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Exodus 19     Luke 22     Job 37     2 Corinthians 7


Exodus 19

Israel at Mount Sinai

Exodus 19:1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD. 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, 10 the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the LORD to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’ ” 24 And the LORD said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.


Luke 22

The Plot to Kill Jesus

Luke 22:1  Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

Judas to Betray Jesus

3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

The Passover with the Disciples

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

Who Is the Greatest?

24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Scripture Must Be Fulfilled in Jesus

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Peter Denies Jesus

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus Is Mocked

63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.

Jesus Before the Council

66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”


Job 37

Elihu Proclaims God’s Majesty

Job 37:1

“At this also my heart trembles
and leaps out of its place.
2  Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3  Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
4  After it his voice roars;
he thunders with his majestic voice,
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
5  God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
6  For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
7  He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
8  Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
9  From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
10  By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11  He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
12  They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
13  Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.

14  “Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15  Do you know how God lays his command upon them
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16  Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17  you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?
18  Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a cast metal mirror?
19  Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
20  Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?

21  “And now no one looks on the light
when it is bright in the skies,
when the wind has passed and cleared them.
22  Out of the north comes golden splendor;
God is clothed with awesome majesty.
23  The Almighty—we cannot find him;
he is great in power;
justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
24  Therefore men fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”



2 Corinthians 7

2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Paul’s Joy

2 Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

The Reformation Study Bible


What I'm Reading

How I Learned the Difference Between Belief THAT and Belief IN

By J. Warner Wallace 2/13/2017

     I got the call at about 1:00 a.m. Detectives who are assigned to the homicide unit also investigate officer-involved shootings (OISs), and all of us on the OIS team were called out for this one. When I arrived at the scene, Officer Mark Walker was standing by his patrol car talking with a sergeant and waiting for our arrival. I shook his hand, made sure he was ready to talk about the shooting, and began to walk through the events that precipitated our “callout.”

     Mark told me that he was working patrol when he saw a man driving down the street, swerving from lane to lane as though he was drunk. He pulled the driver over and approached his car. When he leaned in to talk to the man, he could smell the alcohol on his breath. Mark asked the man to step out from the car, and the driver reluctantly complied. As the man stood outside his car, Mark could see that he was angry and defiant. Mark decided to conduct a quick “pat-down” search to make sure the irritated driver wasn’t carrying any weapons. Mark had no idea that the driver was Jacob Stevens, a parolee with a long arrest record in an adjacent city. Jacob had just been released from state prison. He was on parole for an assault charge, and tonight he was carrying a loaded Colt .45-caliber pistol hidden in his waistband. Jacob knew that he would go back to jail if the gun was discovered, and he was determined to stay out of jail.

     When Mark asked Jacob Stevens to turn around so he could conduct the pat-down search, Jacob turned away for a moment, pulled his gun, and then turned back toward Mark, pointing the gun at Mark’s chest.

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

Veggie Tales, Moralism, and Modern Preaching

By Michael J. Kruger 3/6/2017

     A number of years ago, my kids were into Veggie Tales. And, truthfully, so was I. It was actually quite enjoyable to watch these charming videos, cataloging the journeys of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, et al. Indeed, I could probably recite the opening song word for word.

     The other day, my daughter Emma (who is now 16) told that she had heard some folks critiquing Veggie Tales as just “moralism” and not something Christians should let their kids be watching. So, she asked me what I thought about that.

     This sort of critique reminded of an interview several years ago with World Magazine in which the creator of Veggie Tales, Phil Vischer, expressed regret over the “moralism” of Veggie Tales:

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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

What the Bible Says About Not Being So Stressed Out

By Cara Joyner 1/19/2017

     Years ago, Mad TV did a skit with Bob Newhart where he played a psychologist. A new client walked into his office and began to share her fears. He listened carefully, rocking back in his chair before saying that he wanted her to pay close attention while he told her two words that would solve all her problems. She grabbed a pen and paper and prepared to take notes. Newhart, who had been quiet and reserved up to this point, suddenly yelled, “Stop it! Just, stop it!”

     As funny as the skit is, it can strike an unsettling cord. To someone who is overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, the well-meaning advice that is often given, particularly by Christians, is to simply “stop worrying and trust God.” It is almost never that simple.

     I used to believe anxiety was a sinful sign of my lack of faith, so I ignored it.

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     Cara Joyner: I'm a mama of four - three in my arms and one in my heart. Most days are filled with an over-consumption of coffee, wrangling our not-so-organized chaos, and pretending that I'm going to put away laundry.

     These boys have been the center of my energy for the last five years, but they're now sharing a few pieces with graduate school as I finish up my Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Wake Forest University. In addition to writing and speaking, I work as a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and Professional Doula. As a writer, my featured work can be found at RELEVANT, iBelieve, Today's Christian Woman & Lamaze International.

What 2016 Taught Me About God

By Cara Joyner 1/18/2017

     I took this picture last August from our balcony at the beach. A powerful storm was coming off the shore, pushing over the sea. We had been stretched out in the sun just an hour earlier; but in a matter of minutes, tents were broken down, chairs were cleared and a surf full of children was left empty. Thunderstorms aren't a rare phenomenon for most of us, but we experience them differently at the beach. We notice the changes that come before - the temperature drops, the water stirs, the clouds darken. At home, obviously those signs don't go unseen, but they have our full attention on a stage like this. Nothing is obstructing our view and all we can do is watch and wait and wonder.

     The months leading up to vacation had felt like this moment, living life on the outer edge of a storm - weeks in the overcast, weeks in the rain, moments in the sun - deeply grateful for what we had while desperately trying to not to break under compounding pressure. Like that afternoon at the beach, the air felt different for most of 2016. That colder, darker, less stable place - it was is if we were living there. And as the election progressed and the year wore on, it seemed like everyone was living there.

     For the Joyners, much of 2016 was bands of rain hitting us in the face, but we were safe and the road out wasn't too long. We saw broken transmissions and flooded basements and empty bank accounts. We saw emergency rooms visits and surgery and a long cycle of rotating household germs. In July, the sky grew darker with the death of my grandmother, a pain that continues to linger today, as I expect it always will.

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     Cara Joyner: I'm a mama of four - three in my arms and one in my heart. Most days are filled with an over-consumption of coffee, wrangling our not-so-organized chaos, and pretending that I'm going to put away laundry.

