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Sunday 9/10/2017
1 Corinthians 14-16
Yesterday   Tomorrow

Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues

1 Corinthians 14:1     Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. 2 For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church. 5 Now I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

     6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. 11 If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.

     13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive. 15 What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you say a blessing with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since the outsider does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may give thanks well enough, but the other person is not built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you; 19 nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

     20 Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; rather, be infants in evil, but in thinking be adults. 21 In the law it is written,

“By people of strange tongues
and by the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people;
yet even then they will not listen to me,”

says the Lord. 22 Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, an unbeliever or outsider who enters is reproved by all and called to account by all. 25 After the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are disclosed, that person will bow down before God and worship him, declaring, “God is really among you.”

Orderly Worship

     26 What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in church and speak to themselves and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.

     (As in all the churches of the saints, 34 women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?)

     37 Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have spiritual powers, must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. 38 Anyone who does not recognize this is not to be recognized. 39 So, my friends, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues; 40 but all things should be done decently and in order.

The Resurrection of Christ (Cp Mk 16.9—20)

1 Corinthians 15:1     Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.

     3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them— though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

The Resurrection of the Dead (Cp 1 Thess 4.13—18)

     12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

     But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

     23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

     29 Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

     30 And why are we putting ourselves in danger every hour? 31 I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters, as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If with merely human hopes I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what would I have gained by it? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”

     33     Do not be deceived:

“Bad company ruins good morals.”

     34 Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

     35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.

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

     50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment,in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

     56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

     58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

The Collection for the Saints

1 Corinthians 16:1     Now concerning the collection for the saints: you should follow the directions I gave to the churches of Galatia. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

Plans for Travel (Cp Acts 19.21)

     5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia—for I intend to pass through Macedonia— 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way, wherever I go. 7 I do not want to see you now just in passing, for I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

     10 If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord just as I am; 11 therefore let no one despise him. Send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I am expecting him with the brothers.

     12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but he was not at all willing to come now. He will come when he has the opportunity.

Final Messages and Greetings

     13 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

     15 Now, brothers and sisters, you know that members of the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints; 16 I urge you to put yourselves at the service of such people, and of everyone who works and toils with them. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence; 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. So give recognition to such persons.

     19 The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord. 20 All the brothers and sisters send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.      21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.

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

  • Submission
  • World Christianity, 1910-2010
  • Ask (Ep 5)

#1 Andene Christopherson  
Gordon College


#2 Todd Johnson   
Gordon College


#3    Albert Mohler


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     (Sept 10)    Bob Gass

     Paul writes, ‘I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.’ There is an order to how God operates. Just as Christ was submitted to God, husbands are supposed to be submitted to Christ, and wives are supposed to be submitted to godly husbands. Note the words, ‘the man is the head of the woman’ - not all women. This arrangement doesn’t apply in the workplace or in other relationships. When we fail to honour God’s structure, Satan can enter our homes just as he entered the first home in Eden. ‘Submission’ is an unpopular word today. But when we understand it from a biblical perspective, we see that it’s a positive force to accomplish good, not a negative force to subject women to an inferior status. The Greek word for submission, hupotasso, means to willingly place oneself under the authority of another. It doesn’t involve coercion, but rather a willingness to take who and what God made you, and submit it to the authority of another. In the husband’s case, to God, and in the wife’s case, to God and to her husband. Paul writes, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25 NIV 2011 Edition). When a husband loves his wife that way, and gives himself to her, she will gladly submit to his leadership in the home. It’s her husband’s love and protection that releases her into the fullness of her God-given potential.

