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3/2/2018     Yesterday     Tomorrow
Exodus 13     Luke 16     Job 31     2 Corinthians 1


Consecration of the Firstborn

Exodus 13:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. 5 And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. 8 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. 10 You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.

11 “When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12 you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14 And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”

Pillars of Cloud and Fire

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” 18 But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” 20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.


The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

Luke 16:1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.   ( The master commended the dishonest manager. Outwitted, he applauded the man’s cunning. His admiration for the evil managers’s criminal genius shows that he, too, was a wicked man. It is the natural tendency of fallen hearts to admire a villain’s craftiness (Ps. 49:18). Notice that all the characters in this parable are unjust, unscrupulous, and corrupt. more shrewd. I.e., most unbelievers are wiser in the ways of the world than some believers (“sons of light,” cf. John 12:36; Eph. 5:18) are toward the things of God. The unrighteous manager used his master’s money to buy earthly friends; believers are to use their Master’s money in a way that will accrue friends for eternity — by investing in the kingdom gospel that brings sinners to salvation, so that when they arrive in heaven (“eternal dwellings”), those sinners will be there to welcome them. Christ did not commend the man’s dishonesty; he pointedly called him “dishonest” (v. 8). He only used him as an illustration to show that even the most wicked sons of this world are shrewd enough to provide for themselves against coming evil. Believers ought to be more shrewd, because they are concerned with eternal matters, not just earthly ones. Cf. 12:33 and Matt. 6:19–21. )  ESV MacArthur Study Bible   See panel 6 below.

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The Law and the Kingdom of God

14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

Divorce and Remarriage

18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers — so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”


Job’s Final Appeal

Job 31:1 I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?
2  What would be my portion from God above
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
3  Is not calamity for the unrighteous,
and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
4  Does not he see my ways
and number all my steps?

5  “If I have walked with falsehood
and my foot has hastened to deceit;
6  (Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!)
7  if my step has turned aside from the way
and my heart has gone after my eyes,
and if any spot has stuck to my hands,
8  then let me sow, and another eat,
and let what grows for me be rooted out.

9  “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,
10  then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
11  For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
12  for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my increase.

13  “If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant,
when they brought a complaint against me,
14  what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
15  Did not he who made me in the womb make him?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16  “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17  or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the fatherless has not eaten of it
18  (for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow),
19  if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or the needy without covering,
20  if his body has not blessed me,
and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
21  if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
because I saw my help in the gate,
22  then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.
23  For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.

24  “If I have made gold my trust
or called fine gold my confidence,
25  if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant
or because my hand had found much,
26  if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,
27  and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand,
28  this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I would have been false to God above.

29  “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me,
or exulted when evil overtook him
30  (I have not let my mouth sin
by asking for his life with a curse),
31  if the men of my tent have not said,
‘Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?’
32  (the sojourner has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveler),
33  if I have concealed my transgressions as others do
by hiding my iniquity in my heart,
34  because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
35  Oh, that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
36  Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me as a crown;
37  I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.

38  “If my land has cried out against me
and its furrows have wept together,
39  if I have eaten its yield without payment
and made its owners breathe their last,
40  let thorns grow instead of wheat,
and foul weeds instead of barley.”


The words of Job are ended.

Greeting

2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God of All Comfort

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul’s Change of Plans

12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

23 But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

The Reformation Study Bible


What I'm Reading

Why America May Fall Behind in Genetic Technologies, and That’s OK

By J. Warner Wallace 2/26/2018

     Americans are accustomed to being technological leaders in a variety of disciplines, but our nation may fall behind other countries in the field of genetic technology – if current activities in China continue. While that may sound like a challenge we should embrace and correct as a nation, there’s actually a good reason to let China pull ahead, especially if we care about the dignity of humans designed in the image of God.

     A recent Wall Street Journal article (China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials), reports that Chinese doctors are beginning “to treat cancer patients using a promising new gene-editing tool.” On it’s face, this sounds like something commendable: saving the lives of dying cancer patients. The American reporters who wrote the article clearly believe the technology is valuable and should be pursued, especially since U.S. scientists helped devise the gene-editing tool (known as Crispr-Cas9). The problem, according to the reporters? American regulations are preventing doctors from using the gene editing tool in human trials.

     Chinese doctors don’t face similar restrictions. Physicians in China have been drawing blood from cancer sufferers, modifying disease-fighting cells with the Crispr-Cas9 tool, and infusing improved, cancer fighting cells back into the patients. Very few Chinese regulations govern or limit this treatment, even though no other country in the world has allowed the technology to be used in a similar way. Experts in America are now concerned that the United States is “at a dangerous point in losing our lead in biomedicine.” In spite of this, American regulators are hesitant to approve gene-editing technologies on humans without fully understanding all the risks. According to the article, Crispr therapies might result in “irreversible changes in people that may not emerge for years,” and may even “spark a dangerous immune reaction.”

     It’s no wonder that American regulators are cautious about rushing into full Crispr-Cas9 trials with humans, even though they have no such hesitation when it comes to testing the technology on other animals. Why the distinction? Why are we willing to risk the lives of rats, monkey or other laboratory animals, yet hesitant to risk the lives of humans? Perhaps it’s because Americans still acknowledge (or at least remember) their Christian heritage. The Biblical worldview describes humans as uniquely designed for a purpose in the image of God, unlike other animals. This may be one of the reasons we instinctively become more cautious when testing humans rather than lab rats.

     “Western scientists,” according to the article, seem to understand the difference between “mice and men.” Scientists who were interviewed for the article “didn’t suggest America’s stringent requirements should be weakened. Instead, many advocate an international consensus on ethical issues around a science that makes fundamental changes to human DNA…” It appears that Western doctors and scientists, raised in a culture that was once deeply influenced by a Biblical view of humanity, would rather the Chinese embrace Western caution than surrender this caution so we can retake the lead.

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

Ash Wednesday Sermon

By Jason Micheli 3/1/2017

     This week we observe Ash Wednesday, the day when Christians defy every lie sold to us by Madison Avenue, the American healthcare system, and our President’s eerily orange visage. (Not to mention, Warren Beatty is still alive!?)

     Here’s the lie:

     We’re not getting out of this life alive. Not a one. Heaven may be but Death definitely is for real.

     With dismal colored ashes, tomorrow Christians confront the stark, counter-cultural truth: from אֲדָמָהadamah (‘earth’) we were made and to the adamah we shall with 100% certainty return.

     Ash Wednesday is about our sin, which is but a way of saying it’s about our mortality, which means it’s about all our finitude, shortcomings and contingencies wrapped up in that time-bound word. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, the Latin word for 40th, recalling Jesus’ 40 days of testing in the wilderness before his ministry led him inexorably to the cross.

     Jesus’ own 40 days in the wilderness echo the 40 years Israel was tested in the wilderness after their Exodus from slavery into Egypt. Whereas Jesus squares off against the devil without a hitch (‘man does not live by bread alone’ says the starving Jesus), Israel fared a bit worse (see: calf, golden).

