(ctrl) and (+) magnifies screen if type too small.              me         quotes             scripture verse             footnotes       Words of Jesus      Links

1/30/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Genesis 31     Mark 2     Esther 7     Romans 2


Jacob Flees from Laban

Genesis 31:1 Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has gained all this wealth.” 2 And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”

4 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was 5 and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The spotted shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9 Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me. 10 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12 And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’ ” 14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. 16 All the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.”

17 So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18 He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. 21 He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. 24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” 25 And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen pitched tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27 Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? 28 And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in my power to do you harm. But the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 And now you have gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house, but why did you steal my gods?” 31 Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban felt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household gods.

36 Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37 For you have felt through all my goods; what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”

43 Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day for these my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? 44 Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me.” 45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 And Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed. 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he named it Galeed, 49 and Mizpah, for he said, “The LORD watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight. 50 If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”

51 Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.

55  Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned home.


Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Mark 2:1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Jesus Calls Levi

13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

A Question About Fasting

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”


Esther 7:1 So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. 2 And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” 3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. 4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” 5 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” 6 And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

Haman Is Hanged

7 And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. 8 And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” 10  So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.


God’s Righteous Judgment

Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

God’s Judgment and the Law

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

The Reformation Study Bible



What I'm Reading

When Making a Case for Christianity is Futile

By J. Warner Wallace 4/24/2015

     After four weeks, sitting just ten feet from the jury, I still wasn’t sure how to read them; especially Juror Number 9. She scowled through most of the testimony, took notes when things seemed obvious and often displayed gestures that were confusing and difficult to read. I wasn’t sure that we were reaching her with the evidence. In fact, I was beginning to doubt our choice of her as a juror in the first place. The prosecution and defense teams evaluate the initial jury panel and vet each juror in an effort to select jurors that will best serve the purpose of either side. The defense lawyers are looking for something in a juror and the prosecution team is looking for something in each juror (more on that tomorrow). I found myself reviewing the notes related to Juror Number 9 many times toward the end of the trial, trying to see if we had missed something with this one. My concern was that this juror was rejecting the truth as demonstrated by the evidence, and I knew from experience that this sometimes occurs in jury trials.

     It turns out that there are three reasons why anyone might reject a truth claim, and only one of these three reasons is rational (evidential). I’ve written quite a bit about this in Cold Case Christianity, and it’s important for us to make the distinction when trying to communicate the truth about Christianity to our friends, family and co-workers. Why? Because there are times when reasoning through the evidence is futile. There are three reasons someone might reject the truth and we need to be careful to distinguish between these three conditions. We need to listen carefully to the words that our friends are using to understand where their objections reside in the first place, so we can better understand how we might be able to reach them. Here is a brief review of why someone might SHUN the truth:

     They Have a RaSHUNal (Rational) Objection | When you hear people say things like, “I just don’t get it,” or “It makes no sense to me,” or “I just don’t see the evidence for that,” you are probably dealing with someone who holds a rational objection and would be willing to engage and review the evidence that supports your case.

     They Have an EmoSHUNal (Emotional) Objection | When you hear someone say something like, “Christians are so hypocritical,” or “My dad was a Christian and he was a jerk,” or “I have friends who are Christians and I would never want to be like them,” you are probably dealing with someone who is responding emotionally based on some experience in their past.

     They Have a VoliSHUNal (Volitional) Objection | When you hear someone say something like, “I’m a good person, so I’m not worried about God,” or “I just don’t have time to think about those kinds of things,” or “I wish Christians would just live their own lives and stop telling me how to live mine,” you may be dealing with someone who willfully rejects Christianity because they are unwilling to change their life to embrace the truth.

Click here to read all of the article

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

United or Untied?

By Tom Thomas 1/24/2018

     The second largest denomination after the Southern Baptists, The United Methodist Church (UMC), is schismatized. For almost a decade some bishops and pastors have been defying church law and electing, ordaining and solemnizing the marriages of homosexuals. The issue finally came to a tipping point in 2016 when the church’s ruling body, General Conference, formed a commission to provide a plan to the bishops to resolve the matter in 2019. Last November 2017, President Bishop Bruce R. Ough envisioned the way forward in his address to the Council of Bishop’s (COB). In his message, ‘In Love with Union’, he said the church may be divided theologically, but unity can trump it. He repeated the word ‘unity’ no less than twenty five times. He told the Bishops, ‘I have focused nearly all of this President’s address on the theme of maintaining unity.’ He reminded them what the COB told General Conference in 2016 when they formed the Commission on a Way Forward. The COB is committed to maintaining the unity of The United Methodist Church.[i] Bishop Ough is telegraphing that unity is the guiding principle which will determine the proposed model the COB will offer as a way forward to the 2019 General Conference.

     This focus on unity prompted a question in me, ‘What does the New Testament say about ‘unity’? In the following I want to consider three New Testament words regarding ‘unity’. I will organize them under two headings, horizontal and vertical unity. In light of this, I want to show how the prevailing talk of unity leaves out the most crucial factor in the unity equation.

