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1/8/2019     Yesterday     Tomorrow
     Genesis  25 - 26

Genesis 25

Abraham’s Death and His Descendants

Genesis 25 1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5 Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

7 These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. 8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9 Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, 10 the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with Sarah his wife. 11 After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.

12 These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 (These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.) 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen.

The Birth of Esau and Jacob

19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”

24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Esau Sells His Birthright

29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Genesis 26

God’s Promise to Isaac

Genesis 26 1 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 And the LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Isaac and Abimelech

6 So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7 When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. 8 When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. 9 So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’ ” 10 Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” 11 So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. 14 He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. 15 (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) 16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

17 So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. 22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” 25 So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

26 When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” 28 They said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.” 30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. 32 That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.” 33 He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.

34 When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, 35 and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.

ESV Study Bible

What I'm Reading

Stranger Things and Abortion: The Upside Down World of Forbidden Grief

By Kevin Burke 1/5/2018

     In the popular Netflix series Stranger Things we learn of a secret government program during the 1980’s in Hawkins, Indiana.

     Here in this government laboratory scientists perform human experiments to develop special mental powers, such as the ability to move objects with the mind and travel to different dimensions

     While some volunteered for the project, others were kidnapped and held as prisoners. Two of the subjects included a pregnant mother named Terry and her daughter.

     This child, known as Eleven (from the number tattooed on her wrist) was taken at birth and separated from her mother. Scientists told Terry that the baby had died.

     The mother suspected otherwise. As she came closer to the truth researchers used strong doses of shock treatment to silence her.

     An Upside Down Doorway to Hell | Using familiar themes found in science fiction and the Bible’s book of Genesis, Stranger Things tells a tale of how mankind’s pride opens the door to evil.

     Eleven (aka El) cultivated strong mental powers as she grew into early adolescence at the government laboratory. Through special experiments, she developed the ability to travel to other dimensions and move large objects with her mind.

     In one experiment, El travels into an altered reality. She wakes up on the other side of the world. There she encounters a Russian spy and gathers intelligence for the government.

Click here to go to source

Kevin Burke is a licensed social worker, Co-Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries and a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life. He is a graduate of The Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work. Kevin’s presentations address the effects of abortion on men, couples and families and effective post abortion ministry for Clergy and Counselors.

The Rachel’s Vineyard ™ support group and retreat models are now offered in 49 states. The international outreach of Rachel’s Vineyard is now in over 70 countries. The Retreat manual has been translated into 22 languages with other translations in progress. We offer over 1000 retreats annually worldwide.

Kevin is the co-author of Redeeming A Father’s Heart-Men Share Powerful Stories of Abortion Loss and Recovery and Sharing The Heart of Christ: Safe and Effective Post Abortion Ministry for Clergy and Counselors, co- authored with Theresa Burke and Fr Frank Pavone. He has contributed and authored articles on the trauma and recovery after abortion. Kevin has been a guest on EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy” and the “Gospel of Life” on Sky Angel Network.

He is a regular guest on national radio shows.

Kevin formerly served as the administrator of Mother’s Home, a crisis pregnancy residence that provides housing, computer job training and programs for women and their children. Kevin also worked as a clinical social work supervisor for Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia.

The Destiny of the Unsaved

By Nate Sala 8/18/2016

     The doctrine of eschatology as it pertains to the afterlife is a hotly contested issue. Christians vary in their particular interpretations of Scripture that split the issue into three camps: Universalism; annihilationism; and eternal punishment.

     Universalism holds to the notion that all will go to Heaven, although there are differing views on when, specifically, this will take place. Some hold to an immediate reconciliation while others require a previous “necessary period of purgation”. [J.R. Root, “Universalism.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library).] Annihilationism is the belief that the unregenerate will cease to exist after death. As with universalism, Christians perceive different applications for annihilationism. Some think that God grants immortality to believers only and lets the rest “sink into nothingness” while others think that evil itself is the thing that dissolves the soul at death. [R. Nicole, “Annihilationism.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library) ] Lastly, eternal punishment is the view that consistently holds to all passages of eschatological Scripture. The notion hinges on the usage of the Greek aion (“old age”) and aionion (“eternal”, “everlasting”) in the New Testament (ex. Matt 18:8; 25:46; 2 Thess 1:9) that speaks to the duration of punishment for sins. [L.L. Morris, “Eternal Punishment.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library) ]

