what has been derived from the infallible word of God. But should any still scruple to give it admission into the Creed, it will shortly be made plain, that the place which it holds in a summary of our redemption is so important, that the omission of it greatly detracts from the benefit of Christ's death. There are some again who think that the article contains nothing new, but is merely a repetition in different words of what was previously said respecting burial, the word Hell (Infernis) being often used in Scripture for sepulchre. I admit the truth of what they allege with regard to the not infrequent use of the term infernos for sepulchre; but I cannot adopt their opinion, for two obvious reasons. First, What folly would it have been, after explaining a matter attended with no difficulty in clear and unambiguous terms, afterwards to involve rather than illustrate it by clothing it in obscure phraseology? When two expressions having the same meaning are placed together, the latter ought to be explanatory of the former. But what kind of explanation would it be to say, the expression, "Christ was buried", means, that "he descended into hell"? My second reason is the improbability that a superfluous tautology of this description should have crept into this compendium, in which the principal articles of faith are set down summarily in the fewest possible number of words. I have no doubt that all who weigh the matter with some degree of care will here agree with me.

9. Others interpret differently--viz. That Christ descended to the souls of the Patriarchs who died under the law, to announce his accomplished redemption, and bring them out of the prison in which they were confined. To this effect they wrest the passage [257] in the Psalms "He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder." (Ps. 107:16); and also the passage in Zechariah, "I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water," (Zech. 9:11). But since the psalm foretells the deliverance of those who were held captive in distant lands, and Zechariah comparing the Babylonish disaster into which the people had been plunged to a deep dry well or abyss, at the same time declares, that the salvation of the whole Church was an escape from a profound pit, I know not how it comes to pass, that posterity imagined it to be a subterraneous cavern, to which they gave the name of Limbus. Though this fable has the countenance of great authors, and is now also seriously defended by many as truth, [258] it is nothing but a fable. To conclude from it that the souls of the dead are in prison is childish. And what occasion was there that the soul of Christ should go down thither to set them at liberty? I readily admit that Christ illumined them by the power of his Spirit, enabling them to perceive that the grace of which they had only had a foretaste was then manifested to the world. And to this not improbably the passage of Peter may be applied, wherein he says, that Christ "went and preached to the spirits that were in prison," (or rather "a watch-tower") (I Pet. 3:19). The purport of the context is, that believers who had died before that time were partakers of the same grace with ourselves: for he celebrates the power of Christ's death, in that he penetrated even to the dead, pious souls obtaining an immediate view of that visitation for which they had anxiously waited; while, on the other hand, the reprobate were more clearly convinced that they were completely excluded from salvation. Although the passage in Peter is not perfectly definite, we must not interpret as if he made no distinction between the righteous and the wicked: he only means to intimate, that the death of Christ was made known to both.

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

The Cure For Despair

By Richard S. Adams

     Despair is a dangerous thing. Do you think the disciples despaired after falling asleep in Gethsemane? Jesus said, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”  (Mt 26:38)

(Mt 26:38) Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”   ESV

     We know the story. Is it any wonder after the crucifixion they were cowering and hiding from public scrutiny? There was far more going on here than just worrying about the Roman authorities. They had the incredible opportunity to encourage Jesus by staying awake, but they blew it. They must have felt it was unforgivable to have fallen asleep instead of watching over Jesus. Surely guilt weighed heavily upon them.

     Who has not felt the sense of the irreparable? Words we cannot take back, deeds we cannot undo, missed opportunities to act. It is far worse when people you love suffer because of your mistakes. If as a husband, father, son or friend someone special to you suffers because of something you did or did not do, something you said, whatever, it is a pain and a regret that never goes away. Sins may be forgiven, but the consequences are deep scars. If you care about others you probably know what I am talking about. It is no surprise then that despair is such a powerful immobilizer. Who has not said, “It’s all over now, there is no point in trying anymore?”

     So then, what makes us get up and keep going? What made the disciples come out of hiding to become martyrs to the testimony of the risen Christ? There were no pharmaceuticals then; no butterflies drifting gently over you at night to help you sleep, no pills to make you smile, no energy drinks to get you going, not even coffee to breathe life into old bones like mine.

