Daily Archives: July 28, 2019

July 28 Saved by Grace

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:1–6

Key Verse: Romans 11:6

And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Freedom is a word with many political and religious applications. In its purest sense, however, freedom is defined as liberty from bondage or enslavement. When the apostle Paul addressed the church of Galatia, he spoke of a specific type of freedom—the freedom Christ offers from “works.” Paul provided this clarification because many Galatians had been mistakenly led to add unnecessary qualifications to obtaining salvation. They were still trying to earn favor with God and forgiveness of their sins by doing good works and offering sacrifices. Paul reminded the church that their efforts were futile because Christ’s death on the cross had paid the price for the world’s sins. Therefore, there was no need to attempt to achieve perfection by obeying the old law, which had formerly enslaved them.

The liberating news is that we are saved by God’s grace alone. If that wasn’t true—if we can earn God’s favor—then grace isn’t really grace at all (Romans 11:6). If a person believes he can earn salvation, he feels no need for God’s grace. As believers, we know this to be untrue.

Use your prayer time today to intercede for the citizens of our world who are still in bondage to the law. Ask God to reach their hearts with the news of the free gift of eternal life made available through Jesus’ shed blood.

Dear Lord, thank You for freedom from the works of the law and salvation by grace alone. I pray for those still in bondage to the law. Let them learn of Your precious gift of salvation.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 219). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


I was reading today in Jeremiah, and I thought of Russell Moore (and a decent number of his followers).

For Fourth of July (of course), Russell tweeted that II Chronicles 7:14 does not apply to America. This point seems to be cheered pretty heavily by a lot of younger pastors now, who seem to think with Andrew Cuomo that America can’t be great “again” because “it has never been great” to begin with. That sentiment, and the first one, are not the same thought, but they seem to be of the same origin.

To recap, here’s II Chronicles 7:14:

“If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray, and see My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I shall hear them from Heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal their land.”

Russell et al. say this doesn’t apply to America, because it applies not to any land, but only to the land, which is to say, the specific land of Old Covenant Israel.

But is that actually correct?

Here’s what I read today (as I read around this time every year), in Jeremiah 18:7-8:

“If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.”

Note the shift from the definite to the indefinite article. Jeremiah (and thus God) is not just talking about Judah and Israel: He’s talking about all kingdoms everywhere.

My immediate thought upon hearing Russell’s absurd statement was that he was suggesting — horribly wrongly — that believers (who are most certainly “My people, who are called by My Name”, regardless of the country in which they live) should not be able to trust in God’s merciful dealing with those who repent.

That seemed somewhat horrifying to me, and contrary to the Gospel, not least because it seemed (and seems) motivated by a not-so-subtle anti-American agenda I find thoroughly misguided, but mostly because it robs believers of legitimate, Biblically-founded hope.

But on second thought, I find it worse than that: it expressly defies Scripture on the national level as well. For God has told us expressly that if any nation should turn from its evil, He will relent and turn from His judgment against it.

So why should our pastors — like Russell — deny this, as to America or anyone else? Why do their politics trump the plainly stated Word of God? They certainly don’t take such a hyper-individualist view of the Gospel when they routinely condemn “the American church”.

I leave the answer to that question to your judgment. But as for me and my house, we shall take seriously the Word of the Lord, and pray that these gentlemen will not make any more such grossly misleading statements in public, where little ones might be deceived.

— Russell Moore and II Chronicles 7:14 originally appeared as a Facebook post by Rod D. Martin.


July 28 Rejection

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:19–23

Key Verse: Psalm 117:2

His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

In the Vietnam War, special bullets were sometimes used that caused far more physical destruction than ordinary bullets.

The experience and fear of rejection can likewise cause far more inner trauma than most other emotional afflictions.

Rejection strikes brutally at our most vulnerable spot—our sense of self-worth. If you have been rejected by another, the pain can be alleviated and the wounds healed by deliberately embracing God’s unfailing love.

While selfish, ego-centered man sets up unattainable standards, the good news of the gospel is that Christians are now fully accepted by the perfect One Himself—God the Father. God never rejects us because of our performance or appearance. He loves us so completely that once we are reconciled through faith in Jesus Christ, we are forever secure in His love.

You meet God’s standards through Christ’s imputed righteousness. When others spurn you, turn immediately to Christ’s waiting arms. His loving-kindness endures forever and will help you rise above the rejection of others.