(1 Co 11:3) 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. ESV

Luke 17:1-19
Ps 91-93

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     The son of one of the Boston Tea Party “Indians,” he graduated from Harvard and eventually became Massachusetts Speaker of the House. At age 32, President James Madison appointed him the youngest Justice on the Supreme Court. He served 34 years, and helped establish the illegality of the slave trade in the Amistad case. His name was Joseph Story, and he died this day, September 10, 1845. A founder of the Harvard Law School, Joseph Story stated: “Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Grace is not opposed to effort,
it is opposed to earning.
Earning is an attitude.
Effort is an action.
Grace, you know,
does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.
--- Dallas Willard
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus&8217;s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

Jesus Christ doesn’t just give us truths; he is the truth. Jesus Christ is the prophet to end all prophets. He gives us hard-copy words from God, truths on which we can build our lives, truths we have to submit to, truths we have to obey, and truths we have to build our lives on, but he himself is the truth.
--- Timothy Keller

Men of the most brilliant intelligence can be born, live and die in error and falsehood. In them, intelligence is neither a good, nor even an asset. The difference between more or less intelligent men is like the difference between criminals condemned to life imprisonment in smaller or larger cells. The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like a condemned man who is proud of his large cell.
--- Two Moral Essays: Draft for a Statement of Human Obligations, and, Human Personality

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     4. And now Vespasian sent Placidus against those that had fled from Gadara, with five hundred horsemen, and three thousand footmen, while he returned himself to Cesarea, with the rest of the army. But as soon as these fugitives saw the horsemen that pursued them just upon their backs, and before they came to a close fight, they ran together to a certain village, which was called Bethennabris, where finding a great multitude of young men, and arming them, partly by their own consent, partly by force, they rashly and suddenly assaulted Placidus and the troops that were with him. These horsemen at the first onset gave way a little, as contriving to entice them further off the wall; and when they had drawn them into a place fit for their purpose, they made their horse encompass them round, and threw their darts at them. So the horsemen cut off the flight of the fugitives, while the foot terribly destroyed those that fought against them; for those Jews did no more than show their courage, and then were destroyed; for as they fell upon the Romans when they were joined close together, and, as it were, walled about with their entire armor, they were not able to find any place where the darts could enter, nor were they any way able to break their ranks, while they were themselves run through by the Roman darts, and, like the wildest of wild beasts, rushed upon the point of others' swords; so some of them were destroyed, as cut with their enemies' swords upon their faces, and others were dispersed by the horsemen.

     5. Now Placidus's concern was to exclude them in their flight from getting into the village; and causing his horse to march continually on that side of them, he then turned short upon them, and at the same time his men made use of their darts, and easily took their aim at those that were the nearest to them, as they made those that were further off turn back by the terror they were in, till at last the most courageous of them brake through those horsemen and fled to the wall of the village. And now those that guarded the wall were in great doubt what to do; for they could not bear the thoughts of excluding those that came from Gadara, because of their own people that were among them; and yet, if they should admit them, they expected to perish with them, which came to pass accordingly; for as they were crowding together at the wall, the Roman horsemen were just ready to fall in with them. However, the guards prevented them, and shut the gates, when Placidus made an assault upon them, and fighting courageously till it was dark, he got possession of the wall, and of the people that were in the city, when the useless multitude were destroyed; but those that were more potent ran away, and the soldiers plundered the houses, and set the village on fire. As for those that ran out of the village, they stirred up such as were in the country, and exaggerating their own calamities, and telling them that the whole army of the Romans were upon them, they put them into great fear on every side; so they got in great numbers together, and fled to Jericho, for they knew no other place that could afford them any hope of escaping, it being a city that had a strong wall, and a great multitude of inhabitants. But Placidus, relying much upon his horsemen, and his former good success, followed them, and slew all that he overtook, as far as Jordan; and when he had driven the whole multitude to the river-side, where they were stopped by the current, [for it had been augmented lately by rains, and was not fordable,] he put his soldiers in array over against them; so the necessity the others were in provoked them to hazard a battle, because there was no place whither they could flee. They then extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them, as well as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of them were slain, while the number of those that were unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious. There were besides two thousand and two hundred taken prisoners. A mighty prey was taken also, consisting of asses, and sheep, and camels, and oxen.

     6. Now this destruction that fell upon the Jews, as it was not inferior to any of the rest in itself, so did it still appear greater than it really was; and this, because not only the whole country through which they fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltites was also full of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river. And now Placidus, after this good success that he had, fell violently upon the neighboring smaller cities and villages; when he took Abila, and Julias, and Bezemoth, and all those that lay as far as the lake Asphaltites, and put such of the deserters into each of them as he thought proper. He then put his soldiers on board the ships, and slew such as had fled to the lake, insomuch that all Perea had either surrendered themselves, or were taken by the Romans, as far as Machaerus.

     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 24:17-18
     by D.H. Stern

17     Don’t rejoice when your enemy falls;
don’t let your heart be glad when he stumbles.
18     For ADONAI might see it, and it would displease him;
he might withdraw his anger from your foe.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
Baptism for the dead?
     1 Corinthians 15:29

     As I read this in Corinth there were people being baptized for departed loved ones. We all love and dearly miss someone who has died. Though they may have been very kind to us they said they did not know Jesus and they did not live the life style we think they should have. We are very judgmental of other people’s lifestyles even though the Bible tells us not to judge, least we be judged. We desperately hope that our departed loved ones are with the Lord and who among us has the right to say who will be and who will not be?

     Pagan Corinth was steeped in all kinds of religion. It is important to remember out of what these early Christians were emerging from. As people living in that time came to the Lord Jesus they thought about their loved ones who had died not knowing Jesus and they apparently wanted to stand in for them in baptism. That tells you how important baptism was to the earliest Christians.

     The Greek indicates that Paul is not saying that being baptized for the dead is something we should do, but rather that if you don’t believe in the resurrection (Jesus returning from the grave is the point) why would you want to stand in for departed loved ones and be baptized for someone who has died?

     I think Paul is asking a question about what some have been doing, but I don’t believe he is promoting their actions.


My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                Missionary munitions

     Worshipping as Occasion serves. When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. --- John 1:48.

     We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the big crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of, it will not put anything into us. ‘If God gives the call, of course I will rise to the occasion.’ You will not unless you have risen to the occasion in the workshop, unless you have been the real thing before God there. If you are not doing the thing that lies nearest, because God has engineered it, when the crisis comes instead of being revealed as fit, you will be revealed as unfit. Crises always reveal character.

     The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. The time comes when there is no more ‘fig-tree’ life possible, when it is out into the open, out into the glare and into the work, and you will find yourself of no value there if you have not been worshipping as occasion serves you in your home. Worship aright in your private relationships, then when God sets you free you will be ready, because in the unseen life which no one saw but God you have become perfectly fit, and when the strain comes you can be relied upon by God.

     ‘I can’t be expected to live the sanctified life in the circumstances I am in; I have no time for praying just now, no time for Bible reading, my opportunity hasn’t come yet; when it does, of course I shall be all right.’ No, you will not. If you have not been worshipping as occasion serves, when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.

     The workshop of missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshipping life of the saint.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Love (Tares)
     the Poetry of RS Thomas

                Love (Tares)

Job Davies, eighty-five
  Winters old, and still alive
  After the slow poison
  And treachery of the seasons.

Miserable? Kick my arse!
  It needs more than the rain's hearse,
  Wind-drawn, to pull me off
  The great perch of my laugh.

What's living but courage?
  Paunch full of hot porridge,
  Nerves strengthened with tea,
  Peat-black, dawn found me

Mowing where the grass grew,
  Bearded with golden dew.
  Rhythm of the long scythe
  Kept this tall frame lithe.

What to do? Stay green
  Never mind the machine,
  Whose fuel is human souls.
  Live large, man, and dream small.

Selected poems, 1946-1968

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Numbers 22:15–20

     When a person is going to sin, Satan dances with him until he finishes the sin..

Numbers 22:15–20 / Then Balak sent other dignitaries, more numerous and distinguished than the first. They came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak son of Zippor: Please do net refuse to come to me. I will reward you richly and I will do anything you ask of me. Only come and damn this people for me.” Balaam replied to Balak’s officials, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, big or little, contrary to the command of the Lord my God. So you, too, stay here overnight, and let me find out what else the Lord may say to me.” That night God came to Balaam and said to him, “If these men have came to invite you, you may go with them. But whatever I command you, that you shall do.”

