The Song of MosesExodus 15:1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying,
“I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a man of war;
the LORD is his name.
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power,
your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11 “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14 The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O LORD, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
18 The LORD will reign forever and ever.”
“Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
Bitter Water Made Sweet22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.
The Parable of the Persistent WidowLuke 18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Let the Children Come to Me15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
The Rich Ruler18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Elihu Rebukes Job
Job 33:1 But now, hear my speech, O Job,
and listen to all my words.
2 Behold, I open my mouth;
the tongue in my mouth speaks.
3 My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 Answer me, if you can;
set your words in order before me; take your stand.
6 Behold, I am toward God as you are;
I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.
7 Behold, no fear of me need terrify you;
my pressure will not be heavy upon you.
8 “Surely you have spoken in my ears,
and I have heard the sound of your words.
9 You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression;
I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.
10 Behold, he finds occasions against me,
he counts me as his enemy,
11 he puts my feet in the stocks
and watches all my paths.’
12 “Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you,
for God is greater than man.
13 Why do you contend against him,
saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’?
14 For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
while they slumber on their beds,
16 then he opens the ears of men
and terrifies them with warnings,
17 that he may turn man aside from his deed
and conceal pride from a man;
18 he keeps back his soul from the pit,
his life from perishing by the sword.
19 “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
and with continual strife in his bones,
20 so that his life loathes bread,
and his appetite the choicest food.
21 His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22 His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death.
23 If there be for him an angel,
a mediator, one of the thousand,
to declare to man what is right for him,
24 and he is merciful to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
I have found a ransom;
25 let his flesh become fresh with youth;
let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
26 then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
27 He sings before men and says:
‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
and it was not repaid to me.
28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
and my life shall look upon the light.’
29 “Behold, God does all these things,
twice, three times, with a man,
30 to bring back his soul from the pit,
that he may be lighted with the light of life.
31 Pay attention, O Job, listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.
32 If you have any words, answer me;
speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 If not, listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”
Ministers of the New Covenant
2 Corinthians 32 Corinthians 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
The Reformation Study Bible
What I'm Reading
Is Noah’s Flood Simply a Retelling of Prior Mythologies?
By J. Warner Wallace 3/3/2017
The Book of Genesis has become a lightning rod for skeptics and Christians alike. Sometimes the debate is focused on Genesis 1 and the creation account. What was the length of each “day” recorded here? How do we reconcile apparent contradictions between Genesis Chapter 1 and Chapter 2? As a new investigator of Christianity, these issues were important to me as I returned to the Old Testament to connect the dots between the history of Judaism and the claims of Christianity. The flood story recorded in Genesis 6:9-8:22 was also an area of particular interest to me. I knew that the story was not unique to Judaism and I suspected it was a piece of borrowed mythology.
It turns out there are over 200 historic flood accounts across the globe from just about every culture or primitive society you can imagine. Beyond the region of Turkey, Egypt and Persia, these ancient accounts are found in the history of people groups as far away as China and Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, Alaska and the North American continent, the islands of the South Pacific and throughout Central and South America. I’ve examined these stories and, to be fair, some of them are dissimilar to the Biblical account of the flood. But many also include features or details found in Moses’ description. A favored family (88%) was warned in advance (66%) of a globally catastrophic flood (95%). The survivors used a boat (70%) to save animals (67%) and eventually landed on a mountain (57%).
These accounts (similar as they may be) span the course of early human history. They don’t appear on the globe simultaneously, but are instead recorded by people groups as they migrated to various regions. While the similarities of their accounts may affirm the retelling of an original event, how do we know when this event occurred and which version we ought to trust? Many scholars have argued that Moses’ account is not the original. Why should we trust it as authoritative when there are other competing ancient flood “mythologies”? The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, contains many of the same features described in Moses’ account. In both stories, man’s wickedness is the cause of a flood brought on by God(s), and a single righteous man is commanded to build an extremely large boat. This man assembled a small remnant of humanity along with every species of animal to take refuge on the vessel; the flood then destroyed all the remaining creatures. The occupants of the boat released birds in an effort to find dry land, and the boat eventually found itself on a tall mountain. The protagonist of each story then offered a sacrifice prior to being blessed for his obedience.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
Cold Case Christianity
Natural Law In Court
By Professor Pryor 3/2/2017
I'm looking forward to meeting up again with Richard Helmholz, author of "Natural Law in Court: A History of Legal Theory in Practice" (2015), at the Religious Critiques of Law conference at Pepperdine University School of Law.
"Natural Law in Court" has been reviewed here and here. The purpose of this post is to let even more folks, particularly lawyers, know about this splendid (and relatively brief) work.
Helmholz set out to answer a basic question: for all the philosophical and theological to-do about natural law, did it ever actually make an impact on the ground, i.e., in court? Helmholz thus surveyed the legal literature of three legal communities over the course of roughly 300 years. The communities were Continental Europe, England, and the United States. The period examined begins with 1500 and ends around 1800 for the first two communities and in the late 19th century for the U.S.
This survey of the relevant evidence ... proves that natural law was carried into practice in the courts of each of the three geographical areas surveyed. ... At least six specific conclusions about its use emerge from a consideration of the evidence.
First, in all three geographical area surveyed, future lawyers learned something about the basic characteristics of the law of nature as part of their early training. ...
About Professor Pryor: Professor of law, teacher of contracts and subjects commercial, follower of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in the Reformed tradition, and curious about why things are the way they seem to be. Graduate of various schools, husband of one, and father of three.
12 Things Science Can’t Explain
By David Glass 8/31/2012
Although it’s quite old, there is a rather amusing clip of William Lane Craig in dialogue with Peter Atkins, where Atkins asks Craig whether he denies that science can explain everything. Craig responds with the following five things science can’t explain:
1. Logical and mathematical truths (which are presupposed by science)
2. Metaphysical truths (like the past was not created 5 minutes ago with an appearance of age)
3. Ethical truths
4. Aesthetic truths
5. Science itself (since science is based on assumptions that can’t be proven)
Six Things Evolution Doesn’t Explain
By David Glass 7/11/2015
At a popular level, many people seem to think that evolution effectively disproves God’s existence. Certainly, it could be argued that evolution undermines design arguments based on the existence of intelligent life, although we have disputed that idea in a previous article. But the idea that evolution could achieve more than that and become an all-encompassing argument for atheism just doesn’t get off the ground at all.
Here we want to highlight some things that evolution doesn’t explain. The list could certainly be extended, but all six of the points listed are relevant to the existence of intelligent life. Of course, it will be obvious that evolution doesn’t explain most of these points (the first four) since it is not intended to, but it is still important to mention them because they highlight how incomplete evolution is on its own as an explanation for intelligent life. This is not a criticism of evolution, but is simply a matter of recognizing its limits. For those interested in how we think Christians should approach evolution see our article Debating Darwin.
With that in mind, here are six things evolution doesn’t explain:
1. An orderly universe with suitable physical laws.
Evolution couldn’t operate without appropriate physical laws in place, yet clearly evolution cannot explain why such laws apply to our universe. As we discuss here, this feature of the universe provides one reason for belief in God.
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 27The LORD Is My Light and My Salvation
27 Of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
Why Is the Witness of the Spirit So Special?
