Daily Archives: August 11, 2019

August 11 A Christ-Centered Mind

Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:1–8

Key Verse: Psalm 37:1

Do not fret because of evildoers,

Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.

It sometimes seems so difficult to live in peace in our frenzied world. The business and burdens of everyday life overshadow the joy we should be experiencing. We forget that the Bible repeatedly says that we are Christ’s and He is ours. The enemy tries to distract us from this truth, and one of his most effective tactics is to get us to pull tomorrow’s burdens into today.

Billy Graham’s Christian Worker’s Handbook states:

The term anxiety covers a wide range of problems resulting from unfounded fears. Someone has said that the anxious person and the worrier are so preoccupied about what may happen in the future that they forget to cope with the present. It is characteristic of such a person to worry about anything. They build “mountains out of mole hills,” as insignificant matters assume great importance in their lives. They are anxious about imagined shortcomings, the future, their health, their families, and their work. They are often unable to pinpoint the reasons for their anxieties and fears.

Mankind has always been beset by worry, and the pressures of modern life have aggravated the problem.… Many of you are filled with a thousand anxieties. Bring them to Jesus Christ by faith.… I am learning in my own life, day by day, to keep my mind centered on Christ; the worries and anxieties and concerns of the world pass, and nothing but ‘perfect peace’ is left in the human heart.

Keep my mind centered on You, Lord, so that I can continually experience Your perfect peace.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 234). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 11 Surrender Looks Like Victory

Scripture Reading: John 15:1–18

Key Verse: John 15:16

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

To find out whether you are living the Spirit-filled life, take time to examine the motivation of your heart and not just the fruit of your labors. Anyone can put on a good outward appearance—volunteering to serve on various committees at church and holding positions of leadership are just two activities used to gain praise and accolades from others. Even a syrupy sweet smile and a polished greeting can add paint to a spiritually rough interior.

As believers, we need to know that we are capable of fooling ourselves. Putting on a spiritual front reveals a deeper problem—a lack of true humility and desire to know God on an intimate basis.

The Spirit-filled life is a life bathed in surrender to God. It is also a life of transformation in which we gradually take on the likeness of Christ. The emphasis is simple; whether in failure or in victory, disappointment or joy, Jesus is the focus of the entire being.

Many have gone out before us and left a well-worn pathway for us to follow. Men and women such as A. W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, Corrie Ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, and Oswald Chambers, to name a few. They point the way to a selfless life that overflows with the fullness of Christ.

Until you give God total control of your life, a battle will always be raging within your heart. Doesn’t surrender look like victory in Him today?

O Lord, in Your plan, surrender is not defeat—it is victory. Take control of my life. Still the battle raging in my heart. I surrender to You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 234). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon appears on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo for a wide-ranging discussion on current political and geopolitical events.

Topics include the U.S-Mexico border security and immigration; the 2020 democrat candidates (announced and unannounced); the bigger geopolitical issues behind the U.S-China trade conflict; Joe and Hunter Biden’s direct financial relationship to the Chinese communist government; the USMCA trade agreement; Trump’s leverage to increase an EU free economic alliance against China; and radical action by dems.

via Sunday Talks: Steve Bannon Extensive Interview With Maria Bartiromo… — The Last Refuge

August 11 Enslavement to Sin

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:129–136

Key verse: Psalm 119:176

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

Seek Your servant,

For I do not forget Your commandments.

Almost anyone who has ever been physically addicted to something will tell you that it all began with a small, innocent step—just one taste or one little moment of exposure. Then the experience gradually took over his mind and desires and body, until the addiction absorbed his attention day and night without relenting.

Maybe this was your experience or perhaps still is. And physical addiction isn’t the only kind of consuming entrapment; any kind of sin or wrong desire can lead to emotional and spiritual enslavement. What is so devastating about bondage to sin is that it progresses slowly at first, allowing you the luxury to rationalize and justify what you perceive as your growing need. By the time you understand what is occurring, your problem has progressed to a serious condition.

King David experienced this process in his life in his sin with Bathsheba, a transgression that began when he first saw her bathing on her rooftop (2 Sam. 11). When he realized how far he had gone, he immediately repented, confessed his sin to God, and experienced God’s grace anew. David had an advanced understanding of how sin operates.

He prayed:

Direct my steps by Your word,

And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

Redeem me from the oppression of man,

That I may keep Your precepts. (Ps. 119:133–34)

Direct my footsteps by Your Word, and do not let iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man so that I may keep Your precepts.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 234). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Prison Warden and Psychologist Signed Off to Confirm Epstein Not Suicidal – Then the MCC Prison Guards Skipped Required Checks — The Gateway Pundit

66-year-old financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell on Saturday morning.
Epstein was the highest profile prisoner in the US at the time.

The multi-millionaire financier was hospitalized in July after he was found unresponsive in what appeared to be a possible suicide attempt.

According to reports Epstein told authorities someone tried to kill him in a previous incident weeks earlier.

After the July incident he was reportedly put under suicide watch.

On Saturday he hanged himself.

Epstein was reportedly in good spirits.
There was no indication he would take his life.

And, according to reports, the prison guards did not make required checks on Epstein overnight.

Buried in the Reuters report was the admission that the guards skipped checks on Jeffrey Epstein last night — the most notorious prisoner in the US who was found unconscious less than 3 weeks ago!

Now this…
Both the prison warden and chief psychologist had to sign off to confirm Jeffrey Epstein was not suicidal.

Via Jack Posobiec.

The chief psychologist signed off that Epstein was NOT suicidal — despite him being found unconscious three weeks earlier!

And Epstein was left alone and not monitored before his suicide.

It is absolutely shocking that this would happen in America.
Will anyone trust the government again?

via Prison Warden and Psychologist Signed Off to Confirm Epstein Not Suicidal – Then the MCC Prison Guards Skipped Required Checks — The Gateway Pundit

‘Slow, cruel assassination’: Assange’s mother blasts US & UK for treatment of whistleblower | RT

Julian Assange’s mother has accused the US and UK governments of “slowly, cruelly and unlawfully” killing the WikiLeaks founder because he revealed war crimes and corruption.

