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9/20/2017
Isaiah 13-17
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The Judgment of Babylon   Watch video

Isaiah 13:1 The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

2  On a bare hill raise a signal;
cry aloud to them;
wave the hand for them to enter
the gates of the nobles.
3  I myself have commanded my consecrated ones,
and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger,
my proudly exulting ones.

4  The sound of a tumult is on the mountains
as of a great multitude!
The sound of an uproar of kingdoms,
of nations gathering together!
The LORD of hosts is mustering
a host for battle.
5  They come from a distant land,
from the end of the heavens,
the LORD and the weapons of his indignation,
to destroy the whole land.

6  Wail, for the day of the LORD is near;
as destruction from the Almighty it will come!
7  Therefore all hands will be feeble,
and every human heart will melt.
8  They will be dismayed:
pangs and agony will seize them;
they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at one another;
their faces will be aflame.

9  Behold, the day of the LORD comes,
cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
and to destroy its sinners from it.
10  For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
will not give their light;
the sun will be dark at its rising,
and the moon will not shed its light.
11  I will punish the world for its evil,
and the wicked for their iniquity;
I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant,
and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.
12  I will make people more rare than fine gold,
and mankind than the gold of Ophir.
13  Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
and the earth will be shaken out of its place,
at the wrath of the LORD of hosts
in the day of his fierce anger.
14  And like a hunted gazelle,
or like sheep with none to gather them,
each will turn to his own people,
and each will flee to his own land.
15  Whoever is found will be thrust through,
and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.
16  Their infants will be dashed in pieces
before their eyes;
their houses will be plundered
and their wives ravished.

17  Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them,
who have no regard for silver
and do not delight in gold.
18  Their bows will slaughter the young men;
they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb;
their eyes will not pity children.
19  And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans,
will be like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God overthrew them.
20  It will never be inhabited
or lived in for all generations;
no Arab will pitch his tent there;
no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there.
21  But wild animals will lie down there,
and their houses will be full of howling creatures;
there ostriches will dwell,
and there wild goats will dance.
22  Hyenas will cry in its towers,
and jackals in the pleasant palaces;
its time is close at hand
and its days will not be prolonged.


Restoration of Judah   Watch video

Isaiah 14:1 For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2 And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the LORD’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

Israel’s Remnant Taunts Babylon

3 When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

“How the oppressor has ceased,
the insolent fury ceased!
5  The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of rulers,
6  that struck the peoples in wrath
with unceasing blows,
that ruled the nations in anger
with unrelenting persecution.
7  The whole earth is at rest and quiet;
they break forth into singing.
8  aThe cypresses rejoice at you,
the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
‘Since you were laid low,
no woodcutter comes up against us.’
9  Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come;
it rouses the shades to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations.
10  All of them will answer
and say to you:
‘You too have become as weak as we!
You have become like us!’
11  Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,
the sound of your harps;
maggots are laid as a bed beneath you,
and worms are your covers.

12  “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
13  You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15  But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.
16  Those who see you will stare at you
and ponder over you:
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
who shook kingdoms,
17  who made the world like a desert
and overthrew its cities,
who did not let his prisoners go home?’
18  All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
each in his own tomb;
19  but you are cast out, away from your grave,
like a loathed branch,
clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword,
who go down to the stones of the pit,
like a dead body trampled underfoot.
20  You will not be joined with them in burial,
because you have destroyed your land,
you have slain your people.

“May the offspring of evildoers
nevermore be named!
21  Prepare slaughter for his sons
because of the guilt of their fathers,
lest they rise and possess the earth,
and fill the face of the world with cities.”


22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the LORD. 23 “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of hosts.

An Oracle Concerning Assyria

24  The LORD of hosts has sworn:
“As I have planned,
so shall it be,
and as I have purposed,
so shall it stand,
25  that I will break the Assyrian in my land,
and on my mountains trample him underfoot;
and his yoke shall depart from them,
and his burden from their shoulder.”

26  This is the purpose that is purposed
concerning the whole earth,
and this is the hand that is stretched out
over all the nations.
27  For the LORD of hosts has purposed,
and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
and who will turn it back?

An Oracle Concerning Philistia

28 In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle:

29  Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you,
that the rod that struck you is broken,
for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder,
and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.
30  And the firstborn of the poor will graze,
and the needy lie down in safety;
but I will kill your root with famine,
and your remnant it will slay.
31  Wail, O gate; cry out, O city;
melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you!
For smoke comes out of the north,
and there is no straggler in his ranks.

32  What will one answer the messengers of the nation?
“The LORD has founded Zion,
and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”

An Oracle Concerning Moab   Watch video

Isaiah 15:1 An oracle concerning Moab.

Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night,
Moab is undone;
because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night,
Moab is undone.
2  He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon,
to the high places to weep;
over Nebo and over Medeba
Moab wails.
On every head is baldness;
every beard is shorn;
3  in the streets they wear sackcloth;
on the housetops and in the squares
everyone wails and melts in tears.
4  Heshbon and Elealeh cry out;
their voice is heard as far as Jahaz;
therefore the armed men of Moab cry aloud;
his soul trembles.
5  My heart cries out for Moab;
her fugitives flee to Zoar,
to Eglath-shelishiyah.
For at the ascent of Luhith
they go up weeping;
on the road to Horonaim
they raise a cry of destruction;
6  the waters of Nimrim
are a desolation;
the grass is withered, the vegetation fails,
the greenery is no more.
7  Therefore the abundance they have gained
and what they have laid up
they carry away
over the Brook of the Willows.
8  For a cry has gone
around the land of Moab;
her wailing reaches to Eglaim;
her wailing reaches to Beer-elim.
9  For the waters of Dibon are full of blood;
for I will bring upon Dibon even more,
a lion for those of Moab who escape,
for the remnant of the land.


