Exodus 36:1 “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”
Exodus 36 - 38
2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. 3 And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5 and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” 6 So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.
8 And all the craftsmen among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains. They were made of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns, with cherubim skillfully worked. 9 The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. All the curtains were the same size.
10 He coupled five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he coupled to one another. 11 He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain of the first set. Likewise he made them on the edge of the outermost curtain of the second set. 12 He made fifty loops on the one curtain, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set. The loops were opposite one another. 13 And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains one to the other with clasps. So the tabernacle was a single whole.
14 He also made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle. He made eleven curtains. 15 The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. The eleven curtains were the same size. 16 He coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. 17 And he made fifty loops on the edge of the outermost curtain of the one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the other connecting curtain. 18 And he made fifty clasps of bronze to couple the tent together that it might be a single whole. 19 And he made for the tent a covering of tanned rams’ skins and goatskins.
20 Then he made the upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. 21 Ten cubits was the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. 22 Each frame had two tenons for fitting together. He did this for all the frames of the tabernacle. 23 The frames for the tabernacle he made thus: twenty frames for the south side. 24 And he made forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons. 25 For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty frames 26 and their forty bases of silver, two bases under one frame and two bases under the next frame. 27 For the rear of the tabernacle westward he made six frames. 28 He made two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. 29 And they were separate beneath but joined at the top, at the first ring. He made two of them this way for the two corners. 30 There were eight frames with their bases of silver: sixteen bases, under every frame two bases.
31 He made bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, 32 and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tabernacle at the rear westward. 33 And he made the middle bar to run from end to end halfway up the frames. 34 And he overlaid the frames with gold, and made their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.
35 He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; with cherubim skillfully worked into it he made it. 36 And for it he made four pillars of acacia and overlaid them with gold. Their hooks were of gold, and he cast for them four bases of silver. 37 He also made a screen for the entrance of the tent, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework, 38 and its five pillars with their hooks. He overlaid their capitals, and their fillets were of gold, but their five bases were of bronze.
Making the ArkExodus 37:1 Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half was its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 2 And he overlaid it with pure gold inside and outside, and made a molding of gold around it. 3 And he cast for it four rings of gold for its four feet, two rings on its one side and two rings on its other side. 4 And he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold 5 and put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark. 6 And he made a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half was its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 7 And he made two cherubim of gold. He made them of hammered work on the two ends of the mercy seat, 8 one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim on its two ends. 9 The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat were the faces of the cherubim.
Making the Table10 He also made the table of acacia wood. Two cubits was its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold around it. 12 And he made a rim around it a handbreadth wide, and made a molding of gold around the rim. 13 He cast for it four rings of gold and fastened the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 14 Close to the frame were the rings, as holders for the poles to carry the table. 15 He made the poles of acacia wood to carry the table, and overlaid them with gold. 16 And he made the vessels of pure gold that were to be on the table, its plates and dishes for incense, and its bowls and flagons with which to pour drink offerings.
Making the Lampstand17 He also made the lampstand of pure gold. He made the lampstand of hammered work. Its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers were of one piece with it. 18 And there were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 19 three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 20 And on the lampstand itself were four cups made like almond blossoms, with their calyxes and flowers, 21 and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out of it. 22 Their calyxes and their branches were of one piece with it. The whole of it was a single piece of hammered work of pure gold. 23 And he made its seven lamps and its tongs and its trays of pure gold. 24 He made it and all its utensils out of a talent of pure gold.
Making the Altar of Incense25 He made the altar of incense of acacia wood. Its length was a cubit, and its breadth was a cubit. It was square, and two cubits was its height. Its horns were of one piece with it. 26 He overlaid it with pure gold, its top and around its sides and its horns. And he made a molding of gold around it, 27 and made two rings of gold on it under its molding, on two opposite sides of it, as holders for the poles with which to carry it. 28 And he made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.
29 He made the holy anointing oil also, and the pure fragrant incense, blended as by the perfumer.
Making the Altar of Burnt OfferingExodus 38:1 He made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood. Five cubits was its length, and five cubits its breadth. It was square, and three cubits was its height. 2 He made horns for it on its four corners. Its horns were of one piece with it, and he overlaid it with bronze. 3 And he made all the utensils of the altar, the pots, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the fire pans. He made all its utensils of bronze. 4 And he made for the altar a grating, a network of bronze, under its ledge, extending halfway down. 5 He cast four rings on the four corners of the bronze grating as holders for the poles. 6 He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. 7 And he put the poles through the rings on the sides of the altar to carry it with them. He made it hollow, with boards.
Making the Bronze Basin8 He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.
Making the Court9 And he made the court. For the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, a hundred cubits; 10 their twenty pillars and their twenty bases were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 11 And for the north side there were hangings of a hundred cubits; their twenty pillars and their twenty bases were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 12 And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their ten pillars, and their ten bases; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 13 And for the front to the east, fifty cubits. 14 The hangings for one side of the gate were fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and three bases. 15 And so for the other side. On both sides of the gate of the court were hangings of fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three bases. 16 All the hangings around the court were of fine twined linen. 17 And the bases for the pillars were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. The overlaying of their capitals was also of silver, and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver. 18 And the screen for the gate of the court was embroidered with needlework in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. It was twenty cubits long and five cubits high in its breadth, corresponding to the hangings of the court. 19 And their pillars were four in number. Their four bases were of bronze, their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their capitals and their fillets of silver. 20 And all the pegs for the tabernacle and for the court all around were of bronze.
Materials for the Tabernacle21 These are the records of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, as they were recorded at the commandment of Moses, the responsibility of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 22 Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses; 23 and with him was Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and designer and embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen.
24 All the gold that was used for the work, in all the construction of the sanctuary, the gold from the offering, was twenty-nine talents and 730 shekels, by the shekel of the sanctuary. 25 The silver from those of the congregation who were recorded was a hundred talents and 1,775 shekels, by the shekel of the sanctuary: 26 a beka a head (that is, half a shekel, by the shekel of the sanctuary), for everyone who was listed in the records, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men. 27 The hundred talents of silver were for casting the bases of the sanctuary and the bases of the veil; a hundred bases for the hundred talents, a talent a base. 28 And of the 1,775 shekels he made hooks for the pillars and overlaid their capitals and made fillets for them. 29 The bronze that was offered was seventy talents and 2,400 shekels; 30 with it he made the bases for the entrance of the tent of meeting, the bronze altar and the bronze grating for it and all the utensils of the altar, 31 the bases around the court, and the bases of the gate of the court, all the pegs of the tabernacle, and all the pegs around the court.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
When Making a Case for Christianity is Futile
By J. Warner Wallace 4/24/2015
After four weeks, sitting just ten feet from the jury, I still wasn’t sure how to read them; especially Juror Number 9. She scowled through most of the testimony, took notes when things seemed obvious and often displayed gestures that were confusing and difficult to read. I wasn’t sure that we were reaching her with the evidence. In fact, I was beginning to doubt our choice of her as a juror in the first place. The prosecution and defense teams evaluate the initial jury panel and vet each juror in an effort to select jurors that will best serve the purpose of either side. The defense lawyers are looking for something in a juror and the prosecution team is looking for something in each juror (more on that tomorrow). I found myself reviewing the notes related to Juror Number 9 many times toward the end of the trial, trying to see if we had missed something with this one. My concern was that this juror was rejecting the truth as demonstrated by the evidence, and I knew from experience that this sometimes occurs in jury trials.
