The Eighth Plague: LocustsExodus 10:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, 6 and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’ ” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. But which ones are to go?” 9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” 10 But he said to them, “The LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11 No! Go, the men among you, and serve the LORD, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again. 15 They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the LORD your God only to remove this death from me.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. 24 Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 26 Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the LORD our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” 29 Moses said, “As you say! I will not see your face again.”
Repent or PerishLuke 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”
A Woman with a Disabling Spirit10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
The Mustard Seed and the Leaven18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
The Narrow Door22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Lament over Jerusalem31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 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! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?Job 28:1
“Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold that they refine.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore.
3 Man puts an end to darkness
and searches out to the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4 He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
6 Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and it has dust of gold.
7 “That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
8 The proud beasts have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.
9 “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks,
and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above ppearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 “From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23 “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ ”
1 Corinthians 14
Prophecy and Tongues1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
Orderly Worship26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But all things should be done decently and in order.
The Reformation Study Bible
What I'm Reading
No, a Study Did Not Show That Same-Sex “Marriage” Laws Reduce Teen Suicide Rates
By William M. Briggs 2/23/2017
You probably saw the breathless reports suggesting, as CNN did, that “same-sex marriage may decrease teen suicide attempt rates, study says.” Ah yes, a study. A statistical study. That’s supposed to give it gravitas. In fact many, perhaps even most, statistical studies simply can’t be trusted. Certainly not this one.
The study in question is the peer-reviewed paper “Difference-in-Differences Analysis of the Association Between State Same-Sex Marriage Policies and Adolescent Suicide Attempts” by Julia Raifman, Ellen Moscoe, and S. Bryn Austin, in the once-prestigious journal JAMA Pediatrics.
This widely touted work purports to have discovered, using statistical methods, “that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year.” The authors say there is now “empirical evidence for an association between same-sex marriage policies and mental health outcomes.”
Association | Think about what the authors are implying: that the mere presence of gmarriage — government-defined marriage, as opposed to marriage defined by reality — stops teens from reporting suicide attempts.
Implications | If what these authors are eager to imply is true, it must have been that some teenagers before gmarriage reported trying to kill themselves because there was no such thing as gmarriage. Or it must be that some teenagers after gmarriage became the “law of the land” thought to themselves, “You know, I was going to report trying to kill myself. But now that Bert and Ernie can be gmarried, I won’t report it.” (Both could be true.)
About the number of teenagers who actually killed themselves because of the absence of gmarriage — or because of the presence of gmarriage — nobody knows. The study only relates how many kids self-reported suicide attempts. Since most of the kids giving answers were 15-16, it can’t have been because of actual forbidden gmarriage or marriage ceremonies that caused reporting suicide attempts (of course, there could have been a handful of child brides or grooms in the data).
5 Pastoral Proverbs That Stuck
By Jared C. Wilson 2/14/2017
Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
I took my first vocational ministry position the summer I graduated high school (1994), becoming the youth minister for Zion Chinese Baptist Church. (You read that right.) In the 23 years since, I’ve heard a lot of good words on ministry and ministry life, and while a lot has been good, a few choice bits of wisdom have stuck with me since I heard them and have proven truer and truer over the years. Here are just five.
1. “The core you start with isn’t the core you finish with.” — Bill Hybels
Hybels did not say this to me personally, but he said it in a workshop at the 1996 Willow Creek Church Leadership Conference. I don’t know why it stuck with me then—I was a youth pastor at a Willow model church, but I wasn’t thinking in terms of church planting or anything then. I’ve sifted out a lot I’ve heard from the church growth guys, but this one I’ve kept, and it’s pretty true, in a variety of ways. I’ve had guys I was close with, been on leadership teams and in the trenches with, decide the whole “living a Christian life thing” wasn’t for them. Your biggest fans can turn into your biggest critics, and often do. Mainly because they are your biggest fans because there’s some kind of idolatry they’re getting out of you, seeing you as a functional savior in some way. And then you disappoint them and BOOM: it’s all over. But even if nobody turns on you or falls out with you, the longer you go in ministry, you see how the seasons of life and the growth of a church or ministry takes the rose-colored glasses off of “doing ministry” with the same people forever. Some people get to do that. Most don’t. The core you start with is not the core you finish with.
2. “You must renounce comfort as the chief value of your life.” — Mike Ayers
Mike was my first pastoral mentor, the guy whose ministry actually kept my wife and me sane and in ministry after I’d had a bad experience at a previous church that almost made me give up church altogether. He was the first guy to really take me under his wing and trust me and empower me and take me seriously, even as a young punk. I served as a youth minister at his church and learned a lot, especially about loving the lost and building relationships. Mike and his family have been through a lot themselves, so when I heard him say this line in a sermon, I knew it came from a place of authenticity. It stuck with me. And it’s exceptionally important for all Christians, including pastors, who can get too comfortable with praise and growth and too despondent with criticism and conflict.
The Story Behind John Piper’s Most Famous Attack on the Prosperity Gospel
By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra 2/14/2017
John Piper’s most-viewed sermon clip of all time was an afterthought.
In fact, it was an off-the-cuff tangent to an afterthought, unusual for a man whose sermons are well-prepared and meticulously researched.
I don’t know what you feel about the prosperity gospel—the health, wealth and prosperity gospel—but I’ll tell you what I feel about it,” Piper told a gathering of more than 1,000 college students in November 2005. “Hatred.”
The founder of Desiring God and then-pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church continued:
It is not the gospel, and it’s being exported from this country to Africa and Asia, selling a bill of goods to the poorest of the poor: “Believe this message, and your pigs won’t die and your wife won’t have miscarriages, and you’ll have rings on your fingers and coats on your back.” That’s coming out of America—the people that ought to be giving our money and our time and our lives, instead selling them a bunch of crap called “gospel.”
The sanctuary at Mountain Brook Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was so full “it felt like college students were hanging from the rafters,” recalled David Mathis, who accompanied Piper on the trip.
But “you could hear a pin drop that night,” said Bryan Johnson, who was helping lead the University Christian Fellowship (UCF) campus ministry.
“I’ll tell you what makes Jesus look beautiful,” Piper told them. “It’s when you smash your car, and your little girl goes flying through the windshield, and lands dead on the street . . . and you say through the deepest possible pain, ‘God is enough.’”
Pro-Nicene Theology (Free E-Book)
By Fred Sanders 2/24/2017
Long story: In late 2016, Mike Allen and Scott Swain edited a blog series at Zondervan’s Common Places devoted to Pro-Nicene Theology. Pro-Nicene theology is trinitarianism, of course, but it’s not just the doctrine of the Trinity narrowly considered. To talk about pro-Nicene theology is to draw out some of the conceptual tools in the intellectual culture without which trinitarianism would not have been formulated and cannot thrive now. Chief among these tools are the doctrines of divine ineffability and simplicity, the inseparability of trinitarian operations ad extra, the doctrine of the Son’s eternal generation, and the distinction between theologia and oikonomia.
Of course you can read the whole blog series online at the original site, but Zondervan has also edited them together in pdf form as a 51-page e-book. Just click through (link or pic above) and tell them where to e-mail it, and you’ll get the pdf.
