SalutationTitus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began— 3 in due time he revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior,
4 To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Titus in Crete5 I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: 6 someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. 7 For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; 8 but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 9 He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
10 There are also many rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision; 11 they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it is not right to teach. 12 It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said,
“Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.”
13 That testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Teach Sound DoctrineTitus 2:1 But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. 2 Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.
3 Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.
6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be censured; then any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.
9 Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, 10 not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
15 Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.
Maintain Good DeedsTitus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is sure.
I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. 9 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, 11 since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.
Final Messages and Benediction12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Make every effort to send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way, and see that they lack nothing. 14 And let people learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet urgent needs, so that they may not be unproductive.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with all of you.
The Letter of Paul to PHILEMON
To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. 7 I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus8 For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, 9 yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. 10 I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the Gospel; 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15 Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother— especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.
22 One thing more—prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you.
Final Greetings and Benediction23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
Four Self-Refuting Statements Heard on College Campuses Across America
By J. Warner Wallace 5/9/2016
If I began this post by asserting, “I can’t write a word of English,” you’d probably recognize the contradiction. My sentence betrays its own claim, doesn’t it? Such is the nature of self-refuting statements. Wikipedia describes such utterances as “statements whose falsehood is a logical consequence of the act or situation of holding them to be true.” You might be surprised how often people are prone to saying something that is self-refuting, but there are number of common statements we hear (or use) every day that fall into this category:
“Don’t bother me, I am asleep right now”
“I’m not going to respond to that”
“I can’t talk to you right now”
There are times when our words collapse under their own weight. As I train university aged Christians around the country and listen carefully to their common college experiences, I’ve started to collect some of the more popular self-refuting statements uttered by college professors. Here are the top four:
“There is no objective truth” / “Objective truth does not exist” | Perhaps the most obviously self-refuting, this claim (or something similar to it) is still uttered in many university settings according to the students I train. Like all self-refuting claims, it can be cross-checked by simply turning the statement on itself. By asking, “Is that statement objectively true?” we can quickly see that the person making the claim believes in at least one objective truth: that there is no objective truth. See the problem?
“If objective truth does exist, no one could ever know with confidence what it is” / “It’s arrogant to assume you know the truth with certainty” | Once again, the professor who makes such a claim appears to be confident and certain of one truth: that no one can be confident or certain of the truth! The statement falls on its own sword the moment it is uttered.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
How the Country’s Largest White Presbyterian Church Became Multiethnic
By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra 11/2/2017
Craig Strickland planted Hope Church—the largest white Presbyterian congregation in America with about 6,600 weekly attendees—back before church planting was cool.
He had been working at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, watching “people from the Baptist church leaving to join the Presbyterian church, where people were leaving to join the Methodist church. We weren’t putting any new fish in the bowl.”
Strickland wanted to make changes, but as the executive pastor, he wasn’t exactly the guy in charge. And “to be fair, I wasn’t getting any job offers from other churches looking for a senior pastor,” he said.
So he decided to start his own. It was 1988, the era of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and Bill Hybels’s Willow Creek Community Church, when the formula for church planting was clear:
You Cannot Handle Your Pain Looking for God in Lament
By J.A. Medders 7/2/2017
Do you know how to lament?
Pain, suffering, sorrow, illness, and grief are unavoidable in this world — but God has given us a way to find hope in the rubble of life. Lament is an underground tunnel to hope.
An entire book of the Bible is an exercise in lamenting before the Lord. We have numerous psalms of lament. So, why don’t we lament more in the church today? Why do we put the noise-cancelling headphones over our hearts, keeping ourselves busy to avoid the pain? Let’s not busy ourselves to avoid lamenting; let’s learn to lament well.
Relearning Our Humanity | Of course, we want to avoid suffering, grief, and trauma, but the reality is we can’t. The rippling effects of Adam and Eve gnashing into that fruit still affects us and the world today.
Everyone we know and love will return to the dust. Family members will hear heavy words from their doctor. Great loss will strike dear friends. We will weep. And pretending like we can manage our sufferings on our own won’t help. We weren’t built to handle them. We need the body of Christ — and we need Christ himself, our sympathetic High Priest, the man of sorrows, the one who shouldered our grief.
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not How to Know God Really Loves You
By Greg Morse 11/2/2017
Class that day began so peacefully.
My university professor began the Christian Love and Marriage class with a “fun little assignment to get the creative juices flowing.”
The task was simple: Draw what you think of when you envision the love of God.
She went around and handed out crayons and blank sheets of paper for our project. We had fifteen minutes.
The first five I just sat there. How could I, who could barely draw straight lines for stickmen, draw the love of God?
The End Of Christendom
By Eamon Duffy 11/2016
Next year marks the fifth centenary of one of the few precisely datable historical events that can be said to have changed the world forever. In 1517, an unknown German professor from an undistinguished new university protested against the sordid trade in religious benefits known as “indulgences,” which were then being peddled around Germany to fund grandiose plans to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Martin Luther’s protest initially took the form of a public challenge to an academic debate on a swathe of theological niceties. But this was the first age of print, and Luther was a publicist of genius. His list of topics for debate, in the form of Ninety-Five Theses, was printed as a broadsheet (though the legend that he nailed them to a church door is, sadly, probably untrue). The theses nonetheless became the world’s most improbable bestseller. What might have been a technical academic exercise in a Wittenberg lecture hall rapidly escalated into a fundamental questioning of the theological underpinning of Western Christianity. In its wake, Europe divided, roughly north and south, and the peoples of Europe were pitched into a series of murderous ideological wars in which tens of thousands died, and during which the religious, cultural, and political map of Europe was redrawn. We are all still living with the consequences.