     Christians also differ on where the unregenerate go after death. In the Old Testament, the notion of “sheol”, “an intermediate state in which souls are dealt with according to their lives on earth,” [W.A. Van Gemeron, “Sheol.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library)] was introduced. In the New Testament sheol was translated into “hades” and was emphasized to be an abode of punishment. While there is no principle difference between sheol and hades, Jesus established another word for a more nuanced concept of the sinner’s destination – “gehenna”. Taken from the Valley of Hinnom where the Israelites burned their children in worship to Molech, gehenna, “came to be used metaphorically for the hell of fire, the place of everlasting punishment for the wicked.” [V. Cruz, “Gehenna.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library) ] Therefore, the principle difference between all three terms hinges on the final judgment of God. While sheol and hades appear to be a temporary interim before judgment, as V. Cruz points out, gehenna is the final destination after judgment. [V. Cruz, “Gehenna.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Baker Reference Library) ]

     As mentioned earlier, the notion of eternal punishment is the most respectful of the range of eschatological passages and is, therefore, the correct view to hold on this issue. Dan 12:2 says that some of the dead will awaken to “everlasting contempt” while Heb 6:2 speaks of “eternal judgment”. Matt 25:46 clearly showcases the dichotomy of eternalities as those who are righteous go to “eternal life” while the unrighteous to “eternal punishment”. Jesus cannot be any clearer by employing the Greek “aionio” which means “eternal”, “everlasting”, and “forever”. There is no other meaning in view, especially in light of the clear parallel Christ draws between “punishment” and “life”.

     An annihilationist might argue that “punishment” is open to interpretation and that Christ is simply contrasting life to non-life in Matt 25:46. However, the key word in play (“eternal”) is tied to the parallel between both “punishment” and “life” requiring that both concepts last an equal duration. If an annihilationist wishes to get rid of eternal punishment and refer to it as the momentary ceasing of existence, then it stands to reason that Christ’s granting of the righteous individual’s “life” can only last momentarily as well.

(Mt 18:8) Matt 18:8 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. ESV

(Mt 25:46) And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ESV

(2 Th 1:9) 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, ESV

(Da 12:2) 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. ESV

(Heb 6:2) 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. ESV

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     English and Forensics Teacher. B.Sc., M.Ed. University of Nevada Las Vegas. Lives in Las Vegas with his wife, two sons, and dogs.

Six Traits That Shape Students in Our Society

By Tim Elmore 1/5/2017

     My children are both young adults, in their twenties. They have grown up in a world almost altogether different than the one I grew up in—fifty years ago. We were talking recently about the “norms” for their peers in society today. My conclusion? We are moving from the “information age” to the “intelligence age” where our appliances and devices may be smarter than we are.

     I wonder if we are ready for it.

     Noting how contemporary society was shaping our young in both positive and negative ways, anthropologist Margaret Mead began to travel to places like Samoa and New Guinea. She visited different cultures on a search: “I have tried to answer the question which sent me to Samoa: Are the disturbances which vex our adolescents due to the nature of adolescence itself or to the civilization? Under different conditions does adolescence present a different picture?

     Interestingly, Mead discovered one significant difference within developing nations.

     “With the exception of a few cases, adolescence represented no period of crisis or stress, but was instead an orderly developing of a set of slowly maturing interests and activities. The girls’ minds were perplexed by no conflicts, troubled by no philosophical queries, beset by no remote ambitions.”

Click here to go to source

     Per Amazon, Dr. Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders (www.GrowingLeaders.com), an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization created to develop emerging leaders. Since founding Growing Leaders, Elmore has spoken to more than 500,000 students, faculty, and staff on hundreds of campuses across the country, including the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, Duke University, Rutgers University, the University of South Carolina, and Louisiana State University. Elmore has also provided leadership training and resources for multiple athletic programs, including the University of Texas, the University of Miami, the University of Alabama, The Ohio State University, and the Kansas City Royals Baseball Club. In addition, a number of government offices in Washington, D.C. have utilized Dr. Elmore's curriculum and training.

Dr. Tim Elmore Books:

How To Know When God Is Talking To You

By Mike Mobley

     I think many people are searching for this answer whether they follow Jesus or not. If there’s a chance we can hear from God Himself on a question we have or something we are going through, don’t you think we would want to hear from Him? Or at least, know how to?

     I struggled with this thought for awhile before following Jesus and after I started to follow Him because I heard many different claims of people “hearing” from God and I had no idea what that meant because I thought I never heard from Him. Something must have been wrong with me, right?

     There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to hearing from God and I think that is part of the problem. With so many stories and experiences out there through books, videos, posts, etc. it’s hard to know if there is a way to really know if we are hearing from God.

     Here’s the good news.

     God is not a God of confusion. He is not a God who would want to confuse people by having them constantly question if they can hear Him or not. The simple fact that He sent His one and only Son to die for us proves the point that He is not a cruel God…and in fact, a loving God. Not only that, He has made it very clear on how we can hear from Him. It’s our choice whether or not we will believe Him with how He says He speaks.

(2 Ti 3:16–17) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ESV
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     Saved by Grace through Faith. In love with Jesus, His Glory, and obviously my beautiful wife Joelle, daughter Peyton, and son Matthew! Seeking Him in everything to glorify Him and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Online & Communications Minister at 121 Community Church.

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 5

Lead Me in Your Righteousness
5 To The Choirmaster: For The Flutes. A Psalm Of David.

8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.

ESV Study Bible

The Heart of Christian Husbanding

By David Mathis 9/29/2016

     Husbands in Sri Lanka may not have the same expression, but forty years of marriage have taught Ajith Fernando a similar lesson.

     Living in the impoverished and war-torn island-nation south of India also has taught Fernando that a husband doesn’t need money to make his wife happy. What she wants most isn’t something he can buy, but it is something that’s very costly to give: himself. She doesn’t want his shell, but his attention, his energy, his creativity and awareness and engagement — and especially when it’s most difficult.

     Americans have no corner on the market of marital happiness, and many husbands today would profit greatly to get themselves outside their cultural assumptions, patterns, and blind spots and hear from a veteran Christian husband born, raised, and husbanding in a society and environment very different from our own.

     Learn from the Sri Lankan | Ajith Fernando is an internationally known and loved Christian author and teacher, called “the Asian John Stott” by some. He was born in Sri Lanka, came to the United States for graduate studies, and returned to his native country, which was engulfed in conflict, and served for 35 years as the national director of Youth for Christ. Most of his career he has served in the perils, pains, and relentless frustrations of the Sri Lankan civil war that began in 1983 and lasted more than 25 years, until 2009.

     One thing, among many, Fernando has learned, while living simply in an impoverished and embattled land, is that “date night” doesn’t need to be expensive. Profitable time away with your wife from the rough and tumble of everyday life is not about having money in your pocket, but about having a heart to make your wife happy.

Click here to go to source

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor for desiringGod.org, pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and adjunct professor for Bethlehem College & Seminary. He is a husband, father of four, and author of Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines.

The Creche And The Gap

By George Weigel 12/20/2017

     For the past decade or so, I’ve been assembling a mid-sized Judean village of Fontanini crèche figures, including artisans, herders (with sheep), farmers (with chickens and an ahistorical turkey), vintners, blacksmiths, musicians, weavers, and a fisherman or two (one awake, another sleeping). Like the colossal Neapolitan crèche at the basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian in Rome, it’s a reminder that the Lord Jesus was born in the midst of humanity and its messy history: the history that the Child has come to set back on its truest course, which is toward God. The messiness of history is a caution against letting sentimentality take over Christmas; so are some challenging truths about Mary, Joseph, and their place in what theologians call the “economy of salvation.”

     Why challenging? Because Mary and Joseph were called both to form their son in the faith of Israel and to give up, even renounce, their human claims on him, so that he might be what God the Father intended and the world needed.