Fred Sanders is Professor of Theology at Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute. He has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and PhD from Graduate Theological Union. He is the co-editor of Christology, Ancient and Modern: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (Los Angeles Theology Conference Series).
Fred Sanders Books:
- 1 Advancing Trinitarian Theology: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (Los Angeles Theology Conference Series)
- 2 The Triune God (New Studies in Dogmatics)
- 3 The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything
- 4 Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective: An Intermediate Christology
- 5 The Voice of God in the Text of Scripture: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (Los Angeles Theology Conference Series)
- 6 Advancing Trinitarian Theology: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (LA Theology Conference Series)
- 7 Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love
- 8 Theology and California: Theological Refractions on California's Culture
- 9 Embracing the Trinity: Life with God in the Gospel
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 25Teach Me Your Paths
25 Of David.
6 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Exodus 10; Luke 13; Job 28; 1 Corinthians 14
By Don Carson 2/27/2017
PILATE WAS A WEAK, wicked man. Thus the account in Luke 13:1-5 is entirely credible. The details may be obscure, but the general picture is clear enough. Some Galileans had offered sacrifices: if they were Jews, they must have done so at the temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps they were involved, or were perceived to be involved, in some wing of the nationalistic Zealot movement, and Pilate saw them as a threat. He had them slaughtered, and their blood mingled with the blood of the sacrificial animals they themselves had brought. If the mingling of blood is literal, this means that Pilate had them slaughtered in the temple courts – sacrilege mingling with slaughter.
When this incident is brought up to Jesus for his comment, he launches out in a direction that must have astonished his interlocutors. Perhaps some expected him to denounce Pilate; perhaps others wanted him to comment on the Zealot movement; a few may have hoped he would offer a few waggish denunciations about these rebels getting what they deserved. Jesus opts for none of those paths. “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (13:2-3).
The point he was making might well have been lost in the political sensitivities of this tragedy, so Jesus promptly refers to another disaster, this one stripped of Galileans, Pilate, the temple, sacrifices, and mingled blood. Eighteen people died when a tower collapsed. Jesus insists that they were no more wicked than anyone else in Jerusalem. Rather, the same lesson is to be learned: “unless you repent, you too will all perish” (13:5).
Jesus’ surprising analysis makes sense only if three things are true: (a) All of us deserve to perish. If we are spared, that is an act of grace. What should surprise us is that so many of us are spared so long. (b) Death comes to all of us. Our world often argues that the worst disaster is for someone to die young. Not so. The real disaster is that we all stand under this sentence of death, and we all die. The age at which we die is only relatively better or worse. (c) Death has the last word for all of us – unless we repent, which alone leads us beyond death to the life of the consummated kingdom.
Have you heard of the millions massacred under Pol Pot? Have you heard of the savage butchery in southern Sudan? Have you seen the massed graves in Bosnia? Or the pictures of the Florida swamp where ValuJet Flight 592 crashed? I tell you the truth: unless you repent, you too will all perish.
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:
- 1 An Introduction to the New Testament
- 2 The Gospel according to John Pillar NT Commentary
- 3 The Gospel according to John Pillar NT Commentary
- 4 NIV Zondervan Study Bible, Hardcover: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message
- 5 Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation
- 6 Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
- 7 Exegetical Fallacies
- 8 For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word, Volume 1
- 9 Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering
- 10 Matthew (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)
- 11 The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story
- 12 The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
- 13 How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil
- 14 New Testament Commentary Survey
- 15 For the Love of God, Volume 2: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word
- 16 9: Matthew and Mark (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)
- 17 Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians, 12-14
- 18 The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
- 19 The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures
- 20 The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: John 14-17
- 21 Introducing NT: A Short Guide to Its History and Message
- 22 Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson
- 23 Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes
- 24 Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: An Exposition of Matthew 5-10
- 25 The Intolerance of Tolerance
- 26 From Sabbath to Lord's Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation
- 27 Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians
- 28 Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspective in Tension
- 29 The Expositor's Bible commentary : Matthew, Mark, Luke Vol. 8
- 30 Christ and Culture Revisited
- 31 NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message
- 32 The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism
- 33 Don't Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day
- 34 Gagging of God, The
- 35 The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices
- 36 The God Who Is There Leader's Guide: Finding Your Place in God's Story
- 37 What Is the Gospel?
- 38 His Mission: Jesus in the Gospel of Luke
- 39 The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the OT
- 40 Love in Hard Places
- 41 Coming Home: Essays on the New Heaven and New Earth
- 42 God's Love Compels Us: Taking the Gospel to the World
- 43 Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
- 44 Telling the Truth
- 45 God's Word, Our Story: Learning from the Book of Nehemiah
- 46 Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications
- 47 The Sermon on the Mount: An Evangelical Exposition of Matthew 5-7
- 48 Sunsets: Reflections for Life's Final Journey
- 49 God with Us: Themes from Matthew
- 50 A Model of Christian Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13
- 51 NIV Zondervan Study Bible, Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message
- 52 The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry
- 53 Teach Us to Pray: Prayer in the Bible and the World
- 54 Matthew, Vol.2 (Ch. 13-28), The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- 55 A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
- 56 The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story
- 57 Entrusted with the Gospel: Pastoral Expositions of 2 Timothy
- 58 Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspectives in Tension
- 59 The Holy Spirit
- 60 The Plan
- 61 Collected Writings on Scripture
- 62 The Inclusive-Language Debate: A Plea for Realism
- 63 Matthew, Vol.1 (Ch. 1-12), The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- 64 Essential Evangelicalism: The Enduring Influence of Carl F. H. Henry
- 65 The Restoration of All Things
- 66 Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times
- 67 Christ's Redemption
- 68 Exegetical Fallacies
- 69 Justification
- 70 Greek Accents: A Student's Manual
- 71 Gospel-Centered Ministry
- 72 The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
- 77 The Cross & Christian Ministry: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians
- 78 The Cross & Christian Ministry: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians
- 79 [(Christ and Culture Revisited)]
- 80 When Jesus Confronts the World: An Exposition of Matthew 8-10
- 81 The Church: God's New People
- 82 Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life
- 83 Love in Hard Places
- 84 The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place In God'S Story
- 85 NT Commentary Survey
- 86 The Inclusive Language Debate
- 87 Exegetical Fallacies
- 88 The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14-17
- 89 NT Commentary Survey
- 90 How long, O Lord? (2nd edition): Reflections on Suffering and Evil
- 91 Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century
- 92 Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians
- 93 By D. A. Carson - Gagging of God
- 94 Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed
- 95 The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
- 96 A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
- 97 A Call to Spiritual Reformation
What do Christians mean when they say 'God spoke to me?'
by J. Warner Wallace 2/18/2018
I must confess that I empathized with Joy Behar, co-host of ABC’s The View, when she recently expressed concern about a claim that Vice President (and Christian believer) Mike Pence has heard the voice of Jesus on occasion.
I didn’t become a Christian until the age of thirty-five, and prior to that time, I also found it disturbing when Christians said, “God spoke to me last night,” or, “Jesus told me I should do this (or that).” Behar expressed a similar concern when she told her co-hosts, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”
I can honestly remember saying something similar to a Christian co-worker back when I was a committed atheist. He claimed that God told him something, and I thought he was, well… crazy. But years later, after becoming a Christian myself, I began to understand exactly what believers mean when they use expressions like this, and it’s not necessarily what Joy Behar may think.
