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Righteous Noah

Righteous Noah
Excerpt


Noah is distinguished from the “people of his time” by his up right character (i.e., “the only good man,” GNB). His piety and righteous courage became renowned in later times (Ezek 14:14, 20; Isa 54:9–10), and he was commonly associated with the virtue of godliness (Heb 11:7; 1 Pet 3:20), receiving the unique appellation “preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet 2:5). Jewish literature celebrated Noah’s place in history as the paragon of righteousness (e.g., Sir 44:17; Jub. 5:19; Wis 10:4; 1 Enoch 67:1) and added to his reputation by fanciful stories about his birth (e.g., 1QapGen 2; 1 Enoch 106).


Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.

Paul’s Salvation

Paul’s Salvation
Excerpt


Paul’s salvation experience had taken place about 30 years before he wrote to the Philippians. He had won many spiritual battles in that time. He had grown much in those years, but he candidly confessed he had not obtained all this, nor was he yet made perfect (v. 12). He still had more spiritual heights to climb. This testimony of the apostle reminded the saints at Philippi—and it serves to remind believers today—that there must never be a stalemate in their spiritual growth or a plateau beyond which they cannot climb.


Lightner, Robert P. “Philippians.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 661. Print.

The Sermon on the Mount: Finding Happiness in the Flood

The Sermon on the Mount: Finding Happiness in the Flood As a kid, maybe 10 or 12, I was leafing through my red-letter edition of the Bible and I noticed that there was one section of unbroken red text that was longer than any other. It was Matthew 5–7. I thought that was kind of cool, and if my memory serves me (sometimes it refuses), that’s why I read this sermon as a young pre-teen. I actually got to know it somewhat well, and I credit Jesus’ words with giving me a firm foundation in difficult times. That’s a vague way of saying it, but I have very definite instances in mind. Truly, the Sermon on the Mount became a rock for me to build my life on before the rains descended and the floods came. Like all residents of my town, built around the Skagit River, I know it’s best to build your house before the rainy flood season. But even if you are in the middle of the floodwaters, you can reach out for the rock of Jesus’ words, clamber onto it, and find solidity in a world of difficulties.…

Evil

Evil
Romans 12:9, 17, 21
Excerpt


EVIL (Heb. ra’; Gk. kakos, ponēros, phaulos). Evil has a broader meaning than *sin. The Heb. word comes from a root meaning ‘to spoil’, ‘to break in pieces’: being broken and so made worthless. It is essentially what is unpleasant, disagreeable, offensive. The word binds together the evil deed and its consequences. In the NT kakos and ponēros mean respectively the quality of evil in its essential character, and its hurtful effects or influence. It is used in both physical and moral senses. While these aspects are different, there is frequently a close relationship between them. Much physical evil is due to moral evil: suffering and sin are not necessarily connected in individual cases, but human selfishness and sin explain much of the world’s ills. Though all evil must be punished, not all physical ill is a punishment of wrongdoing (Lk. 13:2, 4; Jn. 9:3; cf. Job).


Howley, G. C. D. “Evil.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 348. Print.

Elected by God’s Mercy

Elected by God’s Mercy
Excerpt


At this point one might wonder about man’s free will. Thus, the question arises: Does God accomplish His purpose in election by letting human freedom take its course? Yes, but one should not presuppose that human freedom takes precedence over God’s electing choice. Rather an omniscient God aware of all possible scenarios and their outcomes, elects first (using an undisclosed criterion), but then accomplishes His purpose through human freedom. That God uses human freedom to accomplish, as well as enforce, His choice may be illustrated through the Scripture account of Pharaoh (Exod 9:16). Only after Pharaoh initially rebels (5:2) and hardens his own heart (7:13, 14,22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7) does God harden his heart (3:19–20; 4:21; 9:12). God, knowing beforehand Pharaoh’s response (cf. Exod 4:21–23), uses him to demonstrate His power and declare His name throughout the earth.
Therefore, if God chooses to withhold mercy and harden a heart, He still reserves the…

The Author’s Motive for Writing

The Author’s Motive for Writing

Excerpt


‘Peter’s’ concern, however, extends far beyond the brief span of life still left to him: he will make the effort (again his favourite verb spoudazein, as at 10a: cf. also 5a) to see that, even after his departure, his correspondents (here he seems to be envisaging the Church generally as well) may be able on all occasions to recall these things. In other words, he plans to leave behind him a permanent testimony to which they can refer; there is perhaps a hint that apostolic writings were not only treasured but read at services. For departure(exodos) as a dignified euphemism for death, cf. Lk. 9:31 (Jesus’s death, foreshadowed at the Transfiguration); Wis. 3:2; 7:6; Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 1. 1 (of the deaths of Peter and Paul). At first sight the cast of the sentence, with its future tense, seems to imply that he is promising a further work, and on the theory of Petrine authorship commentators have often identified this either as some document now lo…

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot
John 17:12
Excerpt


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 6:70 John already called him a devil; then at 12:6 Judas is regarded as a thief; at 13:27 he is an instrument of Satan, and here John sees Jesus dismissing him as the perishing one, the bad egg, or the weak link in the chain of the disciples.

Not only was Judas the weak link, but he was an evil instrument in his fulfillment of Scripture. Although at this point it would be difficult to tell which Scripture was in the evangelist’s mind, other New Testament texts related to Judas’s actions seem to suggest more specific references such as Matt 27:3–10, which probably refers to Zech 11:12–13 and Acts 1:16–20, which contains a free rendering of Ps 69:25.


Borchert, Gerald L. John 12–21. Vol. 25B. Nashville: Broadman…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

January 4

  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivered him out of them all.
Psa. 34:19
All the afflictions of the righteous open out into something glorious. The prisoner is not merely delivered, but he finds an angel waiting for him at the door. And with every deliverance comes a specific blessing. One angel is named faith; another, love; another, joy; another, longsuffering; another, gentleness; another, goodness; another, meekness; another, temperance; another, peace. Each of these graces says, “We have come out of great tribulation.”

G. Bowen

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

Connect the Testaments

January 4: Listen, Build, and Listen Again
Genesis 6–7;Matthew 6–7:11; Ecclesiastes 2:1–11

More often than not, what we want is not what God wants. We desire wealth, notoriety, or influence. In our ambition, we can lose sight of the very God who created us.

In the story of Noah and the flood, we see the same dichotomy: the world wants one thing and God desires another. The two aren’t congruent. In this case, selfishness has led to catastrophic levels of evil: “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence … all flesh had corrupted their way on earth” (Gen 6:11–12). So God tells Noah that He is through—He’s going to end it all. But Noah and his family will be spared if they’re obedient to God’s will.

Noah listens; he builds the ark. And God honors His work by closing the door (Gen 7:16). He’s there at the end, sealing the deal. Being faithful means getting an opportunity to witness the power of God.

When our ambitions aren’t guided by God’s will and Hi…

My Utmost for His Highest

January 4th
Why cannot I follow thee now?


Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? John 13:37.

There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means; or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God’s guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt—don’t.

In the beginning you may see clearly what God’s will is—the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, something you feel distinctly before God is His will for you to do, never do it on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will end in making difficulties that will take years of time to put right. Wait for God’s time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the provi…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, January 4      Go To Evening Reading
   “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”          — 2 Peter 3:18
“Grow in grace”—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward —having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Ch…