     These boys have been the center of my energy for the last five years, but they're now sharing a few pieces with graduate school as I finish up my Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Wake Forest University. In addition to writing and speaking, I work as a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and Professional Doula. As a writer, my featured work can be found at RELEVANT, iBelieve, Today's Christian Woman & Lamaze International.

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 28

28 Of David.

6 Blessed be the LORD!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

ESV Study Bible

Reviewing the Resurrection Creed in 1 Cor 15:3-8

By Chab123 (Eric Chabot) 1/4/2017

     As historians evaluate the sources available for the resurrection of Jesus, a critical question is the dating of the sources. In relation to early testimony, historian David Hacket Fisher says, “An historian must not merely provide good relevant evidence but the best relevant evidence. And the best relevant evidence, all things being equal, is evidence which is most nearly immediate to the event itself.” (1) One key in examining the early sources for the life of Christ is to take into account the Jewish culture in which they were birthed. As Paul Barnett notes, “The milieu of early Christianity in which Paul’s letters and the Gospels were written was ‘rabbinic.’”

     Given the emphasis on education in the synagogue, the home, and the elementary school, it is not surprising that it was possible for the Jewish people to recount large quantities of material that was even far greater than the Gospels themselves.

     Jesus was a called a “Rabbi” (Matt. 8:19; 9:11; 12:38; Mk. 4:38; 5:35; 9:17; 10:17, 20; 12:14, 19, 32; Lk. 19:39; Jn. 1:38; 3:2), which means “master” or “teacher.” There are several terms that can be seen that as part of the rabbinic terminology of that day. His disciples had “come” to him, “followed after” him, “learned from” him, “taken his yoke upon” them (Mt. 11:28-30; Mk 1).

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     Chab123 (Eric Chabot): Southern Evangelical Seminary, M.A. Religious Studies, 2010, Cross Examined, Apologetics Instructors Academy, Graduate, 2008, Memberships: The Evangelical Philosophical Society

     Motivating God’s people to understand the need for outreach and apologetic training, contemporary issues in the culture, the need for Christians to engage the university, confronting the current intellectual crisis in the local congregation, philosophy of religion, epistemology, the resurrection, Christian origins, the relationship between early Christology and Jewish monotheism, the relationship between the Tanakh (acronym that is formed from the first three parts of the Hebrew Bible: Torah (the first five books of the Bible), Nevi’ im (the Prophets), and K’ tuvim (the Writings) and the New Testament, the relationship between Israel and the church, Christian theism and other worldviews, apologetic systems, historical method, the genre of the New Testament, the relationship between science and theology, and biblical hermeneutics.

     Ministry Experience: Campus outreach minister since 2004.

     Founder and Director of Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry at the The Ohio State University. Website: http://ratiochristi.org/. We have had several well known speakers to the campus such as William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Michael Licona, Michael Brown, Paul Nelson and others. We have also done students debates on the campus.

Exodus 19; Luke 22; Job 37; 2 Corinthians 7

By Don Carson 3/8/2018

     The New Testament accounts of the “words of institution”: — i.e., the words that institute the Lord’ s Supper as an ongoing rite — vary somewhat, but their commonalities are striking. Luke 22:7-20 allows us to reflect on some elements of one of those accounts.

     All three synoptic Gospels indicate that Jesus ordered his disciples to prepare for a Passover meal; Luke stresses the point (22:1, 7-8, 11, 15). Jesus wants his own actions and words to be understood in the light of that earlier traditional feast. The Passover celebrated not only the release of the Israelites from bondage, but the way that release was accomplished: in God’ s plan, the angel of death “passed over” the houses protected by the sacrificial blood, while all the other homes in Egypt lost their firstborn. Moreover, this miraculous exodus set the stage for the inauguration of the Sinai covenant. So when Jesus now takes bread at a Passover meal and says, “This is my body given for you” (22:19), and when he takes the cup and says, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (22:20), one hears more than overtones from the old covenant ritual. This side of the cross, one cannot avoid the conclusion that Jesus sees his own death, the shedding of his own blood, as the God-provided sacrifice which averts the wrath of God, that he himself is the Passover Lamb of God par excellence, and that his death establishes a covenant with the people of God by releasing them from a darker, deeper slavery.

     Someone has said that the four most disputed words in the history of the church are “This is my body.” Without entering the lists on all that might be said about this clause, surely we can agree that one of its functions, as it is repeated in the ritual that Christ Jesus himself prescribed, is commemorative: “Do this in remembrance of me” (22:19). It is shocking that this should be necessary, in exactly the same way that it is shocking that a commemorative rite like the Passover should have been necessary. But history shows how quickly the people of God drift toward peripheral matters, and end up ignoring or denying the center. By a simple rite, Jesus wants his followers to come back to his death, his shed blood, his broken body, again and again and again.

     It is also an anticipatory rite. It looks forward to the consummated kingdom, when the Passover and the Lord’ s Supper alike find their fulfillment (22:16, 18). We eat and drink as he prescribes “until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26), when commemoration and proclamation will be swallowed up by the bliss of his presence.

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

Don Carson Books:

Why Would an Infinite Creator Employ the Same Designs?

By Dr. Fazale Rana 12/21/2016

     Because I am a Christian, I see evidence for design in the biological realm. But for me, the converse is also true. Because I see design in the biological realm, I am a Christian. In fact, the elegant designs of biochemical systems convinced me as a graduate student that a Creator must exist and be responsible for life’s origin, paving the way for my conversion to Christianity.

     “Yet, many skeptics see the features of biological systems very differently than I do. They maintain that life’s origin, design, and diversity are best explained as the outworking of evolutionary processes. As evidence for this view, biologists point to the shared biological and biochemical features (homologies) possessed by organisms that naturally group or cluster together.

     Homologous features may perform different functions and superficially appear different, yet they are fundamentally built around the same design. The quintessential example of a biological homology is the vertebrate forelimb—the human hand, the whale’s flipper, a dog’s paw, a bird’s wing, etc. Though these forelimbs are structurally distinct and perform different biological tasks, they are fundamentally built around the same design. The forelimb of every vertebrate consists of a long bone (humerus) in the arm, an elbow, two bones in the forearm (the radius and ulna), wrist bones (carpals), bones in the “hand” (metacarpals), and “fingers” (phalanges).

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Lord, Free Me from the Fear of Death

By Jon Bloom 3/7/2017

     Jesus has a deep, intense desire to give you a gift so great you do not yet have the capacities to conceive of it (1 Corinthians 2:9). But you do catch glimpses of it in biblical metaphors and imagery, and in sublime moments when an experience of glory briefly transcends anything else here on earth.

     “Jesus longs so intensely for you to have this gift that he pleads with the Father to give it to you:

     “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

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     Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He is author of three books, Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith, Things Not Seen: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Trusting God's Promises, and Don't Follow Your Heart: God's Ways Are Not Your Ways. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     24. To some it seems harsh, and at variance with the divine mercy, utterly to deny forgiveness to any who retake themselves to it. This is easily disposed of. It is not said that pardon will be refused if they turn to the Lord, but it is altogether denied that they can turn to repentance, inasmuch as for their ingratitude they are struck by the just judgment of God with eternal blindness. There is nothing contrary to this in the application which is afterwards made of the example of Esau, who tried in vain, by crying and tears, to recover his lost birthright; nor in the denunciation of the Prophet, "They cried, and I would not hear." Such modes of expression do not denote true conversion or calling upon God, but that anxiety with which the wicked, when in calamity, are compelled to see what they before securely disregarded--viz. that nothing can avail but the assistance of the Lord. This, however, they do not so much implore as lament the loss of. Hence all that the Prophet means by crying, and the apostle by tears, is the dreadful torment which stings and excruciates the wicked in despair. It is of consequence carefully to observe this: for otherwise God would be inconsistent with himself when he proclaims through the Prophet, that "If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed,"--"he shall surely live, he shall not die," (Ezek. 18:21, 22). And (as I have already said) it is certain that the mind of man cannot be changed for the better unless by his preventing grace. The promise as to those who call upon him will never fail; but the names of conversion and prayer are improperly given to that blind torment by which the reprobate are distracted when they see that they must seek God if they would find a remedy for their calamities, and yet shun to approach him.

25. But as the Apostle declares that God is not appeased by feigned repentance, it is asked how Ahab obtained pardon, and averted the punishment denounced against him (1 Kings 21:28, 29), seeing, it appears, he was only amazed on the sudden, and afterwards continued his former course of life. He, indeed, clothed himself in sackcloth, covered himself with ashes, lay on the ground, and (as the testimony given to him bears) humbled himself before God. It was a small matter to rend his garments while his heart continued obstinate and swollen with wickedness, and yet we see that God was inclined to mercy. I answer, that though hypocrites are thus occasionally spared for a time, the wrath of God still lies upon them, and that they are thus spared not so much on their own account as for a public example. For what did Ahab gain by the mitigation of his punishment except that he did not suffer it alive on the earth? The curse of God, though concealed, was fixed on his house, and he himself went to eternal destruction. We may see the same thing in Esau (Gen. 27:38, 39). For though he met with a refusal, a temporal blessing was granted to his tears. But as, according to the declaration of God, the spiritual inheritance could be possessed only by one of the brothers, when Jacob was selected instead of Esau, that event excluded him from the divine mercy; but still there was given to him, as a man of a groveling nature, this consolation, that he should be filled with the fulness of the earth and the dew of heaven. And this, as I lately said, should be regarded as done for the example of others, that we may learn to apply our minds, and exert ourselves with greater alacrity, in the way of sincere repentance, as there cannot be the least doubt that God will be ready to pardon those who turn to him truly and with the heart, seeing his mercy extends even to the unworthy though they bear marks of his displeasure. In this way also, we are taught how dreadful the judgment is which awaits all the rebellious who with audacious brow and iron heart make it their sport to despise and disregard the divine threatening. God in this way often stretched forth his hand to deliver the Israelites from their calamities, though their cries were pretended, and their minds double and perfidious, as he himself complains in the Psalms, that they immediately returned to their former course (Psalm 78:36, 37). But he designed thus by kindness and forbearance to bring them to true repentance, or leave them without excuse. And yet by remitting the punishment for a time, he does not lay himself under any perpetual obligation. He rather at times rises with greater severity against hypocrites, and doubles their punishment, that it may thereby appear how much hypocrisy displeases him. But, as I have observed, he gives some examples of his inclination to pardon, that the pious may thereby be stimulated to amend their lives, and the pride of those who petulantly kick against the pricks be more severely condemned.

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[304] The French adds in explanation, "C'est à dire, que cela s'accorde bien, que nous ne soyons pas sans bonnes oeuvres, et toutesfois que nous soyons reputés justes sans bonnes oeuvres;"--That is to say, that the two propositions are quite consistent--viz. that we are not without good works, and yet that we are accounted righteous without works.

[305] Latin, "Initialis timor," which is thus paraphrased by the French: "Et c'est une erainte comme on la voit aux petits enfans, qui ne sont point gouvernés par arison;"--And it is a fear such as we see in little children, who are not governed by reason.

[306] Gen. 4:13; 1 Sam. 15:30; Matt. 27:3, 4.

[307] 2 Kings 20:2; Isa. 37:2; Jonah 3:5; 2 Sam. 24:10; 12:13, 16; Acts 2:37; Mt. 26:75; Luke 22:62

[308] Mt 3:2; 1 Sam. 7:8; Luke 3:8; Rom. 6:4; Acts 26:20.

[309] French, "une regeneration spirituelle;"--a spiritual regeneration.

[310] 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:23, 24; Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:16.

[311] See August. ad Bonif. Lib. 4 et cont. Julianum, Lib. 1 and 2. See also Serm. 6, de Verbis Apost. See also Calv. cont. Pighium, and Calv. ad Conc. Trident.

[312] Latin, "Reatus."--the imputation of sin.

[313] See Calvin, adv. Libertinos, cap. 18.

[314] French, "Circonstances qui convenoyent specialement alore;"--circumstances which were then specially suitable.

[315] French, "Fust la coustume de ce temps-la, et ne nous appartienne aujourduhui de rien;"--was the custom of that time, and we have nowadays nothing to do with it.

[316] The French adds, "Soit de guerre, de famine, ou de pestilence;"--whether of war, famine, or pestilence.