I pressed my Christian friend, all those years ago, and asked him if he actually heard the audible voice of God, and if God sounded like George Burns (the movie, Oh, God!, was my only point of reference prior to Morgan Freeman’s role in Bruce Almighty). My friend laughed and explained that the expression, “God spoke to me,” didn’t necessarily mean that God spoke audibly. Christians, he said, believe the Bible is the “word of God,” and by reading it, gain access to the mind of God.
God can certainly speak to me in an audible way if He chooses, but He also speaks to me daily through Scripture, sage advisors and the everyday situations of my life.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
6. The true knowledge of Christ consists in receiving him as he is
offered by the Father, namely, as invested with his Gospel. For, as he
is appointed as the end of our faith, so we cannot directly tend
towards him except under the guidance of the Gospel. Therein are
certainly unfolded to us treasures of grace. Did these continue shut,
Christ would profit us little. Hence Paul makes faith the inseparable
attendant of doctrine in these words, "Ye have not so learned Christ;
if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the
truth is in Jesus," (Eph. 4:20, 21). Still I do not confine faith to
the Gospel in such a sense as not to admit that enough was delivered to
Moses and the Prophets to form a foundation of faith; but as the Gospel
exhibits a fuller manifestation of Christ, Paul justly terms it the
doctrine of faith (1 Tim. 4:6). For which reason, also he elsewhere
says, that, by the coming of faith, the Law was abolished (Rom. 10:4),
including under the expression a new and unwonted mode of teaching, by
which Christ, from the period of his appearance as the great Master,
gave a fuller illustration of the Father's mercy, and testified more
surely of our salvation. But an easier and more appropriate method will
be to descend from the general to the particular. First, we must
remember, that there is an inseparable relation between faith and the
word, and that these can no more be disconnected from each other than
rays of light from the sun. Hence in Isaiah the Lord exclaims, "Hear,
and your soul shall live," (Is. 4:3). And John points to this same
fountain of faith in the following words, "These are written that ye
might believe," (John 20:31). The Psalmist also exhorting the people to
faith says, "To-day, if ye will hear his voice," (Ps. 95:7), to hear
being uniformly taken for to believe. In fine, in Isaiah the Lord
distinguishes the members of the Church from strangers by this mark,
"All thy children shall be taught of the Lord," (Is. 54:13); for if the
benefit was indiscriminate, why should he address his words only to a
few? Corresponding with this, the Evangelists uniformly employ the
terms believers and disciples as synonymous. This is done especially by
Luke in several passages of the Acts. He even applies the term disciple
to a woman (Acts 9:36). Wherefore, if faith declines in the least
degree from the mark at which it ought to aim, it does not retain its
nature, but becomes uncertain credulity and vague wandering of mind.
The same word is the basis on which it rests and is sustained.
Declining from it, it falls. Take away the word, therefore, and no
faith will remain. We are not here discussing, whether, in order to
propagate the word of God by which faith is engendered, the ministry of
man is necessary (this will be considered elsewhere); but we say that
the word itself, whatever be the way in which it is conveyed to us, is
a kind of mirror in which faith beholds God. In this, therefore,
whether God uses the agency of man, or works immediately by his own
power, it is always by his word that he manifests himself to those whom
he designs to draw to himself. Hence Paul designates faith as the
obedience which is given to the Gospel (Rom. 1:5); and writing to the
Philippians, he commends them for the obedience of faith (Phil. 2:17).
For faith includes not merely the knowledge that God is, but also, nay
chiefly, a perception of his will toward us. It concerns us to know not
only what he is in himself, but also in what character he is pleased to
manifest himself to us. We now see, therefore, that faith is the
knowledge of the divine will in regard to us, as ascertained from his
word. And the foundation of it is a previous persuasion of the truth of
God. So long as your mind entertains any misgivings as to the certainty
of the word, its authority will be weak and dubious, or rather it will
have no authority at all. Nor is it sufficient to believe that God is
true, and cannot lie or deceive, unless you feel firmly persuaded that
every word which him is sacred, inviolable truth.
7. But since the heart of man is not brought to faith by every word of God, we must still consider what it is that faith properly has respect to in the word. The declaration of God to Adam was, "Thou shalt surely die," (Gen. 2:17); and to Cain, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground," (Gen. 4:10); but these, so far from being fitted to establish faith, tend only to shake it. At the same time, we deny not that it is the office of faith to assent to the truth of God whenever, whatever, and in whatever way he speaks: we are only inquiring what faith can find in the word of God to lean and rest upon. When conscience sees only wrath and indignation, how can it but tremble and be afraid? and how can it avoid shunning the God whom it thus dreads? But faith ought to seek God, not shun him. It is evident, therefore, that we have not yet obtained a full definition of faith, it being impossible to give the name to every kind of knowledge of the divine will. Shall we, then, for "will", which is often the messenger of bad news and the herald of terror, substitute the benevolence or mercy of God? In this way, doubtless, we make a nearer approach to the nature of faith. For we are allured to seek God when told that our safety is treasured up in him; and we are confirmed in this when he declares that he studies and takes an interest in our welfare. Hence there is need of the gracious promise, in which he testifies that he is a propitious Father; since there is no other way in which we can approach to him, the promise being the only thing on which the heart of man can recline. For this reason, the two things, mercy and truth, are uniformly conjoined in the Psalms as having a mutual connection with each other. For it were of no avail to us to know that God is true, did He not in mercy allure us to himself; nor could we of ourselves embrace his mercy did not He expressly offer it. "I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth. Withhold not thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy loving-kindness and thy truth continually preserve me," (Ps. 40:10, 11). "Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds," (Ps. 36:5). "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies," (Ps. 25:10). "His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever," (Ps. 117:2). "I will praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and thy truth," (Ps. 138:2). I need not quote what is said in the Prophets, to the effect that God is merciful and faithful in his promises. It were presumptuous in us to hold that God is propitious to us, had we not his own testimony, and did he not prevent us by his invitation, which leaves no doubt or uncertainty as to his will. It has already been seen that Christ is the only pledge of love, for without him all things, both above and below speak of hatred and wrath. We have also seen, that since the knowledge of the divine goodness cannot be of much importance unless it leads us to confide in it, we must exclude a knowledge mingled with doubt,--a knowledge which, so far from being firm, is continually wavering. But the human mind, when blinded and darkened, is very far from being able to rise to a proper knowledge of the divine will; nor can the heart, fluctuating with perpetual doubt, rest secure in such knowledge. Hence, in order that the word of God may gain full credit, the mind must be enlightened, and the heart confirmed, from some other quarter. We shall now have a full definition of faith  if we say that it is a firm and sure knowledge of the divine favor toward us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds, and sealed on our hearts, by the Holy Spirit.