     When Luke tells us that Mary kept all that had happened to her and to her boy “in her heart” (Luke 2:52), we may imagine that she was pondering what the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar once described as a great detachment: At his birth, Jesus “detached himself from her in order to tread his way back to the Father through the world.” Some will welcome the message he will preach along that messianic pilgrimage; others will be resistant. And that resistance (in which the Evil One will play no small part) will eventually lead to Calvary, where the sword of sorrow promised by ancient Simeon in Luke 2:35 will pierce Mary’s soul. Then, in the tableau at the foot of the Cross, as captured by Michelangelo in the Pietà, Mary will offer the silent affirmation of God’s will to which she once gave vocal assent at the Annunciation: “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

     The last recorded words of Mary in the New Testament—“Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5)—underscore that the role of Mary, who receives the Incarnate Word of God at the Annunciation and gives birth to him in the Nativity, is always to give her Son away: to point beyond herself to him, and to call others to obedience to him. Thus what Balthasar described as a “detachment” applies to Mary as well as to Jesus: Mary detaches herself from whatever her own life-plans might be, and from whatever her maternal instincts to keep her Son close might be, in order to fulfill the vocation planned for her from the beginning—to be the model of all Christian discipleship, which is the abandonment of my will to God’s will for my life.

     Then there is Joseph, another model of self-gift and self-renunciation. Hans Urs von Balthasar again:

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

George Weigel Books:

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     3. Ancient writers sometimes manifest a superstitious dread of making a simple confession of the truth in this matter, from a fear of furnishing impiety with a handle for speaking irreverently of the works of God. While I embrace such soberness with all my heart, I cannot see the least danger in simply holding what Scripture delivers. when Augustine was not always free from this superstition, as when he says, that blinding and hardening have respect not to the operation of God, but to prescience (Lib. de Predestina. et Gratia). But this subtilty is repudiated by many passages of Scriptures which clearly show that the divine interference amounts to something more than prescience. And Augustine himself, in his book against Julian, [173] contends at length that sins are manifestations not merely of divine permission or patience, but also of divine power, that thus former sins may be punished. In like manner, what is said of permission is too weak to stand. God is very often said to blind and harden the reprobate, to turn their hearts, to incline and impel them, as I have elsewhere fully explained (Book 1 c. 18). The extent of this agency can never be explained by having recourse to prescience or permission. We, therefore, hold that there are two methods in which God may so act. When his light is taken away, nothing remains but blindness and darkness: when his Spirit is taken away, our hearts become hard as stones: when his guidance is withdrawn, we immediately turn from the right path: and hence he is properly said to incline, harden, and blind those whom he deprives of the faculty of seeing, obeying, and rightly executing. The second method, which comes much nearer to the exact meaning of the words, is when executing his judgments by Satan as the minister of his anger, God both directs men's counsels, and excites their wills, and regulates their efforts as he pleases. Thus when Moses relates that Simon, king of the Amorites, did not give the Israelites a passage, because the Lord "had hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate," he immediately adds the purpose which God had in view--viz. that he might deliver him into their hand (Deut. 2:30). As God had resolved to destroy him, the hardening of his heart was the divine preparation for his ruin.

4. In accordance with the former methods it seems to be said, [174] "The law shall perish from the priests and counsel from the ancients." "He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way." Again "O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?" These passages rather indicate what men become when God deserts them, than what the nature of his agency is when he works in them. But there are other passages which go farther, such as those concerning the hardening of Pharaoh: "I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." The same thing is afterwards repeated in stronger terms. Did he harden his heart by not softening it? This is, indeed, true; but he did something more: he gave it in charge to Satan to confirm him in his obstinacy. Hence he had previously said, "I am sure he will not let you go." The people come out of Egypt, and the inhabitants of a hostile region come forth against them. How were they instigated? Moses certainly declares of Sihon, that it was the Lord who "had hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate," (Deut. 2:30). The Psalmists relating the same history says, "He turned their hearts to hate his people," (Psalm 105:25). You cannot now say that they stumbled merely because they were deprived of divine counsel. For if they are hardened and turned, they are purposely bent to the very end in view. Moreover, whenever God saw it meet to punish the people for their transgression, in what way did he accomplish his purpose by the reprobate? In such a way as shows that the efficacy of the action was in him, and that they were only ministers. At one time he declares, "that he will lift an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth;" at another, that he will take a net to ensnare them; and at another, that he will be like a hammer to strike them. But he specially declared that he was not inactive among theme when he called Sennacherib an axe, which was formed and destined to be wielded by his own hand. [175] Augustine is not far from the mark when he states the matter thus, That men sin, is attributable to themselves: that in sinning they produce this or that result, is owing to the mighty power of God, who divides the darkness as he pleases (August. de Prædest. Sanct).