It turns out that there are three reasons why anyone might reject a truth claim, and only one of these three reasons is rational (evidential). I’ve written quite a bit about this in Cold Case Christianity, and it’s important for us to make the distinction when trying to communicate the truth about Christianity to our friends, family and co-workers. Why? Because there are times when reasoning through the evidence is futile. There are three reasons someone might reject the truth and we need to be careful to distinguish between these three conditions. We need to listen carefully to the words that our friends are using to understand where their objections reside in the first place, so we can better understand how we might be able to reach them. Here is a brief review of why someone might SHUN the truth:
They Have a RaSHUNal (Rational) Objection | When you hear people say things like, “I just don’t get it,” or “It makes no sense to me,” or “I just don’t see the evidence for that,” you are probably dealing with someone who holds a rational objection and would be willing to engage and review the evidence that supports your case.
They Have an EmoSHUNal (Emotional) Objection | When you hear someone say something like, “Christians are so hypocritical,” or “My dad was a Christian and he was a jerk,” or “I have friends who are Christians and I would never want to be like them,” you are probably dealing with someone who is responding emotionally based on some experience in their past.
They Have a VoliSHUNal (Volitional) Objection | When you hear someone say something like, “I’m a good person, so I’m not worried about God,” or “I just don’t have time to think about those kinds of things,” or “I wish Christians would just live their own lives and stop telling me how to live mine,” you may be dealing with someone who willfully rejects Christianity because they are unwilling to change their life to embrace the truth.
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.
United or Untied?
By Tom Thomas 1/24/2018
The second largest denomination after the Southern Baptists, The United Methodist Church (UMC), is schismatized. For almost a decade some bishops and pastors have been defying church law and electing, ordaining and solemnizing the marriages of homosexuals. The issue finally came to a tipping point in 2016 when the church’s ruling body, General Conference, formed a commission to provide a plan to the bishops to resolve the matter in 2019. Last November 2017, President Bishop Bruce R. Ough envisioned the way forward in his address to the Council of Bishop’s (COB). In his message, ‘In Love with Union’, he said the church may be divided theologically, but unity can trump it. He repeated the word ‘unity’ no less than twenty five times. He told the Bishops, ‘I have focused nearly all of this President’s address on the theme of maintaining unity.’ He reminded them what the COB told General Conference in 2016 when they formed the Commission on a Way Forward. The COB is committed to maintaining the unity of The United Methodist Church.[i] Bishop Ough is telegraphing that unity is the guiding principle which will determine the proposed model the COB will offer as a way forward to the 2019 General Conference.
This focus on unity prompted a question in me, ‘What does the New Testament say about ‘unity’? In the following I want to consider three New Testament words regarding ‘unity’. I will organize them under two headings, horizontal and vertical unity. In light of this, I want to show how the prevailing talk of unity leaves out the most crucial factor in the unity equation.
The word ‘unity’ (enotas) appears but four times and the term ‘united’ seven in the Holy Scriptures. This is few in comparison to such key terms as ‘truth’ which appears approximately seventy times. In each of the four occurrences ‘unity’ speaks of the saints in Christ’s Body having a oneness of spirit. Peter exemplifies its meaning when he exhorts believers to have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Pet 3:8). This ‘unity’ is horizontal. It speaks of ‘unity’ on the human plane. It talks of human inter-relationships and the nature of saints’ attitude, mind and purpose among themselves. This is the plane in which Bishop Ough operates.
The word ‘united’ is used to mean being ‘joined’. Persons are ‘united in love’ if they are connected and brought into close association with another. One use of ‘united’ speaks of our being ‘united’ to the Lord. This conception of our being united to the Lord is more fully expressed by another term which I am coming to now. (1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 2:2).
I asked myself, is this all the Bible has to say about ‘unity’ and being bound together as one? The Bible talks also of ‘unity’ in speaking of ‘being one’. The Greek New Testament word for ‘one’ is eis. Eis can mean the quality of being one in mind, feeling, opinion, purpose and spirit. Indeed, the word ‘one’ is the Bible’s richest word for ‘being one’ or ‘unity’.
Tom was most recently pastor of the Bellevue Charge in Forest, Virginia until retiring in July. Studying John Wesley’s theology, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Bristol, Bristol, England. While a student, he and his wife Pam lived in John Wesley’s Chapel “The New Room”, Bristol, England, the first established Methodist preaching house. Tom was a faculty member of Asbury Theological Seminary from 1998-2003. He has contributed articles to Methodist History and the Wesleyan Theological Journal. He and his wife Pam have two children, Karissa, who is an Associate Attorney at McCandlish Holton Morris in Richmond, and, John, who is a junior communications major/business minor at Regent University. Tom enjoys being outdoors in his parkland woods and sitting by a cheery fire with a good book on a cool evening.
Against the Origin of J, E, and P as Separate Documents
By Gleason Archer Jr.
In 1945 in Uppsala, Sweden, appeared a work by Ivan Engnell called Gamla testamentet, en traditionshistorisk inledning (The Old Testament, a Traditio-historical Introduction), which more or less followed the line which Pedersen had taken. Engnell boldly condemned the Wellhausian fabric of criticism as representing a modern, anachronistic book view, a purely artificial interpretation in modern categories which do not apply to ancient Semitic material. He asserted that an adequate treatment of this Hebrew literature required a radical break with that whole approach. He then made the following points.
1. There never were any parallel, continuous documents of prior origin from which the Torah was finally composed in its post-exilic form.
2. The evidence of the LXX text shows the unsoundness of the criterion of divine names for Source Division; and even as they have been marked off by Wellhausen, these supposed sources are by no means consistent in their use of the names for God. We must understand that the true explanation for the usage of these names is to be found in the context in which they occur, for it is the context that determines which name is most appropriate, as Conservative scholars have always maintained.
3. Rather than being of Judahite origin, Deuteronomy more strongly suggests North Israelite background. It is most unlikely that D could ever have been concocted in the Jerusalem temple, in view of the prominence it gives to Mt. Gerizim rather than Mt. Zion.
