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Isaiah 54 thru Isaiah 58
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The Eternal Covenant of Peace

Video     Isaiah 54     

1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.
2  “Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
3  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.

4  “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5  For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
6  For the LORD has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
7  For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
8  In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.

9  “This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
10  For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

11  “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12  I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
13  All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
14  In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15  If anyone stirs up strife,
it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
shall fall because of you.
16  Behold, I have created the smith
who blows the fire of coals
and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
17  no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”

The Compassion of the LORD

Video     Isaiah 55     1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3  Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7  let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12  “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Salvation for Foreigners

Video     Isaiah 56     1 Thus says the LORD:

“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my righteousness be revealed.
2  Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

3  Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
“The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4  For thus says the LORD:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5  I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.

6  “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
7  these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
8  The Lord GOD,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”

Israel’s Irresponsible Leaders

9  All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
all you beasts in the forest.
10  His watchmen are blind;
they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs;
they cannot bark,
dreaming, lying down,
loving to slumber.
11  The dogs have a mighty appetite;
they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way,
each to his own gain, one and all.
12  “Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
great beyond measure.”

Israel’s Futile Idolatry

Video     Isaiah 57     1 The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
2  he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
who walk in their uprightness.
3  But you, draw near,
sons of the sorceress,
offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
4  Whom are you mocking?
Against whom do you open your mouth wide
and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
the offspring of deceit,
5  you who burn with lust among the oaks,
under every green tree,
who slaughter your children in the valleys,
under the clefts of the rocks?
6  Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
they, they, are your lot;
to them you have poured out a drink offering,
you have brought a grain offering.
Shall I relent for these things?
7  On a high and lofty mountain
you have set your bed,
and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8  Behind the door and the doorpost
you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
you have gone up to it,
you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
you have loved their bed,
you have looked on nakedness.
9  You journeyed to the king with oil
and multiplied your perfumes;
you sent your envoys far off,
and sent down even to Sheol.
10  You were wearied with the length of your way,
but you did not say, “It is hopeless”;
you found new life for your strength,
and so you were not faint.

11  Whom did you dread and fear,
so that you lied,
and did not remember me,
did not lay it to heart?
Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
and you do not fear me?
12  I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
but they will not profit you.
13  When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
The wind will carry them all off,
a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
and shall inherit my holy mountain.

Comfort for the Contrite

14  And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15  For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16  For I will not contend forever,
nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
and the breath of life that I made.
17  Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,

I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19  creating the fruit of the lips.
Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD,
“and I will heal him.
20  But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
for it cannot be quiet,
and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21  There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

True and False Fasting

Video     Isaiah 58     1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2  Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3  ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4  Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5  Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?

6  “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9  Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10  if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11  And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12  And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13  “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14  then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha

  • Spirit Rom 8:12-13
  • Adoption Rom 8:14-16
  • Word John 1:1-14

     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Friendship (3)
     (Oct 9)    Bob Gass

     ‘He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.’

(Pr 13:20) 20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. ESV

     The story’s told of a farmer who was being pestered every day by a flock of crows in his cornfield. Deciding he’d had enough, he loaded his shotgun and crawled unseen along the fencerow, determined to blow those pesky crows out of the sky. Turns out this farmer had a very sociable parrot that indiscriminately made friends with everybody, and seeing the flock of crows he flew over and joined them in an effort to be friendly. The farmer saw the crows but didn’t see his parrot, so he took careful aim, fired, then jumped up and ran over to see how many crows he had shot. Lo and behold, there was his parrot lying on the ground with a broken wing and a chipped beak, but still alive. The farmer tenderly picked him up and brought him home, where his children ran out to meet him. Seeing the injured parrot, they tearfully asked, ‘Daddy, what happened?’ But before he could answer, the parrot spoke up: ‘That’s what you get for hanging out with the wrong crowd.’ You can never be at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, if you’re with the wrong crowd. And as a parent, you need to teach this to your children. Monitor their Internet use, and warn them about predators who deliberately prowl online looking for ‘friends’. Web-based horror stories of children being hurt and led astray are multiplying daily. If this sounds strong and urgent - that’s because it is!