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     Jason Micheli is a United Methodist pastor in DC and popular blogger at www.tamedcynic.org.

Four Temptations on Social Media

By Trilla Newbell 1/2018

     We live in an age when screens compete for our attention from the minute we wake up. Updates abound, feeds fill up with news, and information is always at the tips of our fingers.

     Since joining the array of voices on the Internet, I have watched controversy after controversy unfold over opinions, news stories, and rumors, some of which have resulted in full-on character assaults. This isn’t something happening out there in the world; it’s also happening within Christian spheres. We, however, have an opportunity to be light in a world marred by confusion and division. Yes, we too are divided, but we know the end of the story and can begin to work toward that end—toward unity and peace.

     So, how do we share our opinions, convictions, passions, and differing opinions and still maintain brotherly love and affection? We start by naming the problems and then praying for gospel solutions. Here are four problems in our struggle with Internet controversy in the Christian life.

     Our Passions Wage | We often quarrel because we want something we don’t have. Perhaps we want others to view us as right and wise. Or we want to change others’ opinions . . . so we fight. Or we want someone to take action . . . so we threaten. James addresses this tendency with a rhetorical question: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1). Passions can cause us to react, and—as is common on social media—passionate reactions far removed from the matter under discussion often lead to sin.

     Controversies Involve Real People | Because online discussion doesn’t involve our physical presence, it is easy to forget the human aspect of the Internet. In other words, we forget there is a person behind that blog entry, article, or social media post. That person is made in the image of God, regardless of his standing before God. As Christians, we have a responsibility to love that person (Luke 6:27–36). That doesn’t mean we have to agree with him, but the way we respond will reveal whether we uphold his God-given dignity.

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     Trillia J. Newbell is director of community outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention, a conference speaker, and author.

Trillia Newbell Books:

Israel is Key to Christian Presence in Middle East

By Dustin Siggins 2/24/2017

     In the past decade, millions of Christians have fought to escape persecution and violence in the Middle East. Many have died, while others have traveled to Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere in search of safety.

     According to Robert Nicholson, Executive Director of The Philos Project, two of the keys to a continued Christian presence in The Holy Land include a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq and a thriving Israel.

     “It is imperative that the United States continue to support the existence of the State of Israel,” Nicholson told The Stream at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “It is imperative that we not withdraw from Iraq after its liberation, as that will create a power vacuum which will be filled by another insurgency.”

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Dustin Siggins is Associate Editor for The Stream. He previously served as the public relations officer and DC Correspondent for LifeSiteNews, and has been widely published on important issues of public policy and culture. Follow him on Twitter: @DustinSiggins

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 26

I Will Bless The Lord
26 Of David.

1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.

4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.

ESV Study Bible

Exodus 13; Luke 16; Job 31; 2 Corinthians 1

By Don Carson 3/2/2018

     On first reading, the parable of the shrewd manager and its unexpected conclusion is one of the strangest stories that Jesus tells (Luke 16:1-9).

     An inefficient and wasteful manager is called in by the wealthy owner and told he is to be sacked. He must close out the books and pick up his pink slip. Terribly concerned about his future, the manager wonders what he should do. He does not possess the robust physique that would equip him for manual labor, and he really does not want to go on the dole.

     So he comes up with a totally unscrupulous plan. While he still enjoys legitimate authority over the owner’ s goods and accounts, he starts cutting deals with his master’ s debtors. It is a huge operation, and the sums are enormous. For debtor after debtor, he slashes the amount of their indebtedness, in some cases as much as fifty percent. His reasoning is very simple. In a culture where a gift creates an obligation, he recognizes that all these people will feel obligated to accommodate him when he finds himself without a job and income. With sums like these, he will be able to rely on their hospitality for a very long time. Doubtless the master did not like having his accounts diddled, but he was savvy enough to recognize the shrewdness his manager had shown.

     Then comes the startling application: “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (16:8-9). What does this mean?

     It cannot mean that Jesus advocates unscrupulous business practices. The point is that the manager used resources under his control (though not properly his) to prepare for his own future. Do the “people of the light” use resources under their control to prepare for their own future? What is that future? The shrewd manager wanted to be welcomed into the homes of these debtors; the people of the light are to be “welcomed into eternal dwellings” (16:9). So should we not be investing heavily in heaven, laying up treasures there? If that includes spending money on the right things, so be it: when it is all gone, we still have an eternal dwelling ahead of us. The idea is not that we can buy heaven, but that it is unimaginably irresponsible not to plan for our home, when even the people of this world know enough to prepare for their future homes. ( I grow weary of all the investment commercials on TV, sigh. ) Understandably, the next verses (16:10-15) strip away the glamour of possessions in favor of what God highly values.

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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:

What Makes a Full Atonement Full?

By Mike Wittimer 9/25/2013

     Last month when the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Songs for the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to exclude “In Christ Alone” from its new hymnal, the chairwoman of the committee said the popular hymn mistakenly expressed “the view that the cross is primarily about God’s need to assuage God’s anger.”

     Her comment reveals both a discomfort that many contemporary Christians have with God’s wrath and also an overly simplistic dismissal of penal substitution. We who believe the Son bore the Father’s wrath don’t narrowly think that assuaging this wrath is what the cross is “primarily” about. What happened on the cross is a bit more complicated.

     All orthodox theories of the atonement fall into three or four main categories (depending on how sharply you separate moral influence from the example theory), and the four arms of the cross supplies a handy model for remembering them:

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What does the Bible say about illegal immigration?

By Got Questions.org

     Answer: Note: We wholeheartedly believe that Christians are called to be compassionate and merciful toward immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35). We also believe that the United States should have a more compassionate and merciful immigration policy. However, that is not the question at hand. The question at hand concerns illegal immigration—whether it is wrong to violate a nation’s borders and transgress its immigration laws.

     Romans 13:1–7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a government’s law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts the idea of a sovereign nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is rebellion against God to unlawfully enter another country. Illegal immigration is a sin.

     Illegal immigration is definitely a controversial issue in the United States (and some other countries) today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory—thus giving individuals justification to immigrate illegally. However, Romans 13:1–7 does not give any permission to violate a law just because it is perceived as unjust. Again, the issue is not the fairness of a law. The only biblical reason to violate a government’s law is if that law violates God's Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the government.

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The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     26. Moreover, the fear of the Lord, which is uniformly attributed to all the saints, and which, in one passage, is called "the beginning of wisdom," in another wisdom itself, although it is one, proceeds from a twofold cause. God is entitled to the reverence of a Father and a Lord. Hence he who desires duly to worship him, will study to act the part both of an obedient son and a faithful servant. The obedience paid to God as a Father he by his prophet terms honor; the service performed to him as a master he terms fear. "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?" [294] But while he thus distinguishes between the two, it is obvious that he at the same time confounds them. The fear of the Lord, therefore, may be defined reverence mingled with honor and fear. It is not strange that the same mind can entertain both feelings; for he who considers with himself what kind of a father God is to us, will see sufficient reason, even were there no hell, why the thought of offending him should seem more dreadful than any death. But so prone is our carnal nature to indulgence in sin, that, in order to curb it in every way, we must also give place to the thought that all iniquity is abomination to the Master under whom we live; that those who, by wicked lives, provoke his anger, will not escape his vengeance.

