Archive for April, 2012

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Serendipity & mystery gifts

In the fine tradition of Serendipity, I don’t know what I’m looking for. In fact, I expect to find something I didn’t know I was looking for–several things even. When I see each I will know, “Aha! That’s it! That’s what I didn’t know I wanted!”

And since I don’t know what it will be, neither do you, and that’s why each item is called a mystery gift.

Check out the info on mystery gifts from our destinations in Europe–BucharestGeneva, and Hamburg–which we’ll be visiting this month. Johnny will be speaking (and me too, once) at conferences in each city.

Anyway, so far there’s a Bucharest giveaway and a Geneva giveaway. While you’re over there, subscribe to Tell Me When to Pack so you’ll know right away when more giveaways are announced.

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

Have a heart!







It turns out that Talitha won’t be able to have a Compassion table at church this Sunday after all.

A lot of you aren’t nearby, so you couldn’t have stopped by anyway to check out Compassion International‘s ministry and to encourage Talitha. So here’s something even better because it’s accessible.

Talitha has created a page at the Compassion website. Please visit to get a taste of her enthusiasm for Compassion and her compassion for Juan. There’s also a short video with one Compassion story and the difference it’s made in 2 families.

Talitha and I are looking forward to July when we plan to visit Juan in Guatemala. We expect to let you know more about that as we go.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll link through from Talitha’s page to information about children who are awaiting and do please pray about becoming a sponsor.

I have a big favor to ask of you. Even if you don’t usually comment on blogs–and for sure, if you do–please post here at least a simple “I visited Compassion” after you’ve been to their website. This will be a tremendous encouragement to Talitha.

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Sunday, April 15th, 2012

The Secret Piano

The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg VariationsMy mother’s a pianist, and right now my mind’s still in China, so this book caught my eye: The Secret Piano: From Mao’s Labor Camps to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, by Zhu Xiao-Mei.

I’ve ordered the The Secret Piano to read on my Kindle. It’s just $.99. I can’t tell if that’s the regular price or a special for today.

Zhu Xiao-Mei was just ten years old when she began a rigorous course of study at the Beijing Conservatory, laying the groundwork for what was sure to be an extraordinary career. But in 1966, when Xiao-Mei was seventeen, the Cultural Revolution began. . . . One by one, her family members were scattered, sentenced to prison or labor camps. By 1969, the art schools had closed, and Xiao-Mei was on her way to a work camp in Mongolia, where she would spend the next five years. Life in the camp was nearly unbearable, thanks to horrific living conditions and intensive brainwashing campaigns. Yet through it all Xiao-Mei clung to her passion for music and her sense of humor. And when the Revolution ended, it was the piano that helped her to heal. (from Amazon product review)

Bach: Goldberg Variations



She lives in Paris now and has recorded The Goldberg Variations and much more.


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Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

That’s not fair!

Our son, Barnabas, comments in World Magazine  online about winning and losing. He begins:

Recently, as we were flipping through radio stations in the car, my 6-year-old daughter heard the song “We Are the Champions” by Queen. She asked what a champion is, and we started talking about winning and losing. At one point in the conversation she said, “Winning isn’t fair because not everyone can do it.” Her response is, sadly, quite common. (Read the rest of what he has to say about the idea that “everyone is a winner.”)

In contrast, there are cultures where life’s primary impetus or “encouragement”  is shame. In such a culture, this would be true for children in school, for spouses toward each other, for employers toward employees. It would be true in every arena.

But let’s just stay in the child-rearing part of life’s arena, since that’s what Barnabas is focusing on. To give you an idea of what I mean when I name shame as prime motivator, here’s what one Chinese mother says:

The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, “Hey fatty—lose some weight.” By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of “health” and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. . . .

Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, “You’re lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you.” By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they’re not disappointed about how their kids turned out.

So, there are the two precipices to avoid:

1. Everyone is a winner.

2. You are nothing, because someone else is performing better than you.

That mesa is not even the right place to be maneuvering, trying to stay somewhere between the two treacherous precipices.

What do I want to say instead to a child I love or on whose upbringing I have some influence? I think of many things, but here’s one way to say it.

“The LORD is  the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Is. 40:28).