   Watch video

Isaiah 16:1     Send the lambs to the ruler of the land,
from Sela, by way of the desert,
to the mount of daughter Zion.
Like fleeing birds,
like a scattered nest,
so are the daughters of Moab
at the fords of the Arnon.

3  “Give counsel;
grant justice;
make your shade like night
at the height of noon;
shelter the outcasts;
do not reveal the fugitive;
4  let the outcasts of Moab
sojourn among you;
be a shelter to them
from the destroyer.
When the oppressor is no more,
and destruction has ceased,
and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,
5  then a throne will be established in steadfast love,
and on it will sit in faithfulness
in the tent of David
one who judges and seeks justice
and is swift to do righteousness.”

6  We have heard of the pride of Moab—
how proud he is!—
of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence;
in his idle boasting he is not right.
7  Therefore let Moab wail for Moab,
let everyone wail.
Mourn, utterly stricken,
for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth.

8  For the fields of Heshbon languish,
and the vine of Sibmah;
the lords of the nations
have struck down its branches,
which reached to Jazer
and strayed to the desert;
its shoots spread abroad
and passed over the sea.
9  Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer
for the vine of Sibmah;
I drench you with my tears,
O Heshbon and Elealeh;
for over your summer fruit and your harvest
the shout has ceased.
10  And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field,
and in the vineyards no songs are sung,
no cheers are raised;
no treader treads out wine in the presses;
I have put an end to the shouting.
11  Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab,
and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth.


12 And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.

13 This is the word that the LORD spoke concerning Moab in the past. 14 But now the LORD has spoken, saying, “In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble.”


An Oracle concerning Damascus.   Watch video

Isaiah 17:1     An oracle concerning Damascus.

Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city
and will become a heap of ruins.
2  The cities of Aroer are deserted;
they will be for flocks,
which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
3  The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,
and the kingdom from Damascus;
and the remnant of Syria will be
like the glory of the children of Israel,
declares the LORD of hosts.

4  And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.
5  And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain
and his arm harvests the ears,
and as when one gleans the ears of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.
6  Gleanings will be left in it,
as when an olive tree is beaten—
two or three berries
in the top of the highest bough,
four or five
on the branches of a fruit tree,
declares the LORD God of Israel.

7 In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. 8 He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

9 In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.

10  For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;
therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
11  though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,
and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
yet the harvest will flee away
in a day of grief and incurable pain.

12  Ah, the thunder of many peoples;
they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
Ah, the roar of nations;
they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!
13  The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,
but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,
chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind
and whirling dust before the storm.
14  At evening time, behold, terror!
Before morning, they are no more!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
and the lot of those who plunder us.

English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha



What I'm Reading

Wouldn’t a Loving God Make Sure Everyone Gets to Heaven?

By J. Warner Wallace 9/14/2017

     The concept of Hell is daunting for many Christians. It’s not pleasant to think our unbelieving loved ones might spend eternity separated from God, regretting their decision forever. Several religious traditions seek to avoid the problem by offering a second chance to those who reject God’s gift of forgiveness. They envision a place where rebellious souls can, in the next life, reconsider their choice or earn their way toward heaven; the Catholic tradition offers “Purgatory” and Mormonism describes a “Spirit Prison”. Both seek to offer solutions to commonly asked questions: Wouldn’t a Loving God love all of His creation? Wouldn’t He make sure everyone goes to Heaven (regardless of what they might believe in this life)? A loving God would never limit Heaven to a select few and allow billions of people to suffer in Hell, would He?

     Let’s consider, however, the nature of Heaven and the truth about humans. Heaven is the realm of God, and those who ultimately enter into Heaven will be united with God forever. While that sounds fantastic for some of us, it sounds ridiculous, boring or offensive to many who reject the existence of God (and resist God’s guidelines and obligations). If everyone will eventually end up in Heaven, it is inevitable and compulsory. This type of eternal destination seems contrary to the nature of God and the nature of human “free will”:

     A Compulsory Heaven Would Eradicate “Free Will” | People who deny the existence of God relish the fact they have the freedom and ability to do so. Some of these same people, however, argue a loving God would make certain everyone goes to Heaven after they die. But this kind of “universalism” actually denies human “free will” altogether. If Heaven is the only destination awaiting us (based on the assumption all who die eventually end up there), it is truly compulsory. In this view of the afterlife, we have no choice about where we end up; everyone is united with God, like it or not. A compulsory Heaven rejects the importance of human liberty, the very thing those who deny God cherish the most. By offering (but not forcing) Heaven to those who freely choose to love the One who reigns there, God is actually honoring and respecting our “free will” universally. He is, in fact, treating us with the utmost respect and dignity; something we would expect if He is all-loving in the first place.

     A Compulsory Heaven Would Embrace the “Unsuited” | In addition to this, a Heaven including anyone and everyone is counter intuitive and un-reasonable. Just think about it for a minute. Most of us would agree: A Holy place of eternal reward is simply not suited for people with a certain kind of character or certain kinds of desires. All of us can think of someone from history who (by our estimate) is unqualified for eternal reward. We may not all agree on who should or shouldn’t be included in such a place, but most of us would hesitate when considering people like Hitler (or perhaps lifelong unrepentant pedophiles with murderous desires) for eternal reward in Heaven. If there is a Heaven, it is surely unsuited for certain kinds of people, and even the most skeptical among us can find someone he or she would place in this category. A compulsory Heaven, including the most vile and dangerous people from history, is not likely what skeptics have in mind when they argue for an all-inclusive final destination.

Click here to read all of the article

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

Full of Grace and Truth

By N.T. Wright 12/25/2008

     If I asked you where in John’s Gospel you would find a wedding scene, several of you would know the answer at once. Don’t worry; I am not going to use the excuse that this is Christmas Day to turn this august congregation into a glorified Sunday School, though actually Christmas Day of all days is a great time to celebrate childlikeness and some of you may perhaps have been enjoying doing so already. But the obvious wedding in St John is of course in chapter 2, the wedding at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus changes the water into wine. But I want to suggest to you this morning, as a matter of considerable importance for understanding our Christian pilgrimage and mission, that there is a wedding of equal if not greater significance in the famous passage we just heard, the extraordinary Prologue to John’s Gospel.

     John’s Prologue, as again many of you will know, is like the great doorway to a great building. These eighteen verses, so apparently simple yet, like their primary Old Testament background in Genesis 1, so utterly profound, introduce us to the subject-matter of the whole gospel. For many generations and in many traditions they have been read as the Christmas morning gospel, because of their central and earth-shattering announcement: And the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us. That is the mystery which lies at the heart of Christian faith and life, mission and ministry, the mystery at which the other two great monotheistic faiths, Judaism and Islam, completely balk: that the one true and living God should pour out his very self into created flesh, that the playwright should come on stage and take the leading part because nobody else can play it. And that God-in-human-flesh theme isn’t a flash in the pan, a one-off experiment which, having riskily been tried in Jesus himself, God quickly gave up. Part of the whole point of John’s Gospel is that when the Word made Flesh accomplishes his work of glory, love and passion, he pours out his own Spirit on his followers so that they, too, can become Words-become-Flesh. This, too, is stressed in the Prologue: as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, born not in the normal way but with a new birth from God. We can watch it happening immediately after the resurrection, when Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to tell the eleven ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father.’ Christmas, in other words, isn’t supposed to be just a truth about Jesus. It’s supposed to be, in utter dependence on Jesus, a truth about us. Christmas isn’t a spectator sport. It’s an invitation. And, yes, it’s a wedding invitation.

     So where is the wedding in John’s prologue? Back to Sunday School again, this time with a guess-the-text puzzle. I said that Genesis 1 was the primary Old Testament background for John’s prologue; but what are the other major Old Testament passages that John is echoing? Hands go up in this imaginary classroom: yes, Proverbs 8, God’s wisdom through which the world was created – very good; Isaiah 55, with the Word like rain and snow coming down from above and accomplishing God’s work through the ministry of the Servant: yes, excellent; Ben-Sirach 24 – well, yes, not exactly the Old Testament but very important. But what about Psalm 85?

     Think about it with John in mind. ‘Grace and Truth are met together; justice and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs up from the ground; and justice looks down from heaven.’ And suddenly that little phrase in John’s prologue, ‘grace and truth’, so easy to say that it just slips down almost unnoticed, like the second glass of ginger wine, stands out in three dimensions and demands that we pay attention to it. My friends, Christmas is in one sense all about a birth, but in another sense it is about a wedding: the marriage of grace and truth, which is in fact the marriage of heaven and earth. The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace; for the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. When John repeats something in this way, he wants us to pay it close attention.

     It’s all too easy, reading a phrase like ‘grace and truth’, to suppose that these abstract nouns denote two of the many miscellaneous good things which are given to us in Jesus Christ, along (that is) with justice, peace, salvation, wisdom and a host of others. And in a sense that’s true. But with Psalm 85 in the background – and I’ll say more about that in a moment – a new possibility opens up, which means that among the mysterious envelopes under the Christmas tree we discover an invitation to this wedding.

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According to Wikipedia: Nicholas Thomas Wright (born 1 December 1948) is a leading British New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and retired Anglican bishop. In academia, he is published as N. T. Wright, but is otherwise known as Tom Wright.[3] Between 2003 and his retirement in 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

He writes prolifically about theology, Christian life, and the relationship of these two things. He advocates a biblical re-evaluation of and fresh approach to theological matters such as justification,[4] women's ordination,[5] and popular Christian views about life after death.[6] He has also criticised the idea of a literal Rapture.[7] Alternate source: Fulcrum website. The author of over seventy books, Wright is highly regarded in academic and theological circles primarily for his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series.[8]The third volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God, is considered by many pastors and theologians to be a seminal Christian work on the resurrection of the historical Jesus,[9][10] while the most recently released fourth volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, is hailed as Wright's magnum opus.[

N.T. Wright Books:




  • ... Day 27
  • Aristotle's De Anima
  • Thinking Being

#1 Ken Pennington  Catholic University

 

#2 Jean De Groot   Catholic University

 

#3 Edward Halper   Catholic University

 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Knowing who you are in Christ
     (Sept 20)    Bob Gass

(Is 43:1) 43 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. ESV

     We hear about people being released from prison after serving time for a crime they didn’t commit. It was a case of mistaken identity. Identifying someone means having the ability to recognise and say exactly who they are. Satan wants you to identify with who people say you are, versus who God says you are. And unless you know who you are in God’s eyes, Satan will hammer you with feelings of condemnation and unworthiness. God’s grace and unconditional love for you is the only secure foundation on which to base your salvation and self-worth. Today He says to you: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’ Jesus identified with God’s opinion only: ‘I know where I came from and where I am going’ (John 8:14 AMP). People said terrible things about Jesus, yet here’s what God said about Him: ‘The stone…the builders rejected has become the…cornerstone’ (Psalm 118:22 NKJV). Sometimes we’re so busy telling people what to do that we neglect to tell them who they are. Knowing who you are in Christ gives you confidence to hold your head high. You are ‘complete’ because of your relationship to Christ (see Colossians 2:10). God sees you clothed in Christ’s righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Once you accept that, you stop feeling like you constantly fall short. When you have money in the bank and you need to withdraw it, you don’t feel pressured because you know it’s in an account with your name on it. Likewise, you don’t have to struggle for other people’s approval when you know you’re loved and accepted by God.

