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2 Thessalonians 1-3
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2 Thessalonians 1:1     Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

     To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

     2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


     3 We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing
abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast of you
among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you
are enduring.

The Judgment at Christ’s Coming

     5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. 6 For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

In 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul explains, or extends, the meaning of “punished with everlasting [eternal, aionios] destruction” by adding “and shut out from the presence of the Lord”—which, by affirming exclusion, rules out the idea that “destruction” meant extinction. Only those who exist can be excluded. It’s often been pointed out that in Greek the natural meaning of the destruction vocabulary (noun, olethros; verb, apollumi) is “wrecking,” so that what’s destroyed is henceforth nonfunctional rather than annihilated altogether. --- Gavin Ortlund

10 when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Man of Lawlessness

2 Thessalonians 2:1     As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.

     9 The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.

Chosen for Salvation

     13 But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

     16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Request for Prayer

2 Thessalonians 3:1     Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, 2 and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Warning against Idleness

     6 Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9 This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13 Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

     14 Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

Final Greetings and Benediction

     16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.

     17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

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

What I'm Reading

Why Would God Have Permitted Any Form of Servitude or Slavery?

By J. Warner Wallace 8/6/2014

     Many skeptics claim the God of the Bible actually endorses slavery. They make this claim on the basis of specific terminology used in the Old and New Testament. We’ve already highlighted the difference, however, between the New Testament Servitude of the Ancient Near East and the New World Slavery of our American ancestors. But it’s fair to ask an even more foundational question: Why would God allow any form of servitude or slavery in the first place? This question is a subset of other skeptical queries attempting to reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of a loving, all powerful God. While there are many reasonable explanations and responses to the problem of evil, this particular objection related to slavery is grounded in a presupposition about God’s purpose here on earth.

     Did God design our planet to be an immutable place of perfection or did He design it to accommodate our own free will choices? What role does personal freedom have on our circumstances? One thing is clear: from a Christian perspective, we know that this world is not our home:

     1 Corinthians 7:29-31 | But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

     We also know we are simply travelers passing through this earthly home on our way to something that is perfect:

     Hebrews 11:13-16 | All these people (the faithful examples from the Old Testament) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one.

Click here to go to source

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

Ordinary Gifts for Extraordinary Trials

By John Knight 10/20/2017

     After my wife’s second surgery within a week, I was reminded again that even successful surgeries include pain, complications, and high levels of discomfort. I couldn’t do anything useful except be present for her. Eventually I couldn’t even do that as hospital visiting hours ended. My mind and notebook were filling up with details on medications and therapies. The Airbnb room was comfortable, but it wasn’t home. Sleep was both short and restless, and I was out of all my normal routines.

     All the elements — and excuses — came together for anxiety, bitterness, and fear to take control. Most dangerously, I didn’t appreciate how vulnerable I was, so I wasn’t actively orienting myself to my greatest source of strength in God and his word. My thoughts and feelings were quietly beginning their combined assault on my hope. My heart was already grumbling.

     The First Gift | I grabbed my phone as I walked to breakfast, intending to review my notes before going to the hospital.

     And then God helped.

     First, the devotional app on my phone caught my attention. I tapped on it. And this was the opening sentence:

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John Knight is Director of Donor Partnerships at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne, and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments, and a seizure disorder. John writes on disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.

At Least as Dangerous as Porn

By Jon Bloom 10/20/2017

     When you think of the kind of trials that test your faith (James 1:2), do you ever think of material prosperity as one of them? Most of us don’t. We tend to think of suffering, adversity, and loss that put us in places of significant need.

     And we try to avoid experiencing such needs if at all possible. If such experiences come, we really want, and therefore pray, for God to deliver us from the needy seasons as soon as possible. For surely a God who loves his children would not want them experiencing need, right? He’d want to bless us, right? Right. Unless need happens to hold greater, richer spiritual blessings than plenty. In that case, needy seasons would be greater gifts to God’s children than plenteous seasons.

     Think about the testimonies you’ve heard of people’s powerful encounters with God. Ask yourself how many of those stories of powerful, transformational, life-altering, love-producing, sanctifying encounters with God were the result of being lavished with worldly prosperity. If you’re like me, you come up empty. But if you know any, you can probably count them on one hand with fingers left over.

     On the other hand, how many of those stories involve people in some way being, as we say, brought to the end of themselves? Let that sink in for moment: we tend to encounter God more profoundly in our places of need than in our places of prosperity.

     At Least as Dangerous as Porn | In fact, if we take the Bible seriously, material prosperity should frighten us, in some sense, because the Bible says frightening things about it:

Click here to go to source

     Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.

Jon Bloom Books:

The Source of Righteousness

By John MacArthur 1993

     God’s Word is true and produces righteousness in the believer’s life.

     The inability of human wisdom to produce right living was reaffirmed in my thinking as I read a contemporary psychiatrist's book on how to overcome depression. The doctor's first suggestion was to shout "Cancel!" every time you have a negative thought. She also recommended playing a tape recording of positive messages while you sleep at night, and listening to positive music during the day.

     Cultivating a meaningful spiritual philosophy was another of her suggestions. She said any will do—as long as it works for you—but cautioned against those that speak of sin and guilt. Her final point was to find the spiritual light within yourself.

     That kind of advice is foolish because it has no basis in truth. The best it can do is mask a few symptoms. It cannot cure the illness.

     Jesus illustrated the hopelessness of searching for truth through such means when He said to a group of unbelievers, "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil . . . [who] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. . . . He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God" (John 8:43-47).

Click here to go to source

     John MacArthur is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley , California , author, conference speaker, president of The Master's College and Seminary, and featured teacher with Grace to You.

     From 1964 to 1966 Dr. MacArthur served as an associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Burbank , California and from 1966 to 1969 as a faculty representative for Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated with honors.

     In 1969, John came to Grace Community Church . The emphasis of his pulpit ministry is the careful study and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, with special attention devoted to the historical and grammatical background behind each passage.Under John's leadership, Grace Community Church's two morning worship services fill the 3,000-seat auditorium to capacity. Several thousand members also participate each week in dozens of fellowship groups and training programs, led by members of the pastoral staff and lay leaders. These groups are dedicated to equipping members for ministry on local, national, and international levels.

     In 1985, John became president of The Master's College (formerly Los Angeles Baptist College ), an accredited, four-year, liberal arts Christian college in Santa Clarita , California . In 1986, John founded The Master's Seminary, a graduate school dedicated to training men for full-time pastoral roles and missionary work. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, John regularly teaches Expository Preaching at the seminary and frequently speaks in chapel.

     John is also president and featured teacher with Grace to You. Founded in 1969, Grace to You is the nonprofit organization responsible for developing, producing, and distributing John's books, audiocassettes, free sermons (MP3s) and the Grace to You, Portraits of Grace, and Grace to You Weekend radio programs. Grace to You airs thousands of times daily throughout the English speaking world reaching all major population centers in the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Europe, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa. It also airs more than 450 times daily in Spanish reaching 23 countries, including Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia.

     Since completing his first best-selling book The Gospel According to Jesus, in 1988, John has written over 100 books and, through Grace to You and retail bookstores, distributed millions of copies worldwide.Many of John's books are available on CD-ROM and many titles have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and several other major languages.

     John and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children: Matt, Marcy, Mark, and Melinda.They also enjoy the enthusiastic company of their eleven grandchildren--Johnny, Ty, Jessy, KD, Olivia, Susannah, Gracie, Kylee, Andrew, Brooke and Elizabeth.

