Numbers 8 - 10
The Seven Lamps (Ex 25.31—40)Numbers 8:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.” 3 And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the LORD commanded Moses. 4 And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
Midrash Rabbah, Numbers XV, 2. … This is the reason why it says, WHEN THOU LIGHTEST THE LAMPS. Thus we have explained the text, ’The Lord was pleased for His righteousness sake’. Moreover, if you will be careful to light the lamps before Me I shall cause a great light to shine upon you in the Messianic era. Accordingly it says, Arise, shine, for thy light is come … And nations shall walk at thy light, and kings at the brightness of thy rising (Isa. 60:1-22). Huckel, T. (1998). The Rabbinic Messiah (Nu 8:2). Philadelphia: Hananeel House.
Cleansing of the Levites5 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. 7 Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification upon them, and let them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. 8 Then let them take a bull from the herd and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. 9 And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. 10 When you bring the Levites before the LORD, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the LORD. 12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the LORD to make atonement for the Levites. 13 And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the LORD.
14 “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. 17 For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, 18 and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary.”
20 Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, the people of Israel did to them. 21 And the Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.
The main body of this chapter (vv. 5–22) describes a ceremony in which Moses was to cleanse the Levites and “offer them for a wave offering.” God had accepted the Levites as a substitute for all the firstborn of Israel. Since the Levites were to serve as a shield for the people, it was necessary that atonement be made first for them. In this way the people could be saved from the anger of God (which might be expressed by a plague or some other calamity) caused by an improper worship action.
Special points.—The “wave offering” was a special contribution. In it, the symbolism was that of waving the sacrifice toward the altar and then away from the altar. It symbolized the fact that the people gave the offering to God and then received it back again. It is difficult to know exactly how this was done with reference to the Levites. They obviously could not be waved back and forth physically but, no doubt, in some way the symbolism was fulfilled in spirit if not literally. Paschall, F. H., and Hobbs, H. H. (1972). The teacher's Bible commentary: A concise, thorough interpretation of the entire Bible designed especially for Sunday School teachers (98). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.
Retirement of the Levites23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”
The Passover CelebratedNumbers 9:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” 4 So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. 5 And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did. 6 And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. 7 And those men said to him, “We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the LORD’s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?” 8 And Moses said to them, “Wait, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.”
9 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD. 11 In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it. 13 But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the LORD’s offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. 14 And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”
The Cloud Covering the Tabernacle15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. 17 And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped. 18 At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the LORD they remained in camp; then according to the command of the LORD they set out. 21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out. 23 At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out. They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses.
The Silver TrumpetsNumbers 10:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. 3 And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 4 But if they blow only one, then the chiefs, the heads of the tribes of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. 5 When you blow an alarm, the camps that are on the east side shall set out. 6 And when you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are on the south side shall set out. An alarm is to be blown whenever they are to set out. 7 But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow a long blast, but you shall not sound an alarm. 8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 9 And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. 10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God.”
Israel Leaves Sinai11 In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony, 12 and the people of Israel set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai. And the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran. 13 They set out for the first time at the command of the LORD by Moses. 14 The standard of the camp of the people of Judah set out first by their companies, and over their company was Nahshon the son of Amminadab. 15 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Issachar was Nethanel the son of Zuar. 16 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon.
17 And when the tabernacle was taken down, the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who carried the tabernacle, set out. 18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set out by their companies, and over their company was Elizur the son of Shedeur. 19 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. 20 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things, and the tabernacle was set up before their arrival. 22 And the standard of the camp of the people of Ephraim set out by their companies, and over their company was Elishama the son of Ammihud. 23 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. 24 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni.
25 Then the standard of the camp of the people of Dan, acting as the rear guard of all the camps, set out by their companies, and over their company was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. 26 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ochran. 27 And over the company of the tribe of the people of Naphtali was Ahira the son of Enan. 28 This was the order of march of the people of Israel by their companies, when they set out.
29 And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the LORD has promised good to Israel.” 30 But he said to him, “I will not go. I will depart to my own land and to my kindred.” 31 And he said, “Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. 32 And if you do go with us, whatever good the LORD will do to us, the same will we do to you.”
33 So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey. And the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them. 34 And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.
35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” 36 And when it rested, he said, “Return, O LORD, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”
The Reformation Study Bible
What I'm Reading
The Stuff We All Agree on When It Comes to Origins
By J. Warner Wallace 9/19/2016
I get the chance to speak around the country and talk about how we, as Christians, assemble circumstantial evidence related to the reliability of the Gospels and the existence of God. As a result, I meet all kinds of Christians who hold a variety of views related to the Genesis creation account. Many are “Literal Day” creationists, while others lean toward some version of “Gap Theory”, “Day-Age Creation Theory”, “Creation Revelation Theory”, “Progressive Creation Theory”, “Genesis Creation Day Theory” or “Genesis Literary Theory” Creationism. Some believe that the universe is very young, others that it is very old. Some believe that God created everything in the form we see it in today (as the result of some form of “instantaneous” creation); others that God shaped His creation through some process of progressive interaction. When you ask these folks about the Bible, all of them will tell you that they believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. All will agree that the Bible is the final authority. All will tell you that they believe what the Bible teaches. Christians simply disagree on how to interpret the first book of Moses.
I’m sensitive to the variety of views held by Christians on this matter. I see the reasonable nature of every view; I recognize that each approach to Genesis chapter one has its own virtues and its own liabilities. I’m not discouraged by this reality, but encouraged that there are so many reasonable resolutions. I am discouraged, however, when we allow our fallen human nature to get the best of us. Rather than finding areas of agreement, most of us choose to divide over areas of divergence. Regardless of your position related to the Genesis account, I’d like to point out the areas where all of us, regardless of creation theory, agree. As Christians, we all affirm the following premises:
God originated everything (all space, time and matter) supernaturally
God created the material universe (and our world) in incremental steps over a period of time (six literal days or six “ages”)
God was actively involved in the creation of all life (life is not the result of an unguided natural process)
James "Jim" Warner Wallace (born June 16, 1961) is an American homicide detective and Christian apologist. Wallace is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and an Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He has authored several books, including Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation to apologetic concerns such as the existence of God and the reliability of the Gospels.
Can Christians claim to have the One, True God?
By Ryan Pauly 8/2/2016
You don’t have to spend very much time interacting with atheists on the internet before you hear this objection: “There are almost 5,000 gods being worshiped by humans, but don’t worry… only yours is right.” The picture above was sent to me on Twitter last week in response to my blog about God’s hiddenness. There are other very popular forms of this argument. Richard Dawkins claims that Christians are atheists when it comes to Zeus, Thor, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and many others. Dawkins just goes one god further than the Christian. So the claim is either than I’m an atheist when it comes to 4,999 gods or that I’m dumb for claiming to have truth when I reject so many other options.
The reason this argument is so popular on the internet is that it is easy. It fits into a 140 characters for Twitter and can easily be turned into a meme. Here are examples I found from a very quick search on Twitter.
“There have been nearly 3000 Gods so far but only yours actually exists. The others are silly made up nonsense. But not yours. Yours is real.”
“there are thousands of religions practices. thousands of gods worshiped. but don’t worry. yours is the only right one.”
“30,000 religions and 5000 versions of Christianity and only ‘yours’ is the right one-you are a joke.”
When Ryan isn’t teaching or studying, he enjoys speaking at churches, youth groups, schools, and conferences. His writing has been featured at crossexamined.org and thepoachedegg.net, and he is also a contributor for the updated version of the popular Apologetics Study Bible for Students, Trade Paper which will be released in 2017. Along with his writing, you can tune in to the Coffeehouse Questions radio show hosted by Ryan every Wednesday from 4:30-5 pm on Active Reliance Radio.
Scriptural Teaching On God and Time
By William Lane Craig 2/10/2017
1. Is there any Scriptural reason to suppose that God was timeless before creation (or when creation did not exist)? Yes, indeed! Johannes Schmidt argues for a biblical doctrine of divine timelessness on the basis of creation texts like Genesis 1.1 and Proverbs 8.22-23.
Genesis 1.1 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” According to James Barr, this absolute beginning, taken in conjunction with the expression “And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (v. 5), indicating the first day, may very well be intended to teach that the beginning was not simply the beginning of the physical universe, but the beginning of time itself and that, consequently, God may be thought of as timeless.
