Recounting Israel’s JourneyNumbers 33 1 These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2 Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the LORD, and these are their stages according to their starting places. 3 They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, 4 while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had struck down among them. On their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
5 So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth. 6 And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7 And they set out from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which is east of Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol. 8 And they set out from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and they went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. 9 And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. 10 And they set out from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11 And they set out from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12 And they set out from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13 And they set out from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14 And they set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 15 And they set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. 16 And they set out from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah. 17 And they set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18 And they set out from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19 And they set out from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. 20 And they set out from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. 21 And they set out from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22 And they set out from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. 23 And they set out from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24 And they set out from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25 And they set out from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26 And they set out from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27 And they set out from Tahath and camped at Terah. 28 And they set out from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29 And they set out from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30 And they set out from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.
31 And they set out from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. 32 And they set out from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. 33 And they set out from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34 And they set out from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35 And they set out from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36 And they set out from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh). 37 And they set out from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.
38 And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 And Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.
40 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the people of Israel.
41 And they set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42 And they set out from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43 And they set out from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44 And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the territory of Moab. 45 And they set out from Iyim and camped at Dibon-gad. 46 And they set out from Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. 47 And they set out from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 And they set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho; 49 they camped by the Jordan from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.
Drive Out the Inhabitants50 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. 53 And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. 54 You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. 56 And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”
Boundaries of the LandNumbers 34 1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the people of Israel, and say to them, When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan as defined by its borders), 3 your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east. 4 And your border shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea. Then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon. 5 And the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and its limit shall be at the sea.
6 “For the western border, you shall have the Great Sea and its coast. This shall be your western border.
7 “This shall be your northern border: from the Great Sea you shall draw a line to Mount Hor. 8 From Mount Hor you shall draw a line to Lebo-hamath, and the limit of the border shall be at Zedad. 9 Then the border shall extend to Ziphron, and its limit shall be at Hazar-enan. This shall be your northern border.
10 “You shall draw a line for your eastern border from Hazar-enan to Shepham. 11 And the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain. And the border shall go down and reach to the shoulder of the Sea of Chinnereth on the east. 12 And the border shall go down to the Jordan, and its limit shall be at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land as defined by its borders all around.”
13 Moses commanded the people of Israel, saying, “This is the land that you shall inherit by lot, which the LORD has commanded to give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe. 14 For the tribe of the people of Reuben by fathers’ houses and the tribe of the people of Gad by their fathers’ houses have received their inheritance, and also the half-tribe of Manasseh. 15 The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, toward the sunrise.”
List of Tribal Chiefs16 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “These are the names of the men who shall divide the land to you for inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18 You shall take one chief from every tribe to divide the land for inheritance. 19 These are the names of the men: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 20 Of the tribe of the people of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud. 21 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon. 22 Of the tribe of the people of Dan a chief, Bukki the son of Jogli. 23 Of the people of Joseph: of the tribe of the people of Manasseh a chief, Hanniel the son of Ephod. 24 And of the tribe of the people of Ephraim a chief, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan. 25 Of the tribe of the people of Zebulun a chief, Elizaphan the son of Parnach. 26 Of the tribe of the people of Issachar a chief, Paltiel the son of Azzan. 27 And of the tribe of the people of Asher a chief, Ahihud the son of Shelomi. 28 Of the tribe of the people of Naphtali a chief, Pedahel the son of Ammihud. 29 These are the men whom the LORD commanded to divide the inheritance for the people of Israel in the land of Canaan.”
The Reformation Study Bible
What I'm Reading
A Modest Defense Of The “Liberal World Order”
By George Weigel 2/22/2017Some preliminaries:
I quite agree that the United Nations is a sad, and sometimes malicious, joke. I understand that some people have been the victims of a globalized world economy and that the “Davos people” who run that economy have (like most of the rest of us) paid them too little heed. Fifteen years ago, in The Cube and the Cathedral, I warned that the European Union risked becoming the overbearing bureaucratic Leviathan it is today; and it seemed to me then, as it does now, that the EU’s embrace of a sterile secularism, which accelerated Europe’s detachment from its cultural roots, helped destroy a reverence for particularity and for what Edmund Burke called society’s small platoons.
I get it that the American people are tired of wars, that many Poles and Hungarians don’t want their social policy dictated by Brussels, and that Italians and Greeks are tired of having their pleasures disrupted by steely-eyed German accountants. I agree that NATO member states should stop riding American coattails in their laggardly defense spending. I think a visceral defense of British sovereignty was the primary reason for the Brexit “yes” vote, and I find the contemptuous response to that vote by European Union mandarins a signal that, like the Bourbons, those riding the EU gravy train have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
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George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
Learning in War-Time
By C.S. Lewis
A sermon preached in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford,Autumn, 1939
A University is a society for the pursuit of learning. As students, you will be expected to make yourselves, or to start making yourselves, in to what the Middle Ages called clerks: into philosophers, scientists, scholars, critics, or historians. And at first sight this seems to be an odd thing to do during a great war. What is the use of beginning a task which we have so little chance of finishing? Or, even if we ourselves should happen not to be interrupted by death or military service, why should we -- indeed how can we -- continue to take an interest in these placid occupations when the lives of our friends and the liberties of Europe are in the balance? Is it not like fiddling while Rome burns? This first paragraph resonates strongly with this old guy of 70. It doesn't seem that 'now' is a good time to start anything new. However, almost daily I have to remind myself that this life I live is not mine. It is not about me. Revelation 4:11 is very clear, so I will just take each day as it comes and do the best I can to think what God wants me to think, say what God wants me to say and do what God wants me to do.
Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” ESV
Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” ESV
Now it seems to me that we shall not be able to answer these questions until we have put them by the side of certain other questions which every Christian ought to have asked himself in peace-time. I spoke just now of fiddling while Rome burns. But to a Christian the true tragedy of Nero must be not that he fiddles while the city was on fire but that he fiddles on the brink of hell. You must forgive me for the crude monosyllable. I know that many wiser and better Christians than I in these days do not like to mention heaven and hell even in a pulpit. I know, too, that nearly all the references to this subject in the New Testament come from a single source. But then that source is Our Lord Himself. People will tell you it is St. Paul, but that is untrue. These overwhelming doctrines are dominical. They are not really removable from the teaching of Christ or of His Church. If we do not believe them, our presence in this church is great tomfoolery. If we do, we must sometime overcome our spiritual prudery and mention them. The moment we do so we can see that every Christian who comes to a university must at all times face a question compared with which the questions raised by the war are relatively unimportant. He must ask himself how it is right, or even psychologically possible for creatures who are every moment advancing either to heaven or to hell, to spend any fraction of the little time allowed them in this world on such comparative trivialities as literature or art, mathematics or biology. If human culture can stand up to that, it can stand up to anything. To admit that we can retain our interest in learning under the shadow of these eternal issues, but not under the shadow of a European war, would be to admit that our ears are closed to the voice of reason and very wide open to the voice of our nerves and our mass emotions.
This indeed is the case with most of us, certainly with me. For that reason, I think it important to try to see the present calamity in a true perspective. The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with "normal life". Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of cries, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. Plausible reasons have never been lacking for putting off all merely cultural activities until some imminent danger has been averted or some crying injustice put right. But humanity long ago chose to neglect those plausible reasons. They wanted knowledge and beauty now, and would not wait for the suitable moment that never come. Periclean Athens leaves us not only the Parthenon but, significantly, the Funeral Oration. The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumable they have their reward. Men are different. They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffold, discuss, the last new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature.
