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Showing posts from September 15, 2016

The Rebuilding of the Temple

The Rebuilding of the Temple

‎Under the lead of Jeshua the priest, the restored exiles started at once to build a temple somewhat similar to that of Solomon. They began, as their fathers had begun, with a religious ceremony and feast of foundation. “And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets” with cymbals, and with song. As the first huge stone was set in place there was a great shout of joy; but also there was an outburst of wailing from those old, old men who had seen the earlier temple in its splendor, and who compared Judah’s present feebleness with her former power.
‎Nor were they permitted to raise the new Temple in peace. The people of Samaria, those colonists of the Assyrians, who had gathered some vague imperfect knowledge of the Hebrew faith, desired to aid the Jews and unite with them in both the labor and the ownership of the new shrine. To this the Jews would not consent. “Ye have nothing to do…

The Amarna Letters

The Amarna Letters

Iron Sickle Blade

Iron Sickle Blade

‎Archaeologists found the iron sickle blade pictured here at Tell el-Hesi, an ancient site southwest of the modern Israeli city of Qiryat Gat. Dating is uncertain but the blade goes back at least to pre-Hellenistic times. Iron blades were vastly preferable to bronze or softer metals because they could take a much sharper edge and because they were harder and so did not dull as easily as many other metals. ‎Deut 23:25, 1 Sam 13:20–21, Prov 27:17, Jer 50:16, Joel 3:13, Mark 4:29, Rev 14:14–19

The Wise Master Builder and His Coworkers

The Wise Master Builder and His Coworkers


In this section of the argument, several important points become clear. When Paul is discussing divisions in Corinth, he has in mind divisions caused by the response of the Corinthians to Paul and to the chief coworker who followed him in Corinth, Apollos. The so-called “Christ faction” (cf. 1:12) is nowhere to be found here, and Cephas (also mentioned in1:12) is only named in passing in 3:22. I see no evidence that Paul is trying to tiptoe around a problem really caused by Peter, that is, Cephas, in Corinth. It is the relationship between himself and Apollos that he must explain. He refers to Peter in ch. 1 and in 3:22 because some Corinthians, perhaps especially Jewish Christians, admired Peter, not because there was a “Peter party” created by Peter’s visit to Corinth. The argument in 3:4ff. also makes it very likely that the reference to the “Christ” group in ch. 1 was simply a reduction ad absurdum of the whole foolish divisive behav…

Ceremonial Scissors from Turkey

Ceremonial Scissors from Turkey
‎ This pair of ornamental scissors, from the Greco-Roman Black Sea port of Trebizond (modern Trabzon, Turkey), probably dates from about the second century A.D. Though clearly Egyptian-influenced, the inlaid design is not strictly Egyptian in style. Archaeologists think these bronze scissors, inlaid with silver and copper, were used ceremonially in a sanctuary dedicated to Isis, a goddess popular throughout the Roman Empire. ‎Acts 18:18, 1 Cor 11:6 ‎Image by Yannick Trottier, from Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0



‎Sardes once was the place of residence of the legendary wealthy king Croesus. In Roman times, Sardes was still an important village in western Asia Minor, but it already had lost some of its splendor and influence. We do not have any information about the origin of the Christian community there. ‎Rev 1:11; 3:1, 3:4

Sifting Grain

Sifting Grain

‎This image illustrates the final stage of grain processing before storage. A female laborer sifts grain with a large sieve. The clean grain drops through the sieve while the remaining plant fragments, pebbles, and other debris get caught in the mesh. The clean grain is then gathered up and stored. Jesus predicted that Satan would trouble and test his disciples so rigorously that it would be as if he were shaking and sorting them like a person sifts grain (Luke 22:31). ‎Isa 30:28, Amos 9:9, Luke 22:31

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

September 15

  The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many
Matt. 20:28
We are so to surrender ourselves to Christ that this great purpose of His coming shall claim and possess the whole life. We are to live, like God, to bless others. This is His will, His purpose concerning us. This is what His power waits to do for us. And this too, is the claim of His great love upon us.

Do not sigh a poor assent to the truth of it, and then pass by neglectfully on the other side. Do not think about it and pray about it without even a passing hope that the prayer will be answered. Do not gather yourself up in great resolutions to be good and useful. Kneel in sight of the Crucified. In the cross of Christ spell out His great purpose and yearning love to men. Let the heart feel all the might of the appeal that comes to us from those torn hands and feet and bleeding brow, from all the dreadful shame and agony of our dear Lord. And, bought and b…

My Utmost for His Highest

September 15th
What to renounce

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. 2 Cor. 4:2.

Have you “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty”—the things that your sense of honour will not allow to come to the light? You can easily hide them. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone which you would not like to be dragged into the light? Renounce it as soon as it springs up; renounce the whole thing until there is no hidden thing of dishonesty or craftiness about you. Envy, jealousy, strife—these things arise not necessarily from the disposition of sin, but from the make-up of your body which was used for this kind of thing in days gone by (seeRomans 6:19and1 Peter 4:1–2 ): Maintain a continual watchfulness so that nothing of which you would be ashamed arises in your life.

“Not walking in craftiness,” that is, resorting to what will carry your point. This is a great snare. You know that God will only let you work in one way, then be careful never to catch people the other wa…

Connect the Testaments

September 15: The Pain of Idolatry
Micah 1:1–3:12; Acts 13:13–14:7; Job 22:14–30

Idolatry causes pain. If this truth were present in our minds each time we placed something before God, we would make different decisions. Micah’s account of the sins of Samaria makes this fact painfully and dramatically clear:

“So I [Yahweh] will make Samaria as a heap of rubble in the field, a place for planting a vineyard. And I will pour down her stones into the valley and uncover her foundations. Then all her idols will be broken in pieces, and all her prostitution wages will be burned in the fire, and all her idols I will make a desolation. For from the wage of a prostitute she gathered them, and to the wage of a prostitute they will return. On account of this I will lament and wail. I will go about barefoot and naked. I will make a lamentation like the jackals, and a mourning ceremony like the ostriches” (Mic 1:6–8).

Throughout this section, God and the prophet’s voices intermingle, a common occurren…

Morning and Evening

Morning, September 15Go To Evening Reading

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings.” —Psalm 112:7
Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved his faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals …