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Exodus 26     John 5     Proverbs 2     Galatians 1


Exodus 26

The Tabernacle

Exodus 26:1  “Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them. 2 The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains shall be the same size. 3 Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another. 4 And you shall make loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set. Likewise you shall make loops on the edge of the outermost curtain in the second set. 5 Fifty loops you shall make on the one curtain, and fifty loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set; the loops shall be opposite one another. 6 And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to the other with the clasps, so that the tabernacle may be a single whole.

7 “You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; eleven curtains shall you make. 8 The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. The eleven curtains shall be the same size. 9 You shall couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and the sixth curtain you shall double over at the front of the tent. 10 You shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in the second set.

11 “You shall make fifty clasps of bronze, and put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together that it may be a single whole. 12 And the part that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle. 13 And the extra that remains in the length of the curtains, the cubit on the one side, and the cubit on the other side, shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and that side, to cover it. 14 And you shall make for the tent a covering of tanned rams’ skins and a covering of goatskins on top.

15 “You shall make upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. 16 Ten cubits shall be the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. 17 There shall be two tenons in each frame, for fitting together. So shall you do for all the frames of the tabernacle. 18 You shall make the frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for the south side; 19 and forty bases of silver you shall make under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons; 20 and for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side twenty frames, 21 and their forty bases of silver, two bases under one frame, and two bases under the next frame. 22 And for the rear of the tabernacle westward you shall make six frames. 23 And you shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear; 24 they shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring. Thus shall it be with both of them; they shall form the two corners. 25 And there shall be eight frames, with their bases of silver, sixteen bases; two bases under one frame, and two bases under another frame.

26 “You shall make bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, 27 and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the side of the tabernacle at the rear westward. 28 The middle bar, halfway up the frames, shall run from end to end. 29 You shall overlay the frames with gold and shall make their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and you shall overlay the bars with gold. 30 Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain.

31 “And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. It shall be made with cherubim skillfully worked into it. 32 And you shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, with hooks of gold, on four bases of silver. 33 And you shall hang the veil from the clasps, and bring the ark of the testimony in there within the veil. And the veil shall separate for you the Holy Place from the Most Holy. 34 You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the Most Holy Place. 35 And you shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand on the south side of the tabernacle opposite the table, and you shall put the table on the north side. 36 “You shall make a screen for the entrance of the tent, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework. 37 And you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia, and overlay them with gold. Their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five bases of bronze for them.


John 5

The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”   See Exodus 26; John 5; Proverbs 2; Galatians 1 in the accordian panel below today's Bible Reading.

Jesus Is Equal with God

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

The Authority of the Son

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Witnesses to Jesus

30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”    . . . for he wrote of me. Jesus does not mention any specific passage in the five books of Moses although there are many (e.g., Deut. 18:15; cf. 1:21; 4:19; 6:14; 7:40, 52).  ESV MacArthur Study Bible  


Proverbs 2

The Value of Wisdom

Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2  making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3  yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4  if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5  then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6  For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7  he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8  guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9  Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10  for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11  discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12  delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13  who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14  who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15  men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.

16  So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17  who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18  for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19  none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.

20  So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21  For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22  but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.



Galatians 1

Greeting

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

No Other Gospel

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul Called by God

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

ESV Study Bible


What I'm Reading

Did the Gospel Authors Think They Were Writing Scripture?

By Michael J. Kruger 3/13/2017

     One of the most common misconceptions about the New Testament canon is that the authors of these writings had no idea that they were writing Scripture-like books. I dealt with this misconception on a general level here, showing that there was a clear apostolic self-awareness amongst the New Testament authors.

     While this apostolic self-awareness may be easy to show for authors like Paul, what about the gospels which, technically speaking, are formally anonymous? Do their authors exhibit awareness that they were writing something like Scripture? To explore this further, let us just consider just one of our gospels, namely the Gospel of Matthew.

     The first step is to get our expectations clear. We should not expect that Matthew would say something like, “I, Matthew, am writing Scripture as I write this book.” Gospels are a very different genre than epistles, and we would not expect the authors to provide the same type of direct and explicit statements about their own authority as Paul does in his letters. Indeed, the gospel authors are decidedly behind the scenes and only rarely make appearances within the flow of the story.

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

Do Our Churches Preach Cheap Grace?

By Matthew J. Tuininga 3/14/2017

     The gospel always leads to righteousness. Grace always leads to life. Having been reconciled to God by Jesus’ death, we are enabled to practice love, justice, mercy and peace through the indestructible power of his life.

     Grace that fails to produce such righteousness is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” It rests on the illusion that grace involves endless affirmation and endless forgiveness. It conflates salvation with justification, the gospel with the forgiveness of sins. It seems loving to us, but it expresses the easy kind of love that costs us nothing. It proclaims the comfort of the gospel but robs it of its power to give life.

     Christians often counter the danger of cheap grace by emphasizing that, having been saved through Christ, we are now called to demonstrate our gratitude to God by obeying his law. Yet emphasizing a return to the law merely distorts our understanding of the Christian life. It tempts us to view our practice of righteousness merely as a response to the gospel, rather than as the working of the gospel itself in our lives. It turns the practice of righteousness into a burden, an endless debt of gratitude that we can never possibly repay.

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     Matthew J. Tuininga: Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I received my Ph.D. in Religion, Ethics and Society at Emory University, writing my dissertation on John Calvin’s two kingdoms theory, and my M.Div. at Westminster Seminary California. I formerly served as a counter-terrorism intelligence analyst in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as a legislative correspondent for Florida Congressman Dave Weldon. I preach and speak regularly and am available for requests via the Contact page on this blog.

     The purpose of this blog is to serve as a way for me to discuss my reflections on public issues of concern to Christians and the Christian church. While I will discuss the tradition of Christian political theological reflection from time to time, much of what I post will simply draw attention to events, problems, and books, suggesting ways to make sense of them. My aim is not to tell my readers what to think. Thoughtful Christians understand that no one has the expertise to provide authoritative interpretations or judgments regarding the complex events in the world around us. My hope, rather, is to offer reflections that serve as a guide, that point readers to the events and issues that matter, and that provide perspective informed by the Reformed and Christian traditions. I welcome feedback. The purpose of this blog is to raise questions and provoke reflection, not to function as an electronic pulpit.

If God knew that Satan would rebel, why did He create him?

By Got Questions.org

     Answer: This is a two-part question. The first part is “Did God know Satan would rebel?” We know from Scripture that God is omniscient, which literally means “all-knowing.” Job 37:16; Psalm 139:2–4, 147:5; Proverbs 5:21; Isaiah 46:9-10; and 1 John 3:19–20 leave no doubt that God’s knowledge is infinite and that He knows everything that has happened in the past, is happening now, and will happen in the future.

     Looking at some of the superlatives in these verses—“perfect in knowledge”; “his understanding has no limit”; “he knows everything”—it is clear that God’s knowledge is not merely greater than our own, but it is infinitely greater. He knows all things in totality. If God’s knowledge is not perfect, then there is a deficiency in His nature. Any deficiency in God’s nature means He cannot be God, for God’s very essence requires the perfection of all His attributes. Therefore, the answer to the first question is “yes, God knew that Satan would rebel.”

