"The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it."
Yonder in the better world, the inhabitants are independent of all creature comforts. They have no need of raiment; their white robes never wear out, neither shall they ever be defiled. They need no medicine to heal diseases, "for the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick." They need no sleep to recruit their frames--they rest not day nor night, but unweariedly praise him in his temple. They need no social relationship to minister comfort, and whatever happiness they may derive from association with their fellows is not essential to their bliss, for their Lord's society is enough for their largest desires. They need no teachers there; they doubtless commune with one another concerning the things of God, but they do not require this by way of instruction; they shall all be taught of the Lord. Ours are the alms at the king's gate, but they feast at the table itself. Here we lean upon the friendly arm, but there they lean upon their Beloved and upon him alone. Here we must have the help of our companions, but there they find all they want in Christ Jesus. Here we look to the meat which perisheth, and to the raiment which decays before the moth, but there they find everything in God. We use the bucket to fetch us water from the well, but there they drink from the fountain head, and put their lips down to the living water. Here the angels bring us blessings, but we shall want no messengers from heaven then. They shall need no Gabriels there to bring their love-notes from God, for there they shall see him face to face. Oh! what a blessed time shall that be when we shall have mounted above every second cause and shall rest upon the bare arm of God! What a glorious hour when God, and not his creatures; the Lord, and not his works, shall be our daily joy! Our souls shall then have attained the perfection of bliss.
"He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils."
Mary of Magdala was the victim of a fearful evil. She was possessed by not one devil only, but seven. These dreadful inmates caused much pain and pollution to the poor frame in which they had found a lodging. Hers was a hopeless, horrible case. She could not help herself, neither could any human succour avail. But Jesus passed that way, and unsought, and probably even resisted by the poor demoniac, he uttered the word of power, and Mary of Magdala became a trophy of the healing power of Jesus. All the seven demons left her, left her never to return, forcibly ejected by the Lord of all. What a blessed deliverance! What a happy change! From delirium to delight, from despair to peace, from hell to heaven! Straightway she became a constant follower of Jesus, catching his every word, following his devious steps, sharing his toilsome life; and withal she became his generous helper, first among that band of healed and grateful women who ministered unto him of their substance. When Jesus was lifted up in crucifixion, Mary remained the sharer of his shame: we find her first beholding from afar, and then drawing near to the foot of the cross. She could not die on the cross with Jesus, but she stood as near it as she could, and when his blessed body was taken down, she watched to see how and where it was laid. She was the faithful and watchful believer, last at the sepulchre where Jesus slept, first at the grave whence he arose. Her holy fidelity made her a favoured beholder of her beloved Rabboni, who deigned to call her by her name, and to make her his messenger of good news to the trembling disciples and Peter. Thus grace found her a maniac and made her a minister, cast out devils and gave her to behold angels, delivered her from Satan, and united her forever to the Lord Jesus. May I also be such a miracle of grace!
Today's reading: Psalm 77-78, Romans 10 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 77-78
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
Will he never show his favor again?
Today's New Testament reading: Romans 10
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: "The person who does these things will live by them." 6But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Terah, Tarah, Thara
[Tē'rah,Tā'ra, Thā'ră] - wild goat orturning, wandering. A son of Nahorand father of Abraham and ancestor of Christ (Gen. 11:24-32; Josh. 24:2; 1 Chron. 1:26; Luke 3:34). SeeNumbers 33:27, 28.
The Man Who Died Half Way
Along with his three sons, Abraham, Nahor and Haran, Terah migrated from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, where he died. The reference to him serving other gods led some of the Jewish Fathers to think of Terah as a maker of idols (Josh. 24:2). Why did Terah die at Haran? Was it not his intention to go to Canaan (Gen. 11:31, 32)?
It was God's purpose to separate Abraham from his kindred (Gen. 12:1 ), but Terah and Lot left with him, an exodus, perhaps, Abraham could not prevent. Lot, although he reached Canaan, was a constant grief to his uncle. The death of Terah seems to suggest that complete separation unto God often means the severance of some of earth's dearest ties. Terah is also a type of many who step out for Christ but whose hopes of discipleship die half way. Beginning in the Spirit they end in the flesh. Halfway converts never make wholehearted saints. Are you at Haran, or is yours the joy of living in Canaan?
THE INVISIBLE YOU
If someone were to ask you, “Who are you, really?” a complete answer would have to include something about the invisible you, the part within and apart from the body. One of the truest things you can say about human beings is that there is so much more than meets the eye.
Yet we play to the eye.
Think of someone you know who, by most people’s standards, is extraordinarily handsome or beautiful, a picture of health, possessing a vivacity that turns people’s heads-but someone empty on the inside.
At 36 years old, Marilyn Monroe, one of the best-known female icons of the 20th century, who was sought for the best movie roles and the most popular magazine covers, took an overdose of pills to end her life. By becoming larger than life, almost revered as a goddess, she lost her inner self, and she put the icon in the grave.
The outward self can profoundly contradict the inward self.
The belief that we as human beings are nothing more than chemical factories changing oxygen and food into energy day by day until the factory breaks down and we die, is extraordinarily hard to maintain. It is not for lack of trying.
Many philosophies and religions limit themselves to the certainties of what we can touch and measure–things such as fingers and eyeballs and the amazing network of nerve fibers in the body. Proponents of this idea say, listen to common sense; what you can see is all there is. It’s all there ever will be. The sum total of a man or a woman is what can be placed on a scale or in a coffin. And yet, like a great hot air balloon that refuses to do anything but ascend, this idea that we are more than our bodies, that there is soul, that we’re not done when we’re dead, keeps rising in most people’s convictions.
We are body and soul, which throughout our lives are inseparable. One person, with two major aspects: the external (visible, fleshy, sensory), and the internal (thoughtful, moral, volitional). Your spiritual reactions come from the experiences you have with what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. A husband loves his wife well when he does it with devoted thoughtfulness, emotional understanding, and physical touch. God’s greatest command is that we love him with heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Our visible and invisible selves are like the relationship between house and home. “House” especially notes the physical thing, whereas “home,” though not separate from the house, points to the greater spiritual reality, a living thing. You repair a house, but you live at home.
Now there is that unique moment when the spiritual self is separated from the bodily self–when the last breath is exhaled and, like Jesus, we can pray, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” It is that time when our “earthly tent” is destroyed, when we go from being “at home in the body” to being “away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:1,9 ). How will we ever comprehend this as long as we are creatures of the earth? None of the stories of spirits haunting houses and ships or even having friendly exchanges are truthful or helpful. What the Gospels teach is that Jesus told the thief on the cross “today you will be with me in Paradise,” and Paul said that he knew that if he had to be “away from the body,” he would be “at home with the Lord.”
Next time: what does the Bible mean by body, soul, spirit, mind, etc.?
Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Complimentary DVDavailable now.