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together  for good,  for  those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Your God, your Creator, your Father loves you and knows you better than anyone else can ever know you. He wants you to be blessed, happy. He also knows what he wants you to achieve, and he offers you magnificent, out-of-this-world rewards. His desires for you?

  •  Blessed are  the poor in spirit, for  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  •  Blessed are  those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  •  Blessed are the  meek, for they  shall inherit the earth.
  •  Blessed are those who hunger and  thirst  for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  •  Blessed are  the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
  •  Blessed are  the pure in heart, for  they shall see God.
  •  Blessed are  the peacemakers, for  they shall be called  sons  of God.
  •  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  •  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely  on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven . . . . (Matt. 5:3-12)
I hope you’ll notice that his primary desires for your happiness don’t mention anything scholarly or professional, though fulfilling his desires will affect these and all aspects of your life.
Does his list seem overwhelming? Just remember this: He knows your weaknesses, and you can achieve what he wants you to achieve, through him who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13).
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Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Celebrate the ministry of Joni and Friends


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Sunday, April 8th, 2012

How long is Easter?

I watched midnight quietly welcome Easter to Minneapolis.

At the same moment:

It was 8 am in Uganda. Nephew Luke might have been grabbing a bite before gathering with other believers.

It was 6 am in Cameroon. I’m guessing that Steve and Julie, my brother-in-law and sister, would soon be waking and preparing to celebrate.

It was already 1 pm in China. The church bell in Ya’an would have been heard 4 hours earlier. An hour after that, believers in Yibin would have been summoned by their church’s bell.

When my church service begins at 11 am, others–like my cousin Rachel and her family in Hawaii–will just be waking to Easter’s light.

How many hours does Easter last on our globe? My math fails me. And that’s just as well, because the reality of Easter is not a one-day thing–not a 24-hour event.

Easter is our reawakening to the ever-living Jesus. The celebration is our springtime springboard into the whole year of THE LORD IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED.



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Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Easter Sunday

Lenten Lights is a series of devotional readings leading up to Easter. A brief introduction to the series can be read here.

[Begin with no candles lit.]

HE IS GOD! He cannot stay dead. HE IS ALIVE. The true Glory of God shines in the world. The Light has won! The Eternal Light! TheBright Morning Star! The Light of the World!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

[Light all seven candles.]

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.

(Taken from Matthew 28:5-6; Colossians 1:15-23; 1 Peter 1:3-4)

The Lord is risen!

The Lord is risen, indeed!


Taken from Lenten Lights

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Saturday, April 7th, 2012

46. Lenten Bible reading

1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15

The Resurrection of Christ

1Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel(A) I preached to you, which you received,(B) in which you stand,2and by which(C) you are being saved, if you(D) hold fast to the word I preached to you—(E)unless you believed in vain. 3For(F) I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died(G) for our sins(H) in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised(I) on the third day(J) in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that(K)he appeared to Cephas, then(L)to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to(M)James, then(N) to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born,(O) he appeared also to me. 9For(P) I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because(Q) I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary,(R) I worked harder than any of them,(S) though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead,(T) how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead,(U) then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that(V) he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and(W) you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who(X) have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only,(Y) we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact(Z) Christ has been raised from the dead,(AA) the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as(AB) by a man came death,(AC) by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For(AD) as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then(AE) at his coming(AF) those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers(AG) the kingdom to God the Father after destroying(AH) every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign(AI) until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be(AJ) destroyed is death. 27For(AK) “God[c] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When(AL) all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that(AM) God may be all in all.

29Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30Why are we(AN) in danger every hour? 31I protest, brothers, by(AO) my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,(AP) I die every day! 32What do I gain if, humanly speaking,(AQ) I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised,(AR) “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33(AS) Do not be deceived:(AT) “Bad company ruins good morals.”[d] 34(AU) Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For(AV) some have no knowledge of God.(AW) I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35But someone will ask,(AX) “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”36You foolish person!(AY) What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42(AZ) So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor;(BA) it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written,(BB) “The first man Adam became a living being”;[e](BC) the last Adam became a(BD) life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47(BE)The first man was from the earth,(BF) a man of dust;(BG) the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven,(BH) so also are those who are of heaven. 49Just(BI) as we have borne the image of the man of dust,(BJ)we shall[f] also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mystery and Victory

50I tell you this, brothers:(BK) flesh and blood(BL)cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold! I tell you a mystery.(BM) We shall not all sleep,(BN)but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For(BO) the trumpet will sound, and(BP) the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and(BQ) this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

(BR) “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55(BS) “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and(BT) the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God,(BU) who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58(BV) Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in(BW)the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord(BX)your labor is not in vain.



