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9/25/2017
Hosea 1-7
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Watch Video     Hosea 1:1     1 The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

Hosea’s Wife and Children

     2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” 3 So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

     4 And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

     6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. 7 But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

     8 When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. 9 And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

     10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 11 And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Israel’s Unfaithfulness Punished

Watch Video     Hosea 2:1  Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.”

2  “Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;
3  lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
4  Upon her children also I will have no mercy,
because they are children of whoredom.
5  For their mother has played the whore;
she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
6  Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she cannot find her paths.
7  She shall pursue her lovers
but not overtake them,
and she shall seek them
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now.’
8  And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
9  Therefore I will take back
my grain in its time,
and my wine in its season,
and I will take away my wool and my flax,
which were to cover her nakedness.
10  Now I will uncover her lewdness
in the sight of her lovers,
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.
11  And I will put an end to all her mirth,
her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,
and all her appointed feasts.
12  And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
‘These are my wages,
which my lovers have given me.’
I will make them a forest,
and the beasts of the field shall devour them.
13  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot me, declares the LORD.

The LORD’s Mercy on Israel

14  “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15  And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

     16 “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

21  “And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD,
I will answer the heavens,
and they shall answer the earth,
22  and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel,
23  and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’ ”

Hosea Redeems His Wife

Watch Video     Hosea 3:1 And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

The LORD Accuses Israel

Watch Video     Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,

for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
2  there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3  Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.

4  Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.
5  You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;
and I will destroy your mother.
6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

7  The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
I will change their glory into shame.
8  They feed on the sin of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity.
9  And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10  They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the LORD
to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
12  My people inquire of a piece of wood,
and their walking staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the whore.
13  They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
and your brides commit adultery.
14  I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
nor your brides when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.

15  Though you play the whore, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.
Enter not into Gilgal,
nor go up to Beth-aven,
and swear not, “As the LORD lives.”
16  Like a stubborn heifer,
Israel is stubborn;
can the LORD now feed them
like a lamb in a broad pasture?

17  Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone.
18  When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;
their rulers dearly love shame.
19  A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Punishment Coming for Israel and Judah

Watch Video     Hosea 5:1 Hear this, O priests!
Pay attention, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For the judgment is for you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah
and a net spread upon Tabor.
2  And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
but I will discipline all of them.

3  I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
Israel is defiled.
4  Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the LORD.

5  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
Judah also shall stumble with them.
6  With their flocks and herds they shall go
to seek the LORD,
but they will not find him;
he has withdrawn from them.
7  They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD;
for they have borne alien children.
Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.

8  Blow the horn in Gibeah,
the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
we follow you, O Benjamin!
9  Ephraim shall become a desolation
in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
I make known what is sure.
10  The princes of Judah have become
like those who move the landmark;
upon them I will pour out
my wrath like water.
11  Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
because he was determined to go after filth.
12  But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
and like dry rot to the house of Judah.

13  When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and sent to the great king.
But he is not able to cure you
or heal your wound.
14  For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.

15  I will return again to my place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me.

Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant

Watch Video     Hosea 6:1 “Come, let us return to the LORD;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
2  After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
3  Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”

4  What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes early away.
5  Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.
6  For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

7  But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me.
8  Gilead is a city of evildoers,
tracked with blood.
9  As robbers lie in wait for a man,
so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
they commit villainy.
10  In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
Ephraim’s whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.

11  For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.

When I restore the fortunes of my people,
Watch Video     Hosea 7:1 when I would heal Israel,
the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed,
and the evil deeds of Samaria,
for they deal falsely;
the thief breaks in,
and the bandits raid outside.
2  But they do not consider
that I remember all their evil.
Now their deeds surround them;
they are before my face.
3  By their evil they make the king glad,
and the princes by their treachery.
4  They are all adulterers;
they are like a heated oven
whose baker ceases to stir the fire,
from the kneading of the dough
until it is leavened.
5  On the day of our king, the princes
became sick with the heat of wine;
he stretched out his hand with mockers.
6  For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue;
all night their anger smolders;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
7  All of them are hot as an oven,
and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen,
and none of them calls upon me.

8  Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9  Strangers devour his strength,
and he knows it not;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,
and he knows it not.
10  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
yet they do not return to the LORD their God,
nor seek him, for all this.

11  Ephraim is like a dove,
silly and without sense,
calling to Egypt, going to Assyria.
12  As they go, I will spread over them my net;
I will bring them down like birds of the heavens;
I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.
13  Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
I would redeem them,
but they speak lies against me.

14  They do not cry to me from the heart,
but they wail upon their beds;
for grain and wine they gash themselves;
they rebel against me.
15  Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
yet they devise evil against me.
16  They return, but not upward;
they are like a treacherous bow;
their princes shall fall by the sword
because of the insolence of their tongue.
This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha



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#2 Owen Gingerich   Gordon College

 

#3 John Perkins   Gordon College

 


  Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Understanding Satan’s role (5)
     (Sept 25)    Bob Gass

     ‘Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you.’

(Lk 22:31) 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, ESV

     Luke writes: ‘Jesus said, “Simon, listen to me! Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks. But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others”’ (vv. 31-32 CEV). Satan’s attack proves you have an important part to play in the plan of God. That’s why he’s trying so hard to defeat you. The truth is, the intensity and duration of his attack is an indication of your value to God and the level of blessing that God has planned for you on the other side of the attack. So, if you belong to Christ, view the attack as a sign of respect. And remember Who is in control. Satan needed God’s permission to attack Job. Jesus said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me’ (Matthew 28:18 NIV 2011 Edition). And this is proof. The purpose of this test is to provide you with a testimony to God’s goodness. Jesus was allowing Peter to experience a trial so that he could encourage his brothers. Perhaps God is doing the same with you. He knows that the church, and the world, need living testimonies of His power. So, your difficulty may be preparing you to be a voice of encouragement to others who are struggling. Remember what Joseph said to his brothers: ‘You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good’ (Genesis 50:20 NASB). Since God loves you and is in control of your life, good things will come from the difficulties you are going through right now.