     Have you experienced a funk so deep you were unable to lift yourself up or out? What happened to the disciples that shattered the gloom and despair that shrouded them?

     Intellectual ability and awareness, diligent discipline, stubborn denial, emotional embarrassment, fear, and even the anger that reacts to unsympathetic criticism can motivate us to do things beyond our normal capability. Despair, however, is a spiritual sickness that demands a spiritual cure.

     For some of us the cure can be found in our knowledge that we are loved and forgiven by family and friends; that we matter to them. For others it might be the awareness of being needed by a child, parent, friend or even a stranger. Our surrender, our failure will hurt them so we keep moving. For others it might be the knowledge that through it all, if we have made a real profession of faith, God loves us. In all cases, for those of us saved by Christ and for thse of us who have yet to meet the Savior, the sustainable cure for despair is love.

     The resurrection of Jesus brought the disciples back to life. It was a testimonial act by the Father, sending Jesus, that they were, contrary to how they felt, loved. Love, not power, not knowledge, not wealth, is the only sustainable key to breaking the power of despair. Breaking the power of despair is the mission of the Church and the mission of the child of God. When compassion motivates people to invest themselves in others … the kingdom of God is drawing near. Reach out and take it.

     Richard S. Adams | Lover of Christ, husband of Lily, father of four, grandfather of eleven, Masters in Divinity and Certificate in Spiritual Direction. On staff at George Fox 1/2009 to 7/2018.


  • Never Abandon Hope
  • God's Rock Bottom
  • Church Growth

#1 Desiring God


#2 Ben Shin   Biola University


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Seven seconds (2)
     2/18/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Who is wise…among you? Let them show it by…wisdom.’

(Jas 3:13) Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. ESV

     In the first seven seconds people often decide they do or don’t want to hear what you have to say. It may not be fair – but it’s a fact. In How to Talk So People Listen, communication expert Sonya Hamlin says when it comes to hearing and seeing, sight is the more important and powerful sense. She writes: ‘We remember 85 to 90 per cent of what we see, but less than 15 per cent of what we hear. Countless numbers of people have lost sales opportunities, ruined job interviews, or been turned down for dates because their appearance didn’t match someone else’s expectations. If you’re wise you’ll ask your family and friends if you’re inclined to display nonverbal cues that capture their attention and take the focus off what you’re trying to communicate.’ One pastor says: ‘I never realised how many nonverbal mistakes I was making until I saw myself on video. Now it’s my regular practice to go back and watch myself to determine not only what I said, but also how I said it. The tape doesn’t lie.’ Great actors can tell a story without saying a word, simply by using facial expressions. And whether you are aware of it or not, you convey a message by the expression on your face. Even people who pride themselves on ‘playing with a poker face’, and on their ability to not let other people know what they’re really thinking, convey an unspoken message of detachment. And that makes meaningful connection with other people well-nigh impossible. If your face is going to ‘talk’ – and it is – make sure you’re communicating the right thing.

Luke 3:1-19
Psalm 18-19

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Pilgrim’s Progress was published this day, February 18, 1678. It was written John Bunyan, who was born in Bedford, England, and at age 29, became a Baptist minister. Bunyon was imprisoned over 12 years for preaching without a license. While in jail, he supported his family by making shoelaces. Pilgrim’s Progress, which is an allegory of a Christian’s journey to the Celestial City, has been translated into over 100 languages and, after the Bible, held the position as the world’s best-seller for hundreds of years. It could be found in nearly every colonial New England home.

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     The heart is stretched through suffering, and enlarged. But 0 the agony of this enlarging of the heart, that one may be prepared to enter into the anguish of others! Yet the way of holy obedience leads out from the heart of God and extends through the Valley of the Shadow.

     But there is also removable suffering, yet such as yields only to years of toil and fatigue and unconquerable faith and perchance only to death itself. The Cross as dogma is painless speculation; the Cross as lived suffering is anguish and glory. Yet God, out of the pattern of His own heart, has planted the Cross along the road of holy obedience. And He enacts in the hearts of those He loves the miracle of willingness to welcome suffering and to know it for what it is-the final seal of His gracious love. I dare not urge you to your Cross. But He, more powerfully, speaks within you and me, to our truest selves, in our truest moments, and disquiets us with the world's needs. By inner persuasions He draws us to a few very definite tasks, our tasks, God's burdened heart particularizing His burdens in us. And He gives us the royal blindness of faith, and the seeing eye of the sensitized soul, and the grace of unflinching obedience. Then we see that nothing matters, and that everything matters, and that this my task matters for me and for my fellow men and for Eternity. And if we be utterly humble we may be given strength to be obedient even unto death, yea the death of the Cross.

