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Jeremiah 49 - 50
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Judgment on the Ammonites

Jeremiah 49:1     Concerning the Ammonites.

Thus says the Lord:
Has Israel no sons?
Has he no heir?
Why then has Milcom dispossessed Gad,
and his people settled in its towns?
2     Therefore, the time is surely coming,
says the Lord,
when I will sound the battle alarm
against Rabbah of the Ammonites;
it shall become a desolate mound,
and its villages shall be burned with fire;
then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him,
says the Lord.

3     Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste!
Cry out, O daughters of Rabbah!
Put on sackcloth,
lament, and slash yourselves with whips!
For Milcom shall go into exile,
with his priests and his attendants.
4     Why do you boast in your strength?
Your strength is ebbing,
O faithless daughter.
You trusted in your treasures, saying,
“Who will attack me?”
5     I am going to bring terror upon you,
says the Lord God of hosts,
from all your neighbors,
and you will be scattered, each headlong,
with no one to gather the fugitives.
6 But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, says the Lord.

Judgment on Edom

     7 Concerning Edom.

Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?
Has counsel perished from the prudent?
Has their wisdom vanished?
8     Flee, turn back, get down low,
inhabitants of Dedan!
For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him,
the time when I punish him.
9     If grape-gatherers came to you,
would they not leave gleanings?
If thieves came by night,
even they would pillage only what they wanted.
10     But as for me, I have stripped Esau bare,
I have uncovered his hiding places,
and he is not able to conceal himself.
His offspring are destroyed, his kinsfolk
and his neighbors; and he is no more.
11     Leave your orphans, I will keep them alive;
and let your widows trust in me.

     12 For thus says the Lord: If those who do not deserve to drink the cup still have to drink it, shall you be the one to go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished; you must drink it. 13 For by myself I have sworn, says the Lord, that Bozrah shall become an object of horror and ridicule, a waste, and an object of cursing; and all her towns shall be perpetual wastes.

14     I have heard tidings from the Lord,
and a messenger has been sent among the nations:
“Gather yourselves together and come against her,
and rise up for battle!”
15     For I will make you least among the nations,
despised by humankind.
16     The terror you inspire
and the pride of your heart have deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rock,
who hold the height of the hill.
Although you make your nest as high as the eagle’s,
from there I will bring you down,
says the Lord.

     17 Edom shall become an object of horror; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 18 As when Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors were overthrown, says the Lord, no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in it. 19 Like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly chase Edom away from it; and I will appoint over it whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who can summon me? Who is the shepherd who can stand before me? 20 Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 21 At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea. 22 Look, he shall mount up and swoop down like an eagle, and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in labor.

Judgment on Damascus

23 Concerning Damascus.

Hamath and Arpad are confounded,
for they have heard bad news;
they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea
that cannot be quiet.
24     Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee,
and panic seized her;
anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her,
as of a woman in labor.
25     How the famous city is forsaken,
the joyful town!
26     Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares,
and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day,
says the Lord of hosts.
27     And I will kindle a fire at the wall of Damascus,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.

Judgment on Kedar and Hazor

     28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor that King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon defeated.

Thus says the Lord:
Rise up, advance against Kedar!
Destroy the people of the east!
29     Take their tents and their flocks,
their curtains and all their goods;
carry off their camels for yourselves,
and a cry shall go up: “Terror is all around!”
30     Flee, wander far away, hide in deep places,
O inhabitants of Hazor!
says the Lord.
For King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon
has made a plan against you
and formed a purpose against you.

31     Rise up, advance against a nation at ease,
that lives secure,
says the Lord,
that has no gates or bars,
that lives alone.
32     Their camels shall become booty,
their herds of cattle a spoil.
I will scatter to every wind
those who have shaven temples,
and I will bring calamity
against them from every side,
says the Lord.
33     Hazor shall become a lair of jackals,
an everlasting waste;
no one shall live there,
nor shall anyone settle in it.

Judgment on Elam

     34 The word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah concerning Elam, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah.

     35 Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am going to break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might; 36 and I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven; and I will scatter them to all these winds, and there shall be no nation to which the exiles from Elam shall not come. 37 I will terrify Elam before their enemies, and before those who seek their life; I will bring disaster upon them, my fierce anger, says the Lord. I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them; 38 and I will set my throne in Elam, and destroy their king and officials, says the Lord.

     39 But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam, says the Lord.

Judgment on Babylon

Jeremiah 50:1     The word that the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by the
prophet Jeremiah:

2     Declare among the nations and proclaim,
set up a banner and proclaim,
do not conceal it, say:
Babylon is taken,
Bel is put to shame,
Merodach is dismayed.
Her images are put to shame,
her idols are dismayed.

     3 For out of the north a nation has come up against her; it shall make her land a desolation, and no one shall live in it; both human beings and animals shall flee away.

     4 In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel shall come, they and the people of Judah together; they shall come weeping as they seek the Lord their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, and they shall come and join themselves to the Lord by an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.

     8 Flee from Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be like male goats leading the flock. 9 For I am going to stir up and bring against Babylon a company of great nations from the land of the north; and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be taken. Their arrows are like the arrows of a skilled warrior who does not return empty-handed. 10 Chaldea shall be plundered; all who plunder her shall be sated, says the Lord.

11     Though you rejoice, though you exult,
O plunderers of my heritage,
though you frisk about like a heifer on the grass,
and neigh like stallions,
12     your mother shall be utterly shamed,
and she who bore you shall be disgraced.
Lo, she shall be the last of the nations,
a wilderness, dry land, and a desert.
13     Because of the wrath of the Lord she shall not be inhabited,
but shall be an utter desolation;
everyone who passes by Babylon shall be appalled
and hiss because of all her wounds.
14     Take up your positions around Babylon,
all you that bend the bow;
shoot at her, spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against the Lord.
15     Raise a shout against her from all sides,
“She has surrendered;
her bulwarks have fallen,
her walls are thrown down.”
For this is the vengeance of the Lord:
take vengeance on her,
do to her as she has done.
16     Cut off from Babylon the sower,
and the wielder of the sickle in time of harvest;
because of the destroying sword
all of them shall return to their own people,
and all of them shall flee to their own land.

