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Showing posts from December 16, 2014

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 of Gadara with the acropolis above it; the paved s…

Whose Staff

Whose StaffNumbers 20:8
Excerpt It could well have been Aaron’s since it was kept “before the Lord” (v. 10), in which case it was not for striking but to remind Israel of their contentiousness (17:25).17 Or it could have been for striking since, according to the priestly texts, Aaron’s rod was so used during the plagues (Exod. 7:9, Exod. 7:20; Exod.8:1, Exod. 8:13). However, it was more likely the rod of Moses, which had been employed in the performance of God’s miracles in the wilderness (Exod. 14:16;17:9). And, more relevantly, it was used in a previous instance of drawing water from a rock (Exod. 17:1–7), in which it was identified as the one used to strike the Nile (e.g., Exod. 7:19–20). Note also “his (Moses’) rod” in verse 11. Ibn Ezra assumes that if this is so, then Moses’ rod was kept in the sanctuary, a most plausible conjecture since it (as well as Aaron’s) was called “the rod of God” (Exod. 4:20). More Milgrom, Jacob. Numbers. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1990. P…

When Will You Comfort Me?

When Will You Comfort Me?Excerpt The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become like a leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried and shrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God’s statutes. The days of the believer’s mourning shall be ended; they are but for a moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies used craft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law of God. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in the path of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when, like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men may almost consume the believer upon earth, but he would sooner forsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. The surest token of God’s go…

One Has Died for All

One Has Died for All Excerpt How many people are covered by the “all”? Texts such as Col 1:20, which speaks of God reconciling “to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross,” and Rom 8:32 which affirms, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all,” suggest that God intended that the benefits of Christ’s death reach everyone (see also Heb 2:91 John 2:2). The “all” would encompass all humanity. The benefits of Christ’s death are not limited to his fellow Jews but extend beyond accepted boundaries to include male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile.753 But those who stubbornly refuse to submit to Christ and rebuff God’s reconciliation choose to remain in condemnation. Consequently, only believers profit from Christ’s death. More Garland, David E. 2 Corinthians. Vol. 29. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999. Print. The New American Commentary

He is the God of Everyone

He is the God of EveryoneExcerpt The next two questions cover the same issue of Jewish distinctiveness from a different angle. Because the Gentiles worshiped false gods through idols, the Jews concluded that Yahweh, the true and living God (Jer. 10:10), was the God of Jews only. That was true in the sense that the Jews were the only people who acknowledged and worshiped Yahweh (except for a few proselyte Gentiles who joined with Judaism). But in reality Yahweh, as the Creator and Sovereign of all people, is the God of all people. Before God called Abraham and his descendants in the nation Israel to be His Chosen People (Deut. 7:6) God dealt equally with all people. And even after God’s choice of Israel to be His special people, God made it plain (e.g., in the Book of Jonah) that He is the God of everyone, Gentiles as well as Jews. And now since there is “no difference” among people for all are sinners (Rom.3:23) and since the basis for salvation has been provided in the sacrificial dea…

Golden Lamp Stand

Golden Lamp Stand
‎These oil lamps burned pure beaten olive oil every night and were trimmed every morning (Ex 27:20; Ex 30:7). ‎On each of the six branches and on the stand itself were cups made to look like almond blossoms (Ex 25:33).

Put on the Full Armor...

Put on the Full Armor...Ephesians 6:11Excerpt The form of the Greek imperative put on indicates that believers are responsible for putting on God’s (not their) full armor(panoplian, also in v. Eph. 6:13; all the armor and weapons together were called the hapla; cf. 2 Cor. 6:7) with all urgency. The detailed description of the armor (given in Eph. 6:14-17) may stem from Paul’s being tied to a Roman soldier while in prison awaiting trial (cf. Acts 28:16, Acts 28:20). More Hoehner, Harold W. “Ephesians.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 643. Print

When Trouble is Near, God is Near

When Trouble is Near, God is NearExcerpt Supplications with the whole heart are presented only by those who desire God’s salvation, and who love his commandments. Whither should the child go but to his father? Save me from my sins, my corruptions, my temptations, all the hinderances in my way, that I may keep thy testimonies. Christians who enjoy health, should not suffer the early hours of the morning to glide away unimproved. Hope in God’s word encourages us to continue in prayer. It is better to take time from sleep, than not to find time for prayer. We have access to God at all hours; and if our first thoughts in the morning are of God, they will help to keep us in his fear all the day long. Make me lively and cheerful. God knows what we need and what is good for us, and will quicken us. If we are employed in God’s service, we need not fear those who try to set themselves as far as they can out of the reach of the convictions and commands of his law. When trouble is near, God is ne…

Sea of Galilee: Church of the Multiplication - Olive Press

Sea of Galilee: Church of the Multiplication - Olive Press
Tabgha. Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. An ancient olive press in the yard of the new church, dedicated in 1982. The new basilica is modeled on the style of the original Byzantine basilica, which was built in the 4th century and restored in the 5th C. After its destruction by the Persians in 614 it remained desolate until 1932, when archeologists discovered some of its walls and the impressive mosaics that had, amazingly, remained intact.

Wisdom in the Book of James

Wisdom in the Book of JamesJames 1:5Excerpt The Letter of James as a whole bears striking resemblance to traditional wisdom literature because of its hortatory or parenetic nature. Wisdom is a gift to be asked from God, who will grant it (James 1:5). This is practical wisdom. While it is ‘from above,’ in contrast to the wisdom that is ‘earthly,’ it expresses itself in exemplary conduct; it is ‘peaceable,…full of mercy and good fruits’ (James 3:13-18).More Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 1136. Print

The palace of the proconsul in Lachish

The palace of the proconsul in Lachish ‎The isometric reconstruction shows the palace of the proconsul in Lachish during the Persian era, as it was exposed in excavations. The palace is built on a podium whereupon already stood a palace at the Kings Era. The construction was still used in Hellenistic period. ‎Neh 11:30

Common Meal

Common Meal ‎The picture shows a group of men lying on two divans. They are eating small bites and talk with each other. Such symposia were very popular in the Greek-speaking region; they facilitated the erudite exchange among learned men. ‎Jude 12

Mummies of Priests

Mummies of Priests
‎It has been well said that “Egypt is a façade of an immense sepulchre.” During a period of between four and five thousand years the vast population of the Nile valley continued to embalm and secrete their dead, interring them according to the customs of successive epochs. Statues, weapons, amulets, jewels, furniture, food and even written documents on papyrus, leather and linen. According to Egyptian belief, every human being consisted of three distinct parts which during the life time were closely united: First, the body; second, the “sahu” or soul; and third, the “khu,” an emanation of the divine intelligence. At death these elements may be separated but remained intact as to quantity and quality. In due course of time the “sahu” might return to the mummy. The “khu” must undergo a period of purification in the regions of the blessed and finally with the “sahu” be reunited to the dead body which its mummification had preserved from decay. “The valley of the Nile,…

No Vain Repetitions

No Vain RepetitionsExcerpt Used of stammerers who repeat the words, then mere babbling or chattering, empty repetition. The etymology is uncertain, but it is probably onomatopoetic like “babble.” The worshipers of Baal on Mount Carmel (I Kings 8:26) and of Diana in the amphitheater at Ephesus who yelled for two hours (Acts 19:34) are examples. The Mohammedans may also be cited who seem to think that they “will be heard for their much speaking” (ἐντῃπολυλογιᾳ [en tēipolulogiāi]). Vincent adds “and the Romanists with their paternosters and avast.” The Syriac Sinaitic has it: “Do not be saying idle things.” Certainly Jesus does not mean to condemn all repetition in prayer since he himself prayed three times in Gethsemane “saying the same words again” (Matt. 26:44). “As the Gentiles do,” says Jesus. “The Pagans thought that by endless repetitions and many words they would inform their gods as to their needs and weary them (‘fatigare deos’) into granting their requests” (Bruce). 

Robertson, A.…

Making Butter

Making Butter ‎Butter making involved a goat skin half filled with milk that was then hung with ropes on a tripod of sticks rammed into the ground. Constant rocking and shaking led to the formation of butter. ‎Gen 18:8; Deut 32:14; 2 Sam 17:29; Ps 55:21; Prov 30:33; Isa 7:15, Isa 7:22

Judas Iscariot

Judas IscariotJohn 17:12 This God of the name protected Israel in the wilderness and guarded the disciples in and by the presence of Jesus while he was on earth. Indeed, none of the disciples was lost/perished except Judas Iscariot. In this verse he is called the son of perdition, the one doomed to destruction, the one destined for perishing or lostness. There is at this point an important Greek wordplay in apōleto (the verb for “perish”) and apōleias (the noun for destruction/perdition). In other words, the perishing one perished. It is clear that John regarded Judas as thoroughly villainous, and as an evangelist John took pains to point out his wicked character. Even though Judas’s name is not always used, his evil nature lurks in the background of the Gospel. So as early as John 6:70 John already called him a devil; then at John 12:6 Judas is regarded as a thief; at John 13:27 he is an instrument of Satan, and here John sees Jesus dismissing him as the perishing one, the bad egg, …

Sheep Shearing

Sheep Shearing
‎In spring (April/May), the annual sheep shearing was a hallmark of the year for the shepherds. For the shear, the legs of a sheep are bound; then its woolen fleece is removed with a shearing knife or a blade shear. ‎Gen 31:19; Gen 38:12–13; 1 Sam 25:2–7; 2 Sam 13:23–24; Song 4:2; Isa 53:7; Acts 8:32


‎The Assyrian relief shows a hunting dog used for hunting deer, etc. However, in antiquity dogs were domesticated only in a minimal way. A number of dogs were roaming around and thus quite dangerous, because sometimes they also attacked humans. ‎1 Kings 14:11; Ps 22:16, Ps 22:20; Ps 68:23; Isa 13:22; Isa 56:11; Judith 11:17–19

Mundy's Quote for the Day

Mundy's Quote for the Day
Gabriel Announces Christ’s Birth
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, hand will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luke 26-33).”

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

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour.

December 16

  He [Thomas] … said, Except I shall see … I will not believe … Jesus … said … But not faithless, but believing
John 20:25, John 20:27
Every doubt in the heart of a Christian is a dishonor done to the Word of God, and the sacrifice of Christ.


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 16 THE FIRST NOEL English carol, before 1823
  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. (Luke 2:8)

Although no Christmas season would be complete without the melodious singing of this tuneful carol, very little is known about its origin. It is believed to have had its rise in France during the 15th century. Noel is a French word originating from Latin meaning “birthday.” The song is thought to have been brought across the channel to England by the wandering troubadours. The carol under the English form, “Nowell,” became a great favorite for Christmas Eve, especially in the west of England. This was when the entire village gathered for singing and celebrating the bringing in of the Yule log. At this time carols were thought of as popular religious songs meant to be sung outside the church rather than within.

“The First Noel” portrays in vivid narrative style the story of the birth of Christ. All six verses are needed to…

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

December 16th
Wrestling before God

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, … praying always … Eph. 6:13, 18.
You have to wrestle against the things that prevent you from getting to God, and you wrestle in prayer for other souls; but never say that you wrestle with God in prayer, it is scripturally untrue. If you do wrestle with God, you will be crippled all the rest of your life. If, when God comes in some way you do not want, you take hold of Him as Jacob did and wrestle with Him, you compel Him to put you out of joint. Don’t be a hirpler in God’s ways, but be one who wrestles before God with things, becoming more than conqueror through Him. Wrestling before God tells in His Kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you and I am not complete in Christ, I may pray but it avails nothing; but if I am complete in Christ, my prayer prevails all the time. Prayer is only effective when there is completeness—“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God.”
Always distinguish between God’s…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, December 16      Go To Evening Reading

         “Come unto me.”
         — Matthew 11:28

The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, “Come.” The Jewish law harshly said, “Go, take heed unto thy steps as to the path in which thou shalt walk. Break the commandments, and thou shalt perish; keep them, and thou shalt live.” The law was a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with a scourge; the gospel draws with bands of love. Jesus is the good Shepherd going before his sheep, bidding them follow him, and ever leading them onwards with the sweet word, “Come.” The law repels, the gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; the gospel bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it.

From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory, the language of Christ to you will be, “Come, come unto me.” As a mother puts out her finger to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, “Come,” ev…

Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan

December 16: Freedom
Jeremiah 31:1–40; Romans 6:15–7:6; Proverbs 21:1–12

We like to think of ourselves as autonomous. Our modern culture champions freedom and the right to pursue happiness. But if we apply the concept of rights when we think about faith, following Christ can feel like religion, dogma, rules—a type of bondage that requires us to think and behave in ways that make our autonomous selves bridle.

Paul looks at the issue differently: “Do you not know that to whomever you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to whomever you obey, whether sin, leading to death, or obedience, leading to righteousness?” (Rom 6:16). He uses another analogy in his letter to the church in Rome—one that draws on the practice of the slavery within his own culture—to highlight the opposite view. If we live without God, he says, we have a debt that binds us. We are a slave to sin, and it’s the type of bondage that leads to death.

Yet, there is hope. Although we were slaves to sin,…