Daily Archives: February 17, 2020

February 17 Streams in the Desert

The land which I do give them, even the children of Israel.” (Joshua 1:2.)

GOD here speaks in the immediate present. It is not something He is going to do, but something He does do, this moment. So faith ever speaks. So God ever gives. So He is meeting you today, in the present moment. This is the test of faith. So long as you are waiting for a thing, hoping for it, looking for it, you are not believing. It may be hope, it may be earnest desire, but it is not faith; for “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The command in regard to believing prayer is the present tense. “When ye pray, believe that ye receive the things that ye desire, and ye shall have them.” Have we come to that moment? Have we met God in His everlasting NOW?—Joshua, by Simpson.

True faith counts on God, and believes before it sees. Naturally, we want some evidence that our petition is granted before we believe; but when we walk by faith we need no other evidence than God’s Word. He has spoken, and according to our faith it shall be done unto us. We shall see because we have believed, and this faith sustains us in the most trying places, when everything around us seems to contradict God’s Word.

The Psalmist says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living” (Psa. 27:13). He did not see as yet the Lord’s answer to his prayers, but he believed to see; and this kept him from fainting.

If we have the faith that believes to see, it will keep us from growing discouraged. We shall “laugh at impossibilities,” we shall watch with delight to see how God is going to open up a path through the Red Sea when there is no human way out of our difficulty. It is just in such places of severe testing that our faith grows and strengthens.

Have you been waiting upon God, dear troubled one, during long nights and weary days, and have feared that you were forgotten? Nay, lift up your head, and begin to praise Him even now for the deliverance which is on its way to you.

Life of Praise.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (p. 54). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Kanye West Brings His Sunday Service To NBA All-Star Game In Chicago and Preaches False Gospel To Fawning Idol Worshipping Audience — Now The End Begins

“With God on your side, everything is possible. With God on your side, everything is probable and nothing is impossible. That’s the gospel,” Kanye West said.

Kanye West has been gradually refining and perfecting his Sunday Service routine until it has finally become the kind of good vibes, feel-good machine that will continue to function as his virtual ATM for quite some time to come. The apostle Paul warned us about “ministers” in the end times who come at you will a “form of godliness” while denying its power, and Paul tells us to avoid these people at all costs. Especially when they come at you preaching a false gospel as Kanye West is doing right now.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJB)

Kanye West is telling people that the gospel is ‘having God on your side’, so that you can “do the impossible” and that is not the gospel of the grace of God in any respect or on any level. What he is preaching is what the Laodicean phonies like Joel Osteen preach, the blasphemous “love gospel” that turns God into a pusillanimous pervert who is incapable of justice, righteousness or holiness. So why do people preach that junk? Because it sells, because it makes you feel good, because it makes them rich. What does it do you for? It sends your soul to Hell because that cannot save you, it has never saved anyone. So what is the gospel of the grace of God?

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJB)

The gospel that saves your soul, what Paul calls “my gospel”, is that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross in your place, shed His blood as the payment for your sins, and then rose from the dead on the third day to prove He has the power over death and Hell. When you believe that, the Bible says you are saved, and nothing less and nothing else can or will save you. The feel good crap that Kanye West is preaching will make you feel good about yourself, right up to the moment you die and open your eyes in Hell, then it won’t feel so good.

Ardent Kanye West supporters came in droves to see the polarizing MC’s soul-stirring event.

FROM THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: After recently making pit stops in Miami and Los Angeles for this year’s Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, respectively, Kanye West made his triumphant return to his hometown of Chicago on Sunday afternoon ahead of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

Ardent Kanye West supporters came in droves to see the polarizing MC’s soul-stirring event, which previously hosted stars such as Brad Pitt and Chance the Rapper.

Though Kanye West and company kicked off the show nearly an hour after its scheduled 2 p.m. slot at the Credit Union 1 Arena, the gospel collective blazed through some of his classic records. Positioned in the middle of the venue, the choir was in a circular formation, underneath a dark blue beaming light. West’s army led the charge, showering the crowd with positive affirmations such as “If you can’t run, just walk.”

Dousing the people with words of encouragement, along with remixes to West’s songs “Power,” “Father Stretch My Hands” and “Fade,” satiated the crowd’s hunger for soul food on this frigid Sunday afternoon. Fans even howled in excitement when A$AP Ferg’s “New Level” was taken for a spin and flipped into a God-praising anthem. Later, West’s choir turned the dial and jumped decades back to perform Soul II Soul’s 1989 hit “Back to Life” and Maze & Frankie Beverly’s 1977 song “Before I Let Go” to the delight of the crowd. Their lush and sonorous melodies had feet tapping and hands clapping, with everyone celebrating the festive return of Chicago’s biggest star.

The news of Kanye West and his 'Sunday Service' travelling show is in the news just about everywhere at the moment.

Relishing the crowd’s positive vibrations, Kanye West vaulted himself at the top of the fray, bopping to his choir’s soothing harmonies before ultimately deciding to take the reins. Sporting his dark sunglasses, West grabbed the microphone and rapped to his Jesus Is King track “Selah.” Blanketed by his choir’s cries of “Hallejluah,” West greeted their energy with open arms after he rapped the song’s verse.

Kanye West continued his rampage by jumping into “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” “Follow God” and “Closed on Sunday.” The mini-set was electric, with the choir peppering West’s songs with soaring ad-libs, adding a hint of gospel influence to his records.

To close things off, Yeezy gave a resounding performance of “Jesus Walks,” a song that propelled him into a megastar in 2004. After allowing his choir to intro the record, he began rapping the song’s first verse as the crowd clung to every word he dished out. As West concluded his rap, he broke into a thoughtful spiel about finding healing through God and how important it was for him to return to Chicago. “With God on your side, everything is possible. With God on your side, everything is probable and nothing is impossible. That’s the gospel,” he said.

Gathering his thoughts, Kanye West then barked at his haters who questioned his love for God and his newfound direction in music. “I’m not here to perform for y’all. I don’t do performances. I’m only here to tell you what saved my life and brought my mind back,” he revealed. “I’m not saying that when you get delivered and when you get saved that life becomes easy, but you get to lean on a rock that won’t ever fail you.” READ MORE

Is This End Times Mess Considered The Gospel?

Click to listen to a segment of the gospel that Kanye West preached at the NBA All-Star Game over the weekend.

Click To Hear The Truth About Heaven And Hell

This is the truth about Heaven and Hell, and it is not what Kanye West is preaching.

via Kanye West Brings His Sunday Service To NBA All-Star Game In Chicago and Preaches False Gospel To Fawning Idol Worshipping Audience — Now The End Begins

Spokesman says Conservative Baptist Network already a success

Twenty-five hundred churches signed on in the first two days to a new network calling for a reboot of the “conservative resurgence” that four decades ago corrected a perceived leftward drift in the Southern Baptist Convention, the group’s spokesman said Sunday.

Source: Spokesman says Conservative Baptist Network already a success

Surprising facts about Washington and Lincoln: How their humility created and saved our nation — Denison Forum

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A top health official is reporting that forty-four Americans on a quarantined cruise ship in Japan have been infected with the deadly coronavirus. Hundreds are fleeing Jackson, Mississippi, as the Pearl River rises to its highest level in decades. And authorities have confirmed the deaths of two men killed in a large avalanche in Colorado.

When diseases and disasters make the daily headlines, it’s easy to conclude that we are facing unprecedented challenges. So, let’s draw some encouragement from the presidents whose birthdays we celebrate today.

A holiday with three apostrophes 

Washington’s Birthday is a United States federal holiday observed on the third Monday in February. The day honors George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732. Some states also celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12, 1809.

However, most states have combined the two into Presidents’ Day (the usage in Texas and nine other states), President’s Day (the usage in nine states), or Presidents Day (the usage in four states). Some states use the occasion to honor all of our presidents.

Wherever we place the apostrophe, it is fitting that we set aside a day to remember George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for what they did and, significantly, what they did not do.

“He’s the greatest man in the world” 

In The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, David M. Rubenstein interviews experts on some of the leading figures in American history. He begins, of course, with our first president.