     17 Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured it, and now at the end King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon has gnawed its bones. 18 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. 19 I will restore Israel to its pasture, and it shall feed on Carmel and in Bashan, and on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead its hunger shall be satisfied. 20 In those days and at that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and none shall be found; for I will pardon the remnant that I have spared.

21     Go up to the land of Merathaim;
go up against her,
and attack the inhabitants of Pekod
and utterly destroy the last of them,
says the Lord;
do all that I have commanded you.
22     The noise of battle is in the land,
and great destruction!
23     How the hammer of the whole earth
is cut down and broken!
How Babylon has become
a horror among the nations!
24     You set a snare for yourself and you were caught, O Babylon,
but you did not know it;
you were discovered and seized,
because you challenged the Lord.
25     The Lord has opened his armory,
and brought out the weapons of his wrath,
for the Lord God of hosts has a task to do
in the land of the Chaldeans.
26     Come against her from every quarter;
open her granaries;
pile her up like heaps of grain, and destroy her utterly;
let nothing be left of her.
27     Kill all her bulls,
let them go down to the slaughter.
Alas for them, their day has come,
the time of their punishment!

     28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon are coming to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, vengeance for his temple.

     29 Summon archers against Babylon, all who bend the bow. Encamp all around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; just as she has done, do to her—for she has arrogantly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 30 Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, says the Lord.

31     I am against you, O arrogant one,
says the Lord God of hosts;
for your day has come,
the time when I will punish you.
32     The arrogant one shall stumble and fall,
with no one to raise him up,
and I will kindle a fire in his cities,
and it will devour everything around him.

     33 Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Israel are oppressed, and so too are the people of Judah; all their captors have held them fast and refuse to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name. He will surely plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, but unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.

35     A sword against the Chaldeans, says the Lord,
and against the inhabitants of Babylon,
and against her officials and her sages!
36     A sword against the diviners,
so that they may become fools!
A sword against her warriors,
so that they may be destroyed!
37     A sword against her horses and against her chariots,
and against all the foreign troops in her midst,
so that they may become women!
A sword against all her treasures,
that they may be plundered!
38     A drought against her waters,
that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
and they go mad over idols.

     39 Therefore wild animals shall live with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall inhabit her; she shall never again be peopled, or inhabited for all generations. 40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors, says the Lord, so no one shall live there, nor shall anyone settle in her.

41     Look, a people is coming from the north;
a mighty nation and many kings
are stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
42     They wield bow and spear,
they are cruel and have no mercy.
The sound of them is like the roaring sea;
they ride upon horses,
set in array as a warrior for battle,
against you, O daughter Babylon!

43     The king of Babylon heard news of them,
and his hands fell helpless;
anguish seized him,
pain like that of a woman in labor.

     44 Like a lion coming up from the thickets of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly chase them away from her; and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who can summon me? Who is the shepherd who can stand before me? 45 Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Babylon, and the purposes that he has formed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away; surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 46 At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.

The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]

What I'm Reading

What Jurors Can Teach Us About The World We Are Trying to Reach

By J. Warner Wallace 11/9/2016

     Yes, I know I analogize and write often about the similarities between Christian Case Making and criminal case making, but bear with me one more time. I think we can learn something from the attributes of jurors when we consider how (and who) we ought to address as we defend what we believe as Christians. I’ve come to recognize the following characteristics of jurors:

     Jurors Usually Volunteer Their Service Reluctantly | There’s a reason why we summon people for jury service; if we waited for people to volunteer on their own, we wouldn’t conduct many trials. Potential jurors respond to their summons with an amazing variety of excuses in an effort to avoid serving altogether. I think I’ve heard just about every excuse that can be presented. It’s safe to say that most people don’t want to serve on a jury.

     Jurors Usually Struggle to Add Service Into the Balance of Their Lives | For most of us, our hesitance to engage the responsibility of a jury trial comes down to time limitations. It’s difficult to squeeze in yet another task when most of us already have too many pressing responsibilities. This is the overwhelming objection most potential jurors offer: “I am a single parent, so I just don’t have time,” or, “I am starting a new business and I can’t leave it right now”. No one wants their life consumed by a jury trial. My cold cases typically take many weeks to prosecute. It’s difficult to get people to commit to lengthy service of this nature.

     Jurors Usually Recognize the Importance of Their Service | The judges I know seldom accept any of the excuses offered by potential jurors. First and foremost, judges typically remind jurors that there’s a reason we call it jury “duty”. All of us, as citizens, have a responsibility (a civic duty actually) to be actively involved in the system that provides for our safety and wellbeing. We all benefit from this system, so we should all be ready and willing to contribute something. When jurors are reminded of their duty as citizens, most reluctantly accept their personal civic responsibility.

     Jurors Usually Feel Great About Their Service After the Fact | After every homicide trial, I spend time with the jurors to thank them and answer any questions they might have had about the trial. Even those jurors who were initially hesitant to serve on our panel are usually delighted and satisfied with their service after the trial is over. Sometimes it’s difficult to properly understand the value of an endeavor until you’ve completed the task. I think most jurors would agree that the true value of their effort was most apparent after the verdict was rendered.

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

Is Christ Inferior to the Father?

By Tim Barnett 11/9/2016

     I had a surprise visit from my Jehovah’s Witness friends a couple of weeks ago. They normally call me to set up an appointment, but this time they were in the neighborhood and decided to drop by.