4. The only safe division that can be made of the Pentateuchal material is (a) a P-work extending from Genesis through Numbers and evidencing characteristics which point to a P-type school of tradition; and (b) a D-work ( Deuteronomy through 2 Kings ) which shows a different style of treatment and points to a definite D circle of traditionists. The legal material in Exodus through Numbers originated from the oracle-giving and judicial functions of the various local sanctuaries, where along with oral tradition some early written traditions were cultivated. Genesis is made up of an Abraham cycle, a Jacob cycle, and a Joseph complex. Gunkel’s analyses of the individual stories and legend cycles are trustworthy. These were originally cultic legends connected with different sanctuaries. Doubtless, the book of the covenant ( Ex. 20:23–23:19 ) was one such collection; Ex. 34:17–26 (the so-called ritual Decalogue) was another; and the Holiness Code ( Lev. 17–26 ) represents still another complex. P represents a southern tradition, whereas the Deuteronomic work ( Deuteronomy through 2 Kings ) represents a northern tradition although the final form imposed on it reflects the viewpoint of those who wished the cultus to be centralized in Jerusalem.
5. Oral tradition played a major role in all this until the final reduction to writing. We must therefore reckon, not with written sources and redactors, but with units of oral tradition, circles of tradition, and schools within these traditionist circles. Continuous written documents would necessarily have exhibited consistent differences of style and purely linguistic constants which would occur only in the document concerned. But as it is, no consistent distinctives of this sort can be made out, and those which the Documentarians claim to have discovered can be maintained only by question-begging devices such as redactors and glosses and later emendations. (This of course implied that the elaborate word lists and tables such as are drawn up in Driver’s ILOT must be discarded as unsound.)
Another interesting writer who perhaps could be listed in this group is Wilhelm Moeller, who was originally a convinced adherent of the Wellhausen school. But after a careful reexamination of the evidence, he became impressed with the inadequacy of the Documentary Hypothesis in the light of the actual data. His first attack was published in 1899 in German under the title of Historico-critical Considerations in Opposition to the Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis by a Former Adherent. A more powerful onslaught appeared in 1912: Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung (Against the Spell of Source Division). Here he demonstrated the weakness of the arguments for the Documentary Hypothesis and cogently argued the case for the unity of the Pentateuch. In his 1925 work, Ruckbeziehungen des funften Buches Mosis auf die vier ersten Bucher (Backward References of the Fifth Book of Moses to the First Four Books), he showed that Deuteronomy contains numerous references to Genesis through Numbers which presuppose their existence prior to the composition of Deuteronomy and their availability to the author himself. But perhaps Moeller should not be listed with these other critics, since his investigations led him back to the position of the historic Christian church in regard to the authorship of the Pentateuch, and he thereby became an adherent of the Conservative cause. All the others, of course, were (or are) Liberals.
Yehezkel Kauftnann of Hebrew University in the 1940s and 1950s reexamined the assumption of the Wellhausen school that P omitted all mention of the centralization of the sanctuary because it took this centralization for granted. He found this to be utterly unwarranted circular reasoning and argued that monotheism characterized Israel’s religion from the beginning. (Cf. his Religion of Israel [Chicago: U. of Chicago, 1960], p. 205, quoted in this text on p. 110.) Yet he still accepted the four documents as separate entities, even though the priority of D to much of P could no longer be sustained.
How can I learn to not take offense at little things?
By S. Michael Houdmann
Trying to not take offense is like trying to not think about elephants. If someone says, “Don’t think about elephants,” we automatically think about them. If we focus on trying not to take offense, we will keep thinking about the offense. This principle applies to just about any sin a person can commit. When we focus on a behavior, even in an attempt to eliminate it, the result is more of that behavior. This is just how our minds work. Thankfully, there is another, better way to address this problem.
People are lured and enticed into sin as a result of desire—wanting is the beginning of sinning (James 1:14). Every sin or bad behavior begins with desire. Desire itself is not bad; there are many good desires. But the desires that lead to sin are wrong desires, the desires based in false perspectives and misplaced expectations about others and ourselves. To eliminate a bad behavior, we must first discover the desire behind it.
For many people, the tendency to take offense at little things is rooted in a false perspective of security. We all desire security and safety; we desire the good opinion of others. We secure those good opinions with performance: what we do, how we speak, how we dress, how we express ourselves, etc. When our security is based on our performance, we may feel threatened when someone expresses something negative about us. The natural response to that threat is to take offense or become angry. Even a casual, flippant, or offhand remark can gnaw at us and steal our peace. The way to prevent taking offense is to address our desire for security. As long as feelings of security are rooted in ourselves, the tendency to take offense, even at the little things, will exist. If, however, our feelings of security are not rooted in ourselves or our performance, our perspective will change and our response to the actions and comments of others will become more balanced.
Remember the acronym COP.
Cover. | Twice in the book of Proverbs, we are told to “cover” offenses (Proverbs 10:12; 17:9). The covering of offense is related to love. First Peter 4:8 says, “Love covers over a multitude of sins”—and that “multitude” would have to include small slights. In any relationship, there are many irksome things that should just be “covered” for the sake of love. By covering an offense, or not revealing it to others, we are empathizing with the offender and extending the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he did not mean what he said; perhaps we misunderstood. Perhaps the offender was having a bad day or wasn’t thinking straight. Covering the offense of another helps us, too. Remember the elephant? When we focus on the needs of the person who offended us, we no longer think about how offended we feel.
S. Michael Houdmann is the Founder, President, and CEO of Got Questions Ministries, the parent ministry for GotQuestions.org. We rarely receive questions about S. Michael Houdmann, and that is a good thing. He does not want GotQuestions.org to be about him. He does not want people to accept or reject the answers given at GotQuestions.org because of name recognition. Rather, his hope is that people will accept or reject GotQuestions.org answers because they have read them, compared them with the Word of God, and prayed about them – and determined them to be true and biblical.
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 16You Will Not Abandon My Soul
16 A Miktam Of David.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Stuff Christians Say that Makes Jewish People Cringe
By Aaron Abrason 10/03/2016
With a name like Aaron Abramson, I don’t exactly fly under the radar. I’m Jewish. I also believe in Jesus. Because of this, I interact with a lot of non-Jewish Christians, who, though well intentioned, have said some pretty astonishing things to me over the years.
American evangelicals often view Jewish people as fascinating specimens of biblical history. Some recognize their interlaced association with the Jewish people; others seem to ignore it altogether. Regardless, the broader context of history shows a tumultuous connection between Christians and Jews.
Christians persecuted Jewish people. Jewish people feared Christians. Even to this day, there are self-proclaimed Christians around the world who continue to persecute Jews. Anti-Semitism still exists in extreme forms. But it can also quietly seethe beneath the surface, popping up occasionally in the way of racial stereotypes.
Of course, stereotypes may simply be born of ignorance and not hate. As the Jewish people remain a minority, they are often seen as an enigma to outsiders — and where there is a lack of understanding about other cultures, stereotypes abound. Where there are stereotypes, offenses abound.