By Dr. Sinclair Ferguson
Paul speaks of the believer crying, “Abba! Father!” His verb, krazō, normally indicates a loud or needy cry. The verb is used in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament in this sense. ( For example, in Ps. 141: “O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!” (v. 1). ) It is found in the Gospels of the blind beggar crying out for help, ( Luke 18:40 ) and of the crowd crying out, “Crucify him!” ( Matt. 20:30; Mark 15:13 ) and in Revelation of a woman in childbirth. ( Rev 12:2 )
The verb itself is onomatopoeic — its sound expresses the sharpness of the cry. Paul therefore seems to have in mind a loud cry that issues from a situation of great need. “Abba! Father!” is not a restful whisper of contentment and security. It is the cry of a child who has stumbled, tripped, and fallen, and is crying out for his or her father to come to help. It is the deepest instinct of the child in need.
This is precisely why the cry, “Abba! Father,” is so significant. It expresses, at a point of intense need, an instinct that is absent from the unbeliever’s consciousness. At best such a person may (and often does) cry out, “O God!” but not instinctively, “O Father!” That cry is the fruit of the ministry of the Spirit; it is his co-testimony with our spirit; even in the hour of darkness the believer possesses an instinct, a testimony: he or she knows him- or herself to be a child of God!
The one who confesses, “Jesus is Lord,” by the Spirit is also the one who cries out in time of need, “Abba! Father!” by the same Spirit. John Murray was therefore right to affirm that even at its lowest ebb the believer’s consciousness differs by a whole diameter from that of the unbeliever.
Notice what this means. Gospel assurance is not withheld from God’s children even when they have not shown themselves to be strong. What good father would want his children’s assurance of his love to be possible only when they have sufficient accomplishments in life to merit it? Shame on such a father! Yet how sad that we impute such an attitude to our heavenly Father.
It should be noted, however, that while the witness of the Spirit is not the same as the fruit of the Spirit, Paul does not present it as a kind of “Route B” to assurance for those whose lives are empty of that fruit. The witness of the Spirit goes hand in glove with the fruit of the Spirit, for Paul has been describing the believer as a person who walks according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh, who lives by putting to death the misdeeds of the body. So the Spirit’s testimony with our spirits that we are God’s sons does not exist in isolation from the family characteristics that the Spirit produces in our lives. His witness is a joint witness with our spirits and takes place within the complexity of our own consciousness of our sonship (however subliminal that may be). It is therefore not independent of the marks of God’s grace in our lives. Paul had already made this clear in Romans 8:12–14 in relating the mortification of sin to the ongoing leading of the Spirit, (In this context it is noteworthy that the one reference in the New Testament to “the leading of the Spirit” is related not to “guidance” in general but to holiness in particular.) who bears witness with our spirits that we are sons of God.
B. B. Warfield once again well expresses the balance here when he says that the witness of the Spirit
is, in a word, not a substitute for the proper evidence of our childship; but a divine enhancement of that evidence. A man who has none of the marks of a Christian is not entitled to believe himself to be a Christian; only those who are being led by the Spirit of God are children of God. But a man who has all the marks of being a Christian may fall short of his privilege of assurance. It is to such that the witness of the Spirit is superadded, not to take the place of the evidence of “signs” but to enhance their effect and raise it to a higher plane; not to produce an irrational, unjustified, conviction, but to produce a higher and more stable conviction than he would be, all unaided, able to draw; not to supply the lack of evidence, but to cure a disease of the mind which will not profit fully by the evidence. . . . The Spirit . . . does not operate by producing conviction without reason; an unreasonable conclusion. Nor yet apart from the reason; equally unreasonable. Nor by producing more reasons for the conclusion. But by giving their true weight and validity to the reasons which exist and so leading to the true conclusion, with Divine assurance.
The function of the witness of the Spirit of God is, therefore, to give to our halting conclusions the weight of His Divine certitude. Faith and Life
Thus there are different strands of influences that together make up the complex harmony that is Christian assurance. Actual assurance has a psychological as well as a theological dimension. Precisely for this reason, even when we have developed a clear doctrine of assurance, our actual experience of it may be prevented by numerous obstacles.
Sinclair Ferguson Books:
- 1 Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification
- 2 The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance
- 3 The Christian LIfe: A Doctrinal Introduction
- 4 In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
- 5 Church History 101: The Highlights of Twenty Centuries
- 6 The Holy Spirit (Contours of Christian Theology)
- 7 Sermon on the Mount
- 8 By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me
- 9 From the Mouth of God
- 10 The Grace of Repentance (Redesign) (Today's Issues)
- 11 The Pundit's Folly: Chronicles of an Empty Life
- 12 Let's Study Philippians (Let's Study Series)
- 13 Discovering God's Will
- 14 Heart for God
- 15 Faithful God: An Exposition of the Book of Ruth
- 16 Children of the Living God
- 17 Name above All Names
- 18 Big Book of Questions & Answers: A Family Devotional Guide
- 19 Living for God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism
- 20 John Owen on the Christian Life
- 21 Man Overboard!: The Story of Jonah
- 22 Child in the Manger
- 23 The Preacher's Commentary - Vol. 21- Daniel
- 24 Ephesians (Let's Study)
- 25 Let's Study Mark (Let's Study Series)
- 26 Irenaeus of Lyons (Heroes of the Faith)
- 27 Ichthus: Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Saviour
- 28 The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction
- 29 Polycarp of Smyrna (Heroes of the Faith)
- 30 Grow in Grace
- 31 The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance
- 32 Ignatius of Antioch (Heroes of the Faith)
- 33 Deserted by God?
- 34 Big Book of Bible Truths 1
- 35 In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
Did Jesus claim to be God?
By Triablogue 3/2/2017
A perennial question that some people raise is whether Jesus claimed to be God. The skepticism underlying the question is that while NT writers claim divinity for Jesus, that's not a claim he made for himself. In other words, he was just human, and a divine Jesus reflects legendary embellishment on the part of NT writers.
Now, in one respect, I think the question is unimportant. I mean, if Jesus is God Incarnate, then we'd expect him to indicate that fact, but what I mean is that Jesus didn't write anything, so if someone is skeptical about the historicity of the Gospels or the NT generally, they will be just as dismissive of accounts in which Jesus claims to be God. They will say the Gospel writers put those words on Jesus' lips. So when the question has that frame of reference, it's futile to distinguish what Jesus said about himself from what NT writers said about Jesus. Since we don't have an autobiography of Jesus, there's no point attempting to prove to a "skeptic" that Jesus claimed to be God. If they distrust the historicity of the Gospels, they'd say statements attributed to Jesus are reducible to what the Gospels authors said about him rather than what he said about himself. To that extent, I think a "quest for the historical Jesus" that labors to isolate his statements from the narrator's statements is pointless.
There is, though, a more interesting question. How would Jesus prove that he's divine? It's not enough to claim divinity. After all, some people claim to be God, but we typically dismiss them as crackpots.
So it's less about Jesus saying he was God than Jesus showing he was God. Mind you, saying that he was God would help to prep the observer, but that needs to be reinforced by corresponding actions. Doing things that are associated with divine action.
However, that, of itself, is not without ambiguities. For instance, God is not the only agent who can perform miracles.
Now normally, when a crackpot claims to be God, that doesn't pose a threat to the true religion since most folks don't take him seriously. Indeed, the claim itself is sufficient reason for them to discount him as either delusional or a charlatan.
Triablogue: I doubled majored in history and Classics. I have an MAR from RTS. In theology, I’m a Calvinist, creationist, inerrantist, semicessationist, classical Christian theist, and amil (with postmil sympathies). I'm a low churchman with a sympathy for a certain amount of high church symbolism. I’m a pragmatist about church polity. On the sacraments, I take them to be symbolic. I regard other issues in sacramentology as secondary to this primary position. In philosophy, I’m an Augustinian exemplarist. I’m a Cartesian dualist. I’m an alethic realist, but scientific antirealist. I believe in innate ideas, sense knowledge (I'm an indirect realist), and the primacy of divine revelation in Scripture. In ethics, I subscribe to traditional Christian morality, rooted God’s revealed law as the source and standard of personal and social ethics. I also subscribe to a supralapsarian theodicy. Although I’m not a Lutheran, a traditional Lutheran service suits my taste in the style of worship.
