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Showing posts from December 14, 2016


BethlehemLuke 2:4 Excerpt The great importance of Bethlehem for Christians throughout the centuries is that the Gospels record the birth of Jesus as having taken place there, in fulfillment of a prophecy of Micah (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2; Luke 2; John 7:42). The traditional site of the manger in which the infant Jesus was laid (Luke 2:7) is a cave under the great Church of the Nativity, the place of the manger being marked by a star with the Latin inscription Hic De Virgine Maria Jesus Christus Natus Est, ‘Here Jesus Christ Was Born of the Virgin Mary.’ A bitter dispute between the Orthodox and Roman Catholics about this star (1847-53) was one of the causes of the Crimean War (1853-56). The tombs of Jerome (d. 420) and his friends Paula (d. 404) and Eusebius of Cremona (d. ca. 423) are in neighboring grottoes.  Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature.Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 107. Print.

Angelic Announcement

Angelic AnnouncementExcerpt As Zechariah offers up the incense and prayer, an angel appears. Angelic visitations to announce births of major figures are common in the Old Testament (Gen 16:10–11;17:15–1918:10–1525:23Judg 13:3–21). This announcement is unusual, however, in that the father rather than the mother receives the message. The angel’s arrival produces fear in the priest. He senses the presence of God’s agent (Lk 1:29–301:652:95:8–10267:168:379:34) and is taken back by this surprising development. ore Bock, Darrell L. Luke. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

Spiritual Life for Nathanael

Spiritual Life for NathanaelExcerpt “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” This is one of the great cryptic statements of the New Testament. For centuries men have tried to decipher the symbolism of the fig tree. In some Scripture passages, it is a symbol for peace. In many others, it is a symbol of a home. Or it could be taken literally and just mean a fig tree. Exactly what it represents is not terribly important, but we will consider it as a fig tree. What is important is that Nathanael had a religious experience that no one but Jesus knew about. Maybe Nathanael had been reading the story of Jacob’s ladder. Maybe he had been contemplating being baptized by John the Baptist. Maybe he was thinking about the Messiah. Maybe he had prayed that the Messiah would reveal himself to him. The point is, Nathanael had had a spiritual experience under a fig tree and Jesus was saying, “I know about the experience you had that you shared only with God.” Jesus…

Sheep in the Figurative Sense

Sheep in the Figurative SenseRomans 8:36 Excerpt Throughout the nt the sheep is used in a figurative sense for human beings. Jesus compared Israel to sheep lost (Matt.10:6; cf. Isa. 53:6) and without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36). Sheep also play a role in several parables of Jesus (Matt. 12:11;18:1225:33) and the Gospel of John pictures Jesus as a protecting shepherd, willing to give his life for his sheep (10:7-9; cf. Ezek. 37:24; Ps. 23:1; Heb. 13:20). The people whom Jesus fed he compared to sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34) and he is himself compared to a sheep led to slaughter (Acts 8:32; cf. Isa. 53:7).  Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature.Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 938. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

December 14
  Having therefore these promises 2 Cor. 7:1
The forests in summer days are full of birds’ nests. They are hidden among the leaves. The little birds know where they are; and when a storm arises, or when night draws on, they fly, each to his own nest. So the promises of God are hidden in the Bible, like nests in the great forests; and thither we should fly in any danger or alarm, hiding there in our soul’s nest until the storm be over-past. There are no castles in this world so impregnable as the words of Christ.

J. R. Miller

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

My Utmost for His Highest

December 14th
The great life

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.… Let not your heart be troubled. John 14:27.

Whenever a thing becomes difficult in personal experience, we are in danger of blaming God, but it is we who are in the wrong, not God, there is some perversity somewhere that we will not let go. Immediately we do, everything becomes as clear as daylight. As long as we try to serve two ends, ourselves and God, there is perplexity. The attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. When once we get there, there is nothing easier than living the saintly life; difficulty comes in when we want to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own ends.
Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does or find out the reason why it does not. If you are acting on an impulse, or from a sense of the heroic, the peace of Jesus wil…

Morning and Evening

Morning, December 14Go To Evening Reading

“They go from strength to strength.”          —Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress.

Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough for us this morning. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-h…

Patient Endurance

December 14: Patient Endurance
Jeremiah 27:1–28:17; Romans 5:1–21; Proverbs 20:1–12

In theory, it’s easy to provide answers to difficult faith questions. But when we face real trials, everything changes. We gain a new perspective on the Bible passages we’ve memorized; the Christian maxims we’ve passed on to others reverse and hit us full force. We don’t have the option to talk in hypothetical s. Trials require heartfelt faith and total reliance on God.
Suffering and trials are not punishment or neglect on God’s part. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. Paul describes how God works through trials to build us up in faith. And His work is not a quick fix or an easy answer. It’s a process, as Paul describes in his letter to the Roman church: “And not only this, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces patient endurance, and patient endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been p…