O God, help me rise above the rejection of those around me. You accept me. I meet all Your standards through Jesus Christ. That is all that matters.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 219). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

What do ancient non-Christian sources tell us about the historical Jesus?


The Annals, by Roman historian Tacitus The Annals, by Roman historian Tacitus

This article from Biblical Archaeology covers all the non-Christian historical sources that discuss Jesus.

About the author:

Lawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).

Here are the major sections:

  • Roman historian Tacitus
  • Jewish historian Josephus
  • Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata
  • Platonist philosopher Celsus
  • Roman governor Pliny the Younger
  • Roman historian Suetonius
  • Roman prisoner Mara bar Serapion

And this useful excerpt captures the broad facts about Jesus that we get from just the first two sources:

We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in…

View original post 922 more words

Sunday’s Hymn: My Jesus, I Love Thee — Rebecca Writes



My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

I’ll love thee in life, I will love thee in death;
And praise thee as long as thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow:
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow:
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

—William Featherstone


Other hymns, worship songs, or quotes for this Sunday:

via Sunday’s Hymn: My Jesus, I Love Thee — Rebecca Writes

July 28 Trusting with All Your Heart

Scripture reading: Proverbs 3:5–12

Key verse: Proverbs 2:6

For the Lord gives wisdom;

From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Oswald Chambers wrote that our possessions and abilities are to be a matter of indifference to us:

Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is not time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?”

If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guide it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard—we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts.

Father, help me to trust You in faith with all my heart instead of leaning on my own understanding.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 219). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Rep. John Ratcliffe: Sad But True… Mueller Report was Written by Hillary Clinton’s De Facto Legal Team (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), a former US Attorney of the Eastern District of Texas and member of the House Intelligence Committee, joined Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures this morning to discuss the Mueller testimony this past week.

Ratcliffe called Mueller’s testimony made it obvious that there’s a hole in the impeachment balloon large enough for Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff to walk through.

He added this on the corrupt Mueller investigators.

Rep. John Ratcliffe: Nadler and Schiff are starting to look more and more like Laurel and Hardy. It’s time to move on… Trey Gowdy said it best this week, the person who learned the most about the Mueller report during Wednesday’s hearings was Robert Mueller. And that’s sad but true. And the Mueller report and its conclusions weren’t from Robert Mueller. They were written by what a lot of people believe was Hillary Clinton’s de facto legal team, people that supported her, even represented some of her aides. So the Mueller report is really going to be difficult for the Democrats or anyone to rely upon the findings of a report when they just listened to the man whose name was on top of it not have a command of what was even in it.

Via Sunday Morning Futures:

via Rep. John Ratcliffe: Sad But True… Mueller Report was Written by Hillary Clinton’s De Facto Legal Team (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

How Mueller’s Lawyers Spun the OLC Guidance on Indicting a Sitting President — National Review

Why did Mueller’s staff of very able lawyers, many of them activist Democrats, twist the Office of Legal Counsel guidance?

Andrew Weissmann, a member of the Mueller-probe legal team, talks to reporters in downtown Houston in October 2002. (Donna Carson/Reuters)

After Mueller, it is worth another look at its role in the report and its fallout.

This is Part Two of a two-part series. In Part One, we took a look at the OLC guidance that bars the indictment of a sitting president. (The OLC is the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.) In particular, we looked at (a) how, in investigating President Trump for purported obstruction, special counsel Robert Mueller’s staff distorted the guidance into a prohibition against even considering whether an offense occurred; and (b) the futile hope of congressional Democrats, during Wednesday’s hearings, that Mueller would contradict his final report on this point.

In Part Two, we explore why Mueller’s staff of very able lawyers, many of them activist Democrats, twisted the OLC guidance. (Spoiler: Their priority was to get their evidence to Congress, intact and as quickly as possible, in hopes of fueling an impeachment drive, or at least damaging Trump politically.) We also analyze how attorney general Bill Barr deftly dealt with the Mueller staff’s gamesmanship.

Read more: How Mueller’s Lawyers Spun the OLC Guidance on Indicting a Sitting President — National Review

July 28, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

15. The Prophet inculcates the same truth; and he did this designedly; for he saw that nothing was more difficult than to bring this people to repentance, who, in the first place, were by nature refractory; and, in the second place, were hardened by long habit in their vices. For Satan gains dominion by degrees in the hearts of men, until he renders them wholly stupid, so that they discern not between right and wrong. Such, then, was the blindness which prevailed among the people of Israel: it was therefore necessary often to goad them as Amos does here.

