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Proverbs 13-15
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Proverbs 13:1     A wise child loves discipline,
but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

2     From the fruit of their words good persons eat good things,
but the desire of the treacherous is for wrongdoing.
3     Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives;
those who open wide their lips come to ruin.

4     The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing,
while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.

5     The righteous hate falsehood,
but the wicked act shamefully and disgracefully.
6     Righteousness guards one whose way is upright,
but sin overthrows the wicked.

7     Some pretend to be rich, yet have nothing;
others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.

8     Wealth is a ransom for a person’s life,
but the poor get no threats.

9     The light of the righteous rejoices,
but the lamp of the wicked goes out.

10     By insolence the heedless make strife,
but wisdom is with those who take advice.

11     Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle,
but those who gather little by little will increase it.

12     Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

13     Those who despise the word bring destruction on themselves,
but those who respect the commandment will be rewarded.
14     The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
so that one may avoid the snares of death.

15     Good sense wins favor,
but the way of the faithless is their ruin.
16     The clever do all things intelligently,
but the fool displays folly.

17     A bad messenger brings trouble,
but a faithful envoy, healing.

18     Poverty and disgrace are for the one who ignores instruction,
but one who heeds reproof is honored.

19     A desire realized is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.

20     Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools suffers harm.

21     Misfortune pursues sinners,
but prosperity rewards the righteous.

22     The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

23     The field of the poor may yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.

24     Those who spare the rod hate their children,
but those who love them are diligent to discipline them.

25     The righteous have enough to satisfy their appetite,
but the belly of the wicked is empty.

Proverbs 14:1     The wise woman builds her house,
but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
2     Those who walk uprightly fear the Lord,
but one who is devious in conduct despises him.

3     The talk of fools is a rod for their backs,
but the lips of the wise preserve them.

4     Where there are no oxen, there is no grain;
abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

5     A faithful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies.

6     A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
but knowledge is easy for one who understands.
7     Leave the presence of a fool,
for there you do not find words of knowledge.
8     It is the wisdom of the clever to understand where they go,
but the folly of fools misleads.

9     Fools mock at the guilt offering,
but the upright enjoy God’s favor.
10     The heart knows its own bitterness,
and no stranger shares its joy.

11     The house of the wicked is destroyed,
but the tent of the upright flourishes.

12     There is a way that seems right to a person,
but its end is the way to death.

13     Even in laughter the heart is sad,
and the end of joy is grief.

14     The perverse get what their ways deserve,
and the good, what their deeds deserve.

15     The simple believe everything,
but the clever consider their steps.
16     The wise are cautious and turn away from evil,
but the fool throws off restraint and is careless.
17     One who is quick-tempered acts foolishly,
and the schemer is hated.
18     The simple are adorned with folly,
but the clever are crowned with knowledge.
19     The evil bow down before the good,
the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

20     The poor are disliked even by their neighbors,
but the rich have many friends.
21     Those who despise their neighbors are sinners,
but happy are those who are kind to the poor.

22     Do they not err that plan evil?
Those who plan good find loyalty and faithfulness.

23     In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.

24     The crown of the wise is their wisdom,
but folly is the garland of fools.

25     A truthful witness saves lives,
but one who utters lies is a betrayer.

26     In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and one’s children will have a refuge.
27     The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
so that one may avoid the snares of death.

28     The glory of a king is a multitude of people;
without people a prince is ruined.

29     Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but one who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

30     A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh,
but passion makes the bones rot.

31     Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker,
but those who are kind to the needy honor him.

32     The wicked are overthrown by their evildoing,
but the righteous find a refuge in their integrity.

33     Wisdom is at home in the mind of one who has understanding,
but it is not known in the heart of fools.

34     Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a reproach to any people.

35     A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor,
but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

Proverbs 15:1     A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2     The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

3     The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.

4     A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

5     A fool despises a parent’s instruction,
but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.

6     In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
7     The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the minds of fools.

8     The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
9     The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but he loves the one who pursues righteousness.

10     There is severe discipline for one who forsakes the way,
but one who hates a rebuke will die.

11     Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord,
how much more human hearts!

