Jacob Blesses Ephraim and ManassehGenesis 48 1 After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. 3 And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ 5 And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. 6 And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
8 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” 9 Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. So Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” 12 Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). 15 And he blessed Joseph and said,
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
“By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying,
‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’ ”
Jacob Blesses His SonsGenesis 49 1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.
2 “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel your father.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
because you went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
6 Let my soul come not into their council;
O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
he shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
15 He saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant,
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
and became a servant at forced labor.
16 “Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
a viper by the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that his rider falls backward.
18 I wait for your salvation, O LORD.
19 “Raiders shall raid Gad,
but he shall raid at their heels.
20 “Asher’s food shall be rich,
and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose
that bears beautiful fawns.
22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved;
his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey
and at evening dividing the spoil.”
Jacob’s Death and Burial28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. 29 Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.
Genesis 50Genesis 50 1 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. 4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’ ” 6 And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” 7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
God’s Good Purposes15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
The Death of Joseph22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph’s own. 24 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
What Does “Gospel” Really Mean?
By J. Warner Wallace 1/15/2018
We often describe God’s gracious offer of Salvation as “good news”, and while this makes sense, given the magnitude of God’s gift to us, there are actually good etymological reasons for describing Salvation in this way. The word “Gospel” is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, “godspel”, or “good story” and was substituted for the original Greek word “euaggelion” which first signified “a present given to one who brought good tidings”, or “a sacrifice offered in thanksgiving for such good tidings having come”. In later Greek uses, it was employed for the good tidings themselves. That’s exactly what God is offering us with the Gospel; “good news” about what he did for us through Jesus Christ:
The Gospel is All About What God Did For Us
God wants us to rejoice over the good news of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Although our sin deserves death, Jesus paid the price and even defeated death so we too can live forever with God:
(1 Co 15:1–4) 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, ESV
The Gospel is All About Grace
Paul devoted his life to sharing what he believed to be very “good news”. He thought it was good news because he understood God was giving us a free gift only He could offer: the gift of Salvation, given freely as an act of grace (unmerited favor):
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.
What Pro-Lifers Can and CAN’T Learn from the Civil Rights Movement
By Jason Jones & John Zmirak 1/15/2018
Today we mark the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s not just some ethnic hero, but a true American one. He is even, in critical ways, a conservative paragon. We’ll lay out why, and draw out what the pro-life movement can — and cannot — learn from King’s success.
King a “conservative”? It seems absurd at first. King sparked massive change in American life. He radically unsettled the existing social order. He rejected calls for “prudence” and “gradual change.” He pointed to abstract principles to condemn concrete arrangements which had seemed to “work,” after a fashion, for 100 years since the Civil War.
His Civil Rights movement, however just its cause, did create a template for a long list of less worthy jihads, on behalf of disgruntled feminists, abortion mongers, and same-sex libertines. On that point, Southern conservatives proved sadly correct: overturning the racial hierarchy in America let a lot of other genies out of the bottle. Some of those spirits are afflicting the black community worse than segregation ever did (i.e., abortion).
No surprise that when King was organizing marches and sit-ins, most of the existing conservative movement opposed him. William F. Buckley and most of the writers at National Review were among them. But Buckley and NR came around as did most Americans. Here’s why:
More than almost any other political leader since Lincoln, King sought to polish the Golden Egg of liberty and equal opportunity, without doing violence to the Goose — that is, America as an orderly nation of laws. Both his arguments and his tactics bear that out.
Per Amazon, John Zmirak received his B.A. from Yale University in 1986, then his M.F.A. in screenwriting and fiction and his Ph.D. in English in 1996 from Louisiana State University. His focus was the English Renaissance, and the novels of Walker Percy. He taught composition at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, and written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention, representing Pat Buchanan. He has been Press Secretary to pro-life Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, and a reporter and editor at "Success" magazine and "Investor's Business Daily," among other publications. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in "First Things," "The Weekly Standard," "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "USA Today," "FrontPage Magazine," "The American Conservative," "The South Carolina Review," "The Atlantic," "Modern Age," "The Intercollegiate Review," "The New Republic," "Commonweal," and "The National Catholic Register," among other venues. He has contributed to "American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia" and "The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought." From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of "Faith & Family Magazine" and a reporter at "The National Catholic Register." He works now as an editor for several publishing companies.
John Zmirak Books:
- 1 The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement (Bad Catholic's guides)
- 2 The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
- 3 The Grand Inquisitor (Crossroad Book)
- 4 The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Catechism: A Faithful, Fun-Loving Look at Catholic Dogmas, Doctrines, and Schmoctrines (Bad Catholic's guides)
- 5 The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture Of Life
- 6 The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living: A Loving Look at the Lighter Side of Catholic Faith, with Recipes for Feasts and Fun
- 7 Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist (Library of Modern Thinkers)
- 8 Choosing the Right College 2014-15: The Inside Scoop on Elite Schools and Outstanding Lesser-Known Institutions
- 9 The World Is On Fire: A Whole Life Reader
- 10 The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
- 11 The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song: A Spirited Look at Catholic Life & Lore from the Apocalypse to Zinfandel (Bad Catholic's guides)
- 12 All-American Colleges: Top Schools for Conservatives, Old-Fashioned Liberals, and People of Faith
- 13 Dollfuss: An Austrian Patriot
- 14 Wilhelm RFopke : Swiss localist, global economist
Writing: If You Want To Remember It, Write It By Hand
By Timothy Paul Jones 1/7/2018
Words and writing matter.
In the opening chapter of the Scriptures, God speaks, and a cosmos bursts into being (Genesis 1:3). When he constitutes Israel as his people, God speaks and writes, and a covenant is born (Exodus 31:18). John described the incarnation of God in Christ by declaring, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). It is by words that our souls live, and it is because of words that souls die (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 12:36-37). In the words of George Will,
"Everything humane depends on words—love, promise-keeping, story-telling, democracy. And baseball.
From an eternal perspective, what’s important is not the format of these words but the meaning that the words convey. When it comes to our capacity to recall the words we hear and read, however, the way that we write them down has a profound effect on how much information we recall.
My Journey from Paper to Pixels and Back to Paper Again | Throughout high school, college, and my first seminary degree, I kept handwritten journals, and every note I took in classes was penned by hand. In a box in the basement, I still have dozens of spiral-bound notebooks from those years.
My name is Timothy Paul Jones, and I love living with my wife and four daughters in the city of Louisville. Over the past two decades, I’ve had the privilege of leading several congregations as a pastor and in associate ministry roles. Now, I serve as a professor and associate vice president at one of the largest seminaries in the world, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here, I invest my time in mentoring a rising generation of God-called ministers of the gospel. I also serve as a pastor at the Midtown congregation of Sojourn Community Church and write books in the fields of apologetics and family ministry. A few of these books include the award-winning How We Got the Bible and Christian History Made Easy. My past scholarly research has focused on the psychology of faith and on factors that influence faith formation in Christian households. Currently, my focus has turned toward the reliability of the New Testament Gospels. In addition to earning a doctor of philosophy degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical literature and a master of divinity with an emphasis in church history and New Testament studies.
Timothy Paul Jones Books:
- 1 How We Got the Bible
- 2 Christian Formation: Integrating Theology and Human Development
- 3 Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples
- 4 Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views
- 5 Trained in the Fear of God: Family Ministry in Theological, Historical, and Practical Perspective
- 6 How We Got the Bible Participant Guide
- 7 Four Views of the End Times pamphlet: Views on Jesus' Second Coming
- 8 PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace
- 9 Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: A Spiritual Exploration of the Star Wars Saga
- 10 Perspectives on Your Child's Education: Four Views
- 11 Christian History Made Easy Participant guide for the 12-session DVD-based study
- 12 Praying Like the Jew, Jesus: Recovering the Ancient Roots of New Testament Prayer
- 13 Teaching the World: Foundations for Online Theological Education
The New Testament in the strange words of David Bentley Hart
By N.T. Wright 1/15/2018
When a theologian of the stature of David Bentley Hart offers a “pitilessly literal translation” of the New Testament that is “not shaped by later theological and doctrinal history” and aims to make “the familiar strange, novel, and perhaps newly compelling,” we are eager to see the result. He promises to bring out the “wildly indiscriminate polyphony” of the writers’ styles and emphases, converging on their “vibrant certainty that history has been invaded by God in Christ in such a way that nothing can stay as it was.”
But his two main claims (to be “literal” and “undogmatic”) are not borne out, and the promise of displaying the strangeness of early Christian life disappears behind different kinds of strangeness. There are indeed some striking passages: we read that Saul had “wreaked such carnage” among the early believers, but was now “marshalling arguments that this man is the Anointed” (Acts 9:21–23). His opponents are people “whose God is their guts” (Phil. 3:19). And so on. But what does literal mean?
Greek and English, as Hart knows well, do not work the same way. Pretending that they do produces not literal translation but the kind of thing you get in an interlinear version, as with “the one making me well, that one told me” (John 5:11), or “going and washing, I saw” (John 9:11). Hart frequently translates houtos and ekeinos as “this one” and “that one,” as in “having received the morsel, that one [i.e., Judas] immediately departed” (John 13:30). The strange English here has nothing to do with a cultural clash between the first Christians and ourselves.
The definite article, or its absence, creates further problems. Hart knows that Greek often uses the article where English does not—for example, with abstract nouns (and so he does not translate hē agapē in 1 Corinthians 13 as “the love”). The converse is true, too: Greek often omits the article in cases where the English indefinite article (“a” or “an”) would be misleading. Yet Hart elevates the Greek non use of the article into a strict principle of his literal rendition, so that we frequently find mention of “a Holy Spirit.” In Luke 4:1, “Jesus, full of a Holy Spirit . . . was guided in the wilderness by the Spirit.” Sometimes this oddity is compounded by the switching of upper and lower case in quick succession: we have access “in one Spirit” to the Father, but we are “built up in spirit into God’s dwelling place” (Eph. 2:18, 22). Granted, the word pneuma was multivalent for Paul and in his context, but the combination of these two puzzles (capitalization and article) produces neither clarity nor beauty.
