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2/8/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Genesis 41     Mark 11     Job 7     Romans 11


Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

Genesis 41:1 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 2 and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows, attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. 3 And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4 And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. 5 And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. 6 And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, 11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13 And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. 18 Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19 Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20 And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, 21 but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22 I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good. 23 Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24 and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”

25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. 28 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30 but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 31 and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. 32 And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

Joseph Rises to Power

37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.

46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. 47 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.

50 Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. 51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

53 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”

56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.


The Triumphal Entry

Mark 11:1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city.

The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree

20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


Job Continues: My Life Has No Hope

Job 7:1

Has not man a hard service on earth,
and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?
2  Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
and like a hired hand who looks for his wages,
3  so I am allotted months of emptiness,
and nights of misery are apportioned to me.
4  When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’
But the night is long,
and I am full of tossing till the dawn.
5  My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.
6  My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle
and come to their end without hope.

7  “Remember that my life is a breath;
my eye will never again see good.
8  The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.
9  As the cloud fades and vanishes,
so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;
10  he returns no more to his house,
nor does his place know him anymore.

11  “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12  Am I the sea, or a sea monster,
that you set a guard over me?
13  When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
my couch will ease my complaint,’
14  then you scare me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15  so that I would choose strangling
and death rather than my bones.
16  I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
17  What is man, that you make so much of him,
and that you set your heart on him,
18  visit him every morning
and test him every moment?
19  How long will you not look away from me,
nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?
20  If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
Why have you made me your mark?
Why have I become a burden to you?
21  Why do you not pardon my transgression
and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
you will seek me, but I shall not be.”



The Remnant of Israel

Romans 11:1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”

9 And David says,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10  let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever.”

Gentiles Grafted In

11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27  “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34  “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35  “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

The Reformation Study Bible


What I'm Reading

Why Christians Should Read the Short Stories of Langston Hughes

By John Mark Reynolds 2/1/2017

     Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is the greatest American literary talent: poet, essayist, short-story author, and novelist.

     Joseph Smith sells more books, but lacks his artistry.

     Mark Twain is more frequently read, but he was no poet.

     James Fennimore Cooper is one long series of adjectives.

     Moby Dick is a great book, but Melville is not as consistently readable as Hughes.

     A collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks: Stories (Vintage Classics) is an excellent introduction to his work.

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John Mark Reynolds, President of The Saint Constantine School and editor of Great Books Reader, The: Excerpts and Essays on the Most Influential Books in Western Civilization.

How Can I Know Which Bible Promises Apply to Me?

By Amy Hall 9/10/2016

     Because of two recent posts on wrongly applying biblical promises to ourselves (Jeremiah 29:11 and Exodus 14:14), we’ve been receiving questions about how to determine which promises do apply to us.

     The most basic place to start is to look at what is said to New Covenant believers versus those who were under the specific terms of the Mosaic Covenant with its promised blessings and curses. If a promise was made as a term of the Mosaic Covenant (for example, that they would have good crops if they obeyed the Covenant’s commands), then that is not part of our Covenant. However, we can learn much about who God is from how He dealt with people in the Mosaic Covenant, and His character does not change. From His dealings with people in the Old Testament, we learn that He is just, that He is gracious, that He loves undeservedly, that He’s trustworthy and faithful to those He’s covenanted with, that He has their ultimate good in mind, that He’s working everything together for His plan to glorify Himself and redeem the world. God doesn’t change, so what we learn about Him in the Old Testament is still true of Him today. The only question is about how He promises to act today on those characteristics of love, grace, etc.

     When we get to the New Covenant, we see these same characteristics of God play out in terms of the New Covenant. For example, “because of His great love with which He loved us,” and by His grace, we’re reconciled to God through Christ’s death on the cross and are made alive with Him; we are given the Holy Spirit as a secure pledge of God’s faithful covenant with us (Ephesians 1–2). (All who are united to Christ are also heirs of the promises made by grace to Abraham—Galatians 3:15–29.) The particular promises and commands of this Covenant may be different, but His character is the same. We know specifically that His love, grace, wisdom, and purpose are directed towards making His people like Christ (Romans 8:29), and that everything in our lives is working towards that end good (Romans 8:28). It’s the trustworthy character of God that we cling to throughout this difficult life, regardless of whether He heals us or increases our “crops.”

