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9/18/2017
2 Corinthians 5-9
Yesterday   Tomorrow


2 Corinthians 5:1     For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

     6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

     11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

     16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


2 Corinthians 6:1     As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

     “At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
     and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

     See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

     11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12 There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13 In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

The Temple of the Living God

     14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will live in them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17     Therefore come out from them,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch nothing unclean;
then I will welcome you,
18     and I will be your father,
and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 7:1     Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.

Paul’s Joy at the Church’s Repentance

     2 Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction.

     5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—disputes without and fears within. 6 But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly). 9 Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who was wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God. 13 In this we find comfort.

     In addition to our own consolation, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by all of you. 14 For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well. 15 And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.


Encouragement to Be Generous

2 Corinthians 8:1     We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2 for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4 begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— 5 and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6 so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

     8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— 11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15 As it is written,

“The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”

Commendation of Titus

     16 But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, he is going to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming the good news; 19 and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill. 20 We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering, 21 for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found eager in many matters, but who is now more eager than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.


The Collection for Christians at Jerusalem

2 Corinthians 9:1     Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints, 2 for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; 4 otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—in this undertaking. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.

     6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written,

     “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
     his righteousness endures forever.”

     10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the Gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

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




  • A Moment In Time
  • Hindrances to Jesus
  • Overcoming Hindrances

#1 Stan Gaede  
Gordon College


 

#2 Leon Stevenson   
Gordon College


 

#3 Leon Stevenson   
Gordon College


 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Remember to forget
     (Sept 18)    Bob Gass

     ‘If you have anything against anyone, forgive him.’

(Mt 11:25) 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; ESV

     No matter how much two people love each other, conflicts are sure to arise that call for extending grace and showing forgiveness. Do you know that couples who are happy and stay married have the same number of disagreements and conflicts as couples who are unhappy and get divorced? Statistically, that is true! It’s not the absence of conflict that preserves marriage, but the ability to manage conflict when it happens. So how do you ‘manage’ conflict? By practising the kind of self-control that keeps conflicts from mushrooming into hurtful and divisive stand-offs. It also means knowing what to do with hurt feelings like anger, disappointment, and dashed expectations. In other words, it means knowing how to forgive it and forget it. But emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember. So, what’s the answer? Remember to forget! Try to act like God, who chooses not to hold against us what He knows about us. He says in His Word: ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins’ (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV). That means if you are holding something against your spouse, there’s only one solution: forgive it and forget it. You may never forget how you’ve been hurt, but you can choose to forgive it and move on. No, it’s not easy, but you can do it. How? By remembering the things, known or unknown to others, that God has forgiven you for and extending that same grace to your spouse.

Is 30-31
Eph 4

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     A member of the Continental Congress, he not only led military expeditions during the Revolutionary War, but paid for them out of his own pocket. He built ships with which to raid the British, signed the Constitution, and was the first President pro tem of the Senate. His name was John Langdon, and he died this day, September 18, 1819. As Governor of New Hampshire, John Langdon proclaimed: “It… becomes our… Duty, not only to acknowledge, in general with the rest of Mankind, our dependence on the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, but as a People peculiarly favoured, to testify our Gratitude to the Author of all our Mercies.”

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


For light I go directly to the Source of light,
not to any of the reflections.
--- Peace Pilgrim Quote

All that I have seen
teaches me to trust God
for all I have not seen.
--- Author Unknown

Some people talk about finding God –
as if He could get lost.
--- Author Unknown

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     BOOK V.

     Containing The Interval Of Near Six Months. From The Coming Of Titus To Besiege Jerusalem, To The Great Extremity To Which The Jews Were Reduced.

     CHAPTER 1.

     Concerning The Seditions At Jerusalem And What Terrible Miseries Afflicted The City By Their Means.

     1. When therefore Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner forementioned, he came to Cesarea, having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war. Nay, indeed, while he was assisting his father at Alexandria, in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other; which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of Divine justice. Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city's destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased. But for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.

