The Sacrifice of IsaacGenesis 22 1 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.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
20 Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 (Bethuel fathered Rebekah.) These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
Sarah’s Death and BurialGenesis 23 1 Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, 4 “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” 5 The Hittites answered Abraham, 6 “Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead.” 7 Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. 8 And he said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place.”
10 Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.” 12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” 14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.
17 So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over 18 to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites.
Isaac and RebekahGenesis 24 1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5 The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6 Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. 7 The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.
10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, taking all sorts of choice gifts from his master; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor. 11 And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”
15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16 The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. 17 Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.” 18 She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19 When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. 21 The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the LORD had prospered his journey or not.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, 23 and said, “Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” 24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 She added, “We have plenty of both straw and fodder, and room to spend the night.” 26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the LORD 27 and said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.” 28 Then the young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
29 Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban. Laban ran out toward the man, to the spring. 30 As soon as he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and heard the words of Rebekah his sister, “Thus the man spoke to me,” he went to the man. And behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31 He said, “Come in, O blessed of the LORD. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.” 32 So the man came to the house and unharnessed the camels, and gave straw and fodder to the camels, and there was water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33 Then food was set before him to eat. But he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I have to say.” He said, “Speak on.”
34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has become great. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and female servants, camels and donkeys. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old, and to him he has given all that he has. 37 My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell, 38 but you shall go to my father’s house and to my clan and take a wife for my son.’ 39 I said to my master, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’ 40 But he said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send his angel with you and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son from my clan and from my father’s house. 41 Then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my clan. And if they will not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’
42 “I came today to the spring and said, ‘O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now you are prospering the way that I go, 43 behold, I am standing by the spring of water. Let the virgin who comes out to draw water, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” 44 and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also,” let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’
45 “Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder, and she went down to the spring and drew water. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46 She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels drink also.’ So I drank, and she gave the camels drink also. 47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48 Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 49 Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.” 50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot speak to you bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the earth before the LORD. 53 And the servant brought out jewelry of silver and of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave to her brother and to her mother costly ornaments. 54 And he and the men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.” 55 Her brother and her mother said, “Let the young woman remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.” 56 But he said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” 57 They said, “Let us call the young woman and ask her.” 58 And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” 59 So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
“Our sister, may you become
thousands of ten thousands,
and may your offspring possess
the gate of those who hate him!”
62 Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
Why Shouldn’t We Trust the Non-Canonical “Second Treatise of the Great Seth”?
By J. Warner Wallace 1/5/2018
There are a number of ancient, non-canonical texts used by sect leaders or heretical groups in the early history of Christianity. One of these is a gnostic document called The Second Treatise of the Great Seth. Is this non-biblical text reliable? Was it written by an eyewitness who accurately captured the actions and statements of Jesus? There are four attributes of reliable eyewitness testimony, and the first requirement is simply that the account be old enough to actually be written by someone who was present to see what he or she reports. The Second Treatise of the Great Seth was written too late in history to have been written by anyone who could have actually seen the ministry of Jesus, and like other late non-canonical texts, this errant document was rejected by the Church. In spite of this, The Second Treatise of the Great Seth may have contained small nuggets of truth related to Jesus. Although it is a legendary fabrication altered by an author who wanted to craft a version of the Jesus story that suited the purposes of his religious community, it likely reflected many truths about Jesus:
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth (180-300AD) | The Second Treatise of the Great Seth was also discovered at the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt in 1945. Its title comes from the final line of the text and it is unknown if there was a First Treatise, as none has ever been discovered. It is yet another example of Sethian Gnosticism; a text used by a group who originally worshipped the biblical Seth as a messianic figure and later treated Jesus as a re-incarnation of Seth. The text is written as though Jesus Himself is the author, but the Coptic language of the text (it was originally written in Greek) is so complex and confusing that scholars have great difficulty understanding its contents and are hesitant to acknowledge the text as a unified work.
