Jeremiah in the CisternJeremiah 38:1 Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, 2 Thus says the Lord, Those who stay in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but those who go out to the Chaldeans shall live; they shall have their lives as a prize of war, and live. 3 Thus says the Lord, This city shall surely be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon and be taken. 4 Then the officials said to the king, “This man ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” 5 King Zedekiah said, “Here he is; he is in your hands; for the king is powerless against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.
Jeremiah Is Rescued by Ebed-melech7 Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. The king happened to be sitting at the Benjamin Gate, 8 So Ebed-melech left the king’s house and spoke to the king, 9 “My lord king, these men have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern to die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Just put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. 13 Then they drew Jeremiah up by the ropes and pulled him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
Zedekiah Consults Jeremiah Again14 King Zedekiah sent for the prophet Jeremiah and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, “I have something to ask you; do not hide anything from me.” 15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, you will put me to death, will you not? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.” 16 So King Zedekiah swore an oath in secret to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who gave us our lives, I will not put you to death or hand you over to these men who seek your life.”
17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, If you will only surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be handed over to the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand.” 19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, for I might be handed over to them and they would abuse me.” 20 Jeremiah said, “That will not happen. Just obey the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall go well with you, and your life shall be spared. 21 But if you are determined not to surrender, this is what the Lord has shown me— 22 a vision of all the women remaining in the house of the king of Judah being led out to the officials of the king of Babylon and saying,
‘Your trusted friends have seduced you
and have overcome you;
Now that your feet are stuck in the mud,
they desert you.’
24 Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone else know of this conversation, or you will die. 25 If the officials should hear that I have spoken with you, and they should come and say to you, ‘Just tell us what you said to the king; do not conceal it from us, or we will put you to death. What did the king say to you?’ 26 then you shall say to them, ‘I was presenting my plea to the king not to send me back to the house of Jonathan to die there.’ ” 27 All the officials did come to Jeremiah and questioned him; and he answered them in the very words the king had commanded. So they stopped questioning him, for the conversation had not been overheard. 28 And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard until the day that Jerusalem was taken.
The Fall of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25.1—12; Jer 52.4—16)Jeremiah 39:1 In the ninth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the tenth month, King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it; 2 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. 3 When Jerusalem was taken, all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim the Rabsaris, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. 4 When King Zedekiah of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and when they had taken him, they brought him up to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him. 6 The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah before his eyes; also the king of Babylon slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. 7 He put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters to take him to Babylon. 8 The Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses of the people, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard exiled to Babylon the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had deserted to him, and the people who remained. 10 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah some of the poor people who owned nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
Jeremiah, Set Free, Remembers Ebed-melech11 King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon gave command concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, saying, 12 “Take him, look after him well and do him no harm, but deal with him as he may ask you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, Nebushazban the Rabsaris, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon sent 14 and took Jeremiah from the court of the guard. They entrusted him to Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan to be brought home. So he stayed with his own people.
15 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was confined in the court of the guard: 16 Go and say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to fulfill my words against this city for evil and not for good, and they shall be accomplished in your presence on that day. 17 But I will save you on that day, says the Lord, and you shall not be handed over to those whom you dread. 18 For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have trusted in me, says the Lord.
Jeremiah with Gedaliah the Governor (2 Kings 25.22—26)Jeremiah 40:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he took him bound in fetters along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. 2 The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God threatened this place with this disaster; 3 and now the Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said, because all of you sinned against the Lord and did not obey his voice. Therefore this thing has come upon you. 4 Now look, I have just released you today from the fetters on your hands. If you wish to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will take good care of you; but if you do not wish to come with me to Babylon, you need not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go. 5 If you remain, then return to Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon appointed governor of the towns of Judah, and stay with him among the people; or go wherever you think it right to go.” So the captain of the guard gave him an allowance of food and a present, and let him go. 6 Then Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and stayed with him among the people who were left in the land.
7 When all the leaders of the forces in the open country and their troops heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed to him men, women, and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile to Babylon, 8 they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, they and their troops. 9 Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan swore to them and their troops, saying, “Do not be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall go well with you. 10 As for me, I am staying at Mizpah to represent you before the Chaldeans who come to us; but as for you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and live in the towns that you have taken over.” 11 Likewise, when all the Judeans who were in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in other lands heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan as governor over them, 12 then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been scattered and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah; and they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.
13 Now Johanan son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, “Are you at all aware that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them. 15 Then Johanan son of Kareah spoke secretly to Gedaliah at Mizpah, “Please let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one else will know. Why should he take your life, so that all the Judeans who are gathered around you would be scattered, and the remnant of Judah would perish?” 16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, “Do not do such a thing, for you are telling a lie about Ishmael.”
Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation
A Maskil of Asaph.
1 O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
3 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.
4 Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.
5 At the upper entrance they hacked
the wooden trellis with axes.
6 And then, with hatchets and hammers,
they smashed all its carved work.
7 They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it to the ground.
8 They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9 We do not see our emblems;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand;
why do you keep your hand in your bosom?
12 Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15 You cut openings for springs and torrents;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16 Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the luminaries and the sun.
17 You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
you made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
and an impious people reviles your name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
21 Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
23 Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.
Plea for Mercy for Jerusalem
A Psalm of Asaph.
