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The Silent Servant

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The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life Excerpt Whereas God had possibly created trees with the appearance of age (1:12), the trees in the garden were others that had grown later (2:9). Among those trees in the garden was one that produced life (the tree of life) and another that produced knowledge (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), or at least eating them did. This “knowledge” was experiential. “Good and evil,” a merism for the things that protect life and that destroy life, would be experienced if the forbidden fruit were eaten (v. 17). The potential for catastrophe was great if they in self-confident pride (hubris) overstepped their bounds and attempted to manipulate life. The tree of life, on the other hand, was apparently a means of preserving and promoting life for Adam and Eve in their blissful state. These trees were in the middle of the garden, apparently close to each other; they provided the basis for the testing to come. More Ross, Allen P. “Genesis.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An…

Tongue as Word of Evil

Tongue as Word of EvilJames 3:6 Excerpt The tongue is “the world of evil.” In the ancient way of thinking, this is not a difficult phrase. The body was the microcosm of the universe. In all its complexity, the human being was a small, self-contained universe, thus the term “microcosmos.” There is a double sense of microcosm here: not only the body in relation to the universe of nature but also the tongue in relation to the universe of wickedness.19 Thus, contained within the tongue or speech are all the representations of wickedness in the world. Is a representation of evil, in words that are the same as the evil itself? Obviously not, but the power of verbal representation is not slight; this James knew full well. Words have the power to elicit action; indeed, the activity of speech itself interprets every other human action. There is no evil act that the tongue cannot tell, let alone initiate. More Richardson, Kurt A. James. Vol. 36. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997. P…

The Righteousness of God

The Righteousness of GodExcerpt Paul said God’s righteousness is (being) revealed (ἀποκαλύπτεται, present tense). Here he says, God’s righteousness has been manifested (πεφανέρωται, perfect tense). There is little difference. The present tense emphasizes the continuation of the process in the proclamation of the Gospel, the perfect the fact that the process has a beginning. It will shortly appear that this beginning is to be found in the death of Jesus. This manifestation of righteousness takes place apart from the law; not because the righteousness of God could not be manifested through the law, but because the righteousness which, when manifested through the law, could only lead to wrath, since the law was abused (cf. 4:15), has now been manifested in a different way so as to lead to justification. It is because the law has been defined out of the manifestation and faith (v.22) defined in, that in this paragraph (contrast 1:18) we hear nothing of wrath. More Barrett, C. K. The Epistle …

Connect the Testaments

June 27: The Truth about Truth Nehemiah 12:1–13:31; 2 John 1–6; Psalm 115:1–18 John the Evangelist’s letter to the “elect lady” presents a picture of joy and hope, as he “rejoiced greatly to find some of [her] children walking in truth, just as we were commanded by the father” (2 John 4). One word keeps reappearing in John’s letter, focusing his message: truth. John says that he loves the elect lady and her children “in truth” (2 John 1). He says that all who know the truth also love them. His reason is simple: “the truth … resides in us and will be with us forever” (2 John 2). When John speaks of truth, he’s referring to Jesus (John 14:6). After his initial greeting, John goes on to express his wishes: May “Grace, mercy, [and] peace … be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father in truth and love” (2 John 3). In acknowledging the source of truth, John acknowledges his connection to it. All believers live in truth because they are linked to God, who is the T…

Morning and Evening

Morning, June 27Go To Evening Reading
“Only ye shall not go very far away.” —Exodus 8:28
This is a crafty word from the lip of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor bondaged Israelites must needs go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies. After the same fashion, the world loves not the non-conformity of nonconformity, or the dissidence of dissent; it would have us be more charitable and not carry matters with too severe a hand. Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even condemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is no…

My Utmost for His Highest

June 27th The overshadowing personal deliverance I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.Jeremiah 1:8. God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally—“Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey.” That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are a matter of indifference, we have to sit loosely to all these things; if we do not, there will be panic and heartbreak and distress. That is the inwardness of the overshadowing of personal deliverance. The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on Jesus Christ’s errands, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, ‘Do not be bothered with whether you are being justly dealt with or not.’ To look for justice is a sign of deflection from devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will begin to grouse and to indulge in the discontent of self-pity—‘Why should I…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

June 27 Be perfect, be of good comfort 2 Cor. 13:11 A glance at the words is enough to make us feel how contradictory they are. Be perfect—that is a word that strikes us with despair; at once we feel how far away we are from our own poor idea and alas! how much further from God’s ideal concerning us. Be of good comfort—ah, that is very different! That seems to say, “Do not fret; do not fear. If you are not what you would be, you must be thankful for what you are.” Now the question is this—How can these two be reconciled? It is only the religion of Jesus Christ that reconciles them. He stands in our midst, and with the right hand of His righteousness He pointeth us upward, and saith, “Be perfect.” There is no resting-place short of that. Yet with the left hand of His love, He doth encompass us, as He saith, “Soul, be of good comfort; for that is what I came to do for thee.” Mark Guy Pearse

 Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Ele…