Certain New Testament authors may be taken to construe Genesis 1.1 as referring to the beginning of time. The most striking New Testament reflection on Genesis 1.1 is, of course, John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Here the uncreated Word (logos), the source of all created things, was already with God and was God at the moment of creation. It is not hard to interpret this passage in terms of the Word’s timeless unity with God--nor would it be anachronistic to do so, given the first century Jewish philosopher Philo’s doctrine of the divine Logos (Word) and Philo’s holding that time begins with creation.
As for Proverbs 8.22-23, this passage is certainly capable of being read in terms of a beginning of time. Here Wisdom, personified as a woman, speaks:
William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University. He and his wife Jan have two grown children.
At the age of sixteen as a junior in high school, he first heard the message of the Christian gospel and yielded his life to Christ. Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). From 1980-86 he taught Philosophy of Religion at Trinity, during which time he and Jan started their family. In 1987 they moved to Brussels, Belgium, where Dr. Craig pursued research at the University of Louvain until assuming his position at Talbot in 1994.
He has authored or edited over thirty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology; and God, Time and Eternity, as well as over a hundred articles in professional journals of philosophy and theology, including The Journal of Philosophy, New Testament Studies, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science. In 2016 Dr. Craig was named by The Best Schools as one of the fifty most influential living philosophers. [My Google Profile+]
William Lane Craig Books:
- 1 On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision
- 2 Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics
- 3 Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
- 4 On Guard for Students: A Thinker's Guide to the Christian Faith
- 5 Five Views on Apologetics
- 6 God Over All: Divine Aseity and the Challenge of Platonism
- 7 The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
- 8 Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time
- 9 The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom
- 10 The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus
A Survey Of Old Testament Introduction
By Gleason Archer Jr.
Supposed Doublets and Parallel Accounts (cont)
Hebrew Style One Answer to Doublets
Part of the answer to the theory of doublets may be found in the nature of Hebrew literary style. O. T. Allis has pointed out that there are three traits of Hebrew style which are well known to have been practiced by individual Hebrew authors but which can easily be exploited by modern division-minded critics for dissection into hypothetical “sources.” These three traits are paratactic sentence structure, repetition of elements of major importance, and poetic parallelism.” A few words of explanation are appropriate at this point.
1. Paratactic sentence structure refers to the characteristic technique of Hebrew rhetoric by which subordinate or interdependent ideas are linked together by the simple connective and (w˓e-, Hebrew). For example, in Gen. 1:14 , where the idea expressed in an Indo-European language would employ a purpose clause, “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven in order to serve as signs and seasons,” the Hebrew author says: “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven … and they shall be for signs, and seasons.” Or again, Isa. 6:7 literally reads, “Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is being atoned for.” But what Isaiah meant to convey here was, “Lo, this has touched thy lips in order that thine iniquity may be removed and thy sin be atoned for.” This same Hebrew particle (we) and may be used to convey the temporal idea of “when,” or the circumstantial idea of “while,” or the consequential idea of “then,” or the epexegetic idea of “even” or “that is to say.” The versatility of we- is universally conceded by Hebrew grammarians. But a dissection-minded critic may easily carve up these component elements of a Mosaic sentence on the supposition that fragments of diverse sources have been clumsily glued together by a later redactor who simply used an and to link them together. If a Hebrew author had written his material in classical Greek, for example, or in Latin, much of this divisive analysis of the Wellhausian school would have been well-nigh impossible, for in those languages subordinate conjunctions or participles are customarily employed to express the same ideas as Hebrew expresses in paratactic form.
2. The second trait is the tendency to repeat in slightly varied form those elements of the narrative which are of especial importance. One example of this technique has already been given in connection with the flood narrative. It was there pointed out how the repetition of the three major points of emphasis has furnished divisionists with their only convenient material for dissection, whereas the rest of the account shows no evidence whatsoever of multiple sources. Somewhat similar is the series of chapters recounting the ten plagues ( Ex. 7–11 ). In some cases a plague is fully described in five characteristic parts: threat, command, execution, supplication for removal, and cessation. For Source Critics it is a perfectly simple matter (although purely artificial) to parcel these out among hypothetical authors. Thus the threat and cessation are given to J, while the command and execution are assigned to P. But in the case of the less grievous plagues, the description is briefer and they have to be distributed more or less intact to one source. Hence the plagues of lice and of boils are assigned to P without anything left over for J or E. By this arbitrary arrangement, J knows only of seven plagues, P comes up with only five, and E with only four (plus a fifth which is only threatened but never carried out). Consequently no two of these sources agree as to the number or nature of the plagues, and each of them needs the information contained in the others in order to complete the series of ten.
3. A third characteristic of Hebrew style which lends itself to artificial source division is poetic parallelism. Parallelism is the term given to the balanced structure of paired clauses which is employed so extensively in Hebrew verse, such as Ps. 24:1 : “The earth is Jehovah’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” As can be seen from this example, corresponding synonyms are employed in the two members of the parallelism: “earth” corresponds to “world,” and “fullness” corresponds to “they that dwell therein.”
Careful examination of the alleged doublets and parallel accounts — so stressed by Kuenen and Wellhausen as criteria for source division — tends to show that these phenomena are capable of a far more natural and unforced explanation of the basis of single authorship than is possible on the theory of multiple sources. The JEDP hypothesis does not really square with all the evidence, and it treats much of its allegedly supporting data in a way that would never be admissible in a court of law. Moreover, the methodology of this type of literary criticism is all the more suspect because it proves to be so facile an instrument for dividing up even compositions which are universally acknowledged to be of single authorship.
Green gave an excellent illustration on this in his “documentarian” analysis of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.18 In this parody of Wellhausen’s technique, he points out that source A and source B agree that there were two sons, one of whom received a portion of his father’s property, and was subsequently reduced to penury through his own extravagance. But only A distinguishes the sons as elder and younger; B makes no mention of their relative ages. In A the younger obtained his share of the inheritance by solicitation, while his father retained the rest for himself; according to B the father divided up the inheritance between the two sons on his own initiative. A states that the prodigal remained in his father’s neighborhood and reduced himself to penury by riotous living; in B he went to a distant country and spent all his property, but did not indulge in any unseemly excesses. Green carries this through exactly in the manner of S. R. Driver, complete with characteristic A words and B words which have been inserted in the wrong place by a bungling redactor. Green then proceeds to do the same thing with the parable of the good Samaritan. Being thoroughly versed in the methodology of the Wellhausian school he handles his material as if he were an accredited member of the guild, and thus demonstrates its artificiality.
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 20Trust in the Name of the LORD Our God
20 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9 O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
How Do You Obey God When He Asks You To Do the Impossible?
By Michael J. Kruger 2/13/2017
In all of the many Star Wars films (and there are too many now), one of my favorite segments is where Yoda is training the young Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.
After Luke fails to lift his X-wing fighter out of the swamp by using the Force, he complains to Yoda, “You want the impossible.” Then he walks off into the woods to pout.
Of course, Yoda then proceeds to lift the X-wing fighter out of the swamp himself and sets it on dry land. Luke stares in amazement, “I don’t believe it.”
Yoda’s reply is classic, “That is why you fail.”
While the quasi-Gnostic, New Age worldview of the Star Wars saga makes me hesitant to use it as an example, I have to say that a good lesson can be learned in this instance.
Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books
Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament
Why is their Something Rather than Nothing?
By Stuartgrayuk 2/14/2017
I found this discussion on prime time US TV to be pretty fascinating! I’m always pleased to see when discussion about God comes out of the private places and into the public square where it belongs.
Ricky’s a sharp and witty comedian…and I do enjoy his irreverent humor. But I honestly find his atheism troubling. Not because I find his arguments compelling…its just the way he immediately seems closed to the idea of God.
I thought Colbert asked a great question out of the gate on his show…and he let Ricky off very lightly by allowing him to sidestep his good question.
Why is there something instead of nothing? | Why does the universe exist at all? Why are we here?