     In my deepest heart I know that some of us have to face our comfortable, self-oriented lives all over again. The times are too tragic, God's sorrow is too great, man's night is too dark, the Cross is too glorious for us to live as we have lived, in anything short of holy obedience. It may or it may not mean change in geography, in profession, in wealth, in earthly security. It does mean this: Some of us will have to enter upon a vow of renunciation and of dedication to the "Eternal Internal" which is as complete and as irrevocable as was the vow of the monk of the Middle Ages. Little groups of such utterly dedicated souls, knowing one another in Divine Fellowship, must take an irrevocable vow to live in this world yet not of this world, Franciscans of the Third Order, and if it be His will, kindle again the embers of faith in the midst of a secular world. Our meetings were meant to be such groups, but now too many of them are dulled and cooled and flooded by the secular. But within our meetings such inner bands of men and women, internally set apart, living by a vow of perpetual obedience to the Inner Voice, in the world yet not of the world, ready to go the second half, obedient as a shadow, sensitive as a shadow, selfless as a shadow-such bands of humble prophets can recreate the Society of Friends and the Christian church and shake the countryside for ten miles around.

A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

The aim and final end of all music
should be none other than the glory of God
and the refreshment of the soul.
If heed is not paid to this,
it is not true music
but a diabolical bawling and twanging.
--- Johann Sebastian Bach

Life is the cradle of eternity. As the man is to the animal in the slowness of his evolution, so is the spiritual man to the natural man. Foundations which have to bear the weight of an eternal life must be surely laid. Character is to wear forever; who will wonder or grudge that it cannot be developed in a day?
--- Henry Drummond

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
--- Cicero

Peace is a gift, but it does not come magically through our passivity. Only in our faithful response to God’s call do we receive God’s peace.
--- Sandra Cronk

... from here, there and everywhere

Journal of John Woolman 2/18
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul

     Ninth month, 1753. -- In company with my well-esteemed friend, John Sykes, and with the unity of Friends, I travelled about two weeks, visiting Friends in Buck's County. We labored in the love of the Gospel, according to the measure received; and through the mercies of Him who is strength to the poor who trust in him, we found satisfaction in our visit. In the next winter, way opening to visit Friends' families within the compass of our Monthly Meeting, partly by the labors of two Friends from Pennsylvania, I joined in some part of the work, having had a desire some time that it might go forward amongst us.

     About this time, a person at some distance lying sick, his brother came to me to write his will. I knew he had slaves, and, asking his brother, was told he intended to leave them as slaves to his children. As writing is a profitable employ, and as offending sober people was disagreeable to my inclination, I was straitened in my mind; but as I looked to the Lord, he inclined my heart to his testimony. I told the man that I believed the practice of continuing slavery to this people was not right, and that I had a scruple in my mind against doing writings of that kind; that though many in our Society kept them as slaves, still I was not easy to be concerned in it, and desired to be excused from going to write the will. I spake to him in the fear of the Lord, and he made no reply to what I said, but went away; he also had some concerns in the practice, and I thought he was displeased with me. In this case I had fresh confirmation that acting contrary to present outward interest, from a motive of Divine love and in regard to truth and righteousness, and thereby incurring the resentments of people, opens the way to a treasure better than silver, and to a friendship exceeding the friendship of men.

     The manuscript before mentioned having laid by me several years, the publication of it rested weightily upon me, and this year I offered it to the revisal of my friends, who, having examined and made some small alterations in it, directed a number of copies thereof to be published and dispersed amongst members of our Society.