Is 3-44
Philip 3

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus began the Ten Amendments, or Bill of Rights, which were approved this day, September 25, 1789. They were passed because the Constitution did not limit the powers of the Federal Government enough. Indeed, sixteen of the fifty-five delegates refused to sign the Constitution. Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams even tried to prevent it from being ratified, as the abuses of King George’s concentrated power were still fresh. Only with the promise that ten limitations would be placed on this new Government did the States finally ratify the Constitution.

American Minute

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


     And so also with the universe itself as we rise in Christ to prayer. Joined with its Redeemer, we are integrated into its universality. We are made members of its vast whole. We are not detained and cramped in a sectional world. We are not planted in the presence of an outside, alien universe, nor in the midst of a distraught, unreconciled universe, which speaks like a crowd, in many fragments and many voices, and drags us from one relation with it to another, with a Lo, here is Christ, or there. But it is a universe wholly vocal to us, really a universe, and vocal as a whole, one congenial and friendly, as it comes to us in its Christ and ours. It was waiting for us—for such a manifestation of the Son of God as prayer is. This world is not now a desert haunted by demons. And it is more than a vestibule to another; it is its prelude in the drama of all things. We know it in another knowledge now than its own. Nature can never be understood by natural knowledge. We know it as science never can—as a whole, and as reality. We know it as we are known of God—altogether, and not in pieces. Having nothing, and praying for everything, we possess all things. The faith that energizes in Christian prayer sets us at the centre of that whole of which Nature is the overture part. The steps of thought and its processes of law fade away. They do not cease to act, but they retire from notice. We grasp the mobile organization of things deep at its constant and trusty heart. We receive the earnest of our salvation—Christ in us.

     There, where one centre reconciles all things,
     The world’s profound heart beats.

     We are planted there. And all the mediation of process becomes immediate in its eternal ground. As we are going there we feel already there. “They were willing to receive Him into the boat, and straightway the boat was at the land whither they were going.” We grasp that eternal life to which all things work, which gives all the waxing organization its being and meaning—for a real organism only grows because it already is. That is the mark of a real life. And soul and person is the greatest organism of all. We apprehend our soul as it is apprehended of God and in God, the timeless God—with all its evolution, past or future, converted into a divine present. We are already all that we are to be. We possess our souls in the prayer which is real communion with God. We enter by faith upon that which to sight and history is but a far future reversion. When He comes to our prayer He brings with Him all that He purposes to make us. We are already the “brave creature” He means us to be. More than our desire is fulfilled—our soul is. In such hour or visitation we realize our soul or person at no one stage of it, but in its fullness, and in the context of its whole and final place in history, the world, and eternity. A phase which has no meaning in itself, yet carries, like the humble mother of a great genius, an eternal meaning in it. And we can seize that meaning in prayer; we can pierce to what we are at our true course and true destiny, i.e. what we are to God’s grace. Laws and injunctions such as “Love your neighbour,” even “Love your enemy,” then become life principles, and they are law pressures no more. The yoke is easy. Where all is forgiven to seventy times seven there is no friction and no grief any more. We taste love and joy. All the pressure of life then goes to form the crystals of faith. It is God making up His jewels.

     When we are in God’s presence by prayer we are right, our will is morally right, we are doing His will. However unsure we may be about other acts and efforts to serve Him we know we are right in this. If we ask truly but ask amiss, it is not a sin, and He will in due course set us right in that respect. We are sure that prayer is according to His will, and that we are just where we ought to be. And that is a great matter for the rightness of our thought, and of the aims and desires proposed by out thoughts. It means much both as to their form and their passion. If we realize that prayer is the acme of our right relation to God, if we are sure that we are never so right with Him in anything we do as in prayer, then prayer must have the greatest effect and value for our life, both in its purpose and its fashion, in its spirit and its tenor. What puts us right morally, right with a Holy God (as prayer does), must have a great shaping power on every part and every juncture of life. And, of course, especially upon the spirit and tenor of our prayer itself, upon the form and complexion of our petition.

     The effect of our awful World War I will be very different on the prayerful and the prayerless. It will be a sifting judgment. It will turn to prayer those who did not pray, and increase the prayer of those who did. But some, whose belief in God grew up only in fair weather and not at the Cross, it will make more sceptical and prayerless than ever, and it will present them with a world more confused and more destitute of a God than before; which can only lead to renewed outbreaks of the same kind as soon as the nations regain strength. The prayerless spirit saps a people’s moral strength because it blunts their thought and conviction of the Holy. It must be so if prayer is such a moral blessing and such a shaping power, if it pass, by its nature, from the vague volume and passion of devotion to formed petition and effort. Prayerlessness is an injustice and a damage to our own soul, and therefore to its history, both in what we do and what we think. The root of all deadly heresy is prayerlessness. Prayer finds our clue in a world otherwise without form and void. And it draws a magic circle round us over which the evil spirits may not pass. “Prayer,” says Vinet, “is like the air of certain ocean isles, which is so pure that there vermin cannot live. We should surround ourselves with this atmosphere, as the diver shuts himself into his bell ere he descends into the deep.”


