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Genesis 1     Matthew 1     Ezra 1     Acts 1



Genesis 1

The Creation of the World

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27  So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


Matthew 1

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.


Ezra 1

The Proclamation of Cyrus

Ezra 1:1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem. 6 And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. 7 Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the LORD that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. 8 Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; 11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.


Acts 1

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:1 1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

     According to Bruce Chilton and J.I.H. McDonald in Jesus and the Ethics of the Kingdom the primary focus in Jesus' teaching was not God's love, but God's rule. Notice what Luke says above that in the forty days between the resurrection and the ascension Jesus spoke to his disciples about the Kingdom of God.

4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 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.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“ ‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“ ‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

ESV Study Bible

What I'm Reading

Did Christianity Borrow from the Mystery Religions?

By Pat Zukeran 05/24/15

     Pat Zukeran examines the myths from mystery religions which are sometimes argued to be the source of our Gospel accounts of Jesus. He finds that any such connection is extremely weak and does not detract from the reliability of the gospel message.

     One of the popular ideas being promoted today especially on the internet is the idea that the miracle stories of Jesus were borrowed from ancient pagan myths. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy write in their book The Laughing Jesus, “Each mystery religion taught its own version of the myth of the dying and resurrecting Godman, who was known by different names in different places. In Egypt, where the mysteries began, he was Osiris. In Greece he became Dionysus, in Asia Minor he is known as Attis, in Syria he is Adonis, in Persia he is Mithras, in Alexandria he is Serapis, to name a few.”{1}

     Proponents of this idea point out that there are several parallels between these pagan myths and the story of Jesus Christ. Parallels including a virgin birth, a divine Son of God, the god dying for mankind, resurrection from the dead, and others are cited. Skeptics allege that Christianity did not present any unique teaching, but borrowed the majority of its tenets from the mystery religions.

     Indeed, some of the alleged parallels appear to be quite striking. One example is the god Mithras. This myth teaches that Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave, that he was a traveling teacher with twelve disciples, promised his disciples eternal life, and sacrificed himself for the world. The god Dionysius miraculously turns water into wine. The Egyptian god Osiris is killed and then resurrects from the dead.

     This position was taught in the nineteenth century by the History of Religions School, but by the mid-twentieth century this view was shown to be false and it was abandoned even by those who believed Christianity was purely a natural religion.{2} Ron Nash wrote, “During a period of time running roughly from about 1890 to 1940, scholars often alleged that primitive Christianity had been heavily influenced by Platonism, Stoicism, the pagan religions, or other movements in the Hellenistic world. Largely as a result of a series of scholarly books and articles written in rebuttal, allegations of early Christianity’s dependence on its Hellenistic environment began to appear much less frequently in the publications of Bible scholars and classical scholars. Today most Bible scholars regard the question as a dead issue.”{3}

Click here to go to source

Dr. Patrick Zukeran is one of the world’s premiere apologists today. He is an author, speaker, world traveler. He is on staff with Probe Ministries and hosts a nationally syndicated radio show Evidence and Answers. He was raised in Hawaii. There is a Chinese Proverb which says, “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” The ministry of apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith…giving answers to skeptics, or those who challenge the validity of Christian beliefs and foundations) is no small task. But when done with skill and precision, it is beautiful.

Calvin on the Sacraments

By Sinclair Ferguson

     For some, John Calvin seems to be at his most feisty when he writes on the sacraments. Against those who complain that infant baptism is a travesty of the Gospel, in the Institutes he stoutly insists, "these darts are aimed more at God than at us!" But a little reflection reveals he is also at his most thoughtful, and his analysis of sacramental signs can strengthen credobaptists as well as paedobaptists.

     If repentance and faith are in view in baptism, how can infant baptism be biblical? Calvin responds: the same was true of circumcision (hence references to Jer. 4:4; 9:25; Deut. 10:16; 30:6), yet infants were circumcised.

     How then can either sign be applicable to infants who have neither repented nor believed? Calvin's central emphasis here is simple, but vital.

     Baptism, like circumcision, is first and foremost a sign of the gospel and its promise, not of our response to the gospel. It points first of all to the work of Christ for us, not to the work of the Spirit in us. It calls for our response. It is not primarily a sign of that response. So, like the proclamation of the gospel (of which it is a sign), baptism summons us to (rather than signifies) repentance and faith.

     In fact all believers are called to grow into an understanding and "improvement" of their baptism. This is as true for those baptized as believers as for those baptized as infants.

Click here to go to source

     Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson is a Ligonier teaching fellow and distinguished visiting professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. His many books include The Whole Christ.

Sinclair Ferguson Books:

Head Knowledge vs Heart Knowledge

By Mike Mobley

     “Self-salvation through good works may produce a great deal of moral behaviour in your life, but inside you are miserable. You are always comparing yourself to other people, and you are never sure you are being good enough. You cannot therefore, deal with your hideousness and self-absorption through the moral law, by trying to be a good person through an act of the will. You need a complete transformation of the very motives of your heart.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God

     When you hear about Jesus, what comes to mind? Who is Jesus to you? Depending on where you live, chances are you might have heard the Gospel before. Even now as you read this you might be saying to yourself “bla bla bla, yes I know the Gospel…move on to the next topic.” When it comes to Jesus, do you know Him in your head or in your heart?

(Pr 3:5–6) 5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6  In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
ESV



     Would you say you know Jesus in your head or in your heart?

     We can fill up our heads with knowledge all day long. From reading the internet, studying books, watching TV, listening to music, and having conversations with others, it’s amazing to think how much goes into our heads each day. What would it mean though for us to apply these things to our hearts? When we apply something to our heart, it becomes very real for us at that point. It drives our minds, emotions, and affections towards whatever that thing or someone is.

     Heart Knowledge | Jonathan Edwards from his sermon Divine and Supernatural Light has a great illustration to make this point using honey. He says, “your mind can know honey is sweet, people can tell you it’s sweet, you’ve read books about it, etc. but if you haven’t actually tasted it, you know with your head, but not with your heart. When you actually taste it, you experience it for yourself, you know it in a full way, and you can know it in your heart.”

Click here to go to source

     Saved by Grace through Faith. In love with Jesus, His Glory, and obviously my beautiful wife Joelle, daughter Peyton, and son Matthew! Seeking Him in everything to glorify Him and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor at Austin Life Church.

Bible Reading Plans for 2018

By Nathan W. Bingham 12/28/16

     Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan.

(Ps 119:105) 105  Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
ESV


     For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Maybe in 2018 you will read more of the Bible each day. Perhaps you’ll slow down your reading and instead spend more time considering what you read. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below:

     5 Day Bible Reading Program

     Read through the Bible in a year, with readings five days a week.

     Duration: One Year

Click here to go to source

     Nathan W. Bingham is senior manager of communications for Ligonier Ministries and a graduate of Presbyterian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. He blogs at NWBingham.com. He is on Twitter @NWBingham.

Never Read a Bible Verse

By Greg Koukl 2/4/2013

     If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be? What is the single most important practical skill I've ever learned as a Christian?

     Here it is: Never read a Bible verse. That's right, never read a Bible verse. Instead, always read a paragraph at least.

     My Radio Trick | When I'm on the radio, I use this simple rule to help me answer the majority of Bible questions I'm asked, even when I'm totally unfamiliar with the verse. It's an amazingly effective technique you can use, too.

     I read the paragraph, not just the verse. I take stock of the relevant material above and below. Since the context frames the verse and gives it specific meaning, I let it tell me what's going on.

     This works because of a basic rule of all communication: Meaning always flows from the top down, from the larger units to the smaller units, not the other way around. The key to the meaning of any verse comes from the paragraph, not just from the individual words.

Click here to go to source

     Greg Koukl: Founder and President, Stand to Reason

     Greg started out thinking he was too smart to become a Christian and ended up giving his life for the defense of the Christian faith. A central theme of Greg's speaking and writing is that Christianity—if it's properly understood and properly communicated—makes the most sense of the world as we find it.

     Greg has spoken on more than 70 college and university campuses both in the U.S. and abroad and has hosted his own call-in radio show for 27 years advocating “Christianity worth thinking about.” He’s debated atheist Michael Shermer on national radio and Deepak Chopra on national television on Lee Strobel's “Faith Under Fire.” He is an award-winning writer and best-selling author. Greg has been featured on Focus on the Family radio and has been interviewed for CBN and the BBC. He's been quoted in Christianity Today, the U.S. News & World Report, and the L.A. Times.