  1. 1 Corinthians 15:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 6, 31, 50, 58
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:19 Or we have hoped
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:27 Greek he
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Probably from Menander’s comedy Thais
  5. 1 Corinthians 15:45 Greek a living soul
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:49 Some manuscripts let us
Cross references:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:1 : 2 Tim 2:8; 1 Corinthians 3:6
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:1 : Rom 5:2; 2 Cor 1:24; 1 Pet 5:12
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:2 : 1 Corinthians 1:18
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:2 : 1 Corinthians 11:2; Heb 3:6, 14
  5. 1 Corinthians 15:2 : Gal 3:4
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:3 : 1 Corinthians 11:23; Gal 1:12
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:3 : John 1:29; Gal 1:4; Heb 5:1, 3; 1 Pet 2:24
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:3 : Isa 53; Dan 9:26; Zech 13:7; 1 Pet 1:11
  9. 1 Corinthians 15:4 : Hos 6:2; Matt 12:40; John 2:22
  10. 1 Corinthians 15:4 : Psalm 16:10; Isa 53:10; Acts 2:25-32; 13:33-35; 26:22, 23
  11. 1 Corinthians 15:5 : Luke 24:34
  12. 1 Corinthians 15:5 : Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36; John 20:19, 26; Acts 10:41
  13. 1 Corinthians 15:7 : Acts 12:17
  14. 1 Corinthians 15:7 : Luke 24:50; Acts 1:3, 4
  15. 1 Corinthians 15:8 : 1 Corinthians 9:1
  16. 1 Corinthians 15:9 : 2 Cor 12:11; Eph 3:7, 8; 1 Tim 1:13-16
  17. 1 Corinthians 15:9 : Acts 8:3
  18. 1 Corinthians 15:10 : 2 Cor 11:23; 12:11; Col 1:29
  19. 1 Corinthians 15:10 : 1 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Cor 3:5; Phil 2:13; Matt 10:20
  20. 1 Corinthians 15:12 : Acts 23:8; 2 Tim 2:18
  21. 1 Corinthians 15:13 : 1 Thess 4:14
  22. 1 Corinthians 15:15 : Acts 2:24
  23. 1 Corinthians 15:17 : Rom 4:25
  24. 1 Corinthians 15:18 : 1 Thess 4:16; Rev 14:13
  25. 1 Corinthians 15:19 : 1 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Tim 3:12
  26. 1 Corinthians 15:20 : 2 Tim 2:8; 1 Pet 1:3
  27. 1 Corinthians 15:20 : 1 Corinthians 15:23; Acts 26:23
  28. 1 Corinthians 15:21 : Rom 5:12
  29. 1 Corinthians 15:21 : John 11:25; Rom 6:23
  30. 1 Corinthians 15:22 : Rom 5:14-18
  31. 1 Corinthians 15:23 : 1 Thess 2:19
  32. 1 Corinthians 15:23 : 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16; Luke 14:14
  33. 1 Corinthians 15:24 : Dan 7:14, 27
  34. 1 Corinthians 15:24 : Eph 1:21
  35. 1 Corinthians 15:25 : Psalm 110:1
  36. 1 Corinthians 15:26 : 2 Tim 1:10; Rev 20:14; 21:4
  37. 1 Corinthians 15:27 : Eph 1:22; Psalm 8:6; Matt 11:27; 28:18
  38. 1 Corinthians 15:28 : Phil 3:21
  39. 1 Corinthians 15:28 : 1 Corinthians 3:23; 11:3
  40. 1 Corinthians 15:30 : 2 Cor 11:26
  41. 1 Corinthians 15:31 : 1 Thess 2:19
  42. 1 Corinthians 15:31 : Luke 9:23; Rom 8:36
  43. 1 Corinthians 15:32 : 2 Cor 1:8
  44. 1 Corinthians 15:32 : Isa 22:13; Isa 56:12; Luke 12:19
  45. 1 Corinthians 15:33 : James 1:16
  46. 1 Corinthians 15:33 : 1 Corinthians 5:6
  47. 1 Corinthians 15:34 : Rom 13:11
  48. 1 Corinthians 15:34 : 1 Thess 4:5
  49. 1 Corinthians 15:34 : 1 Corinthians 6:5; 1 Corinthians 4:14
  50. 1 Corinthians 15:35 : Ezek 37:3
  51. 1 Corinthians 15:36 : John 12:24
  52. 1 Corinthians 15:42 : Dan 12:3; Matt 13:43
  53. 1 Corinthians 15:43 : Phil 3:21; Col 3:4
  54. 1 Corinthians 15:45 : Gen 2:7
  55. 1 Corinthians 15:45 : Rom 5:14
  56. 1 Corinthians 15:45 : John 5:21; John 6:33, 39, 40, 54, 57; Rom 8:2, 10
  57. 1 Corinthians 15:47 : John 3:31
  58. 1 Corinthians 15:47 : Gen 2:7; 3:19
  59. 1 Corinthians 15:47 : John 3:13, 31
  60. 1 Corinthians 15:48 : Phil 3:20
  61. 1 Corinthians 15:49 : Gen 5:3
  62. 1 Corinthians 15:49 : Rom 8:29
  63. 1 Corinthians 15:50 : Matt 16:17
  64. 1 Corinthians 15:50 : John 3:3, 5
  65. 1 Corinthians 15:51 : 1 Thess 4:15, 17
  66. 1 Corinthians 15:51 : Phil 3:21
  67. 1 Corinthians 15:52 : Matt 24:31; 1 Thess 4:16; Isa 27:13; Zech 9:14
  68. 1 Corinthians 15:52 : John 5:25, 28; Luke 20:36
  69. 1 Corinthians 15:53 : 2 Cor 5:2-4
  70. 1 Corinthians 15:54 : Isa 25:8; Heb 2:14, 15; Rev 20:14; 21:4
  71. 1 Corinthians 15:55 : Hos 13:14
  72. 1 Corinthians 15:56 : Rom 4:15; 5:13; 7:5, 8, 13
  73. 1 Corinthians 15:57 : Rom 8:37; 1 John 5:4
  74. 1 Corinthians 15:58 : 2 Pet 3:14
  75. 1 Corinthians 15:58 : 1 Corinthians 16:10; Jer 48:10; John 6:28
  76. 1 Corinthians 15:58 : Gal 6:9; 1 Corinthians 3:8
English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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Friday, April 6th, 2012