     2. For Eleazar, the son of Simon, who made the first separation of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John's insolent attempts, which he made everyday upon the people; for this man never left off murdering; but the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant who set up after him. So he being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron, who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah, the son of Chobar, a person of eminence. Each of these were followed by a great many of the zealots; these seized upon the inner court of the temple 1 and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy fronts of that court. And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage, for there was a great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses, and they scrupled not the making use of them; yet were they afraid, on account of their small number; and when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers, the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in, since he had his enemies over his head; and as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let them be at rest; nay, although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party than he could inflict upon them, yet would he not leave off assaulting them, insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another, as well as darts thrown at one another, and the temple was defiled every where with murders.

     3. But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distresses they were in, having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also; yet was he beneath their situation when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it came to pass that John did both receive and inflict great damage, and that easily, as he was fought against on both sides; and the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them, the same advantage had he, by his higher situation, over Simon. On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath, by the weapons thrown from their hands only; but was obliged to repel those that threw their darts from the temple above him, by his engines of war; for he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones, and that in no small number, by which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, but slew moreover many of the priests, as they were about their sacred ministrations. For notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices, although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand, and both suspected and watched them; while they were not so much afraid of strangers, who, although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition; for those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force, that they went over all the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself, and fell upon the priests, and those 2 that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, "O most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! 'For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction." But I must restrain myself from these passions by the rules of history, since this is not a proper time for domestical lamentations, but for historical narrations; I therefore return to the operations that follow in this sedition.

     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 25:11-14
     by D.H. Stern

11     Like apples of gold in settings of silver
     is a word appropriately spoken.
12     Like a gold earring, like a fine gold necklace
     is a wise reprover to a receptive ear.
13     Like the coldness of snow in the heat of the harvest
     is a faithful messenger to the one who sends him;
     he refreshes his master’s spirit.
14     Like clouds and wind that bring no rain
     is he who boasts of gifts he never gives.

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


                His temptation and ours

     For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. --- Hebrews 4:15.

     Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is that mentioned by St. James—“Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, viz., the kind of temptations Our Lord faced. The temptations of Jesus do not appeal to us, they have no home at all in our human nature. Our Lord’s temptations and ours move in different spheres until we are born again and become His brethren. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a man, but the temptations of God as Man. By regeneration the Son of God is formed in us, and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to make us lose what God has put into us by regeneration, viz., the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come on the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.

     Temptation means the test by an alien power of the possessions held by a personality. This makes the temptation of Our Lord explainable. After Jesus in His baptism had accepted the vocation of bearing away the sin of the world, He was immediately put by God’s Spirit into the testing machine of the devil; but He did not tire. He went through the temptation “without sin,” and retained the possessions of His personality intact.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Aside (Pieta)
     the Poetry of RS Thomas


                Aside (Pieta)

Take heart, Prytherch.
  Over you the planets stand,
  And have see more ills than yours.
  This canker was in the bone
  Before man bent to his image
  In the pool's glass. Violence has been
  And will be again. Between better
  And worse is no bad place

For a labourer, whose lot is to seem
  Stationary in traffic so fast.
  Turn aside, I said; do not turn back.
  There is no forward and no back
  In the fields, only the year's two
  Solstices, and patience between.


Selected poems, 1946-1968

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Deuteronomy 1:6–7


     The servant of a king is a king: Stick to the captain and they will bow down to you.

     BIBLE TEXT /
Deuteronomy 1:6–7 / The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying: You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Start out and make your way to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, the hill country, the Shephelah, the Negeb, the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, as far as the Great River, the river Euphrates.

     MIDRASH TEXT / Sifrei Devarim 6 / As far as the Great River, the river Euphrates. This teaches that its might and power are opposite the land of Israel. A popular proverb says, “The servant of a king is a king: Stick to the captain, and they [the people] will bow down to you.”

     Another interpretation: It [the river Euphrates] spreads out so there is no need to dig [channels] with a spade.

     Another interpretation: The river Euphrates—it grows and increases until it is crossed in boats.

     All the rivers say to the Euphrates, “Why don’t you make your voice heard like our voice, which travels so far?” It [the Euphrates] said to them, “My deeds testify about me. A person sows seeds near me—they come up in three days. He plants a shoot near me—it comes up in thirty days. Thus Scripture praises me ‘as far as the Great River, the river Euphrates,’ teaching that it grows and increases until it is crossed in boats.”