Jer 9-11
2 Thess 2

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Lewis Cass was born this day, October 9, 1782. He fought in the War of 1812, and later became the Governor of the Michigan Territory. Cass made treaties with the Indians, organized townships and built roads. He was a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State under President Buchanan and the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1848. Lewis Cass stated: “The fate of republican government is indissolubly bound up with the fate of the Christian religion, and a people who reject its holy faith will find themselves the slaves of their own evil passions and of arbitrary power.”

American Minute

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

     So far this “pray without ceasing” from being absurd because extravagant that every man’s life is in some sense a continual state of prayer. For what is his life’s prayer but its ruling passion? All energies, ambitions and passions are but expressions of a standing nisus in life, of a hunger, a draft, a practical demand upon the future, upon the unattained and the unseen. Every life is a draft upon the unseen. If you are not praying towards God you are towards something else. You pray as your face is set—towards Jerusalem or Babylon. The very egotism of craving life is prayer. The great difference is the object of it. To whom, for what, do we pray? The man whose passion is habitualy set upon pleasure, knowledge, wealth, honour, or power is in a state of prayer to these things or for them. He prays without ceasing. These are his real gods, on whom he waits day and night. He may from time to time go on his knees in church, and use words of Christian address and petition. He may even feel a momentary unction in so doing. But it is a flicker; the other devotion is his steady flame. His real God is the ruling passion and steady pursuit of his life taken as a whole. He certainly does not pray in the name of Christ. And what he worships in spirit and in truth is another God than he addresses at religious times. He prays to an unknown God for a selfish boon. Still, in a sense, he prays. The set and drift of his nature prays. It is the prayer of instinct, not of faith. It is prayer that needs total conversion. But he cannot stop praying either to God or to God’s rival—to self, society, world, flesh, or even devil. Every life that is not totally inert in praying either to God or God’s adversary.

     What do we really mean, whom do we mean, when we say, “My God”? In what sense mine? May our God not be but an idol we exploit, and in due course our doom?

     There is a fearful and wonderful passage in Kierkegaard’s Entweder-Oder which, if we transfer it to this connection, stirs thoughts deeper than its own tragedy. The seduced, heart-broken, writes to the seducer.

     “John! I do not say my John. That I now see you never were. I am heavily punished for ever letting such an idea be my joy. Yet—yet, mine you are—my seducer, my deceiver, my enemy, my murderer, the spring of my calamity, the grave of my joy, the abyss of my misery. I call you mine, and I am yours—your curse for ever. Oh, do not think I will slay you and put a dagger into you. But flee where you will, I am yours, to the earth’s end yours. Love a hundred others but I am yours. I am yours in your last hour, I am yours, yours, yours—your curse.”

     Beware lest the whole trend of the soul fix on a diety that turns a doom. There is the prayer which makes God our judgment as well as one which makes Him our joy.

     Prayer is the nature of our hell as well as our heaven.

     Our hell is ceaseless, passionate, fruitless, hopeless, gnawing prayer. It is the heart churning, churning grinding itself out in misery. It is life’s passion and struggle surging back on itself like a barren, salt, corroding sea. It is the heart’s blood rising like a fountain only to fall back on us in red rain. It is prayer which we cannot stop, addressed to nothing, and obtaining nothing. It calls into space and night. Or it is addressed to self, and it aggravates the wearing action of self on self. Our double being revolves on itself, like two millstones with nothing to grind.

     And prayer is our heaven. It goes home to God, and attains there, and rests there. We are “in Christ,” whose whole existence is prayer, who is wholly prsz tsn Qesn for us. He is there to extinguish our hell and make our heaven—far more to quench our wrath and our seething than God’s.

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

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
when health is lost, something is lost;
when character is lost, all is lost.
--- Billy Graham

Sooner or later, man has always had to decide
whether he worships his own power
or the power of God.
--- Arnold J. Toynbee

Father, I abandon myself into your hands, do with me what you will. For whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all, let only your will be done in me, as in all your creatures.
--- Charles de Foucauld

Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.
--- John Bunyan
... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     4. Hereupon some of the deserters, having no other way, leaped down from the wall immediately, while others of them went out of the city with stones, as if they would fight them; but thereupon they fled away to the Romans. But here a worse fate accompanied these than what they had found within the city; and they met with a quicker despatch from the too great abundance they had among the Romans, than they could have done from the famine among the Jews; for when they came first to the Romans, they were puffed up by the famine, and swelled like men in a dropsy; after which they all on the sudden overfilled those bodies that were before empty, and so burst asunder, excepting such only as were skillful enough to restrain their appetites, and by degrees took in their food into bodies unaccustomed thereto. Yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews' bellies; for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out, and for these did the seditious search them all; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, insomuch that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve Attic [drams], as was sold before for twenty-five. But when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps, that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night's time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected.

