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1/31/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Genesis 32     Mark 3     Esther 8     Romans 3

Jacob Fears Esau

Genesis 32:1 Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 4 instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’ ”

6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”

9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 12 But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”

13 So he stayed there that night, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 These he handed over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me and put a space between drove and drove.” 17 He instructed the first, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau. And moreover, he is behind us.’ ” 19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, 20 and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’ ” For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present passed on ahead of him, and he himself stayed that night in the camp.

Jacob Wrestles with God

22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Mark 3:1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

A Great Crowd Follows Jesus

7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

The Twelve Apostles

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

Esther Saves the Jews

Esther 8:1 On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. 2 And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

3 Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. 4 When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. 5 And she said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. 6 For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” 7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. 8 But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”

9 The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, 11 saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, 12 on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies. 14 So the couriers, mounted on their swift horses that were used in the king’s service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.

15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.

God’s Righteousness Upheld

Romans 3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”

5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

No One Is Righteous

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11  no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13  “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16  in their paths are ruin and misery,
17  and the way of peace they have not known.”
18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

The Righteousness of God Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.   The accusation that Paul dismantled the divine law was a critical factor in the condemnation of Paul, and one that pursued him all the way from Asia to Jerusalem. See Acts 21:27–28. Jesus’s response is found at length in Matt. 5:17–48. The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance

The Reformation Study Bible

What I'm Reading

What’s So Special About Christianity?

By J. Warner Wallace 1/26/2018

     Every world view takes a position regarding eternity. Even those who don’t believe in God, still believe something about death and the possibility of heaven. To disbelieve a claim requires a belief in something contrary. When I was an atheist, I believed something about eternity and the possibility of life after death:

     1. If you’re an Atheist… | You deny that there is a God, have no belief in supernatural phenomena (or anything beyond the natural realm), and no belief in an afterlife.

     All the world’s religious belief systems, on the other hand, posit that humans can work their way into God’s presence through some set of good behaviors. Regardless of religious system, all proclaim a similar truth: you, as a simple human, can control (or at least contribute to) your own eternal destiny.

     2. If you’re a Jew… | You obey the Ten Commandments

     3. If you’re Muslim… | You obey the Five Pillars of Faith

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

How Diverse Was Early Christianity? Clearing Up a Few Misconceptions

By Michael J. Kruger 1/18/2016

     For some critical scholars, the most important fact about early Christianity was its radical theological diversity. Christians couldn’t agree on much of anything, we are told. All we have in the early centuries were a variety of Christian factions all claiming to be original and all claiming to be apostolic.

     Sure, one particular group–the group we now know as “orthodox” Christianity–won those theological wars. But why (the argument goes) should we think this group is any more valid than the groups that lost? What if another group (say the Gnostic Christians) had won? If they had, then what we call “Christianity” would look radically different.

     Thus, according to these critics, in the second and third centuries there really was no such thing as “Christianity.” Rather there were “Christiantities” (plural), all of which were locked in a battle for theological supremacy.

     This entire line of thinking, of course, goes back to Walter Bauer’s 1934 book Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. But, its most ardent supporter today is Bart Ehrman.  Ehrman describes precisely this view of early Christianity:

     "The wide diversity of early Christianity may be seen above all by the theological beliefs embraced by people who understood themselves to be followers of Jesus. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others that insisted there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365 (Lost Christianities, 2).

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

Will Some People in Heaven Have More Joy Than Others?

By John Piper 1/30/2017

     Let me clarify that I don’t mean to imply in talking that way that there are not other ways in the age to come that our rewards are experienced as different. Jesus says: You are going to reign over ten cities. I am going to reign over five cities (see Luke 19:17–19). And I think that means very concretely and specifically it may happen just that way: You may be the mayor of ten big cities, and I may be the mayor of five little cities. And I don’t mean to imply those specificities lose all their concreteness.

     So, don’t take it that way. But what we find in the New Testament is that the greatness of our rewards in the age to come is said to correspond to the life of obedience that we have lived here. We don’t earn the rewards. They are graciously given by God. We don’t deserve them. And they will be evidences that God looks with favor upon his own work of grace in our lives, working through us. So, the rewards are intended not as evidences of being earned, but rather as occasions for happiness in heaven, not disappointment.