Why Isn’t It Considered Reliable? | This text was written in the latter half of the 2nd century (at the earliest) and scholars believe it was written in Alexandria. The time and location of the writing exclude the text from being a true eyewitness account related to the life of Jesus. As part of a collection of Sethian documents, The Second Treatise of the Great Seth contains a crucifixion account similar to that offered by Basilides, a known Alexandrian Gnostic teacher from the 2nd century. The Church Fathers were well acquainted with Basilidian Gnosticism and condemned it as heretical from the moment Basilides appeared on the scene. Agrippa Castor (late 2nd century) wrote against Basilides directly, and his condemnation of Basilidian Gnosticism was affirmed by Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Epiphamus of Salamis and Theodoret of Cyrus.
How Does It Corroborate the Life of Jesus? | While The Second Treatise of the Great Seth is often difficult to understand, it does acknowledge Jesus as the “Word”, the “Christ”, “Jesus Christ” and the “Son of Man”. Jesus is clearly venerated as the source of divine wisdom. The text also recognizes several elements from the Passion narrative, including the fact that Jesus was beaten with reeds, forced to wear a crown of thorns, nailed to a cross, and appeared to die. Simon (the Cyrene) is described as the man who “bore the cross on his shoulder” and the text describes the fact that the veil of the Temple was torn at the time of Jesus’ death. John the Baptist is also mentioned as part of the text.
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J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria (and Mary, and Mary, and Elizabeth) ?
By Sean Morris 11/30/2016
For many, the name “John Knox” probably evokes some association with authoritarianism, misogyny, or at least an overbearing, severe personality.
Indeed, when I was in Edinburgh this past summer standing outside of St. Giles’ Cathedral near the site where Knox’s grave had been (quite unceremoniously) paved over to make way for a parking lot, I overheard a nearby leader of a walking-tour describe the Scottish minister as a “fanatic given to sentiments of treason and anarchy, known for his bigoted, antiquated, and chauvinistic views, his antagonism and disdain toward Mary Queen of Scots, and his strict religious control over the city of Edinburgh.”
Now to be fair, when one considers that the Father of Presbyterianism’s best-known work is titled The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women…well, his detractors might be forgiven for having an unsavory impression of the man.
Knox was certainly “a man of his times,” but that cliché hardly does justice to the content of his theology or the contours of his politics and or his concern for justice and religious liberty in a land where Protestants were being persecuted and slaughtered by the thousands–never mind the fact that this man was an outspoken advocate for education and care for the poor. As students of history well know, the truth of an historical matter is usually far more complicated, muddled, disorienting, confusing, and fascinating than a first glance would suggest.
So when Pastor Knox refers to Mary, Queen of Scots (or Maria Regina Scotorum, if you like) as “…that idolatress Jezebel, mischievous Mary, of the Spaniard’s blood, cruel persecutrix of the church,” we cannot be satisfied with a run-of-the-mill charge that he is a “religious bigot and hater of women” like that from my tour-guide friend. A provocative line like that from Knox must drive us to dig further.
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How Jesus Confronted And Corrected Others
By Nick Batzig 6/25/2015
A fellow minister in our Presbytery recently preached a sermon series called, “Things Jesus Should Not Have (I Wish He Hadn’t) Said!” The crux of the series was that Jesus said many hard sayings that–if we are honest–we would have to admit we find uncomfortable. The fact of the matter is that so much of what Jesus said makes people uncomfortable. In a day when the “cult of nicenesss” has permeated the church, and politeness and tolerance has taken a front seat to truth and the fear of God, we need to be reminded that the Savior of the world often corrected the errors of his enemies in a less than winsome manner. Many times He also corrected His disciples in shocking and uncomfortable ways. As we study the life of Jesus in the Gospels we see very clearly the way in which the Savior of the world corrected people when they said or did things that needed correction. Consider the following:
How Jesus Corrected And Confronted His Opponents And Hypocrites
1. Jesus Corrected and Confronted Publicly: Jesus corrected the false teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees by teaching His disciples to be on constant guard against it. He corrected their misinterpretations by appealing to His own authority. He repeatedly said, “You have heard it was said…but I say to you…” Jesus would often speak with His disciples, and the crowds around Him, about the dangers of false teachers’ doctrine. It is not, as many suppose, godly not to talk about the problems with false teachers and teaching.