     Greg received his Masters in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, graduating with high honors, and his Masters in Christian Apologetics with honors from Simon Greenleaf University. He is an adjunct professor in Christian apologetics at Biola University.
Greg Koukl Books:

The Synoptic Gospels Explain John

By Lydia McGrew

     1. “He was before me” | The prologue to the Gospel of John is a part of the heritage of the Christian church. Read every Sunday as the “last Gospel” in Catholic and Anglican churches, John 1.1– 14 shows the author of the fourth Gospel at his theologically most profound.

     The prologue is studded with references to John the Baptist, with whom the narrative of the Gospel begins in verse 19. As early as verse 6, the evangelist breaks off his theological discourse to mention a man sent from God whose name was John, who came to bear witness of the light. He then returns in verse 9 to teaching about the true light who lightens all men. John the Baptist comes up again parenthetically in verse 15, immediately after the famous declaration, “The Word was made flesh.”

(Jn 1:14–18) 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. ESV

     The words of John the Baptist, emphasized here in an aside, are repeated in due course in the narrative at verse 30.

     Why does the evangelist pause and emphasize those particular words at that point in his discourse? 2 Evidently he takes it that those words of John the Baptist support the points he is making. Why those words, rather than, say, John the Baptist’s statement that Jesus is the Lamb of God or that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost?

     Theologically, the answer does not seem hard to find: John the evangelist seems to be taking John the Baptist’s words “he was before me” to be an assertion of, or at least an allusion to, Jesus’ pre-existence, which he has been teaching in the prologue. But if one looks at the Gospel of John alone, it is not clear why those words should mean that. Could they not mean that Jesus was literally older than John the Baptist? John’s Gospel says nothing to the contrary.

     When one looks at the Gospel of Luke, the significance and the almost pun-like nature of John the Baptist’s words are made clear. Luke 1.26ff is explicit that John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, was conceived six months before the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary to announce that she would conceive and bear the child Jesus. Hence, Jesus came after John the Baptist both in the sense that his ministry began later and also in the human sense that he was six months younger. But he “was before” John the Baptist, if one accepts the doctrine of the Incarnation, in the sense that his existence did not begin with his human conception.

(Lk 1:26–28) 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” ESV

     Could the author of John have counted on his audience’s familiarity with the point about the ages of Jesus and John the Baptist? What if some members of his audience had not read the Gospel of Luke? There are two relevant points here, one of which confirms Luke and one of which confirms John: First, John’s pointed insertion of those words of John the Baptist at that place in his theological argument supports the conclusion that John knew as a fact that Jesus was biologically younger than John the Baptist. This provides confirmation to Luke. A skeptical scholar might conjecture that Luke made up the respective ages of Jesus and John the Baptist in his narrative, or that it was a legendary addition that he copied down, and that it became accepted on that basis, but that is to add an unnecessary layer of explanation. There is no particular theological reason in Luke for making John the Baptist six months older. It simply comes out in the course of the story. The simplest explanation for John’s pointed, theological use of the words of John the Baptist that Jesus “was before him” is that the Gospel author knew that Jesus was biologically younger than John the Baptist and hence that these words could not have referred to biological age.

     On the other side, the fact that John could not be sure that all of his readers would know that John the Baptist was humanly older than Jesus supports at least to some degree the accuracy of his own account of John the Baptist’s words. Suppose, instead, that he made up those words, “He was before me,” and put them into the mouth of John the Baptist for his own theological purposes. His use of them in the prologue makes it clear that he thinks that they do serve his theological ends. But in that case, why would he leave it to chance as to whether his intended audience would get the point? Why be subtle about it? If one considers only John’s Gospel, the point of John the Baptist’s words is theologically unclear and leaves the reader wondering why this is being emphasized just here in this way. It is implausible that an author would go to the trouble to invent words that John the Baptist never said while leaving their point obscure, requiring for their understanding an historical data point that the inventing author does not even mention in his own account. But if John was recounting what John the Baptist actually said, happening to remember it, noting its significance to himself, and mentioning it as a brief aside before getting back to his own theological argument, he may well not have stopped to think about whether all of the relevant background had been fleshed out for his readers.

Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts

     Lydia McGrew

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 1

The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked

1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

ESV Study Bible

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

__________________________________________________________________

[149] See Calvin Adv. Theolog. Parisienses, Art. 2. These two rocks are adverted to by Augustine, Ep. 47, et in Joannem, cap. 12.

[150] The French is, "Laquelle toutefois nous cognoistrons etre très-utile et qui plue est, etre un des fondemens de la religion;"--which, however, we shall know to be very useful, and what is more, to be one of the fundamentals of religion.

