Practical Insights

"You have heard people say, "The world owes me a living, and I mean to have it." A falsehood! The world owes no man a living. It is only lazy, indolent, worthless creatures that talk in that way. It is every man's duty to do two things: [first], to earn a livelihood; [second], to produce in some way or other that is honest, and by some kind of labor, what he consumes--to produce as much at least as will supply his own needs. He who does not, who consumes but earns nothing, is a parasite on the community and ought to be shaken off, and compelled to work if he is able, or starve." Joseph King (1893)

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Scripture of the Day (Through Jeremiah)

Therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts, Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will summon all the peoples of the north, declares Yahweh, and My servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about...This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Jeremiah 25:8-11

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"He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 121:4

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

"He has remembered His covenant forever...the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, 'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance.' "
Psalm 105:8-11


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Passover

Passover Plate

The deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage is the central redemptive act in the Old Testament, and Passover commemorates this event. That first Passover meal was eaten the night that the tenth and final plague fell upon Egypt--the death of every firstborn male. The Israelites were protected ("passed over") by the blood of the paschal lamb smeared on the lintel and side posts of their doors. "Passover" (Hebrew, Pesach) comes from the verb meaning "to pass over." The lamb was to be slain at twilight on the 14th of Nisan just before sunset and the beginning of the 15th of Nisan. Thus, the Passover meal was actually eaten then, as now, on the 15th of Nisan. Passover is followed immediately by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, and today both feasts are subsumed under the name Passover. It is to be "a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to Yahweh; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance" (Exod. 12; Lev. 23; Deut. 16). However, since the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, the sacrificial lamb could no longer be part of the service. The picture shows a dish for the modern Passover Seder. This year Passover begins sunset on Friday, April 3 (the 15th of Nisan), 2015; it lasts eight days. This year it happens to fall on the same weekend as Good Friday and Easter. Christians should not only be aware of the Passover and its meaning; they should also know that it was the Passover that Jesus ate with his disciples just before his crucifixion and that it will be the Passover that he celebrates with them upon his return (Luke 22:7-16). (Read our notes on the other biblical and post-biblical Jewish holidays.)

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.
Psalm 122:6

Do you love Israel, God's chosen people and covenant nation? How often does your church pray for the safety of Israel and the peace of Jerusalem? If it doesn't, ask your pastor why not. God promised in the covenant he made with Abraham that he will bless those who bless Israel (Gen. 12:3).

Please listen to legendary actor Jon Voight as he gives us an urgent message about Israel.

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  • Anxiety: We all, unfortunately, worry about tomorrow. Nevertheless, it is a besetting sin for which there is no excuse. Here is a helpful sermon by Charles Mason. (April. 18, 2015)
  • Prayer: One of the best sermons on prayer I've ever read. (Feb. 28, 2015)
  • Devotional: The updated devotional is now done with many new authors. You will also find a link on the first page of each month for reading a pdf version (or printing one out). (Mar. 30, 2015)
  • "Prayer": This sermon by John Girardeau is the first of five delivered late in 1865 in Zion Presbyterian Church, Glebe Street, Charleston, on the subject of prayer. A note by Dr. Girardeau says: "Daily prayer was offered by crowds of worshippers for the success of the Confederate struggle. In consequence of its disastrous result, many of God's people were, by Satanic influence, tempted to slack their confidence in prayer. These sermons were a humble attempt to help them under this trial." Today we also live in troublesome times. This sermon, "The Nature of Prayer," is much needed. (Feb. 12, 2015)
  • Micah: Micah is one of the most exciting of the (so-called) Minor Prophets. Read our new Introduction to Micah. See also our Prophets Page for all the introductions posted to date. (Jan. 26, 2015)

Important Topics

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We have long lamented the lack of depth in the preaching within Evangelical churches today. Many Christians possess only a shallow knowledge of both the Bible and theology. Check yourself with two questions that should be very simple to any Christian who attends a Bible-believing church.

  • Bible knowledge: The Psalmist wrote, "Sing the glory of his name" (Ps. 66:2). What is his name? What is the name of the God of the Bible, the God you worship?

  • Theological knowledge: What is the meaning of the word propitiation, which is used, for example, in 1 John 2:2?

We hope that the Bible study material posted at this Web site will both increase your knowledge of the Bible and theology and also encourage you to buy and read books by great Christian theologians and preachers. The full contents of this site can be seen at a glance on our Site Map; there are over 1000 items.

Our Sister Web Site:
Messiah Studies

We have another Web site, Messiah Studies, that is devoted to a detailed study of Messianic prophecy. However, it is a new Web site, and so far there are only a few papers posted. It is our goal, however, to develop a series of papers dealing with the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament in historical order. The site is designed for Jewish inquirers, but Christians can gain much from these studies as well. There is also some Jewish music you can listen to, including HaTikvah (Israeli National Anthem), Hava Nagila, Jerusalem of Gold, and the Yigdal (on which the Christian hymn, "The God of Abraham Praise," is based). Please take a look and send us your suggestions.

Judaism and Christianity

What common belief forms the fundamental foundation of both Judaism and Christianity? For the answer, read this encouraging article by Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, "Growing in Our Understanding of God."

Nicky's Children Youtube Video

For a 4-minute version taking you back to Sir Nicholas in 1938, see this Youtube video.

The "British Schindler"

Beginning in 1938, Nicholas Winton organized the rescue of over 600 Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia. Here is a very touching video from a BBC television program reuniting Sir Nicholas with many of these children, now adults. How cold our own hearts must be if we cannot thank Jesus for saving us from eternal death with the same emotion that Vera Gissing shows in this video when she meets Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved her as a young girl from the Nazi death camps.

NIV Translation Unreliable

In many ways, we are living in a dangerous age. Some dangers are where you would least expect them, as for example the degree to which feminism has infected even evangelicalism. What translation of the Bible are you using? The NIV has become an unreliable translation. Read "An Evaluation of Gender Language in the 2011 Edition of the NIV Bible" produced by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.


Replacement Theology and Amillennialism

Anyone at all familiar with this Web site knows that we are at the opposite end of the theological spectrum from replacement theology and amillennialism. At our sister Web site, Messiah Studies, we have posted a number of lectures from perhaps the best book on Messianic prophecy that I have read: The Messiahship of Jesus by Alexander McCaul (1852). He does argue that the Messianic prophecies point to fulfillment by Yeshua (Jesus), but in his discussions he gives considerable attention to the Jewish objections to Christian interpretations of these prophecies. However, the point I would like to emphasize here is that he also argues for a literal fulfillment of the prophecies dealing with the future of national Israel and forcefully critiques replacement theology and amillennialism, which sees no future for Israel in an ethnic and national sense. I suggest that those who hold to replacement theology and amillennialism should examine this book carefully. See the the McCaul page . The Messiah Studies site also has a short paper written by me "The Messiah: An Overview," which summarizes what the prophets indeed predict for national Israel--God's chosen, covenant people, the apple of his eye (Zech. 2:8) and the nation written on the palms of his hands (Isa. 49:15-16). You might also be interested in a short paper here on Rediscovering the Bible, "Does Eschatology Matter in Jewish Evangelism?"


Psalm 107

Ship In Storm

"He that cannot pray, let him go to sea, and there he will learn."

John Trapp on Ps. 107:23-29, cited by Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.


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