     5. When Titus came to the knowledge of this wicked practice, he had like to have surrounded those that had been guilty of it with his horse, and have shot them dead; and he had done it, had not their number been so very great, and those that were liable to this punishment would have been manifold more than those whom they had slain. However, he called together the commanders of the auxiliary troops he had with him, as well as the commanders of the Roman legions, [for some of his own soldiers had been also guilty herein, as he had been informed,] and had great indignation against both sorts of them, and said to them, "What! have any of my own soldiers done such things as this out of the uncertain hope of gain, without regarding their own weapons, which are made of silver and gold? Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now first of all begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?" for this infamous practice was said to be spread among some of his own soldiers also. Titus then threatened that he would put such men to death, if any of them were discovered to be so insolent as to do so again; moreover, he gave it in charge to the legions, that they should make a search after such as were suspected, and should bring them to him. But it appeared that the love of money was too hard for all their dread of punishment, and a vehement desire of gain is natural to men, and no passion is so venturesome as covetousness; otherwise such passions have certain bounds, and are subordinate to fear. But in reality it was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction. This, therefore, which was forbidden by Caesar under such a threatening, was ventured upon privately against the deserters, and these barbarians would go out still, and meet those that ran away before any saw them, and looking about them to see that no Roman spied them, they dissected them, and pulled this polluted money out of their bowels; which money was still found in a few of them, while yet a great many were destroyed by the bare hope there was of thus getting by them, which miserable treatment made many that were deserting to return back again into the city.

     6. But as for John, when he could no longer plunder the people, he betook himself to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils, which had been given to the temple; as also many of those vessels which were necessary for such as ministered about holy things, the caldrons, the dishes, and the tables; nay, he did not abstain from those pouring vessels that were sent them by Augustus and his wife; for the Roman emperors did ever both honor and adorn this temple; whereas this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners, and said to those that were with him, that it was proper for them to use Divine things, while they were fighting for the Divinity, without fear, and that such whose warfare is for the temple should live of the temple; on which account he emptied the vessels of that sacred wine and oil, which the priests kept to be poured on the burnt-offerings, and which lay in the inner court of the temple, and distributed it among the multitude, who, in their anointing themselves and drinking, used [each of them] above an hin of them. And here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern I am under dictates to me, and it is this: I suppose, that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, that the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom 20 perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.

     7. And, indeed, why do I relate these particular calamities? while Manneus, the son of Lazarus, came running to Titus at this very time, and told him that there had been carried out through that one gate, which was intrusted to his care, no fewer than a hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dead bodies, in the interval between the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] when the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz]. This was itself a prodigious multitude; and though this man was not himself set as a governor at that gate, yet was he appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying these bodies out, and so was obliged of necessity to number them, while the rest were buried by their relations; though all their burial was but this, to bring them away, and cast them out of the city. After this man there ran away to Titus many of the eminent citizens, and told him the entire number of the poor that were dead, and that no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates, though still the number of the rest could not be discovered; and they told him further, that when they were no longer able to carry out the dead bodies of the poor, they laid their corpses on heaps in very large houses, and shut them up therein; as also that a medimnus of wheat was sold for a talent; and that when, a while afterward, it was not possible to gather herbs, by reason the city was all walled about, some persons were driven to that terrible distress as to search the common sewers and old dunghills of cattle, and to eat the dung which they got there; and what they of old could not endure so much as to see they now used for food. When the Romans barely heard all this, they commiserated their case; while the seditious, who saw it also, did not repent, but suffered the same distress to come upon themselves; for they were blinded by that fate which was already coming upon the city, and upon themselves also.