Rubenstein notes that Washington “essentially invented the office [of president] and established traditions and practices still in use more than two hundred years later.” He fulfilled three roles that helped birth our nation.

First, Washington led our troops to victory over the seemingly invincible British forces. Second, he presided over the Constitutional Convention, a gathering that was unlikely to have occurred, much less succeeded, without his presence. Third, as the first US president, he ensured that the new American government would work and set precedents that have helped to guide his successors.

Americans are familiar with these remarkable achievements. But many of us are less familiar with the crucial significance of what came next.

In Washington’s day (and ours), generals who led revolutions usually held onto power as long as they could. Washington could readily have had a third term and presumably served as president until his death. A Senate committee wanted to call him “His Highness, the President of the United States, and the Protector of their Liberties.”

He refused such an imperial title and a third term, allowing the American people to elect his successor and thus ensuring that our democratic experiment would become a reality. In a day when the world was ruled by kings and emperors in crowns and robes, he chose for the now-familiar Gilbert Stuart portrait to wear a simple black suit.

At the end of Washington’s second presidential term, England’s King George III said, “If George Washington gives up power, as I hear he’s going to, he’s the greatest man in the world.”

In many ways, he was.

“I’m the humblest of all of you” 

Rubenstein interviewed Doris Kearns Goodwin on our sixteenth president. She noted that when the Republican contenders for president were photographed, probably in 1859, Abraham Lincoln was not even mentioned. William Seward was expected to be the nominee; Salmon P. Chase and Edward Bates were the other candidates with the largest support.

Lincoln never attacked the other three. During the Republican Convention, he knew he would not be the delegates’ first preference, so he positioned himself as their second choice. When Seward failed to gain a majority on the first ballot, delegates began considering Lincoln, who won the nomination on the third ballot.

Most politicians would have moved to delegitimize such powerful rivals, but Lincoln did the opposite. He immediately reached out to his rivals with letters that said, “I’m the humblest of all of you. I need your support.” The three ended up campaigning for him, then joined his cabinet when he won. And their leadership was indispensable throughout Lincoln’s administration and the preservation of the Union.

“Humility comes before honor” 

Without the humility of George Washington, our republic could have become a monarchy before it began. Without the humility of Abraham Lincoln, our union could have been dissevered forever.

The best way to honor them is to follow their example.

The first temptation is the root of all temptation: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Friedrich Nietzsche correctly observed that the “will to power” is the basic drive in human nature.

Today is a good day to remember that “when pride comes, then comes disgrace, and humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33). To make progress with humility, consider Rick Warren’s observation: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

And thinking more of your Lord. C. S. Lewis: “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

Are you looking down or up today?

 

via Surprising facts about Washington and Lincoln: How their humility created and saved our nation — Denison Forum

New Liberalism and the Southern Baptist Convention — Conservative Resurgence: Voices

These are the first five posts in a series addressing New Liberalism and the Southern Baptist Convention. “New Liberalism” is a catch-all term for what some see as a theological threat similar to the liberalism of the previous century. This series does not assume that New Liberalism is in the SBC, but is intended to more clearly delineate the concept of New Liberalism in relation to the SBC.

A Divisive Topic

Conservative Silence

A Sociological Approach to Science

Religious Language

Fruits and Roots

 

via New Liberalism and the Southern Baptist Convention — Conservative Resurgence: Voices

Top Mueller prosecutor: DOJ starting new investigation into James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok — Christian Research Network

(Daniel Chaitin – Washington Examiner)  One of Robert Mueller’s former top prosecutors said the outside prosecutor picked to review the case against retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is a ruse to investigate President Trump’s perceived enemies.

Andrew Weissmann, a former Justice Department official who was known as Mueller’s “pit bull” during the Russia investigation, said the Justice Department swapped out the “loser case” of Andrew McCabe, who escaped criminal charges on Friday for allegedly lying to investigators about authorizing media disclosures, for a fresh one targeting top former FBI officials, including McCabe, led by Jeffrey Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.

“All they did was swapped out a loser case for starting an investigation that is going to be of Comey, McCabe, Pete Strzok,” Weissmann told MSNBC host Chuck Todd.

All three officials were involved in the investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, which Trump and his allies have called a “witch hunt.” Mueller, who took over the inquiry after FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017, found no criminal conspiracy when the investigation ended last year.    View article →

via Top Mueller prosecutor: DOJ starting new investigation into James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok — Christian Research Network

9Marks Leader, Mark Dever, Defends the Legitimacy of Voting for Pro-Choice Candidates for Social Justice Causes — Christian Research Network

According to Mark Dever, our African American brothers and sisters “realized a long time ago [that] there are going to be a bunch of different issues that are going to affect us. I think white Christians think this is the only moral way to approach voting. I think they’re never thought of anything else.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  I’m not going to shy away from it at this point, the social justice movement that has co-opted Evangelicalism is a demonic influence that turns hearts away from the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and sets people’s minds on temporal self-entitlement…

In this video, Mark Dever defends the legitimacy of voting for pro-choice candidates because pro-life candidates “can’t do anything about abortion anyway” so we may as well vote for a Democrat who is going to do all this social justice stuff now.

Watch the video on the site

Earlier today, I wrote an article showing that another Southern Baptist ERLC contributor made essentially the same argument. Needless to say, the argument is not rooted in sound biblical theology or a Christian worldview but rooted in a deficient sub-Christian epistemology that is completely devoid of the gospel. View article →

Research

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity” 

Discernment

via 9Marks Leader, Mark Dever, Defends the Legitimacy of Voting for Pro-Choice Candidates for Social Justice Causes — Christian Research Network

A Plague of Locusts — Gentle Reformation

Newspaper articles this past week have had titles such as “End of the world: Coronavirus panic and African locust plague spark Bible apocalypse fears” and “Like Something Out of the Book of Exodus.” They are reporting on the fact that locust armies are ravaging large portions of eastern Africa and the Middle East.

We are being told that these locust armies “are unprecedented in size and scope.” The numbers do stagger the imagination. They travel in swarms that can reach 40 miles in width, with each locust able to eat the equivalent of its own body weight every day. One writer stated that the recent locust plague “is a nightmare of epic proportions, and it is just getting started. It could get 500 times bigger by June.” A medium-size swarm of locusts can eat the same amount of food in a day as the entire population of Kenya! Even this morning it is being reported that a swarm has crossed the Red Sea and entered western China. Watch this BBC video clip to see this phenomenon explained.

Revelation 9:1-11 describes a plague of locusts as the fifth trumpet of God’s judgment is blasted.

Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.

The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.

Some Bible teachers, like the title editors to these newspaper columns, take this passage and relate this text to this specific plague, saying it’s being fulfilled in our time. In past ages of the church, others have understood Revelation 9 to be various armies on horseback attacking a country. In more modern times, we hear things such as what Hal Lindsey says in his book Apocalypse, “These locusts are the thunderous sound of many attack helicopters flying overhead.” More recent teachers, trying to catch up with the latest technology, believe they are armies of murderous drones. Teachers such as these seem to watch the news or even Star Wars to interpret Revelation!

So what is being described here? Clearly, it is not ordinary locusts. The Lord makes that abundantly clear. For they are commanded not to harm the plants and trees. Nor are they war machines. No, these locusts are even more terrifying. For they are from the Abyss, the bottomless pit, the realm of the dead and evil spirits. John is describing here a time when hell is breaking loose as an army of demons is sent forth. They have the power of scorpions to sting and poison, exacting a great agony from their victims. For their target is not vegetation, but people.

The further description of these demons in verses 7-10 is beyond imagination. Notice that the word “like” is used repeatedly, as John grapples describing this grotesque spiritual reality. The demons are like horses in battle. Their faces like men with gold crowns. Their hair is long like that of a woman’s. Their teeth are like those of lions. Their breastplates are like iron ones. Their wings sound like chariots and horses rushing to battle. We have here a mixture of human and animal characteristics, a hideous distortion of God’s created order. Their king is none other than Satan, whose Hebrew and Greek names both mean “Destroyer,”

When Jesus cast the demons out of the Gerasene demoniac, remember that they pleaded to go into a nearby swine herd. When Jesus permitted this and they did so, the demon-possessed pigs then rushed into sea, signifying there were going back into the Abyss. In contrast, the locust-like demon swarm described here is being released from the Abyss, showing a time of Satanic activity. As William Hendricksen says in More Than Conquerors, “Under the symbolism of a locust-plague John describes the powers and influences of hell operating in the hearts and lives of wicked men.”