5. Moreover, that the ministry of Satan is employed to instigate the reprobate, whenever the Lord, in the course of his providence, has any purpose to accomplish in them, will sufficiently appear from a single passage. It is repeatedly said in the First Book of Samuel, that an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, and troubled him (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10; 19:9). It were impious to apply this to the Holy Spirit. An impure spirit must therefore be called a spirit from the Lord, because completely subservient to his purpose, being more an instrument in acting than a proper agent. We should also add what Paul says, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth," (2 Thess. 2:11, 12). But in the same transaction there is always a wide difference between what the Lord does, and what Satan and the ungodly design to do. The wicked instruments which he has under his hand and can turn as he pleases, he makes subservient to his own justice. They, as they are wicked, give effect to the iniquity conceived in their wicked minds. Every thing necessary to vindicate the majesty of God from calumny, and cut off any subterfuge on the part of the ungodly, has already been expounded in the Chapters on Providence (Book 1 Chapter 16-18). Here I only meant to show, in a few words, how Satan reigns in the reprobate, and how God works in both.

     Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain

     Institutes of the Christian Religion

  • Laughter In Spirituality
  • Psychological Wellness
  • Health Disparities

#1 Anita Houck   Biola University


#2 Nancy McWilliams   Biola University


#3 Calvin B. Johnson   Biola University


     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

     January 8, 2016

     I remember sitting with a young pastor a few years ago who asked me about my prayer life. I told him I always started with the Lord’s Prayer and sometimes that is all I say, over and over. He suggested I was spiritually lazy. I asked him if he felt he needed to always come up with his own prayers and if so, did he ever consider this might be a spirit of pride. Pride is a harsh word to pastors and he abruptly ended the session. I probably would not have seen him again except he had to meet with me five times to fulfill his semester requirements.

     Jesus told us to pray this prayer. Look it up. He told us to pray it often. It covers all the bases. My best prayer attempt falls far short of this prayer. After praying it I pray for my bride, my family, friends, people who come to mind, and sometimes other things, but the Lord’s Prayer is where I always start. Read the Lord’s Prayer and let it seep into your spirit. Does it not cover what you so long to express?

     Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit will not be denied to those who ask (Luke 11:13). One of the characteristic signs of the Spirit’s work is precisely that sense of the intimate presence of God.

     So here it is 2017 and I still pray the Lord's prayer, even more then before. I like to dwell on sections in a lectio devina style. I have made revisions. In the Greek there is a redundancy (two different Greek words) at "Give us this day, our daily bread." I now say, "Give us this day our daily bread; the Paschal Lamb, heavenly manna, the Bread of Presence, the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ... "

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Though the War of 1812 had ended two weeks earlier, news had not yet reach New Orleans and on this day, January 8, 1815, five thousand British soldiers charged in a frontal assault against General Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee and Kentucky sharpshooters. French pirate Jean Lafitte and his men aided the Americans. In just a half-hour, over two thousand British were killed and only 8 Americans. General Jackson wrote: “It appears that the unerring hand of Providence shielded my men from the shower of balls, bombs, and rockets, when every ball and bomb from our guns carried with them a mission of death.”

American Minute

A Testament Of Devotion
     Thomas R. Kelly

     At Wilmington College Thomas Kelly was incidentally absorbed in work to contribute to his own support and in activities that helped to feed the religious hunger in his life, but centrally he was seized there by a major loyalty. It was a loyalty to the physical sciences and especially to chemistry. If one was to know the whole of life, here was a science that had a precise method, that dared to accept what that method turned up in spite of its rejection of previous opinion, and whose magnificent achievements won by the fearless use of such a method were evidence of its greatness. As the laboratory assistant, he virtually lived in the chemistry laboratory in his senior year 1912-13 at Wilmington College. He came on to Haverford College for a year of further study, as was often done by graduates of the Western Quaker Colleges, and entered the senior class in 1913 continuing to do his major work in chemistry. At Haverford he came under the spell of Rufus Jones. In his classroom he sensed the lure of philosophy and of a search for truth in which his religious hunger and his passion for science might both be given their due. It was a glimpse ahead, but not yet realized for himself.