Ricky’s response was, “That makes no sense at all…surely the bigger question is not why, but how?”
stuartgrayuk. I live in the UK, I'm married to Janet and I'm passionate about proposing a case for the historic Christian faith. You can find me on Twitter at @stuhgray. View all posts by stuartgrayuk
The Problem Of The Old Testament
By James Orr 1907
CHAPTER VIII | Difficulties and Perplexities of the Critical Hypothesis: The Question of Deuteronomy
“The Book of Deuteronomy in and for itself teaches nothing new.… How could Josiah have been so terrified because the prescriptions of this book had not been observed by the fathers, and the people had thereby incurred the wrath of Jahweh, if he had not been aware that these commands were known to them?” — GRAF.
“I am still certain that the finding of the book of the law in the eighteenth year of Josiah is neither meant, nor is, to be understood of the first appearance of the Book of Deuteronomy , originating about that time.” — DELITZSCH.
“Our review of sources has convinced us that it [ Deuteronomy ] draws from old Mosaic tradition, which in fact in many places goes back demonstrably into the Mosaic time, and par excellence to the person of the lawgiver. It goes so far as to incorporate such ordinances as no longer suited the writer’s own time, but only suited the time of the conquest and settlement in Canaan.” — OETTLI.
“Leaving out of account isolated passages, especially the close, Deuteronomy is a whole proceeding from one and the same hand.” — RIEHM.
THE questions we have been engaged in discussing with relation to J and E, while interesting as an object-lesson in criticism, and, in their bearing on dates, important, are secondary in comparison with those which yet await investigation — the age and origin of Deuteronomy and of the so-called Priestly Code. It will be remembered that the Graf-Wellhausen school does not pretend to settle the age and relations of documents or codes by critical considerations alone. Criticism is to be guided, and its conclusions are to be checked, at every step, by history. A parallel, it is alleged, can be traced between the course of the history and the successive stages of the legislation. Up to the time of Josiah, it is held, no trace can be discovered of the existence and operation of any body of laws but that of the Book of the Covenant in Ex. 20–23 . With the finding of “the book of the law” in Josiah’s reign, there enters a manifold influence of the spirit and teaching of the Book of Deuteronomy , strongly reflected in the later literature — for instance, in Jeremiah ; but no sign is yet shown of the peculiar institutions of the Levitical Code. These first begin to be visible in the sketch of the restored temple and its ordinances in Ezekiel (chaps. 40 ff.), and emerge as a definitely completed system in the law-book which Ezra brought with him from Babylon, and gave to the post-exilian community in Jerusalem. Thenceforth they rule the life of the nation. The ingenuity of the new scheme is undoubted, and the acceptance it has won is sufficient evidence of the skill with which it has been expounded and defended. But is it really tenable? Many reasons — not the least cogent of them derived from the course of criticism itself — convince us it is not. We shall deal in this chapter with the application of the theory to the Book of Deuteronomy.
I. STATE OF THE QUESTION AND GENERAL VIEWThe Book of Deuteronomy , in its main part, consists, it is well known, after a slight introduction, and with some connecting notes, of three hortatory discourses purporting to have been delivered by Moses in the Arabah of Moab, shortly before his death (chaps. 1:6–4:40; 5–28; 29:2–30 ). To these discourses are appended an account of certain closing transactions of Moses (chap. 31 ), the Song and Blessing of Moses (chaps. 32, 33 ), and a narrative of Moses’ death on Mount Nebo (chaps. 32:48–52; 34 ). The longest of the discourses (chaps. 5–28 ) embraces a rehearsal (chaps. 12 ff.), in the form of popular address, of the principal laws given by God to Moses at Horeb, as these were to be observed by the people in their new settlement in Canaan. There is general agreement that the laws to which reference is made in this recapitulation are chiefly — though, as will be seen after, by no means exclusively — those contained in the Book of the Covenant ( Ex. 20–23 ); but they are handled by the speaker, not literally, but in free reproduction, with rhetorical amplification or abbreviation, and occasionally modification to suit new circumstances.
Deuteronomy is the one book of the Pentateuch which might seem on the face of it to make claim to direct Mosaic authorship. “Moses,” it is declared, after the rehearsal is completed, “wrote this law.” This view of its origin modern criticism decisively rejects; will hardly allow even to be discussed. It was De Wette’s achievement in criticism, as we saw, that he relegated Deuteronomy to the age of Josiah; and in this judgment the great majority of critics now follow him, only that a few carry back the composition of the book a reign or two earlier — to the time of Manasseh or of Hezekiah. Views differ as to how the book is to be regarded — whether as a pseudograph (“forgery”), or as a free composition in the name and spirit of Moses without intention to deceive; but it is generally agreed that, in its present form, it is a production of the prophetic age, and has for its leading aim the centralising of worship at the sanctuary at Jerusalem. The reasons given for this view are its prophetic tone and standpoint, its obvious connection with the work of reformation, the irreconcilability of its law of the central sanctuary with the older history, inconsistencies with earlier legislation, etc. A main objection of the older critics was its alleged incompatibility with the Levitical legislation, then believed to be in substance Mosaic: but the newer criticism has taken the ground from this objection by putting the Levitical laws still later than Deuteronomy — in the exile.
What weight is to be allowed to these opinions is considered below. The composition of a book of exhortation or instruction in the form of addresses by Moses — provided this is only literary dress, with honest motive in the writer — is not a priori to be ruled out as inadmissible, or incompatible with just views of Scripture. The only question is whether Deuteronomy is a book of this character, or, if it is so, in what sense and to what extent it is so, and to what age it belongs. On the other hand, we cannot shut our eyes to certain far-reaching consequences of the acceptance of the critical view. If Deuteronomy is a work of the age of Josiah, then, necessarily, everything in the other Old Testament books which depends on Deuteronomy — the Deuteronomic revisions of Joshua and Judges , the Deuteronomic allusions and speeches in the Books of Kings, narratives of facts based on Deuteronomy — e.g., the blessings and cursings, and writing of the law on stones, at Ebal, all must be put later than that age. If, again, it be the case that the Levitical laws are later than Deuteronomy , this requires the carrying of these down to where the critics place them — at or near the exile. The very gravity of some of these conclusions is our warrant for raising the question — Is the critical view correct? The course of criticism itself, as just hinted, despite the apparent unanimity, forces this question upon us. For, as we soon come to discover, even on the subject of Deuteronomy , the critical school is rent within itself by divisions which raise the greatest doubts as to the soundness of the original premises. The mania for disintegration — the appetite for which seems to grow with what it feeds on — has been at work here also. In the Oxford Hexateuch, e.g., — so far to anticipate, — the unity of Deuteronomy with which criticism started — that even of the Code in chaps. 12 – 26 — is lost in a sort of dissolving view. There are, however, in our judgment, other and far stronger reasons for scepticism than even these critical vagaries. We hear much of the reasons for putting the book late, many of them, we shall find, sadly overstrained; but we hear little or nothing of the enormous difficulties attaching to the critic’s own hypothesis. These are either ignored completely, or are toned down and minimised till they are made to appear trifling. We are content, when the case has been presented, to let the reader judge on that matter for himself. The time, at all events, we venture to think, has fully come, when a halt should be called, and the question should be boldly put for reconsideration — Is the Josianic origin of Deuteronomy a result of scientific criticism which the impartial mind is bound to accept? The Problem of the Old Testament
The Gospel for the Hopeless: An Interview with John Barros
By John Barros 11/01/2015
Tabletalk: What is “Who Will Stand“? What led you to start this ministry??
John Barros: I’ve been ministering at the Orlando Women’s Center for eleven years. I’m blessed beyond anything I could have imagined as I have been able to see God turn the hearts of hundreds who saw no hope. I started the website whowillstand.net to encourage other men to “adopt” their local abortion clinics and see the Lord work there as He does here.
TT: What is a typical day of ministry like at the abortion clinic?
JB: We pray for those on their way to the clinic, asking God to work on their hearts. When they arrive, we introduce ourselves, letting them know we are here for them and that God sent us to call them to trust Him. We give them the “In the Womb” tract and a card to the local crisis pregnancy center, which will do an immediate ultrasound. God turns many hearts right away.
When others go into the clinic for their paperwork, I preach. The building is twenty-five feet from the sidewalk. They hear every word. God uses His Word to move people’s hearts and open ears. Usually within an hour, someone begins asking questions or chooses life.
We stay until the end. We have seen some literally “get off the table” and come out. God doesn’t work on our timetable.