In Pilgrim’s Progress, as Christian traveled through the Valley of Humiliation, he found Apollyon standing in his path. Bunyan describes him in this manner: “The monster was hideous to behold; he was clothed with scales like a fish (and they are his pride); he had wings like a dragon; feet like a bear; and out of his belly came fire and smoke; and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion.” When Christian refused to go back as Apollyon demanded, we read:

He broke out into a grievous rage, saying, “I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws, and people: I am come out on purpose to withstand you.”  Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, “I am void of fear in this matter. Prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den, that you shall go no farther: here will I spill your soul.” And with that he threw a flaming dart at Christian’s breast.

Bunyan reminds us with this scene of what too many of us in the modern Western world forget. The church is in a battle “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:18). Seasons of locust plagues in Africa can seem distant to us, with our comforts and the knowledge that there is an ocean between us insulating us from the idea that we could also suffer. Likewise. the church in the West is asleep and largely ignorant of the cosmic battle being waged around us. Demons are making America’s playground their home. You can see it in such things as the false teachings that plague our land, the gross sexual abuse and violence heard in the news that destroy so many lives, or the war against nature itself witnessed in a land no longer able to call a boy a boy and a girl a girl. All the while, the church in large measure just seems to slumber on.

Oh that the Lord might awaken the church once again!  If she arose in earnest prayer and true preaching, would not Satan fall like lightening and the demons be sent back to the Abyss where they belong?

via A Plague of Locusts — Gentle Reformation

Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 17, 2020 | The Patriot Post

The Foundation

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams (1749)

FBI Unlawfully Passed Classified Intel to Steele

It’s like a playground game of telephone, only big players used each other to confirm bogus intel.


DOJ Drops Unwinnable Case Against McCabe

As is often the case, there may be more to this decision than meets the eye.


Roger Stone, ‘Justice,’ and the Deep State

The appalling but true story of corruption and deep bias involving this prosecution.


Americans’ Record Household Debt Is a National Problem

Too many Americans and especially Millennials are spending beyond their means.


The Infiltration of Indecency

Black voters continue to follow a party that eviscerates what blacks believe in.


Washington’s Birthday vs. Presidents’ Day

To call the day “Presidents’ Day” diminishes George Washington.


Video: Most Say They’re Better Off Now Than Before Trump’s Election

So where’s the apocalypse?


Video: Gender Theory Gets New High-Profile Couple to Champion It

The latest celebrity couple to share their experience and parenting advice for a child experiencing gender confusion.


Video: The Annual Woke Awards

Our Hollywood elitists are ignoring Ricky Gervais’s advice.


Video: Sanders Says He’s a Better Sort of Socialist Than … Trump?

Bernie’s socialism benefits the working man, he claims, while Trump’s only helps billionaires.



Today’s Opinion

Hans von Spakovsky
On Presidents Day, Remembering Why We Have a Strong Commander in Chief
Peggy Noonan
Mike Bloomberg Could Pull It Off
Imprimis
The Roots of Our Partisan Divide
Gary Bauer
The Left’s Big Lie
Ken Blackwell
Iranian People’s Vote Is for Regime Change
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday News Executive Summary

FBI’s Steele assistance, Medicaid work rules, Omar’s hush money, and more.


Monday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Nancy Pelosi, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Dawkins, and more.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

Cartoons and Memes · Feb. 17, 2020 | The Patriot Post

Bernie’s Marketing Strategy

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Then and Now

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Bernie Sanders

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Bernie at the Bar

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Socialism Sucks

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Michael Bloomberg

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A Shocking Contrast

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Jimmy Fallon

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A Cheeky Whippersnapper

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Hunter and Joe

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Smollett and Schiff

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Priorities

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‘Brave’

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Then and Now

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It’s Gonna Cost You

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Taking the Wrong Step

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A Socialist

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Democrat Accomplishments

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February 17, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendour is above the earth and the heavens (v. 13). Creation is testimony to the power and craftsmanship of God. The opening words are identical with those in verse 5a, and just as that statement is followed by the motivation to praise (‘for he commanded and they were created’), so in this verse (‘for his name alone is exalted’). This motivation is probably derived from Isaiah 2:11, 17, in a description of the Day of the Lord. When creation is viewed, God’s ‘eternal power and divine nature’ (Rom. 1:20) are evident, and so his name is exalted. That ‘his splendour is above the earth and the heavens’ means that the creator’s splendour far exceeds that of the creation.[1]


Ver. 13. Let them praise the name of the Lord.Universal praise due to God:

  1. The goodness of God to the irrational creatures. Although Nature is out of joint, yet even in its disruption I am surprised to find the almost universal happiness of the animal creation. On a summer day, when the air and the grass are most populous with life, you will not hear a sound of distress unless, perchance, a heartless schoolboy has robbed a bird’s nest, or a hunter has broken a bird’s wing, or a pasture has been robbed of a lamb, and there goes up a bleating from the flocks. The whole earth is filled with animal delight—joy feathered, and scaled, and horned, and hoofed. The bee hums it; the frog croaks it; the squirrel chatters it; the quail whistles it; the lark carols it; the whale spouts it. The snail, the rhinoceros, the grizzly bear, the toad, the wasp, the spider, the shell-fish have their homely delights—joy as great to them as our joy is to us. Goat climbing the rocks; anaconda crawling through the jungle; buffalo plunging across the prairie; crocodile basking in tropical sun; seal puffing on the ice, ostrich striding across the desert, are so many bundles of joy; they do not go moping or melancholy; they are not only half supplied; God says they are filled with good. The worms squirming through the sod upturned of ploughshare, and the ants racing up and down the hillock, are happy by day and happy by night. Take up a drop of water under the microscope, and you find that within it there are millions of creatures that swim in a hallelujah of gladness. The sounds in Nature that are repulsive to our ears are often only utterances of joy—the growl, the croak, the bark, the howl. The good God made these creatures, thinks of them ever, and will not let a ploughshare turn up a mole’s nest, or fisherman’s hooks transfix a worm, until, by Eternal decree, its time has come. God’s hand feeds all these broods, and shepherds all these flocks, and tends all these herds. The sea anemone, half animal, half flower, clinging to the rock in mid-ocean, with its tentacles spread to catch its food, has the Owner of the universe to provide for it. We are repulsed at the hideousness of the elephant, but God, for the comfort and convenience of the monster, puts forty thousand distinct muscles in its proboscis. I go down on the barren seashore and say, “No animal can live in this place of desolation,” but all through the sands are myriads of little insects that leap with happy life. I go down by the marsh and say, “In this damp place, and in these loathsome pools of stagnant water there will be the quietness of death”; but lo! I see the turtles on the rotten log sunning themselves, and hear the bogs quake with multitudinous life. When the unfledged robins are hungry, God shows the old robin where she can get food to put into their open mouths. Winter is not allowed to come until the ants have granaried their harvest and the squirrels have filled their cellar with nuts. God shows the hungry ichneumon where it may find the crocodile’s eggs; and in Arctic climes there are animals that God so lavishly clothes that they can afford to walk through snowstorms in the finest sable, and ermine, and chinchilla, and no sooner is one set of furs worn out than God gives them a new one. He helps the spider in its architecture of its gossamer bridge, and takes care of the colour of the butterfly’s wing, and tinges the cochineal, and helps the moth out of the chrysalis. The animal creation also has its army and navy. The most insignificant has its means of defence—the wasp its sting, the reptile its tooth, the bear its paw, the dog its muzzle, the elephant its tusk, the fish its scale, the bird its swift wing, the reindeer its antlers, the roe its fleet foot. We are repelled at the thought of sting, and tusk, and hoof, but God’s goodness provides them for the defence of the animal’s rights.
  2. The adaptation of the world to the comfort and happiness of man. The sixth day of creation had arrived. The palace of the world was made, but there was no king to live in it. Leviathan ruled the deep; the eagle, the air; the lion, the field; but where was the sceptre which should rule all? A new style of being was created. Heaven and earth were represented in his nature. His body from the earth beneath; his soul from the heaven above. The one reminding him of his origin, the other speaking of his destiny—himself the connecting link between the animal creation and angelic intelligence. In him a strange commingling of the temporal and eternal, the finite and the infinite, dust and glory. The earth for his floor, and heaven for his roof; God for his Father; eternity for his lifetime.
  3. The Christian anatomist, gazing upon the conformation of the human body, exclaims: “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” No embroidery so elaborate, no gauze so delicate, no colour so exquisite, no mechanism so graceful, no handiwork so divine. So quietly and mysteriously does the human body perform its functions that it was not until five thousand years after the creation of the race that the circulation of the blood was discovered; and though anatomists of all countries and ages have been so long exploring this castle of life they have only begun to understand it. Volumes have been written of the hand. Wondrous instrument! Behold the eye, which, in its photographic gallery, in an instant catches the mountain and the sea.
  4. I take a step higher, and look at man’s mental constitution. Behold the benevolence of God in powers of perception, or the faculty of transporting this outside world into your own mind—gathering into your brain the majesty of the storm, and the splendours of the day-dawn, and lifting into your mind the ocean as easily as you might put a glass of water to your lips. Watch the law of association, or the mysterious linking together of all you ever thought, or knew, or felt, and then giving you the power to take hold of the clue-line, and draw through your mind the long train with indescribable velocity—one thought starting up a hundred, and this again a thousand—as the chirp of one bird sometimes wakes a whole forest of voices, or the thrum of one string will rouse an orchestra. Watch your memory—that sheaf-binder, that goes forth to gather the harvest of the past, and bring it into the present. Your power and velocity of thought—thought of the swift wing and the lightning foot; thought that outspeeds the star, and circles through the heavens, and weighs worlds, and, from poising amid wheeling constellations, comes down to count the blossoms in a tuft of mignonette, then starts again to try the fathoming of the bottomless, and the sealing of the insurmountable, to be swallowed up in the incomprehensible, and lost in God!
  5. I take a step higher, and look at man’s moral nature. Made in the image of God. Vast capacity for enjoyment; capable at first of eternal joy, and, though now disordered, still, through the recuperative force of heavenly grace, able to mount up to more than its original felicity; faculties that may blossom and bear fruit inexhaustibly. Immortality written upon every capacity; a soul destined to range in unlimited spheres of activity long after the world has put on ashes, and the solar system shall have snapped its axle, and the stars that, in their courses, fought against Sisera, shall have been slain, and buried amid the tolling thunders of the last day. (T. De Witt Talmage.)[2]