Source: ‘Slow, cruel assassination’: Assange’s mother blasts US & UK for treatment of whistleblower

Kellyanne Conway defends Trump’s Jeffrey Epstein-Clinton tweets | Washington Times

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended President Trump’s Jeffrey Epstein-related tweets on Sunday, saying he wants “everything to be investigated.”

Source: Kellyanne Conway defends Trump’s Jeffrey Epstein-Clinton tweets

Epstein death: ‘The word around the street is the Clintons did it’ | WND

This weekend’s mysterious death of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein at a federal prison in New York has ignited an online war of conspiracy theories, as President Trump retweeted messages suggesting former President Bill Clinton may somehow be involved, and Trump’s own son blasted Twitter for suppressing the the trend of the “ClintonBodyCount,” while prominently displaying “TrumpsBodyCount” as the top trending topic for discussion.

Epstein, who was facing numerous charges of sex trafficking involving underage girls, was found hanging dead in his jail cell about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, with the U.S. Justice Department saying it was the result of an “apparent suicide.”

On Saturday afternoon, President Trump retweeted messages insinuating the Clintons may have had some sort of connection to Epstein’s sudden death.

One read: “BREAKING: Documents were unsealed yesterday revealing that top Democrats, including Bill Clinton, took private trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘pedophilia island.’”

The president also retweeted a message from actor and comedian Terrence Williams, who said: “Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen#JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead. I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised#EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily.”

Williams posted video comments he recorded of himself, in which he states:

I’m not surprised. I told y’all last month this was gonna happen. …

All the liberals were calling me a conspiracy theorist, saying “Terrence, you come out with crazy conspiracies, and you need to be banned from Twitter.” And then guess what. The man really end up dead. And you know what? He had information on the Clintons, and the man ended up dead. Now for some odd reason … people that have information on the Clintons end up dead, and they usually die from suicide. Come on, now!

I’m not trying to end up dead. I don’t even want to know if Hillary was digging in her nose. I don’t wanna know if Bill Clinton eat boogers. Don’t tell me nothin’! I don’t wanna end up dead! … I’m not gonna end up dead like everybody else.

I’m not gonna say who killed that man (Epstein) … but the word around the street is the Clintons did it. I don’t know, though. Hey, I’m juts another black man on Twitter. I don’t know nothing. …

You die of suicide in prison? Yeah, OK. Somebody not doing their job, or somebody got paid not do their job. So somebody can get knocked off so information don’t come out. But I don’t know nothing. I’m just another black man on Twitter.

On Sunday morning, Donald Trump Jr. jumped into the fray to bash Twitter, noting: “Twitter allowing ‘Trump Body Count’ to trend while ‘Clinton Body Count’ has WAY more tweets (but isn’t trending) is peak Twitter,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Sunday morning.

The Washington Post had reported, “A #ClintonBodyCount hashtag that trended anew on Twitter last month after Epstein was found injured and placed on suicide watch was revived Saturday, showing up in more than 90,000 tweets by the afternoon – often in conjunction with hashtags about Epstein’s death.”

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Trump Jr.’s message was apparently prompted because the TrumpBodyCount hashtag had only about a tenth of the traffic of the ClintonBodyCount, and yet displayed as the top render on many users’ newsfeeds.

Jeffrey Epstein mugshot

In August 2016, WND published a news story with the headline, “‘Clinton death list’: 33 spine-tingling cases,” which documented the uncanny number of Bill and Hillary’s “friends” who mysteriously fell off buildings, crashed in planes and died in freak accidents.

Author and conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza noted of Epstein’s death: “And now the flight logs are all we have. How fortunate for these Democrats that their longtime donor and pimp Jeffrey Epstein is no longer around to rat them out.”

Even Democrats are questioning if Epstein’s death was actually a suicide.

“I was not surprised for one minute,” U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., told NPR. “There are a lot of very powerful people who wanted to see this man dead. So was it really just a suicide? Was it just negligence by the officials who had custody of him? I don’t know, but I definitely think it needs to be investigated.”

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeKovacsNews

Source: Epstein death: ‘The word around the street is the Clintons did it’

Al Baker: Two Vital Ingredients Missing From Much Reformed Preaching — Pulpit & Pen

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.” –Ezekiel 18:32.

The prophet Ezekiel received six visions from the Lord which he gave to the people of Judah who were in the throes of the Babylonian exile. Those still in Jerusalem were challenging Yahweh with a proverb, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge.” You no doubt have eaten sour grapes from time to time and have noticed a film on your teeth which makes them feel very dry. In essence those in Jerusalem are saying, “Wait a minute, Yahweh. Our fathers are the ones who were disobedient to You. We have done nothing wrong. Why then are we suffering?” So for the next twenty-seven verses Yahweh drives home the obvious fact that each person is responsible for his own sins. We are not judged for someone else’s sins. What we sow, this we shall also reap (Galatians 6:7).

In verses 30,31 Ezekiel applies this doctrine to the hearts of God’s rebellious, covenant people, saying, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct. Repent and turn away from all your transgressions so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why will you die, O house of Israel?”

Clearly, God is calling all men everywhere to repent. [1] This is the first ingredient missing from much of our Reformed preaching at this present time. Preaching repentance is vital. This includes all unbelievers who must repent and believe the gospel in order to be saved (Mark 1:15). This also means that believers are to repent daily as the Spirit’s convicting work brings to our minds and hearts our sins of commission and omission (John 16:8-11). Preachers are not merely to pass on interesting information in their sermons. They are to preach the law which reveals sin and they are then to call their people to repent of their sins and go to Jesus for cleansing. They are to preach for a verdict. They are to close the deal. Please note in the Ezekiel 18:30-31 the unmistakable language of repentance. They are called to repent. They are to turn away from all their transgressions, not just some of them. Why? So that their iniquity may not become a stumbling block which eventually could spell their damnation.