12     Scoffers do not like to be rebuked;
they will not go to the wise.

13     A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

14     The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

15     All the days of the poor are hard,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

16     Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
17     Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

18     Those who are hot-tempered stir up strife,
but those who are slow to anger calm contention.

19     The way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.

20     A wise child makes a glad father,
but the foolish despise their mothers.

21     Folly is a joy to one who has no sense,
but a person of understanding walks straight ahead.

22     Without counsel, plans go wrong,
but with many advisers they succeed.

23     To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone,
and a word in season, how good it is!

24     For the wise the path of life leads upward,
in order to avoid Sheol below.

25     The Lord tears down the house of the proud,
but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

26     Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord,
but gracious words are pure.

27     Those who are greedy for unjust gain make trouble for their households,
but those who hate bribes will live.

28     The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil.

29     The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

30     The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the body.

31     The ear that heeds wholesome admonition
will lodge among the wise.
32     Those who ignore instruction despise themselves,
but those who heed admonition gain understanding.
33     The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility goes before honor.

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American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     King Charles gave him a land grant in America in payment of a great debt owed to his father. He then invited all the persecuted peoples of Europe to join him in establishing a colony of religious toleration, as he himself had experienced imprisonment in the Tower of London for converting to the Quaker faith. Calling it a “holy experiment,” he admonished the settlers to work together, naming the first city Philadelphia, meaning “Brotherly Love.” It was there nearly a hundred years later that the Declaration and Constitution were written. He died this day, July 30, 1718. His name was William Penn.

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

When Jesus is the reason for worship,
then too much is not enough.
--- the Ramp

A man may well be condemned,
not for doing something,
but for doing nothing.
--- William Barclay

I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy burdened.”
--- St. Augustine

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 19.

     What Cestius Did Against The Jews; And How, Upon His Besieging Jerusalem, He Retreated From The City Without Any Just Occasion In The World. As Also What Severe Calamities He Under Went From The Jews In His Retreat.

     1. And now Gallus, seeing nothing more that looked towards an innovation in Galilee, returned with his army to Cesarea: but Cestius removed with his whole army, and marched to Antipatris; and when he was informed that there was a great body of Jewish forces gotten together in a certain tower called Aphek, he sent a party before to fight them; but this party dispersed the Jews by affrighting them before it came to a battle: so they came, and finding their camp deserted, they burnt it, as well as the villages that lay about it. But when Cestius had marched from Antipatris to Lydda, he found the city empty of its men, for the whole multitude 28 were gone up to Jerusalem to the feast of tabernacles; yet did he destroy fifty of those that showed themselves, and burnt the city, and so marched forwards; and ascending by Betboron, he pitched his camp at a certain place called Gabao, fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem.

     2. But as for the Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their metropolis, they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms; and taking courage greatly from their multitude, went in a sudden and disorderly manner to the fight, with a great noise, and without any consideration had of the rest of the seventh day, although the Sabbath 29 was the day to which they had the greatest regard; but that rage which made them forget the religious observation [of the sabbath] made them too hard for their enemies in the fight: with such violence therefore did they fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and to march through the midst of them, making a great slaughter as they went, insomuch that unless the horsemen, and such part of the footmen as were not yet tired in the action, had wheeled round, and succored that part of the army which was not yet broken, Cestius, with his whole army, had been in danger: however, five hundred and fifteen of the Romans were slain, of which number four hundred were footmen, and the rest horsemen, while the Jews lost only twenty-two, of whom the most valiant were the kinsmen of Monobazus, king of Adiabene, and their names were Monobazus and Kenedeus; and next to them were Niger of Perea, and Silas of Babylon, who had deserted from king Agrippa to the Jews; for he had formerly served in his army. When the front of the Jewish army had been cut off, the Jews retired into the city; but still Simon, the son of Giora, fell upon the backs of the Romans, as they were ascending up Bethoron, and put the hindmost of the army into disorder, and carried off many of the beasts that carried the weapons of war, and led Shem into the city. But as Cestius tarried there three days, the Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the city, and set watches at the entrances into the city, and appeared openly resolved not to rest when once the Romans should begin to march.

     3. And now when Agrippa observed that even the affairs of the Romans were likely to be in danger, while such an immense multitude of their enemies had seized upon the mountains round about, he determined to try what the Jews would agree to by words, as thinking that he should either persuade them all to desist from fighting, or, however, that he should cause the sober part of them to separate themselves from the opposite party. So he sent Borceus and Phebus, the persons of his party that were the best known to them, and promised them that Cestius should give them his right hand, to secure them of the Romans' entire forgiveness of what they had done amiss, if they would throw away their arms, and come over to them; but the seditious, fearing lest the whole multitude, in hopes of security to themselves, should go over to Agrippa, resolved immediately to fall upon and kill the ambassadors; accordingly they slew Phebus before he said a word, but Borceus was only wounded, and so prevented his fate by flying away. And when the people were very angry at this, they had the seditious beaten with stones and clubs, and drove them before them into the city.