     But if they are occasions for happiness and some people have greater rewards than others, will not some people be happier than others? Yet isn’t the picture of heaven where every tear is dried up and every sorrow will be removed (Revelation 21:4) and in God’s presence is fullness of joy for all believers (Psalm 16:11)? So, on the one hand, you have every saint promised fullness of joy. I think that is right. And on the other hand, we are promised differing rewards, which are occasions for greater or lesser joy. So, how does that work? That is the question.

     Let me simply read a few passages so you get a real clear textual foundation for the issue here. These are texts that get at the differentiation in rewards in the age to come:

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Revelation 2:23, “I will give to each of you according to your works.”

Ephesians 6:5–8, “Bondservants . . . [do] the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that” — this is really important — “whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord.” That is amazing. Every single good deed gets a special response from God in the age to come.

Luke 19:17, “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” And then another is over five (Luke 19:19).

Matthew 10:41, “The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

     So, there will be all of these differences among us in the age to come. But all of us will have fullness of joy. So, what is the solution?

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     John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

John Piper Books:

Thirty Seconds Alone with God

By Tony Reinke 1/30/2017

     Our Twitter and Facebook habits make praying harder than ever.

     But before we look at the stats, let’s take a moment to appreciate the magic of conscious life, the capacity to focus on one thing, like this article and this unfolding sentence, following it along until it ends with a little dot. No doubt, as a reader, you’re fighting the chronic digital urge to skim.

     We give our attention because we have attention to give. With our attention we can attend to one thing and avert from another thing.

     The power to fixate is part of God’s miracle in creation. Without attention, faith would be impossible. God not only created us to live and breathe and walk, like his other creatures; he wants us also to believe in him and to trust his word, to listen. The full scope of our affectional life becomes precious when we see it as our capacity to attend.

     Mind-setting is the basis of our devotion to Christ, and it gives rise to every love and longing in our heart. What our eyes linger on, our hearts will learn to love. What our hearts love, our eyes will linger on. When by supernatural grace Christ becomes the highest prize in our life, then he becomes the supreme focus of our attention. Thus, Paul challenges us to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

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     Tony Reinke is senior writer for Desiring God and author of three books. He hosts the Ask Pastor John podcast and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and three children.

Tony Reinke Books:

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 17

In the Shadow of Your Wings
17 A Prayer Of David.

1 Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2 From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!

3 You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4 With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.

ESV Study Bible

By Dr. Michael Brown 1/27/2018

     I was scheduled to be on CNN this week to debate another commentator about evangelicals and President Donald Trump. Due to breaking news, though, the debate was cancelled. Had I been on the air, I planned to make this point: With all respect to our president, and with my appreciation for the good things he has done, he did not die for my sins, and I have not staked my soul’s salvation on his reputation. That distinction belongs to Jesus the Messiah, and to Jesus alone.

     Why the need to state something that is so totally self-evident?

     It’s because we evangelicals are being judged on the character and accomplishments of our president, rather than on the character and accomplishments of our Lord. Hence the need to remind a watching world that there is only one Savior, and His name is not Trump.

     Unfortunately, in large part due to the media’s anti-Trump frenzy, if you dared to vote for Trump, — or if you’ve even spoken positive word on his behalf — you are considered complicit in his every failing, be it an adulterous affair in his past or an inappropriate tweet in the present. Wherever Trump is guilty (or perceived to be guilty), you are guilty with him. And if you dared endorse him, you have committed the unpardonable sin.

     One of my ministry school grads was having a conversation with a stranger while they waited in line at an event. The conversation turned spiritual, and my former student began to share his faith. The stranger asked him, “Did you vote for Trump?” When he said yes, the man refused to talk anymore. Jesus was not the issue; Trump was.

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     Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is a Senior Contributor to The Stream, and the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Breaking the Stronghold of Food. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

     He became a believer in Jesus 1971 as a sixteen year-old, heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer. Since then, he has preached throughout America and around the world, bringing a message of repentance, revival, reformation, and cultural revolution. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a visiting or adjunct professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Denver Theological Seminary, the King’s Seminary, and Regent University School of Divinity, and he has contributed numerous articles to scholarly publications, including the Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion and the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament.

     Dr. Brown is a national and international speaker on themes of spiritual renewal and cultural reformation, and he has debated Jewish rabbis, agnostic professors, and gay activists on radio, TV, and college campuses. He is widely considered to be the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist. He and his wife Nancy, who is also a Jewish believer in Jesus, have been married since 1976. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.

     Dr. Michael Brown Books:

Scripture Memory Made Simple

By Tabor Laughlin

     Whether we acknowledge it or not, we do have a lot of downtime in each day that we could be using to feed our souls. Often, we spend our spare minutes during the day doing other things like watching TV, playing on our phones, or surfing the internet. Maybe some of us are not seeing the spiritual growth we want because we don’t see the free minutes here and there throughout our day as a gift from God, but rather as a time for entertainment or productivity.

     If you think about it, the accumulation of spare moments in our days quickly adds up. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, waiting at the bus stop, walking to class, waiting for the start of a meeting — usually our minds are unemployed during these moments, or occupied by social media. But for those who are looking to “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16), there is a means of grace perfectly suited to these short pockets of time: Bible memorization.

     Ten Minutes for Treasured Truth | Ten years ago, when I worked as a teacher in China, I decided to take advantage of my free time throughout the day by memorizing Bible verses. I’d write a verse or a passage on an index card and pull it out throughout the day whenever I wasn’t doing anything else. In just a few years’ time, I had memorized over a thousand verses from God’s word — whole passages and even chapters from the Bible were locked in memory and doing their work in my heart.

     To this day, I would count those stacks of Bible verse index cards among my most valuable possessions. I take them with me and still use them every day.

     I’ve found that whether one spends lots of time in Scripture memory, or just a little time, it is always an incredibly valuable thing to do. It’s easy to consider our short breaks in the day to be “our own time” to relax or surf the internet or watch TV. While these are by no means bad things, we should weigh the value of these activities against the great gift of time to learn God’s word. I can assure you, whether you can invest ten or fifteen minutes each day into Scripture memory, or longer (or shorter) than that, any effort we make is time well spent.

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     Tabor Laughlin has been serving in China for ten years and is now a doctoral student in intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is president of a small missions agency in northwest China, writes occasionally at ChinaSource.org, and is author of Becoming Native to Win the Natives: Cross-Culturally Becoming All Things to All Men.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     4. Hence, also, we see the error of those who, in comparing the Law with the Gospel, represent it merely as a comparison between the merit of works, and the gratuitous imputation of righteousness. The contrast thus made is by no means to be rejected, because, by the term Law, Paul frequently understands that rule of holy living in which God exacts what is his due, giving no hope of life unless we obey in every respect; and, on the other hand, denouncing a curse for the slightest failure. This Paul does when showing that we are freely accepted of God, and accounted righteous by being pardoned, because that obedience of the Law to which the reward is promised is nowhere to be found. Hence he appropriately represents the righteousness of the Law and the Gospel as opposed to each other. But the Gospel has not succeeded the whole Law in such a sense as to introduce a different method of salvation. It rather confirms the Law, and proves that every thing which it promised is fulfilled. What was shadow, it has made substance. When Christ says that the Law and the Prophets were until John, he does not consign the fathers to the curse, which, as the slaves of the Law, they could not escape. He intimates that they were only imbued with the rudiments, and remained far beneath the height of the Gospel doctrine. Accordingly Paul, after calling the Gospel "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth," shortly after adds, that it was "witnessed by the Law and the Prophets," (Rom. 1:16; 3:21). And in the end of the same Epistle, though he describes "the preaching of Jesus Christ" as "the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began," he modifies the expression by adding, that it is "now made manifest" "by the scriptures of the prophets," (Rom. 16:25, 26). Hence we infer, that when the whole Law is spoken of, the Gospel differs from it only in respect of clearness of manifestation. Still, on account of the inestimable riches of grace set before us in Christ, there is good reason for saying, that by his advent the kingdom of heaven was erected on the earth (Mt. 12:28).