     MIDRASH TEXT / Numbers Rabbah 20, 11 /
     That night God came to Balaam. This is what the text says,
  “In a dream, a night vision,
  When deep sleep falls on men.…
  Then He opens men’s understanding …
  To turn man away from an action,
  To suppress pride in man.”

     The Holy One, praised is He, hid from him [Balaam] that his going would destroy his life and take him to the Pit? “To bring him back from the Pit, that he may bask in the light of life” (
Job 33:30). He [Balaam] destroyed his life by going, for when a person is going to sin, Satan dances with him until he finishes the sin. when he is destroyed, he [Satan] returns and informs him, and thus he says,

  “Thoughtlessly he follows her,
  Like an ox going to the slaughter,
  Like a fool to the stocks for punishment—
  Until the arrow pierces his liver.
  He is like a bird rushing into a trap,
  Not knowing his life is at stake.”
Proverbs 7:22–23.

     The Holy One, praised is He, hid from the wicked Balaam until he went and destroyed his life. When he had lost his glory and realized it, he began to pray for his life, “May I die the death of the upright” (
Numbers 23:10).


     Three times, Balak, king of Moab, asks Balaam the prophet to curse the Israelites. And three times, Balaam instead blesses them. In the third and final blessing, Balaam utters the famous words מַה טֹּבוּ/Mah tovu, “How fair are your tents, O Jacob, your dwellings, O Israel.” These words are used today as an opening prayer upon entering a sanctuary to worship.

     In the section above from the Book of Numbers, Balaam, who has previously tried to refuse the request of Balak, finally gives in. Balaam notes, however, that he can do only what God tells him. Even though Balaam subsequently blesses the Israelites—not once but three times—and does so in the most beautiful and poetic manner possible, the Rabbis still saw Balaam as “the wicked.” And because Balaam was wicked, the Holy One, praised is He, God, hid from him [Balaam] that his going to curse the Israelites would destroy his life. Not only is Balaam’s life destroyed, but his sins also will take him to the Pit, that is, the closest concept to our idea of hell.

     The Rabbis introduce the notion that God offers a warning to us as we choose good or evil. God, we are told, comes to people while they sleep to prevent them from sinning, showing them, in a dream, the right way to act. The proof is in several verses from the Book of Job, though the Rabbis quote only the parts that are needed by them. The entire section reads:

  “In a dream, a night vision,
  When deep sleep falls on men,
  While they slumber on their beds,
  Then He opens men’s understanding,
  And by disciplining them leaves His signature
  To turn man away from an action.
  To suppress pride in man.”

     When a person heeds God’s instruction, God is able—as the chapter in Job concludes—“to bring him [the repentant person] back from the Pit, that he may bask in the light of life.”

     He, Balaam, destroyed his life by choosing to go with the emissaries of Balak to curse the Israelites. The Rabbis bring proof for Balaam’s folly: When a person is going to sin (and the Rabbis use “going” in the sense of both “traveling” and “being on the verge of”), Satan, the metaphor for the evil urge in humans and thus the symbol of all the evil forces in the world, dances with him until he finishes the sin. Dancing is a form of both celebration and accompaniment—celebration, because the sin is actually enjoyable; accompaniment, so that the sinner not be lonely and turn back from the impending transgression. “Dancing” is often a euphemism for sex. When he, the person, is destroyed, that is, when he has done the sinful deed and has destroyed his life, he, Satan, returns and informs him that his life is wrecked.

     The seventh chapter of Proverbs describes a temptress who causes men to sin. The image of a female tempting a male is intentional: “A woman comes toward him dressed like a harlot, with set purpose” (
Proverbs 7:10). When a man gives in to his evil urge,

  “Thoughtlessly he follows her …
  Not knowing his life is at stake.”