     4. But now Cestius, observing that the disturbances that were begun among the Jews afforded him a proper opportunity to attack them, took his whole army along with him, and put the Jews to flight, and pursued them to Jerusalem. He then pitched his camp upon the elevation called Scopus, [or watch-tower,] which was distant seven furlongs from the city; yet did not he assault them in three days' time, out of expectation that those within might perhaps yield a little; and in the mean time he sent out a great many of his soldiers into neighboring villages, to seize upon their corn. And on the fourth day, which was the thirtieth of the month Hyperbereteus, [Tisri,] when he had put his army in array, he brought it into the city. Now for the people, they were kept under by the seditious; but the seditious themselves were greatly affrighted at the good order of the Romans, and retired from the suburbs, and retreated into the inner part of the city, and into the temple. But when Cestius was come into the city, he set the part called Bezetha, which is called Cenopolis, [or the new city,] on fire; as he did also to the timber market; after which he came into the upper city, and pitched his camp over against the royal palace; and had he but at this very time attempted to get within the walls by force, he had won the city presently, and the war had been put an end to at once; but Tyrannius Priseus, the muster-master of the army, and a great number of the officers of the horse, had been corrupted by Florus, and diverted him from that his attempt; and that was the occasion that this war lasted so very long, and thereby the Jews were involved in such incurable calamities.

          The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)

Proverbs 22:5-6
     by D.H. Stern

5     Thorns and snares beset the way of the stubborn;
he who values his life keeps his distance from them.

6     Train a child in the way he [should] go;
and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
Mushrooms On The Moor
     by Frank W. Boreham

     IX | FORTY!

     Life moves along so smoothly with most of us that there seems to be very little difference between one birthday and another; but to this rule there is one brilliant and outstanding exception. There is one birthday on which a man should certainly take a holiday, go for a quiet stroll, and indulge in a little serious stock-taking. That birthday is, of course, the fortieth. A man's fortieth birthday is one of the really great days in his life's little story; and he must make the most of it. I live in a city which boasts a comparatively meagre population. The number of people who reach their fortieth birthday simultaneously must be very small. But in a city of any size some hundreds of people must daily become forty. And if I dwelt in such a place, I should feel tempted to conduct a service every now and again for men and women who were celebrating their fortieth birthday. People so circumstanced, naturally impressed by the dignity and solemnity of the occasion, would welcome such a service, and the preacher would have a chance of sowing the seed in ground that was well prepared, and of the greatest possible promise. The selection of a text would present no difficulty. I can think of two right off—one in the Old Testament, and one in the New—and there must be scores of others equally appropriate. At forty a man enters upon middle life. What could be more helpful to him, then, than a short inspiring word on such a text as Habakkuk's prayer: 'O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make Thyself known!'

     I have been recalling, this morning, some painful memories. In my time I have several times known that peculiarly acute species of anguish that only comes to us when we discover a cherished idol in ruins. Men—some of them ministers—upon whose integrity I would cheerfully have staked everything I possessed, suddenly whelmed themselves in shame, and staggered out into the dark. It is an experience that makes a man feel that the very earth is rocking beneath him; it makes him wonder if it is possible for a good man to be somehow caught in a hot gust of devilry and swept clean off his feet. But the thing that has impressed me as I have counted such names sadly on my fingers is that, without an exception, they were all in the forties, most of them in the early forties. Youth, of course, often sins, and sins grievously; but youth recovers itself, and frequently emerges chastened and ennobled by the bitter experience; but I can recall no instance of a man who fell in the forties and who ever really recovered himself. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. I remember that, some time ago, Sir W. Robertson Nicoll quoted a brilliant essayist as saying that 'the most dangerous years are the forties—the years when men begin to be rich, when they have opportunities of gratifying their passions, when they, perhaps, imagine that they have led a starved and meagre existence.' And so, as I let my mind play about these old and saddening memories, and as I reflect upon the essayist's corroboration of my own conclusion, I fancy I could utter, from the very heart of me, a particularly timely and particularly searching word to those who had just attained their fortieth birthdays. Or, if I felt that the occasion was too solemn for speech, I could at least lead them in prayer. And when I led them in prayer, it would certainly be Habakkuk's prayer: 'O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years; in the midst of the years make Thyself known!' It is a prayer for revival and for revelation.