13. “Let them praise the name of the Lord.” All that is contained in the name or character of Jehovah is worthy of praise, and all the objects of his creating care will be too few to set it forth in its completeness. “For his name alone is excellent.” It alone deserves to be exalted in praise, for alone it is exalted in worth. There is none like unto the Lord, none that for a moment can be compared unto him. His unique name should have a monopoly of praise. “His glory is above the earth and heaven:” it is therefore alone because it surpasses all others. His royal splendour exceeds all that earth and heaven can express. He is himself the crown of all things, the excellency of the creation. There is more glory in him personally than in all his works united. It is not possible for us to exceed and become extravagant in the Lord’s praise: his own natural glory is infinitely greater than any glory which we can render to him.[3]


[1] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, pp. 1007–1008). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[2] Exell, J. S. (1909). The Biblical Illustrator: The Psalms (Vol. 5, pp. 440–442). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company; Francis Griffiths.

[3] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 120-150 (Vol. 6, p. 440). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

February 17 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

February 17.—Morning. [Or April 4.]
“We have access by faith.”

AFTER the giving of the law upon Sinai, Moses received instructions as to the institution of public worship and sacrifice. As all that which was then appointed was typical of spiritual things, we will read the New Testament summary of it, contained in

Hebrews 9:1–14

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly (or material) sanctuary.

For there was a tabernacle made; the first (or outer tabernacle), wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary (or holy place.)

3, 4, 5 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; (or Holy of Holies;) Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: (The greatest of the Jewish high priests had to admit that they were sinners themselves, for they had to present sin-offerings on their own account, but our Lord Jesus has no sin of his own; hence in part his ability to bear our sin.)

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (The Holy of Holies was not open to all men, but only to Jews; and not to all Jews, but only to priests; and not to all priests, but to the high priest alone; and not even to him at all times, or indeed at any time, except upon one solitary day in the year:)

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

They could not expiate sin, and consequently could not give the conscience peace.

10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The appearance of the substance and the putting away of the shadows, was a reformation, or emendation. Is it not wonderful that any should wish to undo this reformation, and go back to the beggarly elements of the law? Nay, worse, they would even revive the follies of old Rome.

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Our Lord’s offering is never to be repeated. It has been presented once, and has effectually secured the eternal redemption of all for whom he bled as a substitute. O what joy to see Jesus within the veil with a perfect offering, and to know that the one sacrifice has saved us.)

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Who can answer this question, “How much more?” It amounts to a solemn affirmation, Jesus can most assuredly remove our sins. Beloved, has he removed yours? Answer as before the living God!

Jesus, in Thee our eyes behold

A thousand glories more

Than the rich gems, and polish’d gold,

The sons of Aaron wore.

They first their own burnt-offerings brought

To purge themselves from sin:

Thy life was pure, without a spot;

And all Thy nature clean.

Once in the circuit of a year,

With blood, but not his own,

Aaron within the veil appears,

Before the golden throne.

But Christ by His own powerful blood

Ascends above the skies,

And in the presence of our God

Shows His own sacrifice.

February 17.—Evening. [Or April 5.]
“Our Fellowship is with the Father.”

Exodus 24:1–15; 18

AND he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.

And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

Even the most favoured under the law came not very near to God. Even when he said “Come up unto Jehovah” it was added, “but they shall not come nigh.” How different the gospel, for now, in Christ Jesus, we, who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Jesus.

¶ And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do. (Their tongues went faster than their lives. Man is swift at promising, but lame in performing.)

And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.

6, 7 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.

And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. (The blood is the main thing in all communion with God. No road is open to us but the crimson one. Where the blood of Jesus falls peace comes, but apart from that we are unclean, and, consequently, unfit for communion with God. Dear friends, has the blood of Jesus ever been sprinkled upon you? Faith, like the bunch of hyssop, applies the blood: have you that faith?)

9, 10 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. (When the blood was on them, they could come near, and enjoy quiet fellowship, even to eating and drinking. What they saw is not described to us except in one point, they saw the azure pavement beneath the sacred feet. All our conceptions fall below the glory of our God, we see only the place of his footstool.)

12 ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. (Moses enjoyed a higher degree of communion than any other man, and went up alone into the cloud. There are elect ones out of the elect to whom it is given to lie in their Masters bosom, and to walk in the light as he is in the light. To be highly favoured in this respect is honour and joy indeed.)

14, 15 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. (This was a sweet retreat for Moses, who would now for awhile forget the burden of the people.)

18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (O sweet stretch of intercourse with heaven. Six weeks with God! What a rest! Alas, Moses needed it, for the people were rebelling down below, and making trouble for their leader’s heart.)

Through the sacrificial blood,

Shed in honour of his law,

Chosen men drew near to God,

And his gracious glory saw.

Underneath his feet serene,

Sapphires, like a pavement, lay.

Bright as heaven itself is seen.

On a clear and cloudless day.

Heaven no frowning aspect wears;

Boldly we approach the throne:

Brighter grace to us appears

Than on Sinai’s Mount was shown.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 95–96). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

February 17 Alone with God

Psalm 88:13

In the morning my prayer comes before you.

I believe the best time to get alone with God is early morning—it sets the tone for your entire day. He’ll show you things and tell you things that will make the difference at crisis points during the next twelve hours or so. After you talk with the Lord and walk with Him through the schedule that lies ahead of you, He’ll strengthen and encourage you to make every point of your day an act of worship.

