Insurrection against GedaliahJeremiah 41:1 In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah son of Elishama, of the royal family, one of the chief officers of the king, came with ten men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, at Mizpah. As they ate bread together there at Mizpah, 2 Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan with the sword and killed him, because the king of Babylon had appointed him governor in the land. 3 Ishmael also killed all the Judeans who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the Chaldean soldiers who happened to be there.
4 On the day after the murder of Gedaliah, before anyone knew of it, 5 eighty men arrived from Shechem and Shiloh and Samaria, with their beards shaved and their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, bringing grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord. 6 And Ishmael son of Nethaniah came out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he came. As he met them, he said to them, “Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam.” 7 When they reached the middle of the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men with him slaughtered them, and threw them into a cistern. 8 But there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, “Do not kill us, for we have stores of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the fields.” So he refrained, and did not kill them along with their companions.
9 Now the cistern into which Ishmael had thrown all the bodies of the men whom he had struck down was the large cistern that King Asa had made for defense against King Baasha of Israel; Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled that cistern with those whom he had killed. 10 Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, the king’s daughters and all the people who were left at Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had committed to Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.
11 But when Johanan son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces with him heard of all the crimes that Ishmael son of Nethaniah had done, 12 they took all their men and went to fight against Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They came upon him at the great pool that is in Gibeon. 13 And when all the people who were with Ishmael saw Johanan son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces with him, they were glad. 14 So all the people whom Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah turned around and came back, and went to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites. 16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and all the leaders of the forces with him took all the rest of the people whom Ishmael son of Nethaniah had carried away captive from Mizpah after he had slain Gedaliah son of Ahikam—soldiers, women, children, and eunuchs, whom Johanan brought back from Gibeon. 17 And they set out, and stopped at Geruth Chimham near Bethlehem, intending to go to Egypt 18 because of the Chaldeans; for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.
Jeremiah Advises Survivors Not to MigrateJeremiah 42:1 Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan son of Kareah and Azariah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, approached 2 the prophet Jeremiah and said, “Be good enough to listen to our plea, and pray to the Lord your God for us—for all this remnant. For there are only a few of us left out of many, as your eyes can see. 3 Let the Lord your God show us where we should go and what we should do.” 4 The prophet Jeremiah said to them, “Very well: I am going to pray to the Lord your God as you request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you; I will keep nothing back from you.” 5 They in their turn said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to everything that the Lord your God sends us through you. 6 Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, in order that it may go well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
7 At the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. 8 Then he summoned Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces who were with him, and all the people from the least to the greatest, 9 and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your plea before him: 10 If you will only remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I am sorry for the disaster that I have brought upon you. 11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, as you have been; do not be afraid of him, says the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to rescue you from his hand. 12 I will grant you mercy, and he will have mercy on you and restore you to your native soil. 13 But if you continue to say, ‘We will not stay in this land,’ thus disobeying the voice of the Lord your God 14 and saying, ‘No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war, or hear the sound of the trumpet, or be hungry for bread, and there we will stay,’ 15 then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you are determined to enter Egypt and go to settle there, 16 then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there, in the land of Egypt; and the famine that you dread shall follow close after you into Egypt; and there you shall die. 17 All the people who have determined to go to Egypt to settle there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; they shall have no remnant or survivor from the disaster that I am bringing upon them.
18 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Just as my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You shall become an object of execration and horror, of cursing and ridicule. You shall see this place no more. 19 The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, Do not go to Egypt. Be well aware that I have warned you today 20 that you have made a fatal mistake. For you yourselves sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says, tell us and we will do it.’ 21 So I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God in anything that he sent me to tell you. 22 Be well aware, then, that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go and settle.”
Taken to Egypt, Jeremiah Warns of JudgmentJeremiah 43:1 When Jeremiah finished speaking to all the people all these words of the Lord their God, with which the Lord their God had sent him to them, 2 Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to settle there’; 3 but Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us, to hand us over to the Chaldeans, in order that they may kill us or take us into exile in Babylon.” 4 So Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the Lord, to stay in the land of Judah. 5 But Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to settle in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven— 6 the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and everyone whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan; also the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah. 7 And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord. And they arrived at Tahpanhes.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes: 9 Take some large stones in your hands, and bury them in the clay pavement that is at the entrance to Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. Let the Judeans see you do it, 10 and say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to send and take my servant King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, and he will set his throne above these stones that I have buried, and he will spread his royal canopy over them. 11 He shall come and ravage the land of Egypt, giving
those who are destined for pestilence, to pestilence,
and those who are destined for captivity, to captivity,
and those who are destined for the sword, to the sword.
Denunciation of Persistent IdolatryJeremiah 44:1 The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Judeans living in the land of Egypt, at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Memphis, and in the land of Pathros, 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You yourselves have seen all the disaster that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Look at them; today they are a desolation, without an inhabitant in them, 3 because of the wickedness that they committed, provoking me to anger, in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they had not known, neither they, nor you, nor your ancestors. 4 Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, “I beg you not to do this abominable thing that I hate!” 5 But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their wickedness and make no offerings to other gods. 6 So my wrath and my anger were poured out and kindled in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they became a waste and a desolation, as they still are today. 7 And now thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: Why are you doing such great harm to yourselves, to cut off man and woman, child and infant, from the midst of Judah, leaving yourselves without a remnant? 8 Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to settle? Will you be cut off and become an object of cursing and ridicule among all the nations of the earth? 9 Have you forgotten the crimes of your ancestors, of the kings of Judah, of their wives, your own crimes and those of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10 They have shown no contrition or fear to this day, nor have they walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your ancestors.
