Power at Pentecost

Power at Pentecost

Excerpt
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 (cf1:13). 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 Adultery

Excerpt
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 Gospel of Luke (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. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

A Prayer for Protection

A Prayer for Protection

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 One

Excerpt
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 (rōḇēṣ is used here in the figure of a crouching animalat 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. 8Cain 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 by living in a city in the land of Nod(lit., “wandering”), east of Eden (v. 16). More
Ross, Allen P. Genesis.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 34. Print.

Catholic Daily Readings


NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Catholic Daily Readings
First Reading Mic 5:1–4a or Ro 8:28–30
Response Is 61:10
Psalm Ps 13:6a–c

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings

FRIDAY BEFORE PROPER 18

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings
Psalm Ps 119:33–40 or Ps 149
First Reading Eze 24:15–27 or Ex 10:21–29
Second Reading Ro 10:15b–21

Book of Common Prayer (1928) Daily Office Lectionary

FRIDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK AFTER TRINITY, MORNING PRAYER

Book of Common Prayer (1928) Daily Office Lectionary
Psalm Ps 142143
First Reading 2 Sa 11:1–13
Second Reading Lk 24:13–35

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 8          Go 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 berries of the cluster, each heavenly boon may whisper to the tree and say, “From me is thy fruit found.” The fruit owes much to the root—that is essential to fruitfulness—but it owes very much also to external influences. How much we owe to God’s grace-providence! in which he provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength, or whatever else we want. To this we owe our all of usefulness or virtue.

Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener’s sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with that pruning which the Lord gives to thee. “My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Since our God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to him all the glory of our salvation.

Go To Morning Reading                 Evening, September 8

“The exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.”
Ephesians 1:19, 20

In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth nothing short of a divine power. What shall we say of those who think that conversion is wrought by the free will of man, and is due to his own betterness of disposition? When we shall see the dead rise from the grave by their own power, then may we expect to see ungodly sinners of their own free will turning to Christ. It is not the word preached, nor the word read in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Ghost. This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds: even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life. No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth, can stay the hand of God’s grace when it intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, “Thou shalt,” man shall not say, “I will not.” Observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honour upon God and wrought dismay in the hosts of evil. So there is great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner. It was everlasting power. “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” So we, being raised from the dead, go not back to our dead works nor to our old corruptions, but we live unto God. “Because he lives we live also.” “For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God.” “Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Lastly, in the text mark the union of the new life to Jesus. The same power which raised the Head works life in the members. What a blessing to be quickened together with Christ!


 Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896. Print.

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 Saul’s persecution, Luke shows that the church is resilient. Stephen was a source of encouragement and godly leadership for the church. Similarly, and in spite of his beginnings, Paul would expand the influence of the Church far beyond the expectations of its first followers.
In the end, Paul’s presence at Stephen’s stoning is not an irrelevant detail at all. God already had plans to use Paul’s life to further His kingdom work beyond Jerusalem and into the nations of the world. Paul’s conversion would be one of the greatest testaments of God’s saving work, demonstrating that God works to gather His community in ways we might not see. Even when circumstances seem grim, He is active behind the scenes, ready to use characters in His grand narrative for His good purpose.
How can you turn to Jesus for hope in your hopeless circumstances?
Rebecca Van Noord


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

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 along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily. It is done only by a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices. These choices are continually in antagonism to the entrenchments of our natural life, the things which erect themselves as ramparts against the knowledge of God. We can either go back and make ourselves of no account in the Kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things and let Jesus bring another son to glory.


 Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.