     In the year 1754 I found my mind drawn to join in a visit to Friends' families belonging to Chesterfield Monthly Meeting, and having the approbation of our own, I went to their Monthly meeting in order to confer with Friends, and see if way opened for it. I had conference with some of their members, the proposal having been opened before in their meeting, and one Friend agreed to join with me as a companion for a beginning; but when meeting was ended, I felt great distress of mind, and doubted what way to take, or whether to go home and wait for greater clearness. I kept my distress secret, and going with a friend to his house, my desires were to the great Shepherd for his heavenly instruction. In the Morning I felt easy to proceed on the visit, though very low in my mind. As mine eye was turned to the Lord, waiting in families in deep reverence before him, he was pleased graciously to afford help, so that we had many comfortable opportunities, and it appeared as a fresh visitation to some young people. I spent several weeks this winter in the service, part of which time was employed near home. And again in the following winter I was several weeks in the same service; some part of the time at Shrewsbury, in company with my beloved friend, John Sykes; and I have cause humbly to acknowledge that through the goodness of the Lord our hearts were at times enlarged in his love, and strength was given to go through the trials which, in the course of our visit, attended us.

     From a disagreement between the powers of England and France, it was now a time of trouble on this continent, and an epistle to Friends went forth from our general spring meeting, which I thought good to give a place in this Journal.

     An Epistle from our general Spring Meeting of ministers and elders for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, held at Philadelphia, from the 29th of the third month to the 1st of the fourth month, inclusive, 1755.

     TO FRIENDS ON THE CONTINENT OF AMERICA: -- DEAR FRIENDS, -- In an humble sense of Divine goodness, and the gracious continuation of God's love to his people, we tenderly salute you, and are at this time therein engaged in mind, that all of us who profess the truth, as held forth and published by our worthy predecessors in this latter age of the world, may keep near to that Life which is the light of men, and be strengthened to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, that our trust may not be in man, but in the Lord alone, who ruleth in the army of heaven and in the kingdoms of men, before whom the earth is "as the dust of the balance, and her inhabitants as grass-hoppers." (Isa. xl. 22.)

     Being convinced that the gracious design of the Almighty in sending his Son into the world was to repair the breach made by disobedience, to finish sin and transgression, that his kingdom might come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we have found it to be our duty to cease from those national contests which are productive of misery and bloodshed, and submit our cause to him, the Most High, whose tender love to his children exceeds the most warm affections of natural parents, and who hath promised to his seed throughout the earth, as to one individual, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii. 5.) And we, through the gracious dealings of the Lord our God, have had experience of that work which is carried on, not by earthly might, "nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Zech. iv. 6.) By which operation that spiritual kingdom is set up, which is to subdue and break in pieces all kingdoms that oppose it, and shall stand forever. In a deep sense thereof, and of the safety, stability, and peace that are in it, we are desirous that all who profess the truth may be inwardly acquainted with it, and thereby be qualified to conduct ourselves in all parts of our life as becomes our peaceable profession; and we trust as there is a faithful continuance to depend wholly upon the almighty arm, from one generation to another, the peaceable kingdom will gradually be extended "from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth" (Zech. ix. 10), to the completion of those prophecies already begun, that "nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, nor learn war anymore." (Isa. ii. 4. Micah iv. 3.)

     And, dearly beloved friends, seeing that we have these promises, and believe that God is beginning to fulfil them, let us constantly endeavor to have our minds sufficiently disentangled from the surfeiting cares of this life, and redeemed from the love of the world, that no earthly possessions nor enjoyments may bias our judgments, or turn us from that resignation and entire trust in God to which his blessing is most surely annexed; then may we say, "Our Redeemer is mighty, he will plead our cause for us." (Jer. l. 34.) And if, for the further promoting of his most gracious purposes in the earth, he should give us to taste of that bitter cup of which his faithful ones have often partaken, O that we might be rightly prepared to receive it!

