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Showing posts from August 3, 2015

The Scapegoat

The Scapegoat ‎ Among the strangest and most memorable of the ceremonies commanded for the Hebrews was that of “the scapegoat.” Once every year, “as an everlasting statute,” were they commanded to assemble so as to offer a sacrifice of atonement for all their sins. Two he-goats were brought before the high priest and, selecting one by lot, he slew it upon the altar; then the other was brought forth, and the high priest’s direction was that he “shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.” ‎The mystic tragedy of the fate of this poor goat thus driven forth alone into the wilderness, weighed down with all the sins of a nation, has always attracted both poets and painters. Holman Hunt’s picture stands out as perhaps the most celebrated conception of the …


Rest Hebrews 3:7-11 Rest is not synonymous with inactivity. What God rested from was the work of Creation. He continues constantly to be active, however, in providentially sustaining all that he has created and in the work both of righteous judgment and gracious salvation. Jesus Christ, indeed, in his incarnation, life, death, rising, and glorification, is precisely God in action (2 Cor 5:19). Hence the assertion of Jesus: “My Father is working still, and I am working” (Jn 5:17, RSV). What the Christian will rest from is the struggle against the forces of evil and the afflictions by which this present life is marred. The rest into which the Christian will enter will not be a state of uneventful boredom. God himself is dynamic, not static, and so also is his rest. Consequently, all that a Christian rests from simply sets him free to be active ceaselessly and joyfully in the service of God, the Creator and Redeemer. In perfect harmony with all God’s works, and in complete fulfillment, …

God's Righteous Judgement

God's Righteous Judgement Jesus warned against condemning others. In the Sermon on the Mount he said, “Do not judge or you too will be judged” (Matt 7:1). The kind of judging both Jesus and Paul referred to was not a sane appraisal of character based on conduct but a hypocritical and self-righteous condemnation of the other person. In the same context Jesus told his followers to watch out for false prophets (v. 15), who are to be recognized by their fruit (vv. 16–20).62 That would be difficult, to say the least, apart from determining which actions are moral and which are not. Evaluation is not the same as condemnation. It is the latter that passes sentence.
Mounce, Robert H. Romans. Vol. 27. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995. Print. The New American Commentary.

Roman Commercial Ship

Roman Commercial Ship ‎The picture shows the unloading of cargo from a Roman commercial ship. From the Hellenistic period on, when the ships were built in a way so as to make it possible to traverse against the wind, the commercial trade flourished considerably. Traders were no longer limited to coastal shipping, but could afford to take the shortest route across the sea. ‎Acts 21:3


Nablous ‎ Passing between Gerizim and Ebal, Mary, Joseph and Jesus soon came to Shechem. Before us is a fine picture of the city, one of the most thrifty and well-kept of Eastern towns, with a population at the present day of about 20,000, of which 160 are Samaritans, 600 are Christians, 200 are Jews and the rest Mohammedans—bigoted and fanatical. The principal structures of the city are the mosques. The largest stands at the union of two streets, and has a Gothic gateway painted with red, white and blue. It was once a Christian church, but is now called “The Great Mosque.” There is also a Samaritan synagogue, not very well kept, but with its dome and skylight and the sacred recess where the ancient manuscripts are preserved. The Samaritans, like the Indians of America, are gradually dying out. Conder says that “ancient Shechem stood very nearly on the same site occupied by the large stone town of Nablous, with its well-watered gorge, full of gardens of mulberry and walnut, with vine…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

August 3

  Now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light
Eph. 5:8
We do not realize the importance of the unconscious part of our life ministry. It goes on continually. In every greeting we give to another on the street, in every moment’s conversation, in every letter we write, in every contact with other lives, there is a subtle influence that goes from us that often reaches further, and leaves a deeper impression than the things themselves that we are doing at the time. It is not so much what we do in this world as what we are, that tells in spiritual results and impressions.

J. R. Miller

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

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

August 2: Small Players
Isaiah 2:6–4:6; Luke 1:39–66; Job 1:13–22

A priest should know better. A man representing the spiritual state of God’s people shouldn’t be so quick to question God’s promises. But for Zechariah, obedience became complicated. When the angel Gabriel told him he’d have a son, he responded with doubt: “By what will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years!” (Luke 1:18). Such happy news—such unexpected goodness—deserved a glad, believing response.

While Zechariah fully expected to encounter God in the temple, Mary wasn’t anticipating anything like Gabriel’s appearance. Yet she readily responded to the angel’s declaration with bold, simple allegiance: “Behold, the Lord’s female slave! May it happen to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Her alignment with God echoes Job’s response after he endured crippling loss: “Naked I came out from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. Yahweh gives, and Yahweh takes. Let Yahweh’s name be bl…

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

August 3rd
The big compelling of God

Behold, we go up to Jerusalem. Luke 18:31.

Jerusalem stands in the life of Our Lord as the place where He reached the climax of His Father’s will. “I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.” That was the one dominating interest all through Our Lord’s life, and the things He met with on the way, joy or sorrow, success or failure, never deterred Him from His purpose. “He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”

The great thing to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfil God’s purpose, not our own. Naturally, our ambitions are our own; in the Christian life we have no aim of our own. There is so much said to-day about our decisions for Christ, our determination to be Christians, our decisions for this and that, but in the New Testament it is the aspect of God’s compelling that is brought out. “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” We are not taken up into conscious agreement with God’s purpose, we a…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, August 3                                              Go To Evening Reading

“The Lamb is the light thereof.”
         — Revelation 21:23
Quietly contemplate the Lamb as the light of heaven. Light in Scripture is the emblem of joy. The joy of the saints in heaven is comprised in this: Jesus chose us, loved us, bought us, cleansed us, robed us, kept us, glorified us: we are here entirely through the Lord Jesus. Each one of these thoughts shall be to them like a cluster of the grapes of Eshcol. Light is also the cause of beauty. Nought of beauty is left when light is gone. Without light no radiance flashes from the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceedeth from the pearl; and thus all the beauty of the saints above comes from Jesus. As planets, they reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness; they live as beams proceeding from the central orb. If he withdrew, they must die; if his glory were veiled, their glory must expire. Light is also the emblem of knowledge. In heaven our know…