Friday, December 19, 2014

Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulchre


‎Jerusalem. Only the right hand door of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is open. The left side was blocked up by the Sultan Saladin. The church has a fascinating history, beginning in the 4th century. In 326 A.D. St. Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, visited Jerusalem, following a dream, in which the remains of the True Cross were revealed to her in the place known as Golgotha, a Roman crucifixion site and the place of Jesus’ burial and Resurrection. In 135 A.D. the Roman Emperor Hadrian had erected an altar to Venus on this spot. Following his mother’s revelations, Constantine the Great built a large basilica, the Martyrium (witness in English). Constantine’s basilica was destroyed in the 7th century, and later rebuilt by the Crusaders in the Romanesque style. Most of the church standing today is from that period.


  

The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant

‎As a symbol of God’s presence with Israel, the Ark of the Covenant was the center of Yahweh worship and was brought into the temple each year at Passover (Psa 24:7–9). It housed the covenant tablets; an omer of manna and Aaron’s budding staff were either set before the Ark or in it (1 Kgs 8:9; Heb 9:4).

Bloodguiltiness

Bloodguiltiness

Excerpt
“Bloodguiltiness” refers to Uriah’s blood on David’s hands, for it was David who ordered his death (2 Sam. 11:6ff; see Ezek. 3:18–20;18:13Acts 20:26). More
Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Worshipful. 1st ed. Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004. Print. “Be” Commentary Series.

Aqueduct at Gilgal

Aqueduct at Gilgal


‎Before reaching the modern village of Jericho, on the way to the Jordan, we see this beautiful acqueduct, one of the most handsome specimens of stone work that we found in Palestine. It is intended to convey the water from Elisha’s Fountain into Jericho, and is a striking contrast to the miserable villages near it and the desolate plain around it. It looks to us like a bit of work belonging to the Western world in the midst of a decaying and degraded civilization. Not far from here the tabernacle was set up. Near here Saul was made King, and near this place also the tribe of Judah came together to welcome David from exile.—2 Kings 4:38–41. In the fields and plains about this aqueduct one went out to gather the herbs to seethe the pottage for the son of the prophets, when he found a wild vine and gathered wild gourds from it to mix with the pottage. Near this place Elijah and Elisha passed on the way from Jericho to Jordan. Lieutenant Conder describes “no less than five acqueducts that follow the course of Wady Kelt, some of them irrigating the land south of it, while others carry the water north far and wide over the plain.” The aqueduct suggests the original wealth and beauty of the land which was once watered by these springs at the foot of the Judean hills, therefore Jericho was in those days known as “the city of palm trees,” but, save a single survivor, there are palms no longer. During the time of the Crusaders there were plantations of sugar cane here that brought large revenue to the Knights of Jerusalem, and the ruins of the vaults and acqueducts that supplied water for irrigation are still seen.

Sprinkle

Sprinkle

Sprinkle

Excerpt
“Sprinkle” is associated with cleansing by the priest under the Mosaic Law (Lev. 4:6;8:1114:7). This Servant, whom many have not considered important at all, will actually provide the most important thing for nations and their kings, namely, cleansing from sin (cf. John 1:29; Heb. 10:14). More
Martin, John A. “Isaiah.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 1107. Print

Street in Nazareth

Street in Nazareth


‎In the spring of 1887 we rode into Nazareth about two o’clock in the afternoon. After the pitching of our tents we rambled through the bazaars, going to the “Holy Places,” the “Altar of the Annunciation” and “Mary’s Kitchen,” just back of it, and some distance away “Joseph’s Workshop.” We went into a veritable carpenter shop in the town of Nazareth and watched a Nazarene at work. He sawed and planed a small piece of wood for us, and the sight was helpful to our faith and suggestive of the genuine life there nearly nineteen hundred years ago. Many of the houses of Nazareth are of the simplest and most primitive order—made of bricks which are a combination of clay and straw. A piece of rough masonry is softened by the whitewash of lime. The houses of the better classes are often built of white limestone. The gardens scattered among them laden with figs and olives, and rich with the white orange blossoms and the scarlet pomegranate, form a charming contrast. On the streets we meet the people of Nazareth in their bright oriental costumes. Nazareth may have shifted its position slightly during the centuries, but not to any great extent. We can easily see that it is, as to its location, the Nazareth of our Lord’s time. The memories of the dear Child still haunt these hills. Here he lived and played and worked. He lived as lived the other children of peasant parents in this quiet village, and in great measure as they live now. Here he prepared himself amidst this hallowed obscurity for His mighty work on earth.