8. But before I proceed farther, it will be necessary to make some preliminary observations for the purpose of removing difficulties which might otherwise obstruct the reader. And first, I must refute the nugatory distinction of the Schoolmen as to formed and unformed faith.  For they imagine that persons who have no fear of God, and no sense of piety, may believe all that is necessary to be known for salvation; as if the Holy Spirit were not the witness of our adoption by enlightening our hearts unto faith. Still, however, though the whole Scripture is against them, they dogmatically give the name of faith to a persuasion devoid of the fear of God. It is unnecessary to go farther in refuting their definition, than simply to state the nature of faith as declared in the word of God. From this it will clearly appear how unskillfully and absurdly they babble, rather than discourse, on this subject. I have already done this in part, and will afterwards add the remainder in its proper place. At present, I say that nothing can be imagined more absurd than their fiction. They insist that faith is an assent with which any despiser of God may receive what is delivered by Scripture. But we must first see whether any one can by his own strength acquire faith, or whether the Holy Spirit, by means of it, becomes the witness of adoption. Hence it is childish trifling in them to inquire whether the faith formed by the supervening quality of love be the same, or a different and new faith. By talking in this style, they show plainly that they have never thought of the special gift of the Spirit; since one of the first elements of faith is reconciliation implied in man's drawing near to God. Did they duly ponder the saying of Paul, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness," (Rom. 10:10), they would cease to dream of that frigid quality. There is one consideration which ought at once to put an end to the debate--viz. that assent itself (as I have already observed, and will afterwards more fully illustrate) is more a matter of the heart than the head, of the affection than the intellect. For this reason, it is termed "the obedience of faith," (Rom. 1:5), which the Lord prefers to all other service, and justly, since nothing is more precious to him than his truth, which, as John Baptist declares, is in a manner signed and sealed by believers (John 3:33). As there can be no doubt on the matter, we in one word conclude, that they talk absurdly when they maintain that faith is formed by the addition of pious affection as an accessory to assent, since assent itself, such at least as the Scriptures describe, consists in pious affection. But we are furnished with a still clearer argument. Since faith embraces Christ as he is offered by the Father, and he is offered not only for justification, for forgiveness of sins and peace, but also for sanctification, as the fountain of living waters, it is certain that no man will ever know him aright without at the same time receiving the sanctification of the Spirit; or, to express the matter more plainly, faith consists in the knowledge of Christ; Christ cannot be known without the sanctification of his Spirit: therefore faith cannot possibly be disjoined from pious affection.
9. In their attempt to mar faith by divesting it of love, they are wont to insist on the words of Paul, "Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing," (1 Cor. 13:2). But they do not consider what the faith is of which the Apostle there speaks. Having, in the previous chapter, discoursed of the various gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:10), including diversity of tongues, miracles, and prophecy, and exhorted the Corinthians to follow the better gifts, in other words, those from which the whole body of the Church would derive greater benefit, he adds, "Yet show I unto you a more excellent way," (1 Cor. 12:30). All other gifts, how excellent soever they may be in themselves, are of no value unless they are subservient to charity. They were given for the edification of the Church, and fail of their purpose if not so applied. To prove this he adopts a division, repeating the same gifts which he had mentioned before, but under different names. Miracles and faith are used to denote the same thing--viz. the power of working miracles. Seeing, then, that this miraculous power or faith is the particular gift of God, which a wicked man may possess and abuse, as the gift of tongues, prophecy, or other gifts, it is not strange that he separates it from charity. Their whole error lies in this, that while the term faith has a variety of meanings, overlooking this variety, they argue as if its meaning were invariably one and the same. The passage of James, by which they endeavor to defend their error, will be elsewhere discussed (infra, chap. 17, sec. 11). Although, in discoursing of faith, we admit that it has a variety of forms; yet, when our object is to show what knowledge of God the wicked possess, we hold and maintain, in accordance with Scripture, that the pious only have faith. Multitudes undoubtedly believe that God is, and admit the truth of the Gospel History, and the other parts of Scripture, in the same way in which they believe the records of past events, or events which they have actually witnessed. There are some who go even farther: they regard the Word of God as an infallible oracle; they do not altogether disregard its precepts, but are moved to some degree by its threatening and promises. To such the testimony of faith is attributed, but by catachresis; because they do not with open impiety impugn, reject, or condemn, the Word of God, but rather exhibit some semblance of obedience.
10. But as this shadow or image of faith is of no moment, so it is unworthy of the name. How far it differs from true faith will shortly be explained at length. Here, however, we may just indicate it in passing. Simon Magus is said to have believed, though he soon after gave proof of his unbelief (Acts 8:13-18). In regard to the faith attributed to him, we do not understand with some, that he merely pretended a belief which had no existence in his heart: we rather think that, overcome by the majesty of the Gospel, he yielded some kind of assent, and so far acknowledged Christ to be the author of life and salvation, as willingly to assume his name. In like manner, in the Gospel of Luke, those in whom the seed of the word is choked before it brings forth fruit, or in whom, from having no depth of earth, it soon withereth away, are said to believe for a time. Such, we doubt not, eagerly receive the word with a kind of relish, and have some feeling of its divine power, so as not only to impose upon men by a false semblance of faith, but even to impose upon themselves. They imagine that the reverence which they give to the word is genuine piety, because they have no idea of any impiety but that which consists in open and avowed contempt. But whatever that assent may be, it by no means penetrates to the heart, so as to have a fixed seat there. Although it sometimes seems to have planted its roots, these have no life in them. The human heart has so many recesses for vanity, so many lurking places for falsehood, is so shrouded by fraud and hypocrisy, that it often deceives itself. Let those who glory in such semblances of faith know that, in this respect, they are not a whit superior to devils. The one class, indeed, is inferior to them, inasmuch as they are able without emotion to hear and understand things, the knowledge of which makes devils tremble (James 2:19). The other class equals them in this, that whatever be the impression made upon them, its only result is terror and consternation.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain Institutes of the Christian Religion
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Rules of engagement
2/27/2018 Bob Gass
‘A gentle response defuses anger.’
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. ESV
Even in the best of marriages arguments will arise from time to time. With two people of differing temperaments, tastes, and ways of thinking, how could it be otherwise? So here are a few rules of engagement: 1) Think before you speak. Ask yourself if fear, stress, or worry may have provoked your mate’s response. Is it bothering you right now because you are feeling insecure and unappreciated? Could you be misreading or exaggerating the problem? Take time to try and identify what’s really happening. (2) Ask for what you need. It’s okay to admit that some days you are needier than others. Dr Gary Oliver says: ‘When a woman feels panicked every time her husband comes home late because her previous husband had an affair…it’s okay to say, “I know it’s irrational, but I’m having a panicky day.” That kind of honesty strengthens a relationship.’ 3) Never threaten. Threats just make your mate defensive and insecure. As a result, they can’t hear what you’re saying and nothing gets resolved. 4) Ditch the baggage from previous relationships. The Bible says, ‘Love…always looks for the best, never looks back’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG). It’s wrong to make your mate keep ‘proving’ themselves over and over again. Don’t assume that old relationship problems are destined to keep repeating themselves. They won’t if you’re communicating and growing. 5) Say something nice to your mate every day. Any time you think something good about your spouse, stop and tell them. And when they reciprocate, respond graciously to what they’re saying. Remember, sharp words can create wounds, but ‘a gentle response defuses anger’.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
“Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere… Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch… One if by land, two if by sea…” These lines are from the famous poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who was born this day, February 27, 1807. He was an American poet and Harvard Professor, and wrote such American classics as: Evangeline; The Song of Hiawatha; and The Courtship of Miles Standish. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated: “Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.”
