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Jeremiah 7 thru 9
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Jeremiah Proclaims God’s Judgment on the Nation (Cp Jer 26.4—6)

Jeremiah 7:1     The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah, you that enter these gates to worship the Lord. 3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and let me dwell with you in this place. 4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.”

     5 For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, 7 then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.

     8 Here you are, trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, “We are safe!”—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, says the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.

The People’s Disobedience

     16 As for you, do not pray for this people, do not raise a cry or prayer on their behalf, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 19 Is it I whom they provoke? says the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own hurt? 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, on human beings and animals, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.

     21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. 22 For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. 25 From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; 26 yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.

     27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.

29     Cut off your hair and throw it away;
raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation that provoked his wrath.

     30 For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it. 31 And they go on building the high place of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire—which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. 32 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter: for they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. 34 And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for the land shall become a waste.

Jeremiah 8:1     At that time, says the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; 2 and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. 3 Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of hosts.

The Blind Perversity of the Whole Nation

4     You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
When people fall, do they not get up again?
If they go astray, do they not turn back?
5     Why then has this people turned away
in perpetual backsliding?
They have held fast to deceit,
they have refused to return.
6     I have given heed and listened,
but they do not speak honestly;
no one repents of wickedness,
saying, “What have I done!”
All of them turn to their own course,
like a horse plunging headlong into battle.
7     Even the stork in the heavens
knows its times;
and the turtledove, swallow, and crane
observe the time of their coming;
but my people do not know
the ordinance of the Lord.
8     How can you say, “We are wise,
and the law of the Lord is with us,”
when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes
has made it into a lie?
9     The wise shall be put to shame,
they shall be dismayed and taken;
since they have rejected the word of the Lord,
what wisdom is in them?
10     Therefore I will give their wives to others
and their fields to conquerors,
because from the least to the greatest
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
from prophet to priest
everyone deals falsely.
11     They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, “Peace, peace,”
when there is no peace.
12     They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;
yet they were not at all ashamed,
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
13     When I wanted to gather them, says the Lord,
there are no grapes on the vine,
nor figs on the fig tree;
even the leaves are withered,
and what I gave them has passed away from them.
14     Why do we sit still?
Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities
and perish there;
for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish,
and has given us poisoned water to drink,
because we have sinned against the Lord.
15     We look for peace, but find no good,
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
16     The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan;
at the sound of the neighing of their stallions
the whole land quakes.
They come and devour the land and all that fills it,
the city and those who live in it.
17     See, I am letting snakes loose among you,
adders that cannot be charmed,
and they shall bite you,
says the Lord.

The Prophet Mourns for the People

18     My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
my heart is sick.
19     Hark, the cry of my poor people
from far and wide in the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?”
(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
with their foreign idols?”)
20     “The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”
21     For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

22     Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
not been restored?

Jeremiah 9:1     O that my head were a spring of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I might weep day and night
for the slain of my poor people!
2     O that I had in the desert
a traveler’s lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
a band of traitors.
3     They bend their tongues like bows;
they have grown strong in the land for falsehood, and not for truth;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
and they do not know me, says the Lord.
4     Beware of your neighbors,
and put no trust in any of your kin;
for all your kin are supplanters,
and every neighbor goes around like a slanderer.
5     They all deceive their neighbors,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongues to speak lies;
they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.
6     Oppression upon oppression, deceit upon deceit!
They refuse to know me, says the Lord.
7     Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts:
I will now refine and test them,
for what else can I do with my sinful people?
8     Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks deceit through the mouth.
They all speak friendly words to their neighbors,
but inwardly are planning to lay an ambush.
9     Shall I not punish them for these things? says the Lord;
and shall I not bring retribution
on a nation such as this?
10     Take up weeping and wailing for the mountains,
and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness,
because they are laid waste so that no one passes through,
and the lowing of cattle is not heard;
both the birds of the air and the animals
have fled and are gone.
11     I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a lair of jackals;
and I will make the towns of Judah a desolation,
without inhabitant.

     12 Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that they may declare it? Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13 And the Lord says: Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, or walked in accordance with it, 14 but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their ancestors taught them. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am feeding this people with wormwood, and giving them poisonous water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known; and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.

The People Mourn in Judgment

17     Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Consider, and call for the mourning women to come;
send for the skilled women to come;
18     let them quickly raise a dirge over us,
so that our eyes may run down with tears,
and our eyelids flow with water.
19     For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
“How we are ruined!
We are utterly shamed,
because we have left the land,
because they have cast down our dwellings.”
20     Hear, O women, the word of the Lord,
and let your ears receive the word of his mouth;
teach to your daughters a dirge,
and each to her neighbor a lament.
21     “Death has come up into our windows,
it has entered our palaces,
to cut off the children from the streets
and the young men from the squares.”
22     Speak! Thus says the Lord:
“Human corpses shall fall
like dung upon the open field,
like sheaves behind the reaper,
and no one shall gather them.”

     23 Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; 24 but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.

     25 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will attend to all those who are circumcised only in the foreskin: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaven temples who live in the desert. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.

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

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The Useful Delusion of Christian Belief

By J. Warner Wallace 3/18/2015

     My father taught me how to attend church as a non-believer. He did it for many years in many different contexts with both his kids and grand kids. He was willing to attend Catholic Mass as a non-believer with my mother in the early 1960’s, and he did it again with his second family at the LDS church near his home. He attended Methodist services with my grandparents and Baptist services with my sister-in-law. He also attended the church I pastor several times. He even served once with us on a service project. He sang the songs  and sat quietly during the prayers. If you didn’t know better, you would swear he was a believer. But as a happy atheist, he rejected Christianity (and Mormonism) while he simultaneously embraced these two religions. He rejected their claims related to the existence of God while embracing them as useful delusions. He liked the impact these religions had on his children, and for that he continues to be grateful.