11 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am determined to bring disaster on you, to bring all Judah to an end. 12 I will take the remnant of Judah who are determined to come to the land of Egypt to settle, and they shall perish, everyone; in the land of Egypt they shall fall; by the sword and by famine they shall perish; from the least to the greatest, they shall die by the sword and by famine; and they shall become an object of execration and horror, of cursing and ridicule. 13 I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, 14 so that none of the remnant of Judah who have come to settle in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive or return to the land of Judah. Although they long to go back to live there, they shall not go back, except some fugitives.
15 Then all the men who were aware that their wives had been making offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: 16 “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you. 17 Instead, we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out libations to her, just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials, used to do in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. We used to have plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no misfortune. 18 But from the time we stopped making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her, we have lacked everything and have perished by the sword and by famine.” 19 And the women said, “Indeed we will go on making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her; do you think that we made cakes for her, marked with her image, and poured out libations to her without our husbands’ being involved?”
20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who were giving him this answer: 21 “As for the offerings that you made in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your ancestors, your kings and your officials, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them? Did it not come into his mind? 22 The Lord could no longer bear the sight of your evil doings, the abominations that you committed; therefore your land became a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is to this day. 23 It is because you burned offerings, and because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey the voice of the Lord or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his decrees, that this disaster has befallen you, as is still evident today.”
24 Jeremiah said to all the people and all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all you Judeans who are in the land of Egypt, 25 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have accomplished in deeds what you declared in words, saying, ‘We are determined to perform the vows that we have made, to make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out libations to her.’ By all means, keep your vows and make your libations! 26 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, all you Judeans who live in the land of Egypt: Lo, I swear by my great name, says the Lord, that my name shall no longer be pronounced on the lips of any of the people of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘As the Lord God lives.’ 27 I am going to watch over them for harm and not for good; all the people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall perish by the sword and by famine, until not one is left. 28 And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who have come to the land of Egypt to settle, shall know whose words will stand, mine or theirs! 29 This shall be the sign to you, says the Lord, that I am going to punish you in this place, in order that you may know that my words against you will surely be carried out: 30 Thus says the Lord, I am going to give Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, into the hands of his enemies, those who seek his life, just as I gave King Zedekiah of Judah into the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life.”
A Word of Comfort to BaruchJeremiah 45:1 The word that the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Baruch son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: 2 Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: 3 You said, “Woe is me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.” 4 Thus you shall say to him, “Thus says the Lord: I am going to break down what I have built, and pluck up what I have planted—that is, the whole land. 5 And you, do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for I am going to bring disaster upon all flesh, says the Lord; but I will give you your life as a prize of war in every place to which you may go.”
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
What I'm Reading
Is Mark’s Gospel an Early Memoir of the Apostle Peter?
By J. Warner Wallace 1/17/2014
The authorship of the Gospels is a matter of considerable debate amongst skeptics and critics of the New Testament canon. Mark’s Gospel is an early record of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, but Mark isn’t mentioned as an eyewitness in any of the Gospel accounts. How did Mark get his information about Jesus? There are several historical clues:
Papias said Mark scribed Peter’s teachings | Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (60-130AD) repeated the testimony of the old presbyters (disciples of the Apostles) who claimed Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome as he scribed the preaching of Peter (Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15, Book 3 Chapter 30 and Book 6 Chapter 14). Papias wrote a five volume work entitled, “Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord”. In this treatise (which no longer exists), he quoted someone he identified as ‘the elder’, (most likely John the elder), a man who held considerable authority in Asia:
“And the elder used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”
Irenaeus said Mark wrote his Gospel from Peter’s teaching | In his book, “Against Heresies” (Book 3 Chapter 1), Irenaeus (130-200AD) also reported Mark penned his Gospel as a scribe for Peter, adding the following detail:
“Matthew composed his gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the gospel in Rome and founded the community. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed on his preaching to us in written form”
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
The War On Wedding Vendors Is Ultimately A War On Free Thought
By James Gottry 11/3/2016
To forbid people from articulating beliefs and peacefully acting consistently with those beliefs is, at its core, an attempt to forbid the beliefs themselves.
Our First Amendment freedom is functionally meaningless when it is reduced to the “right” to express government-approved views. Throw in a simultaneous prohibition on all expression that hasn’t received the government’s stamp of approval, and you have the makings of George Orwell’s “1984,” where even beliefs are controlled.
Indeed, to forbid people from articulating beliefs and peacefully acting consistently with those beliefs is, at its core, an attempt to forbid the beliefs themselves. As the Supreme Court has held, “First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought…The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.”
It’s one thing to have guiding moral principles. It’s another thing entirely to be able to express those principles and allow them to guide your actions. In Phoenix, two artists who together operate a custom art studio, Brush and Nib Studio, are acutely aware of the distinction.
Compelling Expression, One Brush at a Time | In 2015, Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski launched a business based on their shared passions for Christ, painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy. As their website states, they seek to “announce and commemorate life’s important moments,” which include weddings. As Christians, Joanna and Breanna seek to create art that is consistent with their beliefs, which includes the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Conservative turned down by photographer but says it’s OK
By Valerie Richardson 1/23/2014
Alan Sears doesn’t know what it’s like to be refused service for being gay, but he does know what it’s like to be refused service for being a conservative.