     Just as Satan does not inform the sinner that his life is ruined until after the deed, so the Holy One, praised is He, hid from the wicked Balaam the fact that he was causing his undoing until he went and destroyed his life. When he had lost his glory by losing his goodness and godliness and realized it and saw that his future would be “the Pit,” that is, hell, he began to pray for his life. The Rabbis quote a verse from Balaam’s later speech: “May I die the death of the upright” (
Numbers 23:10). Balaam thus acknowledged that he had ruined his own life.

Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     September 10

     Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.
--- Zechariah 13:7.

     What [caused the disciples to scatter]? (Works of John Flavel (6 Vol. Set)) They were not accustomed to do so. They never did so afterwards. They would not have done so now had there been influences from heaven on them. But how then would Christ’s sorrows have been extreme, without succor, if they had stuck to him in his troubles? No, Christ must not have the least comfort, and therefore the Lord for a time withholds his encouraging influences from them, and then they were as weak as other people.

     As God permitted it, so the effectiveness of that temptation was much greater than ordinary, it was an hour when darkness reigned. Never had the disciples met with such a storm before. The Devil would have sifted and separated them so that their faith utterly failed, had Christ not secured it by his prayer for them. So it was an extraordinary trial that was on them.

     That which contributed to their relapse, as a special cause of it, was the remaining corruptions that were in their hearts. Their knowledge was but little and their faith not much.

     Do not censure them in your thoughts nor despise them for their weakness. Neither say in your heart, Had I been there, I would never have done as they did. They thought as little of doing what they did, and their souls detested it as much. But here you may see where a soul that fears God may be carried, if its corruptions are irritated by strong temptation, and God withholds usual influences.

     [But] the outcome of their apostasy ended far better than it began—the Morning was overcast, but the Evening was clear.

     Peter repents of his denial of Christ and never denied him more. All the rest likewise returned to Christ and never abandoned him anymore. And they who dared not acknowledge Christ afterwards confessed him openly before councils and rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for his sake. Those who started at every sound became as bold as lions and did not fear any danger but sealed their confession of Christ with their blood. For though they abandoned him, it was not voluntarily, but by surprisal. Though they abandoned him, they still loved him; though they fled from him, there still remained a gracious principle in them; the root of the matter was still in them, which recovered them again.
--- John Flavel

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

On This Day
     49 City Road  September 10

     Jabez Bunting was buried near John Wesley, but other early Methodists actually ended up in Wesley’s grave. They considered it high honor to have their death dust mingled with that of the great evangelist. The crowded tomb is located behind Wesley’s Chapel on London’s City Road. In the late 1770s Wesley built his new chapel there, then built a manse next door. He moved in on September 10, 1779, writing in his journal, “This night I lodged in the new house in London. How many more nights have I to spend here?”

     The answer—11 years. He died in ripe old age, his longevity attributable to several secrets contained in his new home. Today’s visitors are shown an exact replica of his chamber horse. Wesley valued exercise and considered horseback riding the best, so he designed a towering chair with tall coils and springs that allowed him to bounce up and down, hair flying and falling, until his heart was racing and his clothing drenched with sweat.

     Wesley’s house also contains a primitive tabletop device for generating electricity. He believed that regular shocks of electricity were good for one’s health, and he became such a forceful advocate of electrical medicine that his sick friends lined up at his door each day for “treatment.”

     The real power room of Methodism was Wesley’s tiny prayer closet with its small table, tall window, and open Bible. It adjoined his bedroom, and here Wesley stayed spiritually fit.

     It was here at 49 City Road in London, a narrow brick building of five floors, that Wesley realized he was dying. He went to his room and asked for a half hour alone. The message flew through London, “Mr. Wesley is very ill! Pray!” Friends gathered, and on February 27, 1791, he recited a hymn to them: I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath / And when my voice is lost in death, / Praise shall employ my nobler powers. / My days of praise shall ne’er be past. He spoke his last words, “The best of all is, God is with us. Farewell.” And then John Wesley, who often said that his followers “died well,” did so himself.