TT: What is the most common misconception evangelical Christians have about men and women who procure abortions?
JB: That they don’t know what they’re doing. God has written His law on everyone’s heart. That’s why they’re so angry to find us here. Second Timothy 2:25–26 says, “In humility [correct] those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (NKJV). People come in knowing what they’re doing, yet are spiritually blind, caught in a trap laid by the devil.
Baby sacrifice has been with us throughout history. There’s a demonic battle that has gone on since the days of Baal worship. Ephesians 6:12 says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” We come with the only answer to spiritual blindness: the gospel (Rom. 1:16). The Lord in His grace goes to the “gates of hell,” calling them to repentance. People respond to this almost every day.
TT: In the church’s response to the abortion crisis, what has the church done right? What has the church done wrong?
JB: I’m blessed to be a member of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., which has organized prayer support as well as Bible studies and groups that pray for the ministry at Orlando Women’s Center. All our pastors — R.C. Sproul, Burk Parsons, Don Bailey, and Kevin Struyk — preach against abortion, encouraging us to fight. They encourage us to get out on the street to love our neighbors and plead the cause of the widow and orphan. They even come to encourage us on the street. The students of Reformation Bible College are also encouraged to come. There’s not an hour that Orlando Women’s Center is open that a member of Saint Andrew’s isn’t there. When a woman chooses life, she’s turned over to a group of ladies from the church. They love and encourage her and see what her needs are. Sometimes a deacon is needed to see what kind of material needs there may be. We also have baby showers, etc. Many of the women live far from the church. We pick them up on Sunday mornings for worship. Saint Andrew’s serves them both physically and spiritually. We host a Bible study for those who have had an abortion and have come to Christ but wrestle with guilt.
Sadly, I think most churches don’t do anything. Francis Schaeffer said, “Every abortion clinic should have a sign in front stating, ‘Open by the permission of the church.’ ” If the church were to rise up with a united front, would there be any more abortions? Dr. James Pendergraft, the owner of the abortion clinic where I minister, said, “If it wasn’t for the evangelical church sending me their daughters, I’d be out of business.” Most people who come to kill their babies claim to be Christians. The church needs to repent of our apathy.
TT: How can Christians and churches serve women who are thinking about having an abortion? How can they serve women who have already had an abortion?
JB: First, the church needs to preach truth. Proverbs 6 says God hates the hands that shed innocent blood. It’s not a political theory of abortion that God hates. It’s the “hands,” the people involved in killing vulnerable babies. God is the author of life. God shows us that these little babies are precious gifts that He has a claim on. The church also has an obligation to serve the parents. If we want these babies to live, we must help with spiritual and tangible needs. Our deacons do the “nuts and bolts” work with those who need help—coming up with budgets, helping them to find services, and looking for jobs.
The church serves those who have had abortions by telling them the truth. If God has granted them repentance, they need to know that they’re forgiven, that 1 John 1:7 tells us the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us of all sin, including the sin of abortion.
TT: What objections do you hear most often from men and women when you are trying to persuade them not to proceed with an abortion? How do you answer those objections?
JB: First, ” ‘Thou shall not judge’ and you are judging me.” I tell them I love them and am there not to judge but to warn and help them. The close second is, “This is my choice, my legal right.” I explain that God’s law prohibits the muder of babies, that just because something is legal under man’s law doesn’t make it right.
TT: Suppose a local church wants to do more to combat abortion and minister to those who are considering going through with an abortion. Where do you start?
JB: The first step would be to find out when they’re open. Go before the clinic opens, offering help when the women arrive. I use the “In the Womb” tracts and a flier from a local crisis pregnancy center. Every abortion mill is different logistically, so they would have to adapt. I have some friends who minister at a clinic where they have to be some distance away. God’s been good; they see fruit even under these conditions. The main thing is to let the women know you love and care about them. The rest will fall into place.
TT: Tell us about someone to whom you have recently ministered who has been changed by the gospel.
JB: Last week, a young lady named Jenny pulled in. I offered her some brochures. She rolled down her window, and I told her about this place and that we could help. She listened as I warned her about what God says about abortion and how He sent me to call her to trust Him. She trembled, saying, “I’m not doing this.” I called the others to pray with her. After that, she wanted to talk more, saying she’s a Christian who’d fallen into sin. Her mother is a believer, and she was afraid to tell her of her baby. I said she could have gone to other clinics in Orlando, but God sent her to this one so that she could hear Him say, “Trust Me.” She sobbed uncontrollably and said she’d woken up that morning praying that God would send someone to stop her. She and her boyfriend later went to True Life Choice and had an ultrasound. They saw their baby together, and God touched her boyfriend too.
She called later, still nervous about her mother. I put her in touch with a dear lady in the church who agreed to go with Jenny to tell her mother. Before she could get there, Jenny called, grateful for our prayers and saying she’d told her mother and that everything went well. On Sunday, Jenny and the girl’s mother came to Saint Andrew’s to worship. Her mother thanked me for saving her grandbaby. I reminded her that only Jesus has the power to save. There is nothing like this ministry.
The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come;
Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream
By John Bunyan 1678
THE NINTH STAGECHR. This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed. But tell me particularly what effect this had upon your spirit.
HOPE. It made me see that all the world, notwithstanding all the righteousness thereof, is in a state of condemnation. It made me see that God the Father, though he be just, can justly justify the coming sinner. It made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of mine own ignorance; for there never came a thought into my heart before now that showed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ. It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honor and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus. Yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.
I saw then in my dream, that Hopeful looked back, and saw Ignorance, whom they had left behind, coming after. Look, said he to Christian, how far yonder youngster loitereth behind.
CHR. Aye, aye, I see him: he careth not for our company.
HOPE. But I trow it would not have hurt him, had he kept pace with us hitherto.
CHR. That is true; but I warrant you he thinketh otherwise.
HOPE. That I think he doth; but, however, let us tarry for him. (So they did.)
Then Christian said to him, Come away, man; why do you stay so behind?
IGNOR. I take my pleasure in walking alone, even more a great deal than in company, unless I like it the better.
Then said Christian to Hopeful, (but softly,) Did I not tell you he cared not for our company? But, however, said he, come up, and let us talk away the time in this solitary place. Then, directing his speech to Ignorance, he said, Come, how do you do? How stands it between God and your soul now?
IGNOR. I hope, well; for I am always full of good motions, that come into my mind to comfort me as I walk.
CHR. What good motions? Pray tell us.
IGNOR. Why, I think of God and heaven.
CHR. So do the devils and damned souls.
IGNOR. But I think of them, and desire them.
CHR. So do many that are never like to come there. “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing.”
Prov. 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing:
But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. ESV
CHR. That I doubt: for to leave all is a very hard matter; yea, a harder matter than many are aware of. But why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven?
IGNOR. My heart tells me so.
CHR. The wise man says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.”
Prov. 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:
But whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. ESV
CHR. But how dost thou prove that?
IGNOR. It comforts me in hopes of heaven.
CHR. That may be through its deceitfulness; for a man’s heart may minister comfort to him in the hopes of that thing for which he has yet no ground to hope.
IGNOR. But my heart and life agree together; and therefore my hope is well-grounded.
CHR. Who told thee that thy heart and life agree together?
IGNOR. My heart tells me so.
CHR. “Ask my fellow if I be a thief.” Thy heart tells thee so! Except the word of God beareth witness in this matter, other testimony is of no value.
IGNOR. But is it not a good heart that hath good thoughts? and is not that a good life that is according to God’s commandments?
CHR. Yes, that is a good heart that hath good thoughts, and that is a good life that is according to God’s commandments; but it is one thing indeed to have these, and another thing only to think so.
IGNOR. Pray, what count you good thoughts, and a life according to God’s commandments?
CHR. There are good thoughts of divers kinds; some respecting ourselves, some God, some Christ, and some other things.
IGNOR. What be good thoughts respecting ourselves?
CHR. Such as agree with the word of God.
IGNOR. When do our thoughts of ourselves agree with the word of God?
CHR. When we pass the same judgment upon ourselves which the word passes. To explain myself: the word of God saith of persons in a natural condition, “There is none righteous, there is none that doeth good.” It saith also, that, “every imagination of the heart of man is only evil, and that continually.”