2. Jesus Corrected and Confronted Directly: Jesus directly confronted false teachers in the church with the repetitious, “Woe to you…hypocrites.” When they came to trick Him, Jesus frequently silenced the Chief Priests, Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees by putting them in their place with Scripture. On one occasion. He came right out and said, “You’re wrong, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.” Jesus was not afraid to tell people–in the most confrontational way–“You’re wrong.”
3. Jesus Resorted to Metaphorical “Animal” Name Calling: Jesus often exposed the true nature of the wickedness of false teachers by using animal names to metaphorically describe them. He called the Pharisees the “offspring of serpents,” Herod “a fox,” false teachers “wolves,” and unregenerate Gentiles “dogs.”
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Resources For Spending Time With Jesus
By Mike Mobley
Whether it’s the beginning of a new year or a new season in your life, one thing is for sure…spending time with Jesus must be crucial for you. Really, spending time with Jesus is crucial for all of us because He is everything.
I’m convinced that’s where the real battle is for all of us and for good reason. If it’s such a battle to spend time with Jesus on a daily basis, don’t you think there’s a reason for this? There’s a reason that we get so easily distracted every single day and oftentimes forget to spend time with God. I know that happens to me over and over again.
For followers of Jesus, everything is centered around our time with Him. It’s time with Him that will remind us we are forgiven, forever. It’s time with Him that will remind us what our purpose is. It’s time with Him that will comfort us, give us strength, show us truth, and more.
Regardless of wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, you can just start today. Make a commitment today before God to spend time with him on a daily basis. Here are some great resources and what I’m using for spending time with Jesus:
I’ve written about this app before when it first came out and they just keep making it better and better. The video introductions to all books of the Bible are the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve learned a lot just from those videos alone.
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Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 5Lead Me in Your Righteousness
5 To The Choirmaster: For The Flutes. A Psalm Of David.
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD;
consider my groaning.
2 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
Three Blunders Atheists make arguing against God
By Noah Myers 1/5/2017
I’ve recently been watching a debate between Atheist Christopher Hitchens and Frank Turek. It is a reasonably good debate, but I was surprised to see that even Hitchens, who was one of the most prolific atheists of our time, makes some surprisingly amateurish blunders through the debate. Here are a few that stood out to me. In reality these are all the same blunder, but I think looking at it from different angles helps solidify the point.
You cannot prove God because you, yourself, reject other Gods | One blunder I heard Hitchens make was bringing up that everyone is an Atheist about some Gods. Christians are Atheists about Zeus and Thor and other gods. Muslims are Atheists about other gods as well, so are Jews, so are Buddhists and so are Hindus. Everyone rejects some Gods so in the end, so why not just reject all Gods? Or perhaps better said ‘you reject some Gods, so therefor all Gods must be rejected.’
But how would this argument work elsewhere? What if we applied it to math? We all reject 2+2=6. We also reject that 2+2=12, or 14, or 17, or 3. If we apply Hitchens logic here we should also reject that 2+2=4, since we have rejected all the other options. That of course is absurd. Granted I understand that Hitchens rejects the Christian God, for other reasons than this, but the mere fact he brings up this argument I think should make us question his bias.
Not Staying with the task at hand | The problem overall in Hitchens argument is that he tries to argue against one point of Christian apologetic by rejecting another. If we look at arguing for Christianity as a four step process we could outline it as such:
My name is Noah Myers, I am from Fort Collins Colorado, probably the best city in the good ole US of A. Despite my love and pride for of Fort Collins I can’t seem to avoid a desire to travel the world. I went to a one year bible college in England called Capernwray straight out of high school. It was an amazing year and I learned so much. Afterword I returned home to attend Colorado State University and graduated with a Religious Philosophy Degree and an English minor.