     In 2010, John Steinrucken wrote an article at The American Thinker entitled “Secularism’s Ongoing Debt to Christianity“. Many Christians have commented on this article because Steinrucken, as a committed atheist, acknowledged the debt that secularists have to the Judeo-Christian culture in America.

     “Rational thought may provide better answers to many of life’s riddles than does faith alone. However, it is rational to conclude that religious faith has made possible the advancement of Western civilization. That is, the glue that has held Western civilization together over the centuries is the Judeo-Christian tradition. To the extent that the West loses its religious faith in favor of non-judgmental secularism, then to the same extent, it loses that which holds all else together.

     Succinctly put: Western civilization’s survival, including the survival of open secular thought, depends on the continuance within our society of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

     Steinrucken acknowledged what my father has always believed. As an atheist, my father embraces my Christian values wholeheartedly, even while he rejects the God from whom these values come. He served for nearly thirty years in the same occupation  in which I have served and now the same profession where his namesake, my son, proudly serves. All of us are cops. Yet my father still fails to see that his love of the law is ungrounded (and therefore unfounded) as an atheist. Steinrucken seems to understand the secular moral dilemma:

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

Wealth and Stewardship: Key Biblical Principles

By Michael W. Austin 2/2016

     Americans have a lot of stuff. Our houses are larger than ever and are full of more material goods than most people in past generations would have dreamed of owning. For many, the American Dream still revolves around better, bigger, and more things, including cars, houses, and expensive consumer goods. The average size of a single-family home in the United States has increased from a footprint of 1,650 square feet in 1978 to just below 2,500 square feet in recent years. Many Americans habitually upgrade their smartphones, computers, and home entertainment systems in pursuit of the latest and greatest technologies. We buy, use, upgrade, and dispose. At the other end of the spectrum, there are many who are espousing minimalism. For example, an entire industry and movement surrounding “tiny houses” (around 150 to 200 square feet) is gaining momentum.1 There are blogs, conferences, and books dedicated to this movement. Others are leaving suburbia and headed out on the open road with their families in pursuit of adventure and a richer family life.2

     Biblical Principles Regarding Wealth. What should followers of Jesus make of all of this? What should guide our choices concerning material goods and wealth? Some Christians believe that it is immoral to have an abundance of wealth and possessions, especially when so many people on the planet suffer from extreme poverty. Others believe that if they earn their money, it is their right to do with it as they see fit. In this area of life, it is tempting to try to construct one hard and fast rule for everyone. But rather than taking this sort of approach, we need to understand some key biblical principles of stewardship and apply them to our lives. We need wisdom informed by Scripture and the counsel of the Holy Spirit as we navigate the issues surrounding the relationship of followers of Christ to their stuff.

     What approach to money and things can we glean from the Bible? What are some key biblical principles and insights that can help us as we seek to be good stewards of our material blessings? As a foundational starting point, consider the following words from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

     Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matt. 6:19–21, 24 NIV)

     There is a sharp contrast here that cuts to the heart of a proper Christian perspective on money and material wealth. We are not to serve it. In fact, it is impossible to serve God and money. When we serve money, when we orient our lives around it and give it pride of place in our hearts, we are no longer serving God. This is sobering to those of us who live, move, and have our being in a consumer-oriented culture. But we are to be countercultural, ordering our lives around God and His kingdom. Wealth and material goods are resources that we should employ for these ends. If our hearts are captured by the allure of things, if we focus on consumption and the accumulation of wealth, then God is crowded out of our hearts, and we fail to live for Him and His kingdom. The first important principle, then, is to set our hearts on God, cultivating devotion to Him rather than money and material goods.

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     Michael W. Austin is professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University. His most recent book is Being Good: Christian Virtues for Everyday Life (Eerdmans, 2011).

Life Begins at Conception, Says Department of Health and Human Services

By Harvest Prude 10/13/2017

     The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released their 2018-2022 plan, which unequivocally states that life begins at conception and deserves protection. In the introduction it says,

     “HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.

     The draft mentions conception five times total. The overwhelmingly pro-life stance in the draft is welcome news to many.

     The debate over the personhood of unborn children has been a central issue of the abortion debate. Ever since Roe v. Wade in 1973, pro-life advocates have been trying to establish constitutionally protected rights for the unborn. In the ruling’s majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that Roe v. Wade would collapse if “the fetus is a person.”

     In support of the HHS’s draft, author and bioethics expert Wesley J. Smith wrote, “life ‘beginning at conception’ … is a fact of basic biological science.”

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     Harvest Prude is the intern for The Federalist. She is a senior at Patrick Henry College majoring in Journalism. She is from Kentucky, where she wrote for regional magazine Purchase Area Family Magazine. She has been the Editor for the Herald, PHC's student newspaper. She has also freelanced for WORLD Magazine and American Enterprise Institute's Values and Capitalism blog. Follow her on twitter at @HarvestPrude.

The Prosperity Gospel in Our Closet

By Jimmy Needham 10/21/2017

     Christianity is the religion of delight. But not any delight — delight in God himself. Listen to Psalm 84:

     A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10)

     On holidays as a child, I visited my cousin’s house up north. Year after year, I would wander into his bedroom to admire a poster he had on the wall. In the foreground was a row of supercars in private garages. Just beyond them, sitting on a hill overlooking the Pacific coastline was a Malibu mansion. The title of the poster read, “Justification for Higher Education.” I was enthralled.

     Not so in Psalm 84. That poster bores the psalmist. He’s tasted too much happiness in the presence of God to let the things of this world have any decisive pull on his heart. This is what it means when he writes, “A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” A Christian is someone who knows no higher joy than God. No surplus of trinkets, no company-keeping among the powerful or wealthy, can compete with the appeal God has. They’ve seen what the world has to offer and have found it wanting.

     Shiney stuff bores the saints.

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      is a singer/songwriter and serves on staff at Stonegate Church in Midlothian, Texas. He and his wife have two daughters and a son. Learn more at jimmyneedham.com.