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

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


     Kingdom praying and its efficacy
is entirely a matter of the innermost heart's
being totally open and honest before God.
It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being,
moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind
into the flow of God's action.
--- Dallas Willard   The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God


When you betray somebody else, you also betray yourself.
--- Isaac Bashevis Singer


If God can gain glory for Himself from the unjustified murder of His Son, can we not trust Him to somehow glorify Himself in and through the things we struggle with on a daily basis?
--- Charles Stanley   How to Handle Adversity

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     3. Now the towers that were upon it were twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height; they were square and solid, as was the wall itself, wherein the niceness of the joints, and the beauty of the stones, were no way inferior to those of the holy house itself. Above this solid altitude of the towers, which was twenty cubits, there were rooms of great magnificence, and over them upper rooms, and cisterns to receive rain-water. They were many in number, and the steps by which you ascended up to them were every one broad: of these towers then the third wall had ninety, and the spaces between them were each two hundred cubits; but in the middle wall were forty towers, and the old wall was parted into sixty, while the whole compass of the city was thirty-three furlongs. Now the third wall was all of it wonderful; yet was the tower Psephinus elevated above it at the north-west corner, and there Titus pitched his own tent; for being seventy cubits high it both afforded a prospect of Arabia at sun-rising, as well as it did of the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions at the sea westward. Moreover, it was an octagon, and over against it was the tower Hipplicus, and hard by two others were erected by king Herod, in the old wall. These were for largeness, beauty, and strength beyond all that were in the habitable earth; for besides the magnanimity of his nature, and his magnificence towards the city on other occasions, he built these after such an extraordinary manner, to gratify his own private affections, and dedicated these towers to the memory of those three persons who had been the dearest to him, and from whom he named them. They were his brother, his friend, and his wife. This wife he had slain, out of his love [and jealousy], as we have already related; the other two he lost in war, as they were courageously fighting. Hippicus, so named from his friend, was square; its length and breadth were each twenty-five cubits, and its height thirty, and it had no vacuity in it. Over this solid building, which was composed of great stones united together, there was a reservoir twenty cubits deep, over which there was a house of two stories, whose height was twenty-five cubits, and divided into several parts; over which were battlements of two cubits, and turrets all round of three cubits high, insomuch that the entire height added together amounted to fourscore cubits. The second tower, which he named from his brother Phasaelus, had its breadth and its height equal, each of them forty cubits; over which was its solid height of forty cubits; over which a cloister went round about, whose height was ten cubits, and it was covered from enemies by breast-works and bulwarks. There was also built over that cloister another tower, parted into magnificent rooms, and a place for bathing; so that this tower wanted nothing that might make it appear to be a royal palace. It was also adorned with battlements and turrets, more than was the foregoing, and the entire altitude was about ninety cubits; the appearance of it resembled the tower of Pharus, which exhibited a fire to such as sailed to Alexandria, but was much larger than it in compass. This was now converted to a house, wherein Simon exercised his tyrannical authority. The third tower was Mariamne, for that was his queen's name; it was solid as high as twenty cubits; its breadth and its length were twenty cubits, and were equal to each other; its upper buildings were more magnificent, and had greater variety, than the other towers had; for the king thought it most proper for him to adorn that which was denominated from his wife, better than those denominated from men, as those were built stronger than this that bore his wife's name. The entire height of this tower was fifty cubits.

     4. Now as these towers were so very tall, they appeared much taller by the place on which they stood; for that very old wall wherein they were was built on a high hill, and was itself a kind of elevation that was still thirty cubits taller; over which were the towers situated, and thereby were made much higher to appearance. The largeness also of the stones was wonderful; for they were not made of common small stones, nor of such large ones only as men could carry, but they were of white marble, cut out of the rock; each stone was twenty cubits in length, and ten in breadth, and five in depth. They were so exactly united to one another, that each tower looked like one entire rock of stone, so growing naturally, and afterward cut by the hand of the artificers into their present shape and corners; so little, or not at all, did their joints or connexion appear low as these towers were themselves on the north side of the wall, the king had a palace inwardly thereto adjoined, which exceeds all my ability to describe it; for it was so very curious as to want no cost nor skill in its construction, but was entirely walled about to the height of thirty cubits, and was adorned with towers at equal distances, and with large bed-chambers, that would contain beds for a hundred guests a-piece, in which the variety of the stones is not to be expressed; for a large quantity of those that were rare of that kind was collected together. Their roofs were also wonderful, both for the length of the beams, and the splendor of their ornaments. The number of the rooms was also very great, and the variety of the figures that were about them was prodigious; their furniture was complete, and the greatest part of the vessels that were put in them was of silver and gold. There were besides many porticoes, one beyond another, round about, and in each of those porticoes curious pillars; yet were all the courts that were exposed to the air every where green. There were, moreover, several groves of trees, and long walks through them, with deep canals, and cisterns, that in several parts were filled with brazen statues, through which the water ran out. There were withal many dove-courts 11 of tame pigeons about the canals. But indeed it is not possible to give a complete description of these palaces; and the very remembrance of them is a torment to one, as putting one in mind what vastly rich buildings that fire which was kindled by the robbers hath consumed; for these were not burnt by the Romans, but by these internal plotters, as we have already related, in the beginning of their rebellion. That fire began at the tower of Antonia, and went on to the palaces, and consumed the upper parts of the three towers themselves.