Good Friday thoughts

For about as many years as we’ve been at Bethlehem, on Good Friday we’ve attended the noontime service of the Good Neighbor Fellowship, a collection of some of the churches within easy walking distance of ours.

Today the service was at Hope Community Church, one of our daughter churches, now grown up and thriving just 3 blocks from us, the old mother church.

A few random thoughts during the service . . .


When Pastor Steve Treichler took the pulpit to welcome us, he drew attention to a couple of lines we’d just sung:

When, through grace, in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles and asks no more:

As he drew us into the wonder of if, he became more and more animated till he reined himself in, remembering he was supposed just to be doing the welcome. “Sorry, I’m preaching, but that [gesturing toward the words on the screen]–that‘s worth the price of admission,” meaning today’s worship service. But my thoughts went wider–to eternal worship.

When, through grace, in Christ our trust is — That’s not just worth the price of admission. It is the price of admission.


With Easter coming, it’s the season for Facebook and Twitter posts saying things like, “Hey, look! I must be a great treasure, because Jesus found me worth dying for.” But this song gets it right.

How Deep the Father’s Love  . . .

That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

If I’m a treasure, it’s only because God sent his son when I was a wretch–nobody’s treasure.
Pastor Arthur Agnew of Bethesda Baptist said, “They won’t call the roll in the new kingdom until everyone’s there, because Jesus made the way.”
When I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it, here’s what it became: The roll won’t be called up yonder until all the called are up yonder.
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.



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Friday, April 6th, 2012

Good Friday

Lenten Lights is a series of devotional readings leading up to Easter. A brief introduction to the series can be read here.

[One candle lit before reading]

This was the darkest day in history. The Son of God himself was killed by people who weren’t satisfied simply to reject him; they couldn’t stand to have him exist. They thought they could put God out of existence.

And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him.