Six months ago, a Southern California photographer turned him down flat when he asked her to take a Christmas card photo of his family, explaining in an email, “I oppose the goals and objectives of your organization and have no interest in working on its behalf.”
That was fine with Mr. Sears, CEO and general counsel of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, who is leading the legal battle on behalf of photographers, florists, cake decorators and others sued for refusing to create products for same-sex weddings.
What applies to wedding cake designers asked to violate their core beliefs, Mr. Sears argues, applies equally to liberals who decline to fill certain orders to conservatives customers.
“We’re talking about human dignity. It violates someone’s dignity to require them to create images that violate their core beliefs,” Mr. Sears said. “I think I’m a pretty nice guy, and my family are kind folks, but to require this woman to portray me in a loving, family-centered way that is contrary to her views and her conscience, I think it would be an act of violence against her dignity.”
Unsealing of Christ's Reputed Tomb Turns Up New Revelations
By Kristin Romey 10/31/2016
JERUSALEM Researchers have continued their investigation into the site where the body of Jesus Christ is traditionally believed to have been buried, and their preliminary findings appear to confirm that portions of the tomb are still present today, having survived centuries of damage, destruction, and reconstruction of the surrounding Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City.
The most venerated site in the Christian world, the tomb today consists of a limestone shelf or burial bed that was hewn from the wall of a cave. Since at least 1555, and most likely centuries earlier, the burial bed has been covered in marble cladding, allegedly to prevent eager pilgrims from removing bits of the original rock as souvenirs.
When the marble cladding was first removed on the night of October 26, an initial inspection by the conservation team from the National Technical University of Athens showed only a layer of fill material underneath. However, as researchers continued their nonstop work over the course of 60 hours, another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface was exposed. By the night of October 28, just hours before the tomb was to be resealed, the original limestone burial bed was revealed intact.
"I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic's archaeologist-in-residence. "We can't say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades."
In addition, researchers confirmed the existence of the original limestone cave walls within the 19th-century Edicule, or shrine, which encloses the tomb. A window has been cut into the southern interior wall of the shrine to expose one of the cave walls.
She is the former executive editor of Archaeology magazine and a Fellow of the Explorers Club. Romey holds an A.B. in Greek from Vassar College and an M.A. from Texas A&M’s nautical archaeology program. Before joining the National Geographic editorial staff, Romey served as the field operations director for the Society’s multiyear archaeological expedition at Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan.
She’s the proud possessor of a very questionable ducal warrant.
Romey lives in Washington, D.C.
A Generation of Skeptics Are Open to the Resurrection
By Napp Nazworth, Christian Post Reporter 11/3/2016
What do you say to skeptics who refuse to accept that the Gospels were written by their traditional authors? Who insist that the accounts were written long after the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry had all died? Even using only evidence that these critics will accept, Dr. Gary Habermas thinks that the case for the resurrection is still stands, as strong as ever. The discussion, according Dr. Habermas, begins with the Apostle Paul…
CHARLOTTE — Due to the evidence, a generation of skeptics are now open to believing in the resurrection, the foundational event for the Christian faith, Gary Habermas explained at the Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics.
Critics have recently begun to acknowledge facts central to Jesus’ resurrection, he claimed.
Habermas, distinguished research professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University and visiting professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, is an expert on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has written 18 books, and over 100 book chapters and journal articles on the topic. His next book will be 3,000 pages compiling his life work. Half of the book will be new material that does not appear in any of his previous books, Habermas announced during his talk.
One of the critics Habermas mentioned was Bart Ehrman, a former Evangelical Christian who has become an agnostic. Ehrman currently serves as the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has written or edited over 25 books on the life of Jesus and the New Testament. Several of his books have appeared on The New York Times best sellers list, including his most recent book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.
If Sin Is Finite, Why Is Hell Eternal?
By Alan Shlemon 11/2/2016
I’ve been asked more than once: Why would God punish non-believers with an eternity in Hell for a finite amount of sin? It seems unfair. Shouldn’t their duration in Hell be commensurate with the amount and severity of their sin?
People who raise this complaint fail to understand the nature of two things: the nature of the offender and the nature of the offended.
The nature of the offender is obvious: Humans are guilty. Not only are they born with a sin nature, they’ve committed crimes against God throughout their lives. That means they deserve to be punished. Every human being on the planet finds himself in this predicament.
God, though, offers every guilty person a pardon. Those who accept God’s offer are absolved of their guilt and go free. Those who reject the pardon pay for the crimes themselves because they remain guilty. Like human prison, God sentences the guilty to a spiritual quarantine (the Bible calls this place Hell).
Their quarantine in Hell lasts forever because they remain guilty forever. While on earth, they had an opportunity to accept the pardon, but that time has passed. They turned down their chance to be absolved of their guilt. Now, they pay for their crimes by being sentenced to an eternal quarantine. After serving a year of their sentence, they’re still guilty. After serving 1,000 years of their sentence, they’re still guilty. Their guilt never fades.
When You Can't Trace God's Hand, Trust His Heart
By Frank Cox 9/1996
Amidst the celebration and fireworks of Independence Day, 1986, Frank Cox leaned across the hospital bed of his 27-year-old wife, whose unsteady breathing signaled the approaching end of her mortal life. Gripping the one good hand left on a body ravaged by cancer, Cox whispered into Debbie's ear a thank you for being his wife and the mother of their 4-year-old son, Stephen. Within moments she was gone, and Cox, 30, was a widower.