(Jn 8:14) Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. ESV

(Ps 118:22) 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. ESV

(Col 2:10) 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. ESV

(2 Co 5:21) 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. ESV

Is 34-36
Eph 5:17-33

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     He helped write the Bill of Rights in the first session of Congress. He was a Representative of Massachusetts and participated in ratification of the Constitution. He was offered the presidency of Harvard, but declined due to ill health. His name was Fisher Ames. In an article published this day, September 20, 1789, in the Palladium magazine, Fisher Ames wrote: “We have a dangerous trend beginning to take place in our education… putting… books into the hands of children containing fables…. [and] spending less time in the classroom on the Bible…The Bible states the great moral lessons better than any other manmade book.”

American Minute

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


               CHAPTER I / The Inwardness of Prayer

     It is difficult and even formidable thing to write on prayer, and one fears to touch the Ark. Perhaps no one ought to undertake it unless he has spent more toil in the practice of prayer than on its principle. But perhaps also the effort to look into its principle may be graciously regarded by Him who ever liveth to make intercession as itself a prayer to know better how to pray. All progress in prayer is an answer to prayer—our own or another’s. And all true prayer promotes its own progress and increases our power to pray.

     The worst sin is prayerlessness. Overt sin, or crime, or the glaring inconsistencies which often surprise us in Christian people are the effect of this, or its punishment. We are left by God for lack of seeking Him. The history of the saints shows often that their lapses were the fruit and nemesis of slackness or neglect in prayer. Their life, at seasons, also tended to become inhuman by their spiritual solitude. They left men, and were left by men, because they did not in their contemplation find God; they found but the thought or the atmosphere of God. Only living prayer keeps loneliness humane. It is the great producer of sympathy. Trusting the God of Christ, and transacting with Him, we come into tune with men. Our egoism retires before the coming of God, and into the clearance there comes with our Father our brother. We realize man as he is in God and for God, his Lover. When God fills our heart He makes more room for man than the humanist heart can find. Prayer is an act, indeed the act, of fellowship. We cannot truly pray even for ourselves without passing beyond ourselves and our individual experience. If we should begin with these the nature of prayer carries us beyond them, both to God and to man. Even private prayer is common prayer—the more so, possibly, as it retires from being public prayer.

     Not to want to pray, then, is the sin behind sin. And it ends in not being able to pray. That is its punishment—spiritual dumbness, or at least aphasia, and starvation. We do not take our spiritual food, and so we falter, dwindle, and die. “In the sweat of your brow ye shall eat your bread.” That has been said to be true both of physical and spiritual labour. It is true both of the life of bread and of the bread of life.

     Prayer brings with it, as food does, a new sense of power and health. We are driven to it by hunger, and, having eaten, we are refreshed and strengthened for the battle which even our physical life involves. For heart and flesh cry out for the living God. God’s gift is free; it is, therefore, a gift to our freedom, i.e. renewal to our moral strength, to what makes men of us. Without this gift always renewed, our very freedom can enslave us. The life of every organism is but the constant victory of a higher energy, constantly fed, over lower and more elementary forces. Prayer is the assimilation of a holy God’s moral strength.

     We must work for this living. To feed the soul we must toil at prayer. And what a labour it is! “He prayed in an agony.” We must pray even to tears if need be. Our cooperation with God is our receptivity; but it is an active, a laborious receptivity, an importunity that drains our strength away if it do not tap the sources of the Strength Eternal. We work, we slave, at receiving. To him that hath this laborious expectancy it shall be given. Prayer is the powerful appropriation of power, of divine power. It is therefore creative.


The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


Grace is the nourisher of optimism.
"It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace"
(
Hebrews 13:9).
Grace is the secret energy of a fortified will.
--- John Henry Jowett


If you are always taking blessings to yourself
and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord,
other people do not get their horizon enlarged
… through you.
--- Oswald Chambers


What is true religion? It is not the religion which contains most truth in the theological sense of the word. It is not the religion most truly thought out, not that which most closely fits with thought. It is religion which comes to itself most powerfully in prayer. It is the religion in which the soul becomes very sure of God and itself in prayer. Prayer contains the very heart and height of truth, …
--- ISBN-13: 978-1475034523

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 2.

     How Titus Marched To Jerusalem, And How He Was In Danger As He Was Taking A View Of The City Of The Place Also Where He Pitched His Camp

     1. Now, as Titus was upon his march into the enemy's country, the auxiliaries that were sent by the kings marched first, having all the other auxiliaries with them; after whom followed those that were to prepare the roads and measure out the camp; then came the commander's baggage, and after that the other soldiers, who were completely armed to support them; then came Titus himself, having with him another select body; and then came the pikemen; after whom came the horse belonging to that legion. All these came before the engines; and after these engines came the tribunes and the leaders of the cohorts, with their select bodies; after these came the ensigns, with the eagle; and before those ensigns came the trumpeters belonging to them; next these came the main body of the army in their ranks, every rank being six deep; the servants belonging to every legion came after these; and before these last their baggage; the mercenaries came last, and those that guarded them brought up the rear. Now Titus, according to the Roman usage, went in the front of the army after a decent manner, and marched through Samaria to Gophna, a city that had been formerly taken by his father, and was then garrisoned by Roman soldiers; and when he had lodged there one night, he marched on in the Morning; and when he had gone as far as a day's march, he pitched his camp at that valley which the Jews, in their own tongue, call "the Valley of Thorns," near a certain village called Gabaothsath, which signifies "the Hill of Saul," being distant from Jerusalem about thirty furlongs.6 There it was that he chose out six hundred select horsemen, and went to take a view of the city, to observe what strength it was of, and how courageous the Jews were; whether, when they saw him, and before they came to a direct battle, they would be affrighted and submit; for he had been informed what was really true, that the people who were fallen under the power of the seditious and the robbers were greatly desirous of peace; but being too weak to rise up against the rest, they lay still.

     2. Now, so long as he rode along the straight road which led to the wall of the city, nobody appeared out of the gates; but when he went out of that road, and declined towards the tower Psephinus, and led the band of horsemen obliquely, an immense number of the Jews leaped out suddenly at the towers called the "Women's Towers," through that gate which was over against the monuments of queen Helena, and intercepted his horse; and standing directly opposite to those that still ran along the road, hindered them from joining those that had declined out of it. They intercepted Titus also, with a few other. Now it was here impossible for him to go forward, because all the places had trenches dug in them from the wall, to preserve the gardens round about, and were full of gardens obliquely situated, and of many hedges; and to return back to his own men, he saw it was also impossible, by reason of the multitude of the enemies that lay between them; many of whom did not so much as know that the king was in any danger, but supposed him still among them. So he perceived that his preservation must be wholly owing to his own courage, and turned his horse about, and cried out aloud to those that were about him to follow him, and ran with violence into the midst of his enemies, in order to force his way through them to his own men. And hence we may principally learn, that both the success of wars, and the dangers that kings 7 are in, are under the providence of God; for while such a number of darts were thrown at Titus, when he had neither his head-piece on, nor his breastplate, [for, as I told you, he went out not to fight, but to view the city,] none of them touched his body, but went aside without hurting him; as if all of them missed him on purpose, and only made a noise as they passed by him. So he diverted those perpetually with his sword that came on his side, and overturned many of those that directly met him, and made his horse ride over those that were overthrown. The enemy indeed made a shout at the boldness of Caesar, and exhorted one another to rush upon him. Yet did these against whom he marched fly away, and go off from him in great numbers; while those that were in the same danger with him kept up close to him, though they were wounded both on their backs and on their sides; for they had each of them but this one hope of escaping, if they could assist Titus in opening himself a way, that he might not be encompassed round by his enemies before he got away from them. Now there were two of those that were with him, but at some distance; the one of which the enemy compassed round, and slew him with their darts, and his horse also; but the other they slew as he leaped down from his horse, and carried off his horse with them. But Titus escaped with the rest, and came safe to the camp. So this success of the Jews' first attack raised their minds, and gave them an ill-grounded hope; and this short inclination of fortune, on their side, made them very courageous for the future.

     3. But now, as soon as that legion that had been at Emmaus was joined to Caesar at night, he removed thence, when it was day, and came to a place called Seopus; from whence the city began already to be seen, and a plain view might be taken of the great temple. Accordingly, this place, on the north quarter of the city, and joining thereto, was a plain, and very properly named Scopus, [the prospect,] and was no more than seven furlongs distant from it. And here it was that Titus ordered a camp to be fortified for two legions that were to be together; but ordered another camp to be fortified, at three furlongs farther distance behind them, for the fifth legion; for he thought that, by marching in the night, they might be tired, and might deserve to be covered from the enemy, and with less fear might fortify themselves; and as these were now beginning to build, the tenth legion, who came through Jericho, was already come to the place, where a certain party of armed men had formerly lain, to guard that pass into the city, and had been taken before by Vespasian. These legions had orders to encamp at the distance of six furlongs from Jerusalem, at the mount called the Mount of Olives 8 which lies over against the city on the east side, and is parted from it by a deep valley, interposed between them, which is named Cedron.

     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 25:16-17
     by D.H. Stern

16     If you find honey, eat only what you need;
     for if you eat too much of it, you may throw it up;
17     so don’t visit your neighbor too much,
     or he may get his fill of you and come to hate you.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                The divine rule of life

     Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. --- Matthew 5:48.

     Our Lord’s exhortation in these verses is to be generous in our behaviour to all men. In the spiritual life beware of walking according to natural affinities. Everyone has natural affinities; some people we like and others we do not like. We must never let those likes and dislikes rule in our Christian life. “If we walk in the light as God is in the light,” God will give us communion with people for whom we have no natural affinity.

     The Example Our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”—show to the other man what God has shown to you; and God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. To be a disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people. “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, …”

     The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but Godlikeness: If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God. When we come in contact with things that create a buzz, we find to our amazement that we have power to keep wonderfully poised in the centre of it all.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

The Face (Pieta)
     the Poetry of RS Thomas


                The Face (Pieta)

When I close my eyes, I can see it,
  That bare hill with the man ploughing,
  Corrugating that brown roof
  Under a hard sky. Under him is the farm,
  Anchored in its grass harbour;
  And below that the valley
  Sheltering its few folk,
  With the school and the inn and the church,
  The beginning, middle and end
  Of their slow journey above ground.

He is never absent, but like a slave
  Answers to the mind's bidding,
  Endlessly ploughing, as though autumn
  Were the one season he knew.
  Sometimes he pauses to look down
  To the grey farmhouse, but no signals
  Cheer him; there is no applause
  For his long wrestling with the angel
  Of no name. I can see his eye
  That expects nothing, that has the rain's
  Colourlessness. His hands are broken
  But not his spirit. He is like bark
  Weathering on the tree of his kind.

  He will go on; that much is certain.
  Beneath him tenancies of the fields
  Will change; machinery turn
  All to noise. But on the walls
  Of the mind's gallery that face
  With the hills framing it will hang
  Unglorified, but stern like the soil.


Selected poems, 1946-1968

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Deuteronomy 3:25–27


     BIBLE TEXT / Deuteronomy 3:25–27 / “… Let me, I pray, cross over and see the good land on the other side of the Jordan, that good hill country, and the Lebanon.” But the Lord was wrathful with me on your account and would not listen to me. The Lord said to me, “Enough! Never speak to Me of this matter again! Go up to the summit of Pisgah and gaze about, to the west, the north, the south, and the east. Look at it well, for you shall not go across yonder Jordan.…”

     MIDRASH TEXT/ Deuteronomy Rabbah 2, 9 / For you shall not go across yonder Jordan. The Holy One, praised is He, said to Moses, “If you are buried here, near them, then because of your virtue they will come with you.” Rabbi Levi said, “To what can this be compared? To a person who lost his small change in a dark place. He said, ‘If I say “Bring me a light so I can gather my small change,” no one would pay attention to me.’ He took a gold coin and threw it among them [the small change] and began to call out, saying, ‘Bring me a light! I had a gold coin and it fell here.’ They brought him a light. What did he do? Once he took the gold coin, he said to them, ‘I beg of you; wait for me so I can gather the small change.’ And he gathered them. By virtue of the gold, the small change was gathered. So too, the Holy One, praised is He, said to Moses, ‘If you are buried near them in the desert, they will come because of your virtue and you will come at their head, as it says,

  “He chose for himself the best,   For there is the portion of the revered chieftain,   Where the heads of the people come.” ’ ”
--- (
Deuteronomy 33:21).      CONTEXT

     In the Book of Numbers, Moses was punished by God for striking the rock that would bring forth water for the Israelites, instead of speaking to it:

  “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.”
--- (Numbers 20:12).

     Now, in the Book of Deuteronomy, shortly before his death, Moses is told by God to view the land of Israel from a mountaintop. The earlier punishment is affirmed: Moses can see it from afar; he cannot enter it. “For you shall not go across yonder Jordan.”

     The reader is touched by this human tragedy. Moses labored for forty years for one goal: to bring his people into their land. And now, just on the verge of success, he is denied seeing that mission come to completion. The reader is also likely to be troubled by the harshness of the punishment. For one small mistake—hitting a rock, instead of talking to it—the reward of a lifetime of work is canceled out for Moses. He will die and be buried, alone, on a mountain in the desert. This does not seem to be the way it should end for the greatest of our leaders.

     Perhaps that is why the Midrash writes a new ending to the story. Moses is no longer the flawed leader who is punished for his sins and shortcomings. Instead, he is the “gold coin” who is used by God to save the “small change,” the Israelites, lost in the darkness. At some point in the future, the Rabbis believed, the dead will be resurrected. The entire generation of Israelites, whom Moses brought out of Egypt and who died over the course of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, will live again. They will again require a leader to bring them from the desert into the land of Israel. Moses will be that leader. His mission will ultimately be accomplished. And he himself will, at long last, reach the promised land. “If you are buried near them in the desert, they will come because of your virtue and you will come at their head.” This tragic figure (unable to bring the slaves—or himself—into Israel) will become the heroic leader who remained behind with those who died in the desert so he could bring them to ultimate redemption at the “end of days.”

     A prooftext for this revisionist history is found at the end of the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses delivers a farewell blessing to the twelve tribes, the children of those slaves he had brought out of Egypt and who now would enter the land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua. The verse quoted by the Rabbis actually comes in the blessing that Moses gives to the tribe Gad. It may originally have referred to that tribe’s request for the land east of the Jordan river and Gad’s promise to lead the Israelites into battle against the Canaanites. The verse—

  He chose for himself the best,
  For there is the portion of the revered chieftain,
  Where the heads of the people come …

     —in its P’shat or contextual meaning was understood to mean

  He [the tribe of Gad] chose for himself the best [plot of land,
     east of the Jordan river],
  For there [east of Jordan] is the [burial] portion of the
     revered chieftain [Moses],
  Where the heads of the people [the tribe of Gad] come
     [to lead the way into battle].

     But as the Rabbis reread this poetic line in a midrashic light, they saw it as referring to Moses and his ultimate destiny:

     He [Moses] chose for himself the best [plot of land, as a burial place], For there [east of Jordan] is the [burial] portion of the revered chieftain [Moses], Where [Moses will come one day to lead] the heads of the people [into the promised land].


Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     September 20

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

     When you are completely terror stricken in conscience, you must be on your guard that your sins do not thus remain in your conscience and nothing but pure doubt certainly come out of it. ( 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) )

     Then cast your sins from yourself on Christ. Believe that your sins are his wounds and sufferings, that he carries them and makes satisfaction for them, as Saint Peter says in his first epistle: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (2:24). On these and like passages you must rely with all your weight, and so much the more the harder your conscience martyrs you. For if you do not take this course but miss the opportunity of stilling your heart, then you will never secure peace and must finally despair in doubt. For if we deal with our sins in our consciences and let them continue in us and be cherished in our hearts, they become much too strong for us to manage, and they will live forever. But when we see that they are laid on Christ and he has triumphed over them by his resurrection, and we believe it, then they are dead and have become as nothing. Thus Saint Paul speaks, in Romans 4:25, that Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification; that is, by his resurrection he makes us righteous and free from all sin, even if we believe differently.