     And now, dear friends, with respect to the commotions and stirrings of the powers of the earth at this time near us, we are desirous that none of us may be moved thereat, but repose ourselves in the munition of that rock which all these shakings shall not move, even in the knowledge and feeling of the eternal power of God, keeping us subjectly given up to his heavenly will, and feeling it daily to mortify that which remains in any of us which is of this world; for the worldly part in any is the changeable part, and that is up and down, full and empty, joyful and sorrowful, as things go well or ill in this world. For as the truth is but one, and many are made partakers of its spirit, so the world is but one, and many are made partakers of the spirit of it; and so many as do partake of it, so many will be straitened and perplexed with it. But they who are single to the truth, waiting daily to feel the life and virtue of it in their hearts, shall rejoice in the midst of adversity, and have to experience with the prophet, that, "although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet will they rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of their salvation." (Hab. iii. 17, 18)

     If, contrary to this, we profess the truth, and, not living under the power and influence of it, are producing fruits disagreeable to the purity thereof, and trust to the strength of man to support ourselves, our confidence therein will be vain. For he who removed the hedge from his vineyard, and gave it to be trodden under foot by reason of the wild grapes it produced (Isa. v. 6), remains unchangeable; and if, for the chastisement of wickedness and the further promoting of his own glory, he doth arise, even to shake terribly the earth, who then may oppose him, and prosper?

     We remain, in the love of the Gospel, your friends and brethren.
(Signed by fourteen Friends.)

John Woolman's Journal

Proverbs 10:15-17
     by D.H. Stern

15     The wealth of the rich is his fortified city;
the ruin of the poor is their poverty.

16     The activity of the righteous is for life;
the income of the wicked is for sin.

17     He who observes discipline is on the way to life;
but he who ignores correction is making a mistake.

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 initiative against despair

     Rise let us be going. --- Matthew 26:46.

     The disciples went to sleep when they should have kept awake, and when they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of the irreparable is apt to make us despair, and we say—‘It is all up now, it is no use trying any more.’ If we imagine that this kind of despair is exceptional, we are mistaken, it is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink in despair, and Jesus Christ comes and says—
‘Sleep on now, that opportunity is lost for ever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing.’ Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him.

     There are experiences like this in each of our lives. We are in despair, the despair that comes from actualities, and we cannot lift ourselves out of it. The disciples in this instance had done a downright unforgivable thing; they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus, but He came with a spiritual initiative against their despair and said— ‘Arise and do the next thing.’ If we are inspired of God, what is the next thing? To trust Him absolutely and to pray on the ground of His Redemption.

     Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.

My Utmost for His Highest

     the Poetry of RS Thomas


Deliver me from the long drought
of the mind. Let leaves
from the deciduous Cross
fall on us, washing
us clean, turning our autumn
to gold by the affluence of their fountain.

Laboratories of the Spirit

Teacher's Commentary
     The Parables: Matthew 13:1–52

                The same day that Jesus spoke out, warning His hearers of the tragedy which rejection of the King and kingdom was to bring on them, He sat in a boat to teach the gathering crowds. He “told them many things in parables” (v. 3).

     There are a multitude of parables in the Bible. The word itself means to “set alongside,” and it is a normal pattern of Scripture to illustrate by setting concrete and familiar illustrations alongside abstract concepts (cf. 2 Sam. 12:1–7; Jdg. 9:8–15; and Isa. 5:1–7 for Old Testament examples). Sometimes parables are allegories, such as the story of the Good Samaritan through which Jesus answered the man who wondered aloud, “Who is my neighbor?”

     But there is something very different about the parables recorded in Matthew 13. Rather than illuminating what Jesus said, they seem almost to obscure it!

     Why then did Jesus speak in parables? There are several hints in the text. Asked this question by the disciples, Jesus said, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing they do not hear or understand” (v. 13). The crowds, in rejecting Jesus’ clear presentation of Himself as their King, had closed their eyes to truth. Now Jesus would speak less clear words to them, lest they be even more responsible.

     It is also possible that Jesus adopted parables here to keep His listeners concentrating on the choice they had to make for or against Him. We need to remember that the Israelites had a clear notion of what the kingdom would be like. They would not be shaken from this single conception to accept new truth, which might modify their expectations. Jesus later explained to His disciples that the parables were spoken to them (v. 16). What they dealt with was a dimension of the kingdom which was not the subject of earlier Old Testament revelation. The parables, Jesus said, fulfill this prophecy:

     I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the Creation of the world. ---
Matthew 13:35.

     These parables deal with dimensions of the kingdom which Israel did not suspect existed. They deal, in fact, with those dimensions of the kingdom which you and I experience today and will experience until, at the return of Jesus, the Old Testament’s prophesied kingdom rule is established.