"What do you do when you lose something that is precious to your life?" thought Cox, and it was a thought he would wrestle with for a long time as he sat and cried at the grave of his wife, telling God it hurt so bad that his life was spinning round and round. At one point, Cox demanded that God give him his wife back. "I want her back," he said. "With a full head of hair, and I don't want there to be a bum arm or a splint on her leg. I didn't bargain for this; I just want her back."
But Cox sensed God saying, "If I opened up Heaven and said, 'Okay, Debbie, you can go back,' she wouldn't want to come, Frank. She's enjoying everything I ever prepared for her. Now get up and get on with your life."
And sitting there, Cox remembered a quote from another whose wife was deathly ill during his ministry, "God is too good to be unkind, He is too wise to be mistaken, and when you can't trace His hand, that's when you must learn to trust His heart."
Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., began to learn that God's sovereignty meant He could do whatever He pleases while always being pleased with whatever He does. "I thought about the last time I lifted Debbie out of bed and carried her to the car to drive her to the hospital for a CAT scan," said Cox. "That was the day we found out the tumor's growth had hopelessly expanded." Yet, God impressed upon Cox that omnipotence and omnipresence are more than just theological terms. He sensed God saying, "Frank, I was there before you put Debbie in that car. I was there before you placed her on the CAT scan table. I knew the length of Debbie's days before the world was formed, and before you ever met her."
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Learn to meditate
(Nov 7) Bob Gass
‘On his law he meditates day and night.’
(Ps 1:2) but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. ESV
Butterflies cover more ground, but bees gather more honey. That’s because the butterfly just flies over the flowers, whereas the bee lands on each one and stays there long enough to extract the nectar. That’s the difference between merely reading your Bible for a few hurried minutes, and taking time to meditate on what you’re reading. Meditation isn’t something difficult and mysterious that only scholars and ‘spiritual’ people do. It’s just thinking deeply and continuously about a passage of Scripture, memorising it, letting it take root, and ‘owning it’ until it becomes a life force operating within you each day. The point isn’t how much Scripture you memorise, it’s what happens to you in the process. Meditating on God’s Word clarifies your understanding and corrects your conduct. It enriches your thinking and equips you by making you think different thoughts than if you were watching TV, for example, or texting, or talking on your mobile phone, or shopping. The psalmist writes: ‘The Law of the LORD makes them happy, and they think about it day and night. They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do’ (vv. 2-3 CEV). Meditating on God’s Word is the cure for moral and spiritual weakness; for a life with no focus; for a lack of intimacy with God; for chronically weak faith that causes you to fail and keep missing God’s best. So open your Bible, read it, and pray, ‘Lord, what are You saying to me?’ Then meditate on His answer.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
He originally wanted to be a baseball player, but after attending a revival meeting at age 16 his life changed. He has since addressed crowds around the world and was friends with Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. His name: Billy Graham, and he was born this day, November 7, 1918. Receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 1996, Billy Graham stated: “As we face a new millennium, I believe America has gone a long way down the wrong road. We must turn around… If ever we needed God’s help, it is now.”
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
A clergyman once said to me that a railway compartment, if one has it to oneself, is an extremely good place to pray in "because there is just the right amount of distraction." When I asked him to explain, he said that perfect silence and solitude left one more open to the distractions which come from within, and that a moderate amount of external distraction was easier to cope with. I don't find this so myself, but I can imagine it.
The Jones boy's name is Cyril-though why you find it so important to pray for people by their Christian names I can't imagine. I always assume God knows their surnames as well. I am afraid many people appear in my prayers only as “that old man at Crewe" or "the waitress" or even "that man." One may have lost, or may never have known, their names and yet remember how badly they need to be prayed for.