God gave me the opportunity after CSU to take part in an amazing trip called World Race. The trip had an amazing impact on my life and I will be posting a lot of blogs from that time on this site eventually. For now I will just say it was an 11 month journey to 11 countries that truly changed my life.
I have been back now for three years that have flown by. I am now attending Southern Evangelical Seminary online to earn a Master of Arts in Apologetics. I have recently been hired by Ratio Christi, a college apologetics ministry, to start a chapter at Colorado State. I hope to serve the Lord by writing this blog and sharing both what I am learning at school and what God is teaching me in lifes little lessons. I hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think.
If you would like email updates about everything happining with Ratio Christi at CSU Click Here.
By Dr. Sinclair Ferguson
Is assurance possible? How is it to be obtained? And of what exactly, are we assured? Since this topic is so germane to our actual enjoyment of salvation, it has often touched raw nerves in the church for more than one reason. (Is 50:10) Who among you fears the LORD (Ps 31:22) I had said in my alarm, (Ps 77:2) In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
For one thing, it is possible to have false assurance. After all, the Sermon on the Mount virtually ends with Jesus saying:
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven. . . . On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not . . . cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to hem, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.
Later, writing to the multi-gifted Corinthians, Paul would issue a similar warning: someone may be willing to be martyred (“deliver up my body to be burned”) yet lack the central evidence of being genuinely a Christian. ( 1 Cor. 13:1–3 )
(1 Co 13:1–3) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. ESV
It is also possible for a true believer to be harassed with doubts; to be, in words much loved in the days when the Marrow was being penned, “A child of light walking in the darkness.” ( See Isa. 50:10 ) The Psalms also bear especially eloquent testimony to this kind of experience: “I had said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight’”; ( Ps. 31:22 ) “In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord,” says Asaph; “in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.” ( Ps. 77:2 )
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. ESV
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help. ESV
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted. ESV
If that is true, then indeed William Perkins wisely entitled his famous work A Case of Conscience. The Greatest that Ever Was: How a man may know whether he be the childe of God, or no. Resolved by the Word of God.
If we are to set these issues in their proper perspective, then we need in fact to begin long before the 1720s and indeed prior to the Reformation.
From Jerusalem to Rome
The Scriptures underscore the reality of both false assurance and lack of assurance. It is also clear that the New Testament church was baptized into a deep and pervasive sense of assurance. Jesus encourages his disciples by telling them that although they may suffer persecution, they are blessed because their “reward is great in heaven”; Paul is sure that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ; Peter reassures us that there is an imperishable inheritance that is guarded in heaven for those whom God is guarding. ( Matt. 5:12; Rom. 8:38–39; 1 Pet. 1:4–5 )
(Mt 5:12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ESV
(Ro 8:38–39) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ESV
(1 Pe 1:4–5) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ESV
Excerpt from The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance
Sinclair Ferguson Books:
(Is 50:10) Who among you fears the LORD
(Ps 31:22) I had said in my alarm,
(Ps 77:2) In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
HOW GOD WORKS IN THE HEARTS OF MEN.
The leading points discussed in this chapter are, I. Whether in bad actions anything is to be attributed to God; if anything, how much. Also, what is to be attributed to the devil and to man, sec. 1-5. II. In indifferent matters, how much is to be attributed to God, and how much is left to man, sec. 6. III. Two objections refuted, sec. 7, 8.
1. Connection of this chapter with the preceding. Augustine's similitude of a good and bad rider. Question answered in respect to the devil.
2. Question answered in respect to God and man. Example from the history of Job. The works of God distinguished from the works of Satan and wicked men. 1. By the design or end of acting. How Satan acts in the reprobate. 2. How God acts in them.