Here are a few offensive things I’ve heard firsthand from the mouths of Christians:
Aaron Abramson grew up in a Jewish home in Seattle and relocated to Israel as a teenager. He explored religious studies and Judaism in a Yeshiva and at Bar Ilan University. He completed 3 years of service in the IDF which led him on a spiritual journey. Aaron discovered the writings of the New Testament and his life was filled with new purpose. He joined Jews for Jesus in 1999 and currently directs the work in New York City. Aaron has a BA in Biblical and Intercultural Studies and is completing an MPA at NYU. He lives with his wife and three children in Manhattan.
Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter
By Lenny Esposito 5/22/2014
I've made the point many times that we as Christians are called to defend our faith. The Bible commands it of us, and we face an increasingly hostile world.Apologetics is how one learns to defend his or her faith through the use of reason and evidence. I believe apologetics can be tremendously helpful in clarifying people's understanding t the Christian faith. However, sometimes we may rely too heavily on facts when engaging with others.
A fascinating new article appears in The New Yorker this week entitled "I Don't Want to Be Right." 1 In it, author Maria Konnikova highlights the research being done by a number of psychologists and sociologists showing that people's beliefs help shape the core conception of themselves, and thus if one tries to correct the false beliefs of someone, it may not only fail, but have the adverse effect of corrupting the source in their eyes.
As an example, Konnikova cites one 2013 study conducted by Kelly Garrett and Brian Weeks who sought to correct misinformation about access to health records. At first, they thought that the facts were making a difference, as some people changed their beliefs. "But, when the researchers took a closer look, they found that the only people who had changed their views were those who were ideologically predisposed to disbelieve the fact in question. If someone held a contrary attitude, the correction not only didn't work—it made the subject more distrustful of the source."
Before some of my atheist readers jump too fast, the article was very clear that it mattered not which side of any contention one was on. This applies as much to liberal views as conservative one and it applies to secular and scientific views as much as religious ones. As Stephan Lewandowsky states in the article, "False beliefs, it turns out, have little to do with one's stated political affiliations and far more to do with self-identity: What kind of person am I, and what kind of person do I want to be? All ideologies are similarly affected"(emphasis added).
Facts are Threatening Things | I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when I was working an online chat, answering web viewers' questions for the Harvest Crusades. A man came on the line and said that he really wanted to believe in Jesus in his heart but he felt that he couldn't because of his head. After a bit of conversation, it came out that he was a professor of philosophy, and he had difficulty with the problem of evil. Of course, I immediately went into apologetics mode and began telling how arguments such as Hume's have been shown to be incorrect.
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Lenny is an in-demand speaker, teaching at conferences, churches, and schools across the nation. He is a contributor to the popular Apologetics Study Bible for Students and his articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Southern California Christian Times. He has debated many topics on faith and reason and the rationality of the Christian worldview; his most recent debate being against well-known atheists and author Dr. Richard Carrier on the question "Does God Exist?"
Lenny is a pioneer in online ministry efforts when he began using the Web to reach others near its beginnings in 1995. He produces one of the top 16 apologetics podcasts according to Apologetics 315 and his site has been viewed millions of times by visitors from nearly every country in the world.
Lenny is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Evangelical Theological Society.
The Problem Of The Old Testament
By James Orr 1907
THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM AND RITUAL LAW
The Book of the Covenant deals mainly with civil matters, and, except in the law of the altar, and the ordinance about the three feasts, has no properly religious enactments. This of itself creates a not unreasonable presumption that such will be found elsewhere. To most it will appear incredible that, in settling the constitution of Israel, Moses should not have given the people, among his other laws, at least some ordinances for religious worship. The critics, however, hold a directly contrary opinion. Not content with denying that Moses was the author of any ritual legislation, they go so far as to maintain that, till the time of the exile, no sacrificial or other ritual existed which was even believed to have Mosaic or divine sanction. The prophets, it is declared, show clearly by their denunciations that they know nothing of such a divinely-ordained ritual. “Thus it is,” says Wellhausen, “that the prophets are able to ask whether then Jehovah has commanded His people to tax their energies with such exertions: the fact presupposed being that no such command exists, and that no one knows anything at all about a ritual torah.” The idea of a ritual which “goes back to Moses or to Jehovah Himself” is said to be foreign to them. It first came in with the Priestly Code, which is so insistent on the Mosaic origin of lawful sacrifice that it carefully avoids, in the earlier history, ever ascribing sacrifice to the patriarchs. Without at this stage entering into details, which will more properly come up when discussing the Code itself, we would make on these representations the following remarks:—
1. There is, to put it mildly, some absurdity in the often - repeated statement that “the Priestly Writer knows nothing of sacrifice by the servants of God before Moses.” We might ask —How often is sacrifice mentioned altogether in the Book of Genesis? And in how many instances does the meagre thread of narrative assigned to the Priestly Writer admit of the act of sacrifice being introduced? But there is a more obvious answer — one of which a good deal more will be heard as we proceed. The Priestly Writer knew at least about the patriarchal sacrifices all that the J and E histories had to tell him; for he had, on the newer theory, these histories before him, presupposes and founds upon them, if he does not actually furnish the frame in which their narratives are set. He cannot, therefore, be supposed designedly to contradict them on this point of patriarchal sacrifices. It is in truth no part of the theory of the Priestly Writer that sacrifices began with Moses. His own legislation gives no hint that up to that time these were unheard-of. Rather, in such phrases as, “If any man bring an offering to Jehovah,” … “If his offering be a burnt offering of the herd,” etc., it assumes that such sacrifices are well-known and customary.
2. As little can it be maintained, with any show of reason, that, up to the time of the exile, sacrifice in Israel was simply, as Wellhausen affirms, traditional custom, without divine sanction, or regulation of the when, the where, the by whom, the how. The Book of the Covenant already makes a beginning in regulations about the altar, and the times and manner of sacrifice — “My sacrifice”; and the Book of Deuteronomy, “which still occupies the same standpoint as JE,” has abundance of prescriptions and regulations about sacrifices—described as “all that I command you.” How can it be claimed that Jeremiah, whose mind is steeped in Deuteronomy —if he had not, as some of these writers think, to do with its production—is ignorant of these commands, or means to deny them, in his impassioned protestations that it was not about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but about obedience, that God commanded their fathers, when He brought them out of Egypt?