     So when reading the Old Testament, we look to see what we can learn about God in any given passage. Who is He? What is He like? How does He treat His people? In terms of promises, the biggest promise of the Bible is the promise of who God is. This is the promise we depend on. We find we have cancer? We trust the promise that God is good, that He’s sovereign over history, that He loves us, and that He seeks the good of His people. We can’t trust that He’ll heal us (that isn’t always the greatest good for us and for God’s kingdom), but we can trust that God is good and sovereign, and that our suffering has a purpose.

     Always look for what you can learn about God through His dealings with human beings throughout the Bible. When God makes promises about who He is, that always applies. When God promises to give something specific, look more closely at the context to see if He’s promising it in a unique situation (or under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant).

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     Amy is a staff apologist at Stand to Reason, an organization dedicated to training Christians to think more clearly about what they believe and make a gracious defense of classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square.

Does Your Heart Break Like a Samaritan?

By Nijay Gupta 2/13/2017

     Over the last several days I have been haunted by the hateful thoughts and acts around me related to the different “other.” The question keeps ringing in my ears – what can I do, how can I help? I have contacted leaders in my area. I have tried to teach my children about Christian generosity and goodness. What else can I do?

     Someone recently told me – Nijay, you are a teacher – teach! Well, this term I am teaching Biblical Greek, so I took the opportunity to teach my students about the Greek text of Luke 10:25-37 – the “Parable of the Good Samaritan.” I thought I would share these reflections.

     A certain expert in Jewish religious law (νομικός – you might say a “Torah-geek”!) asked Jesus what the expectations are on Jews to inherit eternal life. Jesus turns the question back – What has been written in Torah? Jesus follows up with another question – literally, “How do you read it?” This means, “How do you interpret it?” (CEB). Such a fascinating question. Torah is not self-interpreting, it requires a certain theological insight to know what holds Torah together.

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Nijay K. Gupta (Ph.D, University of Durham) serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. He is the author of several articles and books including a commentary on Colossians (Smyth & Helwys, 2013). You can learn more about Dr. Gupta at his personal blog www.cruxsolablog.com.

Nijay K. Gupta Books:

The Candles at Turl Street Kitchen

By Kelly Keller 2/6/2017

     Evening comes on quickly in Oxford in November. The dark creeps in around 4 in the afternoon.

     When David and I closed out our afternoons there, we sought out a little respite in a place pointed out to us by our friend Sarah: Turl Street Kitchen. Turl Street is one of the cross streets that runs between Broad Street and the High Street. It is rather narrow and always full of bicycle riders.

     The restaurant was tucked in on the right side of the road as we left Broad Street and Blackwells’ bookstore. It was the kind of place you’d imagine in Oxford: small-paned windows, rough wooden pub tables, and a staircase that marched up the middle of the building. In the back was the coffee bar: a lighter space with a few high-top tables scattered about.

     As dusk came on, we sought out those most modern of necessities: electrical outlets and free wi-fi. My eagerness to guide us around the town with an online walking tour, along with my incessant picture-taking, had mercilessly killed my phone. While “going dark” in Oxford was a tempting proposition, responsibilities back home (by the names of our five children) demanded that we keep the communication lines open. So we ordered two lattes and a slice of cake, and slumped down with our bags at a corner table by an outlet.

     We took out a map, as tourists are inclined to do, and discussed our next day’s plans. As we chatted, a server walked about with a lighter and lit the white thick pillar candles on each table. There were no candle holders; not even a plate underneath them. The candles sat down unapologetically on each wooden table, where the burn marks remembered them. There was no fuss about anything.

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     Kelly enjoys live music, baseball, writing, reading great books, and traveling with her best friend and husband, David. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and spends most days homeschooling her five kids and wondering where all the socks went.

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 18

The LORD Is My Rock and My Fortress
18 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David, The Servant Of The LORD, Who Addressed The Words Of This Song To The LORD On The Day When The LORD Delivered Him From The Hand Of All Is Enemies, And From The Hand Of Saul. He Said:

31 For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32 the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.

ESV Study Bible

Six Poor Reasons for Rejecting the Miraculous

By Saints and Sceptics 12/21/2013

     Christian theology affirms a number of miracles, most importantly the atonement, the resurrection, the incarnation and the virgin birth. The secular mind dismisses these as tall-tales and myths produced by superstitious, pre-modern minds. However, it seems to us that the modern prejudice against miracles is not very rational.