     As usual, they had an agenda they wanted to accomplish. On this occasion, they asked if we could talk about the inferiority of Jesus. Immediately I knew where this conversation was going. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a lesser deity than the Father. To justify this belief, they point to verses that spotlight Jesus’ submission to the Father. In Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Ron Rhodes writes,

     For example, Jesus said, “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), and referred to the Father as “my God” (John 20:17). 1 Corinthians 11:3 tells us that “the head of Christ is God,” and 1 Corinthians 15:28 says that Jesus will “be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.”

     Consequently, they had me read 1 Corinthians 15:28. Paul writes, “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to Him who put all things in subjection under Him, that God may be all in all.” Here, they argued, is explicit evidence from Scripture for the inequality between Jesus and the Father.

     How should we understand these kinds of passages? Moreover, if Jesus isn’t equal with the Father, how can we claim He is God?

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     Tim Barnett is a dynamic speaker who provides a perfect blend of expertise and humor in each talk. Using easy-to-follow and visually engaging presentations, Tim trains Christians to think clearly about what they believe and why they believe it. Tim's passion and energy will help motivate you and your group to love God with all your mind.

A Few Thoughts on the Hatmaker Position on LGBTQ

By Sean McDowell 11/2/2016

     For a variety of reasons, I rarely respond publicly to other Christians. But in this case, I feel compelled to do so.

     Last week, in an effort to be compassionate and loving, popular Christian author Jen Hatmaker came out in support of LGBT relationships, referring to them as “holy.” While other Christian influencers have come out in favor of affirming theology, this caught my attention because my wife has personally benefitted greatly from her books. In fact, she has even read out loud to me some particularly funny and insightful portions from one of Jen’s book.

     Rosaria Butterfield wrote a poignant reply to Jen Hatmaker, which is worth reading, regardless of where you stand on the issue. And so have Jake Meador and Kevin DeYoung. The issue seemed closed to me, until a close friend sent me a link to a Facebook post by Jen’s husband Brandon Hatmaker, clarifying their position on LGBTQ. This particular post was the reason I felt compelled to weigh in.

     Essentially, Brandon describes how he and Jen have been on a yearlong journey trying to reconcile the pain they see in the lives of LGBTQ people with the “historic Christian position” on homosexuality. After much study and prayer, they mutually concluded that God blesses homosexual relationships in the context of marriage.

     Now, for the record, I do not question their motivations. In fact, I have no reason to doubt that they’re trying to do what they believe is right for a community that has often felt alienated by the broader culture and, sadly, the church. My father taught me to always assume the best in others, and I certainly extend that courtesy to them, as I hope they will to me (if they happen to read this).

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     Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 18 books, an internationally recognized speaker, a part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.Books By Sean McDowell

Sean McDowell Books:

Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists
A New Kind of Apologist: *Adopting Fresh Strategies *Addressing the Latest Issues *Engaging the Culture
The Beauty of Intolerance: Setting a Generation Free to Know Truth and Love
Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage (Thoughtful Response)
ETHIX: Being Bold in a Whatever World
More Than a Carpenter

Religious Freedom: Still an American Hallmark?

By Sheri Bell 11/9/2016

     Religious Freedom + Cultural Tolerance = ?

     Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

     When the First Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, it was designed to erect a “wall of separation.” Not, as some think, to keep religion out of politics. Rather, the amendment was added to the Constitution to ensure that the government is thwarted in any attempt to limit the religious freedom of any American citizen.

     But our Constitution is under attack. Are you aware, for example, that a recent government report, titled Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties, appears to be fully committed to controlling religious freedom in America?

     In his letter attached to the report, Martin R. Castro, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, writes, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, or any form of intolerance.” Adds Castro, “…today, as in the past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality.”

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     Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt is an award-winning freelance writer who has contributed to "American Profile," "Family Circle," "HR Innovator," "Ladies Home Journal," and "The Washington Post." She is the author of "Art: Careers for the Twenty-First Century," "Law: Careers for the Twenty-First Century," and "Military: Careers for the Twenty-First Century." She lives in Buffalo, New York.

Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt Books:

Freedom or Tyranny: What Will America Choose?

By Sean McDowell 11/8/2016

     America is deeply confused about freedom. You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, America is the land of the free. If anyone understands freedom it’s us!” We are certainly a nation who has historically fought for freedom, and we do have greater freedoms than many nations in the world, but as R.R. Reno points out in his recent book Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society, we have abandoned classical freedom and embraced a new understanding that will, in the end, bring tyranny.

     Historically, Americans pursued a freedom that was aimed at serving the higher good and void of government overreach. There was a sense of collective responsibility and solidarity. Our freedom came from God and was based upon aligning ourselves with nature. We certainly fell short as a nation in living this ideal (e.g., racism and eugenics), but it’s the freedom we valued in principle and fought for.

     But today we are embracing an entirely new understanding of freedom. Moral relativists encourage young people to be nonjudgmental. Students are encouraged to accept all lifestyles as equal and not to judge others. The only “sin” is to consider one’s lifestyle superior to another. Moral relativists talk about freedom, but it’s not the kind of freedom that encourages courage, forbearance, and sacrifice but the freedom to define moral truth for oneself. In other words, to the moral relativist, freedom means having no moral constraints.

     The new understanding of freedom can also be seen in our cultural trend towards individualism. In The Beauty of Intolerance, my father and I describe the trend this way: “Moral truth comes from the individual; it is subjective and situational. This truth is known through choosing to believe it and through personal experience.”[1] SCOTUS judge Anthony Kennedy famously expressed this individualistic view in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

     Such a view seems liberating, but unchecked by God, nature, and custom, it will only lead to tyranny. In fact, untethered by any restraints, freedom becomes merely about freedom itself rather than what is best for the collective good. Reno observes:

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     Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 18 books, an internationally recognized speaker, a part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.Books By Sean McDowell

Sean McDowell Books:

Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists
A New Kind of Apologist: *Adopting Fresh Strategies *Addressing the Latest Issues *Engaging the Culture
The Beauty of Intolerance: Setting a Generation Free to Know Truth and Love
Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage (Thoughtful Response)
ETHIX: Being Bold in a Whatever World
More Than a Carpenter

The Day After Election Day

By John Stonestreet 11/9/2016

     Whoever you voted for yesterday, Chuck Colson has a few words of wisdom for you, words he spoke after the presidential election in 2008. Please listen closely:

     Whether you’re recovering from your all-night celebration or drying the tears from your pillow, today’s a good day to remember the words of the apostle Paul: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

     Chuck went on to point out that the next president would face enormous challenges. First among them back in 2008 was what is now called the great recession.

