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Shriveled and Useless Bottles

Shriveled and Useless BottlesExcerpt Bottles made of animal skin were often hung in tents and other places where they were subject to the deteriorating action of the smoke from cook and camp fires. In some cases, skins of wine were deliberately hung in the smoke to give the wine a peculiar favor. When skin bottles were long exposed to smoke, they became black, hard, and shriveled—good for nothing. That is the sense of the figure of speech in our text-verse. More Freeman, James M., and Harold J. Chadwick. Manners & Customs of the Bible. North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998. Print.

I and the Father are One

I and the Father are OneJohn 10:30 Excerpt The statement in 10:30 that “I and the Father are one” has been an important battleground of theology.282 The first matter to note is that the word “one” here is neuter (hen) and not masculine (heis), so the text is not arguing for a oneness of personalities or personae (to use the Latin concept) but rather something akin to a oneness of purpose and will. The point being made then is that protecting the sheep (Christians) here is a joint task of the Father and the Son. Having made this point, however, it must be stated immediately that there is no intention here of speaking about two separate gods or of asserting the Arian denial of Jesus as God. Such ideas find no support in Johannine Christology. The clear thesis throughout the Gospel from the Prologue (in which the Word is declared to be God, 1:1) to Thomas’s climactic confession (“My Lord and my God!”20:28) is that Jesus is God.283 No other affirmation would be adequate for John. Moreover, …

A Pool Called Bethesda

A Pool Called BethesdaExcerpt Jesus is back in Jerusalem at an unspecified feast. He visits a pool at the northeast corner of the city where people with various illnesses gathered to seek to heal.* This pool was actually two large trapezoid-shaped pools with a twenty-one-foot-wide space between them. The whole structure was enclosed by porches on each side, with a fifth porch over the area dividing the two pools. The water was occasionally disturbed, perhaps from an underground source such as a spring with irregular flow or drainage from another pool. People believed one could be healed by getting into the pool when this disturbance occurred. It is implied that at least some of those who got into the pool when it was stirred actually were healed (5:7).* More Whitacre, Rodney A. John. Vol. 4. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

The Temptation of Jesus

The Temptation of JesusExcerpt We may be certain that the story was also told for its exemplary features in order to encourage Christians facing temptation and to indicate to them how to recognize and overcome it. They are to note that in each case Jesus replies to temptation with a quotation from Scripture, thereby indicating that the life of the man of God must follow certain clear principles expressive of God’s will which have already been revealed in the OT. It has been argued that this reduces the story to the level of a rabbinic Streitgesprächin which Jesus overcomes the devil by a superior knowledge of Scripture (cf. Bultmann, 271–275), but the point is rather that Jesus is obedient to God’s will in Scripture (H. Seesemann, TDNT VI, 23-36, especially 34-36 and n. 68), and not that he wins by superior dialectical skill. More Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978. Print. New International Greek Testament Commentary.

Connect the Testaments

July 18: When Kings Mourn 2 Samuel 1:1–2:32; 1 Peter 3:1–7; Psalm 133:1–134:3 No one can tell you how to mourn. You have to mourn as you see fit, making sure you don’t introduce sin into the grieving process. Several people who were dear to my heart have died. Each time, I processed it differently—immersing myself in work, weeping, or getting angry. If you’ve lost someone close to you, your experience with death is likely similar. But you may have noticed something else in the process: When someone passes away, we become weak and vulnerable to temptation. Wanting to vent our emotions, we may fall prey to sin. But loss is no excuse for sin; there is no excuse. King David, for all his strength, was always a very broken man when someone important to him died. Such brokenness is understandable, but a king must balance his behavior; he must be careful not to insult those who have loyally fought for him. David’s mourning over his best friend, Jonathan, was completely understandable (e.g., 1 Sam…

Morning and Evening

Morning, July 18Go To Evening Reading
“They shall go hindmost with their standards.” —Numbers 2:31
The camp of Dan brought up the rear when the armies of Israel were on the march. The Danites occupied the hindmost place, but what mattered the position, since they were as truly part of the host as were the foremost tribes; they followed the same fiery cloudy pillar, they ate of the same manna, drank of the same spiritual rock, and journeyed to the same inheritance. Come, my heart, cheer up, though last and least; it is thy privilege to be in the army, and to fare as they fare who lead the van. Some one must be hindmost in honour and esteem, some one must do menial work for Jesus, and why should not I? In a poor village, among an ignorant peasantry; or in a back street, among degraded sinners, I will work on, and “go hindmost with my standard.”
The Danites occupied a very useful place. Stragglers have to be picked up upon the march, and lost property has to be gathered from the field. Fiery…

My Utmost for His Highest

July 18th The mystery of believing And he said, Who art Thou, Lord?Acts 9:5. By the miracle of Redemption Saul of Tarsus was turned in one second from a strong-willed, intense Pharisee into a humble, devoted slave of the Lord Jesus. There is nothing miraculous about the things we can explain. We command what we are able to explain, consequently it is natural to seek to explain. It is not natural to obey; nor is it necessarily sinful to disobey. There is no moral virtue in obedience unless there is a recognition of a higher authority in the one who dictates. It is possibly an emancipation to the other person if he does not obey. If one man says to another—‘You must,’ and ‘You shall,’ he breaks the human spirit and unfits it for God. A man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is a recognition of a holy God. Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not a religion but Jesus Christ…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

July 18 Sow beside all waters Isa 32:20 Never mind whereabouts your work is. Never mind whether it is visible or not. Never mind whether your name is associated with it. You may never see the issues of your toils. You are working for eternity. If you cannot see results here in the hot working day, the cool evening hours are drawing near, when you may rest from your labors and then they will follow you. So do your duty, and trust God to give the seed you sow “a body as it hath pleased Him.” Alexander Maclaren

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