     The real significance of that prayer lies in the fact that the supreme tendency of middle life is towards prosiness. Young people write poetry and get sentimental: so do old people. But people in the forties—never! A man of forty would as soon be suspected of picking his neighbour's pocket as of writing poetry. He would rather be seen walking down the street without collar or necktie than be seen shedding tears. Ask a company of young people to select some of their favourite hymns or songs. They will at once call for hymns about heaven or songs about love. So will old people. But you will never persuade middle-aged people to sing such songs. They are in the practical or prosy stage of life. The romance of youth has worn off; the romance of age has not arrived. They are between the poetry of the dawn and the poetry of the twilight. And midway between the poetry of the dawn and the poetry of the twilight comes the panting perspiration of noonday. When, therefore, I find myself face to face with my congregation of people who are in the very act of celebrating their fortieth birthday, I shall urge them to pray with the old prophet that, in the midst of the years, the youthful romance of their first faith may be revived within them, and that, in the midst of the years, the revelations that come at eventide may be delightfully anticipated.

     I said just now, however, that I had an alternative text from the New Testament. I have an idea that if my first service is a success, I shall hold another; and, for the sake of variety, I shall address myself to this second theme. Concerning the very first apostolic miracle we are expressly and significantly told that 'the man was above forty years old on whom this miracle of healing was showed.' Now I cannot imagine why that particular is added unless it is to tell those of us who are now 'above forty years old' that we are not beyond the reach of the sensational. We have not outlived the romance of the miraculous. We are not 'too old at forty' to experience all the marvel and the wonder of the grace divine. And, even as I write, I confidently anticipate the sparkle that will light up the eyes of these forty-year-olds as I remind them that that man was above forty years of age upon whom this first triumph of the Church was wrought.

     But there are worse things than prosiness. The mere change from the poetry of youth to the prose of middle life need not in itself alarm us. Some of the finest classics in our literature are penned in prose. But within this minor peril lies the germ of a major peril. The trouble is that prosiness may develop into pessimism. And when prosiness curdles into pessimism the case of the patient is very grave. I heard a young fellow in his teens telling a much older man of his implicit faith in the providence of God. 'Yes,' said the senior, with a sardonic smile, 'I used to talk like that when I was your age!' I heard a young girl telling a woman old enough to be her mother of the rapture of her soul's experience. 'Ah!' replied the elder lady, 'You won't talk like that when you have seen as much of the world as I have!' Here, then, at last we have put our finger on the tragedy that threatens us in the forties. Why is it?

     The reason is not far to seek. The fact is that at forty a man must drop something. He has been all his life accumulating until he has become really overloaded. He has maintained his interest in all the things that occupied his attention in youth; and, all the way along the road, fresh claims have been made upon him. His position in the world is a much more responsible one, and makes a greater drain upon his thought and energy. He has married, too, and children have come into his home. There has been struggle and sickness and anxiety. Interests have multiplied, and life has increased in seriousness. But, increasing in seriousness, it must not be allowed to increase in sordidness. A man's life is like a garden. There is a limit to the things that it will grow. You cannot pack plants in a garden as you pack sardines in a tin. That is why the farmer thins out the turnips; that is why the orchardist prunes his trees; and that is why the husbandman pinches the grapebuds off the trailing vines. Life has to be similarly treated. At forty a man realizes that his garden is getting overcrowded. It contains all the flowers that he planted in his sentimental youth and all the vegetables that he set there in his prosaic manhood. It is too much. There must be a thinning out. And, unless he is very, very careful, he will find that the thinning-out process will automatically consist of the sacrifice of all the pansies and the retention of all the potatoes.

     Now, when I address my congregation of people who are celebrating their fortieth birthday, I shall make a most fervent appeal on behalf of the pansies. Potatoes are excellent things, and the garden becomes distinctly wealthier when, in the twenties and thirties, a man begins to moderate his passion for pansies, and to plant a few potatoes. But a time comes when he must make a stand on behalf of the pansies, or he will have no soul for anything beyond potatoes. Round his potato beds let him jealously retain a border of his finest pansies; and, depend upon it, when he gets into the fifties and the sixties he will be glad that, all through life, he remained true to the first fondnesses of youth.