A Glimpse of Solomon Pools

A Glimpse of Solomon Pools


‎From Bethlehem Joseph, Mary and the Babe went to Egypt to escape the cruel decree of Herod. The history of Egypt is interwoven with the Jewish history. Once the Israelites were pilgrims and fugitives from Egypt to Canaan; now the true King of the Israelites, the King of kings, is pilgrim and fugitive from Canaan to Egypt. The holy family probably journeyed southward passing through the narrow valley, as one would do to-day in going to the south-east. On the way he would pass the pools of Solomon, which still remain. They are called by the Arabs El Burak—“The Pools.” Near the pools is a large castellated building called Kulat el Burak. It stands near the north-west corner of the upper pool. Condor calls these reservoirs “the Great Tanks near Urtas,” and says that though they are commonly called “Solomon’s Pools they are more probably of the same date with the aqueduct passing by them which was constructed by Pontius Pilate.” Dr. Robinson speaks of them as the “Vast Reservoirs of El Burak.” Dr. Thompson says: “They are worthy of Solomon, and that is the highest commendation I can think of at present. They are certainly immense reservoirs, and all the more impressive in this utter solitude where there are no similar structures with which to compare them or to divide the interest which they inspire.” From the life and the lips of the pilgrim Babe, now bound for Egypt, shall one day come rivers of living water to refresh and gladden the nations of the earth!

Evaluating Your Work

Evaluating Your Work

Excerpt
Paul turns back again to the need for personal evaluation. Self-evaluation is necessary since there is always the danger of self-deception (v. 3). Personal evaluation must be made on the basis of a careful examination of one’s own work, not on the basis of comparison with others (v. 4). Personal evaluation should clarify one’s God-given mission in life (v. 5).
The warning against self-deception (v. 3) enlarges upon the warning against conceit (5:26) and temptation (6:1). The most serious spiritual danger of all is the self-delusion of pride: someone who thinks he is something when he is nothing. In the immediate context, Paul’s rebuke must be aimed at those who thought so highly of their own status that they were unwilling to take the role of servants to carry the burdens of others. The Jewish Christian law teachers were so impressed with the importance of their mission of imposing the Mosaic law on Gentile believers that they had no time or interest to bear the sin-burdens of “Gentile sinners” who had come to Christ. The Gentile Christians were so intent on coming under the yoke of the law to establish their status as full members of the favored Jewish people that they did not lift a finger to help carry the burdens of their fellow Christians. More
Hansen, G. Walter. Galatians. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series

Standing to Pray

Standing to Pray

Excerpt
The standing posture in prayer was the ancient practice, alike in the Jewish and in the early Christian Church. But of course this conspicuous posture opened the way for the ostentatious. More
Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Vol. 2. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Print

Bishop G. E Patterson - God Has A Better Way For You

Bishop G. E Patterson - God Has A Better Way For You

Bishop G. E. Patterson- David Recovered All

Bishop G. E. Patterson- David Recovered All

Bishop G. E. Patterson- David Recovered All

Bishp G. E. Patterson - God Is With Us In Spite...

Bishp G. E. Patterson - God Is With Us In Spite...

Bishop GE Patterson-Let God Complete His Work In You

G E Patterson Last Message 'Don't Lose The Glory'

G E Patterson Last Message 'Don't Lose The Glory'

G.E. Patterson... Surrounded By Enemies but God Delivers

Bishop G. E. Patterson - At The Name Jesus

"A Charge To Keep I Have" - Bishop Leonard Scott featuring Janie Jenkins

There's A Leak In This Old Building - Neal Roberson, Songs Momma Used To...