Hence he bids them to hate evil and to love good. And this order ought to be preserved, when we desire really to turn to God and to repent. Amos here addresses perverse men, who were so immersed in their own wickedness, that they distinguished no longer between light and darkness: it was therefore not without reason that he begins with this sentence, that they should hate evil; as though he had said, that there had been hitherto a hostile disagreement between them and God, and that therefore a change was necessary, in order that they might return to him. For when any one has already wished to devote himself to God’s service, this exhortation to hate evil is superfluous: but when one is sunk still in his own vices, he has need of such a stimulant. The Prophet therefore does here reprove them; and though they flattered themselves, he yet shows that they were greatly addicted to their vices.

He afterwards adds, Love good. He intimates, that it would be a new thing for them to cultivate benevolence, and to apply themselves to what was right. The import of the whole is this,—that the Israelites would have no peace with God, until they were wholly changed and became new men; for they were now strangers to goodness, and given to wickedness and depravity. But Amos mentions here only a part of repentance: for טוב, thub, no doubt means the doing of good, as iniquity is properly called רע, ro, [the doing of evil.] He speaks not here of faith, or of prayer to God, but describes repentance by its fruits; for our faith, as it has been stated in other places, is proved in this way; it manifests itself, when sincerity and uprightness towards one another flourish in us, when we spontaneously love one another and perform the duties of love. Thus then by stating a part for the whole, is repentance here described; that is, the whole, as they commonly say, is shown by a part.

But now the Prophet adds, And set up judgment in the gate. He here glances at the public state of things, of which we have largely spoken in our yesterday’s lecture. A deluge of iniquity had so inundated the land, that in the very courts of justice, and in the passing of judgments, there was no longer any equity, any justice. Since then corruption had taken possession of the very gates, the Prophet exhorts them to set up judgment in the gate; it may be, he says, that God will show mercy to the remnants of Joseph. The Prophet shows here that it was hardly possible that the people should continue safe; nay, that this was altogether hopeless. But as the common degeneracy, like a violent tempest, carried away the good along with it, the Prophet here admonishes the faithful not to despond, though they were few in number, but to betake themselves to God, to suffer others to fall away and to run headlong to ruin, and at the same time to provide for their own safety, as those who flee away from the burning.

We now then understand the object of the Prophet: for when the whole multitude, given up to destruction, had laid aside every care for their safety, a few remained, who yet suffered themselves to be borne along, as though a tempest, as it has been said, had carried them away. The Prophet then does here give comfort to such good men as were still alive, and shows that though the people were sinking, there was no reason for them to despair, for the Lord still promised to be propitious to them. What this doctrine teaches is this,—that ten ought not to regard what a thousand may do; but they ought to hear God speaking, rather than to abandon themselves with the multitude; when they see men blindly and impetuously running headlong to their own ruin, they should not follow them, but rather listen to God, and not reject his offered salvation. However much then their small number may dishearten them, they ought not yet to suffer God’s promises to be forced or snatched away from them, but fully to embrace them.

The expression, it may be, is not one of doubt, as it has been stated in another place, (Joel 2,) but the Prophet, on the contrary, intended sharply to stimulate the faithful, that he might, as it was needful, increase their alacrity. Whenever then פן, pen, lest perhaps, or אולי, auli, it may be, is set down, let us know, that they are not intended to leave men’s minds in suspense or perplexity, that they may despond or come to God in doubt; but that a difficulty is thereby implied, in order to stir them up and to increase the ardour of their desire: and this is necessary in a mixed state of things, for we see how great is the indolence of our flesh. Even they who desire to return to God, do not hasten with that ardour which becomes them, but creep slowly, and hardly draw themselves along; and then when many obstacles meet them, they who would have been otherwise full of courage, almost despair at every step. It is therefore necessary to apply such goadings as these, “Take heed; for when any one is beset on every side by fire, he will not long delay, nor think with himself how he may escape without any hurt and without any inconvenience; but he will risk danger rather than that he should by delay or tardiness deprive himself of a way of escape. So also ye see, that iniquity surrounds you on every side; what then is to be done, except that each of you must quickly flee away?”

We now then perceive the design of the Prophet in saying, It may be that he will show mercy. The sum of the whole is this,—That there was need of a great change, that they might become altogether new men, who had hitherto devoted themselves to wickedness,—and then, that the few should not wait until the whole multitude joined them; for though the people resolved to go astray, yet God ought to have been attended to, when recalling the few to himself and bidding them to escape, as it were, from the burning,—and, thirdly, that there is stated here a difficulty, that those still healable might not come tardily to God, but that they might strive against impediments and quickly run to him, seeing that they could not without great effort extricate themselves; they were therefore to come to God, not slowly; but having overcome all difficulties, they were, on the contrary, to flee to him.[1]

15 The people are not only to stop seeking evil (v. 14) but are also to “hate evil [and] love good.” The imperatives in this section are progressive. The people are exhorted to seek the Lord (v. 4), not just in external allegiance to him but also in ethical obedience that involves commitment to him (v. 14). The will, along with the emotive powers, is to be devoted to the love of good and the hatred of evil. Only this kind of devotion will bring “life.” If the people fulfill these conditions, it is possible that the Lord will “have mercy on the remnant of Joseph” (see comment on v. 6).

Because the term “remnant” (šeʾērît) connotes a portion of something, several commentators have applied “the remnant of Joseph” to those Israelites who will survive the Assyrian decimations (K&D, Mays). Verse 3 certainly supports that interpretation. Yet if Amos’s exhortation in v. 14 holds open the possibility of the nation’s restoration based on their repentance, it is difficult to see why the similar appeal in v. 15 is thrust far into the future to find fulfillment only in the remnant who will survive the impending destruction. If Amos’s appeal to the northern kingdom for repentance in v. 6 carries with it the possibility of escape from God’s judgment, it is likely that the appeal of v. 15 does also.

God’s people through whom the terms of the promise are guaranteed are hardly the “remnant,” for the word “perhaps” implies that God’s promise can be invalidated. If the term “remnant of Joseph” is understood as a surrogate for the northern kingdom, the appeals of vv. 14–15 are consonant with each other.

One difficulty with this view is that Israel had extensive territorial holdings and was hardly a remnant. Also, “remnant” implies a part of something. Yet in spite of the fact that the northern kingdom was enjoying the glory of the “Silver Age,” Amos sees it as small and weak. He intercedes for the kingdom in 7:2 thus: “How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” The prophet sees Israel as God sees it—not mighty and powerful, but vulnerable and on the verge of destruction. “Remnant” may connote Israel’s insignificance in the world of her day. In answer to the objection that the word connotes a part of something, Micah 4:7 uses it to refer to the whole nation in the restoration. It is parallel to “strong nation” in that couplet.

If these appeals for repentance seem not to be in accord with Amos’s pronouncements of inevitable doom elsewhere, it may be that while he sees no hope for the nation, he continues to hold out the gracious offer of deliverance, even though only a few will respond.[2]

5:15 will be gracious to The prophets preached repentance in the hope that there was still a chance to avert divine wrath. See note on Joel 2:12.

the remnant of Joseph Those who remain from the northern kingdom after the judgment. See note on Isa 1:9.[3]

[1] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Vol. 2, pp. 275–278). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] McComiskey, T. E., & Longman, T., III. (2008). Amos. In D. E. Garland (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, pp. 398–399). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Am 5:15). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

July 28 – Humbled by God’s grace — Reformed Perspective

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God Who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them.” – Deuteronomy 7:9-10a

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:13-15

God had marked the conquest of Canaan on His calendar long before Israel crossed the Jordan. He told Abraham, Your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs . . . And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the sin of the Amorites is not yet complete.(Genesis 15:13,14)

That’s what the commander of the army of the LORD was saying: I’m not here for Israel’s benefit, in the first place, but to carry out God’s righteous judgment because the sin of the Amorites is complete. And this is the gospel for you: in His sovereign grace and His divine wisdom, God has decided to glorify Himself by saving you, even while He judges Canaan.

There’s a warning there for Israel, and for us. Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 7:

The LORD your God has chosen you . . . because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore to your fathers. . . . Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God Who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate Him, by destroying them. . . . You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.