     Moving on to the second part of the question, “Why did God create Satan knowing ahead of time he was going to rebel?” This question is a little trickier because we are asking a “why” question to which the Bible does not usually provide comprehensive answers. Despite that, we should be able to come to a limited understanding. We have already seen that God is omniscient. So, if God knew that Satan would rebel and fall from heaven, yet He created him anyway, it must mean that the fall of Satan was part of God’s sovereign plan from the beginning. No other answer makes sense given what we’ve seen thus far.

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Why was Jesus Born To The Tribe Of Judah?

By One For Israel

     You can choose your friends, as they say, but you can’t choose your family. But actually, God could do exactly that! And that’s what he did. He chose his own family tree, ahead of time. First of all, he chose Abraham to carry his “seed”. He then chose Isaac (Abraham’s second born), and then Jacob (Isaac’s second born). Yet of all Jacob’s twelve sons, for some reason God goes for Judah – the fourth in line. If this seems a bit puzzling to you, you are not alone. The choice of Judah over all the other brothers is a bit of a mystery, and the Bible does not give an explicit reason for it.

     Some have suggested that the first three brothers disqualified themselves by their unrighteous behavior. Reuben, the firstborn, violated his father’s concubine, while Simeon and Levi went on to deceive and kill the men of Shechem in revenge for the rape of their sister; plundering their households. However, there are a few problems with thinking that righteousness “earns” the choice of God, or that lack of righteousness forfeits it. Firstly, their father Jacob was far from pure, yet he was clearly chosen. Secondly, Judah was not someone we could easily equate with righteousness either. Read what he does in Genesis 38… it’s scandalous! He ends up admitting to an unmarried woman with whom he had slept (having thought that she was a prostitute) that she was more righteous than he. Not ideal.

     It is true that we see a change in character for the better as the story progresses. In contrast to his earlier betrayal of Joseph, he later offers his own life as a pledge to his father that he will take care of Joseph’s little brother, Benjamin. In Genesis 44:33, he has to put his money where his mouth is, and offers to take Benjamin’s place when Joseph demands that he stays in Egypt as a slave: “Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers.” Judah’s self-sacrificial offer was a prelude to the Redeemer who would later take our place of punishment on the cross. Could it be that due to this act, Judah was chosen? But even if we are impressed with Judah’s character growth and see his actions as pointing to the Messiah, surely Joseph outstrips him on both counts!

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Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 31

Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit
31 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.

9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.

11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.

ESV Reformation Study

Why the Muratorian Fragment is a Big Deal and What You Need to Know About It

By Alisa Childers 3/13/2017

     ​In order to diminish the importance and relevance of the Bible, it's common for skeptics to point out that the early Christians didn't even have an official Bible. They claim that what we now call the "New Testament" wasn't compiled until hundreds of years after the life of Christ and the Apostles, when church councils convened to decide which books were "in" and which ones were "out." Famously, Dan Brown, in his best-selling book,The DaVinci Code, even alleged that the Emperor Constantine chose the books at the council of Nicaea in AD 325. (1)

     The Muratorian Fragment is a big deal because its very existence is evidence that these notions are not true.

     Sometimes called the "Muratorian Canon," the fragment is an ancient manuscript that includes a list of New Testament books. While the fragment itself dates from the 7th or 8th century, the list of biblical books it contains dates from around AD 180. (2) Other than a highly abridged collection by the heretic Marcion, it is the oldest list of New Testament books we have, and it affirms 22 out of the 27 books. This is remarkably early to have such a comprehensive canon.

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     I am currently a member of Grace Chapel Church in Franklin, TN and an artist in residence at Whitewater Crossing Christian Church in Cleves, Ohio.

     Feel free to contact me with any questions or subjects you would like me to write about.

Reviewing Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option”

By Jake Meador 3/14/2017

     Fair Warning: This is long. But I’ve tried to break it up with some header tags that make it easy to scan on an initial read. The review basically falls into three parts: The paragraphs between “Introduction” and “What is Rod’s strategy…” concern the general response to the book. From “What is Rod’s strategy…” to “Three Observations,” is a summary of the book. I have taken some pains to summarize it because the book has been billed as a kind of culture war manual when really it is something much simpler than that. Finally, from “Three Observations” to the end of the post is my critical interaction with Rod’s book. Hopefully this helps make a long post a bit easier to navigate and helps readers identify what parts they wish to read and what parts they can safely skim or skip.

     Introduction

     Though this line risks over-simplifying complex debates, one might argue that much of the furor over Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation is a matter of critics simply not reading well. As Collin Hansen noted in his brief summary for The Gospel Coalition, the book’s subtitle is actually rather modest: “A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.” A strategy. Some of Rod’s critics, primarily those who agree that we are in a post-Christian nation but do not agree with his proposals, would do well to simply take note of the modest claim in the subtitle and move along.

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     Jake Meador is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy, and son Wendell. Jake's writing has appeared in Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     CHAPTER 5.

OF THE MODES OF SUPPLEMENTING SATISFACTION--VIZ. INDULGENCES AND PURGATORY.

Divisions of the chapter,--I. A summary description and refutation of Popish indulgences, sec. 1, 2. II. Confutation by Leo and Augustine. Answer to two objections urged in support of them, sec. 3, 4. A profane love of filthy lucre on the part of the Pope. The origin of indulgences unfolded, sec. 5. III. An examination of Popish purgatory. Its horrible impiety, sec. 6. An explanation of five passages of Scripture by which Sophists endeavor to support that dream, sec. 7, 8. Sentiments of the ancient Theologians concerning purgatory, sec. 10.

Sections.

1. The dogma of satisfaction the parent of indulgences. Vanity of both. The reason of it. Evidence of the avarice of the Pope and the Romish clergy: also of the blindness with which the Christian world was smitten

2. View of indulgences given by the Sophists. Their true nature. Refutation of them. Refutation confirmed by seven passages of Scripture.

3. Confirmed also by the testimony of Leo, a Roman Bishop, and by Augustine. Attempts of the Popish doctors to establish the monstrous doctrine of indulgences, and even support it by Apostolical authority. First answer.

4. Second answer to the passage of an Apostle adduced to support the dogma of indulgences. Answer confirmed by a comparison with other passages, and from a passage in Augustine, explaining the Apostle's meaning. Another passage from the same Apostle confirming this view.

5. The Pope's profane thirst for filthy lucre exposed. The origin of indulgences.

6. Examination of the fictitious purgatory of the Papists. 1. From the nature of the thing itself. 2. From the authority of God. 3. From the consideration of the merit of Christ, which is destroyed by this fiction. Purgatory, what it is. 4. From the impiety teeming from this fountain.

7. Exposition of the passages of Scripture quoted in support of purgatory. 1. Of the Impardonable sin, from which it is inferred that there are some sins afterwards to be forgiven. 2. Of the passage as to paying the last farthing.

8. 3. The passage concerning the bending of the knee to Christ by things under the earth. 4. The example of Judas Maccabaeus in sending an oblation for the dead to Jerusalem.