3. Old Objection, that the agency of God in such cases is referable to prescience or permission, not actual operation. Answer, showing that God blinds and hardens the reprobate, and this in two ways; 1. By deserting them; 2. By delivering them over to Satan.
4. Striking passages of Scripture, proving that God acts in both ways, and disposing of the objection with regard to prescience. Confirmation from Augustine.
5. A modification of the former answer, proving that God employs Satan to instigate the reprobate, but, at the same time, is free from all taint.
6. How God works in the hearts of men in indifferent matters. Our will in such matters not so free as to be exempt from the overruling providence of God. This confirmed by various examples.
7. Objection, that these examples do not form the rule. An answer, fortified by the testimony of universal experience, by Scripture, and a passage of Augustine.
8. Some, in arguing against the error of free will, draw an argument from the event. How this is to be understood.
1. That man is so enslaved by the yoke of sin, that he cannot of his own nature aim at good either in wish or actual pursuit, has, I think, been sufficiently proved. Moreover, a distinction has been drawn between compulsion and necessity, making it clear that man, though he sins necessarily, nevertheless sins voluntarily. But since, from his being brought into bondage to the devil, it would seem that he is actuated more by the devil's will than his own, it is necessary, first, to explain what the agency of each is, and then solve the question,  Whether in bad actions anything is to be attributed to God, Scripture intimating that there is some way in which he interferes? Augustine (in Psalm 31 and 33) compares the human will to a horse preparing to start, and God and the devil to riders. "If God mounts, he, like a temperate and skilful rider, guides it calmly, urges it when too slow, reins it in when too fast, curbs its forwardness and over-action, checks its bad temper, and keeps it on the proper course; but if the devil has seized the saddle, like an ignorant and rash rider, he hurries it over broken ground, drives it into ditches, dashes it over precipices, spurs it into obstinacy or fury." With this simile, since a better does not occur, we shall for the present be contented. When it is said, then, that the will of the natural man is subject to the power of the devil, and is actuated by him, the meaning is not that the wills while reluctant and resisting, is forced to submit (as masters oblige unwilling slaves to execute their orders), but that, fascinated by the impostures of Satan, it necessarily yields to his guidance, and does him homage. Those whom the Lord favours not with the direction of his Spirit, he, by a righteous judgment, consigns to the agency of Satan. Wherefore, the Apostle says, that "the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them." And, in another passage, he describes the devil as "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," (Eph. 2:2). The blinding of the wicked, and all the iniquities consequent upon it, are called the works of Satan; works the cause of which is not to be Sought in anything external to the will of man, in which the root of the evil lies, and in which the foundation of Satan's kingdom, in other words, sin, is fixed.
2. The nature of the divine agency in such cases is very different. For the purpose of illustration, let us refer to the calamities brought upon holy Job by the Chaldeans. They having slain his shepherds, carry off his flocks. The wickedness of their deed is manifest,  as is also the hand of Satan, who, as the history informs us, was the instigator of the whole. Job, however, recognises it as the work of God, saying, that what the Chaldeans had plundered, "the Lord" had "taken away." How can we attribute the same work to God, to Satan, and to man, without either excusing Satan by the interference of God, or making God the author of the crime? This is easily done, if we look first to the end, and then to the mode of acting. The Lord designs to exercise the patience of his servant by adversity; Satan's plan is to drive him to despair; while the Chaldeans are bent on making unlawful gain by plunder. Such diversity of purpose makes a wide distinction in the act. In the mode there is not less difference. The Lord permits Satan to afflict his servant; and the Chaldeans, who had been chosen as the ministers to execute the deed, he hands over to the impulses of Satan, who, pricking on the already depraved Chaldeans with his poisoned darts, instigates them to commit the crime. They rush furiously on to the unrighteous deed, and become its guilty perpetrators. Here Satan is properly said to act in the reprobate, over whom he exercises his sway, which is that of wickedness. God also is said to act in his own way; because even Satan when he is the instrument of divine wrath, is completely under the command of God, who turns him as he will in the execution of his just judgments. I say nothing here of the universal agency of God, which, as it sustains all the creatures, also gives them all their power of acting. I am now speaking only of that special agency which is apparent in every act. We thus see that there is no inconsistency in attributing the same act to God, to Satan, and to man, while, from the difference in the end and mode of action, the spotless righteousness of God shines forth at the same time that the iniquity of Satan and of man is manifested in all its deformity.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
January 7, 2016
Not as chilly, icy as yesterday. I’ve been trying to think what I can do for a couple of my daughters-in-laws who have birthdays coming up. I usually like to make them family videos from the pictures they send me, but I don’t have many right now. The last couple of weeks I have been looking through old pictures, which I like to do, trying to get ideas. I often revisit old videos, despite the poor quality, sigh.