Gen. 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ESV
Rom. 3 ESV
And again, “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
Gen. 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. ESV
Now, then, when we think thus of ourselves, having sense thereof, then are our thoughts good ones, because according to the word of God.
IGNOR. I will never believe that my heart is thus bad.
CHR. Therefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life. But let me go on. As the word passeth a judgment upon our hearts, so it passeth a judgment upon our ways; and when the thoughts of our hearts and ways agree with the judgment which the word giveth of both, then are both good, because agreeing thereto.
IGNOR. Make out your meaning.
CHR. Why, the word of God saith, that man’s ways are crooked ways, not good but perverse; it saith, they are naturally out of the good way, that they have not known it.
Psa. 125:5 As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways,
The LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity:
But peace shall be upon Israel. ESV
Prov. 2:15 Whose ways are crooked,
And they froward in their paths: ESV
Rom. 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. ESV
Now, when a man thus thinketh of his ways, I say, when he doth sensibly, and with heart-humiliation, thus think, then hath he good thoughts of his own ways, because his thoughts now agree with the judgment of the word of God.
IGNOR. What are good thoughts concerning God?
CHR. Even, as I have said concerning ourselves, when our thoughts of God do agree with what the word saith of him; and that is, when we think of his being and attributes as the word hath taught, of which I cannot now discourse at large. But to speak of him with reference to us: then have we right thoughts of God when we think that he knows us better than we know ourselves, and can see sin in us when and where we can see none in ourselves; when we think he knows our inmost thoughts, and that our heart, with all its depths, is always open unto his eyes; also when we think that all our righteousness stinks in his nostrils, and that therefore he cannot abide to see us stand before him in any confidence, even in all our best performances.
IGNOR. Do you think that I am such a fool as to think that God can see no further than I; or that I would come to God in the best of my performances?
CHR. Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
IGNOR. Why, to be short, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.
CHR. How! think thou must believe in Christ, when thou seest not thy need of him! Thou neither seest thy original nor actual infirmities; but hast such an opinion of thyself, and of what thou doest, as plainly renders thee to be one that did never see the necessity of Christ’s personal righteousness to justify thee before God. How, then, dost thou say, I believe in Christ?
IGNOR. I believe well enough, for all that.
CHR. How dost thou believe?
IGNOR. I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.
CHR. Let me give an answer to this confession of thy faith.
1. Thou believest with a fantastical faith; for this faith is nowhere described in the word.
2. Thou believest with a false faith; because it taketh justification from the personal righteousness of Christ, and applies it to thy own.
3. This faith maketh not Christ a justifier of thy person, but of thy actions; and of thy person for thy action’s sake, which is false.
4. Therefore this faith is deceitful, even such as will leave thee under wrath in the day of God Almighty: for true justifying faith puts the soul, as sensible of its lost condition by the law, upon flying for refuge unto Christ’s righteousness; (which righteousness of his is not an act of grace by which he maketh, for justification, thy obedience accepted with God, but his personal obedience to the law, in doing and suffering for us what that required at our hands;) this righteousness, I say, true faith accepteth; under the skirt of which the soul being shrouded, and by it presented as spotless before God, it is accepted, and acquitted from condemnation.
IGNOR. What! would you have us trust to what Christ in his own person has done without us? This conceit would loosen the reins of our lust, and tolerate us to live as we list: for what matter how we live, if we may be justified by Christ’s personal righteousness from all, when we believe it?
CHR. Ignorance is thy name, and as thy name is, so art thou: even this thy answer demonstrateth what I say. Ignorant thou art of what justifying righteousness is, and as ignorant how to secure thy soul, through the faith of it, from the heavy wrath of God. Yea, thou also art ignorant of the true effects of saving faith in this righteousness of Christ, which is to bow and win over the heart to God in Christ, to love his name, his word, ways, and people, and not as thou ignorantly imaginest.
HOPE. Ask him if ever he had Christ revealed to him from heaven.
IGNOR. What! you are a man for revelations! I do believe, that what both you and all the rest of you say about that matter, is but the fruit of distracted brains.
HOPE. Why, man, Christ is so hid in God from the natural apprehensions of the flesh, that he cannot by any man be savingly known, unless God the Father reveals him to him.
IGNOR. That is your faith, but not mine, yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you.
CHR. Give me leave to put in a word. You ought not so slightly to speak of this matter: for this I will boldly affirm, even as my good companion hath done, that no man can know Jesus Christ but by the revelation of the Father: yea, and faith too, by which the soul layeth hold upon Christ, (if it be right,) must be wrought by the exceeding greatness of his mighty power,
Matt. 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. ESV
1 Cor. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. ESV
Eph. 1:17–19 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, ESV
the working of which faith, I perceive, poor Ignorance, thou art ignorant of. Be awakened, then, see thine own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus; and by his righteousness, which is the righteousness of God, (for he himself is God,) thou shalt be delivered from condemnation.
IGNOR.You go so fast I cannot keep pace with you; do you go on before: I must stay a while behind.
Then they said,
“Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be,
To slight good counsel, ten times given thee?
And if thou yet refuse it, thou shalt know,
Ere long, the evil of thy doing so.
Remember, man, in time: stoop, do not fear:
Good counsel, taken well, saves; therefore hear.
But if thou yet shalt slight it, thou wilt be
The loser, Ignorance, I’ll warrant thee.”
The Continual Burnt Offering
By H.A. Ironside - 1941
February 151 Samuel 13:14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” ESV
It was in his confident trust that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He was in himself a sinner like all others (Romans 3:23), but he repented bitterly of his failures, which brought him so much unhappiness, and which entailed grave dishonor upon the sacred name so dear to him. He rested at last upon “the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3), that is, the divine promises, and his songs of joyous confidence in the God of his salvation have become the models for all true praise and worship. They have been loved by both pious Jews and devout Christians throughout all the centuries since he sang them in Judea so long ago.
1 Samuel 13:14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
1 Samuel 15:28 And Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. ESV
Thou Holy One of God!
The Father rests in Thee;
And in the savor of that blood
That speaks to Him for me,
The curse is gone—through Thee I’m blest,
God rests in Thee—in Thee I rest.
The slave of sin and fear,
Thy truth my bondage broke;
My willing spirit loves to bear
Thy light and easy yoke;
The love that fills my grateful breast,
Makes duty joy, and labor rest.
Soon the bright, glorious day,
The rest of God shall come!
Sorrow and sin shall pass away,
And I shall reach my home!
Then, of the promised land possessed,
My soul shall know eternal rest!
--- J. G. Deck
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
THREE THINGS BRIEFLY TO BE REGARDED IN CHRIST--VIZ. HIS OFFICES OF PROPHET, KING, AND PRIEST.
The principal parts of this chapter are--I. Of the Prophetical Office of Christ, its dignity and use, sec. 1, 2. II. The nature of the Kingly power of Christ, and the advantage we derive from it, sec. 3-5. III. Of the Priesthood of Christ, and the efficacy of it, sec. 6.
1. Among heretics and false Christians, Christ is found in name only; but by those who are truly and effectually called of God, he is acknowledged as a Prophet, King, and Priest. In regard to the Prophetical Office, the Redeemer of the Church is the same from whom believers under the Law hoped for the full light of understanding.
2. The unction of Christ, though it has respect chiefly to the Kingly Office, refers also to the Prophetical and Priestly Offices. The dignity, necessity, and use of this unction.
3. From the spirituality of Christ's kingdom its eternity is inferred. This twofold, referring both to the whole body of the Church, and to its individual members.
4. Benefits from the spiritual kingdom of Christ. 1. It raises us to eternal life. 2. It enriches us with all things necessary to salvation. 3. It makes us invincible by spiritual foes. 4. It animates us to patient endurance. 5. It inspires confidence and triumph. 6. It supplies fortitude and love.
5. The unction of our Redeemer heavenly. Symbol of this unction. A passage in the apostle reconciled with others previously quoted, to prove the eternal kingdom of Christ.
6. What necessary to obtain the benefit of Christ's Priesthood. We must set out with the death of Christ. From it follows, 1. His intercession for us. 2. Confidence in prayer. 3. Peace of conscience. 4. Through Christ, Christians themselves become priests. Grievous sin of the Papists in pretending to sacrifice Christ.