“You stiff-necked people . . . you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

“Hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

[Snuff the last candle. Do not light again until Easter.]

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(Taken from Mark 15:22-24; Acts 7:51-53; Isaiah 53:4-6)


Taken from Lenten Lights

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Thursday, April 5th, 2012

44. Lenten Bible reading

John 19-20

John 19

Jesus Delivered to Be Crucified

1Then Pilate took Jesus and(A)flogged him. 2(B) And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that(C) I find no guilt in him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing(D) the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them,(E) “Behold the man!”6When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them,(F) “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for(G) I find no guilt in him.”7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and(H) according to that law he ought to die because(I) he has made himself the Son of God.” 8When Pilate heard this statement,(J) he was even more afraid. 9(K) He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus,(L) “Where are you from?” But(M) Jesus gave him no answer. 10So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”11Jesus answered him, (N) “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore(O) he who delivered me over to you(P) has the greater sin.” 12From then on(Q) Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend.(R)Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on(S) the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic[a] Gabbatha. 14Now it was(T) the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.[b] He said to the Jews,(U) “Behold your King!” 15They cried out,(V)“Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16(W) So he(X) delivered him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

So they took Jesus, 17and(Y) he went out,(Z)bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18(AA) There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19Pilate(AB) also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, for(AC) the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” 22Pilate answered,(AD) “What I have written I have written.” 23(AE) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.[c]But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.”(AF) This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

(AG) “They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25(AH) but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and(AI) the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, (AJ)“Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to(AK) his own home.

The Death of Jesus

28After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now(AL)finished, said ((AM) to fulfill the Scripture), (AN) “I thirst.” 29A jar full of sour wine stood there,(AO)so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, (AP) “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and(AQ) gave up his spirit.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

31Since it was(AR) the day of Preparation, and(AS)so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was(AT) a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other(AU) who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out(AV) blood and water. 35(AW) He who saw it has borne witness—(AX) his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—(AY) that you also may believe. 36(AZ) For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled:(BA)“Not one of his bones(BB) will be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says,(BC) “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

Jesus Is Buried

38(BD) After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly(BE) for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.39(BF) Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus[d] by night, came(BG) bringing a mixture of(BH) myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds[e] in weight. 40So they took the body of Jesus and(BI) bound it in(BJ) linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a(BK) garden, and(BL) in the garden a new tomb(BM) in which no one had yet been laid. 42So because of the Jewish(BN) day of Preparation,(BO)since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

John 20

The Resurrection

1(BP) Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that(BQ) the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,(BR)the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and(BS) we do not know where they have laid him.” 3(BT) So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.4Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5And stooping to look in, he saw(BU) the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7and(BV) the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[f] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple,(BW) who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet(BX)they did not understand the Scripture,(BY) that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.12And(BZ) she saw(CA) two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13They said to her,(CB)“Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them,(CC) “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14Having said this, she turned around and(CD) saw Jesus standing,(CE) but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, (CF) “Woman, why are you weeping?(CG) Whom are you seeking?”Supposing him to be(CH) the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[g](CI) “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to(CJ) my brothers and say to them,(CK) ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to(CL) my God and your God.'” 18Mary Magdalene(CM) went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19(CN) On the evening(CO) of that day, the first day of the week,(CP) the doors being locked where the disciples were(CQ) for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, (CR) “Peace be with you.” 20When he had said this,(CS) he showed them his hands and his side. Then(CT) the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As(CU) the Father has sent me,(CV)even so I am sending you.” 22And when he had said this, he(CW) breathed on them and said to them, (CX) “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23(CY) If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Jesus and Thomas

24Now(CZ) Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin,[h] was not with them when Jesus came.25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them,(DA) “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.(DB) Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”27Then he said to Thomas, (DC) “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him,(DD) “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?(DE) Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of This Book

30(DF) Now Jesus did many other signs(DG) in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31(DH) but these are written so that you may(DI) believe that Jesus is the Christ,(DJ) the Son of God, and that by believing(DK) you may have life(DL) in his name.