9. 5. Of the fire which shall try every man's work. The sentiment of the ancient theologians. Answer, containing a reductio ad absurdum. Confirmation by a passage of Augustine. The meaning of the Apostle. What to be understood by fire. A clear exposition of the metaphor. The day of the Lord. How those who suffer loss are saved by fire.

10. The doctrine of purgatory ancient, but refuted by a more ancient Apostle. Not supported by ancient writers, by Scripture, or solid argument. Introduced by custom and a zeal not duly regulated by the word of God. Ancient writers, as Augustine, speak doubtfully in commending prayer for the dead. At all events, we must hold by the word of God, which rejects this fiction. A vast difference between the more ancient and the more modern builders of purgatory. This shown by comparing them.

1. From this dogma of satisfaction that of indulgences takes its rise. For the pretence is, that what is wanting to our own ability is hereby supplied; and they go the insane length of defining them to be a dispensation of the merits of Christ, and the martyrs which the Pope makes by his bulls. Though they are fitter for hellebore than for argument,--and it is scarcely worth while to refute these frivolous errors, which, already battered down, begin of their own accord to grow antiquated, and totter to their fall;--yet, as a brief refutation may be useful to some of the unlearned, I will not omit it. Indeed, the fact that indulgences have so long stood safe and with impunity, and wantoned with so much fury and tyranny, may be regarded as a proof into how deep a night of ignorance mankind were for some ages plunged. They saw themselves insulted openly, and without disguise, by the Pope and his bull-bearers; they saw the salvation of the soul made the subject of a lucrative traffic, salvation taxed at a few pieces of money, nothing given gratuitously; they saw what was squeezed from them in the form of oblations basely consumed on strumpets, pimps and gluttony, the loudest trumpeters of indulgences being the greatest despisers; they saw the monster stalking abroad, and every day luxuriating with greater license, and that without end, new bulls being constantly issued, and new sums extracted. Still indulgences were received with the greatest reverence, worshipped, and bought. Even those who saw more clearly than others deemed them pious frauds, by which, even in deceiving, some good was gained. Now, at length, that a considerable portion of the world have begun to rethink themselves, indulgences grow cool, and gradually even begin to freeze, preparatory to their final extinction.

2. But since very many who see the vile imposture, theft, and rapine (with which the dealers in indulgences have hitherto deluded and sported with us), are not aware of the true source of the impiety, it may be proper to show not only what indulgences truly are, but also that they are polluted in every part. [375] They give the name of treasury of the Church to the merits of Christ, the holy Apostles and Martyrs. They pretend, as I have said, that the radical custody of the granary has been delivered to the Roman bishop, to whom the dispensation of these great blessings belongs in such a sense, that he can both exercise it by himself, and delegate the power of exercising it to others. Hence we have from the Pope at one time plenary indulgences, at another for certain years; from the cardinals for a hundred days, and from the bishops for forty. These, to describe them truly, are a profanation of the blood of Christ, and a delusion of Satan, by which the Christian people are led away from the grace of God and the life which is in Christ, and turned aside from the true way of salvation. For how could the blood of Christ be more shamefully profaned than by denying its sufficiency for the remission of sins, for reconciliation and satisfaction, unless its defects, as if it were dried up and exhausted, are supplemented from some other quarter? Peter's words are: "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins," (Acts 10:43); but indulgences bestow the remission of sins through Peter, Paul, and the Martyrs. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin," says John (1 John 1:7). Indulgences make the blood of the martyrs an ablution of sins. "He has made him to be sin (i.e. a satisfaction for sin) for us who knew no sin," says Paul (2 Cor. 5:21), "that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Indulgences make the satisfaction of sin to depend on the blood of the martyrs. Paul exclaimed and testified to the Corinthians, that Christ alone was crucified, and died for them (1 Cor. 1:13). Indulgences declare that Paul and others died for us. Paul elsewhere says that Christ purchased the Church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Indulgences assign another purchase to the blood of martyrs. "By one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified," says the Apostle (Heb. 10:14). Indulgences, on the other hand, insist that sanctification, which would otherwise be insufficient, is perfected by martyrs. John says that all the saints "have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," (Rev. 7:14). Indulgences tell us to wash our robes in the blood of saints.

3. There is an admirable passage in opposition to their blasphemies in Leo, a Roman Bishop (ad Palæstinos, Ep. 81). "Although the death of many saints was precious in the sight of the Lord (Ps. 116:15), yet no innocent man's slaughter was the propitiation of the world. The just received crowns did not give them; and the fortitude of believers produced examples of patience, not gifts of righteousness: for their deaths were for themselves; and none by his final end paid the debt of another, except Christ our Lord, in whom alone all are crucified--all dead, buried, and raised up." This sentiment, as it was of a memorable nature, he has elsewhere repeated (Epist. 95). Certainly one could not desire a clearer confutation of this impious dogma. Augustine introduces the same sentiment not less appositely: "Although brethren die for brethren, yet no martyr's blood is shed for the remission of sins: this Christ did for us, and in this conferred upon us not what we should imitate, but what should make us grateful," (August. Tract. in Joann. 84). Again, in another passage: "As he alone became the Son of God and the Son of man, that he might make us to be with himself sons of God, so he alone, without any ill desert, undertook the penalty for us, that through him we mighty without good desert, obtain undeserved favor," (ad Bonif. Lib. 4, cap. 4). Indeed, as their whole doctrine is a patchwork of sacrilege and blasphemy, this is the most blasphemous of the whole. Let them acknowledge whether or not they hold the following dogmas: That the martyrs, by their death, performed more to God, and merited more than was necessary for themselves, and that they have a large surplus of merits which may be applied to others; that in order that this great good may not prove superfluous, their blood is mingled with the blood of Christ, and out of both is formed the treasury of the Church, for the forgiveness and satisfaction of sins; and that in this sense we must understand the words of Paul: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the Church," (Col. 1:24). What is this but merely to leave the name of Christ, and at the same time make him a vulgar saintling, who can scarcely be distinguished in the crowd? He alone ought to be preached, alone held forth, alone named, alone looked to, whenever the subject considered is the obtaining of the forgiveness of sins, expiation, and sanctification. But let us hear their propositions. That the blood of martyrs may not be shed without fruit, it must be employed for the common good of the Church. Is it so? Was there no fruit in glorifying God by death? in sealing his truth with their blood? in testifying, by contempt of the present life, that they looked for a better? in confirming the faith of the Church, and at the same time disabling the pertinacity of the enemy by their constancy? But thus it is. They acknowledge no fruit if Christ is the only propitiation, if he alone died for our sins, if he alone was offered for our redemption. Nevertheless, they say, Peter and Paul would have gained the crown of victory though they had died in their beds a natural death. But as they contended to blood, it would not accord with the justice of God to leave their doing so barren and unfruitful. As if God were unable to augment the glory of his servants in proportion to the measure of his gifts. The advantage derived in common by the Church is great enough, when, by their triumphs, she is inflamed with zeal to fight.