[151] The French adds, "pour en dire franchement ce qu en est;"--to speak of them frankly as they deserve.

[152] The French adds the explanation, "Assavoir ceux qui concernoyent la vie celeste;"that is to say, those which concern the heavenly life.

[153] Orig. De Principiis, Lib. 3. It is given by Lombard, Lib. 2 Dist 24 Bernard. de Grat. et Liber Arbit Anselm, Dialog. de Liber. Arbit. cap. 12, 13 Lombard, Lib. 2 Dist. 24 sec. 5.

[154] The French adds ("qu'en attribue ? St Ambroise");--which is attributed St. Ambrose.

[155] August. Lib. 1 cont. Julian. For the subsequent quotations, see Homil. 53, in Joannem; Ad Anast. Epist. 144; De Perf. Just; Eucher. ad Laur. c. 30; Idem ad Bonifac. Lib. 3 c. 8; Ibid. c. 7; Idem ad Bonifac. Lib 1 c. 3; Ibid. Lib. 3 cap. 7; Idem. Lib. de Verbis Apost. Serm. 3; Lib. de Spiritu et Litera. cap. 30.

[156] See August. de Corrept. et Grat. cap. 13. Adv. Lib. Arbit. See also August. Epist. 107. Also the first and last parts of Bernard's Treatise De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio.

[157] August. de Prædest. Sanct. Idem ad Bonifacum, Lib. 4 et alibi. Eucher. Lib in Genesin. Chrysost. Homil. in Adventu.

[158] The French adds, "Ancien evesque de Lion;" ancient bishop of Lyons.

[159] The French has, "Au commencement de ce traité;" at the commencment of this treatise.

[160] The French adds, "Si c'est parole diabolique celle qui exalte homme en soy'mesme, il ne nous lui faut donner lieu, sinon que nous veuillins prendre conseli de nostre ennemi;"--if words which exalt man in himself are devilish, we must not give place to them unless we would take counsel of our enemy.

[161] Chrysost. Homil. de Perf. Evang. August. Epist. 56 ad Discur. As to true humility, see infra, chap. 7 sec. 4, and lib. 3 c 12, sec. 6, 7.

[162] The French is, "Demosthene orateur Grec;"--the Greek orator Demosthenes.

[163] August. Homil. in Joann. 49, lib. de Natura et Gratia, cap. 52.; and in Psalms 45. set 70

[164] The French adds, "de ce que l'ame savoit avant qu'etre mis dedlans le corps;"--of what the soul knew before it was placed within the body.

[165] The French adds, "Or l'entendement humaiu a eté tel en cest endroit. Nous appercevons donques qu'il est du tout stupide;" now, the understanding has proved so in this matter. We see, therefore, that it is quite stupid.

[166] Calvin, in his Commentary on the passage, says, "Lost in part or appearance, or deserved to lose."

__________________________________________________________________

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


  • Reminders 2
  • Suffering for the Gospel
  • Salvation


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     This year get out of your comfort zone (1)
     1/1/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.’

(Is 41:10) 10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
ESV

     Two of our biggest fears are – failure and criticism. And they never completely go away. You can overcome them, but they’ll show up when you face your next challenge. It’s in accepting fear as part of life’s journey instead of running from it, that you learn to conquer it. Indeed, as you look back at what you’ve already overcome, you realise that most times failure doesn’t do permanent damage – you actually grow stronger through it. If you’re anxious today, God is saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.’ So trust Him, and get out of your comfort zone! An unknown poet wrote: ‘I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I couldn’t fail; the same four walls of busywork were really more like jail. I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before, but stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor. I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much; I said I didn’t care for things like dreams and goals and such. I claimed to be so busy with the things inside my zone, but deep inside I longed for something special of my own. I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win; I held my breath and stepped outside and let the change begin. I took a step, and with new strength I’d never felt before, I kissed my comfort zone goodbye, then closed and locked the door. If you are in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out, remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.’ The word for you today is: this year, get out of your comfort zone.

Gen 1-3
Matt 1

UCB The Word For Today

Bible Introduction
     ESV MacArthur Study Bible
     John MacArthur

     The Bible is a collection of 66 documents inspired by God. These documents are gathered into two testaments, the Old (39) and the New (27). Prophets, priests, kings, and leaders from the nation of Israel wrote the OT books in Hebrew (with two passages in Aramaic). The apostles and their associates wrote the NT books in Greek.