27. There is nothing repugnant to this in the observation of John: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear has torment," (1 John 4:18). For he is speaking of the fear of unbelief, between which and the fear of believers there is a wide difference. The wicked do not fear God from any unwillingness to offend him, provided they could do so with impunity; but knowing that he is armed with power for vengeance, they tremble in dismay on hearing of his anger. And they thus dread his anger, because they think it is impending over them, and they every moment expect it to fall upon their heads. But believers, as has been said, dread the offense even more than the punishment. They are not alarmed by the fear of punishment, as if it were impending over them, [295] but are rendered the more cautious of doing anything to provoke it. Thus the Apostle addressing believers says, "Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things, the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience," (Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6). He does not threaten that wrath will descend upon them; but he admonishes them, while they think how the wrath of God is prepared for the wicked, on account of the crimes which he had enumerated, not to run the risk of provoking it. It seldom happens that mere threatening have the effect of arousing the reprobate; nay, becoming more callous and hardened when God thunders verbally from heaven, they obstinately persist in their rebellion. It is only when actually smitten by his hand that they are forced, whether they will or not, to fear. This fear the sacred writers term servile, and oppose to the free and voluntary fear which becomes sons. Some, by a subtle distinction, have introduced an intermediate species, holding that that forced and servile fear sometimes subdues the mind, and leads spontaneously to proper fear.

28. The divine favor to which faith is said to have respect, we understand to include in it the possession of salvation and eternal life. For if, when God is propitious, no good thing can be wanting to us, we have ample security for our salvation when assured of his love. "Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine," says the Prophet, "and we shall be saved," (Ps. 80:3). Hence the Scriptures make the sum of our salvation to consist in the removal of all enmity, and our admission into favor; thus intimating, that when God is reconciled all danger is past, and every thing good will befall us. Wherefore, faith apprehending the love of God has the promise both of the present and the future life, and ample security for all blessings (Eph. 2:14). The nature of this must be ascertained from the word. Faith does not promise us length of days, riches and honors (the Lord not having been pleased that any of these should be appointed us); but is contented with the assurance, that however poor we may be in regard to present comforts, God will never fail us. The chief security lies in the expectation of future life, which is placed beyond doubt by the word of God. Whatever be the miseries and calamities which await the children of God in this world, they cannot make his favor cease to be complete happiness. Hence, when we were desirous to express the sum of blessedness, we designated it by the favor of God, from which, as their source, all kinds of blessings flow. And we may observe throughout the Scriptures, that they refer us to the love of God, not only when they treat of our eternal salvation, but of any blessing whatever. For which reason David sings, that the loving-kindness of God experienced by the pious heart is sweeter and more to be desired than life itself (Ps. 63:3). In short, if we have every earthly comfort to a wish, but are uncertain whether we have the love or the hatred of God, our felicity will be cursed, and therefore miserable. But if God lift on us the light of his fatherly countenance, our very miseries will be blessed, inasmuch as they will become helps to our salvation. Thus Paul, after bringing together all kinds of adversity, boasts that they cannot separate us from the love of God: and in his prayers he uniformly begins with the grace of God as the source of all prosperity. In like manner, to all the terrors which assail us, David opposes merely the favor of God,--"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me," (Ps. 23:4). And we feel that our minds always waver until, contented with the grace of God, we in it seek peace, and feel thoroughly persuaded of what is said in the psalm, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance," (Ps. 33:12).

29. Free promise we make the foundation of faith, because in it faith properly consists. For though it holds that God is always true, whether in ordering or forbidding, promising or threatening; though it obediently receive his commands, observe his prohibitions, and give heed to his threatening; yet it properly begins with promise, continues with it, and ends with it. It seeks life in God, life which is not found in commands or the denunciations of punishment, but in the promise of mercy. And this promise must be gratuitous; for a conditional promise, which throws us back upon our works, promises life only in so far as we find it existing in ourselves. Therefore, if we would not have faith to waver and tremble, we must support it with the promise of salvation, which is offered by the Lord spontaneously and freely, from a regard to our misery rather than our worth. Hence the Apostle bears this testimony to the Gospel, that it is the word of faith (Rom. 10:8). This he concedes not either to the precepts or the promises of the Law, since there is nothing which can establish our faith, but that free embassy by which God reconciles the world to himself. Hence he often uses faith and the Gospel as correlative terms, as when he says, that the ministry of the Gospel was committed to him for "obedience to the faith;" that "it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;" that "therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith," (Rom. 1:5, 16, 17). No wonder: for seeing that the Gospel is "the ministry of reconciliation," (2 Cor. 5:18), there is no other sufficient evidence of the divine favor, such as faith requires to know. Therefore, when we say, that faith must rest on a free promise, we deny not that believers accept and embrace the word of God in all its parts, but we point to the promise of mercy as its special object. Believers, indeed, ought to recognize God as the judge and avenger of wickedness; and yet mercy is the object to which they properly look, since he is exhibited to their contemplation as "good and ready to forgive," "plenteous in mercy," "slow to anger," "good to all," and shedding "his tender mercies over all his works". Ps. 86:5; 103:8; 145:8, 9).

30. I stay not to consider the rabid objections of Pighius, and others like-minded, who inveigh against this restriction, as rending faith, and laying hold of one of its fragments. I admit, as I have already said, that the general object of faith (as they express it) is the truth of God, whether he threatens or gives hope of his favor. Accordingly, the Apostle attributes it to faith in Noah, that he feared the destruction of the world, when as yet it was not seen (Heb. 11:17). If fear of impending punishment was a work of faith, threatening ought not to be excluded in defining it. This is indeed true; but we are unjustly and calumniously charged with denying that faith has respect to the whole word of God. We only mean to maintain these two points,--that faith is never decided until it attain to a free promise; and that the only way in which faith reconciles us to God is by uniting us with Christ. Both are deserving of notice. We are inquiring after a faith which separates the children of God from the reprobate, believers from unbelievers. Shall every man, then, who believes that God is just in what he commands, and true in what he threatens, be on that account classed with believers? Very far from it. Faith, then, has no firm footing until it stand in the mercy of God. Then what end have we in view in discoursing of faith? Is it not that we may understand the way of salvation? But how can faith be saving, unless in so far as it in grafts us into the body of Christ? There is no absurdity, therefore, when, in defining it, we thus press its special object, and, by way of distinction, add to the generic character the particular mark which distinguishes the believer from the unbeliever. In short, the malicious have nothing to carp at in this doctrine, unless they are to bring the same censure against the Apostle Paul, who specially designates the Gospel as "the word of faith," (Rom. 10:8).