1 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2 They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the air for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth.
3 They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us.
5 How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealous wrath burn like fire?
6 Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name.
7 For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.
8 Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors;
let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
9 Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and forgive our sins,
for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes.
11 Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
according to your great power preserve those doomed to die.
12 Return sevenfold into the bosom of our neighbors
the taunts with which they taunted you, O Lord!
13 Then we your people, the flock of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
What I'm Reading
Martin Luther's Gift To Pastors
By Obbie Todd 11/1/2017
At the conclusion of ISBN-13: 978-1433525025 , church historian Carl Trueman recollects being interviewed for his first tenured appointment at a university. He was asked by one of the interviewers, “If you were trapped on a desert island, who would you want with you – Luther or Calvin?” Trueman chose Luther. And later that day he was hired.
According to Trueman, “I have rarely if ever used any of Luther’s commentaries or lectures in order to help clarify an exegetical point. Frankly, he lacks the precision and the sensitivity to the biblical text that one finds in Calvin. So why is it that, despite many attempts over the years to move on from studying Luther, I find myself drawn back again and again?” (28) If one were forced to supply only one answer, it would be found in Luther’s astonishing combination of genius and humanity. Unlike Calvin, who rarely spoke about himself, Luther was an open book. He spoke of flatulence. Of constipation. Of his wrestling with God. Of his marriage to Katharina von Bora. Luther wasn’t simply a theologian. He was a sinner simul iustus et peccator. This also gave Luther remarkable skill as a pastor.
As pastor and theologian, Luther understood the everyday sinner and the desperate need for assurance. Plagued by the Anfechtungen of God’s judgment, Luther knew where to flee and where to point other sinners for rest: the cross. In fact, in Luther’s distinction between theology of the cross and theology of glory, he left perhaps his best gift to pastors:
Fear & Trembling
By Liam Walsh 1/2/2017
This is an updated version of my last post, Beholding the Glory of the Gospel. Essentially this is a step by step guide for what to do when reading your Bible. I have updated this post to better reflect what most helps me get into the presence of God and to experience him. This is something to go through once you have your Bible in front of you and have a Bible reading plan to start. If you’re more of a neat-nic like me, you might find this helpful (if not, you may just be overwhelmed). I find that if I don’t have a plan for how to read, I simply read my Bible and just go on my way without it having any affect on me.
This plan is something I’ve gathered together from a few different sources over a few years. It really helps my Bible reading affect my soul, and work change in me, rather than just being something I glance over. Before starting you may want to grab a coffee, get out a journal, maybe light a candle, or turn on some quiet music that helps you get into God’s presence. To go through everything here will probably take a few sittings, so some people may find it better to pick and choose some things that are most helpful for them. My hope is that this will help you to more deeply enjoy, know, and be swallowed up in the glorious majesty of Jesus our king!
2 Cor 2:16
- Remove other cares from my thoughts. If necessary list them out for dealing with later.
- Get my heart impressed with an awful sense of the majesty and holiness of God into who’s presence I am going, and who’s word I am about to hear. See Psa. 89:5-14; Isa. 6:1-5; Psa. 46:1-11.
- Apply Christ’s suffering, death, and his imputed righteous life in my place, to myself and my sin and even my self made righteousness that stands between my soul and God.
- Examine myself and stir up in my heart great spiritual desires for my own soul’s needs and deficiencies.
- Pray that God would give me assistance in seeing, feeling, and hearing what he has for me in his word. Pray that he would direct the word to me as I need it, and that he would press it home on my heart with his blessing in order that I may be enlightened, sanctified, strengthened, humbled, or raised up by it, as my case requires according to Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
- Ask that God would pour out his Spirit on me through the reading of his word, knowing that none of these actions procure God’s action toward me, but that he acts according to his own will, and pours out his Spirit on whom he wills. Ask this according to the promise in Proverbs 1:23: “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”
Does Christian Hypocrisy Undermine the Reasonability of the Faith?
By Sean McDowell 10/31/2017
Christian hypocrisy has done massive damage to the Christian faith. According to author and social critic Os Guinness, the challenge of hypocrisy is second only to the problem of suffering and evil, and is one of the main reasons people duck the challenge of the gospel.
Hypocrisy is such a massive challenge, says Guinness, because Christians are called to be God’s witnesses to the world (Isa. 43:10; John 3:28): “In other words, before we are asked to preach, proclaim or try to persuade people of the claims of Jesus and his Father, we are asked simply to be witnesses for him—to provide an honest and factual account of what we have seen and heard objectively, and what we ourselves have experienced (‘Once I was blind, but now I can see’)—and to live lives that support what we say.
(Is 43:10) 10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. ESV
(Jn 3:28) 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. ESV
It is tempting for Christians to respond by pointing out the hypocrisy in other people and worldviews. For instance, the voices of tolerance and inclusiveness are often remarkably intolerant and non-inclusive of people with traditional values. Such hypocrisy should be rightly pointed out. But this doesn’t get Christians off the hook. After all, James said, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Christians are called to a higher standard. Whether we like it or not, people will judge the truthfulness of Christianity by the lives of its adherents.