Mary Don't You Weep - Gospel Legends Volume 2 soloist Inez Andrews

Jesus Will Fix It - Lee Williams

Touch Me Lord Jesus - Gospel Legends Volume 1 Margret Allison

The Benedictus of Zacharias



The Benedictus of Zacharias

Zacharias Prophesies of John’s Ministry

67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

    68      “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
    For He has visited and redeemed His people,
    69      And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    In the house of His servant David,
    70      As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
    Who have been since the world began,
    71      That we should be saved from our enemies
    And from the hand of all who hate us,
    72      To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
    And to remember His holy covenant,
    73      The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
    74      To grant us that we,
    Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
    Might serve Him without fear,
    75      In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

    76      “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
    For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
    77      To give knowledge of salvation to His people
    By the remission of their sins,
    78      Through the tender mercy of our God,
    With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
    79      To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
    To guide our feet into the way of peace (John 1:68-79).”


The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour








December 19

  A hearer of the word … a doer of the work
        James 1:23, 25

Religion may be learned on Sunday, but it is lived in the weekday’s work. The torch of religion may be lit in the church, but it does its burning in the shop and on the street. Religion seeks its life in prayer, but it lives its life in deeds. It is planted in the closet, but it does its growing out in the world. It plumes itself for flight in songs of praise, but its actual flights are in works of love. It resolves and meditates on faithfulness as it reads its Christian lesson in the Book of Truth, but “faithful is that faithful does.” It puts its armor on in all the aids and helps of the sanctuary as its dressing-room, but it combats for the right, the noble, and the good in all the activities of practical existence, and its battle ground is the whole broad field of life.

John Doughty


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

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions



December 19


WHILE BY OUR SHEEP
German carol, Translated by Theodore Baker, 1851–1934

  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:20)

It was a cold, clear night. The stars twinkled above and an air of peaceful serenity settled calmly over the field outside of Bethlehem. The fire was burning low as the shepherds sprawled out to rest among their sheep. “What is the meaning of that star?” asked one of the younger boys. As some turned to look, the star seemed to sparkle with a glorious glow, almost hanging over Bethlehem. Then suddenly they were blinded by a brilliant light! They cried out in fright and hid their faces on the ground. The consoling voice of an angel calmed their spirits as they listened in rapture to the blessed announcement of the long-awaited Messiah. How great was their joy!

Have you ever wondered why these simple, uncouth shepherds without wealth, power, or social position were the first to receive heaven’s glorious message? Prophecy foretold that salvation would be offered first to Israel. Thus the Jewish shepherds were allowed to adore the Savior before the arrival of the Gentile wise men. Perhaps the humble shepherds were also chosen to receive the angels’ message because God wanted to send His only Son to be associated with the seemingly unimportant of this world rather than among the proud and wealthy. Also God knew that these lowly shepherds would receive His news of salvation with open hearts and would return with great joy to share what they had heard and seen.

Originating as it does from 17th century Germany, this vivid description of the first Christmas night reminds us of the various lands and cultures that have provided our many lovely carols, giving us a rich musical and spiritual heritage.

  While by our sheep we watched at night, glad tidings bro’t an angel bright:
  There shall be born, so he did say, in Bethlehem a Child today:
  There shall the Child lie in a stall, this Child who shall redeem us all:
  This gift of God we’ll cherish well—Jesus, our Lord Emmanuel:
  
Refrain: How great our joy! (Great our joy!) Joy, joy, joy! (Joy, joy, joy!) Praise    we the Lord in heav’n on high! (Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!)


        For Today: Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 31:10; Luke 2:8–20

Take your place with the shepherds when the heavenly announcement was given. Move with them to the manger and worship in awe. Return with the song of praise upon your lips (hear the gentle echo in the night’s stillness). Share your joy with others.



Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996. Print.

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year.