31. Hence again we infer, as has already been explained, that faith has no less need of the word than the fruit of a tree has of a living root; because, as David testifies, none can hope in God but those who know his name (Ps. 9:10). This knowledge, however, is not left to every man's imagination, but depends on the testimony which God himself gives to his goodness. This the same Psalmist confirms in another passage, "Thy salvation according to thy word," (Ps. 119:41). Again, "Save me," "I hoped in thy word," (Ps. 119:146, 147). Here we must attend to the relation of faith to the word, and to salvation as its consequence. Still, however, we exclude not the power of God. If faith cannot support itself in the view of this power, it never will give Him the honor which is due. Paul seems to relate a trivial or very ordinary circumstance with regard to Abraham, when he says, that he believed that God, who had given him the promise of a blessed seed, was able also to perform it (Rom. 4:21). And in like manner, in another passage, he says of himself, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day," (2 Tim. 1:12). But let any one consider with himself, how he is ever and anon assailed with doubts in regard to the power of God, and he will readily perceive, that those who duly magnify it have made no small progress in faith. We all acknowledge that God can do whatsoever he pleases; but while every temptation, even the most trivial, fills us with fear and dread, it is plain that we derogate from the power of God, by attaching less importance to his promises than to Satan's threatenings against them. [296]

This is the reason why Isaiah, when he would impress on the hearts of the people the certainty of faith, discourses so magnificently of the boundless power of God. He often seems, after beginning to speak of the hope of pardon and reconciliation, to digress, and unnecessarily take a long circuitous course, describing how wonderfully God rules the fabric of heaven and earth, with the whole course of nature; and yet he introduces nothing which is not appropriate to the occasion; because unless the power of God, to which all things are possible is presented to our eye, our ears malignantly refuse admission to the word, or set no just value upon it. We may add, that an effectual power is here meant; for piety, as it has elsewhere been seen, always makes a practical application of the power of God; in particular, keeps those works in view in which he has declared himself to be a Father. Hence the frequent mention in Scripture of redemption; from which the Israelites might learn, that he who had once been the author of salvation would be its perpetual guardian. By his own example, also, David reminds us, that the benefits which God has bestowed privately on any individual, tend to confirm his faith for the time to come; nay, that when God seems to have forsaken us, we ought to extend our view farther, and take courage from his former favors, as is said in another psalm, "I remember the days of old: I meditate on all thy works," (Ps. 143:5). Again "I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember thy wonders of old" (Ps. 77:11). But because all our conceptions of the power and works of God are evanescent without the word, we are not rash in maintaining, that there is no faith until God present us with clear evidence of his grace.

Here, however, a question might be raised as to the view to be taken of Sarah and Rebekah, both of whom, impelled as it would seem by zeal for the faith, went beyond the limits of the word. Sarah, in her eager desire for the promised seed, gave her maid to her husband. That she sinned in many respects is not to be denied; but the only fault to which I now refer is her being carried away by zeal, and not confining herself within the limits prescribed by the word. It is certain, however, that her desire proceeded from faith. Rebekah, again, divinely informed of the election of her son Jacob, procures the blessing for him by a wicked stratagem; deceives her husband, who was a witness and minister of divine grace; forces her son to lie; by various frauds and impostures corrupts divine truth; in fine, by exposing his promise to scorn, does what in her lies to make it of no effect. And yet this conduct, however vicious and reprehensible, was not devoid of faith. She must have overcome many obstacles before she obtained so strong a desire of that which, without any hope of earthly advantage, was full of difficulty and danger. In the same way, we cannot say that the holy patriarch Isaac was altogether void of faith, in that, after he had been similarly informed of the honor transferred to the younger son, he still continues his predilection in favor of his first-born, Esau. These examples certainly show that error is often mingled with faith; and yet that when faith is real, it always obtains the preeminence. For as the particular error of Rebekah did not render the blessing of no effect, neither did it nullify the faith which generally ruled in her mind, and was the principle and cause of that action. In this, nevertheless, Rebekah showed how prone the human mind is to turn aside whenever it gives itself the least indulgence. But though defect and infirmity obscure faith, they do not extinguish it. Still they admonish us how carefully we ought to cling to the word of God, and at the same time confirm what we have taught--viz. that faith gives way when not supported by the word, just as the minds of Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah, would have lost themselves in devious paths, had not the secret restraint of Providence kept them obedient to the word.

32. On the other hand, we have good ground for comprehending all the promises in Christ, since the Apostle comprehends the whole Gospel under the knowledge of Christ, and declares that all the promises of God are in him yea, and amen. [297] The reason for this is obvious. Every promise which God makes is evidence of his good will. This is invariably true, and is not inconsistent with the fact, that the large benefits which the divine liberality is constantly bestowing on the wicked are preparing them for heavier judgment. As they neither think that these proceed from the hand of the Lord, nor acknowledge them as his, or if they do so acknowledge them, never regard them as proofs of his favor, they are in no respect more instructed thereby in his mercy than brute beasts, which, according to their condition, enjoy the same liberality, and yet never look beyond it. Still it is true, that by rejecting the promises generally offered to them, they subject themselves to severer punishment. For though it is only when the promises are received in faith that their efficacy is manifested, still their reality and power are never extinguished by our infidelity or ingratitude. Therefore, when the Lord by his promises invites us not only to enjoy the fruits of his kindness, but also to meditate upon them, he at the same time declares his love. Thus we are brought back to our statement, that every promise is a manifestation of the divine favor toward us. Now, without controversy, God loves no man out of Christ. He is the beloved Son, in whom the love of the Father dwells, and from whom it afterwards extends to us. Thus Paul says "In whom he has made us accepted in the Beloved," (Eph. 1:6). It is by his intervention, therefore, that love is diffused so as to reach us. Accordingly, in another passage, the Apostle calls Christ "our peace," (Eph. 2:14), and also represents him as the bond by which the Father is united to us in paternal affection (Rom. 8:3). It follows, that whenever any promise is made to us, we must turn our eyes toward Christ. Hence, with good reasons Paul declares that in him all the promises of God are confirmed and completed (Rom. 15:8). Some examples are brought forward as repugnant to this view. When Naaman the Syrian made inquiry at the prophet as to the true mode of worshipping God, we cannot (it is said) suppose that he was informed of the Mediator, and yet he is commended for his piety (2 Kings 5:17-19). Nor could Cornelius, a Roman heathen, be acquainted with what was not known to all the Jews, and at best known obscurely. And yet his alms and prayers were acceptable to God (Acts 10:31), while the prophet by his answer approved of the sacrifices of Naaman. In both, this must have been the result of faith. In like manner, the eunuch to whom Philip was sent, had he not been endued with some degree of faith, never would have incurred the fatigue and expense of a long and difficult journey to obtain an opportunity of worship (Acts 8:27, 31); and yet we see how, when interrogated by Philip, he betrays his ignorance of the Mediator. I admit that, in some respect, their faith was not explicit either as to the person of Christ, or the power and office assigned him by the Father. Still it is certain that they were imbued with principles which might give some, though a slender, foretaste of Christ. This should not be thought strange; for the eunuch would not have hastened from a distant country to Jerusalem to an unknown God; nor could Cornelius, after having once embraced the Jewish religion, have lived so long in Judea without becoming acquainted with the rudiments of sound doctrine. In regard to Naaman, it is absurd to suppose that Elisha, while he gave him many minute precepts, said nothing of the principal matter. Therefore, although their knowledge of Christ may have been obscure, we cannot suppose that they had no such knowledge at all. They used the sacrifices of the Law, and must have distinguished them from the spurious sacrifices of the Gentiles, by the end to which they referred--viz. Christ.