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

Exodus 26; John 5; Proverbs 2; Galatians 1

By Don Carson 3/15/2018

     One of the most striking biblical passages dealing with what it means to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is John 5:16-30.

     In a preindustrial culture, the majority of sons do what their father does. A baker’s son becomes a baker; a farmer’s son becomes a farmer. This stance — like father, like son — enables Jesus on occasion to refer to his own followers as “sons of God.” Thus Jesus declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). In other words, God himself is the supreme peacemaker; therefore, people who are peacemakers act, in this respect, like God, and therefore can be designated, in this respect, “sons of God.”

     That is the kind of functional category with which Jesus begins in John 5:17. When challenged about his “working” on the Sabbath, he does not offer a different reading of what “Sabbath” means, or suggest that what he was doing was not “work” but some deed of mercy or necessity; rather, he justifies his “working” by saying that he is only doing what his Father does. His Father works (even on the Sabbath, or providence itself would cease!), and so does he.

     His interlocutors perceive that this is an implicit claim to equality with God (5:18). Yet almost certainly they misunderstand Jesus in one respect. They think the claim blasphemous, because it would make Jesus into another God — and they are quite right to hold that there is but one God. Jesus responds with two points. First, he insists he is functionally dependent on his Father: “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (5:19). Jesus is not another “God-center”: he is functionally subordinate to his Father. Yet second, this functional subordination is itself grounded in the fact that this Son does whatever the Father does (5:19). Christians may be “sons of God” in certain respects; Jesus is the unique Son, in that “whatever the Father does the Son also does.” If the Father creates, so does the Son: indeed, the Son is the Father’s agent in creation (1:2-3). In the following verses, the Son, like the Father, raises people from the dead, and is the Father’s agent in the final judgment.

     Muslims with little grasp of Christian theology think the Christian Trinity is made up of God, Mary, and Jesus: God copulated with Mary and produced Jesus. They think the notion bizarre and blasphemous, and they are right. But this is not what we hold, nor what Scripture teaches. I wish they could study John 5.

     I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Click here to read all of the article

Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).

Don Carson Books:



  • 1 Peter 5:13–14
  • 1 Peter 5:12
  • Gospel Depths !!!

#1 John Piper   Desiring God

 

#2 John Piper   Desiring God

 

#3 John Piper   Desiring God

 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     The cure for worry
     3/15/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Offer up your prayers and requests to God.’

(Php 4:6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ESV


     The Bible says, ‘With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then…God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel’ (vv. 6-7 CEV). When you pray more, you worry less. That means you have a choice: either pray about it or worry about it. In prayer you give the problem to God, therefore you experience more peace of mind. Does that mean you won’t worry about the problem at all? No. It means you’ll worry about it less. While your goal is to give it completely to God and not worry about it at all, you’ll only get there step by step. God’s not asking you to exist in a state of denial. ‘Don’t worry – be happy!’ fails to appreciate the seriousness of the concerns you have. God doesn’t expect you to suddenly stop caring. Instead He offers an alternative to the pointless and exhausting habit of worry: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV). Does that mean a thirty-second prayer will rid you of all anxiety? No. It means start your day with prayer, and continue praying off and on throughout the day. Pray as you drive. Pray at work. Pray before your lunch break. Pray when you get that difficult phone call. Pray when you’re disappointed by something. Pray when surprises come. Pray when you triumph. Pray in the midst of painful news. Pray without ceasing – literally. Your heavenly Father, being deeply touched by your struggles, loves it when you come to Him asking for help. He’s right there, ready to step in. Just invite Him to do it.

Numbers 29-31
Mark 9:1-29

UCB The Word For Today
American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     On this day, March 15, 1984, the Senate voted down voluntary silent prayer in public schools. President Ronald Reagan responded: “I am deeply disappointed that, although a majority of the Senate voted for it, the school prayer amendment fell short.” President Reagan later remarked: “In 1962, the Supreme Court… banned the… saying of prayers. In 1963, the Court banned the reading of the Bible in our public schools… a series of assaults were made in one court after another… Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience…. without God democracy will not and cannot long endure.”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when everyone has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself;... In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.
--- Soren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard After MacIntyre: Essays on Freedom, Narrative, and Virtue


I have but one candle of life to burn,
and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness
than in a land flooded with light.
--- John Keith Falconer

Know Who You Believe


We always find that those who walked closest to Christ
were those who had to bear the greatest trials.
--- St. Teresa of Avila

Strength to Love


Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.
--- G.K. Chesterton

Robert Browning: "Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."

... from here, there and everywhere


Journal of John Woolman 3/15
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     Chapter VIII.

     1761, 1762. Visits Pennsylvania, Shrewsbury, and Squan -- Publishes the Second Part of his Considerations on keeping Negroes -- The Grounds of his appearing in some Respects singular in his Dress -- Visit to the Families of Friends of Ancocas and Mount Holly Meetings -- Visits to the Indians at Wehaloosing on the River Susquehanna.

     HAVING felt my mind drawn towards a visit to a few meetings in Pennsylvania, I was very desirous to be rightly instructed as to the time of setting off. On the 10th of the fifth month, 1761, being the first day of the week, I went to Haddonfield Meeting, concluding to seek for heavenly instruction, and come home, or go on as I might then believe best for me, and there through the springing up of pure love I felt encouragement, and so crossed the river. In this visit I was at two quarterly and three monthly meetings, and in the love of truth I felt my way open to labor with some noted Friends who kept negroes. As I was favored to keep to the root, and endeavor to discharge what I believed was required of me, I found inward peace therein, from time to time, and thankfulness of heart to the Lord, who was graciously pleased to be a guide to me.

     Eighth month, 1761. -- Having felt drawings in my mind to visit Friends in and about Shrewsbury, I went there, and was at their Monthly Meeting, and their first-day meeting; I had also a meeting at Squan, and another at Squanquam, and, as way opened, had conversation with some noted Friends concerning their slaves. I returned home in a thankful sense of the goodness of the Lord.

     From the concern I felt growing in me for some years, I wrote part the second of a work entitled "Considerations on keeping Negroes," which was printed this year, 1762.

     When the overseers of the press had done with it, they offered to get a number printed, to be paid for out of the Yearly Meeting's stock, to be given away; but I being most easy to publish it at my own expense, and offering my reasons, they appeared satisfied.

     This stock is the contribution of the members of our religious society in general, among whom are some who keep negroes, and, being inclined to continue them in slavery, are not likely to be satisfied with such books being spread among a people, especially at their own expense, many of whose slaves are taught to read, and such, receiving them as a gift, often conceal them. But as they who make a purchase generally buy that which they have a mind for, I believed it best to sell them, expecting by that means they would more generally be read with attention. Advertisements were signed by order of the overseers of the press, and directed to be read in the Monthly Meetings of business within our own Yearly Meeting, informing where the books were, and that the price was no more than the cost of printing and binding them. Many were taken off in our parts; some I sent to Virginia, some to New York, some to my acquaintance at Newport, and some I kept, intending to give part of them away, where there appeared a prospect of service.