     The OT record starts with the creation of the universe and closes about 400 years before the first coming of Jesus Christ.

     The flow of history through the OT moves along the following lines:

  • Creation of the universe
  • Fall of man
  • Judgment flood over the earth
  • Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel)—fathers of the chosen nation
  • The history of Israel

    • Exile in Egypt—430 years
    • Exodus and wilderness wanderings—40 years
    • Conquest of Canaan—7 years
    • Era of Judges—350 years
    • United Kingdom—Saul, David, Solomon—110 years
    • Divided Kingdom—Judah/Israel—350 years
    • Exile in Babylon—70 years
    • Return and rebuilding the land—140 years
     The details of this history are explained in the 39 books divided into five categories:

  • The Law—5 (Genesis - Deuteronomy)
  • History—12 (Joshua - Esther)
  • Wisdom—5 (Job - Song of Solomon)
  • Major Prophets—5 (Isaiah — Daniel
  • Minor Prophets—12 (Hosea — Malachi)
     After the completion of the OT, there were 400 years of silence, during which God did not speak or inspire any Scripture. That silence was broken by the arrival of John the Baptist announcing that the promised Lord Savior had come. The NT records the rest of the story from the birth of Christ to the culmination of all history and the final eternal state; so the two testaments go from creation to consummation, eternity past to eternity future.

ESV MacArthur Study Bible
IMHO
     January 1, 2016

     I watched some of the New Year’s Eve celebrations before going to bed last night. I did not stay up till midnight. The tremendous amount of money spent on these lavish parties compared to the poverty and hunger here in America and around the world always leaves me empty. We ask God to heal, fix so many things that are within our power to heal/fix. It makes me so sad.

     Today is January 1, 2018 and what was true two years ago is more so today.


     Meanwhile, we all want a happy and secure home life. Dr. Johnson, the eighteenth-century conversationalist, once remarked that the aim and goal of all human endeavor is “to be happy at home.” But in the Western world, and many other parts as well, homes and families are tearing themselves apart. The gentle art of being gentle—of kindness and forgiveness, sensitivity and thoughtfulness and generosity and humility and good old-fashioned love—have gone out of fashion. Ironically, everyone is demanding their “rights,” and this demand is so shrill that it destroys one of the most basic “rights,” if we can put it like that: the “right,” or at least the longing and hope, to have a peaceful, stable, secure, and caring place to live, to be, to learn, and to flourish.

Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on this day. It stated: “I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as commander-in-chief… do, on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three… publicly proclaim… that all persons held as slaves… are, and henceforward shall be, free…. And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence… and… recommend… they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.” Lincoln concluded: “And upon this act… I invoke… the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant,
shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. --- Isaiah 53:11


If we have no peace,
it is because we have forgotten
that we belong to each other.
--- Mother Teresa     Mother Teresa Reflects on Working Toward Peace


Get real. You can be free. Look at him. He’s God who died for you, but he’s also a man. He understands. He knows what it’s like. He has been tempted in every way as you are.
--- Timothy Keller


Ye call Me Master and obey not, Ye call Me Light and see Me not, Ye call Me Way and walk not, Ye call Me Life and desire Me not, Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not, Ye call Me Fair and love Me not, Ye call Me rich and ask Me not, Ye call Me Eternal and see Me not, Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not, Ye call Me Mighty and honor Me not, Ye call Me just and fear Me not.
--- Found on an old slab in the Cathedral of Lubeck, Germany


'Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain, you have waked me too soon, I must slumber again.
--- Isaac Watts     Isaac Watts Remembered 1674-1748

... from here, there and everywhere

Proverbs 1:1-6
     by D.H. Stern

The proverbs of Shlomo the son of David,
king of Isra’el,
2     are for learning about wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words expressing deep insight;
3     for gaining an intelligently disciplined life,
doing what is right, just and fair;
4     for endowing with caution those who don’t think
and the young person with knowledge and discretion.
5     Someone who is already wise
will hear and learn still more;
someone who already understands
will gain the ability to counsel well;
6     he will understand proverbs, obscure expressions,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.


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


                Let us keep to the point

     My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage.
---
Phil. 1:20. (Moffatt.)

     My Utmost for His Highest. “My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed.” We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says—“My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest.” To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An over-weening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—“My Utmost for His Highest.” I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.