5. John stands between the Law and the Gospel, holding an intermediate office allied to both. For though he gave a summary of the Gospel when he pronounced Christ to be "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world," yet, inasmuch as he did not unfold the incomparable power and glory which shone forth in his resurrection, Christ says that he was not equal to the Apostles. For this is the meaning of the words: "Among them that are born of woman, there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he," (Mt. 11:28). He is not there commending the persons of men, but after preferring John to all the Prophets, he gives the first place to the preaching of the Gospel, which is elsewhere designated by the kingdom of heaven. When John himself, in answer to the Jews, says that he is only "a voice," (John 1:23), as if he were inferior to the Prophets it is not in pretended humility but he means to teach that the proper embassy was not entrusted to him, that he only performed the office of a messenger, as had been foretold by Malachi, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophets before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord," (Mal. 4:5). And, indeed, during the whole course of his ministry, he did nothing more than prepare disciples for Christ. He even proves from Isaiah that this was the office to which he was divinely appointed. In this sense, he is said by Christ to have been "a burning and a shining light," (John 5:35), because full day had not yet appeared. And yet this does not prevent us from classing him among the preachers of the gospel, since he used the same baptism which was afterwards committed to the Apostles. Still, however, he only began that which had freer course under the Apostles, after Christ was taken up into the heavenly glory.


[224] "Sub custodia spei."--French, "sous la garde, et comme sous le cachet d'espoir;" under the guard, and as it were, under the seal of hope.




This chapter consists of four parts. I. The sum, utility, and necessity of this discussion, sec. 1. II. A proof that, generally speaking, the old and new dispensations are in reality one, although differently administered. Three points in which the two dispensations entirely agree, sec. 2-4. III. The Old Testament, as well as the New, had regard to the hope of immortality and a future life, whence two other resemblances or points of agreement follow--viz. that both were established by the free mercy of God, and confirmed by the intercession of Christ. This proved by many arguments, passages of Scripture, and examples, see. 5-23. IV. Conclusion of the whole chapter, where, for fuller confirmation, certain passages of Scripture are produced. Refutation of the cavils of the Sadducees and other Jews.


1. Introduction, showing the necessity of proving the similarity of both dispensations in opposition to Servetus and the Anabaptists.

2. This similarity in general. Both covenants truly one, though differently administered. Three things in which they entirely agree.

3. First general similarity, or agreement--viz. that the Old Testament, equally with the New, extended its promises beyond the present life, and held out a sure hope of immortality. Reason for this resemblance. Objection answered.

4. The other two points of resemblance--viz. that both covenants were established in the mercy of God, and confirmed by the mediation of Christ.

5. The first of these points of resemblance being the foundation of the other two, a lengthened proof is given of it. The first argument taken from a passage, in which Paul, showing that the sacraments of both dispensations had the same meaning, proves that the condition of the ancient church was similar to ours.

6. An objection from John 6:49--viz. that the Israelites ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead, whereas Christians eat the flesh of Christ, and die not. Answer reconciling this passage of the Evangelist with that of the Apostle.

7. Another proof from the Law and the Prophets--viz. the power of the divine word in quickening souls before Christ was manifested. Hence the believing Jews were raised to the hope of eternal life.

8. Third proof from the form of the covenant, which shows that it was in reality one both before and after the manifestation of Christ in the flesh.

9. Confirmation of the former proof from the clear terms in which the form is expressed. Another confirmation derived from the former and from the nature of God.

10. Fourth proof from examples. Adam, Abel, and Noah, when tried with various temptations, neglecting the present, aspired with living faith and invincible hope to a better life. They, therefore, had the same aim as believers under the Gospel.

11. Continuation of the fourth proof from the example of Abraham, whose call and whole course of life shows that he ardently aspired to eternal felicity. Objection disposed of.

12. Continuation of the fourth proof from the examples of Isaac and Jacob.

13. Conclusion of the fourth proof. Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others under the Law, looked for the fulfilment of the divine promises not on the earth, but in heaven. Hence they termed this life an earthly pilgrimage, and desired to be buried in the land of Canaan, which was a figure of eternal happiness.

14. A fifth proof from Jacob's earnestness to obtain the birth-right. This shows a prevailing desire of future life. This perceived in some degree by Balaam.

15. A sixth proof from David, who expects such great things from the Lord, and yet declares the present life to be mere vanity.

16. A seventh proof also from David. His descriptions of the happiness of believers could only be realised in a future state.

17. An eighth proof from the common feeling and confession of all the pious who sought by faith and hope to obtain in heaven what they did not see in the present shadowy life.