Another advantage to a morning time with God is that He’ll plant His word in your heart. You’ll be amazed at how often the very verse you studied over your morning coffee will have key significance a few hours later. Ask the Spirit to illuminate your study, and then go over your Scripture passage reflectively. Try to take that verse with you the rest of the day, so that it’s never far from your mind. The Word of God is essential to the worship of God, and there’s simply nothing so encouraging as His timeless and powerful Word. One little verse is enough to give you a divine perspective throughout the day.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 50). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

February 17 Thoughts for the quiet hour

I will help thee, saith the Lord

Isa. 41:14

O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the united Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The eternal God is thine helper!

Spurgeon[1]

 

[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

February 17 – Nun (1): A lamp for my feet — Reformed Perspective

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105 

Scripture reading: Psalm 19

Today we live in an age of light. We enjoy the benefit of light in so many ways. Lights indicate our laptops are on and our phones are charging. Lights keep our homes safe from intruders and street lamps keep our roads safer. By means of our car’s headlights, our hand-held flashlights, our headlamps, etc., the ways in front of us are illuminated.

This section of the psalmist’s prayer continues where the previous stanza left off. The psalmist continues to expound the blessing and benefit of the law, thus praising God and testifying of His love and faithfulness. The law is a lamp for his feet. It sheds light as he walks along the paths of life. The psalmist praises God for the many ways the law enlightens his life. The picture here is of an Israelite traveler walking along a darkened path. Walking along paths was treacherous at the best of times, even in daytime. Darkness only increased the dangers. The oil lamp the traveler holds keeps him from stumbling over rocks and roots, or into holes, or on snakes. It keeps him from slipping and falling or wandering off the path and becoming lost. So, the law of God directs the believer’s “feet” and keeps him from every evil “way”.

Ultimately, the law reveals and points us to Jesus Christ, Who is the way, the truth, the life and the light Himself. Look to Christ, follow Christ, allow Christ to illumine your way. Let the gospel of Christ illumine your darkened community.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that God will enlighten your mind and heart, which are naturally darkened by sin. Ask that Jesus Christ will be revealed to you, so that you live and walk in His light.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada.

via February 17 – Nun (1): A lamp for my feet — Reformed Perspective

February 17, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

† 9:23 — At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed .…

How blessed we would be if we would go when the Lord told us to go and stay when the Lord told us to stay! Obedience always brings blessing.[1]


23 This verse gives a report of compliance: “They obeyed the Lord’s order.” The repetitious nature of this section (vv. 15–23) enhances the expectation of continued obedience to the sure direction of the Lord in Israel’s movements through the wilderness. The role of Moses is mentioned for balance: Moses was the Lord’s agent who interpreted the movement of the cloud as signaling the movement of the people. The level of the tragedy of their subsequent disobedience is heightened by this paragraph of great obedience.

The whole section (vv. 15–23) is harmonious. There are several repeated phrasings (“by the mouth of,” “the cloud,” “settling/lifting,” and “journeying/encamping”). The perspective seems to be distant from the event. The narrator uses broad strokes of summary, suggesting the ideals of God’s direction and the promptness of the people’s response. There is no hint of disobedience here.[2]


23  The third formula is in the same form as the previous one. Although this breaks the pattern of placing like with like, the verse does conclude with the theme of departure, which is the same theme with which the passage began in v. 18a. This verse thus completes a chiasm. V. 23b repeats the obedience formula at the command of Yahweh, but this time it is expanded by the addition of the phrase through (lit., “by the hand of”) Moses. The command of Yahweh that is mediated through his servant Moses is that the watch of Yahweh is to be kept. Again, this formula emphasizes the careful and exact obedience to Yahweh that is so important to the author of Numbers.[3]


Vers. 15–23. The Cloud.

The history of the cloud:

We have here the history of the cloud. Not a natural history—“who knows the balancings of the clouds?”—but a Divine history, of a cloud that was appointed to be the visible symbol of God’s presence with Israel.

  1. I. When the tabernacle was finished this cloud, which before had hung on high over their camp, settled upon the tabernacle and covered it; to show that God manifests His presence with His people in and by His ordinances.
  2. II. That which appeared as a cloud by day appeared as a fire all night; to teach Israel the constancy of His presence with them and care of them (Isa. 27:5; Psa. 121:6).

III. This pillar of cloud and fire directed and determined all the motions, marches, and encampments of Israel in the wilderness.

  1. 1. As long as the cloud rested upon the tabernacle, so long they continued in the same place and never stirred. Though no doubt they were very desirous to be pressing forward in their journey towards Canaan, where they hoped to be quickly, yet as long as the cloud rested, if it were a month or a year, so long they rested (ver. 22). Note, he that believeth doth not make haste. There is no time lost whilst we are waiting God’s time. It is as acceptable a piece of submission to the will of God to sit still contentedly when our lot requires it, as to work for Him when we are called to it.
  2. 2. When the cloud was taken up they removed, how comfortably soever they were encamped (ver. 17). Whether it moved by day or night they delayed not to attend its motions (ver. 21). And probably there were some appointed to stand sentinel day and night within ken of it, to give timely notice to the camp of its beginning to stir; and this is called keeping the charge of the Lord. The people being thus kept at a constant uncertainty, and having no time fixed for their stays and removes, were obliged to hold themselves in a constant readiness to march upon very short warning. And for the same reason we are kept at uncertainty concerning the time of our putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle, that we may be always ready to remove at the commandment of the Lord.
  3. 3. As long and as far as the cloud moved, so long and so far they marched; and just there where it abode they pitched their tents about it, and God’s tent under it (ver. 17). Note, it is uncomfortable staying when God is departed, but very safe and pleasant going when we see God go before us, and resting where He appoints us to rest. Lessons:
  4. 1. The particular care God takes of His people. Nothing could be more significant of God’s tenderness of Israel than the conduct of this cloud was. It led them by the right way (Psa. 107:7); went on their pace; God did by it, as it were, cover them with His feathers. We are not now to expect such sensible tokens of the Divine presence and guidance as this was. But the promise is sure to all God’s spiritual Israel, that He will guide them by His counsel (Psa. 73:24) even unto death (Psa. 48:14); that all the children of God shall be led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14); that He will direct their paths who in all their ways acknowledge Him (Prov. 3:6). There is a particular providence conversant about all their affairs to direct and overrule them for the best. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psa. 37:22).
  5. 2. The particular regard we ought to have to God in all our ways. In our affections and actions we must follow the direction of His Word and Spirit; all the motions of our soul must be guided by the Divine will; at the commandment of the Lord our heart should always move and rest. In all our affairs we must follow providence, reconciling ourselves to all its disposals, and bringing our mind to our condition, whatever it is. (Matthew Henry, D.D.)

The pillar of cloud and fire:

  1. I. As an emblem of Divine truth.
  2. 1. Supernatural as to origin.
  3. 2. Stable: only a cloud, yet not dispersed.
  4. 3. Adapted to both night and day.
  5. 4. Reliable.
  6. 5. Intolerant: “This is the way,” and no other.
  7. II. As a symbol of Divine providence.
  8. 1. Different appearance to different characters.
  9. 2. Presented alternations of aspect to the same people.
  10. 3. Mysterious in its movements.
  11. 4. Aims at the good of all who follow its guidance.

III. As a type of the Divine Saviour.

  1. 1. Mysterious nature.
  2. 2. Challenges attention.
  3. 3. His purpose beneficent.
  4. 4. The source of great comfort.
  5. 5. Constant in His attachment. Lessons:
  6. 1. Seek to be on the right side of the cloud.
  7. 2. Seek it in the right place—over the tabernacle.
  8. 3. Follow its guidance. ( C. Gray.)