1. Though heretics pretend the name of Christ, truly does Augustine affirm (Enchir. ad Laurent. cap. 5), that the foundation is not common to them with the godly, but belongs exclusively to the Church: for if those things which pertain to Christ be diligently considered, it will be found that Christ is with them in name only, not in reality. Thus in the present day, though the Papists have the words, Son of God, Redeemer of the world, sounding in their mouths, yet, because contented with an empty name, they deprive him of his virtue and dignity; what Paul says of "not holding the head," is truly applicable to them (Col. 2:19). Therefore, that faith may find in Christ a solid ground of salvation, and so rest in him, we must set out with this principle, that the office which he received from the Father consists of three parts. For he was appointed both Prophet, King, and Priest; though little were gained by holding the names unaccompanied by a knowledge of the end and use. These too are spoken of in the Papacy, but frigidly, and with no great benefit, the full meaning comprehended under each title not being understood. We formerly observed, that though God, by supplying an uninterrupted succession of prophets, never left his people destitute of useful doctrine, such as might suffice for salvation; yet the minds of believers were always impressed with the conviction that the full light of understanding was to be expected only on the advent of the Messiah. This expectation, accordingly, had reached even the Samaritans, to whom the true religion had never been made known. This is plain from the expression of the woman, "I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things," (John 4:25). Nor was this a mere random presumption which had entered the minds of the Jews. They believed what sure oracles had taught them. One of the most remarkable passages is that of Isaiah, "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people," (Is. 55:4); that is, in the same way in which he had previously in another place styled him "Wonderful, Counsellor," (Is. 9:6).  For this reason, the apostle commending the perfection of gospel doctrine, first says that "God, at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the prophets," and then adds, that he "has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son," (Heb. 1:1, 2). But as the common office of the prophets was to hold the Church in suspense, and at the same time support it until the advent of the Mediator; we read, that the faithful, during the dispersion, complained that they were deprived of that ordinary privilege. "We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet, neither is there among us any that knoweth how long," (Ps. 74:9). But when Christ was now not far distant, a period was assigned to Daniel "to seal up the vision and prophecy," (Daniel 9:24), not only that the authority of the prediction there spoken of might be established, but that believers might, for a time, patiently submit to the want of the prophets, the fulfilment and completion of all the prophecies being at hand.
2. Moreover, it is to be observed, that the name Christ refers to those three offices: for we know that under the law, prophets as well as priests and kings were anointed with holy oil. Whence, also, the celebrated name of Messiah was given to the promised Mediator. But although I admit (as, indeed, I have elsewhere shown) that he was so called from a view to the nature of the kingly office, still the prophetical and sacerdotal unctions have their proper place, and must not be overlooked. The former is expressly mentioned by Isaiah in these words: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," (Is. 60:1, 2). We see that he was anointed by the Spirit to be a herald and witness of his Father's grace, and not in the usual way; for he is distinguished from other teachers who had a similar office. And here, again, it is to be observed, that the unction which he received, in order to perform the office of teacher, was not for himself, but for his whole body, that a corresponding efficacy of the Spirit might always accompany the preaching of the Gospel. This, however, remains certain, that by the perfection of doctrine which he brought, an end was put to all the prophecies, so that those who, not contented with the Gospel, annex somewhat extraneous to it, derogate from its authority. The voice which thundered from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, hear him" gave him a special privilege above all other teachers. Then from him, as head, this unction is diffused through the members, as Joel has foretold, "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions," (Joel 2:28). Paul's expressions, that he was "made unto us wisdom," (1 Cor. 1:30), and elsewhere, that in him "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," (Col. 2:3), have a somewhat different meaning, namely, that out of him there is nothing worth knowing, and that those who, by faith, apprehend his true character, possess the boundless immensity of heavenly blessings. For which reason, he elsewhere says, "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified," (1 Cor. 2:2). And most justly: for it is unlawful to go beyond the simplicity of the Gospel. The purpose of this prophetical dignity in Christ is to teach us, that in the doctrine which he delivered is substantially included a wisdom which is perfect in all its parts.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
The importance of self-discipline
2/15/2018 Bob Gass
‘Learn to sense what is vital…and of real value.’
(Php 1:10) so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, ESV
To achieve greater self-discipline, you should: 1) Start your day by doing the hard things first. And when you get sidetracked, make yourself go back and complete them. For example, make your bed, pick up your clothes, and wash the dishes; don’t make extra work for others. And don’t start several projects at once; the feeling of ‘getting something done’ will help you grow in self-respect and self-discipline. 2) Make a commitment to be punctual. Tardiness is a hard habit to break. To conquer it you must be willing to call it what it often is – inconsiderate, selfish behaviour. 3) Plan ahead. Everything takes longer than you think, so don’t wait until the last minute and then rush around like a chicken with its head cut off. ‘Living under the gun’ can give you ulcers, whereas allowing extra time is good for your health and peace of mind. 4) Accept correction from those who care about you, without sulking or retaliating. Until you’re willing to take correction, you’ll never be qualified to give it. The Bible says, ‘Wisdom is found in those who take advice’ (Proverbs 13:10 NIV 2011 Edition), so if you’re wise you’ll welcome feedback and seek counsel. Gandhi once said, ‘There’s always a limit to self-indulgence, but none to self-restraint.’ Ask God to help you control your unruly thoughts, feelings, desires, and behaviours. Identify the unmanageable areas in your life, stop making excuses, face the truth even if it hurts, refuse to feel sorry for yourself, and set a few attainable goals. In other words: ‘Learn to sense what is vital…and of real value.’
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
Today, February 15th, in the year 1898, the U.S.S. Maine blew up in Havana Harbor. President William McKinley approved the Joint Resolution of Congress, which stated: “The abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba… have been a disgrace to Christian civilization, culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana… Therefore, Resolved by… Congress assembled… That the people of the island of Cuba are and of a right ought to be free.”
Thomas R. Kelly
But God inflames the soul with a burning craving for absolute purity. One burns for complete innocence and holiness of personal life. No man can look on God and live, live in his own faults, live in the shadow of the least self-deceit, live in harm toward His least creatures, whether man or bird or beast or creeping thing. The blinding purity of God in Christ, how captivating, how alluring, how compelling it is! The pure in heart shall see God? More, they who see God shall cry out to become pure in heart, even as He is pure, with all the energy of their souls.
This has been an astonishing and unexpected element for me. In this day of concern for social righteousness it sounds like a throwback to medieval ideals of saintliness and soul-combing. Our religious heroes of these social gospel days sit before a battery of telephones, with full office equipment, with telegraph lines to Washington and London and Tokyo and Berlin. And this is needed, desperately needed. Yet there is in the experience of God this insistent, imperative, glorious yearning-the craving for complete spotlessness of the inner self before Him.
No, average goodness will do, no measuring of our lives by our fellows, but only a relentless, inexorable divine standard. No relatives suffice; only absolutes satisfy the soul, committed to holy obedience. Absolute honesty, absolute gentleness, absolute self-control, unwearied patience and thoughtfulness in the midst of the raveling friction of home and office and school and shop. It is said that the ermine can be trapped by surrounding it with a circle of filth. It will die before it will sully its snowy coat. Have we been led astray by our fears, by the fear of saccharine sweetness and light? By the dangers of fanatical scrupulousness and self-inspection and halo-hunting? By the ideal of a back-slapping recommendation of religion by showing we were good fellows after all? By the fear of quietism and of that monastic retreat from the world of men's needs which we associate with medieval passion for holiness of life? Nay, tread not so far from the chasm that you fall into the ditch on the other side. Boldly must we risk the dangers which lie along the margins of excess, if we would live the life of the second half. For the life of obedience is a holy life, a separated life, a renounced life, cut off from worldly compromises, distinct, heaven-dedicated in the midst of men, stainless as the snows upon the mountain tops.
He who walks in obedience, following God the second half, living the life of inner prayer of submission and exultation, on him God's holiness takes hold as a mastering passion of life. Yet ever he cries out in abysmal sincerity, "I am the blackest of all the sinners of the earth. I am a man of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of Hosts." For humility and holiness are twins in the astonishing birth of obedience in the heart of men. So God draws unworthy us, in loving tenderness, up into fellowship with His glorious self.