December 19th

What to concentrate on



I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One. If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing he does not intend to give up—‘I will admit I have done wrong, but I no more intend to give up that thing than fly.’ It is impossible to deal sympathetically with a case like that: we have to get right deep down to the root until there is antagonism and resentment against the message. People want the blessing of God, but they will not stand the thing that goes straight to the quick.

If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line, cut down to the very root, otherwise there will be no healing. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives—‘We never can be that!’ Then drive it home: ‘Jesus Christ says you must.’ ‘But how can we be?’ ‘You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit’ (Luke 11:13).

There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? Because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself.


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

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings








Morning, December 19      Go To Evening Reading

         “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”
         — Proverbs 16:33

If the disposal of the lot is the Lord’s whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of a lot is guided by him, how much more the events of our entire life—especially when we are told by our blessed Saviour: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father.” It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness as a Christian should. When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master, his thoughts are serving himself. If you would “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances. You have been trying “providing” work and forgetting that it is yours to obey. Be wise and attend to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing. Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether he will let you starve while he has laid up so great an abundance in his garner? Look at his heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind! Look at his inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault. Above all, look up to Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while he pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously with you? If he remembers even sparrows, will he forget one of the least of his poor children? “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

         My soul, rest happy in thy low estate,
         Nor hope nor wish to be esteem’d or great;
         To take the impress of the Will Divine,
         Be that thy glory, and those riches thine.
___________________________________________________________

Morning, December 19      Go To Evening Reading

         “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”
         — Proverbs 16:33

If the disposal of the lot is the Lord’s whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of a lot is guided by him, how much more the events of our entire life—especially when we are told by our blessed Saviour: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father.” It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness as a Christian should. When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master, his thoughts are serving himself. If you would “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances. You have been trying “providing” work and forgetting that it is yours to obey. Be wise and attend to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing. Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether he will let you starve while he has laid up so great an abundance in his garner? Look at his heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind! Look at his inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault. Above all, look up to Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while he pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously with you? If he remembers even sparrows, will he forget one of the least of his poor children? “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

         My soul, rest happy in thy low estate,
         Nor hope nor wish to be esteem’d or great;
         To take the impress of the Will Divine,
         Be that thy glory, and those riches thine.


Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.

Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan





December 19: The Rechabite Saga
Jeremiah 35:1–36:32; Romans 8:18–39; Proverbs 22:17–23:18

We’re often slow to learn and quick to speak. We think we know God’s ways, but He can easily prove us wrong. Many of us have made this mistake: We think we’re living righteously, and then God slams us for our actions. He quickly deconstructs our worldview, calling into question our ethics, our way of being, our lifestyles. Why? Because even if we don’t think we’re breaking any rules, we might be living by our own choices rather than Yahweh’s will—and that is disobedience. The story of the Rechabites demonstrates this point.

Yahweh had requested that the Rechabites shun alcohol and live in tents, so they did. They obeyed this request until Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, which they inhabited with the rest of God’s people. Then Yahweh sent them one final test: He asked His prophet, Jeremiah, to prompt them to drink wine. They resisted—and passed the test (Jer 35:1–11).

The Rechabites’ obedience stands as a model that shows the actions of the rest of God’s people reprehensible by comparison. Yahweh remarks to Jeremiah, “Go and say to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Can you not learn a lesson to listen to my words?’ declares Yahweh. ‘The words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, that he commanded his descendants to not drink, have been carried out, and they have not drunk until this day, for they have obeyed the command of their ancestor. But I have spoken to you over and over again, and you have not listened to me’ ” (Jer 35:13–14). God’s people had disobeyed Him by seeking other gods and committing other sins, but this line hints at the deeper problem: They had not carried out Yahweh’s basic commandment to listen to His will.

God’s people thought they were in the right. They believed they were behaving correctly. But in reality, they had disobeyed His basic commandments and then disobeyed His very will. Are you, like God’s people, living in disillusionment, failing to acknowledge that you’re living outside of God’s will?

Ask yourself: “Am I really on the right track? Is this really God’s will, or is it the manifestation of a false belief about my obedience that I’m creating?”

JOHN D. BARRY


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