     Not that he will have to wait for the fifties and the sixties. As soon as a man has faced the situation, taken his stand, and made his decision, he begins to congratulate himself upon it. That is one of life's most subtle laws. Let us, then, see how it operates in another field. Sir Francis Jeune, the great divorce judge, said that the eighth year was the dangerous year in wedded life. More tragedies occurred in the eighth year than in any other. And Mr. Philip Gibbs has recently written a novel entitled The Eighth Year: A Vital Problem of Married Life (Classic Reprint), in which he makes the heroine declare that, in marriage, the eighth year is the fatal year.

     '"It's a psychological fact," said Madge. "I work it out in this way. In the first and second years a wife is absorbed in the experiment of marriage and in the sentimental phase of love. In the third and fourth years she begins to study her husband and to find him out. In the fifth and sixth years, having found him out completely, she makes a working compromise with life and tries to make the best of it. In the seventh and eighth years she begins to find out herself. Life has become prosaic. Her home has become a cage to her. In the eighth year she must find a way of escape—anyhow, anywhere. And in the eighth year the one great question is, in what direction will she go? There are many ways of escape."' And so comes the disaster.

     All this seems to show that the eighth year of marriage is like the fortieth year of life. It is the year in which husband and wife are called upon to make their supreme stand on behalf of the pansies. And supposing they do it? Suppose that they make up their minds that everything shall not be sacrificed to potatoes; what follows? Why, to be sure, the best follows. Coventry Patmore, in his The Angel in the House —the classic of all young husbands and young wives—says that the years that follow the eighth are the sweetest and the fullest of all. What, he asks—

  For sweetness like the ten years' wife,
    Whose customary love is not
  Her passion, or her play, but life?
    With beauties so maturely fair,
  Affecting, mild, and manifold,
    May girlish charms no more compare
  Than apples green with apples gold.
    Ah, still unpraised Honoria, Heaven,
  When you into my arms it gave,
    Left naught hereafter to be given
  But grace to feel the good I have.

     Here, then, is the crisis reached; the stand successfully made on behalf of the pansies; and all life fuller and richer for ever afterwards in consequence. Every man and woman at forty is called upon for a similar chivalrous effort. At forty we become the knights of the pansies, and if we let them go we shall find that at fifty it will be difficult to find even a sprig of heartsease anywhere.

     Whether I take as my text the prophet's prayer for a revival and a revelation in the midst of the years, or the story of the man who was more than forty years old when he fell under the spell of the miraculous, I know how I shall close my sermon. I shall close by telling the story of Dr. Kenn and Maggie Tulliver from The mill on the Floss. It will convince my hearers that folk in the forties have a great and beautiful and sacred ministry to exercise. Maggie was young, and the perplexities of life were too much for her. Dr. Kenn was arrested by the expression of anguish in her beautiful eyes. Dr. Kenn was himself neither young nor old, but middle-aged; and Maggie felt a childlike, instinctive relief when she saw that it was Dr. Kenn's face that was looking into hers. 'That plain, middle-aged face, with a grave, penetrating kindness in it, seeming to tell of a human being who had reached a firm, safe strand, but was looking with helpful pity towards the strugglers still tossed by the waves, had an effect on Maggie at this moment which was afterwards remembered by her as if it had been a promise.' And then George Eliot makes this trite and significant remark. 'The middle-aged,' she says, 'who have lived through their strongest emotions, but are yet in the time when memory is still half-passionate and not merely contemplative, should surely be a sort of natural priesthood, whom life has disciplined and consecrated to be the refuge and rescue of early stumblers and victims of self-despair. Most of us, at some moment in our young lives, would have welcomed a priest of that natural order in any sort of canonicals or uncanonicals, but had to scramble upwards into all the difficulties of nineteen entirely without such aid.'

     And after hearing that fine story my congregation of folk on the threshold of the forties will return from the quiet church to the busy street humming the songs that they sang at nineteen; vowing that, come what may, the potatoes shall not elbow out all the pansies; and congratulating themselves that the richest wine in the chalice of life still waits their thirsty lips.

Mushrooms on the Moor
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                The discipline of disillusionment

     Jesus did not commit Himself unto them … for He knew what was in man.
--- John 2:24–25

     Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly severe in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging, bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.

     The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way—if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being what he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why Our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

The Return
     the Poetry of RS Thomas

                The Return

Coming home was to that:
  The white house in the cool grass
  Membraned with shadow, the bright stretch
  Of stream that was its looking-glass;

  And smoke growing above the roof
  To a tall tree among whose boughs
  The first stars renewed their theme
  Of time and death and a man's vows.