3. The strong language of the prophets in denunciation of outward ritual, while the ethical side of religion was neglected, admits of easy explanation: the one explanation it will not bear, it is safe to say, is that which the critics put upon it. This for a twofold reason. Probably, first, not one of these prophets could form the conception of a religion for a nation which had not its temple, priesthood, sacrifices, and outward order of worship, or ever dreamt of the abolition of these things; and, second, so far from regarding sacrifice as not well-pleasing to Jehovah, when the right spirit was present, there is not one of the greater prophets who does not include sacrifice in his own picture of the restored and perfected theocracy. It is to be remembered that it is not sacrifice alone, but prayer, feast-days, Sabbaths, etc., that the prophets include in their denunciations; yet we know the importance they attached to prayer and the Sabbath in other parts of their writings. In many places and ways, also, we see incidentally their recognition of the divine sanction of these outward ordinances, which, in other connections, viz., when made a substitute for heart-piety and moral conduct, they condemn. It was in vision of the temple of Jehovah that Isaiah received his call, and by the touch of a live coal from the altar that his lips were purged. It is Jehovah’s courts— “My courts” —that were profaned by the people’s splendid but unholy worship; just as in Hosea it is “the sacrifices of Mine offerings” which the people turn into “sacrifices of flesh.” If the 40th Psalm is relegated, as on the critical theory it must be, to post-exilian times, we read in it also: “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire … burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required.” But who misunderstands these words?
4. Strange to say, all this, and a great deal more, is, in the end, admitted by the critics. Their argument means nothing, if it does not amount to a rejection by the prophets of a ritual worship of God absolutely. Yet we are told by Kuenen: “We must not assert that the prophets reject the cultus unconditionally. On the contrary, they too share the belief, for instance, that sacrifice is an essential element of true worship ( Isa. 56:7; Zech. 14:16–19; Mic. 4:1 ff.; Isa. 2:1 ff.; 18:7; 19:19 ff. , etc. etc.). The context always shows that what they really protest against is the idea that it is enough to take part in the cultus,” etc. Only, it is argued, they did not allow this cultus to be of Mosaic or divine origin. It is precisely on this point that the proof fails. The proof was supposed to be found in the fact that the prophets condemned the cultus; now it is owned that they did not condemn it as in any sense incompatible with the belief that it was a lawful and necessary part of the service of Jehovah. If, further, we ask — What kind of cultus was it which existed in the days of the prophets? we get a number of surprising admissions, to which it will be necessary that we return later. It was a cultus “of very old and sacred usage,” and highly elaborate in character. There were “splendid sacrifices … presumably offered in accordance with all the rules of priestly skill.” We have, in fact, only to analyse the passages in the prophets to see what a highly elaborate ritual system was already in operation in their day — as elaborate, practically, as in the Levitical Code itself. It is interesting to read what one of the ablest adherents of the Graf school — Rudolf Smend — had to say on this point at an earlier stage in his development. In his work Moses apud Prophetas, Smend discerns what he calls “Levitismus” peering out from the pages of the oldest prophets — Amos and Hosea. He says, even: “It is sufficiently evident that the cultus of Jehovah, as it existed in the time of the earlier prophets, and doubtless long before, is by no means at variance with the character of Leviticus. Whatever judgment may be formed of the age of this book, the opinion hitherto entertained of the birth, growth, and maturity of the religion of Israel will undergo no change.” In a valuable article contributed to the Studien und Kritiken in 1876, he reiterates these views, and concludes: “Accordingly, we do not know what objection can be made to the earlier composition of Leviticus on the ground of the older prophetical writings.” In such statements, supported by reasons which time has done nothing to refute, we are far enough away from the theory that nothing was known of a divine sanction of ritual ordinances till after the time of the exile.
To ourselves, as before said, it appears incredible that no ordinances for religious worship should have been given to the people by Moses, in settling the constitution of Israel. If such were given, they must, in the nature of the case, have included regulations about priesthood, sacrifice, purification, and much else. This does not prove the existence of the Levitical ritual Code; but such laws, if given, must have covered a large part of the ground of that Code. It does not prove even that the laws were written, but it is highly probable that they soon were. If these laws are not incorporated in our present Levitical Code, it is certain they are not to be found anywhere else. We shall be better able to judge on this point, when we have looked at some of the more special institutions of the national worship.
We proceed now, accordingly, to consider how it stands with such institutions as the ark, the tabernacle, the priesthood, and, in connection with these, with the unity of worship, made by Wellhausen, as we shall see, the turning-point of his whole discussion. Graf, with his thesis of the post-exilian origin of the Levitical Code, is the pioneer here, and we are not sure that the case for the new theory, as respects the above institutions, has been more plausibly presented anywhere than it is in his pages. It is not denied by the Graf school that there was an ark, a tent to cover it, and priests of some sort, from early times, but it is contended with decision that these were not, and could not have been, the ark, tabernacle, and priesthood of the Levitical Code. All we read on these subjects in the Priestly sections is “unhistorical fiction” of exilic or post-exilic origin. Rejecting hypotheses, our duty will be to turn the matter round about, and try to look at the facts historically. This will prepare the way for the later critical inquiry.
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 THIRD STAGEPIETY. But you saw more than this, did you not?
CHR. The things that I have told you were the best: yet some other I saw, as, namely, I saw three men, Simple, Sloth, and Presumption, lie asleep, a little out of the way, as I came, with irons upon their heels; but do you think I could awake them? I also saw Formality and Hypocrisy come tumbling over the wall, to go, as they pretended, to Zion; but they were quickly lost, even as I myself did tell them, but they would not believe. But, above all, I found it hard work to get up this hill, and as hard to come by the lions’ mouths; and, truly, if it had not been for the good man, the porter that stands at the gate, I do not know but that, after all, I might have gone back again; but I thank God I am here, and thank you for receiving me.
Then Prudence thought good to ask him a few questions, and desired his answer to them.
PRU. Do you not think sometimes of the country from whence you came?
CHR. Yea, but with much shame and detestation. Truly, if I had been mindful of that country from whence I came out, I might have had opportunity to have returned; but now I desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.
Heb. 11:15-16 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. ESV
PRU. Do you not yet bear away with you some of the things that then you were conversant withal?
CHR. Yes, but greatly against my will; especially my inward and carnal cogitations, with which all my countrymen, as well as myself, were delighted. But now all those things are my grief; and might I but choose mine own things, I would choose never to think of those things more: but when I would be a doing that which is best, that which is worst is with me.
Rom. 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. ESV
Rom. 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. ESV
PRU. Do you not find sometimes as if those things were vanquished, which at other times are your perplexity?
CHR. Yes, but that is but seldom; but they are to me golden hours in which such things happen to me.
PRU. Can you remember by what means you find your annoyances at times as if they were vanquished?
CHR. Yes: when I think what I saw at the cross, that will do it; and when I look upon my broidered coat, that will do it; and when I look into the roll that I carry in my bosom, that will do it; and when my thoughts wax warm about whither I am going, that will do it.
PRU. And what is it that makes you so desirous to go to Mount Zion?
CHR. Why, there I hope to see Him alive that did hang dead on the cross; and there I hope to be rid of all those things that to this day are in me an annoyance to me: there they say there is no death,
Isa. 25:8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken. ESV
and there I shall dwell with such company as I like best. For, to tell you the truth, I love Him because I was by Him eased of my burden; and I am weary of my inward sickness. I would fain be where I shall die no more, and with the company that shall continually cry, Holy, holy, holy.