Exodus 15; Luke 18; Job 33; 2 Corinthians 3
By Don Carson 3/4/2018
Each of the first four units of Luke 18 can easily be misunderstood; each makes abundant sense when read in conjunction with the others.
The first (18:1-8) is a parable that Jesus tells his disciples “to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (18:1). An unjust judge is badgered by a persistent widow so that in the end he provides her with the justice she asks for. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?” (18:7). If even this judge eventually puts things right, how much more will God, when his “chosen ones” cry to him? By itself, of course, this parable could be taken to mean that the longer and louder one prays, the more blessings one gets — a kind of tit-for-tat arrangement that Jesus himself elsewhere disavows (Matt. 6:5-15). But the last verse (18:8) focuses the point: “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” The real problem is not with God’ s unwillingness to answer, but with our faithless and lethargic refusal to ask.
The second (18:9-14) parable describes a Pharisee and a tax collector who go up to the temple to pray. Some modern relativists conclude from this story that Jesus accepts everyone, regardless of his or her continuing sins, habits, or lifestyle. He rejects only self-confident religious hypocrites. Certainly Jesus rejects the latter. But the parable does not suggest that the tax collector wished to continue in his sin; rather, he begs for mercy, knowing what he is; he approaches God out of a freely recognized need.
In the third unit (18:15-17) Jesus insists that little children be brought to him, “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” One must “receive the kingdom of God like a child,” or not at all. Yet this does not commend childlike behavior in all respects (e.g., naïveté, short-term thinking, moral immaturity, the cranky “No!” of the “terrible twos”). But little children do have an openness, a refreshing freedom from self-promotion, a simplicity that asks and trusts.
The fourth unit (18:18-30) finds Jesus telling a rich ruler to sell all that he has and give to the poor, if he is to have treasure in heaven, and then follow Christ. Does this mean that only penurious asceticism will enjoy the blessings of heaven? Is it not Christ’s way of stripping off this particular person’ s real god, the pathetic ground of his self-confidence, so that he may trust Jesus and follow him wholly?
Can you see what holds these four units together?
Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).
Don Carson Books:
- 1 An Introduction to the New Testament
- 2 The Gospel according to John Pillar NT Commentary
- 3 The Gospel according to John Pillar NT Commentary
- 4 NIV Zondervan Study Bible, Hardcover: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message
- 5 Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation
- 6 Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
- 7 Exegetical Fallacies
- 8 For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word, Volume 1
- 9 Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering
- 10 Matthew (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)
- 11 The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story
- 12 The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
- 13 How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil
- 14 New Testament Commentary Survey
- 15 For the Love of God, Volume 2: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God's Word
- 16 9: Matthew and Mark (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)
- 17 Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians, 12-14
- 18 The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
- 19 The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures
- 20 The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: John 14-17
- 21 Introducing NT: A Short Guide to Its History and Message
- 22 Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson
- 23 Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes
- 24 Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: An Exposition of Matthew 5-10
- 25 The Intolerance of Tolerance
- 26 From Sabbath to Lord's Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation
- 27 Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians
- 28 Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspective in Tension
- 29 The Expositor's Bible commentary : Matthew, Mark, Luke Vol. 8
- 30 Christ and Culture Revisited
- 31 NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message
- 32 The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism
- 33 Don't Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day
- 34 Gagging of God, The
- 35 The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices
- 36 The God Who Is There Leader's Guide: Finding Your Place in God's Story
- 37 What Is the Gospel?
- 38 His Mission: Jesus in the Gospel of Luke
- 39 The Scriptures Testify about Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the OT
- 40 Love in Hard Places
- 41 Coming Home: Essays on the New Heaven and New Earth
- 42 God's Love Compels Us: Taking the Gospel to the World
- 43 Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
- 44 Telling the Truth
- 45 God's Word, Our Story: Learning from the Book of Nehemiah
- 46 Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications
- 47 The Sermon on the Mount: An Evangelical Exposition of Matthew 5-7
- 48 Sunsets: Reflections for Life's Final Journey
- 49 God with Us: Themes from Matthew
- 50 A Model of Christian Maturity: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians 10-13
- 51 NIV Zondervan Study Bible, Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message
- 52 The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry
- 53 Teach Us to Pray: Prayer in the Bible and the World
- 54 Matthew, Vol.2 (Ch. 13-28), The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- 55 A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
- 56 The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story
- 57 Entrusted with the Gospel: Pastoral Expositions of 2 Timothy
- 58 Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspectives in Tension
- 59 The Holy Spirit
- 60 The Plan
- 61 Collected Writings on Scripture
- 62 The Inclusive-Language Debate: A Plea for Realism
- 63 Matthew, Vol.1 (Ch. 1-12), The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- 64 Essential Evangelicalism: The Enduring Influence of Carl F. H. Henry
- 65 The Restoration of All Things
- 66 Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times
- 67 Christ's Redemption
- 68 Exegetical Fallacies
- 69 Justification
- 70 Greek Accents: A Student's Manual
- 71 Gospel-Centered Ministry
- 72 The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians
- 77 The Cross & Christian Ministry: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians
- 78 The Cross & Christian Ministry: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians
- 79 [(Christ and Culture Revisited)]
- 80 When Jesus Confronts the World: An Exposition of Matthew 8-10
- 81 The Church: God's New People
- 82 Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life
- 83 Love in Hard Places
- 84 The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place In God'S Story
- 85 NT Commentary Survey
- 86 The Inclusive Language Debate
- 87 Exegetical Fallacies
- 88 The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14-17
- 89 NT Commentary Survey
- 90 How long, O Lord? (2nd edition): Reflections on Suffering and Evil
- 91 Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century
- 92 Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians
- 93 By D. A. Carson - Gagging of God
- 94 Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed
- 95 The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
- 96 A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
- 97 A Call to Spiritual Reformation
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
42. Wherever this living faith exists, it must have the hope of eternal
life as its inseparable companion, or rather must of itself beget and
manifest it; where it is wanting, however clearly and elegantly we may
discourse of faith, it is certain we have it not. For if faith is (as
has been said) a firm persuasion of the truth of God--a persuasion that
it can never be false, never deceive, never be in vain, those who have
received this assurance must at the same time expect that God will
perform his promises, which in their conviction are absolutely true; so
that in one word hope is nothing more than the expectation of those
things which faith previously believes to have been truly promised by
God. Thus, faith believes that God is true; hope expects that in due
season he will manifest his truth. Faith believes that he is our
Father; hope expects that he will always act the part of a Father
towards us. Faith believes that eternal life has been given to us; hope
expects that it will one day be revealed. Faith is the foundation on
which hope rests; hope nourishes and sustains faith. For as no man can
expect any thing from God without previously believing his promises,
so, on the other hand, the weakness of our faith, which might grow
weary and fall away, must be supported and cherished by patient hope
and expectation. For this reason Paul justly says, "We are saved by
hope," (Rom. 8:24). For while hope silently waits for the Lord, it
restrains faith from hastening on with too much precipitation, confirms
it when it might waver in regard to the promises of God or begin to
doubt of their truth, refreshes it when it might be fatigued, extends
its view to the final goal, so as not to allow it to give up in the
middle of the course, or at the very outset. In short, by constantly
renovating and reviving, it is ever and anon furnishing more vigor for
perseverance. On the whole, how necessary the reinforcements of hope
are to establish faith will better appear if we reflect on the numerous
forms of temptation by which those who have embraced the word of God
are assailed and shaken. First, the Lord often keeps us in suspense, by
delaying the fulfillment of his promises much longer than we could
wish. Here the office of hope is to perform what the prophet enjoins,
"Though it tarry, wait for it," (Hab. 2:3). Sometimes he not only
permits faith to grow languid, but even openly manifests his
displeasure. Here there is still greater necessity for the aid of hope,
that we may be able to say with another prophet, "I will wait upon the
Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for
him," (Isaiah 8:17). Scoffers also rise up, as Peter tells us, and ask,
"Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep,
all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,"
(2 Pet. 3:4). Nay, the world and the flesh insinuate the same thing.
Here faith must be supported by the patience of hope, and fixed on the
contemplation of eternity, consider that "one day is with the Lord as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," (2 Pet. 3:8; Ps.
43. On account of this connection and affinity Scripture sometimes confounds the two terms faith and hope. For when Peter says that we are "kept by the power of God through faith until salvation, ready to be revealed in the last times" (1 Pet. 1:5), he attributes to faith what more properly belongs to hope. And not without cause, since we have already shown that hope is nothing else than the food and strength of faith. Sometimes the two are joined together, as in the same Epistles "That your faith and hope might be in God," (1 Pet. 1:21). Paul, again, in the Epistle to the Philippians, from hope deduces expectation (Phil. 1:20), because in hoping patiently we suspend our wishes until God manifest his own time. The whole of this subject may be better understood from the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, to which I have already adverted. Paul, in another passage, though not in strict propriety of speech, expresses the same thing in these words, "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith," (Gal. 5:5); that is, after embracing the testimony of the Gospel as to free love, we wait till God openly manifest what is now only an object of hope. It is now obvious how absurdly Peter Lombard lays down a double foundation of hope--viz. the grace of God and the merit of works (Sent. Lib. 3, Dist. 26). Hope cannot have any other object than faith has. But we have already shown clearly that the only object of faith is the mercy of God, to which, to use the common expression, it must look with both eyes. But it is worth while to listen to the strange reason which he adduces. If you presume, says he, to hope for any thing without merit, it should be called not hope, but presumption. Who, dear reader, does not execrate the gross stupidity  which calls it rashness, and presumption to confide in the truth of God? The Lord desires us to expect every thing from his goodness and yet these men tell us, it is presumption to rest in it. O teacher, worthy of the pupils, whom you found in these insane raving schools! Seeing that, by the oracles of God, sinners are enjoined to entertain the hope of salvation, let us willingly presume so far on his truth as to cast away all confidence in our works, and trusting in his mercy, venture to hope. He who has said, "According to your faith be it unto you," (Mt. 9:29), will never deceive.
 1 Tim. 6:16; John 8:12; 14:6; Luke 10:22; 1 Cor. 2:2; Acts 20:21; 26:17, 18; 2 Cor. 4:6.
 The French is"Car nous tendons a Dieu, et par l'humanité de Jesus Christ, nous y sommes conduits;"--For we tend to God, and by the humanity of Christ are conducted to him.
 French, "Theologiens Sorboniques;"--Theologians of Sorbonne.
 In opposition to this ignorance, see Chrysostom in Joann. Homil. 16.
 See Augustin. Ep. 102, "Si propter eos solos Christus mortuus est, qui certa intelligentia possunt ista discernera, pæne frustra in ecclesia laboramus,"&c;--If Christ died for those only who are able to discern these things with true understanding, our labour in the Church is almost in vain.
 This definition is explained, sections 14, 15, 28, 29, 32, 33, 31 of this chapter.
 See Lombard, Lib. 3 Dist. 23. See the refutation in the middle of sections 41, 42, 43, where it is shown that faith produces, and is inseparable from, hope and love.
 Thess. 1:3, 4; 2 Thess. 2:13; Tit. 1.
 The French adds, "Comme par une bouffee,"--as by fits and starts.
 See section 13, where it is said that this impression, sometimes existing in the reprobate, is called faith, but improperly.
 1 Tim. 3:9; 4:1, 6; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:18; Tit. 1:13; 2:2.
 The French adds, "Comme il montre par ses propos quel souci il en avoit;"--as he shows by his urgency what anxiety he felt.
 Latin"Præsentim ubi ad rem ventum est."--French, "Principalament quand les tentations nous pressent;"--especially when temptations press us.
 As to the imperfection, strengthening, and increase of faith, see Book 4. chap. 4 sec. 7, 8.
 Calvin's Latin translation of the passage is, "Atque dixi, occidere meum est; mutationes dexteræ excelsi."--The French is, "J'ay dit, Il me faut mourir. Voicy un changement de la main de Dieu;"--I said I must die. Behold a change in the hand of God.
 See Calv adv. Pighiium, near the commencement.
 The French is, "Voila comme Satan, quand il voit que par mensonge clair et ouvert il ne peust plus destruire la certitude de la foy, s'efforce en cachette et comme par dessous terre la ruiner."--Behold how Satan, when he sees that by clear and open falsehood he can no longer destroy the certainty of faith, is striving in secret, and as it were below ground, to ruin it.
 Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7, 9:10, 15:24; Job 28:28; Mal. 1:6.
 Latin, "acsi cervicibus suis impenderet."--French, "comme si l'enfer leur etoit desia present pour les englouter;"--as if hell were already present to engulfthem.
 The French adds, "Combien que nous ayons les promesses de Dieu pour nous munir à l'encontre;"--although we have the promise of God to strengthen us for the encounter.
 Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 2:2; 2 Cor. 1:20.
 The French thus begins the section: "Lequel erreur est facile a convaincre;"--This error is easily refuted
 French, "Doutes, solicitudes, et detresses;"--doubts, anxieties, and distresses.
 French, "La doctrine des theologiens sophistes;"--the doctrine of sophistical theologians.
 See Bernard, Serm. 2 in Die Ascensionis, and Serm. 2 in Octava Paschæ
 The French adds, "En quoy ils demonstrent grandement leur betisc;"--In this they give a great demonstration of their stupidity.
 Latin "Quis non merito, amice lector, tales bestias execretur?" French, "Je vous prie, mes amis, qui se tiendra de maudire telles bestes?"--I pray you, my friends, who can refrain from execrating such beasts?
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain Institutes of the Christian Religion
The Book of Revelation: How Difficult Was Its Journey into the Canon?
By Michael J. Kruger 2/12/2017
The story of the New Testament canon is a fascinating one, with many twists and turns. There are books that were accepted very quickly, almost from the start (e.g., the four gospels), and there are other books that struggled to find a home (e.g., 2 Peter).
And then there is the book of Revelation.
Few today would contest the claim that the book of Revelation stands as one of the most controversial, complicated, and esoteric books in the New Testament canon. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that its reception by the early church was equally complicated and controversial.
But, the story of the book of Revelation is not what one might expect. Other debated books tended to have a lukewarm reception at the earliest stages, only to gain more and more acceptance over time. Revelation, on the other hand, had nearly the opposite experience; it had a very early and positive reception in many parts of the church, only to run into serious challenges at a later point.
Lately, I have been doing a good bit of research on Revelation’s canonical history in preparation for writing an academic piece on the subject. Here are a few highlights about Revelation’s journey:
1. Revelation’s early reception was Outstanding. Perhaps as much as any other NT book, we have evidence for an early, widespread, and consistent reception of Revelation. Our evidence goes back as early as Papias (c.125) and also includes Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, the Muratorian Fragment, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen. That is an impressive list.
Books by Michael J. Kruger:
Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Note, I really enjoyed this book.)
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives
The Early Text of the New Testament
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Secrets of self-control (5)
3/4/2018 Bob Gass
‘Share each other’s burdens.’
(Ga 6:2) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. ESV
Make yourself accountable to someone. Alcoholics Anonymous has a ‘buddy system’ in which you are encouraged to call someone whenever you feel the pressure building to return to an old, destructive pattern. And it’s scriptural: ‘Share each other’s troubles’ (v. 2 TLB). You may not like this step, but if you are fighting a losing battle you need it. Find someone who will check up on you, pray with you, and encourage you in areas where you want more self-control. ‘Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 GNT). Every church needs ‘buddy’ relationships in which people are accountable to each other; relationships in which people encourage one another in the Lord. Having someone hold you accountable is tough, but it works. What should you look for in a ‘buddy’? First, they should be the same gender as you. You don’t need to place another temptation in your path by sharing personal problems with someone of the opposite sex. Second, you should look for someone you can depend on to follow through on this commitment – someone who is faithful. Third, look for someone who will keep your problem confidential. Don’t choose someone who is known to talk too much. Fourth, tell your buddy that he or she has permission to check up on you from time to time and ask, ‘How are you doing with your problem?’ Knowing that someone will be asking about your problem is an additional incentive not to give in to temptation. That may be the extra push you need to get you moving on the road to victory and self-control.
UCB The Word For Today
Vengeance or Forgiveness
Any person hurt by evil has two alternatives. One option is to suffer, and through suffering to forgive. The other is to seek revenge. Vengeance avoids suffering. A village proverb says, “He could not beat the donkey, so he beat the saddle.” The story behind the proverb tells of a man riding his donkey. The donkey begins galloping out of control, and the man with his saddle is thrown to the ground. Cursing, he runs after the donkey stick in hand but is not able to catch it. He then returns and vents his wrath by beating the saddle. So men and women often seek revenge on the source of their suffering. If it is not available, they turn to a substitute—any substitute.
In the Ethiopian highlands the villagers tell a vivid story with the same moral. In the forest the elephant inadvertently steps on the leopard’s son and kills him. The leopard wants revenge. He gathers his leopard friends together to see what they might do.
“Who has killed the leopard’s son?” one leopard asks. There is no reply. They are afraid to say, “The elephant.” Finally a young leopard stands up and shouts, “The goats! The goats have killed the leopard’s son! It is the evil, vengeful goats! They must pay for their crime.” At once the leopards take up the cry, swarm out of the forest and slaughter a hundred goats in revenge for the death of the leopard’s son.
The Cross & the Prodigal: Luke 15 Through the Eyes of Middle Eastern Peasants
by Bill Federer
March 4th was Inauguration Day up until 1937, when it was changed to January 20th. Every President acknowledged a Supreme Being in their Inaugural Address. Thomas Jefferson referred to: “That Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe…” Andrew Jackson: “My fervent prayer to that Almighty Being…” Abraham Lincoln: “The Almighty has His own purposes…” FDR: “We humbly ask the blessing of God…” Calvin Coolidge: “America… cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God.” John F. Kennedy: “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”
Thomas R. Kelly
2. THE NATURE AND GROUND OF SOCIAL CONCERN
The experience of Divine Presence wholly satisfies, and there are a few who, like those on the Mount of Transfiguration, want to linger there forever and never return to the valleys of men, where there are demons to be cast out. But there is more to the experience of God than that of being plucked out of the world. The fuller experience, I am sure, is of a Love which sends us out into the world. "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you" becomes, not an external, Biblically authorized command, but a living, burning experience. For the experience of an inflooding, all-enfolding Love, which is at the center of Divine Presence, is of a Love which embraces all creation, not just our little, petty selves. "Would that all men might be even as I am," are the words of a man such as John Hughes used to call an authentic. Not only does all creation have a new smell, as Fox found, but it has a new value, as enwrapped in the infinite Love of God, wherein not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father. Have you experienced this concern for the sparrow's fall? This is not just Jesus' experience. Nor is it His inference about God's tender love; it is the record of His experience in God. There is a tendering of the soul, toward everything in creation, from the sparrow's fall to the slave under the lash. The hard-lined face of a money-bitten financier is as deeply touching to the tendered soul as are the burned-out eyes of miners' children, remote and unseen victims of his so-called success. There is a sense in which, in this terrible tenderness, we become one with God and bear in our quivering souls the sins and burdens, the benightedness and the tragedy of the creatures of the whole world, and suffer in their suffering, and die in their death.
This is the experience underlying Kagawa's poem, "To Tears," published in the Christian Century:
Ah tears! Unbidden tears!
Familiar friends since childhood's lonely years, Long separated we,
Why do ye come again to dwell with me?
At midnight, dawn, midday
Ye come; nor wait your coming nor delay;
Nay fearless, with what scorn
Ye picture China by my brothers torn.
Your scorn I must accept,
But I'm no coward; pray heed ere more ye've wept;
I love Japan so fair,
And China too; this war I cannot bear.
"Is there no other way?"
Thus do I search my spirit all the day
Nor ever reach a goal;
I live, but only as a phantom soul.
Like Christ who bore our sins upon the Cross,
I, too, must bear my country's sins and dross;
Land of my love!Thy sins are grievousto be borne,
My head hangs low upon my form forlorn.
Ah tears! Unbidden tears!
Long separated we,
Alas! has come another day
When ye must dwell with me.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Love consists in desiring to give what is our own to another
and feeling his delight as our own.
--- Emanuel Swedenborg
To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
--- St. Thomas Aquinas
This is the very perfection of a man,
to find out his own imperfections.
--- Saint Augustine
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.
--- Leo Buscaglia
... from here, there and everywhere
University of Virginia Library 1994
1758, 1759. Visit to the Quarterly Meetings in Chester County -- Joins Daniel Stanton and John Scarborough in a Visit to such as kept Slaves there -- Some Observations on the Conduct which those should maintain who speak in Meetings for Discipline -- More Visits to such as kept Slaves, and to Friends near Salem -- Account of the Yearly Meeting in the Year 1759, and of the increasing Concern in Divers Provinces to Labor against Buying and Keeping Slaves -- The Yearly Meeting Epistle -- Thoughts on the Small-pox spreading, and on Inoculation.
ELEVENTH of eleventh month, 1758. -- This day I set out for Concord; the Quarterly Meeting heretofore held there was now, by reason of a great increase of members, divided into two by the agreement of Friends at our last Yearly Meeting. Here I met with our beloved friends Samuel Spavold and Mary Kirby from England, and with Joseph White from Buck's County; the latter had taken leave of his family in order to go on a religious visit to Friends in England, and, through Divine goodness, we were favored with a strengthening opportunity together.
After this meeting I joined with my friends, Daniel Stanton and John Scarborough, in visiting Friends who had slaves. At night we had a family meeting at William Trimble's, many young people being there; and it was a precious, reviving opportunity. Next morning we had a comfortable sitting with a sick neighbor, and thence to the burial of the corpse of a Friend at Uwchland Meeting, at which were many people, and it was a time of Divine favor, after which we visited some who had slaves. In the evening we had a family meeting at a Friend's house, where the channel of the gospel love was opened, and my mind was comforted after a hard day's labor. The next day we were at Goshen Monthly Meeting, and on the 18th attended the Quarterly Meeting at London Grove, it being first held at that place. Here we met again with all the before-mentioned Friends, and had some edifying meetings. Near the conclusion of the meeting for business, Friends were incited to constancy in supporting the testimony of truth, and reminded of the necessity which the disciples of Christ are under to attend principally to his business as he is pleased to open it to us, and to be particularly careful to have our minds redeemed from the love of wealth, and our outward affairs in as little room as may be, that no temporal concerns may entangle our affections or hinder us from diligently following the dictates of truth in laboring to promote the pure spirit of meekness and heavenly-mindedness amongst the children of men in these days of calamity and distress, wherein God is visiting our land with his just judgments.
Each of these Quarterly Meetings was large and sat near eight hours. I had occasion to consider that it is a weighty thing to speak much in large meetings for business, for except our minds are rightly prepared, and we clearly understand the case we speak to, instead of forwarding, we hinder business, and make more labor for those on whom the burden of the work is laid. If selfish views or a partial spirit have any room in our minds, we are unfit for the Lord's work; if we have a clear prospect of the business, and proper weight on our minds to speak, we should avoid useless apologies and repetitions. Where people are gathered from far, and adjourning a meeting of business is attended with great difficulty, it behoves all to be cautious how they detain a meeting, especially when they have sat six or seven hours, and have a great distance to ride home. After this meeting I rode home.
John Woolman's Journal
by D.H. Stern
but he who searches for evil—it comes to him!
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like sprouting leaves.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Could this be true of me?
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself.
--- Acts 20:24.
It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the commonsense basis.
What do I really count dear? If I have not been gripped by Jesus Christ, I will count service dear, time given to God dear, my life dear unto myself. Paul says he counted his life dear only in order that he might fulfil the ministry he had received; he refused to use his energy for any other thing. Acts 20:24 states Paul’s almost sublime annoyance at being asked to consider himself; he was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God, because practical work is based on this argument—‘Remember how useful you are here,’ or—‘Think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.’ That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the Guide as to where we should go, but our judgment as to where we are of most use. Never consider whether you are of use; but ever consider that you are not your own but His.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
I am a man now.
Pass your hand over my brow.
You can feel the place where the brains grow.
I am like a tree,
From my top boughs I can see
The footprints that led up to me.
There is blood in my veins
That has run clear of the stain
Contracted in so many loins.
Why, then, are my hands red
With the blood of so many dead?
Is this where I was misled?
Why are my hands this way
That they will not do as I say?
Does no God hear when I pray?
I have nowhere to go
The swift satellites show
The clock of my whole being is slow.
It is too late to start
For destinations not of the heart.
I must stay here with my hurt.
Selected poems, 1946-1968
Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16
The Old Testament says that the blood of the sacrifice is given to make atonement. What does “atonement” mean? The Hebrew words translated atonement in English versions are kippur (noun) and kapar (verb). The root occurs about 150 times in the Old Testament, and is intimately linked with forgiveness of sin and with reconciliation to God.
Many believe the root idea is “to cover” or “to conceal.” If so, atonement suggests a covering that conceals a person’s sin and makes it possible for him to approach God. Certainly this is the role that atonement played in the Old Testament system. A person who sinned unintentionally would discover his failing, and as an act of confession, bring an animal offering to the priest. The sacrifice would be made, the blood shed, and “in this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven” (Leviticus 4:26).
But what about intentional, willful sins? While there was no individual offering for such sins, provision was made for them in the Day of Atonement.
Leviticus 16 gives detailed instructions for a special sacrifice to be offered once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month. On that day the whole community of Israel was to gather at the tabernacle (and later, the temple) to fast and to pray. The high priest followed carefully prescribed steps and entered the inner room of the tabernacle, bringing the blood of a sacrificed animal. There he sprinkled the blood on the cover of the ark, called the mercy seat. This animal was a “sin offering for the people” (Leviticus 16:15). It is specifically said to have been required “because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been” (Leviticus 16:16, cf. Leviticus 16:21). That sacrifice was an “atonement … to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites” (Leviticus 16:34). Following that sacrifice, Israel was told, “You will be clean from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:30).
So the sacrificial system did make provision for intentional as well as unintentional sins. This was the only way the holy God could continue to dwell among a sinful and sinning community.
The message of sacrifice. It is important in looking at the Old Testament to realize that in it we see realities acted out that would be unveiled later. It’s not hard to grasp why.
When a young child is about to go into a hospital for a tonsillectomy, parents are often told to play “hospital” with him beforehand. For several days or weeks Mom and Dad rehearse the upcoming trip: they pack his bags, pretend to check in, look at pictures of hospital beds, take each other’s temperatures. In every way the young child is prepared, so that when he actually does enter the hospital, it will all seem familiar. He will not be as fearful, because the reality is so much like the pretend.
Should we be surprised, then, that God took the same kind of care? That God planned for continuous enactments of reality, so that when Jesus finally came to lay down His life for us, we would realize just what He was doing? Should we be surprised at the centuries of animal sacrifice, and the stress on the shedding of blood as necessary for forgiveness? No. In the repeated sacrifices of the Old Testament we are led to understand that, to God, death has always been the price of life for sinful men.
What should surprise us is that God would give His Son for us. What should amaze us is that the blood spilled on history’s ultimate altar would be His own. But we should never be surprised that only the sacrifice of another life can exempt one from the death penalty that sin and guilt deserve. Sacrifice has always been central in the history of God’s gracious dealings with men. Over and over again the picture is presented to us. Over and over again we see the blood. Over and over—till with awed amazement we look at Calvary and suddenly the pictures from the past merge into one. And we bow, stunned by the reality.
He died for me.
Isaiah 53. Even in Old Testament times God lifted the veil to let us peek beyond the shadows at the reality. Isaiah 53 was long understood by the Jews to speak of the coming Messiah—the Deliverer to be sent to them by God. In this passage we have a clear picture of Jesus, and of sacrifice.
“He was led like a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).
“The Lord makes His life a guilt offering” (Isaiah 53:10).
“He poured out His life unto death” (Isaiah 53:12).
“He bore the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12).
We cannot read these words today without realizing that they contain God’s explanation for Jesus’ life—and for His death.
Hebrews 10. This New Testament chapter looks back on the Old Testament sacrifices from the perspective of the Cross. The sacrifices of that day were “only a shadow of the good things that [were] coming—not the realities themselves” (Hebrews 10:1). The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). The sacrifices only covered and concealed sin, thus permitting God to overlook His people’s sins until Jesus could come to actually take away sins by the sacrifice of Himself (Romans 3:25–26). What the ancient sacrifices foreshadowed, Christ accomplished! “By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). In Jesus our sins and lawless acts have been forgiven fully, and we have been cleansed. Thus “there is no longer any sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:18).
Today you and I look back on Calvary and mark it, as Israel did the first Passover, as the beginning of our lives as a freed people. We remember, as did the Jews, but with our own ritual. For us the reminder is bread and wine. And what a message in this! The Old Testament animal sacrifices had to be repeated again and again.
Their repetition was a continual reminder to Israel that sin, while temporarily covered, must still be dealt with. The repeated sacrifices served to demonstrate that no animal’s life could ever satisfy the righteousness of God. What a different message the bread and wine of Communion! No longer is fresh blood required. Jesus has died, offering “for all time one sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:12).
It is enough.
Redemption’s work is done.
By the blood of Christ, you and I have been set forever free.
The Teacher's Commentary
The prisoner cannot free himself from prison.
It was pitch dark outside when the alarm went off in what seemed like the middle of the night. Sweet, soothing music came over the clock-radio. He dragged himself out of bed, threw some water on his face, and headed downstairs. He turned on the small desk lamp, pulled a book off the shelf and, with a yawn, began to study.
Dave had been following this routine for some time. It had started with a New Year’s resolution—“I’m going to set aside some regular time to learn”—that had been broken three years in a row. The desire was there, but there just wasn’t enough time in the day. Things had been so hectic at the office that he had been putting in more and more hours just to keep up with the workload. Spending time with his family, which should have been first priority, was always relegated to second place, after work. Spiritual concerns like prayer, study, and tzedakah didn’t seem to get any time whatsoever.