But since we are fallen creatures the fact that this is now our nature would not, by itself, prove that it is rational or right. We have to inquire whether there is really any legitimate place for the activities of the scholar in a world such as this. That is, we have always to answer the question: "How can you be so frivolous and selfish as to think about anything but the salvation of human souls?" and we have, at the moment, to answer the additional question, "How can you be so frivolous and selfish as to think of anything but the war?" Now part of our answer will be the same for both questions. The one implies that our life can, and ought, to become exclusively and explicitly religious: the other, that it can and ought to become exclusively national. I believe that our whole life can, and indeed must, become religious in a sense to be explained later. But if it is meant that all our activities are to be of the kind that can be recognized as "sacred" and ties are to be of the kind that can be recognized as "sacred" and opposed to "secular" then I would give a single reply to both my imaginary assailants. I would say, "Whether it ought to happen or not, the thing you are recommending is not going to happen." Before I became a Christian I do not think I fully realized that one's life, after conversion, would inevitably consist in doing most of the same things one had been doing before: one hopes, in a new spirit, but still the same things. Before I went to the last war I certainly expected that my life in the trenches would, in some mysterious sense, be all war. In fact, I found that the nearer you got to the front line the less everyone spoke and thought of the allied cause and the progress of the campaign; and I am pleased to find that Tolstoy, in the greatest war book ever written, records the same thing -- and so, in its own way, does the Iliad. Neither conversion nor enlistment in the army is really going to obliterate our human life. Christians and solders are still men: the infidel's idea of a religious life, and the civilian's idea of active service, are fantastic. If you attempted, in either case, to suspend your whole intellectual and aesthetic activity, you would only succeed in substituting a worse cultural life for a better. You are not, in fact, going to read nothing, either in the Church or in the line: if you don't read good books you will read bad ones. If you don't go on thinking rationally, you will think irrationally. If you reject aesthetic satisfactions you will fall into sensual satisfactions. There is therefore this analogy between the claims of our religion and the claims of the war: neither of them for most of us, will simply cancel or remove from the slate the merely human life which we were leading before we entered them. But they will operate in this way for different reasons. The war will fail to absorb our whole attention because it is a finite object, and therefore intrinsically unfitted to support the whole attention of a human soul. In order to avoid misunderstanding I must here make a few distinctions. I believe our cause to be, as human causes go, very righteous, and I therefore believe it to be a duty to participate in this war. And every duty is a religious duty, and our obligation to perform every duty is therefore absolute. Thus we may have a duty to rescue a drowning man, and perhaps, if we live on a dangerous coast, to learn life-saving so as to be ready for any drowning man when he turns up. It may be our duty to lose our own lives in saving him. But if anyone devoted himself to life-saving in the sense of giving it his total attention --so that he thought and spoke of nothing else and demanded the cessation of all other human activities until everyone had learned to swim -- he would be a monomaniac. The rescue of drowning men is, then a duty worth dying for, but not worth living for. It seems to me that all political duties (among which I include military duties) are of this kind. A man may have to die for our country: but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself. It is for a very different reason that religion cannot occupy the whole of life in the sense of excluding all our natural activities. For, of course, in some sense, it must occupy the whole of life. There is no question of a compromise between the claims of God and the claims of culture, or politics, or anything else. God's claim is infinite and inexorable. You can refuse it: or you can begin to try to grant it. There is no middle way. Yet in spite of this it is clear that Christianity does not exclude any of the ordinary human activities. St. Paul tells people to get on with their jobs. He even assumes that Christians may go to dinner parties, and, what is more, dinner parties given by pagans. Our Lord attends a wedding and provides miraculous wine. Under the aegis of His Church, and in the most Christian ages, learning and the arts flourish. The solution of this paradox is, of course, well know to you. 1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." All our merely natural activities will be accepted, if they are offered to God, even the humblest: and all of them, even the noblest, will be sinful if they are not. Christianity does not simply replace our natural life and substitute a new one: it is rather a new organization which exploits, to its own supernatural ends, these natural materials. No doubt, in a given situation, it demands the surrender of some, or all, our merely human pursuits: it is better to be saved with one eye, than, having two, to be cast into Gehanna. ( Matthew 5:29 ) But it does this, in a sense, per accident -- because, in those special circumstances, it has ceased to be possible to practice this or that activity to the glory of God. There is no essential quarrel between the spiritual life and the human activities as such. Thus the omnipresence of obedience to God in a Christian's life is, in a way, analogous to the omnipresence of God in space. God does not fill space as a body fills it, in the sense that parts of Him are in different parts of space, excluding other object from them. Yet He is everywhere -- totally present at every point of space --according to good theologians.
Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
C.S. Lewis Books | Go to Books Page
Moving Beyond Conflict
By Scot McKnight 2/23/2017
It is important as Christians that we move beyond the either-or thinking that dominates so much of the church, either we believe in evolution or we believe in God. This is a dangerous and false dichotomy. We have been working through Denis Lamoureux’s new book Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes. The sixth and ninth chapter of the book focus on moving beyond the dichotomy, while the seventh and eighth look at Galileo and Darwin.
Denis outlines five broad categories that define most positions on evolution and creation. Three are clearly Christian – young earth creationism, progressive old earth creationism, and evolutionary creation. One clearly is not – dysteleological (atheistic, purposeless) evolution. The final position of deistic evolution is harder to characterize. This position denies the existence of an interactive and personal God, so cannot be claimed as robustly Christian, but does not deny the existence of God or the possibility of purpose in the creation of the universe and of life. Denis classifies this as non-Christian. It is not important that every individual plant a flag firmly in any one of the Christian alternatives. It is also not critical that everyone comes to agree with Denis and me that evolutionary creation is the best alternative. Denis encourages this readers and his students to think through all the issues when forming a view, perhaps mixing and matching elements from different thinkers across the spectrum. In fact he is clear on this:
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Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author or editor of more than fifty books, is the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the USA and abroad. Dr. McKnight obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham (1986) and has been a professor for more than three decades.
Scot McKnight is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for New Testament Studies. He is the author of the award-winning The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others, which won the Christianity Today book of the year for Christian Living. His books include Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us, The Story of the Christ, Praying with the Church: Following Jesus Daily, Hourly, Today, The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus, A Community Called Atonement (Living Theology). He broadened his Jesus Creed project in writing a daily devotional: 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed. His studies in conversion were expanded with his newest book, Finding Faith, Losing Faith: Stories of Conversion and Apostasy, a book he co-authored with his former student Hauna Ondrey. Other books are The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible and Fasting: The Ancient Practices, as well as A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God's Design for Life Together and Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.
McKnight wrote a commentary on James (The Letter of James (The New International Commentary on the New Testament)), a book on discipleship (One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow), and a Jesus Creed book for high school students (with Syler Thomas and Chris Folmsbee) called The Jesus Creed for Students: Loving God, Loving Others. His research on gospel was published in the Fall of 2011 in a book called The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. Along with Joe Modica, McKnight co-edited Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not: Evaluating Empire in New Testament Studies. Also he published an e-book affirming the importance of the doctrine of perseverance in a book called A Long Faithfulness: The Case for Christian Perseverance. His most recent commentary is Sermon on the Mount (The Story of God Bible Commentary). In the Fall of 2015 his book on heaven appeared: The Heaven Promise: Engaging the Bible's Truth About Life to Come, and he has a book appearing in 2017 The Hum of Angels: Listening for the Messengers of God Around Us.
He co-wrote with his daughter a Jesus Creed book for children: Sharing God's Love: The Jesus Creed for Chldren.
McKnight’s current projects is a commentary on Colossians (Eerdmans) as well as a book on the Holy Spirit.
Other books include Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am?: An Investigation of the Accusations Against the Historical Jesus (The Library of New Testament Studies), Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory, Light Among the Gentiles: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period by Scot McKnight (1991-04-02), A New Vision for Israel: The Teachings of Jesus in National Context (Studying the Historical Jesus), Turning to Jesus: The Sociology of Conversion in the Gospels, Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary) and Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary), Interpreting the Synoptic Gospels (Guides to New Testament Exegesis), and he is a co-editor with J.B. Green and I.H. Marshall of the award-winning Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series) as well as the co-editor, with J.D.G. Dunn, The Historical Jesus in Recent Research. He regularly contributes chapter length studies to dictionaries, encyclopedias, books and articles for magazines and online webzines. McKnight’s books have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Portuguese.
Scot McKnight was also ordained by Bishop Todd Hunter to the Diaconate in Churches for the Sake of Others, a segment of Anglican Churches of North America. He and Kris are active in their church, Church of the Redeemer.