     The word ‘unity’ (enotas) appears but four times and the term ‘united’ seven in the Holy Scriptures. This is few in comparison to such key terms as ‘truth’ which appears approximately seventy times. In each of the four occurrences ‘unity’ speaks of the saints in Christ’s Body having a oneness of spirit. Peter exemplifies its meaning when he exhorts believers to have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Pet 3:8). This ‘unity’ is horizontal. It speaks of ‘unity’ on the human plane. It talks of human inter-relationships and the nature of saints’ attitude, mind and purpose among themselves. This is the plane in which Bishop Ough operates.

     The word ‘united’ is used to mean being ‘joined’. Persons are ‘united in love’ if they are connected and brought into close association with another. One use of ‘united’ speaks of our being ‘united’ to the Lord. This conception of our being united to the Lord is more fully expressed by another term which I am coming to now. (1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 2:2).

     I asked myself, is this all the Bible has to say about ‘unity’ and being bound together as one? The Bible talks also of ‘unity’ in speaking of ‘being one’. The Greek New Testament word for ‘one’ is eis. Eis can mean the quality of being one in mind, feeling, opinion, purpose and spirit. Indeed, the word ‘one’ is the Bible’s richest word for ‘being one’ or ‘unity’.

Click here to read all of the article

     Tom was most recently pastor of the Bellevue Charge in Forest, Virginia until retiring in July. Studying John Wesley’s theology, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Bristol, Bristol, England. While a student, he and his wife Pam lived in John Wesley’s Chapel “The New Room”, Bristol, England, the first established Methodist preaching house. Tom was a faculty member of Asbury Theological Seminary from 1998-2003. He has contributed articles to Methodist History and the Wesleyan Theological Journal. He and his wife Pam have two children, Karissa, who is an Associate Attorney at McCandlish Holton Morris in Richmond, and, John, who is a junior communications major/business minor at Regent University. Tom enjoys being outdoors in his parkland woods and sitting by a cheery fire with a good book on a cool evening.

“Take no offence” - Unscriptural

By King's Kiddo 1/6/2006

     “Don’t get in an offence.” “Don’t take an offence.” “Take no offence.” Ever heard these thrown out before? Sound familiar? Have you found yourself saying this to others? Have you ever checked out the biblical references that support this? Do you even know where the phrase “take no offence” is found in the Bible? Let me give you a hint: it’s not there! You heard me. The oft quoted and popular phrase “take no offence” is NOT TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE!

     Perhaps we have been confused by a couple of verses. Take a look:
“Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.” (1Co 10:32 KJV)

     and also this one
“Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed.” (2Co 6:3 KJVA)

     So, what the Bible actually says is that we are to GIVE no offence. Hmmm. Quite a bit of difference, huh?

     However, I’ll go even further and say that the Bible teaches the OPPOSITE. It is not a sin to take offence. In fact in some cases we are supposed to take offence. Now don’t misunderstand me. I did not say it’s OK to stay offended, or to be unforgiving, or to be in a state of bitterness. However, being offended and even angry is not a sin. Look what the Bible says.
“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come….“ (Luk 17:1 KJVA)

Click here to read all of the article

     King's Kiddo is a pseudonym, but I could not find bio on author.

How can I learn to not take offense at little things?

By S. Michael Houdmann

     Trying to not take offense is like trying to not think about elephants. If someone says, “Don’t think about elephants,” we automatically think about them. If we focus on trying not to take offense, we will keep thinking about the offense. This principle applies to just about any sin a person can commit. When we focus on a behavior, even in an attempt to eliminate it, the result is more of that behavior. This is just how our minds work. Thankfully, there is another, better way to address this problem.

     People are lured and enticed into sin as a result of desire—wanting is the beginning of sinning (James 1:14). Every sin or bad behavior begins with desire. Desire itself is not bad; there are many good desires. But the desires that lead to sin are wrong desires, the desires based in false perspectives and misplaced expectations about others and ourselves. To eliminate a bad behavior, we must first discover the desire behind it.

     For many people, the tendency to take offense at little things is rooted in a false perspective of security. We all desire security and safety; we desire the good opinion of others. We secure those good opinions with performance: what we do, how we speak, how we dress, how we express ourselves, etc. When our security is based on our performance, we may feel threatened when someone expresses something negative about us. The natural response to that threat is to take offense or become angry. Even a casual, flippant, or offhand remark can gnaw at us and steal our peace. The way to prevent taking offense is to address our desire for security. As long as feelings of security are rooted in ourselves, the tendency to take offense, even at the little things, will exist. If, however, our feelings of security are not rooted in ourselves or our performance, our perspective will change and our response to the actions and comments of others will become more balanced.

     Remember the acronym COP.