As with the charge that the church has caused injustice in the world, Christians should first look inside and see if there is any merit to this claim. Have we been hypocritical in any way? Have our lives betrayed our principles? Have we contributed to this narrative? Rather than blame others, we need to take an honest look inside, identify our own hypocrisy, repent of it, and then admit our shortcomings.
As for the claim itself, it is an example of a “genetic fallacy,” which is a claim that is dismissed because of some perceived fault in its origin (its genesis). Guinness explains,
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
Self-Esteem Won’t Save You
By John Piper 11/1/2017
I’m not on a mission to help you feel good about yourselves. I am on a mission to help you feel so good about the greatness of God that you forget about yourselves and live a life of love, making others glad in God. I’m going to say that again because in our twenty-first-century mold and time on the back end of the crest of the wave of self-esteem, it needs to still be said.
I am not here to make you feel good about yourself. That’s a low salvation. That’s a low-level, American gospel message. I am here to make you so happy in God — to help you feel so good about the glory, majesty, beauty, justice, love, truth, and power of God — so that in all that, you forget about yourself.
Some of you have heard me say, “Nobody goes to the Grand Canyon to increase his self-esteem.” Because on the edge of the Grand Canyon, as you feel your soul being drawn out into this vast opening, that’s not what happens. What happens is wonder and awe, which is what you were made for. Heaven will not be a hall of mirrors in which you like what you see. In fact, I just have this suspicion there won’t be any mirrors in heaven because anything good and beautiful about you will be radiated back to you from the other people that you’re loving so much it just bounces back to you. But mainly it’s going to be about Jesus everywhere satisfying your soul.
So, thoughts about you in this world cause us so much grief. We think that the solution is “If I could just feel better about me — better about the way I look, better about my height, my weight, my complexion, my hair, my mathematical ability — if I could just feel better about me, I’d be healed.”
You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t be healed. You’d have low-level, low-grade, non-satisfying measures of contentment. You were made to see God, love God, delight in God, and be stunned by God.
John Piper Books:
- Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture
- Don't Waste Your Life
- Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- When I Don't Desire God (Redesign): How to Fight for Joy
- A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
- Future Grace, Revised Edition: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy
- This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
- Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God's Grace
- Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (Revised Edition)
- Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power
- The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God
- Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions
- God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself
- Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ
- The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin
- Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks From a Lifetime of Preaching
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- The Dangerous Duty of Delight: The Glorified God and the Satisfied Soul
- Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition
- The Supremacy of God in Preaching
- Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
- Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It
- Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton (The Swans Are Not Silent)
- A Godward Heart: Treasuring the God Who Loves You
- The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce
- Don't Waste Your Cancer
- Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian
- The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
- Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis
- Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
- Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23
- Finally Alive
- A Godward Life: Seeing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Spectacular Sins (Redesign): And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ
- Pierced by the Word: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Soul
- God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (With the Complete Text of The End for Which God Created the World)
- Life as a Vapor: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Faith
- Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
- 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood
- What Jesus Demands from the World (Paperback Edition)
- What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible
- Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen
- Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged
- John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God
- A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
- Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent
- The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright
- The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Thinking. Loving. Doing.: A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Quest for Joy (Pack of 25) (Proclaiming the Gospel)
- Ruth: Under the Wings of God
- Not a Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth
6 Marks of a Faithful Ministry
By Tim Challies 11/1/2016
God is good to give us pastors. The very fact that God calls certain men to “care for the church of God” (Acts 20:28) proves that the church is in need of care. God gives us pastors because we need pastoring. But what is this ministry? How does a pastor minister to his people in a way that expresses due care and concern for them? Last week I spent some time studying Paul’s charge to the elders/pastors in Ephesus (see Acts 20) and saw him lay out a series of marks of a faithful ministry.
The pastor’s ministry is a humble ministry. Paul reminded these church leaders, “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility…” Paul could humbly say he had served them with humility. He had always desired their good and God’s glory rather than his good and his own glory. He had served them as a slave under the rule of God, faithfully carrying out his ministry. He was an example of selflessness, of esteeming others higher than himself. The pastor is to serve humbly, to serve just like Jesus served. An arrogant ministry is the most destructive kind of ministry.
The pastor’s ministry is a bold ministry. Paul was humble, and his humility allowed him to be bold. “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable.” Paul didn’t just whisper or suggest what was true. He declared it. He declared anything and everything that would be beneficial to his congregation. He held back nothing that would be good for the state of their souls. A few verses later he says “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” This church got all of it. They got the whole Bible, not just the parts that are easy or the parts that play nice with the surrounding culture. His confidence was in God, so he boldly declared the whole counsel of God. Pastors aren’t called to be popular, but to be heralds of the truth.
The pastor’s ministry is a teaching ministry. Paul reminds this church that he was “teaching you in public and from house to house.” There were both public and private dimensions to his ministry. There was a preaching component to it as well as a teaching or counseling component. He would preach before the entire congregation and he would meet with an individual or a small group. The pastor is first and foremost a minister of the Word of God and he is called to take the Word to the people by preaching it or by teaching it. Wherever they are is exactly where he will bring the Word.
The pastor’s ministry is a wide ministry. The pastor’s ministry goes out to all kinds of people and does not deliberately exclude any group. Paul reminds the church that he testified to both Jews and Greeks. He preached to anyone and everyone who would listen. He even actively sought out different kinds of people. Whoever was in his neighborhood would hear his gospel. He knew that the gospel is good news for everyone and he wanted everyone to worship together in one church, as one body. The news was too good to hold back from anyone.