McKnight blogs at Jesus Creed.
Scot McKnight was elected into the Hall of Honor at Cornerstone University in honor of his basketball accomplishments during his college career. He and his wife, Kristen, live in Libertyville, Illinois. They enjoy traveling, long walks, gardening, and cooking. They have two adult children, Laura (married to Mark Barringer) and Lukas (married to Annika Nelson), and two grandchildren: Aksel and Finley.
People Who Know the Bible and Christianity Better Than Christians Do
By Tom Gilson 2/23/2017Some people think they know more about the Bible and Christianity than the people who actually study the Bible and practice the Christian religion. “The Bible is about sex, to judge by America’s public discourse. In my lifetime, it has rarely been invoked except in discussions about gay marriage, contraception or abortion,” claims Benjamin Moser, writing last weekend in the New York Times.
“What did the Bible have to say about issue X or issue Y?” The questions are anachronistic, and the answers known in advance, since the people asking them have almost always been those so obsessed with other people’s sex lives — especially when those other people were gay or female — that this seemed to be the whole point of their religion.Churchgoing reader, how many sermons does your pastor or priest preach on sex every year? Would you conclude from your church’s teaching that the Bible is about sex and nothing else? Is your church so “obsessed with other people’s sex lives” that it “seems to be the whole point” of your religion?
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Tom Gilson is a senior editor of The Stream, author of the new 2016 parent-friendly guide to keeping kids in the faith, titled Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens, the chief editor of True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism, and Peter Boghossian, Atheist Tactician: A Preliminary Response To "A Manual For Creating Atheists" the author/host of the Thinking Christian blog.
He lives in southwest Ohio with Sara, his wife, and their two 20-something children. He has received a B.Mus. in Music Education with a specialty in performance from Michigan State University and an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Central Florida. When he’s not writing he loves drinking coffee, canoeing, walking in the woods, and playing his trombones.
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 24The King of Glory
24 A Psalm Of David.
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah
The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come;
Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream (Part 2)
By John Bunyan 1678
THE SECOND STAGECHR. Then said Christiana, So be it: Amen. God made it a true saying upon me, and grant that I may be found at the last of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
INTER. But why standest thou thus at the door? Come in, thou daughter of Abraham; we were talking of thee but now, for tidings have come to us before how thou art become a pilgrim. Come, children, come in; come, maiden, come in. So he had them all into the house.
So when they were within, they were bidden to sit down and rest them; the which when they had done, those that attended upon the pilgrims in the house came into the room to see them. And one smiled, and another smiled, and they all smiled for joy that Christiana was become a pilgrim: They also looked upon the boys; they stroked them over their faces with the hand, in token of their kind reception of them: they also carried it lovingly to Mercy, and bid them all welcome into their Master’s house.
After a while, because supper was not ready, the Interpreter took them into his Significant Rooms, and showed them what Christian, Christiana’s husband, had seen some time before. Here, therefore, they saw the man in the cage, the man and his dream, the man that cut his way through his enemies, and the picture of the biggest of them all, together with the rest of those things that were then so profitable to Christian.
This done, and after those things had been somewhat digested by Christiana and her company, the Interpreter takes them apart again, and has them first into a room where was a man that could look no way but downwards, with a muck-rake in his hand. There stood also one over his head with a celestial crown in his hand, and proffered him that crown for his muck-rake; but the man did neither look up nor regard, but raked to himself the straws, the small sticks, and dust of the floor.
Then said Christiana, I persuade myself that I know somewhat the meaning of this; for this is a figure of a man of this world: is it not, good sir?
INTER. Thou hast said right, said he; and his muck-rake doth show his carnal mind. And whereas thou seest him rather give heed to rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than to do what He says that calls to him from above with the celestial crown in his hand; it is to show, that heaven is but as a fable to some, and that things here are counted the only things substantial. Now, whereas it was also showed thee that the man could look no way but downwards, it is to let thee know that earthly things, when they are with power upon men’s minds, quite carry their hearts away from God.
CHR. Then said Christiana, O deliver me from this muck-rake.
Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me, ESV
INTER. That prayer, said the Interpreter, has lain by till it is almost rusty: “Give me not riches,” is scarce the prayer of one in ten thousand.
Straws, and sticks, and dust, with most, are the great things now looked after.
With that Christiana and Mercy wept, and said, It is, alas! too true.
When the Interpreter had shown them this, he had them into the very best room in the house; a very brave room it was. So he bid them look round about, and see if they could find any thing profitable there. Then they looked round and round; for there was nothing to be seen but a very great spider on the wall, and that they overlooked.
MER. Then said Mercy, Sir, I see nothing; but Christiana held her peace.
INTER. But, said the Interpreter, look again. She therefore looked again, and said, Here is not any thing but an ugly spider, who hangs by her hands upon the wall. Then said he, Is there but one spider in all this spacious room? Then the water stood in Christiana’s eyes, for she was a woman quick of apprehension; and she said, Yea, Lord, there are more here than one; yea, and spiders whose venom is far more destructive than that which is in her. The Interpreter then looked pleasantly on her, and said, Thou hast said the truth. This made Mercy to blush, and the boys to cover their faces; for they all began now to understand the riddle.
Then said the Interpreter again, “The spider taketh hold with her hands,” as you see, “and is in kings’ palaces.”
Proverbs 30:28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces. ESV
And wherefore is this recorded, but to show you, that, how full of the venom of sin so ever you be, yet you may, by the hand of Faith, lay hold of and dwell in the best room that belongs to the King’s house above?
CHR. I thought, said Christiana, of something of this; but I could not imagine it at all. I thought that we were like spiders, and that we looked like ugly creatures, in what fine room soever we were: but that by this spider, that venomous and ill-favored creature, we were to learn how to act faith, that came not into my mind; and yet she had taken hold with her hands, and, as I see, dwelleth in the best room in the house. God has made nothing in vain.
Then they seemed all to be glad; but the water stood in their eyes; yet they looked one upon another, and also bowed before the Interpreter.
He had them into another room, where were a hen and chickens, and bid them observe a while. So one of the chickens went to the trough to drink, and every time she drank she lifted up her head and her eyes towards heaven. See, said he, what this little chick doth, and learn of her to acknowledge whence your mercies come, by receiving them with looking up. Yet again, said he, observe and look: so they gave heed, and perceived that the hen did walk in a fourfold method towards her chickens: 1. She had a common call, and that she hath all the day long. 2. She had a special call, and that she had but sometimes. 3. She had a brooding note.
Matt. 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ESV
And, 4. She had an outcry.
Now, said he, compare this hen to your King and these chickens to his obedient ones; for, answerable to her, he himself hath his methods which he walketh in towards his people. By his common call, he gives nothing; by his special call, he always has something to give; he has also a brooding voice, for them that are under his wing; and he has an outcry, to give the alarm when he seeth the enemy come. I choose, my darlings, to lead you into the room where such things are, because you are women, and they are easy for you.
CHR. And, sir, said Christiana, pray let us see some more. So he had them into the slaughter-house, where was a butcher killing a sheep; and behold, the sheep was quiet, and took her death patiently. Then said the Interpreter, You must learn of this sheep to suffer and to put up with wrongs without murmurings and complaints. Behold how quietly she takes her death, and, without objecting, she suffereth her skin to be pulled over her ears. Your King doth call you his sheep.
After this he led them into his garden, where was great variety of flowers; and he, said, Do you see all these? So Christiana said, Yes. Then said he again, Behold, the flowers are diverse in stature, in quality, and color, and smell, and virtue; and some are better than others; also, where the gardener has set them, there they stand, and quarrel not one with another.
Again, he had them into his field, which he had sown with wheat and corn: but when they beheld, the tops of all were cut off, and only the straw remained. He said again, This ground was dunged, and ploughed, and sowed, but what shall we do with the crop? Then said Christiana, Burn some, and make muck of the rest. Then said the Interpreter again, Fruit, you see, is that thing you look for; and for want of that you condemn it to the fire, and to be trodden under foot of men: beware that in this you condemn not yourselves.