Why We Can Rejoice in Suffering

By John Piper 10/23/1994

     Suffering as a Christian

     (1 Pe 4:12–19) 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

     19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.ESV

     Suffering and Christian Hedonism | It might seem strange to you that 1 Peter is one of my favorite biblical books — since it’s mostly about suffering and how to live in a hostile culture, while I am a card-carrying, full-blooded, unwavering Christian Hedonist. But it isn’t strange for people who have lived long enough to realize what Paul Brand, the missionary surgeon to India wrote in his book ISBN-13: 978-0310221449:

     I have come to see that pain and pleasure come to us not as opposites but as Siamese twins, strangely joined and intertwined. Nearly all my memories of acute happiness, in fact, involve some element of pain or struggle. (Christianity Today)

     I have never heard anyone say, “The deepest and rarest and most satisfying joys of my life have come in times of extended ease and earthly comfort.” Nobody says that. It isn’t true. What’s true is what Samuel Rutherford said when he was put in the cellars of affliction: “The Great King keeps his wine there” — not in the courtyard where the sun shines. What’s true is what Charles Spurgeon said: “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”

     Christian Hedonists will do anything to have the King’s wine and the rare pearls — even go to the cellars of suffering and dive in the sea of affliction. And so you can see that it is not strange that we love the epistle of 1 Peter — a handbook for Christian persecution and martyrdom.

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     John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

John Piper Books:

Moral Without Belief in God? Sure! But God Still Makes All the Difference

By Tom Gilson 10/20/2017

     A new report out of Pew Research Center says that more Americans than ever agree you don’t have to believe in God to “be moral or have good values.” Agreement is rising even among evangelicals, Black Protestants and Catholics. The rise in these numbers tracks closely with increasing numbers of “nones” — people who don’t affiliate with any religion.

     Not the Best Question | I’m surprised they asked the question that way. Every researcher knows not to ask “double-barreled questions” with two parts that a respondent might answer in two different ways. Vaguely worded terms are no help, either. Was the question about knowing what’s moral or about living that way? If it’s the latter, then how moral does a person need to be to qualify for a “yes” answer?

     This is ambiguous, so it’s hard to know what to make of the survey.

     Godless Morality is a Christian Belief | One way to answer is, of course a person can be moral without believing in God. That’s straight out of the Bible. In Romans 2:14-15, Paul writes, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts.”

     Even Atheists know it’s wrong to torture children for the fun of it.

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     Tom Gilson is a senior editor of The Stream, author of the new 2016 parent-friendly guide to keeping kids in the faith, titled Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens, the chief editor of True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism, and Peter Boghossian, Atheist Tactician: A Preliminary Response To "A Manual For Creating Atheists" the author/host of the Thinking Christian blog.

     He lives in southwest Ohio with Sara, his wife, and their two 20-something children. He has received a B.Mus. in Music Education with a specialty in performance from Michigan State University and an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Central Florida. When he’s not writing he loves drinking coffee, canoeing, walking in the woods, and playing his trombones.

All for the Gospel

By R.C. Sproul 10/21/2017

     Martin Luther’s chief pastoral concern was that his people would know Christ and His gospel. To this end, Luther carried on a profoundly deep practice of intercessory prayer. He said:

     Open your eyes and look into your life and the life of all Christians, particularly the spiritual estate, and you will find that faith, hope, love … are languishing…. Then you will see that there is need to pray throughout the world, every hour, without ceasing, with tears of blood.

     Luther’s pastoral heart is seen not only in his prayers but most notably in his preaching. He was a doctor of the church, a professor, and an academic. In his role as a professor, his primary task was to teach. There is a clear difference between teaching and preaching. The teacher instructs; he imparts information to his students. But a theologian/preacher can never sever the two roles of teacher and preacher. The great teacher/preachers of history never taught as mere isolated spectators of the past. They combined exhortation with instruction—inspiration with education. In a word, at times their teaching turned to preaching. In like manner, the scholar/pastor mixes teaching with his preaching.

     Luther mirrored this method in his preaching. He was concerned to inform his congregation as well as to exhort it. He insisted that his messages should be clear and simple enough that the unlearned could understand them. He said:

     Infinite and unutterable is the majesty of the Word of God…. These words of God are not words of Plato or Aristotle, but God himself is speaking. And those preachers are the most suitable who very simply and plainly, without any airs or subtlety, teach the common people and youth, just as Christ taught the people with homespun parables.

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Amazon says, "Dr. R.C. Sproul is founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education and discipleship organization located near Orlando, Fla. He is also copastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. He can be heard on the radio program Renewing Your Mind, which is broadcast on hundreds of radio outlets in the United States and around the world. Dr. Sproul has contributed dozens of articles to national evangelical publications, has spoken at conferences, churches, and schools around the world, and has written more than one hundred books, including The Holiness of God, Faith Alone, and Everyone’s a Theologian. He also serves as general editor of the Reformation Study Bible."

R.C. Sproul Books:

  • Bad Example Lk 16:1–13
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UCB The Word For Today
     Learning to lead (2)
     (Oct 22)    Bob Gass

     ‘I have great confidence in you.’