Selected poems, 1946-1968

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Exodus 13:11–15

     There is “tomorrow” now, and there is “tomorrow” at a later time.

     BIBLE TEXT / Exodus 13:11–15 / “And when the Lord has brought you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and has given it to you, you shall set apart for the Lord every first issue of the womb: every male firstling that your cattle drop shall be the Lord’s. But every firstling ass you shall redeem with a sheep; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. And you must redeem every firstborn male among your children. And when tomorrow, your son asks you, saying, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘It was with a mighty hand that the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the house of bondage. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, the first-born of both man and beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every first male issue of the womb, but redeem every first-born among my sons.’ ” [authors’ translation]

     MIDRASH TEXT / Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael, Bo 18 / And when tomorrow, your son asks. There is “tomorrow” now, and there is “tomorrow” at a later time. “Tomorrow” for saying “What does this mean?” is tomorrow at a later time. “Tomorrow this sign shall come to pass” (Exodus 8:19) is tomorrow now. “Tomorrow I will station myself”
(Exodus 17:9) is tomorrow now. “Tomorrow, your children might say to our children” (Joshua 22:24, authors’ translation) is tomorrow at a later time.

     CONTEXT / Most modern translations already reflect the fact that the Hebrew word מָחָר/maḥar can mean literally “tomorrow” or idiomatically “some future time,” depending on the context. Thus, the new Jewish Publication Society version of our Bible text is “And when, in time to come [מָחָר/maḥar], your son asks you.…” This Midrash is based on these different meanings of the word מָחָר/maḥar.

     There is “tomorrow” now; מָחָר/maḥar can mean the day after this one. And there is “tomorrow” at a later time, when מָחָר/maḥar means “a time to come,” some future day. In the first example, it is obvious from the context of “when your son asks you” that “tomorrow” means “in years to come.” The use of the word מָחָר/maḥar here is not the same as its use in the second example, from the fourth plague against the Egyptians. Moses tells Pharaoh that “Tomorrow this sign shall come to pass” Exodus 8:19). Moses here means “on the next day,” which is when the plague, a swarm of insects, will be brought against the Egyptians.

     Another example of the word מָחָר/maḥar is introduced by the Rabbis in our Midrash text. It comes from the story of the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites. Moses tells the Israelites that “Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill, with the rod of God in my hand” (
Exodus 17:9). This will happen on the next day, the more immediate tomorrow. The Rabbis introduce a fourth example of מָחָר/maḥar from the end of the Book of Joshua. There, we read about a dispute between the Israelites who dwell on the west side of the Jordan and the two and one-half tribes—the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh—who possessed the land east of the Jordan. These two and one-half tribes have erected an altar to God, and Joshua and the Israelites are angered by this. The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh respond that “Tomorrow, your children might say to our children” that we are not part of the Israelites. In other words, “your children” from the west side of the Jordan may block “our children” from the east side of the river from worshiping God at a shrine “over there.” The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh are saying: We have built an altar on our side of the river as a preventive measure against the future. “Tomorrow” is not the next day, but “in time to come,” as many translations have it.

     These four readings of biblical passages highlight the careful manner in which the Rabbis read the sacred text. They understood that the same word can have different meanings based on the context. Part of midrashic methodology is close reading and analysis not only of words but also of context.

Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     July 30

     Delight yourself in the LORD.
--- Psalm 37:4.

     The highest step of delight is a silencing of desire and the banquet of the soul on its desired object. ISBN-13: 978-1848711006

     But there is a [less lofty] delight.

     Delight in desires. There is a cheerfulness in labor as well as in attainment. The desire of Canaan made the good Israelites cheerful in the wilderness. There is a beginning delight in motion but a consummate delight in rest and fulfillment.

     Delight in hopes. Desired happiness affects the soul—much more, expected happiness. “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (
Rom. 5:2). Joy is the natural consequence of a well-grounded hope. There may be joy in title as well as in possession.

     Delight in contemplation. The consideration and serious thoughts of heaven affect a gracious heart and fill it with pleasure, though that heart is in a wilderness. The near approach to a desired good much affects the heart. Moses was surely more pleased with the sight of Canaan from Pisgah than with the hopes of it in the desert. A traveler’s delight is more raised when nearest the journey’s end, and a hungry stomach has a greater joy when it sees the food approaching that must satisfy the appetite. As the union with the object is nearer, so the delight is stronger. Now the delight the soul has in duty is not a delight of fulfillment but of desire, hope, or contemplation—a delight of the journey, not of the home.