     My Undeterredness for His Holiness. “Whether that means life or death, no matter!” (v. 21). Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God’s order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide—for or against, and from that point the ‘Great Divide’ begins.

     If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Bent
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Bent

Heads bowed
     over the entrails,
over the manuscript, the
block, over the rows
          of swedes.

Do they never look up?
     Why should one think
that to be on one's knees
     is to pray?
The aim is to walk tall
          in the sun.
Did the weight of the jaw
     bend their backs,
keeping their vision
     below the horizon?

Two million years
in straightening them
     out, and they are still bent
over the charts, the instruments,
     the drawing-board,
the mathematical navel
     that is the wink of God.


The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Take Heart
     Editor’s Preface



     Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
--- Psalm 27:14.

     When life is difficult, too difficult for platitudes, people need strong, honest words of encouragement. Christian truth possesses that kind of power, power that transcends the ages. The apostle Paul still speaks to us today; so does Moses. And the words of others—though not “inspired” as Scripture is inspired—speak to us, too—great preachers like George H. Morrison, C. H. Spurgeon, John Ker, and G. Campbell Morgan.

     The preachers quoted in this volume weren’t of the smile-God-loves-you variety. They didn’t sugarcoat life. Take this, for example, from a sermon preached by Arthur John Gossip shortly after the death of his wife:

     I do not understand this life of ours, but still less can I comprehend how people in trouble and loss and bereavement can run away peevishly from the Christian faith. In God’s name, run to what? Have we not lost enough without losing that too? If Christ is right—if, as he says, there are somehow, hidden away from our eyes as yet… wisdom and planning and kindness and love in these dark dispensations—then we can see them through.… Already some things have become very clear to me. This to begin, that the faith works, fulfills itself, is real, and that its most audacious promises are true.… Further, one becomes certain about immortality. You think that you believe in that. But wait till you have lowered your dearest into an open grave, and you will know what believing it means.

     When facing calamities large and small in our own lives, surely we can take heart from such testimony as that.

     That the Gospel is clearly proclaimed in these pages may seem superfluous in a book whose audience likely already believes in Christ. But, first, these preachers did, after all, proclaim the Gospel. And second, the Gospel is the great joy of believers. So be reminded, and meditate on the truths of it.

     When these preachers lived on the earth they spoke the language of their day, using word forms and vocabulary that may, for the modern reader, obscure the message. Because the content of that message is of greater value than preserving archaic forms, I have modernized the language in many older sermons—replacing thees and thous and older styles and sometimes changing word order. Except where it is necessary to a particular sermon I have also replaced the King James Version and Revised Version texts with The New International Version.

     These preached words are a part of our Christian heritage, and you will find the power of God in them still. I want to preserve them not because they are old but because they are true. It is our loss if we allow this part of our heritage to crumble to dust, forgotten, on out-of-the-way shelves. Let us carry with us that which is of value from our Christian history, that we may “be strong and take heart” as we go forward in the new millennium—still waiting for the Lord.


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

Take Heart
     January 1



     You have never been this way before.… Consecrate yourselves. --- Joshua 3:4–5.

     When the New Year steps up to greet us, it evokes a certain response within the heart. ( Highways of the Heart (Morrison Classic Sermon Series, The) ) We have reached an end that is also a beginning. Behind us is a common journey, before us an untrodden way. What, then, does this old story give us to hearten and guide us as we cross the threshold of the year?

     We must sanctify ourselves. What that means is gathered from the words of Jesus: “For them I sanctify myself” (John 17:19). Facing the untrodden way, we are to dedicate ourselves again to God. We are to give ourselves to the duties of our calling with a fresh and unreserved surrender—no matter what our calling. The wonders of tomorrow depend on the sanctification of today—a new surrender here and now is the prelude to a wonderful experience, which ought to be borne in mind by those who are growing weary of their work and dreading the prospect of another year. The enthusiasm of youth may have departed, the strength we once enjoyed may have been weakened, the freshness may have been rubbed off things through the ceaseless handling of the years. But if, here and now, facing the unknown in our Lord’s fashion we sanctify ourselves, tomorrow will be more wonderful than yesterday.