A Testament of Devotion
University of Virginia Library 1994
We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, and Shanando, and had meetings, some of which were comfortable and edifying. From Shanando, we set off in the afternoon for the settlements of Friends in Virginia; the first night we, with our guide, lodged in the woods, our horses feeding near us; but he being poorly provided with a horse, and we young, and having good horses, were free the next day to part with him. In two days after we reached our friend John Cheagle's, in Virginia. We took the meetings in our way through Virginia; were in some degree baptized into a feeling sense of the conditions of the people, and our exercise in general was more painful in these old settlements than it had been amongst the back inhabitants; yet through the goodness of our Heavenly Father the well of living waters was at times opened to our encouragement, and the refreshment of the sincere-hearted. We went on to Perquimans, in North Carolina; had several large meetings, and found some openness in those parts, and a hopeful appearance amongst the young people. Afterwards we turned again to Virginia, and attended most of the meetings which we had not been at before, laboring amongst Friends in the love of Jesus Christ, as ability was given; thence went to the mountains, up James River to a new settlement, and had several meetings amongst the people, some of whom had lately joined in membership with our Society. In our journeying to and fro, we found some honest-hearted Friends, who appeared to be concerned for the cause of truth among a backsliding people.
From Virginia, we crossed over the river Potomac, at Hoe's Ferry, and made a general visit to the meetings of Friends on the western shore of Maryland, and were at their Quarterly Meeting. We had some hard labor amongst them, endeavoring to discharge our duty honestly as way opened, in the love of truth. Thence, taking sundry meetings in our way, we passed towards home, which, through the favor of Divine Providence, we reached the 16th of sixth month, 1746; and I may say, that through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, which mortifies selfish desires, my companion and I travelled in harmony, and parted in the nearness of true brotherly love.
Two things were remarkable to me in this journey: first, in regard to my entertainment. When I ate, drank, and lodged free-cost with people who lived in ease on the hard labor of their slaves I felt uneasy; and as my mind was inward to the Lord, I found this uneasiness return upon me, at times, through the whole visit. Where the masters bore a good share of the burden, and lived frugally, so that their servants were well provided for, and their labor moderate, I felt more easy; but where they lived in a costly way, and laid heavy burdens on their slaves, my exercise was often great, and I frequently had conversation with them in private concerning it. Secondly, this trade of importing slaves from their native country being much encouraged amongst them, and the white people and their children so generally living without much labor, was frequently the subject of my serious thoughts. I saw in these southern provinces so many vices and corruptions, increased by this trade and this way of life, that it appeared to me as a dark gloominess hanging over the land; and though now many willingly run into it, yet in future the consequence will be grievous to posterity. I express it as it hath appeared to me, not once, nor twice, but as a matter fixed on my mind.
John Woolman's Journal
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Hold fast to the Bible
as the sheet anchor of your liberties.
--- Ulysses S. Grant
An unpeaceful mind cannot operate normally. Hence the Apostle teaches us to "have no anxiety about anything" (Phil. 4:6). Deliver all anxious thoughts to God as soon as they arise. Let the peace of God maintain your heart and mind (v. 7).
--- Watchman Nee
"No vital Christianity is possible unless at least three aspects of it are developed," wrote Elton Trueblood. "These three are the inner life of devotion, the outer life of service, and the intellectual life of rationality [italics added]."
--- Gordon MacDonald
What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will be swept away and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.
--- A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
but a babbling fool will have trouble.
9 He who walks purely walks securely,
but he who walks in crooked ways will be found out.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Am I my brother’s keeper?
None of us liveth to himself. --- Romans 14:7.
Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible for other souls spiritually before God? For instance, if I allow any private deflection from God in my life, everyone about me suffers. We “sit together in heavenly places.” “Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.” When once you allow physical selfishness, mental slovenliness, moral obtuseness, spiritual density, everyone belonging to your crowd will suffer. ‘But,’ you say, ‘who is sufficient for these things, if you erect a standard like that?’ Our sufficiency is of God, and of Him alone.
“Ye shall be My witnesses.” How many of us are willing to spend every ounce of nervous energy, of mental, moral and spiritual energy we have for Jesus Christ? That is the meaning of a witness in God’s sense of the word. It takes time, be patient with yourself. God has left us on the earth—what for? To be saved and sanctified? No, to be at it for Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured out wine for Him? To be spoilt for this age, for this life, to be spoilt from every standpoint but one—saving as I can disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life as a worker is the way I say ‘thank you’ to God for His unspeakable salvation. Remember it is quite possible for anyone of us to be flung out as reprobate silver—“… lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
I forgive you my life,
Begotten in a drab town,
The intention was good;
Passing the street now,
I see still the remains of sunlight.
It was not the bone buckled;
You gave me enough food
To renew myself.
It was the mind's weight
Kept me bent, as I grew tall.
It was not your fault.
What should have gone on,
Arrow aimed from a tried bow
At a tried target, has turned back,
With questions you had not asked.
The Echoes Return Slow
Lessons for Everyday Living
WHAT IS THE TALMUD? / The Bible and the Talmud
The Bible and the Talmud are the two central works of the Jewish people. While the Bible is the most popular and well-known Jewish text, the Talmud remains a closed book and a mystery to the majority of Jews, not to mention non-Jews. Yet ironically, Judaism as we know it today is derived more from the Talmud than from the Bible.
Jews often use the term B.C.E., before the common era, in place of B.C., before Christ. Similarly, Jews use C.E., common era, rather than A.D., which stands for Anno Domini, “the year of our Lord.”
The Bible is a collection of twenty-four books that begin with the creation of the world and take the reader through fifth century B.C.E. Jewish history. English Bibles divide some of these books into their parts, like I Kings and II Kings, and thus list thirty-nine separate biblical books. The Bible is often printed in one volume of about 1,500 pages; there are literally dozens of versions in various translations. Because Christians view the Hebrew Bible (or the “Old Testament,” as they call it) as Holy Scripture, the book has become a pillar of western civilization, and thus is familiar to Jews and non-Jews alike.
The Talmud (Hebrew for “study”) is the record of rabbinic teachings that spans a period of more than six hundred years, beginning in the first century C.E. and continuing through the sixth and seventh centuries C.E. The Talmud is actually made up of two separate works: The Mishnah, primarily a compilation of Jewish laws, written in Hebrew and edited around the year 200 C.E. in Israel; and the Gemara, the rabbinic commentaries and discussions on the Mishnah, written in Hebrew and Aramaic, emanating from both Babylonia and Israel over the next three hundred to five hundred years. In actuality, there are two Talmuds—the Yerushalmi (the “Jerusalem” Talmud, or to be more geographically precise, the Talmud of the Land of Israel), and the Bavli (the “Babylonian” Talmud). The Bavli was edited after the Yerushalmi and is much more widely known, studied, and quoted. The Babylonian Talmud is generally printed in twenty folio (or oversize) volumes. It contains over 5,400 pages, and is composed of more than 2,500,000 words. There are many people who study a page of Talmud every day; it takes them over seven years to complete the entire work.
Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living
Thomas A Kempis
Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul
The Fifteenth Chapter / Works Done In Charity Rash Judgment
NEVER do evil for anything in the world, or for the love of any man. For one who is in need, however, a good work may at times be purposely left undone or changed for a better one. This is not the omission of a good deed but rather its improvement.
Without charity external work is of no value, but anything done in charity, be it ever so small and trivial, is entirely fruitful inasmuch as God weighs the love with which a man acts rather than the deed itself.
He does much who loves much. He does much who does a thing well. He does well who serves the common good rather than his own interests.
Now, that which seems to be charity is oftentimes really sensuality, for man’s own inclination, his own will, his hope of reward, and his self-interest, are motives seldom absent. On the contrary, he who has true and perfect charity seeks self in nothing, but searches all things for the glory of God. Moreover, he envies no man, because he desires no personal pleasure nor does he wish to rejoice in himself; rather he desires the greater glory of God above all things. He ascribes to man nothing that is good but attributes it wholly to God from Whom all things proceed as from a fountain, and in Whom all the blessed shall rest as their last end and fruition.
If man had but a spark of true charity he would surely sense that all the things of earth are full of vanity!
The Imitation Of Christ
When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!”
--- Luke 15:17.
