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Showing posts from September 18, 2015

God and the Blind

God and the BlindJohn 9:3, 4
That the man was born blind so that God’s healing power could be manifested in him may be expressed clearly in some languages as “the fact that he is blind means that God’s power may be seen at work in him” or “his being blind makes possible seeing God’s power at work in him” or “… seeing how God’s power can do something for him.”
It is, however, possible to translate this passage in a way that God does not appear as one who arbitrarily makes a man blind so that he can later show his power in healing him. In TEV the words He is blind so that actually translates “but that” of the Greek text. The last part of verse 3 may be joined with the first part of verse 4 by placing a comma after him. The following translation would then result: “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. But that God’s power might be seen at work in him, (4) we must keep on doing the works of him who sent me as long as it is day.” On the basis of the Greek, it…

The Feast of Passover

The Feast of Passover The Problem: Jesus Is Missing (2:41–45) The events leading to Jesus’ exchange with his parents begin with their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The parents of Jesus were devout Jews. The Old Testament commanded such a trip for three festivals a year (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles; Ex 23:14–17; 34:22–23; Deut 16:16). But by the first century, God-fearing Jews made only one journey a year because of the distances involved (Josephus on Passover—Life 345–54; Antiquities 17.9.3 §§213–14; Jewish Wars 2.1.3 §§10–12; 2.14.3 §§280; Brown 1977:472). The Passover was the major feast celebrated at the beginning of the Jewish year, Nisan 15, which falls in our month of March or April (Fitzmyer 1981:339–40). Only men were required to make the journey, so Mary’s presence shows her commitment (Preisker 1964:373). Jerusalem was eighty miles from Nazareth, so the trip would take three days. Though some have argued that women and children traveled separately from the men as …

The House of God

The House of God But believers have more than a confident spirit. They are also reminded that (2) we have a great priest over the house of God. All that the writer has said about the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus is recalled here. Believers have not only a confident spirit, but also a competent advocate. He is continually available, completely aware of our present situation, and vitally involved with us in working all things together for good. His great concern is the welfare of each member of the household of God, and “we are his house,” as the writer has told us unmistakably in 3:6. Encouraged by these two powerful resources, a confident spirit and a competent advocate, believers are now exhorted to three specific activities. (1) Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart. This “drawing near” must be the motive for all subsequent action. It includes more than formal prayer, since the present tense infers a continual drawing near. As the wick of a lamp continually draws oil for …

Jesus' Birth and Early Years

Jesus' Birth and Early Years Jesus’ Birth and Early Years

If there is one consistent theme that runs through all the stories of Jesus’ birth, it is the repeated claim that ordinary people had more insight than religious experts when it came to understanding the significance of it all. The coming of the one who was later claimed to be the expected Messiah was recognized not predominantly by the great and the good but by those who, to a greater or lesser extent, were on the fringes of the cultured society of their day. The first chapter of Luke’s Gospel paints a vivid picture of the little-known priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth praying expectantly for God to deliver their people, and being rewarded for their faithfulness by the announcement of the birth of their own son, later to be known as John the Baptist (Luke 1:5–28, 57–80).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, belonged to the same family. At the time of Jesus’ conception and birth she was in the process of getting married to Jose…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

September 18

  Then spoke Solomon … I have surely built thee an house to dwell in
1 Kings 8:12, 13
Solomon, the prince of peace, alone could build the temple. If we would be soul-winners and build up the church, which is God’s temple, let us note this; not by discussion nor by argument, but by lifting up Christ shall we draw men unto Him.

J. Hudson Taylor

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

September 18: Another Take
Nahum 1:1–3:19;Acts 16:6–40; Job 24:12–25

What do we risk when we know of God’s forgiveness and then become complacent and return to our sinful ways? What happens when we turn our back on God—treating Him like an insurance agent rather than a savior?

The short, shocking book of Nahum shows what happens to those who disregard God. Where the book of Jonah displays God’s mercy and Nineveh’s repentance, Nahum proclaims God’s judgment on the same Assyrian city. The city’s deeds catch up with it, and the judgment is harsh—unrelenting.

“There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal. All who hear the report of you will clap their hands for joy concerning you. For who has not suffered at the hands of your endless cruelty?” (Nah 3:19). The empire responsible for conquering cities, displacing and enslaving people, and looting wealth would eventually meet its end—defeated by Babylon.
Jonah shows us that God will eagerly dispense mercy, but the book of Nahum—who…

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

September 18th
His temptation and ours

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.

Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is that mentioned by St. James—“Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, viz., the kind of temptations Our Lord faced. The temptations of Jesus do not appeal to us, they have no home at all in our human nature. Our Lord’s temptations and ours move in different spheres until we are born again and become His brethren. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a man, but the temptations of God as Man. By regeneration the Son of God is formed in us, and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to mak…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, September 18      Go To Evening Reading
         “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”           — Galatians 5:25
The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ.  Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were “whitewashed sepulchres.” We mu…