     "MacArthur calls himself a "leaky dispensationalist"--meaning he rejects any and all "dispensational" soteriological innovations, holding to classic Reformed (i.e., Protestant, not "covenantal") soteriology. MacArthur's "dispensationalism" is eschatological and ecclesiological only. And given the fact that soteriology is central to our whole understanding of Christianity, whereas eschatology and ecclesiology deal primarily with secondary doctrines, it would be my assessment that MacArthur has far less in common with Ryrie than he would have with anyone who believes 1) that God's grace is efficacious for regeneration and sanctification as well as for justification, and 2) that God graciously guarantees the perseverance of all true believers." - Phil Johnson
John MacArthur Books:

  • Mankind's Curse
  • The Dead Rev 14:12–13
  • Persecution Acts 8:1–8

  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Learning to lead (4)
     (Oct 24)    Bob Gass

     ‘If it is leadership, let him govern diligently.’

(Ro 12:8) 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. ESV

     How will you know you have the gift of ‘leadership’? Because you’ll know where God wants you to go, and be able to show others the value of going with you. There are many talented people who never become effective leaders. Why? Because they’re more interested in themselves than in those they lead. What’s interesting, however, is once they go through the school of hard knocks, they become sensitised to other people’s needs. But good leaders don’t wait for that to happen. They realise that ideas are a dime a dozen, but people who can implement them are priceless. Legendary American football coach Bear Bryant used to say, ‘I’m just a plough-hand from Arkansas, but I’ve learned to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat together. There are just three things I’d ever say: If something goes bad, I did it. If it goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it.’ When you have the gift of leadership, you’ll also be approachable. You won’t fly off the handle, you won’t let minor problems poison your outlook, and you’ll sandwich every slice of criticism between two layers of praise. Robert Louis Stevenson said, ‘Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.’ There are people who knock the heart out of you, and people who put it back in. Paul was such a leader: ‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God…for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News’ (Philippians 1:3,5 NLT). That’s the kind of leader you should aspire to be.

Jer 43-45
Titus 2

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The United Nations Day was established by charter on this day, October 24, 1945. One of the first Presidents of the U.N. General Assembly and chairman of the U.N. Security Council was Philippine General Carlos Romulo. He had served with General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, was Ambassador to the U.S. and won the Pulitzer Prize. General Carlos Romulo stated: “Never forget, Americans, that yours is a spiritual country. Yes, I know you’re a practical people. Like others, I’ve marveled at your factories, your skyscrapers, and your arsenals. But underlying everything else is the fact that America began as a God-loving, God-fearing, God-worshiping people.”

American Minute

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

II.     As to the second point. This wrestle is in a certain sense a resisting of God. You cannot have wrestling otherwise; but you may have Christian fatalism. It is not mere wrestling with ourselves, our ignorance, our self-will. That is not prayer, but self-torment. Prayer is wrestling with God. And it is better to fall thus into the hands of God than of man—even than our own. It is a resistance that God loves. It is quite foreign to the godless, self-willed defiant resistance. In love there is a kind of resistance that enhances it. The resistance of love is a quite different thing from the resistance of hostility. The yielding to one you love is very different from capitulating to an enemy:

     Two constant lovers, being joined in one,
     Yielding unto each other yield to none -

     i.e. to no foreign force, no force foreign to the love which makes them one.

     So when God yields to prayer in the name of Christ, to the prayer of faith and love, He yields to Himself who inspired it, as He sware by Himself since none was greater. Christian prayer is the Spirit praying in us. It is prayer in the solidarity of the Kingdom. It is a continuation of Christ’s prayer, which in Gethsemane was a wrestle, an sgwnia with the Father. But if so, it is God pleading with God, God dealing with God—as the true atonement must be. And when God yields it is not to an outside influence He yields, but to Himself.

     Let me make it still more plain. When we resist the will of God we may be resisting what God wills to be temporary and to be resisted, what He wills to be intermediary and transcended. We resist because God wills we should. We are not limiting God’s will, any more than our moral freedom limits it. That freedom is the image of His, and, in a sense, part of His. We should defraud Him and His freedom if we did not exercise ours. So the prayer which resists His dealing may be part of His will and its fulfilment.