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:
A Christian Strategy
By Adrian Vermeule 11/2017
The problem is the relentless aggression of liberalism, driven by an internal mechanism that causes ever more radical demands for political conformism, particularly targeting the Church. The solution is an equally radical form of strategic flexibility on the part of the Church, which must stand detached from all subsidiary political commitments, willing to enter into flexible alliances of convenience with any of the parties, institutions, and groups that jostle under the canopy of the liberal imperium.
Late-stage liberalism, which calls itself “progressive,” embodies a distinctive secularized soteriology and eschatology. Progressive liberalism has its own cruel sacraments—especially the shaming and, where possible, legal punishment of the intolerant or illiberal—and its own liturgy, the Festival of Reason, the ever-repeated overcoming of the darkness of reaction. Because the celebration of the festival essentially requires, as part of its liturgical script, a reactionary enemy to be overcome, liberalism ceaselessly and restlessly searches out new villains to play their assigned part. Thus the boundaries of progressive demands for conformity are structurally unstable, fluid, and ever shifting, not merely contingently so—there can be no lasting peace. Yesterday the frontier was divorce, contraception, and abortion; then it became same-sex marriage; today it is transgenderism; tomorrow it may be polygamy, consensual adult incest, or who knows what. The uncertainty is itself the point. From the liberal standpoint, the essential thing is that the new issue provokes opposition from the forces of reaction, who may then be conquered in a public and dramatic fashion by the political mobilization of liberal forces.
There are two ways of understanding this dynamic. One is that in the long run, liberalism undermines itself by transforming tolerance into increasingly radical intolerance of the “intolerant”—meaning those who hold illiberal views. On this view, militant progressivism is distinct from liberalism, indeed a betrayal of it. Such an account would make liberalism analogous to Marx’s claim about capitalism: Liberalism is inherently unstable and is structurally disposed to generate the very forces that destroy it.
A different view, and my own, is that liberal intolerance represents not the self-undermining of liberalism, but a fulfillment of its essential nature. When a chrysalis shelters an insect that later bursts forth from it and leaves it shattered, the chrysalis has in fact fulfilled its true and predetermined end. Liberalism of the purportedly tolerant sort is to militant progressivism as the chrysalis is to the hideous insect.
The Church’s role as liberalism’s principal target and antagonist is also structurally embedded. At the level of revolutionary politics, the Church and clergy were central targets for the rage of the philosophes and the violence of the mob. At the level of theory, Maurice Cowling showed that Mill’s putatively rational and tolerant liberalism was born out of a patricidal hatred of Christianity, and a desire that the wheel of history should turn once more, and then stop—with the Church replaced by a progressive “clerisy,” enforcing liberal commitments through state education. Both politically and theoretically, hostility to the Church was encoded within liberalism from its birth.
Apologetics: Is Inerrancy A Modern Invention?
By Timothy Paul Jones 8/29/2016
“Inerrancy” is the belief that the Bible never errs. It’s another way of saying that the Old and New Testaments—as they were originally written—declare what is true and describe accurately what happened in the past. To say the Bible is inerrant is to say that the Scriptures do not affirm anything that is contrary to fact.
Some scholars have argued, however, that the notion of an inerrant Bible is a modern invention and that ancient Christians didn’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture at all.
So what did Christians in the first few centuries of the church’s story believe about the Bible?
It is true that the earliest Christians didn’t use the word “inerrancy.” And yet, from the earliest stages of Christian history, it’s also true that faithful church leaders treated the Old and New Testaments as God’s inerrant revelation of himself.
The Concept of Inerrancy in the Writings of the Earliest Christians | Take a look at these selections from the writings of church leaders in the first few centuries of Christian history:
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Be a Shamgar (2)
(Nov 3) Bob Gass
‘In the days of Shamgar.’
(Jdg 5:6) 6 “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways. ESV
When Shamgar picked up his ox-goad and slew six hundred Philistines, he made a decision that if he was going to go down, he was going to go down fighting (see Judges 3:31). And that’s the key to deliverance, whether it’s from the Philistines, or pride, or prejudice, or pornography, or any other stubborn problem in your life. You’ve got to go on the offensive. There comes a point when you say, ‘Enough is enough.’ You know you cannot continue down the path you are on because it’s a dead end relationally, physically, or spiritually. It may not kill you, but it will eat you alive. You know you cannot keep doing what you’ve always done. Not if you want to get into shape, or get out of debt. Not if you want to recapture the romance, or reach the goal. Not if you want to leave a legacy worth living up to. And the good news is this: you are only one decision away from a totally different life. But you’ve got to grab your ox-goad and go for it. Cut up that credit card. Apply for the graduate programme. Take the mission trip. Set up the counselling appointment. William A. Lawrence wrote, ‘On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to wait, and waiting – died!’ Stop being a procrastinator. Stop being a perfectionist. Spiritual growth is about progress, not perfection. When it comes to going after your goals, your greatest adversary is inertia. We have a tendency to keep doing what we’ve always done, hoping that somehow things will change. They won’t, so be a Shamgar and take action!