     CONTEXT

     In the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are commanded to travel into the land that has been their destination since the Exodus from Egypt. The areas of the land of Israel are mentioned, including its northeastern border, the Euphrates River. This may seem strange to the contemporary reader; the Euphrates runs through what is modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, more than two hundred miles from Israel. But indeed, in the Torah the Euphrates was seen as the natural boundary of an ideal land of Israel.

     In the Book of Genesis, when the four rivers of the Garden of Eden are mentioned, the Euphrates is cited last (
Genesis 2:14). Many commentators (including Rashi, on Talmud Shevuot 47b) understood this to mean that the Euphrates was the smallest of the rivers. It seems to be a contradiction: How could the smallest river be referred to as the Great River? The explanation is that it is great not so much because of its length, width, or depth, but because it runs parallel to the land of Israel: its might and power are opposite the land of Israel. Thus, the Euphrates is—in the words of the proverb—the “servant” to the king, the land of Israel. By being associated with the great one, it too is considered great. Hence, “The servant of a king is a king.”

     Another interpretation: The Midrash continues by delving into the meaning of the name Euphrates (פְּרָת/perat in Hebrew). Two explanations are offered that see a link to the Hebrew root פ־ר־ה/p-r-h, “to be fruitful” or “to grow.” The first: It [the river Euphrates] spreads out so there is no need to dig [channels] with a spade. The Euphrates is a great river that branches out and is thus utilized for irrigation, making the land fruitful. The second: The river Euphrates—it grows and increases until it is crossed in boats.

     All the rivers say to the Euphrates.… The Rabbis imagine that the other rivers ask the Euphrates: “If you are such a great river, why do we not hear the roar of your mighty waters?” The answer is a lesson in humility: “My deeds testify about me. I don’t need to shout or brag about my greatness; my deeds testify to how incredibly fertile I make the lands through which I run.”


Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     September 18

     For the transgression of my people he was stricken.
---
Isaiah 53:8.

     Those who meditate aright on the suffering of Christ become terror stricken in heart, and their consciences at once sink in despair. ( The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther Based on the Kaiser Chronological: Edition, With References to the Erlangen and Walch Editions, Vol. 11 (Classic Reprint) ) This terror should spring forth so that you see the severe wrath and the unchangeable earnestness of God in regard to sin and sinners, in that he was unwilling that his only and dearly loved Son should set sinners free unless he paid the costly ransom for them—an earnestness so inexpressible and unbearable that a person so immeasurably great goes to meet and suffers and dies for it. If you reflect on it deeply, that God’s Son, the eternal wisdom of the Father, himself suffers, you will indeed be terror stricken, and the more you reflect the deeper will be the impression.

     You meditate on the suffering of Christ aright if you deeply believe and never doubt the least that you are the one who thus martyred Christ. For your sins most surely did it. Thus Saint Peter struck and terrified the Jews as with a thunderbolt in Acts 2:36–37, when he spoke to them all in common: “Jesus, whom you crucified,” so that three thousand were terror stricken the same day and tremblingly cried to the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Therefore, when you view the nails piercing through his hands, firmly believe it is your work. Do you see his crown of thorns? Believe the thorns are your wicked thoughts and your other sins.

     Now see where one thorn pierces Christ, there more than a thousand thorns should pierce you, yes, eternally should they thus and even more painfully pierce you. Where one nail is driven through his hands and feet, you should eternally suffer such and even more painful nails—as will be also visited on those who let Christ’s sufferings be lost and fruitless as far as they are concerned. For this earnest mirror, Christ, will neither lie nor mock; whatever he says must be fully realized.

     Saint Bernard was so terror stricken by Christ’s sufferings that he said, “I imagined I was secure and I knew nothing of the eternal judgment passed on me in heaven, until I saw that the eternal Son of God took mercy on me, stepped forward and offered himself on my behalf in the same judgment. Ah, it does not become me still to play and remain secure when such earnestness is behind those sufferings.”
--- Martin Luther


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

On This Day
     Jerry McAuley  September 18

     McAuley Water Street Mission was named for Jerry McAuley, born in Ireland in 1839. His father, a counterfeiter, fled home to escape the law, and Jerry never knew him. His mother evidently languished in prison, and the boy was raised by his grandmother. When she couldn’t control him, he was sent to New York where he lived under the docks, drinking, fighting, and stealing from boats. In 1857 he was caught and sent to Sing Sing.

