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Showing posts from November 27, 2014

The Work of the Gospel

The Work of the GospelPhilippians 1:5 Excerpt The word “gospel” originally meant a reward for bringing good news, but later it came to be used for good news itself, often the joyous news of victory in war. In the New Testament it always means good news itself and refers to the salvation that God has made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word appears nine times in Philippians and is used in a variety of ways. It is the message about Jesus Christ that is proclaimed (1.54.15), defended (1.716), promoted, spread, and advanced ( It is also the standard of Christian living and basis of faith (1.27). The phrase in this context is not a reference to the Philippians’ sharing in accepting Paul’s preaching, but rather to their active participation in the work of the gospel. It may therefore be expressed as “in proclaiming the good news to others,” or “in the telling of the good news to others.” More Loh, I-Jin, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handb…

Father and the Son

Father and the SonJohn 1:14, 18 Excerpt The mention of the Father and the stress on the uniqueness of Jesus reminds the reader of the opening verse of the Prologue. This discussion has thus come full circle, and in doing so it presents a tightly constructed, complex introductory theological rationale for reading this Gospel. But reading is not to be merely an intellectual exercise. Instead, Jesus’ purpose in coming to the world was to empower people to become children of God (1:12). Likewise the purpose of the incarnate Logos and the purpose of the entire Gospel are one in focus because the Gospel was written to engender believing in this Jesus to the end that readers might experience the transformation of life (20:30–31). More Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11. Vol. 25A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.

Dead Sea

Dead Sea ‎The Dead Sea. The Jordan river carries large quantities of minerals to the Dead Sea, the lowest sea in the world, 398 meters below sea level. Because it is completely encircled and because of its rapid evaporation in the desert heat, the mineral concentration in the water is as high as 34%. Potassium, bromine and magnesium, nitrogen salts and other minerals color the water in shades of blue and turquoise, a spectacular sight in the brown desert landscape. The water is so saline that nothing can live in it, and that is why it is called the Dead Sea. But during its long history it has been called the Ancient Sea, the Sea of Sodom, and in Hebrew it is called the Salt Sea.

Votive Gifts

Votive Gifts Just outside ancient Carthage lies one of the best known Topheth districts, where young children, newborn to about four or five, were burned as votive gifts to pagan gods by parents begging for some benefits. The fact that such a district existed in Judah is a stunning indication of how firmly God’s people were locked in the grip of paganism and sin.
Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.


GentilesEphesians 4:17 Excerpt [Gentiles has the] meaning in general all nations except the Jews. In course of time, as the Jews began more and more to pride themselves on their peculiar privileges, it acquired unpleasant associations, and was used as a term of contempt. More Easton, M. G. Easton’s Bible dictionary 1893 : n. pag. Print

Eternal Life

Eternal LifeJohn 3:16 Excerpt The phrase eternal life comes from a Hebrew phrase, literally “life in the (coming) age.” For the Hebrews “the coming age” was the age in which God would destroy the power of sin and evil in the world and set up his own rule of love and peace. In the earliest notions of this coming age, it was probably not looked upon as something that would never end; it was not “eternal” in our sense of the word. However, there is no doubt that by New Testament times “life in the age” was looked upon by many Jews as an everlasting experience. In the New Testament it definitely has this meaning, even though the main emphasis is always on the quality of life one experiences when God rules his life. That is, in the Gospel of John eternal life is basically qualitative, but it is also conceived of as life that never ends, because it comes from God.More Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Pri…


Vessels ‎Every household had vessels that usually were made of ceramic. Shallow bowls were used for drinking (there were no cups or glasses yet). ‎Exod 25:29

Crossing the Jordan

Crossing the Jordan ‎In passing from Peræa on the east of the Jordan to Jerusalem Jesus crossed the Jordan. We do not know what his route was, but he probably went as far south as to a point opposite Jericho, because from the ford over against Jericho there is a road to Bethany and Jerusalem. There are but two old bridges spanning the Jordan. Dangerous as the river is, it offers an extraordinary number of fords. Dr. George Adam Smith describes the Jordan as a “rapid, muddy water with a zigzag current, and the depth varies from three to ten or twelve feet in the sixty-five miles of descent. The descent is six hundred and ten feet from the Sea of Galilee. The descent is sometimes over forty feet a mile, and the impetus given to a large volume of water down a channel in which it can not sprawl induces a great rapidity of current. This has given to the river its name. Jordan means ‘down-comer.’ ” ‎To cross a ford of the Jordan is a common occurrence still. Dr. Thomson says: “What a stran…

Not Commending Ourselves

Not Commending Ourselves Excerpt Paul’s appeal to the consciences of his readers is not to be misunderstood. We are not commending ourselves to you again. Paul has already made this disclaimer (3:1; see the notes). He is in a difficult position, for though he has no intention of using any commendation beyond that of the Gospel itself, which authorizes those who preach it, it is necessary, or at least desirable, in the interests of the apostolic mission, that his good faith should be recognized by those who form the churches founded by him. The present verse is of great importance because it shows that this necessity arises out of the presence of others who work on different lines. More Barrett, C. K. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. London: Continuum, 1973. Print. Black’s New Testament Commentary


Nazareth ‎Nazareth, the city that gave its name to Christianity, was described by St. Jerome as “the flower of Galilee and the nurse of Christ”. Here the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she was going to give birth to Jesus (Luke 1:26–38). Here Jesus grew up and went out to preach in the surrounding cities and villages, until he was driven out by the inhabitants after declaring himself to be the Messiah (Luke 4:21). At that time, during the Roman period, Nazareth was a small, unimportant Jewish village. In 1620 the Druze ruler, Fakhr a-Din, allowed Franciscan monks to purchase the remains of the Crusader Church of the Annunciation, and later to settle in the town and build churches and monasteries. Today it is the largest Arab city in Galilee and a center of Christian pilgrimage.


Lamps ‎Some unusual lamps are collected here. The first one is a seven-mouthed lamp. Perhaps the second and third lamps were used with candles. The fourth is a metal oil lamp dating back to the Byzantine era. It can hold three wicks. ‎Zech 4:2

A Sharp Two-Edged Sword

A Sharp Two-Edged SwordRevelation 1:16 Excerpt Out of his mouth a sharp two-edged sword. This metaphor runs through both Old and New Testaments. It is frequent in this book (ch. 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21; comp. Luke 2:35; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Ps. 45:3; 57:4; 59:7; 64:3; 149:6; Prov. 12:18; Isa. 11:4; 49:2, etc.). The sharp words of men and the searching words of God are both spoken of under this figure of the sword. Tertullian and Richard of St. Victor explain the two edges as the Law and the Gospel. Other still more fanciful explanations have been given. “Two-edged” (δίστομος) is literally “two-mouthed,” and perhaps expresses no more than the thorough efficiency of the sword. It occurs in ch. 2:12 and Heb. 4:12; also in classical Greek as equivalent to the more common ἀμφήκης. If a double meaning be insisted on, it may be found in the double character of God’s Word, which not only smites the wicked, but searches the good; which cuts sometimes to punish, sometimes to heal. More Spence-Jone…

Tower of Antonia

Tower of Antonia ‎On Friday, April 7th, between one and five o’clock a. m., according to the harmony we follow, Jesus was led to Annas and then to Caiaphas.—John 18:13–15. We have an account of this visit to Caiaphas from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He was then brought before the Sanhedrin During his trial before this body Peter denied him. Jesus was mocked by his enemies, and between five and six o’clock on Friday morning was condemned by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy. Just after this Judas killed himself. Jesus was brought before Pilate charged with sedition and then sent to Herod. Pilate sought to release him, but in vain. Jesus was then condemned, and mocked and scourged by soldiers.—Matthew 27:36–40; Luke 23:24–25; John 19:1–3. Soon after Jesus was led away to be crucified. We have an account of this surrender in all four of the Gospels. The path which Jesus took from the Sanhedrin to Calvary is known as the Way of Sorrows—the Via Dolorosa. The first station in this sad journey …

Modern Mount Calvary

Modern Mount Calvary
‎Great authorities are marshaled in favor of both claimants—the church within and the mound without the walls. For a long time the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was the only traditional spot pointed out as the place of burial. But with the growing influence of the Grotto of Jeremiah, the modern Mount Calvary, a picture of which we give, increased in favor. This whole discussion as to the place where Christ was crucified, and as to the tomb in which His body was placed, turns upon the direction which the walls about Jerusalem took at the time of the crucifixion. If the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was outside the wall at that time, as Dean Stanley thinks it might have been, the chances in favor of its being the place of crucifixion and burial are increased. If, however, the site of this church was inside the wall at that time it is sure that the place of burial and crucifixion was not there, for Christ was crucified outside of the walls of Jerusalem. And supposing …

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv ‎The sea, the port, the old city of Jaffa at the southern end of Tel Aviv, in a panoramic view from the air. Jaffa has been known from Canaanite times, at the end of the 4th millennium B.C. Its name is connected with Japhet, son of Noah. From the 17th century it was a port city and gateway to the Holy Land for European pilgrims. The port was closed in 1965 and all that remains of it today is a quay for fishing boats and yachts. Jaffa’s long and checkered history has left it with a rich legacy of archeological sites, churches, mosques and building styles in a combination of east and west.

My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

November 27th The consecration of spiritual energyby whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Gal. 6:14. If I brood on the Cross of Christ, I do not become a subjective pietist, interested in my own whiteness; I become dominantly concentrated on Jesus Christ’s interests. Our Lord was not a recluse nor an ascetic, He did not cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in another world. He was so much in the ordinary world that the religious people of His day called Him a glutton and a wine-bibber. Our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual energy.
The counterfeit of consecration is the conscious cutting off of things with the idea of storing spiritual power for use later on, but that is a hopeless mistake. The Spirit of God has spoiled the sin of a great many, yet there is no emancipation, no fullness in their lives. The kind of religious life we see abroad to-day is …

The Dust of the World

The Dust of the WorldProverbs 8:26 Excerpt An intriguing point is Wisdom’s claim to be older than the “dust of the world” (v. 26). Although this could be taken simply at face value, allusions to the creation story in context imply that this is a veiled reference to the formation of Adam from the dust (Gen 2:7). The Hebrew of v. 26 literally reads, “Before he made … the head of the dusts of the world.”168 In Gen 1–2 “dust” is associated only with the creation of humanity; there is no account of the creation of dust itself. The “dusts of the world” is humanity, formed of the dust; and its head is Adam.169 The term “dust” also indicates our fragility and mortality and implies that the decision to accept or reject Wisdom is a life-or-death choice. When God cursed Adam, he told him that he was but dust and would return to the dust (Gen 3:19). This concept frequently reappears in biblical wisdom, where “dust” represents human mortality.170 The frailty that comes of being human only increas…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, November 27      Go To Evening Reading

         “Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord.”
         — Zechariah 3:1

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.
In Joshua the high priest we see a picture of each and every child of God, who has been made nigh by the blood of Christ, and has been taught to minister in holy things, and enter into that which is within the veil. Jesus has made us priests and kings unto God, and even here upon earth we exercise the priesthood of consecrated living and hallowed service. But this high priest is said to be “standing before the angel of the Lord,” that is, standing to minister. This should be the perpetual position of every true believer. Every place is now God’s temple, and his people can as truly serve him in their daily employments as in his house. They are to be always “ministering,” offering the spiritu…

Source of the Fire

Source of the FireJames 3:6 Excerpt the tongue is only the fuse; the source of the deadly fire is hellitself (lit., “Gehenna,” a place in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem where human sacrifice had been offered [Jer. 7:31] and where continuous burning of rubbish made it a fit illustration of the lake of fire). More Blue, J. Ronald. “James.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 828. Print

Subjection of Christ

Subjection of Christ Excerpt “Sanctify Christ as Lord” is the best translation of v. 15. Put Him on the throne of your heart. If He controls our lives, then we will always have an answer when people ask about the hope we have in Him (Mark 13:11). A surrendered heart and a good conscience will together give peace when people accuse us falsely. Sinners may accuse us, but God knows the heart; and we fear God, not men (Isa. 8:12–13). Again, Peter reminds them of the sufferings of Christ, that He was falsely accused yet left the matter with His Father. More Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992. Print.