Thomas R. Kelly
But now let us examine the ordinary experience of time, unrevised by this great discovery of the Eternal Life springing up within it. The ordinary man, busy earning a living, exercises care, caution, foresight. He calculates probabilities. He studies the past in order to predict and control the future. Then when he has weighed all his factors and plotted the outcome, with energy and industry he wills himself into persistent activity along the lines of calculated wisdom.
And much religious work is carried on in just this same way. With shrewd and canny foresight religious people study the past, examine all the factors in the situation which they can foresee, and then decide what is wisest to undertake, or what is most congruous with the Christian life described in the Gospels. Then they breathe a prayer to God to reinforce their wills and keep them strong in executing their resolve.
In this process, time spreads itself out like a ribbon, stretching away from the now into the past, and forward from the now into the future, at the far end of which stands the New Jerusalem. In this ribbon of time we live, anxiously surveying the past in order to learn how to manage the most important part of the ribbon, the future. The now is merely an incidental dividing point, unstable, non-important, except as by its unstaying migration we move ahead into the richer meadows and the greener pastures of the future. This, I fear, is the all-too-familiar world of all too many religious men and women, when a deeper and a richer experience is possible.
The experience of Divine Presence changes all this familiar picture. There come times when the Presence steals upon us, all unexpected not the product of agonized effort, and we live in a new dimension of life. You who have experienced such plateaus of glory know what I mean. Out from the plain of daily living suddenly loom such plateaus. Before we know it we are walking upon their heights, and all the old familiar landscape becomes new. The experience of Paul is very true: "The former things are passed away; behold, they are become new." One walks in the world yet above the world as well, giddy with the height, with feather tread, with effortlessness and calm security, meeting the daily routine, yet never losing the sense of Presence. Sometimes these periods are acute and brief, too dazzling to report to anyone. Sometimes they are less elevated but more prolonged, with a milder sense of glory and of lift, yet as surely of a piece with the more acute experience. Such experiences are emotionless, in themselves, but suffuse all emotion with a background of peace, utter, utter peace and security.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Rick Adams
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to affect His purpose.
--- Abraham Lincoln
Thus the foremost church father of the 20th century, Karl Barth (1886 -- 1968), reminds us that while justification should be thought of (initially) as God's act in declaring us righteous, that act cannot be separated, in any decisive way, from God's intention to make us righteous:
--- John R. Tyson
Atheism is a strange thing. Even the devils never fell into that vice, for “the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19).
--- Charles Spurgeon
In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back.
--- Charlie Brown, "Peanuts" comic strip, created by Charles Schultz
... from here, there and everywhere
University of Virginia Library 1994
From hence I went back into Virginia, and had a meeting near James Cowpland's; it was a time of inward suffering, but through the goodness of the Lord I was made content; at another meeting, through the renewings of pure love, we had a very comfortable season.
Travelling up and down of late, I have had renewed evidences that to be faithful to the Lord, and content with his will concerning me, is a most necessary and useful lesson for me to be learning; looking less at the effects of my labor than at the pure motion and reality of the concern, as it arises from heavenly love. In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength; and as the mind, by humble resignation, is united to Him, and we utter words from an inward knowledge that they arise from the heavenly spring, though our way may be difficult, and it may require close attention to keep in it, and though the matter in which we may be led may tend to our own abasement; yet, if we continue in patience and meekness, heavenly peace will be the reward of our labors.
I attended Curles Meeting, which, though small, was reviving to the honest-hearted. Afterwards I went to Black Creek and Caroline Meetings, from whence, accompanied by William Standley before mentioned, I rode to Goose Creek, being much through the woods, and about one hundred miles. We lodged the first night at a public-house; the second in the woods; and the next day we reached a Friend's house at Goose Creek. In the woods we were under some disadvantage, having no fire-works nor bells for our horses, but we stopped a little before night and let them feed on the wild grass, which was plentiful, in the meantime cutting with our knives a store against night. We then secured our horses, and gathering some bushes under an oak we lay down; but the mosquitoes being numerous and the ground damp I slept but little. Thus lying in the wilderness, and looking at the stars, I was led to contemplate on the condition of our first parents when they were sent forth from the garden; how the Almighty, though they had been disobedient, continued to be a father to them, and showed them what tended to their felicity as intelligent creatures, and was acceptable to him. To provide things relative to our outward living, in the way of true wisdom, is good, and the gift of improving in things useful is a good gift, and comes from the Father of Lights. Many have had this gift; and from age to age there have been improvements of this kind made in the world. But some, not keeping to the pure gift, have in the creaturely cunning and self-exaltation sought out many inventions. As the first motive to these inventions of men, as distinct from that uprightness in which man was created, was evil, so the effects have been and are evil. It is, therefore, as necessary for us at this day constantly to attend on the heavenly gift, to be qualified to use rightly the good things in this life, amidst great improvements, as it was for our first parents when they were without any improvements, without any friend or father but God only.
I was at a meeting at Goose Creek, and next at a Monthly Meeting at Fairfax, where, through the gracious dealing of the Almighty with us, his power prevailed over many hearts.
From thence I went to Monoquacy and Pipe Creek in Maryland; at both places I had cause humbly to adore Him who had supported me through many exercises, and by whose help I was enabled to reach the true witness in the hearts of others. There were some hopeful young people in those parts. I had meetings afterwards at John Everit's, in Monalen, and at Huntingdon, and I was made humbly thankful to the Lord, who opened my heart amongst the people in these new settlements, so that it was a time of encouragement to the honest-minded.
At Monalen a Friend gave me some account of a religious society among the Dutch called Mennonists, and amongst other things related a passage in substance as follows: One of the Mennonists having acquaintance with a man of another society at a considerable distance, and being with his wagon on business near the house of his said acquaintance, and night coming on, he had thoughts of putting up with him, but passing by his fields, and observing the distressed appearance of his slaves, he kindled a fire in the woods hard by, and lay there that night. His said acquaintance hearing where he lodged, and afterward meeting the Mennonist, told him of it, adding he should have been heartily welcome at his house, and from their acquaintance in former time wondered at his conduct in that case. The Mennonist replied, "Ever since I lodged by thy field I have wanted an opportunity to speak with thee. I had intended to come to thy house for entertainment, but seeing thy slaves at their work, and observing the manner of their dress, I had no liking to come to partake with thee." He then admonished him to use them with more humanity, and added, "As I lay by the fire that night, I thought that as I was a man of substance thou wouldst have received me freely; but if I had been as poor as one of thy slaves, and had no power to help myself, I should have received from thy hand no kinder usage than they."
In this journey I was out about two months, and travelled about eleven hundred and fifty miles. I returned home under an humbling sense of the gracious dealings of the Lord with me, in preserving me through many trials and afflictions.
John Woolman's Journal
by D.H. Stern
and victory comes from much planning.