     In my youth I was used to hard labor, and though I was middling healthy, yet my nature was not fitted to endure so much as many others. Being often weary, I was prepared to sympathize with those whose circumstances in life, as free men, required constant labor to answer the demands of their creditors, as well as with others under oppression. In the uneasiness of body which I have many times felt by too much labor, not as a forced but a voluntary oppression, I have often been excited to think on the original cause of that oppression which is imposed on many in the world. The latter part of the time wherein I labored on our plantation, my heart, through the fresh visitations of heavenly love, being often tender, and my leisure time being frequently spent in reading the life and doctrines of our blessed Redeemer, the account of the sufferings of martyrs, and the history of the first rise of our Society, a belief was gradually settled in my mind, that if such as had great estates generally lived in that humility and plainness which belong to a Christian life, and laid much easier rents and interests on their lands and moneys, and thus led the way to a right use of things, so great a number of people might be employed in things useful, that labor both for men and other creatures would need to be no more than an agreeable employ, and divers branches of business, which serve chiefly to please the natural inclinations of our minds, and which at present seem necessary to circulate that wealth which some gather, might, in this way of pure wisdom, be discontinued. As I have thus considered these things, a query at times hath arisen: Do I, in all my proceedings, keep to that use of things which is agreeable to universal righteousness? And then there hath some degree of sadness at times come over me, because I accustomed myself to some things which have occasioned more labor than I believe Divine wisdom intended for us.

     From my early acquaintance with truth I have often felt an inward distress, occasioned by the striving of a spirit in me against the operation of the heavenly principle; and in this state I have been affected with a sense of my own wretchedness, and in a mourning condition have felt earnest longings for that Divine help which brings the soul into true liberty. Sometimes, on retiring into private places, the spirit of supplication hath been given me, and under a heavenly covering I have asked my gracious Father to give me a heart in all things resigned to the direction of his wisdom; in uttering language like this, the thought of my wearing hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to them, has made lasting impression on me.

     In visiting people of note in the Society who had slaves, and laboring with them in brotherly love on that account, I have seen, and the sight has affected me, that a conformity to some customs distinguishable from pure wisdom has entangled many, and that the desire of gain to support these customs has greatly opposed the work of truth. Sometimes when the prospect of the work before me has been such that in bowedness of spirit I have been drawn into retired places, and have besought the Lord with tears that he would take me wholly under his direction, and show me the way in which I ought to walk, it hath revived with strength of conviction that if I would be his faithful servant I must in all things attend to his wisdom, and be teachable, and so cease from all customs contrary thereto, however used among religious people.

     As he is the perfection of power, of wisdom, and of goodness, so I believe he hath provided that so much labor shall be necessary for men's support in this world as would, being rightly divided, be a suitable employment of their time; and that we cannot go into superfluities, or grasp after wealth in a way contrary to his wisdom, without having connection with some degree of oppression, and with that spirit which leads to self-exaltation and strife, and which frequently brings calamities on countries by parties contending about their claims.

     Being thus fully convinced, and feeling an increasing desire to live in the spirit of peace, I have often been sorrow-fully affected with thinking on the unquiet spirit in which wars are generally carried on, and with the miseries of many of my fellow-creatures engaged therein; some suddenly destroyed; some wounded, and after much pain remaining cripples; some deprived of all their outward substance and reduced to want; and some carried into captivity. Thinking often on these things, the use of hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in summer than are useful, grew more uneasy to me, believing them to be customs which have not their foundation in pure wisdom. The apprehension of being singular from my beloved friends was a strait upon me, and thus I continued in the use of some things contrary to my judgment.

John Woolman's Journal

Proverbs 12:20-21
     by D.H. Stern

20     Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but for those advising peace there is joy.
21     No harm can come to the righteous,
but the wicked are overwhelmed with disaster.


Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
The Great Divorce - A Dream
     C.S. Lewis

          4

     As the solid people came nearer still I noticed that they were moving with order and determination as though each of them had marked his man in our shadowy company. ‘There are going to be affecting scenes,’ I said to myself. ‘Perhaps it would not be right to look on.’ With that, I sidled away on some vague pretext of doing a little exploring. A grove of huge cedars to my right seemed attractive and I entered it. Walking proved difficult. The grass, hard as diamonds to my unsubstantial feet, made me feel as if I were walking on wrinkled rock, and I suffered pains like those of the mermaid in Hans Andersen. A bird ran across in front of me and I envied it. It belonged to that country and was as real as the grass. It could bend the stalks and spatter itself with the dew.

     Almost at once I was followed by what I have called the Big Man—to speak more accurately, the Big Ghost. He in his turn was followed by one of the bright people. ‘Don’t you know me?’ he shouted to the Ghost: and I found it impossible not to turn and attend. The face of the solid spirit—he was one of those that wore a robe—made me want to dance, it was so jocund, so established in its youthfulness.

     ‘Well, I’m damned,’ said the Ghost. ‘I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s a fair knock-out. It isn’t right, Len, you know. What about poor Jack, eh? You look pretty pleased with yourself, but what I say is, What about poor Jack?’

     ‘He is here,’ said the other. ‘You will meet him soon, if you stay.’

     ‘But you murdered him.’

     ‘Of course I did. It is all right now.’

     ‘All right, is it? All right for you, you mean. But what about the poor chap himself, laying cold and dead?’

     ‘But he isn’t. I have told you, you will meet him soon. He sent you his love.’

     ‘What I’d like to understand,’ said the Ghost, ‘is what you’re here for, as pleased as Punch, you, a bloody murderer, while I’ve been walking the streets down there and living in a place like a pigstye all these years.’

     ‘That is a little hard to understand at first. But it is all over now. You will be pleased about it presently. Till then there is no need to bother about it.’

     ‘No need to bother about it? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?’

     ‘No. Not as you mean. I do not look at myself. I have given up myself. I had to, you know, after the murder. That was what it did for me. And that was how everything began.’

     ‘Personally,’ said the Big Ghost with an emphasis which contradicted the ordinary meaning of the word, ‘Personally, I’d have thought you and I ought to be the other way round. That’s my personal opinion.’

     ‘Very likely we soon shall be,’ said the other. ‘If you’ll stop thinking about it.’

     ‘Look at me, now,’ said the Ghost, slapping its chest (but the slap made no noise). ‘I gone straight all my life. I don’t say I was a religious man and I don’t say I had no faults, far from it. But I done my best all my life, see? I done my best by everyone, that’s the sort of chap I was. I never asked for anything that wasn’t mine by rights. If I wanted a drink I paid for it and if I took my wages I done my job, see? That’s the sort I was and I don’t care who knows it.’

     ‘It would be much better not to go on about that now.’

     ‘Who’s going on? I’m not arguing. I’m just telling you the sort of chap I was, see? I’m asking for nothing but my rights. You may think you can put me down because you’re dressed up like that (which you weren’t when you worked under me) and I’m only a poor man. But I got to have my rights same as you, see?’

     ‘Oh no. It’s not so bad as that. I haven’t got my rights, or I should not be here. You will not get yours either. You’ll get something far better. Never fear.’

The Great Divorce   or   The Great Divorce

My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                The discipline of dismay

And as they followed, they were afraid. --- Mark 10:32.