No letter next week. I shall be in the thick of exams.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Thanks to Meir Yona
7. This was Eleazar's speech to them. Yet did not the opinions of all the auditors acquiesce therein; but although some of them were very zealous to put his advice in practice, and were in a manner filled with pleasure at it, and thought death to be a good thing, yet had those that were most effeminate a commiseration for their wives and families; and when these men were especially moved by the prospect of their own certain death, they looked wistfully at one another, and by the tears that were in their eyes declared their dissent from his opinion. When Eleazar saw these people in such fear, and that their souls were dejected at so prodigious a proposal, he was afraid lest perhaps these effeminate persons should, by their lamentations and tears, enfeeble those that heard what he had said courageously; so he did not leave off exhorting them, but stirred up himself, and recollecting proper arguments for raising their courage, he undertook to speak more briskly and fully to them, and that concerning the immortality of the soul. So he made a lamentable groan, and fixing his eyes intently on those that wept, he spake thus: "Truly, I was greatly mistaken when I thought to be assisting to brave men who struggled hard for their liberty, and to such as were resolved either to live with honor, or else to die; but I find that you are such people as are no better than others, either in virtue or in courage, and are afraid of dying, though you be delivered thereby from the greatest miseries, while you ought to make no delay in this matter, nor to await any one to give you good advice; for the laws of our country, and of God himself, have from ancient times, and as soon as ever we could use our reason, continually taught us, and our forefathers have corroborated the same doctrine by their actions, and by their bravery of mind, that it is life that is a calamity to men, and not death; for this last affords our souls their liberty, and sends them by a removal into their own place of purity, where they are to be insensible of all sorts of misery; for while souls are tied down to a mortal body, they are partakers of its miseries; and really, to speak the truth, they are themselves dead; for the union of what is divine to what is mortal is disagreeable. It is true, the power of the soul is great, even when it is imprisoned in a mortal body; for by moving it after a way that is invisible, it makes the body a sensible instrument, and causes it to advance further in its actions than mortal nature could otherwise do. However, when it is freed from that weight which draws it down to the earth and is connected with it, it obtains its own proper place, and does then become a partaker of that blessed power, and those abilities, which are then every way incapable of being hindered in their operations. It continues invisible, indeed, to the eyes of men, as does God himself; for certainly it is not itself seen while it is in the body; for it is there after an invisible manner, and when it is freed from it, it is still not seen. It is this soul which hath one nature, and that an incorruptible one also; but yet it is the cause of the change that is made in the body; for whatsoever it be which the soul touches, that lives and flourishes; and from whatsoever it is removed, that withers away and dies; such a degree is there in it of immortality. Let me produce the state of sleep as a most evident demonstration of the truth of what I say; wherein souls, when the body does not distract them, have the sweetest rest depending on themselves, and conversing with God, by their alliance to him; they then go every where, and foretell many futurities beforehand. And why are we afraid of death, while we are pleased with the rest that we have in sleep? And how absurd a thing is it to pursue after liberty while we are alive, and yet to envy it to ourselves where it will be eternal! We, therefore, who have been brought up in a discipline of our own, ought to become an example to others of our readiness to die. Yet, if we do stand in need of foreigners to support us in this matter, let us regard those Indians who profess the exercise of philosophy; for these good men do but unwillingly undergo the time of life, and look upon it as a necessary servitude, and make haste to let their souls loose from their bodies; nay, when no misfortune presses them to it, nor drives them upon it, these have such a desire of a life of immortality, that they tell other men beforehand that they are about to depart; and nobody hinders them, but every one thinks them happy men, and gives them letters to be carried to their familiar friends [that are dead], so firmly and certainly do they believe that souls converse with one another [in the other world]. So when these men have heard all such commands that were to be given them, they deliver their body to the fire; and, in order to their getting their soul a separation from the body in the greatest purity, they die in the midst of hymns of commendations made to them; for their dearest friends conduct them to their death more readily than do any of the rest of mankind conduct their fellow-citizens when they are going a very long journey, who at the same time weep on their own account, but look upon the others as happy persons, as so soon to be made partakers of the immortal order of beings. Are not we, therefore, ashamed to have lower notions than the Indians? and by our own cowardice to lay a base reproach upon the laws of our country, which are so much desired and imitated by all mankind? But put the case that we had been brought up under another persuasion, and taught that life is the greatest good which men are capable of, and that death is a calamity; however, the circumstances we are now in ought to be an inducement to us to bear such calamity courageously, since it is by the will of God, and by necessity, that we are to die; for it now appears that God hath made such a decree against the whole Jewish nation, that we are to be deprived of this life which [he knew] we would not make a due use of. For do not you ascribe the occasion of our present condition to yourselves, nor think the Romans are the true occasion that this war we have had with them is become so destructive to us all: these things have not come to pass by their power, but a more powerful cause hath intervened, and made us afford them an occasion of their appearing to be conquerors over us. What Roman weapons, I pray you, were those by which the Jews at Cesarea were slain? On the contrary, when they were no way disposed to rebel, but were all the while keeping their seventh day festival, and did not so much as lift up their hands against the citizens of Cesarea, yet did those citizens run upon them in great crowds, and cut their throats, and the throats of their wives and children, and this without any regard to the Romans themselves, who never took us for their enemies till we revolted from them. But some may be ready to say, that truly the people of Cesarea had always a quarrel against those that lived among them, and that when an opportunity offered itself, they only satisfied the old rancor they had against them. What then shall we say to those of Scythopolis, who ventured to wage war with us on account of the Greeks? Nor did they do it by way of revenge upon the Romans, when they acted in concert with our countrymen. Wherefore you see how little our good-will and fidelity to them profited us, while they were slain, they and their whole families, after the most inhuman manner, which was all the requital that was made them for the assistance they had afforded the others; for that very same destruction which they had prevented from falling upon the others did they suffer themselves from them, as if they had been ready to be the actors against them. It would be too long for me to speak at this time of every destruction brought upon us; for you cannot but know that there was not any one Syrian city which did not slay their Jewish inhabitants, and were not more bitter enemies to us than were the Romans themselves; nay, even those of Damascus, 16 when they were able to allege no tolerable pretense against us, filled their city with the most barbarous slaughters of our people, and cut the throats of eighteen thousand Jews, with their wives and children. And as to the multitude of those that were slain in Egypt, and that with torments also, we have been informed they were more than sixty thousand; those indeed being in a foreign country, and so naturally meeting with nothing to oppose against their enemies, were killed in the manner