(2 Co 7:4) 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. ESV

     When people feel ‘used’ they begin to drop out, but when they feel appreciated they’ll follow you anywhere. Paul, one of the finest leaders of all time, told the Corinthian believers, ‘I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged…my joy knows no bounds’ (vv. 3-4 NIV 1984 Edition). He was their biggest cheerleader. He didn’t just correct, he comforted. He didn’t just sharpen, he strengthened - all hallmarks of great leadership. Good leaders: 1) Are consistent. They set an example by walking the walk so everyone knows that what’s heard at the bottom is practised at the top. 2) Voice their appreciation, realising that people need to know they’re an important part of the team and the vision. 3) Always listen to suggestions, opinions, concerns, and ideas. They don’t prejudge, and they’re not dismissive. Author Betty Bender said: ‘It’s a mistake to surround yourself only with people just like you. Throw off that warm comforter and replace it with a crazy quilt of different and imaginative people. Then watch the ideas erupt!’ 4) Don’t see people as statistics. Businesswoman Mary Kay Ash said, ‘P & L doesn’t mean “profit and loss” - it means “people and love.”’ 5) Explain why they like things done a specific way. It lessens mistakes, and the resentment that can stem from feeling ‘ordered around’. Statesman Clarence Francis said, ‘You can buy a man’s time and physical presence at a certain place… But you can’t buy enthusiasm, initiative, loyalty, and the devotion of hearts, minds, and souls. You have to earn these things.’

Luke 20:1-26
Ps 107-109

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     October 22, 1836, General Sam Houston is sworn in as the first President of the Republic of Texas. The Texas Declaration of Independence stated: “When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and… becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression…. it is a… sacred obligation to their posterity to abolish such government, and create another in its stead… Conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme Arbiter of the destinies of nations.”

American Minute

The Soul of Prayer
     by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)

I.     We are living, let us say, in a careless way; and God proposes a certain treatment of us according to our carelessness. But in the exercise of our spiritual freedom we are by some means brought to pray. We cease to be careless. We pray God to visit us as those who hear. Then He does another thing. He acts differently, with a change caused by our freedom and our change. The treatment for deafness is altered. God adopts another treatment—perhaps for weakness. We have by prayer changed His action, and, so far, His will (at any rate His intention) concerning us. As we pray, the discipline for the prayerless is altered to that for the prayerful. We attain the thing God did not mean to give us unless He had been affected by our prayer. We change the conduct, if not the will, of God to us, the Verhalten if not the Verhaltniss.

     Again, we pray and pray, and no answer comes. The boon does not arrive. Why? Perhaps we are not spiritually ready for it. It would not be a real blessing. But the persistence, the importunity of faith, is having a great effect on our spiritual nature. It ripens. A time comes when we are ready for answer. We then present ourselves to God in a spiritual condition which reasonably causes His to yield. The new spiritual state is not the answer to our prayer, but it is its effect; and it is the condition which makes the answer possible. It makes the prayer effectual. The gift can be a blessing now. So God resists us no more. Importunity prevails, not as mere importunity (for God is not bored into answer), but as the importunity of God’s own elect, i.e. as obedience, as a force of the Kingdom, as increased spiritual power, as real moral action, bringing corresponding strength and fitness to receive. I have often found that what I sought most I did not get at the right time, not till it was too late, not till I had learned to do without it, till I had renounced it in principle (though not in desire). Perhaps it had lost some of its zest by the time it came, but it meant more as a gift and a trust. That was God’s right time—when I could have it as though I had it not. If it came, it came not to gratify me, but to glorify Him and be a means of serving Him.

     One recalls here that most pregnant saying of Schopenhauer: “All is illusion—the hope or the thing hoped.” If it is not true for all it is true for very many. Either the hope is never fulfilled or else its fulfilment disappoints. God gives the hoped for thing, but sends leanness into the soul. The mother prays to have a son—and he breaks her heart, and were better dead. Hope may lie to us, or the thing hoped may dash us. But though He slay me I will trust. God does not fail. Amid the wreck of my little world He is firm, and I in Him. I justify God in the ruins; in His good time I shall arrive. More even than my hopes may go wrong. I may go wrong. But my Redeemer liveth; and, great though God is as my Fulfiller, He is greater as my Redeemer. He is great as my hope, but He is greater as my power. What is the failure of my hope from Him compared with the failure of His hope in me? If He continue to believe in me I may well believe in Him.

--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

If you give because it pays,
it won’t pay!
--- R.G. LeTourneau, industrialist

God comes to us disguised as our life…
--- Paul D’Arcy     ISBN-13: 978-0824519957

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man's right to his body, or woman's right to her soul.
--- Emma Goldman

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 7.

     What Afterward Befell The Seditious When They Had Done A Great Deal Of Mischief, And Suffered Many Misfortunes; As Also How Caesar Became Master Of The Upper City.

     1. And now the seditious rushed into the royal palace, into which many had put their effects, because it was so strong, and drove the Romans away from it. They also slew all the people that had crowded into it, who were in number about eight thousand four hundred, and plundered them of what they had. They also took two of the Romans alive; the one was a horseman, and the other a footman. They then cut the throat of the footman, and immediately had him drawn through the whole city, as revenging themselves upon the whole body of the Romans by this one instance. But the horseman said he had somewhat to suggest to them in order to their preservation; whereupon he was brought before Simon; but he having nothing to say when he was there, he was delivered to Ardalas, one of his commanders, to be punished, who bound his hands behind him, and put a riband over his eyes, and then brought him out over against the Romans, as intending to cut off his head. But the man prevented that execution, and ran away to the Romans, and this while the Jewish executioner was drawing out his sword. Now when he was gotten away from the enemy, Titus could not think of putting him to death; but because he deemed him unworthy of being a Roman soldier any longer, on account that he had been taken alive by the enemy, he took away his arms, and ejected him out of the legion whereto he had belonged; which, to one that had a sense of shame, was a penalty severer than death itself.