     At the beginning we were sure we knew all about Jesus Christ, it was a delight to sell all and to fling ourselves out in a hardihood of love; but now we are not quite so sure. Jesus is on in front and He looks strange. “Jesus went before them: and they were amazed.”

     There is an aspect of Jesus that chills the heart of a disciple to the core and makes the whole spiritual life gasp for breath. This strange Being with His face set like a flint and His striding determination strikes terror into me. He is no longer Counsellor and Comrade, He is taken up with a point of view I know nothing about, and I am amazed at Him. At first I was confident that I understood Him, but now I am not so sure. I begin to realize there is a distance between Jesus Christ and me; I can no longer be familiar with Him. He is ahead of me and He never turns round; I have no idea where He is going, and the goal has become strangely far off.

     Jesus Christ had to fathom every sin and every sorrow man could experience, and that is what makes Him seem strange. When we see Him in this aspect we do not know Him, we do not recognize one feature of his life, and we do not know how to begin to follow Him. He is on in front, a Leader Who is very strange, and we have no comradeship with Him.

     The discipline of dismay is an essential necessity in the life of discipleship. The danger is to get back to a little fire of our own and kindle enthusiasm at it (cf. Isaiah 50:10–11). When the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come that following of Jesus which is an unspeakable joy.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

July 5, 1940
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

           July 5, 1940

Nought that I would give today
Would half compare
With the long-treasured riches that somewhere
In the deep heart are stored.
Cloud and the moon and mist and the whole
Hoard of frail, white-bubbling stars,
And the cool blessing,
Like moth or wind caressing,
Of the fair, fresh rain-dipped flowers;
And all the spells of the sea, and the new green
Of moss and fern and bracken
Before their youth is stricken;
The thoughts of the trees at eventide, the hush
In the dark corn at morning,
And the wish
In your own heart still but dawning-
All of these,
A soft weight on your hands,
I would give now;
And lastly myself made clean
And white as the wave-washed sand,
If I knew how.

R. S. Thomas and Elsi Eldridge were married in Llanycil, on the shore of Bala Lake on 5 July 1940. Among his unpublished manuscripts is the poem above, simply entitled "July 5th":

Teacher's Commentary
     A Nation: Numbers 1–10

     Here is where we see the first indication that the great mob of people who swarmed out of Egypt are now to be treated as a responsible nation. A census was taken, with the men of military age numbering 603,550. This figure is given in several different texts, though in some it is rounded off (Ex. 12:37; 38:26; Num. 1:46; 2:32; 11:21). The later census of Numbers 26:51 shows similarity, but also some change over the 38-year period. The total population of Israel now ready to leave Sinai probably ranged between 2 and 2 1/2 million people.

     Tribal marching and camping positions were set. The duties of the Levites were defined, and a system of trumpet calls was set to signal assembly, the order of departure, alarms, etc.

     As the people of Israel marched they were to respond to the direct leading of God. The pillar of cloud and fire which had appeared as Israel left Egypt (Exodus 13:21) now rested over the tabernacle. When the cloud rested, the people remained in camp. But when in the morning the cloud lifted up, the people set out and followed it as God led them where He chose. As the Bible says, “At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order in accordance with His command through Moses” (Numbers 9:23).

The Teacher's Commentary

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     Berakhot 58a

     D’RASH

     A man sits in front of the television, his lottery ticket in hand. He listens attentively as the state lottery spokeswoman greets the viewers, and then begins to pick the winning numbers. 4. 17. 33. 38. 46 … and 61. The man watches and listens, staring in disbelief at the numbers on his ticket. They are identical! He cannot believe this has happened! He looks at the screen one more time as the numbers are listed. He checks his ticket a second, and then a third time. “Yes!” He has won the lottery. He gets down on his knees, on the floor, and looks up to the ceiling. “Thank you, God! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

     A year goes by, but the money he won turns out not to have been such a blessing. His marriage has broken up, and most of his old friends no longer talk to him. Much of the money is gone, squandered on silly extravagances and poor investments. What originally looked to be a great blessing turned out to be a real curse.

     A child sits by the front window, looking out at the pouring rain. There is an unmistakable expression of disappointment on her face. Today was the day of her birthday party picnic, which had to be postponed because of the weather. Her mother tries to explain that friends and family will all get together next weekend and try again, but those words bring no comfort. Today is her actual birthday, and she had her hopes set on this day for a marvelous celebration. She looks up at the heavens and angrily asks God: “What did I ever do to You to deserve Your doing this to me?”

     The next morning the family reads in the newspaper about a helicopter crash. The accident took place at the same site where the party was to be held and during the exact time that the family would have been gathered. What seemed yesterday like a curse today seems like a blessing in disguise.

     Perhaps this is the reason we are taught to bless God for the bad as well as the good: We never really know how things will ultimately turn out. Events, sometimes, are not what they first appear to be. It may be that it is quite short-sighted and quite self-centered for us to thank God for what seems good and to blame or ignore God for what appears to be bad. Perhaps the Rabbis were being more realistic when they advised us that we need to be careful with the good, for it can turn on us and become a curse. And we need to be patient with what seems to be bad: It may turn out to be a real blessing in the long run.

     Everything comes from God; that is what reciting a blessing reminds us. Everything, both good and bad, is just another opportunity. We cannot make much of opportunities until we are open enough to see them.

     What does a good guest say? How much trouble has my host gone to just for me!

     Text / The Rabbis taught: “One who sees a crowd of Israelites says: ‘Blessed is He who understands secrets.’ For each one’s mind is different, and each one’s face is different.” Ben Zoma once saw a crowd on the steps of the Temple Mount. He said: “Blessed is He who understands secrets, and blessed is He who created all these just to serve me!” He used to say: “How much trouble Adam had to go to just to get some bread to eat! He plowed, sowed, reaped, bound sheaves, threshed them, winnowed, selected, ground, sifted, kneaded and baked—and then he ate. And I simply get up and find all of these done for me. How much trouble did Adam go to in order to find clothes to wear! He sheared, cleaned the wool, beat it, spun it, weaved it—and then he had clothing to wear. And I simply get up and find all these done for me. All kinds of craftsmen anxiously come to my door, and I simply get up and find these done for me.” He used to say: “What does a good guest say? ‘How much trouble has my host gone to just for me! How much meat has he brought for me! How much wine has he brought for me! How much cake has he brought for me! All his trouble, he has done just for me!’ But what does a bad guest say? ‘How much trouble has my host gone to? I ate one slice of bread, I ate one piece of meat, I drank one cup of wine. All his trouble, he has done just for his wife and his children.’ ”

     Context / Blessings (in Hebrew, berakhot) are an important part of the Jewish tradition. The better known blessings are those for foods like wine and bread, but there are also blessings for various occasions like studying a traditional text, seeing a rainbow, and hearing good news or bad news. Judaism sees each of these occasions as an opportunity for us to witness God’s presence in the world. Thus, we acknowledge God as the giver of Torah, the One who remembers God’s covenant with Noah, and who is either good and beneficent, or the true Judge.