     1) Experience shows that miracles do not occur

     This argues in a circle. The Christian asserts that he has good testimony that a miracle has occurred. The sceptic responds, “that can’t be true because human experience shows that miracles do not occur.” But the Christian has just cited evidence that this is not the case: the Christian is claiming that he has evidence that some humans have experienced a miracle!

     It is true that human experience establishes that miracles are, at the very least, rare. But relying on our experience of what usually happens can lead to terrible mistakes. “This medicine has never harmed patients in the past; therefore it will not hurt anyone tomorrow; these buildings have withstood all earthquakes until now; therefore they will withstand the next earthquake.” We should always be open to evidence of the unexpected. Sometimes that evidence can tell us that an unrepeatable, unprecedented event has occurred!

     2) Science shows that miracles are impossible!

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     Saints and Sceptics | About web page

The ‘Pro-Choice Community’ Cannot Speak or Think Honestly About Abortion

By Rob Schwarzwalder 2/4/2017

     Why did so many women gather in Washington against the presidency of Donald Trump?

     Why did so many women (and men and children) march in Washington days later in support of the unborn and their mothers?

     It comes down to a battle over radical sexual autonomy.

     Hearing the words of such profound moral philosophers as Madonna and Scarlett Johansson as they opined from the podium left no doubt that abortion was the central issue for their large collation of women. That pro-life women pointedly were excluded, even disinvited, from the event further makes the point.

     The “Right” to Abortion | Feminism in our time is no longer about equal treatment under the law but about protecting the “right” to abort one’s child at any time throughout pregnancy. This is the source of rage and fear emanating with such profane vehemence from the feminist Left since Mr. Trump’s election in November.

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     Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

     Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.

     Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     CHAPTER 12.

CHRIST, TO PERFORM THE OFFICE OF MEDIATOR, BEHOVED TO BECOME MAN.

The two divisions of this chapter are, I. The reasons why our Mediator behoved to be very God, and to become man, sec. 1-3. II. Disposal of various objections by some fanatics, and especially by Osiander, to the orthodox doctrine concerning the Mediator, sec. 4-7.

Sections.

1. Necessary, not absolutely, but by divine decree, that the Mediator should be God, and become man. Neither man nor angel, though pure, could have sufficed. The Son of God behoved to come down. Man in innocence could not penetrate to God without a Mediator, much less could he after the fall.

2. A second reason why the Mediator behoved to be God and man--viz. that he had to convert those who were heirs of hell into children of God.

3. Third reason, that in our flesh he might yield a perfect obedience, satisfy the divine justice, and pay the penalty of sin. Fourth reason, regarding the consolation and confirmation of the whole Church.

4. First objection against the orthodox doctrine: Answer to it. Conformation from the sacrifices of the Law, the testimony of the Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists, and even Christ himself.

5. Second objection: Answer: Answer confirmed. Third objection: Answer. Fourth objection by Osiander: Answer.

6. Fifth objection, forming the basis of Osiander's errors on this subject: Answer. Nature of the divine image in Adam. Christ the head of angels and men.

7. Sixth objection: Answer. Seventh objection: Answer. Eighth objection: Answer. Ninth objection: Answer. Tenth objection: Answer. Eleventh objection: Answer. Twelfth objection: Answer. The sum of the doctrine.

