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Showing posts from July 28, 2017


HadesRevelation 1:18 Excerpt In the nt ... Hades appears both as a place (Acts 2:31) and as a being (Rev. 6:8). As a place it is the abode of the dead (Acts 2:27, 31). The notion that the realm of the dead had one or more gates controlling movement into and out of it is a very ancient one. It appears in the ot (Isa. 38:10) and in the nt(Matt. 16:18). In Rev. 1:18 the risen Christ says that he has ‘the keys of Death and Hades.’ The saying implies that Christ is able to unlock and lock the gates of Hades, that he has power over life and death. The saying in Matt. 16:18 means that the powers of death and other God-opposing forces will not triumph over the church (the community of believers in Jesus as the Christ). More Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible Dictionary 1985: 365. Print.

The Power of the Word Unto Wisdom

The Power of the Word Unto WisdomExcerpt The testimonies of the Lord are “wonderful,” i.e., superhuman in their excellence. Their sublimity and mystery are what attracts the psalmist to them. The unfolding of that word equips the simple who need instruction to discern between right and wrong. He craved this wisdom food and opened his mouth to receive it. He boldly suggests that those who love God’s name are entitled to his mercy. He asks for guidance so that he might avoid both temptation from within and trial from without. He urges God to redeem him from oppressors so that he may freely practice his faith. He asks that God might illuminate the darkness that surrounds him with the light of his presence. The righteous indignation which he feels at one moment for the lawlessness of men (v. 53) is tempered here by profound sorrow and pity. More Smith, James E. The Wisdom Literature and Psalms. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1996. Print. Old Testament Survey Series.

Disease and Healing in the First Century

Disease and Healing in the First CenturyActs 4:9 Excerpt In the early Christian period illness may be caused by numerous demonic entities who are not always acting at Yahweh’s command (Matt. 15:22Luke 11:14), and not necessarily by the violation of covenant stipulations (John 9:2). Illnesses mentioned include fevers (Mark 1:30), hemorrhages (Matt. 9:20), and what has been identified by some scholars as epilepsy (Mark 9:14–29). The cure for illness may be found in this world, and not simply in some utopian future. Christianity also may have attracted patients who were too poor to afford fees charged in many Greco-Roman traditions (cf. Matt. 10:8). Some Greco-Roman traditions insisted that travel to a shrine was necessary for healing, but Christianity, with its emphasis on the value of faith alone, in effect announced that travel to a shrine was not required (Matt. 8:8). Likewise, Christianity resisted temporal restrictions on when healing could be administered (Mark 3:2–5). Nonetheless,…

“I Was Afraid”

“I Was Afraid”Excerpt This ill affection toward God arose from his false notions of him, and nothing is more unworthy of God, nor more hinders our duty to him, than slavish fear. This has bondage and torment and is directly opposite to that entire love which the great commandment requires. Note, Hard thoughts of God drive us from, and cramp us in his service. Those who think it impossible to please him, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. More Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994. Print.

Connect the Testaments

July 28: I Will Laud Your Deeds 2 Samuel 19:1–43; 2 Peter 3:1–13; Psalm 145:1–21 I grew up in a family of stoics. Through example, my siblings and I were taught to keep our emotions to ourselves. Displays of excessive affection or sorrow were regarded with some suspicion, and this played out in our expressions of faith. Psalm 145 directly challenges such a mindset. The psalmist expresses why confessing God’s faithfulness is so important, especially to those we influence: “One generation will laud your works to another, and will declare your mighty deeds” (Psa 145:4). God’s mighty deeds were His redemptive acts—especially the exodus from Egypt. His greatness (Psa 145:6), His righteousness (Psa 145:7), His glory, and His power (Psa 145:11, 12) were expressed. Our praise should be centered on God’s ultimate restorative work through His Son—an act that has brought us back into intimate communion with Him. We can bring our sorrows and failures to Him: “Yahweh upholds all who are falling, and r…

Morning and Evening

Morning, July 28Go To Evening Reading
“So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was a beast before thee.” —Psalm 73:22
Remember this is the confession of the man after God’s own heart; and in telling us his inner life, he writes, “So foolish was I, and ignorant.” The word “foolish,” here, means more than it signifies in ordinary language. David, in a former verse of the Psalm, writes, “I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,” which shows that the folly he intended had sin in it. He puts himself down as being thus “foolish,” and adds a word which is to give intensity to it; “so foolish was I.”How foolish he could not tell. It was a sinful folly, a folly which was not to be excused by frailty, but to be condemned because of its perverseness and wilful ignorance, for he had been envious of the present prosperity of the ungodly, forgetful of the dreadful end awaiting all such. And are we better than David that we should call ourselves wise! Do we profess that we have a…

My Utmost for His Highest

July 28th After obedience—what? And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side.…Mark 6:45–52. We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, the desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end. What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process—that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the proces…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

July 28 Your heavenly Father knoweth Matt. 6:32 The Master judges by the result, but our Father judges by the effort. Failure does not always mean fault. He knows how much things cost, and weighs them where others only measure. Your Father! Think how great store His love sets by the poor beginnings of the little ones, clumsy and unmeaning as they may be to others. All this lies in this blessed relationship, and infinitely more. Do not fear to take it all as your own. Mark Guy Pearse

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