          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 26:23-26
     by D.H. Stern

23     Like silver slag overlaid on a clay pot
     are lips that burn [with friendship] over a hating heart.
24     He who hates may hide it with his speech;
     but inside, he harbors deceit.
25     He may speak pleasantly, but don’t trust him;
     for seven abominations are in his heart.
26     His hatred may be concealed by deceit,
     but his wickedness will be revealed in the assembly.

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

                Pull yourself together

     Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. --- Romans 6:13–22.

     I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot atone for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I cannot make right what is wrong, pure what is impure, holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Have I faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made a perfect Atonement, am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The great need is not to do things, but to believe things. The Redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith upon it. If I construct my faith on my experience, I produce that most unscriptural type, an isolated life, my eyes fixed on my own whiteness. Beware of the piety that has no presupposition in the Atonement of the Lord. It is of no use for anything but a sequestered life; it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every type of experience by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the presupposition of the Atonement.

     The Atonement of Jesus has to work out in practical, unobtrusive ways in my life. Every time I obey, absolute Deity is on my side, so that the grace of God and natural obedience coincide. Obedience means that I have banked everything on the Atonement, and my obedience is met immediately by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.

     Beware of the piety that denies the natural life, it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the bar of the Atonement—where is the discernment of the Atonement in this thing, and in that?

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

The Place
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                The Place

Summer is here.
  Once more the house has its
  Spray of martins, Proust's fountain
  Of small birds, whose light shadows
  Come and go in the sunshine
  Of the lawn as thoughts do
  In the mind. Watching them fly
  Is my business, not as a man vowed
  To science, who counts their returns
  To the rafters, or sifts their droppings
  For facts, recording the wave-length
  Of their screaming; my method is so
  To have them about myself
  Through the hours of this brief
  Season and to fill with their
  Movement, that it is I they build
  In and bring up their young
  To return to after the bitter
  Migrations, knowing the site
  Inviolate through its outward changes.

Selected poems, 1946-1968

OPTION 3 / The way of rejection
     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     The third option contains elements of the second, yet is significantly different. Unable to sever thought from practice, as the person utilizing the previous option of dualism is able to do, the individual refuses to sacrifice his body for his mind. He chooses to reject his own tradition completely, since he cannot separate the system of moral and religious rituals from theoretical claims.

     Individuals using options two and three agree that the truths of reason are in complete disharmony with the cognitive principles of the tradition. Neither of them allows tradition to define truth. Put in religious terms, they both agree that knowledge-claims cannot be justified by an exclusive appeal to revelation, but must be scrutinized to determine whether they are agreeable to human reason.

     A mind that is loyal to the claims of reason may find the claims of revelation degrading and insulting. The claim that divine thoughts are not human thoughts becomes, for this individual, not a justification for submission to revelation but a reason for its rejection. He finds himself incapable of accepting a divine truth which is false by human standards. Appeal to authority does not convince a mind that views loyalty to tradition as an obstacle to the growth of understanding. The independent human mind then becomes the judge as to what is to count as truth.

     The first option, the way of insulation, rejected knowledge which is unconfirmed by tradition. The second option rejected the truth-claims of tradition but accepted its practical demands. The third option rejects both the cognitive and the practical on the grounds that it is impossible to sever the private, theoretical self from the public, active self. A man choosing the third option cannot subscribe to a tradition—even though that tradition only affects actions—if in order to justify those actions, he must posit specific theological claims (e.g., a god of history, revelation) which he knows to be false.

     However the unified and integrated person may not have to reject tradition. There can be another way to resolve the conflict of tradition and reason.

Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     October 9

     And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” --- Luke 1:46–47.

     Mary’s Magnificat was a song of faith.  Spurgeon's Sermons on Old Testament Women, Vol. 1: (C. H. Spurgeon Sermon Series)  Have you ever realized the difficulties under which this hymn was composed and sung? If not, permit me to remind you that the wondrous birth, which had been promised to her, had not then been accomplished, and in her mind there must have been a consciousness that many would doubt her statements. The visitation of the angel and all its consequences would seem to be ridiculous and even impossible to many to whom she might venture to mention the circumstances—no, more than that—would subject her to many cruel insinuations, which would scandalize her character. That which conferred on her the highest honor that ever fell to woman would, in the judgment of many, bring on her the greatest possible dishonor. We know what suspicions even Joseph had and that it was only a revelation from God that could remove them. Mary must have been sorely troubled if she had been influenced by her natural feelings and had been swayed by external circumstances.