     Now dare I say that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (and as I record this I don’t know who won the election) face even greater challenges? Ninety-four million Americans are not in the workforce—more than ever before. The nation is in the grip of a heroin and painkiller epidemic that’s destroying lives across the country. To say racial tensions are high is an understatement. Domestic terrorism and cyber attacks threaten us daily.

     And there’s a real effort to push religious and moral conviction out of the public square, and enshrine in law a dehumanizing vision of sexuality and identity.

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     John Stonestreet, President, The Chuck Colson Center and BreakPoint Radio Co-Host | Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. The BreakPoint.org features Metaxas and Stonestreet commentaries as well as columns and feature articles by leading Christian writers, and "Youth Reads," which offers a Christian perspective on books for teens and preteens. On "BreakPoint This Week," John Stonestreet and co-host Ed Stetzer host a weekly conversation with leading Christian writers and thinkers. These compelling discussions cover a wide variety of topics, but center on the issues shaping our culture. “RE:News” gathers need-to-know news headlines, and the BreakPoint Blog equips visitors with a biblical perspective on a variety of issues and topics.

Our Secular Theodicy

By Matthew Rose 11/7/2017

     I live in Berkeley, one of the most religious cities in America. Its churches are being converted into mosques and Buddhist temples, but its one true faith endures. A popular yard sign states its creed: “In This House, We Believe: Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real, Love is Love, and Kindness is Everything.” The sign is both profession and prophecy. Like the biblical Joshua whose promise it echoes (“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”), my neighbors are in a holy vanguard. They have seen the future America, have identified its present enemies, and are leading us into a promised land.

     The biblical politics of my secular neighbors would not have been lost on Ernst Bloch. Bloch was an atheist who believed Jesus was the Messiah, a Stalinist who disagreed with Marx, and a materialist who embraced natural law theory. For the moment you will have to take my word that this can make sense and that it is worth the modest effort to understand how. You would be within your rights to be skeptical. No doctrine has been refuted so often as Marxism, and the debates that consumed Bloch’s long life are dead. Yet the utopian spirit to which he gave original, sometimes brilliant, and more often bizarre expression has never been more alive, and to visit his work is to witness a moment when Christian faith began to transmute itself into the progressive creeds of today.

     In a series of books beginning in 1918 and ending shortly before his death in 1977, Bloch proposed that the central category for understanding politics is eschatology—our anticipation of a future society that will reveal the meaning of human history and redeem its fallen state. He named this kingdom “utopia” and argued that its arrival is the object of every human hope and the justification of every human suffering. Bloch lived under Hitler, Vichy, and the gaze of Walter Ulbricht, the Stalinist leader of East Germany, making his work an anguished commentary on the darkest moments of the twentieth century. But his millennial hopes, expressed in critical dialogue with Christian theology, continue to inspire many.

     Bloch is a guide into the concealed theology of contemporary liberalism, whose outlook remains profoundly, if paradoxically, biblical in one respect. Having rejected a Christian understanding of nature, it retains an intensely Christian understanding of history. It sees human history as goal-oriented and our advancement as a series of conversions and liberations, the outcome of which is the creation of a community that can redeem our fallen history. Bloch appreciated, as deeply as any modern thinker, that this is not a secular understanding of time. It is a biblical story, told in the misleading language of progressive politics. But how can history have a moral direction at all? And how did Christianity come to be placed on the wrong side of it? Bloch offers a fascinating explanation of this theological reversal, showing us how a politics Christian in origin could become anti-Christian in intention.

     The Principle of Hope, Vol. 1 (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought) is the greatest defense of Marxism ever attempted. Bloch wrote it during a decadelong exile in New York and Cambridge, completing it shortly before accepting a university appointment at Leipzig in 1948. It is, by unanimous consent, a repellently written book, composed of three volumes and 1,500 punishing pages of Marxist analysis. I do not casually recommend reading it. But for those with a tolerance for inscrutable syntax, opaque jokes, and clumsy neologisms, it is a work of extraordinary ambition.

Click here to go to source

     Matthew Rose | Director and Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Institute. A scholar of religion, he was previously Ennis Fellow in Humanities at Villanova University, where he taught courses in philosophy, politics, and literature. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago after attending the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Ethics with Barth (Ashgate, 2010), as well as of articles in Political Theology, The Thomist, Logos, Pro Ecclesia, Studies in Christian Ethics, Journal of Catholic Moral Theology, First Things, National Affairs, and The Weekly Standard.

Sipping Saltwater

By Tim Challies 11/8/2017

     Is there any sin we commit more but admit less than the sin of idolatry? As people who have knowingly and willingly deserted the one true God, we turn our hearts this way and that to find the satisfaction we are meant to find in him alone. We try first one thing and then the other yet never find our thirst assuaged. It is not until we rest in him that we find true rest. It is not until we are satisfied in him that we find true satisfaction. Idolatry is the curse of all mankind.

