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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 33

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion continues:

4. Inspired Aspirations. There is a heaven-born aspiration in the heart of every truly converted person to be divinely led.

Without such leading there is a deep sense of inability to solve life's problems and meet its perplexities.

All other human needs are met and satisfied in Jesus, and this one is no exception.

For guilt there is provided pardon.
For pollution, purity.
For weakness, power.
For spiritual hunger, the Bread of Life.
For spiritual thirst, the Water of Life.
For spiritual sickness, a great Physician.
For spiritual poverty, an eternal inheritance.
For spiritual guidance, divine wisdom.

God creates the desire to receive this wisdom because He has made provision to give it, and the very fact that He inspires it is a token that He has it to give. God does not create desires in men to mock them with fruitless longings, but because He loves to supply their every need, and has planned so to do. This reason, combined with those before mentioned, shows conclusively our privilege in all things to avail ourselves of the services of a mighty Counselor. His unerring eye will lead us in the way that we should go. With Him enthroned within, neither poverty nor distance need keep us from His counsels, nor from knowing and doing His will.

In the light of the four-fold testimony given there remains not a shadow of doubt as to God's ability and willingness to lead all who will follow His instructions. Glorious privilege! The conditions upon which it may be realized are simple, plain and important, and will be noticed further on.

"He leadeth me! oh! blessed thought,
Oh! words with heav'nly comfort fraught;
Whate'er I do, where'er I be,
Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me! He leadeth me!
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

"Sometimes 'mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,
By waters still, o'er troubled sea, --
Still 'tis His hand that leadeth me.

"Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine --
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.

"And when my task on earth is done,
When, by Thy grace the victory's won,
E'en death's cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me."

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Treatment of aliens/strangers in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy

Exodus 22:21 “You shall not wrong an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 23:9 “You shall not oppress an alien, for you know the heart of an alien, since you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus 19:10 You shall not glean your vineyard, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the foreigner. I am the Yahweh your God. (This command is repeated in other parts of the Bible.)
Leviticus 19:33 “‘If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.
Deuteronomy 10:19 Therefore love the foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

The Bible also says, in reference to a specific refugee crisis:
Isaiah 16:3 Give counsel! Execute justice! Make your shade like the night in the middle of the noonday! Hide the outcasts! Don’t betray the fugitive! 4a Let my outcasts dwell with you! As for Moab, be a hiding place for him from the face of the destroyer.

The Moabites hadn't always been good to Israel. See Joshua 24:9, Judges 3:12-30, and 1 Samuel 12:9.

And, of course, there's always the Golden Rule: Matthew 7:12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

(World English Bible, public domain.)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hellfire for not helping others

Matthew 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’
40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’
45 “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (World English Bible, public domain.)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Counting the people

2 Samuel 24:2 The king said to Joab the captain of the army, who was with him, “Now go back and forth through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the sum of the people.”
Joab said to the king, “Now may Yahweh your God add to the people, however many they may be, one hundred times; and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king delight in this thing?”
Notwithstanding, the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the army. Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.
10 David’s heart struck him after he had counted the people. David said to Yahweh, “I have sinned greatly in that which I have done. But now, Yahweh, put away, I beg you, the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”

10-13. David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned--The act of numbering the people was not in itself sinful; for Moses did it by the express authority of God. But David acted not only independently of such order or sanction, but from motives unworthy of the delegated king of Israel; from pride and vainglory; from self-confidence and distrust of God; and, above all, from ambitious designs of conquest, in furtherance of which he was determined to force the people into military service, and to ascertain whether he could muster an army sufficient for the magnitude of the enterprises he contemplated. (Excerpt from commentary on 2 Samuel 24, by Robert Jamieson, public domain. Source is here.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sunspots 610

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: A 1 minute, 46 second video of popcorn kernels popping.

Christianity: Russia has recently clamped down on evangelical (and other) religious activity, according to Relevant.

Christianity Today points out that Cardinal Dolan's reading, at the Trump inauguration, was from the Apocrypha.

Christianity Today reports that the abortion rate in the US has hit an all-time low.

Computing: WordCounter counts the number of words in entered text (you can copy text in from a document). It also gives the number of sentences, the reading level, and other statistics.