Then said Charity to Christian, Have you a family; Are you a married man?
CHR. I have a wife and four small children.
CHAR. And why did you not bring them along with you?
CHR. Then Christian wept, and said, Oh, how willingly would I have done it! but they were all of them utterly averse to my going on pilgrimage.
CHAR. But you should have talked to them, and have endeavored to show them the danger of staying behind.
CHR. So I did; and told them also what God had shown to me of the destruction of our city; but I seemed to them as one that mocked, and they believed me not.
Gen. 19:14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. ESV
CHAR. And did you pray to God that he would bless your counsel to them?
CHR. Yes, and that with much affection; for you must think that my wife and poor children were very dear to me.
CHAR. But did you tell them of your own sorrow, and fear of destruction? for I suppose that destruction was visible enough to you.
CHR. Yes, over, and over, and over. They might also see my fears in my countenance, in my tears, and also in my trembling under the apprehension of the judgment that did hang over our heads; but all was not sufficient to prevail with them to come with me.
CHAR. But what could they say for themselves, why they came not?
CHR. Why, my wife was afraid of losing this world, and my children were given to the foolish delights of youth; so, what by one thing, and what by another, they left me to wander in this manner alone.
CHAR. But did you not, with your vain life, damp all that you, by words, used by way of persuasion to bring them away with you?
CHR. Indeed, I cannot commend my life, for I am conscious to myself of many failings therein. I know also, that a man, by his conversation, may soon overthrow what, by argument or persuasion, he doth labor to fasten upon others for their good. Yet this I can say, I was very wary of giving them occasion, by any unseemly action, to make them averse to going on pilgrimage. Yea, for this very thing, they would tell me I was too precise, and that I denied myself of things (for their sakes) in which they saw no evil. Nay, I think I may say, that if what they saw in me did hinder them, it was my great tenderness in sinning against God, or of doing any wrong to my neighbor.
CHAR. Indeed, Cain hated his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous,
1 John 3:12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. ESV
and if thy wife and children have been offended with thee for this, they thereby show themselves to be implacable to good; thou hast delivered thy soul from their blood.
Ezek. 3:19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. ESV
Now I saw in my dream, that thus they sat talking together until supper was ready. So when they had made ready, they sat down to meat. Now the table was furnished with fat things, and with wine that was well refined; and all their talk at the table was about the Lord of the hill; as, namely, about what he had done, and wherefore he did what he did, and why he had builded that house; and by what they said, I perceived that he had been a great warrior, and had fought with and slain him that had the power of death,
Heb. 2:14-15 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. ESV
but not without great danger to himself, which made me love him the more.
For, as they said, and as I believe, said Christian, he did it with the loss of much blood. But that which put the glory of grace into all he did, was, that he did it out of pure love to his country. And besides, there were some of them of the household that said they had been and spoke with him since he did die on the cross; and they have attested that they had it from his own lips, that he is such a lover of poor pilgrims, that the like is not to be found from the east to the west. They, moreover, gave an instance of what they affirmed; and that was, he had stripped himself of his glory that he might do this for the poor; and that they heard him say and affirm, that he would not dwell in the mountain of Zion alone. They said, moreover, that he had made many pilgrims princes, though by nature they were beggars born, and their original had been the dunghill.
1 Sam. 2:8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them he has set the world. ESV
Psa. 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap, ESV
“Where am I now? Is this the love and care
Of Jesus, for the men that pilgrims are,
Thus to provide that I should be forgiven,
And dwell already the next door to heaven!”
Then they read to him some of the worthy acts that some of his servants had done; as how they had subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Heb. 11:33-34 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. ESV
Then they read again another part of the records of the house, where it was shown how willing their Lord was to receive into his favor any, even any, though they in time past had offered great affronts to his person and proceedings. Here also were several other histories of many other famous things, of all which Christian had a view; as of things both ancient and modern, together with prophecies and predictions of things that have their certain accomplishment, both to the dread and amazement of enemies, and the comfort and solace of pilgrims.
The next day they took him, and had him into the armory, where they showed him all manner of furniture which their Lord had provided for pilgrims, as sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, all-prayer, and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of this to harness out as many men for the service of their Lord as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.
They also showed him some of the engines with which some of his servants had done wonderful things. They showed him Moses’ rod; the hammer and nail with which Jael slew Sisera; the pitchers, trumpets, and lamps too, with which Gideon put to flight the armies of Midian. Then they showed him the ox-goad wherewith Shamgar slew six hundred men. They showed him also the jawbone with which Samson did such mighty feats. They showed him moreover the sling and stone with which David slew Goliath of Gath; and the sword also with which their Lord will kill the man of sin, in the day that he shall rise up to the prey. They showed him besides many excellent things, with which Christian was much delighted. This done, they went to their rest again.
Then I saw in my dream, that on the morrow he got up to go forward, but they desired him to stay till the next day also; and then, said they, we will, if the day be clear, show you the Delectable Mountains; which, they said, would yet farther add to his comfort, because they were nearer the desired haven than the place where at present he was; so he consented and stayed. When the morning was up, they had him to the top of the house, and bid him look south. So he did, and behold, at a great distance, he saw a most pleasant mountainous country, beautified with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, flowers also, with springs and fountains, very delectable to behold.
Isa. 33:16 he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.
17 Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
they will see a land that stretches afar. ESV
Now he bethought himself of setting forward, and they were willing he should. But first, said they, let us go again into the armory. So they did; and when he came there, they harnessed him from head to foot with what was of proof, lest perhaps he should meet with assaults in the way. He being therefore thus accoutred, walked out with his friends to the gate; and there he asked the Porter if he saw any pilgrim pass by. Then the Porter answered, Yes.
CHR. Pray, did you know him? said he.
PORT. I asked his name, and he told me it was Faithful.
CHR. O, said Christian, I know him; he is my townsman, my near neighbor; he comes from the place where I was born. How far do you think he may be before?
PORT. He is got by this time below the hill.
CHR. Well, said Christian, good Porter, the Lord be with thee, and add to all thy plain blessings much increase for the kindness that thou hast showed me.
Pilgrim's Progress (Illustrated): Updated, Modern English. More than 100 Illustrations.
The Continual Burnt Offering
By H.A. Ironside - 1941
Deuteronomy 33:24 And of Asher he said,
“Most blessed of sons be Asher;
let him be the favorite of his brothers,
and let him dip his foot in oil. ESV
O Lord, whate’er my path may be,
If only I may walk with Thee
And talk with Thee along the way,
I’ll praise Thee for it ALL some day.
The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
1/30/2018 Bob Gass
‘Devote yourselves to prayer.’