This religious and cultural earthquake has traditionally been known as the Reformation, a loaded term with which Catholics have never been comfortable. To dub these transformations as a Reformation implies that something that had gone radically wrong was put right, that a good form of Christianity replaced a bad one. The fact that the term has traditionally been capitalized and used in the singular also poses a problem. The new religious identities and communities which emerged from these conflicts—Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, and the more radical groupings often lumped together under the name “Anabaptist”—did indeed share some beliefs and attitudes in common. They all prioritized the written Word of God in the Bible over traditional Church teaching and discipline, and they all vehemently rejected the papacy and the allegedly materialistic religious system which the papacy headed. But they were divided among themselves—often lethally—on almost everything else. Within a single generation of Luther’s protest, “Protestants” were excommunicating, fighting, and persecuting each other, as well as the common Catholic enemy, and many were calling for a reform of the Reformation.
Even the timescale traditionally assumed has now been challenged. In the older and mainly Protestant historiography, the overthrow of Catholicism almost everywhere in Northeastern Europe, and its replacement by “reformed” versions of Christianity, was seen as a swift process. Since medieval Catholicism was believed to have been corrupt, decadent, priest-ridden, and therefore unpopular with the laity, it was taken for granted that it could have offered little resistance to the reformers’ message. And so histories of the Reformation were conventionally histories of events in the early and middle sixteenth century. Only recently has the notion of a “long reformation” gained currency. Studies of the problems that Protestant officialdom encountered in uprooting deeply entrenched popular beliefs, practices, and loyalties, and in inculcating new beliefs and disciplines, have brought home the realization that after the first energies of “reformation” had passed, consolidating new religious identities at the grassroots level was almost everywhere a difficult and painful process, stretching over decades and even centuries. This realization requires a drastic rethinking, still very much in process, of much that was taken for granted in the older accounts. Some of that rethinking has been done under the rubric of the history of “confessionalization,” a term used to denote the deployment of religion to create or reinforce social and political identities. But this approach has brought its own problems, tending as it does to reduce religion to an instrument of social control and political manipulation.
Against the background of these shifts in historical understanding, an avalanche of biographies of Luther and histories of the religious revolution he launched has begun ahead of next year’s quincentenary. Few of them will rival the sheer scale and ambition of Carlos Eire’s new survey. Eire is one of America’s most distinguished historians of early modern religion, and his absorption of the newer historiography is proclaimed in the fact that his book is entitled Reformations, in the plural. His book “accepts the concept of multiple Reformations wholeheartedly,” and seeks to deepen the concept by paying equal attention “to all the different movements and churches that emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, stressing their interrelatedness.” The ambition to present a synoptic account of the multiple sixteenth-century movements for religious “reform,” Catholic and Protestant, has led some historians to search for a single interpretative framework for the reform impulse, to suggest that fundamental similarities underlay sixteenth-century religious reform wherever it occurred. So, the French Catholic historian Jean Delumeau proposed that we should understand both the emergence of Protestantism and the transformation of Catholicism after Trent as twin aspects of a process of “Christianization.” On this account, both Catholic and Protestant reformers labored to replace the inherited half-pagan folk religion of late medieval Europe with something more authentically Christian, focused on the person of Christ rather than often legendary saints, prioritizing orthodox catechesis and preaching over quasi-magical ritual, and imposing religious and moral discipline on a reluctant populace.
Rejecting the negative judgments implicit in Delumeau’s notion of “Christianization,” the English historian John Bossy, himself by upbringing and education a Catholic, offered a rather less benign overarching analysis of the Catholic and Protestant reformations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The central contention of Bossy’s short but scintillating Christianity in the West was that medieval Christianity had been fundamentally concerned with the creation and maintenance of peace in a violent world. “Christianity” in medieval Europe denoted neither an ideology nor an institution, but a community of believers whose religious ideal—constantly aspired to if seldom attained—was peace and mutual love. The sacraments and sacramentals of the medieval Church were not half-pagan magic, but instruments of the “social miracle,” rituals designed to defuse hostility and create extended networks of fraternity, spiritual “kith and kin,” by reconciling enemies and consolidating the community in charity.
- 1 Reformation Divided: Catholics, Protestants and the Conversion of England
- 2 The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
- 3 The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village
- 4 Ten Popes Who Shook the World
- 5 Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes; Fourth Edition
- 6 Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor
- 7 Marking the Hours: English People and Their Prayers, 1240-1570
- 8 Faith of Our Fathers (Continuum Icons)
- 9 The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Prayerbook for Catholic Christians
- 10 Walking to Emmaus
- 11 Faith of Our Fathers: Reflections on Catholic Tradition
- 12 Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition
- 13 The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
- 14 The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village
- 15 Reformation Divided: Catholics, Protestants and the Conversion of England
- 16 The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
- 17 Marking the Hours: English People and Their Prayers, 1240-1570
- 18 Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes; Fourth Edition
- 19 Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor
- 20 Ten Popes Who Shook the World
The Story of Martin Luther’s Conversion
By Stephen Nichols 10/28/2017
The actual date of Martin Luther’s conversion is disputed. Some place it before the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses; some put it before the Heidelberg Disputation. It is highly likely, however, that Luther’s conversion came in 1519. In reading the whole of the Ninety-Five Theses, it is clear that Luther still held on to a number of formative Roman Catholic doctrines. At that point, he was not in favor of jettisoning the whole of it; he sought instead to correct and purify it from the corruptions that he saw as creeping in during the 1200s through the early 1500s. The corruption culminated in the indulgence sale of Tetzel and Albert and the relic exhibit at Wittenberg. There is also Luther’s own testimony that his “breakthrough” came while he was lecturing through the Psalms a second time. Those lectures were given in the early months of 1519. Many years later, in 1545, Luther reflected on his conversion, and offered up an extraordinary account of this event, one that hinges on understanding the difference between the active and the passive. So, Luther tells us:
Meanwhile, I had already during that year returned to interpret the Psalter anew. I had confidence in the fact that I was more skilful, after I had lectured in the university on St. Paul’s epistles to the Romans, to the Galatians, and the one to the Hebrews. I had indeed been captivated with an extraordinary ardor for understanding Paul in the Epistle to the Romans. But up till then it was not the cold blood about the heart, but a single word in Chapter 1, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed” that had stood in my way. For I hated that word “righteousness of God,” which, according to the use and custom of all the teachers, I had been taught to understand philosophically regarding the formal or active righteousness, as they call it, with which God is righteous and punishes the unrighteous sinner.
Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction. I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with his righteousness and wrath!” Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience.
Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted. At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’” There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me.
Thereupon I ran through the Scripture from memory. I also found in other terms an analogy, as, the work of God, that is what God does in us, the power of God, with which he makes us wise, the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God. And I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word “righteousness of God.” Thus that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise.
- 1 The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World
- 2 A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society
- 3 Reformation ABCs: The People, Places, and Things of the Reformation_from A to Z
- 4 The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith
- 5 Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought (Guided Tour of Church History)
- 6 The Legacy of Luther
- 7 Pages From Church History: A Guided Tour of Christian Classics
- 8 Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World
- 9 Martin Luther's 95 Theses
- 10 Jonathan Edwards: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought
- 11 Beyond the Ninety-Five Theses: Martin Luther's Life, Thought, and Lasting Legacy
- 12 Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age
The Necessity of the Reformation
By W. Robert Godfrey
The church is always in need of reform. Even in the New Testament, we see Jesus rebuking Peter, and we see Paul correcting the Corinthians. Since Christians are always sinners, the church will always need reform. The question for us, however, is when does the need become an absolute necessity?
The great Reformers of the sixteenth century concluded that reform was urgent and necessary in their day. In pursuing reform for the church, they rejected two extremes. On the one hand, they rejected those who insisted that the church was essentially sound and needed no fundamental changes. On the other hand, they rejected those who believed that they could create a perfect church in every detail. The church needed fundamental reform, but it would also always need to be reforming itself. The Reformers reached these conclusions from their study of the Bible.
In 1543, the Reformer of Strasbourg, Martin Bucer, asked John Calvin to write a defense of the Reformation for presentation to Emperor Charles V at the imperial diet set to meet at Speyer in 1544. Bucer knew that the Roman Catholic emperor was surrounded by counselors who were maligning reform efforts in the church, and he believed that Calvin was the most capable minister to defend the Protestant cause.
Calvin rose to the challenge and wrote one of his best works, “The Necessity of Reforming the Church.” This substantial treatise did not convince the emperor, but it has come to be regarded by many as the best presentation of the Reformed cause ever written.
Calvin begins by observing that everyone agreed that the church had “diseases both numerous and grievous.” Calvin argues that matters were so serious that Christians could not abide a “longer delay” for reform or wait for “slow remedies.” He rejects the contention that the Reformers were guilty of “rash and impious innovation.” Rather, he insists that “God raised up Luther and others” to preserve “the truth of our religion.” Calvin saw that the foundations of Christianity were threatened and that only biblical truth would renew the church.
- 1 Learning to Love the Psalms
- 2 Learning to Love the Psalms Study Guide
- 3 God's Pattern for Creation: A Covenantal Reading of Genesis 1
- 4 A Survey of Church History, Part 1 A.D. 100-600 Study Guide
- 5 John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor
- 6 Learning to Love the Psalms
- 7 An Unexpected Journey: Discovering Reformed Christianity
- 8 A Survey of Church History, Part 6 A.D. 1900-2000 Study Guide
- 9 Reformation Sketches: Insights into Luther, Calvin, and the Confessions
- 10 Westminster Seminary California - A New Old School
- 11 Theonomy: A Reformed Critique
- 12 The Westminster Larger Catechism: A Commentary
- 13 Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible
- 14 John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor
- 15 Pulpit Aflame
- 16 A Survey of Church History, Part 4 A.D. 1600-1800 Study Guide
- 17 R.C. Sproul, Thabiti Anyabwile ,Alistair Begg , D.A. Carson,Sinclair B. Ferguson W. Robert Godfrey,Steven J. Lawson,R.C. Sproul Jr.,Derek W.H. Thomas'sHoly, Holy, Holy: Proclaiming the Perfections of God [Hardcover](2010)
- 18 Pleasing God in Our Worship (Today's Issues)
- 19 Holy, Holy, Holy: Proclaiming the Perfections of God
- 20 Puritan Papers: 5 Volume Set
- 21 God's Pattern for Creation, A Covenantal Reading of Genesis 1 by W. Robert Godfrey (2003-10-20)
- 22 Precious Blood: The Atoning Work of Christ
- 23 A Survey of Church History Teaching Series, Part 3: AD 1500-1600
- 24 Always Reformed: Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey
- 25 Survey of Church History (Part 3 Anno Domini 1500-1620)
- 26 John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor [Paperback]  (Author) W. Robert Godfrey
Uncovering Treasures in Paul’s Shortest Letter
By Justin Taylor 11/9/2017
I have a confession to make, one that may sound a little strange: Of all the apostle Paul’s epistles, I think his shortest—the letter to Philemon—may be my favorite.