Education: Something called the Matthew 25 Declaration on public education.

Humor: (or something) Listverse posts little-known facts about some classic TV shows. (One such fact -- the person who invented the re-run.)

Listverse also posted about 10 "epic typos" in history. Amusing, unless you were affected.

Politics: Politico reports on British espionage in the US, prior to World War II. The British were trying to influence the US election, hoping that this would bring the US into the war against Germany. Does this remind you of anything?

The New York Times reports on fake news, but with a twist. The researchers made up news stories that were never published at all, and, when asked, some people claimed that they had seen these stories, and believed them.

Science: Scientific American reports on a huge wave in the atmosphere of Venus.

Image source (public domain)

Monday, January 23, 2017

John Piper on Mr. Trump: morally unqualified, but he's President

John Piper posted, on inauguration day, a good article on Mr. Trump. He claims, first, that the 45th President of the US is morally unqualified for the job. Particulars:

He has openly bragged about committing adultery.
He has mocked others, such as prisoners of war (John McCain, for one) and disabled people.
Some of his ventures, such as Trump University, were a type of con game.
He's more of a demagogue than one who seriously discusses issues.
He's proud, and lies about his accomplishments, saying that he has never done anything that needed forgiveness (!), and that no one reads the Bible more than he does.

Piper goes on to describe some necessary qualifications and characteristics of a good leader, most of which Mr. Trump does not display.

But -- he is now the President of the US, and we need to live like he is that. One way to do so is to pray for him. One thing to pray for, says Piper (he mentions others) is for Mr. Trump to be led to repentance.

Thanks for reading. Read Piper.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 32

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion continues:

"The Living God," says George Muller, "is my partner." I have not sufficient wisdom to meet these difficulties, so as to be able to know what steps to take, but He is able to direct me. What I have therefore to do is this: in simplicity to spread my case before my heavenly Father and my Lord Jesus. They are my partners. I have to tell out my heart to God, and as I have no wisdom in myself to meet all the many difficulties which continually occur in my business, I ask Him that He would be pleased to guide and direct me, and supply me with the needful wisdom. Then I have to believe that God will do so, and go with good courage to my business, and expect help from Him in the next difficulty that may come before me. I have to look out for guidance; I have to expect counsel from the Lord, and as assuredly as I do so, I shall have it; I shall find that I am not nominally but really in partnership with the Father and with the Son."

By claiming this guidance Mr. Muller has been enabled to "remove mountains" of difficulty, and God through him has wrought marvels which will inspire the faith and zeal of His children while the world stands.

Frances Ridley Havergal, whose songs and books have thrilled the Christian world, in all things claimed this blessed privilege. Making mention of it in its application to the use of means she says: 

"We look up to our Lord for guidance to lay out His money prudently and rightly, and as He would have us lay it out. The gift or garment is selected under His eye, and with conscious reference to Him as our dear Master, for whose sake we shall give it, or in whose service we shall wear it, and whose own silver and gold we shall pay for it, and then it is all right."

Numberless living witnesses join their testimony to the many who have gone before, that God is a true, sure, constant and wonderful Counselor, and that His guidance is accessible to all who meet the conditions upon which it is promised. 

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sunspots 609

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: Relevant reports that Christians are the most persecuted people in the world.

Sojourners has extracted excerpts from speeches from soon-to-be-ex-president Obama, on his faith.

Benjamin L. Corey points out that God didn't demand the death penalty for the murder of Abel. (I don't always approve of Mr. Corey's language, but his posts are always thought-provoking.)

Corey also points out that, even if you don't believe in Christianity, it's wrong to dismiss the Bible as a fairy tale.

Education: Listverse points out some troubling facts and trends in higher education.

Finance: The Associated Press reports that eight men are, in combination, as rich as half of the people in the world.

Health: Apparently, President-elect Trump is listening to the anti-vaccine movement, in spite of the lack of scientific evidence that vaccination is linked to autism, and may be going to do something about what he hears, according to Scientific American.

Scientific American also reports on warnings against cleaning out your earwax.

History: I don't expect this will change any holocaust denier's mind, but ListVerse has 10 facts that prove that the holocaust really happened.