     This section of Gemara lists the proper blessings to be recited for certain foods and upon seeing specific people (like a king) or places (for example, where a miracle occurred). Ben Zoma feels that one should thank God not only for the individuality of each person (“Blessed is He Who understands secrets”) but also for each person’s labors on his behalf. Since these blessings are, in part, an attempt to formalize a sense of thankfulness, Ben Zoma believes that one should be thankful for the simple fact that one’s life is so easy. To prove this, Ben Zoma compares his life with that of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Adam had to work so much harder to produce food or clothing. “And I simply get up and find all of these done for me!”

     As a continuation of Ben Zoma’s thoughts on gratitude, a famous quote of his (“He used to say …”) is introduced. Just as we should be grateful and thank God for the food and clothing we have, we should also be grateful guests and thank our host for what he has done for us. Thus, a person should not think: “My host was making dinner anyway. He just added some water to the soup and a place setting at the table.” Rather, one should think: “My host went out of his way to provide for me. How privileged I am to have such a wonderful host.”

Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book Three - Internal Consolation

     The Sixth Chapter / The Proving Of A True Lover

          THE VOICE OF CHRIST

     MY CHILD, you are not yet a brave and wise lover.

     THE DISCIPLE

     Why, Lord?

     THE VOICE OF CHRIST

     Because, on account of a slight difficulty you give up what you have undertaken and are too eager to seek consolation.

     The brave lover stands firm in temptations and pays no heed to the crafty persuasions of the enemy. As I please him in prosperity, so in adversity I am not displeasing to him. The wise lover regards not so much the gift of Him Who loves as the love of Him Who gives. He regards the affection of the Giver rather than the value of the gift, and sets his Beloved above all gifts. The noble lover does not rest in the gift but in Me Who am above every gift.

          All is not lost, then, if you sometimes feel less devout than you wish toward Me or My saints. That good and sweet feeling which you sometimes have is the effect of present grace and a certain foretaste of your heavenly home. You must not lean upon it too much, because it comes and goes. But to fight against evil thoughts which attack you is a sign of virtue and great merit. Do not, therefore, let strange fantasies disturb you, no matter what they concern. Hold strongly to your resolution and keep a right intention toward God.

     It is not an illusion that you are sometimes rapt in ecstasy and then quickly returned to the usual follies of your heart. For these are evils which you suffer rather than commit; and so long as they displease you and you struggle against them, it is a matter of merit and not a loss.

     You must know that the old enemy tries by all means in his power to hinder your desire for good and to turn you from every devotional practice, especially from the veneration of the saints, from devout meditation on My passion, and from your firm purpose of advancing in virtue. He suggests many evil thoughts that he may cause you weariness and horror, and thus draw you away from prayer and holy reading. A humble confession displeases him and, if he could, he would make you omit Holy Communion.

     Do not believe him or heed him, even though he often sets traps to deceive you. When he suggests evil, unclean things, accuse him. Say to him: “Away, unclean spirit! Shame, miserable creature! You are but filth to bring such things to my ears. Begone, most wretched seducer! You shall have no part in me, for Jesus will be my strength, and you shall be confounded. I would rather die and suffer all torments than consent to you. Be still! Be silent! Though you bring many troubles upon me I will have none of you. The Lord is my light, my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Though armies unite against me, my heart will not fear, for the Lord is my Helper, my Redeemer.”

     Fight like a good soldier and if you sometimes fall through weakness, rise again with greater strength than before, trusting in My most abundant grace. But beware of vain complacency and pride. For many are led into error through these faults and sometimes fall into almost perpetual blindness. Let the fall of these, who proudly presume on self, be a warning to you and a constant incentive to humility.

The Imitation Of Christ

Take Heart
     March 15

     O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
---
Psalm 96:9. KJV

     What is worship? (G. Campbell Morgan, “Worship, Beauty, Holiness,” downloaded from Tom Garner’s Web page; previously published in The Westminster Pulpit, vol. 2 (Westwood,) The essential meaning of the word is prostration, bowing down. Worship suggests the attitude that recognizes the throne, that recognizes superiority, that takes the low place of reverence in the presence of that which takes hold on the life and compels it. It is a word full of force, which constrains us and compels us to the attitude of reverence.

     The word worship runs through the Bible, and the thought of worship is to be found from beginning to end. The thought of worship is the recognition of divine sufficiency, the recognition of our absolute dependence on the divine sufficiency, the confession that all we need in our lives we find in God. And the spoken answer to that conviction is worship. I worship in the presence of God as I recognize that in him I find everything that my life demands, that in myself I am incomplete. A sense of my need and his resource, a sense that my life finds its heights and its best and fulfills itself in relation to him produces the act and the attitude of worship. The attitude of worship is the attitude of a subject bent before a monarch; the attitude of a child yielding all its love to a parent; the attitude of the sheep that follows the shepherd and is content in all the pasturage that the shepherd appoints. It is the attitude of saying yes to everything that God says.

     The height of worship is expressed in the use of two words that have never been translated, which remain on the page of the Holy Scriptures and in the common language of the church as they were in the language where they originated: “Hallelujah” and “Amen.” When I have learned to say those two words with all my mind and heart and soul and being, I have found the highest place of worship and the fullest realization of my own life. Amen to his will, and Hallelujah, the offering of praise. I know it is but a simple symbol. I know it is only saying an old thing, but I address my own heart as much as any of you, and I say, Oh, soul of mine, have you learned to say “Amen” to him, and that on the basis of a deep and profound conviction of all his absolute perfection in government and method and providence? Can you say, as the quiet expression of a heart resting in the perfection of God, “Hallelujah” and “Amen”? Then that is worship, that is life.

--- G. Campbell Morgan


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

On This Day   March 15
     Dr. Livingstone, I Presume

     The Money Machine

     St. Peter’s is one of the most beautiful basilicas in the world, and the most famous. But it was built at a cost.

     The church in the early 1500s was beset with sin. Priests by the thousands, finding it impossible to live in celibacy, broke their vows. Monks enjoyed filthy talk, gluttony, and promiscuity; one observer noted that many “convents differ little from public brothels.”

     But forgiveness of sins, both by priests and laity, was easy to find. It could be purchased. The sale of indulgences—a kind of pardon for sins—was widespread. The chancellor of Oxford noted, “Sinners say nowadays: ‘I care not how many evils I do in God’s sight, for I can easily get remission of all guilt by the indulgence granted me by the pope.’ ”

     But forgiveness of sins, both by priests and laity, was easy to find. It could be purchased. The sale of indulgences—a kind of pardon for sins—was widespread. The chancellor of Oxford noted, “Sinners say nowadays: ‘I care not how many evils I do in God’s sight, for I can easily get remission of all guilt by the indulgence granted me by the pope.’ ”

     On March 15, 1517 Pope Leo X, needing money to rebuild St. Peter’s, announced a special sale of indulgences. Johann Tetzel, a middle-aged Dominican friar, became the principal agent of the sale. He took to his new role like P. T. Barnum, traveling through central Europe with a brass-bound chest and a bag of printed receipts. Beside him, an assistant carried Leo’s edict on a velvet cushion. The men would enter a village to the ringing of church bells. Crowds gathered and jugglers performed. Tetzel would bark, “I have here the passports to lead the human soul to the celestial joys of Paradise.”