I’m glad it’s not the only Pauline letter that we have. But it would be a great loss to the church if this little book were not preserved in the canon.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve read through the letter countless times, and I can attest from experience that there are many treasures—unique pieces of insight and wisdom—just waiting to be uncovered.
The Background | The apostle Paul—under house arrest in Rome—dictated a letter to his friend Philemon.
Philemon, a wealthy Christian who hosted a house church in Colossae, had likely converted to Christ years earlier through Paul’s ministry in Ephesus.
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
A prayer for self-control
(Nov 5) Bob Gass
‘It is God’s will that you should…avoid sexual immorality.’
(1 Th 4:3) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; ESV
When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to ‘multiply and replenish the earth’ (see Genesis 1:28). That helps explain why sex is one of our strongest drives. But it can also propel you into making decisions that mess up your life and destroy your relationships. The Bible says: ‘It is God’s will that you should…avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans’ (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIVUK 2011 Edition). Why did God say this? Because when there’s physical intimacy without true commitment, somebody’s going to get hurt. You need to heed what God says on this issue. And you need to do it now, before you get into situations where you’re tempted to compromise your character, because by then it’s too late. We all struggle with our sexuality, particularly in a culture where ‘sex sells’. Sex is such an integral part of us, and guilt about it has a way of making us feel separated from God like nothing else can. In order to determine your values and establish some ground rules, you need to pray: ‘Lord, I’m not going to allow my impulses to dictate to me, or sin to separate me from You. I choose to keep Your standards, to rely on Your Spirit to give me strength day by day. And if I do sin, to seek Your forgiveness, get back up, and move closer to You.’ That’s a prayer God will answer!
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
She was the wife of the second President and the mother of the sixth President. Her letters provide some of the most valuable insights of the Revolutionary period. Her name was Abigail Adams. And on this day, November 5, 1775, in a letter to Mercy Warren, Abigail wrote: “Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men? Can he be a patriot who, by an openly vicious conduct, is… corrupting the Morals of Youth, and by his bad example injuring the very Country he professes to patronize…” “Scriptures tell us ‘righteousness exalteth a Nation.’ ”
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
Oh for mercy's sake. Not you tool Why, just because I raised an objection to your parallel between prayer and a man making love to his own wife, must you trot out all the old rigmarole about the "holiness" of sex and start lecturing me as if I were a Manichaean? I know that in most circles nowadays one need only mention sex to set everyone in the room emitting this gas. But, I did hope, not you. Didn't I make it plain that I objected to your image solely on the ground of its nonchalance, or presumption?
I'm not saying anything against (or for) "sex." Sex in it self cannot be moral or immoral any more than gravitation or nutrition. The sexual behavior of human beings can. And like their economic, or political, or agricultural, or parental, or filial behavior, it is sometimes good and some times bad. And the sexual act, when lawful-which means chiefly when consistent with good faith and charity-can, like all other merely natural acts ("whether we eat or drink etc.," as the apostle says), be done to the glory of God, and will then be holy. And like other natural acts it is sometimes so done, and sometimes not. This may be what the poor Bishop of Woolwich was trying to say. Anyway, what more is there to be said? And can we now get this red herring out of the way? I'd be glad if we could; for the moderns have achieved the feat, which I should have thought impossible, of making the whole subject a bore. Poor Aphrodite! They have sand-papered most of the Homeric laughter off her face.
Apparently I have been myself guilty of introducing another red herring by mentioning devotions to saints. I didn't in the least want to go off into a discussion on that subject. There is clearly a theological defense for it; if you can ask for the prayers of the living, why should you not ask for the prayers of the dead? There is clearly also a great danger. In some popular practice we see it leading off into an infinitely silly picture of Heaven as an earthly court where applicants will be wise to pull the right wires, discover the best "channels," and attach themselves to the most influential pressure groups. But I have nothing to do with all this. I am not thinking of adopting the practice myself; and who am I to judge the practices of others? I only hope there'll be no scheme for canonizations in the Church of England. Can you imagine a better hot-bed for yet more divisions between us?
The consoling thing is that while Christendom is divided about the rationality, and even the lawfulness, of praying to the saints, we are all agreed about praying with them. "With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven." Will you believe it? It is only quite recently I made that quotation a part of my private prayers-I festoon it round “hallowed be Thy name." This, by the way, illustrates what I was saying last week about the uses of ready-made forms. They remind one. And I have found this quotation a great enrichment. One always accepted this with theoretically. But it is quite different when one brings it into consciousness at an appropriate moment and wills the association of one's own little twitter with the voice of the great saints and (we hope) of our own dear dead. They may drown some of its uglier qualities and set off any tiny value it has.