Then, as they were coming in from abroad, they espied a little robin with a great spider in his mouth. So the Interpreter said, Look here. So they looked, and Mercy wondered, but Christiana said, What a disparagement is it to such a pretty little bird as the robin-red-breast; he being also a bird above many, that loveth to maintain a kind of sociableness with men! I had thought they had lived upon crumbs of bread, or upon other such harmless matter: I like him worse than I did.
The Interpreter then replied, This robin is an emblem, very apt to set forth some professors by; for to sight they are, as this robin, pretty of note, color, and carriage. They seem also to have a very great love for professors that are sincere; and, above all others, to desire to associate with them, and to be in their company, as if they could live upon the good man’s crumbs. They pretend also, that therefore it is that they frequent the house of the godly, and the appointments of the Lord: but when they are by themselves, as the robin, they can catch and gobble up spiders; they can change their diet, drink iniquity, and swallow down sin like water.
So, when they were come again into the house, because supper as yet was not ready, Christiana again desired that the Interpreter would either show or tell some other things that are profitable.
Then the Interpreter began, and said, The fatter the sow is, the more she desires the mire; the fatter the ox is, the more gamesomely he goes to the slaughter; and the more healthy the lustful man is, the more prone he is unto evil. There is a desire in women to go neat and find; and it is a comely thing to be adorned with that which in God’s sight is of great price. ’T is easier watching a night or two, than to sit up a whole year together: so ’t is easier for one to begin to profess well, than to hold out as he should to the end. Every shipmaster, when in a storm, will willingly cast that overboard which is of the smallest value in the vessel; but who will throw the best out first? None but he that feareth not God. One leak will sink a ship, and one sin will destroy a sinner. He that forgets his friend is ungrateful unto him; but he that forgets his Saviour is unmerciful to himself. He that lives in sin, and looks for happiness hereafter, is like him that soweth cockle, and thinks to fill his barn with wheat or barley. If a man would live well, let him fetch his last day to him, and make it always his company-keeper. Whispering, and change of thoughts, prove that sin is in the world. If the world, which God sets light by, is counted a thing of that worth with men, what is heaven, that God commendeth? If the life that is attended with so many troubles, is so loth to be let go by us, what is the life above? Every body will cry up the goodness of men; but who is there that is, as he should be, affected with the goodness of God? We seldom sit down to meat, but we eat, and leave. So there is in Jesus Christ more merit and righteousness than the whole world has need of.
When the Interpreter had done, he takes them out into his garden again, and had them to a tree whose inside was all rotten and gone, and yet it grew and had leaves. Then said Mercy, What means this? This tree, said he, whose outside is fair, and whose inside is rotten, is that to which many may be compared that are in the garden of God; who with their mouths speak high in behalf of God, but indeed will do nothing for him; whose leaves are fair, but their heart good for nothing but to be tinder for the devil’s tinder-box.
Now supper was ready, the table spread, and all things set on the board: so they sat down, and did eat, when one had given thanks. And the Interpreter did usually entertain those that lodged with him with music at meals; so the minstrels played. There was also one that did sing, and a very fine voice he had. His song was this:
“The Lord is only my support,
And he that doth me feed;
How can I then want any thing
Whereof I stand in need?”
No Time To Text
By Richard S. AdamsA young girl drowned in an Oregon river recently. It hurt to watch the father pour out his heart on television. The news of another person drowning seems less frequent than gang violence, but if it’s your family member or someone you know, really know … then it is a tragedy. I believe God would have us sorrow over the loss of anyone; family, friend, even strangers.
Do you think our status in the world; whether we are a celebrated athlete, notorious politician or glamorous Hollywood star, mean much to God? Our humanity, our relationship with God, and just as importantly, our relationships with one another, are precious in God’s economy.
Though we appear to be more connected than ever, in many ways the preciousness of life, other than our own, seems to be slipping into the shadows. The loss of a child, however, still grips our hearts as we think of our own children and grandchildren, but the victims of crime, those lost in auto accidents, fire, drowning, whatever, are too soon forgotten. We draw back from the terror and cruelty of Isis, while we murder millions of unborn babies each year. We grow colder and colder, insulated by the technology and pornography that envelopes us. One less so called friend on Facebook is quickly replaced. In Trek-speak, shouldn’t there be more than an acknowledgement that there is a loss in the force?
It is no secret, no mystery that busyness erodes what makes us human, compassion. We avoid the real sorrow of our soul by too often indulging in empty laughter, when we have good reason to cry. We do need to keep our emotional and spiritual balance, neither surrendering ourselves completely to pain and sorrow, nor numbing our consciences in busyness for vanity’s sake. Keeping our balance does not mean refusing to take on the pain and sorrow of others, or avoiding the exhilaration of joy. Not only is there a time and place for both, but an honest measure is needed as well.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
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.
- Feb 5 Prosperity and the Camp Fire
- Feb 7 Job 6:14-23
- Feb 10 Spontaneous Generation
- Feb 14 Hindsight
- Feb 18 The Cure For Despair
- Feb 22 RE: Job's Friends
- Feb 23 Job 23:14
- Feb 25 No Time To Text
- Mar 5 Polemics and Caricature
- Apr 20 Death and My Master's Voice
- May 10 Ruth | Relationships
- June 18 Lincoln City 6/2/18
- July 14 Tom - Gen & Revelation
- July 15 Knowledge and World Peace
- July 16 The Church as Lobbyist
- Aug 3 Have You Noticed
- Nov 27 The Way The World Is
- Nov 30 The Renewal Of Israel
- Dec 11 Open Door
- Dec 20 Replacement Theology
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
OF FAITH. THE DEFINITION OF IT. ITS PECULIAR PROPERTIES.
This chapter consists of three principal parts.--I. A brief explanation of certain matters pertaining to the doctrine of Faith, sec. 1-14. First, of the object of faith, sec. 1. Second, of Implicit Faith, sec. 2-6. Third, Definition of Faith, sec. 7. Fourth, the various meanings of the term Faith, sec. 8-13. II. A full exposition of the definition given in the seventh section, sec. 14-40. III. A brief confirmation of the definition by the authority of an Apostle. The mutual relation between faith, hope, and charity, sec. 41-43.
1. A brief recapitulation of the leading points of the whole discussion. The scope of this chapter. The necessity of the doctrine of faith. This doctrine obscured by the Schoolmen, who make God the object of faith, without referring to Christ. The Schoolmen refuted by various passages.
2. The dogma of implicit faith refuted. It destroys faith, which consists in a knowledge of the divine will. What this will is, and how necessary the knowledge of it.
3. Many things are and will continue to be implicitly believed. Faith, however, consists in the knowledge of God and Christ, not in a reverence for the Church. Another refutation from the absurdities to which this dogma leads.
4. In what sense our faith may be said to be implicit. Examples in the Apostles, in the holy women, and in all believers.
5. In some, faith is implicit, as being a preparation for faith. This, however, widely different from the implicit faith of the Schoolmen.
6. The word of God has a similar relation to faith, the word being, as it were, the source and basis of faith, and the mirror in which it beholds God. Confirmation from various passages of Scripture. Without the knowledge of the word there can be no faith. Sum of the discussion of the Scholastic doctrine of implicit faith.
7. What faith properly has respect to in the word of God, namely, the promise of grace offered in Christ, provided it be embraced with faith. Proper definition of faith.
8. Scholastic distinction between faith formed and unformed, refuted by a consideration of the nature of faith, which, as the gift of the Spirit, cannot possibly be disjoined from pious affection.
9. Objection from a passage of Paul. Answer to it. Error of the Schoolmen in giving only one meaning to faith, whereas it has many meanings. The testimony of faith improperly ascribed to two classes of men.
10. View to be taken of this. Who those are that believe for a time. The faith of hypocrites. With whom they may be compared.
11. Why faith attributed to the reprobate. Objection. Answer. What perception of grace in the reprobate. How the elect are distinguished from the reprobate.