     2. On the next day the Romans drove the robbers out of the lower city, and set all on fire as far as Siloam. These soldiers were indeed glad to see the city destroyed. But they missed the plunder, because the seditious had carried off all their effects, and were retired into the upper city; for they did not yet at all repent of the mischiefs they had done, but were insolent, as if they had done well; for, as they saw the city on fire, they appeared cheerful, and put on joyful countenances, in expectation, as they said, of death to end their miseries. Accordingly, as the people were now slain, the holy house was burnt down, and the city was on fire, there was nothing further left for the enemy to do. Yet did not Josephus grow weary, even in this utmost extremity, to beg of them to spare what was left of the city; he spake largely to them about their barbarity and impiety, and gave them his advice in order to their escape; though he gained nothing thereby more than to be laughed at by them; and as they could not think of surrendering themselves up, because of the oath they had taken, nor were strong enough to fight with the Romans any longer upon the square, as being surrounded on all sides, and a kind of prisoners already, yet were they so accustomed to kill people, that they could not restrain their right hands from acting accordingly. So they dispersed themselves before the city, and laid themselves in ambush among its ruins, to catch those that attempted to desert to the Romans; accordingly many such deserters were caught by them, and were all slain; for these were too weak, by reason of their want of food, to fly away from them; so their dead bodies were thrown to the dogs. Now every other sort of death was thought more tolerable than the famine, insomuch that, though the Jews despaired now of mercy, yet would they fly to the Romans, and would themselves, even of their own accord, fall among the murderous rebels also. Nor was there any place in the city that had no dead bodies in it, but what was entirely covered with those that were killed either by the famine or the rebellion; and all was full of the dead bodies of such as had perished, either by that sedition or by that famine.

     3. So now the last hope which supported the tyrants, and that crew of robbers who were with them, was in the caves and caverns under ground; whither, if they could once fly, they did not expect to be searched for; but endeavored, that after the whole city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a dream of theirs; for they were not able to lie hid either from God or from the Romans. However, they depended on these under-ground subterfuges, and set more places on fire than did the Romans themselves; and those that fled out of their houses thus set on fire into the ditches, they killed without mercy, and pillaged them also; and if they discovered food belonging to any one, they seized upon it and swallowed it down, together with their blood also; nay, they were now come to fight one with another about their plunder; and I cannot but think that, had not their destruction prevented it, their barbarity would have made them taste of even the dead bodies themselves.

     The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

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

Proverbs 27:12-13
     by D.H. Stern

12     The clever see trouble coming and hide;
the thoughtless go on and pay the penalty.

13     Seize his clothes
because he guaranteed a stranger’s loan;
take them as security for that unknown woman.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                The witness of the Spirit

     The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit …
Romans 8:16. (R.V.).

     We are in danger of getting the barter spirit when we come to God, we want the witness before we have done what God tells us to do. ‘Why does not God reveal Himself to me?’ He cannot; it is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t abandon absolutely to Him. Immediately you do, God witnesses to Himself; He cannot witness to you, but He witnesses instantly to His own nature in you. If you had the witness before the reality, it would end in sentimental emotion. Immediately you transact on the Redemption and stop the impertinence of debate, God gives you the witness. As soon as you abandon reasoning and argument, God witnesses to what He has done, and you are amazed at your impertinence in having kept Him waiting. If you are in debate as to whether God can deliver from sin, either let Him do it, or tell Him He cannot. Do not quote this and that person, try
Matthew 11:28“Come unto Me.” Come, if you are weary and heavy laden; ask if you know you are evil (Luke 11:13).

     The simplicity that comes from our natural commonsense decisions is apt to be mistaken for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature and to the work of Redemption, never to our reason. If we try to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder we are in darkness and perplexity. Fling it all overboard, trust in God, and He will give the witness.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

In Context
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                In Context

All my life I tried to believe
  in the importance of what Thomas
  should say now, do next.
               There was a context
  in which I lived; unseen forces
  acted upon me, or made their adjustments
  in turn. There was a larger pattern
  we worked at: they on a big
  loom, I with a small needle,
               drawing the thread
  through my mind, coloring it
  with my own thought.
               Yet a power guided
  my hand. If an invisible company
  waited to see what I would do,
  I in my own way asked for
  direction, so we should journey together
  a little nearer the accomplishment
  of the design.
          Impossible dreamer !
  All those years the demolition
               of the identity proceeded.
  Fast as the cells constituted
  themselves, they were replaced. It was not
  I who lived, but life rather
  that lived me. There was no developing
  structure. There were only the changes
  in the metabolism of a body
  greater than mine, and the dismantling
  by the self of a self it
          could not reassemble.


     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     This description of how the halakhic Jew relates all of his activities to God is not a description of action grounded in legislative authority. The statement “Let all thy deeds be for the sake of God” is not a formula yielding precise legal norms of behavior. Its comprehensiveness reflects the aspiration of one who desires to sanctify every aspect of human conduct. Halakhic norms stemming from legislation are related to specific actions and specific times. “In all your ways acknowledge Him” embodies the aspirations of approaching God in any and every aspect of a person’s behavior. The statement “In all your ways acknowledge Him” reflects the aspiring movement from man to God, as opposed to the legislative movement from God to man. The attempt to endow all of human action with religious significance leads the individual to seek a perspective which would enable him to say “I have set the Lord before me continuously.”

     This single-minded pursuit indicates that specific legal commandments addressed to community do not fully describe the Halakhah. In enhancing sleep and physical exercise with religious significance, one is not merely following a stated commandment. The all-pervasive longing for God—not simply obeying specified norms embodying His will—is the source of this comprehensive understanding of Halakhah.

     In Maimonides’ Eight Chapters these two approaches to Halakhah are evident. In the fourth chapter, Maimonides discusses how the specific details of Halakhah develop a proper psychic balance for different virtues. He concludes his evaluation of the details of halakhic life with the following statement:

     If a man will always carefully discriminate as regards his actions, directing them to the medium course, he will reach the highest degree of perfection possible to a human being, thereby approaching God, and sharing in His happiness. This is the most acceptable way of serving God which the Sages, too, had in mind when they wrote the words, “He who ordereth his course aright is worthy of seeing the salvation of God.”