     The avid hunger for life in this eager, intense, impetuous Quaker boy flared out on the first day of his arrival at Haverford from Ohio. Rufus Jones recalls his visit on that day, “When he was at Haverford as a student twenty-eight years ago, he came to my house deeply moved by his first day’s stirring events. He sat down in front of me, his face lighted up with radiance and he said suddenly, “I am just going to make my life a miracle.”

     The attachment to the sciences went on as he taught some science at Pickering College, a Quaker preparatory school in Canada during the two years from 1914-16 which he spent there. But hunger for life, the adequate life, made him open to the fascination of the kind of absolute commitment that was associated in the religious mind of that period with volunteering for service as a missionary. Canadian Friends had taken a particular interest in the Quaker Mission in Japan and Thomas Kelly decided to give himself to religious work in the Far East and entered Hartford Theological Seminary in the autumn of 1916 to prepare for it.

A Testament of Devotion
Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

That the Divine Being should…
be known, not as a distant Providence…
but as God present in the flesh…
amid the deep sorrows…
protracted during centuries…
carried peace into the bosom of humanity.
--- George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy under President James Polk

Cast all your cares on God;
that anchor holds.
--- Alfred Lord Tennyson

The liturgy, like the feast, exists not to educate but to seduce people into participating in common activity of the highest order, where one is freed to learn things which cannot be taught.
--- Aidan Kavanaugh

…the more strictly and faithfully every man and woman lives up to the guidance and teaching of this Inward Anointing – and never turns aside to the right hand or left for the precepts and traditions of men – the more instruction and help they afford one another.
--- Elias Hicks

... from here, there and everywhere

Proverbs 2:16-22
     by D.H. Stern

16     They will save you from a woman who is a stranger,
from a loose woman with smooth talk,
17     who abandons the ruler she had in her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God.
18     Her house is sinking toward death,
her paths lead to the dead.
19     None who go to her return;
they never regain the path to life.
20     Thus you will walk on the way of good people
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21     For the upright will live in the land,
the pure-hearted will remain there;
22     but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
the unfaithful rooted out of it.

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

                Does my sacrifice live?

     And Abraham built an altar … and bound Isaac his son. ---
Genesis 22:9.

     This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives. Not ‘I am willing to go to death with Thee,’ but, ‘I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God.’ We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, viz., life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice our lives to Him.

      It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a “living sacrifice,” to let Him have all your powers that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus. This is the thing that is acceptable to God.

My Utmost for His Highest
Plas Difancoll
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                Plas Difancoll

  Trees, of course, silent attendants,
  though no more silent than footmen
  at the great table, ministering shadows
  waiting only to be ignored.

  Leaves of glass, full of the year's
  wine, broken repeatedly and
  as repeatedly replaced.
  A garden ventilated by cool

  fountains. Two huge lions
  of stone, rampant at the drive
  gates, intimidating no-one
  but those lately arrived

  and wondering whether they are too early.
  Between hillsides the large house,
  classical and out of place
  in the landscape, as Welsh as

  it is unpronounceable. He
  and she, magnificent both, not least
  in the confidence of their ignorance
  of the insubordination of the future.

  Down to two servants now and those
  grown cheeky; unvisited any more

  by the county. The rust of autumn
  outside on the landscape
          and inside in the joints

  of these hangers-on. Time running out
  for them here in the broken hour-glass

  that they live in with its cracked
  windows mirroring a consumptive moon.

  The fish starve in their waters or
  are pilfered from them by
the unpunished trespassers

  from far away. The place leans on itself,
  sags. There is a conspiracy of the ivy

  to bring it down, with no prayers
  going up from the meeting-house
          for its salvation.

  The owls' home and the starlings',
  with moss bandaging its deep wounds
  to no purpose, for the wind festers in
  them and the light diagnoses
  impartially the hopelessness
  of its condition. Colonialism
  is a lost cause. Yet the Welsh
  are here, picknicking among the ruins
  on their Corona and potato
  crisps, speaking their language without pride,
  but with no backward look over their shoulder.

