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Showing posts from December 13, 2014

A Famine

A Famine A famine occurred and the second son ran out of money so that he had to work for a foreigner feeding pigs, something detestable to a Jew. Perhaps the far country was east of the Sea of Galilee where Gentiles tended pigs (cf. Luke 8:26–37). In his hunger he longed for the pods—the food he fed the pigs. As a Jew, he could have stooped no lower. The pods were probably carob pods, from tall evergreen carob trees.
In this low condition, he came to his senses (Luke 15:17). He decided to go back to his father and work for him. Surely he would be better off to work for his father than for a foreigner. He fully expected to be hired by his father as a servant, not to be taken back as his son.
Martin, John A. “Luke.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 245. Print.

Vessels of Ceramic and Metal

Vessels of Ceramic and Metal ‎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

Leather Manufacture

Leather Manufacture ‎On top in the middle, the Egyptian picture from the 18th Dynasty (1539–1292 BCE) illustrates the cleaning of an animal skin by scraping of the fleshly remnants. Afterwards the leather is soaked in huge vats, and then tanned (on the left). On the right, it is stretched out over a three-legged stool in order to make it smooth and even. On a slanted table (on the bottom in the middle) the pieces of leather necessary for the manufacture are cut out with a sharp sickle-shaped knife. ‎Lev 13:48–59; Num 31:20; 2 Kings 1:8; 2 Kings 18:17; Isa 7:3; Isa 36:2; Ezek 16:10; Matt 3:4; Mark 1:6; Acts 9:43; Acts 10:6, Acts 10:32

Paul's Commitment to the Gospel

Paul's Commitment to the Gospel Excerpt It was Paul’s custom to write about his own missionary labors and personal involvement with his readers, most naturally after the opening thanksgiving (Rom. 1:11–15; 1 Thes. 2:17–3:11; cf. the lengthy narration in Gal. 1:10–2:21), but elsewhere also (Rom. 15:14–32; 1 Cor. 16:1–11; Phm. 21–22). The irregularity of such features is simply a reminder that Paul treated matters of structure and format as completely adaptable to what he wanted to say. So after the lengthy thanksgiving (cf. 1 Thes. 1:2–2:16), Paul picks up the final clause of the last section (“of which I Paul became a minister”) and fills it out.
Dunn, James D. G. The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: William B. Eerdmans Publishing; Paternoster Press, 1996. Print. New International Greek Testament Commentary.


LightMatthew 5:15–16 Of the various possible uses of light, Jesus obviously has in mind the bringing of illumination through the revelation of God’s will for his people. Since Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12; John 9:5), so also his followers should reflect that light. Like lights from a city illuminating the dark countryside or a lamp inside a house providing light for all within it, Christians must let their good works shine before the rest of the world so that others may praise God. The good works are most naturally seen as the “fruits in keeping with repentance” of Matthew 3:8. This verse does not contradict Matthew 6:1 because there the motive for good behavior in public is self-glorification rather than bringing glory to God.
Blomberg, Craig. Matthew. Vol. 22. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

Well or Cistern

Well or Cistern
‎Many villages were built at places were it was relatively easy to obtain water by means of a well. If this was not possible, one constructed cisterns beneath the houses, in which the rainwater was collected during the winter month, and stored for the dry month of the summer. Both a well and a cistern required a container for reaching the water. The vessel was lowered deep down by a wheel in order to fill it with water. ‎Gen 16:14; Gen 21:30; Gen 24:16–42; Exod 21:33–34; Num 20:17; Num 21:17–18; Deut 6:11; 2 Sam 23:15–16; 2 Chron 26:10; Prov 5:15; Prov 25:26; Eccles 12:6; Isa 30:14; Isa 51:1; Jer 2:13; Jer 37:16; Jer 38:6–13; Judith 7:20–21; 2 Macc 10:37; Luke 14:5; John 4:6–14; Rev 9:1

Jerusalem: Gihon Spring

Jerusalem: Gihon Spring
‎Jerusalem. Many generations have left their footprints on the thirty two steps leading to the cave in the Jehoshaphat Valley where the waters of the Gihon spring collect. The spring water, was used for religious rites and healing purposes. It is mentioned in Genesis 2:13 as one of the four rivers that flowed out of the Garden of Eden. Here Solomon was anointed king of Israel (I Kings 1:38).

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee
‎After making himself known at Emmaus, Jesus appeared to ten of the apostles at Jerusalem, and later to eleven of the apostles when He rebuked Thomas for his lack of faith—a rebuke of love. He afterwards stood by the Sea of Galilee and gave to Peter the threefold commission after having elicited from Peter his threefold confession of love. It is here that, after a night of profitless attempt, the nets were filled with the fishes. As the Dead Sea is girdled by an almost constant hedge of driftwood, so the Sea of Galilee is girdled by a scarcely less continuous belt of ruins—the drift of her ancient towns. In the time of our Lord she must have mirrored within the outline of her guardian hills little else than city walls, castles and synagogues. Greek architecture hung its magnificence over her simple life; Herod’s castle, temple and theaters in Tiberias; the warm baths; the high-stacked houses of Gamala; the amphitheater eater of Gadara with the acropolis above it; the p…

The Mission of the Son

The Mission of the SonRomans 8:3–4 Excerpt But what law could not do, God did by sending his very own Son with a nature that resembled our sinful nature. He came in the “likeness of sinful man.” If Christ had not taken on our nature, he could not have been one of us. On the other hand, had he become completely like us (i.e., had he sinned), he could not have become our Savior. Barrett translates “in the form of flesh which had passed under sin’s rule,” which means that “Christ took precisely the same fallen nature that we ourselves have, and that he remained sinless because he constantly overcame a proclivity to sin.” His mission was to put an end to sin, to condemn that evil power that has, since the dawn of history, held the human race in bondage. Knox says that God “signed the death warrant of sin.”More Mounce, Robert H. Romans. Vol. 27. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995. Print. The New American Commentary.

Concerning Our Days

Concerning Our Days 2. But as concerning these days which we are passing now, the Apostle says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”2 Are not these days indeed evil which we spend in this corruptible flesh, in or under so heavy a load of the corruptible body, amid so great temptations, amid so great difficulties, where there is but false pleasure, no security of joy, a tormenting fear, a greedy covetousness, a withering sadness? Lo, what evil days! yet no one is willing to end these same evil days, and hence men earnestly pray God that they may live long. Yet what is it to live long, but to be long tormented? What is it to live long, but to add evil days to evil days? When boys are growing up, it is as if days are being added to them; whereas they do not know that they are being diminished; and their very reckoning is false. For as we grow up, the number of our days rather diminishes than increases. Appoint for any man at his birth, for instance, eighty years; every day h…

Mundy's Quote for the Day

Mundy's Quote for the Day
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
    6      ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,     Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;     For out of you shall come a Ruler     Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

Connect the Testaments

December 13: Sage Advice
Jeremiah 25:1–26:24; Romans 4:1–24; Proverbs 19:1–29

Proverbs is full of sage advice, and some examples deserve special attention. No words could better describe the concept expressed here: “Better a poor person walking in integrity than one who is perverse in his speech and is a fool” (Prov 19:1).

When times get tough—especially when money runs out—integrity is often the first thing we sacrifice. Yet only those who have truly lived in poverty understand the trials it brings. We can’t begin to know how we would act if we had nothing. For this reason, we should mentally prepare for times of want. In doing so, we might better gauge whether we’re conducting ourselves appropriately in times of plenty.

I heard of a man who chose to live as a homeless person so that he could understand their plight. It’s easy for the rich person to call such an act foolish, but how much did that man learn as he was challenged to maintain his integrity during hard times? Does the rich…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

December 12

  He [Jesus] … looked up to heaven
Mark 6:41
In working for God, first look to Heaven. It is a grand plan. Over and over again our Lord Jesus Christ looked to Heaven and said, “Father.” Let us imitate Him; although standing on the earth, let us have our conversation in Heaven. Before you go out, if you would feed the world, if you would be a blessing in the midst of spiritual dearth and famine, lift up your head to Heaven. Then your very face will shine, your very garments will smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces where you have been with your God and Saviour. There will be stamped upon you the dignity and power of the service of the Most High God.


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

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

December 13

James Montgomery, 1771–1854

  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (Luke 2:9)

All my heart this night rejoices as I hear, far and near,   Sweetest angel voices. “Christ is born” their choirs are singing,   Till the air everywhere now with joy is ringing. —Paul Gerhardt
“Angels, From the Realms of Glory” is considered by many students of hymnody to be one of our finest Christmas hymns. In a unique style it addresses first the angelic chorus in the first stanza, then the shepherds in the second stanza, the wise men in the third, and finally today’s believers—calling all to worship Christ our King. Worship is the very essence of the entire Christmas story.

James Montgomery was known as a deeply devoted, noble person who made an important contribution to English hymnody through his many inspiring texts. At the age of 23 he was appointed editor of the weekly Sheffield Register in …

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

December 13th
What to pray for

Men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Luke 18:1.

You cannot intercede if you do not believe in the reality of the Redemption; you will turn intercession into futile sympathy with human beings which will only increase their submissive content to being out of touch with God. In intercession you bring the person, or the circumstance that impinges on you, before God until you are moved by His attitude towards that person or circumstance. Intercession means filling up “that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ,” and that is why there are so few intercessors. Intercession is put on the line of—‘Put yourself in his place.’ Never! Try to put yourself in God’s place.

As a worker, be careful to keep pace with the communications of reality from God or you will be crushed. If you know too much, more than God has engineered for you to know, you cannot pray, the condition of the people is so crushing that you cannot get through to reality.

Our work lies in…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings.

Morning, December 13      Go To Evening Reading
         “Salt without prescribing how much."
— Ezra 7:22
Salt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among his royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by him. Often are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure. Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the salt of grace no stint is…