     Now if you are not able to believe, then you should pray to God for faith. For this is a matter in the hands of God that is entirely free and is also bestowed alike at times knowingly, at times secretly.

     Look on Christ’s sufferings no longer, for they have already done their work and terrified you, but press through all difficulties and see how full of love is his heart toward you—love that compelled him to bear the heavy load of your conscience and your sin. Thus will your heart be loving and sweet toward him and the assurance of your faith be strengthened. Then ascend higher through the heart of Christ to the heart of God, and see that Christ would not have been able to love you if God had not willed it. Be thus drawn to the Father through Christ. That means to know God aright, if we understand him by his goodness and love, there our faith and confidence can then stand unmovable. A person is truly thus born anew in God.
--- Martin Luther


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

On This Day
     Ten More Days


     Her name, Pandita Pamabai, though unfamiliar to many today, is etched in glory. Her father was a Brahmin priest who, at age 44, married a 9-year-old girl. Wanting to educate her, he took her to a remote forest in southern India, built a house, and, having removed all distractions, taught her all he knew. Here in 1858, Pandita was born. Her father determined to give her, too, an education; and by the time she was 12, Pandita had memorized 18,000 Sanskrit verses and had become fluent in various languages.

     But the little family encountered mounting debts, then hunger. Pandita’s father “held me tightly in his arms, and stroking my head and cheeks, told me he loved me, how he had taught me to do right, and never to depart from the way of righteousness.”

     Then he died of starvation, followed by her mother. Pandita set off across India, sleeping in the open, suffering from cold, eating berries. She began doubting her father’s idols; and finally in Calcutta, she learned of Jesus Christ.

     Educated women were novelties in India, and Pandita began lecturing here and there, seeking to raise the standard of life for women. Traveling to England and America, she embraced Christ and was baptized. She studied mathematics and medicine in Western universities; and she sought financial support for a home for child-widows in India. In the late 1880s she returned to India and opened the Mukti (Salvation) Mission. It was thronged by hundreds of desperate girls. She and her workers dug wells, planted trees, tilled the land, and preached the Gospel. Hundreds were converted. Thousands were rescued from starvation. She established schools to educate her girls. Then a church was built with these lines inscribed on the foundation: Praise the Lord. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of Hosts. That Rock was Christ. September 20, 1899.

     Her last years were spent translating the Bible into Marathi. She had almost completed the task when she fell ill. She prayed for ten more days in which to complete her work; and ten days later, on April 5, 1922, she died, having just finished the last page.

     I am the LORD All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit.
--- Zechariah 4:6


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - September 20

     "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." --- Judges 7:20.

     Gideon ordered his men to do two things: covering up a torch in an earthen pitcher, he bade them, at an appointed signal, break the pitcher and let the light shine, and then sound with the trumpet, crying, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” This is precisely what all Christians must do. First, you must shine; break the pitcher which conceals your light; throw aside the bushel which has been hiding your candle, and shine. Let your light shine before men; let your good works be such, that when men look upon you, they shall know that you have been with Jesus. Then there must be the sound, the blowing of the trumpet. There must be active exertions for the ingathering of sinners by proclaiming Christ crucified. Take the Gospel to them; carry it to their door; put it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the trumpet right against their ears. Remember that the true war-cry of the Church is Gideon’s watchword, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” God must do it, it is his own work. But we are not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used—“The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” If we only cry, “The sword of the Lord!” we shall be guilty of an idle presumption; and if we shout, “The sword of Gideon!” alone, we shall manifest idolatrous reliance on an arm of flesh: we must blend the two in practical harmony, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do everything by the help of our God; let us, therefore, in his name determine to go out personally and serve with our flaming torch of holy example, and with our trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony, and God shall be with us, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the Lord of hosts shall reign for ever and ever.


          Evening - September 20

     “In the Evening withhold not thy hand.” --- Ecclesiastes 11:6.

     In the Evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: men return from their labour, and the zealous soul-winner finds time to tell abroad the love of Jesus. Have I no Evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service which requires abundant labour. Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his skirts crimson with the blood of souls. Jesus gave both his hands to the nails, how can I keep back one of mine from his blessed work? Night and day he toiled and prayed for me, how can I give a single hour to the pampering of my flesh with luxurious ease? Up, idle heart; stretch out thy hand to work, or uplift it to pray; heaven and hell are in earnest, let me be so, and this Evening sow good seed for the Lord my God.

The Evening of life has also its calls. Life is so short that a Morning of manhood’s vigour, and an Evening of decay, make the whole of it. To some it seems long, but a four-pence is a great sum of money to a poor man. Life is so brief that no man can afford to lose a day. It has been well said that if a great king should bring us a great heap of gold, and bid us take as much as we could count in a day, we should make a long day of it; we should begin early in the Morning, and in the Evening we should not withhold our hand; but to win souls is far nobler work, how is it that we so soon withdraw from it? Some are spared to a long Evening of green old age; if such be my case, let me use such talents as I still retain, and to the last hour serve my blessed and faithful Lord. By his grace I will die in harness, and lay down my charge only when I lay down my body. Age may instruct the young, cheer the faint, and encourage the desponding; if eventide has less of vigorous heat, it should have more of calm wisdom, therefore in the Evening I will not withhold my hand.