forementioned. As for all those of us who have waged war against the Romans in our own country, had we not sufficient reason to have sure hopes of victory? For we had arms, and walls, and fortresses so prepared as not to be easily taken, and courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty, which encouraged us all to revolt from the Romans. But then these advantages sufficed us but for a short time, and only raised our hopes, while they really appeared to be the origin of our miseries; for all we had hath been taken from us, and all hath fallen under our enemies, as if these advantages were only to render their victory over us the more glorious, and were not disposed for the preservation of those by whom these preparations were made. And as for those that are already dead in the war, it is reasonable we should esteem them blessed, for they are dead in defending, and not in betraying their liberty; but as to the multitude of those that are now under the Romans, who would not pity their condition? and who would not make haste to die, before he would suffer the same miseries with them? Some of them have been put upon the rack, and tortured with fire and whippings, and so died. Some have been half devoured by wild beasts, and yet have been reserved alive to be devoured by them a second time, in order to afford laughter and sport to our enemies; and such of those as are alive still are to be looked on as the most miserable, who, being so desirous of death, could not come at it. And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it, which still dwells upon its ruins; some unfortunate old men also lie upon the ashes of the temple, and a few women are there preserved alive by the enemy, for our bitter shame and reproach. Now who is there that revolves these things in his mind, and yet is able to bear the sight of the sun, though he might live out of danger? Who is there so much his country's enemy, or so unmanly, and so desirous of living, as not to repent that he is still alive? And I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our holy temple dug up after so profane a manner. But since we had a generous hope that deluded us, as if we might perhaps have been able to avenge ourselves on our enemies on that account, though it be now become vanity, and hath left us alone in this distress, let us make haste to die bravely. Let us pity ourselves, our children, and our wives while it is in our own power to show pity to them; for we were born to die,17 as well as those were whom we have begotten; nor is it in the power of the most happy of our race to avoid it. But for abuses, and slavery, and the sight of our wives led away after an ignominious manner, with their children, these are not such evils as are natural and necessary among men; although such as do not prefer death before those miseries, when it is in their power so to do, must undergo even them, on account of their own cowardice. We revolted from the Romans with great pretensions to courage; and when, at the very last, they invited us to preserve ourselves, we would not comply with them. Who will not, therefore, believe that they will certainly be in a rage at us, in case they can take us alive? Miserable will then be the young men who will be strong enough in their bodies to sustain many torments! miserable also will be those of elder years, who will not be able to bear those calamities which young men might sustain! One man will be obliged to hear the voice of his son implore help of his father, when his hands are bound. But certainly our hands are still at liberty, and have a sword in them; let them then be subservient to us in our glorious design; let us die before we become slaves under our enemies, and let us go out of the world, together with our children and our wives, in a state of freedom. This it is that our laws command us to do; this it is that our wives and children crave at our hands; nay, God himself hath brought this necessity upon us; while the Romans desire the contrary, and are afraid lest any of us should die before we are taken. Let us therefore make haste, and instead of affording them so much pleasure, as they hope for in getting us under their power, let us leave them an example which shall at once cause their astonishment at our death, and their admiration of our hardiness therein."
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
--- Og Mandino
When a man begins to apprehend the first approach of grace, pardon, and mercy by Jesus Christ to his soul; when he is convinced of his utter unworthiness and desert of hell, and can never expect anything from a just and holy God but damnation, how do the first dawnings of mercy melt and humble him!
--- John Flavel
You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.
--- Albert Camus The Fall
The only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use is the tongue.
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
but the poor who has discernment sees through him.
12 When the just are triumphant, there is great rejoicing,
but when the wicked rise up, people hide.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The undetected sacredness of circumstances
All things work together for good to them that love God. --- Romans 8:28.
The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order that the intercession of the Spirit in you may take a particular line. Never put your hand in front of the circumstances and say—‘I am going to be my own providence here; I must watch this, and guard that.’ All your circumstances are in the hand of God, therefore never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to enter into the agony of intercession, but to utilize the commonsense circumstances God puts you in, and the commonsense people He puts you amongst by His providence, to bring them before God’s throne and give the Spirit in you a chance to intercede for them: In this way God is going to sweep the whole world with His saints.
Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being indefinite, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession, and the human side is the circumstances I am in and the people I am in contact with. I have to keep my conscious life as a shrine of the Holy Ghost, then as I bring the different ones before God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them.
Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, but the Holy Ghost makes intercession in our particular lives, without which intercession for someone would be impoverished.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Never known as anything
but an absence, I dare not name him
as God. Yet the adjustments
are made. There is an unseen
power, whose sphere is the cell
and the electron. We never catch
him at work, but can only say,
coming suddenly upon an amendment,
that here he has been. To demolish
a mountain you move it stone by stone
like the Japanese. To make a new coat
of an old, you add to it gradually
thread by thread, so such change
as occurs is more difficult to detect.
Patiently with invisible structures
he builds, and as patiently
we must pray, surrendering the ordering
of the ingredients to a wisdom that
is beyond our own. We must change the mood
to the passive. Let the deaf men
be helped; in the silence that has come
upon them, let some influence
work so those closed porches
be opened once more. Let the bomb
swerve. Let the raised knife of the murderer
be somehow deflected. There are no
laws there other than the limits of
our understanding. Remembering rock
penetrated by the grass-blade, corrected
by water, we must ask rather
for the transformation of the will
to evil, for more loving
mutations, for the better ventilating
of the atmosphere of the closed mind.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Regarding the talmudic statement in Sotah, “By the standard with which a man measures, with it shall he be measured,” which suggests that God intervenes in history by rewarding or punishing men in accordance with the nature of their deeds, Maimonides writes:
This is a matter that is apparent to the inner eye in every time, in every period, and in every place—that everyone who will do evil and devise forms of wrongdoing and vices, he himself will be injured by those evil deeds themselves which he devised, for he taught the art which will do harm to him and to someone else. Thus, whoever teaches virtue which brings into being any manner of good act, he will attain the benefit of that act, for he taught the matter which will do good to him and to someone else. The words of Scripture pertaining to this are excellent, he said, “The work of a man will He requite unto him (and according to the way of a man will He cause him to find).”