     After showing how the Halakhah, through its precepts, makes possible the realization of moderation, Maimonides, in the fifth chapter, discusses the single-minded quest for God. His evaluation of this approach is quite different from what he writes in chapter four:

     Know that to live according to this standard is to arrive at a very high degree of perfection which, in consequence of the difficulty of attainment, only a few, after long and continuous perseverance on the paths of virtue, have succeeded in reaching. If there be found a man who has accomplished this—that is one who exerts all the faculties of his soul, and directs them toward the sole ideal of comprehending God, using all his powers of mind and body, be they great or small, for the attainment of that which leads directly or indirectly to virtue—I would place him in a rank not lower than that of the Prophets. Such a man, before he does a single act or deed, considers and reflects whether or not it will bring him to that goal, and if it will, then, and then only, does he do it.

     There is a clear difference between Maimonides’ evaluation of halakhic prescriptions which develop moderation and his evaluation of the approach of one who follows a single-minded quest for God. He does not conclude his discussion of halakhic prescripts by claiming that “to live according to this standard is to arrive at a high degree of perfection which, in consequence of the difficulty of attainment, only a few, after long and continuous perseverance on the paths of virtue, have succeeded in reaching.” The perfection of which he wrote in chapter four can be realized by all of the community. Single-mindedness, however, reflects the approach to Halakhah of one who worships God not only in following defined commandments, but also in all activities he undertakes.

     Maimonides’ distinction between the specific norms of Halakhah and the more comprehensive Halakhah of “In all your ways acknowledge Him” is similar to his distinction between messianism and olam ha-ba. The specific norms of Halakhah aim at establishing a community which lives in accordance with virtue. Yet there is a further task to be realized: the single-minded quest for knowledge of God. Just as messianism aims at making olam ha-ba possible for members of the community, so do halakhic prescriptions create the conditions necessary for realizing the goal that all of human life could reflect divine service.

     Singular individuals understand that what God requires of man cannot be exhausted within a precise, delimited structure of norms. They are drawn to a God who inspires action not only on the basis of His authoritative will, but by His infinite perfection. They do not solely look to the practice of community to determine what is expected from them. Their personal quest for spiritual excellence is a source from which they derive guidance for their behavior:

     His restraining agency lies in his very self, I mean in his human framework. When the latter becomes perfected it is exactly that which keeps him away from those things which perfection withholds from him and which are termed vices; and it is that which spurs him on to what will bring about perfection in him, i.e., virtue.

     The difference between the unique individual and his community is not only reflected in his ability to develop a comprehensive understanding of Halakhah. Even within the circumscribed world of halakhic norms, one can discern both communal and individual orientation. The two halakhic categories reflecting this are 1) din—law which defines the line of legal requirement, and 2) lifnim mi-shurat ha-din—law which is beyond the line of legal requirement. The following examples from the Mishneh Torah indicate how the Halakhah distinguished between action obligatory for every member of the community (din) and action practiced by individuals who were not content simply to fulfill the requirements of the strict rules of law (lifnim mi-shurat ha-din):

     If one finds a sack or a basket, the rule is as follows: If he is a scholar or a respected elder who is not accustomed to taking such things in his hand, he need not concern himself with them. He must, however, examine his own conscience. If he would have taken these things back for himself had they belonged to him, he must also return them when they belong to another. But if he would not have overlooked his dignity even had they belonged to him, he need not return them when they belong to another … If one follows the good and upright path and does more than the strict letter of the law requires [lifnim mi-shurat ha-din], he will return lost property in all cases, even if it is not in keeping with his dignity.

     If the majority of the inhabitants are heathen, the rule is that if one finds lost property in a part of town which is chiefly frequented by Israelites, he must advertise it. But if he finds it in a public highway or a large square or in assembly halls or lecture halls frequented regularly by heathen or in any place frequented by the general public, whatever he finds belongs to him, even if an Israelite comes along and identifies it. For the owner will abandon hope of its recovery as soon as he loses the property, since he thinks that a heathen will find it. Yet even though it belongs to the finder, if he wishes to follow the good and the upright path and do more than the strict letter of the law requires [lifnim mi-shurat ha-din], he must return the lost property to an Israelite who identifies it.

     If, on the road, one encounters a person whose animal is crouching under the weight of its burden, he is enjoined to unload the burden from the animal whether the burden is suited to it or too heavy for it. This is a positive commandment, for Scripture says, “You must nevertheless raise it with him” (
Ex. 23:5). If the passerby is a Priest and the animal is crouching in a cemetery, he may not defile himself on its account, just as he may not defile himself in order to return lost property to its owner. Similarly, if one is an elder unaccustomed to loading or unloading, he is exempt, seeing that the act is not in keeping with his dignity. The general rule is as follows: In every case where if the animal were his own he would load or unload it, he must load or unload another’s. But if one is pious [a ḥasid] and does more than the letter of the law demands [lifnim mi-shurat ha-din], even if he is a prince of the highest rank, still if he sees another’s animal crouching under its burden of straw or sticks or the like, he should help unload and reload.

     It is clear that the tradition distinguished between practice stemming from a uniform law obligatory for each member of the community, and practice expressing the spiritual capacities of certain individuals within the community.

     From Maimonides’ characterization, the ḥasid differs from the am ha-areẓ in his approach to action as well as in his understanding of God. The former, in his practice, always goes beyond the strict requirement of law. The ḥasid understands God not only on the basis of the authority of Torah, but also from his study of physics and metaphysics. Since Maimonides claims that one cannot be a ḥasid without philosophical knowledge of God, one can infer that there is an important connection between always following the path of lifnim mi-shurat ha-din and theoretical knowledge of God. How then are we to understand the connection between the conceptions of God of the ḥasid and the am ha-areẓ and their respective approaches to Halakhah?

