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Showing posts from September 8, 2017

Power at Pentecost

Power at PentecostExcerpt This event on Pentecost begins in a house where the disciples were“all together”(v. 1). It is not made clear whether this is the same location as the “upper room” where the Last Supper was eaten, or where the disciples were staying (cf. 1:13). There is some interesting evidence of the validity of the tradition that the place on Mount Zion now known as the Cenacle was the location where the earliest Christians met and that it quickly became a holy site, a place for ongoing Christian worship. Somewhere along the line the event migrates to the temple precincts, the only place such a crowd could or would likely be congregated, but Luke does not explain the sequence, only the events. More Witherington, Ben, III. The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998. Print.

The Woman Caught in Adultery

The Woman Caught in AdulteryExcerpt This story, beloved for its revelation of God’s mercy toward sinners, is found only in John. It was almost certainly not part of John’s original Gospel. The NIV separates this passage off from the rest of the Gospel with the note, “The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:538:11.” That is, the earliest Greek manuscripts, the earliest translations and the earliest church fathers all lack reference to this story. Furthermore, some manuscripts place it at other points within John (after 7:367:44 or 21:25), others include it in the GospelofLuke (placing it after Luke 21:38), and many manuscripts have marks that indicate the scribes “were aware that it lacked satisfactory credentials” (Metzger 1994:189). Furthermore, it contains many expressions that are more like those in the Synoptic Gospels than those in John. More Whitacre, Rodney A. John. Vol. 4. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999. Print. Th…

A Prayer for Protection

A Prayer for ProtectionJohn 17:15 Excerpt The prayer of Jesus was not for God to send something like “rescue planes” to evacuate the disciples from their hostile setting in the world. Such a plan would destroy God’s mission through them. Nor was it to wrap them in some plastic, danger-free safety casing where they would never encounter evil. But the prayer of Jesus was to protect them from succumbing to the onslaught of evil or the evil one. More Borchert, Gerald L. John 12–21. Vol. 25B. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002. Print. The New American Commentary.

Prey for the Evil One

Prey for the Evil OneExcerpt God’s advice was that if Cain would please God by doing what is right, all would be well. But if not sin would be crouching (rōḇēṣis used here in the figure of a crouching animal) at his door, ready to overcome him. Sin desires to have Cain (these words show God’s interpretation of “desire,” the same Heb. word, in Gen. 3:16), but Cain could have the mastery over it. Here is the perpetual struggle between good and evil. Anyone filled with envy and strife is prey for the evil one. 4:8-16. After murdering his brother (v. 8) Cain repudiated responsibility for it (v. 9) and claimed that God’s punishment (cropless soil and wandering, vv. 10-12) was too severe (v. 13). God graciously protected him by some mark or sign that would be a deterrent to an avenger (v. 15—nowhere is the nature of this “mark” clarified), but God condemned him to a life of ceaseless wandering (v. 12). This was his curse, to be banished from God’s presence (v. 14). But Cain defied that curse …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

September 8 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever Ps. 21:4 When poor men make requests of us we usually answer them as the echo does the voice—the answer cuts off half the petition. We shall seldom find among men Jael’s courtesy, giving milk to those that ask water, except it be as this was, an entangling benefit, the better to introduce a mischief. There are not many Naamans among us, that, when you beg of them one talent, will force you to take two; but God’s answer to our prayers is like a multiplying glass, which renders the request much greater in the answer than it was in the prayer. Bishop Reynolds

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

Morning and Evening

Morning, September 8Go To Evening Reading
“From me is thy fruit found.” Hosea 14:8
Our fruit is found from our God as to union. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit. Every bunch of grapes have been first in the root, it has passed through the stem, and flowed through the sap vessels, and fashioned itself externally into fruit, but it was first in the stem; so also every good work was first in Christ, and then is brought forth in us. O Christian, prize this precious union to Christ; for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness which thou canst hope to know. If thou wert not joined to Jesus Christ, thou wouldst be a barren bough indeed.
Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the dew-drops fall from heaven, when the cloud looks down from on high, and is about to distil its liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berrie…

Connect the Testaments

September 8: Resilient Hope and Red Herrings Joel 3:1–21; Acts 7:54–8:25; Job 19:1–12 The death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, must have crushed and discouraged the early church. But in this event Luke shows us glimmers of hope. He reminds us that God is working behind the scenes. Facing death, Stephen prayed for his persecutors, asking that God “not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). God answered that cry of mercy in a generous way. As we watch Stephen being forced out of the city and stoned to death, Luke introduces us to another character present in the crowd: “The witnesses laid aside their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul” (Acts 7:54). This detail seems like a red herring, but by introducing Saul (later Paul) to us before his conversion, Luke gives his readers hope in desperate circumstances. Saul was determined to squelch this dangerous new sect coming out of Nazareth, but soon Paul would become its greatest advocate. By placing Stephen’s death alongside S…

My Utmost for His Highest

September 8th Do it yourself Determinedly Demolish some Things. Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.2 Cor. 10:5. Deliverance from sin is not deliverance from human nature. There are things in human nature, such as prejudices, which the saint has to destroy by neglect; and other things which have to be destroyed by violence, i.e., by the Divine strength imparted by God’s Spirit. There are some things over which we are not to fight, but to stand still in and see the salvation of God; but every theory or conception which erects itself as a rampart against the knowledge of God is to be determinedly demolished by drawing on God’s power, not by fleshly endeavour or compromise (v. 4). It is only when God has altered our disposition and we have entered into the experience of sanctification that the fight begins. The warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin: Jesus Christ deals with sin in Redemption. The conflict is alon…