     Idolatry is the subject of a new book by Steve Hoppe. Sipping Saltwater: How to find lasting satisfaction in a world of thirst All throughout the book, he uses saltwater as a metaphor for our idolatry. A shipwrecked sailor can float in an ocean filled with trillions of gallons of water but never quench his thirst because he is afloat in saltwater. In the same way, none of the pleasures in this world can ultimately satisfy us without God. Hoppe says, “In our nagging state of thirst for paradise lost, what do we drink? Saltwater. We consume things that look and feel and sound like they can quench our thirst. They promise unmatched pleasure. They promote limitless comfort, joy, strength, peace, and excitement. They vow to remove our fears, tears, worries, guilt, and shame. They pledge to fill the voids in our hearts and soothe our aching souls. They promise paradise. But they can’t deliver. We drink them, but our thirst remains unquenched. In fact, we are left thirstier. And we experience devastating hangovers — negative spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational consequences — as a result.”

     What is this saltwater? “This saltwater doesn’t come from the ocean. It comes in a variety of forms from the world around us and our hearts within. It comes in the form of money, sex, control, or comfort. It comes in the form of busyness, people, food, or works. It can come in the form of anything. … Even though we are thirsty for paradise lost, we drink saltwater instead — in a million different forms.”

     The trick, of course, is that none of these things are evil in and of themselves. Just like saltwater is good for the purpose for which it was created, so, too, is each of these. Each of them is a good gift of God. Each of them is meant to be enjoyed. The problems begin when they are elevated too far. They become idols when they become ultimate matters. Hoppe describes what he calls the “saltwater cycle” which consists of three steps that repeat themselves endlessly. First, we listen to a lie; second, we take a drink; third, we suffer. We listen to the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil and believe that we can be satisfied with what they offer. Then we take a drink, we believe the lie, we look for satisfaction, we make gifts into gods. Then, inevitably, we suffer the consequences. We feel guilt and shame and sorrow and promise never to do it again. The cycle repeats.

Click here to go to source

     Tim Challies: I am a Christian, a husband to Aileen and a father to three children aged 10 to 16. I worship and serve as an elder at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario. I am a book reviewer, co-founder of Cruciform Press, and have written five books:

     I began my web site in 2002 and have been writing there daily since 2003. It is my place to think out loud and in public while also sharing some of the interesting things I’ve discovered in my online travels.

Tim Challies Books:

  • Christ-Rejecters
  • Murder of God’s Son: 1
  • Part 2

     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Teach your child God’s Word
     (Nov 10)    Bob Gass

     ‘From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures.’

(2 Ti 3:15) and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. ESV

     There’s a story about a woman who came to her pastor and said, ‘How early should I start the spiritual training of my child?’ The pastor asked, ‘How old is the child?’ She answered, ‘Five.’ He replied, ‘Lady, get busy – you’re already five years late!’ Psychologists confirm that your child’s capacity and hunger for knowledge begins at infancy. So while they are in the listening stage, you should be in the teaching stage. Take every opportunity to read the Bible to them. Use everyday experiences to teach them what God’s Word has to say about the Golden Rule, how to be polite, how to forgive, and how to confess and repent of sin. Never underestimate God’s ability to develop spiritual character and teach spiritual truths to your children, even at a very early age. While their heart is still young and tender, introduce them to Jesus. Some of the greatest Christians in history were saved at an early age. Jonathan Edwards, whose ministry shook New England for God, was saved at the age of eight. Charles Spurgeon, ‘the prince of preachers’, was saved at the age of twelve. Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator, was saved at the age of eleven. Timothy was an apostle by the time he was seventeen. Paul writes, ‘From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ Yes, your child can understand the basic truths about salvation. And they can come to know Christ at an early age.

Ezek 20-21
Heb 13

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     “Doctor Livingston, I presume,” was the greeting made this day, November 10, 1871, by newspaper reporter Henry Stanley as he met Dr. David Livingston on the banks of Lake Tanganyika. Dr. Livingston, an internationally known missionary in Africa, had not been heard from in years and the rumor spread he had died. Stanley, a skeptic, set out to find him and write a story. He described Dr. Livingston as: “A man who is… sustained as well as guided by influences from Heaven… The heroism, nobility, pure and stainless enthusiasm… come, beyond question, from Christ. There must, therefore, be a Christ.”

American Minute

Letters To Malcolm, Chiefly On Prayer
     by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God

     Your other question is one which, I think, really gets in pious people's way. It was, you remember, "How important must a need or desire be before we can properly make it the subject of a petition?" Properly, I take it, here means either "without irreverence" or "without silliness," or both.

     When I'd thought about it for a bit, it seemed to me that there are really two questions involved.

1.     How important must an object be before we can, without sin and folly, allow our desire for it to become a matter of serious concern to us? This, you see, is a question about what old writers call our "frame"; that is, our "frame of mind."

2.     Granted the existence of such a serious concern in our minds, can it always be properly laid before God in prayer?

     We all know the answer to the first of these in theory. We must aim at what St. Augustine (is it?) calls "ordinate loves." Our deepest concern should be for first things, and our next deepest for second things, and so on down to zero-to total absence of concern for things that are not really good, nor means to good, at all.

     Meantime, however, we want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we now are. And if my idea of prayer as "unveiling" is accepted, we have already answered this. It is no use to ask God with factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with the desire for B. We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 11.

     Concerning Jonathan, One Of The Sicarii, That Stirred Up A Sedition In Cyrene, And Was A False Accuser [Of The Innocent].

     1. And now did the madness of the Sicarii, like a disease, reach as far as the cities of Cyrene; for one Jonathan, a vile person, and by trade a weaver, came thither and prevailed with no small number of the poorer sort to give ear to him; he also led them into the desert, upon promising them that he would show them signs and apparitions. And as for the other Jews of Cyrene, he concealed his knavery from them, and put tricks upon them; but those of the greatest dignity among them informed Catullus, the governor of the Libyan Pentapolis, of his march into the desert, and of the preparations he had made for it. So he sent out after him both horsemen and footmen, and easily overcame them, because they were unarmed men; of these many were slain in the fight, but some were taken alive, and brought to Catullus. As for Jonathan, the head of this plot, he fled away at that time; but upon a great and very diligent search, which was made all the country over for him, he was at last taken. And when he was brought to Catullus, he devised a way whereby he both escaped punishment himself, and afforded an occasion to Catullus of doing much mischief; for he falsely accused the richest men among the Jews, and said that they had put him upon what he did.