These admonitions to repent obviously beg the question, exactly what do the Scriptures mean by repentance? Richard Owen Roberts in his book Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel [2] says that there are two types of repentance – ego repentance (it’s all about me) and evangelical repentance (it’s all about God). The former is unbiblical and the latter is very much Biblical. What are the marks of each? In ego repentance sorrow is viewed as a fruit of repentance. But sorrow could simply be “I am sorry I got caught.” Esau sought the inheritance but he was rejected because he found no place for repentance even though he sought it with tears (Hebrews 12:16,17). Self-preservation is not enough either. Some men “repent” of rudeness to their wives in order to gain a measure of peace and tranquility in the house. Doing penance will not work. Some, when they sense guilt over their actions, decide to serve weekly in a soup kitchen, or to give an hour a week to help a child learn to read. These are worthy endeavors but they may be mere ego repentance. Reformation of manners, seeking to be a better person, is not true repentance. A man whose wife just filed for divorce because of his many adulterous affairs, may ask her, “What do I need to do to fix this?” In other words his desire is to salve his own conscience and get back what he fears he is losing. He seeks to address a symptom of his adultery but not the root of it. And it is not select repentance. A man may repent of an affair from ten years ago after he was caught with old email correspondence while failing to tell his wife about an affair he began last month. You will note from verses 31 and 32 of Ezekiel 18 that they were to turn away from all transgressions. Selective repentance is not evangelical repentance.

On the other hand, evangelical repentance is marked by a deep seated awareness of one’s own sin in the recesses of his heart. There is profound sorrow which yields specific, constructive confession of sin. He is not merely sorry he got caught. Evangelical repentance goes much farther, much deeper. He says with King David, “Against Thee, and Thee only, have I sinned,” (Psalm 51:4). David is not saying that he has no responsibility to Bathsheba or her husband Uriah. Rather the emphasis is on how he has offended the Holy God of Israel. This type of repentance always brings action which bears fruit in the person’s life. There is progress in gospel holiness. The person begins to grow in the grace and knowledge of new life in Jesus Christ. He has the fruit of the Spirit in his life in greater measure. Or to use the words of John the Baptist, he brings forth fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). He comes to hate his sin. He is grieved over his actions, values, and thoughts. He is fearful of what he has done or is capable of doing. He finds no rest until he repents, acknowledges his own guilt, confesses his sin to God and to those whom he has wronged, and asks the Holy Spirit to sanctify him so that he might mortify or put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:12,13).

And how does evangelical repentance come? It is a gift from God (2 Timothy 2:24,25). We can never say, “I know looking at internet porn is sin, but God is gracious and long-suffering. I will sin just this one time more and then ask God to forgive me.” But this is folly. This is presumption. To go further, evangelical repentance is only possible for those who possess new life in Jesus Christ. And here is the second ingredient missing in much Reformed preaching, the doctrine of regeneration, the new birth. Note the command in Ezekiel 18:31, “Make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” What? How is this possible? This is like you giving yourself a heart transplant. This is impossible, but God is commanding all of us to make a new heart within ourselves. We are to do the impossible, and the preacher is to call people everywhere to make for themselves a new heart. Unbelievers everywhere must do so or they will be lost forever. Here’s the deal, my friends. As an unbeliever, you may come to realize that you are in the jailhouse of your sin (original, actual, and indwelling sin) and you may think you have the key in your back pocket and can use it at any time to give you release. This is what people call “free will.” You may think you can continue to live in abject rebellion against God and choose to come to Christ when you are old and have done all the sinning you wish to do. But you cannot save yourself. You cannot make it happen. Only Jesus has the key to set you free from sin and that key is repentance and faith. And the only way you can repent is when the Holy Spirit does in you what you cannot do for yourself. He regenerates you. He takes out the rebellious, sensual, idolatrous heart which loves sin and hates God, and gives you the heart of Jesus which loves God and hates sin.

The great need today, my friends, in the PCA, the SBC, and every other church in the U.S. and around the world is for people everywhere to repent with heartfelt grief and sorrow for sin, calling on the name of the Lord to save them. And this can only be done when regeneration takes place first. This is classic Reformed theology. Regeneration always precedes conversion (repentance and faith) and the Reformed preacher must get back to his task. Preach regeneration and repentance. Preach for a verdict. Preach Christ crucified. Do not be satisfied with merely preaching an accurate exegetical and theologically precise sermon.

Is it possible, then, that many in the PCA and SBC are only engaged in ego repentance at best? Is it possible that many have not been born again?________________________

1. The Scriptures are replete with references to the absolute necessity of repentance. For example, read Isaiah 55:6-7, Jeremiah 3:11-14, 26:2-3, 2 Chronicles 7:13-20, Acts 2:38, 17:30, Mark 1:15.
2. Richard Owen Roberts, born in 1931, and author of many books on revival, the last I heard, is still alive and preaching. He is a most powerful preacher and expert on revival.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Al Baker. It originally appeared at Forget None of His Benefits.]

via Al Baker: Two Vital Ingredients Missing From Much Reformed Preaching — Pulpit & Pen

August 11, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Having the Right Attitude

… all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; (3:8b)

Everything begins with the right attitude. Five spiritual virtues constitute this God-honoring perspective.

First, believers are to be harmonious. The compound word rendered harmonious (homophrones) literally means “same think.” Believers are to live in harmony together, maintaining a common commitment to the truth that produces an inward unity of heart with one another (cf. Rom. 12:5, 16; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12; Gal. 3:28; Phil. 2:1–5). They must not be in conflict with each other, even under severe persecution:

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. (Phil. 1:27–28)

Jesus instructed the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35). In His high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed earnestly for the spiritual unity of all believers (John 17:20–23), which prayer was answered. Believers are all one in Christ (Eph. 4:4–6; cf. 1 Cor. 6:17; 8:6). This spiritual reality should be the basis for the church’s visible harmony. The early church was a model of visible oneness (Acts 2:42–47).