You may say that the distinction between the communion of the saints as I find it in that act and full-fledged prayer to saints is not, after all, very great. All the better if so. I sometimes have a bright dream of reunion engulfing us unawares, like a great wave from behind our backs, perhaps at the very moment when our official representatives are still pronouncing it impossible. Discussions usually separate us; actions sometimes unite us.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Thanks to Meir Yona
3. There was a rock, not small in circumference, and very high. It was encompassed with valleys of such vast depth downward, that the eye could not reach their bottoms; they were abrupt, and such as no animal could walk upon, excepting at two places of the rock, where it subsides, in order to afford a passage for ascent, though not without difficulty. Now, of the ways that lead to it, one is that from the lake Asphaltites, towards the sun-rising, and another on the west, where the ascent is easier: the one of these ways is called the Serpent, as resembling that animal in its narrowness and its perpetual windings; for it is broken off at the prominent precipices of the rock, and returns frequently into itself, and lengthening again by little and little, hath much ado to proceed forward; and he that would walk along it must first go on one leg, and then on the other; there is also nothing but destruction, in case your feet slip; for on each side there is a vastly deep chasm and precipice, sufficient to quell the courage of every body by the terror it infuses into the mind. When, therefore, a man hath gone along this way for thirty furlongs, the rest is the top of the hill—not ending at a small point, but is no other than a plain upon the highest part of the mountain. Upon this top of the hill, Jonathan the high priest first of all built a fortress, and called it Masada: after which the rebuilding of this place employed the care of king Herod to a great degree; he also built a wall round about the entire top of the hill, seven furlongs long; it was composed of white stone; its height was twelve, and its breadth eight cubits; there were also erected upon that wall thirty-eight towers, each of them fifty cubits high; out of which you might pass into lesser edifices, which were built on the inside, round the entire wall; for the king reserved the top of the hill, which was of a fat soil, and better mould than any valley for agriculture, that such as committed themselves to this fortress for their preservation might not even there be quite destitute of food, in case they should ever be in want of it from abroad. Moreover, he built a palace therein at the western ascent; it was within and beneath the walls of the citadel, but inclined to its north side. Now the wall of this palace was very high and strong, and had at its four corners towers sixty cubits high. The furniture also of the edifices, and of the cloisters, and of the baths, was of great variety, and very costly; and these buildings were supported by pillars of single stones on every side; the walls and also the floors of the edifices were paved with stones of several colors. He also had cut many and great pits, as reservoirs for water, out of the rocks, at every one of the places that were inhabited, both above and round about the palace, and before the wall; and by this contrivance he endeavored to have water for several uses, as if there had been fountains there. Here was also a road digged from the palace, and leading to the very top of the mountain, which yet could not be seen by such as were without [the walls]; nor indeed could enemies easily make use of the plain roads; for the road on the east side, as we have already taken notice, could not be walked upon, by reason of its nature; and for the western road, he built a large tower at its narrowest place, at no less a distance from the top of the hill than a thousand cubits; which tower could not possibly be passed by, nor could it be easily taken; nor indeed could those that walked along it without any fear [such was its contrivance] easily get to the end of it; and after such a manner was this citadel fortified, both by nature and by the hands of men, in order to frustrate the attacks of enemies.
4. As for the furniture that was within this fortress, it was still more wonderful on account of its splendor and long continuance; for here was laid up corn in large quantities, and such as would subsist men for a long time; here was also wine and oil in abundance, with all kinds of pulse and dates heaped up together; all which Eleazar found there, when he and his Sicarii got possession of the fortress by treachery. These fruits were also fresh and full ripe, and no way inferior to such fruits newly laid in, although they were little short of a hundred years 14 from the laying in these provisions [by Herod], till the place was taken by the Romans; nay, indeed, when the Romans got possession of those fruits that were left, they found them not corrupted all that while; nor should we be mistaken, if we supposed that the air was here the cause of their enduring so long; this fortress being so high, and so free from the mixture of all terrain and muddy particles of matter. There was also found here a large quantity of all sorts of weapons of war, which had been treasured up by that king, and were sufficient for ten thousand men; there was cast iron, and brass, and tin, which show that he had taken much pains to have all things here ready for the greatest occasions; for the report goes how Herod thus prepared this fortress on his own account, as a refuge against two kinds of danger; the one for fear of the multitude of the Jews, lest they should depose him, and restore their former kings to the government; the other danger was greater and more terrible, which arose from Cleopatra queen of Egypt, who did not conceal her intentions, but spoke often to Antony, and desired him to cut off Herod, and entreated him to bestow the kingdom of Judea upon her. And certainly it is a great wonder that Antony did never comply with her commands in this point, as he was so miserably enslaved to his passion for her; nor should any one have been surprised if she had been gratified in such her request. So the fear of these dangers made Herod rebuild Masada, and thereby leave it for the finishing stroke of the Romans in this Jewish war.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Still seems it strange, that thou shouldst live forever?
Is it less strange, that thou shouldst live at all?
This is a miracle; and that no more.
--- Edward Young
The conscious mind determines the actions,
the unconscious mind determines the reactions;
and the reactions are just as important as the actions.
--- E. Stanley Jones
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
but a friend of those lacking restraint
shames his father.
8 He who increases his wealth
by charging exorbitant interest
amasses it for someone
who will bestow it on the poor.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Partakers of His sufferings
Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. --- 1 Peter 4:13.
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all; they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. ‘Oh, I can’t deal with that person.’ Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you ‘barged off’ because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.
The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered “according to the will of God,” not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God’s aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the ‘long, long trail.’
Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way; that would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place and say—‘Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!’
