The CCEL Times 8.2 (February 1, 2013)
In This Issue:
From the Director
"George MacDonald [1824-1905] was a well-known and well-loved Scottish Christian author and poet. He had an important impact on figures such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G.K. Chesterton. Although he wrote much beloved fiction, MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons is some of the most wonderful and profound literature a person can read. The sermons are arranged in series, so that they build upon one another. Throughout, MacDonald is more concerned with a person developing a love of God than developing dogmas," according to Tim Perrine in his introduction.
MacDonald's sermon Justice gets at the difficulties of justice, mercy, fairness, and atonement, so crucial to the kind of reconciliation our divided world needs.
"Peacemaking in Israel and Palestine"
Shannon Jammal-Hollemans discusses her experiences on a trip to Israel and Palestine. In addition to helping rebuild a Palestinian home, Shannon recounts what she learned about the impacts of 'The Wall' that has been built by Israel. While this article deals with the on-going conflict in Israel, Shannon relates the importance of peacekeeping to all Christians in her closing: "But we don't have to go to Israel and Palestine to be peacemakers. We have all kinds of people in need of reconciliation to one another, and to God, right here. ... What better opportunity for God to tell his story?"
Read this article and share your thoughts by visiting the on-line forum through the link provided below.
What We're Reading
Discourse of God's being the Author of Reconciliation
Stephen Charnock, best known for his book entitled Existence and Attributes of God, introduces Discourse of God's being the Author of Reconciliation with these words: “If there be any mystery in Christianity more admirable than another, it is this of reconciliation.” According to Charnock, “the scripture … gives us a short but full and clear account of the doctrine of reconciliation, which is the substantial part of the gospel.” Charnock addresses four issues in this book: 1. What reconciliation is, and wherein the nature of it consists. 2. That God the Father is and must be the prime cause of this. 3. Wherein the agency of the Father appears, and by what acts it is manifested in this transaction. 4. The use.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"We Gather Together"
This hymn was originally a Dutch patriotic song, written around 1600 to celebrate the freedom of the Netherlands from Spanish rule. However, God's kingdom transcends national and ethnic boundaries. When the Church sings this hymn, she is reminded of the words of the apostle Paul: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV). The day will come when God will overthrow the devil and all evil. Even now, we can say, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). In singing this hymn, the people of God seek His help and thank Him for His presence in the pursuit of victory over evil, for we know that God “forgets not His own.”
John 16:33 Bible Commentary
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
33. These things I have spoken unto you—not the immediately preceding words, but this whole discourse, of which these were the very last words, and which He thus winds up.
that in me ye might have peace—in the sublime sense before explained. (See on John 14:27).
In the world ye shall have tribulation—specially arising from its deadly opposition to those who "are not of the world, but chosen out of the world." So that the "peace" promised was far from an unruffled one.
I have overcome the world—not only before you, but for you, that ye may be able to do the same (1 John 5:4,5).
Look up other verses in the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Charles H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening: Daily Readings
"In the world ye shall have tribulation." John 16:33
Art thou asking the reason of this, believer? Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold him pure and holy. Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like him? Wilt thou easily be conformed to his image? Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect? Next, Christian, turn thine eye downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone? No, he will be always at thee, for he “goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee. Then look around thee. Where art thou? Thou art in an enemy’s country, a stranger and a sojourner. The world is not thy friend. If it be, then thou art not God’s friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Be assured that thou shalt find foe-men everywhere. When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so will the trials of earth be sharpest to you. Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within. Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself evil enough to be a sore trouble to thee, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee. He hath said, “I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee.”Read other meditations by this author at CCEL