     Sing Sing inmates were forced to live in unbroken silence in cell blocks five tiers high. Each cell was a little coffin—three feet wide, six feet high, seven feet long. It was wet in the summer; icy in winter; always grim. There was no plumbing, just buckets. Cells, never disinfected, filled with vermin, lice, and fleas. Infractions were punished by flogging, the “iron collar,” or the “shower bath” in which prisoners were repeatedly drowned and revived.

     One Sunday McAuley was herded into the chapel. He was moody and miserable until he glanced on the platform and recognized a well-known prizefighter, Orville Gardner. The boxer told of finding Jesus, and McAuley listened attentively. He soon began reading the Bible, page after page, day after day. He read it through twice; then in great agony he fell to his knees—but jumped up immediately in embarrassment. He did this several times. Finally one night, resolving to kneel until he found forgiveness, he prayed and prayed. All at once it seemed something supernatural was in my room. I was afraid to open my eyes; the tears rolled off my face in great drops, and these words came to me, “My son, thy sins, which are many, are forgiven.”

     He was released in 1864, having been incarcerated seven of his 26 years. He devoted himself to rescuing other incorrigibles. Twenty years later on September 18, 1884, the huge Broadway Tabernacle was packed for his funeral, with multitudes flooding surrounding streets. His Water Street Mission, a pioneer among America’s rescue missions, has been a haven of hope for over one hundred years.

     “I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” --- Luke 7:47,48.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - September 18

     "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." --- Galatians 5:25.

     The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were “whitewashed sepulchres.” We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt. But seek not a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to thy glory.


          Evening - September 18

     “And they follow me.” --- John 10:27.

     We should follow our Lord as unhesitatingly as sheep follow their shepherd, for he has a right to lead us wherever he pleases. We are not our own, we are bought with a price—let us recognize the rights of the redeeming blood. The soldier follows his captain, the servant obeys his master, much more must we follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a purchased possession. We are not true to our profession of being Christians, if we question the bidding of our Leader and Commander. Submission is our duty, cavilling is our folly. Often might our Lord say to us as to Peter, “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.” Wherever Jesus may lead us, he goes before us. If we know not where we go, we know with whom we go. With such a companion, who will dread the perils of the road? The journey may be long, but his everlasting arms will carry us to the end. The presence of Jesus is the assurance of eternal salvation, because he lives, we shall live also. We should follow Christ in simplicity and faith, because the paths in which he leads us all end in glory and immortality. It is true they may not be smooth paths—they may be covered with sharp flinty trials, but they lead to the “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant.” Let us put full trust in our Leader, since we know that, come prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, his purpose shall be worked out, and that purpose shall be pure, unmingled good to every heir of mercy. We shall find it sweet to go up the bleak side of the hill with Christ; and when rain and snow blow into our faces, his dear love will make us far more blest than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world’s fire. To the top of Amana, to the dens of lions, or to the hills of leopards, we will follow our Beloved. Precious Jesus, draw us, and we will run after thee.


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

Amazing Grace
     September 18

          NEAR TO THE HEART OF GOD

     Words and Music by Cleland B. McAfee, 1866–1944

     When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy. (Psalm 94:19)

     O Thou who dry’st the mourner’s tears!
     How dark this world would be,
     If, when deceived and wounded here,
     we could not fly to Thee.

     --- Thomas Moore

     Life is often filled with unexpected problems or crises. Unrest and despair will darken the way of even the strongest saint. Yet the Christian—because of the refuge he has in God—should strive to maintain composure and stability in spite of stress and difficulties. We cannot escape the pressures and dark shadows in our lives; but they can be faced with a spiritual strength that our Lord provides. As we are held securely “near to the heart of God,” we find the rest, the comfort, the joy and peace that only Jesus our Redeemer can give. Because of this, we can live every day with an inner calm and courage.

     This is the message that Cleland McAfee expressed in this consoling hymn at a time when his own life was filled with sadness. While he was serving as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Dr. McAfee was stunned to hear the shocking news that his two beloved nieces had just died from diphtheria. Turning to God and the Scriptures, McAfee soon felt the lines and the tune of this hymn flow from his grieving heart. On the day of the double funeral he stood outside the quarantined home of his brother Howard singing these words as he choked back the tears. The following Sunday the hymn was repeated by the choir of McAfee’s church. It soon became widely known and has since ministered comfort and spiritual healing to many of God’s people in times of need.

