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Showing posts from December 10, 2014

The Counselor

The Counselor Excerpt John took time to counsel people personally and prepare them for baptism and their new life of faith. He admonished the people in general to be generous and share what they have (Acts 2:44–45;4:32–37). He charged the tax collectors to be honest and the soldiers to be just. (Perhaps he knew that the soldiers and publicans worked together to extort money from the people.) Luke mentions tax collectors three other times (5:2715:119:2). These soldiers were not likely Romans (see however Matt. 8:5–13), but were probably Jewish soldiers belonging to the temple guard or the court of Herod. It is interesting that John did not condemn the tax collectors’ and soldiers’ professions; he simply told the publicans and soldiers to do their jobs honestly and not to hurt people. They could remain in their vocations and serve God. More Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992. Print.

Solomon's Temple

Solomon's Temple

The Jerusalem temple was a place where God and human beings might meet. Solomon reflected the Hebrew vision of a transcendent God when he cried out, “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27) The temple might reflect God’s glory. But ultimately the Jerusalem temple existed for the sake of God’s people, not for God.
The temple served as the place of meeting between God and His covenant people. It was here the Jewish people offered the sacrifices that atoned for their sins; it was here they gathered to praise God during national religious festivals. It was here they humbled themselves in times of national or personal distress; here they sought God’s intervention and help. The temple was a visible reminder that God was present with them. As the only authentic place of sacrifice, the temple served as a witness to the great truth that man must approach God as God chooses. All roads do not lead to …

The Older Brother

The Older BrotherExcerpt
The story now turns against the Pharisees, who like the older brother have no grasp of grace. Instead of rejoicing at the restoration of a brother, they’re filled with resentment. They neither appreciate what they have, nor do they want anyone else to share it!
How we need to guard against this attitude in our own relationship with God and with others. Grace must make us gracious. MoreRichards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

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 (2 Cor. 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.

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest

December 10th
The offering of the natural

Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. Gal. 4:22.

Paul is not dealing with sin in this chapter of Galatians, but with the relation of the natural to the spiritual. The natural must be turned into the spiritual by sacrifice, otherwise a tremendous divorce will be produced in the actual life. Why should God ordain the natural to be sacrificed? God did not. It is not God’s order, but His permissive will. God’s order was that the natural should be transformed into the spiritual by obedience; it is sin that made it necessary for the natural to be sacrificed.
Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac. Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way in which we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice. Sanctification means more than deliverance from sin, it means the deliberate commitment of mys…

Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional

December 10: Constructing Lives by the Law
Jeremiah 18:1-18; Romans 2:12-29; Proverbs 16:12-33

Dispensing good, helpful advice gets the benevolent juices flowing. As easy as it is to give advice, though, it often hits me with the irony of a cartoon anvil when I end up tripping over my own counsel. When this happens, I’m convicted to examine my motives for advice-giving.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul challenges the superior mindset that was common among some Jewish people at the time: “But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve the things that are superior, because you are instructed by the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light to those in darkness, and instructor of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Therefore, the one who teaches someone else, do you not teach yourself?” (Rom 2:17–21).
Paul is explaining why looking to the…