18. A continuation and confirmation of the former proof from the exultation of the righteous, even amid the destruction of the world.

19. A ninth proof from Job, who spoke most distinctly of this hope. Two objections disposed of.

20. A tenth proof from the later Prophets, who taught that the happiness of the righteous was placed beyond the limits of the present life.

21. This clearly established by Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones, and a passage in Isaiah.

22. Last proof from certain passages in the Prophets, which clearly show the future immortality of the righteous in the kingdom of heaven.

23. Conclusion of the whole discussion concerning the similarity of both dispensations. For fuller confirmation, four passages of Scripture produced. Refutation of the error of the Sadducees and other Jews, who denied eternal salvation and the sure hope of the Church.

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

  • The Lord is My Salvation
  • Reconciling God
  • Therefore...

     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     How much do you love Jesus?
     1/31/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘When he had found one pearl of great price…[he] sold all that he had and bought it.’

(Mt 13:46) who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. ESV

     In one of the most unique corporate take-overs ever, Stanley Tam legally transferred 51 per cent of the shares of his company to God. He started United States Plastic Corporation with thirty-seven dollars in capital. When he gave his business back to God, annual revenues were less than two hundred thousand dollars. But Stanley believed God would bless his business, and he wanted to honour God from the get-go. At that point, most of us would have been patting ourselves on the back. Not Stanley. He felt convicted for keeping 49 per cent to himself. After reading the parable of the merchant who sold everything to obtain the pearl of great price, he made a decision to divest himself of all his shares. He said, ‘A man can eat only one meal at a time, wear only one suit of clothes at a time, drive only one car at a time. All this I have. Isn’t that enough?’ So on January 15, 1955, every share of stock was transferred to God, and Stanley became a salaried employee of the company he started. Before he was through, Stanley gave away more than 120 million dollars to the cause of Christ. If you want to measure the depth of your love for Christ, look at your calendar and your credit card statement. They don’t lie. How you spend your time and money are the two best barometers of your true priorities. Is Christ your pearl of great price? He wants to be. He deserves to be.

Exodus 16-18
Matthew 18:1-20

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Jacob Duche’ was born this day, January 31, 1738. He was the Anglican clergyman who, at the request of the Continental Congress, opened the first session of Congress with prayer. Conscious of the impending British attack, Rev. Jacob Duche’ read Psalm 35, which begins: “Plead my cause, Oh, Lord, with them that strive with me, fight against them that fight against me… Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.” Of that reading, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife: “I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seem as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     At first the practice of inward prayer is a process of alternation of attention between outer things and the Inner Light. Preoccupation with either brings the loss of the other. Yet what is sought is not alternation, but simultaneity, worship undergirding every moment, living prayer, the continuous current and background of all moments of life. Long practice indeed is needed before alternation yields to concurrent immersion in both levels at once. The "plateaus in the learning curve" are so long, and many falter and give up, assenting to alternation as the best that they can do. And no doubt in His graciousness God gives us His gifts, even in intermittent communion, and touches us into flame, far beyond our achievements and deserts. But the hunger of the committed one is for unbroken communion and adoration, and we may be sure He longs for us to find it and supplements our weakness. For our quest is of His initiation, and is carried forward in His tender power and completed by His grace.

     The first signs of simultaneity are given when at the moment of recovery from a period of forgetting there is a certain sense that we have not completely forgotten Him. It is as though we are only coming, back into a state of vividness which had endured in dim and tenuous form throughout. What takes place now is not reinstatement of a broken prayer but return to liveliness of that which had endured, but mildly. The currents of His love have been flowing, but whereas we had been drifting in Him, now we swim. It is like the background of a picture which extends all the way across behind a tree in the foreground. It is not that we merely know intellectually that the background of the picture has an unbroken extension; we experience aesthetically that it does extend across. Again, it is like waking from sleep yet knowing, not by inference but by immediate awareness that we have lived even while we were asleep. For sole preoccupation with the world is sleep, but immersion in Him is life.