     Israel sent on ahead the ark of God. It was the sign and symbol that the Lord was with them, and they sent it on ahead into the swollen river. In spite of the express command of Jesus, how we send our imaginings ahead! How we toss ourselves into a fever over the fears of the untrodden way! Fear is a poor hand at finding a place to wade across. Fear is a sorry bridge-builder. Fear drowns the music of today. It hears nothing but the rushing of the river. But Israel sent on the ark of God, and that made all the difference. With a fresh surrender of ourselves, with spirits receptive and responsive, with a conviction that God is ahead, ordering everything in perfect love, let us go forward with the banners flying, to the high adventure of another year, for we have not come this way before.
--- George H. Morrison


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

On This Day   January 1
     Verse by Verse

     When preached simply and purely, verse-by-verse and book-by-book, the Bible can change lives and transform history. Just ask Zwingli.

     Ulrich Zwingli was born on January 1, 1484, in a Swiss shepherd’s cottage in the Alps. His parents instilled in him a love for God. The young man proved a brilliant student, and following a brief stint as a schoolteacher he entered the priesthood. For ten years he labored in the village of Glarus, and there he began corresponding with the famous Greek scholar Erasmus.

     The Swiss church was bubbling with corruption during this time. In 1516, when Zwingli moved to Einsiedeln, he, too, was struggling hard with sin. In his new village, the young priest fell into an intimate relationship with the barber’s daughter. But it was also in Einsiedeln that he borrowed a copy of Erasmus’s newly published Greek New Testament. Zwingli copied it. Carrying it everywhere, he pored over it continually and scribbled notes in the margins and memorized it. The pure Scripture began doing its work, and Zwingli’s life and preaching took on new vigor. Soon he was invited to Zurich as chief preacher in the cathedral.

     He arrived on December 27, 1518, and began his duties on his thirty-sixth birthday, January 1, 1519, with a shock. He announced that he would break a thousand years of tradition by abandoning the church liturgy and the weekly readings as a basis for his sermons. Instead, he would teach verse-by-verse through the New Testament, beginning immediately. He proceeded to preach that day from Matthew 1 on the genealogy of Christ.

     Such preaching was radical in its day, but Zurich loved it. Zwingli’s concern for the city’s youth, his courage during the plague, and his cheerful temper dispelled initial doubts about his reformation ideas. Later, when opposition arose, Zurich’s City Council and 600 other interested citizens gathered to evaluate his actions. The assembly (the First Zurich Disputation, 1523) affirmed Zwingli and encouraged his work. Lives were changed; history was made. The Swiss Reformation had begun.

     Jesus Christ came from the family of King David and also from the family of Abraham … The Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
--- Matthew 1:1,22,23.


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

New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference
     Identifying Jesus

     John 1:1

     It is fitting that the first verse of the first book of the New Testament,
Matthew 1:1, identifies Jesus as the Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. These few words sum up the culmination of the entire Old Testament, and in them are the seeds from which the New Testament plan will grow. The long-awaited, promised Messiah, the restorer of God’s kingdom and the redeemer of his people, is Jesus himself. This is Matthew’s central message, his purpose for writing his book.

     In his first verse, Matthew made an amazing claim. At the time he was writing, many Jewish readers would have been skeptical about the idea that the man Jesus was indeed also the promised king or Christ. After all, he was merely a carpenter from a backwoods province, and they wanted a king just like other worldly kings — politically connected, militarily powerful, and personally charismatic, with all the accompanying pomp, circumstance, and credentials.

4: Holman New Testament Commentary - John

Historical Core with theological elaboration
     Word Biblical Commentary

     Since the ministry of Jesus begins only after his baptism by John (chap. 3) and the temptation (4:1–11), the opening two chapters of Matthew are in a sense the preparation for the main narrative. The preparation that Matthew provides, however, is far from simply the supplying of some helpful background information. The first two chapters constitute a work of art that makes a statement of its own and that anticipates the theological richness of the total Gospel.

     The question of the historicity of chaps. 1–2 is very often posed in terms of history and theology conceived of as polar opposites, as though what is theological cannot be historical and vice versa. That is, one has here either theology or history. The idea of a historical core with theological elaboration is hardly considered. Yet that may very well be the case here in what is admittedly material of a special character. Matthew has taken his historical traditions and set them forth in such a way as to underline matters of fundamental theological importance. Thus he grounds his narrative upon several OT quotations and provides a strong sense of fulfillment. The literary genre of these chapters, as we shall see, is that of midrashic haggadah, designed to bring out the deeper meaning of the present by showing its theological continuity with the past. Matthew’s procedure is to set the scene theologically by identifying the who and the how in chap. 1, and the where and whence in chap. 2. To some extent Matthew may have apologetic or polemical concerns here, but in the main these chapters are a statement of the theological significance that may be perceived even in the preliminaries. In this instance the prolegomena articulate the Gospel before the main narrative.


Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 36, John (Second Edition)

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - January 1

     “They did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”
---
Joshua 5:12.

     Israel’s weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained. No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekites, and howling wildernesses: they came to the land which flowed with milk and honey, and they ate the old corn of the land. Perhaps this year, beloved Christian reader, this may be thy case or mine. Joyful is the prospect, and if faith be in active exercise, it will yield unalloyed delight. To be with Jesus in the rest which remaineth for the people of God, is a cheering hope indeed, and to expect this glory so soon is a double bliss. Unbelief shudders at the Jordan which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us. Let us banish every fearful thought, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, in the prospect that this year we shall begin to be “for ever with the Lord.”

     A part of the host will this year tarry on earth, to do service for their Lord. If this should fall to our lot, there is no reason why the New Year’s text should not still be true. “We who have believed do enter into rest.” The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; he gives us “glory begun below.” In heaven they are secure, and so are we preserved in Christ Jesus; there they triumph over their enemies, and we have victories too. Celestial spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they rest in his love, and we have perfect peace in him: they hymn his praise, and it is our privilege to bless him too. We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord. Man did eat angels’ food of old, and why not now? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!

          Evening - January 1

     “We will be glad and rejoice in thee.”
---
Song of Solomon 1:4.

     We will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will not open the gates of the year to the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation.” We, the called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah’s bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord. Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we who are the temples in which thou dwellest, will never cease from adoring and blessing the name of Jesus. We WILL, we are resolved about it, Jesus must have the crown of our heart’s delight; we will not dishonour our Bridegroom by mourning in his presence. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies, let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem. We will BE GLAD AND REJOICE: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness. Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice IN THEE. That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye, and every drop of their fulness in him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, thou art the present portion of thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus.


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

Amazing Grace
     January 1

          ANOTHER YEAR IS DAWNING

     Frances Ridley Havergal, 1836–1879

     Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

     It is always challenging to approach a new year and to realize anew that our days upon this earth are so rapidly passing. How important it is that we pause with the psalmist and pray for a “heart of wisdom” that will enable us this year to live each new day in a way that brings all glory to our God.

     I with Thee would begin, O my Savior so dear, on the way that I still must pursue; I with Thee would begin every day granted here, as my earnest resolve I renew—To be and remain Thine forever. --- From the Swedish

     In January of 1874, the many friends of Frances Ridley Havergal received a New Year’s greeting with the heading, “A Happy New Year! Ever Such May it Be!” Following this greeting appeared her text, still considered to be one of the finest New Year’s prayers of consecration ever written:

     Another year is dawning, Dear Father, let it be, in working or in waiting another year with Thee; another year of progress, another year of praise, another year of proving Thy presence all the days.
     Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace; another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face; another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast; another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.
     Another year of service, of witness for Thy love; another year of training for holier work above. Another year of dawning, Dear Father, let it be, on earth, or else in heaven, another year for Thee. Amen.


     One can well imagine that those who received this greeting card from Miss Havergal that year read her words thoughtfully. They were written by one who had already become widely known throughout England as “the consecration poet.” It was said of her that she always lived her words before she wrote them. Her life was one of constant and complete commitment to God. Her many talents—an accomplished pianist and vocalist, proficiency in seven languages, a keen mind (memorization of the entire New Testament, Psalms, Isaiah, and the Minor Prophets)—were all dedicated to serving God and others during the new year. May that be our challenge for this new year as well!

     For Today: Deuteronomy 1:30, 31; Joshua 3:4; Psalm 39:4; Isaiah 58:11

     Begin this new year with a fervent prayer such as the one written by Frances Havergal that God will give your life a renewed purpose and power as you earnestly seek to represent Him in a worthy manner.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Monday, January 1, 2018 | Christmas


Holy Name
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 103
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 148
Old Testament     Isaiah 62:1–5, 10–12
New Testament     Colossians 2:6–12
Gospel     John 16:23b–30

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 103

103 OF David.

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

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

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

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

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 148

148 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!

Old Testament
Isaiah 62:1–5, 10–12

62 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.

10 Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.
11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12 And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the LORD;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.

New Testament
Colossians 2:6–12

6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Gospel
John 16:23b–30

23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.1 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” 29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”


The Book of Common Prayer


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