     Cover. | Twice in the book of Proverbs, we are told to “cover” offenses (Proverbs 10:12; 17:9). The covering of offense is related to love. First Peter 4:8 says, “Love covers over a multitude of sins”—and that “multitude” would have to include small slights. In any relationship, there are many irksome things that should just be “covered” for the sake of love. By covering an offense, or not revealing it to others, we are empathizing with the offender and extending the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he did not mean what he said; perhaps we misunderstood. Perhaps the offender was having a bad day or wasn’t thinking straight. Covering the offense of another helps us, too. Remember the elephant? When we focus on the needs of the person who offended us, we no longer think about how offended we feel.

Click here to read all of the article

     S. Michael Houdmann is the Founder, President, and CEO of Got Questions Ministries, the parent ministry for GotQuestions.org. We rarely receive questions about S. Michael Houdmann, and that is a good thing. He does not want GotQuestions.org to be about him. He does not want people to accept or reject the answers given at GotQuestions.org because of name recognition. Rather, his hope is that people will accept or reject GotQuestions.org answers because they have read them, compared them with the Word of God, and prayed about them – and determined them to be true and biblical.

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 16

You Will Not Abandon My Soul
16 A Miktam Of David.

7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

ESV Reformation Study Bible

Stuff Christians Say that Makes Jewish People Cringe

By Aaron Abrason 10/03/2016

     With a name like Aaron Abramson, I don’t exactly fly under the radar. I’m Jewish. I also believe in Jesus. Because of this, I interact with a lot of non-Jewish Christians, who, though well intentioned, have said some pretty astonishing things to me over the years.

     American evangelicals often view Jewish people as fascinating specimens of biblical history. Some recognize their interlaced association with the Jewish people; others seem to ignore it altogether. Regardless, the broader context of history shows a tumultuous connection between Christians and Jews.

     Christians persecuted Jewish people. Jewish people feared Christians. Even to this day, there are self-proclaimed Christians around the world who continue to persecute Jews. Anti-Semitism still exists in extreme forms. But it can also quietly seethe beneath the surface, popping up occasionally in the way of racial stereotypes.

     Of course, stereotypes may simply be born of ignorance and not hate. As the Jewish people remain a minority, they are often seen as an enigma to outsiders — and where there is a lack of understanding about other cultures, stereotypes abound. Where there are stereotypes, offenses abound.

     Here are a few offensive things I’ve heard firsthand from the mouths of Christians:

Click here to read all of the article

     Aaron Abramson grew up in a Jewish home in Seattle and relocated to Israel as a teenager. He explored religious studies and Judaism in a Yeshiva and at Bar Ilan University. He completed 3 years of service in the IDF which led him on a spiritual journey. Aaron discovered the writings of the New Testament and his life was filled with new purpose. He joined Jews for Jesus in 1999 and currently directs the work in New York City. Aaron has a BA in Biblical and Intercultural Studies and is completing an MPA at NYU. He lives with his wife and three children in Manhattan.

Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter

By Lenny Esposito 5/22/2014

     I've made the point many times that we as Christians are called to defend our faith. The Bible commands it of us, and we face an increasingly hostile world.Apologetics is how one learns to defend his or her faith through the use of reason and evidence. I believe apologetics can be tremendously helpful in clarifying people's understanding t the Christian faith. However, sometimes we may rely too heavily on facts when engaging with others. 

     A fascinating new article appears in The New Yorker this week entitled "I Don't Want to Be Right." 1 In it, author Maria Konnikova highlights the research being done by a number of psychologists and sociologists showing that people's beliefs help shape the core conception of themselves, and thus if one tries to correct the false beliefs of someone, it may not only fail, but have the adverse effect of corrupting the source in their eyes.

     As an example, Konnikova cites one 2013 study conducted by Kelly Garrett and Brian Weeks who sought to correct misinformation about access to health records. At first, they thought that the facts were making a difference, as some people changed their beliefs. "But, when the researchers took a closer look, they found that the only people who had changed their views were those who were ideologically predisposed to disbelieve the fact in question. If someone held a contrary attitude, the correction not only didn't work—it made the subject more distrustful of the source."

     Before some of my atheist readers jump too fast, the article was very clear that it mattered not which side of any contention one was on. This applies as much to liberal views as conservative one and it applies to secular and scientific views as much as religious ones. As Stephan Lewandowsky states in the article, "False beliefs, it turns out, have little to do with one's stated political affiliations and far more to do with self-identity: What kind of person am I, and what kind of person do I want to be? All ideologies are similarly affected"(emphasis added).

     Facts are Threatening Things | I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I was working an online chat, answering web viewers' questions for the Harvest Crusades. A man came on the line and said that he really wanted to believe in Jesus in his heart but he felt that he couldn't because of his head. After a bit of conversation, it came out that he was a professor of philosophy, and he had difficulty with the problem of evil. Of course, I immediately went into apologetics mode and began telling how arguments such as Hume's have been shown to be incorrect.

  Click here to read all of the article

     Lenny Esposito is president and founder of Come Reason Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, and author of the popular www.comereason.org Web site. He has taught apologetics and Christian worldview for over 17 years and has authored hundreds articles dealing with intellectually strenuous topics such as the existence of God, theology, philosophy, social issues and Biblical difficulties.
     Lenny is an in-demand speaker, teaching at conferences, churches, and schools across the nation. He is a contributor to the popular Apologetics Study Bible for Students and his articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Southern California Christian Times. He has debated many topics on faith and reason and the rationality of the Christian worldview; his most recent debate being against well-known atheists and author Dr. Richard Carrier on the question "Does God Exist?"
     Lenny is a pioneer in online ministry efforts when he began using the Web to reach others near its beginnings in 1995. He produces one of the top 16 apologetics podcasts according to Apologetics 315 and his site has been viewed millions of times by visitors from nearly every country in the world.
Lenny is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Evangelical Theological Society.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     CHAPTER 9.

CHRIST, THOUGH KNOWN TO THE JEWS UNDER THE LAW, YET ONLY MANIFESTED UNDER THE GOSPEL.

There are three principal heads in this chapter. I. Preparatory to a consideration of the knowledge of Christ, and the benefits procured by him; the 1st and 2nd sections are occupied with the dispensation of this knowledge, which, after the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, was more clearly revealed than under the Law. II. A refutation of the profane dream of Servetus, that the promises are entirely abrogated, sec. 3. Likewise, a refutation of those who do not properly compare the Law with the Gospel, sec. 4. III. A necessary and brief exposition of the ministry of John Baptist, which occupies an intermediate place between the law and the Gospel.

Sections.

1. The holy fathers under the Law saw the day of Christ, though obscurely. He is more fully revealed to us under the Gospel. A reason for this, confirmed by the testimony of Christ and his Apostles.

2. The term Gospel, used in its most extensive sense, comprehends the attestations of mercy which God gave to the fathers. Properly, however, it means the promulgation of grace exhibited in the God-man Jesus Christ.

3. The notion of Servetus, that the promises are entirely abolished, refuted. Why we must still trust to the promises of God. Another reason. Solution of a difficulty.

4. Refutation of those who do not properly compare the Law and the Gospel. Answer to certain questions here occurring. The Law and the Gospel briefly compared.

5. Third part of the chapter. Of the ministry of John the Baptist.

1. Since God was pleased (and not in vain) to testify in ancient times by means of expiations and sacrifices that he was a Father, and to set apart for himself a chosen people, he was doubtless known even then in the same character in which he is now fully revealed to us. Accordingly Malachi, having enjoined the Jews to attend to the Law of Moses (because after his death there was to be an interruption of the prophetical office), immediately after declares that the Sun of righteousness should arise (Mal. 4:2); thus intimating, that though the Law had the effect of keeping the pious in expectation of the coming Messiah, there was ground to hope for much greater light on his advent. For this reason, Peter, speaking of the ancient prophets, says, "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven," (1 Pet. 1:12). Not that the prophetical doctrine was useless to the ancient people, or unavailing to the prophets themselves, but that they did not obtain possession of the treasure which God has transmitted to us by their hands. The grace of which they testified is now set familiarly before our eyes. They had only a slight foretaste; to us is given a fuller fruition. Our Saviour, accordingly, while he declares that Moses testified of him, extols the superior measure of grace bestowed upon us (John 5:46). Addressing his disciples, he says, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them," (Mt. 13:16; Luke 10:23). It is no small commendation of the gospel revelation, that God has preferred us to holy men of old, so much distinguished for piety. There is nothing in this view inconsistent with another passage, in which our Saviour says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad," (John 8:56). For though the event being remote, his view of it was obscure, he had full assurance that it would one day be accomplished; and hence the joy which the holy patriarch experienced even to his death. Nor does John Baptist, when he says, "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him," (John 1:18), exclude the pious who had previously died from a participation in the knowledge and light which are manifested in the person of Christ; but comparing their condition with ours, he intimates that the mysteries which they only beheld dimly under shadows are made clear to us; as is well explained by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in these words, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son," (Heb. 1:1, 2). Hence, although this only begotten Son, who is now to us the brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his person, was formerly made known to the Jews, as we have elsewhere shown from Paul, that he was the Deliverer under the old dispensation; it is nevertheless true, as Paul himself elsewhere declares, that "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," (2 Cor. 4:6); because, when he appeared in this his image, he in a manner made himself visible, his previous appearance having been shadowy and obscure. More shameful and more detestable, therefore, is the ingratitude of those who walk blindfold in this meridian light. Accordingly, Paul says that "the god of this world has blinded their minds, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them," (2 Cor. 4:4).

2. By the Gospel, I understand the clear manifestation of the mystery of Christ. I confess, indeed, that inasmuch as the term Gospel is applied by Paul to the doctrine of faith (2 Tim. 4:10), it includes all the promises by which God reconciles men to himself, and which occur throughout the Law. For Paul there opposes faith to those terrors which vex and torment the conscience when salvation is sought by means of works. Hence it follows that Gospel, taken in a large sense, comprehends the evidences of mercy and paternal favour which God bestowed on the Patriarchs. Still, by way of excellence, it is applied to the promulgation of the grace manifested in Christ. This is not only founded on general use, but has the sanction of our Saviour and his Apostles. Hence it is described as one of his peculiar characteristics, that he preached the Gospel of the kingdom (Mt. 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:14). Mark, in his preface to the Gospel, calls it "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." There is no use of collecting passages to prove what is already perfectly known. Christ at his advent "brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel," (2 Tim. 1:10). Paul does not mean by these words that the Fathers were plunged in the darkness of death before the Son of God became incarnate; but he claims for the Gospel the honourable distinction of being a new and extraordinary kind of embassy, by which God fulfilled what he had promised, these promises being realised in the person of the Son. For though believers have at all times experienced the truth of Paul's declaration, that "all the promises of God in him are yea and amen," inasmuch as these promises were sealed upon their hearts; yet because he has in his flesh completed all the parts of our salvation, this vivid manifestation of realities was justly entitled to this new and special distinction. Accordingly, Christ says, "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." For though he seems to allude to the ladder which the Patriarch Jacob saw in vision, he commends the excellence of his advent in this, that it opened the gate of heaven, and gave us familiar access to it.

3. Here we must guard against the diabolical imagination of Servetus, who, from a wish, or at least the pretence of a wish, to extol the greatness of Christ, abolishes the promises entirely, as if they had come to an end at the same time with the Law. He pretends, that by the faith of the Gospel all the promises have been fulfilled; as if there was no distinction between us and Christ. I lately observed that Christ had not left any part of our salvation incomplete; but from this it is erroneously inferred, that we are now put in possession of all the blessings purchased by him; thereby implying, that Paul was incorrect in saying, "We are saved by hope," (Rom. 3:24). I admit, indeed, that by believing in Christ we pass from death unto life; but we must at the same time remember the words of John, that though we know we are "the sons of God," "it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is," (1 John 3:2). Therefore, although Christ offers us in the Gospel a present fulness of spiritual blessings, fruition remains in the keeping of hope, [224] until we are divested of corruptible flesh, and transformed into the glory of him who has gone before us. Meanwhile, in leaning on the promises, we obey the command of the Holy Spirit, whose authority ought to have weight enough with us to silence all the barkings of that impure dog. We have it on the testimony of Paul, that "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," (1 Tim. 4:8); for which reason, he glories in being "an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 1:1). And he elsewhere reminds us, that we have the same promises which were given to the saints in ancient time (2 Cor. 7:1). In fine, he makes the sum of our felicity consist in being sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Indeed we have no enjoyment of Christ, unless by embracing him as clothed with his own promises. Hence it is that he indeed dwells in our hearts and yet we are as pilgrims in regard to him, because "we walk by faith, not by sight," (2 Cor. 5:6, 7). There is no inconsistency in the two things--viz. that in Christ we possess every thing pertaining to the perfection of the heavenly life, and yet that faith is only a vision "of things not seen," (Heb. 11:1). Only there is this difference to be observed in the nature or quality of the promises, that the Gospel points with the finger to what the Law shadowed under types.

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




  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control
  • What a Mystery


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Keep praying!
     1/30/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Devote yourselves to prayer.’

(Col 4:2) Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. ESV

     In 1964, Communist Simba rebels besieged the town of Bunia in Zaire. They arrested and executed many citizens. A pastor by the name of Zebedayo Idu was one of their victims. They sentenced him to death before a firing squad and placed him in jail for the night. The next morning he and a large number of prisoners were herded onto a truck and driven to a public place for execution. With no explanation, the official told the prisoners to ‘line up and number off – one, two, one, two, one, two’. The ‘ones’ were placed in front of the firing squad, and the ‘twos’ were taken back to the prison. Pastor Idu was among those who were spared. Back in their jail cells, the prisoners could hear the sound of gunfire. The pastor took advantage of the dramatic moment to share the story of Jesus and the hope of heaven. Eight of the prisoners gave their lives to Christ that day. About the time Pastor Idu finished sharing, an excited messenger came to the door with a release order. The pastor had been arrested by mistake and was free to leave. He said goodbye to the prisoners and hurried to his home next to the chapel. There he discovered a crowd of believers who were praying for his release. When they saw the answer to their prayers walk through the door, their prayer service turned into a praise service. The same God who heard the prayers of the New Testament church in Jerusalem and saved Peter from execution, heard prayers from Zaire and delivered their pastor (see Acts 12:5). And God is still listening, so keep praying!

Exodus 14-15
Matthew 17

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born this day, January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York. He was the thirty-second President of the United States, serving over 12 years, longer then any other President. He saw America through the Great Depression and World War II. In a 1935 radio broadcast, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared: “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic…. [W]here we have been the… most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     How, then, shall we lay hold of that Life and Power, and live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning of all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward Him who calls in the deeps of our souls. Mental habits of inward orientation must be established. An inner, secret turning to God can be made fairly steady, after weeks and months and years of practice and lapses and failures and returns. It is as simple an art as Brother Lawrence found it, but it may be long before we achieve any steadiness in the process. Begin now, as you read these words, as you sit in your chair, to offer your whole selves, utterly and in joyful abandon, in quiet, glad surrender to Him who is within. In secret ejaculations of praise, turn in humble wonder to the Light; faint though it may be. Keep contact with the outer world of sense and meanings. Here is no discipline in absent-mindedness. Walk and talk and work and laugh with your friends, but behind the scenes, keep up the life of simple prayer and inward worship. Keep it up throughout the day. Let inward prayer be your last act before you fall asleep and the first act when you awake. And in time you will find as did Brother Lawrence, that "those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep."

     The first days and weeks and months are awkward and painful, but enormously rewarding. Awkward, because it takes constant vigilance and effort and reassertions of the will, at the first level. Painful, because our lapses are so frequent, the intervals when we forget Him so long. Rewarding, because we have begun to live. But these weeks and months and perhaps even years must be passed through before He gives us greater and easier stayedness upon Himself.

     Lapses and forgettings are so frequent. Our surroundings grow so exciting. Our occupations are so exacting. But when you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breathe a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are. Offer this broken worship up to Him and say: "This is what I am except Thou aid me." Admit no discouragement, but ever return quietly to Him and wait in His Presence.


A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


… the greatest spiritual privileges
may be neutralized by the indulgence
of one illicit passion,
and the life that is lived in the face of the unclouded sun
may set at last in the night of despair.
--- J.B. Lightfoot

At the cross God wrapped his heart in flesh and blood
and let it be nailed to the cross for our redemption.
--- E. Stanley Jones

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.
--- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

To the extent that the blessing of peace is achieved by humankind, it will not be achieved because people have outraced each other in the building of armaments, nor because we have outdebated each other with words, nor because we have outmaneuvered each other in political action, but because more and more people in a silent place in their hearts are turned to those eternal truths upon which all right living is based. It is on the inner drama of this search that the unfoldment of the outer drama of history ultimately depends.
--- Dan Seeger

... from here, there and everywhere


Proverbs 6:20-23
     by D.H. Stern

20     My son, obey your father’s command,
and don’t abandon your mother’s teaching.
21     Bind them always on your heart,
tie them around your neck.
22     When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you wake up, they will talk with you.
23     For the mitzvah is a lamp, Torah is light,
and reproofs that discipline are the way to life.


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


                The dilemma of obedience

     And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
--- 1 Samuel 3:15.

     God seldom speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, ‘I wonder if that is God’s voice?’ Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

     Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, “Speak, Lord”; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it Luke 11:13, or was it 1 Thess. 5:23? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

Luke 11:13     If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spiritf to those who ask him!”

1 Thess. 5:23     May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept soundf and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

     Shall I tell my ‘Eli’ what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences — I must shield ‘Eli’, the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli; he had to decide that for himself. God’s call to you may hurt your ‘Eli’; but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.

     Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan: “Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”


My Utmost for His Highest

Contracts
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Contracts

The wheel revolves
          to bring round the hour
for this one to return to the darkness
and be born again on a chill
          doorstep, and have the blood washed
from his eyes and his hands
          made clean for the re-building

of the city. While for this one
          it revolves to make the tanks
          stronger the aeroplanes faster.

The scholar bends over
his book and the sage his navel
          to enter the labyrinthine
mind and find at the centre the axis
on which it spins. But for the one
          who is homeless
there is only the tree with the body
     on it, eternally convulsed
by the shock of its contact
with the exposed nerve of love.

The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Teacher's Commentary
     Genesis 28

     Jacob encounters Jacob

     There are two important lessons in the story of Jacob and Esau. I don’t have to take Jacob’s road to blessing. Instead, I can trust God and commit myself to do the right thing at all times. Truth, not lies, will serve me far better. God’s will still will be done, and I’ll be able to live in harmony with those around me. How great it is to shrug off all sense of pressure and to commit my way to God, confident that as I daily do His will, His good purposes will be performed.

     Jacob at Bethel (Gen. 28:10–15). Afraid that his brother would kill him, Jacob fled to his mother’s relatives in Haran. On the way, alone and at night, he lay down in the dirt with only a stone for a pillow. How Jacob must have missed his family then. How alone and frightened he must have felt. But there God appeared to him, and confirmed the transmission of the covenant promises. And God added a personal word for Jacob: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.”

     I have noticed many people are one way when they are around others and another when they are alone. I am too. What is with the need to be stimulated? Why do we have to watch something, hear something, do something? I fight the urge to always be moving, although I do enjoy pacing. Sometimes isn't it good to just try to be still?

     Jacob had no choice; no cell phone, no ipad, not even a radio. In an unstimulated state we encounter ourselves and sometimes God. Is this why we try and do anything rather than being still?


The Teacher's Commentary

Take Heart
     January 30

     Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
--- 1 Corinthians 13:13.

     Isn’t life full of opportunities for learning love? (The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10) Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. If people do not exercise their arms they develop no biceps muscles; if they do not exercise their souls, they acquire no muscle in the soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, vigorous expression of the whole, round Christian character—the Christlike nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.

     Paul’s reason for singling out love as the supreme possession is this: it lasts. “Love,” urges Paul, “never fails.”

     Some think the time may come when two of these three things will also pass away—faith into sight, hope into fruition. Paul does not say so. But what is certain is that love must last. God, the eternal God, is love. Covet therefore that everlasting gift, that one thing which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage that will be current in the universe when all the other coinages of the nations of the world will be useless and unhonored. You will give yourselves to many things—give yourselves to love. Let at least the first great object of our lives be to achieve the character—and it is the character of Christ—that is built around love.

     How many of you will join me in reading this chapter once a week for the next three months? You might begin by reading it every day. Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to.

     It is the Son of Man before whom the nations of the world shall be gathered. It is in the presence of humanity that we shall be charged. And the spectacle itself, the mere sight of it, will silently judge each one. Be not deceived. The words that all of us shall one day hear sound not of theology but of life, not of churches and saints but of the hungry and the poor, not of creeds and doctrines but of shelter and clothing, not of Bibles and prayer books but of cups of cold water in the name of Christ. Everyone who loves is born of God.
--- Henry Drummond


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

On This Day   January 30
     Eight Englishmen

     During the 1970s, vast numbers of Christians were among those who perished violently in Uganda, the “Pearl of Africa.” But they weren’t the first. The decade of the 1870s, a full century before Idi Amin, also extracted the church’s blood.

     Henry Stanley, Livingstone’s convert and biographer, was the first to reach Uganda. When he showed his Bible to King Mutesa, the chieftain told him the Muslims had also brought a book, the Koran. “How do we know which is better?” he asked. “I am like a man in darkness. All I ask is that I be taught how to see.”

     Stanley published Mutesa’s words in London’s Daily Telegraph, adding, “Oh, that some pious, practical missionary would come. What a harvest ripe for the sickle.” His plea aroused such passion that the Church Missionary Society soon appointed a 27-year-old Scottish bachelor, Alexander Mackay, to lead a party of eight to Uganda. Mackay did not go blindly. “Is it likely that eight Englishmen should start for Central Africa and all be alive six months after?” he asked. “One of us at least will surely fall. When the news comes, do not be cast down, but send someone else immediately to take the vacant place.”

     Mackay himself was injured in a wagon accident in Zanzibar. Two others defected. Another was murdered. Another contracted fever. The remaining three set out from Zanzibar to Uganda.

     On January 30, 1877, they reached Mutesa’s court, but two of the three were soon killed, leaving C. T. Wilson to begin Sunday services alone. Mackay soon joined him, and the two labored for years before baptizing their first convert.

     Just as their work was accelerating, Mutesa was succeeded by his son, a cruel teenager who promptly tortured a group of Mackay’s younger converts for refusing his demands. Mackay survived the tyrant’s threats only to die of malaria while translating the Gospel of John. He was 40.

     But his efforts were not wasted. The church grew faster than it perished and became one of Africa’s strongest.

     If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say.
--- John 15:19,20.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - January 30

     “When thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, then thou shalt bestir thyself.”
--- 2 Samuel 5:24.

     The members of Christ’s Church should be very prayerful, always seeking the unction of the Holy One to rest upon their hearts, that the kingdom of Christ may come, and that his “will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven;” but there are times when God seems especially to favour Zion, such seasons ought to be to them like “the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” We ought then to be doubly prayerful, doubly earnest, wrestling more at the throne than we have been wont to do. Action should then be prompt and vigorous. The tide is flowing—now let us pull manfully for the shore. O for Pentecostal outpourings and Pentecostal labours. Christian, in yourself there are times “when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” You have a peculiar power in prayer; the Spirit of God gives you joy and gladness; the Scripture is open to you; the promises are applied; you walk in the light of God’s countenance; you have peculiar freedom and liberty in devotion, and more closeness of communion with Christ than was your wont. Now, at such joyous periods when you hear the “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees,” is the time to bestir yourself; now is the time to get rid of any evil habit, while God the Spirit helpeth your infirmities. Spread your sail; but remember what you sometimes sing—

     “I can only spread the sail;
     Thou! Thou! must breathe the auspicious gale.”



     Only be sure you have the sail up. Do not miss the gale for want of preparation for it. Seek help of God, that you may be more earnest in duty when made more strong in faith; that you may be more constant in prayer when you have more liberty at the throne; that you may be more holy in your conversation whilst you live more closely with Christ.

          Evening - January 30

     “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance.”
--- Ephesians 1:11.

