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Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

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Connect the Testaments

January 23: Pride in Disguise Genesis 37; Matthew 26:57–27:31; Ecclesiastes 9:1–6 Sometimes recognizing our sin for what it is can throw us into deep shame. In Matthew, we find that two of Jesus’ disciples experience this moment of remorse—Judas after he betrays Jesus, and Peter when he denies Jesus. From their responses, we learn what true repentance looks like. Judas is remorseful when he realizes the enormity of his betrayal. But he doesn’t move from remorse to repentance. He tries to absolve his guilt by returning the payment he received for betraying Jesus—an attempt to buy back his innocence. And when the “blood money” is refused and he is unable to eliminate the guilt, Judas hangs himself (Matt 27:5). Peter, the disciple with an impulsive, childlike loyalty to Jesus, denies his Lord when questioned by a mere servant girl. When Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction, he leaves, “weeping bitterly.” However, the Gospel of John tells us that Peter glorified God in his death (John 21:15–19). …

My Utmost for His Highest

January 23rd Transformed by insight We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.2 Cor. 3:18. The outstanding characteristic of a Christian is this unveiled frankness before God so that the life becomes a mirror for other lives. By being filled with the Spirit we are transformed, and by beholding we become mirrors. You always know when a man has been beholding the glory of the Lord, you feel in your inner spirit that he is the mirror of the Lord’s own character. Beware of anything which would sully that mirror in you; it is nearly always a good thing, the good that is not the best. The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God. Let everything else—work, clothes, food, everything on earth—go by the board, saving that one thing. The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding, keeping the life absolut…

Morning and Evening

Morning, January 23Go To Evening Reading
“I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” Psalm 89:19
Why was Christ chosen out of the people? Speak, my heart, for heart-thoughts are best. Was it not that he might be able to be our brother, in the blest tie of kindred blood? Oh, what relationship there is between Christ and the believer! The believer can say, “I have a Brother in heaven; I may be poor, but I have a Brother who is rich, and is a King, and will he suffer me to want while he is on his throne? Oh, no! He loves me; he is my Brother.” Believer, wear this blessed thought, like a necklace of diamonds, around the neck of thy memory; put it, as a golden ring, on the finger of recollection, and use it as the King’s own seal, stamping the petitions of thy faith with confidence of success. He is a brother born for adversity, treat him as such.
Christ was also chosen out of the people that he might know our wants and sympathize with us. “He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet …

The River in Eden

The River in EdenExcerpt The trees (v. 9), the river (v. 10), and the precious gold and gems (vv. 11-12) in the garden will also be in the new earth in its eternal state. The new Creation will be endowed with all these elements (Rev. 21:10-112122:1-2), thus indicating that paradise will be restored in the new earth. 2:11-14. These verses, a long parenthesis, describe the richness of the then-known world. The garden was probably in the area of the Persian Gulf, judging from the place names in these verses. If the geography of that area was the same after the Flood as before, then the Tigris (lit., Hiddeqel) and the Euphrates, the third and fourth rivers, can be identified. The first of the four rivers, Pishon, was in Havilah, in north-central Arabia, east of Palestine. The second river, Gihon,was in Cush, probably not Ethiopia but possibly the land of the Cassites (kaššuin Akk.) in the mountains east of Mesopotamia. More Ross, Allen P. “Genesis.”The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Expo…

The Glory of God in Paul’s Letters

The Glory of God in Paul’s LettersExcerpt ‎The great unmentioned subject at the heart of much of Pauline theology is God himself. Paul most fully celebrates the glory of God when he presents his gospel, not simply as a message of how individuals get saved from sin and death, but how God has brought Jew and Gentile together into one body. Romans 15:1–13 states this great aim: that Jew and Gentile alike “may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6). Mutual welcome is mandatory within the body of Christ—Christians coming together across the boundaries of race, class, gender, and culture. Predicted in the Old Testament, Paul states that this has now been accomplished as people from across the world place their hope in the Root of Jesse who rises to rule the nations. … More Wright, N. T. “The Glory of God in Paul’s Letters.”Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Print.