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Casgob, it said, 2
miles. But I never went
there; left it like an ornament
on the mind's shelf, covered
with the dust of
its summers; a place on a diet
of the echoes of stopped
bells and children's
voices; white the architecture
of its clouds, stationary
its sunlight. It was best
so. I need a museum
for storing the dream's
brittler particles in. Time
is a main road, eternity
the turning that we don't take.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Regarding Scholem’s initial criticism, the connection between the introductory chapters of the Mishneh Torah and the subsequent chapters on Halakhah has already been discussed. The philosophic chapters prevent the Halakhah from becoming a system insulated from universal criteria of truth. They show that Jewish particularity must not block one from understanding the spiritual way to God independent of community, and that disinterested love, which is the goal of Halakhah, is made possible by a philosophic understanding of nature. These points clearly show the integral place which the philosophic chapters occupy in the Mishneh Torah. It has also been shown how the halakhic distinctions between din and lifnim mi-shurat ha-din are important for Maimonides’ philosophic understanding of the relationship of the individual to community, within the tradition.
What remains as a challenge to our approach, and possibly suggests that the Halakhah had no significance for Maimonides as a philosopher, is his historical understanding of revelation. Maimonides’ approach to revelation appears to support the view that his two major works reflect two opposing points of view and are addressed to two distinct and incompatible audiences. How else can one compare his codification of the eternal law of Judaism in the Mishneh Torah with his time-bound, situational, understanding of the law in the Guide? Regarding the categories we have employed so far, does this not suggest that, as a philosopher, Maimonides is spiritually removed from the Halakhah of the community?
Rather we argue that the way Maimonides understands the law in the Guide has the opposite effect—it provides grounds for a philosophically trained Jew to take Halakhah seriously. What lays at the bottom of his situational understanding of the mitzvot is the attempt to achieve a unified understanding of nature and Torah revelation and it is this unification which would elict the philosophic Jew’s serious interest in Halakhah.
In order to appreciate both the problem and the audience to which Maimonides addresses himself in his historical approach to the commandments, it is important to examine his attempt to develop a religious personality whose relationship to God would be grounded in reason. Different religious types emerge as a result of how one understands the manifestation of the will of God within Torah and nature. Only if the religious sensibility Maimonides attempts to cultivate is understood, will his approach to revelation of the law in the Guide make sense.
As shown earlier, Maimonides, by referring to the following biblical text, established that Judaism recognized universal criteria of truth:
Observe them faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples, who on hearing all these laws will say, “Surely, that is a great nation of wise and discerning people” (Deut. 4:6).
On closer examination, one discovers that this text deals primarily with the laws of Judaism. Thus, if one were to accept Maimonides’ understanding of the text, he would expect that not only Jewish cognitive claims but also the mitzvot should be understood and appreciated by all men: the Torah way of life must be intelligible within universal categories of evaluation.
By refusing to allow for the possibility that the tradition would make claims which contradict reason’s understanding of nature, Maimonides was negating an approach which understood revelation as revealing a new order of truth. If this latter view of revelation were accepted, it would suggest, that outside of the historical revelation of God to the community, there is no independent reality which is revelatory of God. The consequence of negating this point of view is that man’s approach to religious bodies of knowledge need not be one of unconditional allegiance to authority. Although one might accept this approach regarding questions of truth, one might switch to the posture of unconditional obedience in the observance of the commandments. If we accept Maimonides’ proof-text, we should oppose any split between the way of cognition and the way of action in terms of the role given to critical reason.
The anthropology which emerges within a system which values independent reflection differs from that cultivated by a system which exclusively emphasizes obedience to the legal authority of God. The previous chapter showed how the anthropology cultivated by reason was supported by the existence, within Halakhah, of a method for developing law based on specific rules of legal inference. The ability to discriminate between laws grounded on authority and laws evolved by human reasoning prevented the halakhic Jew from adopting obedience to authority as his sole posture toward the legal tradition. Yet, aside from the issue of legal authority and methods for developing law, there still remains the question of the content of laws. Maimonides believed that reason was capable of developing norms of action based on a conception of human nature. If reason is to be a factor in the Jew’s mode of action, the content of Jewish laws must conform to reason’s understanding of the nature of man.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. --- John 4:24
Why should we worship God? John A. Broadus, “Worship,” in Sermons of John A. Broadus, downloaded from the Web site of Blessed Hope Ministries of Shiloh Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga., at members.aol.com/blesshope, accessed Aug. 21, 2001. Not only because it is due to him but, [second,] because it is good for us.
If you look on the glory of the autumn woods; if you gaze on the splendor of the night sky; if you stand in awe before the great mountains, snow-clad and towering; if you gaze on the rush of the river or stand by the seashore and hear the rolling waters, there swells in the breast something that wants God for its crown and for its completeness. There are yearnings in these strange natures of ours that only God can satisfy. Our thinking is a mutilated fragment without God, and our hearts can never rest unless they rest in him.
Sometimes only worship can soothe our sorrows and our anxieties. There come times with all of us when everything else fails us; there come times when we go to speak with sorrowing friends and feel that all our themes are weak and empty. You went to visit a friend who had lost a child or husband or wife, and as you sat by your friend and wanted to say something comforting, you felt that everything else was useless but to point the sorrowing heart to God—and you felt ashamed of yourself that you did not dare to do that. How often have devout hearts found comfort in sorrow, found support in anxiety, by the worship of God, by the thought of submission to God and trust in God, a belief that God knows what he is doing, that God sees the end from the beginning, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him!
Further, the worship of God nourishes the root of morality—individual and social. Morality cannot live on mere ideas of expediency and utility. The root of morality is the sentiment of moral obligation. What does it mean when your child first begins to say “I ought to do this” and “I shouldn’t do that”? What does it mean? “I ought.” It is the glory of being human. It makes us in the image of the one who made us. And what is to nourish and keep alive and make strong that sentiment of moral obligation in our souls? It is the recognition that there is a God who gave us this high, moral, spiritual being, who made us for himself, to whom we belong. Our worship of him nourishes in us the highest and best. How can I tell the reasons why we should worship God? They are as high as heaven, as vast as the universe; all existence and all conception—everything is a reason why we should worship God.