The Poems of R.S. Thomas

Take Heart
     January 8

     Give thanks in all circumstances. --- 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

     Consider the value of thankfulness. (Sermons and Addresses)

     It quells brooding. We are all prone, in certain moods, to complain of our lot. Everyone has at some time or other imagined that he or she has a particularly hard time in this world. It is to be hoped that in other moods we are ashamed of ourselves for such brooding. But how to prevent its recurrence? A valuable help will be the habit of thankfulness to God. Then if a brooding spirit arises, in the middle of some complaining sentence we will suddenly express thankfulness and perhaps laugh at ourselves for the folly of such brooding.

     Thankfulness soothes distress. Those who are greatly afflicted—and not accustomed to be thankful—sometimes find the memory of past joys only an aggravation of present sorrow. It is otherwise with those who have learned to be habitually thankful. For these, the recollection of happier hours is still a comfort.

     Thankfulness helps to allay anxiety. Notice what the apostle says to the Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God… will guard your hearts and your minds” (Phil. 4:6–7). Notice that we are to prevent anxiety by prayer as to the future with thanksgiving for the past.

     Thankfulness cannot fail to deepen penitence. “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (Rom. 2:4). When we are in the habit of thankfully recalling the kindnesses and mercies of our heavenly Father, we perceive more clearly and lament more earnestly the evil of sin against him, and what is more, this will strengthen us to turn from our sins to his blessed service.

     Thankfulness brightens hope. “I love to think on mercies past, And future good implore.” If we have been accustomed to set up milestones of God’s mercy on the path of life, then every glance backward will help us to look forward with more of humble hope.

     Thankfulness strengthens for endurance and exertion. We all know how much more easily and effectively those work who work cheerfully, and the very nutriment of cheerfulness is found in thankfulness as to the past and hope as to the future.
--- John A. Broadus

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

On This Day   January 8
     Tough As Nails

     Women are tough as nails when it comes to working for Christ, as George Fox realized when he began the Quaker movement in the 1600s. From the beginning, he welcomed women preachers. His first convert was a well-to-do, middle-aged mother named Elizabeth Hooton from Nottingham, England. She soon became the Quakers’ first woman preacher. Her new beliefs landed her in jail, and she was sent to a grim succession of English prisons before being released at age 60. She booked passage to Boston, but when authorities there wouldn’t admit her, she sailed to Virginia and started for New England by foot.

     She was stepping from pan to fire.

     Governor John Endicott demanded the reason for her coming to America. She answered, “To do the will of Him that sent me.” She found herself behind bars again, and over the next several years she was in and out of Boston, and in and out of jail. Even worse, her grandmotherly age didn’t keep her from the whipping post. At Cambridge, she was given ten stripes with a three-stringed whip, knotted at the ends. At Watertown, she was whipped again. At Dedham, she again felt the lash.

     She remained undaunted, and when nearly 70, she said, “The love I bear to the souls of men makes me willing to undergo whatsoever can be inflicted to me.” At length she returned to England and wrote King Charles II saying: Oh that thou would give up thy kingdom to ye Lord, God of heaven and earth, whose it is, and thy strength and power to Jesus Christ, who is King of kings, and then thou wilt be more honorable than ever thou wast.

     The message was not well-received, and in 1671 she boarded ship for the West Indies to do missionary work and to escape further abuse. The ship reached the islands the first week of 1672, but Elizabeth Hooton, the Quakers’ first convert and first woman preacher, had fallen ill. She died on January 8 and was buried in the Jamaican sands like a soldier falling in the line of duty.

     Three times the Romans beat me with a big stick, and once my enemies stoned me. I have been shipwrecked three times, and I even had to spend a night and a day in the sea. During my many travels, I have been in danger from rivers, robbers, my own people, and foreigners. My life has been in danger in cities, in deserts, at sea, and with people who only pretended to be the Lord’s followers.
2 Corinthians 11:24-26.

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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - January 8

     “The iniquity of the holy things.” --- Exodus 28:38.

     What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!

          Evening - January 8

     “Thy love is better than wine.” --- Song of Solomon 1:2.

     Nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. He has enjoyment as others have in the common mercies of life, he can be glad both in God’s gifts and God’s works; but in all these separately, yea, and in all of them added together, he doth not find such substantial delight as in the matchless person of his Lord Jesus. He has wine which no vineyard on earth ever yielded; he has bread which all the corn-fields of Egypt could never bring forth. Where can such sweetness be found as we have tasted in communion with our Beloved? In our esteem, the joys of earth are little better than husks for swine compared with Jesus, the heavenly manna. We would rather have one mouthful of Christ’s love, and a sip of his fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights. What is the chaff to the wheat? What is the sparkling paste to the true diamond? What is a dream to the glorious reality? What is time’s mirth, in its best trim, compared to our Lord Jesus in his most despised estate? If you know anything of the inner life, you will confess that our highest, purest, and most enduring joys must be the fruit of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. No spring yields such sweet water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier’s spear. All earthly bliss is of the earth earthy, but the comforts of Christ’s presence are like himself, heavenly. We can review our communion with Jesus, and find no regrets of emptiness therein; there are no dregs in this wine, no dead flies in this ointment. The joy of the Lord is solid and enduring. Vanity hath not looked upon it, but discretion and prudence testify that it abideth the test of years, and is in time and in eternity worthy to be called “the only true delight.” For nourishment, consolation, exhilaration, and refreshment, no wine can rival the love of Jesus. Let us drink to the full this Evening.

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     January 8


     William W. Walford, 1772–1850

     And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

     No one is poor who can by prayer open the storehouse of God. --- Louis Paul Lehman

     Through the ages, devout believers in Christ have recognized the necessity of maintaining an intimate relationship with God through His ordained channel of prayer. It has often been said that prayer is as basic to spiritual life as breathing is to our natural lives. It is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble; prayer is a way of life.

     Nevertheless, we need to set aside a special time for prayer. We need that daily “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” This song is thought to have been written in 1842 by William Walford, an obscure and blind lay preacher who was the owner of a small trinket shop in the little village of Coleshill, England.

     The first two stanzas of today’s hymn remind us of the blessings of prayer—relief for our troubled lives and the assurance of a God who is concerned about our every need. The final stanza anticipates the day when we will no longer need to pray, for we’ll be at home in heaven with our Lord.

     There is also an interesting reference in this verse to a Mount Pisgah—the place where God instructed Moses in Deuteronomy 3:27 to go and merely view the promised land since, because of disobedience, he would never be permitted to enter it.

     Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, that calls me from a world of care and bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known! In seasons of distress and grief my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
     Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, thy wings shall my petition bear to Him whose truth and faithfulness engage the waiting soul to bless; and since He bids me seek His face, believe His Word and trust His grace, I’ll cast on Him my ev’ry care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.
     Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, may I thy consolation share, till from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height I view my home and take my flight: This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise to seize the everlasting prize, and shout, while passing thru the air, “Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer.”
     Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, that calls me from a world of care and bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known! In seasons of distress and grief my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
     Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, thy wings shall my petition bear to Him whose truth and faithfulness engage the waiting soul to bless; and since He bids me seek His face, believe His Word and trust His grace, I’ll cast on Him my ev’ry care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.
     Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, may I thy consolation share, till from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height I view my home and take my flight: This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise to seize the everlasting prize, and shout, while passing thru the air, “Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer.”

     For Today: Matthew 6:5, 6; 7:11; 18:19; 21:22; Luke 18:1–8.

     Earnestly purpose to spend additional time throughout this new year in prayer and communion with God. Allow this musical message to help you in the ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

We are the Kingdom of God
     Curtiss Deyoung | Biola University



Origins of Evil
     Clay Jones | Biola University

Pt 1

Pt 2

Genesis 25 - 26
     Brett Meador | Athey Creek

Genesis 25
m2-016 | 2-26-2014

A Tale Of 5 Wells Genesis 26:11-33
s2-019 | 3-02-2014

Genesis 26-27
m2-017 | 3-05-2014

     ==============================      ==============================

Genesis 25 - 26

Principles Concerning Budgeting & Debt
Rick Bee | Biola University

Using Your Money in a Godly Way
Rick Bee | Biola University

Investing & Ethics
Guy Baker | Biola University

Giving & Stewardship
Rick Bee | Biola University

Application: Share the Wealth
David Keehn | Biola University

How to Construct a Bible Study
David Keehn | Biola University

Community of Grace
Steven Morrow | Biola University

The Dwelling
Miller, Pickett | Biola University

Bible Fluency
Ken Berding | Biola University

Story Arc & Transformation, Psalm 51
Chad Miller | Biola University

Beauty in the Messiness of Life
Barry H. Corey | Biola University