     2. Now Catullus easily admitted of these his calumnies, and aggravated matters greatly, and made tragical exclamations, that he might also be supposed to have had a hand in the finishing of the Jewish war. But what was still harder, he did not only give a too easy belief to his stories, but he taught the Sicarii to accuse men falsely. He bid this Jonathan, therefore, to name one Alexander, a Jew [with whom he had formerly had a quarrel, and openly professed that he hated him]; he also got him to name his wife Bernice, as concerned with him. These two Catullus ordered to be slain in the first place; nay, after them he caused all the rich and wealthy Jews to be slain, being no fewer in all than three thousand. This he thought he might do safely, because he confiscated their effects, and added them to Caesar's revenues.

3. Nay, indeed, lest any Jews that lived elsewhere should convict him of his villainy, he extended his false accusations further, and persuaded Jonathan, and certain others that were caught with him, to bring an accusation of attempts for innovation against the Jews that were of the best character both at Alexandria and at Rome. One of these, against whom this treacherous accusation was laid, was Josephus, the writer of these books. However, this plot, thus contrived by Catullus, did not succeed according to his hopes; for though he came himself to Rome, and brought Jonathan and his companions along with him in bonds, and thought he should have had no further inquisition made as to those lies that were forged under his government, or by his means; yet did Vespasian suspect the matter and made an inquiry how far it was true. And when he understood that the accusation laid against the Jews was an unjust one, he cleared them of the crimes charged upon them, and this on account of Titus's concern about the matter, and brought a deserved punishment upon Jonathan; for he was first tormented, and then burnt alive.

     4. But as to Catullus, the emperors were so gentle to him, that he underwent no severe condemnation at this time; yet was it not long before he fell into a complicated and almost incurable distemper, and died miserably. He was not only afflicted in body, but the distemper in his mind was more heavy upon him than the other; for he was terribly disturbed, and continually cried out that he saw the ghosts of those whom he had slain standing before him. Where upon he was not able to contain himself, but leaped out of his bed, as if both torments and fire were brought to him. This his distemper grew still a great deal worse and worse continually, and his very entrails were so corroded, that they fell out of his body, and in that condition he died. Thus he became as great an instance of Divine Providence as ever was, and demonstrated that God punishes wicked men.

     5. And here we shall put an end to this our history; wherein we formerly promised to deliver the same with all accuracy, to such as should be desirous of understanding after what manner this war of the Romans with the Jews was managed. Of which history, how good the style is, must be left to the determination of the readers; but as for its agreement with the facts, I shall not scruple to say, and that boldly, that truth hath been what I have alone aimed at through its entire composition.

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

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Unless we have the courage to fight
for a revival of wholesome reserve between man and man,
we shall perish in an anarchy of human values… .
Socially it means the renunciation of all place-hunting,
a break with the cult of the “star,”
an open eye both upwards and downwards,
especially in the choice of one’s more intimate friends,
and pleasure in private life
as well as courage to enter public life.
Culturally it means a return
from the newspaper and the radio to the book,
from feverish activity to unhurried leisure,
from dispersion to concentration,
from sensationalism to reflection,
from virtuosity to art,
from snobbery to modesty,
from extravagance to moderation.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer     Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Witness to Jesus Christ (Making of Modern Theology)

One may be capable of performances that benefit others spiritually and yet be a stranger oneself to the Spirit wrought inner transformation that true knowledge of God brings. The manifestation of the Spirit in charismatic performance is not the same thing as the fruit of the Spirit in Christ-like character, and there may be much of the former with little or none of the latter.
--- J.I. Packer     Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God

That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.
--- Henry David Thoreau     Wisdom from the Monastery: A Program of Spiritual Healing

I hit him to get his attention.
I shot him to calm him down.
I killed him to reason with him.
-- Henry Rollins     Eye Scream

... from here, there and everywhere

Proverbs 28:16
     by D.H. Stern

16     A prince without discernment is a cruel oppressor,
but one who hates greed will prolong his life.

My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                Fellowship in the Gospel

     Fellow labourer in the Gospel of Christ. --- 1 Thess. 3:2.

     After sanctification it is difficult to state what your aim in life is, because God has taken you up into His purpose by the Holy Ghost. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself—‘God has called me for this and that,’ you are putting a barrier to God’s use of you. As long as you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set ambition, you cannot get through into identification with God’s interests. You can only get there by losing for ever any idea of yourself and by letting God take you right out into His purpose for the world, and because your goings are of the Lord, you can never understand your ways.

     I have to learn that the aim in life is God’s, not mine. God is using me from His great personal standpoint, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him, and never say—‘Lord, this gives me such heartache.’ To talk in that way makes me a clog. When I stop telling God what I want, He can catch me up for what He wants without let or hindrance. He can crumple me up or exalt me, He can do anything He chooses. He simply asks me to have implicit faith in Himself and in His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil; if I go off on that line I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. I have ‘a world within the world’ in which I live, and God will never be able to get me outside it because I am afraid of being frost-bitten.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

The Possession
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                The Possession

He is a religious man.
  How often I have heard him say,
  looking around him with his worried eyes
  at the emptiness: There must be something.

It is the same at night, when,
  rising from his fused prayers,
  he faces the illuminated city
  above him: All that brightness, he thinks,

and nobody there ! I am nothing
  religious. All I have is a piece
  of the universal mind that reflects
  infinite darkness between points of light.