12. Why faith is temporary in the reprobate, firm and perpetual in the elect. Reason in the case of the reprobate. Example. Why God is angry with his children. In what sense many are said to fall from faith.
13. Various meanings of the term faith. 1. Taken for soundness in the faith. 2. Sometimes restricted to a particular object. 3. Signifies the ministry or testimony by which we are instructed in the faith.
14. Definition of faith explained under six principal heads. 1. What meant by Knowledge in the definition.
15. Why this knowledge must be sure and firm. Reason drawn from the consideration of our weakness. Another reason from the certainty of the promises of God.
16. The leading point in this certainty. Its fruits. A description of the true believer.
17. An objection to this certainty. Answer. Confirmation of the answer from the example of David. This enlarged upon from the opposite example of Ahab. Also from the uniform experience and the prayers of believers.
18. For this reason the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit in the soul of the believer described. The issue of this conflict, the victory of faith.
19. On the whole, the faith of the elect certain and indubitable. Conformation from analogy.
20. Another confirmation from the testimony of an Apostle, making it apparent, that, though the faith of the elect is as yet imperfect, it is nevertheless firm and sure.
21. A fuller explanation of the nature of faith. 1. When the believer is shaken with fear, he retakes himself to the bosom of a merciful God. 2. He does not even shun God when angry, but hopes in him. 3. He does not suffer unbelief to reign in his heart. 4. He opposes unbelief, and is never finally lost. 5. Faith, however often assailed, at length comes off victorious.
22. Another species of fear, arising from a consideration of the judgment of God against the wicked. This also faith overcomes. Examples of this description, placed before the eyes of believers, repress presumption, and fix their faith in God.
23. Nothing contrary to this in the exhortation of the Apostle to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Fear and faith mutually connected. Confirmation from the words of a Prophet.
24. This doctrine gives no countenance to the error of those who dream of a confidence mingled with incredulity. Refutation of this error, from a consideration of the dignity of Christ dwelling in us. The argument retorted. Refutation confirmed by the authority of an Apostle. What we ought to hold on this question.
25. Confirmation of the preceding conclusion by a passage from Bernard.
26. True fear caused in two ways--viz. when we are required to reverence God as a Father, and also to fear him as Lord.
27. Objection from a passage in the Apostle John. Answer founded on the distinction between filial and servile fear.
28. How faith is said to have respect to the divine benevolence. What comprehended under this benevolence. Confirmation from David and Paul.
29. Of the Free Promise which is the foundation of Faith. Reason. Confirmation.
30. Faith not divided in thus seeking a Free Promise in the Gospel. Reason. Conclusion confirmed by another reason.
31. The word of God the prop and root of faith. The word attests the divine goodness and mercy. In what sense faith has respect to the power of God. Various passages of Isaiah, inviting the godly to behold the power of God, explained. Other passages from David. We must beware of going beyond the limits prescribed by the word, lest false zeal lead us astray, as it did Sarah, Rebekah, and Isaac. In this way faith is obscured, though not extinguished. We must not depart one iota from the word of God.
32. All the promises included in Christ. Two objections answered. A third objection drawn from example. Answer explaining the faith of Naaman, Cornelius, and the Eunuch.
33. Faith revealed to our minds, and sealed on our hearts, by the Holy Spirit. 1. The mind is purified so as to have a relish for divine truth. 2. The mind is thus established in the truth by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
34. Proof of the former. 1. By reason. 2. By Scripture. 3. By example. 4. By analogy.
35. 5. By the excellent qualities of faith. 6. By a celebrated passage from Augustine.
36. Proof of the latter by the argument a minore ad majus. Why the Spirit is called a seal, an earnest, and the Spirit of promise.
37. Believers sometimes shaken, but not so as to perish finally. They ultimately overcome their trials, and remain steadfast. Proofs from Scripture.
38. Objection of the Schoolmen. Answer. Attempt to support the objection by a passage in Ecclesiastes. Answer, explaining the meaning of the passage.
39. Another objection, charging the elect in Christ with rashness and presumption. Answer. Answer confirmed by various passages from the Apostle Paul. Also from John and Isaiah.
40. A third objection, impugning the final perseverance of the elect. Answer by an Apostle. Summary of the refutation.
41. The definition of faith accords with that given by the Apostle in the Hebrews. Explanation of this definition. Refutation of the scholastic error, that charity is prior to faith and hope.
42. Hope the inseparable attendant of true faith. Reason. Connection between faith and hope. Mutually support each other. Obvious from the various forms of temptation, that the aid of hope necessary to establish faith.
43. The terms faith and hope sometimes confounded. Refutation of the Schoolmen, who attribute a twofold foundation to hope--viz. the grace of God and the merit of works.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Strengthen your faith (3)
2/25/2018 Bob Gass
‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.’
(Ps 56:3) When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. ESV
Faith is like a muscle; trouble may strain it, but in the end it grows stronger. David understood this truth. He was continually hounded by his enemies. Even as he was being anointed to sit on the throne of Israel, Saul was still occupying it. But instead of losing faith in God’s promise, David declared that ‘the Lord has chosen everyone who is faithful to be his very own, and he answers my prayers’ (Psalm 4:3 CEV). When the Philistines captured him, he prayed, ‘There are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You’ (Psalm 56:2-3 NKJV). When he ended up in a cave fleeing from Saul’s jealous rage, he said, ‘I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until this…is past’ (Psalm 57:1 TLB). During the third century when St Felix of Nola was running from his enemies, he took refuge in a cave. Eventually a spider began to weave a web across the small opening, sealing it off and making it look like nobody had been inside for months. Consequently, his pursuers passed by. Stepping out into the sunshine, Felix declared, ‘Where God is, a spider’s web is a wall. And where God is not, a wall is a spider’s web.’ Jesus said you’d have problems in life; people will disappoint you, and you’ll even disappoint yourself. Sometimes you’ll end up in a cave because of something you did, or because of circumstances over which you have no control. But with God on your side, you can say, ‘Whenever I’m afraid, I will trust in You.’
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
“Our institutions of freedom will not survive unless they are constantly replenished by the faith that gave them birth” stated Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who was born this day, February 25, 1888. A graduate of Princeton, he helped negotiate the Peace Treaty with Japan after World War II and served as U.S. Ambassador to the UN. John Dulles remarked: “Man has his origins and… destiny in God…. Our institutions reflect the belief… that all men were endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights…. that human institutions ought… to help men develop their God-given possibilities.”
Thomas R. Kelly
Frequency of personal contact in this Fellowship is not imperative, although desirable. Weeks and months and even years may elapse, yet the reality remains undimmed. Conversations within the Fellowship gravitate toward Him who is dearer than life itself. Yet the degree of self-disclosure which we are given to make to others is variable with time and place and person. And never is it complete. For as it nears completeness, words no longer help, but hinder, and the final pooling of joy and love in Him is accomplished in the silences of the Eternal.
All friendships short of this are incomplete. All personal relations which lie only in time are open-ended and unfinished, to the soul who walks in holy obedience. Can we make all our relations to our fellows relations which pass through Him? Our relations to the conductor on a trolley? Our relations to the clerk who serves us in a store? How far is the world from such an ideal! How far is Christian practice from such an expectation! Yet we, from our end of the relationship, can send out the Eternal Love in silent, searching hope, and meet each person with a background of eternal expectation and a silent, wordless prayer of love. For until the life of men in time is, in every relation, shot through with Eternity, the Blessed Community is not complete.
There is an experience of the Eternal breaking into time, which transforms all life into a miracle of faith and action. Unspeakable, profound, and full of glory as an inward experience, it is the root of concern for all creation, the true ground of social endeavor. This inward Life and the outward Concern are truly one whole, and, were it possible, ought to be described simultaneously. But linear sequence and succession of words is our inevitable lot and compels us to treat separately what is not separate: first, the Eternal Now and the Temporal Now, and second, the Nature and Ground of Social Concern.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
The complete life is the life of a child.
When I am consciously conscious,
there is something wrong.
It is the sick man who knows what health is.