     When Maimonides describes how an individual Jew should treat a non-Jewish servant he writes:

     It is permitted to work a heathen slave with rigor. Though such is the rule, it is the quality of piety and the way of wisdom that a man be merciful and pursue justice and not make his yoke heavy upon the slave or distress him, but give him to eat and drink of all foods and drinks. The Sages of old were wont to let the slave partake of every dish that they themselves ate of and to give the meal of the cattle and of the slaves precedence over their own. Is it not said: “… as the eyes of servants to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress” (Ps. 123:2)? Thus also the master should not disgrace them by hand or by word, because Scriptural law has delivered them only to slavery and not to disgrace. Nor should he heap upon the slave oral abuse and anger, but should rather speak to him softly and listen to his claims. So it is also explained in the good paths of Job, in which he prided himself: “If I did despise the cause of my manservant, or of my maidservant, when they contended with me … Did not He that made me in … the womb make him? And did not One fashion us in the womb” (Job 31:13, 15)?

     Cruelty and effrontery are not frequent except with heathen who worship idols. The children of our father Abraham, however, i.e., the Israelites, upon whom the Holy One, blessed be He, bestowed the favor of the Law and laid upon them statutes and judgments, are merciful people who have mercy upon all. Thus also it is declared by the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, which we are enjoined to imitate: “And His tender mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9). Furthermore, whoever has compassion will receive compassion, as it is said: “And [He will] show you compassion; and in His compassion increase you” (Deut. 13:18).

Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     October 22

     Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. --- Psalm 139:23–24.

     I will mention some [more] ways in which God answers these petitions.  Charles G. Finney: Sermons From The Penny Pulpit

     He will lay open our temper to us and enable us to see whether we are impatient or otherwise, and he will show us whether we are ambitious—whether we desire to climb and scramble up some height from which we can look down with scorn or contempt on others.

     God often gives us opportunities to show off, and, on the other hand, he often denies us such opportunities, to see if we will murmur and be envious of those who have them. Many people will be found often speaking against ostentation—when they do not have the means to indulge in it. They will be very loud in their censures on others who ride in their coaches and furnish their houses in a superior style. But give these sermonizers the means of doing the same, and see what they will do—see if they will not imitate and, perhaps, act more extravagantly than those whom they before condemned.

     Sometimes God will deny you many things, to see if you will be satisfied with his provision. Do you bear poverty well, or are you envious at the rich? Are you, in your poverty, what Christ would have been in your circumstances? Thus riches and poverty, sickness and health, and a thousand other things are sent to try us and prove to us, and to those around us, what our real state is.

     God often tests us to show if we are self-willed—to show if our wills are ready to submit to his will or whether we will make ourselves unhappy and wretched because God wills so concerning us. How often is it the case that people do not know they are self-willed; so long as the providence of God seems to favor them they are very pious and can talk about submission with the greatest apparent sincerity. But let God just drive across their path, lay his hand on them, blow their schemes to the winds of heaven, and see whether they will talk of submission then; see whether they are self-willed or whether they will instantly submit. How have [such things] affected you? What was the state of mind that you discovered in yourselves? God was searching you, applying the tests that would, without fail, show what was the working in your minds.
--- Charles G. Finney

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

On This Day   October 22

     The churches of northeastern America grew rapidly in the early 1800s, fueled by one revival after another. The new Christians had little theological education, yet many of them began to discuss details of biblical prophecy with great vigor. Speculation boiled over as to the exact day and year when Christ would return, and among the speculators was William Miller of New York.

     Miller, when newly converted, had torn into the prophecies of Daniel, concluding in 1818 that Christ would return in 1843 or 1844. When he later began preaching, this became a keynote of his messages, and his listeners, finding him earnest, eloquent, and sincere, multiplied. He finally announced that Christ would return to earth on October 22, 1844.

     The financial panic of 1839 contributed to the belief that the end of the world was approaching. Enthusiasm for Christ’s return became so great that prophetic charts were added alongside stock-market listings and current events in the newspapers. Miller’s teachings swept through New England, and large numbers espoused Millerism.

     As the Morning of October 22, 1844 dawned, a sense of fear and foreboding fell over New England. People gathered on mountaintops and in churches. Normal activities ceased as everyone awaited the sudden rending of the skies and the end of the world. When the day passed uneventfully, many Christians grew disillusioned. The unsaved became cynical. The following years saw a decline in conversions, and the period of revivals came to an abrupt end. The event became known as “The Great Disappointment.”

     Some of Miller’s followers, however, pressed on, and their efforts evolved into the Seventh Day Adventist movement.

     No one knows the day or hour. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man appears, things will be just as they were when Noah lived. People were eating, drinking, and getting married right up to the day that the flood came and Noah went into the big boat. They didn’t know anything was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man appears.
Matthew 24:36-39.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 22

     “I will love them freely.” --- Hosea 14:4.

     This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.” Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, “I will love you freely.” We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” “I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish.” “I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when he said, “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! “I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such—“I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father’s face.

          Evening - October 22

     “He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” --- John 16:15.

     There are times when all the promises and doctrines of the Bible are of no avail, unless a gracious hand shall apply them to us. We are thirsty, but too faint to crawl to the water- brook. When a soldier is wounded in battle it is of little use for him to know that there are those at the hospital who can bind up his wounds, and medicines there to ease all the pains which he now suffers: what he needs is to be carried thither, and to have the remedies applied. It is thus with our souls, and to meet this need there is one, even the Spirit of truth, who takes of the things of Jesus, and applies them to us. Think not that Christ hath placed his joys on heavenly shelves that we may climb up to them for ourselves, but he draws near, and sheds his peace abroad in our hearts. O Christian, if thou art to-night labouring under deep distresses, thy Father does not give thee promises and then leave thee to draw them up from the Word like buckets from a well, but the promises he has written in the Word he will write anew on your heart. He will manifest his love to you, and by his blessed Spirit, dispel your cares and troubles. Be it known unto thee, O mourner, that it is God’s prerogative to wipe every tear from the eye of his people. The good Samaritan did not say, “Here is the wine, and here is the oil for you”; he actually poured in the oil and the wine. So Jesus not only gives you the sweet wine of the promise, but holds the golden chalice to your lips, and pours the life-blood into your mouth. The poor, sick, way-worn pilgrim is not merely strengthened to walk, but he is borne on eagles’ wings. Glorious Gospel! which provides everything for the helpless, which draws nigh to us when we cannot reach after it—brings us grace before we seek for grace! Here is as much glory in the giving as in the gift. Happy people who have the Holy Ghost to bring Jesus to them.