15 He who guarantees a loan for a stranger will suffer,
but refusing to underwrite is safe.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The impoverished ministry of Jesus
From whence then hast Thou that living water? --- John 4:11.
“The well is deep”—and a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! Think of the depths of human nature, of human life, think of the depths of the ‘wells’ in you. Have you been impoverishing the ministry of Jesus so that He cannot do anything? Suppose there is a well of fathomless trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says — “Let not your heart be troubled”; and you shrug your shoulders and say—‘But, Lord, the well is deep; You cannot draw up quietness and comfort out of it.’ No, He will bring them down from above. Jesus does not bring anything up from the wells of human nature. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and by saying—‘Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing.’ The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which as disciples of Jesus we ought to believe He will do. We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus as Comforter or as Sympathizer, but we will not come to Him as Almighty.
The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying—‘Of course He cannot do any thing,’ and we struggle down to the deeps and try to get the water for ourselves. Beware of the satisfaction of sinking back and saying—‘It can’t be done’; you know it can be done if you look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness is deep, but make the effort and look away to Him.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows; a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.
H'm: Poems by R. S. Thomas
Moses, the Man Part 1 of 2
Scripture gives us an unmatched picture of the formative decades of the life of Moses, the man God selected to lead Israel from slavery to freedom. We all know the familiar details of his infancy. But we can learn much by looking ahead, at the full scope of his ministry.
Formation (Ex. 2–5). Moses, placed in a floating basket of reeds, was found by the daughter of Thutmose I, Hatshepsut. Captivated by the infant, she adopted him as her own. Later, when a youth, Hatshepsut seized power from a nephew who had been crowned Thutmose III, and she ruled impressively for 22 years. Moses, secure in the affections of this powerful and brilliant woman ruler, was well trained: “Educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22).
When about 40, Moses was forced to make a choice. The burdens on his people Israel had grown greater during his lifetime. Finally Moses actually stepped in and killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite slave. When he discovered the killing had been observed, and when Thutmose III tried to kill him, Moses fled. No doubt this Pharaoh, who resumed the throne after his aunt’s death (and immediately ordered the defacing of all her monuments and the destruction of all records of her rule!) was glad to find an excuse to remove his aunt’s favorite.
Moses fled to Midian, a desert country far from Egypt, probably east of the present-day Gulf of Aqaba. There he lived for 40 years, his culture and his pride worn away by the harsh, simple life of a shepherd. Moses abandoned his vision of himself as Israel’s deliverer (cf. Ex. 2:11–15). Now, meek at last, Moses was finally a usable man.
What lessons can we learn from Moses as we meet him in Exodus 2–5? Several.
Use opportunities. God placed Moses, of slave heritage, in the palace of his people’s oppressors. There he was “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). We too need to take opportunities to grow, and to develop within our own culture.
Dream dreams. Moses had a vision of himself as his people’s deliverer. When he killed the Egyptian taskmaster he supposed “that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not” (Acts 7:25). Not all of us are called to fulfill our early dreams. But the desire to do great things for God, and to dare great things to help those for whom He cares, is admirable in us as well as in Moses.
Accept discipline. The Jews didn’t share Moses’ vision of himself as a hero. Pharaoh heard what he had done, and Moses fled. For 40 years he lived as a simple shepherd in a backward land. The image of the hero faded under the stress of repetitious toil. Finally Moses learned to accept himself as a “nobody.” We too need this kind of discipline. God does not want to break our spirits. But He cannot use pride. When we accept ourselves as nobodies, only then can we become somebodies whom God can use.
Face limitations. At the burning bush Moses carried his “nobodyness” too far. At 80 God spoke to him, and announced that the youthful dream would be fulfilled. Now Moses hesitated. He saw so many reasons why he could not do what he had once planned to do.
“What if they do not believe me?”
“Lord, I have never been eloquent.”
“Lord, please send someone else.”
Each of these objections indicates clearly that Moses now was all too aware of his inadequacy. From “I can” he had swung to “I can’t.”
It’s important that we face our own limitations, and reject trust in our natural abilities. But we can be too overwhelmed by our weaknesses. We need to remember God, and shift our gaze from ourselves to Him.
Accept God’s commission. In the call to Moses, God had announced His purpose. “I am sending you … to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:10). For each objection, God had a promise:
“The elders of Israel will listen to you.”
“Go, and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
God is well able to do in us what He intends. With the commission of God comes the presence and power of God that enables us to fulfill it.
Expect disappointments. Moses did go as God commanded. And the Hebrews did welcome him. But, as God had also warned, Pharaoh did not listen. The burdens of the slave race were now increased. The people of Israel turned on Moses, and Moses turned to God. “Why have You brought trouble upon this people? Is this why You sent me?”
Every ministry knows disappointments. No path God asks us to follow will always be smooth. Learning to accept the disappointments and yet to always turn back to God is an important aspect of preparation for ministry.
Faithful service (Ex. 15–40). The events immediately following the Lord’s exhilarating victory over Pharaoh thrust Moses into burdensome spiritual leadership.
Moses’ basic problem was with the people he had been called to lead. Their character was all too quickly revealed. When Pharaoh’s army followed Israel to the sea, the people begged in terror to return to slavery (14:11–12). Even after the parting of the Red Sea, the people “grumbled against Moses” within three days because of a lack of water! As the journey toward Sinai continued, the attitude of the people became more and more sour. The “whole community murmured” (16:2), and finally expressed their rebelliousness in an anger so fierce they were ready to stone Moses himself! (17:4)
As we look at Moses the man, we need to see him as a person under pressure. Being a leader means carrying very real and very heavy burdens. Yet this stage of Moses’ life also has helpful lessons for us.
Don’t try to do it alone (Ex. 17–18). Exodus 17:4 shows Moses crying out in frustration. “What am I to do with these people?”
What a fascinating question. What shall I do? Moses was about to learn a vital lesson. He had begun to look at himself as the only one God uses, the one who had to provide all the solutions. He was alone, and indispensable. “What shall I do?”
All too often this is the cry of the ordained in our churches. Somehow the pastor and people alike come to feel that the ministry is one person’s task, and his or her responsibility alone. No wonder it seems impossible. It is!
God’s instructions to Moses give us insights. “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel” (v. 5). Then God told Moses to strike a rock: “I will stand there before you,” God told him, “and water shall come out of it.”
Here are two ways that Moses was not alone. God was there before him. And some of the elders of Israel were there with him.
The lesson was immediately reinforced. As Israel traveled on, they met an enemy force. Joshua led Israel against the Amalekite army, and whenever Moses held up his arms, stretching them out toward the battlefield, Israel won! But soon Moses’ arms became tired. He couldn’t hold them up alone. And when he lowered his arms, Israel lost. There was only one solution. Moses sat on a rock, and allowed Aaron and Hur to stand beside him and hold up his arms.
What a message for Moses. Moses couldn’t do it alone. He had to have others’ help.
In chapter 18 we see the culmination. Moses, the lonely leader, was still trying to do it all himself. All day long he sat and settled disputes that arose among the people. Finally his visiting father-in-law, Jethro, broke in. “Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” (v. 14) Moses explained: “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.” Jethro’s comment was as potent today as it was then. “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out.… You cannot handle it alone.”