--- Oswald Chambers
OS Guinness quoting Oswald Chambers
“Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
“The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him …
The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God,
not a call to do something for Him.”
--- OS Guinness
“Nothing is that which rocks dream about.”
Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.
--- John Stuart Mill
... from here, there and everywhere
University of Virginia Library 1994
Twenty-ninth fifth month. -- At the house where I lodged was a meeting of ministers and elders. I found an engagement to speak freely and plainly to them concerning their slaves; mentioning how they as the first rank in the society, whose conduct in that case was much noticed by others, were under the stronger obligations to look carefully to themselves. Expressing how needful it was for them in that situation to be thoroughly divested of all selfish views; that, living in the pure truth, and acting conscientiously towards those people in their education and otherwise, they might be instrumental in helping forward a work so exceedingly necessary, and so much neglected amongst them. At the twelfth hour the meeting of worship began, which was a solid meeting.
The next day, about the tenth hour, Friends met to finish their business, and then the meeting for worship ensued, which to me was a laborious time; but through the goodness of the Lord, truth, I believed, gained some ground, and it was a strengthening opportunity to the honest-hearted.
About this time I wrote an epistle to Friends in the back settlements of North Carolina, as follows: --
TO FRIENDSAT THEIR MONTHLY MEETINGAT NEW GARDENAND CANE CREEK,IN NORTH CAROLINA: --
DEAR FRIENDS, -- It having pleased the Lord to draw me forth on a visit to some parts of Virginia and Carolina, you have often been in my mind; and though my way is not clear to come in person to visit you, yet I feel it in my heart to communicate a few things, as they arise in the love of truth. First, my dear friends, dwell in humility; and take heed that no views of outward gain get too deep hold of you, that so your eyes being single to the Lord, you may be preserved in the way of safety. Where people let loose their minds after the love of outward things, and are more engaged in pursuing the profits and seeking the friendships of this world than to be inwardly acquainted with the way of true peace, they walk in a vain shadow, while the true comfort of life is wanting. Their examples are often hurtful to others; and their treasures thus collected do many times prove dangerous snares to their children.
But where people are sincerely devoted to follow Christ, and dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, their stability and firmness, through a Divine blessing, is at times like dew on the tender plants round about them, and the weightiness of their spirits secretly works on the minds of others. In this condition, through the spreading influence of Divine love, they feel a care over the flock, and way is opened for maintaining good order in the Society. And though we may meet with opposition from another spirit, yet, as there is a dwelling in meekness, feeling our spirits subject, and moving only in the gentle, peaceable wisdom, the inward reward of quietness will be greater than all our difficulties. Where the pure life is kept to, and meetings of discipline are held in the authority of it, we find by experience that they are comfortable, and tend to the health of the body.
While I write, the youth come fresh in my way. Dear young people, choose God for your love his truth, and be not ashamed of it; choose for your company such as serve him in uprightness; and shun as most dangerous the conversation of those whose lives are of an ill savor; for by frequenting such company some hopeful young people have come to great loss, and been drawn from less evils to greater, to their utter ruin. In the bloom of youth no ornament is so lovely as that of virtue, nor any enjoyments equal to those which we partake of in fully resigning ourselves to the Divine will. These enjoyments add sweetness to all other comforts, and give true satisfaction in company and conversation, where people are mutually acquainted with it; and as your minds are thus seasoned with the truth, you will find strength to abide steadfast to the testimony of it, and be prepared for services in the church.
And now, dear friends and brethren, as you are improving a wilderness, and may be numbered amongst the first planters in one part of a province, I beseech you, in the love of Jesus Christ, wisely to consider the force of your examples, and think how much your successors may be thereby affected. It is a help in a country, yea, and a great favor and blessing, when customs first settled are agreeable to sound wisdom; but when they are otherwise the effect of them is grievous; and children feel themselves encompassed with difficulties prepared for them by their predecessors.
As moderate care and exercise, under the direction of true wisdom, are useful both to mind and body, so by these means in general the real wants of life are easily supplied, our gracious Father having so proportioned one to the other that keeping in the medium we may pass on quietly. Where slaves are purchased to do our labor numerous difficulties attend it. To rational creatures bondage is uneasy, and frequently occasions sourness and discontent in them; which affects the family and such as claim the mastery over them. Thus people and their children are many times encompassed with vexations, which arise from their applying to wrong methods to get a living.
I have been informed that there is a large number of Friends in your parts who have no slaves; and in tender and most affectionate love I beseech you to keep clear from purchasing any. Look, my dear friends, to Divine Providence, and follow in simplicity that exercise of body, that plainness and frugality, which true wisdom leads to; so may you be preserved from those dangers which attend such as are aiming at outward ease and greatness.
Treasures, though small, attained on a true principle of virtue, are sweet; and while we walk in the light of the Lord there is true comfort and satisfaction in the possession; neither the murmurs of an oppressed people, nor a throbbing, uneasy conscience, nor anxious thoughts about the events of things, hinder the enjoyment of them.
When we look towards the end of life, and think on the division of our substance among our successors, if we know that it was collected in the fear of the Lord, in honesty, in equity, and in uprightness of heart before him, we may consider it as his gift to us, and with a single eye to his blessing, bestow it on those we leave behind us. Such is the happiness of the plain ways of true virtue. "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." (Isa. xxxii. 17.)
Dwell here, my dear friends; and then in remote and solitary deserts you may find true peace and satisfaction. If the Lord be our God, in truth and reality, there is safety for us: for he is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and knoweth them that trust in him.
John Woolman's Journal
by D.H. Stern
but the wickedness of the wicked makes them fall.
6 The righteousness of the upright rescues them,
but the treacherous are trapped by their own intrigues.
7 When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes;
what he hopes for from evil comes to nothing.
8 The righteous is delivered from trouble,
and the wicked comes to take his place.
9 With his mouth the hypocrite can ruin his neighbor,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
and when the wicked perish, there is joy.
11 By the blessing of the upright, a city is raised up;
but the words of the wicked tear it down.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The destitution of service
Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. --- 2 Cor. 12:15.
Natural love expects some return, but Paul says—‘I do not care whether you love me or not, I am willing to destitute myself completely, not merely for your sakes, but that I may get you to God.’ “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor.” Paul’s idea of service is exactly along that line—‘I do not care with what extravagance I spend myself, and I will do it gladly.’ It was a joyful thing to Paul.
The ecclesiastical idea of a servant of God is not Jesus Christ’s idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of other men. Jesus Christ out-socialists the socialists. He says that in His Kingdom he that is greatest shall be the servant of all. The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples’ feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men, but count everything in the estimate of God. Paul delighted to spend himself out for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. We come in with our economical notions—‘Suppose God wants me to go there—what about the salary? What about the climate? How shall I be looked after? A man must consider these things.’ All that is an indication that we are serving God with a reserve. The apostle Paul had no reserve. Paul focuses Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint in his life, viz.: not one who proclaims the Gospel merely, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives.
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
What is the Christmas without
snow? We need it
as bread of a cold
climate, ermine to trim
our sins with, a brief
sleeve for charity's
scarecrow to wear its heart
on, bold as a robin.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
The failure of Israel at Sinai demonstrated graphically that even a redeemed people constantly need God. The failure of the people prepared them to sense that need and to see the importance of the tabernacle. In each detail, the tabernacle spoke of God’s provision for His people. In each detail the people could discover another dimension of what God’s presence with them would mean.
The chapters here may seem to be merely a repetition of what has already been written in Exodus 25–27. But they are more than that. The story of the building of the tabernacle points up the fact that what God has provided for us must be appropriated. We must build into the very fabric of our lives all that God says He has given us in Christ.
It is doubtful if Israel understood all that the tabernacle and furnishings promised. Only in the light of God’s full revelation in Christ do we begin to see.
But while the tabernacle pictures for us the realities we can experience in Christ, the tabernacle also had a practical message for Israel.
Israel had sinned, and failed to meet the standard God’s holiness imposed. Aware of failure, the people of God must have finally crouched in shame, wondering how they could ever be restored again to relationship with their God. And wondering too how they could ever find strength to live as a people whose holiness must in some sense approach the Lord’s.