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
On November 3, 1924, in a Radio Address to the nation from the White House, President Calvin Coolidge stated: “I urge all the voters of our country, without reference to party, that they assemble tomorrow at their respective voting places in the exercise of the high office of American citizenship, that they approach the ballot box in the spirit that they would approach a sacrament.” President Coolidge continued: “Make [your] choice of public officers solely in the light of [your] conscience. When an election is so held… it sustains the belief that the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
I don't doubt, then, that Rose Macaulay's method was the right one for her. It wouldn't be for me, any more than for you.
All the same, I am not quite such a purist in this matter as I used to be. For many years after my conversion I never used any ready-made forms except the Lord's Prayer. In fact I tried to pray without words at all-not to verbalize the mental acts. Even in praying for others I believe I tended to avoid their names and substituted mental images of them. I still think the prayer without words is the best-if one can really achieve it. But I now see that in trying to make it my daily bread I was counting on a greater mental and spiritual strength than I really have. To pray successfully without words one needs to be "at the top of one's form." Otherwise the mental acts become merely imaginative or emotional acts-and a fabricated emotion is a miserable affair. When the golden moments come, when God enables one really to pray without words, who but a fool would reject the gift? But He does not give it-anyway not to me-day in, day out. My mistake was what Pascal, if I remember rightly, calls "Error of Stoicism": thinking we can do always what we can do sometimes.
And this, you see, makes the choice between ready-made prayers and one's own words rather less important for me than -it apparently is for you. For me words are in any case secondary. They are only an anchor. Or, shall I say, they are the movements of a conductor's baton: not the music. They serve to canalize the worship or penitence or petition which might without them-such are our minds-spread into wide and shallow puddles. It does not matter very much who first put them together. If they are our own words they will soon, by unavoidable repetition, harden into a formula. If they are someone else's, we shall continually pour into them our own meaning.
At present-for one's practice changes and, I think, ought to change-I find it best to make "my own words" the staple but introduce a modicum of the ready-made.
Writing to you, I need not stress the importance of the home-made staple. As Solomon said at the dedication of the temple, each man who prays knows "the plague of his own heart." Also, the comforts of his own heart. No other creature is identical with me; no other situation identical with mine. Indeed, I myself and my situation are in continual change. A ready-made form can’t serve for my intercourse with God any more than it could serve for my intercourse with you.
This is obvious. Perhaps I shan't find it so easy to persuade you that the ready-made modicum has also its use: for me, I mean-I’m not suggesting rules for anyone else in the whole world.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Thanks to Meir Yona
Concerning The Calamity That Befell Antiochus, King Of Commagene. As Also Concerning The Alans And What Great Mischiefs They Did To The Medes And Armenians.
1. And now, in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian, it came to pass that Antiochus, the king of Commagene, with all his family, fell into very great calamities. The occasion was this: Cesennius Petus, who was president of Syria at this time, whether it were done out of regard to truth, or whether out of hatred to Antiochus, [for which was the real motive was never thoroughly discovered,] sent an epistle to Caesar, and therein told him that Antiochus, with his son Epiphanes, had resolved to rebel against the Romans, and had made a league with the king of Parthia to that purpose; that it was therefore fit to prevent them, lest they prevent us, and begin such a war as may cause a general disturbance in the Roman empire. Now Caesar was disposed to take some care about the matter, since this discovery was made; for the neighborhood of the kingdoms made this affair worthy of greater regard; for Samoseta, the capital of Commagene, lies upon Euphrates, and upon any such design could afford an easy passage over it to the Parthians, and could also afford them a secure reception. Petus was accordingly believed, and had authority given him of doing what he should think proper in the case; so he set about it without delay, and fell upon Commagene before Antiochus and his people had the least expectation of his coming: he had with him the tenth legion, as also some cohorts and troops of horsemen. These kings also came to his assistance: Aristobulus, king of the country called Chalcidene, and Sohemus, who was called king of Emesa. Nor was there any opposition made to his forces when they entered the kingdom; for no one of that country would so much as lift up his hand against them. When Antiochus heard this unexpected news, he could not think in the least of making war with the Romans, but determined to leave his whole kingdom in the state wherein it now was, and to retire privately, with his wife and children, as thinking thereby to demonstrate himself to the Romans to be innocent as to the accusation laid against him. So he went away from that city as far as a hundred and twenty furlongs, into a plain, and there pitched his tents.