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

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

If you will quit babysitting Christians,
God will give you a generation
that will shake the gates of hell.
--- Damon Thompson

The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep me in His will.
--- A.W. Tozer     ISBN-13: 978-1600660580

It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun.
--- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 9.

     What Injunctions Caesar Gave When He Was Come Within The City. The Number Of The Captives And Of Those That Perished In The Siege; As Also Concerning Those That Had Escaped Into The Subterranean Caverns, Among Whom Were The Tyrants Simon And John Themselves.

     1. Now when Titus was come into this [upper] city, he admired not only some other places of strength in it, but particularly those strong towers which the tyrants in their mad conduct had relinquished; for when he saw their solid altitude, and the largeness of their several stones, and the exactness of their joints, as also how great was their breadth, and how extensive their length, he expressed himself after the manner following: "We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men or any machines do towards overthrowing these towers?" At which time he had many such discourses to his friends; he also let such go free as had been bound by the tyrants, and were left in the prisons. To conclude, when he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its walls, he left these towers as a monument of his good fortune, which had proved his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him.

     2. And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still remaining alive, Caesar gave orders that they should kill none but those that were in arms, and opposed them, but should take the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to slay, they slew the aged and the infirm; but for those that were in their flourishing age, and who might be useful to them, they drove them together into the temple, and shut them up within the walls of the court of the women; over which Caesar set one of his freed-men, as also Fronto, one of his own friends; which last was to determine every one's fate, according to his merits. So this Fronto slew all those that had been seditious and robbers, who were impeached one by another; but of the young men he chose out the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude that were above seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines. 31 Titus also sent a great number into the provinces, as a present to them, that they might be destroyed upon their theatres, by the sword and by the wild beasts; but those that were under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves. Now during the days wherein Fronto was distinguishing these men, there perished, for want of food, eleven thousand; some of whom did not taste any food, through the hatred their guards bore to them; and others would not take in any when it was given them. The multitude also was so very great, that they were in want even of corn for their sustenance.

     3. Now the number 32 of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly. And that this city could contain so many people in it, is manifest by that number of them which was taken under Cestius, who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to contemn that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude. So these high priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so that a company not less than ten 33 belong to every sacrifice, [for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves,] and many of us are twenty in a company, found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred; which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to two millions seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons that were pure and holy; for as to those that have the leprosy, or the gonorrhea, or women that have their monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice; nor indeed for any foreigners neither, who come hither to worship.

     4. Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world; for, to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made a search for under ground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; but then the ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately, while others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon them; for a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns, and the hope of gain made every way of getting it to be esteemed lawful. Many also of those that had been put in prison by the tyrants were now brought out; for they did not leave off their barbarous cruelty at the very last: yet did God avenge himself upon them both, in a manner agreeable to justice. As for John, he wanted food, together with his brethren, in these caverns, and begged that the Romans would now give him their right hand for his security, which he had often proudly rejected before; but for Simon, he struggled hard with the distress he was in, still he was forced to surrender himself, as we shall relate hereafter; so he was reserved for the triumph, and to be then slain; as was John condemned to perpetual imprisonment. And now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its walls.

     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 27:15-16
     by D.H. Stern

15     A leak that keeps dripping on a rainy day
and the nagging of a wife are the same—
16     whoever can restrain her can restrain the wind
or keep perfume on his hand from making itself known.

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 Viewpoint

     Now thanks be to God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.2 Cor. 2:14. ---

     The viewpoint of a worker for God must not be as near the highest as he can get, it must be the highest. Be careful to maintain strenuously God’s point of view, it has to be done every day, bit by bit; don’t think on the finite. No outside power can touch the viewpoint.