The use of obsolete English words (“climes” for regions, “chaplet” for crown, “alee” as a nautical term, and so on) offers a different sort of strangeness. Jacob’s well has become a “font” (John 4:6). “You are God’s tilth” will mean nothing to most readers, and anyone hearing “one such as was rapt up all the way” will think of parcels, or perhaps overcoats, not heavenly journeys (1 Cor. 3:9, 2 Cor. 12:2). There’s also the occasional glaring error—such as the omission of “not” in Romans 8:12, where Hart’s version makes the mindboggling claim that “we are debtors to the flesh.”
According to Wikipedia: Nicholas Thomas Wright (born 1 December 1948) is a leading British New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and retired Anglican bishop. In academia, he is published as N. T. Wright, but is otherwise known as Tom Wright. Between 2003 and his retirement in 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He writes prolifically about theology, Christian life, and the relationship of these two things. He advocates a biblical re-evaluation of and fresh approach to theological matters such as justification, women's ordination, and popular Christian views about life after death. He has also criticised the idea of a literal Rapture. Alternate source: Fulcrum website. The author of over seventy books, Wright is highly regarded in academic and theological circles primarily for his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series.The third volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God, is considered by many pastors and theologians to be a seminal Christian work on the resurrection of the historical Jesus, while the most recently released fourth volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, is hailed as Wright's magnum opus.[
He writes prolifically about theology, Christian life, and the relationship of these two things. He advocates a biblical re-evaluation of and fresh approach to theological matters such as justification, women's ordination, and popular Christian views about life after death. He has also criticised the idea of a literal Rapture. Alternate source: Fulcrum website. The author of over seventy books, Wright is highly regarded in academic and theological circles primarily for his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series.The third volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God, is considered by many pastors and theologians to be a seminal Christian work on the resurrection of the historical Jesus, while the most recently released fourth volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, is hailed as Wright's magnum opus.[N.T. Wright Books | Go to Books Page
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 9I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds
9 To The Choirmaster: According To Muth-Labben. A Psalm Of David.
7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.
9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
Saint Patrick's BreastplateThe prayer in Modern English translation. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, smiths, and wizards,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
A Fifteen Point Christian Response to Richard Carrier
By Christian Apologist (SJ Thomason) 10/1/2017(Jn 8:32) 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ESV
The following blog is in response to a rebuttal of one of my blogs by an historian called Richard Carrier. The blog is entitled “Resolving controversies surrounding Joseph of Arimathea and the women who discovered Jesus’ empty tomb.” While reading Carrier’s rebuttal, I came upon a number of assertions, which I have numbered and italicized in bold print in the following list. After each of his assertions, I have offered a response. Carrier’s blog can be accessed here: https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/12786
Paul does not mention the empty tomb, Jesus’ burial, or a missing body.
Paul does not need to mention the empty tomb, Jesus’ burial, or a missing body for his account of his encounter with the risen Jesus to be true. As examples, a mother does not need to detail a hospital room in order to prove she gave birth to a baby; a widow does not need to detail the burial site to prove her husband died and was buried; a lunch date does not need to detail the house she left to prove she left her house when meeting for lunch. These are parts of the account of Jesus’ resurrection, which is valid with or without their inclusion.
Jesus’ resurrection itself is of the utmost importance to Christianity. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul quotes a Creed that the earliest Christians memorized.
(1 Co 15:3–8) 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. ESV
In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul states:
(1 Co 15:20) But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. ESV
In other words, Paul stated that he witnessed the risen Jesus, as did the early Christians he referenced in his letter to the Corinthians.
Author: Christian Apologist | Please visit my new blog at ChristianApologistweb.Wordpress.com. The author lives with her two sons, chief security officer/pooch, and husband who would rather be living in a houseboat near his identical twin brother. She works as a college professor, which helps to pay the mortgage. Over the past few decades, she has attempted to reconcile the logic and rationality of nature with the unexplained force of love within. World religions address the latter, yet none so perfectly and comprehensively as Christianity. By diving into the academic, literary, and church communities, she's found many answers to the complicated questions of life. Life's short, sometimes ugly, and there are no guarantees. If she were to be hit by a bus tomorrow (which might very well happen), she'll rest in peace knowing that a permanent record of her discoveries of the way, the truth, and the life exists for her family, friends, and anyone else interested. Follow on Twitter SJ Thomason@lead1225
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
1. From the whole course of the observations now made, we may infer,
that the Law was not superadded about four hundred years after the
death of Abraham in order that it might lead the chosen people away
from Christ, but, on the contrary, to keep them in suspense until his
advent; to inflame their desire, and confirm their expectation, that
they might not become dispirited by the long delay. By the Law, I
understand not only the Ten Commandments, which contain a complete rule
of life, but the whole system of religion delivered by the hand of
Moses. Moses was not appointed as a Lawgiver, to do away with the
blessing promised to the race of Abraham; nay, we see that he is
constantly reminding the Jews of the free covenant which had been made
with their fathers, and of which they were heirs; as if he had been
sent for the purpose of renewing it. This is most clearly manifested by
the ceremonies. For what could be more vain or frivolous than for men
to reconcile themselves to God, by offering him the foul odour produced
by burning the fat of beasts? or to wipe away their own impurities by
be sprinkling themselves with water or blood? In short, the whole legal
worship (if considered by itself apart from the types and shadows of
corresponding truth) is a mere mockery. Wherefore, both in Stephen's
address (Acts 7:44), and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, great weight is
justly given to the passage in which God says to Moses, "Look that thou
make them after the pattern which was showed thee in the mount," (Exod.
25:40). Had there not been some spiritual end to which they were
directed, the Jews, in the observance of them, would have deluded
themselves as much as the Gentiles in their vanities. Profane men, who
have never made religion their serious study, cannot bear without
disgust to hear of such a multiplicity of rites. They not merely wonder
why God fatigued his ancient people with such a mass of ceremonies, but
they despise and ridicule them as childish toys. This they do, because
they attend not to the end; from which, if the legal figures are
separated, they cannot escape the charge of vanity. But the type shows
that God did not enjoin sacrifice, in order that he might occupy his
worshippers with earthly exercises, but rather that he might raise
their minds to something higher. This is clear even from His own
nature. Being a spirit, he is delighted only with spiritual worship.
The same thing is testified by the many passages in which the Prophets
accuse the Jews of stupidity, for imagining that mere sacrifices have
any value in the sight of God. Did they by this mean to derogate in any
respect from the Law? By no means; but as interpreters of its true
meaning, they wished in this way to turn the attention of the people to
the end which they ought to have had in view, but from which they
generally wandered. From the grace offered to the Jews we may certainly
infer, that the law was not a stranger to Christ. Moses declared the
end of the adoption of the Israelites to be, that they should be "a
kingdom of priests, and an holy nation," (Exod. 19:6). This they could
not attain, without a greater and more excellent atonement than the
blood of beasts. For what could be less in accordance with reason, than
that the sons of Adams who, from hereditary taint, are all born the
slaves of sin, should be raised to royal dignity, and in this way made
partakers of the glory of God, if the noble distinction were not
derived from some other source? How, moreover, could the priestly
office exist in vigour among those whose vices rendered them abominable
in the sight of God, if they were not consecrated in a holy head?
Wherefore, Peter elegantly transposes the words of Moses, teaching that
the fulness of grace, of which the Jews had a foretaste under the Law,
is exhibited in Christ, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood," (1 Pet. 2:9). The transposition of the words intimates
that those to whom Christ has appeared in the Gospel, have obtained
more than their fathers, inasmuch as they are all endued with priestly
and royal honour, and can, therefore, trusting to their Mediator,
appear with boldness in the presence of God.
2. And it is to be observed, by the way, that the kingdom, which was at length erected in the family of David, is part of the Law, and is comprehended under the dispensation of Moses; whence it follows, that, as well in the whole tribe of Levi as in the posterity of David, Christ was exhibited to the eyes of the Israelites as in a double mirror. For, as I lately observed (sec. 1), in no other way could those who were the slaves of sin and death, and defiled with corruption, be either kings or priests. Hence appears the perfect truth of Paul's statement, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ," "till the seed should come to whom the promise was made" (Gal. 3:24, 19). For Christ not yet having been made familiarly known to the Jews, they were like children whose weakness could not bear a full knowledge of heavenly things. How they were led to Christ by the ceremonial law has already been adverted to, and may be made more intelligible by several passages in the Prophets. Although they were required, in order to appease God, to approach him daily with new sacrifices, yet Isaiah promises, that all their sins would be expiated by one single sacrifice, and with this Daniel concurs (Isa. 53:5; Dan. 9:26, 27). The priests appointed from the tribe of Levi entered the sanctuary, but it was once said of a single priest, "The Lord has sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek," (Ps. 110:4). The unction of oil was then visible, but Daniel in vision declares that there will be another unction. Not to dwell on this, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews proves clearly, and at length, from the fourth to the eleventh chapter, that ceremonies were vain, and of no value, unless as bringing us to Christ. In regard to the Ten Commandments, we must, in like manner, attend to the statement of Paul, that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," (Rom. 10:4); and, again, that ministers of the new testament were "not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the split giveth life," (2 Cor. 3:6). The former passage intimates, that it is in vain to teach righteousness by precept, until Christ bestow it by free imputation, and the regeneration of the Spirit. Hence he properly calls Christ the end or fulfilling of the Law, because it would avail us nothing to know what God demands did not Christ come to the succour of those who are labouring, and oppressed under an intolerable yoke and burden. In another place, he says that the Law "was added because of transgressions," (Gal. 3:19), that it might humble men under a sense of their condemnation. Moreover, inasmuch as this is the only true preparation for Christ, the statements, though made in different words, perfectly agree with each other. But because he had to dispute with perverse teachers, who pretended that men merited justification by the works of the Law, he was sometimes obliged, in refuting their error, to speak of the Law in a more restricted sense, merely as law, though, in other respects, the covenant of free adoption is comprehended under it.
3. But in order that a sense of guilt may urge us to seek for pardon, it is of importance to know how our being instructed in the Moral Law renders us more inexcusable. If it is true, that a perfect righteousness is set before us in the Law, it follows, that the complete observance of it is perfect righteousness in the sight of God; that is, a righteousness by which a man may be deemed and pronounced righteous at the divine tribunal. Wherefore Moses, after promulgating the Law, hesitates not to call heaven and earth to witness, that he had set life and death, good and evil, before the people. Nor can it be denied, that the reward of eternal salvation, as promised by the Lord, awaits the perfect obedience of the Law (Deut. 30:19). Again, however, it is of importance to understand in what way we perform that obedience for which we justly entertain the hope of that reward. For of what use is it to see that the reward of eternal life depends on the observance of the Law, unless it moreover appears whether it be in our power in that way to attain to eternal life? Herein, then, the weakness of the Law is manifested; for, in none of us is that righteousness of the Law manifested, and, therefore, being excluded from the promises of life, we again fall under the curse. I state not only what happens, but what must necessarily happen. The doctrine of the Law transcending our capacity, a man may indeed look from a distance at the promises held forth, but he cannot derive any benefit from them. The only thing, therefore, remaining for him is, from their excellence to form a better estimate of his own misery, while he considers that the hope of salvation is cut off, and he is threatened with certain death. On the other hand, those fearful denunciations which strike not at a few individuals, but at every individual without exceptions rise up; rise up, I say, and, with inexorable severity, pursue us; so that nothing but instant death is presented by the Law.
4. Therefore, if we look merely to the Law, the result must be despondency, confusion, and despair, seeing that by it we are all cursed and condemned, while we are kept far away from the blessedness which it holds forth to its observers. Is the Lord, then, you will ask, only sporting with us? Is it not the next thing to mockery, to hold out the hope of happiness, to invite and exhort us to it, to declare that it is set before us, while all the while the entrance to it is precluded and quite shut up? I answer, Although the promises, in so far as they are conditional, depend on a perfect obedience of the Law, which is nowhere to be found, they have not, however, been given in vain. For when we have learned, that the promises would be fruitless and unavailing, did not God accept us of his free goodness, without any view to our works, and when, having so learned, we, by faith, embrace the goodness thus offered in the gospel, the promises, with all their annexed conditions, are fully accomplished. For God, while bestowing all things upon us freely, crowns his goodness by not disdaining our imperfect obedience; forgiving its deficiencies, accepting it as if it were complete, and so bestowing upon us the full amount of what the Law has promised. But as this point will be more fully discussed in treating of justification by faith, we shall not follow it further at present.
5. What has been said as to the impossible observance of the Law, it will be proper briefly to explain and confirm, the general opinion being, that nothing can be more absurd. Hence Jerome has not hesitated to denounce anathema against it.  What Jerome thought, I care not; let us inquire what is the truth. I will not here enter into a long and intricate discussion on the various kinds of possibility. By impossible, I mean, that which never was, and, being prevented by the ordination and decree of God, never will be. I say, that if we go back to the remotest period, we shall not find a single saint who, clothed with a mortal body, ever attained to such perfection as to love the Lord with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength; and, on the other hand, not one who has not felt the power of concupiscence. Who can deny this? I am aware, indeed of a kind of saints whom a foolish superstition imagines, and whose purity the angels of heaven scarcely equal. This, however, is repugnant both to Scripture and experience. But I say further, that no saint ever will attain to perfection, so long as he is in the body. Scripture bears clear testimony to this effect: "There is no man that sinneth not," saith Solomon (1 Kings 8:46). David says, "In thy sight shall no man living be justified," (Psalm 143:2). Job also, in numerous passages, affirms the same thing. But the clearest of all is Paul, who declares that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," (Gal. 5:17). And he proves, that "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse," for the simple reason, that it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them," (Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26); intimating, or rather assuming it as confessed, that none can so continue. But whatever has been declared by Scripture must be regarded as perpetual, and hence necessary. The Pelagians annoyed Augustine with the sophism, that it was insulting to God to hold, that he orders more than believers are able, by his grace, to perform; and he, in order to evade it, acknowledged that the Lord was able, if he chose, to raise a mortal man to angelic purity; but that he had never done, and never would do it, because so the Scripture had declared (Augustine, lib. de Nat. et Grat). This I deny not: but I add, that there is no use in absurdly disputing concerning the power of God in opposition to his truth; and therefore there is no ground for cavilling, when it is said that that thing cannot be, which the Scriptures declare will never be. But if it is the word that is objected to, I refer to the answer which our Saviour gave to his disciples when they asked, "Who then can be saved?" "With men," said he, "this is impossible; but with God all things are possible" (Mt. 19:25). Augustine argues in the most convincing manner, that while in the flesh, we never can give God the love which we owe him. "Love so follows knowledge, that no man can perfectly love God who has not previously a full comprehension of his goodness," (Augustin. de Spiritu et Litera, towards the end, and elsewhere). So long as we are pilgrims in the world, we see through a glass darkly, and therefore our love is imperfect. Let it therefore be held incontrovertible, that, in consequence of the feebleness of our nature, it is impossible for us, so long as we are in the flesh, to fulfil the law. This will also be proved elsewhere from the writings of Paul (Rom. 8:3). 
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
The difference between Samson and Samuel (1)
1/17/2018 Bob Gass
‘Time would fail me to tell of…Samson…and Samuel.’
(Heb 11:32) And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— ESV
Samson and Samuel are mentioned in the same Scripture, but there are big differences between them. You ask, ‘Why should I be interested?’ Because as a Christian, you are like them. Each had a miraculous birth, so they’re a picture of those who’ve been born again and called to serve God. Paul writes, ‘These things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition…Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall’ (1 Corinthians 10:11-12 NKJV). Difference one: Finances. Samson was greedy and manipulating, whereas Samuel practised integrity. One day Samson bet thirty Philistine princes that they couldn’t solve his riddle, saying, ‘If you cannot explain it to me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing’ (Judges 14:13 NKJV). Quite a wardrobe, eh? Samson’s emphasis was ‘you shall give me’. He’s an example of Christians in business who discredit the cause of Christ by unethical practices, and those in ministry who twist the Scriptures and resort to emotional manipulation to raise money. The world is watching, so let’s heed the Scripture: ‘Provide things honest in the sight of all men’ (Romans 12:17 KJV). Samuel was totally different. After forty years of his exemplary leadership, the people paid this tribute to him: ‘You have not cheated or oppressed us’ (1 Samuel 12:4 NKJV). When others can say that about you, you did it right! Jesus said, ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matthew 6:21 KJV). The condition of your heart is revealed in how you handle finances.
(1 Co 10:11–12) 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. ESV
(Jdg 14:13) 13 but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” ESV
(Ro 12:17) Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. ESV
(1 Sa 12:4) They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” ESV
(Mt 6:21) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ESV
January 17, 2016
As I said, my mornings begin slowly. I am most comfortable starting a new day with a slow process; start the coffee, turn on the heater, open the curtains, turn on Lily’s laptop, my laptop and then sip my first cup of coffee. It is often, usually, a time of reading and reflection. I always think of Lily and wonder why God has been so good to me. I have always admired Lily’s tenderness and thoughtfulness of others. I have always delighted in her sense of joy and kindness. She is easy to like and somewhere along our journey together we seem to have developed a mutual delight, admiration, and respect for one another. We are quite different from each other. It is quite understandable that I would be so captivated by her, but for the life of me I cannot understand why she loves me. It is a mystery, but a mystery I am grateful continues.
Funny how little has changed in three years, except I turned off the click my phone makes when you take a picture so I can sneak a picture of her every morning. She does not like her picture taken and no one does in the morning, but seeing her starting every day reading her bible fills me with joy and peace, so I will continue to snap her picture ... until I get caught.
by Bill Federer
On January 17, 1781, Washington’s southern army defeated the British troops at Cowpens. In hot pursuit, Lord Cornwallis reached the Catawba River just two hours after the American troops had crossed, but a storm made the river impassable. He nearly overtook the Americans again at the Yadkin River, just as they were getting out on the other side, but a torrential rain flooded the river. This happened a third time at the Dan River. British Commander Henry Clinton wrote: “Here the royal army was again stopped by a sudden rise of the waters, which had only just fallen (almost miraculously) to let the enemy over.”American Minute
Thomas R. Kelly
Thomas Kelly enjoyed his courses at Haverford College. This was especially true of his Greek philosophy and of a course in Oriental Philosophy which he inaugurated to carry on the interest that had taken him to Hawaii. At the time of his death he had interested one of the foundations in purchasing for the Haverford College Library extensive sets of reference books in Indian, Chinese and Japanese philosophy and culture. A course in the history and philosophy of Quakerism which he inherited from Rufus Jones gave him an occasion to immerse himself in Quaker history to his great delight. As a teacher at Haverford, he appealed to a small group of students whose enthusiasm for him and dedication to him knew few bounds. In the spring of 1938, he wrote to his faithful friend at Hartford, "I am more happy here at Haverford than anybody has a right to be, in this vale of tears and trouble(!) It is just about as ideal as one could ever wish for-yet with very human shortcomings."
In the first two years at Haverford, Little Richard Kelly was passing out of the baby stage. Lois Kelly, a beautiful girl of nine, was the idol of her father and reciprocated his affection. After the silent Quaker meeting for worship one day she told her mother that she had spent the meeting hour deciding whom she loved best, as she looked up at the gallery (where the elders of the meeting sit facing the meeting). After some weighing of the matter, she decided that she loved her daddy first, God second, Rufus Jones third, and J. Henry Bartlett fourth!
A Testament of Devotion
Compilation by RickAdams7
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him
than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word,
'darkness' on the walls of his cell. --- C. S. Lewis
Science brings man nearer to God…
There is something in the depths of our souls
which tells us that the world may be more
than a mere combination of events.
--- Louis Pasteur
A Christian is a person who, when getting to the end of his/her rope, ties a knot and determines to hang on, realizing that human extremity now becomes God’s opportunity.
--- Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
To have our senses exercised to discern between truth and falsehood, light and darkness, order and disorder, the will of God and the will of the flesh, is, I believe, the end and object of our training in this world.
--- Caroline Stephen, 1834-1909
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
--- Greek Proverb
... from here, there and everywhere
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
by D.H. Stern
pay attention, in order to gain insight;
2 for I am giving you good advice;
so don’t abandon my teaching.
3 For I too was once a child to my father;
and my mother, too, thought of me as her special darling.
4 He too taught me; he said to me,
“Let your heart treasure my words;
keep my commands, and live;
5 gain wisdom, gain insight;
don’t forget or turn from the words I am saying.
6 Don’t abandon [wisdom]; then she will preserve you;
love her, and she will protect you.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The vocation of the natural life
But when it pleased God … to reveal His son in me …
--- Gal. 1:15–16.
The call of God is not a call to any particular service; my interpretation of it may be, because contact with the nature of God has made me realize what I would like to do for Him. The call of God is essentially expressive of His nature; service is the outcome of what is fitted to my nature. The vocation of the natural life is stated by the apostle Paul - "When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him” (i.e., sacramentally express Him) “among the Gentiles.”
Service is the overflow of superabounding devotion; but, profoundly speaking, there is no call to that, it is my own little actual bit, and is the echo of my identification with the nature of God. Service is the natural part of my life. God gets me into a relationship with Himself whereby I understand His call, then I do things out of sheer love for Him on my own account. To serve God is the deliberate love - gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is expressive of that which is fitted to my nature: God’s call is expressive of His nature; consequently when I receive His nature and hear His call, the voice of the Divine nature sounds in both and the two work together. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him.
My Utmost for His Highest
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
What is this creature discarded
like a toy necklace
among the weeds and flowers,
singing to me silently
of the fire never to be put out
at its thin lips? It is scion
of a mighty ancestor
that spoke the language
of trees to our first
parents and greened its scales
in the forbidden one, timelessly shining
as though autumn were never to be.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
The time has come for my departure. --- 2 Timothy 4:6.
A familiar and striking figure is used when Paul speaks of the time of his “departure.” ( Classic Sermon Outlines: Over 100 Sermon Outlines by 3 of the Best Known Preachers of All Time ) The thought is found in most tongues. Death is a going away, or, as Peter calls it, an exodus. But the well-worn image receives new depth and sharpness of outline in Christianity. To those who have learned the meaning of Christ’s resurrection and feed their souls on the hopes that it warrants, death is merely a change of place or state, an accident affecting locality and little more.
We have had plenty of changes before. Life has been one long series of departures. This is different from the others mainly in that it is the last and that to go away from this visible and fleeting show, where we wander aliens among things that have no true kindred with us, is to go home, where there will be no more pulling up the tent pegs and toiling across the deserts in monotonous change. How strong is the conviction, spoken in that name for death, that the essential life lasts on quite unaltered through it all! How slight the else formidable thing is made. We may change climates and for the stormy bleakness of life may have the long still days of heaven, but we do not change ourselves. We lose nothing worth keeping when we leave behind the body, as a dress not fitted for home, where we are going.
We only travel one more stage, though it is the last, and part of it is in pitchy darkness. Some pass over it as in a fiery chariot, like Paul and many a martyr. Some have to toil through it with slow steps and bleeding feet and fainting heart, but all may have a Brother with them and, holding his hand, may find that the journey is not so hard as they feared and the home, from which they shall remove no more, better than they hoped when they hoped the most.
--- Alexander Maclaren
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Death by Baptism
As Ulrich Zwingli preached in Zurich, he sought to bring reformation to Switzerland within the context of the established state church. In Zurich and throughout Europe, there was little difference between state and church. All babies baptized were thereby considered members of the church and citizens of the city. But Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz, impatient with Zwingli’s reforms, began holding Bible classes in private homes, and their investigation of Scripture raised questions about state-sponsored sprinkling of infants.
When Grebel’s wife gave birth to a son the stage was set for conflict. On January 17, 1525, the Zurich City Council arranged a public debate on the issue. Zwingli insisted that all children be baptized by their eighth day, while Grebel and Manz argued that baptism symbolized a believer’s commitment to Christ. They lost.
Four days later under cloak of darkness, a dozen men trudged through falling snow to Manz’s house. After kneeling in prayer, one of them, George Blaurock, asked Grebel to baptize him in the apostolic fashion—upon his confession of personal faith in Christ. Grebel did so, then Blaurock, a former priest, baptized the others.
Zwingli was incensed, and these radical reformers were soon driven from Zurich. They established a congregation in the nearby village of Zollikon, the first “free” church of modern times. But they weren’t free from Zwingli, who hounded them, or from Zurich’s arm of persecution.
Grebel, his health failing in prison, died of the plague. Blaurock was burned at the stake. And Zurich officials decided that if Manz wanted baptism so badly, they would give it to him. Taking him from Wellenberg prison, they bound his arms and legs. As they rowed down the middle of Zurich’s Limmat River, his mother shouted over the splashing oars for him to remain true to Christ. After he sang “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” he was rolled overboard, and the cold waters of Lake Zurich closed over his head.