Sympathetic, the second factor in experiencing the fullness of Christian life, is virtually a transliteration of sumpatheis, which means “sharing the same feeling.” Christians are to be united on the truth, but also ready to sympathize with the pain of others, even of those they do not know (cf. Matt. 25:34–40; Heb. 13:3; James 1:27). Like Christ, the sympathetic high priest (Heb. 4:15), they must share in the feelings of others, in their sorrows as well as their joys (Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 12:26; 2 Cor. 2:3; Col. 3:12; cf. John 11:35; James 5:11). Believers must not be insensitive, indifferent, and censorious, even toward the lost in their pain of struggling anxiously with the issues of life (cf. Matt. 9:36; Luke 13:34–35; 19:41). Saints must come alongside them with empathy to declare God’s saving truth (cf. Acts 8:26–37).

Third, Peter used the term philadelphoi, translated here as brotherly. The first part of the word stems from the verb phileō, “to love,” and refers to affection among people who are closely related in some way. Those who demonstrate that affection will do so by unselfish service for one another (Acts 20:35; Rom. 14:19; 15:2; 2 Cor. 11:9; Phil. 4:14–16; 1 Thess. 5:11, 14; 3 John 6). Such service begins in the church among believers and extends out to the world.

Kindhearted translates eusplagchnoi, the root of which refers to one’s internal organs and is sometimes translated “bowels” or “intestines” (e.g., Acts 1:18). Affections and emotions have a visceral impact, hence this word signifies a powerful kind of feeling (Eph. 4:32; cf. 2 Cor. 7:15; 1 Thess. 2:8). Much like sympathetic, the expression calls for being so affected by the pain of others as to feel it deeply, following the kind of tenderhearted compassion God, through His Son, has for sinners (cf. Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34; 19:41–42; John 11:35).

The final factor in Peter’s list for enjoying the goodness of the Christian life, humble in spirit, is actually one word in the Greek, tapeinophrones (“humble-minded”). Humility is arguably the most essential, all-encompassing virtue of the Christian life (5:5; Matt. 5:3; 18:4; Luke 14:11; 18:14; Eph. 4:1–2; Col. 3:12; James 4:6; cf. Ps. 34:2; Prov. 3:34; 15:33; 22:4). Paul used a form of this Greek word in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Years earlier Jesus demonstrated the importance of His own example of humility when He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29; cf. Phil. 2:5–8).

The joys of their lives in Christ are maximized when believers are united in truth and life with one another, peaceful in disposition, gracious toward those who need the gospel, sensitive to the pains of fallen sinners, sacrificial in loving service to all, compassionate instead of harsh, and above all humble like their Savior.[1]

8 Peter signals the conclusion of the household code admonitions with “finally, all of you.” The concluding exhortation is addressed to everyone in the community. What applies specifically to individual groups regarding respect and harmony applies to the community. The Christian ethic will exhibit unity, sympathy, brotherly affection, compassion, humility, and nonretaliation. Together these six qualities possess a corporate character that will strengthen the Christian community’s witness to society.

To be of the same mind (homophrōn, GK 3939; NIV, “live in harmony with”) is to be on guard against divisions that would hinder Christian unity. Because of the imperative of unity as witness to the world, Jesus prays, on the eve of his crucifixion, for his disciples to realize a degree of unity that he and the Father have shared in eternity (Jn 17:1–5). Jesus’ prayer is “that all of them may be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17:21). The accent on Christian unity is found throughout the NT (e.g., Ac 4:32; Ro 12:4–5, 16; 1 Co 1:2, 10; 3:5–9, 21–23; 10:17; 12:4–7, 12–13; 2 Co 13:11; Eph 4:4–6; Php 1:27; 2:2; 4:2). Unity does not require uniformity; being of the same mind is not predicated on simple agreement with others. It is, however, founded on a common Lord, a common confession, and a common goal of witness to the world. No Christian can live the Christian life in isolation, but only as he or she is joined, with one mind, to other members of God’s church, living stones that together comprise one building. The church is not church if there is no inherent, manifested unity. If the readers are encountering hostility from society around them, Christian unity is no luxury; it is critical for survival.

A related attitude is that of being sympathetic (sympatheis, GK 5218). It is the essential nature of the human body to be “sympathetic” (cf. 1 Co 12:26), to which Peter calls his readers. Sympathy, as Barclay, 227, reminds us, is the opposite of self-absorption, the ability to identify with the sufferings and pains of others. To share in the sufferings of others is both the cause and effect of Christian unity. The believers’ model once again is Christ, the high priest, who sympathizes with [sympathēsai] our weaknesses (Heb 4:15). Significantly, sympathy is not merely a Christian virtue; it was also held in high esteem by Hellenistic moralists (e.g., Plutarch, Mor. 432; Strabo, Geogr. 6.3.3). Like unity, sympathy strengthens Christians in the world.

Furthermore, being “affectionate” (NIV, “love as brothers”; philadelphos, GK 5789), “compassionate” (eusplanchnos, GK 2359), and “humble” (tapeinophrones, GK 5426) all stand in direct relation to sympathy and Christian unity. Moreover, all are vital to the community’s survival in a hostile environment. Brotherly affection is also included in the catalog of virtues appearing in 1 Peter 1:5–7, where it is related to—though distinct from—love (agapē, GK 27). While the distinction should not be pressed too far, the former is a virtue valued by pagans, appearing frequently in Stoic virtue lists, for example. A practical test in any cultural context is whether the Christian will love his fellow human. Moreover, a hearty affection for one’s brothers and sisters in the community will attest to the vibrancy of the community’s faith. Philadelphia has a notably social trajectory.

The word rendered “compassionate,” eusplanchnos, vividly conveys feeling and emotion. Deriving from splanchna (GK 5073), one’s inner organs, the term by extension conveys deep, intense emotion. Its only other NT occurrence is in Ephesians 4:32, contextualized in Pauline admonitions toward tenderheartedness, though the verb form is found in the Synoptic Gospels, notably in depicting the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:33), who “took pity,” and the father of the prodigal (Lk 15:20), who on seeing his son returning home “was filled with compassion.” And it finds its fullest expression in Jesus himself (Mk 1:41), who is said by the evangelist, when approached by a leper, to have been “filled with compassion.”

