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Showing posts from December 16, 2015

An Ancient Coptic Inscription Written on an Ostracon

An Ancient Coptic Inscription Written on an Ostracon
An ancient Coptic inscription written on an ostracon
OSTRACA Ostraca (the plural of ostracon) are potsherds with writing on them. Significant collections have been found in Samaria, Lachish, and Arad. They enhance appreciation for the cultural and historical contexts of the Israelite and late Judean monarchies.
Longman, Tremper, III, Peter Enns, and Mark Strauss, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2013 : 1255. Print.

Seal of Hananiah Son of Azariah

Seal of Hananiah Son of Azariah
‎While both names were common in ancient Israel, it is possible that this clay seal impression came from the signet of Hananiah son of Azzur (Azariah), the false prophet against whom Jeremiah prophesied (Jer 28:1–17). Ancient Jews and many others in Bible lands sealed documents, letters, wine jars and other containers, coffers, and even house doors with seals made of many different materials, most often clay and wax. ‎Exod 28:21, 1 Kgs 21:8, Jer 28:1–17, Matt 27:66

Troubled Hearts

Troubled Hearts
John 14:1–2

To comfort the disciples, Jesus gave them several exhortations along with promises. Do not let your hearts be troubled, He said. “Troubled” istarassesthō (“stirred, agitated”) from the same verb translated “troubled” in 11:33; 13:21; 14:27. One’s heart is the center of his personality. Each believer is responsible for the condition of his heart (cf. Prov. 3:1, 3, 5; 4:23; 20:9). By a firm trust in God the Father and Jesus the Son, they could relieve their soul-sorrow and be sustained in their coming tests.

Blum, Edwin A. “John.”The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures.Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 322. Print.

Victory by Present Knowledge of Christ

Victory by Present Knowledge of Christ

Continuous victory over the world is based on present knowledge and doing God’s will (2:12–17). John used the term “children” to refer to all the believers(cf. 2:1, 28). Then John referred to both the old and young believers. The term“mature” refers to those who are older or more spiritually mature. The term“young” refers to younger members of the congregation. He repeated himself in 2:14 to emphasize why he wrote. He wrote, not because the readers wereignorant and weak, but because they were already strong and victorious. It was the opponents who viewed the believers as ignorant and weak. The sins of believers have been forgiven and continue to stand forgiven.

Hughes, Robert B., and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. Print. The Tyndale Reference Library.

Wisdom in the Book of James

Wisdom in the Book of James
James 1:5

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 (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’ (3:13-18).

Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 1136. Print.

Faith Exhibited

Faith Exhibited

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses’ parents all looked beyond present circumstances to a future shaped by God’s promise. Abraham’s vision is most stunning. Told to sacrifice his son Isaac, he was so totally convinced that God would keep His promise to give him offspring by Isaac that he concluded God would raise his son from the dead. Abraham knew that the vision God gave of the future would come true—as he continued to obey God.

Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

The Gifts of the Magi

The Gifts of the Magi
Matthew 2:9–12

What the Magi recognize as divine guidance fills them, literally, with exceedingly great joy (v. 10). They find the mother and child and prostrate themselves before him in worship. The gifts used to honor the new king were typically associated with royalty. Because Matthew has not yet introduced the theme of Jesus’ death, it is not likely that he is implying it here, even though myrrh was a spice often used in embalming. Rather, all three gifts honor the Christ child as King. Gold, then as now, was a precious metal prized for its beauty and value, an appropriate regal gift. Frankincense and myrrh were fragrant spices and perfumes equally appropriate for such adoration and worship. Similar visits of Magi to royalty are described in other Greco-Roman literature of the time (Dio Cassius Roman History 63.7; Suetonius, Nero13), but more significant here is the Jewish background. The Magi appear as Balaam’s successors to witness the fulfillment of …


Knots By: Shirley Thomas Daily Devotion    
As one whom his mother comforts,
    So I will comfort you; ...
Isaiah 66:13

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, 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.

Connect the Testaments

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,…

My Utmost for His Highest

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…

Morning and Evening

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,” even so does J…