At this point in time, when the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments in mourning for their sin (33:6), God had His remedy ready. Again the commandments were repeated (chap. 34), and then all Israel was invited to bring their offerings, to construct a tabernacle in which God might dwell.
The presence of God within Israel’s camp, and the promise of that presence—reflected in every aspect of the tabernacle and its furnishings—was the divine answer to man’s need. A redeemed Israel would continue to be in daily need of God. But God would be there, available, and able.
This is, of course, the great message of God to you and me today. We too continually need God. We too fail and fall short. That first moment of salvation is but the beginning of a long process of transformation. For our daily walk along that way there is only one possible source of help: God, present within us.
He alone can meet our every need.
Lessons for Everyday Living
One of the most puzzling aspects of the Talmud is the way the Rabbis read, quote, and use the Bible. Take, as an example, what they do with this sensual verse from the Song of Songs:
“Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, browsing among the lilies.” (4:5) These are Moses and Aaron. For just as a woman’s breasts are filled with milk, so too Moses and Aaron sustained Israel through the Torah. (Midrash Song of Songs Rabbah 4:5)
What are we to make of this strange interpretation? Did the Rabbis believe that this erotic description of a woman’s body was really talking about two old men who taught the people Torah? If they did, how are we to take them seriously? Or did they merely twist and manipulate the sacred words of the Bible to suit their own purposes? If they did that, how can we have respect for them?
The Rabbis believed that the Bible was to be read in two very different ways, P’shat and D’rash. P’shat referred to the simple, contextual meaning of the passage. In the above example, the P’shat would be a man poetically describing the physical attributes of his beloved. However, read this way, the meaning of the Bible was limited and finite. In order for the Bible to serve as a source of inspiration, future generations would need to be able to turn to it and find in it answers to their own particular questions. The method that gave the Bible this elasticity was Midrash. The belief was that God had sown the seeds of future interpretations into the written text. It was the task of the Rabbis to cultivate the text so that it would flourish and produce a bountiful harvest of spiritual nourishment throughout history. (Some saw the Rabbis as merely uncovering what God had put there; others understood that the creative genius of the Rabbis played a large part in the process.) A D’rash, or creative reading and application of a sacred text (from the same Hebrew root as Midrash), is at the very heart of what the Talmud is about: Breathing life into our tradition so that it speaks to each and every generation.
Thomas A Kempis
Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul
The Twenty-Fifth Chapter / Zeal In Amending Our Lives
BE WATCHFUL and diligent in God’s service and often think of why you left the world and came here. Was it not that you might live for God and become a spiritual man? Strive earnestly for perfection, then, because in a short time you will receive the reward of your labor, and neither fear nor sorrow shall come upon you at the hour of death.
Labor a little now, and soon you shall find great rest, in truth, eternal joy; for if you continue faithful and diligent in doing, God will undoubtedly be faithful and generous in rewarding. Continue to have reasonable hope of gaining salvation, but do not act as though you were certain of it lest you grow indolent and proud.
One day when a certain man who wavered often and anxiously between hope and fear was struck with sadness, he knelt in humble prayer before the altar of a church. While meditating on these things, he said: “Oh if I but knew whether I should persevere to the end!” Instantly he heard within the divine answer: “If you knew this, what would you do? Do now what you would do then and you will be quite secure.” Immediately consoled and comforted, he resigned himself to the divine will and the anxious uncertainty ceased. His curiosity no longer sought to know what the future held for him, and he tried instead to find the perfect, the acceptable will of God in the beginning and end of every good work.
“Trust thou in the Lord and do good,” says the Prophet; “dwell in the land and thou shalt feed on its riches.” (Psalm 36:3)
There is one thing that keeps many from zealously improving their lives, that is, dread of the difficulty, the toil of battle. Certainly they who try bravely to overcome the most difficult and unpleasant obstacles far outstrip others in the pursuit of virtue. A man makes the most progress and merits the most grace precisely in those matters wherein he gains the greatest victories over self and most mortifies his will. True, each one has his own difficulties to meet and conquer, but a diligent and sincere man will make greater progress even though he have more passions than one who is more even-tempered but less concerned about virtue.
Two things particularly further improvement—to withdraw oneself forcibly from those vices to which nature is viciously inclined, and to work fervently for those graces which are most needed.
Study also to guard against and to overcome the faults which in others very frequently displease you. Make the best of every opportunity, so that if you see or hear good example you may be moved to imitate it. On the other hand, take care lest you be guilty of those things which you consider reprehensible, or if you have ever been guilty of them, try to correct yourself as soon as possible. As you see others, so they see you.
How pleasant and sweet to behold brethren fervent and devout, well mannered and disciplined! How sad and painful to see them wandering in dissolution, not practicing the things to which they are called! How hurtful it is to neglect the purpose of their vocation and to attend to what is not their business!
Remember the purpose you have undertaken, and keep in mind the image of the Crucified. Even though you may have walked for many years on the pathway to God, you may well be ashamed if, with the image of Christ before you, you do not try to make yourself still more like Him.
The religious who concerns himself intently and devoutly with our Lord’s most holy life and passion will find there an abundance of all things useful and necessary for him. He need not seek for anything better than Jesus.
If the Crucified should come to our hearts, how quickly and abundantly we would learn!
A fervent religious accepts all the things that are commanded him and does them well, but a negligent and lukewarm religious has trial upon trial, and suffers anguish from every side because he has no consolation within and is forbidden to seek it from without. The religious who does not live up to his rule exposes himself to dreadful ruin, and he who wishes to be more free and untrammeled will always be in trouble, for something or other will always displease him.
How do so many other religious who are confined in cloistered discipline get along? They seldom go out, they live in contemplation, their food is poor, their clothing coarse, they work hard, they speak but little, keep long vigils, rise early, pray much, read frequently, and subject themselves to all sorts of discipline. Think of the Carthusians and the Cistercians, the monks and nuns of different orders, how every night they rise to sing praise to the Lord. It would be a shame if you should grow lazy in such holy service when so many religious have already begun to rejoice in God.
If there were nothing else to do but praise the Lord God with all your heart and voice, if you had never to eat, or drink, or sleep, but could praise God always and occupy yourself solely with spiritual pursuits, how much happier you would be than you are now, a slave to every necessity of the body! Would that there were no such needs, but only the spiritual refreshments of the soul which, sad to say, we taste too seldom!
When a man reaches a point where he seeks no solace from any creature, then he begins to relish God perfectly. Then also he will be content no matter what may happen to him. He will neither rejoice over great things nor grieve over small ones, but will place himself entirely and confidently in the hands of God, Who for him is all in all, to Whom nothing ever perishes or dies, for Whom all things live, and Whom they serve as He desires.
Always remember your end and do not forget that lost time never returns. Without care and diligence you will never acquire virtue. When you begin to grow lukewarm, you are falling into the beginning of evil; but if you give yourself to fervor, you will find peace and will experience less hardship because of God’s grace and the love of virtue.
A fervent and diligent man is ready for all things. It is greater work to resist vices and passions than to sweat in physical toil. He who does not overcome small faults, shall fall little by little into greater ones.
If you have spent the day profitably, you will always be happy at eventide. Watch over yourself, arouse yourself, warn yourself, and regardless of what becomes of others, do not neglect yourself. The more violence you do to yourself, the more progress you will make.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good;… and enjoy safe pasture.
--- Psalm 37:1–3.
Do not envy [evil men]. (Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse of Delight in Prayer,” ed. William Symington, Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings at www.puritansermons.com, accessed Aug. 20, 2001.) Do not be troubled at their prosperity.
Do not imitate them. Do not by their happiness be provoked to practice the same wickedness to arrive to the same prosperity.
Do not be not sinfully impatient and do not quarrel with God because he has not allowed you the same measures of prosperity. Do not accuse him of injustice and cruelty because he afflicts the good and is indulgent to the wicked. Leave him to dispense his blessings according to his own mind.