  1. John 19:13 Or Hebrew; also verses 17, 20
  2. John 19:14 That is, about noon
  3. John 19:23 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin
  4. John 19:39 Greek him
  5. John 19:39 Greek one hundred litras; a litra(or Roman pound) was equal to about 11 1/2 ounces or 327 grams
  6. John 20:7 Greek his
  7. John 20:16 Or Hebrew
  8. John 20:24 Greek Didymus
Cross references:

  1. John 19:1 : Matt 20:19; 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:16
  2. John 19:2 : Matt 27:27-30; Mark 15:16-19
  3. John 19:4 : John 19:6; John 18:38
  4. John 19:5 : John 19:2
  5. John 19:5 : John 19:14
  6. John 19:6 : John 18:31
  7. John 19:6 : John 19:4
  8. John 19:7 : Lev 24:16; John 10:33
  9. John 19:7 : John 5:17, 18; 10:36; Matt 26:63; Luke 22:70
  10. John 19:8 : Matt 27:19
  11. John 19:9 : John 18:33
  12. John 19:9 : John 7:27
  13. John 19:9 : John 18:37; Matt 26:63
  14. John 19:11 : Rom 13:1
  15. John 19:11 : John 18:14, 28-32; Matt 27:2
  16. John 19:11 : John 9:41
  17. John 19:12 : Acts 3:13
  18. John 19:12 : Luke 23:2
  19. John 19:13 : Matt 27:19
  20. John 19:14 : John 18:28; Matt 27:62
  21. John 19:14 : John 19:5
  22. John 19:15 : Luke 23:18; Acts 21:36
  23. John 19:16 : Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:25
  24. John 19:16 : John 18:36-40
  25. John 19:17 : Matt 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33
  26. John 19:17 : Luke 14:27; Matt 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26
  27. John 19:18 : Matt 27:38; Mark 15:24, 27; Luke 23:32, 33
  28. John 19:19 : Matt 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38
  29. John 19:20 : John 19:17; Num 15:35, 36; Heb 13:12
  30. John 19:22 : Gen 43:14; Esth 4:16
  31. John 19:23 : Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34
  32. John 19:24 : John 13:18
  33. John 19:24 : Psalm 22:18
  34. John 19:25 : Matt 27:55, 56; Mark 15:40, 41; Luke 23:49
  35. John 19:26 : John 13:23
  36. John 19:26 : John 2:4
  37. John 19:27 : John 16:32
  38. John 19:28 : John 19:30
  39. John 19:28 : John 19:24
  40. John 19:28 : Psalm 69:21; John 4:6, 7
  41. John 19:29 : Matt 27:48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36
  42. John 19:30 : John 19:28; Acts 13:29; John 17:4
  43. John 19:30 : Matt 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46
  44. John 19:31 : John 19:14
  45. John 19:31 : Deut 21:23; Josh 8:29; 10:26, 27
  46. John 19:31 : Exodus 12:16
  47. John 19:32 : John 19:18
  48. John 19:34 : 1 John 5:6, 8
  49. John 19:35 : 1 John 1:1-3; Rev 1:2; John 15:27
  50. John 19:35 : John 21:24
  51. John 19:35 : John 20:31
  52. John 19:36 : Matt 1:22
  53. John 19:36 : Exodus 12:46; Num 9:12; 1 Cor 5:7
  54. John 19:36 : Psalm 34:20
  55. John 19:37 : Zech 12:10; Rev 1:7
  56. John 19:38 : For John 19:38-42, Matt 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56
  57. John 19:38 : John 7:13
  58. John 19:39 : John 3:1, 2; 7:50
  59. John 19:39 : Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1
  60. John 19:39 : Psalm 45:8; Prov 7:17; Song 4:14
  61. John 19:40 : John 11:44; 2 Chr 16:14; Acts 5:6
  62. John 19:40 : John 20:5-7; Luke 24:12
  63. John 19:41 : John 20:15
  64. John 19:41 : 2 Kgs 21:18, 26
  65. John 19:41 : Luke 23:53; Mark 11:2
  66. John 19:42 : John 19:14, 31
  67. John 19:42 : John 19:41
  68. John 20:1 : Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1, 2; Luke 24:1
  69. John 20:1 : Matt 27:60, 66; 28:2; Mark 15:46; 16:3, 4; Luke 24:2
  70. John 20:2 : John 13:23
  71. John 20:2 : John 20:13
  72. John 20:3 : Luke 24:12
  73. John 20:5 : John 19:40
  74. John 20:7 : John 11:44
  75. John 20:8 : John 20:4
  76. John 20:9 : Matt 22:29
  77. John 20:9 : Psalm 16:10; Luke 24:46; Acts 2:25-31; 13:34, 35; 17:3; 1 Cor 15:4
  78. John 20:12 : Mark 16:5
  79. John 20:12 : Luke 24:4
  80. John 20:13 : John 20:15; John 2:4
  81. John 20:13 : John 20:2
  82. John 20:14 : Mark 16:9; Matt 28:9
  83. John 20:14 : John 21:4; Luke 24:16, 31
  84. John 20:15 : John 20:13
  85. John 20:15 : John 1:38; 18:4, 7
  86. John 20:15 : John 19:41
  87. John 20:16 : John 1:38
  88. John 20:17 : Matt 28:10
  89. John 20:17 : Mark 16:19; John 14:12
  90. John 20:17 : Matt 27:46; Eph 1:17; Rev 3:2, 12; 1 Cor 3:23
  91. John 20:18 : Mark 16:10; Matt 28:10; Luke 24:10, 22, 23
  92. John 20:19 : 1 Cor 15:5; John 20:26
  93. John 20:19 : Luke 24:33, 36
  94. John 20:19 : John 20:26
  95. John 20:19 : John 7:13
  96. John 20:19 : John 14:27
  97. John 20:20 : Luke 24:40
  98. John 20:20 : John 16:22
  99. John 20:21 : John 17:18; John 3:17
  100. John 20:21 : John 13:20; Acts 1:2
  101. John 20:22 : Gen 2:7
  102. John 20:22 : Acts 2:4; John 7:39
  103. John 20:23 : Matt 16:19; 18:18; 1 Cor 5:4, 5
  104. John 20:24 : John 11:16
  105. John 20:25 : John 20:20; Psalm 22:16
  106. John 20:26 : John 20:19
  107. John 20:27 : John 20:20; 1 John 1:1; Luke 24:39
  108. John 20:28 : John 1:1, 49
  109. John 20:29 : 1 Pet 1:8; 2 Cor 5:7
  110. John 20:30 : John 21:25
  111. John 20:30 : Acts 10:41
  112. John 20:31 : 1 John 5:13
  113. John 20:31 : John 11:27
  114. John 20:31 : Matt 14:33
  115. John 20:31 : John 3:15, 16; 5:40; 6:53; 10:10
  116. John 20:31 : Acts 10:43; 1 Cor 6:11; Acts 3:6
English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Compassionate heart