     It was only her wondrous faith—in some respects, her matchless faith, for no other woman had ever had such a blessed trial of faith as she had—only her matchless faith that she would be the mother of the holy child, Jesus, sustained her. Even before there was an accomplishment of the things that were told her by the angel, she could sing, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Unbelief would have said, “Wait.” Fear would have said, “Be silent.” But faith could not wait and could not be silent; she must sing, and sing she did most sweetly. I call your attention to this fact because when we ourselves have a song to sing to the Lord, we may perhaps be tempted not to sing it until our hopes are accomplished and our faith has been exchanged for fact. Do not wait, for your song will spoil if you do. There is another song to be sung for the accomplished mercy, but there is a song to be sung now for the promised mercy; therefore, do not let the present hour lose the song that is due to it.
--- C. H. Spurgeon

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

On This Day   October 9
     Scandalous Pursuits

     The modern Baptist movement began in the early 1600s; and though its leaders suffered imprisonment and death at the hands of British officials, they persevered. Among them was Benjamin Keach, born in 1640. He was converted to Christ at 18 and began pastoring ten years later. He served the Horsley Down Baptist Church in Southwark near London where he was described by associates as “earnest, self-educated, intensely evangelical, his outlook narrowed to the denomination and almost to the congregation, but wielding great influence within those limits.”

     Keach loved both children and singing—and that’s what got him into trouble. Wanting to explain Baptist beliefs to the young, he wrote a primer for them. The children loved it. The king didn’t. British constables arrested him, and on October 9, 1664 he stood a prisoner in the court of Aylesbury while the Chief Justice roared: Benjamin Keach, you are convicted of writing and publishing a seditious and scandalous book; you shall go to prison for a fortnight and the next Saturday stand in a pillory for two hours from eleven o’clock until one with a paper upon your head with this inscription: “For writing and printing and publishing a schismatical book entitled, The Child Instructor or A New and Easy Primer,” and the next Thursday to stand in the same manner and for that same time in the market at Winslow, and there your book shall openly be burnt before your face by the common hangman in disgrace of you and your doctrine, and you shall forfeit to the king’s majesty the sum of twenty pounds.

     Keach actually spent two months in prison and paid one hundred pounds, but he didn’t learn his lesson. Some time afterward he got into trouble again, this time for publishing a hymnal. English-speaking churches had previously sung only the Psalms of David, usually to ponderous tunes. In 1691 Keach published Spiritual Melody, a book of 300 lively hymns. Such a radical innovation upset his congregation, and he watched with alarm as many members left. But Keach nevertheless spent the rest of his life in the seditious and scandalous pursuits of teaching children and singing hymns.

     Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the Morning. Write down copies. …
--- Deuteronomy 6:6-8.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 9

     “Able to keep you from falling.” --- Jude 24.

     In some sense the path to heaven is very safe, but in other respects there is no road so dangerous. It is beset with difficulties. One false step (and how easy it is to take that if grace be absent), and down we go. What a slippery path is that which some of us have to tread! How many times have we to exclaim with the Psalmist, “My feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped.” If we were strong, sure-footed mountaineers, this would not matter so much; but in ourselves, how weak we are! In the best roads we soon falter, in the smoothest paths we quickly stumble. These feeble knees of ours can scarcely support our tottering weight. A straw may throw us, and a pebble can wound us; we are mere children tremblingly taking our first steps in the walk of faith, our heavenly Father holds us by the arms or we should soon be down. Oh, if we are kept from falling, how must we bless the patient power which watches over us day by day! Think, how prone we are to sin, how apt to choose danger, how strong our tendency to cast ourselves down, and these reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we have ever done, “Glory be to him, who is able to keep us from falling.” We have many foes who try to push us down. The road is rough and we are weak, but in addition to this, enemies lurk in ambush, who rush out when we least expect them, and labour to trip us up, or hurl us down the nearest precipice. Only an Almighty arm can preserve us from these unseen foes, who are seeking to destroy us. Such an arm is engaged for our defence. He is faithful that hath promised, and he is able to keep us from falling, so that with a deep sense of our utter weakness, we may cherish a firm belief in our perfect safety, and say, with joyful confidence,

     “Against me earth and hell combine,
     But on my side is power divine;
     Jesus is all, and he is mine!”