I hope I have grown beyond the idea that thoughts spontaneously dropped into my consciousness are somehow more authentic than ideas that emerge from memories, Lily, other people, etc. After all, many of my spontaneous thoughts don’t appear as though from heaven, but rather, betray the evil heart the Bible tells me I have. Guarding my thoughts, choosing what I will think about, helps me stay the course, remain on track, instead of finding myself on a dead end street where all the street lights have not worked in years. I've been there too many times. It is too easy for me to dwell on the negative, expect the worse, and rob myself of the joy of the present. I have never been able to finish counting my blessings. Isn't that the point?
Without God’s Spirit, there is nothing we can do that will count for God’s kingdom. Without God’s Spirit, the church simply can’t be the church.
Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
by Bill Federer
He became the 13th President when President Zachary Taylor died unexpectedly. He sent Commodore Perry to Japan and admitted California, which had just begun the Gold Rush, into the Union. His name was Millard Fillmore and he was born this day, January 7, 1800. When the Library of Congress caught fire, he and his Cabinet formed a bucket brigade to extinguish the flames. Millard Fillmore stated: “On commencing my Presidential career, I found the Sabbath had frequently been employed… for private interviews with the President…. To… end to this [I] ordered my doorkeeper to meet all Sunday visitors with an indiscriminate refusal.”
Thomas R. Kelly
An adequate life, like Spinoza’s definition of an adequate idea, might be described as a life which has grasped intuitively the whole nature of things, and has seen and felt and refocused itself to this whole. An inadequate life is one that lacks this adjustment to the whole nature of things – hence its twisted perspective, its partiality, its confusion. The story of Thomas Kelly’s life is the story of a passionate and determined quest for adequacy. In the three years of his life that preceded his sudden death in January 1941, this search culminated in a rare degree of adequacy. The adequate life that he had known, he described with unusual simplicity and grace in the collection of his writings that are gathered in this slender volume.
Thomas Raymond Kelly was born on June 4, 1893 on a farm in southwestern Ohio near Chillicothe. His parents were ardent enough Quakers to have reopened an old Quaker meeting-house and to have revived a meeting for worship during their young married life. Thomas Kelly’s father died when he was four, and in order to support him and his sister Mary, his mother worked the farm and delivered butter and eggs in the village for the next six years. Then she moved to Wilmington, Ohio, in order that the children might have the advantage of a good school and later of a Quaker College. She learned stenography and bookkeeping and started work in the office of the Irwin Auger Bit Company at five dollars a week to support her little family.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
In reference to the Bible,
That book, Sir, is the Rock
upon which our republic rests.
--- President Andrew Jackson
Praise is the best diet for us, after all.
--- Sydney Smith (19th century English author and Anglican clergyman
We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount…. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.
--- Five Star General Omar Bradley
There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.
--- Ayn Rand
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
and from those who speak deceitfully,
13 who leave the paths of honesty
to walk the ways of darkness,
14 who delight in doing evil
and take joy in being stubbornly deceitful,
15 from those whose tracks are twisted
and whose paths are perverse.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Intimate with Jesus
Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known Me? --- John 14:9.
These words are not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus is leading Philip on. The last One with whom we get intimate is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One Who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18–20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come—“I have called you friends.” Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?
Jesus said—“It is expedient for you that I go away”—in that relationship, so that He might lead them on. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him. Fruitbearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ (John 15:1–4).
When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic. The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Him. The only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that Our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Taking the next train
to the city, yet always returning
to his place on a bridge
over a river, throbbing
with trout, whose widening
circles are the mandala
for contentment. So will a poet
return to the work laid
on one side and abandoned
for the voices summoning hint
to the wrong tasks. Art
is not life. It is not the river
carrying us away, but the motionless
image of itself on a fast-
¬running surface with which life
tries constantly to keep up.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
Some time later the brook dried up. --- 1 Kings 17:7.
The deepest lesson of the story is that the ceasing of the prophet’s brook was the beginning of larger views of God. (The Weaving of Glory (The Morrison Classic Sermon Series))
There is a faith that runs through the green fields of childhood, making everything it laps on fresh and beautiful. Yet while some never lose that faith, living in its gladness until the end, for most of us, some time later the brook dries up. There may be moral causes at the back of that. A vast deal of doubt runs down to moral grounds. But if we are earnest and truthful and if we trust and pray, there is nothing to sigh for in the failing brook. For the God whom we find again through many a struggle and the faith that we make ours by many a battle and the things that we wrestle for until break of day—although we may go limping ever after—these are our own for time and for eternity, and neither life nor death can take them from us.
And then there are the blessings we enjoy—our health, our prosperity, the love of those who love us. There are many people who never lose these blessings, moving beside still waters to the end. But there are others with whom it is not so. They have suffered terribly or had sharp and sore reverses. There was a day when they had everything they wanted, but it came to pass some time later that the brook dried up. I will not comfort them by any platitudes. I will only ask them, Has not God been nearer—has not religion been more to them since then? And if it has taken the failing of the stream to cast them utterly on the arm of God, if they have risen from an empty brook to drink of an ocean that is ever full—perhaps it was not in anger but in love that the waters ceased to be musical at Cherith.
--- George H. Morrison
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
… Whose Will Be Done
Faithfulness eclipses fame as the mark of greatness. Not everyone is named Augustine, Luther, or Graham. The names of some are obscured by time, but they have done the Father’s will. Take John Hooper, for example — born in Sommersetshire, England, in 1495. While studying at Oxford, he discovered the book of Romans which “seriously affected the salvation of my soul,” he wrote, “and my everlasting welfare. Therefore with an earnest study, I employed myself therein both night and day.” Hooper found the death of Christ sufficient for salvation without additional work or merit. He confessed, “I had blasphemed God by wicked worship and an almost idolatrous heart until I became rightly acquainted with the Lord.”
His Reformation beliefs put him at risk, and he escaped to the coast on a borrowed horse, then to France and later to Zurich where he studied Greek, theology, and the writings of Zwingli. Returning to England during King Edward’s reign, he preached to packed houses and before the king himself. His wife watched with alarm as he wore himself out in ministry. But his labors ceased when Bloody Queen Mary ascended the throne and unleashed a storm against Protestants. Hooper was thrown into Fleet prison where his clammy bed of rotten straw lay beside the city sewer. Hooper described conditions in a letter on January 7, 1554: “On the one side is the stink and filth of the house, and on the other side the town ditch, so that the stench hath infected me with sundry diseases—during which time I have been sick; and the doors, bars, and chains being closed, and made fast upon me, I have mourned and cried for help … neither is there suffered any to come at me whereby I might have relief. But I commit my cause to God, whose will be done, whether it be by life or death.”
Hooper soon fulfilled that commitment. While being burned at the stake, his voice joined those of the assembled crowd praying, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. …” (KJV).