2. Petus then sent some of his men to seize upon Samosate, and by their means took possession of that city, while he went himself to attack Antiochus with the rest of his army. However, the king was not prevailed upon by the distress he was in to do any thing in the way of war against the Romans, but bemoaned his own hard fate, and endured with patience what he was not able to prevent. But his sons, who were young, and unexperienced in war, but of strong bodies, were not easily induced to bear this calamity without fighting. Epiphanes, therefore, and Callinicus, betook themselves to military force; and as the battle was a sore one, and lasted all the day long, they showed their own valor in a remarkable manner, and nothing but the approach of night put a period thereto, and that without any diminution of their forces; yet would not Antiochus, upon this conclusion of the fight, continue there by any means, but took his wife and his daughters, and fled away with them to Cilicia, and by so doing quite discouraged the minds of his own soldiers. Accordingly, they revolted, and went over to the Romans, out of the despair they were in of his keeping the kingdom; and his case was looked upon by all as quite desperate. It was therefore necessary that Epiphanes and his soldiers should get clear of their enemies before they became entirely destitute of any confederates; nor were there any more than ten horsemen with him, who passed with him over Euphrates, whence they went undisturbed to Vologeses, the king of Parthia, where they were not disregarded as fugitives, but had the same respect paid them as if they had retained their ancient prosperity. 3. Now when Antiochus was come to Tarsus in Cilicia, Petus ordered a centurion to go to him, and send him in bonds to Rome. However, Vespasian could not endure to have a king brought to him in that manner, but thought it fit rather to have a regard to the ancient friendship that had been between them, than to preserve an inexorable anger upon pretense of this war. Accordingly, he gave orders that they should take off his bonds, while he was still upon the road, and that he should not come to Rome, but should now go and live at Lacedemon; he also gave him large revenues, that he might not only live in plenty, but like a king also. When Epiphanes, who before was in great fear for his father, was informed of this, their minds were freed from that great and almost incurable concern they had been under. He also hoped that Caesar would be reconciled to them, upon the intercession of Vologeses; for although he lived in plenty, he knew not how to bear living out of the Roman empire. So Caesar gave him leave, after an obliging manner, and he came to Rome; and as his father came quickly to him from Lacedemon, he had all sorts of respect paid him there, and there he remained.
4. Now there was a nation of the Alans, which we have formerly mentioned some where as being Scythians and inhabiting at the lake Meotis. This nation about this time laid a design of falling upon Media, and the parts beyond it, in order to plunder them; with which intention they treated with the king of Hyrcania; for he was master of that passage which king Alexander [the Great] shut up with iron gates. This king gave them leave to come through them; so they came in great multitudes, and fell upon the Medes unexpectedly, and plundered their country, which they found full of people, and replenished with abundance of cattle, while nobody durst make any resistance against them; for Paeorus, the king of the country, had fled away for fear into places where they could not easily come at him, and had yielded up every thing he had to them, and had only saved his wife and his concubines from them, and that with difficulty also, after they had been made captives, by giving them a hundred talents for their ransom. These Alans therefore plundered the country without opposition, and with great ease, and proceeded as far as Armenia, laying all waste before them. Now Tiridates was king of that country, who met them, and fought them, but had like to have been taken alive in the battle; for a certain man threw a net over him from a great distance, and had soon drawn him to him, unless he had immediately cut the cord with his sword, and ran away, and prevented it. So the Alans, being still more provoked by this sight, laid waste the country, and drove a great multitude of the men, and a great quantity of the other prey they had gotten out of both kingdoms, along with them, and then retreated back to their own country.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
As we become purer channels for God's light,
we develop an appetite for the sweetness
that is possible in this world.
A miracle worker is not geared toward fighting the world
but toward creating the world that could be.
--- Marianne Williamson Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens
There are people in the world so hungry,
that God cannot appear to them
except in the form of bread.
--- Mohandas Gandhi
Happy were it, if puzzled and perplexed Christians would turn their eyes from the defects that are in their obedience, to the fullness and completeness of Christ’s obedience; and see themselves complete in him.
--- John Flavel
Nature is a revelation of God; Art a revelation of man.
--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
but those who keep Torah fight them.
5 Evil people don’t understand justice,
but those who seek ADONAI understand everything.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
A bond-slave of Jesus
I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. --- Gal. 2:20.
These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God, and the emancipation of my personality into oneness with Himself, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ—“For my sake.” It is that which makes the iron saint.
Has that break come? All the rest is pious fraud. The one point to decide is—Will I give up, will I surrender to Jesus Christ, and make no conditions whatever as to how the break comes? I must be broken from my self-realization, and immediately that point is reached, the reality of the supernatural identification takes place at once, and the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable—“I have been crucified with Christ.”
The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint.
One student a year who hears God’s call would be sufficient for God to have called this College into existence. This College as an organization is not worth anything, it is not academic; it is for nothing else but for God to help Himself to lives. Is he going to help Himself to us, or are we taken up with our conception of what we are going to be?
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
They spoke to him in Hebrew and he understood
them; in Latin and Italian and
he understood them. Speech palled
on them and they turned to the silence
of their equations. But God listened to them
as to a spider spinning its web
from its entrails, the mind swinging
to and fro over an abysm
of blankness. They are speaking to me still,
he decided, in the geometry
I delight in, in the figures
that beget more figures. I will answer
them as of old with the infinity
I feed on. If there were words once
they could not understand, I will show,
them now space that is bounded
but without end, time that is where
they were or will be; the eternity
that is here for me and for them
there; the truth that with much labour
is born with them and is to be
sloughed off like some afterbirth of the spirit.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
The Mutakallimun disregarded the important distinction between arguments from authority and from reason. The Mutakallimun claimed to have demonstrated the existence of God yet the premises upon which they based their demonstrations were, at best, only probable. They spoke as if they were offering demonstrative proof, but actually they were appealing from authority.
The consequences of using the mask of demonstrative reason to cover claims from authority can be disastrous. When one believes that his truth is self-evident, or that the impossibility of the contrary is demonstrated, and when no such demonstration exists, the reactions of those who disagree with him are interpreted as obstinacy or personal rebukes. In such situations, Maimonides recognizes that man would resort to violence to discourage the doubt caused by a faulty demonstration:
… we would claim that we have a demonstration of the creation of the world in time and we would use the sword to prove it so that we should claim to know God by means of a demonstration.