Knowing that we are God’s people by sovereign grace alone should make us humble, thankful, and obedient.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that God will never allow you to forget His mercy, or to become proud or thankless, but that you will always walk with Him and with your neighbor in genuine humility.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario.

via July 28 – Humbled by God’s grace — Reformed Perspective

July 28 Called to the Marketplace

scripture reading: Colossians 3:12–25
key verse: Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

In a watershed survey dealing with moral and ethical behavior for the Wall Street Journal, a 1983 Gallup Poll uncovered some astonishing results. The survey stated: “The results show the churched to feel somewhat more likely than the unchurched that charging a company for a cab ride is wrong, but other differences are of only marginal significance.… In the case of other types of behavior—lying, cheating, and pilferage—the differences are not significant or of marginal significance.” It’s no wonder that the business world sees little compelling evidence that Christianity is a practical, valid faith for all of life, not just Sunday morning.

Because He is Lord of our lives, God’s wisdom, grace, and counsel are available for all of life, making us salt and light through the methods and quality of our work.

God has given work supreme dignity. It was His idea. He has called you to work. Whatever the nature of your job, the reality of your faith is communicated.

Christianity works in the workplace. Ask Christ to equip you to be His witness to your coworkers, and your job will become not just a career, but a calling.

Heavenly Father, help me reflect Your truth through my conduct and integrity in the marketplace of this world. Make me salt and light through the quality of my work.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

SSB Sunday Gathering – July 28, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board

This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

-by Kathi

Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Ordinary Time, Year 1 and may be found here.

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty — he is the King of glory.

Romans 12: 9 – 21

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 25: 31 – 46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”



May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.


Feel free to join the discussion.

You can share your church struggles and concerns.

Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.

What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?

Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

via SSB Sunday Gathering – July 28, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board

28 july (preached 18 December 1853) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The faultless assembly

“They are without fault before the throne of God.” Revelation 14:5

suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17–22

We need not go far without seeing that there is, among Christians, a want of love to one another. There is not too much love in our churches; certainly, we have none to give away. We have heard that:

“Whatever brawls disturb the street,

There should be peace at home.”

But it is not always as it should be. We have known churches where the members can scarcely sit down at the Lord’s table without some disagreement. There are people who are always finding fault with the minister, and there are ministers finding fault with the people; there is among them “a spirit that lusteth to envy,” and “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” We have met with people among whom it would be misery to place ourselves, because we do not love war; we love peace and charity. Alas! How continually do we hear accounts of disputings and variance in churches! O beloved, there is too little love in the churches! If Jesus were to come amongst us, might He not say to us, “This is My commandment, that ye love one another; but how have you kept it when you have been always finding fault with one another? And how ready you have been to turn your sword against your brother!” But, beloved, “they are without fault before the throne of God.” Those who on earth could not agree, are sure to agree when they get to heaven. There are some who have crossed swords on earth, but who have held the faith, and have been numbered amongst the saints in glory everlasting. There is no fighting amongst them now; “they are without fault before the throne of God.”

for meditation: The very best of Christians may have fallen out with one another (Acts 15:39), but the Bible entreats disputants to agree in the Lord (Philippians 4:2). It is beautiful when brothers dwell in unity (Psalm 133:1), but perplexing when they wrong each other (Acts 7:26). May God help us to do “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

2nd sermon at new park st.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 216). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

28 JULY 365 Days with Calvin

Standing Firm

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2

suggested further reading: Ephesians 2:11–22

Our reconciliation with God depends solely on Christ, for he alone is the beloved Son, and we are by nature the children of wrath. This favor is communicated to us by the gospel, for the gospel is the ministry of reconciliation, by which we are in a manner brought into the kingdom of God.

Rightly then does Paul set before our eyes in Christ a sure pledge of God’s favor, so that he might more easily draw us away from every confidence in works. He teaches us by using the word access that salvation begins with Christ. He therefore excludes those preparations by which foolish men imagine that they can anticipate God’s mercy. It is as though he says, “Christ comes not to you, nor helps you, on account of your merits.”

He then immediately adds that it is through continuing the same favor that our salvation becomes certain and sure, thereby intimating that perseverance is not founded on our power and diligence, but on Christ. At the same time, he says that we stand, indicating that the gospel ought to strike such deep roots into the hearts of the godly that, strengthened by its truth, they may stand firm against all the devices of Satan and of the flesh. By the word stand, he also means that faith is not a changeable persuasion which lasts only for a day, but it is immutable and sinks deep into the heart so that it endures throughout life.

Therefore, it is not he who is led by a sudden impulse to believe, that has faith, and is to be reckoned among the faithful; but he who constantly, and, so to speak, with a firm and fixed foot, abides in that place appointed to him by God so as to cleave always to Christ.

for meditation: To stand in this grace of God is a great privilege and an inestimable mercy. We only stand because of Christ and his work. That leaves no room for boasting but only for rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God. If you are standing in that grace today, praise him for that mercy and rest in it as you face the day’s temptations and trials.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 228). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

EChurch@Wartburg – 7.27.19 Wade Burleson: Gleaning Satisfaction —

Wade Burleson continues on the Book of Ruth


A Prayer by William Barclay link
1907-1978 link

O God, you are our refuge
When we are exhausted by life’s efforts;
When we are bewildered by life’s problems;
When we are wounded by life’s sorrows:
We come for refuge to you.
O God, you are our strength.

When our tasks are beyond our powers;
When our temptations are too strong for us;
When duty calls for more than we have to give to it:
We come for strength to you.

O God, it is from you that all goodness comes
It is from you that our ideals come;
It is from you that there comes to us the spur of high desire and the restraint of conscience.
It is from you that there has come the strength to resist any temptation, and to do any good thing.

And now as we pray to you,
Help us to believe in your love,
so that we may be certain
that you will hear our prayer;

Help us to believe in your power,
so that we may be certain
that you are able to do for us
above all that we ask or think;

Help us to believe in your wisdom,
so that we may be certain
that you will answer,
not as our ignorance asks,
but as your perfect wisdom knows best.

All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Prayer of Confession link

I confess to You, Lord, what I am: I am not the person I like others to think I am;
I am afraid to admit even to myself what lies in the depths of my soul.

But I do not want to hide my true self from You.
I believe that You know me as I am, yet You love me.
Help me not to shrink from self-knowledge; teach me to respect myself for your sake;
give me the courage to put my trust in Your guidance and power.

I come with open hands and a receptive mind and heart today,
letting go of my fears, my need for control & my sin.
I trust you to know best. To keep my life in the light and bring it to completion as you see fit.

I trust you to shape me, see me, steer me, stir me, sustain me and sanctify me
as I seek to be available to do your will and be your child.
I pray this in the name of my Perfect Providing Father,
my Forgiving Savior, my Loving Lord and my Sanctifying Spirit,

The Lord’s Prayer (traditional) link

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

Scripture Reading: Ruth 2:17-23 NIV

17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.[a] 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.

19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”

Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.

20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.[b]”

21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”

22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”

23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.


Benediction link

Let us go forth into the world in peace and dedicated to Your service, O Lord.
Let us hold fast to that which is good, render to no person evil for evil,
strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the needy and the afflicted, and honor all people.
Let us love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of His Spirit.
And may God’s blessing be upon us and remain with us always.

via EChurch@Wartburg – 7.27.19 Wade Burleson: Gleaning Satisfaction —

July 28, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

7–9 The confident answer begins with an interjection—“surely” (see Notes). Because death is the common experience of humankind, rich and poor alike, the rich cannot boast of any advantage over the poor. They cannot use their money to redeem themselves from death or to send a substitute for themselves. They may live on a grandiose scale so as to give the impression that they will live forever, but they, too, must ultimately face death for what it is—a separation from the land of the living, from the comforts of life, and from social and economic distinctions. This separation is summed up in one word: “the pit” (v. 9; NIV, “decay”). The “pit,” as a synonym for “Sheol” (cf. 16:10), signifies death and possibly retribution for the evil done in life (cf. 94:13).[1]

Verses 7–9 state that the fate of all human beings is the same and that no one can redeem (from the root pāḏâ) or ransom (from kāp̱ar) their being from that fate. The language used in these verses is most likely based on the Israelite tradition of the redemption of the firstborn, which the book of Exodus describes as originating in the event of Passover:

You shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your livestock that are males shall be the Lord’s.… Every firstborn male among your children you shall redeem [pādâ]. When in the future your child asks you, “What does this mean?” you shall answer, … “When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human firstborn to the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every male that first opens the womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem [pādâ].” (Exod. 13:12–15)

Even the wealthy do not have enough riches to pay the ransom to redeem themselves from the inevitable fate of all humanity—death, the pit (v. 9).[2]

Ver. 7.—None of them can by any means redeem his brother. The text is suspected. If we read אַךְ for אָה, with Ewald and Professor Cheyne, the right translation will be, Nevertheless, no man can by any means redeem himself. With all his boasting, the rich man cannot effect his own redemption; nor, however great his wealth, can he give to God a ransom for him; i.e. for himself. “Brother” is not used in the Psalms in the sense of “fellow-man,” but only in the literal sense of close blood-relation (Pss. 35:14; 50:20).