The pillar of cloud and of fire:

  1. I. The pillar of cloud and of fire is a perpetual fact in the life of God’s people.
  2. 1. We see the pillar in God’s Word. The Bible has not a precept for every emergency which can arise in daily life, so that at such a point you can see a guide-board, like the signs pointing to the old cities of refuge; but it is full of general principles which, if obeyed, will direct without mistake to the promised land.
  3. 2. We see the pillar in God’s providences. Sometimes it appears in prosperity, beckoning us onward; sometimes in adversity, turning us back.
  4. 3. We see the pillar in God’s special revelations. They come, perhaps, at the threshold of some great undertaking. Shall we move out from Egypt toward the Red Sea? And there, if we are watching, will be the sign in the sky! When Pastor Harms, in Germany, was deliberating whether, without one dollar in his possession, he should build a ship to carry missionaries to Africa, he says, describing his conflict: “I prayed fervently to the Lord, laid the matter in His hands, and as I rose up at midnight from my knees I said, with a voice that almost startled me in my quiet room, ‘Forward now, in God’s name.’ From that moment there never came a thought of doubt into my mind.” Such an experience must, indeed, be interpreted with great care, there is so much danger of delusion. Yet it is true that with a prayerful mind, with diligent study of the Word, especially with the intuitions of a filial spirit, such revelations may be as distinct as any that ever came to Moses.
  5. II. The pillar is a blessing only to those who trust and follow it. On some sides the Israelites are a poor example for us, but we may learn something from them in this particular: that they followed the pillar.
  6. 1. They followed it promptly. Whenever and wherever it moved, then and thither they moved without delay. If it aroused them from their sleep they obeyed with alacrity. It is when the cloud speaks to us “suddenly,” unexpectedly, that our obedience is most severely tested. But that is our standard; a mind to run in the way of God’s commandments.
  7. 2. They followed the pillar constantly (vers. 21, 22).
  8. 3. They followed the pillar by faith. They obeyed even when they could not understand. If troubles were only explained they would be so much easier to bear. But the best faith endures without understanding. A generation ago some of us used to hear of an afflicted woman in Connecticut named Chloe Lankton, who, many will be surprised to know, is living still. For fifty-five years she has lain upon her bed and suffered, but without losing her Christian faith. Acknowledging, not long ago, a remittance sent for her support, she wrote: “Jesus only knows how much I endure. He knows it all and supports me.… I have a strong arm to lean upon and will trust Him to the end.… Oh, how thankful I feel … for the many comforts and blessings God gives me!” Poor soul! How long, for her, the cloud has tarried! And she is only one of the great “shut-in-society” who have learned to trust and follow “two days or a month or a year,” or a lifetime, if God wills, It would be a mistake, however, to think of this truth as applying only to the darker side of human experience. It is great joy in the brightest prosperity to see the pillar; and no one has so good a right to live in the sunshine as a Christian. Friendship is joy, home is joy, music is joy, learning is joy. The world is full of such pleasures. But does it not intensify these to realise that they are all signs of the Father’s love? Is not the water at Elim more sweet if, as we quench our thirst, we can look up and see the pillar? Then, too, is there not comfort in knowing that if farther on we have cause to apprehend another experience of thirst and suffering, we shall be under the same heavenly presence and can hear the voice out of the cloud? So for all, in every condition and need, the pillar has heavenly blessing. Still we must remember the blessing is only for those who trust and follow. ( J. Holmes.)

The guiding pillar:

  1. I. The double form of the guiding pillar. The fire was the centre, the cloud was wrapped around it. The former was the symbol, making visible to a generation who had to be taught through their senses the inaccessible holiness and flashing brightness and purity of the Divine nature; the latter tempered and veiled the too great brightness for feeble eyes. The same double element is found in all God’s manifestations of Himself to men. In every form of revelation are present both the core of light, that no eye can look upon, and the merciful veil which, because it veils, unveils; because it hides, reveals; makes visible because it conceals; and shows God because it is the hiding of His power. So, through all the history of His dealings with men, there has ever been what is called in Scripture language the “face,” or the “name of God”; the aspect of the Divine nature on which eye can look; and manifested through it there has always been the depth and inaccessible abyss of that infinite Being. We have to be thankful that in the cloud is the fire, and that round the fire is the cloud. God hides to make better known the glories of His character. So a light, set in some fair alabaster vase, shines through its translucent walls, bringing out every delicate tint and meandering vein of colour, while itself diffused and softened by the enwrapping medium which it beautifies by passing through its pure walls. Both are made visible and attractive to dull eyes by the conjunction. He that hath seen Christ hath seen the Father, and he that hath seen the Father in Christ hath seen the man Christ as none see Him who are blind to the incarnate Deity which illuminates the manhood in which it dwells. But we have to note also the varying appearance of the pillar according to need. There was a double change in the pillar according to the hour, and according as the congregation was on the march or encamped. Both these changes of aspect symbolise for us the reality of the Protean capacity of change according to our ever-varying needs, which for our blessing we may find in that ever-changing, unchanging Divine presence which will be our companion if we will. When the deceitful brightness of earth glistens and dazzles around me, my vision of Him may be “a cloudy screen to temper the deceitful ray”; and when “there stoops on our path in storm and shade the frequent night,” as earth grows darker, and life becomes grayer and more sombre, and verges to its even, the pillar blazes brighter before the weeping eye, and draws near to the lonely heart. We have a God that manifests Himself in the pillar of cloud by day and in the flaming fire by night.
  2. II. The guidance of the pillar. When it lifts the camp marches; when it glides down and lies motionless the march is stopped and the tents are pitched. The main thing which is dwelt upon in this description of the God-guided pilgrimage of the wandering people is the absolute uncertainty in which they were kept as to the duration of their encampment, and as to the time and circumstances of their march. Is not that all true about us? We have no guiding cloud like this. So much the better. Have we not a more real guide than that? God guides us by circumstances, God guides us by His Word, God guides us by His Spirit, speaking through our common sense and in our understandings, and, most of all, God guides us by that dear Son of His, in whom is the fire and round whom is the cloud. The pillar that we follow, which will glow with the ruddy flame of love in the darkest hours of life, will glide in front of us through the valley of the shadow of death, brightest then when the murky midnight is blackest, nor will that pillar which guides us cease to blaze as did the guide of the desert march when Jordan has been crossed, but it will still move before us on paths of continuous and ever increasing approach to infinite perfection. They who follow Christ afar off and with faltering steps here, shall there “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” In like manner, the same absolute uncertainty which kept on was intended to keep the Israelites (though it failed often) in the attitude of constant dependence, is the condition in which we all have to live, though we mask it from ourselves. That we do not know what lies before us is a commonplace. The same long tracts of monotonous continuance in the same place, and doing the same duties, befall us that befell these men. Years pass, and the pillar spreads itself out, a defence above the unmoving sanctuary. And then, all of a flash, when we are least thinking of change, it gathers itself together, is a pillar again, shoots upwards and moves forwards; and it is for us to go after it. And so our lives are shuttlecocked between uniform sameness, which may become mechanical monotony, and agitation by change which may make us lose our hold of fixed principles and calm faith, unless we recognise that the continuance and the change are alike the will of the guiding God whose will is signified by the stationary or moving pillar.

III. The docile following of the Guide. That is what we have to set before us as the type of our lives—that we should be as ready for every indication of God’s will as they were. The peace and blessedness of our lives largely depend on our being eager to obey, and therefore quick to perceive the slightest sign of motion in the resting or of rest in the moving pillar which regulates our march and our encamping. What do we want in order to cultivate and keep such a disposition? We need perpetual watchfulness lest the pillar should lift unnoticed. When Nelson was second in command at Copenhagen, the admiral in command of the fleet hoisted the signal for recall, and Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and said, “I do not see it.” That is very like what we are tempted to do; the signal for unpleasant duties that we want to get out of is hoisted, we are very apt to put the telescope to the blind eye, and pretend to ourselves that we do not see the fluttering flags. We need still more to keep our wills in absolute suspense if His will has not declared itself. Do not let us be in a hurry to run before God. We need to hold the present with a slack hand, so as to be ready to fold our tents and take to the road if God will. We must not reckon on continuance, nor strike our roots so deep that it needs a hurricane to remove us. To those who set their gaze on Christ no present from which He wishes them to remove can be so good for them as the new conditions into which He would have them pass. We need, too, to cultivate the habit of prompt obedience. “I made haste and delayed not to keep Thy commandments” is the only safe motto. It is reluctance which usually puts the drag on, and slow obedience is often the germ of incipient disobedience. In matters of prudence and of intellect second thoughts are better than first, and third thoughts, which often come back to first ones, better than second; but, in matters of duty, first thoughts are generally best. They are the instinctive response of conscience to the voice of God, while second thoughts are too often the objections of disinclination or sloth or cowardice. It is easiest to do our duty when we are first sure of it. It then comes with an impelling power which carries us over obstacles on the crest of a wave, while hesitation and delay leave us stranded in shoal water. If we would follow the pillar we must follow it at once. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

The pillar of cloud and fire:

  1. I. The advantages of its possession.
  2. 1. The distinction it maintains. Only Israel so privileged. Christians, you are a peculiar people, your origin is peculiar, your character is peculiar, your spirit, your desires and affections, the objects of your pursuit. You have peculiar privileges and honours conferred on you. There must be a marked difference between you and the world.
  3. 2. The guidance it ensures. Jesus is now the guide of His people. He leads in the way of truth and wisdom. How?