A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

It’s the small choices we make in life
that determine whether the heart controls us
or whether we control the heart …
whether we become like those
who hunted down the innocent,
or become like those
who hid them.
--- M. Katz, & G. Schwartz

I believe in Christianity
as I believe that the sun has risen:
not only because I see it,
but because by it I see everything else.
--- C.S. Lewis

And the drawing near of Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequately tell.
--- Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Seek first the Kingdom of God. Everything else must stand aside—personal, family or national interest—yea, life itself. No half-measures will ever succeed in efforts for that Kingdom which aims at turning the world upside down.
--- Max I. Reich, 1867-1945

... from here, there and everywhere

Proverbs 6:24-35
     by D.H. Stern

24     They keep you from an evil woman,
from a loose woman’s seductive tongue.
25     Don’t let your heart lust after her beauty
or allow her glance to captivate you.
26     The price of a whore is a loaf of bread,
but the adulteress is hunting for a precious life.
27     Can a man carry fire inside his shirt
without burning his clothes?
28     Can a man walk [barefoot] on hot coals
without scorching his feet?
29     So is he who has sex with his neighbor’s wife;
anyone touching her will be punished.
30     A thief is not despised if he steals
only to satisfy his appetite when hungry;
31     but even he, if caught, must pay back sevenfold;
he may have to give up all the wealth that he owns.
32     He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
33     He will get nothing but blows and contempt,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34     For jealousy drives a man into a rage;
he will show no mercy when he takes revenge;
35     he will not accept compensation;
he’ll refuse every bribe, no matter how large.

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

                Do you see your calling?

     Separated unto the Gospel. ---
Romans 1:1.

     Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

     Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

My Utmost for His Highest

     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas


Listening to history's
babble; not understanding.
Interpreting it even so
for the sake of an audience.

Symphonies raise up
their fiery architecture.
Pages that were once white
carry the poet's rubric.

Man milks his tears
from a venomous tooth;
excuses Eve
under a bi-sexual tree.

The desert annually
thickens its dry tide
under the loaded scapegoat's
too innocent cropping.

The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Teacher's Commentary
     Genesis 28

     Jacob's Prayer

     (Gen. 32:9–12). After 20 years with his father-in-law, Laban, Jacob took his wives and children and flocks to return to the Promised Land. God told him to return, but Jacob was frightened. The remembrance of the wrong he’d done Esau 20 years before as well as of Esau’s hatred combined to produce guilt and terror.

     Now Jacob was about to meet his brother. Driven to the Lord, he prayed the longest recorded prayer up to this time. It’s fascinating to see what Jacob said. He reminded God of His covenant promise (v. 9). Then he denied any personal merit as a possible basis for God’s favor and reminded God (and himself) of the blessings from God he had enjoyed (v. 10). Then he honestly admitted his fear of Esau and begged God’s help (v. 11). Finally Jacob reminded God of His personal promise to him that his descendants would be the chosen people (v. 12).

     In many ways this prayer of Jacob’s is a model for us. We have to give up all notion of personal merit as a basis for claiming God’s favor. We can and must rely on the character of God as a covenant-keeping God, one who keeps all His promises to His people. We need to be honest in expressing our fears and doubts and uncertainties to God, to face our own deep need of Him and Him alone for strength and provision. Also we need to remember God’s personal promises as one of the “whosoever” for whom Christ died. Because in Jesus God has freely given all things, we can know that He seeks only to do us good. Because of who God is, we can abandon everything to Him, and rest.

     The wound of grace (Gen. 32:24–32). On the night Jacob prayed, he went out to plan his own way to gain Esau’s favor. He prepared a number of gifts for his brother and sent them on ahead. He trusted God—and then took out insurance.

     That night a “Man” whom Jacob assumed to be an angel or theophany (a preincarnate appearance of God in human form, v. 30) wrestled with him. In the struggle the Man touched the back of Jacob’s thigh. Some commentators feel the ball and socket there were thrown out of joint. Others say that a ligament (sinew, or tendon) was torn. Jacob was left with a permanent limp.

     Sometimes a wound is a very special act of God’s grace. Jacob struggled to hold onto the man, for after suffering the wound he must have realized how much more powerful this Visitor was than he himself, and he wanted His blessing.

     How often we need to be wounded for the same reason! It’s easy for us to trust our own skills and abilities. But sometimes a wound (physically, or in a broken relationship, or in the failure of a much-loved plan) will remind us to cling to God again, totally dependent on Him for blessing. How good it is that God doesn’t hold back from hurting us—for our own good.

     In this experience Jacob received a new name: Israel, “he who strives with God.” Jacob had struggled with God, refusing to give up until God blessed him. That name may well represent the transformation of character that had begun in Jacob. But now the wound remained, a constant reminder of Jacob’s need for God. A Jacob wholly dependent on God can become an Israel. What can we become if we let each wound draw us closer to the Lord and make us more dependent on Him?

The Teacher's Commentary

Take Heart
     January 31

     At home with the Lord. --- 2 Corinthians 5:8.

     Deep in the human heart there is a homing instinct, profound, persistent, ineradicable, that we often ignore and might even deny. ( Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell (Kregel Classic Sermons Series) )

     There is something in us that earth can never satisfy. It is common for people to say and to believe that if they only had this or that thing they would always be happy, and some of them die believing it. But the evidence of those who obtain the treasure does not bear them out. It satisfied for a little while—and then there was the old, persistent hunger again, clamorous as ever.

     Earth does not satisfy us. I cannot help but feel that that is an impressive fact. I believe that there is in us a homesickness for heaven, that that ache which earth cannot satisfy can be satisfied by God, that all feel it, but only some understand it.

     God has put in the heart of everyone of us a longing for himself. The mass of humanity does not understand it. People just know that there are times when they want to be quiet, times when they want to be alone, times when the calendar or the stars or death speaks to them. They hunger and they thirst—but for what?

     It is part of the service of religion to make the hunger of our souls clear to us.

     You may have lost your way, but don’t lose your address. Don’t deny that hunger in your soul. Don’t say, “It isn’t there; earth satisfies me; when this life is over I will have had all that I want of life.”

     The homesickness for God in your heart is a precious, divine gift. It won’t make you less keen to serve others here below, but it will be a constant reminder to you that the most permanent dwelling earth provides is a tent, and at any time the word may come to draw the pegs. We are, indeed, strangers and pilgrims here below.

     Here we sojourn; there we belong. You will work with zest and skill and thoroughness in all that concerns the outworking of God’s purpose on this earth, and you will work the better because, by faith, you have the perfect always in view.
--- William E. Sangster

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

On This Day   January 31
     The Waldensians

     The Waldensians are among history’s first evangelicals, pre-Protestants who sprang up in the 1200s in the Piedmont Alps of Italy. The movement apparently started when Peter Waldo (or Valdes) of Lyons, a wealthy French merchant, became involved in translating the Bible into his own French-Provencial. Jesus’ words in Mark 10:22—Go sell everything you own … Then come with me—so moved him that he did just that. His radical Christianity led to his expulsion from Lyons and his removal to the Italian Alps. There his message of simple discipleship took root among Alpine Christians.

     The Waldensians stressed love of Christ and his Word and a life of poverty. But their nonconformity invited the wrath of the church, making them targets for extermination. In 1251, for example, the Waldensians in Toulouse, France, were massacred, their town burned.

     Nevertheless, by 1600 20,000 Waldensians, mostly farmers and shepherds, filled the French/Italian Alps. On Easter week, 1655, 5,000 soldiers came against them, killing, torturing, raping, looting—1,712 were killed. The survivors escaped into the French mountains and claimed protection under the Edict of Nantes which granted freedom to French Protestants.

     When King Henry XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes on October 18, 1685, the Waldensian communities swelled with Protestant refugees. The villages became armed camps of resistance. They found themselves caught between the Catholic forces of both France and Italy. On January 31, 1686, Louis XIV issued an edict to burn Waldensian churches to the ground. Protestant assemblies were forbidden, children were ordered baptized in the Catholic faith, and pastors deposed. The Waldensians were trapped and massacred—2,000 killed, 2,000 more “converted” to Catholicism, 8,000 imprisoned, half of whom soon died of starvation and sickness.

     But the next several years saw a shifting in European politics, and eventually some of the Waldensians returned to their homeland. Others made their way from the Piedmont mountains of Europe to the Piedmont mountains of North Carolina. They established the town of Valdese where they live to this day, every summer presenting their story in the open-air drama From This Day Forward.

     Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”
--- Mark 10:21.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - January 31

     “The Lord our Righteousness.” --- Jeremiah 23:6.