33. A simple external manifestation of the word ought to be amply sufficient to produce faith, did not our blindness and perverseness prevent. But such is the proneness of our mind to vanity, that it can never adhere to the truth of God, and such its dullness, that it is always blind even in his light. Hence without the illumination of the Spirit the word has no effect; and hence also it is obvious that faith is something higher than human understanding. Nor were it sufficient for the mind to be illumined by the Spirit of God unless the heart also were strengthened and supported by his power. Here the Schoolmen go completely astray, dwelling entirely in their consideration of faith, on the bare simple assent of the understanding, and altogether overlooking confidence and security of heart. Faith is the special gift of God in both ways,--in purifying the mind so as to give it a relish for divine truth, and afterwards in establishing it therein. For the Spirit does not merely originate faith, but gradually increases it, until by its means he conducts us into the heavenly kingdom. "That good thing which was committed unto thee," says Paul, "keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us," (2 Tim. 1:14). In what sense Paul says (Gal. 3:2), that the Spirit is given by the hearing of faith, may be easily explained. If there were only a single gift of the Spirit, he who is the author and cause of faith could not without absurdity be said to be its effect; but after celebrating the gifts with which God adorns his church, and by successive additions of faith leads it to perfection, there is nothing strange in his ascribing to faith the very gifts which faith prepares us for receiving. It seems to some paradoxical, when it is said that none can believe Christ save those to whom it is given; but this is partly because they do not observe how recondite and sublime heavenly wisdom is, or how dull the mind of man in discerning divine mysteries, and partly because they pay no regard to that firm and stable constancy of heart which is the chief part of faith.

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



  • Place That Won't Let Go
  • Delivering Hope
  • Frank's Angriest Moment

#1 Father Gregory Boyle      Pepperdine University

 

#2 Father Gregory Boyle      Pepperdine University

 

#3 Father Gregory Boyle      Pepperdine University

 


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Secrets of self-control (3)
     3/2/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘The grace of God…teaches us to say “No.”’

(Tt 2:11) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, ESV

     Talk back to your feelings. We put far too much emphasis on our feelings. We think everything has to feel good or it’s not worthwhile. We say things like, ‘I don’t feel like studying…I don’t feel like working…I don’t feel like reading my Bible.’ Or, ‘I feel like having another drink…I feel like sleeping until noon.’ Don’t give your feelings so much authority. Feelings are highly unreliable; if you allow them, they will control and manipulate you. God doesn’t want you to be controlled by your feelings. He wants you to master your moods. With Christ as the Master of your life, you can master your feelings. Talk back to them. God says He wants you to learn how to challenge your emotions. ‘The grace of God…teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ (vv. 11-12 NIV 2011 Edition). God’s grace gives you the power to do what’s right. It gives you the ability to say no to that feeling, to that desire, to that impulse. Are you battling a weight problem? Before you ever walk into the kitchen and open the refrigerator door, you have already begun to talk to yourself about eating. If you are serious, you will have to challenge some of those subconscious attitudes about food. When you hear your mind saying, ‘I just have to have a snack or I’ll die,’ you have to say, ‘No, I’m not going to die. In fact, I will be healthier if I don’t have a snack.’ Bottom line: God’s supernatural power can help you to master your moods, thoughts, and desires.

Numbers 3-4
Mark 3:20-35

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     March 2, 1836, the people of Texas signed a Declaration of Independence, stating: “The government [of] General Santa Ana… now offers… the cruel alternative, either abandon our homes… or submit to the most intolerable… tyranny…. It denies us the right of worshiping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience… It has demanded us to deliver up our arms… It has… incited the… savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our… frontiers.” The Texas Declaration concluded: “Conscious of… our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit… to… the Supreme Arbiter of the Destinies of Nations.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     The second is love. It is second not in importance but merely in order of mentioning. For it is true that in the experience of Divine Presence that which flows over the ocean of darkness is an infinite ocean of light and love. In the Eternal Now all men become seen in a new way. We enfold them in our love, and we and they are enfolded together within the great Love of God as we know it in Christ. Once walk in the Now and men are changed, in our sight, as we see them from the plateau heights. They aren't just masses of struggling beings, furthering or thwarting our ambitions, or, in far larger numbers, utterly alien to and insulated from us. We become identified with them and suffer when they suffer and rejoice when they rejoice. One might almost say we become cosmic mothers, tenderly caring for all. But that, I believe, is experienced only in the acutest stages of mystic ecstasy, whereas I have been discussing the experience of milder, less lofty plateaus of glory, prolonged days and even weeks of sense of Presence wherein, as Isaac Penington would say, the springings of the Life are ever fresh. In such a sense of Presence there is a vast background of cosmic Love and tender care for all things (plants included, I find for myself), but in the foreground arise special objects of love and concern and tender responsibility. The people we know best, see oftenest, have most to do with, these are reloved in a new and a deeper way. Would that we could relove the whole world! But a special fragment is placed before us by the temporal now, which puts a special responsibility for our present upon us. The responsibility arising from our location in space is very different from our responsibility arising out of our location in time. For we can journey to distant­ places and get a different foreground of objects and events, but we cannot journey out of our time-now into a new historical location. The invading Love of the Eternal Now must break in through us into this time-now.

     But what is the content and aim of this yearning Love, which is the Divine Love loving its way into and through us to others? It is that they too may make the great discovery, that they also may find God or, better, be found by Him, that they may know the Eternal breaking in upon them and making their lives moving images of the Eternal Life. It is not reserved merely for the Father-Love in heaven to grieve over prodigal sons. Wherever any heart has tasted of the heavenly Love, there is the Father-Love grieving over prodigals, there is the shepherd heart yearning over sheep not having a shepherd, not knowing where are the green pastures, not even aware that there are green pastures to find, there is one of the sons of God mourning to see his fellows raking together the sticks and the straws while over their heads is held the crown of life. Heaven's eternal Now within us makes us speak blasphemous things, for we seem to assume the prerogatives of God. But this is a part of that astounding boldness of which I mean to speak under the head of peace-our next main fruit of the spirit.