“They Will Serve God on This Mountain”

“They Will Serve God on This Mountain”Exodus 3:12 Excerpt The verb תַּעַבְדוּן (ta’avdun, “you will serve”) is one of the foremost words for worship in the Torah. Keeping the commandments and serving Yahweh usually sum up the life of faith; the true worshiper seeks to obey him. The highest title anyone can have in the OT is “the servant of Yahweh.” The verb here could be rendered interpretively as “worship,” but it is better to keep it to the basic idea of serving because that emphasizes an important aspect of worship, and it highlights the change from Israel’s serving Egypt, which has been prominent in the earlier chapters. The words “and they” are supplied to clarify for English readers that the subject of the verb is plural (Moses and the people), unlike the other second person forms in vv. 10 and 12, which are singular. More Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2005. Print.

The Roman Conflagration And The Neronian Persecution

The Roman Conflagration And The Neronian PersecutionExcerpt ‎The first of these imperial persecutions with which the Martyrdom of Peter and Paul is connected by ecclesiastical tradition, took place in the tenth year of Nero’s reign, a.d. 64, and by the instigation of that very emperor to whom Paul, as a Roman citizen, had appealed from the Jewish tribunal. It was, however, not a strictly religious persecution, like those under the later emperors; it originated in a public calamity which was wantonly charged upon the innocent Christians. ‎A greater contrast can hardly be imagined than that between Paul, one of the purest and noblest of men, and Nero, one of the basest and vilest of tyrants. The glorious first five years of Nero’s reign (54–59) under the wise guidance of Seneca and Burrhus, make the other nine (59–68) only more hideous by contrast. … More Schaff, Philip, and David Schley Schaff. History of the Christian Church. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910. Print.

Lectionary Devotions

Today MONDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME Catholic Daily Readings First Reading 2 Sa 5:1–710 Response Ps 89:25a PsalmPs 89:20–2225–26 Gospel Acclamation 2 Ti 1:10 GospelMk 3:22–30
Today MONDAY AFTER THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings PsalmPs 46 First Reading Ge 12:1–9 Second Reading 1 Co 7:17–24
Today MONDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK AFTER EPIPHANY Book of Common Prayer (1979) Daily Office Lectionary Psalms (Morning) Ps 4152 Psalms

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

January 22 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God Heb. 4:9 How sweet the music of this first heavenly chime floating across the waters of death from the towers of the New Jerusalem. Pilgrim, faint under thy long and arduous pilgrimage, hear it! It is Rest. Soldier, carrying still upon thee blood and dust of battle, hear it! It is Rest. Voyager, tossed on the waves of sin and sorrow, driven hither and thither on the world’s heaving ocean of vicissitude, hear it! The haven is in sight; the very waves that are breaking on thee seem to murmur, So He giveth His beloved Rest. It is the longdrawn sigh of existence at last answered. The toil and travail of earth’s protracted week is at an end. The calm of its unbroken Sabbath is begun. Man, weary man, has found at last the long-sought-for rest in the bosom of his God! Macduff

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

Connect the Testaments

January 22: Be Vigilant Genesis 35:16–36:43; Matthew 26:14–56; Ecclesiastes 8:10–17 Faith doesn’t always come to bear until we are faced with our own fallibility. When we “enter into temptation,” it often means we haven’t been vigilant—that we’ve stopped pursuing the God who has pursued us. In the aftermath of temptation, we recognize our spiritual laziness. We become wise—but remorsefully. Vigilance and complacency are illustrated in the garden of Gethsemane. In His last moments, Jesus requests that His closest disciples stay awake with Him (Matt 26:38). But while He repeatedly prays, they fall asleep. What seems like a request for moral support gets defined a few verses later: “Stay awake and pray that you will not enter into temptation” (Matt 26:41). Staying awake is associated with spiritual awareness. And their sleep is costly. Because of their spiritual sleepiness, they’re not prepared for His end, even though He had repeatedly prepared them for His death. They abandon Him, and the…

My Utmost for His Highest

January 22nd What am I looking at? Look unto Me, and be ye saved.Isaiah 45:22. Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says—‘Look unto Me, and be saved.’ The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere. The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is, in effect—Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ. Many of us have a mental conception of what a Christian should be, and the lives of the saints become a hindrance to our concentration on God. There is no salvation in this way, it is not simple enough. “Look unto Me” and—not ‘you will be saved,’ but ‘you are saved.’ The very thing we look for, we shall find if we will concentrate on Him. We get preoccupied and sulky with God, while all the time He is saying—‘Look up and be saved.’ The difficulties and trials…