     Now this delight in prayer is an inward and hearty delight, seated in the heart. As God is hearty in offering mercy, so is the soul in petitioning for it. There is a harmony between God and the heart. Those purposes that God has in giving are a Christian’s purpose in asking. The more our hearts are in the requests, the more God’s heart is in the grants. The emphasis of mercy is God’s whole heart and whole soul in it (
Jer. 32:41). So the emphasis of duty is the Christian’s whole heart and whole soul. As without God’s cheerful answering, a gracious soul would not relish a mercy, so without our hearty asking God does not relish our prayers.
--- Stephen Charnock

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

On This Day
     The Lame Man  July 30

     Luther’s Reformation swept over Europe like a flash flood. Most of Germany and Scandinavia became Protestant. England broke with Rome. Switzerland and the Netherlands were largely Protestant, and the Reformation tide rose in France, Austria, Hungary, and Poland. Some expected Spain and Italy to be next.

     The Vatican responded in several ways. The Council of Trent addressed church problems. The Inquisition was unleashed. Military and diplomatic efforts were employed. But perhaps the most effective counteroffensive was a religious order established in 1540 by a crippled Spanish nobleman named Ignatius Loyola.

     Loyola was born among the Basques of Spain, the youngest of 12 children. He was a reckless youth, frequently in trouble with the law. While serving in the Spanish army, he was crippled for life when a cannonball crashed into his leg. The doctors repeatedly broke and reset the leg without anesthesia, but to little avail. While recovering, Ignatius began reading books about Christ and the saints. “What if I should do great things for God like St. Francis and St. Dominic?” he asked himself in excitement. A new passion rose in his heart, and he fasted, prayed, scourged himself, and experienced hundreds of strange visions.

     Out of his experiences came a manual, Spiritual Exercises; and, book in hand, he limped to the University of Paris. He was 38, barely five feet tall, and unwell. But he recruited six students (including Francis Xavier) to the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits.

     The Jesuits emphasized knowledge and displayed great intelligence. Loyola lived to see 1,000 men in his order and 100 colleges and seminaries established. The Jesuits became the greatest force in the Catholic Reformation. His work ended, Loyola was seized by a violent gallbladder attack. On July 30, 1556, in intense suffering, he devoted the Evening to prayer, then died. But he left behind arguably the most powerful religious order in the Catholic Church.

     Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” Peter then took him by the right hand and helped him up. … Everyone saw him walking around and praising God.
--- Acts 3:6,7,9.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - July 30

     “And when he thought thereon, he wept.” --- Mark 14:72.

     It has been thought by some that as long as Peter lived, the fountain of his tears began to flow whenever he remembered his denying his Lord. It is not unlikely that it was so, for his sin was very great, and grace in him had afterwards a perfect work. This same experience is common to all the redeemed family according to the degree in which the Spirit of God has removed the natural heart of stone. We, like Peter, remember our boastful promise: “Though all men shall forsake thee, yet will not I.” We eat our own words with the bitter herbs of repentance. When we think of what we vowed we would be, and of what we have been, we may weep whole showers of grief. He thought on his denying his Lord. The place in which he did it, the little cause which led him into such heinous sin, the oaths and blasphemies with which he sought to confirm his falsehood, and the dreadful hardness of heart which drove him to do so again and yet again. Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn? Will we not make our house a Bochim, and cry unto the Lord for renewed assurances of pardoning love? May we never take a dry-eyed look at sin, lest ere long we have a tongue parched in the flames of hell. Peter also thought upon his Master’s look of love. The Lord followed up the cock’s warning voice with an admonitory look of sorrow, pity, and love. That glance was never out of Peter’s mind so long as he lived. It was far more effectual than ten thousand RS Thomas would have been without the Spirit. The penitent apostle would be sure to weep when he recollected the Saviour’s full forgiveness, which restored him to his former place. To think that we have offended so kind and good a Lord is more than sufficient reason for being constant weepers. Lord, smite our rocky hearts, and make the waters flow.

          Evening - July 30

     “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” --- John 6:37.

     No limit is set to the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, “I will not cast out a sinner at his first coming,” but, “I will in no wise cast out.” The original reads, “I will not, not cast out,” or “I will never, never cast out.” The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last.