[317] Latin, "Calamitosis temporibus peculiariter destinari."--French, "Convient particulierement a ceux qui veulent testifier quils se recognoissant avoir merité l'ire de Dieu, et neantmoins requierent pardon de sa clemence;"--is particularly suitable to those who acknowledge they have deserved the wrath of God, and yet seek pardon of his mercy.

[318] The French adds, "pource qu'il lui est propre, et comme naturel, de sauver ce que est perdu;"--because it is proper, and as it were natural to him to save that which is lost

[319] Isiah 56:1; 59:20; 55:6, 7; Acts 2:38; 3:19.

[320] This is to be found in different passages of his work, and often in the Phaido.

[321] French, "L'Eglise primitive du temps des Apostres;"--the primitive Church of the Apostles' time.

[322] The French adds, "Et ce non seulement au regard d'un jour. mais de tout le cours de notre vocation;"--and this in regard not only to a single day, but to the whole course of our vocation.

[323] August. Lib. de Correp. et Gratia, cap. 12

[324] The Greek is "tou pneu'matos blasphemi'a" This Calvin translates in Latin, "Spiritum blasphemiæ,", and in French, "Esprit de blaspheme."

[325] The omission of this last clause in the French seems to be an improvement.

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



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     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Take better care of your body
     3/8/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘Honour God with your body.’

(1 Co 6:20) for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ESV

     Unless you get into better shape physically, you may go to heaven sooner than you planned. The Bible says, ‘Honour God with your body.’ How do you do that? 1) Change your diet. Many of us eat for the wrong reasons – like stress, boredom, fatigue, anger, depression, and low self-esteem. Try to get to the root of your problem. Insufficient fruit, vegetables, and fibre, and too much fast food can wreak havoc with your health. Practise self-control. ‘Those who belong to Christ…have given up their old selfish feelings and…things they wanted to do’ (Galatians 5:24 NCV). 2) Start exercising. The secret is to start slowly. Take the stairs instead of the lift, park your car and walk, play ball with your kids instead of watching TV. God designed your body to move, and that doesn’t mean strolling from your car to your desk every morning. Exercising three times a week for thirty minutes will reduce your blood pressure and stress, and boost your sense of well-being. Come on, get with it! 3) Go to bed earlier. Pastor Tony Jenkins consulted his doctor about his wife’s snoring. ‘Does it really bother you that much?’ the doctor asked. ‘It’s not just me,’ Jenkins replied. ‘It’s bothering the whole congregation!’ Seriously, you require eight hours of shut-eye. You can probably get by on less, but do you want to just ‘get by’? The psalmist said, ‘It is no use…to get up early and stay up late…The Lord gives sleep to those he loves’ (Psalm 127:2 NCV). So, turn off the TV and the computer and turn in at a reasonable hour. The word for you today is: take better care of your body!

Numbers 13-14
Mark 6:1-29

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Known as THE GREAT DISSENTER because of his unconventional opinions, he served for thirty years on the Supreme Court. Who was he? Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., born this day, March 8, 1841. A Union soldier during the Civil War, he went on to become a Harvard Law School Professor. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served to a more advanced age than other justice. On his 90th birthday, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., replied to a reporter: “Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, oppressed, and fearful we shall be shallow. For over the margins of life comes a whisper, a faint call, a premonition of richer living which we know we are passing by. Strained by the very mad pace of our daily outer burdens, we are further strained by an inward uneasiness, because we have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center! If only we could find the Silence which is the source of sound! We have seen and known some people who seem to have found this deep Center of living, where the fretful calls of life are integrated, where No as well as Yes can be said with confidence. We've seen such lives, integrated, unworried by the tangles of close decisions, unhurried, cheery, fresh, positive. These are not people of dallying idleness nor of obviously mooning meditation; they are busy carrying their full load as well as we, but without any chafing of the shoulders with the burden, with quiet joy and springing step. Surrounding the trifles of their daily life is an aura of infinite peace and power and joy. We are so strained and tense, with our burdened lives; they are so poised and at peace.

     If the Society of Friends has anything to say, it lies in this region primarily. Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center. Each one of us can live such a life of amazing power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence and simplified multiplicity, on one condition-that is, if we really want to. There is a divine Abyss within us all, a holy Infinite Center, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world. We have all heard this holy Whisper at times. At times we have followed the Whisper, and amazing equilibrium of life, amazing effectiveness of living set in. But too many of us have heeded the Voice only at times. Only at times have we submitted to His holy guidance. We have not counted this Holy Thing within us to be the most precious thing in the world. We have not surrendered all else, to attend to it alone. Let me repeat. Most of us, I fear, have not surrendered all else, in order to attend to the Holy Within.

     John Woolman did. He resolved so to order his outward affairs as to be, at every moment, attentive to that voice. He simplified life on the basis of its relation to the divine Center. Nothing else really counted so much as attentiveness to that Root of all living which he found within himself. And the Quaker discovery lies in just that: the welling-up whispers of divine guidance and love and presence, more, precious than heaven or earth. John Woolman never let the demands of his business grow beyond his real needs. When too many customers came, he sent them elsewhere, to more needy merchants and tailors. His outward life became simplified on the basis of an inner integration. He found that we can be heaven-led men and women, and he surrendered himself completely, unreservedly to that blessed leading, keeping warm and close to the Center.


A Testament of Devotion

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Rick Adams


Faith is to believe what you do not see;
the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
--- Saint Augustine   A Place Of Faith: When There Is Nowhere Else To Go

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
--- Albert Schweitzer   First Thing Every Morning: Turn Your Life Around One Day at a Time

Not for yourself, O church, do you exist, any more than Christ existed for himself.
--- Charles Spurgeon   Christ's Words from the Cross

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.
--- Walt Whitman   Leaves of Grass
... from here, there and everywhere


Journal of John Woolman 3/8
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     Twenty-eighth eleventh month. -- This day I attended the Quarterly Meeting in Bucks County. In the meeting of ministers and elders my heart was enlarged in the love of Jesus Christ, and the favor of the Most High was extended to us in that and the ensuing meeting.

     I had conversation at my lodging with my beloved friend Samuel Eastburn, who expressed a concern to join in a visit to some Friends in that county who had negroes, and as I had felt a drawing in my mind to the said work, I came home and put things in order. On 11th of twelfth month I went over the river, and on the next day was at Buckingham Meeting, where, through the descendings of heavenly dew, my mind was comforted and drawn into a near unity with the flock of Jesus Christ.

