≡ Menu

The “Judicial Adventures” of Paul the Apostle

Copyright © 1994, 2019

by
Jim Kerwin

A Look at Roman Law in Acts

“Moving in a Roman World”

The student of the New Testament is con­stant­ly made aware that he is moving in a Roman world,”2 and awareness of the Roman en­vi­ron­ment is the first step toward un­der­stand­ing its significance and influence on the second volume of Luke’s magnum opus and on the life of Paul. By providing the serious Bible student a primer of [continue reading…]

Join the Tugboat Fleet

Looking Back at a Carrier — and Its Tugboats!

I’m reminded of a special “cruise” we took in 2008, right after my first missions trip to Guatemala. We were guests of Petty Officer Bruce Wasson (now pastor of Morningstar Church in Scottsville, Virginia) on a “Family and Friends Day” aboard his ship, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman. What a privilege to be out to sea, out of sight of land, on the deck as jet fighters were launched and recovered, to see one of these “birds” [continue reading…]

The Love of God

Frederick Lehman
(1868-1953)
adapted from the work of
Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai
(11th Century a.d.)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Chorus:
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.


 

Lyre and Wreath, used under license from www.123rf.com (santi0103/123RF Stock Photo)

To discover more hymns, visit our growing list of Powerful Poetry.

Image credit: Copyright: santi0103/123RF Stock Photo
Used under license

O Sweet Will of God!

George D. Watson
(1845-1923)

O! sweet will of God, thou hast girded me round,
Like the deep moving currents that girdle the sea;
With omnipotent love is my poor nature bound,
And this bondage of love sets me perfectly free.

For years my will wrestled with vague discontent
That like a sad angel o’ershadowed my way;
God’s light in my soul oft with darkness was blent,
And my heart ever longed for an unclouded day.

My wild will was captured, [continue reading…]

A New Year Prayer

John Wright Follette
(1884-1966)

O Lord, I pray that through this coming year
Our fellowship may deep and richer be;
That I may recognize Thy presence near,
And turn as to a friend, my Lord, to Thee.

Walk with me, then, and guide me with Thy eye –
I dare not trust myself to move one pace.
I know not what ahead of me may lie [continue reading…]

God’s Hour

John Wright Follette
(1884-1966)

O Holy night, borne to us on the wings of time,
From out the dark recesses of eternity,
God’s hour, the promise of eternal life and light,
A gleaming jewel rests within thy dark embrace.
O holy hour, the miracle of God is thine,
He clothes Himself with [continue reading…]

Country X – Christmas in July

Rough Times in Country ‘X’

Pastor holding commentary and Bible dictionaryLeaders who couldn’t attend
the April gathering also received
their Bible dictionary
and one-volume commentaries.

It’s nearly Christmas! And I want to give thanks, to the Lord and to you, for the “Christmas in July” which a group of forty pastors in… well, let's call it “Country ‘X’” in Latin America… experienced this year. I’d like to keep them out of the limelight for security reasons, “just in case.” (But you can read more about their national situation in recent news, as well the murder of a pastor and [continue reading…]

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Charles Wesley
(1707-1788)

“…the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 3:1

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:20

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people [continue reading…]

The Original Aromas of Christmas

Copyright © 2018

by
Jim Kerwin

Burning frankincense, image used under license from https://www.123rf.com/profile_fotomemAll our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King!
1

Your dieting resolve may be challenged as I enumerate the following list: pumpkin pie, gingerbread, Christmas cookies, roasted turkey and stuffing, eggnog, hot apple cider with cinnamon. Those are all holiday edibles, but I mention them not so much for their waistline-destroying properties as for their aromas. I can quickly add to the list of Christmas aromas from non-edible sources: the fragrance of a fresh pine tree, wreaths of pine branches, and seasoned oak burning in the fireplace. I would even add the tantalizing scent of “chestnuts roasting on a open fire,” but then we’d probably be back to derailing ongoing diets.

Those of you outside North America no doubt have your own aromatic reminiscences of Christmas. In any case, if you’re like me, you have a sort of mental database of aromas, of scents, of fragrances that you associate with Christmas. In fact, if one of those aromas registers on your nostrils, it may trigger events from your childhood, or certain Christmases that were special, or maybe certain Christmases that were difficult. I can’t think of another holiday that has such fragrant associations.

Decades ago, over the Christmas holiday I was on a short-term missions trip to India. On Christmas morning I arose before dawn to [continue reading…]

We Wise Men of Orient Are

(usually know as)1

We Three Kings of Orient Are

John Henry Hopkins, Jr.
(1820-1891)

We wise men of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star. [continue reading…]

As with Gladness Men of Old

W. Chatterton Dix
(1837-1898)

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold;
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright,
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be led by Thee! [continue reading…]

This Shall Be a Sign unto You

Copyright © 20181

by
Percy Gutteridge

Image of the manger copyright by www.LumoProject.com, licensed exclusively by FreeBibleimages.org for teaching purposes only; used with permission according to license terms.“This shall be a sign unto you.”
But what was the sign?2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because He was of the house and lineage of David:) 5to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:1-18

As we read through Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, we discover a key theme of the Christmas season. It’s the message that the angel gave to the shepherds. The fact that an angel said it underscores its importance. He said:

“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

What is the significance of this sign? If God took the trouble [continue reading…]

How Great Our Joy!

Anonymous
(Traditional German Carol)
translated by
Theodore Baker
(1851-1934)

While by the sheep we watched at night,
Glad tidings brought an angel bright.

Chorus:
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!

“There shall be [continue reading…]

For the Beauty of the Earth

Folliott Pierpoint
(1835-1917)

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For the beauty of each [continue reading…]