     The viewpoint to maintain is that we are here for one purpose only, viz., to be captives in the train of Christ’s triumphs. We are not in God’s showroom, we are here to exhibit one thing—the absolute captivity of our lives to Jesus Christ. How small the other points of view are—‘I am standing alone battling for Jesus’; ‘I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold this fort for Him.’ Paul says—‘I am in the train of a conqueror, and it does not matter what the difficulties are, I am always led in triumph.’ Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him, a red-handed rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive, and now that is all he is here for. Paul’s joy was to be a captive of the Lord, he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. The Victor ought to have got us so completely that it is His victory all the time, and we are more than conquerors through Him. “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ.” We are enwheeled with the odour of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas


His intellect was the clear mirror
  he looked in and saw the machinery of God
  assemble itself? It was one that reflected
  the emptiness that was where God
  should have been. The mind's tools had
  no power convincingly to put him
  together. Looking in that mirror was a journey
  through hill mist where, the higher
  one ascends, the poorer the visibility
  becomes. It could have led to despair
  but for the consciousness of a presence
  behind him, whose breath clouding
  that looking-glass proved that it was alive.
  To learn to distrust the distrust
  of feeling--this then was the next step
  for the seeker? To suffer himself to be persuaded
  of intentions in being other than the crossing
  of a receding boundary which did not exist?
  To yield to an unfelt pressure that, irresistible
  in itself, had the character of everything
  but coercion? To believe, looking up
  into invisible eyes shielded against love's
  glare, in the ubiquity of a vast concern?


     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     The Talmud reflects the educational methods of teachers who are able to adjust their teachings to the differing levels of their students. The talmudic rabbis did not sacrifice either the limited or the superior student in their program for religious development. The rabbis managed to keep them together in the community. They did not claim that the minimum was the maximum, nor did they seek to focus exclusively on the unusual capacities of intellectually gifted individuals at the expense of the large, more limited, sectors of the community.

     The educational approach expressed in the Talmud is not found in the writings of the biblical prophets. Prophets proclaim and thunder the word of God regardless of their audience. The rabbis, on the other hand, do not feel compelled to speak—whether or not their words will be understood. They are patient and tolerant of the limited capacities of the community. Their task is to educate a community, not simply to set down noble ideals to which the community ought to aspire. They understand their task as implementers of the spiritual ideals of the prophets within the daily life of the community. As patient educators, they establish and develop a realistic way by which a community can relate to God. In their teachings, they do not mirror the uncompromising movement from God to man as does the discourse of the prophets. Rather they recognize the quite slow, painstaking efforts of humans who aspire to reach out toward God. They reflect how difficult a task it is to build a spiritual community in accordance with the specifications of the divine architect.

     The talmudic teachers, as distinct from the prophets, show us the importance of compromises and stages of development in man’s religious growth. The notion of obligation that emerges from the model of legislative authority reflects only the beginning of the Jew’s approach to Halakhah. The ḥasid’s approach to Halakhah is what the tradition hopes the community itself will ultimately realize. The rabbis were willing, therefore, to utilize multiple theological models in order to inspire observance of the Halakhah.

     Maimonides understood Jerusalem from the perspective of the Talmud. He knew that in appropriating philosophy he was expressing a definite spirit within the tradition and was not simply grafting on to it alien Greek tendencies. A suffering community waits for God’s response in history. Maimonides, therefore, ends the Mishneh Torah, which is addressed to community, with the theme of messianism. However Maimonides knew that the Talmud, even under conditions of exile, described the halakhic approach of the ḥasid. He believed, therefore, that one can achieve disinterested love of God even under non-messianic conditions of history. Economic and political conditions of community do not necessarily define the spiritual capacities of individuals. Maimonides writes The Guide of the Perplexed for those who, in a non-messianic world, can approach Halakhah with the perspective of the ḥasid.

Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     October 24

     None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. --- 1 Corinthians 2:8

     Whatever else is to be made of it, everyone feels that the cross stands out as a hideous tragedy, a dreadful fact black as a splash of ink on our human records.   ISBN-13: 978-1447442752   They “have crucified the Lord of glory”! gasps Paul in horror. And as often as it comes in sight of Calvary, the human heart echoes that shuddering cry, stands rooted to the spot, staring incredulously at what can’t be true, yet there it really is!

     How did it happen, this appalling thing? What sudden orgy of insanity overwhelmed for one mad day the kindly human nature that we know so well and swept it headlong into this? For we feel hotly that it must have been something monstrous, inexplicable, blown in from the darkness round us that was guilty of that horror. Yet the last haunting terror of it is that it was brought about by ordinary mortals like us, kind and likable in many ways, no doubt. Their children ran with happy shouts to father that day he came home from Calvary, well satisfied, as he kept telling his wife as he played with his little one, with the day’s admirable work—it was not something unthinkable and gross and obviously devilish that was responsible for our Lord’s cross, but it was set up by the quite ordinary, decent, and respectable little sins of decent and respectable people, by the kind of thing into which we are all apt to drift every other day. Let us remember that with a great shivering awe, lest in our lives, too, there rings out that sound of hammering as the nails run home.

     “The past throws light on the future,” says Guicciardini, “because the world was ever on the same make, and all that is or will be in another day has already been, and the same things return, only with different names and colors. It is not everyone who knows them under the new face, but the wise know them.” And age by age the Lord Christ is crucified. And we too have crowded eagerly to Calvary and nailed him to his cross and laughed up into his face and watched him die and gone our way well pleased and much relieved that we have hustled him out of the way—yes, even we.
--- Arthur John Gossip

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

On This Day   October 24
     Living Water

     John Paton’s life was molded by his childhood in a little cottage in Kirkmahoe, Scotland. The cottage had ribs of oak, stone walls, a thatched roof, and three rooms filled with 11 children. The front room served as bedroom, kitchen, and parlor. The rear room was his father’s stocking-making shop. The middle room was a closet where John’s father retired each day for prayer and Bible study. The sound of his father’s prayers through the wall made a powerful impression on young John.

     Years later, when Scotland’s Reformed Church issued a plea for missionaries for the South Pacific, John went to his parents for advice. They told him something they had never before disclosed—he had been dedicated to foreign missions before birth.

     John sailed from Scotland April 16, 1858, landing on the islands in November. He found himself among cannibals and endangered again and again. “They encircled us in a deadly ring,” he wrote of one incident, “and one kept urging another to strike the first blow. My heart rose up to the Lord Jesus; I saw him watching all the scene. My peace came back to me like a wave from God. I realized that my life was immortal till my Master’s work with me was done.”

     The turning point came when Paton decided to dig a well to provide fresh water for the people The islanders, terrified at bringing “rain from below,” watched with deepest foreboding. Paton dug deeper and deeper until finally, at 30 feet, he tapped into a stream of water. Opposition to his mission work ceased, and the wide-eyed islanders gave him their full respect. Chief Mamokei accepted Christ as Savior, then a few others made the daring step. On October 24, 1869, nearly 11 years after his arrival, Paton led his first communion service. Twelve converted cannibals partook of the Lord’s Supper. “As I put the bread and wine into those hands once stained with the blood of cannibalism, now stretched out to receive and partake the emblems of the Redeemer’s love,” he wrote, “I had a foretaste of the joy of Glory that well nigh broke my heart to pieces.”

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 24

     “The trees of the Lord are full of sap.” --- Psalm 104:16.

     Without sap the tree cannot flourish or even exist. Vitality is essential to a Christian. There must be life —a vital principle infused into us by God the Holy Ghost, or we cannot be trees of the Lord. The mere name of being a Christian is but a dead thing, we must be filled with the spirit of divine life. This life is mysterious. We do not understand the circulation of the sap, by what force it rises, and by what power it descends again. So the life within us is a sacred mystery. Regeneration is wrought by the Holy Ghost entering into man and becoming man’s life; and this divine life in a believer afterwards feeds upon the flesh and blood of Christ and is thus sustained by divine food, but whence it cometh and whither it goeth who shall explain to us? What a secret thing the sap is! The roots go searching through the soil with their little spongioles, but we cannot see them suck out the various gases, or transmute the mineral into the vegetable; this work is done down in the dark. Our root is Christ Jesus, and our life is hid in him; this is the secret of the Lord. The radix of the Christian life is as secret as the life itself. How permanently active is the sap in the cedar! In the Christian the divine life is always full of energy—not always in fruit- bearing, but in inward operations. The believer’s graces, are not every one of them in constant motion? but his life never ceases to palpitate within. He is not always working for God, but his heart is always living upon him. As the sap manifests itself in producing the foliage and fruit of the tree, so with a truly healthy Christian, his grace is externally manifested in his walk and conversation. If you talk with him, he cannot help speaking about Jesus. If you notice his actions you will see that he has been with Jesus. He has so much sap within, that it must fill his conduct and conversation with life.

          Evening - October 24

     “He began to wash the disciples’ feet.” --- John 13:5.

     The Lord Jesus loves his people so much, that every day he is still doing for them much that is analogous to washing their soiled feet. Their poorest actions he accepts; their deepest sorrow he feels; their slenderest wish he hears, and their every transgression he forgives. He is still their servant as well as their Friend and Master. He not only performs majestic deeds for them, as wearing the mitre on his brow, and the precious jewels glittering on his breastplate, and standing up to plead for them, but humbly, patiently, he yet goes about among his people with the basin and the towel. He does this when he puts away from us day by day our constant infirmities and sins. Last night, when you bowed the knee, you mournfully confessed that much of your conduct was not worthy of your profession; and even tonight, you must mourn afresh that you have fallen again into the selfsame folly and sin from which special grace delivered you long ago; and yet Jesus will have great patience with you; he will hear your confession of sin; he will say, “I will, be thou clean”; he will again apply the blood of sprinkling, and speak peace to your conscience, and remove every spot. It is a great act of eternal love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what condescending patience there is when the Saviour with much long-suffering bears the oft recurring follies of his wayward disciple; day by day, and hour by hour, washing away the multiplied transgressions of his erring but yet beloved child! To dry up a flood of rebellion is something marvellous, but to endure the constant dropping of repeated offences—to bear with a perpetual trying of patience, this is divine indeed! While we find comfort and peace in our Lord’s daily cleansing, its legitimate influence upon us will be to increase our watchfulness, and quicken our desire for holiness. Is it so?

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

Amazing Grace
     October 24


     Frederick W. Faber, 1814–1863

     Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Jude 3)

     If you don’t have a cause that is worth dying for, you very likely don’t have anything worth living for.
----- Unknown

     Often we fail to realize the great price many of our forefathers paid to establish and preserve the Christian faith. It is good for us to be reminded often that the history of the Christian faith is a rich heritage of countless people whose faith in God was considered more dear than life itself. Much could be said about the first century Christians and their persecution by the Roman Empire, or even the religious persecutions of our American forefathers in their quest for a new land where they could enjoy religious freedom.

     The “faith of our fathers” referred to in this hymn, however, is the faith of the martyred leaders of the Roman Catholic church during the 16th century. Although he was raised as a Calvinist and later was a minister in the Anglican church, Frederick Faber left the state church and joined the Roman Catholic fold. He became known as Father Wilfrid. Faber began to make it his life’s mission to write hymns that promoted the history and teachings of the Catholic church. Frederick Faber wrote 150 such hymns before his early death at the age of 49. His “Faith of Our Fathers” text first appeared in 1849 in the author’s collection, Jesus and Mary; or Catholic Hymns for Singing and Reading. It was always Faber’s hope that someday England would be brought back to the Papal fold.

     The three stanzas found in our hymnals, however, are very usable for evangelical worship and can be reinterpreted to challenge our commitment and loyalty to the Gospel that our spiritual fathers often died to defend:

     Faith of our fathers, living still in spite of dungeon, fire and sword—O how our hearts beat high with joy whene’er we hear that glorious word!
     Our fathers, chained in prisons dark, were still in heart and conscience free; how sweet would be their children’s fate if they, like them, could die for thee!
     Faith of our fathers, we will love both friend and foe in all our strife; and preach thee too, as love knows how, by kindly words and virtuous life.
     Refrain: Faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death.

     For Today: Psalm 22:4, 5; 1 Timothy 6:13, 14; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 11

     Reflect on the great gallery of Old Testament saints listed in Hebrews 11. Ask God to make your Christian faith something that future generations will want to emulate. Carry this tune with you ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday, October 24, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 24, Tuesday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 26, 28
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 36, 39
Old Testament     Lamentations 1:1–5 (6–9) 10–12
New Testament     1 Corinthians 15:41–50
Gospel     Matthew 11:25–30

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 26, 28

Of David.

1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.

4 I do not sit with the worthless,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
5 I hate the company of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O LORD,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.

8 O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.
9 Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
10 those in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.

11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.

Of David.

1 To you, O LORD, I call;
my rock, do not refuse to hear me,
for if you are silent to me,
I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplication,
as I cry to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.

3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who are workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors,
while mischief is in their hearts.
4 Repay them according to their work,
and according to the evil of their deeds;
repay them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
or the work of his hands,
he will break them down and build them up no more.

6 Blessed be the LORD,
for he has heard the sound of my pleadings.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 O save your people, and bless your heritage;
be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 36, 39

To the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

1 Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 For they flatter themselves in their own eyes
that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 They plot mischief while on their beds;
they are set on a way that is not good;
they do not reject evil.

5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!
11 Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me,
or the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie prostrate;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.

To the leader: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

1 I said, “I will guard my ways
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was silent and still;
I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
3 my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:

4 “LORD, let me know my end,
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.     Selah
6 Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

7 “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
9 I am silent; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am worn down by the blows of your hand.

11 “You chastise mortals
in punishment for sin,
consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
surely everyone is a mere breath.     Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
and give ear to my cry;
do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
an alien, like all my forebears.
13 Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more.”

Old Testament
Lamentations 1:1–5 (6–9) 10–12

1 How lonely sits the city
that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become,
she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces
has become a vassal.

2 She weeps bitterly in the night,
with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
they have become her enemies.

3 Judah has gone into exile with suffering
and hard servitude;
she lives now among the nations,
and finds no resting place;
her pursuers have all overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.

4 The roads to Zion mourn,
for no one comes to the festivals;
all her gates are desolate,
her priests groan;
her young girls grieve,
and her lot is bitter.

5 Her foes have become the masters,
her enemies prosper,
because the LORD has made her suffer
for the multitude of her transgressions;
her children have gone away,
captives before the foe.

[     6 From daughter Zion has departed
all her majesty.
Her princes have become like stags
that find no pasture;
they fled without strength
before the pursuer.

7 Jerusalem remembers,
in the days of her affliction and wandering,
all the precious things
that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into the hand of the foe,
and there was no one to help her,
the foe looked on mocking
over her downfall.

s 8 Jerusalem sinned grievously,
so she has become a mockery;
all who honored her despise her,
for they have seen her nakedness;
she herself groans,
and turns her face away.

9 Her uncleanness was in her skirts;
she took no thought of her future;
her downfall was appalling,
with none to comfort her.

“O LORD, look at my affliction,
for the enemy has triumphed!”     ]

10 Enemies have stretched out their hands
over all her precious things;
she has even seen the nations
invade her sanctuary,
those whom you forbade
to enter your congregation.
11 All her people groan
as they search for bread;
they trade their treasures for food
to revive their strength.
Look, O LORD, and see
how worthless I have become.

12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see
if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which was brought upon me,
which the LORD inflicted
on the day of his fierce anger.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 15:41–50

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Matthew 11:25–30

25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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