1. It deeply concerned us, that he who was to be our Mediator should be very God and very man. If the necessity be inquired into, it was not what is commonly termed simple or absolute, but flowed from the divine decree on which the salvation of man depended. What was best for us, our most merciful Father determined. Our iniquities, like a cloud intervening between Him and us, having utterly alienated us from the kingdom of heaven, none but a person reaching to him could be the medium of restoring peace. But who could thus reach to him? Could any of the sons of Adam? All of them, with their parents, shuddered at the sight of God. Could any of the angels? They had need of a head, by connection with which they might adhere to their God entirely and inseparably. What then? The case was certainly desperate, if the Godhead itself did not descend to us, it being impossible for us to ascend. Thus the Son of God behoved to become our Emmanuel, the God with us; and in such a way, that by mutual union his divinity and our nature might be combined; otherwise, neither was the proximity near enough, nor the affinity strong enough, to give us hope that God would dwell with us; so great was the repugnance between our pollution and the spotless purity of God. Had man remained free from all taint, he was of too humble a condition to penetrate to God without a Mediator. What, then, must it have been, when by fatal ruin he was plunged into death and hell, defiled by so many stains, made loathsome by corruption; in fine, overwhelmed with every curse? It is not without cause, therefore, that Paul, when he would set forth Christ as the Mediator, distinctly declares him to be man. There is, says he, "one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus," (1 Tim. 2:5). He might have called him God, or at least, omitting to call him God he might also have omitted to call him man; but because the Spirit, speaking by his mouth, knew our infirmity, he opportunely provides for it by the most appropriate remedy, setting the Son of God familiarly before us as one of ourselves. That no one, therefore, may feel perplexed where to seek the Mediator, or by what means to reach him, the Spirit, by calling him man, reminds us that he is near, nay, contiguous to us, inasmuch as he is our flesh. And, indeed, he intimates the same thing in another place, where he explains at greater length that he is not a high priest who "cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," (Heb. 4:15).

2. This will become still clearer if we reflect, that the work to be performed by the Mediator was of no common description: being to restore us to the divine favour, so as to make us, instead of sons of men, sons of God; instead of heirs of hell, heirs of a heavenly kingdom. Who could do this unless the Son of God should also become the Son of man, and so receive what is ours as to transfer to us what is his, making that which is his by nature to become ours by grace? Relying on this earnest, we trust that we are the sons of God, because the natural Son of God assumed to himself a body of our body, flesh of our flesh, bones of our bones, that he might be one with us; he declined not to take what was peculiar to us, that he might in his turn extend to us what was peculiarly his own, and thus might be in common with us both Son of God and Son of man. Hence that holy brotherhood which he commends with his own lips, when he says, "I ascend to my Father, and your Father, to my God, and your God," (John 20:17). In this way, we have a sure inheritance in the heavenly kingdom, because the only Son of God, to whom it entirely belonged, has adopted us as his brethren; and if brethren, then partners with him in the inheritance (Rom. 8:17). Moreover, it was especially necessary for this cause also that he who was to be our Redeemer should be truly God and man. It was his to swallow up death: who but Life could do so? It was his to conquer sin: who could do so save Righteousness itself? It was his to put to flight the powers of the air and the world: who could do so but the mighty power superior to both? But who possesses life and righteousness, and the dominion and government of heaven, but God alone? Therefore, God, in his infinite mercy, having determined to redeem us, became himself our Redeemer in the person of his only begotten Son.

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



  • When All Is Shaking
  • Wasted Life — Now What?
  • Overthink Life?

#1 John Piper   Desiring God

 

#2 John Piper   Desiring God

 

#3 John Piper   Desiring God

 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     God uses ordinary people (1)
     2/8/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘You will be my witnesses.’

(Ac 1:7–8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ESV

     A witness is someone who sees and experiences an event, then testifies to it in court in a way that convinces others. And that’s what you have been called to do! You say, ‘But I don’t feel qualified.’ God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. And don’t let Satan convince you otherwise, because he will try. He will tell you God has an IQ requirement, or an entry fee; that He employs only specialists, experts, and high-powered personalities. No, Jesus said to His disciples, ‘You will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.’ You uneducated and simple folk. You temperamental net casters and tax collectors. ‘You will be my witnesses.’ The one thing the disciples had going for them was their willingness to take a step when Jesus said, ‘Follow me.’ So, if you’re more plumber than executive, or more blue jeans than blue blood, you’re qualified! ‘Few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful’ (1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NLT). So, pray: ‘Lord, You’ve called me into Your Kingdom to serve You in this specific place, at this specific time, and for this specific purpose. Despite my ordinariness I belong to You – and You are anything but ordinary! Today help me to pour out Your grace and compassion upon others, that they too may experience the richness of Your love.’