The prodigal was an exile in a far country. ( Sun-rise: Addresses from a city pulpit ) The memory of his home filled his heart. It was not terror that struck the prodigal deep. It was home for which his poor soul was crying. He saw the farm among the hills, and the weary oxen coming home at eventide and the happy circle gathered round the fire and his father crying to heaven for the wanderer. [The prodigal’s] sorrow was remembering happier things. He came to himself, and he was homesick.
Wickedness is not the homeland of the soul, and the unrest and the dissatisfaction of the wicked is the craving of the heart for home. We were not fashioned to be at home in sin. We bear the image of God, and God is goodness. The native air of this mysterious heart is the love and purity and joy of heaven. So when someone deliberately sins and all the time hungers for better things, it is not the hunger for an impossible ideal; it is the hunger of the soul for home. You can satisfy that hunger instantly. Out of the furthest country you may come home. God waits. Christ says, “Return this very hour.”
We were made in goodness, and we were made for goodness, and we will always be dissatisfied, always homesick, if we are trying to live in any other land. [Thus,] people cover evil with a veil of goodness, longing to give a homelike touch to their surroundings. When people take the names of goodness and label their vices and their sins with them, when we use a kindly term for some habit or frailty that is most unkindly, it is the soul telling where it was born, confessing unconsciously that it is homesick and trying to give a homelike touch to the far country.
We can understand the loneliness of sin when we remember this homesickness of the soul. The individual who is homesick is always lonely. Sin is a power that makes for loneliness. Slowly but surely, if you live in sin, you drift into spiritual isolation. And the sins we call social sins, the sins that begin in fellowship and company, are the very sins that leave you at last utterly alone. That loneliness is homesickness of the soul. It is the heart craving for home again. If you are drifting away on a great sea of self-indulgence, God grant that, drawn by the love of Christ, you may come home.
--- George H. Morrison
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
A Prison Bundle
Adoniram Judson, who wanted to become America’s first foreign missionary, fell in love with the most beautiful girl in Bradford, Massachusetts. Ann Hasseltine was the daughter of a Congregational deacon, and Judson’s letter asking for her hand is among the most emboldened in church history:
I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter, whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and suffering of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India, to every kind of want and distress, to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death.
John Hasseltine did consent, and the couple was married in the Hasseltine home on February 5, 1812. The next day they were commissioned as missionaries and soon left American shores. Their new home, Rangoon, Burma, was a filthy, crowded city. The atmosphere was oppressive, the work discouraging. By 1820, there were ten Burmese converts, but at a cost. One Judson child had been stillborn; another died of tropical fever.
When war broke out between Burma and England, Adoniram was accused of being a spy and placed in a death prison. His dark, dank cell was filled with vermin, and Adoniram was shackled at the ankles. Every evening he was hanged upside down with only his head and shoulders resting on the ground.
Ann, pregnant again, visited one government official after another, urging her husband’s release. On February 15, 1825, eight months after Adoniram’s arrest, she showed up at his prison carrying a small bundle, their newborn daughter Maria. No artist can capture the poignancy of that brief union with its intense emotions of sorrow and joy, fear and faith.
Torturous months followed. Adoniram was finally released, but both Ann and Maria soon died of fever. Adoniram suffered a mental breakdown that nearly took both his ministry and his life.
But God wasn’t finished with him. America’s first foreign missionary still had a world to change.
Unless you are willing to take up your cross and come with me, you are not fit to be my disciples. If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it.
--- Matthew 10:38-39.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - February 15
“To him be glory both now and forever.” --- 2 Peter 3:18.
Heaven will be full of the ceaseless praises of Jesus. Eternity! thine unnumbered years shall speed their everlasting course, but forever and for ever, “to him be glory.” Is he not a “Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek”? “To him be glory.” Is he not king for ever?—King of kings and Lord of lords, the everlasting Father? “To him be glory for ever.” Never shall his praises cease. That which was bought with blood deserves to last while immortality endures. The glory of the cross must never be eclipsed; the lustre of the grave and of the resurrection must never be dimmed. O Jesus! thou shalt be praised for ever. Long as immortal spirits live—long as the Father’s throne endures—for ever, for ever, unto thee shall be glory. Believer, you are anticipating the time when you shall join the saints above in ascribing all glory to Jesus; but are you glorifying him now? The apostle’s words are, “To him be glory both now and for ever.” Will you not this day make it your prayer? “Lord, help me to glorify thee; I am poor, help me to glorify thee by contentment; I am sick, help me to give thee honour by patience; I have talents, help me to extol thee by spending them for thee; I have time, Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve thee; I have a heart to feel, Lord, let that heart feel no love but thine, and glow with no flame but affection for thee; I have a head to think, Lord, help me to think of thee and for thee; thou hast put me in this world for something, Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose: I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two mites, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into thy treasury; I am all thine; take me, and enable me to glorify thee now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.”
Evening - February 15
“Whereby they have made thee glad.” --- Psalm 45:8.
And who are thus privileged to make the Saviour glad? His church—his people. But is it possible? He makes us glad, but how can we make him glad? By our love. Ah! we think it so cold, so faint; and so, indeed, we must sorrowfully confess it to be, but it is very sweet to Christ. Hear his own eulogy of that love in the golden Canticle: “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine!” See, loving heart, how he delights in you. When you lean your head on his bosom, you not only receive, but you give him joy; when you gaze with love upon his all-glorious face, you not only obtain comfort, but impart delight. Our praise, too, gives him joy—not the song of the lips alone, but the melody of the heart’s deep gratitude. Our gifts, too, are very pleasant to him; he loves to see us lay our time, our talents, our substance upon the altar, not for the value of what we give, but for the sake of the motive from which the gift springs. To him the lowly offerings of his saints are more acceptable than the thousands of gold and silver. Holiness is like frankincense and myrrh to him. Forgive your enemy, and you make Christ glad; distribute of your substance to the poor, and he rejoices; be the means of saving souls, and you give him to see of the travail of his soul; proclaim his gospel, and you are a sweet savour unto him; go among the ignorant and lift up the cross, and you have given him honour. It is in your power even now to break the alabaster box, and pour the precious oil of joy upon his head, as did the woman of old, whose memorial is to this day set forth wherever the gospel is preached. Will you be backward then? Will you not perfume your beloved Lord with the myrrh and aloes, and cassia, of your heart’s praise? Yes, ye ivory palaces, ye shall hear the songs of the saints!
Morning and Evening
MY JESUS, I LOVE THEE
William R. Featherston, 1846–1873
We love Him because He first loved us.
(1 John 4:19)
And shall I use these ransomed powers of mine
For things that only minister to me?
Lord, take my tongue, my hands, my heart, my all,
And let me live and love for Thee!
The spiritual depth of “My Jesus, I Love Thee” is made all the more remarkable by the knowledge that it was written by a teenager. William Ralph Featherston of Montreal, Canada, is thought to have written these lines of heartfelt gratitude to Christ at the time of his conversion experience when only 16. It is believed he then sent a copy of his poem to an aunt in Los Angeles, and somehow the text appeared anonymously in print in an English hymnal, The London Book, in 1864.
Several years later, a well-known American Baptist pastor, Dr. A. J. Gordon, discovered the anonymous hymn in the English hymnbook and decided to compose a better melody for it. With its new tune the hymn has since been included in nearly every evangelical hymnal and has been sung frequently by believers everywhere during hushed moments of rededication to God.
How marvelous are the workings of God in bringing together expressions such as these, providing a hymn that has been used in a remarkable way for more than a century to direct Christians to a deeper relationship with their Lord. May these words cause each of us even now to renew our devotion to God so that this love for Christ may be reflected in all of the activities of this day.
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine—For Thee all the follies of sin I resign; my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou: If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me and purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree; I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow: If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, and praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; and say when the death-dew lies cold on my brow, “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”
In mansions of glory and endless delight, I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright; I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow, “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”
For Today: John 14:23; Ephesians 2:4, 5; 1 Peter 1:8; 2:9; 1 John 4:7–21.
Express your own love for the Savior in fresh and fervent words; reflect on what He has done for you, what He is presently doing, and the future glory that still awaits. Determine to demonstrate your loving devotion for Christ with an encouraging word or deed for some needy individual.
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Brett Meador | Athey Creek
When The Trumpet Sounds Numbers 10:1-10
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