     It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that “Christ is made unto us righteousness,” we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all. On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” You will not find on this side of heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus;” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought—“Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love him and serve him, seeing that I am saved by his merits?” “The love of Christ constraineth us,” “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them.” If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.

          Evening - January 31

     “Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.” --- 2 Samuel 18:23.

     Running is not everything, there is much in the way which we select: a swift foot over hill and down dale will not keep pace with a slower traveller upon level ground. How is it with my spiritual journey, am I labouring up the hill of my own works and down into the ravines of my own humiliations and resolutions, or do I run by the plain way of “Believe and live”? How blessed is it to wait upon the Lord by faith! The soul runs without weariness, and walks without fainting, in the way of believing. Christ Jesus is the way of life, and he is a plain way, a pleasant way, a way suitable for the tottering feet and feeble knees of trembling sinners: am I found in this way, or am I hunting after another track such as priestcraft or metaphysics may promise me? I read of the way of holiness, that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein: have I been delivered from proud reason and been brought as a little child to rest in Jesus’ love and blood? If so, by God’s grace I shall outrun the strongest runner who chooses any other path. This truth I may remember to my profit in my daily cares and needs. It will be my wisest course to go at once to my God, and not to wander in a roundabout manner to this friend and that. He knows my wants and can relieve them, to whom should I repair but to himself by the direct appeal of prayer, and the plain argument of the promise. “Straightforward makes the best runner.” I will not parlay with the servants, but hasten to their master.

     In reading this passage, it strikes me that if men vie with each other in common matters, and one outruns the other, I ought to be in solemn earnestness so to run that I may obtain. Lord, help me to gird up the loins of my mind, and may I press forward towards the mark for the prize of my high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     January 31


     Words and Music by Helen H. Lemmel, 1864–1961

     Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

     I’ve seen the face of Jesus … It was a wondrous sight!
     Oh, glorious face of beauty, Oh gentle touch of care;
     If here it is so blessed, what will it be up there?
--- W. Spencer Walton

     In our fast-paced daily life, how easy it is to get caught up in the “things of earth” so that eternal values become blurred and almost forgotten. As we conclude the first month’s journey through this new year, we need today’s hymn to remind us that we must continue to make Christ the central core of our lives—to pursue the Kingdom of God and His righteousness—if we are to be victorious believers.

     In 1918, Helen Howarth Lemmel, the author and composer of this hymn, was given a tract by a missionary friend. As she read it, Helen’s attention was focused on this line: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face, and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.” She related:

     Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus of the hymn with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.

     Since that day, Helen Lemmel’s hymn has been translated into many languages and used by God to challenge believers around the world with the necessity of living devoted lives for His glory.

     O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free!

     Thru death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; over us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conq’rors we are!

     His word shall not fail you—He promised; believe Him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!

     Chorus: Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

     For Today: Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1–4.

     Purpose to enjoy more fully the fellowship of Christ now and throughout the remainder of this new year. Let these words remind you to face each situation with confidence ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | Epiphany

Wednesday Of The Fourth Week After Epiphany
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 72
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 119:73–96
Old Testament     Genesis 22:1–18
New Testament     Hebrews 11:23–31
Gospel     John 6:52–59

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 72
72 Of Solomon.

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!

5 May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
7 In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!
9 May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!

12 For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live;
may gold of Sheba be given to him!
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all the day!
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!
17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!

18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!

20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 119:73–96

73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

81 My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

89 Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Old Testament
Genesis 22:1–18

22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

New Testament
Hebrews 11:23–31

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

John 6:52–59

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread3 the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

Book of Common Prayer

A Gospel Minister
Alistair Begg

The Plan of the Mystery
Alistair Begg

God's Manifold Wisdom
Alistair Begg

Andrew James Ordination
Alistair Begg

The Best is Yet to Be!
Alistair Begg

I Bow My Knees, Part One
Alistair Begg

I Bow My Knees, Part Two
Josh Moody

I Bow My Knees, Part Three
Alistair Begg

A Doxology    Alistair Begg

Let It Be    Alistair Begg

Joseph, Do Not Fear
Alistair Begg

The Genealogy of Jesus
Alistair Begg

Then Sings My Soul
Alistair Begg