     As the saying goes, “Exercise is good for your body, but religion helps you in every way. It promises life now and forever.” These words are worthwhile and should not be forgotten.
--- 1 Timothy 4:8-9.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - September 10

     "And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him." --- Mark 3:13.

     Here was sovereignty. Impatient spirits may fret and fume, because they are not called to the highest places in the ministry; but reader be it thine to rejoice that Jesus calleth whom he wills. If he shall leave me to be a doorkeeper in his house, I will cheerfully bless him for his grace in permitting me to do anything in his service. The call of Christ’s servants comes from above. Jesus stands on the mountain, evermore above the world in holiness, earnestness, love and power. Those whom he calls must go up the mountain to him, they must seek to rise to his level by living in constant communion with him. They may not be able to mount to classic honours, or attain scholastic eminence, but they must like Moses go up into the mount of God and have familiar intercourse with the unseen God, or they will never be fitted to proclaim the Gospel of peace. Jesus went apart to hold high fellowship with the Father, and we must enter into the same divine companionship if we would bless our fellowmen. No wonder that the apostles were clothed with power when they came down fresh from the mountain where Jesus was. This Morning we must endeavour to ascend the mount of communion, that there we may be ordained to the lifework for which we are set apart. Let us not see the face of man to-day till we have seen Jesus. Time spent with him is laid out at blessed interest. We too shall cast out devils and work wonders if we go down into the world girded with that divine energy which Christ alone can give. It is of no use going to the Lord’s battle till we are armed with heavenly weapons. We must see Jesus, this is essential. At the mercy-seat we will linger till he shall manifest himself unto us as he doth not unto the world, and until we can truthfully say, “We were with him in the Holy Mount.”

          Evening - September 10

     “Evening wolves.”
--- Habakkuk 1:8.

     While preparing the present volume, this particular expression recurred to me so frequently, that in order to be rid of its constant importunity I determined to give a page to it. The Evening wolf, infuriated by a day of hunger, was fiercer and more ravenous than he would have been in the Morning. May not the furious creature represent our doubts and fears after a day of distraction of mind, losses in business, and perhaps ungenerous tauntings from our fellow men? How our thoughts howl in our ears, “Where is now thy God?” How voracious and greedy they are, swallowing up all suggestions of comfort, and remaining as hungry as before. Great Shepherd, slay these Evening wolves, and bid thy sheep lie down in green pastures, undisturbed by insatiable unbelief. How like are the fiends of hell to Evening wolves, for when the flock of Christ are in a cloudy and dark day, and their sun seems going down, they hasten to tear and to devour. They will scarcely attack the Christian in the daylight of faith, but in the gloom of soul conflict they fall upon him. O thou who hast laid down thy life for the sheep, preserve them from the fangs of the wolf.

     False teachers who craftily and industriously hunt for the precious life, devouring men by their false-hoods, are as dangerous and detestable as Evening wolves. Darkness is their element, deceit is their character, destruction is their end. We are most in danger from them when they wear the sheep’s skin. Blessed is he who is kept from them, for thousands are made the prey of grievous wolves that enter within the fold of the church.

     What a wonder of grace it is when fierce persecutors are converted, for then the wolf dwells with the lamb, and men of cruel ungovernable dispositions become gentle and teachable. O Lord, convert many such: for such we will pray to-night.

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

Amazing Grace
     September 10


     Words and Music by Jack Hayford, 1934–

     O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! --- Psalm 8:1

     There are many attributes of the Lord that should prompt our response of adoration and worship: His holiness, His power, His love … A very popular contemporary song by the Rev. Jack Hayford, senior pastor of the Church of the Way in Van Nuys, California, also teaches that the very regal majesty of Christ deserves our praise. This text further reminds us that Christ’s dominion over principalities, His power, and His absolute majesty in heaven are for the benefit of those who trust and follow Him here and now.