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

Amazing Grace
     September 20

          JESUS, THE VERY THOUGHT OF THEE

     Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, 1091–1153
     English Translation—Edward Caswall, 1814–1876

     As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1, 2)

     This hymn text comes from the height of the Middle Ages, a period of history often scornfully called “The Dark Ages.” The spiritual and moral darkness of the church had reached a new blackness. The institution founded by Christ some 1,000 years prior was mainly degenerate and corrupt. The moral standards of many of its prominent leaders were characterized by disgrace and shame. Yet within this system of religious confusion, God laid it upon the heart of a dedicated monk to write a devotional poem about his Lord that has since become the text for one of the finest hymns in our hymnals. As was true then and now, God always has a remnant of true believers who maintain His eternal truths.

     At an early age Bernard was known for his piety and scholarship. With his natural charms and talents, he had many opportunities open to him for a successful secular life. While still in his early 20’s, however, he chose the life of a monk at the monastery of Citeaux, France. Within three years Bernard’s forceful personality, talents, and leadership qualities were recognized, and he was asked to form other branches of this order throughout Europe. Within Bernard’s lifetime 162 other such orders were founded. One of these new monasteries was at Clairvaux, France, where Bernard was made its abbot or head. Here he remained until his death in 1153.

     Jesus, the very thought of Thee with sweetness fills my breast; but sweeter far Thy face to see and in Thy presence rest.
     Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame, nor can the mem’ry find a sweeter sound than Thy blest name, O Savior of mankind.
     O hope of ev’ry contrite heart, O joy of all the meek, to those who fall how kind Thou art! how good to those who seek!
     But what to those who find? Ah, this nor tongue nor pen can show—the love of Jesus, what it is; none but His loved ones know.
     Jesus, our only joy be Thou, as Thou our prize wilt be; Jesus, be Thou our glory now and thru eternity.


     For Today: Psalm 66:2; 130:7; Jeremiah 17:7; Ephesians 3:19

     Earnestly seek to be one of God’s faithful remnant—“salt” and “light”—keeping His truths alive for this generation to hear and believe.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Wednesday, September 20, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 19, Wednesday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 72
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 119:73–96
Old Testament     1 Kings 22:1–28
New Testament     1 Corinthians 2:1–13
Gospel     Matthew 4:18–25

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 72

Of Solomon.

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.

5 May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May his foes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts.
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.

12 For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live!
May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.

18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.

20 The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 119:73–96

73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right,
and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
76 Let your steadfast love become my comfort
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the arrogant be put to shame,
because they have subverted me with guile;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
so that they may know your decrees.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
so that I may not be put to shame.

81 My soul languishes for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82 My eyes fail with watching for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The arrogant have dug pitfalls for me;
they flout your law.
86 All your commandments are enduring;
I am persecuted without cause; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth;
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love spare my life,
so that I may keep the decrees of your mouth.

89 The LORD exists forever;
your word is firmly fixed in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand today,
for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my misery.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your decrees.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Old Testament
1 Kings 22:1–28

22 For three years Aram and Israel continued without war. 2 But in the third year King Jehoshaphat of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, yet we are doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?” 4 He said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are; my people are your people, my horses are your horses.”

5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the LORD.” 6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred of them, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” They said, “Go up; for the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” 7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no other prophet of the LORD here of whom we may inquire?” 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favorable about me, but only disaster.” Jehoshaphat said, “Let the king not say such a thing.” 9 Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.” 10 Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 11 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, “Thus says the LORD: With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.” 12 All the prophets were prophesying the same and saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.”

13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, whatever the LORD says to me, that I will speak.”

15 When he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” He answered him, “Go up and triumph; the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.” 16 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” 17 Then Micaiah said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep that have no shepherd; and the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each one go home in peace.’ ” 18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favorable about me, but only disaster?”

19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside him to the right and to the left of him. 20 And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ Then one said one thing, and another said another, 21 until a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 ‘How?’ the LORD asked him. He replied, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the LORD said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.’ 23 So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has decreed disaster for you.”

24 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, “Which way did the spirit of the LORD pass from me to speak to you?” 25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.” 26 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, 27 and say, ‘Thus says the king: Put this fellow in prison, and feed him on reduced rations of bread and water until I come in peace.’ ” 28 Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, you peoples, all of you!”

New Testament
1 Corinthians 2:1–13

2 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

Gospel
Matthew 4:18–25

18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.


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

Book Of Common Prayer
     On The Same Day | Vigil | Holy Day
     Wednesday, September 20, 2017 | After Pentecost

Eve Of St. Matthew
Evening Prayers—Eves Of Apostles And Evangelists
Years 1 & 2
On the same date: Proper 19, Wednesday

Psalms     Psalm 48, 122 or Psalm 84, 150
Old Testament     Isaiah 43:10–15 or Isaiah 52:7–10
New Testament     Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14 or Matthew 9:35–10:4

Index of Readings

Psalms
Option A
Psalm 48, 122
A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites.

1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
3 Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.

4 Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
7 as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God establishes forever.     Selah

9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10 Your name, O God, like your praise,
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
13 consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

OR
Option B
Psalm 84, 150
To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.     Selah

5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!     Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

Old Testament
Option A
Isaiah 43:10–15

10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD,
and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the LORD,
and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses, says the LORD.
13 I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
there is no one who can deliver from my hand;
I work and who can hinder it?

14 Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I will send to Babylon
and break down all the bars,
and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation.
15 I am the LORD, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.

OR
Option B
Isaiah 52:7–10

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

New Testament
Option A
Revelation 21:1–4, 9–14

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Or
Option B
Matthew 9:35–10:4

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

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