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Showing posts from April 8, 2016

Seek First His Righteousness

Seek First His Righteousness

Matthew 6:33

Excerpt


When God’s people corporately seek first his priorities, they will by definition take care of the needy in their fellowships. When one considers that over 50 percent of all believers now live in the Two-Thirds World and that a substantial majority of those believers live below what we would consider the poverty line, a huge challenge to First-World Christianity emerges. Without a doubt, most individual and church budgets need drastic realignment in terms of what Christians spend on themselves versus what they spend on others (cf. 2 Cor 8:13–15).


Blomberg, Craig. Matthew. Vol. 22. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

The Enemy Also Speaks to Us

The Enemy Also Speaks to Us

Excerpt


But while God is speaking, the enemy is also speaking (v. 42). We have learned that the writer of this psalm was oppressed by enemies who lied about him, slandered his name, and even threatened his life. Our main weapon against these attacks is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17), for only God’s truth can silence the devil’s lies (Matt. 4:1–11). We need God’s truth in our hearts, not only to keep us from sin, but also to equip us to answer those who oppose us or ask us why we believe as we do (1 Peter 3:15).


Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Exultant. 1st ed. Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004. Print. “Be” Commentary Series.

House of St. Peter, Jaffa

House of St. Peter, Jaffa

‎Descending from the highest part of Jaffa to the extreme northwest corner of the city, we find the house of Simon, the Tanner, “by the sea.” Tradition says it was here Peter prayed about the sixth hour, fell into a trance, saw heaven open and the great sheet let down. A distinguished writer says, “We Gentiles should regard this vision of Peter with special interest, and I see no reason why tradition may not have preserved the knowledge of the site. Both Christians and Mohammedans reverence the place. The roofs of the houses even now have a wall or balustrade around them where a person may sit or kneel without exposure to the view of others.” Dr. Hackett says, “At Jerusalem I entered the house of a Jew early one morning and found a member of the family sitting secluded and alone, on one of the lower roofs, engaged in reading the Scripture and offering his prayers.” When surrounded by battlements, and shaded by vines trained over them like those of the presen…

Prince's and Children

Prince's and Children


Princes were distinguished by a badge hanging from the side of the head, which enclosed, or represented, the lock of hair emblematic of a “son;” in imitation of the youthful god “Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris,” who was held forth as the model for all princes, and the type of royal virtue. For though the Egyptians shaved the head, and wore wigs or other coverings to the head, children were permitted to leave certain locks of hair; and if the sons of kings, long before they arrived at the age of manhood, had abandoned this youthful custom, the badge was attached to their head-dress as a mark of their rank as princes; or to show that they had not, during the lifetime of their father, arrived at kinghood; on the same principle that a Spanish prince, of whatever age, continues to be styled an “infant.”

When the sovereign was a military man, it was his duty, as well as his privilege, on ascending the throne, to be instructed in the mysteries of the religion, a…

Scribes in Preexilic Times

Scribes in Preexilic Times

2 Kings 22:12

Excerpt


The ability to read and write was not widespread in ancient Israel, and professional secretaries were needed in the various aspects of public life. This appears to be the earliest biblical notion of the term “scribe” and has no particular religious connotation. Scribes were employed to keep accounts or transcribe legal information (Jer 32:12), military data (2 Chr 26:11), other public documents (Jgs 8:14; Is 50:1), or personal correspondence (Jer 36:18). These secretaries were essential to royal administrations, and there is frequent mention of a chief scribe who functioned as a court recorder (1 Kgs 4:3; 2 Chr 24:11), adviser (2 Sm 8:16–17; 2 Kgs 18:18; 22:12; 1 Chr 27:32; Is 36:3), and financial overseer (2 Kgs 22:3–4). Secretaries or scribes were associated with the priesthood as well, serving as recorders for temple affairs (1 Chr 24:6; 2 Chr 34:13–15).

Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001 : 1171.…

Bringing Grapes to a Wine Press

Bringing Grapes to a Wine Press

BRINGING GRAPES TO A WINE PRESS
  •      After you have beaten your grain out and separated it from the chaff, and have tread all your grapes, you must celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days.

Bratcher, Robert G., and Howard A. Hatton. A Handbook on Deuteronomy. New York: United Bible Societies, 2000. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

The Temple of the Winds, Athens

The Temple of the Winds, Athens

‎A little east of the Temple of Theseus, a building of classic antiquity, stands the Temple of the Winds. It is a small octagonal building, in good preservation. Upon its eight faces are that many emblematic figures, representing the various winds which are most frequent in Attica. According to tradition, Socrates used to take his stand on the site of this temple to instruct the rising youth of Athens. The temple was built during the last century before the Christian era. It is about twenty-six feet in diameter and forty-two feet in height. Boreas, an old man with a cloak, is on the north side; Kaekias, an old man, shakes hailstones out of a shield on the northeast side; Apeliotes, a young man, with fruit and corn, is on the east; Euros, an old man, mantled, is in the southeast; Notos is a young man, with a vessel for water, on the south; Lips, with a part of a ship in his hand, is on the southwest; Zephyr, a young man, drops flowers from the folds of …

Morning and Evening

Morning, January 8      Go To Evening Reading
“The iniquity of the holy things.”  — Exodus 28:38
What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the amelioration of both, proceed either from prid…

My Utmost for His Highest

January 8th
Does my sacrifice live?


And Abraham built an altar … and bound Isaac his son. Genesis 22:9.

This incident is a picture of the blunder we make in thinking that the final thing God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives. Not ‘I am willing to go to death with Thee,’ but, ‘I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God.’ We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this blunder, and the same discipline goes on in our lives. God nowhere tells us to give up things for the sake of giving them up. He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, viz., life with Himself. It is a question of loosening the bands that hinder the life, and immediately those bands are loosened by identification with the death of Jesus, we enter into a relationship with God whereby we can sacrifice o…

Connect the Testaments

January 8: Judging the Time and Seasons
Genesis 14–15; Matthew 11; Ecclesiastes 3:9–15

We often have difficulty judging the events in our lives and then responding appropriately. Although God has placed eternity “in our hearts,” we don’t know the reason or the outcome of our life’s events (Eccl 3:11).

The danger comes in being known for only one mode of operation and one response for all seasons. In Matt 11, Jesus speaks to a generation who responds in one way—with skepticism and unbelief. Those who judge see John the Baptist as a demon-possessed man rather than a prophet. They see Jesus as a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners—not the one who has come to save them from their sins.

Jesus illustrates their responses with a tale. He compares them to children who call out to each other in the marketplaces, saying, “We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a lament and you did not mourn” (Matt 11:17). Those who hear and fail to act confuse the …