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Showing posts from May 20, 2016

The Wailing Place

The Wailing Place

‎The seventy-fourth psalm is especially personal to the Jews. It is their lament over the destruction of Jerusalem and especially of the great Temple. Its wail echoes even to-day through the city of Jerusalem, where the poor Jews gather at the “place of wailing.” This is by the side of a huge ancient wall, a surviving fragment of the mighty buildings of Solomon. Here, amid weeping and outcries, this psalm is still upraised to Heaven. ‎It begins, “O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? ‎“Remember thy congregation which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.” ‎It deplores, with only too much reason, the savagery which the unhappy Hebrews have everywhere encountered. “Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.” ‎The outcry closes in a prayer for the restorati…

Bethlehem: Greek Orthodox Icon

Bethlehem: Greek Orthodox Icon

‎The icon depicting the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem is carried by Greek Orthodox priests in a Christmas procession through the city of which the prophet Micah prophesied: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel” (5:2).

The Heavens Declare the Glory

The Heavens Declare the Glory

‎Equally celebrated is the nineteenth psalm, a pure pæan of joy in God’s beautiful works, and in His justice. It opens with the world known verse quoted above, and looks with widest metaphorical thought to the solemn teaching which the beauty of nature offers to us every hour. ‎“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. ‎“There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” ‎Then the psalmist turns to marvel at the wisdom of creation and its Creator: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” ‎“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” ‎“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” ‎“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

“Is the Lord’s Hand Waxed Short?”

“Is the Lord’s Hand Waxed Short?”

‎When the numbering of the people has completed the nation set forth joyously, leaving the foot of Sinai, where so much had happened, and marching north toward the promised land of Palestine. The way was long and hard; so that as the days passed, the fickle Israelites began to murmur. For a year, they had lived on manna, and they were grown very weary of it. They recalled all the pleasant things they had eaten in Egypt. Especially they longed for meat. Moses knew of their craving and appealed to God for aid; but the great giver of all was displeased that His gifts should be so little valued, and He declared that the people be punished as being meat that they could eat no more. When Moses questioned how this should be possible with so vast a multitude, and in so bare a region, God answered him with His solemn question, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short?” ‎Thereon there came a vast cloud of quails, which covered the camp and spread for a day’s journey on…

Old City aerial from north

Old City aerial from north

Rome in Paul’s Day

Rome in Paul’s Day
‎In Paul’s day, Rome was not yet at the height of its splendor. The Coliseum would not build for another decade, the vast temple of Claudius was partially constructed, and most of the elaborate baths and palaces were still more than a century away. Nonetheless, Rome was the greatest city in the known world and the center of power for all of the Europe and the ancient Near East.

General View of the Forum

General View of the Forum
‎Few spots on earth have a more resounding name or a more imposing history than the Roman Forum. This spot, “where the Senate held its assemblies, and where the destinies of the world were discussed, is the most celebrated and the most classical of ancient Rome.” Forum, a Latin word, originally signified “an open place,” and is probably connected with foras, “out of doors.” The Roman fora were places where the markets and courts of justice were held. The most ancient and celebrated of all the fora judicialia of ancient Rome was the Forum Romanum, or, par excellence, the Forum Magnum, occupying the quarter now known as the Campo Vaccino, or cattle market. The Forum lies between the Arch of Titus and the Capitol. It is crowded with the relics of temples, basilicas, arches and columns. The most magnificent monuments once adorned it, which were so crowded upon one another that their heaped up ruins have proved sadly bewildering to the antiquarians, who have long…

Connect the Testaments

May 20: From Concept to Caution to Cause
1 Chronicles 8:1–40; 1 Timothy 5:10–17; Psalm 78:53–72

Some things in the Bible are downright surprising, including several passages in Paul’s letters. Sometimes his words are so personal or they’re addressed to such a specific person our group, that it’s hard to understand why that particular passage is there. But God uses people to do His work, and whatever they show or teach us sets a precedent—like how to deal with difficult people, or how to best help the poor.
Some sections of Paul’s letters are rarely read aloud in church; we simply can’t figure out how to apply them. What application can you draw from a long list of people, or from the very specific details of how to evaluate a widow in need in your community (1 Tim 5)? What if there are no widows in your community? Do you just move on?
First Timothy 5:10–17 sets a good precedent for us as Christians, and it can serve as a standard for applying other passages. We don’t know precisely why …

Morning and Evening

Morning, May 20      Go To Evening Reading
         “Marvellous lovingkindness.”          —Psalm 17:7
When we give our hearts with our alms, we give well, but we must often plead to a failure in this respect. Not so our Master and our Lord. His favours are always performed with the love of his heart. He does not send to us the cold meat and the broken pieces from the table of his luxury, but he dips our morsel in his own dish and seasons our provisions with the spices of his fragrant affections. When he puts the golden tokens of his grace into our palms, he accompanies the gift with such a warm pressure of our hand, that the manner of his giving is as precious as the boon itself. He will come into our houses upon his errands of kindness, and he will not act as some austere visitors do in the poor man’s cottage, but he sits by our side, not despising our poverty, nor blaming our weakness. Beloved, with what smiles does he speak! What golden sentences drop from his gracious lips! What e…

My Utmost for His Highest

May 20th
The realm of the real

In your patience possess ye your souls. Luke 21:19.

When a man is born again, there is not the same robustness in his thinking or reasoning for a time as formerly. We have to make an expression of the new life, to form the mind of Christ. “Acquire your soul with patience.” Many of us prefer to stay at the threshold of the Christian life instead of going on to construct a soul in accordance with the new life God has put within. We fail because we are ignorant of the way we are made, we put things down to the devil instead of our own undisciplined natures. Think what we can be when we are roused!
There are certain things we must not pray about—moods, for instance. Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking. A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral: It is a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise from a physical condition; never submit to them for a second. We have to take ourselves by the scruff of …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

May 17

  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you
        Matt. 6:33

We need have only one care, that we put the first thing first—faithfulness to God. Then all else we need for both worlds will be supplied. God will never fail us; but we forget, sometimes, in our rejoicing over such an assurance, that we must fulfill our part if we would claim the divine promise.
It will not always be easy. Tomorrow it may mean a distasteful task, a disagreeable duty, a costly sacrifice for one who does not seem worthy. Life is full of sore testings of our willingness to follow the Good Shepherd. We have not the slightest right to claim this assurance unless we have taken Christ as the guide of our life.

J. R. Miller

May 18

  His praise shall continually be in my mouth
        Ps. 34:1

Let not thy praises be transients—a fit of music, and then the instrument hung by the wall till another gaudy day of some remarkable providence makes thee ta…