Humor: (or something) Listverse reports on 10 surprising lost objects, including a city, a spaceship, and thousands of shipping containers.

An amazing construction of marbles, and other items. (Video, about 2 minutes.)

Politics: FiveThirtyEight points out that, barring unforeseen events, soon-to-be-ex-vice-president Joe Biden will be the only veep who served for two terms, and never cast a tie-breaking vote.

Image source (public domain)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 31

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion continues:

3. Inspired Experiences. In addition to the inspired examples recorded in the Word, mention of which has just been made, there is also the experiences of all of God's children who "abide under the shadow of the Almighty," attesting the same truth.

Among the many remarkable instances of guidance recorded in the Life of Madam Guyon, who shone amid the darkness of papal superstition like the sun through a thunder cloud, we quote the following. It relates to a complex business matter, which unaided, she could not have handled. She says:

"The day when the trial was to come on, after prayer I felt myself strongly pressed to go to the judges. I was wonderfully assisted therein, even so as to discover and unravel all the turns and artifices of this affair, without knowing how I could have been able to do it. . . . . God enabled me to manifest the truth in so clear a light, and give me such power to my words that the intendant thanked me for having so seasonably come to undeceive, and set him right in the affair. Had I not have done this he assured me the cause had been lost."

Through prayer and faith God thus gave wisdom to this illustrious saint, and it was this wisdom which made her illustrious. She followed the divine voice so fully that she could say:

"It seemed to me that my soul became like the New Jerusalem spoken of in the Apocalypse, prepared as a bride for her husband, and where there is no woe, sorrow or sighing.

"I had a union so great with the good will of God that my own will seemed entirely lost. My soul could not incline itself on one side or the other, since another will had taken the place of its own, but only nourished itself with the daily providences of God."

Thus led by the Word, the Spirit and daily providences, she continued to glow with increasing splendor until she passed to her celestial home.

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sunspots 608

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

The Arts: From "The Writer's Almanac," a fine poem on fish.

Christianity: Benjamin L. Corey wishes that atheists would stop talking about Christians in some ways that aren't really valid.

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware evaluates some free video editing software.

Christianity Today warns against using "Jesus," "john316," and the like as passwords. They're too easy to guess.

And Christianity Today reports that Amazon's Alexa will read the Bible, or from a variety of daily devotionals, on command.

Food: Scientific American reports that eating certain foods makes men more attractive to women.

Health: Scientific American, and many more outlets, report that scientists are now recommending that all babies be exposed to peanuts.

History: Listverse reports on 10 interesting things found below present-day cities.

Science: Listverse reports on "10 fascinating wonders of Antarctica."

The BBC reports on research which may lead to growing our own dental fillings, rather than having them made of foreign materials, and put in by dentists.

Sports: Relevant reports on a 105-year-old cyclist.

Image source (public domain)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 30

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion continues:

The revelation of the Christian's privilege and his wealth in these promises, opened up to my own mind a vision of wonderful possibilities which had hitherto been hid.

It is just as glorious a privilege to trust these promises for guidance as it is to trust other promises for salvation.

Glory be to God for the abundant provision He has made, not only to cover all our sin but to supply all our need.

2. Inspired Examples. Enoch was so divinely led that he continually "walked with God," and followed His counsels so fully that there is no record of his slightest deviation.

Abraham not only received great spiritual blessings, but appropriated God's guidance so
completely that he was divinely directed in his travels, in choosing' his homestead, in his knowledge of the doom of Sodom, and in accumulating an immense fortune.

The stories of Jacob, of Joseph, of Moses, of a nation led by a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, are replete with illustrations of how God's people have looked to and been marvelously led by Him.

All the mistakes, the wanderings and the captivity of His people came, because they failed to hear and heed His voice; but whenever they listened He revealed Himself and granted the needed wisdom.

The explicit directions which He unfolded for the construction of the Tabernacle and afterwards of the Temple, are but illustrations of His ability and willingness to give minute directions at every needed point, no matter how small it may be, to all who are "workers together with Him."

Joshua must have been fully instructed, or he could not have fully followed. Daniel, divinely directed, was meet for every emergency, and his wisdom was a wonder to the world.

Not only were the illustrious lights of Old Testament history thus divinely led, but there were also numberless stars of lesser magnitude whose beams were hid in the obscurity of the humbler walks of life; yet who, guided by God's hand, moved and shone "as the sun when he goeth forth in his might."

They were so firm in their convictions that their actions were prompted by the Unseen One, that rather than do violence to their divine instructions they submitted to be "stoned," "sawn asunder," and "slain with the sword." Oh, for an army of such heroes. Souls so possessed of the idea that they are actuated in all things by the power that upholds suns and systems, that they will die rather than turn traitor to it.

The New Testament firmament is no less resplendent with stars, whose orbits are divinely made, than is the Old. It opens with Joseph, Mary, Simeon and the wise men from the East, who will ever beam brightly as examples of those who have tested God's promises to fully guide. The Gospels shine with the dazzling splendor of Him who, in His humanity as our example, ever so fully learned the Father's will that He always said and did those things, and those only that were "pleasing in His sight."

The Acts of the Apostles teems with telling incidents illustrating this principle. The Apostles were "filled with the Spirit" and "led by the Spirit." They could not have been led by Him had they not first have learned His leadings.

The promise which Jesus gave them that He would teach them how to answer their enemies, and that the Spirit of the Father should speak through them, found such fruitful fulfillment that all their adversaries "were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit" by which they spake.

They were gifted with such divine wisdom that they outwitted both ecclesiastical intrigue and Roman power, and while the cry "crucify Him" was still echoing from Mount Calvary, they had established a kingdom which will flourish when Jerusalem and Rome are forgotten -- even forever.

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Sunspots 607

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: Relevant reports that a Christian is martyred for his/her faith about every six minutes.

Food: Listverse reports on 10 strange ways to make, and/or serve, ice cream.

Health: National Public Radio reports on a study that found that being the mother of a middle-schooler is more stressful than being the mother of a newborn or a teenager.

NPR also has a report on the state of knowledge of Alzheimer's.

NPR on how poor eating habits can impair your ability to think.

History: Listverse posts on 10 beautiful ancient maps.

Politics: Relevant reports that nearly 30,000 people have been the victims of violence in Venezuela this year.

Science: A simple, almost free solution to defrosting a car window quickly.

Listverse reports on 10 amazing inventions, inspired by structures and processes in living things.

Image source (public domain)

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 29

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion continues:

 (e). "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrances, whatsoever I have said unto you." It is the special mission of the Holy Spirit to divinely direct. He does not do this, however, independently. The "all things" which it is promised that He shall teach and remind of, are the words of Jesus: "Whatsoever I have said unto you."

He unfolds no new principles, but simply reminds of and helps to understand those already revealed. It is just as really the mission of the Spirit to do this work as it was of the Son to die for us.

(f). "Howbeit, when He the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak; . . . . He shall glorify me; for He shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you."

Here He is represented as a Guide. He will lead into "all truth." The "all truth," Jesus declares to be the truth revealed by Him. "He shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you." The truth which Jesus proclaims may be likened to a beautiful temple filled with all that the spiritual man needs to meet all the demands of his being for time and for eternity. These things are all unseen to the natural eye. The Spirit prepares the heart, and then leads the soul on and on, higher and higher, through the aisles and labyrinths of this temple, unfolding its secrets, explaining its mysteries, and bringing out its beauties until we are lost "in wonder, love and praise."

(g). "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."

Note the following points in this precious promise.

Guidance for all. "If any of you lack."

Guidance from God. "Let him ask of God."

Guidance given without grudging. "Giveth to all men liberally."

Guidance positively assured. "It shall be given him."

The above mentioned, and other kindred promises, make more firm than the mighty mountains the foundation upon which the child of God can base his assurance of being divinely led.

They challenge the present appropriating faith of all who are meeting the conditions upon which they are given.

They are a priceless parcel of the "many exceeding great and precious promises whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature."

Promises of pardon, cover all our guilt.
Promises of purity, all our pollution.
Promises of power, all our weakness.

And these promises for being divinely led, all our perplexity in regard to action.

No wonder the poet sings:

"Precious promise God has given,
To the weary passer by,
All the way from earth to heaven,
I will guide thee with mine eye."

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.