The language of reward and punishment need not imply divine miraculous intervention. An understanding of the social consequences of human action is one way Maimonides tries to have his reader understand the language of reward and punishment.
Maimonides constantly attempts to interpret the seemingly miraculous in natural terms. Vertical actions of God are not understood in isolation from the ordinary structure of nature or human action. Biblical descriptions of divine actions in history, which appear to suggest that divine working is independent of human action, are understood by Maimonides in a manner making God similar to a perceptive prognosticator of human events:
But is it not written in the Torah, “And they shall be enslaved and oppressed” (Gen. 15:13)? Did not then the Almighty decree that the Egyptians should do evil? It is also written, “This people will thereupon go astray after the alien gods in their midst (Deut. 31:16). Did He not decree that Israel should worship idols? Why then did He punish them? [The answer is] that He did not decree concerning any particular individual that that individual should be the one to go astray. Any one of those who went astray and worshiped idols, had he not desired to commit idolatry, need not have done so. The Creator only instructed Moses as to what the future course of history would be, as one might say, “This people will have among them righteous and wicked persons.” A wicked man has no right, on that account, to say that it had been decreed that he should be wicked, because the Almighty had informed Moses that among Israel there would be wicked men, just as the text, “For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land” (Deut. 15:11) does not imply that any particular individual is destined to be poor.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.
--- Jeremiah 23:6.
Self-righteousness is the last idol that is rooted out of the heart. Classic Sermons on The Names of God (Kregel Classic Sermons Series) (Classic Sermons) And we have contracted such a devilish pride by our fall from God that we would, in part at least, glory in being the cause of our own salvation. It is true we disclaim the doctrine of merit and are ashamed to say we deserve any good at the hands of God. Therefore, as the apostle observes, we seek to establish a righteousness of our own and, like the Pharisees of old, will not wholly submit to God’s righteousness that is through Jesus Christ.
The righteousness of Jesus Christ is one of those great mysteries that the angels desire to look into and seems to be one of the first lessons that God taught people after the Fall. For what were the garments that God made to put on our first parents but types of the application of the merits of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to believers’ hearts? We are told that those garments were made of skins of beasts, and as beasts were not then human food, we may fairly infer that those beasts were killed in sacrifice, in commemoration of the great sacrifice, Jesus Christ, to be offered later. And the skins of those beasts thus killed being put on Adam and Eve, they were by this taught how their nakedness was to be covered with the righteousness of the Lamb of God.
This is what is meant when we are told Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. In short, this is it of which both the law and all the prophets have spoken, especially Jeremiah in the words of the text: “The LORD Our Righteousness.”
The person mentioned in the text under the character of Lord is Jesus Christ. By “righteous Branch” (Jer. 23:5), all agree that we are to understand Jesus Christ. He it is who is called “the LORD” in our text. If there were no other text in the Bible to prove the divinity of Christ, that is sufficient. For if the word Lord may properly belong to Jesus Christ, he must be God. For as you have it in the margins of your Bibles, the word Lord is in the original Jehovah, which is the essential title of God himself. It is plain that by the word Lord we are to understand the Lord Jesus Christ who here takes to himself the title of Jehovah and therefore must be very God of very God, or, as the apostle devoutly expresses it, God over all, forever praised.
--- George Whitefield
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Passages of Trouble
The Scottish Reformation came painfully, costing the lives of many staunch Protestants, including John Nisbet, whose 16-year-old son later penned this account in a “neat old-fashioned hand”:
On the 7th of November, 1685, my father, with other three, desired to go and end a controversy in one of their Christian societies; upon which he left me to the kind care of Providence, and went on his intended journey. But early on Sabbath Morning, he and the other three were seized by forty of the enemy. The night before, I had gone to the Earl of Loudon’s house; and in my sleep I dreamed of all the passages of trouble my father was in. I awoke with much sorrow of spirit, and immediately rose and essayed prayer. But alas, alas, I was dead, lifeless and overwhelmed with such a flood of sorrow that I could do nothing all that day but sigh to the breaking of my heart. At night, two young ladies came and sat down by me, and seeing me in such sorrow, asked me if I had got any meat. It was told them I would eat none all that day. Upon which they opened their skirts wherein they had some meat, and both very kindly urged me to eat. But I would eat none. At which the young ladies burst into tears; and one of them says, “This Morning, forty of the enemy came upon your father near to Fenwick Kirk; they have killed the other three and your father has received seven wounds and is prisoner.” At the hearing of which sad news I was struck to the heart. I arose immediately and went out to the fields. But kind Providence ordered the matter so, that though very dark, I met an eminent Christian, William Woodburn, my father’s friend, who counseled me to acquiesce in and submit to the sovereign will of God who is a father to the fatherless. Upon this blessed advice and seasonable counsel, the weight of my burden was much taken off, my sorrow alleviated, and all fretting at the dispensation prevented. I spent this night looking to the Lord, that my father might be strengthened to be faithful unto the death.