          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)

Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
     David Brown - Jews for Jesus

     Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, is at once solemn and joyful. It is solemn because of the Awe of judgment. It is joyful because it represents the hope of the future redemption of Israel. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holy Days. It falls on the first day of the seventh month, according to the Hebrew calendar (see Leviticus 23:23). It could occur anywhere from the first to the last week of September on the Western calendar. (Sept. 11, in 1999) It ushers in the ten days of repentance leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

     The name "Rosh Hashanah" literally means "Beginning of the Year" You may wonder how this can be, since it is called the first day of the seventh month! The reason is that the Jewish calendar is built on two cycles-the religious calendar beginning in the Spring, and the civil calendar beginning in the Fall. In the Torah, the months are never named but only numbered, beginning with the month of Nisan in the early Spring, which is the first month according to the religious calendar.

     Rosh Hashanah Customs

     Among the many traditions of Rosh Hashanah are:

  Dipping of bread into honey after kiddush and ha-Motzi, as a symbol of the hope that the new year will be sweet.
  Dipping pieces of apple into honey, for the same reason.
  Also, the apple is said to symbolize the Divine Presence.
  Use of round loaf of bread instead of the usual braided hallah. Some say the round shape symbolizes a crown. Avoidance of nuts. This is because the numerical value of the Hebrew word for "nut" is the same as the word for "sin."
  Tashlikh ceremony, in which "sins" are ceremoniously tossed into a river and washed away, as penitential prayers are said.

     The Shofar

     The most obvious distinguishing feature of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar, or ram's horn. The Biblical name for this holiday is in fact Zichron Teruah (Remembrance of the shofar blast), or Yom Teruah. (Day of the shofar blast). In some English Bibles it is called The Feast of Trumpets.

     Over a thousand years ago, the great Jewish sage Saadia Gaon came up with ten reasons for sounding the Shofar:

  1.The shofar is associated with the coronation of a King.
  2.The shofar heralds the beginning of the penitential period.
  3.The Torah was given amid blasts of a shofar
  4.The prophets compare their message to blasts of shofar.
  5.It is a reminder of the Conquering armies that destroyed the temple.
  6.It is a reminder of the Substitutionary Sacrifice of the ram for Isaac.
  7.It fills one with Awe-Amos 3:6.
  8. It is associated with Judgment Day-Zephaniah. 1:14, 16.
  9.It heralds the Messianic Age, Isaiah 27:13.
  10. It heralds the Resurrection.

     Significance

     Unlike Passover, the Bible does not clearly identify Rosh Hashanah with a historical event, so we must look to tradition to discover its significance.

     According to Talmudic tradition, the Ten Days of Awe which begin at Rosh Hashanah are the time in which God determines the fate of each human being. On Rosh Hashanah, the wholly righteous are supposedly inscribed in the Sefer ha-Hayyim, or Book of Life, while the wholly wicked are inscribed in the Book of Death. The fate of all others hangs in the balance until Yom Kippur. Consequently, it is a time for introspection, for taking stock of one's behavior over the past year and making amends for any wrongdoing.

     The Book of Life in the Bible

     In chapter 32 of the book of Exodus we find the first hint of the book of life. Moses has been on the mountain receiving the Torah while the people of Israel waited below. Seeing that Moses was taking a long time in returning, the people gave up waiting and made themselves a golden calf to worship, thus incurring the wrath of God. Moses asks to be "blotted out of the book" if God will not forgive the sins of the people. (See also Deut. 9:13).

     There are a number of other references in the Tanakh which mention God blotting out or not blotting out someone from the Book. In Psalm 51:3/2, David asks to have his sins blotted out. Psalm 69:29/28 uses the exact phrase "Book of Life" See also 2 Kings 14:27, Psalm 9:5/6.

     Rosh Hashanah in the Bible

     The Torah does not use the term "Rosh Hashanah," but calls this holiday Yom Teruah, The Day of the Sounding of the Shofar. According to Leviticus 23:23-25, it was to be celebrated by blowing a shofar, or ram's horn, by resting from all work, and by calling a holy assembly, and presenting an offering. The offering is described in Numbers 29:2-6. In Nehemiah 8:2-9 we find Ezra reading the Torah to the assembled people of Israel on this date. Psalms 93-100 are also believed to have been composed for Rosh Hashanah.

     Modern Observance and Jewish Tradition

     In modern Jewish observance of Rosh Hashanah, the principal themes are:

  1.Repentance (Teshuvah in Hebrew-literally "turning back" to God).
  2.Redemption-restoration of a severed relationship with God.
  3.The coming of Messiah.
  4.Judgment.
  5.Creation.

     The Coming Messiah

     The following quotes underscore the theme of the coming Messiah in Rosh Hashanah tradition: "The sounding of the shofar is related to the Messianic theme, and in one tradition, Rosh Hashanah is said to be the time of the ultimate redemption." - Philip Sigal

     "The prayers . . . in many ways allude to God's enthronement, for the kingship of Heaven materializes with the advent of Messiah, who presides over the last judgment." - Philip Sigal The Brit Ha-Hadashah (New Testament) also associates the sound of the shofar with the coming of Messiah. Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, a book of the Brit Ha-Hadashah, tells us:

     "For the Lord himself (i.e., Yeshua ha-Mashiach) will come down from heaven, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call (Tekiat Shofar) of God, and the dead in the Messiah (i.e., those who believed in Yeshua and have died) will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. . . ."-I Thessalonians 4:16 - 17. (Believers refer to this coming event as the "Rapture," from the Latin word for "caught up.")