As they were going along the road, they came to a place where there was some water. The official said, “Look! Here is some water. Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the chariot to stop. Then they both went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
--- Acts 8:36-38.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - January 17
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion." --- Revelation 14:1.
The apostle John was privileged to look within the gates of heaven, and in describing what he saw, he begins by saying, “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!” This teaches us that the chief object of contemplation in the heavenly state is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Nothing else attracted the apostle’s attention so much as the person of that Divine Being, who hath redeemed us by his blood. He is the theme of the songs of all glorified spirits and holy angels. Christian, here is joy for thee; thou hast looked, and thou hast seen the Lamb. Through thy tears thine eyes have seen the Lamb of God taking away thy sins. Rejoice, then. In a little while, when thine eyes shall have been wiped from tears, thou wilt see the same Lamb exalted on his throne. It is the joy of thy heart to hold daily fellowship with Jesus; thou shalt have the same joy to a higher degree in heaven; thou shalt enjoy the constant vision of his presence; thou shalt dwell with him for ever. “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!” Why, that Lamb is heaven itself; for as good Rutherford says, “Heaven and Christ are the same thing;” to be with Christ is to be in heaven, and to be in heaven is to be with Christ. That prisoner of the Lord very sweetly writes in one of his glowing letters—“O my Lord Jesus Christ, if I could be in heaven without thee, it would be a hell; and if I could be in hell, and have thee still, it would be a heaven to me, for thou art all the heaven I want.” It is true, is it not, Christian? Does not thy soul say so?
“Not all the harps above
Can make a heavenly place,
If God his residence remove,
Or but conceal his face.”
All thou needest to make thee blessed, supremely blessed, is “to be with Christ.”
Evening - January 17
“And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house.”
--- 2 Samuel 11:2.
At that hour David saw Bathsheba. We are never out of the reach of temptation. Both at home and abroad we are liable to meet with allurements to evil; the morning opens with peril, and the shades of evening find us still in jeopardy. They are well kept whom God keeps, but woe unto those who go forth into the world, or even dare to walk their own house unarmed. Those who think themselves secure are more exposed to danger than any others. The armour-bearer of Sin is Self-confidence.
David should have been engaged in fighting the Lord’s battles, instead of which he tarried at Jerusalem, and gave himself up to luxurious repose, for he arose from his bed at eventide. Idleness and luxury are the devil’s jackals, and find him abundant prey. In stagnant waters noxious creatures swarm, and neglected soil soon yields a dense tangle of weeds and briars. Oh for the constraining love of Jesus to keep us active and useful! When I see the King of Israel sluggishly leaving his couch at the close of the day, and falling at once into temptation, let me take warning, and set holy watchfulness to guard the door.
Is it possible that the king had mounted his housetop for retirement and devotion? If so, what a caution is given us to count no place, however secret, a sanctuary from sin! While our hearts are so like a tinder-box, and sparks so plentiful, we had need use all diligence in all places to prevent a blaze. Satan can climb housetops, and enter closets, and even if we could shut out that foul fiend, our own corruptions are enough to work our ruin unless grace prevent. Reader, beware of evening temptations. Be not secure. The sun is down but sin is up. We need a watchman for the night as well as a guardian for the day. O blessed Spirit, keep us from all evil this night. Amen.
Morning and Evening
THE KING OF LOVE MY SHEPHERD IS
Henry W. Baker, 1821–1877
For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. (Psalm 95:7)
The beloved words of Psalm 23 have undoubtedly provided greater comfort and encouragement to God’s people through the years than any other portion of Scripture. In times of deep need, how eloquently these tender words from the psalmist David minister to our wounded spirits. This psalm has also formed the textual basis for more sacred music than any other scriptural setting. But to many devout Christians the best-loved hymn based on Psalm 23 is this paraphrase by an English musician, Sir Henry Baker. In this text Baker skillfully combines thoughts of King David with lessons from the New Testament. For example, the words from the third stanza are based on the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:5. The fourth stanza includes the phrase “Thy cross before to guide me.” Here the shepherd is identified as Christ by the inclusion of the cross symbolism.
Sir Henry William Baker is highly regarded by students of hymnody for his work as the editor-in-chief of one of the most monumental hymnals ever published, Hymns, Ancient and Modern, a book which sold more than 60 million copies after it was published in 1861. See how these words can direct you again to the love of the Good Shepherd.
The King of Love my Shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever.
Where streams of living water flow my ransomed soul He leadeth,
and where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me,
and on His shoulder gently laid, and home rejoicing brought me.
In death’s dark vale I fear no ill with Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still, Thy cross before to guide me.
Thou spread’st a table in my sight; Thine unction grace bestoweth;
and O what transport of delight from Thy pure chalice floweth!
And so through all the length of days Thy goodness faileth never:
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise within Thy house for ever!
For Today: Psalm 23; John 10:9; Hebrews 2:14, 15; 1 Peter 2:25.
Take time to read and meditate again on the 23rd Psalm. Reflect on the tender love and care that an earthly shepherd has for his sheep. Relate this to your heavenly Shepherd’s guidance and care for your life. Let this musical message help you ---
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