     But first I would point out the new fellowship which is born among those who have found the Love which is in the Eternal Now. For those who have been brought back to the Principle within them are exquisitely drawn toward all others who have found the same Principle. The fellowship is not founded upon a common subjective experience, like the fellowship of hay-fever sufferers! It is founded upon a common Object, who is known by them all to be the very Life within them. This is the Reality which removes Quakerism from pure individualism and from pure subjectivism, as it is so commonly and so mistakenly interpreted.


A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive.
--- Howard Thurman

The first duty of love is to listen.
--- Paul Tillich

Property may be destroyed and money may lose its purchasing power; but, character, health, knowledge and good judgment will always be in demand under all conditions.
--- Roger Babson

The Christian of the future will be a mystic.
--- Karl Rahner

... from here, there and everywhere


Journal of John Woolman 3/2
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     Fourth of fourth month, 1758. -- Orders came to some officers in Mount Holly to prepare quarters for a short time for about one hundred soldiers. An officer and two other men, all inhabitants of our town came to my house. The officer told me that he came to desire me to provide lodging and entertainment for two soldiers, and that six shillings a week per man would be allowed as pay for it. The case being new and unexpected I made no answer suddenly, but sat a time silent, my mind being inward. I was fully convinced that the proceedings in wars are inconsistent with the purity of the Christian religion; and to be hired to entertain men, who were then under pay as soldiers, was a difficulty with me. I expected they had legal authority for what they did; and after a short time I said to the officer, if the men are sent here for entertainment I believe I shall not refuse to admit them into my house, but the nature of the case is such that I expect I cannot keep them on hire; one of the men intimated that he thought I might do it consistently with my religious principles. To which I made no reply, believing silence at that time best for me. Though they spake of two, there came only one, who tarried at my house about two weeks, and behaved himself civilly. When the officer came to pay me, I told him I could not take pay, having admitted him into my house in a passive obedience to authority. I was on horseback when he spake to me, and as I turned from him, he said he was obliged to me; to which I said nothing; but, thinking on the expression, I grew uneasy; and afterwards, being near where he lived, I went and told him on what grounds I refused taking pay for keeping the soldier.

     I have been informed that Thomas a Kempis lived and died in the profession of the Roman Catholic religion; and, in reading his writings, I have believed him to be a man of a true Christian spirit, as fully so as many who died martyrs because they could not join with some superstitions in that church. All true Christians are of the same spirit, but their gifts are diverse, Jesus Christ appointing to each one his peculiar office, agreeably to his infinite wisdom.

     John Huss contended against the errors which had crept into the church, in opposition to the Council of Constance, which the historian reports to have consisted of some thousand persons. He modestly vindicated the cause which he believed was right; and though his language and conduct towards his judges appear to have been respectful, yet he never could be moved from the principles settled in his mind. To use his own words: "This I most humbly require and desire of you all, even for his sake who is the God of us all, that I be not compelled to the thing which my conscience doth repugn or strive against." And again, in his answer to the Emperor: "I refuse nothing, most noble Emperor, whatsoever the council shall decree or determine upon me, only this one thing I except, that I do not offend God and my conscience." At length, rather than act contrary to that which he believed the Lord required of him, he chose to suffer death by fire. Thomas a Kempis, without disputing against the articles then generally agreed to, appears to have labored, by a pious example as well as by preaching and writing, to promote virtue and the inward spiritual religion; and I believe they were both sincere-hearted followers of Christ. True charity is an excellent virtue; and sincerely to labor for their good, whose belief in all points doth not agree with ours, is a happy state.

John Woolman's Journal

Proverbs 11:22-23
     by D.H. Stern

22     Like a gold ring in the snout of a pig
is a beautiful woman who lacks good sense.

23     The righteous desire only good,
but what the wicked hope for brings wrath.


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

                Have you felt the hurt of the Lord?

     Jesus said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? --- John 21:17.

     Have you felt the hurt of the Lord to the uncovered quick, the place where the real sensitiveness of your life is lodged? The devil never hurts there, neither sin nor human affection hurts there, nothing goes through to that place but the word of God. “Peter was grieved, because Jesus said unto him the third time.…” He was awakening to the fact that in the real true centre of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus, and he began to see what the patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest strand of delusion left in Peter’s mind, he never could be deluded again. There was no room for passionate utterance, no room for exhilaration or sentiment. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he said—“Lord, Thou knowest all things.” Peter began to see how much he did love Jesus; but he did not say—‘Look at this or that to confirm it.’ Peter was beginning to discover to himself how much he did love the Lord, that there was no one in heaven above or upon earth beneath beside Jesus Christ; but he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord came. The Lord’s questions always reveal me to myself.

     The patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the right time. Rarely, but probably once, He will get us into a corner where He will hurt us with His undeviating questions, and we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than any profession can ever show.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

St Julien and the Leper
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                St Julien and the Leper

Though all ran from him, he did not
Run, but awaited
Him with his arms
Out, his ears stopped
To his bell, his alarmed
Crying. He lay down
With him there, sharing his sores'
Stench, the quarantinr
Of his soul; contaminating
imself with a kiss,
With the love that
Our science has disinfected.

Not that he brought flowers

Teacher's Commentary
     Sacrifice: Leviticus 1–7

     The Book of Leviticus is a book of detailed regulations. It may seem dull to many. But imbedded in the instructions of this book are many principles which have relevance to us today.

     The Bible Knowledge Commentary makes these points about the role of sacrifice in the Old Testament system. First, under the Law sacrifice was given as the only sufficient means for Israelites to remain in fellowship with the Lord. But second, with one possible exception, the sacrifices were limited in scope, dealing only with certain kinds of personal sins. They were “mainly concerned with sins of ignorance, accident, carelessness, and omission” and included sins of ritual and social nature. There was no individual sacrifice provided for willful violation of God’s commands. Such sins could be forgiven—as David’s experience and psalms testify (cf.
Pss. 32; 51)—on the basis of a grace response to faith and repentance. But the sacrificial system was not in itself a way of salvation. Yet, sacrifice in the Old Testament has continually been associated with forgiveness and with fellowship with God.

     A historic overview. In other cultures, sacrifice was viewed usually as food for the gods, and the priests often used the entrails of sacrificial beasts for occult divination. In Israel the sacrifice was not divine food (cf.
Ex. 29:38–41; Ps. 50:8–15). And in Israel it was the blood of the sacrificed animal that was significant. In fact, the blood was crucial, for God said, “I have given it [the life-blood of the sacrificial animal] to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Lev. 17:11). The worshiper was taught that sin calls for the surrender of life, and that God will accept a substitute.

     The practice of sacrifice precedes the Mosaic Law. Some see God’s killing of an animal to cover Adam and Eve with skins as the first sacrifice. The story of Cain and Abel certainly suggests that the first family was taught this way to approach God. Cain “brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord” (
Gen. 4:3), while Abel “brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock” (v. 4). God rebuked Cain. “If you do what is right,” God said (v. 7), implying clearly that Cain’s offering was in willful violation of God’s known will.