     The description of Things to Come given in the Brit ha-Hadashah fits well with all the modern themes of Rosh Hashanah. In order to participate in the Rapture, one must 1) Repent: Turn away from sin and toward God. Then you will be personally 2) Redeemed. The soul will be redeemed immediately, and your body on that day when 3) The Messiah comes again and "we shall all be changed/ we shall be like him as he is!" (1 Corinthians 15:51, I John 3:2) and therefore ready for the (4) Judgment.(Revelation 20:11-15) before the world is 5) created anew (Revelation 21).

     The Book of Life in the Brit ha-Hadashah

     The Concept of the Book of Life is found in the New Covenant Scriptures as well. In Philippians 4:3, Paul mentions his faithful colaborers as being written in the book of Life. The book of Revelation, dedicated to the themes of judgment and the coming Messiah, contains several references to the "Book of Life."

  Rev 3:5 - "he who overcomes" will not be blotted out.
  Rev 13:8 -- All who are not written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb will worship the beast.
  Rev 17:8 -- All who are not written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb will be astonished at the beast.
  Rev 20:12 -- Judgment by the Book.
  Rev 20:15 -- All who are not found in the book are thrown into the lake of fire.
  Rev 21:27 -- Those who are in the Book will enter the New Jerusalem.

     Tashlikh

     One very interesting ceremony of Rosh Hashanah is the custom of Tashlikh. In a Tashlikh service, worshippers go to a body of water such as a stream or an ocean, and toss the contents of their pockets into it while reciting passages such as Micah 7:19, ("You will hurl (Tashlikh) all their sins into the depths of the sea.") as a symbol of sin being swallowed up in forgiveness.

     A New Covenant

     This is not the only place in the Tanakh where God speaks of such total forgiveness for his people. Jeremiah 31:34 says: "For I will forgive their iniquities and remember their sins no more." Only one verse before, God declares that one day he will make a New Covenant (Brit Hadashah) with Israel, and put his Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts: "See, a time is coming-declares the LORD-when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, so that I rejected them-declares the LORD."

     What is this "New Covenant"? What is to be the basis of Atonement under it? The Torah teaches that atonement requires the shedding of blood, i.e. a sacrifice. (Leviticus 17:11). Yet, there is no more temple in which to make the sacrifice, so how can there be atonement? It is impossible to keep the Torah completely as long as there is no temple. The rabbis declared that prayers would take the place of the sacrifices, but is that really enough? If prayer is as good as sacrifice, why did God ever demand sacrifice in the first place? Would HaShem allow the temple-so central to his service-to be taken away for so long without putting an alternative plan in place? Hass ve'halilah! If God has allowed the temple to lie in ruins for so long, could it be that it is because he has provided another way?

     Suppose someone you know to be reliable gives you directions to someplace and you suddenly find yourself at a dead end. You know the directions are good, so you back up to see if you missed a turn somewhere. Those directions are the Torah and the prophets. The dead end is the Hurban. The missed turn is the New Covenant-one that doesn't need a physical temple, because the ultimate sacrifice has already been made, making all other sacrifice obsolete. The Hebrew prophets predicted that a "Righteous Servant" would some day make such a sacrifice. (Isaiah 53:6, 8, 12)

     "And the LORD visited upon him the guilt of us all."-Isaiah 53:6 (JPS).

     "My righteous servant makes the many righteous, It is their punishment that he bears" -- Isaiah 53:11 (JPS).

     "For he was cut off from the land of the living Through the sin of my people, who deserved the punishment " -- Isaiah 53:8 (JPS).

     "He bore the guilt of the many And made intercession for sinners." --
Isaiah 53:12 (JPS).

     We believe that Yeshua is that Righteous Servant (what other candidates are there?), and that his Atonement is the basis of the New Covenant spoken of by Jeremiah. If the New Testament ("Testament" is simply another word for Covenant or Brit) is true, it proves that God has not abandoned Am Yisroel. We believe that God has come in person to rescue his people from their sins as a prerequisite to the final restoration of Israel to the Land, when HaShem Himself will rule over them as King. Marana Tha!*

     *(Aramaic for "Our Lord, Come!")

     This article was originally published in 1978.

          Jews for Jesus

Proverbs 25:23
     by D.H. Stern

23     The north wind brings rain
     and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.

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 “go” of relationship

     And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. --- Matthew 5:41.

     The summing up of Our Lord’s teaching is that the relationship which He demands is an impossible one unless He has done a supernatural work in us. Jesus Christ demands that there be not the slightest trace of resentment even suppressed in the head of a disciple when he meets with tyranny and injustice. No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His worker, only one thing will, and that is a personal relationship to Himself which has gone through the mill of His spring-cleaning until there is only one purpose left—‘I am here for God to send me where He will.’ Every other thing may get fogged, but this relationship to Jesus Christ must never be.

      The Sermon on the Mount is not an ideal, it is a statement of what will happen in me when Jesus Christ has altered my disposition and put in a disposition like His own. Jesus Christ is the only One Who can fulfil the Sermon on the Mount.

     If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must be made disciples supernaturally; as long as we have the dead-set purpose of being disciples we may be sure we are not. “I have chosen you.” That is the way the grace of God begins. It is a constraint we cannot get away from; we can disobey it, but we cannot generate it. The drawing is done by the supernatural grace of God, and we never can trace where His work begins. Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are easy to us naturally; He only asks us to do the things we are perfectly fitted to do by His grace, and the cross will come along that line always.


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

The Fisherman
     the Poetry of RS Thomas


                The Fisherman

A simple man
  He liked the crease on the water
  His cast made, but had no pity
  For the broken backbone
  Of water or fish.