          Evening - October 9

     “But he answered her not a word.” --- Matthew 15:23.

     Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing, may take comfort from the story before us. The Saviour did not at once bestow the blessing, even though the woman had great faith in him. He intended to give it, but he waited awhile. “He answered her not a word.” Were not her prayers good? Never better in the world. Was not her case needy? Sorrowfully needy. Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She felt it overwhelmingly. Was she not earnest enough? She was intensely so. Had she no faith? She had such a high degree of it that even Jesus wondered, and said, “O woman, great is thy faith.” See then, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously. There may be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. Genuine faith may be in the soul like a hidden seed, but as yet it may not have budded and blossomed into joy and peace. A painful silence from the Saviour is the grievous trial of many a seeking soul, but heavier still is the affliction of a harsh cutting reply such as this, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. Some, like the jailer, are in a moment turned from darkness to light, but others are plants of slower growth. A deeper sense of sin may be given to you instead of a sense of pardon, and in such a case you will have need of patience to bear the heavy blow. Ah! poor heart, though Christ beat and bruise thee, or even slay thee, trust him; though he should give thee an angry word, believe in the love of his heart. Do not, I beseech thee, give up seeking or trusting my Master, because thou hast not yet obtained the conscious joy which thou longest for. Cast thyself on him, and perseveringly depend even where thou canst not rejoicingly hope.

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

Amazing Grace
     October 9


     Bourne H. Draper, 1775–1843

     How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)

     Many of us are often guilty of taking our pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders for granted. Seldom do we take time to really know them as persons or to let them know how much we appreciate their ministries.

     Where would our world be today had there never been any missionaries and ministers of the Gospel? Wherever the Gospel has been preached, churches, schools, hospitals, social improvements, and advances in civilization have followed. Even in our own local communities it is often the rescue missions and other Christian organizations that are doing the most effective work in meeting the total needs of people. How important it is, then, that we as God’s children support these leaders and organizations with our prayers and financial gifts.

     “Ye Christian Heralds” is taken from a seven-verse poem titled “Farewell to Missionaries,” which first appeared in an English newspaper in about 1803. Two years later it was reprinted in a hymnal with the title “On the Departure of the Missionaries.” One of the poem’s omitted verses not found in our hymnals is of interest:

     Set up thy throne where Satan reigns, on Africa shores, on India’s plains;
     On wilds and continents unknown, and be the universe thine own.

     The author of this text, Bourne Draper, was a Baptist minister who served most of his life in the Baptist church in Southampton, England. Although he authored a number of other works, Draper is best known today for this one hymn written as a young man while he was preparing for the Christian ministry.

     Ye Christian heralds, go proclaim salvation through Emmanuel’s name;
     to distant climes the tidings bear, and plant the Rose of Sharon there.
     God shield you with a wall of fire; with holy zeal your hearts inspire;
     bid raging winds their fury cease, and calm the tempests into peace.
     And when our labors all are o’er, then we shall meet to part no more;
     meet with the ransomed throng to fall, and crown our Savior Lord of all!

     For Today: Psalm 96; Isaiah 6:8; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:13–15; 1 Corinthians 3:9

     Determine to read in the near future a biography of some great missionary statesman. Also write a personal letter to one of your church missionaries. Then let your pastor know how much you appreciate his ministry. Reflect again on this hymn ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Monday, October 9, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 22, Monday
Year 1
Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 106:1–18
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 106:19–48
Old Testament     2 Kings 21:1–18
New Testament     1 Corinthians 10:14–11:1
Gospel     Matthew 8:28–34

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 106:1–18

1 Praise the LORD!
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD,
or declare all his praise?
3 Happy are those who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times.

4 Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you deliver them;
5 that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory in your heritage.

6 Both we and our ancestors have sinned;
we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
7 Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wonderful works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea.
8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
so that he might make known his mighty power.
9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry;
he led them through the deep as through a desert.
10 So he saved them from the hand of the foe,
and delivered them from the hand of the enemy.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them was left.
12 Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise.

