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Showing posts from January 25, 2016

You Shall Not Murder

You Shall Not Murder
Excerpt


The prohibition against killing (Exodus 20:13) actually means murder, which is quite different than the sort of killing that goes on in the course of a battle. A distinction between murder and death in battle is apparent in David’s statement in 1 Kings 2:5. A whole range of circumstances that lead to death will be dealt with in 1 Kings 21:12–27. These laws make it clear that the sixth commandment is a general statement that requires expansion.


Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Commentary on the Bible. Vol. 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995. Print. Baker Reference Library.

Not Under Law but Under Grace

Not Under Law but Under Grace
Excerpt


The rhetorical question that begins this section (shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?) is quite similar to the one in Romans 6:1. In Romans 6:1 the potential error was sinning more to experience more grace, while here it is sinning freely because grace has replaced law. Paul anticipates a possible misunderstanding of his statement in Romans 6:14 that we “are not under law, but under grace.” Some might interpret the absence of law to mean they are free to do whatever they want, and the presence of grace to mean God will understand and forgive whatever they do. People today often have this same low opinion of the seriousness of sin, thinking that forgiveness is easy to obtain. Paul responds as he did in Romans 6:1, By no means! This assumption is terribly wrong.


Osborne, Grant R. Romans. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

The Philistine

The Philistine
Excerpt


Goliath is described as standing nine feet, nine inches tall, wearing a coat of mail that weighed 125 pounds and carrying a spear that weighed 15 pounds. He was a formidable opponent indeed. He had presented himself to the army of Israel each morning and evening for forty days, and apparently David arrived on the final day (1 Samuel 17:16). Jesse chose just the right day to send David to the battlefield to carry food supplies to his three brothers and their commanding officer (1 Samuel 17:17–18). Unlike modern armies, soldiers in ancient armies had to provide their own rations and help provide for others.


Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Successful. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor/Cook Communications, 2001. Print. “Be” Commentary Series.

The Spirit and the Son at Creation

The Spirit and the Son at Creation
Genesis 1:2
Excerpt


At the beginning of Creation Week, the earth was “empty, a formless mass.” There was soil and water but no light. The Holy Spirit was “hovering over” this newly created world.

The Holy Spirit, third person of the Trinity, may be best known for his appearance at Pentecost (Acts 2), but he made his grand entrance here, at the very beginning of Creation. We read elsewhere that Jesus, Son of God and second person of the Trinity, took part in Creation as well (John 1:1–3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2).


Willmington, H. L. Willmington’s Bible Handbook. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997. Print.

The Chair of the Preacher

The Chair of the Preacher
Excerpt


This was the usual position adopted by a Jewish preacher. The chair of the preacher was placed near the spot where the lesson was read. These synagogues were built with the end pointed towards Jerusalem, in which direction the Jew ever loved to turn as he prayed (Dan. 6:10). The men eat on one side of the building, the women on the other. There was always at the end of the chamber an ark of wood, a memory of the sacred ark of the covenant, which once, with its golden mercy-seat, hallowed now and again with the presence of the visible glory, was the chief treasure of the temple on Mount Zion. In the “ark” were kept the Law (the five books of Moses) and the rolls of the prophets.


Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. St. Luke. Vol. 1. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909. Print. The Pulpit Commentary.

Nicodemus Came at Night

Nicodemus Came at Night
John 3:2
Excerpt


Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. Although seasonal and day/night designations can properly be understood as time notations in this Gospel, they usually are more importantly also symbolic representations of the spiritual temperature of the people in the story (e.g., John 10:22–23; John 11:9–10; John 13:30). As indicated in the Prologue, light and darkness are conceived as opposing principles (John 1:4–5) with darkness in John illustrating the negative aspects such as the realm of Satan, error, evil, doubt, and unbelief. Some interpreters might suggest that Nicodemus came to Jesus“at night” (John 3:2) to prevent detection or alternatively that (as an intense rabbi) he studied late into the night, but most commentators are agreed that the reference to night is a picture of a man who was in an uneasy state of unbelief or doubt.


Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11. Vol. 25A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Comment…

Believe in the Son and Enjoy Eternal Life

Believe in the Son and Enjoy Eternal Life

Excerpt


The “water and blood” refer to the terminal points in Jesus’ earthly ministry: his baptism (water)190 and his crucifixion (blood). This is the best interpretation and is followed by most scholars. Historically, Jesus“came” into his power by the “water” of his baptism and even more so by the “blood” of his cross. Unlike the previous two views, this explanation fits the historical context of John’s epistle. John writes this letter to counter the Gnostic tendencies of the false teachers. These false teachers, who at one time were part of the fellowship (John 2:19), were denying the humanity of Jesus, and so John emphasizes the reality of the Incarnation. John’s further qualification that Jesus came “not by water only, but by water and blood” is likely a direct renunciation of the false teaching (perhaps that of Cerinthus) that claimed that Jesus was born an ordinary human being but became God’s special agent when the heavenlyChrist descend…
January 25

  My God shall be my strength
Isa. 49:5
Oh, do not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come in you by the grace of God.

Phillips Brooks

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.

January 25: Radiance
Genesis 40:1–41:37; Hebrews 1–2, Ecclesiastes 9:11–18

When I was a boy, my dad took me to his construction site, and told me, “Don’t look directly at the welding light; it can blind you.” But a welding flame is cool and dangerous. As my father was talking with the foreman, I fixated on the light. I saw spots for the rest of the evening, but didn’t tell anyone. I secretly feared that the radiance had actually blinded me.

The radiance of Christ is blinding—it was for Paul (Acts 9:1–31). In an epic hymn about the work of God’s Son throughout history, the author of Hebrews calls Jesus“the radiance of [God’s] glory and the representation of his essence, sustaining all things by the word of power” (Heb 1:3). It’s easy to wonder if sustainability is possible, if the world will one day crumble and fall. But in Christ, there is hope.

Jesus is much like the sun. You don’t always notice its power, warmth, or even that it’s there. That is especially the case for the cloudy days…

My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year.

January 25th
Leave room for God


But when it pleased God … Gal. 1:15.

As workers for God we have to learn to make room for God—to give God‘elbow room.’ We calculate and estimate, and say that this and that will happen, and we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never looked for Him to come? Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him. That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. We are apt to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. All of a sudden God meets the life—“When it was the good pleasure of God.…”
Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see …

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, January 25      Go To Evening Reading
“I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us.” 
         — Isaiah 63:7
And canst thou not do this? Are there no mercies which thou hast experienced? What though thou art gloomy now, canst thou forget that blessed hour when Jesus met thee, and said, “Come unto me”? Canst thou not remember that rapturous moment when he snapped thy fetters, dashed thy chains to the earth, and said, “I came to break thy bonds and set thee free”? Or if the love of thine espousals be forgotten, there must surely be some precious milestone along the road of life not quite grown over with moss, on which thou canst read a happy memorial of his mercy towards thee? What, didst thou never have a sickness like that which thou art suffering now, and did he not restore thee? Wert thou never poor before, and did he not supply thy wants? Wast thou never in straits before, and did he not …