Exodus 31-33
Matthew 22:1-22

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The Boys Scouts of America was incorporated this day, February 8, 1910. It was founded two years prior in England by Sir Baden-Powell, a hero of the South African Boer Wars. His troops were besieged two hundred days by an overwhelming army, but due to his resourcefulness, his men survived. The Boy Scouts are now the largest voluntary youth movement in the world, with membership over 25 million. The Scout Oath states: “On my honor, I will do my best: To do my duty to God and my country… To help other people at all times. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     There is a degree of holy and complete obedience and of joyful self-renunciation and of sensitive listening that is breath-taking. Difference of degree passes over into utter difference of kind, when one tries to follow Him the second half. Jesus put this pointedly when He said, "Ye must be born again" (John 3: 3), and Paul knew it: "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature" (2 Cor. 5: 17).

     George Fox as a youth was religious enough to meet all earthly standards and was even proposed as a student 'for the ministry. But the insatiable God-hunger in him drove him from such mediocrity into a passionate quest for the real whole wheat Bread of Life. Sensible relatives told him to settle down and get married. Thinking him crazy, they took him to a doctor to have his blood let; the equivalent of being taken to a psychiatrist in these days, as are modern conscientious objectors to war in Belgium and France. Parents, if some of your children are seized with this imperative God-hunger, don't tell them to snap out of it and get a job, but carry them patiently in your love, or at least keep hands off and let the holy work of God proceed in their souls. Young people, you who have in you the stirrings of perfection, the sweet, sweet rapture of God Himself within you, be faithful to Him until the last lingering bit of self is surrendered and you are wholly God-possessed.

     The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness. Its joys are ravishing, its peace profound, its humility the deepest, its power world-shaking, its love enveloping, its simplicity that of a trusting child. It is the life and power in which the prophets and apostles lived. It is the life and power of Jesus of Nazareth, who knew that "when thine eye is single thy whole body is full of light" (Luke II: 34). It is the life and power of the apostle Paul, who resolved not to know anything among men save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is the life and power of Saint Francis, that little poor man of God who came nearer to reliving the life of Jesus than has any other man on earth. It is the life and power of George Fox and of Isaac and Mary Penington. It is the life and power and utter obedience of John Woolman who decided, he says, "to place my whole trust in God," to "act on an inner Principle of Virtue, and pursue worldly business no farther than as Truth opened my way therein." It is the life and power of myriads of unknown saints through the ages. It is the life and power of some people now in this room who smile knowingly as I speak. And it is a life and power that can break forth in this tottering Western culture and return the Church to its rightful life as a fellowship of creative, heaven-led souls.


A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Whether we like it or not,
asking is the rule of the kingdom.
--- Charles Spurgeon

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end;
if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth
only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin,
and in the end, despair.
--- C.S. Lewis

The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of omnipotent love.
--- Andrew Murray

Perfection is not a moral embellishment that we acquire outside of Christ, in order to qualify for union with him. Perfection is the work of Christ himself living in us by faith.
--- Thomas Merton

... from here, there and everywhere


Proverbs 8:22-31
     by D.H. Stern

22     “ADONAI made me as the beginning of his way,
the first of his ancient works.
23     I was appointed before the world,
before the start, before the earth’s beginnings.
24     When I was brought forth, there were no ocean depths,
no springs brimming with water.
25     I was brought forth before the hills,
before the mountains had settled in place;
26     he had not yet made the earth, the fields,
or even the earth’s first grains of dust.
27     When he established the heavens, I was there.
When he drew the horizon’s circle on the deep,
28     when he set the skies above in place,
when the fountains of the deep poured forth,
29     when he prescribed boundaries for the sea,
so that its water would not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     I was with him as someone he could trust.
For me, every day was pure delight,
as I played in his presence all the time,
31     playing everywhere on his earth,
and delighting to be with humankind.


Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                Instantaneous and insistent sanctification

     And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly. ---
1 Thess. 5:23–24.

     When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself.” The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.

     Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul’s? Are we prepared to say—‘Lord make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace’? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us?

     Tell God you are ready to be offered, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Asides
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Asides

Between the closing of an eye
and its opening centuries
of bone cold, a millenium of them.
Beneath all that monumental
ice what art epochs, what religion?
Are those eye-lashes rigid
with tears of possible compassion,
icicles fringing the resigned lids?

The anthropomorphisms of time!
The lineaments he might have confessed
to are elsewhere. What has ubiquity
to do with form? Ah, planetary truth,
inexorable in teaching everything
     that can be taught
but our mirrors their manners.