Violence would be justified by the necessity to change the stubborn will of one who refuses to accept that which is believed to be self-evident and demonstratively certain. Where reason is faulty and is not recognized as such, power will be used to compensate for the failures. Political leaders will respond with an unlimited abuse of power if they do not recognize the logical basis for their claims. Arguments from authority—which appear in the guise of demonstrative reason—are strong obstacles to the development of a world view which attempts to develop individual spiritual excellence—based upon reason—within a traditional religious society. It is against this background that one should understand Maimonides’ meticulous concern for explaining the epistemological grounds of his statements.
Maimonides’ approach to beliefs and halakhic behavior opens the way for the integration of philosophy and Torah. The person whose spiritual life is nurtured by reason can fully embrace the spiritual life of his community. His intellect is never compromised when he acts within the framework of Torah. Had the Jewish tradition demanded the acceptance of beliefs which reason establishes as false, such a person would be compelled to suppress his intellect, or to reject his tradition, or to accept tradition for political expediency. Maimonides’ epistemology eliminates the need to choose one of these options. The individual who has found his way to God by reason can accept communal forms of spirituality, i.e., Halakhah, as a whole man; he need not sever his political and social life from his individual aspirations. He knows that Judaism never allows authority to overstep the limits of its legitimate competence and to invade domains where reason is master.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
--- 1 Corinthians 2:8
[What was] the role of the people, the decent, foolish, likable, thoughtless people? The Galilean Accent - Being Some Studies in the Christian Life It was they who did it, for they could have stopped it. When Pilate left it to them, no doubt he was quite certain he had found the way to free Christ. For he must have known of the enthusiasm for him in the streets. There could be no doubt about the popular verdict. And he was plainly disconcerted when there came that long shout for Barabbas and not a single voice for Christ.
It was only a little gathering, of course. But where were the others, those on whom Pilate had relied? They must have heard of Christ’s arrest and trial, yet they who could have saved him were not there. There were the usual excuses. After all, it was no affair of theirs. They were busy sight-seeing, for it was not often they were up in the capital. They had friends to look up, and these had detained them. Or they were worshiping in the temple. Or they felt there was no need for them to hurry to the court. Christ could not be in any pressing danger. He would be all right. The others would be there to shout for him. There was no lack of voices yesterday. They need not bother running through the heat. And so, because everyone felt there was no need to be there, Christ died—a perfectly unnecessary death, if only even a few had done their part.
Let us remember that. For isn’t it just this way that things the world cries for get delayed and frustrated? It isn’t through ill-will nor through hostility but because people can’t be bothered voting or are made to feel that they make no difference that changes are not made. Yet we can all do something that would help. Not much perhaps, yet yours and yours and yours and mine, added together, would be quite enough. And it is because these littles we could offer are lacking that nothing happens, and the shame goes on. We are not hostile, we are not indifferent, we are not against it. But we are not there. And so again Christ dies.
So true it is that we, too, you and I, have crucified the Lord of glory and subjected him to public disgrace. It was not something gross, unthinkable, obscene, that brought Christ to his cross, but little decent sins of ordinary decent people, such as we sin every day. Look at your hands, and make sure you do not have Christ’s blood on them even now!
--- Arthur John Gossip
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Bobby Wild Goose
Robert Raikes was born in 1735 in Gloucester, England, where his father published the Gloucester Journal. When the elder Raikes died in 1757, Robert, 22, inherited the newspaper, and immediately used it to crusade for moral reform. English prisons, for example, were inhumane places of misery where prisoners, crowded into tiny compartments with no ventilation or sanitary facilities, died of “gaol fever.” Raikes visited them, raised money for them, and taught them to read. His penetrating newspaper columns repeatedly called attention to their plight.
One Saturday afternoon in 1780, Robert discovered another cause to champion. He entered a slummy suburb of Gloucester to interview a prospective gardener. Swarms of children surrounded him, and Raikes recoiled in horror at their fighting, profanity, stench, gambling, and filth. He returned home shaken and almost immediately conceived a plan for Sunday schools. Such schools had already been tried, but without widespread backing. Raikes hired four Christian women to open schools on Sunday. Why Sunday? Children worked in the factories the other six days of the week, but on Sunday they ran wild.
The portly Raikes, primly dressed and carrying an elegant snuffbox and tasseled cane, ambled through the ghettoes day after day recruiting pupils. The children began calling him “Bobby Wild Goose.” But in his Sunday schools, they were taught to read, then they learned the Bible, the Catechism, and other subjects.
Three years later, after the schools were clearly working, Raikes used his newspaper to promote them. On November 3, 1783 the Gloucester Journal published an article on the success of Sunday schools. To Raikes’s surprise, London papers picked up the story and inquiries poured in from across England. The movement spread rapidly. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The form of Sunday school changed, yet millions of all ages find their way each week to Sunday school to learn of Christ.
Some people brought their children to Jesus, so that he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.”
--- Matthew 19:13,14.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - November 3
“Behold, he prayeth.” --- Acts 9:11.
Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven. “Thou puttest my tears into thy bottle,” implies that they are caught as they flow. The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.” Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with “the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Think not that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded. Jacob’s ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the covenant and so climb its starry rounds. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” True, he regards not high looks and lofty words; he cares not for the pomp and pageantry of kings; he listens not to the swell of martial music; he regards not the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; he marks it down in the registry of his memory; he puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of his book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom.
“Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in his holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.”
Evening - November 3
"Their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.” --- 2 Chronicles 30:27.
Prayer is the never-failing resort of the Christian in any case, in every plight. When you cannot use your sword you may take to the weapon of all-prayer. Your powder may be damp, your bow-string may be relaxed, but the weapon of all-prayer need never be out of order. Leviathan laughs at the javelin, but he trembles at prayer. Sword and spear need furbishing, but prayer never rusts, and when we think it most blunt it cuts the best. Prayer is an open door which none can shut. Devils may surround you on all sides, but the way upward is always open, and as long as that road is unobstructed, you will not fall into the enemy’s hand. We can never be taken by blockade, escalade, mine, or storm, so long as heavenly succours can come down to us by Jacob’s ladder to relieve us in the time of our necessities. Prayer is never out of season: in summer and in winter its merchandise is precious. Prayer gains audience with heaven in the dead of night, in the midst of business, in the heat of noonday, in the shades of Evening. In every condition, whether of poverty, or sickness, or obscurity, or slander, or doubt, your covenant God will welcome your prayer and answer it from his holy place. Nor is prayer ever futile. True prayer is evermore true power. You may not always get what you ask, but you shall always have your real wants supplied. When God does not answer his children according to the letter, he does so according to the spirit. If thou askest for coarse meal, wilt thou be angered because he gives thee the finest flour? If thou seekest bodily health, shouldst thou complain if instead thereof he makes thy sickness turn to the healing of spiritual maladies? Is it not better to have the cross sanctified than removed? This Evening, my soul, forget not to offer thy petition and request, for the Lord is ready to grant thee thy desires.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
THE GOD OF ABRAHAM PRAISE
Thomas Olivers, 1725–1799
Based on the revised Yigdal of Daniel ben Judah, 14th century
You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! (Psalm 22:23)
The story of God’s dealing with Israel is an incredible one: the sovereign God preserving and directing throughout history the affairs of His chosen people. Beginning with Abraham, “the father of many nations,” the Jewish people have been persecuted frequently, yet never destroyed. From the Jews we have received the Ten Commandments and eventually our Messiah-Redeemer. “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).
Thomas Olivers, author of “The God of Abraham Praise,” was one of John Wesley’s 18th century evangelists. He traveled extensively throughout England and Ireland, fearlessly preaching the Gospel but often encountering violent opposition. Olivers states that he wrote this hymn after listening to the preaching of a Jewish rabbi at the Duke’s Place Synagogue, Oldgate, London. There he also heard Meyer Lyon (Leoni), a well-known Jewish cantor, sing the Doxology of Yigdal from the Hebrew liturgy. Composed around 1400, the Yigdal was based upon the 13 articles of Jewish faith. Olivers was so impressed by the service and especially the music that he began writing this text to fit the meter of the tune he had heard. The name of the melody used, “Leoni,” was in honor of Cantor Meyer Lyon.
The God of Abraham is still our God today and is worthy of our praises to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—both now and through eternity.
The God of Abraham praise, who reigns enthroned above, ancient of everlasting days, and God of love. Jehovah, great I AM, by earth and heav’n confessed, I bow and bless the sacred Name forever blest.
The God of Abraham praise, at whose supreme command from earth I rise and seek the joys at His right hand. I all on earth forsake, its wisdom, fame and pow’r, and Him my only portion make, my shield and tow’r.
He by Himself hath sworn—I on His oath depend; I shall, on eagles’ wings upborne, to heav’n ascend. I shall behold His face, I shall His pow’r adore, and sing the wonders of His grace forevermore.
The whole triumphant host give thanks to God on high; “Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost!” they ever cry. Hail, Abraham’s God and mine! I join the heav’nly lays; all might and majesty are Thine and endless praise.
For Today: Exodus 3:14; 15:1–19; Lamentations 5:19; Hebrews 13:8
Ask God to give you opportunity to witness to a Jewish person and graciously tell him that Jesus Christ, his long-awaited Messiah, has come and desires to be his personal Redeemer-Lord. Praise the God of Abraham as you go ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Friday, November 3, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 25, Friday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 40, 54
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 51
Old Testament Nehemiah 2:1–20
New Testament Revelation 6:12–7:4
Gospel Matthew 13:24–30
Index of Readings
Psalm 40, 54
40 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
54 To The Choirmaster: With Stringed Iistruments. A Maskil Of David, When The Ziphites Went And Told Saul, “Is Not David Hiding Among Us?”
1 O God, save me by your name,
and vindicate me by your might.
2 O God, hear my prayer;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life;
they do not set God before themselves. Selah
4 Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
5 He will return the evil to my enemies;
in your faithfulness put an end to them.
6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
7 For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.
51 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David, When Nathan The Prophet Went To Him, After He Had Gone In To Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
2 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” 6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. 7 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.
9 Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel. 11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”
12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds3 among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants4 of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church