There are many reasons I thank God for our Talitha. The one I’m thinking about right now is this: I love to watch her tender heart in action. I see that compassion especially when she’s reaching out to young children. Whether it’s nieces and nephews or strangers, none views her as a stranger for long.

Last year, we visited Redeemer Bible Church one vacation Sunday. They had visitors representing Compassion International. At the end of the service, Talitha made a beeline to Compassion’s table at the back of the sanctuary. By the time I made my way there, she was clasping to her heart a photo of Juan. “Please, please, please. May I sponsor this sweet little boy in Guatemala?”

Now she writes to Juan, and he writes to her. A few months ago, a translator sent Talitha this message on Juan’s behalf:

When he saw you [a photo], his face lit up in smiles and tears of happiness. He asked God to meet you one day in person, to be able to speak to you.

So you can imagine the “Please, please, please” that followed when Talitha found out there’s a Compassion Sponsor’s trip to Guatemala in July, when she will indeed get to meet Juan, Lord willing.

And she invited me to come too. A mother doesn’t take it lightly when her teenager wants to be with her. So both of us are preparing for Guatemala.

Talitha’s excitement about Compassion’s ministry doesn’t stop with sponsoring and traveling. On her own, she’s taken the initiative to set up and man a Compassion information table at Bethlehem Downtown campus on Compassion Sunday weekend–before and after the service Saturday evening, April 21, and the Sunday morning services April 22.

Please stop by to pick up information about Compassion International. If God is leading you to sponsor a child, you’ll find packets there to choose from, so you can sign up on the spot. It would be hard to measure what a blessing that would be to Talitha, to see you blessing a child who lives in a difficult situation.

Request to you:

1. If you already are sponsoring a child through Compassion, please comment here to let us know.

2. If you’re familiar with Compassion, and can help Talitha at the Compassion table Saturday evening or Sunday morning, April 21 and 22, she’d love to hear from you.


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