The Poems of R.S. Thomas

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul

     The Eighth Chapter / Shunning Over-Familiarity

     DO NOT open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who fears God. Do not keep company with young people and strangers. Do not fawn upon the rich, and do not be fond of mingling with the great. Associate with the humble and the simple, with the devout and virtuous, and with them speak of edifying things. Be not intimate with any woman, but generally commend all good women to God. Seek only the intimacy of God and of His angels, and avoid the notice of men.

     We ought to have charity for all men but familiarity with all is not expedient. Sometimes it happens that a person enjoys a good reputation among those who do not know him, but at the same time is held in slight regard by those who do. Frequently we think we are pleasing others by our presence and we begin rather to displease them by the faults they find in us.


The Imitation Of Christ

Teacher's Commentary
     So Why Egypt?

     The story of Joseph does more than give us a portrait of a man of great faith and admirable character. It also marks a major turning point in the history of God’s chosen people. Israel moved from the Promised Land to the land of Egypt, where, after a time, Joseph was forgotten and the people enslaved.

     Why was Egypt part of God’s plan for His people? In a Survey of Israel's History Leon Wood summarizes:

     "Egypt was a country in which Jacob’s descendants would have to remain a separate people, for Jacob and his sons were shepherds, and shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians (Gen. 43:32; 46:34). The fact would remain a natural barrier to intermarriage. In Canaan there had already been some intermarriage with the inhabitants and continued living there would have brought more. This could only have led to serious amalgamation with these Canaanites, rather than distinctiveness as a nation. Further, Egypt afforded excellent living conditions for the necessary rapid growth in numbers. The land of Goshen was fertile and regularly watered by the flooding Nile for adequate food supply."

     We might also point out that Canaan, during the centuries that the Jews were in Egypt, was a highway for the armies of nations to the north and south. The Hebrews could hardly have grown in such numbers as they did in the protected environment of Egypt. In a very real sense, Egypt was a womb in which the seed of Israel grew and multiplied until in God’s own time a nation was born.

     A glimpse of God’s purpose in bringing Israel into Egypt helps us to focus on the primary message of these Genesis chapters. Joseph himself summed it up as he reassured his brothers: “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then it was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:7–8). What is the message? God is a Person who is in control of circumstances, who works providentially to accomplish His good purposes.

     It’s important that we grasp this truth about God as firmly as Joseph did. In Genesis we’ve seen God act in direct interventions. He created Adam and Eve. He set aside the orderly processes of nature to bring on earth a cataclysmic flood. He spoke to Abraham directly. He acted in a clearly supernatural way to overthrow Sodom and Gomorrah. But there is no record that God spoke directly to Joseph. Joseph had heard stories of the covenant from his father. Joseph had dreamed dreams. But God did not meet with Joseph or confront him.

     There is no record of God acting to set aside natural processes on Joseph’s account. God blessed Joseph’s efforts in Potiphar’s house, in prison, and in his position as a ruler of Egypt. But it was through Joseph’s own honesty and efforts that the Lord worked. In the unfolding of circumstances, Joseph saw the hand of God. But certainly others would have seen only luck—both good and bad.

     But Joseph’s view is the true one.

     As we trace through the rest of the Old Testament, we’ll see that God does sometimes intervene directly. But in most cases God works through the ordering of circumstances: through the natural progress of events whose sequence nonetheless is patterned to shape history according to God’s plan and will.

     It is important for us to see that this same will is active in our own circumstances. Each child of God is as important to Him as Joseph. Not because we have a task as great as Joseph’s, but because we are just as precious to the Lord. Thus we have that great New Testament affirmation of God’s control of circumstance for our benefit: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Even tragedies such as Joseph experienced are meant for good. True, they may not lead us to a place of blessing in some earthly Egypt. But one day we will find our place as kings and priests to reign with the triumphant Christ.

     In that day the pattern of our individual lives will be seen, woven into the great tapestry of the overall plan of our God: a plan that has in sharp focus the preservation of human beings for a life that extends far beyond the short span allotted you and me on earth. A plan that involves, with eternity, the full restoration in our personalities of the purified image of our God.


The Teacher's Commentary

Take Heart
     February 8

     [Moses] persevered because he saw him who is invisible. --- Hebrews 11:27.