     No wonder the disciples, themselves steeped in the Old Testament’s lore, were also puzzled and had to ask Jesus, “Explain to us the Parable of the Weeds in the Field” (v. 36). Only later could they look back and see in Jesus’ words the portrait of a time between the Lord’s resurrection and the establishment of the earthly kingdom in its expected form. These, then, are parables of contrast. By contrast they illuminate key differences between the prophesied kingdom reign and the present servant form of the kingdom over which Jesus now rules.

     Jesus concluded His seven parables with a question: “Have you understood all these things?” (v. 51) Afraid to say no, the Twelve nodded yes. Both the old and the new are elements in the kingdom which Christ came to bring. Only later would they begin to understand the deep implications for the church of the unexpected form of the kingdom which Jesus expressed in His parables.

The Teacher's Commentary

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     Lessons for Everyday Living

     The process of teaching continued in both in Israel and Babylonia. Almost as soon as the Mishnah was completed, the Rabbis found that new situations or cases arose which were not covered by the Mishnah. Just as previous generations had studied the Bible to apply it to their day, subsequent generations of Rabbis sat down and studied the Mishnah, scrutinizing, analyzing, and interpreting it and debating how it should be applied to their own times and situations. They drew on the great storehouse of traditions that they had received, such as the Midrash and the baraitot (those first- and second-century teachings that Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Nasi had not included in his edition of the Mishnah). And they used their own insights and logic to try to explain what the Mishnah meant and how it was to be applied. For over three centuries, this giant corpus of material grew. Known as Gemara, it was then edited and ultimately put into writing. The Mishnah and Gemara together came to be called the Talmud. (In fact, the term “Gemara” originally meant a terse statement with little or no explanation. What we now call “Gemara” was at first called simply “Talmud.” During the Middle Ages, the word Gemara came to replace Talmud in an attempt to fool Christian censors.)

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 Eighteenth Chapter / The Example Set Us By The Holy Fathers

     CONSIDER the lively examples set us by the saints, who possessed the light of true perfection and religion, and you will see how little, how nearly nothing, we do. What, alas, is our life, compared with theirs? The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in work and fatigue, in vigils and fasts, in prayers and holy meditations, in persecutions and many afflictions. How many and severe were the trials they suffered—the Apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all the rest who willed to follow in the footsteps of Christ! They hated their lives on earth that they might have life in eternity.

     How strict and detached were the lives the holy hermits led in the desert! What long and grave temptations they suffered! How often were they beset by the enemy! What frequent and ardent prayers they offered to God! What rigorous fasts they observed! How great their zeal and their love for spiritual perfection! How brave the fight they waged to master their evil habits! What pure and straightforward purpose they showed toward God! By day they labored and by night they spent themselves in long prayers. Even at work they did not cease from mental prayer. They used all their time profitably; every hour seemed too short for serving God, and in the great sweetness of contemplation, they forgot even their bodily needs.

     They renounced all riches, dignities, honors, friends, and associates. They desired nothing of the world. They scarcely allowed themselves the necessities of life, and the service of the body, even when necessary, was irksome to them. They were poor in earthly things but rich in grace and virtue. Outwardly destitute, inwardly they were full of grace and divine consolation. Strangers to the world, they were close and intimate friends of God. To themselves they seemed as nothing, and they were despised by the world, but in the eyes of God they were precious and beloved. They lived in true humility and simple obedience; they walked in charity and patience, making progress daily on the pathway of spiritual life and obtaining great favor with God.

     They were given as an example for all religious, and their power to stimulate us to perfection ought to be greater than that of the lukewarm to tempt us to laxity.

     How great was the fervor of all religious in the beginning of their holy institution! How great their devotion in prayer and their rivalry for virtue! What splendid discipline flourished among them! What great reverence and obedience in all things under the rule of a superior! The footsteps they left behind still bear witness that they indeed were holy and perfect men who fought bravely and conquered the world.

     Today, he who is not a transgressor and who can bear patiently the duties which he has taken upon himself is considered great. How lukewarm and negligent we are! We lose our original fervor very quickly and we even become weary of life from laziness! Do not you, who have seen so many examples of the devout, fall asleep in the pursuit of virtue!