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

Amazing Grace
     October 22


     Charles Wesley, 1707–1788

     Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10, 11)

     Followers of Christ are also His soldiers—called to do battle with the forces of Satan and evil. Victories are never won while resting in the barracks. God’s soldiers must always be alert and dressed in full armor. That armor includes six important pieces: (Ephesians 6:10–20)

•     The belt of truth (warriors with absolute integrity).
•     The breastplate of righteousness (people must see our good works).
•     Sandals of peace (though soldiers, we are called to be peacemakers).
•     Shield of faith (for extinguishing all of Satan’s doubts and fears).
•     Helmet of salvation (one of Satan’s chief attacks is the mind).
•     Sword of the Spirit—the Word of God (our only offensive weapon).

     In addition to wearing armor, the Christian soldier is to face every occasion with prayer and to remember the fellow saints in prayer (v. 18). Ultimately, however, the battle is not ours but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). He knows the battle plan. Our responsibility is only to be active and obedient in the small duty wherever He has placed us on the battlefield.

     Charles Wesley knew much about the Christian life as warfare. Many times both John and Charles were physically abused for their evangelical ministries. This text was first published in 1749 and was titled “The Whole Armor of God—Ephesians VI.” The hymn has often been referred to as “the Christian’s bugle blast” for its strong call to arms.

     Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armor on, strong in the strength which God supplies thru His eternal Son; strong in the Lord of hosts and in His mighty pow’r: Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.
     Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued, and take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God; that having all things done, and all your conflicts past, ye may o’ercome thru Christ alone and stand entire at last.
     Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul; take ev’ry virtue, ev’ry grace, and fortify the whole. From strength to strength go on; Wrestle and fight and pray; tread all the pow’rs of darkness down and win the well-fought day.

     For Today: 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58; Ephesians 6:10–20; Philippians 1:27–30; 1 Timothy 6:12

     Reflect on the words of Maltbie D. Babcock— “We are not here to play, to dream, to drift; we have hard work to do, and loads to lift. Shun not the struggle; face it—’tis God’s gift.” Go forth in your full armor and in the power of His might. Carry this musical encouragement with you ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Sunday, October 22, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 24, Sunday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 148, 149, 150
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 114, 115
Old Testament     Jeremiah 29:1, 4–14
New Testament     Acts 16:6–15
Gospel     Luke 10:1–12, 17–20

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 148, 149, 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!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
2 Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
5 Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
9 to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
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!

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 114, 115

1 When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.

1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”

3 Our God is in the heavens;
he does whatever he pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5 They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6 They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7 They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
they make no sound in their throats.
8 Those who make them are like them;
so are all who trust in them.

9 O Israel, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.
11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.

12 The LORD has been mindful of us; he will bless us;
he will bless the house of Israel;
he will bless the house of Aaron;
13 he will bless those who fear the LORD,
both small and great.

14 May the LORD give you increase,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

16 The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to human beings.
17 The dead do not praise the LORD,
nor do any that go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the LORD
from this time on and forevermore.
Praise the LORD!

Old Testament
Jeremiah 29:1, 4–14

29 These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the LORD.

10 For thus says the LORD: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

New Testament
Acts 16:6–15

6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 8 so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13 On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Luke 10:1–12, 17–20

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.

17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

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

Book Of Common Prayer
     On The Same Date | Vigil | Holy Day

Eve Of St. James Of Jerusalem
Evening Prayer—Eves Of Apostles And Evangelists
On the same date: Proper 24, Saturday

Psalms     Psalm 48, 122 or Psalm 84, 150
Old Testament     Isaiah 43:10–15 or Isaiah 52:7–10
New Testament     Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14 or Matthew 9:35–10:4

Index of Readings

Option A
Psalm 48, 122

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites.

1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
3 Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.

4 Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
7 as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God establishes forever.     Selah

9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10 Your name, O God, like your praise,
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
13 consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

Option B
Psalm 84, 150

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.

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!

Old Testament
Option A
Isaiah 43:10–15

10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses, says the LORD.
13 I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
I work and who can hinder it?

14 Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I will send to Babylon
and break down all the bars,
and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation.
15 I am the LORD, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.

Option B
Isaiah 52:7–10

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

New Testament
Option A
Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14

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.”

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Option B
Matthew 9:35–10:4

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

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

I Am the Door John 10:1–10
John MacArthur

God’s Purpose for Miracles Acts 3:1–11
John MacArthur

I Am the Good Shepherd John 10:11–21
John MacArthur

Confronting the Murderers of Christ 1 Acts 3:12–18
John MacArthur

I and the Father Are One 1 John 10:22–24
John MacArthur

I and the Father Are One 2 John 10:25–42
John MacArthur

Confronting the Murderers of Christ 2 Acts 3:12–26
John MacArthur

I and the Father Are One 3 John 10:22-42
John MacArthur

A Death for the Glory of God John 11:1–16
John MacArthur

Persecuted for Truth’s Sake 1 Acts 4:1–12
John MacArthur

I Am the Resurrection and the Life 1 John 11:17–36
John MacArthur

Persecuted for Truth’s Sake 2 Acts 4:13–31
John MacArthur

I Am the Resurrection and the Life 3 John 11:45–57
John MacArthur

When Sin Entered the Church 2 Acts 5:1–14
John MacArthur

The Purpose for Parables
John MacArthur

The Parable of the Murdered Son Mark 12:1–12
John MacArthur

The Most Misunderstood Parable Luke 10:30–37
John MacArthur