     Animal sacrifices continued to be the norm. They were offered by Noah (
Gen 8:20–21). Job, who may have been a contemporary of Abraham, offered sacrifices for sins (Job 1:5; 42:7–9). Genesis shows that the patriarchs built altars when they called on the name of the Lord (Gen. 12:8; 13:4; 26:25). The Passover lamb was a family sacrifice, rich in powerful imagery.

     Now, before Sinai, God gave Israel in His Law a carefully designed, detailed system of offerings and sacrifices.

     As noted earlier, however, these sacrifices were for personal sins of a limited nature. They were to be offered for unintentional sins (cf.
Lev. 4:13, 22, 27; 5:14; etc.). In such cases a common ritual was followed. The one who sinned unintentionally was guilty. The guilty sinner brought an animal to the priests, who offered it in sacrifice. “In this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven” (Lev 4:26).

     But forgiveness was not really won through the ritual itself. That is, the ritual was not sufficient in itself. The later prophets made more clear the implications of forgiveness offered for the unintentional sins. The individual who chose to dishonor God by refusing to live the just and merciful life the Lord commanded had no real recourse to sacrifice, even though generations of Israelites failed to grasp this reality. Thus Isaiah thundered against the sinful of his days who enjoyed both sin and “worship”:

     Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to Me.… Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts My soul hates. They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of My sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right. Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

     
Isaiah 1:13–17 (See also Jer. 7:20–23; Amos 5:21–27; Micah 6:6–8.)

     The message of sacrifice was never that one could sin impudently, and then come to God for an easy remedy. Sacrifice was for those whose hearts were already turned to the Lord.

The Teacher's Commentary

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     6 Orders and Encampments by the Water

     You have come to the heart of this book, the individual chapter entries. In arranging these selections, we have followed the organizing principle of the Talmud, setting the texts in the order that they are found in the traditional division known as the “Six Orders.” You may recall the next to the last song in the Passover Haggadah, “Eḥad Mi Yode’a,” or “Who Knows One?” Halfway through the riddle-song, the question is asked, “Who knows [the significance of the number] six?” The answer is: “Six are the Orders of the Mishnah!” This refers to the fact that Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi divided the Mishnah into six major “Orders,” each section (seder in Hebrew) dealing with a specific topic:

     Zeraim (“Seeds”)—agricultural laws;
     Moed (“Holiday”)—Shabbat and festivals;
     Nashim (“Women”)—marriage and divorce;
     Nezikin (“Damages”)—civil & criminal law;
     Kodashim (“Holy Things”)—sacrifices;
     Teharot (“Clean Things”)—ritual purity.

     While the Mishnah is arranged according to these six broad topics, the Gemara does not restrict or limit itself at all to these particular subjects. By its very nature, the Talmud is organic; its commentaries move from topic to tangent, encompassing every conceivable issue. The reader of this book will quickly discover that our texts and D’rashot (plural of D’rash), while arranged in the order of the tractates of the Mishnah, are as wide-ranging as is the Gemara.

     At the beginning of each Order, we will give a brief introduction to that section of the Mishnah and to the tractates that it contains. The individual entries, found in that Order, will then follow. At the conclusion of each section, we bring a short piece called “Rest Stop.” The study of the Talmud is like a journey (at times, a very difficult one). Just as one needs to stop and rest along the way on a journey, so, too, one needs to pause and reflect after studying challenging texts. We offer some brief stories—talmudic, hasidic, and modern—that enable the reader to stop and think, and to put the learning into the broader perspective. We hope these tales serve to refresh you, so that you may continue the journey, stronger and wiser. To highlight the rest stops, we have placed them in the context of the journeys of the Israelites: From Egypt (slavery) to Sinai (and the receiving of the Torah) to Israel (the ultimate destination, and the Promised Land). Significantly, these rest stops, or encampments, were at places near bodies of water. The Rabbis saw water as a metaphor for Torah and learning; it is for the very same reason that the Talmud was often called a sea.

Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book Two / The Interior Life

     The Fifth Chapter / Ourselves

     WE MUST not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light, and this we quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so blind in heart. Meanwhile we do wrong, and then do worse in excusing it. At times we are moved by passion, and we think it zeal. We take others to task for small mistakes, and overlook greater ones in ourselves. We are quick enough to feel and brood over the things we suffer from others, but we think nothing of how much others suffer from us. If a man would weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass severe judgment on others.

     The interior man puts the care of himself before all other concerns, and he who attends to himself carefully does not find it hard to hold his tongue about others. You will never be devout of heart unless you are thus silent about the affairs of others and pay particular attention to yourself. If you attend wholly to God and yourself, you will be little disturbed by what you see about you.

     Where are your thoughts when they are not upon yourself? And after attending to various things, what have you gained if you have neglected self? If you wish to have true peace of mind and unity of purpose, you must cast all else aside and keep only yourself before your eyes.

     You will make great progress if you keep yourself free from all temporal cares, for to value anything that is temporal is a great mistake. Consider nothing great, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, except God Himself or that which is of God. Consider the consolations of creatures as vanity, for the soul that loves God scorns all things that are inferior to Him. God alone, the eternal and infinite, satisfies all, bringing comfort to the soul and true joy to the body.

The Imitation Of Christ

Take Heart
     March 2

     As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
---
Psalm 103:13.

     The Lord has compassion on our childish ignorance. ( Spurgeon's Sermons, 5 Volumes ) He is not angry with us because we do not know everything, because the little we do know we mostly turn topsy-turvy, because what he has taught us we are apt to forget by reason of fickle memory; no, but he has compassion on us. A true father, when his children do not know, tells them, and if a child hasn’t got it then, he tries again.

     Does the father expect his child to know as much as he himself? Certainly not. And when the child makes mistakes at which others laugh, the father feels the affront and has compassion on his child, and he goes on to teach more. “Why did you tell your child that piece of information twenty times?” said one. Said the mother, “Because when I had told him nineteen times he did not know it, so I went on to twenty times.” And that is how God does with us. To know him and to know something of the power of his resurrection and something of conformity to his death—these are lessons we are learning, with a sweet prospect of being taught yet more and more and never a fear of being dismissed because of our dullness.

     A word of admonition before we go any further. Do not think that you do not have the privileges of children because you do not know as much as more experienced saints. Do not think our heavenly Father does not love you, that he will refrain from keeping his eye on you or cease to watch your growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ until he has more fully instructed you. Do not condemn those of God’s children who do not know as much as you do. You have not gotten far yet yourselves. Still, there is a tendency in some to say, “Why, this cannot be genuine grace, for it is accompanied with such little knowledge.”

     If that suspicion leads you to give more instruction, it is well, but if it leads you to set aside the uninstructed one, it is ill. In the church of God it is fit for us to have the same compassion for the ignorant as our heavenly Father has shown toward our ignorance, and we ought to have even more, since he has no ignorance of his own and we have much. Let us therefore be compassionate and full of pity toward those who as yet know only a little.
--- C. H. Spurgeon


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

On This Day   March 2
     Council of Constance

     The Great Schism is a term describing two events in church history. The first is the breach between the eastern and western churches that occurred in 1054. The second is the sad period from 1378 to 1417 during which rival popes claimed to rule Christendom. In 1414 one of the claimants, Pope John XXIII, called together a church council in the city of Constance to end this schism.