One of his pleasures, thirsty,
  Was to ask a drink
  At the hot farms;
  Leaving with a casual thank you,
  As though they owed it him.

I could have told of the living water
  That springs pure.
  He would have smiled then,
  Dancing his speckled fly in the shallows,
  Not understanding.


Selected poems, 1946-1968

Unfaithfulness
     The Teacher's Commentary


     There are many experiences that cause us pain. But one of the most painful of all must be the unfaithfulness of a marriage partner.

     For Hosea, who married “an adulterous wife,” that pain was not just something occasioned by a single fall. Hosea’s wife Gomer practiced unfaithfulness as a lifestyle. Ultimately she left the prophet and their three children, to live with a series of other men. Yet Hosea continued to care for her.

     While Hosea could have validly divorced his wife under the Law, this was something he simply could not do. Despite the anguish he felt, Hosea continued to love Gomer.

     This was admittedly unusual. Hosea had been called by God to demonstrate both the Lord’s personal pain and His utter faithfulness. Hosea did demonstrate God’s character and His commitment by his continuing faithfulness to his prostitute wife.

     Surely God must have given Hosea the grace to live through this agonizing experience!

     We don’t know how many years Hosea lived this way—rejected, feeling agonizing pain, but continuing to love.


The Teacher's Commentary

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     D’RASH


     The Rabbis are not saying that if you steal a paper clip from work today, then some day you’ll end up on death row as a convicted murderer. Look closer at the examples that the Rabbis pick of transgressing a “minor commandment,” the offenses that will lead to more major sins. They aren’t mere victimless crimes. It’s not simply that if you steal a paper clip today, then you’ll steal a ream of paper tomorrow, a computer next month and—sooner or later—you’ll end up embezzling major funds from your employer.

     Each of the examples of a “minor commandment” is about interpersonal relations: “Love your fellow as yourself,” “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge,” “You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart,” “Let him live by your side.” In each case, someone gets hurt.

     We start out being insensitive, and we see that it doesn’t hurt—us!—to be a bit cold and callous. Soon, it doesn’t hurt to be very cold and callous. We begin to move from emotional injury to physical harm. We start by calling him “Fatso” or telling everyone “She’s a JAP” Then we move on—from poking fun at them to actually poking them. We’re no longer just trash-talking; we’re now comfortable with trashing their property.

     A dictator referred to certain people as “rats” or “animals,” and sooner or later, his followers said to themselves: “Hey, it’s OK to ‘exterminate’ a pest. We’re not killing human beings; they’re vermin.” Throughout history, despots who have attempted to dehumanize their enemies by calling them animals have merely dehumanized themselves and their followers.

     This teaching is a good reminder that we don’t have to start out “lying in ambush to murder another person” in order to end up there. A minor loss of sensitivity can lead, over time, to a major transgression on our part.

     ANOTHER D’RASH

     The word קָלָה/kalah actually means “light” or “easy”; the word חֲמוּרַה/ḥamurah means “hard” or “difficult.” So the issue may not be minor versus major commandments; it may really be about a mitzvah that is easy, as opposed to a mitzvah that’s very difficult. Or to re-translate the maxim: “If he transgressed an easy commandment, in the end he will transgress a difficult one.” The Rabbis are thus asking us: If you can’t manage to do the simple ones, how are you ever going to do the hard ones?

     Let’s take an example: “Honor your father and your mother” (
Exodus 20:13). “What constitutes ‘honor’? Feeding them, dressing them, helping them to come and go” (Talmud, Kiddushin 31b).

     An Easy Mitzvah

“Joe, did you call your mother today?”
“No …”
“Well, what are you waiting for? It’s getting late.”
“I know what time it is.”
“So what’s the problem? Give her a call.”
“I wish you’d get off my case, already. I know how to use the
     phone …”
“Apparently, you don’t! You haven’t spoken to your mother
     all week.”
“Listen, she’s a pain in the neck. She’ll ask me what I had
     for lunch, like I’m twelve years old. Then she’ll complain
     that this hurts her, and that hurts her. And then she’ll tell
     me in great detail about her gastrointestinal problems. I
     don’t want to hear about it! And then she’ll ask me again
     what I had for lunch. She drives me crazy!”
“Don’t talk about her that way! She’s your mother, and she’s
     entitled to her aches and pains. The least that you can do
     is give her a call and listen to her. A measly little phone
     call. Five minutes. Is that so much to ask? I bet when you
     were a kid you drove her nuts; she didn’t stop talking to
     you for a week. Come on, honey, pick up the phone and
     give your mother a call. How hard can it be?”

     A Difficult Mitzvah

     Jeff came to spend a couple of days with his infirm dad, while his sister took a well-deserved day off from her role as caretaker. Father and son watched a ball game together, and then Jeff took his dad, in a wheelchair, for a “spin around the block.” Later, Jeff prepared dinner; he got a little choked up when he had to cut up his father’s food and help him eat. At bedtime, Jeff assisted his father out of his clothes and into his pajamas. But the worst experience came in the middle of the night. Jeff was awakened to hear his name being called. He rushed into his father’s room. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom!” “It’s OK, Dad, I’m here.” But his father was very slow in getting out of bed. Before Jeff could maneuver him to the commode, his father had “an accident.” As Jeff changed the pajamas, mopped the floor, and gave his dad a sponge bath, the father cried in shame and the son cried out of pity.

     If we don’t do the easy ones, how will we ever do the hard ones?


Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     September 25

     How great is God—beyond our understanding!
---
Job 36:26.

     Invisible! (Preaching Through the Bible) The invisibleness of God is not a scientific discovery; it is a biblical revelation: “No one has ever seen God” (
John 1:18). This is the difficulty of all life, and the higher the life the higher the difficulty. No one can see oneself and live! You can see your incarnation, but your very self—the pulse that makes you human—you have never seen, you can never see!

     Anatomy says it has never found the soul and adds, “Therefore there is no soul.” The reasoning overleaps itself and takes away its own life. Has anatomy found genius? Or has anatomy laid its finger on imagination and held it up, saying, “Look, the mighty wizard”?

     Anatomize the dead poet and the dead ass, and you will find as much genius in one as in the other; therefore there is no genius! Who that valued his or her life would set foot on such a bridge as the rickety “therefore”? But some people will venture on any bridge that leads away from God—because they do not like to retain God in their hearts (
Rom. 1:28). It is not because of intellectual superiority but because of moral distaste, an invincible aversion.

     Yes, God is unknown and unknowable. But that does not make him unusable and unprofitable. If scientists avow that they have not developed a theory of magnetism, do they therefore ignore it or decline to inquire into its uses? Do they write its name with a big M and run away from it, shaken and whitened by fear? Indeed they are not such fools. They actually use what they do not understand.

     Bring their example to bear on the religious life. I do not scientifically know God. The term does not come within the analysis that is available to me. God is great, and I know him not; yet the term has its practical uses in life, and into those broad and obvious uses all people may inquire. What part does the God of the Bible play in the life of the person who accepts him? Any creed that does not come down easily into the daily life to purify and direct it is imperfect and useless.
--- Joseph Parker


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

On This Day   September 25
     Problems?


     Pope Clement VII, son of Giuliano de’ Medici, was among the most unfortunate occupants of the Vatican. He was tall, slender, and moderately handsome, though wearing a “permanently sour” expression. He was upright and intelligent, but unprepared for the hornet’s nest of the papacy. When faced with hard decisions, he vacillated. The Venetian ambassador wrote, “The pope is 48 years old and is a sensible man but slow in decision, which explains his irresolution in action.”

     Clement, finding his treasury bankrupt, was chagrined that no Italian banker trusted him. The citizens of Rome didn’t like him either. And Clement agonized over his failure to stem Luther’s Reformation and to promote reform within his own church. At the same time he was caught between the conflicting aims of the kings of France and Spain. His attempts to steer a middle course invited the sack of Rome in 1527. As Clement watched helplessly from a tower, his city was plundered, raped, butchered, and burned.

     He was caught once again between two kings—Henry VIII of England and Charles V of Spain, the Holy Roman Emperor. King Henry, frustrated he had no male heir wanted an annulment from Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. Pope Clement had the prerogative to set aside the marriage. But he was under the thumb of Charles—Catherine’s nephew. To grant the annulment invited disaster, including the alienation of the Holy Roman Empire from Catholicism. To refuse invited the fury of Henry VIII and the probable loss of England.

     Clement tried to steer a middle course, hemming and hawing, at his wit’s end, worrying that whatever happened, “the church cannot escape utter ruin.” He made catastrophic errors. King Henry seized his nation’s monasteries, split with the Vatican, and established the Reformation in England by the Act of Supremacy.

     On September 25, 1534, having barely survived his previous misfortunes, he met a final one—a miserable death, reportedly from gobbling down a bowl of poisonous mushrooms.

Moaning and groaning are my food and drink,
  and my worst fears have all come true.
  I have no peace or rest—
  only troubles and worries.
---
Job 3:24-26.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - September 25

     “Just, and the justifier of him which believeth.” --- Romans 3:26.

     Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin, but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of his people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell. It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so, and this gives us our terror at first; but is it not marvellous that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God be just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change his nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer—having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that his people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for he hath justified; not Christ, for he hath died, “yea rather hath risen again.” My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, he is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what he has done, and in what he is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen.


          Evening - September 25

     “Who of God is made unto us wisdom.” --- 1 Corinthians 1:30.

     Man’s intellect seeks after rest, and by nature seeks it apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Men of education are apt, even when converted, to look upon the simplicities of the cross of Christ with an eye too little reverent and loving. They are snared in the old net in which the Grecians were taken, and have a hankering to mix philosophy with revelation. The temptation with a man of refined thought and high education is to depart from the simple truth of Christ crucified, and to invent, as the term is, a more intellectual doctrine. This led the early Christian churches into Gnosticism, and bewitched them with all sorts of heresies. This is the root of Neology, and the other fine things which in days gone by were so fashionable in Germany, and are now so ensnaring to certain classes of divines. Whoever you are, good reader, and whatever your education may be, if you be the Lord’s, be assured you will find no rest in philosophizing divinity. You may receive this dogma of one great thinker, or that dream of another profound reasoner, but what the chaff is to the wheat, that will these be to the pure word of God. All that reason, when best guided, can find out is but the A B C of truth, and even that lacks certainty, while in Christ Jesus there is treasured up all the fulness of wisdom and knowledge. All attempts on the part of Christians to be content with systems such as Unitarian and Broad-church thinkers would approve of, must fail; true heirs of heaven must come back to the grandly simple reality which makes the ploughboy’s eye flash with joy, and gladens the pious pauper’s heart—“Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Jesus satisfies the most elevated intellect when he is believingly received, but apart from him the mind of the regenerate discovers no rest. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” “A good understanding have all they that do his commandments.”


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

Amazing Grace
     September 25

          FADE, FADE, EACH EARTHLY JOY

     Jane C. Bonar, 1821–1884

     Love the Lord, all His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:23, 24)

     Each of us was created for the purpose of enjoying the fellowship of Almighty God. Our souls were made for eternity, not for this brief earthly pilgrimage alone. The Christian life should be lived each day as though we were already enjoying the blessings of heaven. We deprive ourselves of one of life’s greatest treasures when we lose this perspective and become bogged down with the trivialities of earthly living.

     An intimate fellowship with our Lord should produce at least three basic differences in our living:

•     More humility—a greater realization of our finiteness and the need for dependence upon God.
•     More happiness—a realization that this life has purpose and dignity as we represent God. And then a promised eternity in heaven with our Lord.
•     More holiness—a greater desire to be a worthy representative for God and to live a life of absolute purity.

     The author of this lovely devotional hymn text, Jane C. Bonar, was the wife of Dr. Horatius Bonar, generally regarded as the greatest of evangelical Scottish preachers and hymn writers. Jane, too, was a very gifted writer and Christian leader. For more than 40 years the Bonars shared life’s sorrows and joys together in a rich ministry for God. These devotional thoughts are still the sentiments of every spiritually mature follower of Christ:

     Fade, fade, each earthly joy—Jesus is mine; break, ev’ry tender tie—Jesus is mine. Dark is the wilderness; earth has no resting place; Jesus alone can bless—Jesus is mine.
     Tempt not my soul away—Jesus is mine; here would I ever stay—Jesus is mine. Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day, pass from my heart away—Jesus is mine.
     Farewell, ye dreams of night—Jesus is mine; lost in this dawning bright—Jesus is mine. All that my soul has tried left but a dismal void; Jesus has satisfied—Jesus is mine.
     Farewell, mortality—Jesus is mine; welcome, eternity—Jesus is mine, welcome, O loved and blest, welcome, sweet scenes of rest; welcome, my Savior’s breast—Jesus is mine.

     For Today: Psalm 16:8, 11; 37:4, 23; 40:8; Proverbs 11:20; Colossians 3:2

     Allow the awareness of God’s presence to produce in your life more HUMILITY, HAPPINESS, and HOLINESS as you seek to represent Him.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Monday, September 25, 2017 | After Pentecost

Monday, September 25, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 20, Monday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 80
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 77 (79)
Old Testament     2 Kings 5:1–19
New Testament     1 Corinthians 4:8–21
Gospel     Matthew 5:21–26

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 80
80 To The Choirmaster: According To Lilies. A Testimony. Of Asaph, A Psalm.

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
stir up your might
and come to save us!

3 Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

4 O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh among themselves.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

8 You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its branches to the sea
and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.

14 Turn again, O God of hosts!
Look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted,
and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
18 Then we shall not turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call upon your name!

19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 77 (79)

77 To The Choirmaster: According To Jeduthun. A Psalm Of Asaph.

1 I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.     Selah

4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 “Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”     Selah

10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.     Selah

16 When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

[     79 A Psalm Of Asaph.

1 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2 They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the heavens for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth.
3 They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us.

5 How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call upon your name!
7 For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.

8 Do not remember against us our former iniquities;
let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
9 Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and atone for our sins,
for your name’s sake!
10 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants
be known among the nations before our eyes!

11 Let the groans of the prisoners come before you;
according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die!
12 Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors
the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
13 But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.     ]

Old Testament
2 Kings 5:1–19

5 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD. 18 In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”

But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance,

New Testament
1 Corinthians 4:8–21

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

Gospel
Matthew 5:21–26

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother3 will be liable to judgment; whoever insults4 his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell5 of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.6

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



Peacebuilding Praxis: Lessons from Africa
Various Speakers   Catholic University





Plenary: The Way Forward
Various Speakers   Catholic University






Martin Luther King's Call
Stephen Schneck   Catholic University





What, then, is a Law-Giver?
Charles Butterworth   Catholic University






Religious Freedom & Human Rights:
Theodore McCarrick   Catholic University





Challenges of a Christian University
Denis Madden   Catholic University






Religious Freedom & Human Rights:
Panel   Catholic University





Human Rights in the Holy Land
Various Speakers   Catholic University






Religious Freedom and Human Rights
Various Speakers   Catholic University





Religious Freedom & Human Rights
Various Speakers   Catholic University






Keynote Convocation Speaker
Randall Ott   Catholic University





Post-Classical Islam (After 1200)
Frank Griffel   Catholic University






Roots of Arabic Philosophy
Emma Gannage   Catholic University





Finding Your Moral Compass in Business
Andreas Widmer   Catholic University






Argument as Narrative, Narrative as Argument
Brian Chappell   Catholic University





Islamic Jewish Neoplatonism
Sarah Pessin   Catholic University






Christian Philosopher in Abbasid Baghadad
Sidney Griffith   Catholic University





Obama's Second Term
Panel Discussion   Catholic University






Was Copernicus Right?
Owen Gingerich   Gordon College





Ministering to 13 to 34 year olds
Darrell Bock, Jay Sedwick & Mark Matlock   
Dallas Theological Seminary







Jesus, What A Friend For Sinners
Mike Pocock   
Dallas Theological Seminary






Engaging with LGBT Persons
Darrell Bock, Mark Yarhouse & Gary Barnes   
Dallas Theological Seminary







Job 17 Wisdom Interlude (Job 28)
Dr. John Walton





Job 18 Job's discourse (Job 29-31)
Dr. John Walton