     There is a place of quiet rest,
     near to the heart of God,
     a place where sin cannot molest,
     near to the heart of God.

     There is a place of comfort sweet,
     near to the heart of God,
     a place where we our Savior meet,
     near to the heart of God.

     There is a place of full release,
     near to the heart of God,
     a place where all is joy and peace,
     near to the heart of God.

     Chorus: O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
     sent from the heart of God,
     hold us who wait before Thee
     near to the heart of God.

     For Today: Psalm 34:18; 73:28; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Matthew 11:28–30; Hebrews 4:16

     Determine to live courageously regardless of what may come your way—but always with a sensitive awareness of God’s nearness. Use this musical prayer to help ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Monday, September 18, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 19, Monday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 56, 57 (58)
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 64, 65
Old Testament     1 Kings 21:1–16
New Testament     1 Corinthians 1:1–19
Gospel     Matthew 4:1–11

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 56, 57 (58)

To the leader: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. Of David.

A Miktam, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

1 Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;
all day long foes oppress me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many fight against me.
O Most High, 3 when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me?

5 All day long they seek to injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They stir up strife, they lurk,
they watch my steps.
As they hoped to have my life,
7 so repay them for their crime;
in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

8 You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will retreat
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can a mere mortal do to me?

12 My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death,
and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David.
A Miktam, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.

1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
until the destroying storms pass by.
2 I cry to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3 He will send from heaven and save me,
he will put to shame those who trample on me.     Selah
God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.

4 I lie down among lions
that greedily devour human prey;
their teeth are spears and arrows,
their tongues sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.

6 They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my path,
but they have fallen into it themselves.     Selah
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and make melody.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.
9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
your faithfulness extends to the clouds.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.

[     To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam.

1 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?
Do you judge people fairly?
2 No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;
your hands deal out violence on earth.

3 The wicked go astray from the womb;
they err from their birth, speaking lies.
4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers
or of the cunning enchanter.

6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!
7 Let them vanish like water that runs away;
like grass let them be trodden down and wither.
8 Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime;
like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.
9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns,
whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!

10 The righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done;
they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 People will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
surely there is a God who judges on earth.”     ]

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 64, 65

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
preserve my life from the dread enemy.
2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
from the scheming of evildoers,
3 who whet their tongues like swords,
who aim bitter words like arrows,
4 shooting from ambush at the blameless;
they shoot suddenly and without fear.
5 They hold fast to their evil purpose;
they talk of laying snares secretly,
thinking, “Who can see us?
6 Who can search out our crimes?
We have thought out a cunningly conceived plot.”
For the human heart and mind are deep.

7 But God will shoot his arrow at them;
they will be wounded suddenly.
8 Because of their tongue he will bring them to ruin;
all who see them will shake with horror.
9 Then everyone will fear;
they will tell what God has brought about,
and ponder what he has done.

10 Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD
and take refuge in him.
Let all the upright in heart glory.

To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.

1 Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
2 O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
3 When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
6 By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
7 You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
8 Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

9 You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

Old Testament
1 Kings 21:1–16

21 Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2 And Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.” 4 Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, “I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.

5 His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?” 6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it’; but he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ” 7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. 9 She wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; 10 seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him to death.” 11 The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12 they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. 13 The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”

15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 1:1–19

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6 just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

     “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
     and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Gospel
Matthew 4:1–11

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

     ‘One does not live by bread alone,
     but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

     ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
     and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
     so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

     ‘Worship the Lord your God,
     and serve only him.’ ”

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

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



3 Pasts & 3 Futures: Leadership
Richard Leo Twiss   Gordon College





What is Love?
Greg Carmer   Gordon College






Greg Keller Last Lecture
Greg Keller   Gordon College





Following Jesus
Greg Carmer   Gordon College






The Upside-Down Message of Jesus
Stephanie Turpin   Gordon College





The Dance of Change
Virginia Ward   Gordon College






Making Room for the Sabbath
Matthew Sleeth   Gordon College





Religion and Other Curiosities
Peter Berger   Gordon College






Religion and Other Curiosities
Peter Berger   Gordon College





A Tool of the Devil
George M. Hillman, Jr.   
Dallas Theological Seminary