     John packed the conference with his followers, and he felt he would be affirmed as sole pope. As he approached Constance, he said, “Ha, this is the place where foxes are trapped.” He entered the city on a white horse accompanied by 1,600 troops. The excitement was breathtaking. Constance swelled with as many as 100,000 visitors from across Europe, including princes, musicians, and prostitutes. So many people bathed in the city’s lake that 500 drownings were reported.

     But John’s smugness quickly faded. The proceedings were dominated by an overriding desire to restore church unity. The council, to John’s surprise, wanted to replace all three popes and elect a new one from scratch. When documents began circulating questioning his fitness for office, John became frightened. On March 2, 1415 he appeared before the council and said, I, John XXIII, a pope, promise and obligate myself, vow and swear—here he dramatically rose from his seat and fell on his knees—before God, the Church, and this holy council to give peace to the Church by abdication, provided the pretenders, Benedict and Gregory, do the same.

     Constance erupted in joy, church bells pealing, people weeping and laughing and shouting. John, fearing for his life, fled Constance disguised in a gray coat and hat. But the council tracked him down, returned him to Constance, condemned him for scandalous conduct, and officially deposed him. In time, it successfully ended the Great Schism.

     But John XXIII wasn’t the council’s only victim. The same assembly attacked so-called heretics like John Wycliffe and Jon Hus. When Hus himself came to Constance under promise of safe conduct, he was imprisoned, condemned, and handed over to secular authorities to be burned at the stake.

     But his efforts inspired Scots for years to come, and the Reformation triumphed in their land at last.

     I did not send these prophets or speak to them, but they ran to find you and to preach their message. If they had been in a meeting of my council in heaven, they would have told you people of Judah to give up your sins and come back to me.
--- Jeremiah 23:21,22.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - March 2

     “But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.” --- 1 Samuel 13:20.

     We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving, all must be brought into action, and talents which have been thought too mean for service, must now be employed. Coulter, and axe, and mattock, may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favourable or unfavourable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.

     Most of our tools want sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness, in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises. We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit. See the energy of the Papists, how they compass sea and land to make one proselyte, are they to monopolize all the earnestness? Mark the heathen devotees, what tortures they endure in the service of their idols! are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavours, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all! The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!


          Evening - March 2

     “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” --- Ephesians 3:8.

     The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to preach the gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Yet while Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it greatly humbled him. The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are. Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, he was never perplexed as to the subject of his ministry. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of God who bled thereon. Follow his example in all your personal efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let “Christ and him crucified” be your ever recurring theme. The Christian should be like those lovely spring flowers which, when the sun is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, “Fill us with thy beams!” but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they close their cups and droop their heads. So should the Christian feel the sweet influence of Jesus; Jesus must be his sun, and he must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness. Oh! to speak of Christ alone, this is the subject which is both “seed for the sower, and bread for the eater.” This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the master-key to the heart of the hearer.

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     March 2

          JESUS LOVES ME

     Anna B. Warner, 1820–1915

     I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. (Luke 18:17)

     The story is told of a brilliant professor at Princeton Seminary who always left his graduation class with these words: “Gentlemen, there is still much in this world and in the Bible that I do not understand, but of one thing I am certain—‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so’—and gentlemen, that is sufficient!”

     Without doubt the song that has been sung more by children than any other hymn is this simply stated one by Anna Warner. Written in 1860, it is still one of the first hymns taught to new converts in other lands.

     Miss Warner wrote this text in collaboration with her sister Susan. It was part of their novel Say and Seal, one of the best selling books of that day. Today few individuals would know or remember the plot of that story, which once stirred the hearts of many readers. But the simple poem spoken by one of the characters, Mr. Linden, as he comforts Johnny Fax, a dying child, still remains the favorite hymn of countless children around the world.

     Jesus loves me! this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong.
     Jesus loves me! loves me still, tho I’m very weak and ill, that I might from sin be free, bled and died upon the tree.
     Jesus loves me! He who died heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, let His little child come in.
     Jesus loves me! He will stay close beside me all the way. Thou hast bled and died for me; I will henceforth live for Thee.
     Chorus: Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.


     William Bradbury, the composer of the music, was one of the leading contributors to the development of early gospel music in America. He became recognized as one of the pioneers in children’s music both for the church and in the public schools. In 1861 Bradbury composed the music for Anna Warner’s text and personally added the chorus to her four stanzas. The hymn appeared the following year in Bradbury’s hymnal collection, The Golden Sower. It had an immediate response.

     For Today: Genesis 33:5; Psalm 127:3; Matthew 11:25; Mark 10:16.

     “If there is anything that will endure the eye of God, because it still is pure, it is the spirit of a little child, fresh from His hand, and therefore undefiled.” Ask God to give you this kind of spirit.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Friday, March 2, 2018 | Lent


Friday Of The Second Week In Lent
Year 2

Invitatory     Psalm 95
Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 69:1–21 (22–28) 29–36
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 73
Old Testament     Genesis 43:1–15
New Testament     1 Corinthians 7:1–9
Gospel     Mark 4:35–41

Index of Readings

Invitatory
Psalm 95

95 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”

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
Genesis 43:1–15

43 Now the famine was severe in the land. 2 And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’ ” 6 Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” 7 They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” 8 And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. 9 I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10 If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. 14 May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

15 So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 7:1–9

7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Gospel
Mark 4:35–41

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”


The Book of Common Prayer



Re-ordering Friendship, Love, and Enmity 1
Mark Dever
Henry Center For Theological Understanding





... Enmity 2 | Mark Dever
Henry Center For Theological Understanding






... Enmity 3 | Mark Dever
Henry Center For Theological Understanding





... Enmity 4 | Mark Dever
Henry Center For Theological Understanding






... Enmity 5 | Mark Dever
Henry Center For Theological Understanding





Jonathan Edwards' Understanding of the Trinity
John Piper
Henry Center For Theological Understanding





Black Ministers Welcome Netanyahu to Congress
Star Parker | Star Parker For Freedom





The Armor of God: Praying at All Times
Ephesians 6:18-20 | John MacArthur






Seven Aspects of The Lord’s Table
1 Corinthians 10 and 11 | John MacArthur





The Consequences of Non-expositional Preaching 2
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur






Spirit-Filled Music
Ephesians 5:18-19 | John MacArthur





An Expression of Pastoral Gratitude
Philippians 4:10-20 | John MacArthur






Understanding the Sabbath
Genesis 2:1-3 | John MacArthur





The Resurrection of Jesus Christ:
The Main Event in Redemptive History
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur






Why Sunday Is the Lord’s Day
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur