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Ephesians 4 thru Ephesians 6
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Unity in the Body of Christ

Ephesians 4     1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

     9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The New Life

     17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

     25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Walk in Love

Ephesians 5     1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

     3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

What Does The Lord Require? (Cp Am 5:24)

Micah 6     6  “With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7     Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8     He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

     15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives and Husbands

     22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

     25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Children and Parents

Ephesians 6     1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bondservants and Masters

     5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

The Whole Armor of God

     10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Final Greetings

     21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

     23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha

What I'm Reading

Learning from Academics Who Left Mormonism

By J. Warner Wallace 10/3/2017

     Most of my readers know my personal connection to Mormonism; I have six half-brothers and sisters who were raised in the Mormon faith. When I first become interested in Christianity, I investigated the claims of the gospels simultaneous to my investigation of the Book of Mormon. While the gospels passed the test I typically apply to eyewitnesses, the Book of Mormon did not. My journey led me to trust the Jesus of Christianity but reject the Jesus of Mormonism. As a result, I’m interested in the stories of others who have become similarly convinced Mormonism is evidentially false. That’s why a recent book, Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds, caught my attention. I had the chance to interview one of it’s authors, Corey Miller, to see what motivated him to write the book.

     J. Warner: | Corey, I know your work quite well, but there may be some in my audience who aren’t as familiar with you. Tell us about your current position with Ratio Christi and a bit about your ministry journey.

     Corey: | I’m the President/CEO of Ratio Christi, which is a campus apologetics evangelism ministry. We desire to see lives transformed by thoughtful Christianity from campus to culture. I served on staff for several years at various churches, but have always had a passion for evangelism and a strategy to reclaim the voice of Christ in the university. I suppose you could say that this passion developed shortly after I left Mormonism and became a Christian. I was challenged in my newfound biblical faith and I encountered a short stint of skepticism. This led me into a trajectory to study philosophy and comparative religions and make an impact on the most influential institution of western civilization, The University.

     J. Warner: | You’ve contributed to an interesting new book about your experience with Mormonism. Why did you want to be a part of this book, and how is this book different from other books about Mormonism?

     Corey: | The book was an idea that captured me about a decade ago. But given some hostility that I faced in obtaining my PhD there was some delay. I noticed that there was a missing piece in the conversation between Evangelical and Mormons, namely, those who satisfied the criteria of being Christian scholars who once were Mormon insiders. There were but six I was aware of and four who decided to join the project. Speaking “Mormonese,” we use the language of experience and bear our testimonies in the book by sharing our stories. But we also have sections where we each give reasons relative to our disciplines and personal convictions as to why we reject Mormonism and pursue Jesus instead. Further, we offer a concluding chapter aimed at those in the Mormon exodus heading for neo-atheism. We want them to consider the proper detour, biblical Christianity.

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

Impossible to Believe — Preaching in a Secular Culture

By Albert Mohler 1/23/2017

     The question remains, what does preaching look like in the secular city?

     The previous post in this series examined Peter Berger’s explanation for the progress of secularization in the Western world. In addition to Berger, Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has also carefully traced the influence and effects of secularization on the West. As he explains in his important book, The Secular Age, the way people hold to theological convictions and religious principles in the modern era is fundamentally different than how people believed in the past. Modernity has made religious belief provisional, optional, and far less urgent than it was in the pre-modern world.

     I had this notion pressed upon me in some force when I was a doctoral student and I had the opportunity to attend a seminar with Heiko Oberman, a prestigious history professor from the University of Arizona and one of the world’s greatest scholars on the Reformation. Oberman was about seventy years old at the time; I was in my early twenties.

     Halfway through the lecture, Oberman, through no fault of our own, became exasperated with the class. “Young men,” he said, “you will never understand Luther because you go to bed every night confident you will wake up healthy in the morning. In Luther’s day, people thought that every day could be their last. They had no antibiotics. They didn’t have modern medicine. Sickness and death came swiftly.” Oberman’s point was that when Luther closed his eyes at night terrified he was afraid he might wake up in hell. Luther recognized that every day might be his last and he could very quickly find himself either face to face with God or the devil.

     Taylor makes the same point, although not as anecdotally as Oberman. As Taylor notes, on this side of modernity when people believe, they are making a choice to believe that previous generations did not make. Belief is now a provisional choice, an exercise of personal autonomy. When people identify as believers in Jesus Christ they are making a far more individualistic statement than was possible in years past. Furthermore, they are doing so in the face of alternative worldview options that were simply unavailable until very recently. In fact, as I was doing research for my book on atheism I learned that the very first use of “atheist” in English came from Miles Coverdale who invented the word during his time translating Scripture. The remarkable thing to notice is that Coverdale had to invent a term for someone who did not believe in God because he did not know anyone who actually held that conviction. No one in the Elizabethan age would have denied God’s existence.

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Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Albert Mohler Books:

Secularism, Preaching, and the Challenges of Modernity

By Albert Mohler 1/23/2017

     The only authentic Christian response to the challenge of secularization is faithful, clear, and informed expository preaching

     I began my chapter on preaching and postmodernism in We Cannot Be Silent with these words, “A common concern seems to emerge now wherever Christians gather: The task of truth-telling is stranger than it used to be. In this age, telling the truth is tough business and not for the faint-hearted. The times are increasingly strange.” As preachers we recognize how strange the times have become. Almost anyone seeking to carry out a faithful pulpit ministry recognizes that preachers must now ask questions we have not had to consider in the past. We recognize that preaching has been displaced from its once prominent position in the culture. Many of us are wondering, why is preaching more challenging in our cultural moment than it has been in other times? The answer to this question ultimately rests in this fact: we now live, move, and have our being in a secular age. As preachers, and even as Christians, we must understand the trends of secularization and advance that the only authentic Christian response to the challenge of secularization is faithful, clear, and informed expository preaching.

     Secularization, as representative of an ideological and cultural change, was not possible until very recent times. Secularization rests on the shoulders of a number of other ideological shifts that have preceded it. Without the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and even without certain technological advances, secularization would have never been possible.

     Once these intellectual and societal trends were charted, secularization theory began emerging as an academic discipline. Most of the contributors to this theory argued that secularization was the handmaiden to modernity. As these theorists explained, the modern age would necessarily and inevitably produce a secular society because modernity made God irrelevant. Modernism provided alternative answers to the most fundamental questions of life thereby rendering theism no longer necessary.

     One of the most important theorists was professor Harvey Cox who, in 1965, published an enormously important book, The Secular City. The book was revolutionary for many Christians who had not yet recognized that society was fundamentally changing and growing more secular. Of course, many of the cultural signs pointing toward secularization were not as apparent then as they would be just a few decades later. Indeed, one need only consider that just ten years prior to the publication of Cox’s book, Dwight Eisenhower was baptized, making a public profession of faith in Christ while holding the office of President of the United States. This episode alone is enough to demonstrate just how significantly the culture and the political landscape has shifted between Eisenhower’s presidency and our own day. Despite this seeming evidence to the contrary, Cox revealed a tectonic cultural shift underway within Western society.With great foresight, Cox made the point that the future of the Western world, particularly its cities, was predominantly secular. As he made clear, this secularism was characterized by an eclipse of theism.

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Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Albert Mohler Books:

Souls Need Songs How God Shapes Us Through Singing

By Hayden Nesbit 10/8/2017

     I don’t sing well — and that’s putting it generously. I can’t “carry a tune.” I can’t even hum the melody of a familiar song well enough for someone to recognize it. But nothing seems to draw out my heart’s emotions like singing. There are few things that refresh my soul like singing the doxology around the dinner table with my family, or singing catechisms and hymns to our daughter at bedtime.

     God made our souls for song. Scripture brims with God’s call for his people to sing his praises. Something about singing refreshes and reorients our souls.

     Teach and Admonish | In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he instructs the church to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). Paul desires the church members to instruct each other through various means, including through singing. But how can singing instruct?

     Here’s where the transformative power of Scripture is crucial. Paul urges the believers to sing psalms — the inspired, God-breathed collection of praises and laments. He also advises them to sing hymns — a term that probably describes songs rich with theological truth. Finally, Paul even wants the Colossians to sing spiritual songs — which likely refers to spontaneous praises that overflow from the heart. All of which are able to instruct.

     The Spirit-inspired Scriptures burst with power to convict us of sin and to build up our faith in God. I love that our church makes the effort to sing psalms. Nothing is more powerfully instructive than the word of God, and a beautifully engaging melody readies the heart to receive the word. When we sing hymns that artistically display the truths of Scripture, or spontaneous songs that arise from a deep indwelling of that truth, and especially when we sing the very words of Scripture, we draw on the teaching, reproving, correcting, and training ability of the word in a way that engages both heart and mind (2 Timothy 3:16).

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      lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky, with his wife, Megan, and daughter, Ruth. He works for Campus Outreach.

Our Story

By R.C. Sproul 1/1/1989

     When I return to the first few chapters of Genesis, I’m able not only to review the events of early human history but also to see how humanity hasn’t outgrown our earliest aspirations. Perhaps most illustrative of my point is the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. We read in verse 1 that “the whole earth had one language and the same words.” Note the unity preserved from the original pre-fall creation. In the garden of Eden there were no translators; everyone spoke the same language. And even though sin intruded to destroy the harmony of the original creation, at least people could understand each other in the initial years of human expansion. They could speak the same language and communicate with some degree of harmony.

     Speaking the same language and having the same values, this humanity built a city: “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens” (v. 4). From the beginning, the dream of human progress, the dream of the human spirit has been to build a city of such magnificence that it reaches to the pinnacle of heaven itself. It’s part of our nature as human beings to build monuments to human accomplishment. We can go through the cities of this world and see magnificent human achievements. We can view the Eiffel Tower from almost any point in and around Paris. No tourist in New York City fails to look for the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. We can’t go to Asia without wanting to walk on the Great Wall of China. When we go to Egypt, to the pyramids, we see monuments of ancient kings. Brick and mortar, steel and glass—we use whatever we can to somehow say that we are important, that we are significant, that we want to be remembered long a er we are dead and gone.

     Listen to the sentiment expressed in Genesis 11: “Let us make a name for ourselves” (v. 4). Friedrich Nietzsche, the nineteenth-century atheist philosopher, said the most fundamental drive of the human heart is the “will to power,” a lust for dominance. This is what drives fallen humanity. It’s the legacy of Eden, the living out of the serpent’s seduction when he said, “You shall be as gods.” Why should God get all the glory? Why should the monuments of this world only be to the praise and honor of the Creator? Can’t we share in that? Can’t we claim it for ourselves? Can’t we supplant Him as the Sovereign One? Let’s gather together and build a city. Let’s make monuments that even God cannot bring down, monuments that will endure forever: statues, walls, cathedrals, skyscrapers, and more.

     I remember sitting transfixed and watching Walter Cronkite and some former astronauts describe the first landing of human beings on the moon. When I heard the words of Neil Arm- strong, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind,” I was as excited as anybody else by this incredible accomplishment, this conquest of a whole new frontier. But there was also something that bothered me when I heard those words. It sounded like the Tower of Babel all over again, a boasting in human achievement rather than bowing in prayer, saying, “This is for Your glory, O God. This is the fulfillment of the scientific enterprise You gave us in Eden to have dominion over the earth.”

     We’ve been called to have dominion over the earth to the glory of God, but we want dominion for the glory of man. That’s what was going on at Babel—a distortion, an evil twisting of the legitimate task that God had given mankind. There’s nothing wrong with building. There’s nothing wrong with sowing and reaping. Those are the tasks God gave to us in creation, but they’re to be done under the authority of God. They’re to be done coram Deo, before the face of God, under the authority of God, and unto the glory of God.

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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:

  • Our Trial Rom 3:9–20
  • Life 1 Pet 2:21-24
  • Government & $$

     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Friendship (2)
     (Oct 8)    Bob Gass

     ‘A man who has friends must himself be friendly.’

(Pr 18:24) 24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ESV

     In order to have a good friend, you must first try to be a good friend. An unknown poet wrote, ‘I went out to find a friend, but could not find one there; I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere.’ Friendship doesn’t require having a dynamic personality. Even shy, quiet, and reserved individuals can learn to be friendly. It’s next to impossible to have no friends, if you yourself are friendly. And the opposite is also true. Psychologists asked a group of college students to jot down the initials of the people they disliked most. Some of the students could think of only one person, while others listed as many as fourteen. But an interesting fact that came out of the research was that those who disliked the largest number of people, were themselves the most widely disliked. You’ll find that the more likeable you are, the more likely you are to like other people and be liked by them. So here are five ways to make friends: 1) Maintain eye contact. When you talk to people, look them in the eye. 2) Smile! It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile - and a smile warms hearts and encourages conversation. 3) Call people by their names. Strangers are just that, strange, but a friend is known. 4) Talk to others about their favourite topic - themselves. 5) Find an occasion to give a word of encouragement, a compliment, or show an act of kindness. When you find a person with these five traits, you’ve found someone who has a reputation for being friendly.

Luke 19:1-27
Ps 103-104

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     A race car driver, he served in France during World War I as chauffeur for General Pershing. With Germany’s Red Baron dominating the skies, he transferred to the 94th Aero Squadron, which shot down 69 enemy aircraft and earned him the Congressional Medal. His name was “Eddie” Rickenbacker, born this day, October 8, 1890. In his book, “The Flying Circus,” Eddie Rickenbacker recounts escaping death: “I am not such an egotist as to believe that God has spared me because I am I. I believe there is work for me to do and that I am spared to do it, just as you are.”

American Minute

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

     II.     Then, secondly, as to prayer being the expression of the perennial new life of faith in the Cross. The Christian life is prayer without ceasing.

     When we are told to pray without ceasing, it seems to many tastes to-day to be somewhat extravagant language. And no doubt that is true. Why should we be concerned to deny it? Measured language and the elegant mean is not the note of the New Testament at least. Mhoen zyan, said the Greek—too much of nothing. But can we love or trust God too much? Christian faith is one that overcomes and commands the world in a passion rather than balances it. It triumphs in a conclusive bliss, it does not play off one part against another. The grace of Christ is not but graciousness of nature, and He does not rule His Church by social act. The peace of God is not the calm of culture, it is not the charm of breeding. Every great forward movement in Christianity is associated with much that seems academically extravagant. Erasmus is always shocked with Luther. It is only an outlet of that essential extravagance which makes the paradox of the Cross, and keeps it as the irritant, no less than the life of the world—perhaps because it is the life of the world. There is nothing so abnormal, so unworldly, so supernatural, in human life as prayer, nothing that is more of an instinct, it is true, but also nothing that is less rational among all the things that keep above the level of the silly. The whole Christian life in so far as it is lived from the Cross and by the Cross is rationally an extravagance. For the Cross is the paradox of all things; and the action of the Spirit is the greatest miracle in the wor“ and yet it is the principle of the world. Paradox is but the expression of that dualism which is the moral foundation of a Christian world. I live who die daily. I live another’s life.

     To pray without ceasing is not, of course, to engage in prayer without break. That is an impossible literalism. True, “They rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who wert, and art, and art to come.” But it is mere poverty of soul to think of this as the iteration of a doxology. It is deep calling unto deep, eternity greeting eternity. The only answer to God’s eternity is an eternal attitude of prayer.

     Nor does the phrase mean that the Church shall use careful means that the stream and sound of prayer shall never cease to flow at some spots of the earth, as the altar lamp goes not out. It does not mean the continuous murmur of the mass following the sun round the world, incessant relays of adoring priests, and functions going on day and night.

     But it means the constant bent and drift of the soul—as the Word which was from the beginning (John i. 1) was hroe ton Qesn. All the current of its being set towards Him. It means being “in Christ,” being in such a moving, returning Christ—reposing in this godward, and not merely godlike life. The note of prayer becomes the habit of the heart, the tone and tension of its new nature; in such a way that when we are released from the grasp of our occupations the soul rebounds to its true bent, quest, and even pressure upon God. It is the soul’s habitual appetite and habitual food. A growing child of God is always hungry. Prayer is not identical with the occasional act of praying. Like the act of faith, it is a whole life thought of as action. It is the life of faith in its purity, in its vital action. Eating and speaking are necessary to life, but they are not living. And how hidden prayer may be—beneath even gaiety! If you look down on Portland Race you see but a shining sea; only the pilot knows the tremendous current that pervades the smiling calm.

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

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Ambition is a gilded misery, a secret poison,
a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit,
the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy,
the original of vices, the moth of holiness,
the blinder of hearts,
turning medicines into maladies,
and remedies into diseases.
--- Thomas Brooks

We must not be too high-minded. I fancy we may sometimes be deterred from small prayers by a sense of our own dignity rather than of God's.
--- C.S. Lewis     Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

Apart from Jesus, there is no peace—not within a human heart, and not among human beings or nations. With Jesus, we can experience peace that passes our rational minds and settles deep within (Phil. 4:7).
--- Charles Stanley     Preparing for Christ's Return

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 13.

     The Great Slaughters And Sacrilege That Were In Jerusalem.

     1. Accordingly Simon would not suffer Matthias, by whose means he got possession of the city, to go off without torment. This Matthias was the son of Boethus, and was one of the high priests, one that had been very faithful to the people, and in great esteem with them; he, when the multitude were distressed by the zealots, among whom John was numbered, persuaded the people to admit this Simon to come in to assist them, while he had made no terms with him, nor expected any thing that was evil from him. But when Simon was come in, and had gotten the city under his power, he esteemed him that had advised them to admit him as his enemy equally with the rest, as looking upon that advice as a piece of his simplicity only; so he had him then brought before him, and condemned to die for being on the side of the Romans, without giving him leave to make his defense. He condemned also his three sons to die with him; for as to the fourth, he prevented him by running away to Titus before. And when he begged for this, that he might be slain before his sons, and that as a favor, on account that he had procured the gates of the city to be opened to him, he gave order that he should be slain the last of them all; so he was not slain till he had seen his sons slain before his eyes, and that by being produced over against the Romans; for such a charge had Simon given to Artanus, the son of Bamadus, who was the most barbarous of all his guards. He also jested upon him, and told him that he might now see whether those to whom he intended to go over would send him any succors or not; but still he forbade their dead bodies should be buried. After the slaughter of these, a certain priest, Ananias, the son of Masambalus, a person of eminency, as also Aristens, the scribe of the sanhedrim, and born at Emmaus, and with them fifteen men of figure among the people, were slain. They also kept Josephus's father in prison, and made public proclamation, that no citizen whosoever should either speak to him himself, or go into his company among others, for fear he should betray them. They also slew such as joined in lamenting these men, without any further examination.

     2. Now when Judas, the son of Judas, who was one of Simon's under officers, and a person intrusted by him to keep one of the towers, saw this procedure of Simon, he called together ten of those under him, that were most faithful to him, [perhaps this was done partly out of pity to those that had so barbarously been put to death, but principally in order to provide for his own safety,] and spoke thus to them: "How long shall we bear these miseries? or what hopes have we of deliverance by thus continuing faithful to such wicked wretches? Is not the famine already come against us? Are not the Romans in a manner gotten within the city? Is not Simon become unfaithful to his benefactors? and is there not reason to fear he will very soon bring us to the like punishment, while the security the Romans offer us is sure? Come on, let us surrender up this wall, and save ourselves and the city. Nor will Simon be very much hurt, if, now he despairs of deliverance, he be brought to justice a little sooner than he thinks on." Now these ten were prevailed upon by those arguments; so he sent the rest of those that were under him, some one way, and some another, that no discovery might be made of what they had resolved upon. Accordingly, he called to the Romans from the tower about the third hour; but they, some of them out of pride, despised what he said, and others of them did not believe him to be in earnest, though the greatest number delayed the matter, as believing they should get possession of the city in a little time, without any hazard. But when Titus was just coming thither with his armed men, Simon was acquainted with the matter before he came, and presently took the tower into his own custody, before it was surrendered, and seized upon these men, and put them to death in the sight of the Romans themselves; and when he had mangled their dead bodies, he threw them down before the wall of the city.

     3. In the mean time, Josephus, as he was going round the city, had his head wounded by a stone that was thrown at him; upon which he fell down as giddy. Upon which fall of his the Jews made a sally, and he had been hurried away into the city, if Caesar had not sent men to protect him immediately; and as these men were fighting, Josephus was taken up, though he heard little of what was done. So the seditious supposed they had now slain that man whom they were the most desirous of killing, and made thereupon a great noise, in way of rejoicing. This accident was told in the city, and the multitude that remained became very disconsolate at the news, as being persuaded that he was really dead, on whose account alone they could venture to desert to the Romans. But when Josephus's mother heard in prison that her son was dead, she said to those that watched about her, That she had always been of opinion, since the siege of Jotapata, [that he would be slain,] and she should never enjoy him alive any more. She also made great lamentation privately to the maid-servants that were about her, and said, That this was all the advantage she had of bringing so extraordinary a person as this son into the world; that she should not be able even to bury that son of hers, by whom she expected to have been buried herself. However, this false report did not put his mother to pain, nor afford merriment to the robbers, long; for Josephus soon recovered of his wound, and came out, and cried out aloud, That it would not be long ere they should be punished for this wound they had given him. He also made a fresh exhortation to the people to come out upon the security that would be given them. This sight of Josephus encouraged the people greatly, and brought a great consternation upon the seditious.

          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 26:22
     by D.H. Stern

22     A slanderer’s words are tasty morsels;
they slide right down into the belly.

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 exclusiveness of Christ

     Come unto Me. --- Matthew 11:28.

     Is it not humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words—“Come unto Me.” In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come; you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness—“Just as I am.” As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to “come.”

     “Come unto Me.” When you hear those words you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, anything at all that will put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from getting through. You will never get further until you are willing to do that one thing. The Holy Spirit will locate the one impregnable thing in you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him.

     How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling—“Oh well, I have done it this time!’ And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus—
“Come unto Me.”

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas


It will always win.
  Other men will come as I have
  To stand here and beat upon it
  As on a door, and ask for love,
  For compassion, for hatred even; for anything
  Rather than this blank indifference,
  Than the neutrality of its answers, if they can be called,
  These grey skies, these wet fields,
  With the wind's winding-sheet upon them.

And endlessly the days goes on
  With their business. Lovers make their appearance
  And vanish. The germ finds its way
  From the grass to the snail to the liver to the grass.
  The shadow of the tree falls
  On our acres like a crucifixion,
  With a bird singing in the branches
  What its shrill species has always sung,
  Hammering its notes home
  One by one into our brief flesh.

Selected poems, 1946-1968

OPTION 2 / The way of dualism
     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     One’s tradition can be preserved by remaining behaviorally loyal to its values while nonetheless accepting the conflicting truth-claims of another system. This bifurcation is possible if the active, willing nature of man’s being is severed from its reflective, rational aspect: My knowledge does not get in the way of my practices. My wisdom never interferes with my will. The life of the mind is permanently shut off from the life of action.

     This can be justified by a specific evaluation of the significance of moral action. Although morality is necessary for perfecting life in society, it is insufficient for perfecting the rational nature of man: The outer forms my actions take do not really matter so long as they are socially useful and provide the tradition with a proper way of establishing a well-ordered community. In my search for truth I do not look to the moral and ritual demands of tradition. On the contrary, even if my tradition justifies the authoritative bases for its norms and the significance of its rituals by adopting meaningless and false cognitive claims, I adopt its moral actions and rituals without being disturbed by its spurious knowledge. The truths of theoretical reason need not falsify the claims of practical reason. The theoretical is the ground for knowledge; the practical is the ground for orderly political society. The search for truth does not demand that I openly reject the false knowledge-claims that are part of the tradition. My pursuit of intellectual excellence will find its fulfillment in the lonely life of the mind, in the private aspect of my life. It is in the non-social and private moments of life that I will act out my true humanity which is theoretical perfection.

     If I never allow the two to become confused, my actions within society need not be disturbed by my private life. The separation of the public from the private self follows from a denial of any cognitive significance to ethical action. Moral norms, having a social function divorced from the concern for truth, are not evaluated and judged by reason. The commitment to truth need not challenge a moral system whose aim is social and political. Truth leads to self-perfection; moral norms lead to communal well-being. The way of dualism places morality within a category of health whose questions are wholly pragmatic: Do these norms create a healthy body politic? Functional rationality must be separated from truth. The functional is measured by its usefulness whereas truth, possessing intrinsic significance, is desired regardless of its social value. Only through the pursuit of truth does man become essentially human. Moral systems merely provide the necessary political conditions to further the pursuit of individual excellence.

     The way of dualism protects the tradition from counter truth-claims by preventing any possible interaction between thought and action, by severing any connection between individual and social perfection. The god of metaphysics and the god of history are never confused. Ethics, ritual, freedom, and a god of will are justified within political categories and must never be subject to the categories of truth. The individual gives society his body as long as he is allowed to keep his mind.

     In order to secure the life of theoretical virtue, one has further to promise that the realm of truth will not disturb the well-being of the society. Philosophy, which creates a new orientation to the world, is able to claim a man rooted to a tradition by offering him an independent life of the mind which does not affect his position within a social reality. He gives lip service to the cognitive claims of his action system, even if it contradicts his personal truth-system. He feels justified in doing so because he recognizes that action does not define the essential perfection of man. Because the ultimate criterion in evaluating an action-system is only its functional value, the faulty theoretical ground of the tradition need not affect his loyalty to truth. Even if the God of his truth-system cannot act in history, cannot create a world, nor interfere in the historical process, this does not prevent him from committing himself to a way of life which presupposes a God who acts in history.

     Man’s assent to this system and its theological claims is justified by its functionalism rather than by its truth. Knowing that he must live in community, he justifies the knowledge-claims of the community within political categories. Revelation and reason can coexist if revelation is placed within the practical domain and reason within a framework of truth. Socrates was the fool who confused philosophy with ethics and politics. Plato was naive to think that the philosopher can eliminate the darkness of the cave by his vision. Philosophy, with its emphasis upon theoretical virtue, must give up its intention of constructing a world based upon a system of truth. ( See aristotle: fundamentals of the history of his development)

     This separation of the mind—theoretical virtue—from the body—political virtue—would be more readily accepted if political virtue made no truth-claims and, vice versa, if theoretical virtue did not demand a specific way of life. There would be a semblance of intellectual integrity if the two realms were neatly separated. But if a system of political virtue does make knowledge-claims, and if a theoretical system does demand a specific life of action, then such separation suggests dishonesty.

     This dishonest separation may still be tolerated because of an awareness that submission to social and political virtue is the only way of living in a crude world of mass ignorance. One is then condemned to live in this social and political world as a philosophic Marrano. He acknowledges that society requires fictions—e.g., God is concerned with individuals and their actions—in order that it may order its life. The ground of norms for mass man must be sustained and propped up by myths—e.g., revelation of a divine law with its promises of reward and punishment—which, although untrue, are necessary and acceptable because of their motivational value. It would be catastrophic to demand that society order itself according to an ideal system of perfection which only a few can achieve.

     This elitism is an expression of concern for and responsibility to community. The awareness of the differences in human potentialities promotes a life-style for the philosophic Marrano who does not feel that he is dishonest since the difference “between man and man is greater than the difference between man and animal.” The way of dualism is the way of aristocracy, of a responsible elite which does not perpetuate myths for its own perfection but for society. The essential feature which defines the way of dualism for a man committed to a specific tradition is a combination of openness to truth—regardless of the source and the implications of that truth—and complete behavioral loyalty to the norms of his tradition.

Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     October 8

     Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. --- Ecclesiastes 11:4.

     Just as a person may fail through too much zeal, so may a person fail through too much caution. (Wings of the Morning, The (Kregel Classic Sermons))

     Our text has notable application in the great work of national reform. A certain disregard of obvious difficulties and of all that would discourage lesser spirits has ever been one mark of great reformers, whether in the church or in the state. When told that Duke George of Saxony was lying in wait for him, “I would go,” said Luther, “if it rained Duke Georges.” The winds were bitter and the clouds black as midnight, and Luther planted and reaped because he disregarded them. It is an easy thing to sneer at fanatics and to say that they are the ruin of their cause. It is an easy thing to make fun of the enthusiasts who are so terribly in earnest that they are not wise. But I will tell you those who are a thousand times more fatal to any cause than the enthusiasts are those who always eye the clouds and spend their days in shrinking from the wind. It is better to try and fail than to do nothing. We snatch our triumphs from the brink of failure. It is so easy to stand aside and criticize and magnify difficulties and raise objections. But we are here to plant and we are here to reap, as Luther knew and as every brave woman and man knows. Whoever watches the wind will never plant, and whoever looks at the clouds will never reap.

     Then, I want you to apply our text to the great matter of decision for Christ Jesus. I want you to go away thinking of Peter when he walked on the sea to get to Christ. “Lord, if it’s you, tell me come to you,” and Jesus across the water cried to Peter, “Come”; whereupon Peter leaped out of the ship and walked on the water to his Lord. Then he regarded the clouds—how the wild rack was flying! He observed the wind—how boisterous it was—and, observing them, he began to sink and had to cry, “Lord, save me.” Isn’t Christ saying “Come” to someone here tonight? Isn’t there someone like Peter who has heard his call? In such an hour the one thing that is fatal is to give heed to the uproar of the storm. O you of little faith, why do you doubt? He is mighty to save and powerful to keep. Disregard everything except the beckoning Savior, and by and by you will reap a hundred times what you planted.
--- George H. Morrison

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

On This Day   October 8
     What a Day!

     Dwight L. Moody came to the Lord in a Boston shoe store while a teenager. Though poorly educated, he possessed boundless energy that quickly funneled itself into soul-winning. He moved to Chicago, took up children’s work, and grew his Sunday school to over a thousand pupils. But though outwardly flourishing, Moody was inwardly frustrated, sensing a lack of spiritual power, struggling with the notion that God wanted him to leave Chicago to become an itinerant evangelist, something he wasn’t willing to do.

     On October 8, 1871 Moody spoke to his Sunday school listeners, asking them to consider responding to Christ on the following Sunday—but they never got that chance. As services ended fire alarms sounded in the streets. The meeting closed in panic, and the young people left the building to find the city in terror. Flames leapt into the sky, swallowing whole buildings. Gas mains were exploding, and the streets became clogged with fleeing humanity. The Great Chicago Fire burned from Sunday to Wednesday, and Moody lost both his church building and his home.

     Deeply shaken, Moody quickly left Chicago for New York seeking funds for rebuilding his work, but “my heart was not in the work of begging.” While walking down Wall Street, he had a spiritual experience so powerful that he seldom referred to it afterward. “I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York—ah, what a day!—I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it, it is almost too sacred an experience to name—Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years—I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.”

     From that day, whenever, wherever Moody preached, hundreds of people were saved, and he spent the rest his life traveling the globe as the most famous and effective evangelist for Christ in the nineteenth century.

     God told us to announce clearly to the people that Jesus is the one he has chosen to judge the living and the dead. Every one of the prophets has said that all who have faith in Jesus will have their sins forgiven in his name.
--- Acts 10:42,43.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 8

     “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” --- Luke 5:4.

     We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless he is glorified; but he hath himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which he is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskilfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and his will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in his Church, his presence is the Church’s power—the shout of a king is in the midst of her. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Let us go out this Morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for he who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.

          Evening - October 8

     “Praying in the Holy Ghost.” --- Jude 20.

     Mark the grand characteristic of true prayer—“In the Holy Ghost.” The seed of acceptable devotion must come from heaven’s storehouse. Only the prayer which comes from God can go to God. We must shoot the Lord’s arrows back to him. That desire which he writes upon our heart will move his heart and bring down a blessing, but the desires of the flesh have no power with him.

     Praying in the Holy Ghost is praying in fervency. Cold prayers ask the Lord not to hear them. Those who do not plead with fervency, plead not at all. As well speak of lukewarm fire as of lukewarm prayer—it is essential that it be red hot. It is praying perseveringly. The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent when God delays to answer. The longer the gate is closed, the more vehemently does he use the knocker, and the longer the angel lingers the more resolved is he that he will never let him go without the blessing. Beautiful in God’s sight is tearful, agonizing, unconquerable importunity. It means praying humbly, for the Holy Spirit never puffs us up with pride. It is his office to convince of sin, and so to bow us down in contrition and brokenness of spirit. We shall never sing Gloria in excelsis except we pray to God De profundis: out of the depths must we cry, or we shall never behold glory in the highest. It is loving prayer. Prayer should be perfumed with love, saturated with love—love to our fellow saints, and love to Christ. Moreover, it must be a prayer full of faith. A man prevails only as he believes. The Holy Spirit is the author of faith, and strengthens it, so that we pray believing God’s promise. O that this blessed combination of excellent graces, priceless and sweet as the spices of the merchant, might be fragrant within us because the Holy Ghost is in our hearts! Most blessed Comforter, exert thy mighty power within us, helping our infirmities in prayer.

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

Amazing Grace
     October 8


     Earl Marlatt, 1892–1976

     Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? (Matthew 20:22)

     A Christian is a person who, when getting to the end of his/her rope, ties a knot and determines to hang on, realizing that human extremity now becomes God’s opportunity.
--- Unknown

     The mission for each Christian is to proclaim and live the good news of the Gospel and to urge individuals everywhere to be converted—to experience a personal reconciliation and relationship with God. This persuasion must always be done with openness and honesty. In our desire to have people make a decision for Christ, we must always be forthright with them. We cannot conceal the cost of discipleship involved in receiving God’s provision of salvation. And we must tell them of the importance of giving Jesus Christ His rightful place in every area of life and of becoming an active member of the believing community.

     Earl Marlatt, a professor of religion at Boston University and later at Southern Methodist University, wrote this text in 1925 for a consecration service at the Boston University School of Religious Education. It was based on Christ’s pointed question to His disciples in Matthew 20:22: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. The hymn was originally titled “Challenge.” And still today, as in generations past, “heroic spirits answer, ‘Lord, we are able.’ ”

     “Are ye able,” said the Master, “to be crucified with Me?” “Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered, “To the death we follow Thee:”
     “Are ye able” to remember, when a thief lifts up his eyes, that his pardoned soul is worthy of a place in paradise?
     “Are ye able?” still the Master whispers down eternity, and heroic spirits answer now as then in Galilee:
     Chorus: “Lord, we are able”— our spirits are Thine; remold them — make us like Thee, divine: Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

     For Today: Ecclesiastes 12:7; Mark 10:35–40; Luke 14:27; 23:39–43; John 12:2

     Are we sometimes at fault for giving the illusion to non-Christians that becoming a follower of Christ is the end of all of life’s difficulties? Should we not tell them about the cost of life-long discipleship? Seek to engage someone in conversation about the characteristics of true Christianity. Sing this truth as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Sunday, October 8, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 22, Sunday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 118
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 145
Old Testament     2 Kings 20:1–21
New Testament     Acts 12:1–17
Gospel     Luke 7:11–17

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 118

1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
6 With the LORD on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
7 The LORD is on my side to help me;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to put confidence in mortals.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees;
they blazed like a fire of thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.

15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;
16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the LORD.
18 The LORD has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.

20 This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!

26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 145

Praise. Of David.

1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall laud your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The LORD is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
14 The LORD upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand,
satisfying the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
he also hears their cry, and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

Old Testament
2 Kings 20:1–21

20 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD: 3 “Remember now, O LORD, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7 Then Isaiah said, “Bring a lump of figs. Let them take it and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.”

8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9 Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: the shadow has now advanced ten intervals; shall it retreat ten intervals?” 10 Hezekiah answered, “It is normal for the shadow to lengthen ten intervals; rather let the shadow retreat ten intervals.” 11 The prophet Isaiah cried to the LORD; and he brought the shadow back the ten intervals, by which the sun had declined on the dial of Ahaz.

12 At that time King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 Hezekiah welcomed them; he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? From where did they come to you?” Hezekiah answered, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15 He said, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: 17 Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18 Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

20 The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah, all his power, how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 21 Hezekiah slept with his ancestors; and his son Manasseh succeeded him.

New Testament
Acts 12:1–17

12 About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. 2 He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. 3 After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4 When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. 5 While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

6 The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8 The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 On recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the gate, they saw him and were amazed. 17 He motioned to them with his hand to be silent, and described for them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he added, “Tell this to James and to the believers.” Then he left and went to another place.

Luke 7:11–17

11 Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12 As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” 17 This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

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

Spiritual Blindness Mark 8:11-21
John MacArthur

The Virtue of Being Last Mark 9:30-41
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Radical Discipleship Mark 9:42-50
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Religion and Its Victims Mark 12:38-44
John MacArthur

Bible Q & A 56
John MacArthur

The Grim Reality of the Last Days Mark 13:1-13
John MacArthur

Bible Q & A 57
John MacArthur

The Final Generation 1 Mark 13:28-37
John MacArthur

The Final Generation 2 Mark 13:28-37
John MacArthur