Among secular Hellenistic moralists, to be “humble” was not considered a virtue, given the primacy of self-sufficiency (autarkeia, GK 894). Hence it is a peculiarly Christian ethical distinctive. The Christian ethic reorients and transforms one’s outlook. Humility springs in part from an awareness of our creatureliness and thus of our utter dependence on the Creator. But this contrast is not intended to be demeaning, provided that the creature draws on divine provision (i.e., grace). Humility that acknowledges and appropriates grace is a humility that does not humiliate; rather, it is buoyed by gratitude (cf. 1:6–9, 18–21) and results in attitudes and actions that are active rather than passive.[2]

8  Using an unusual expression for “finally,” which means something like “in summary” (the idiom appears in 1 Tim. 1:5 as well), Peter encapsulates his summary in five imperatival adjectives arranged artfully with philadelphoi, the love of those in the Christian community, in the center. The first and last adjectives speak of how one thinks, the second and fourth of how one feels. The first two terms, “united in spirit” and “sympathetic,” are unique in biblical literature, but common in Greek ethical discussion. Yet while the words are unique, the ideas are well known in the NT. As Paul repeatedly argues (Rom. 15:5; 2 Cor. 13:11; Gal. 5:10; Phil. 2:2; 4:2), unity in heart and mind is critical for the Christian community. This is not the unity that comes from a standard imposed from without, such as a doctrinal statement, but that which comes from loving dialogue and especially a common focus on the one Lord. It is his mind and spirit that Christians are to share (1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5–11), and therefore have access to a unity that they are to experience. Because humility was the mark of Jesus (Matt. 11:29; Phil. 2:8), this unity will revolve around being “humble” (Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:3; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 5:5). This does not mean a poor self-concept (“I’m no good”), but a willingness to take the lower place, to do the less exalted service, and to put the interests of others ahead of one’s own interests. This attitude of Jesus is surely a necessity if a disparate group is to be “united in spirit.”

To have unity one must “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15 RSV) and thus be “sympathetic” (i.e., enter into and experience the feelings of another). This is precisely what Christ does for us, for he has had similar experiences (Heb. 4:15, which uses a verb closely related to this adjective), and it is what we can do for other suffering Christians (Heb. 10:34). This term has a practical bent, for because we understand the feelings of another we act appropriately to assist our fellow-Christian.  On the other hand, “compassionate,” used also by Paul (Eph. 4:32; cf. the related noun in 2 Cor. 7:15; Phil. 1:8; 2:1; Col. 3:12; Philem. 12; 1 John 3:17, and the verb used exclusively for Jesus, Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2; 9:22), shows that a Christian’s caring is not to be simply because he or she understands what another feels.  Instead, Christians care deeply about fellow-Christians so that the suffering of one becomes the suffering of the other. Christians are to be emotionally involved with each other.

These virtues can be summed up in “loving your brothers and sisters,” a single Greek term found in its nominal form in Rom. 12:10; 1 Thess. 4:9; Heb. 13:1; 1 Pet. 1:22 (cf. the comment on this verse); 2 Pet. 1:7. Jesus commanded Christians to love one another—this was the mark by which a person could recognize a Christian (John 13:34–35). It is no wonder, then, that the virtue appears so commonly in Christian teaching and that Peter puts it in the center of his virtue catalogue.

Three of these terms are used in the Greek OT and are also paralleled in the Dead Sea Scrolls; for example, in the Rule of the Community (1QS 4:3ff.) the sons of light have “a spirit of humility, patience, abundant charity, unending goodness … great charity towards all the sons of truth.” But the NT puts them in a new context, that of Christ, who embodies them all and enables them all.[3]

3:8 / Finally (not to end the letter but to complete this passage) there comes a general exhortation to the whole Christian community, married and unmarried alike. Peter commends a set of attitudes which together depict what relationships within the Christian fellowship should be.

Christian believers must live in harmony with one another, literally, “being of one mind” (a single word in the Greek). The term is intended to convey a unity of aim and purpose, a oneness in attitude. Idealistic? But this was the actuality at the very beginning of the Christian church, rejoicing in the glow of the early days of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when “believers were together and had everything in common” (Acts 4:32). On a purely practical level, unity among Christians was in any case highly necessary in the hostile environment in which they were living.

They must be sympathetic, sharing one another’s feeling. Believers’ hearts should go out to one another in love, during times of joy as well as sorrow (Rom. 12:15). The truly sympathetic attitude is the antithesis of selfishness.

They must love each other as brothers and sisters (1:22), for in truth they all belong to the one family of God in Christ. They are to treat one another (and both male and female are included under brothers) as having an equal standing in the sight of God—a notion that challenges the competitive nature of so much in the modern Western world. Such a sensitiveness to the feelings of other Christians will follow from a growing appreciation of belonging to the one body of believers (1 Cor. 12:26). Peter is simply relaying the teaching of Jesus that he heard in the Upper Room: “By this all … will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). The vertical relationship, God’s love for men and women in Christ, creates a horizontal relationship, the love between those who know themselves to be the objects of divine love (Cranfield, p. 76).

They must be compassionate, tenderhearted, caring deeply for one another—a powerful and rich term in the Greek for which there is no adequate English translation. All the emotions are involved.