“If I’d let it, work would gobble up sixteen hours of my day, seven days a week. For a while, I let it. I was missing out on my kids’ growing up. I wasn’t there to help them with their homework, or watch their Little League games. I didn’t even know who their friends were. Then my wife laid it on the line for me. ‘David,’ she said, ‘when people are on their deathbeds, they never say with regret: “I should have spent more time at work!” ’ She was right. So I cut back at the office and decided to spend more time at home. But there was still no time for me, for my growth as a person. I decided that the only time that was available was before dawn. It was quiet and peaceful, and it was a wonderful way to start my day on the right note. I could always catch up on my sleep on the train to work.”
After twenty minutes of study, the phone rang. He looked at the clock on his desk. 7:05. He picked up the receiver. Another emergency at the office. He had come to think of work as a hungry lion, constantly roaring for more and more food. “I’ll give it as much as I can, but I won’t let it consume me. I’ll fight for time with my family, and I’ll fight for time for myself. If I don’t grow and renew myself, I’ll be no good for anyone else.”
He smiled as he put a bookmark in the book. It would be a reminder where to pick up his studying when he came back to it later in the day. He turned to go upstairs, but then he stopped for a moment and picked up the book. “Maybe I can learn a little over lunch,” he thought. With book in hand, David went to fix breakfast for his family before heading out to work.
Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba fell ill. Rabbi Yoḥanan went to visit him. He Yoḥanan said to him: “Are your sufferings dear to you?” He [Ḥiyya] answered: “Not them, not their rewards.” He Yoḥanan said to him: “Give me your hand.” He [Ḥiyya] gave him his hand, and he Yoḥanan raised him.
Rabbi Yoḥanan fell ill. Rabbi Ḥanina went to visit him. He [Ḥanina] said to him: “Are your sufferings dear to you?” He Yoḥanan answered: “Not them, not their rewards.” He [Ḥanina] said to him: “Give me your hand.” He Yoḥanan gave him his hand, and he [Ḥanina] raised him. Why could Rabbi Yoḥanan [not] raise himself? It is said: “The prisoner cannot free himself from prison.”
The Talmud goes on to tell us another touching story about Rabbi Yoḥanan in which we learn that he was wealthy, very handsome, and scarred by many personal tragedies:
Rabbi Eliezer fell ill. Rabbi Yoḥanan went to visit him. Rabbi Yoḥanan saw that he was lying in a dark house. Rabbi Yoḥanan uncovered his arm and light radiated from it. He saw that Rabbi Eliezer was crying. He [Rabbi Yoḥanan] said: “Why are you crying? Is it because of the Torah you never studied? We learned that one who does much and the one who does little are equal, so long as they direct their hearts to heaven. Is it because of [a lack of] food? Not everyone is fortunate to have two tables [of Torah and of food]. Is it because of [not having] children? Here is a bone of my tenth son [all ten of my children died].” He [Rabbi Eliezer] said to him: “I cry for your beauty which one day will disintegrate in the dust.”
Among the most critical questions that religion tries to answer is why good people suffer. A standard explanation is that suffering comes as a punishment for sins. But what if the afflicted person is righteous or the suffering is more severe than the sins seem to warrant? In response to this problem, the Rabbis developed a concept known as yissurin shel ahavah, “afflictions of love.” Suffering may have been sent by God as a sign of divine love. The afflictions could help the righteous person to become more humble or cause her to examine her actions or induce her to further prayer, study, and good deeds. Afflictions in this life could lead to even greater rewards in the World-to-Come by purifying people of their sins now, instead of later.
This is the background of the question asked of the sick people in our story: “Are your sufferings dear to you?” The implication is that since the sick man is a righteous rabbi, the sufferings he is enduring cannot be punishment for his sins; they must, rather, be yissurin shel ahavah, afflictions of love sent by God for some other purpose. The question then means: “Have you been able to use this suffering to some higher end? Has it made you a better person?” In both cases, the answer is no. The pain has been so great that it has been impossible to move beyond the suffering. The visiting rabbi, seeing that the pain is serving no worthwhile purpose, seeks to relieve the suffering. The miraculous ability of a rabbi to heal by the touch of his hand speaks of the talmudic assumption that Torah, and those who embody it, have the power of life and healing.
Our section ends with a logical question: If Rabbi Yoḥanan had the power to heal his student Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba, why couldn’t he heal himself? The answer is that just as a prisoner cannot free himself from jail, so too, a sick person cannot effect self-healing.
Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living
Thomas A Kempis
Book Two / The Interior Life
The Seventh Chapter / Loving Jesus Above All Things
BLESSED is he who appreciates what it is to love Jesus and who despises himself for the sake of Jesus. Give up all other love for His, since He wishes to be loved alone above all things.
Affection for creatures is deceitful and inconstant, but the love of Jesus is true and enduring. He who clings to a creature will fall with its frailty, but he who gives himself to Jesus will ever be strengthened.
Love Him, then; keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death; trust yourself to the glory of Him who alone can help you when all others fail.
Your Beloved is such that He will not accept what belongs to another—He wants your heart for Himself alone, to be enthroned therein as King in His own right. If you but knew how to free yourself entirely from all creatures, Jesus would gladly dwell within you.
You will find, apart from Him, that nearly all the trust you place in men is a total loss. Therefore, neither confide in nor depend upon a wind-shaken reed, for “all flesh is grass”12 and all its glory, like the flower of grass, will fade away.
You will quickly be deceived if you look only to the outward appearance of men, and you will often be disappointed if you seek comfort and gain in them. If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him. Likewise, if you seek yourself, you will find yourself—to your own ruin. For the man who does not seek Jesus does himself much greater harm than the whole world and all his enemies could ever do.
The Imitation Of Christ
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
--- Psalm 103:13.
In children there is something worse than ignorance and weakness, and that is their childish follies. (Spurgeon's Sermons, 5 Volumes ) A father and mother will put up with a thousand little ways in their children that strangers would frown at. There are all sorts of excuses made on their behalf, and it is right enough that it should be so. It is not weakness in children, it is just childishness. And so parents bear with their children.
But oh, how our Father bears with us! We think we are very wise; it is highly probable that we are never such fools as when we think we are displaying our wisdom. We think we are pleasing God sometimes, and in that very act we are displeasing him, though we know it not. There are sins in our holy things—oh, how strange must some of the things that we do seem to our great God! We have gotten so accustomed to them, we put up with them in others, and others put up with them in us.
There is much about our doubts and fears that must be depressing to the mind of the Father. Do we doubt him? Do we distrust his promises? We try to make out that we do not, but if you sift it thoroughly, it comes to that. Oh, the Father knows that we do not mean it, that we shrink in an instant from calling him a liar, and if anybody else were to put forward the very doubt that we have been entertaining we would be horrified.
And I believe it is a part of our Father’s compassion that he should thus look on us and often construe what we do in such a kind and tender way. You know how Jesus prayed for his murderers—“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). And the Son is very like the Father; our Father does the same with us, he forgives us because we do not know what we do. It was beautiful of our Lord even with Pilate to say, “The one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” (John 19:11). It was the best he could say for Pilate, that though his sin was great yet there was a greater.
And our Father has those kind thoughts ready, we may be sure, for his children’s wild and wayward deeds; Jesus had them ready even for his most wicked adversaries. Yes, he has compassion on our follies and bears with us still.