Live as Servants of God

Live as Servants of God Excerpt It is not easy to find the connection of this verse with what precedes or with what follows. Perhaps there were some members of the early church who opposed submission to the state because of the fact that Christ has made them free people. Or perhaps, Peter was anticipating the disillusionment among his readerswhen they read his admonition for them to obey the authorities, since such submission would be tantamount to denying their freedom in Christ. To ease these feelings, Peter now admonishes them to live as free people with the implication that they do not lose their freedom by submitting to the state; such submission is not coerced upon them, but something which they do voluntarily as free people. Free is used here in the religious and moral sense,referring to their freedom in union with Jesus Christ (compareGECL “Through Christ you are free”). More Arichea, Daniel C., and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter. New York: Unite…

He Wanted to Justify Himself

He Wanted to Justify Himself Excerpt The expert in O.T. Law had a clear grasp of the Law’s central requirements. But he was also aware that he fell short of fulfilling them. There are only three ways a person can react when that awareness dawns: (1) We can acknowledge we are sinners and appeal to God for mercy. (2) We can concentrate on the things we do well and pretend we do not fail in others. (3) We can cut the Law’s requirements down by reinterpreting them, so we can live up to what are essentially lower standards. It’s this third approach the expert in Law took. He wanted to define “neighbor” in such a way he could claim he had kept the commandment. More Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

ovember 26

Words and Music by Seth Sykes, 1892–1950 and Bessie Sykes, 1905–
  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
The gift of salvation—a personal relationship with almighty God—what an indescribable gift! Yet how often do we sincerely thank our Lord for all that He has done in making this possible? Our lack of praise and thanksgiving for His gift of salvation can be likened to the response of the ten lepers after being miraculously healed by Christ (Luke 17:11–19). Only one returned to express gratitude. The interest of the other nine was centered more in what had happened to them personally than in remembering the One who had performed the miracle in their lives. Are we ever guilty of this same carelessness?
It is interesting to imagine the life-long remorse that characterized these nine ungrateful lives:
  I meant to go back, but you may guess I was filled with amazement, I cannot express
  To think that after those horrible years, tha…

United Methodist Revised Common Lectionary


Old TestamentDeuteronomy 8:7–18
             Psalm       Psalm 65 (UMH 789)
New Testament2 Corinthians 9:6–15
Gospel       Luke 17:11–19

Vanderbilt Divinity Library. United Methodist Revised Common Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009. Print.

Mundy's Quote of the Day

Happy Thanksgiving

Mundy's Quote of the Day May the Lord bless this Thanksgiving Holiday to you and your family. Give thanksgiving to God for spouse if married, family, parents if living, friends, saints and enemies. Pray for those people that have no food, raiment or shelter this Thanksgiving Holiday. Give thanksgiving for your life by God's grace and mercy. It is not the turkey that you are thanking for your life, because it is dead; but it's your God that gave you life; Him and only Him deserves your thanksgiving blessings. In Jesus' name I submit my thanksgiving. Amen. Reverend Lynwood F. Mundy 

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

November 27: When Hezekiah Gave Away the Farm
2 Kings 18:13–19:37; Ephesians 2:1–3:21; Proverbs 8:19–26

After the announcement that Hezekiah “did right in the eyes of Yahweh,” the next description comes as a surprise: “At that time, Hezekiah cut off the doors of the temple of Yahweh and the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and he gave them to the king of Assyria” (2 Kgs 18:3, 16).

For a moment Hezekiah was a strong king over Israel—he abolished idolatry and refused to obey the king of Assyria (2 Kgs 18:4, 7). As 2 Kings 18:6 describes, “He held on to Yahweh; he did not depart from following him, and he kept his commands that Yahweh had commanded Moses.” But Hezekiah did not possess fortitude (see2 Kgs 18:13–18). In an attempt to gain peace, he gave away not only treasures, but even pieces of Yahweh’s temple itself (2 Kgs 18:15–16).

We’ve all been in situations where it’s tempting to do anything for peace. Perhaps we’ve even compromised our ethics or values in these …

Revised Common Lectionary


Old Testament  Deuteronomy 8:7–18
             Psalm       Psalm 65
New Testament 2 Corinthians 9:6–15
Gospel Luke 17:11–19

Revised Common Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009. Print.