(1) By His example. He has gone before us in the path of duty, temptation, and sorrow. By His Word. This is our rule.

(2) By His ordinances. He sends His ministers as your guides.

(3) By His Spirit effectually.

(4) By the leadings of His providence.

  1. 3. The protection it affords. God is the Christian’s hiding-place.
  2. 4. The joy it inspires. God is the source of happiness, the fountain of life.
  3. 5. The glory it confers. The presence of God is our highest, best, only real glory. This is the glory of our nation—this is the glory of our churches—this is the glory of our religious assemblies—this is the glory of our families—and this is our individual glory. But what is all that God confers here to what is in reserve? Everything shall be glorious there.
  4. II. The perpetuity of its enjoyment.
  5. 1. Its necessity. We always need the Divine presence. We are dependent on Him for everything. We need His providential presence and agency to continue us in being and supply our numerous wants; and we require His gracious presence for the maintenance of spiritual life and for the reception of spiritual blessings.
  6. 2. The manner in which it is ensured. This may be seen three ways. From what He has done, is doing, and has promised to do. ( Temple.)

Dependence on Divine guidance:

A more lovely picture of absolute dependence upon, and subjection to, Divine guidance it were impossible to conceive than that presented here. There was not a footprint or a landmark throughout the “great and terrible wilderness.” It was therefore useless to look for any guidance from those who had gone before. They were wholly cast upon God for every step of the way. They were in a position of constant waiting upon Him. This to an unsubdued mind, an unbroken will, would be intolerable; but to a soul knowing, loving, confiding, and delighting in God, nothing could be more deeply blessed. Here lies the real gist of the whole matter. Is God known, loved, and trusted? If He be, the heart will delight in the most absolute dependence upon Him. If not, such dependence would be perfectly insufferable. The unrenewed man loves to think himself independent, loves to fancy himself free, loves to believe that he may do what he likes, go where he likes, say what he likes. Alas; it is the merest delusion. Man is not free. Satan holds the natural man—the unconverted, unrepentant man in terrible bondage. Satan rules man by means of his lusts, his passions, and his pleasures. There is no freedom save that with which Christ makes His people free. He it is who says, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And again, “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Here is true liberty. It is the liberty which the new nature finds in walking in the Spirit and doing those things that are pleasing in the sight of God. (C. H. Mackintosh.)

The day and the night journey:

We must look to have our portion of the cloud so long as we remain below the skies. It will be the lot of the believer, in the somewhat analogous image of St. Paul, to “see through a glass darkly” so long as he remains in this tabernacle. Possibly a clearer light to our imperfect organs of spiritual vision would only tend to dazzle and obscure. Enough for us to know there is light enough, and that what there is is light from Heaven that cannot lead astray. In following the cloud Israel followed God. In our obedience to the will of God, as expressed in His providence or revealed in His Word, we obey Him too; and the true believer’s attachment to and connection with God, is like that which is expressed in the touching and holy plighted troth of marriage—“for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.”

  1. I. If the cloud be taken up by day—that is, if God blesses a man with prosperity—it is, in the first place, to make him an eleemosynary ordinance, or means of usefulness to others. It is entrusting him with the “five talents,” as compared with the two or the one talent.
  2. II. We have to learn, in the second place, that difficulty is no ground for dispensing with duty: “whether it was by day or by night the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.” To obey under embarrassment is the more characteristic obedience of a Christian. There are many forms of the night-journey of the pilgrim of Christ. We have considered the day-journey under the illustration of wealth and easy circumstances, or in any other shape of general prosperity; let us meditate upon the night-journey in the shape of poverty, sickness, bereavement, or domestic opposition to the Christian life. ( B. Owen, M.A.)

The journey of life:

There is no strain upon the imagination in thinking of life as a journey. That is one of the simplest and most beautiful figures by which the action of life can be represented. We are travellers; we are here but for a little time; on our feet are sandals and in our hands are staves; here we have no continuing city, and we are called upon to testify to the age that we seek a country out of sight. So, then, we are familiar with the figure; it commends itself to us, as life enlarges, as quite expressive of the reality of the case—every day a milestone, every year so much nearer the end. Regarding life, then, as a journey, according to the pattern of this text, is there not a mysterious presence or influence in life which really affects our action? In the text that influence is spoken of as a cloud by day and a fire by night—two striking natural images. Our controversy is not about the image or the metaphor; behind it is there not this ever-abiding solemnity, that in life there is a mysterious action—a ministry we cannot comprehend, an influence we cannot overrule? We speak of “impression.” When we think of changing our position in life, we say we have an impression. What is an impression? Who created it? Who determined its meaning? How do you account for the impression? Upon what is the impression made?—upon the mind, upon something subtler than itself, upon the consciousness, the soul, the spirit—the innermost man. That is a mystery! Or we speak of “circumstances.” We say that circumstances seem to point in this direction or that. What are circumstances? Where do they begin? How do they sum themselves up into influence or into definiteness? Having spoken about “impression” and “circumstances,” we speak about another mysterious thing which has come to be known by the name of “tendency.” We say the tendency of things is—; or the tendency of life seems to indicate—. We have created a species of rhythm, or harmonic movement, falling into which we say, This is the sweep of tendency, and to resist tendency is impossible. How anxious we are to get rid of religious names! Men who will speak of impression, circumstances, and tendency, will hesitate before saying Providence, God, Father in heaven. Let the Church beware how it gives up the grand old names—God, Providence, heavenly direction, spiritual influence! Why shrink from the definite religious testimony of the eighteenth verse, “At the commandment of the Lord,” &c. When a man rises in the morning in God’s strength, lies down at night in God’s blessing, walks all day in God’s energy, he lives and moves and has his being in God; God is in his inmost thought, and every word upon his tongue is an implied or actual confession of childlike trust in God. We need not be ashamed of this definite testimony. It exalts human life. What is the meaning of it? Evidently that our life is recognised by God, our movements are of some consequence to Him; He knows our downsitting and our uprising, our going out and our coming in; and there is not a word upon our tongue, there is not a thought in our heart, but lo, it is known wholly in heaven. This consciousness of Divine guidance in life, Divine care of life, Divine redemption of life, necessitates prayer. The man who seizes this view of things must pray. This religious view of life brings the spirit into the restfulness and blessed joy of obedience. The children of Israel simply obeyed. Theirs was not a life of controversy, ours, unhappily, is. We have made it a life of controversy when we need not. We are always arguing with our orders; we are trying to construe them into different and inferior meanings; we are wasting life by discussing in idle words, which can settle nothing, the gravity and authority of our marching orders. If we accept God’s Book, do let us accept it with full trust, not as a field for criticism, but as a code of life—the Word, or the testimony, by which every thought, feeling, and action is to be determined. Live that life and risk your destiny. To obey is to live. (J. Parker. D.D.)