     Any and every sin could be forgiven, he said. “The Holy Father has the power in heaven and earth to forgive the sin, and if he forgives it, God must do so also.” What’s more, he said, pardons could be purchased for deceased loved ones. “As soon as the coin rings in the bowl, the soul for whom it is paid will fly out of purgatory and straight to heaven.” Tetzel was a virtual money machine, exceeding his quota everywhere… until he entered the region of a young monk named Luther.

     All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life’s blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God.
--- Romans 3:23-25.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - March 15

     “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
--- 2 Timothy 2:1.

     Christ has grace without measure in himself, but he hath not retained it for himself. As the reservoir empties itself into the pipes, so hath Christ emptied out his grace for his people. “Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” He seems only to have in order to dispense to us. He stands like the fountain, always flowing, but only running in order to supply the empty pitchers and the thirsty lips which draw nigh unto it. Like a tree, he bears sweet fruit, not to hang on boughs, but to be gathered by those who need. Grace, whether its work be to pardon, to cleanse, to preserve, to strengthen, to enlighten, to quicken, or to restore, is ever to be had from him freely and without price; nor is there one form of the work of grace which he has not bestowed upon his people. As the blood of the body, though flowing from the heart, belongs equally to every member, so the influences of grace are the inheritance of every saint united to the Lamb; and herein there is a sweet communion between Christ and his Church, inasmuch as they both receive the same grace. Christ is the head upon which the oil is first poured; but the same oil runs to the very skirts of the garments, so that the meanest saint has an unction of the same costly moisture as that which fell upon the head. This is true communion when the sap of grace flows from the stem to the branch, and when it is perceived that the stem itself is sustained by the very nourishment which feeds the branch. As we day by day receive grace from Jesus, and more constantly recognize it as coming from him, we shall behold him in communion with us, and enjoy the felicity of communion with him. Let us make daily use of our riches, and ever repair to him as to our own Lord in covenant, taking from him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own purse.


          Evening - March 15

     “He did it with all his heart and prospered." 2 Chronicles 31:21.

     This is no unusual occurrence; it is the general rule of the moral universe that those men prosper who do their work with all their hearts, while those are almost certain to fail who go to their labour leaving half their hearts behind them. God does not give harvests to idle men except harvests of thistles, nor is he pleased to send wealth to those who will not dig in the field to find its hid treasure. It is universally confessed that if a man would prosper, he must be diligent in business. It is the same in religion as it is in other things. If you would prosper in your work for Jesus, let it be heart work, and let it be done with all your heart. Put as much force, energy, heartiness, and earnestness into religion as ever you do into business, for it deserves far more. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities, but he does not encourage our idleness; he loves active believers. Who are the most useful men in the Christian church? The men who do what they undertake for God with all their hearts. Who are the most successful Sabbath-school teachers?

     The most talented? No; the most zealous; the men whose hearts are on fire, those are the men who see their Lord riding forth prosperously in the majesty of his salvation. Whole-heartedness shows itself in perseverance; there may be failure at first, but the earnest worker will say, “It is the Lord’s work, and it must be done; my Lord has bidden me do it, and in his strength I will accomplish it.” Christian, art thou thus “with all thine heart” serving thy Master? Remember the earnestness of Jesus! Think what heart-work was his! He could say, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” When he sweat great drops of blood, it was no light burden he had to carry upon those blessed shoulders; and when he poured out his heart, it was no weak effort he was making for the salvation of his people. Was Jesus in earnest, and are we lukewarm?

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     March 15

          MORE SECURE IS NO ONE EVER

     Lina Sandell Berg, 1832–1903

     My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Psalm 62:7)

     A sincere love for God and a heart filled with gratitude following a miraculous healing experience prompted the tender lines of this hymn, set to a child-like Swedish folk melody.

     Lina Sandell was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor in Smöland, Sweden. Since early childhood she had been confined to bed with a paralysis that doctors considered hopeless. One Sunday morning, while her parents were at church, Lina began reading her Bible and praying. She was suddenly healed. With a thankful heart, Lina began writing verses that expressed her feelings for God. As a result, at the age of 16 she published her first book of meditations and poems. One of her earliest hymn texts during this time was “Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara” or “More Secure Is No One Ever.”

     In the following years Lina had experiences that must have tested her faith, as expressed in a stanza of this hymn—“What He takes or what He gives us …” When she was 26, Lina accompanied her father on a trip across Lake Vattern. When the ship lurched suddenly, Pastor Sandell was thrown overboard and drowned as his devoted daughter stood helplessly by. Then after her marriage to C. O. Berg, Lina met tragedy once more with the death of their first son at birth.

     Lina’s sweet trusting faith in her Lord did not seem shaken by the sorrows in her life. Instead, more songs than ever began to flow from her broken heart. In all, she wrote more than 650 hymns before her death in 1903. These heart-warming gospel songs had much influence on the powerful revival surge that swept the Scandinavian countries during the mid-19th century. And still today these words minister to our lives:

     More secure is no one ever than the loved ones of the Savior—not yon star on high abiding, nor the bird in home-nest hiding.
     Neither life nor death can ever from the Lord His children sever, for His love and deep compassion comforts them in tribulation.
     Little flock to joy then yield thee! Jacob’s God will ever shield thee; rest secure with this Defender—At His will all foes surrender.
     What He takes or what He gives us shows the Father’s love so precious; we may trust His purpose wholly—’Tis His children’s welfare solely.


     For Today: Matthew 18:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 5:10, 11.

     Rest securely in the love and protection of your heavenly Father—much like a child in the arms of a parent. Allow this hymn to help you realize that ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Thursday, March 15 2018 | Lent

Thursday Of The Fourth Week In Lent
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 69:1–21 (22–28) 29–36
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 73
Old Testament     Exodus 1:6–22
New Testament     1 Corinthians 12:12–26
Gospel     Mark 8:27–9:1

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 69:1–21 (22–28) 29–36

1 Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

4 More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
5 O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord GOD of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.

9 For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.

13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14 Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15 Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant,
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!

19 You know my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
20 Reproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

[     22 Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
24 Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 May their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;
may they have no acquittal from you.
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.     ]

29 But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!

30 I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the LORD more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
35 For God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 73
73 A Psalm Of Asaph.

1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Old Testament
Exodus 1:6–22

6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

New Testament
1 Corinthians 12:12–26

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Gospel
Mark 8:27–9:1

27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life4 will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

9 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”


The Book of Common Prayer


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Why Did God Create the Non-Elect?

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Goal of Our Union with Christ?

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Challenges Facing the

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Why Do I Need Forgiveness?

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The Cross & God’s Wrath

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1 Peter 5:12 // Stand Firm in Grace

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Calvinists and Arminians

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Your Joy Depends on Election

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Do Christians Carry More Emotional

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You Are Never Too High to Serve

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Neither Do I Condemn You

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Christians Are Marrying Later

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