     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     These great evils that come about between the human individuals who inflict them upon one another because of purposes, desires, opinions, and beliefs, are all of them likewise consequent upon privation. For all of them derive from ignorance, I mean from a privation of knowledge. Just as a blind man, because of absence of sight, does not cease stumbling, being wounded, and also wounding others, because he has nobody to guide him on his way, the various sects of men—every individual according to the extent of his ignorance—does to himself and to others great evils from which individuals of the species suffer. If there were knowledge, whose relation to the human form is like that of the faculty of sight to the eye, they would refrain from doing any harm to themselves and to others. For through cognition of the truth, enmity and hatred are removed and the inflicting of harm by people on one another is abolished. It holds out this promise, saying: “And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and so on. And the cow and the bear shall feed, and so on. And the sucking child shall play, and so on.” Then it gives the reason for this, saying that the cause of the abolition of these enmities, these discords and these tyrannies, will be the knowledge that men will then have concerning the true reality of the Deity. For it says: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Know this.

     In Maimonides’ description of the actions of the Messiah, it is a slow process of education—and not miracles—which brings about a redeemed world:

     For in those days, knowledge, wisdom, and truth will increase, as it is said “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Is. 11:9), and it is said, “They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother (Jer. 31:34), and further, “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). Because the king who will arise from the seed of David will possess more wisdom than Solomon and will be a great Prophet, approaching Moses, our Teacher, he will teach the whole of the Jewish people and instruct them in the way of God; and all nations will come to hear him, as it is said, “And in the end of days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the top of the mountains” (Mic. 4:1; Is. 2:2).

     Messianism does not bring about a qualitative change in history or nature.37 Man’s nature is not transformed in the messianic age; Torah which guides and educates man, will be as necessary then as it is now.

Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     November 10

     Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. --- Hebrews 10:32.

     No blessing is nobler than illumination.  “The Anguish of the Light,” in The Weaving of Glory   It tells of the benediction of the light, of a life that has arisen from darkness and moved into the sun. After illumination—a great joy? We would have looked for some conclusion such as that. After illumination, liberty and peace that the world cannot take away? Scripture does not deny these blessed consequences, but in its fidelity to all experience it says that after illumination may come battle.

     Think, then, of the illumination of the intellect and of all that follows on the light of knowledge. That is not always liberty and power; it is sometimes conflict. When Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, her eyes were opened, and she was illuminated, yet that light did not bring peace to Eve nor gladness nor any rest of the heart, but only the sorrow of struggle. The more we know the more we want to know. The more we know the more we cannot know. And doubts are born and much that once seemed certain grows unstable, until at last, wearied and in perplexity, not through the power of darkness but of light, we realize how grim is the struggle that follows illumination.

     There are those here who can recall the struggle that followed the light. Here for instance is a young man, a student, who has been trained in a pious home. There he accepted without questioning the faith of his father and mother. Their character commended it to him—he saw it lived and therefore felt it true—and in a faith that never had been shaken, he joined in worship and in prayer. There are many who never lose that childhood faith. But often, with that light of knowledge that the years bring to most of us today, there falls a different story. Illumination comes by what we read: it flashes on us in our college lectures. And the world is different, and God and humanity are different. And then begins that time of stress and strain, so bitter and yet so infinitely blessed, through which people must fight their way, alone, to faith and peace and character and God. There is a strife that is nobler than repose. There is a battle more blessed than tranquility. There is a stress and strain that comes when God arises and cries to a young heart “Let there be light.” All which, so modern that it seems of yesterday, is yet so old that Scripture understands it.
--- George H. Morrison

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

On This Day   November 10
     The Warrior

     In 1942 a missionary to Malaysia named Paul Fleming contracted cerebral malaria and returned home. While recovering he spent hours talking with pastor Cecil Dye about the need for reaching remote tribes for Christ. They formed an interdenominational agency named New Tribes Mission, and soon Dye, his brother, and three other men arrived with their families in Bolivia to establish a ministry among the Ayores, a wild tribe of Indians. Bolivians warned them of danger, but the men nonetheless moved their families into the heart of the jungle and established a base. From there the five plunged into the thicket in search of Ayores.

     A month passed, and a search party set out along a rocky path over the hills. They found nothing but a cracked camera lens, a sock, a machete, and some other personal items. A second search found more effects at an abandoned Ayore site. Army troops prepared to invade the area in retribution for the apparent murders, but a mission representative stopped them, saying, “Don’t go! We want to reach them for Christ.”

     Years passed, and the women moved deeper into Ayore territory, still hoping their husbands were alive. Then in 1948 a band of naked Indians appeared at the camp, took proffered gifts, and disappeared. Later they returned for more gifts and told the women their husbands were dead.

     Gradually more details emerged: On November 10, 1944 the five missionaries had approached an Ayore village, creating great excitement. An impatient warrior had released an arrow, wounding one of them. Another missionary pulled out the arrow, and the five walked rapidly away. Upoide, an enraged warrior, led a band after the men, and one by one the missionaries were clubbed, speared, and killed.

     The wives soon learned that it was Upoide himself who had approached their camp, telling the story. When he sensed the women would forgive him, he confessed his involvement, repented, and came to Christ. A permanent Christian settlement was soon established among the Ayores as a base for other missionary activity, and a fruitful ministry to South American aboriginals continues to this day.

     The LORD is my strength, the reason for my song, because he has saved me. I praise and honor the LORD—he is my God and the God of my ancestors. The LORD is his name, and he is a warrior!
--- Exodus 15:2,3.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - November 10

     “The eternal God is thy refuge.” --- Deuteronomy 33:27.