The cloud tarrying:

  1. I. A word of description. The time “the cloud tarried” was—
  2. 1. One of rest.
  3. 2. One of spiritual activity.
  4. 3. Peculiarly a time of temptation.
  5. II. A word of exhortation.
  6. 1. Be more anxious to keep the cloud in sight than to see it tarry. We are responsible for the one, but not for the other.
  7. 2. Be more anxious to improve than to enjoy these refreshing times.
  8. 3. Be more anxious to improve than prolong these periods.

III. A word of caution.

  1. 1. If the cloud tarry long, think not that it will never move. Rest should be the preparation time for exertion.
  2. 2. Be not impatient if it tarry when you wish to journey. It does rest sometimes over a desert land.
  3. 3. Be ready, that whenever the cloud moves you may be ready to journey. ( A. Griffin.)

The cloud and the tabernacle:

  1. I. Why is the Church in our day so much of the time under the cloud, and seemingly put back in the progress of long-continued revivals of religion? Sin is the trouble. It took but a few moments to bring it into the world, but it takes ages to get it out. It makes us ignorant, weak, self-reliant, and self-seeking, so that we cannot march long at a time without getting so elated that God must let down the cloud a little while; a day, a month, or a year, as our case may be, to get us ready to march again. It requires great grace and a large measure of previous discipline, and frequent humiliations to keep us feeling and saying, as we go to our work of conquest for Christ, “Not by might, nor by power, but by Thy Spirit, O Lord.” And so, God must often bring us into pecuniary straits, and cut off our men and our means, and cause painful delays, and sad embarrassments, and short triumphs, and unforeseen obstacles, and cloud-falling times, that we may feel our weakness and renew our strength; and, with all our facilities for saving ourselves and the world, that we may just lay ourselves over, with the simplicity of children, upon the supernatural power of God, and the sole guidance of Christ, saying, “Help, Lord, for without Thee we can do nothing.”
  2. II. What are some of the prominent duties which God requires from us while under the cloud, that we may be ready the sooner to arise and go forward in the more active duties, and in the more joyful experiences of the revival days?
  3. 1. In general, to be ready for the lifting up of the cloud, that we may go forth in efficient service in revival scenes, we must be diligent in all the ordinary duties of the tabernacle when it is resting.
  4. 2. Among the duties which are specially incumbent when the Church is under the cloud we will enumerate those which God has signalised in the history of the tabernacle as those which are at all times essential to the Christian character and life.

(1) Christian benevolence, which answers quickly to the voice of God, as stewards of His manifold grace, in liberal and couscientious giving to the various objects of religious charily which are designed to promote the good of men and the glory of Christ.

(2) The ordinary means of grace should be specially improved by the entire membership of the Church as a preparation for seasons of extraordinary effort. It is not by artificial stimulants, occasionally taken, that we gain the compactness of muscle and the strength of frame which fit us for those emergencies which call forth great physical strength. This strength is the slow growth of nutriment habitually taken to satisfy the cravings of hunger and to supply the daily waste of the system. (E. S. Wright.)

God’s guidance:

A preacher of the gospel was travelling by steamboat from Chicago to the north of Lake Michigan, and found that at a certain point the course lay through a narrow and difficult channel between several small islands and the shore. The difficulty of advancing here is greatly increased by the fact that a dense fog almost always rests upon the surface of the water. When, therefore, this part of the voyage is reached, a man is sent up to the mast-head where he can see the landmarks on either side rising above the fog, and, though himself out of sight, is able to give directions for steering to those below. Thus the vessel is guided safely through. So our gracious God sits above the clouds of temptation and trial which surround us on earth, and make our voyage through life so perilous, and, seeing all the dangers of the way, He counsels us as to the track of safety. Let us fully trust the guidance of His eye, and boldly proceed as He directs.

A trustworthy guide:

I trust myself implicitly to the pilots on the ferry-boats. I do not know the tides and currents that change with every trip across the river, but I have no doubt that they know them, and I have never stopped to question them as to how they came by their knowledge. I am satisfied that they are good pilots, for I see them carrying millions of people back and forth between the two cities without accident; and I think that our Brooklyn and New York ferries as they are served are a miracle of safety; and if I put my life, my happiness, all that is dear to me, in the hands of those men because I believe that they know what they can do, and know what they are about, how much more can I put my trust in Jesus Christ, who has, by His deeds, by His death and by His resurrection, manifested Himself as worthy of all trust. (H. W. Beecher.)

Following the Divine leading:

I said to an aged minister of much experience, “All the events of my life seem to have been Divinely connected. Do you suppose it is so in all lives?” He answered, “Yes, but most people do not notice the Divine leadings.” I stand here this morning to say from my own experience that the safest thing in all the world to do is to trust the Lord. I never had a misfortune or a trial or a disappointment, however excruciating at the time, that God did not make turn out for my good. My one wish is to follow the Divine leading. (T. De Witt Talmage.)[4]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Nu 9:23). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Allen, R. B. (2012). Numbers. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Numbers–Ruth (Revised Edition) (Vol. 2, p. 174). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Ashley, T. R. (1993). The Book of Numbers (pp. 185–186). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Leviticus and Numbers (Vol. 2, pp. 56–62). New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company.

No Condemnation — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

This passage has always struck me as one of the grandest promises in Scripture. In fact, it is so amazing that I can hardly wrap my mind around it.

You see, I deserve condemnation. In me is nothing that is worth saving. In me is no power to resist sin and conquer death. In me is only brokenness and hopelessness.

But this rich, beautiful passage makes it clear that being set free from sin and death has nothing to do with me. “In Christ,” it says two times in two short verses. Yet those two words, to those who will believe and receive it, hold the key to the most incredible restoration and healing of all.

In Romans chapter 7, Paul writes that the law shows us just how sinful we are. We seem to be without hope. But with the turn of the chapter, he glories in the truth that, in Christ Jesus, a greater law can reign in our hearts — the law of the Spirit Filled Life Though we deserve it, we are no longer condemned. As the old hymn from Elvina M. Hall (1865) states,

“Jesus paid it all; all to him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain; he washed it white as snow.”

Do you carry a burden of guilt and self-condemnation?

Know from God’s Word that those who are in Christ can lay that burden down and never, ever pick it up again. Walk forth in the freedom Jesus bought for you. Receive his love and then rejoice every day that you are in Christ Jesus!

Lord Jesus, I don’t deserve and never could deserve your love. Yet you loved me enough to ransom me from sin and make me free. Thank you that in you I can never be condemned. Thank you for that amazing promise. Amen.

By Rand Kreycik
Used by Permission
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Enough with All the Lies — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9(NLT)

Whose report will you believe today?

Will you continue believing what your current circumstances are speaking about you?

Will you continue listening to the lies of the enemy?

The lies of your past mistakes?

The opinions of others?

I challenge you today to believe the report God has written about you. As a born again believer, you are no longer defined by labels. God changed your name the moment you entered into relationship with Him. You are now considered righteous. The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior we become new creatures, old things are passed away, behold all things become new.  You may not always feel like new, but it’s still true.

Focus on what is true about yourself. In order to do so you must begin to renew your mind about what God says about you. Instead of being defeated by your own thoughts about yourself, fill your head and your heart with what God says. It is my prayer that you will embrace who you are in Him. No longer be a victim to the lies you have heard in your own heart or around you. You are important. You do matter. He has called you to walk in your new identity today. Enough of the lies. Enough of feeling insecure, insignificant. Believe what God says about you my friend.

Father, thank you for loving us enough to save us from our sins. Thank you for the sacrifice of your Son. May we always be mindful of what you have done for us and how you have set us free from sin, guilt, condemnation and destruction. In Jesus name, Amen.

By Mary Pinckney
Used by Permission

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The Letter of Paul to the Philippians Chapter 1

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Παῦλος καὶ Τιμόθεος δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Φιλίπποις σὺν ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις, 2 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Philippians 1:1-2 (NA28)

1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In vv1-2 Paul and Timothy gives the standard Christian greeting that was very common in the early Church. Notice that it is from both Paul and Timothy, who identify themselves as δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ (slaves of Christ Jesus), but it addressed to all the ἁγίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (saints in Christ Jesus) at Philippi. The word “saints” translates ἁγίοις, which is actually a form of an…

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