Friday, April 29, 2016

Gecko Sunning Itself

Gecko Sunning Itself



‎The Mediterranean House Gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, also called the Turkish Gecko, is a nocturnal lizard inhabiting the Mediterranean Basin and surrounding areas. Rarely growing longer than six inches (15 cm), they have large, lidless eyes with elliptical pupils. The skin of the head and upper body exhibits dark spots over a yellow or tan base, and the tail usually features dark stripes. Geckos emit a high-pitched call that sounds like a bird chirping. Though dietarily unclean in the Mosaic Law, they have adapted well to living around humans.
Lev 11:30, Prov 30:28
‎Image by user ZooFari, from Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0


A Silver Shekel

A Silver Shekel


‎Rome operated a mint in Tyre that produced silver shekels of high purity (94 percent silver or more). These and half-shekels were the only coins accepted by the temple in Jerusalem. The high priests paid Judas with silver shekels like this one to betray Christ (Matt 26:15). This was also the coin Jesus told Peter to find in the fish’s mouth (Matt 17:27).



Jacob Meets Rachel

Jacob Meets Rachel



‎So Jacob came to Haran; and he paused, even as Eliezer had paused by a well outside the city. But this was a well farther away among the fields, where shepherds watered their flocks. He inquired for his mother’s people; and the shepherds pointed to where Rachel was coming with her flock to the well. Jacob with his usual craft hurried the shepherds away so that he remained alone, to help Rachel water her sheep and then tell her who he was. She welcomed him gladly with a kiss and ran to tell her father.
‎This father was Laban, the brother of Rebekah, who had given the latter to be Isaac’s wife. Laban was a man of Jacob’s own type, well-meaning perhaps at heart, and bold where needed, but full of guile and trickery. The two men were not ill-matched. At first, Laban had all the advantage of their intercourse; for Jacob was after all but an ignorant country lad, and besides he had fallen at first sight deeply in love with Rachel. The purest, noblest, strongest sentiment of his life had come to him there by the well when he had kissed his cousin. For her sake, he forgot his own home and prospects and remained in Haran.

Old City View from Mt of Olives

Old City View from Mt of Olives



Tomb of Lazarus

Tomb of Lazarus



‎Tradition locates the site of this celebrated event in the sepulchre to which we here see the opening. It is, of course, nothing but a tradition. The tomb is partly cut out of the rock and partly lined with masonry. It is sacred both to Christians and Moslems alike, and the strong probability is that the tomb is not very far away. There is something very impressive in the thought that it was here, within the sound of our voices, that Lazarus and Mary and Martha lived; the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair. When Lazarus was taken sick his sister sent to Jesus with the simple message: “Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” It was four days after the burial of Lazarus before Jesus reached Bethany, and it was at the grave that He groaned in Himself and commanded the men standing by to take away the stone which closed the sepulchre. And when they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid, Jesus lifted up His eyes and offered that memorable prayer: “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent me. And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go.”


Adoption


Adoption

Romans 8:15

Excerpt


Among the Greeks and Romans, when a man had no son, he was permitted to adopt one even though not related. He might, if he chose, adopt one of his slaves as a son. The adopted son took the name of the father and was in every respect regarded and treated as a son. Among the Romans, there were two parts to the act of adoption: one a private arrangement between the parties, and the other a formal public declaration of the fact. It is thought by some that the former is referred to in this verse, and the latter in verse 23, where the apostle speaks of “waiting for the adoption.” The servant has been adopted privately, but he is waiting for a formal public declaration of the fact.

‎After adoption, the son, no longer a slave, had the privilege of addressing his former master by the title of “father.”


Freeman, James M., and Harold J. Chadwick. Manners & Customs of the Bible. North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998. Print.

Tents


Tents

Song of Solomon 1:5

Excerpt


‎Tents were among the early habitations of man, though not the earliest since they apparently were not introduced until the time of Jabal, who was in the seventh generation from Adam (see Genesis 4:20). The first tents were doubtless made of skins, though afterward when the process of weaving became known, they were made of cloth of camel’s hair, or goat’s hair, spun by women. The latter is the material most commonly used by the Arabs, and since the goats were usually black, or a very dark brown, the tents had the same appearance. It was thus in the days of Solomon with the tents made the descendants of the Ishmaelitish Kedar. “Kedar,” which means “powerful” in Arabic and “black” in Hebrew, designates the descendants of Ishmael in North Arabia. …


Freeman, James M., and Harold J. Chadwick. Manners & Customs of the Bible. North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998. Print.

The Joy of the Lord


The Joy of the Lord

Excerpt


The state of the blessed is a state of joy, not only because all tears shall then be wiped away, but all the springs of comfort shall be opened to them, and the fountains of joy broken up. Where there are the vision and fruition of God, a perfection of holiness, and the society of the blessed, there cannot but be a fulness of joy. (2.) This joy is the joy of their Lord; the joy which he himself has purchased and provided for them; the joy of the redeemed, bought with the sorrow of the Redeemer. It is the joy which he himself is in the possession of, and which he had his eye upon when he endured the cross and despised the shame, Heb. 12:2. It is the joy of which he himself is the fountain and center. It is the joy of our Lord, for it is joy in the Lord, who is our exceeding joy. Abraham was not willing that the steward of his house, though faithful, should be his heir (Gen. 15:3); but Christ admits his faithful stewards into his own joy, to be joint-heirs with him. (3.) Glorified saints shall enter into this joy, shall have a full and complete possession of it, as the heir when he comes of age enters upon his estate, or as they that were ready, went into the marriage feast. Here the joy of our Lord enters into the saints, in the earnest of the Spirit; shortly they shall enter into it, shall be in it to eternity, as in their element.


Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.