Do not condemn the way of piety and religion. Do not think the worse of your profession because it is attended with affliction. The happiness [of the wicked] has no stability. It has, like grass, more of color and show than strength and substance. Grass nods this way and that with every wind. The mouth of a beast may pull it up, or the foot of a beast may tread it down; the scorching sun in summer or the fainting sun in winter will deface its complexion.
[Rather, have] faith. Trust in the Lord. This is a grace most fit to quell such impatience. The stronger the faith, the weaker the passion. Impatient motions are signs of a flagging faith. Many times people are ready to cast off their help in Jehovah and address to the God of Ekron multitudes of friends or riches. But trust in the Lord, in the promises of God, in the providence of God.
Obedience. Do good. Trust in God’s promises and observance of his precepts must be linked together. It is but a pretended trust in God where there is a walking in the paths of wickedness. Let not the glitter of the world render you faint and feeble in a course of piety.
The keeping our station. Do good. Because the wicked flourish, do not therefore hide in a corner, but keep your sphere, run your race. “And enjoy safe pasture.” Because people delight in that in which they trust, [turn] from all other objects of delight to God as the true object. “Delight yourself in the LORD”; place all your pleasure and joy in him. Trust is the spring of joy and of supplication. When we trust him for sustenance and preservation, we will receive them; so when we delight in seeking him, we will be answered by him.
--- Stephen Charnock
Doused with Brandy
“If all the world were like us,” wrote a humble hatmaker, “there would be no war.” Those simple words cost Jacob Hutter his life.
Hutter was among the first Anabaptists. The term Anabaptism means to baptize again, originally a term of contempt used by opponents, referring to the Anabaptist belief that state-sponsored baptism of infants was unscriptural. The movement had its beginnings when those impatient with the pace of Zwingli’s reformation in Zurich separated from the state church and baptized themselves on January 21, 1525. Persecuted by both Catholics and Reformers, many of them fled to Moravia (in modern Czechoslovakia) where government officials seemed more tolerant. They lived in communes, and Jacob Hutter was attracted to their cause.
Hutter was a hatter. His scant education in Prague had been in the trade of hatmaking, and he traveled widely making and selling hats until he had come in contact with Moravian Anabaptists and eventually became their leader. But in 1536 King Ferdinand I ordered the Moravian Anabaptists from homes and communes into the open fields where they lived under the sky and in caves. Hutter appealed to the governor: Now we are camping on the heath. We do not want to wrong any human being, not even our worst enemy. Whoever says that we have camped on a field with so many thousands, as if we wanted war or the like, talks like a liar and a rascal. If all the world were like us there would be no war. We can go nowhere. May God himself show us where to go.
Hutter’s letter so inflamed the authorities that he and his pregnant wife were captured and taken to a nearby fortress. For three months, Hutter was tortured with rack, whip, and freezing water. He refused to recant, and on this day, February 25, 1536, he was tied to a stake, doused with brandy, and set on fire. He was about 36. After Hutter’s death, his followers, calling themselves by his name, began spreading their faith. Eighty percent of all Hutterite missionaries died a martyr’s death, but today groups of Hutterites still live in pockets of Europe and in several western states in America.
I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves. Watch out for people who will take you to court and have you beaten in their meeting places. Because of me, you will be dragged before rulers and kings to tell them and the Gentiles about your faith.
--- Matthew 10:16-18.
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - February 25
“The wrath to come.” --- Matthew 3:7.
It is pleasant to pass over a country after a storm has spent itself; to smell the freshness of the herbs after the rain has passed away, and to note the drops while they glisten like purest diamonds in the sunlight. That is the position of a Christian. He is going through a land where the storm has spent itself upon his Saviour’s head, and if there be a few drops of sorrow falling, they distil from clouds of mercy, and Jesus cheers him by the assurance that they are not for his destruction. But how terrible is it to witness the approach of a tempest: to note the forewarnings of the storm; to mark the birds of heaven as they droop their wings; to see the cattle as they lay their heads low in terror; to discern the face of the sky as it groweth black, and look to the sun which shineth not, and the heavens which are angry and frowning! How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane—such as occurs, sometimes, in the tropics—to wait in terrible apprehension till the wind shall rush forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling-places of man! And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot drops have as yet fallen, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery. As yet the water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the flood-gates shall soon be opened: the thunderbolts of God are yet in his storehouse, but lo! the tempest hastens, and how awful shall that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury! Where, where, where, O sinner, wilt thou hide thy head, or whither wilt thou flee? O that the hand of mercy may now lead you to Christ! He is freely set before you in the gospel: his riven side is the rock of shelter. Thou knowest thy need of him; believe in him, cast thyself upon him, and then the fury shall be overpast for ever.
Evening - February 25
“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa.” --- Jonah 1:3.
Instead of going to Nineveh to preach the Word, as God bade him, Jonah disliked the work, and went down to Joppa to escape from it. There are occasions when God’s servants shrink from duty. But what is the consequence? What did Jonah lose by his conduct? He lost the presence and comfortable enjoyment of God’s love. When we serve our Lord Jesus as believers should do, our God is with us; and though we have the whole world against us, if we have God with us, what does it matter? But the moment we start back, and seek our own inventions, we are at sea without a pilot. Then may we bitterly lament and groan out, “O my God, where hast thou gone? How could I have been so foolish as to shun thy service, and in this way to lose all the bright shinings of thy face? This is a price too high. Let me return to my allegiance, that I may rejoice in thy presence.” In the next place, Jonah lost all peace of mind. Sin soon destroys a believer’s comfort. It is the poisonous upas tree, from whose leaves distil deadly drops which destroy the life of joy and peace. Jonah lost everything upon which he might have drawn for comfort in any other case. He could not plead the promise of divine protection, for he was not in God’s ways; he could not say, “Lord, I meet with these difficulties in the discharge of my duty, therefore help me through them.” He was reaping his own deeds; he was filled with his own ways. Christian, do not play the Jonah, unless you wish to have all the waves and the billows rolling over your head. You will find in the long run that it is far harder to shun the work and will of God than to at once yield yourself to it. Jonah lost his time, for he had to go to Nineveh after all. It is hard to contend with God; let us yield ourselves at once.
BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS
John Fawcett, 1740–1817
Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
(1 John 2:10)
“We just cannot break the ties of affection that bind us to you dear friends.” As Mary Fawcett assured the little congregation at Wainsgate, England, of the bond of love that she and her husband felt for their poor peasant parishioners, Pastor John decided to express his feelings in a poem about the value of Christian fellowship.
The following Sunday, John Fawcett preached from Luke 12:15: “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.” He closed his sermon by reading his new poem, “Brotherly Love.”
At the age of 26, John Fawcett and his new bride, Mary, began their ministry at an impoverished Baptist church in Wainsgate. After seven years of devoted service in meager circumstances, they received a call to the large and influential Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London. After the wagons were loaded for the move, the Fawcetts met their tearful parishioners for a final farewell. “John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!” “Nor can I either,” said the saddened pastor. “We shall remain here with our people.” The order was then given to unload the wagons.
John and Mary Fawcett carried on their faithful ministry in the little village of Wainsgate for a total of 54 years. Their salary was estimated to be never more than the equivalent of $200.00 a year, despite Fawcett’s growing reputation as an outstanding evangelical preacher, scholar, and writer. Among his noted writings was an essay, “Anger,” which became a particular favorite of King George III. It is reported that the monarch promised Pastor Fawcett any benefit that could be conferred. But the offer was declined with this statement: “I have lived among my own people, enjoying their love; God has blessed my labors among them, and I need nothing which even a king could supply.” Such was the man who gave us these loving words:
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love! The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear; and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.
For Today: Psalm 133; Matthew 18:20; John 13:34, 35; Hebrews 13:1.
Appreciate anew your Christian friends and fellow church members. Seek to show, as John Fawcett did, a loving concern for the needs of others.
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur
Brett Meador | Athey Creek
Drive 'Em Out Numbers 34:1-2
s2-089 | 8-30-2015
m2-085 | 9-02-2015