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Showing posts from May 12, 2016

What is God’s Kingdom?

What is God’s Kingdom?

Matthew 5:3

Excerpt


The kingdom of God is the major theme of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This concept, expressed in various ways, had been a central part of Jewish religious aspirations for generations. At the time of Jesus, it was popularly anticipated as a time when the promises of the Hebrew scriptures concerning the place of Israel in God’s plan would be fulfilled in a dramatic way: the hated Romans would once and for all be driven out of their land, and the people would enjoy a new period of political and religious freedom, and self-determination.

It is no wonder, then, that when Jesus emerged as a travelling prophet after his baptism and the temptations and declared that ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand’ (Mark 1:15), people of all kinds showed great interest in what he had to say. This was what they were waiting for: a new kingdom of God that would finally crush the old kingdom of Rome. Moreover, they ful…

Remain in Me and I in You

Remain in Me and I in You

John 15:4

Excerpt


The first sentence of v. 4 can be taken in one of three ways; all of them make sense. (1) Conditional: ‘If you remain in me, I will remain in you’ (which is the assumption of the NIV's rendering). Read in this way, the believer’s perseverance in remaining in Jesus is the occasional cause, not the ultimate cause, of Jesus’ remaining in the believer (cf. 8:31–32;15:9–11). (2) Comparison: ‘Remain in me, as I remain in you’ (the Greek allows this: the second clause has no verb, but simply ‘and I in you’). The thought is coherent enough; the ‘and’ (as opposed to ‘as’) is mildly surprising. In the context of the threats on both sides of the verse, it is indefensible to take the ‘I in you’ as an absolute promise regardless of the perseverance or fickleness of the ostensible believer. (3) Mutual imperative: ‘Let us both remain in each other’, ‘Let there be mutual indwelling’. Again, however, the syntax is strange: the strong second person imperativ…

Being Missional

Being Missional

Excerpt


‎The earliest known usages of the term “missional” occurred in 1883 in C.E. Bournes’ The Heroes of African Discovery and Adventure and then in 1907 in W.G. Holmes’ The Age of Justinian and Theodora. The meaning of the term has changed enough that neither of these occurrences embodies the way it is used today. Today, the term missional is commonly used in conversations among Christians. As it has grown in popularity, however, it raises some theological concerns, challenges, and opportunities.

‎The defining missiological debate in mission history has been the relationship between “church and mission,” which has become a catalyst for three dimensions of missional: missionary, mission, and the Missio Dei. …


Barry, John D. et al. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012. Print.

Be Reconciled to Your Brother

Be Reconciled to Your Brother

Excerpt


Our relationship with God is partly contingent on how we treat others. God will not accept our gift at the altar until we reconcile with our neighbor (see similarly m. Yoma 8:9). Again Jesus depicts the situation graphically since his Galilean hearers might have to travel a considerable distance to leave the Jerusalem temple and then return (vv. 23–24). Jesus’ following crisis parable shows how urgent the situation is (vv. 25–26). Imprisonment was generally a temporary holding place until punishment; here, however, a longer penalty is envisaged. The last penny (Greek kodrantēs, Roman quadrans) refers to the second-smallest Roman coin, only a few minutes’ wages for even a day laborer.

Through a variety of terrible images, Jesus indicates that when we damage our relationships with others, we damage our relationship with God, leading to eternal punishment (compare 18:21–35). More


Keener, Craig S. Matthew. Vol. 1. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 19…

Huldah the Prophetess

Huldah the Prophetess

2 Kings 22:14

Excerpt


The fact that the king’s five officers (cf. v. 12) sought out the Prophetess Huldah suggests that she was highly regarded for her prophetic gift. Other prophets also lived in and around Jerusalem at this time including Jeremiah (Jer. 1:2), and Zephaniah (Zeph. 1:1), and perhaps Nahum and Habakkuk. But the five consulted Huldah for reasons unexplained. This woman was the wife of Shallum who was responsible for the royal or priestly wardrobe. She lived in . . . the Second District of Jerusalem which was the part of the city lower in elevation than the rest.


Constable, Thomas L. “2 Kings.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 582. Print.

Aftermath of the Siege of Lachish

Aftermath of the Siege of Lachish
The Assyrian king Sennacherib receives the surrender and booty from the Judahite town of Lachish. The siege of the town was graphically documented by the Assyrians in a series of reliefs in Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh
Drane, John William. Introducing the Old Testament. Completely rev. and updated. Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000. Print.


Island of Aradus

Island of Aradus

Connect the Testaments

May 12: The Bible in the Developed World
Ruth 1:1–2:23; 1 Timothy 1:1–11; Psalm 73:1–10

In our developed world, we don’t consider famines very often. If there were a famine in our lands, we could navigate through it because of our importing infrastructure. This isn’t the case for the developing world: famines mean walking miles to find food and water, and often dying or suffering terrible violence just to stay alive. (Currently there are two major famines in Africa bringing these desperate situations to life.) When I used to read about famines in the Bible, I thought of hunger, but I didn’t necessarily think of pain and persecution. Now that I’m more aware of what’s happening in the world, stories of famine in the Bible are very vivid for me.
Consider Naomi, whose husband died during a famine, and the pain she must have felt over that loss and the loss of her two sons (Ruth 1:1–7). She was left with her daughters-in-law. As widows, they were completely desolate. Women were considered a…

Morning and Evening

Morning, May 12      Go To Evening Reading
         “And will manifest myself to him.”          —John 14:21
The Lord Jesus gives special revelations of himself to his people. Even if Scripture did not declare this, there are many of the children of God who could testify the truth of it from their experience. They have had manifestations of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in a peculiar manner, such as no mere reading or hearing could afford. In the biographies of eminent saints, you will find many instances recorded in which Jesus has been pleased, in a very special manner to speak to their souls, and to unfold the wonders of his person. Yea, so have their souls been steeped in happiness that they have thought themselves to be in heaven. Whereas they were not there, though they were well nigh on the threshold of it—for when Jesus manifests himself to his people, it is heaven on earth; it is paradise in embryo; it is bliss begun. Especial manifestations of Christ exercise holiness …

My Utmost for His Highest

May 12th
Make a habit of having no habits


For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful. 2 Peter 1:8 (R.V.).

When we begin to form a habit we are conscious of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and patient and godly, but it is only a stage; if we stop there, we shall get the strut of the spiritual prig. The right thing to do with habits is to lose them in the life of the Lord until every habit is practised that there is no conscious practice at all. Our spiritual life continually resolves into introspection because there are some qualities we have not added as yet. Ultimately the relationship is to be an entirely straightforward one.
Your god may be your little Christian habit, the habit of prayer at stated times, or the habit of Bible reading. Watch how your Father will upset those times if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the pattern symbolizes—‘I can’t do that just now, I am praying; it is my hour with …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

May 12

  I know how to abound
Phil. 4:12
It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the refining pot of prosperity. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of mortal joy with a steady hand; yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, “In all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry.” When we have much of God’s providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God’s grace; satisfied with earth, we are content to do without Heaven. Rest assured; it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry, so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you “how to be full.”

Spurgeon

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