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Showing posts from January 27, 2016

Mature Castor Oil Plant

Mature Castor Oil Plant
‎This photograph of a mature castor oil plant in Greece illustrates how much shade such a plant could have provided Jonah from the intense Mesopotamian sun, and underscores how great a calamity it would be to suddenly lose that shade when the plant withered. While commentators differ in interpreting the apparently miraculous growth of the plant, all acknowledge that a sudden worm infestation could cause it to wither rapidly under such intense sunlight. ‎Jonah 4:6–11 ‎Image by H. Zell, from Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel ‎The tunnel was excavated approximately 40 meters beneath Ophel, the City of David, in Old Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judea, around 710 BC. The tunnel was cut into over half a kilometer of bedrock with a 6 percent gradient designed to allow water to flow from the Gihon Spring into the Pool of Siloam.

Assyrian Coat of Mail

Assyrian Coat of Mail

Begin at the Beginning (John 1:1–18)

Begin at the Beginning (John 1:1–18)
John 1:1–18

‎We perceive and know through our senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. For John, the basis of perception is the ‘Word’—the mind or ‘essence’ of God. The ‘Word’ is the conveyor of life and meaning. Without the ‘Word’ nothing is understood, and if it is not understood then it might as well not exist (John 1:3). The ‘Word’ illuminates and enlivens creation. Constantly available, it is there for those who will receive it—rather like radio waves or television signals. They are all around us, but we need to switch on our receivers before we can tune in to their message. For those with difficulty in tuning their sets, God has sent an engineer—a TV evangelist by the name of John the Baptist. He will show us how to switch on and select our programme. The function of an evangelist is to convey good news, to ensure it is understood and to witness to its veracity. This is precisely the role of the writer of this Gospel.

McFadyen, Ph…


Vultures ‎When biblical translations mention an eagle, it actually refers often to a vulture. The vulture nowadays is despised as a scavenging bird, but in the Near East, it was considered to be a neat animal that cleans itself after finishing its meal. Due to its huge size and great flying ability, it was very much appreciated. Hence vultures can be found, for instance, on the breast plate of the Egyptian pharaoh. ‎Exod 19:4; Deut 28:49; Deut. 32:11; 2 Sam 1:23; Prov 23:5; Pr. 30:17, Pr. 30:19; Job 9:26; Job 39:27; Ps 103:5; Jer 4:13; Jer. 48:40; Jer. 49:16, Jer. 49:22; Ezek 1:10; Ezek. 10:14; Ezek. 17:3, Ezek. 17:7; Hos 8:1; Obad 4; Micah 1:16; Hab 1:8

Acropolis at Sunrise

Acropolis at Sunrise ‎A sunrise view of the Athens Acropolis from the Areopagus (Mars Hill).

Relief of a Money Changer

Relief of a Money Changer
Relief of a money changer (third century AD)
BANKRUPTCY A person enters bankruptcy upon legally declaring inability to repay debts. Godcommanded that obligations be repaid, but he also established a type of bankruptcy procedure for Israel’s poorest debtors. They could render six years of life in servitude, but creditors had to release their servants every seventh year (Exod. 21:2). Additionally, the liberation at Jubilee (Lev. 25:10) gave the poor some protection against oppressive terms of service (cf. Neh. 5:3–5).
A key biblical theme concerns the kinsman-redeemer, who could buy back close relatives from slavery and restore their land to the family (Lev. 25:25, Lev. 2:47–48). The book of Ruth tells how Boaz redeemed Ruth from poverty and alienation back to Naomi’s ancestral land. This theme continues with Jesus Christ, who came as a “ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). With his blood he purchased the freedom of a spiritually bankrupt people, sold into bondage to …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

January 27

  Are there not twelve hours in the day
John 11:9
The very fact of a Christian being here, and not in Heaven, is a proof that some work awaits him.

William Arnot

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 27: Revenge Isn’t Sweet
Genesis 42:29–43:34,Hebrews 5:11–7:28, Ecclesiastes 10:10–20

It’s easy to revel in vigilante justice, be joyful in the irony of someone getting “what’s coming to them,” or feel satisfied when “bad Karma comes back around” to others. The colloquialisms around the subject alone demonstrate our infatuation with justice. Joseph is similarly impassioned; he schemes against his brothers who sold him into slavery. At the beginning of Gen 43, Joseph’s brothers must go back to Egypt to request food from him—their younger brother, whom they do not recognize. Joseph waits for the youngest, Benjamin, to join them. What Joseph intends to do when he does, we’re not told.

When Benjamin and the other brothers arrive, Joseph is either moved with empathy or chooses to act upon his original plan of revealing himself in front of all his brothers (Gen 43:16, 29). Joseph even helps them financially, signaling that he somehow still cares for them (Gen 44). Yet it doesn’t seem …

My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year.

January 27th
Look again and think

Take no thought for your life. Matthew 6:25.

A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will choke all that God puts in. We are never free from the recurring tides of this encroachment. If it does not come on the line of clothes and food, it will come on the line of money or lack of money; of friends or lack of friends; or on the line of difficult circumstances. It is one steady encroachment all the time, and unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the standard against it, these things will come in like a flood.

“Take no thought for your life.”‘Be careful about one thing only,’says our Lord—‘your relationship to Me.’ Common sense shouts loud and says—‘That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.’Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Wh…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, January 27      Go To Evening Reading
 “And of his fulness have all we received.”           — John 1:16
These words tell us that there is a fulness in Christ. There is a fulness of essential Deity, for “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead.” There is a fulness of perfect manhood, for in him, bodily, that Godhead was revealed. There is a fulness of atoning efficacy in his blood, for “the blood of Jesus Christ, hisSon, cleanseth us from all sin.” There is a fulness of justifying righteousness in his life, for “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” There is a fulness of divine prevalence in his plea, for “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him; seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” There is a fulness of victory in his death, for through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil. There is a fulness of efficacy in his resurrection from the dead, for by it “we are …