Here is a true message: If we died with Christ, we will live with him. If we don’t give up, we will rule with him. If we deny that we know him, he will deny that he knows us. If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is.
--- 2 Timothy 2:11-13.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - January 7
“For me to live is Christ.” --- Philippians 1:21.
The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his Gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character. Paul’s words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ—nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business—are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, “Is that a mean reason?” For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery? Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian—its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word—Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, “Ready for either.”
Evening - January 7
“My sister, my spouse.” --- Song of Solomon 4:12.
Observe the sweet titles with which the heavenly Solomon with intense affection addresses his bride the church. “My sister, one near to me by ties of nature, partaker of the same sympathies. My spouse, nearest and dearest, united to me by the tenderest bands of love; my sweet companion, part of my own self. My sister, by my Incarnation, which makes me bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh; my spouse, by heavenly betrothal, in which I have espoused thee unto myself in righteousness. My sister, whom I knew of old, and over whom I watched from her earliest infancy; my spouse, taken from among the daughters, embraced by arms of love, and affianced unto me for ever. See how true it is that our royal Kinsman is not ashamed of us, for he dwells with manifest delight upon this two-fold relationship. We have the word “my” twice in our version; as if Christ dwelt with rapture on his possession of his Church. “His delights were with the sons of men,” because those sons of men were his own chosen ones. He, the Shepherd, sought the sheep, because they were his sheep; he has gone about “to seek and to save that which was lost,” because that which was lost was his long before it was lost to itself or lost to him. The church is the exclusive portion of her Lord; none else may claim a partnership, or pretend to share her love. Jesus, thy church delights to have it so! Let every believing soul drink solace out of these wells. Soul! Christ is near to thee in ties of relationship; Christ is dear to thee in bonds of marriage union, and thou art dear to him; behold he grasps both of thy hands with both his own, saying, “My sister, my spouse.” Mark the two sacred holdfasts by which thy Lord gets such a double hold of thee that he neither can nor will ever let thee go. Be not, O beloved, slow to return the hallowed flame of his love.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
TEACH ME TO PRAY
Words and Music by Albert S. Reitz, 1879–1966
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
One of the most important emphases during this season of Epiphany is that of prayer, both for our own daily guidance and as the undergirding power needed for the spiritual journey of our local church.
What is prayer? To many, prayer is regarded as a foolish repetition of words, a refuge for weaklings, or a childish petition for material needs. How sadly this reservoir of spiritual power is undervalued when perceived in these terms, just as we would underestimate electricity if we talked of it only in terms of a 40-watt bulb.
For the child of God, prayer is far more than the mere gratification of our human whims. It is the practice of the presence of Almighty God in every activity of our daily lives.
Prayer is so simple. It is like quietly opening a door and slipping into the very presence of God. --- Unknown
Rev. Albert S. Reitz left this account:
When I was pastor of the Rosehill Baptist Church, we had a heart-warming Day of Prayer under the leadership of the Evangelical Prayer Union of Los Angeles. The next Morning in my study the Lord gave the words and the music then followed.
As you read these words, may they challenge you to recognize the importance of an earnest prayer life.
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; this is my heart cry day unto day; I long to know Thy will and Thy way; teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer, here ’mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care; men lost and dying, souls in despair—O give me power, power in prayer!
My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew; my sinful nature Thou canst subdue; fill me just now with power anew, power to pray and power to do!
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; Thou art my Pattern day unto day; Thou art my surety now and for aye; teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
Chorus: Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me; constant abiding, this is my plea; grant me Thy power boundless and free: Power with men and power with Thee.
For Today: Matthew 5:44; 21:22; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:1.
Practice God’s presence even amidst the noise and clamor of your busy day. Don’t forget to pray for the ongoing ministry of your church. Carry this tuneful message to help ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Brett Meador | Athey Creek
Jehovah-jireh Genesis 22:1-14
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