     But suppose the believer sins after coming? “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But suppose that believers backslide? “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” But believers may fall under temptation! “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” But the believer may fall into sin as David did! Yes, but he will “Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean; he will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow”; “From all their iniquities will I cleanse them.”

     “Once in Christ, in Christ for ever,
     Nothing from his love can sever.”

     “I give unto my sheep,” saith he, “eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” What sayest thou to this, O trembling feeble mind? Is not this a precious mercy, that coming to Christ, thou dost not come to One who will treat thee well for a little while, and then send thee about thy business, but he will receive thee and make thee his bride, and thou shalt be his for ever? Receive no longer the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father! Oh! the grace of these words: “I will in no wise cast out.”

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

Amazing Grace
     July 30


     Avis B. Christiansen, 1895–1985

     When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

     Lord, we wait for Thine appearing;
     “Even so,” Thy people say;
     Bright the prospect is, and cheering,
     Of beholding Thee that day.

     --- Thomas Kelly

     Heaven is not an invention of the human imagination. It is as sure as the promise of Christ in the Scriptures: “I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2, 3). The Bible, however, does not tell us a great deal about the specifics of heaven, simply because our mortal minds are unable to comprehend its riches. The main concern of the Scriptures is to acquaint us with the One who has made our entry into heaven possible. Because of His redemptive work in our behalf, seeing Him personally becomes the real glory of heaven for every believer.

     We have all heard the expression that “we can become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” It is possible that we can think and dream about our eternal future to the point that we forget to live effectively for God now. But the greater concern for most of us is that we become so consumed with the enjoyments of this present life that we lose sight of the glories that await us and the anticipation of seeing our Savior. Our hope in Christ for the future should be the real source of joy and strength for our daily lives. It should also be our motive for holy living—“to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12, 13).

     Sweet is the hope that is thrilling my soul—I know I’ll see Jesus some day! Then what if the dark clouds of sin o’er me roll? I know I’ll see Jesus some day!
     Though I must travel by faith, not by sight, I know I’ll see Jesus some day! No evil can harm me, no foe can affright—I know I’ll see Jesus some day!
     Darkness is gath’ring, but hope shines within. I know I’ll see Jesus some day! What joy when He comes to wipe out ev’ry sin; I know I’ll see Jesus some day!
     Chorus: I know I’ll see Jesus some day! I know I’ll see Jesus some day! What a joy it will be when His face I shall see; I know I’ll see Jesus some day!

     For Today: 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6, 8; Philippians 3:20, 21; Revelation 22:1-5

     Let your soul come alive with the thrill of expectation—the glories of heaven and the prospect of personally seeing Jesus. Carry this joy with you as you sing with certainty ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Sunday, July 30, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 12, Sunday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 24, 29
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 8, 84
Old Testament     2 Samuel 1:17–27
New Testament     Romans 12:9–21
Gospel     Matthew 25:31–46

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 24, 29

Of David. A Psalm.

1 The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the LORD,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.     Selah

7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory.     Selah

A Psalm of David.

1 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name;
worship the LORD in holy splendor.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 8, 84

To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.     Selah

5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!     Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Old Testament
2 Samuel 1:17–27

17 David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan. 18 (He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.) He said:

19 Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
20 Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon;
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.

21 You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor bounteous fields!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.

22 From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return empty.

23 Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.

24 O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

25 How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!

Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.

27 How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!

New Testament
Romans 12:9–21

9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 25:31–46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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

Lect 7, OT Lit The Patriarchs-Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 8, OT Lit Joseph and Israel to Egypt
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 9, OT Lit Israel in Egypt
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 10, OT Lit Divine Deliverance
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 11, OT Lit Giving and Receiving Torah
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 12, OT Lit Civil and Social Torah
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 13, OT Lit Ritual Torah
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 14, OT Lit Ritual Torah (part 2)
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 15, OT Lit Journey to Canaan
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 16, OT Lit Conquest and Settlement
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 17, OT Lit Major Judges
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 18, OT Lit Judges and Ruth
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 19, OT Lit Transition to Monarchy
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 20, OT Lit The Rise of David
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 21, OT Lit David and the United Kingdom
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 22, OT Lit Poetic Literature
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 23, OT Lit Solomon Consolidating Empire
Dr. Elaine Phillips

Lect 24, OT Lit Wisdom Literature (Proverbs)
Dr. Elaine Phillips