     (The following is really powerful!)

     Entering upon this business appeared weighty, and before I left home my mind was often sad, under which exercise I felt at times the Holy Spirit which helps our infirmities, and through which my prayers were at times put up to God in private that he would be pleased to purge me from all selfishness, that I might be strengthened to discharge my duty faithfully, how hard so ever to the natural part. We proceeded on the visit in a weighty frame of spirit, and went to the houses of the most active members who had negroes throughout the county. Through the goodness of the Lord my mind was preserved in resignation in times of trial, and though the work was hard to nature, yet through the strength of that love which is stronger than death, tenderness of heart was often felt amongst us in our visits, and we parted from several families with greater satisfaction than we expected.

     We visited Joseph White's family, he being in England; we had also a family-sitting at the house of an elder who bore us company, and were at Makefield on a first day: at all which times my heart was truly thankful to the Lord who was graciously pleased to renew his loving-kindness to us, his poor servants, uniting us together in his work.

     In the winter of this year, the small-pox being in our town, and many being inoculated, of whom a few died, some things were opened in my mind, which I wrote as follows: -- The more fully our lives are conformable to the will of God, the better it is for us; I have looked on the small-pox as a messenger from the Almighty, to be an assistant in the cause of virtue, and to incite us to consider whether we employ our time only in such things as are consistent with perfect wisdom and goodness. Building houses suitable to dwell in, for ourselves and our creatures; preparing clothing suitable for the climate and season, and food convenient, are all duties incumbent on us. And under these general heads are many branches of business in which we may venture health and life, as necessity may require.

     This disease being in a house, and my business calling me to go near it, incites me to consider whether this is a real indispensable duty; whether it is not in conformity to some custom which would be better laid aside, or, whether it does not proceed from too eager a pursuit after some outward treasure. If the business before me springs not from a clear understanding and a regard to that use of things which perfect wisdom approves, to be brought to a sense of it and stopped in my pursuit is a kindness, for when I proceed to business without some evidence of duty, I have found by experience that it tends to weakness.

     If I am so situated that there appears no probability of missing the infection, it tends to make me think whether my manner of life in things outward has nothing in it which may unfit my body to receive this messenger in a way the most favorable to me. Do I use food and drink in no other sort and in no other degree than was designed by Him who gave these creatures for our sustenance? Do I never abuse my body by inordinate labor, striving to accomplish some end which I have unwisely proposed? Do I use action enough in some useful employ, or do I sit too much idle while some persons who labor to support me have too great a share of it? If in any of these things I am deficient, to be incited to consider it is a favor to me. Employment is necessary in social life, and this infection, which often proves mortal, incites me to think whether these social acts of mine are real duties. If I go on a visit to the widows and fatherless, do I go purely on a principle of charity, free from any selfish views? If I go to a religious meeting it puts me on thinking whether I go in sincerity and in a clear sense of duty, or whether it is not partly in conformity to custom, or partly from a sensible delight which my animal spirits feel in the company of other people, and whether to support my reputation as a religious man has no share in it.

     Do affairs relating to civil society call me near this infection? If I go, it is at the hazard of my health and life, and it becomes me to think seriously whether love to truth and righteousness is the motive of my attending; whether the mannner of proceeding is altogether equitable, or whether aught of narrowness, party interest, respect to outward dignities, names, or distinctions among men, do not stain the beauty of those assemblies, and render it doubtful; in point of duty, whether a disciple of Christ ought to attend as a member united to the body or not. Whenever there are blemishes which for a series of time remain such, that which is a means of stirring us up to look attentively on these blemishes, and to labor according to our capacities, to have health and soundness restored in our country, we may justly account a kindness from our gracious Father, who appointed that means.

     The care of a wise and good man for his only son is inferior to the regard of the great Parent of the universe for his creatures. He hath the command of all the powers and operations in nature, and "doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." Chastisement is intended for instruction, and instruction being received by gentle chastisement, greater calamities are prevented. By an earthquake hundreds of houses are sometimes shaken down in a few minutes, multitudes of people perish suddenly, and many more, being crushed and bruised in the ruins of the buildings, pine away and die in great misery.

     By the breaking in of enraged merciless armies, flourishing countries have been laid waste, great numbers of people have perished in a short time, and many more have been pressed with poverty and grief. By the pestilence, people have died so fast in a city, that, through fear, grief, and confusion, those in health have found great difficulty in burying the dead, even without coffins. By famine, great numbers of people in some places have been brought to the utmost distress, and have pined away from want of the necessaries of life. Thus, when the kind invitations and gentle chastisements of a gracious God have not been attended to, his sore judgments have at times been poured out upon people.

     While some rules approved in civil society and conformable to human policy, so called, are distinguishable from the purity of truth and righteousness, -- while many professing the truth are declining from that ardent love and heavenly-mindedness which was amongst the primitive followers of Jesus Christ, it is time for us to attend diligently to the intent of every chastisement, and to consider the most deep and inward design of them.

     The Most High doth not often speak with an outward voice to our outward ears, but if we humbly meditate on his perfections, consider that he is perfect wisdom and goodness, and that to afflict his creatures to no purpose would be utterly averse to his nature, we shall hear and understand his language both in his gentle and more heavy chastisements, and shall take heed that we do not, in the wisdom of this world, endeavor to escape his hand by means too powerful for us.

     "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things, and do them, and the God of peace shall be with you."

     Had he endowed men with understanding to prevent this disease (the small-pox) by means which had never proved hurtful nor mortal, such a discovery might be considered as the period of chastisement by this distemper, where that knowledge extended. But as life and health are his gifts, and are not to be disposed of in our own wills, to take upon us by inoculation when in health a disorder of which some die, requires great clearness of knowledge that it is our duty to do so.

John Woolman's Journal

On the Imitation of Christ
     By Richard J. Foster 3/6/2017

     “My little children…I am…in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you (Galations 4:19).”

     These words are the centerpiece for Christian spiritual formation. They are words of effort and pain and travail. But they also speak of hope and promise and new life. To experience the reality of Christ being formed in us does indeed take something like the travail of childbirth. But in the end it brings with it the joy of a life penetrated through by love, the faith that can see everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, and the hope to carry us through the most difficult of circumstances.

     This brings me to the theme for this article, the great tradition of De Imitatione Christi, the imitation of Christ. In the early days of this tradition some five hundred years ago it was called the Devotio Moderna, the modern or the New Devotion. And it did indeed cut a new path for that day, a path that called for the soul’s growth and development (formation if you will) into Christlikeness by prayerful imitation of Jesus’ own life, thoughts, habits, and intentions. Now, this was no slavish imitation of externals. No, it was rather an interior emphasis upon humility, simplicity, and holiness grounded in a deep devotion to Jesus and intent upon developing an intimate relationship with God. Out of the rich spiritual experience of these folk known as The Brethren of the Common Life sprang The Imitation of Christ, a book that for half a millennium has been the unchallenged devotional masterpiece for Christians everywhere. It has been translated into more than fifty different languages and there have been many fine efforts to translate it into English.

Click here for entire article

Richard Foster Books:

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

Richard J. Foster's Study Guide for "Celebration of Discipline"

Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines

Celebrating the Disciplines: A Journal Workbook to Accompany ``Celebration of Discipline''

Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World

Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer
Life with God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation

Proverbs 12:5-7
     by D.H. Stern

5     The plans of the righteous are just,
but the schemes of the wicked are deceitful.

6     The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.

7     Once the wicked are down, it’s the end of them;
but the house of the upright endures.


Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)

My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                The relinquished life

     I am crucified with Christ. --- Gal. 2:20.

     No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being anything, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.

     Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

     There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home.

     If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Coming of Age
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Coming of Age

He grew up into an emptiness
he was on terms with. The duplicity
of language that could name
what was not there was accepted

by him. He was content, remembering
the unseen writing of Christ
on the ground, to interpret
it in its own way. Adultery

of the flesh has the divine
pardon. It is the mind
catching itself in the act
of unfaithfulness that must cast no stone.

Modern Classics Selected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics)

Teacher's Commentary
     The Holy

     To understand the importance of some of the regulations that we are about to look at in Leviticus, we need an understanding of the Old Testament concept of holiness. The following discussion of the Old Testament concept of holiness is quoted from the author’s Zondervan Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

     The root of the words translated “holy” and “holiness” is qadas. The verb means “to be consecrated,” “to be dedicated,” “to be holy.” Anything that is holy is set apart. It is removed from the realm of the common and moved to the sphere of the sacred.

     The focus of the sacred realm is God Himself, Israel’s Holy One (
2 Kings 19:22; Job 6:10; Pss. 16:10; 22:3; 71:22, etc.). “Holy” becomes a technical religious term used of persons, places, times, and things that were considered sacred because they were associated with and consecrated to God. The seventh day was holy, to be reserved for worship and rest (Gen. 2:3; Ex. 20:8–11; Deut. 5:12). Mount Sinai was holy, for God appeared there in fire to give the Ten Commandments (Ex. 19:23). The priests of Israel were holy (Lev. 21:7), and everything associated with worship and sacrifice was to be considered holy. In a very significant sense Israel itself was considered holy, for this people was chosen by God to be His own special possession (Deut. 7:6; 14:2, 21).

     It is important to realize that great stress is placed in the Old Testament on maintaining the distinction between what is sacred and what is secular. The holy must never be used in a common or profane way. That which was consecrated to God must be for His use alone—forever.

     Ritual holiness. The religion of Israel was both cultic and moral. The cultic element established religious ritual and many aspects of the lifestyle of God’s people. A person was in a state of holiness when he observed cultic restrictions. It was a responsibility of the priests to “distinguish between the holy and the profane, between the unclean and the clean, and [they were required to] teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord [had] given them through Moses” (
Lev. 10:10–11). Both essential and nonmoral practices, such as not cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk (Ex. 34:26), and religious ceremonies were aspects of ritual uncleanness.

     Moral holiness. Two aspects of God’s nature are associated with holiness in the Old Testament. One is His essential power and splendor. When two of Aaron’s sons violated the ritual regulations governing worship, God, as quoted by Moses, announced: “Among those who approach Me I will show Myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored” (
Lev. 10:3). Fire flared from the Lord on that occasion and consumed the men who had treated Him with contempt by ignoring His commands. God’s holiness was displayed in this exercise of awesome power.

     
Leviticus 19:2 displays a moral dimension to God’s holiness. “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel,” the Lord told Moses, “and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.’ ”

     The commands that follow this statement are not cultic but are moral in character. They deal with theft, idolatry, lying, fraud, slander, revenge, etc., and include the command to love one’s neighbor. These commands are punctuated regularly by the reminder, “I am the Lord.”

     In this Old Testament passage and many others, God’s holiness is directly linked with His own moral character. That holiness is displayed in His moral perfection and His faithful commitment to good and in His judgment on those who desert the way of goodness for sin. “The Lord Almighty will be exalted by His justice, and the Holy God will show Himself holy by His righteousness” (
Isa. 5:16). When Israel was set apart to God by God’s sovereign choice, both the ritual and the moral aspects of obedience to God were essential in their life of holiness.

     Because God is a holy God, those who are associated with Him are to be holy in all they do.

The Teacher's Commentary

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     Berakhot 25b

     D’RASH

     Rabbi Yosé’s words, “Don’t give Satan an opening,” are often used in modern speech to mean “Don’t tempt fate,” that is, if you say something bad, it might just happen. We do not believe in Satan, but we do know the evil that surrounds us, all the bad things Satan symbolizes. Speaking of bad things may just make them happen! Several years ago, an editorial cartoon pictured a public school principal speaking to a group of parents. He told them, “Teen pregnancy could be reduced if society wasn’t too embarrassed to talk about you know what with you know who before they end up you know how.”

     If we believe that just speaking about a bad thing can make it happen, isn’t the converse true, that saying something good can help to bring it about? Aren’t there also self-fulfilling prophecies for good? A famous study in the 1960s proved that when we expect good from people, we often find just that. Psychologists gave students in an elementary school an “intelligence test,” later informing teachers that five students in each class had done exceptionally well and were likely to excel in school that year. In actuality, the students had been chosen at random. Nonetheless, by the end of that school year, those students had done significantly better. Based on the study’s name, psychologists dubbed this “the Pygmalion effect.” Teachers saw students who were labeled as “likely to succeed” and helped them—unconsciously and subtly—achieve these gains.