Our LORD, you will always rule,
But nations will vanish from the earth.
You listen to the longings of those who suffer.
You offer them hope,
And you pay attention to their cries for help.
You defend orphans and everyone else in need.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - November 7
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” --- Isaiah 49:16.
No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favoured people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?” O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never faileth; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon his own palms?
Evening - November 7
“And ye shall be witnesses unto me.” --- Acts 1:8.
In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at his example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He is witnessing night and day; his mighty prayers are as vocal to God as his daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut his mouth; even before Pilate he witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly that there is no mistake in him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom—not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface—but clear and transparent, so that your heart’s love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it. Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as like heaven-touched lips should do. “In the Morning sow thy seed, and in the Evening withhold not thine hand.” Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind—in season and out of season witness for the Saviour, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with his Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
FOR ALL THE SAINTS
William How, 1823–1897
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Someone has described a “saint” as any Christian who makes it easier for others to believe in God. One of the neglected liturgical days in many Protestant churches is All Saints Day, which occurs on the first Sunday in November. This neglect is understandable because the tradition of the day is rooted in medieval Catholicism. Homage is given on this day to the departed canonized saints of the church.
There is, however, an underlying meaning to this day that evangelical Christians should use and recognize. Here, for example, are some lessons it can teach us:
• Every believer whom God has called by His grace and sanctified by His Spirit has been called to sainthood.
• A thankful spirit for the memories of those believers from our local church who were called to their heavenly home during the past year.
• Then, for many of us, there has often been one particular individual who has especially influenced our lives—directing us to God, tutoring us in truth, and modeling the virtues of the Christian life.
Bishop William W. How wrote the text of “For All the Saints” in 1864, for use in the Anglican church liturgy commemorating All Saints Day. It was originally titled “Saints Day Hymn—Cloud of Witnesses—Hebrews 12:1.”
How do we best honor the memory of loved ones and friends who have contributed to our lives? By rededicating our own life to God, obeying Him implicitly, and reaching out to the needs of others.
For all the saints who from their labors rest, who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might; Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight; and Thou, in darkness drear, their one true light: Alleluia! Alleluia!
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, thru gates of pearl streams in the countless host, singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Alleluia! Alleluia!
For Today: Psalm 22:4, 5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17; Revelation 6:11; 7:9
Recall the various individuals who have especially influenced your life for God. Breathe a prayer of thanks for their memory. ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 26, Tuesday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 61, 62
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 68:1–20 (21–23) 24–35
Old Testament Nehemiah 12:27–31a, 42b–47
New Testament Revelation 11:1–19
Gospel Matthew 13:44–52
Index of Readings
Psalm 61, 62
To the leader: with stringed instruments. Of David.
1 Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I call to you,
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I;
3 for you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
4 Let me abide in your tent forever,
find refuge under the shelter of your wings. Selah
5 For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6 Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
7 May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
8 So I will always sing praises to your name,
as I pay my vows day after day.
To the leader: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
3 How long will you assail a person,
will you batter your victim, all of you,
as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
They take pleasure in falsehood;
they bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
s 5 For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath,
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no confidence in extortion,
and set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
according to their work.
Psalm 68:1–20 (21–23) 24–35
1 Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
3 But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—
his name is the LORD—
be exultant before him.
5 Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.
7 O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
11 The Lord gives the command;
great is the company of those who bore the tidings:
12 “The kings of the armies, they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil,
13 though they stay among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with green gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings there,
snow fell on Zalmon.
15 O mighty mountain, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with envy, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
where the LORD will reside forever?
17 With mighty chariotry, twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands,
the Lord came from Sinai into the holy place.
18 You ascended the high mount,
leading captives in your train
and receiving gifts from people,
even from those who rebel against the LORD God’s abiding there.
19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to GOD, the Lord, belongs escape from death.
[ 21 But God will shatter the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of those who walk in their guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
“I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 so that you may bathe your feet in blood,
so that the tongues of your dogs may have their share from the foe.” ]
24 Your solemn processions are seen, O God,
the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them girls playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation,
the LORD, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in a body,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
28 Summon your might, O God;
show your strength, O God, as you have done for us before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings bear gifts to you.
30 Rebuke the wild animals that live among the reeds,
the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample under foot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Let bronze be brought from Egypt;
let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out its hands to God.
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel;
and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!
Nehemiah 12:27–31a, 42b–47
27 Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with rejoicing, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 The companies of the singers gathered together from the circuit around Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites; 29 also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. 30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves; and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.
31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall, and appointed two great companies that gave thanks and went in procession. One went to the right on the wall to the Dung Gate;
42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
44 On that day men were appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the law for the priests and for the Levites from the fields belonging to the towns; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered. 45 They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the command of David and his son Solomon. 46 For in the days of David and Asaph long ago there was a leader of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 In the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah all Israel gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers. They set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the descendants of Aaron.
11 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. 3 And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days, wearing sackcloth.”
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; anyone who wants to harm them must be killed in this manner. 6 They have authority to shut the sky, so that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that is prophetically called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days members of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb; 10 and the inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to the inhabitants of the earth.
11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and those who saw them were terrified. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watched them. 13 At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe has passed. The third woe is coming very soon.
15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”
16 Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 singing,
“We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty,
who are and who were,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church