At last Moses heard! Moses chose capable men, and delegated authority to them (vv. 24–27). Hard cases were still brought to Moses. But the others were solved within the community.
Ministry in the Christian church is a shared responsibility. Even when members of a congregation are not yet spiritually mature, no leader is to bear the burden alone. The people of God are dependent on God, but interdependent on each other.
The Teacher's Commentary
Prayer, (with tweaks)
Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I'm blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. Let me continue to see sin through God's eyes and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus' example -- to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It's the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will.
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those who are lost and can't find their way. I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don't know You intimately. I pray for those who don't believe. But I thank you that I believe.
I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.
I pray that Your will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight. I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.
This is my prayer.
In Jesus' Name,
Richard S. Adams
In his book, The Imitation Of Christ, Thomas A Kempis asks, “How happy and prudent is he who tries now in life to be what he wants to be found in death?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? Richard S. Adams | Lover of Christ, husband of Lily, father of four, grandfather of eleven, Masters in Divinity and Certificate in Spiritual Direction from George Fox Evangelical Seminary in 2008, on staff at Portland Seminary since 2009.
You’re OK, I’m OK, fades quickly in the shadow of death. We tell ourselves we do love the Lord with all our heart. Maybe we even say we’d do anything the Lord asks, but the Lord has not given us direction. What? We have been given clear direction, and it is for right now, not some future day and asset filled circumstance that may never come.
Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ESV
The water will never part till we step in. We need to focus on the present. We need to work to find the perfect, acceptable will of God in the routines and ruts that challenge us today. The curbs along life’s highway are not park benches to sit and watch life’s traffic. They remind us we’re in the mainstream, marching and following the same pied piper as our neighbor. Brave is the person who steps up and over life’s curbs to find the narrow path so many deny.
Isn’t the message of Jesus and Paul that we serve God by being the servants of others? Jesus came to do the will of the Father and the will of the Father is to be known … by everyone. To know God is to love God and if you love God you love others. Of course, so many say God does not exist, but the Bible says we are all without excuse.
Romans 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. ESV
Instead of pointing a condemning finger at those not practicing the things to which they are called, I, and maybe you, need to remember that what I see in others, they see in me.
Many of us claim to love the Lord with all our heart, but miss the part about loving others. Not only are we to love others as ourselves, we are supposed to want what’s best for them, and if they ask for our coat we are supposed to freely give it, as well as a cup of water, food and even wash their feet. Maybe we don’t love God like we say we do.
Just as Jesus Christ became broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of the Father, we are expected to be broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus … and that means for others.
Jesus said that in the kingdom of God the greatest shall be the servant of all. When we are delighted to spend ourselves on what’s best for others, instead of our own agendas, when our conversation is about the gifts of others instead of our own, when our prayers are for others instead of ourselves, the fear of death will lose it's sting.
O death, where is your sting?” ESV
1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is your victory?
Richard S. Adams | Lover of Christ, husband of Lily, father of four, grandfather of eleven, Masters in Divinity and Certificate in Spiritual Direction from George Fox Evangelical Seminary in 2008, on staff at Portland Seminary since 2009.Articles
Every discipline develops its own particular “language,” a unique way that its practitioners express themselves and communicate with one another. Sometimes it involves using specific words that no one else uses (as when the police speak about “perpetrators”). Other times, it entails giving ordinary words a unique meaning. (When a diplomat says “The talks were constructive,” he or she really means that things are going poorly, everyone is yelling at each other, but there is still hope.)
The same is true of the Rabbis in the Talmud. There are literally hundreds of technical terms that they use in the Mishnah and the Gemara. Many are concepts that are specific to the Jewish religion; tefillin, lulav, yibum, muad, treif, and niddah to name a few. (In this book, we explain these terms as they appear and define them again in the Glossary.) But there is another kind of technical term that is found in almost every line of the Talmud. Translated into English, it may seem obvious and ordinary, but in actuality, there may be a very specific meaning that the Rabbis are attempting to convey. The novice may be unaware of these coded phrases and thus may miss out on what is being taught.
For example, three phrases which are very similar in the Aramaic, and might be rendered into English in the same way, actually have specific meanings:
t’nan (“we are taught”) introduces a teaching from another Mishnah;
tanna (“he taught”) brings a brief tradition from the Tosefta;
tanya (“it was taught”) quotes a passage from a baraita.
Sometimes, even a minor change in word order can have real significance:
Amar Rabbi Ploni (“Said Rabbi so and so …”)—when the word amar (“said”)
precedes the name of the Rabbi, the statement will be undisputed.
Rabbi Ploni Amar (“Rabbi so and so said …”)—when the Rabbi’s name comes first,
the statement will usually be followed by the views of another Rabbi who disagrees.
Another example: In the give-and-take of a discussion, one view may be introduced with the word leima, translated as “let us say.” But the use of this particular word is a clue that the opinion stated will ultimately be rejected.
How is the beginner to know any of this? Sometimes we are able to figure these things out by ourselves as we study more and more and notice recurring patterns and forms. It is more likely, however, that we will need to turn to an expert for help. Here we begin to understand the important role a teacher plays in the enterprise of learning Talmud. In addition, it is important to have the proper tools as we begin to swim in this sea. There are dictionaries, encyclopedias, and guides (mentioned in the back of this book) which are indispensable to the study of Talmud.
We’re coming back to the surface now, after having taken a brief glimpse of what lies below. Our intent has not been to overwhelm the reader or frighten you away. Rather, it is to make the point that the Talmud is a very complex literature. Having said that, we hasten to add: There is nothing to match its power, its beauty, and its wisdom. Anyone who seriously undertakes to study Talmud will be rewarded immensely by the experience. At times it will be quite difficult. If you stick with it, and if you reach out for help, you will find your way. You will also find that swimming in this sea will change your life.
Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living
Thomas A Kempis
Book Two / The Interior Life
The Second Chapter / Humility
BE NOT troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take care that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore, place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress.
It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them, for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those who are angry with him.
It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind invitation bids them come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations, because his trust is in God, not in the world. Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to all others.
The Imitation Of Christ
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
--- Psalm 103:13.
In the former part of this psalm the psalmist sang of God’s deeds of love, his gifts, his benefits, and his acts of kindness, but here he goes deeper into the divine motive and finds sweeter incentives to devout gratitude. (C. H. Spurgeon, “God’s Fatherly Pity, ” sermon 1,650 in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit series, preached on Thursday evening March 2, 1882, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington; downloaded from Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Sermons, at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/WCarson/.) There is consolation in the fact that the heart of God is toward his people. He takes a warm interest in our welfare and has a feeling toward us of kindly, gentle affection—of such intensity that one of the highest forms of earthly love is here used to set forth the tender mercy of our God toward us.
It is an axiom in theology that God has no griefs—that he is “without parts or passions.” But I inwardly demur to such statements. They seem inconsistent with the tone and tenor of Scripture, for he appears to take pleasure in his people and to be “angry” with their ill-manners. Surely, metaphors that are inspired must have a meaning that is instructive. If the Father’s “heart yearns,” if our Lord and Savior is “filled with compassion,” and if the Holy Spirit is grieved, there must be something analogous to emotion in the attributes of the Most High.