     When Jesus gave himself for us, he gave us all the rights and privileges which went with himself; so that now, although as eternal God, he has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal head of the covenant of grace, he has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of his obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in him, and on whose behalf he accomplished the divine will. See, he enters into glory, but not for himself alone, for it is written, “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered.” Heb. 6:20. Does he stand in the presence of God?—“He appears in the presence of God for us.” Heb. 9:24. Consider this, believer. You have no right to heaven in yourself: your right lies in Christ. If you are pardoned, it is through his blood; if you are justified, it is through his righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because he is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in him. Thus Jesus is magnified—for all is in him and by him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us—for it is obtained in him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved “in whom” we have obtained all. Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales, and his treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures which belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ’s sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss which God hath prepared for them that love him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ’s possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. “All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     January 30

          TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU

     Lydia Baxter, 1809–1874

     And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)

     “What’s in a name?” This was the probing question asked by Romeo in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Christians have long realized that the whispered name “Jesus” can bring comfort and cheer to someone suffering or bereaved, and it can bring joyful hope to the fearful or depressed heart.

     The writer of this hymn text knew well the meaning of that special name “Jesus”. Although Lydia Baxter was a bed-ridden invalid much of her life, she remained continually cheerful and patient. “I have a very special armor,” she would tell her friends. “I have the name of Jesus. When the tempter tries to make me blue or despondent, I mention the name of Jesus, and he can’t get through to me anymore.”

     “Take the Name of Jesus With You” was written by Mrs. Baxter on her sick bed just four years before her death in 1874 at the age of 65. Throughout her lifetime she was known as an avid student of the Bible who loved to discuss the significance of scriptural names with her friends. She would inform them that Samuel means “asked of God,” Hannah—“grace,” Sarah—“princess,” and Naomi—“pleasantness.” But the name that meant everything to Lydia Baxter was the name “Jesus.”

     This hymn was used often during the Moody-Sankey evangelistic campaigns in the latter part of the 19th century. These words are still a comforting reminder of the peace and joy that result as we carry His precious Name throughout this life, and of the “joy of heav’n” that awaits us.

     Take the name of Jesus with you, child of sorrow and of woe; it will joy and comfort give you—Take it, then, where’er you go.
     Take the name of Jesus ever, as a shield from ev’ry snare; if temptations round you gather, breathe that holy name in prayer.
     O the precious name of Jesus! How it thrills our souls with joy, when His loving arms receive us and His songs our tongues employ!
     At the name of Jesus bowing, falling prostrate at His feet, King of kings in heav’n we’ll crown Him when our journey is complete.
     Chorus: Precious name, O how sweet! Hope of earth and joy of heaven.

     For Today: Proverbs 18:10; John 1:12; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9, 10.

     Breathe the name of Jesus often as you go about your daily tasks, letting Him share each concern or blessing that comes your way. Carry this musical reminder with you for today and the days ahead ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday, January 30, 2018 | Epiphany


Tuesday Of The Fourth Week After Epiphany
YEAR 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 61, 62
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 68:1–20 (21–23) 24–35
Old Testament     Genesis 21:1–21
New Testament     Hebrews 11:13–22
Gospel     John 6:41–51

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 61, 62
61 To The Choirmaster: With Stringed Instruments. Of David.

1 Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

4 Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
5 For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6 Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
7 May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!

8 So will I ever sing praises to your name,
as I perform my vows day after day.

62 To The Choirmaster: According To Jeduthun. A Psalm Of David.

1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

3 How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 68:1–20 (21–23) 24–35

1 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
2 As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God!
3 But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!

4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the LORD;
exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

7 O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
you restored your inheritance as it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

11 The Lord gives the word;
the women who announce the news are a great host:
12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil—
13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with shimmering gold.
14 When the Almighty scatters kings there,
let snow fall on Zalmon.

15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
yes, where the LORD will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
18 You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

[ 21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
“I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may strike your feet in their blood,
that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

] 24 Your procession is seen, O God,
the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them virgins playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation,
the LORD, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in their throng,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

28 Summon your power, O God,
the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings shall bear gifts to you.
30 Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds,
the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Nobles shall come from Egypt;
Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.

32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!

Old Testament
Genesis 21:1–21

21 The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. 2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

8 And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

New Testament
Hebrews 11:13–22

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

Gospel
John 6:41–51

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Book of Common Prayer


Subtle Ways to Abandon
the Authority of Scripture
D. A. Carson






Learning to Think Brilliantly
About Contemporary Culture
Josh Moody





2016 Basics Panel Question Time
Q & A






The Sweep of Praise    D. A. Carson





Rejoicing in the Hope of Glory
Josh Moody






A Peculiar Prayer for Power
D. A. Carson





How to Answer Your Critics
Josh Moody






Peace, Part One    Alistair Begg





Peace, Part Two   
Alistair Begg






Patience    Alistair Begg





Kindness and Goodness
Alistair Begg






Faithfulnesse    Alistair Begg





Paul: Prisoner and Steward
Alistair Begg