--- John A. Broadus
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
The Council of Constance
Two heads aren’t always better than one—and three heads can get downright ridiculous. For example …
During medieval days, the pope reigned as the most powerful figure on earth, a superleader combining religious and political authority in one gilded role. But between 1,300 and 1,500 political leaders in England and France began defying the papal father.
The harshest conflict arose when troops of France’s King Philip burst into the bedroom of 86-year-old Pope Boniface, more or less frightening him to death. A Frenchman, Pope Clement V, replaced him and moved the papal residence to France. Thus began a 72-year period of six successive French popes, all of whom chose to live in the small town of Avignon, France, rather than in Rome. This “exile” has been called the Babylonian Captivity of the papacy. Tensions between France and Italy eventually led to the election of two popes, one chosen by the Italian faction and the other by the French. This “Great Papal Schism” lasted for 39 years, each pope having his own College of Cardinals, each claiming to be the true vicar of Christ.
In 1409 a majority of cardinals from both camps agreed to end the schism by deposing both popes and electing a new one from scratch. The result? When neither of the old popes resigned, the number increased to three. The ridiculous spectacle of three popes led to the Council of Constance convening on November 5, 1414—the largest church council in history and the most important since the Council of Nicaea in 325. Constance, a village of 6,000, swelled with 5,000 delegates along with an army of servants, secretaries, peddlers, physicians, quacks, minstrels, and 1,500 prostitutes. The council met for three years and at length persuaded one of the popes to resign and deposed the other two. In 1417 it chose a new leader, Pope Martin V, thus effectively ending the Great Schism and the Babylonian Captivity.
But the damage to the Vatican’s prestige had been wrought, helping pave the way for the Reformation exactly 100 years later.
It is truly wonderful when relatives live together in peace.
--- Psalm 133:1.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - November 5
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” --- Isaiah 54:17.
This day is notable in English history for two great deliverances wrought by God for us. On this day the plot of the Papists to destroy our Houses of Parliament was discovered, 1605.
And secondly—to-day is the anniversary of the landing of King William III, at Torbay, by which the hope of Popish ascendancy was quashed, and religious liberty was secured, 1688.
“While for our princes they prepare
In caverns deep a burning snare,
He shot from heaven a piercing ray,
And the dark treachery brought to day.”
And secondly—to-day is the anniversary of the landing of King William III, at Torbay, by which the hope of Popish ascendancy was quashed, and religious liberty was secured, 1688.
This day ought to be celebrated, not by the saturnalia of striplings, but by the songs of saints. Our Puritan forefathers most devoutly made it a special time of thanksgiving. There is extant a record of the annual sermons preached by Matthew Henry on this day. Our Protestant feeling, and our love of liberty, should make us regard its anniversary with holy gratitude. Let our hearts and lips exclaim, “We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us the wondrous things which thou didst in their day, and in the old time before them.” Thou hast made this nation the home of the Gospel; and when the foe has risen against her, thou hast shielded her. Help us to offer repeated songs for repeated deliverances. Grant us more and more a hatred of Antichrist, and hasten on the day of her entire extinction. Till then and ever, we believe the promise, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” Should it not be laid upon the heart of every lover of the Gospel of Jesus on this day to plead for the overturning of false doctrines and the extension of divine truth? Would it not be well to search our own hearts, and turn out any of the Popish lumber of self-righteousness which may lie concealed therein?
Evening - November 5
“Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” --- Psalm 100:4.
Our Lord would have all his people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning his blessed person. Jesus is not content that his brethren should think meanly of him; it is his pleasure that his espoused ones should be delighted with his beauty. We are not to regard him as a bare necessary, like to bread and water, but as a luxurious delicacy, as a rare and ravishing delight. To this end he has revealed himself as the “pearl of great price” in its peerless beauty, as the “bundle of myrrh” in its refreshing fragrance, as the “rose of Sharon” in its lasting perfume, as the “lily” in its spotless purity.
As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard. Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, his unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of him, as they count it their highest honour to veil their faces at his feet. Consider what the blood-washed think of him, as day without night they sing his well deserved praises. High thoughts of Christ will enable us to act consistently with our relations towards him. The more loftily we see Christ enthroned, and the more lowly we are when bowing before the foot of the throne, the more truly shall we be prepared to act our part towards him. Our Lord Jesus desires us to think well of him, that we may submit cheerfully to his authority. High thoughts of him increase our love. Love and esteem go together. Therefore, believer, think much of your Master’s excellencies. Study him in his primeval glory, before he took upon himself your nature! Think of the mighty love which drew him from his throne to die upon the cross! Admire him as he conquers all the powers of hell! See him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before him as the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, for only thus will your love to him be what it should.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
PRAISE, MY SOUL, THE KING OF HEAVEN
Henry F. Lyte, 1793–1847
Praise the Lord, all His works everywhere in His dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. (Psalm 103:22)
The Christian life that is joyless is a discredit to God and a disgrace to itself.
--- Maltbie D. Babcock
A life of praise and an inner joy and contentment are interwoven—they are complements of each other. Such a life is the result of being absorbed with God. For such an individual the pursuit of God’s glory, the Lordship of Christ, and the worship and praise of our Creator-redeemer become a natural way of living. To this person the blessings of God never become commonplace.