(Col 4:2) Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. ESV
In 1964, Communist Simba rebels besieged the town of Bunia in Zaire. They arrested and executed many citizens. A pastor by the name of Zebedayo Idu was one of their victims. They sentenced him to death before a firing squad and placed him in jail for the night. The next morning he and a large number of prisoners were herded onto a truck and driven to a public place for execution. With no explanation, the official told the prisoners to ‘line up and number off – one, two, one, two, one, two’. The ‘ones’ were placed in front of the firing squad, and the ‘twos’ were taken back to the prison. Pastor Idu was among those who were spared. Back in their jail cells, the prisoners could hear the sound of gunfire. The pastor took advantage of the dramatic moment to share the story of Jesus and the hope of heaven. Eight of the prisoners gave their lives to Christ that day. About the time Pastor Idu finished sharing, an excited messenger came to the door with a release order. The pastor had been arrested by mistake and was free to leave. He said goodbye to the prisoners and hurried to his home next to the chapel. There he discovered a crowd of believers who were praying for his release. When they saw the answer to their prayers walk through the door, their prayer service turned into a praise service. The same God who heard the prayers of the New Testament church in Jerusalem and saved Peter from execution, heard prayers from Zaire and delivered their pastor (see Acts 12:5). And God is still listening, so keep praying!
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born this day, January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York. He was the thirty-second President of the United States, serving over 12 years, longer then any other President. He saw America through the Great Depression and World War II. In a 1935 radio broadcast, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared: “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic…. [W]here we have been the… most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.”
Thomas R. Kelly
How, then, shall we lay hold of that Life and Power, and live the life of prayer without ceasing? By quiet, persistent practice in turning of all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward Him who calls in the deeps of our souls. Mental habits of inward orientation must be established. An inner, secret turning to God can be made fairly steady, after weeks and months and years of practice and lapses and failures and returns. It is as simple an art as Brother Lawrence found it, but it may be long before we achieve any steadiness in the process. Begin now, as you read these words, as you sit in your chair, to offer your whole selves, utterly and in joyful abandon, in quiet, glad surrender to Him who is within. In secret ejaculations of praise, turn in humble wonder to the Light; faint though it may be. Keep contact with the outer world of sense and meanings. Here is no discipline in absent-mindedness. Walk and talk and work and laugh with your friends, but behind the scenes, keep up the life of simple prayer and inward worship. Keep it up throughout the day. Let inward prayer be your last act before you fall asleep and the first act when you awake. And in time you will find as did Brother Lawrence, that "those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep."
The first days and weeks and months are awkward and painful, but enormously rewarding. Awkward, because it takes constant vigilance and effort and reassertions of the will, at the first level. Painful, because our lapses are so frequent, the intervals when we forget Him so long. Rewarding, because we have begun to live. But these weeks and months and perhaps even years must be passed through before He gives us greater and easier stayedness upon Himself.
Lapses and forgettings are so frequent. Our surroundings grow so exciting. Our occupations are so exacting. But when you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breathe a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are. Offer this broken worship up to Him and say: "This is what I am except Thou aid me." Admit no discouragement, but ever return quietly to Him and wait in His Presence.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
… the greatest spiritual privileges
may be neutralized by the indulgence
of one illicit passion,
and the life that is lived in the face of the unclouded sun
may set at last in the night of despair.
--- J.B. Lightfoot
At the cross God wrapped his heart in flesh and blood
and let it be nailed to the cross for our redemption.
--- E. Stanley Jones
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.
--- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
To the extent that the blessing of peace is achieved by humankind, it will not be achieved because people have outraced each other in the building of armaments, nor because we have out-debated each other with words, nor because we have out-maneuvered each other in political action, but because more and more people in a silent place in their hearts are turned to those eternal truths upon which all right living is based. It is on the inner drama of this search that the unfoldment of the outer drama of history ultimately depends.
--- Dan Seeger
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
and don’t abandon your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart,
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you wake up, they will talk with you.
23 For the mitzvah is a lamp, Torah is light,
and reproofs that discipline are the way to life.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The dilemma of obedience
And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
--- 1 Samuel 3:15.
God seldom speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, ‘I wonder if that is God’s voice?’ Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?
Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, “Speak, Lord”; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it Luke 11:13, or was it 1 Thess. 5:23? As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.
Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spiritf to those who ask him!”
1 Thess. 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept soundf and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Shall I tell my ‘Eli’ what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences — I must shield ‘Eli’, the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli; he had to decide that for himself. God’s call to you may hurt your ‘Eli’; but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.
Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan: “Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”
My Utmost for His Highest
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
The wheel revolves
to bring round the hour
for this one to return to the darkness
and be born again on a chill
doorstep, and have the blood washed
from his eyes and his hands
made clean for the re-building
of the city. While for this one
it revolves to make the tanks
stronger the aeroplanes faster.
The scholar bends over
his book and the sage his navel
to enter the labyrinthine
mind and find at the centre the axis
on which it spins. But for the one
who is homeless
there is only the tree with the body
on it, eternally convulsed
by the shock of its contact
with the exposed nerve of love.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
Jacob encounters Jacob
There are two important lessons in the story of Jacob and Esau. I don’t have to take Jacob’s road to blessing. Instead, I can trust God and commit myself to do the right thing at all times. Truth, not lies, will serve me far better. God’s will still will be done, and I’ll be able to live in harmony with those around me. How great it is to shrug off all sense of pressure and to commit my way to God, confident that as I daily do His will, His good purposes will be performed.
Jacob at Bethel (Gen. 28:10–15). Afraid that his brother would kill him, Jacob fled to his mother’s relatives in Haran. On the way, alone and at night, he lay down in the dirt with only a stone for a pillow. How Jacob must have missed his family then. How alone and frightened he must have felt. But there God appeared to him, and confirmed the transmission of the covenant promises. And God added a personal word for Jacob: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.”
I have noticed many people are one way when they are around others and another when they are alone. I am too. What is with the need to be stimulated? Why do we have to watch something, hear something, do something? I fight the urge to always be moving, although I do enjoy pacing. Sometimes isn't it good to just try to be still?
Jacob had no choice; no cell phone, no ipad, not even a radio. In an unstimulated state we encounter ourselves and sometimes God. Is this why we try and do anything rather than being still?
The Teacher's Commentary
Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
--- 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Isn’t life full of opportunities for learning love? (The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10) Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. If people do not exercise their arms they develop no biceps muscles; if they do not exercise their souls, they acquire no muscle in the soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, vigorous expression of the whole, round Christian character—the Christlike nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.
Paul’s reason for singling out love as the supreme possession is this: it lasts. “Love,” urges Paul, “never fails.”
Some think the time may come when two of these three things will also pass away—faith into sight, hope into fruition. Paul does not say so. But what is certain is that love must last. God, the eternal God, is love. Covet therefore that everlasting gift, that one thing which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage that will be current in the universe when all the other coinages of the nations of the world will be useless and unhonored. You will give yourselves to many things—give yourselves to love. Let at least the first great object of our lives be to achieve the character—and it is the character of Christ—that is built around love.
How many of you will join me in reading this chapter once a week for the next three months? You might begin by reading it every day. Get these ingredients into your life. Then everything that you do is eternal. It is worth doing. It is worth giving time to.
It is the Son of Man before whom the nations of the world shall be gathered. It is in the presence of humanity that we shall be charged. And the spectacle itself, the mere sight of it, will silently judge each one. Be not deceived. The words that all of us shall one day hear sound not of theology but of life, not of churches and saints but of the hungry and the poor, not of creeds and doctrines but of shelter and clothing, not of Bibles and prayer books but of cups of cold water in the name of Christ. Everyone who loves is born of God.
--- Henry Drummond
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
During the 1970s, vast numbers of Christians were among those who perished violently in Uganda, the “Pearl of Africa.” But they weren’t the first. The decade of the 1870s, a full century before Idi Amin, also extracted the church’s blood.
Henry Stanley, Livingstone’s convert and biographer, was the first to reach Uganda. When he showed his Bible to King Mutesa, the chieftain told him the Muslims had also brought a book, the Koran. “How do we know which is better?” he asked. “I am like a man in darkness. All I ask is that I be taught how to see.”
Stanley published Mutesa’s words in London’s Daily Telegraph, adding, “Oh, that some pious, practical missionary would come. What a harvest ripe for the sickle.” His plea aroused such passion that the Church Missionary Society soon appointed a 27-year-old Scottish bachelor, Alexander Mackay, to lead a party of eight to Uganda. Mackay did not go blindly. “Is it likely that eight Englishmen should start for Central Africa and all be alive six months after?” he asked. “One of us at least will surely fall. When the news comes, do not be cast down, but send someone else immediately to take the vacant place.”
Mackay himself was injured in a wagon accident in Zanzibar. Two others defected. Another was murdered. Another contracted fever. The remaining three set out from Zanzibar to Uganda.
On January 30, 1877, they reached Mutesa’s court, but two of the three were soon killed, leaving C. T. Wilson to begin Sunday services alone. Mackay soon joined him, and the two labored for years before baptizing their first convert.
Just as their work was accelerating, Mutesa was succeeded by his son, a cruel teenager who promptly tortured a group of Mackay’s younger converts for refusing his demands. Mackay survived the tyrant’s threats only to die of malaria while translating the Gospel of John. He was 40.
But his efforts were not wasted. The church grew faster than it perished and became one of Africa’s strongest.
If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say.
--- John 15:19,20.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - January 30
“When thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, then thou shalt bestir thyself.”
--- 2 Samuel 5:24.
The members of Christ’s Church should be very prayerful, always seeking the unction of the Holy One to rest upon their hearts, that the kingdom of Christ may come, and that his “will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven;” but there are times when God seems especially to favour Zion, such seasons ought to be to them like “the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” We ought then to be doubly prayerful, doubly earnest, wrestling more at the throne than we have been wont to do. Action should then be prompt and vigorous. The tide is flowing—now let us pull manfully for the shore. O for Pentecostal outpourings and Pentecostal labours. Christian, in yourself there are times “when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees.” You have a peculiar power in prayer; the Spirit of God gives you joy and gladness; the Scripture is open to you; the promises are applied; you walk in the light of God’s countenance; you have peculiar freedom and liberty in devotion, and more closeness of communion with Christ than was your wont. Now, at such joyous periods when you hear the “sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees,” is the time to bestir yourself; now is the time to get rid of any evil habit, while God the Spirit helpeth your infirmities. Spread your sail; but remember what you sometimes sing—
“I can only spread the sail;
Thou! Thou! must breathe the auspicious gale.”
Only be sure you have the sail up. Do not miss the gale for want of preparation for it. Seek help of God, that you may be more earnest in duty when made more strong in faith; that you may be more constant in prayer when you have more liberty at the throne; that you may be more holy in your conversation whilst you live more closely with Christ.
Evening - January 30
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance.”
--- Ephesians 1:11.
When Jesus gave himself for us, he gave us all the rights and privileges which went with himself; so that now, although as eternal God, he has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal head of the covenant of grace, he has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of his obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in him, and on whose behalf he accomplished the divine will. See, he enters into glory, but not for himself alone, for it is written, “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered.” Heb. 6:20. Does he stand in the presence of God?—“He appears in the presence of God for us.” Heb. 9:24. Consider this, believer. You have no right to heaven in yourself: your right lies in Christ. If you are pardoned, it is through his blood; if you are justified, it is through his righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because he is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in him. Thus Jesus is magnified—for all is in him and by him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us—for it is obtained in him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved “in whom” we have obtained all. Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales, and his treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures which belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ’s sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss which God hath prepared for them that love him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ’s possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. “All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”
Morning and Evening
TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU
Lydia Baxter, 1809–1874
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)
“What’s in a name?” This was the probing question asked by Romeo in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Christians have long realized that the whispered name “Jesus” can bring comfort and cheer to someone suffering or bereaved, and it can bring joyful hope to the fearful or depressed heart.
The writer of this hymn text knew well the meaning of that special name “Jesus”. Although Lydia Baxter was a bed-ridden invalid much of her life, she remained continually cheerful and patient. “I have a very special armor,” she would tell her friends. “I have the name of Jesus. When the tempter tries to make me blue or despondent, I mention the name of Jesus, and he can’t get through to me anymore.”
“Take the Name of Jesus With You” was written by Mrs. Baxter on her sick bed just four years before her death in 1874 at the age of 65. Throughout her lifetime she was known as an avid student of the Bible who loved to discuss the significance of scriptural names with her friends. She would inform them that Samuel means “asked of God,” Hannah—“grace,” Sarah—“princess,” and Naomi—“pleasantness.” But the name that meant everything to Lydia Baxter was the name “Jesus.”
This hymn was used often during the Moody-Sankey evangelistic campaigns in the latter part of the 19th century. These words are still a comforting reminder of the peace and joy that result as we carry His precious Name throughout this life, and of the “joy of heav’n” that awaits us.
Take the name of Jesus with you, child of sorrow and of woe; it will joy and comfort give you—Take it, then, where’er you go.
Take the name of Jesus ever, as a shield from ev’ry snare; if temptations round you gather, breathe that holy name in prayer.
O the precious name of Jesus! How it thrills our souls with joy, when His loving arms receive us and His songs our tongues employ!
At the name of Jesus bowing, falling prostrate at His feet, King of kings in heav’n we’ll crown Him when our journey is complete.
Chorus: Precious name, O how sweet! Hope of earth and joy of heaven.
For Today: Proverbs 18:10; John 1:12; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9, 10.
Breathe the name of Jesus often as you go about your daily tasks, letting Him share each concern or blessing that comes your way. Carry this musical reminder with you for today and the days ahead ---
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