The Imitation Of Christ

Take Heart
     February 18

     Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.… So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock.
Mark 15:43, 46.

     The time had come when he must boldly act as Christ’s disciple. ( C.H. Spurgeon's sermons on men of the New Testament (Library of Spurgeon's sermons) )

     I do not suppose that he fully understood the design of our Lord’s death. He had some knowledge of it but not such a knowledge as we have now that the Spirit of God has appeared in all his fullness and taught us the meaning of the Cross.

     Oh, listen, you that are not on his side openly, you who have never worn his livery nor manifestly entered his service. He died for you! Those wounds were all for you. That bloody sweat, of which you still may see the marks on the countenance of the Crucified, was all for you; for you the thirst and fever, for you the bowing of the head and breathing his last. Can you be ashamed to own him? Will you not endure rebuke and scorn for his dear sake who bore all this for you? Now speak from your soul and say, “He loved me and gave himself for me.” If you cannot say that, you cannot be happy. But if you can, then what follows? Must you not love him and give yourself for him?

     The Cross is a wondrous magnet, drawing to Jesus everyone of the true metal. It is as a banner lifted on high to which all who are loyal must rally. This fiery Cross, carried through all lands, will rouse the valiant and speed them to the field. Can you see your Lord suffering to the death for you—and then turn your back? If the Cross does not bring a person out, what will? If the spectacle of dying love does not quicken us into courageous affection for him, what can?
--- C. H. Spurgeon

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

On This Day   February 18
     The Excellent Map

     As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. …

     The dreamer? John Bunyan. The dream? Pilgrim’s Progress, one of history’s bestsellers, published on February 18, 1678. Bunyan tells the story of a pilgrim named Christian who encounters many trials, toils, and triumphs while traveling from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City.

     Princeton’s Dr. Emile Gaillet, who read this book 50 times, said, “Next to the Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress rates highest among the classics. … The reason is that as I proceed along the appointed course, I need not only an authoritative book of instruction; I need a map. Bunyan’s masterpiece has provided us with the most excellent map found anywhere.”

     In one memorable scene, Christian, finding the pathway difficult, climbed over a stile to walk in a meadowy bypath. Eventually the ground grew soggy and was covered with poisonous vines. The sky became black, and Christian spent the night huddled at the foot of an oak tree, caught in a downpour. The next Morning, Giant Despair came upon him, captured him, beat him, and imprisoned him in the dungeon of Doubting Castle with its grim battlements and thick, black walls. Christian tried to sing, but couldn’t. His mood was dungeon-dark. Giant Despair beat him mercilessly, and he grew weaker each day. At length he found in his cell a rope, a knife, and a bottle, the tools of suicide, and for a moment he was tempted to end his misery.

     But one Evening about midnight he began to pray, and …

     … a little before day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out into this passionate speech: What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am sure, open any lock in Doubting Castle.

     Using the key of God’s promises, Christian escaped, never again to fall into the clutches of Giant Despair or Doubting Castle.

   I patiently waited, LORD, for you to hear my prayer.
   You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit
   Full of mud and mire.
   You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm,
   And you gave me a new song,
   A song of praise to you.
   --- Psalm 40:1-3a.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - February 18

     “Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.”
--- Job 10:2.

     Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy graces. There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials. Dost thou not know that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter? Love is too often like a glow-worm, showing but little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black foils in which God doth set the jewels of his children’s graces, to make them shine the better. It was but a little while ago that on thy knees thou wast saying, “Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith.” Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials?—for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised? Depend upon it, God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains his soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why he is contending with you?

     “Trials make the promise sweet;
     Trials give new life to prayer;
     Trials bring me to his feet,
     Lay me low, and keep me there.”

          Evening - February 18

     “Father, I have sinned.” --- Luke 15:18.

     It is quite certain that those whom Christ has washed in his precious blood need not make a confession of sin, as culprits or criminals, before God the Judge, for Christ has for ever taken away all their sins in a legal sense, so that they no longer stand where they can be condemned, but are once for all accepted in the Beloved; but having become children, and offending as children, ought they not every day to go before their heavenly Father and confess their sin, and acknowledge their iniquity in that character? Nature teaches that it is the duty of erring children to make a confession to their earthly father, and the grace of God in the heart teaches us that we, as Christians, owe the same duty to our heavenly Father. We daily offend, and ought not to rest without daily pardon. For, supposing that my trespasses against my Father are not at once taken to him to be washed away by the cleansing power of the Lord Jesus, what will be the consequence? If I have not sought forgiveness and been washed from these offences against my Father, I shall feel at a distance from him; I shall doubt his love to me; I shall tremble at him; I shall be afraid to pray to him: I shall grow like the prodigal, who, although still a child, was yet far off from his father. But if, with a child’s sorrow at offending so gracious and loving a Parent, I go to him and tell him all, and rest not till I realize that I am forgiven, then I shall feel a holy love to my Father, and shall go through my Christian career, not only as saved, but as one enjoying present peace in God through Jesus Christ my Lord. There is a wide distinction between confessing sin as a culprit, and confessing sin as a child. The Father’s bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.

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

Amazing Grace
     February 18

          HE LIFTED ME

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

     He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
(Psalm 40:2, 3)

     O the love that sought me! O the blood that bought me!
     O the grace that brought me to the fold!
     Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold!
--- W. Spencer Walton

     Occasionally it is good for each of us as Christians to reflect seriously on a question such as this: “Where would I be today if God had not transformed my life, established my ways, and given me a life of joy and praise?” With all of the allurements of sin so rampant in today’s society, we must readily confess that except for the love and grace of God, we too could find ourselves with broken and shameful lives. But we have been accepted into the beloved and made children of the heavenly kingdom. Through the redemptive work of Christ, we have been given a new and higher “plane” on which to live. With the author and composer Charles Gabriel we can only exclaim, “O praise His name, He lifted me!” Such divine love on our behalf calls forth a response of thankful gratitude and a sincere desire to see other needy individuals share this redemptive experience.

     Charles H. Gabriel was one of the best known and most prolific Gospel songwriters of the late 19th and early 20th century eras. His fame as a successful composer became widely known, especially with the use of his songs by Homer Rodeheaver in the large Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns. “He Lifted Me” first appeared in the collection Revival Hymns, published in 1905.

     In loving kindness Jesus came my soul in mercy to reclaim, and from the depths of sin and shame thru grace He lifted me.
     He called me long before I heard, before my sinful heart was stirred, but when I took him at His word, forgiv’n He lifted me.
     His brow was pierced with many a thorn; His hands by cruel nails were torn when from my guilt and grief, forlorn, in love He lifted me.
     Now on a higher plain I dwell, and with my soul I know ’tis well; yet how or why, I cannot tell, He should have lifted me.
     Chorus: From sinking sand He lifted me; with tender hand He lifted me; from shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me!

     For Today: Psalm 40; Isaiah 61:10; Philippians 3:8; Revelation 1:5.

     Express gratitude and praise to God for His transforming power and love in your life. Determine to share your testimony with another. Use this musical testimony as a reminder ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Sunday, February 18, 2018 | Lent

First Sunday In Lent

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 63:1–8 (9–11) 98
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 103
Old Testament     Daniel 9:3–10
New Testament     Hebrews 2:10–18
Gospel     John 12:44–50

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 63:1–8 (9–11) 98

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

[     9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.     ]

98 A Psalm.

1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the LORD, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 103
103 Of David.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Old Testament
Daniel 9:3–10

3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

New Testament
Hebrews 2:10–18

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

John 12:44–50

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

The Book of Common Prayer

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s2-033 6-29-2014 | Brett Meador

Exodus 1
m2-031 7-2-2016 | Brett Meador

End Of Reality | Gianni Vattimo
University Of Glasgow

Free Yet Determined and Constrained
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University Of Edinburgh

End Of Reality 2 | Gianni Vattimo
University Of Glasgow

End Of Reality 3 | Gianni Vattimo
University Of Glasgow

The End Of Reality 4 | Gianni Vattimo
University Of Glasgow

Loving God = Loving your Neighbor
Nicholas Wolterstorff
Abrahams Children

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Abrahams Children

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Gender, Sexuality and Justice
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