     Pastor Hayford relates the following account for the writing of “Majesty:”

     In 1977, my wife Anna and I spent our vacation in Great Britain, traveling throughout the land from the south country and Wales to the northern parts of Scotland. It was the same year as Queen Elizabeth’s 25th Anniversary of her coronation, and symbols of royalty were abundantly present beyond the usual.

     While viewing many of the ancient castles throughout the land, Pastor Hayford began to reflect on the truth that the provisions of Christ for the believer not only include our forgiveness for sin but provide a restoration to a royal relationship with God as sons and daughters born into the heavenly family through His Majesty.

     As Anna and I drove along together, at once the opening lyrics and melody of “Majesty” simply came to my heart, I seemed to feel something new of what it meant to be His—to be raised to a partnership with Him in His throne. Upon returning to our home in California, I was finally able to complete the song.

     Pastor Jack Hayford provides this interpretation for his song:

     “Majesty” describes the kingly, lordly, gloriously regal nature of our Savior—but not simply as an objective statement in worship of which He is fully worthy. “Majesty” is also a statement of the fact that our worship, when begotten in spirit and in truth, can align us with His throne in such a way that His Kingdom authority flows to us—to overflow us, to free us and channel through us. We are rescued from death, restored to the inheritance of sons and daughters, qualified for victory in battle against the adversary, and destined for the Throne forever in His presence.

     * * * *

     Majesty, worship His majesty—
     Unto Jesus be all glory, power and praise—
     Majesty, kingdom authority
          flow from His throne unto His own,
     His anthem raise.
     So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus—
     Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus, the King.
     Majesty, worship His majesty—
     Jesus who died, now glorified,
     King of all kings.

     For Today: Psalm 29:4; 93:1; Hebrews 1:3; 2:9; Revelation 4:11

     Allow your mind to think about the glory and majesty of Christ as the reigning King of Heaven. Worship Him with these words ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Sunday, September 10, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 18, Sunday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 63:1–8 (9–11) 98
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 103
Old Testament     1 Kings 12:21–33
New Testament     Acts 4:18–31
Gospel     John 10:31–42

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 63:1–8 (9–11) 98

1 O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
6 when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

[ 9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
they shall be prey for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped. ]

A Psalm.

1 O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
2 The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.

7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
9 at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 103

Of David.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.

19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
obedient to his spoken word.
21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers that do his will.
22 Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Old Testament
1 Kings 12:21–33

21 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand chosen troops to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 “Thus says the LORD, You shall not go up or fight against your kindred the people of Israel. Let everyone go home, for this thing is from me.” So they heeded the word of the LORD and went home again, according to the word of the LORD.

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided there; he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 Then Jeroboam said to himself, “Now the kingdom may well revert to the house of David. 27 If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah; they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one at Bethel and before the other as far as Dan. 31 He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not Levites. 32 Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like the festival that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar; so he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. 33 He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he alone had devised; he appointed a festival for the people of Israel, and he went up to the altar to offer incense.

New Testament
Acts 4:18–31

18 So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 20 for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.

23 After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 25 it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:

     ‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
     and the peoples imagine vain things?
26     The kings of the earth took their stand,
     and the rulers have gathered together
     against the Lord and against his Messiah.’

27 For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

John 10:31–42

31 The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— 36 can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.

40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. 41 Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

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

Ask Anything Live (Episode 1)
Albert Mohler

Ask Anything Live (Episode 2)
Albert Mohler

Sexual Liberation and the Urban Poor
Jennifer Roback Morse   Gordon College

... and the Urban Poor 2
Jennifer Roback Morse   Gordon College

Theodicy, God and Suffering-Debate
Dinesh D'Souza & Bart Ehrman   
Gordon College

John Newton: A Dramatic Monologue
Norm Jones   Gordon College

Religious America - Secular Europe
Peter Berger   Gordon College

Ask Anything Live (Episode 4)
Albert Mohler

The Disciplines: Practices of Transformation
Greg Carmer   Gordon College

Simplicity    Paul Borthwick   
Gordon College

Ask Anything Live (Episode 3)
Albert Mohler