Connect the Testaments





April 29: Examine Thy Self
Joshua 21:1–22:9; 2 Corinthians 13:1–10; Psalm 59:1–17

Before advising others on how they should act, self-examination is always necessary. When the Corinthians questioned the authenticity of Paul and his colleagues’ ministry (which is ironic, since he had planted their church), Paul says to them: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is to you unless you are unqualified?” (2 Cor 13:5).

None of us are ready for the ministry that Jesus has for us because we’re not worthy of the godly gift of salvation He has offered. We are meant to find our identity and calling in Christ; and to lead out of the gifts; He has given us (see 1 Cor 12). For this reason, Paul makes this claim:

“And I hope that you will recognize that we are not unqualified! Now we pray to God that you do not do wrong in any way, not that we are seen as approved, but that you do what is good, even though we are seen as though unqualified. For we are not able to do anything against the truth, but rather only for the truth” (2 Cor 13:6–8).

Paul is bound to what Christ has called him to do, which is why he often calls himself a slave of Christ (e.g., Rom 1:1). Because of His great sacrifice, Paul sees the only correct action is living fully—with his entire being—for Jesus. It is in Christ that Paul finds his strength, even in the difficulties he faces with the Corinthians: “For we rejoice whenever we are weak, but you are strong, and we pray for this: your maturity” (2 Cor 13:9).

The psalmist also has a plea for times when he faces opposition from others: “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God. Protect me from those who rise against me.… For look, they lie in wait for my life. The powerful attack against me, not because of my transgression or my sin, O Yahweh. Without guilt on my part, they run and ready themselves. Awake to meet me and see” (Psa 59:1, 3–4).

The Bible is full of understanding and insight into moments of struggle. And we have a great Savior, who can sympathize with our struggles (Heb 4:14–16). It’s not a matter of if we as Christ followers will experience unrighteous opposition; it’s a matter of when. May we have the type of faithfulness that Paul and the psalmist did. May we plea to the good God, who loves us. May we speak only His truth.

What opposition are you currently experiencing? How would God have you to answer it? How should you be praying to Him?

JOHN D. BARRY


Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Morning and Evening








Morning, April 29      Go To Evening Reading

         “Thou art my hope in the day of evil.”
         Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of his children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.
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Morning, April 29      Go To Evening Reading

         “Thou art my hope in the day of evil.” 
         Jeremiah 17:17

The path of the Christian is not always bright with godliness; he has his seasons of darkness and of a storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods, clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of his children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.
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Morning, April 30      Go To Evening Reading

         “And all the children of Israel murmured.” 
         Numbers 14:2

There are murmurers amongst Christians now, as there were in the camp of Israel of old. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, “Why am I thus afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?” A word with thee, O murmurer! Why shouldst thou murmur against the dispensations of thy heavenly Father? Can he treat thee more hardly than thou deservest? Consider what a rebel thou wast once, but he has pardoned thee! Surely, if he in his wisdom sees fit now to chasten thee, thou shouldst not complain. After all, art thou punished as hard as thy sins deserve? Consider the corruption which is in thy breast, and then wilt thou wonder that there needs so much of the rod to fetch it out? Weigh thyself, and discern how much dross is mingled with thy gold; and dost thou think the fire too hot to purge away so much dross as thou hast? Does not that proud rebellious spirit of thine prove that thy heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Are not those murmuring words contrary to the holy submissive nature of God’s children? Is not the correction needed? But if thou wilt murmur against the chastening, take heed, for it will go hard with murmurers. God always chastises his children twice, if they do not bear the first stroke patiently. But know one thing—“He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” All his corrections are sent in love, to purify thee, and to draw thee nearer to himself. Surely it must help thee to bear the chastening with resignation if thou art able to recognize thy Father’s hand. For “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.” “Murmur not as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer.”
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Go To Morning Reading      Evening, April 30

         “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God.” 
         — Psalm 139:17

Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with consolation. God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside his mind from us, has us always before his eyes; and this is precisely as we would have it, for it would be dreadful to exist for a moment beyond the observation of our heavenly Father. His thoughts are always tender, loving, wise, prudent, far-reaching, and they bring to us countless benefits: hence it is a choice delight to remember them. The Lord always did think upon his people: hence their election and the covenant of grace by which their salvation is secured; he always will think upon them: hence their final perseverance by which they shall be brought safely to their final rest. In all our wanderings the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us—we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye. In our sorrows he observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes him; in our toils he marks all our weariness, and writes in his book all the struggles of his faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being. Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.

Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. Never be led astray by those philosophic fools who preach up an impersonal God, and talk of self-existent, self-governing matter. The Lord liveth and thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly robbed of it. The notice of a nobleman is valued so highly that he who has it counts his fortune made; but what is it to be thought of by the King of kings! If the Lord thinketh upon us, all is well, and we may rejoice evermore.

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.

My Utmost for His Highest








April 29th

The graciousness of uncertainty



It doth not yet appear what we shall be. 1 John 3:2.

Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We imagine that we have to reach some end, but that is not the nature of spiritual life. The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently, we do not make our nests anywhere. Common sense says—‘Well, supposing I were in that condition …’ We cannot suppose ourselves in any condition we have never been in.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises all the time. When we become advocates of a creed, something dies; we do not believe God, we only believe our belief about Him. Jesus said “Except ye … become as little children.” Spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next. If we are only certain in our beliefs, we get dignified and severe and have the ban of finality about our views; but when we are rightly related to God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.

“Believe also in Me,” said Jesus, not—‘Believe certain things about Me.’ Leave the whole thing to Him, it is gloriously uncertain how He will come in, but He will come. Remain loyal to Him.


Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour








April 29

  Thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me
        Isa. 49:23

Quiet waiting before God would save from many a mistake and from many a sorrow.

J. Hudson Taylor


Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.