     The word refuge may be translated “mansion,” or “abiding- place,” which gives the thought that God is our abode, our home. There is a fulness and sweetness in the metaphor, for dear to our hearts is our home, although it be the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret; and dearer far is our blessed God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being. It is at home that we feel safe: we shut the world out and dwell in quiet security. So when we are with our God we “fear no evil.” He is our shelter and retreat, our abiding refuge. At home, we take our rest; it is there we find repose after the fatigue and toil of the day. And so our hearts find rest in God, when, wearied with life’s conflict, we turn to him, and our soul dwells at ease. At home, also, we let our hearts loose; we are not afraid of being misunderstood, nor of our words being misconstrued. So when we are with God we can commune freely with him, laying open all our hidden desires; for if the “secret of the Lord is with them that fear him,” the secrets of them that fear him ought to be, and must be, with their Lord. Home, too, is the place of our truest and purest happiness: and it is in God that our hearts find their deepest delight. We have joy in him which far surpasses all other joy. It is also for home that we work and labour. The thought of it gives strength to bear the daily burden, and quickens the fingers to perform the task; and in this sense we may also say that God is our home. Love to him strengthens us. We think of him in the person of his dear Son; and a glimpse of the suffering face of the Redeemer constrains us to labour in his cause. We feel that we must work, for we have brethren yet to be saved, and we have our Father’s heart to make glad by bringing home his wandering sons; we would fill with holy mirth the sacred family among whom we dwell. Happy are those who have thus the God of Jacob for their refuge!

          Evening - November 10

     “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.” --- Matthew 10:25.

     No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment he received? Were his claims acknowledged, his instructions followed, his perfections worshipped, by those whom he came to bless? No; “He was despised and rejected of men.” Outside the camp was his place: cross-bearing was his occupation. Did the world yield him solace and rest? “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” This inhospitable country afforded him no shelter: it cast him out and crucified him. Such—if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation—you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour—they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world’s favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout “Well done” to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn.

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

Amazing Grace
     November 10


     Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915

     I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 146:2)

     Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence. This realization can turn any gloom into a song.
--- S.T. Coleridge

     Praise is our Lord’s most righteous due. It is not an option whether we will offer praise—it is one of God’s commands. Scriptures clearly teach that we are to offer a sacrifice of praise to God continually (Hebrews 13:15, 16). Our daily sacrifice of praise should include joyful songs for who Christ is—“our blessed redeemer.” Then we need to praise God for all of His daily blessings, which are beyond number. We should offer praise even for the trials of life for they are often blessings in disguise. Finally, our sacrifice should include praise for His leading in ways yet to be experienced.

     This is another of the many favorite Gospel hymns written by Fanny Crosby, blind American poetess. In all she wrote between 8,000 and 9,000 Gospel hymn texts and supplied our hymnals with more beloved hymns that are still sung today than any other writer.

     “Praise Him! Praise Him!” first appeared in a Sunday school hymnal, Bright Jewels, which was published in 1869. The song was originally titled “Praise, Give Thanks.” And still today, these words evoke praise from each believing heart ---

     Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim! Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory; strength and honor give to His holy name! Like a shepherd Jesus will guard His children. In His arms He carries them all day long:
     Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! For our sins He suffered, and bled and died; He, our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows; love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong:
     Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring. Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! crown Him! Prophet and Priest and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious, pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong:
     Refrain: Praise Him! praise Him! tell of His excellent greatness; praise Him! praise Him! ever in joyful song!

     For Today: Psalm 71:23; Hebrews 1:3–8; 13:8; Revelation 1:5, 6; 5:11-14

     Go forth with a renewed awareness of Christ’s presence in your life. Offer Him this sacrifice of praise ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Friday, November 10, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 26, Friday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 69:1–21 (22–28) 29–36
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 73
Old Testament     Ezra 7:27–28, 8:21–36
New Testament     Revelation 15:1–8
Gospel     Matthew 14:13–21

Index of Readings

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

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

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

6 Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,
O Lord GOD of hosts;
do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me,
O God of Israel.
7 It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.

9 It is zeal for your house that has consumed me;
the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10 When I humbled my soul with fasting,
they insulted me for doing so.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12 I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.

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

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

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

[     22 Let their table be a trap for them,
a snare for their allies.
23 Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
24 Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 May their camp be a desolation;
let no one live in their tents.
26 For they persecute those whom you have struck down,
and those whom you have wounded, they attack still more.
27 Add guilt to their guilt;
may they have no acquittal from you.
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.     ]

29 But I am lowly and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, protect me.

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

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

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 73

A Psalm of Asaph.

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

4 For they have no pain;
their bodies are sound and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not plagued like other people.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes swell out with fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues range over the earth.

10 Therefore the people turn and praise them,
and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Such are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
and am punished every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,”
I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I perceived their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
on awaking you despise their phantoms.

21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me with honor.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
you put an end to those who are false to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
to tell of all your works.

Old Testament
Ezra 7:27–28, 8:21–36

27 Blessed be the LORD, the God of our ancestors, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king to glorify the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, 28 and who extended to me steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might deny ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and cavalry to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king that the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him, but his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him. 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests: Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their kin with them. 25 And I weighed out to them the silver and the gold and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his lords, and all Israel there present had offered; 26 I weighed out into their hand six hundred fifty talents of silver, and one hundred silver vessels worth … talents, and one hundred talents of gold, 27 twenty gold bowls worth a thousand darics, and two vessels of fine polished bronze as precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, “You are holy to the LORD, and the vessels are holy; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your ancestors. 29 Guard them and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and the Levites and the heads of families in Israel at Jerusalem, within the chambers of the house of the LORD.” 30 So the priests and the Levites took over the silver, the gold, and the vessels as they were weighed out, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.

31 Then we left the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem; the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes along the way. 32 We came to Jerusalem and remained there three days. 33 On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed into the hands of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. 34 The total was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.

35 At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats; all this was a burnt offering to the LORD. 36 They also delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s satraps and to the governors of the province Beyond the River; and they supported the people and the house of God.

New Testament
Revelation 15:1–8

15 Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended.

2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations!
4 Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed.”

5 After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, with golden sashes across their chests. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever; 8 and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.

Matthew 14:13–21

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

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

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