13 But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
14 But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;
15 he gave them what they asked,
but sent a wasting disease among them.

16 They were jealous of Moses in the camp,
and of Aaron, the holy one of the LORD.
17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the faction of Abiram.
18 Fire also broke out in their company;
the flame burned up the wicked.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 106:19–48

19 They made a calf at Horeb
and worshiped a cast image.
20 They exchanged the glory of God
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God, their Savior,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 wondrous works in the land of Ham,
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him,
to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land,
having no faith in his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents,
and did not obey the voice of the LORD.
26 Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them
that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 and would disperse their descendants among the nations,
scattering them over the lands.

28 Then they attached themselves to the Baal of Peor,
and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29 they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and interceded,
and the plague was stopped.
31 And that has been reckoned to him as righteousness
from generation to generation forever.

32 They angered the LORD at the waters of Meribah,
and it went ill with Moses on their account;
33 for they made his spirit bitter,
and he spoke words that were rash.

34 They did not destroy the peoples,
as the LORD commanded them,
35 but they mingled with the nations
and learned to do as they did.
36 They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to the demons;
38 they poured out innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
and the land was polluted with blood.
39 Thus they became unclean by their acts,
and prostituted themselves in their doings.

40 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
and he abhorred his heritage;
41 he gave them into the hand of the nations,
so that those who hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them,
and they were brought into subjection under their power.
43 Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their purposes,
and were brought low through their iniquity.
44 Nevertheless he regarded their distress
when he heard their cry.
45 For their sake he remembered his covenant,
and showed compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
46 He caused them to be pitied
by all who held them captive.

47 Save us, O LORD our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

48 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”
Praise the LORD!

Old Testament
2 Kings 21:1–18

21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, following the abominable practices of the nations that the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he erected altars for Baal, made a sacred pole, as King Ahab of Israel had done, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 He built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my name.” 5 He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 He made his son pass through fire; he practiced soothsaying and augury, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7 The carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever; 8 I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land that I gave to their ancestors, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they did not listen; Manasseh misled them to do more evil than the nations had done that the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

10 The LORD said by his servants the prophets, 11 “Because King Manasseh of Judah has committed these abominations, has done things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has caused Judah also to sin with his idols; 12 therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13 I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line for Samaria, and the plummet for the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will cast off the remnant of my heritage, and give them into the hand of their enemies; they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, 15 because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their ancestors came out of Egypt, even to this day.”

16 Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he caused Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.

17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, all that he did, and the sin that he committed, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

18 Manasseh slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza. His son Amon succeeded him.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 10:14–11:1

14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, 26 for “the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.” 27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I mean the other’s conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved. 11 1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Matthew 8:28–34

28 When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. 33 The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.

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

Silence Through Schism and
Two Reformations: 451-1500 3     
Diarmaid MacCulloch   University of Edinburgh

Silence Transformed:
Third Reformation 1500-1700 4     
Diarmaid MacCulloch   University of Edinburgh

Humbling Gospel 1 Cor 1-2
John MacArthur

Heart of Biblical Ministry
John MacArthur

Can We Know What the Scripture Means?
John MacArthur

How Christ Loves His Own John 13:1
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The Truth About Hell
John MacArthur

Sovereign Servant Isa 53:10-12
John MacArthur

Helmet of Salvation Eph 6:17
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Consequences of Non-expositional Preaching
John MacArthur

Pattern for Biblical Fellowship
John MacArthur

Pattern for Biblical Fellowship 2
John MacArthur

True Knowledge of the True God 1
John MacArthur

True Knowledge of the True God 2
John MacArthur

Sovereignty and Freedom
John MacArthur

Abusing the Goodness of God Rom 2:1-5
John MacArthur

How to Be Reconciled with God Rom 3:25-31
John MacArthur

Love: The Greatest Thing 1 Cor 13:1-3
John MacArthur

The Perfections of Love 1 Cor 13:4-7
John MacArthur

The Perfections of Love 2 Cor 13:4-7
John MacArthur

The Persistence of Love 1 1 Cor 13:8-13
John MacArthur

The Persistence of Love 2 1 Cor 13:8-13
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Giving Thanks to the Spirit Rom 8:1-3
John MacArthur

Exhortation to a Faithful Church 1 Thes 3-4
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