They must be humble toward one another. The idea of humility as a desirable characteristic is promoted in the nt as a virtue of Christlike living (Gal. 5:23; Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:3) and follows the teaching of Jesus himself (Matt. 11:29). To the Hellenistic world such a notion came as a startling novelty, for Greeks had always considered humility as a sign of weakness. Yet in truth, as the believer grows in the Christian life, there come constant reminders that an attitude of humility is entirely appropriate. Human abilities and wisdom all too often prove to be insufficient to cope with life’s ordinary experiences and relationships, let alone when the Christian is faced with the standard of perfection set by Jesus in both his teaching and example (Matt. 5:48; John 8:46). Peter will repeat the admonition to be humble later when he addresses young men in particular (5:5).[4]

8. General summary of relative duty, after having detailed particular duties from 1 Pe 2:18.

of one mind—as to the faith.

having compassion one of anotherGreek, “sympathizing” in the joy and sorrow of others.

love as brethrenGreek, “loving the brethren.”

pitiful—towards the afflicted.

courteous—genuine Christian politeness; not the tinsel of the world’s politeness; stamped with unfeigned love on one side, and humility on the other. But the oldest manuscripts read, “humble-minded.” It is slightly different from “humble,” in that it marks a conscious effort to be truly humble.[5]

Ver. 8.—Finally. St. Peter is bringing to a close the exhortations to submission, which depend on the imperative in ch. 2:13. He turns from particular classes and relations to the whole Christian community, and describes what they ought to be in five Greek words, the first three of which are found nowhere else in the Greek Scriptures. Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; literally, sympathizing; feeling with others, rejoicing with them that do rejoice, and weeping with them that weep. Love as brethren. An adjective (φιλάδελφοι) in the Greek; the corresponding substantive occurs in ch. 1:22. Be pitiful. This word (εὔσπλαγχνος) has undergone a remarkable change of meaning. In Hippocrates, quoted by Huther, it is used literally of one whose viscera are healthy; it is also sometimes used figuratively, as equivalent to εὐκάρδιος, ἀνδρεῖος; “goodhearted” with the heathen would mean “brave;” with Christian writers “tender,” “pitiful.” Be courteous. This represents a reading (φιλόφρονες) which has very little support. The true reading is,ταπεινόφρονες, humble-minded.[6]



Here is Peter’s conclusion to the topic submission, which he introduced in 2:13. In this conclusion he delineates how Christians ought to live; therefore, he gives them a pattern for Christian conduct.

Notice that at both the beginning and the conclusion of this topic Peter addresses all the readers. To leave no doubt that he is bringing this particular discussion to a close, he writes,

8. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

Peter’s concluding exhortations are for all the recipients of his letter. Thus he admonishes everyone to follow his instructions. In this verse, Peter writes five admonitions that, when heeded, present “an ideal portrait of the church.”

  1. “Live in harmony with one another.” In the Greek, the text has the reading [be] like-minded. Does Peter mean that all Christians have to think in the same manner? No, not quite. Paul focuses attention on the same question in his letter to the Philippians: “And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you” (3:15). In view of the variety of gifts and talents God has given his people, differences of opinion exist. Peter, however, wants Christians to be governed by the mind of Christ, so that differences do not divide but rather enrich the church. Therefore, he exhorts the believers to “live in harmony with one another” (compare Rom. 12:16; 15:5; Phil. 2:2).
  2. “Be sympathetic.” Christians should demonstrate their concern for and interest in their neighbor, especially in times of joy or sorrow. They are to “rejoice with those who rejoice; [and] mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15; also see 1 Cor. 12:26).
  3. “Love as brothers.” Peter repeats what he has already written, for already in his first chapter he observes that the readers “have sincere love for [the] brothers” (v. 22). The Greek term Peter uses is general, so it includes both brothers and sisters in God’s household (refer to Rom. 12:10; 1 Thess. 4:9–10; Heb. 13:1).
  4. “Be compassionate.” In the Greek, the word translated “compassionate” is far more descriptive. It depicts feelings that appear to come from our inner parts (literally, our intestines), especially when we observe the suffering which another person endures. Translators usually associate the Greek word with the heart and thus render it “tenderhearted.” The term compassion is one that appears in a list of Christian virtues (Col. 3:12).
  5. “[Be] humble.” Humility is a virtue Jesus taught when he washed the feet of his disciples (John 13:4–17). Jesus set the example of selfless service by his willingness to be the least in the company of his disciples and to be the servant of all. In the fifth chapter of his epistle, Peter repeats his admonition to be humble when he addresses young men: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (5:5; also see Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:6–8).

These virtues reflect the glory of the church when brothers and sisters live harmoniously. Spiritual brothers and sisters exemplify these virtues when together they acknowledge God as their Father and know Christ as their brother (Heb. 2:11). Then, as the body of Christ, believers indeed experience God’s marvelous blessings.[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 187–189). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 330–331). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Davids, P. H. (1990). The First Epistle of Peter (pp. 124–125). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 100–101). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 507). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Peter (p. 130). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 126–128). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Sunday’s Hymn: Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts — Rebecca Writes



Jesus, thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts
We turn unfilled to thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on thee call;
To them that seek thee thou art good,
To them that find thee all in all.

We taste thee, O thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon thee still;
We drink of thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when thy gracious smile we see,
Blest when our faith can hold thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed o’er the world thy holy light.

—Ber­nard of Clair­vaux


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

via Sunday’s Hymn: Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts — Rebecca Writes

August 11 Christlike Character

scripture reading: Galatians 5:16–25
key verse: Galatians 5:16

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Notice Jesus’ words when He described the abiding life:

“If anyone does not abide in Me …”

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you …”

“If You keep My commandments …”

Bearing Christlike character is not automatic. You are in union with the Vine and indwelt by His Spirit, but the process of developing godly fruit is conditional.

Christ’s character is reproduced in you as you not only live by the Spirit, but also “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25 nasb). “Walking by the Spirit” is consciously depending on the power of the Holy Spirit. Dependence on the Holy Spirit is unabashed anticipation that He will conform you to the image of Christ.

“Walking by the Spirit” is turning over each area of your personality to His control. You do not become Christlike all at once. It is a process that allows the Spirit of God to transform your thoughts and conduct.

The Holy Spirit will not overwhelm you. Rather, He will reveal a specific area that He desires to change. Your responsibility is to obey at each step.

Make me continually conscious of my dependence on the power of Your Spirit, Lord. I turn over each area of my personality to Your control. Transform my thoughts and conduct. Help me cooperate with the process.[1]

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

11 august (preached 10 august 1856) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The Christian—a debtor

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors.” Romans 8:12

suggested further reading: Luke 7:36–50

Christian, stop and ponder for a moment! What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! Thou art not as some, who say, that thou didst choose thyself to be saved; but thou believest that God could have destroyed thee, if he had pleased, and that it is entirely of his own good pleasure that thou art made one of his, while others are suffered to perish. Consider, then, how much thou owest to his sovereignty! If he had willed it, thou wouldst have been among the damned; if he had not willed thy salvation, all thou couldst do would have been utterly powerless to deliver thee from perdition. Remember how much thou owest to his disinterested love, which rent his own Son from his bosom that he might die for thee! Let the cross and bloody sweat remind thee of thine obligation. Consider how much thou owest to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves thee as infinitely as ever; and after a myriad sins, his Spirit still resides within thee. Consider what thou owest to his power; how he has raised thee from thy death in sin; how he has preserved thy spiritual life, how he has kept thee from falling, and how, though a thousand enemies have beset thy path, thou hast been able to hold on thy way! Consider what thou owest to his immutability. Though thou hast changed a thousand times, he has not changed once; though thou hast shifted thy intentions, and thy will, yet has he not once swerved from his eternal purpose, but still has held thee fast. Consider thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast. “Brethren, we are debtors.”

for meditation: The reasonable response to forgiven debt is love to God and to one another, but we will always be in debt (Romans 13:8).

sermon no. 96[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 230). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

SSB Sunday Gathering – August 11, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board

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

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us — so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Romans 15: 1 – 13

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”

Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 3: 22 – 36

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about — look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.



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 – August 11, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board

11 AUGUST 365 Days with Calvin

Mourning One Person’s Sin

And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 1 Corinthians 5:2

suggested further reading: Matthew 18:15–20

Why should the Corinthians mourn over one man’s sin? For two reasons: first, as a consequence of the communion that exists among the members of the church, it is becoming that all should feel hurt at so deadly a fall of one of their number. Second, when such an enormous sin is perpetrated in a particular church, the perpetrator is an offender in such a manner that he pollutes the whole society.

For as God humbles the father of a family in the disgrace of his wife or of his children, and a whole kindred in the disgrace of one of their number, so every church ought to consider itself stained with disgrace when any base crime is perpetrated in it. Furthermore, we have seen how the anger of God was kindled against the entire nation of Israel because of the sacrilege of one individual, Achan (Josh. 7:1).

God was not cruel in taking vengeance on the innocent for one man’s crime. Rather, since there is already some token of God’s anger when anything of this nature has occurred among a people, so by correcting a community for the fault of one individual, God distinctly teaches that the whole body is infected and polluted with the contagion of the offense.

Hence we readily infer that the duty of every church is to mourn over the faults of individual members because domestic calamities belong to the entire body. Assuredly a pious and dutiful correction arises when we are inflamed with holy zeal through displeasure at the offense, for otherwise the severity of the correction will be bitter.

for meditation: Corruption in one place will affect the entire body. The church is a body also; thus, the effect of one person’s sin will be felt by all. Corruption must be cured as fast as possible before it spreads and worse damage is done. If the corruption cannot be cured, it must be excised. Though that process it painful and difficult, it must be done if the rest of the body is to be saved. Is there any form of corruption that you are contributing to the body? Is there any elsewhere that you should pray for and humbly confront?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 242). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

EChurch@Wartburg: 08.10.19 Abraham Wright: Why We Should Do Evangelism — The Wartburg Watch

A Prayer of Relinquishment by Richard Foster link

Today, O Lord, I yield myself to You.
May Your will be my delight today.
May You have perfect sway in me.
May your love be the pattern of my living.
I surrender to You my hopes, my dreams, my ambitions.
Do with them what You will, when You will, as You will.
I place into Your loving care my family, my friends, my future.
Care for them with a care that I can never give.
I release into Your hands my need to control, my craving for status, my fear of obscurity.
Eradicate the evil, purify the good, and establish Your Kingdom on earth.
For Jesus’ sake,

A Prayer of Church Father Irenaeus (died 202 C.E.) asking for growth in grace link

“Give growing maturity to beginners, O Father;
give intelligence to the little ones;
give aid to those who are running their course.
Give sorrow to the negligent;
give fervor of spirit to the lukewarm.
Give to the mature a good end;
for the sake of Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever.

Scripture:Revelation 21:4 NIV

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Abraham Wright is the Student Pastor at Emmanuel Enid.

Prayer of Benedict link

O gracious and holy Father,
give us wisdom to perceive you,
diligence to seek you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you,
a heart to meditate upon you,
and a life to proclaim you;
through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

via EChurch@Wartburg: 08.10.19 Abraham Wright: Why We Should Do Evangelism —

August 11, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

42:1 — As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.

God’s highest priority for our lives is to develop an intimate and growing relationship with Him. He made us to thirst for Him as we thirst for water and to seek Him as we seek relief from a parched throat.[1]

1. As the hart crieth for the fountains of water, &c. The meaning of these two verses simply is, that David preferred to all the enjoyments, riches, pleasures, and honours of this world, the opportunity of access to the sanctuary, that in this way he might cherish and strengthen his faith and piety by the exercises prescribed in the Law. When he says that he cried for the living God, we are not to understand it merely in the sense of a burning love and desire towards God: but we ought to remember in what manner it is that God allures us to himself, and by what means he raises our minds upwards. He does not enjoin us to ascend forthwith into heaven, but, consulting our weakness, he descends to us. David, then, considering that the way of access was shut against him, cried to God, because he was excluded from the outward service of the sanctuary, which is the sacred bond of intercourse with God. I do not mean to say that the observance of external ceremonies can of itself bring us into favour with God, but they are religious exercises which we cannot bear to want by reason of our infirmity. David, therefore, being excluded from the sanctuary, is no less grieved than if he had been separated from God himself. He did not, it is true, cease in the meantime to direct his prayers towards heaven, and even to the sanctuary itself; but conscious of his own infirmity, he was specially grieved that the way by which the faithful obtained access to God was shut against him. This is an example which may well suffice to put to shame the arrogance of those who without concern can bear to be deprived of those means, or rather, who proudly despise them, as if it were in their power to ascend to heaven in a moment’s flight; nay, as if they surpassed David in zeal and alacrity of mind. We must not, however, imagine that the prophet suffered himself to rest in earthly elements,2 but only that he made use of them as a ladder, by which he might ascend to God, finding that he had not wings with which to fly thither. The similitude which he takes from a hart is designed to express the extreme ardour of his desire. The sense in which some explain this is, that the waters are eagerly sought by the harts, that they may recover from fatigue; but this, perhaps, is too limited. I admit that if the hunter pursue the stag, and the dogs also follow hard after it, when it comes to a river it gathers new strength by plunging into it. But we know also that at certain seasons of the year, harts, with an almost incredible desire, and more intensely than could proceed from mere thirst, seek after water; and although I would not contend for it, yet I think this is referred to by the prophet here.[2]