     In our day and age, we see self-fulfilling prophecies at work all the time. We know that it is not because of Satan or fate, but because of the Pygmalion effect: what we see in others is what we get from them. A youngster labeled “problem child” will likely become one, fulfilling the prophecy, whether or not the child has the ability to change and become a better person. Does that student fail because of fate, character—or because of living up to the label we have given the youngster?

     Conversely, when we see potential good in people, we may find these qualities. How often has it happened that we have achieved more because a parent, teacher, or friend saw the good (or potential good) in us and said “You have the ability to do more”? We may not have believed it at the time, but that person helped us believe in ourselves and thus achieve more. The Rabbis of the Talmud were not so much superstitious as psychologically astute: More often than not, what we expect is what we get.

     The Torah was not given to the ministering angels.

     The Rabbis taught: “In clear water, he sits in it up to his neck and recites [the Sh’ma].” Some say: “He stirs it with his foot.” According to the first teacher, his heart sees his nakedness! He [the first teacher] thinks: “His heart seeing his nakedness is permitted.” But his heel sees his nakedness! He thinks: “His heel seeing his nakedness is permitted.” It is taught: “His heel seeing his nakedness is permitted.” Touching—Abaye said it is prohibited, while Rava said it is permitted. This is how Rav Zevid taught it. But Rav Ḥin’na son of Rav Ikka taught it this way: “Touching—everyone agrees that it is forbidden. Seeing—Abaye said it is forbidden, while Rava said it is permitted: The Torah was not given to the ministering angels.” And the law is: Touching is forbidden, seeing is permitted.

     Context / Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead; inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (
Deuteronomy 6:4–9)

     The Talmud’s teaching about the Sh’ma is based on people’s experiences. Those who recite the Sh’ma religiously, morning and evening, every day of the year, will eventually be in a situation where the time for Sh’ma arrives and they are unprepared or unfit for it. This is the case being discussed in this Gemara: It is early morning and a man, taking a pre-dawn bath, has not yet recited the morning Sh’ma which, according to one opinion, must be recited before sunrise. Normally, a person would recite the Sh’ma fully dressed, as a sign of respect. However, in our case, he will not have time to get out of the water and get dressed before the time for reciting the Sh’ma has passed. What should this man do?

     The Rabbis teach that he covers himself with water up to his neck, using the water as a “garment,” and recites the Sh’ma. There is another opinion, though: (“Some say”) that the man should muddy the waters with his foot so that he does not see his own nudity while reciting the Sh’ma. But, asks the Gemara, as long as he is still nude, isn’t this still disrespectful (“his heart sees his nakedness”)? The Tanna Kamma, or unnamed first teacher, holds that being naked is permitted (and is preferable to allowing the time for the Sh’ma to elapse). The Gemara then says: “But his heel sees his nakedness,” that is, his own body, crouched down in the water, is touching skin to skin and is aware of his nudity. Certainly this is improper, disrespectful, and distracting. No, answers the Gemara; the Tanna Kamma holds that “his heel seeing his nakedness,” that is, his body crouched in the water and close to itself, is permitted.

     Yet, this is only seeing his nakedness, that is, being nude without touching skin to skin. With regard to touching one body part to another while covered with water, Abaye holds that this is not allowed, while Rava says it is allowed. However, Rav Ḥin’na has a different tradition. He learned that everyone believes that touching body part to body part while under water is forbidden. The questionable action is seeing his own nudity (and, presumably, being distracted while reciting the Sh’ma). According to Rav Ḥin’na, there is no argument that touching is prohibited. Abaye and Rava argue over a man seeing himself in the water while reciting the Sh’ma, Abaye holding that it is not allowed, Rava that it is.

     Rava’s reasoning is that “the Torah was not given to the ministering angels”; in other words, only angels would be able to live under the stringencies that Abaye expects of a person reciting the Sh’ma in water. In Rava’s mind, it is enough to expect a man quickly to cover himself up to his neck with water and recite the Sh’ma before the time has passed. In so doing, he should not touch his heel to his genitals. Expecting this man not to be able to see himself in the water is virtuous and exemplary but practically impossible for human beings.

Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book Two / The Interior Life

     The Eleventh Chapter / Few Love The Cross Of Jesus

     JESUS has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection. Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus—love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!

     Do not those who always seek consolation deserve to be called mercenaries? Do not those who always think of their own profit and gain prove that they love themselves rather than Christ? Where can a man be found who desires to serve God for nothing? Rarely indeed is a man so spiritual as to strip himself of all things. And who shall find a man so truly poor in spirit as to be free from every creature? His value is like that of things brought from the most distant lands.

     If a man give all his wealth, it is nothing; if he do great penance, it is little; if he gain all knowledge, he is still far afield; if he have great virtue and much ardent devotion, he still lacks a great deal, and especially, the one thing that is most necessary to him. What is this one thing? That leaving all, he forsake himself, completely renounce himself, and give up all private affections. Then, when he has done all that he knows ought to be done, let him consider it as nothing, let him make little of what may be considered great; let him in all honesty call himself an unprofitable servant. For truth itself has said:
“When you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: ‘we are unprofitable servants.’ ”(Luke 17:10)

     Then he will be truly poor and stripped in spirit, and with the prophet may say: “I am alone and poor.” (
Psalm 25:16) No one, however, is more wealthy than such a man; no one is more powerful, no one freer than he who knows how to leave all things and think of himself as the least of all.

The Imitation Of Christ

Take Heart
     March 8

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

     Our children have our pity when anybody has wronged them. ( Spurgeon's Sermons, 5 Volumes ) I have heard say that there are some men that you might insult, almost with impunity, and should you even give them a blow they would stop to ask the reason before showing any resentment. But if you put a hand on their children, you will see the father’s blood come up into his face, and the most patient man will, all of a sudden, become the most passionate. There was a livid blue mark where you struck the child, and the father looks as though he could forgive you if that were on his own body, but on his child—no, that he cannot endure. He turns it over and over, and he cannot resist his indignation that his child should be carelessly made to suffer. The wrongs of children call fondly for redress in the ears of every sensitive man or woman, but they are sure to awake a thrilling echo in a father’s heart.

     “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?… I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” There is no wrong done to his people but it is registered in God’s archives. “Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.” Christ seemed to sit still in heaven till he saw the blood of his saints shed, and then he stood up as in indignation when they stoned Stephen. You remember how he cries, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” It was he himself who suffered, though his saints were made to die. Leave, then, your wrongs with God. “ ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord,” and let your reply be always gentleness and kindness toward those who hate you, for righteousness’ sake.
--- C. H. Spurgeon


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

On This Day   March 8
     An Evening Sermon

     Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, read voraciously through the week, but not until Saturday night did he determine and develop his message for the following morning. Only on Sunday afternoon did he prepare his evening address. But it worked. For 30 years, he kept London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle packed. On Sunday night, March 8, 1874, Spurgeon preached from 1 Corinthians 6:20: God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God. Had you entered Metropolitan Tabernacle that evening, you would have heard Spurgeon’s carillon voice pealing these words through the lamplit hall:

     … you young men who come to London amidst its vices, shun everything that is akin to lewdness or leads on to unchasity, for your bodies were bought with your Lord’s lifeblood, and they are not yours to trifle with. Shun the strange woman, her company, her wine, her glances, her house, her songs, her resorts. Your bodies are not yours to injure by self-indulgence of any sort. Keep them pure and chaste for that heavenly Bridegroom who has bought them with his blood.

     And then your soul is bought too. I was obliged to mention the body, because it is mentioned here, and it is so needful it should be kept pure. But keep the soul pure. Christ has not bought these eyes that they should read novels calculated to lead me into vanity and vice, such as are published nowadays. Christ has not bought this brain of mine that I may revel in the perusal of works of blasphemy and filthiness. He has not given me a mind that I may drag it through the mire with the hope of washing it clean again.…

     Your whole manhood belongs to God if you are a Christian. Every faculty, every natural power, every talent, every possibility of your being, every capacity of your spirit.… It is all bought with blood. Therefore keep the whole for Jesus, for it belongs to him.


     Don’t be immoral in matters of sex. That is a sin against your own body in a way that no other sin is. You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.
--- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - March 8

     “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” --- Acts 14:22.

     God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have his presence and sympathy to cheer them, his grace to support them, and his example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.


          Evening - March 8

     “She called his name Benoni (son of sorrow), but his father called him Benjamin (son of my right hand).” --- Genesis 35:18.

     To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side. Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death; Jacob, though weeping the mother’s loss, could see the mercy of the child’s birth. It is well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in divine faithfulness. Samson’s lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities, if rightly considered. The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the wild wood blooms with beauteous florets; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the biting frost loosens the soil. Dark clouds distil bright drops, and black earth grows gay flowers. A vein of good is to be found in every mine of evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial; if there were only one slough in the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it, and if there were only one lion in the desert they would hear it roar. About us all there is a tinge of this wretched folly, and we are apt, at times, like Jacob, to cry, “All these things are against me.” Faith’s way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities. Like Gideon’s men, she does not fret over the broken pitcher, but rejoices that the lamp blazes forth the more. Out of the rough oyster-shell of difficulty she extracts the rare pearl of honour, and from the deep ocean-caves of distress she uplifts the priceless coral of experience. When her flood of prosperity ebbs, she finds treasures hid in the sands; and when her sun of delight goes down, she turns her telescope of hope to the starry promises of heaven. When death itself appears, faith points to the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our dying Benoni to be our living Benjamin.

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     March 8

          SAVIOR, LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US

     Dorothy A. Thrupp, 1779–1847

     I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)

     Divine guidance is the very essence of Christianity. The Bible equates being guided by the Spirit of God with being a child of God (Romans 8:14). But even as our natural children can sometimes rebel against parental authority, so we too can forsake God’s leading in our lives and seek to go our own ways. God’s leading, then, doesn’t just happen. There must be the sincere desire and willingness to be guided. With implicit faith we must recognize that God has a planned path for each of His children, and we must deeply desire to follow that path wherever it leads. Scriptural promises such as Jeremiah 29:11 become our source of daily encouragement:

     For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

     The author of this popular hymn, Dorothy Thrupp, was born and lived in London, England. She was a rather prolific writer of children’s hymns and devotional materials although she seldom signed her name to any of her works. When she did, she would use a pseudonym. For this reason it has never been fully proven that she was the actual author of “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” The hymn first appeared unsigned in her collection Hymns for the Young, in 1836.

     Savior, like a shepherd lead us; much we need Thy tender care; in Thy pleasant pastures feed us; for our use Thy folds prepare: Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou has bought us, Thine we are; blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
     We are Thine—do Thou befriend us; be the Guardian of our way; keep Thy flock, from sin defend us; seek us when we go astray: Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, hear, O hear us when we pray; blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, hear, O hear us when we pray.
     Thou has promised to receive us, poor and sinful tho we be; Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and pow’r to free: Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, early let us turn to Thee; blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, early let us turn to Thee.
     Early let us seek Thy favor; early let us do Thy will; blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill: Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us; love us still; blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us, love us still.

     For Today: Psalm 23; Proverbs 16:1, 3, 6, 9; Isaiah 40:11; John 10:14–16, 27.

     Walk the path one step at a time in the confidence of God’s leading and presence. Do not become burdened by the distant future. Sing this musical truth as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Thursday March 8, 2018 | Lent

Thursday Of The Third Week In Lent
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     (Psalm 83) or Psalm 42, 43
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 85, 86
Old Testament     Genesis 46:1–7, 28–34
New Testament     1 Corinthians 9:1–15
Gospel     Mark 6:30–46

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Option A
(Psalm 83)

[     83 A SONG. A PSALM OF ASAPH.

1 O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3 They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
5 For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who were destroyed at En-dor,
who became dung for the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession for ourselves
of the pastures of God.”

13 O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so may you pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane!
16 Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O LORD.
17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace,
18 that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the LORD,
are the Most High over all the earth.     ]

Or
Option B
Psalm 42, 43

42 To The Choirmaster. A Maskil Of The Sons Of Korah.

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation 6 and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

43 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
deliver me!
2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?

3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 85, 86
85 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of The Sons Of Korah.

1 LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
3 You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.

8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.

86 A Prayer Of David.

1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me.

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Old Testament
Genesis 46:1–7, 28–34

46 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”

5 Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.” 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”

New Testament
1 Corinthians 9:1–15

9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3 This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.

Gospel
Mark 6:30–46

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

The Book of Common Prayer


Exodus 19, 20:1-21

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