At least he appears to sympathize with us, so that “in all their distress he too was distressed,” and he pities us as a father has compassion on his children. “That is speaking in a human way,” says somebody. True, and it is exactly the way I do speak. In no other way do I know how to speak, and until I learn to speak after the manner of angels you must pardon me and also the incapacity of my hearers to understand any other than human language.
Pity sympathizes with its objects, makes itself one with them. I believe in a God who can feel. As to Baal and the gods of the heathen, they may be passionless and without emotion or without anything that is akin to feeling. Not so do I find Jehovah to be described.
Believe it then, dear friends, with all your hearts, that God has kindly feelings toward those who fear him, such as a father has toward his children. This is a truth of which I feel jealous, and I do not wish to see it toned down.
--- C. H. Spurgeon
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
You can pray when you can do little else.
Robert Murray McCheyne taught himself Greek at age 4. He rose to the top of his elementary school at 5. He entered high school at 8, and enrolled at Edinburgh University at 14.
At age 18, he began dreaming of ministry and began the lifelong habit of the morning quiet time, his journal for February 23, 1834 reading: Rose early to seek God and found Him whom my soul loveth. Who would not rise early to meet such company? In 1836 he began pastoring St. Peter’s church in Dundee, beginning each day reading God’s Word and praying.
But McCheyne wasn’t well. He experienced “violent palpitations” of the heart, growing so weak and frail that he took an extended trip, seeking to recover. But he missed his church, and on February 27, 1839 he wrote them these words in a pastoral letter:
I wish to be like Epaphras in Colossians 4: “Always laboring fervently for you in prayer.” When hindered by God from laboring for you in any other way, it is my heart’s joy to labor for you thus. When Dr. Scott of Greenock, a good and holy minister, was laid aside by old age from preaching some years before his death, he used to say, “I can do nothing for my people now but pray for them. … ” This I also feel.
McCheyne only partially recovered, dying in 1843 at age 29. On the day of his death nothing was heard in the houses of Dundee but weeping. Men, meeting each other on the streets, burst into sobs. Scottish ministers studied his life and methods for the next hundred years, and his collected letters and sermons are classics. He once said, “If the veil of the world’s machinery were lifted off, how much we could find is done in answer to the prayers of God’s children.”
How much indeed.
We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will live a life that honors the Lord. …
--- Colossians 1:9,10a.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - February 27
“Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation.” --- Psalm 91:9.
The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hill side, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, his cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.” The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly to-day and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness to-day, to-morrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If he loved me yesterday, he loves me to-day. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.
Evening - February 27
“Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” --- Micah 5:2.
The Lord Jesus had goings forth for his people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was “from everlasting” that he signed the compact with his Father, that he would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of his people; it was “from everlasting” that he gave himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot he might sweat great drops of blood, that he might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus “from everlasting.” Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affection upon them. What! my soul, has he been so long about thy salvation, and will not he accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will he lose me now? What! Has he carried me in his hand, as his precious jewel, and will he now let me slip from between his fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were digged, and will he reject me now? Impossible! I am sure he would not have loved me so long if he had not been a changeless Lover. If he could grow weary of me, he would have been tired of me long before now. If he had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, he would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am his everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to him by his Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.
Morning and Evening
IT’S JUST LIKE HIS GREAT LOVE
Edna R. Worrell, 19th century
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
(1 John 3:1)
The greatest demonstration of love is God’s gift of Jesus Christ to a lost world. It is impossible to comprehend fully this divine love; it can only be learned experientially. As we grow in our love relationship with the Lord, we begin to realize in part the magnitude of His love. This love is unconditional—He loves us regardless of our failures or successes. This love is impartial—it includes everyone. This love is infinite and eternal—simply because God Himself is love! And this love is personal—He loves each of us as if we were the only one in His world to love.
Discouragement is common to each of us, especially in our moments of self-pity or as we are made aware of our shortcomings. In times like these, introspection—continually looking within—only makes us more miserable. Rather, we need to look up. We need to focus on Christ and His great love for us, to remember that we are “children of God,” and to rely on His promise that our eternal destiny is heaven. Such a reflection will assuredly change any gloom to song and restore once more a walk of sweet fellowship with our Lord. Then we will have the joy of knowing that Jesus will keep us from day to day because of His great love.
A Friend I have, called Jesus, whose love is strong and true, and never fails how e’er ’tis tried, no matter what I do; I’ve sinned against this love of His, but when I knelt to pray, confessing all my guilt to Him, the sin-clouds rolled away.
Sometimes the clouds of trouble bedim the sky above. I cannot see my Savior’s face; I doubt His wondrous love; but He, from heaven’s mercy seat, beholding my despair, in pity bursts the clouds between and shows me He is there.
When sorrow’s clouds o’ertake me and break upon my head, when life seems worse than useless and I were better dead, I take my grief to Jesus then, nor do I go in vain, in pity bursts the clouds between and shows me He is there.
Oh, I could sing forever of Jesus’ love divine, of all His care and tenderness for this poor life of mine; His love is in and over all, and wind and waves obey when Jesus whispers “Peace, be still!” and rolls the clouds away.
Chorus: It’s just like Jesus to roll the clouds away; it’s just like Jesus to keep me day by day. It’s just like Jesus all along the way; it’s just like His great love.
For Today: Luke 19:10; Ephesians 3:18, 19; 1 John 3:16; 4:9, 10.
Determine to live joyfully as one who knows what it means to be loved and forgiven by God’s great love. Carry this musical truth with you ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | Lent
Tuesday Of The Second Week In Lent
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 61, 62
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 68:1–20 (21–23) 24–35
Old Testament Genesis 42:1–17
New Testament 1 Corinthians 5:1–8
Gospel Mark 3:19b–35
Index of Readings
Psalm 61, 62
61 To The Choirmaster: With Stringed Instruments. Of David.
1 Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
4 Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
5 For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6 Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
7 May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
8 So will I ever sing praises to your name,
as I perform my vows day after day.
62 To The Choirmaster: According To Jeduthun. A Psalm Of David.
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
3 How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
Psalm 68:1–20 (21–23) 24–35
1 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
2 As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God!
3 But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the LORD;
exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
7 O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
you restored your inheritance as it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
11 The Lord gives the word;
the women who announce the news are a great host:
12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil—
13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with shimmering gold.
14 When the Almighty scatters kings there,
let snow fall on Zalmon.
15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
yes, where the LORD will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
18 You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.
19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
[ 21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
“I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may strike your feet in their blood,
that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.” ]
24 Your procession is seen, O God,
the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them virgins playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation,
the LORD, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in their throng,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
28 Summon your power, O God,
the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings shall bear gifts to you.
30 Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds,
the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Nobles shall come from Egypt;
Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.
32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!
42 When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” 2 And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” 3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. 5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” 8 And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” 10 They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies.”
12 He said to them, “No, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” 13 And they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.” 14 But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies. 15 By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” 17 And he put them all together in custody for three days.
1 Corinthians 5:1–8
5 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.
19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Book of Common Prayer