Ver. 1.—As the hart panteth after the water-brooks. Stags and hinds need abundant water, especially in hot countries, and, in time of drought, may be said, with a slight poetical licence, to “pant,” or “cry” (Joel 1:20) for it. They are still found in Palestine (Tristram, ‘Land of Israel,’ pp. 418, 447), though rather scarce. So panteth my soul after thee, O God. The “panting” of the soul does not mean any physical action, but a longing desire for a blessing that is, at any rate for a time, withheld.[3]

1. “As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” As after a long drought the poor fainting hind longs for the streams, or rather as the hunted hart instinctively seeks after the river to lave its smoking flanks and to escape the dogs, even so my weary, persecuted soul pants after the Lord my God. Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. Like the parched traveller in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die—he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. As the hart brays so his soul prays. Give him his God and he is as content as the poor deer which at length slakes its thirst and is perfectly happy; but deny him his Lord, and his heart heaves, his bosom palpitates, his whole frame is convulsed, like one who gasps for breath, or pants with long running. Dear reader, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord’s love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it—hourly, did I say? thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continual is the heart’s longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings. We may learn from this verse that the eagerness of our desires may be pleaded with God, and the more so, because there are special promises for the importunate and fervent.[4]

42:1 Our inner longing for fellowship with God can be compared to the vehement craving of the deer as it wanders through the parched countryside, its sides throbbing and its breathing quickened as it longs for the brooks. Gamaliel Bradford transferred the picture to himself when he said:

My one unchanged ambition

Wheresoe’er my feet have trod

Is a keen, enormous, haunting,

Never-sated thirst for God.[5]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 42:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 2, pp. 128–130). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 330). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[4] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, pp. 270–271). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 615). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

August 11 – Covenant renewal — Reformed Perspective

“Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’” – Joshua 5:9

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:1-12

This passage marks the end of the first main section of the Book of Joshua. From here the wars and battles begin. More significantly for Israel, however, this passage also verifies that her desert wanderings are now done. The divine judgment against that first generation of unbelieving Israel is fulfilled. The final obstacle of the Jordan River has been miraculously overcome and the Promised Land lies before them.

But wait! Covenant renewal is needed before covenant blessings can come. Two essential Old Testament memorials that God had given His Church need to be restored: circumcision and Passover.

Circumcision was God’s covenantal sign first given to Abraham in order to mark out the people who belonged to the Lord from those who belonged to the world while Passover was God’s memorial meal that testified to God’s redemption of His people from slavery and sin. So these testified to God’s claiming and saving of His chosen people. These truths must be professed by the people before the Promised Land can be enjoyed by the people.

In church today you will be confronted by a very close correlation of these same two memorials: the baptismal font reminding you of how God’s mark of possession has also been placed upon you, setting you apart from the world. And the communion table reminds us of the crucified body and shed blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. These truths need to be professed by us before the Promised Land of Glory can ever be enjoyed by us.

Suggestions for prayer

Dwell on what these twin New Testament memorials mean to you as a follower of Christ. Pray that through His preached Word heard today, your heart, mind and soul would be filled with a greater appreciation for the redemption found in Jesus Christ alone.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois.

via August 11 – Covenant renewal — Reformed Perspective

August 11 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

1 Samuel 1; Romans 1; Jeremiah 39; Psalm 13–14


a friend of mine once gave a university evangelistic address under the title, “Atheists Are Fools and Agnostics Are Cowards.” Needless to say, he drew a considerable crowd, even if the crowd was pretty hostile. Whether or not this was the tactically wise thing to do in that setting may, I suppose, be debated. What should not be debated is that my friend was being faithful to Scripture: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Ps. 14:1). Indeed, if anything, the text of Scripture is stronger than the English suggests. The word rendered “fool” is in Hebrew a term of moral opprobrium suggesting perversity, churlish and aggressive perversity. Paul certainly understood the point: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22). After all, “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them” (Rom. 1:19); and “since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind” (Rom. 1:28). The Bible’s view is that in the last analysis atheism is less the product of misguided searching, a kind of intellectual mistake, than a defiant and stubborn rebellion.

The fact that atheism is not widely seen that way is itself an index of our depravity. In fact, the best-informed atheists commonly acknowledge the connection between morality and belief, between immorality and unbelief. There is a famous passage in Huxley that acknowledges that one of the driving forces behind atheistic naturalism is the desire to tear away any sort of moral condemnation of otherwise condemned behavior. In a passage scarcely less famous, Michel Foucault, one of the theoreticians behind postmodernism, frankly acknowledges that it became important for him to destroy traditional notions of truth and morality because he wished to justify his own sexual conduct. A few years ago, Foucault died of AIDS.

We must not misapply this text. Within the framework of their own presuppositions, there are many honest atheists. But the framework itself is wrong. That framework is never established by a single individual. It is built up piece by piece until certain beliefs are culturally possible, then probable, then almost inevitable—and each generation, each individual, has contributed to this massive rebellion, this lust for autonomy that refuses to recognize the rights of our Maker and our obligations to him. Atheism becomes not simply an individual choice but a social degeneracy. The ultimate result is the sweeping condemnation of Psalm 14:2–3. Compare Romans 3:10–18: sin is not merely ubiquitous but universal, and results in massive social damage (Psalm 14:4–6). At the end of the day, there is no help but in the Lord (14:7).[1]

[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.