     To endure is to accept the uncontrollable. ( Highways of the Heart (Morrison Classic Sermon Series, The) ) It is to pass through difficult hours free from any embittering of spirit, for to grow bitter is always to be beaten. We say what can’t be cured must be endured, but that is hardly the endurance of the Scriptures. Paul and Silas in the prison at Philippi did not accept things in a joyless way. They were happy; they sang loudly. That is the endurance of the Scripture: acceptance with a note of triumph. Of that gracious and beautiful endurance the New Testament indicates three sources.

     The first is faith. The apostle tells us to “take up the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16). If we are to be guarded amid the blows and buffetings of life, there must be faith in the heart. If our darker hours have no meaning, if they are devoid of plan or purpose, if life is nothing but accident or chance, the highest a person can achieve is resignation. But if God is love, and if everything that comes to us arrives in the perfect ordering of the Father, then another frame of mind becomes possible. The person who believes that God is in the hard part is empowered to endure the hard part. Faith finds goodness in things evil.

     Then, too, there is love, for love “always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:7). Wherever there is love in the heart, there is the power to endure. God is patient, says Saint Augustine, because he is eternal. But there is a deeper source of his patience than eternity. He is patient because he loves. And our Lord empowers his children to endure by the new love he kindles in their hearts. He shows them that God is eminently lovable. He reveals the lovable element in people. He sends into their hearts his Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love.

     Lastly there is vision. Moses “persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” To see the invisible when skies are dark is to have power to win. Never was there endurance like the Master’s. It was radiant with peace and joy. It did not falter even in Gethsemane. It was equal to the agony of Calvary. And inspiring, animating, and sustaining it was the vision of his Father’s face. We too can practice that same presence. We can do it when life is very difficult. We can do it when the way is dark. We can do it when we cannot understand. And, doing it, we come to be so sure that underneath are the everlasting arms that endurance passes into joy.
--- George H. Morrison


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

On This Day   February 8
     Squalls and Stalls

     Just when the apostle Paul intended a Spain-ward thrust of the gospel to evangelize Western Europe, he was detained in Jerusalem, then imprisoned two years in Caesarea. Finally appealing to the imperial court, he was hustled aboard ship for Rome. But a typhoon besieged the vessel; it sunk and Paul swam ashore — only to be bitten by a viper. Thus he found himself stranded on the island of Malta for three months.

     But careful readers of Acts 27 and 28 are always impressed with Paul’s self-possession. He kept his head above water even when his ship was going down. He knew how to remain even-tempered, though all the elements of frustration were at hand. Paul’s missionary dreams were thwarted. He was imprisoned when he craved freedom and forced into inactivity when he desired action. He was eager to reach Rome, but the winds blew against him. He was a man of progress, making no headway. Wanting to redeem the time, he was beached on an obscure island.

     He was stalled.

     In due time the sea lanes reopened for the spring, and on February 8, 60, Paul boarded ship for the remainder of the trip to Rome. (The Book of Acts (New International Commentary on the New Testament) ) As for being frustrated, there’s no sign of it. Paul’s life and ministry were so entrusted to the Lord that he took everything that befell him, both squalls and stalls, as from God. Experience had taught him to trust in the Lord’s providence and to lean on the Lord’s promises. During the height of the earlier tempest, he had summarized his philosophy for the terrified sailors: I belong to God, and I worship him. … Cheer up! I am sure that God will do exactly what he promised (Acts 27:23-25).

     It was not in due time — but in divine time — that Paul reached Rome. His nerves held steady in the storm. His spirit remained patient in delay.

     He knew how to wait on his God.

     Three months later we sailed in a ship that had been docked at Malta for the winter. … We arrived in Syracuse and stayed for three days. From there we sailed to Rhegium. The next day a south wind began to blow, and two days later we arrived in Puteoli. There we found some of the Lord’s followers, who begged us to stay with them. A week later we left for the city of Rome.
--- Acts 28:11-14.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - February 8

     “Thou shalt call his name Jesus.” --- Matthew 1:21.

     When a person is dear, everything connected with him becomes dear for his sake. Thus, so precious is the person of the Lord Jesus in the estimation of all true believers, that everything about him they consider to be inestimable beyond all price. “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia,” said David, as if the very vestments of the Saviour were so sweetened by his person that he could not but love them. Certain it is, that there is not a spot where that hallowed foot hath trodden—there is not a word which those blessed lips have uttered—nor a thought which his loving Word has revealed—which is not to us precious beyond all price. And this is true of the names of Christ—they are all sweet in the believer’s ear. Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether he be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world—the King, the Prophet, or the Priest—every title of our Master—Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor—every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distil from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name. It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.

     “Jesus, I love thy charming name,
     ’Tis music to mine ear.”



          Evening - February 8

     “He shall save his people from their sins.” --- Matthew 1:21.

     Many persons, if they are asked what they understand by salvation, will reply, “Being saved from hell and taken to heaven.” This is one result of salvation, but it is not one tithe of what is contained in that boon. It is true our Lord Jesus Christ does redeem all his people from the wrath to come; he saves them from the fearful condemnation which their sins had brought upon them; but his triumph is far more complete than this. He saves his people “from their sins.” Oh! sweet deliverance from our worst foes. Where Christ works a saving work, he casts Satan from his throne, and will not let him be master any longer. No man is a true Christian if sin reigns in his mortal body. Sin will be in us—it will never be utterly expelled till the spirit enters glory; but it will never have dominion. There will be a striving for dominion—a lusting against the new law and the new spirit which God has implanted—but sin will never get the upper hand so as to be absolute monarch of our nature. Christ will be Master of the heart, and sin must be mortified. The Lion of the tribe of Judah shall prevail, and the dragon shall be cast out. Professor! is sin subdued in you? If your life is unholy your heart is unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person. If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, he has done nothing in you of a saving character. The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves his people, not in their sins, but from them. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” If not saved from sin, how shall we hope to be counted among his people. Lord, save me now from all evil, and enable me to honour my Saviour.

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

Amazing Grace
     February 8

          O LOVE THAT WILT NOT LET ME GO

     George Matheson, 1842–1902

     I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)

     The writing of this thoughtful and artistically constructed text is most remarkable! It was authored by an esteemed Scottish minister who was totally blind and who described the writing as the “fruit of much mental suffering.” Many conjectures have been made regarding the cause of the “mental suffering.” Fortunately, Dr. George Matheson did leave this account:

     My hymn was composed in the manse of Innelan on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high.

     A very popular account for the writing of this hymn, though never fully substantiated, claims that it was the result of the reminder at his sister’s wedding of the great disappointment that Matheson had experienced just before he was to have been married to his college fiancée. When told of his impending total blindness, she is said to have informed him, “I do not wish to be the wife of a blind preacher.”

     It is very possible that the lingering memory of this rejection from an earthly lover prompted George Matheson to write this beautiful expression of an eternal love that will never be broken:

     O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul on Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
     O Light that follow’st all my way, I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee; my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.
     O Joy that seekest me thru pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee; I trace the rainbow thru the rain, and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.
     O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.


     For Today: Romans 8:35–39; 1 John 3:1; Revelation 1:5, 6.

     Rest securely in God’s eternal love, regardless of the human difficulty or suffering you may be experiencing. Allow this musical message to help you ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Thursday, February 8, 2018 | Epiphany


Thursday Of The Fifth Week After Epiphany
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     (Psalm 83) or Psalm 146, 147
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 85, 86
Old Testament     Genesis 27:30–45
New Testament     Romans 12:9–21
Gospel     John 8:21–32

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Option A
(Psalm 83)

[     83 A Song. A Psalm Of Asaph.

1 O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3 They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
5 For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who were destroyed at En-dor,
who became dung for the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession for ourselves
of the pastures of God.”

13 O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so may you pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane!
16 Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O LORD.
17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace,
18 that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the LORD,
are the Most High over all the earth.     ]

OR
Option B
Psalm 146, 147

146 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!

147 Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The LORD lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the LORD!

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 85, 86
85 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of The Sons Of Korah.

1 LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
3 You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.

8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.

86 A Prayer Of David.

1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Old Testament
Genesis 27:30–45

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:

     “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be,
     and away from the dew of heaven on high.
     40 By your sword you shall live,
     and you shall serve your brother;
     but when you grow restless
     you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— 45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?”

New Testament
Romans 12:9–21

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Gospel
John 8:21–32

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church


Genesis 41
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