--- C. H. Spurgeon
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
A Practical Examination
The sailing of the mission ship Duff was an event to remember. Thirty missionaries and their families set out from England to the South Pacific in August 1796. The morning was foggy, but the crowds were celebrative, singing hymns and offering prayers. The ship crossed the horizon and seven months later, on Saturday, March 4, 1797, the missionaries landed safely on Tahiti. The next day they held a worship service, then set to work.
The Duff’s captain, a Christian, was entrusted with the responsibility of seeing the missionaries established on various islands in the region. After several weeks on Tahiti, he felt secure enough to leave some of the workers there and take others to neighboring islands. He planted ten missionaries on Tonga, then proceeded to the islands of the Marquises to deposit two men, William Crook and John Harris.
But an unexpected problem arose, one that their theological and missions training had not equipped the preachers to handle. No sooner had the ship anchored than beautiful naked native women swam out to welcome the missionaries. Crook and Harris nervously bundled their things and went ashore.
Such curious crowds met the two that Crook became separated from Harris and found himself alone with the chief’s wife. To his horror, she immediately began seeking his attentions. When he refused, she seemed bewildered. As it turned out, she wondered if he was, in fact, a man. Resolving to find out, she and a mob of other women attacked Harris during the night and conducted a “practical examination” to clear up the matter.
The Duff’s crew found Harris sitting on the beach the next morning, suffering from shock, humiliated, and very anxious to leave. The work in the Marquises was abandoned. The work on Tonga proceeded with difficulty. The Tahiti mission showed more promise and eventually led to many conversions.
Joseph was well-built and handsome, and Potiphar’s wife soon noticed him. One day, Joseph went to Potiphar’s house to do his work, and none of the other servants were there. Potiphar’s wife grabbed hold of his coat and said, “Make love to me!” Joseph ran out of the house, leaving her hanging onto his coat. --- Genesis 39:6b-7a,11–12.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - March 4
“My grace is sufficient for thee.” --- 2 Corinthians 12:9.
If none of God’s saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace. When we find the wanderer who has not where to lay his head, who yet can say, “Still will I trust in the Lord;” when we see the pauper starving on bread and water, who still glories in Jesus; when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction, and yet having faith in Christ, oh! what honour it reflects on the gospel. God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers. Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring—that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily, or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as he is pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace. There is a lighthouse out at sea: it is a calm night—I cannot tell whether the edifice is firm; the tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know whether it will stand. So with the Spirit’s work: if it were not on many occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we should not know that it was true and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we should not know how firm and secure it was. The master-works of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties, stedfast, unmoveable, ---
“Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory.”
He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for his failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.
Evening - March 4
“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house.” --- Psalm 36:8.
Sheba’s queen was amazed at the sumptuousness of Solomon’s table. She lost all heart when she saw the provision of a single day; and she marvelled equally at the company of servants who were feasted at the royal board. But what is this to the hospitalities of the God of grace? Ten thousand thousand of his people are daily fed; hungry and thirsty, they bring large appetites with them to the banquet, but not one of them returns unsatisfied; there is enough for each, enough for all, enough for evermore. Though the host that feed at Jehovah’s table is countless as the stars of heaven, yet each one has his portion of meat. Think how much grace one saint requires, so much that nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day; and yet the Lord spreads his table, not for one, but many saints, not for one day, but for many years; not for many years only, but for generation after generation. Observe the full feasting spoken of in the text, the guests at mercy’s banquet are satisfied, nay, more “abundantly satisfied;” and that not with ordinary fare, but with fatness, the peculiar fatness of God’s own house; and such feasting is guaranteed by a faithful promise to all those children of men who put their trust under the shadow of Jehovah’s wings. I once thought if I might but get the broken meat at God’s back door of grace I should be satisfied; like the woman who said, “The dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the master’s table;” but no child of God is ever served with scraps and leavings; like Mephibosheth, they all eat from the king’s own table. In matters of grace, we all have Benjamin’s mess—we all have ten times more than we could have expected, and though our necessities are great, yet are we often amazed at the marvellous plenty of grace which God gives us experimentally to enjoy.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE
Words and Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1838–1876
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63)
One of the basic precepts of the Sunday school movement has always been that God’s Word must be carefully and systematically studied by believers of all ages.
Study it carefully, think of it prayerfully,
Till in your heart its precepts dwell;
Slight not its history, ponder its mystery,
None can e’er prize it too fondly or well.
One of the earnest concerns of many present leaders is the biblical ignorance of so many church people. Often precious Sunday school time is spent in teaching everything but the Bible itself. Yet the churches that do teach the Scriptures diligently and apply their teachings to modern living are the churches that are experiencing the greatest growth. We never outgrow our need for the Bible; it becomes more helpful to us with the years.
We must also realize that God’s truth revealed to us is never contrary or apart from the Bible. Often there have been those who have claimed to have extra revelations through visions which supersede the Scriptures. God’s Word clearly warns against this false assertion (Jeremiah 23:16).
Philip P. Bliss was one of the most important names in the development of early gospel music. Before his tragic death at age 38, he wrote many favorites still enjoyed by congregations. “Wonderful Words of Life” was written by Bliss in 1874, for the first issue of a Sunday school paper, Words of Life. These words still speak to both young and old of the importance of God’s Word in our daily lives:
Sing them over again to me—wonderful words of life; let me more of their beauty see—wonderful words of life. Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty:
Christ, the blessed one, gives to all wonderful words of life; sinner, list to the loving call—wonderful words of life. All so freely given, wooing us to heaven:
Sweetly echo the gospel call—wonderful words of life; offer pardon and peace to all—wonderful words of life. Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever:
Refrain: Beautiful words, wonderful words of life.
For Today: Psalm 119:103, 172; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 4:4.
Reflect on whether God’s Word has the place of importance in your life that it should have. Consider ways that this could be improved. Sing this musical reminder ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Sunday, March 4, 2018 | Lent
Third Sunday In Lent
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 93, 96
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 34
Old Testament Genesis 44:1–17
New Testament Romans 8:1–10
Gospel John 5:25–29
Index of Readings
Psalm 93, 96
93 The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
2 Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty!
5 Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, forevermore.
96 Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
34 Of David, When He Changed His Behavior Before Abimelech, So That He Drove Him Out, And He Went Away.
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
44 Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, 2 and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him. 3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4 They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5 Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this.’ ”
6 When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing! 8 Behold, the money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9 Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” 10 He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11 Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.
14 When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” 16 And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” 17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.”
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
The Book of Common Prayer
m2-040 9-03-2014 | Brett Meador
Moses: The Decisions of Faith
Hebrews 11:23-29 | John MacArthur
A Conquering, Courageous Faith 1
Hebrews 11:30-31 | John MacArthur
A Conquering, Courageous Faith 2
Hebrews 11:32-40 | John MacArthur
The Race of Faith
Hebrews 12:1-3 | John MacArthur
Being Useful to God 1
Alistair Begg | 2 Corinthians 2:12-3:6
Henry Center For Theological Understanding
Being Useful to God 2
Henry Center For Theological Understanding
The Spirit and the Scripture
Jo Anne Lyon
Henry Center For Theological Understanding
The Spirit and the Scripture 2
Jo Anne Lyon
Henry Center For Theological Understanding
Divine Hiddenness, Divine Silence
Henry Center For Theological Understanding
Social Justice Church Mission
Henry Center For Theological Understanding
We Are What We Remember
Eric Kandel | Columbia University
God’s Faithful Discipline
Hebrews 12:4-11 | John MacArthur
The Complexity of Divine Love
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur
Reasons to Forgive 1
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur
Reasons to Forgive 2
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur
Saved or Self-Deceived 1
Selected Scriptures | John MacArthur
The End of the Universe 3
2 Peter 3 | John MacArthur
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