Ver. 8.—For the redemption of their soul is precious; or, costly—too costly, i.e. for them, however rich they may be, to be able to effect it (comp. Job 36:18, 19). And it ceaseth for ever; rather, and one must let that alone for ever (Cheyne, Kay, Hengstenberg, Revised Version).

Ver. 9.—That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. This verse is to be closely connected with ver. 7, ver. 8 being parenthetical. It describes the effect which the payment of a ransom by the rich, were it possible, might be expected to have.[3]

7. “None of them can by any means redeem his brother.” With all their riches, the whole of them put together could not rescue a comrade from the chill grasp of death. They boast of what they will do with us, let them see to themselves. Let them weigh their gold in the scales of death, and see how much they can buy therewith from the worm and the grave. The poor are their equals in this respect; let them love their friend ever so dearly, they cannot “give to God a reason for him. A king’s ransom would be of no avail, a Monte Rosa of rubies, an America of silver, a world of gold, a sun of diamonds, would all be utterly contemned. O ye boasters, think not to terrify us with your worthless wealth, go ye and intimidate death before ye threaten men in whom is immortality and life.

8. “For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever.” Too great is the price, the purchase is hopeless. For ever must the attempt to redeem a soul with money remain a failure. Death comes and wealth cannot bribe him; hell follows, and no golden key can unlock its dungeons. Vain, then, are your threatenings, ye possessors of the yellow clay; your childish toys are despised by men who estimate the value of possessions by the shekel of the sanctuary.

9. No price could secure for any man “That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.” Mad are men now after gold, what would they be if it could buy the elixir of immortality? Gold is lavished out of the bag to cheat the worm of the poor body by embalming it, or enshrining it in a coffin of lead, but it is a miserable business, a very burlesque and comedy. As for the soul, it is too subtle a thing to be detained when it hears the divine command to soar through tracks unknown. Never, therefore, will we fear, those base nibblers at our heels, whose boasted treasure proves to be so powerless to save.[4]

49:7–9 No man can. No person, regardless of his means, is able to escape death; it is inevitable (Heb 9:27). This passage anticipates the second death of hell (cf. Rev 20:11–15), except for those who by faith have repented of their sin and embraced the only adequate ransom—the one paid by the Lord Jesus Christ with His death on the cross (cf. Mt 20:28; 1Pe 1:18, 19).[5]

49:7–9 Redeem and ransom fit the theme of money and what it can buy. To see the Pit is to experience death (7:15; 16:10; see note at 28:1). The point of 49:8 is that a person cannot buy life, so it is pointless to try. In Jesus’s words, it is possible for someone to “gain the whole world” but still “lose his life” (see Mt 16:26; Lk 9:25). “Ransom” is an especially significant word in light of how it is used in the NT to describe Jesus’s payment through his sacrifice (Mt 20:28).[6]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 423). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] deClaissé-Walford, N., & Tanner, B. (2014). Book Two of the Psalter: Psalms 42–72. In E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, & R. L. Hubbard Jr. (Eds.), The Book of Psalms (p. 444). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[3] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 378). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[4] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, p. 371). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 49:7–9). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 861). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

07/29/19 Practical Discipleship: Inviting Questions — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Matthew 17:1-13

Have you ever thought about what it must been like for the disciples to ask Jesus questions? They were speaking to the One who knew all, but still He gave them opportunity to raise their questions. Consider these examples:

  • “Then the disciples came up and asked him, ‘Why are you speaking to them in parables?’” (Matt 13:10)
  • “So the disciples asked him, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’” (Matt 17:10)
  • “Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’” (Matt 17:19)
  • “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” (Mark 13:4)
  • “Then his disciples asked him, ‘What does this parable mean?’” (Luke 8:9)

There were, of course, times when Jesus’ disciples were reticent to ask questions (e.g., Mark 9:31-32). Nevertheless, I must conclude in general that something about Jesus made Him approachable and accessible. The disciples must have known that He was okay with their questions.

As we disciple others, we, too, must be approachable. Those we disciple must have freedom and security to ask us their questions, and we’re privileged to walk with them as we together seek answers.

PRAYER: “Father, grant me willingness to hear questions and patience to respond well.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Job 21-22, Acts 22:6-21

via 07/29/19 Practical Discipleship: Inviting Questions — ChuckLawless.com