Forgives all our iniquities; heals our diseases, redeems our life from destruction; crowns us with loving kindness and mercy; satisfies us with good things; renews our youth, works righteousness and judgment for the oppressed; gives guidance to His people; is merciful; is gracious and slow to anger while plenteous in mercy: knows all about us; will never forsake. (Psalm 103:3–10)
Although Henry Lyte, the author of this hymn text, experienced many difficulties in life, including a frail body, this hymn helps us realize that we as believers can rise above our problems and lift voices of praise in spite of any circumstances. The text is a summary of the psalmist’s admonition in Psalm 103 to praise and to remember all of the good things about God. It first appeared in Lyte’s collection of new paraphrases of the Psalms, published in 1834. Interestingly, the hymn has the distinction of being the requested processional for the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, exactly 100 years after author Henry Lyte’s death.
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven; to His feet thy tribute bring; ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore His praises sing: Alleluia! Praise the Everlasting king!
Father-like, He tends and spares us, well our feeble frame He knows; in His hands He gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes: Alleluia! Widely yet His mercy flows!
Angels in the height, adore Him; ye behold Him face to face; Sun and moon, bow down before Him, dwellers all in time and space: Alleluia! Praise with us the God of grace!
For Today: 1 Chronicles 29:10–13; Psalm 47:6, 7; 103; 1 Timothy 1:17
Remember—A cheerful word of praise and encouragement will mean more to those with whom we live than acres of flowers we may give when they are gone. Carry this song of triumph with you ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Sunday, November 5, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 26, Sunday
On the same date: All Saints’ Day (Observed)
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 24, 29
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 8, 84
Old Testament Nehemiah 5:1–19
New Testament Acts 20:7–12
Gospel Luke 12:22–31
Index of Readings
Psalm 24, 29
Of David. A Psalm.
1 The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the LORD,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory. Selah
A Psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name;
worship the LORD in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Psalm 8, 84
To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
To the leader: according to The Gittith.
Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. Selah
5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.
5 Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish kin. 2 For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many; we must get grain, so that we may eat and stay alive.” 3 There were also those who said, “We are having to pledge our fields, our vineyards, and our houses in order to get grain during the famine.” 4 And there were those who said, “We are having to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay the king’s tax. 5 Now our flesh is the same as that of our kindred; our children are the same as their children; and yet we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been ravished; we are powerless, and our fields and vineyards now belong to others.”
6 I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints. 7 After thinking it over, I brought charges against the nobles and the officials; I said to them, “You are all taking interest from your own people.” And I called a great assembly to deal with them, 8 and said to them, “As far as we were able, we have bought back our Jewish kindred who had been sold to other nations; but now you are selling your own kin, who must then be bought back by us!” They were silent, and could not find a word to say. 9 So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God, to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us stop this taking of interest. 11 Restore to them, this very day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the interest on money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We will restore everything and demand nothing more from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests, and made them take an oath to do as they had promised. 13 I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out everyone from house and from property who does not perform this promise. Thus may they be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.
14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people, and took food and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 Indeed, I devoted myself to the work on this wall, and acquired no land; and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover there were at my table one hundred fifty people, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. 18 Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and every ten days skins of wine in abundance; yet with all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because of the heavy burden of labor on the people. 19 Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
7 On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9 A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. 12 Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.
22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church
On The Same Date, November 5, 2017 | Holy Day
All Saints’ Day (Observed)
Years 1 & 2
On the same date: Proper 26, Sunday
Psalms Psalm 111, 112
Old Testament 2 Esdras 2:42–47
New Testament Hebrews 11:32–12:2
Index of Readings
Psalm 111, 112
1 Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.
1 Praise the LORD!
Happy are those who fear the LORD,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the LORD.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked see it and are angry;
they gnash their teeth and melt away;
the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.
2 Esdras 2:42–47
42 I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude that I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs. 43 In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound. 44 Then I asked an angel, “Who are these, my lord?” 45 He answered and said to me, “These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God. Now they are being crowned, and receive palms.” 46 Then I said to the angel, “Who is that young man who is placing crowns on them and putting palms in their hands?” 47 He answered and said to me, “He is the Son of God, whom they confessed in the world.” So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord.
32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Psalms Psalm 148, 150
Old Testament Wisdom of Solomon 5:1–5, 14–16
New Testament Revelation 21:1–4, 22–22:5
Index of Readings
Psalm 148, 150
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
6 He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the LORD!
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
Wisdom of Solomon 5:1–5, 14–16
5 Then the righteous will stand with great confidence
in the presence of those who have oppressed them
and those who make light of their labors.
2 When the unrighteous see them, they will be shaken with dreadful fear,
and they will be amazed at the unexpected salvation of the righteous.
3 They will speak to one another in repentance,
and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say,
4 “These are persons whom we once held in derision
and made a byword of reproach—fools that we were!
We thought that their lives were madness
and that their end was without honor.
5 Why have they been numbered among the children of God?
And why is their lot among the saints?
14 Because the hope of the ungodly is like thistledown carried by the wind,
and like a light frost driven away by a storm;
it is dispersed like smoke before the wind,
and it passes like the remembrance of a guest who stays but a day.
15 But the righteous live forever,
and their reward is with the Lord;
the Most High takes care of them.
16 Therefore they will receive a glorious crown
and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord,
because with his right hand he will cover them,
and with his arm he will shield them.
Revelation 21:1–4, 22–22:5
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church