Taken from Prayer, by Tim Keller (p 218-19)
Have I looked down on anyone?
Have I been too stung by criticism?
Have I felt snubbed or ignored?
Have I avoided people or tasks that I know I should face?
Have I been anxious or worried?
Have I failed to be circumspect?
Have I been rash or impulsive?
Have I spoken or thought unkindly of anyone?
Am I justifying myself by caricaturing someone else in my mind?
Have I been impatient and irritable?
Have I been self-absorbed?
Have I been indifferent and inattentive to people?
Am I doing what I do for God's glory?
Am I being driven by fears?
Am I being driven by need for approval?
Am I being driven by love of comfort and ease?
Am I being driven by need for control?
Am I hungry for acclaim or power?
Am I being driven by a fear of others?
Am I looking at anybody with envy?
Am I giving in to even the first motion of sexual lust or gluttony?
Am I spending my time on urgent things rather than important things because of inordinate desires?
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
“Hope when it has thus deepened produces an entirely new outlook on the earthly life. It is seen consistently as a pilgrimage towards the heavenly country, and the suffering which it brings to the soul is seen to be incidental to its advance, and a means whereby it may be purified; while the incidental pleasures, the acquisition of which holds such a central place in the aspirations of most people, are seen in their true light, and found to be fundamentally unsatisfying, however delightful they may be when rightfully used.”
Without going into wearisome historical details, we need to remember that these letters were written, and the lives they indicate were led, against the background of paganism. There were no churches, no Sundays, no books about the Faith. Slavery, sexual immorality, cruelty, callousness to human suffering, and a low standard of public opinion, were universal; traveling and communications were chancy and perilous; most people were illiterate. Many Christians today talk about the “difficulties of our times” as though we should have to wait for better ones before the Christian religion can take root. It is heartening to remember that this faith took root and flourished amazingly in conditions that would have killed anything less vital in a matter of weeks. These early Christians were on fire with the conviction that they had become, through Christ, literally sons of God; they were pioneers of a new humanity, founders of a new Kingdom. They still speak to us across the centuries. Perhaps if we believed what they believed, we might achieve what they achieved.
-J. B. Phillips, Letters to Young Churches, 1946
One of the oldest parchment manuscripts of the whole Bible (discovered in a monastery near what is believed to be Mt. Sinai in 1844) and dated to the 300s omits the verse in its original. This copy was also quite obviously later corrected to include the verse (written in on the margin or something). Another similar old parchment called Vaticanus (because it has been in the Vatican library since the 1400s) is considered the oldest copy of the whole Bible in existence and dates also to the 300s; it does not have the verse either. These are both careful and high-end copies of Scripture, and they are considered very reliable by most textual critics. Once you get into the 400s you get copies that have this verse and copies that don’t. So it seems reasonable to conclude that an extra verse got into some copies by the year 400 and is leaking into more and more.
We can understand psychologically why it would make sense for a person to be reluctant to drop something out and why an addition would start spreading. If you expect to read the words and you don’t see them, you tend to think that less can’t be right. If you don’t expect to read the words and yet you see them, you tend to think more is better. The result is than an omission usually does not tend to spread.
Here is an interesting thing that also happens. They can check the writings of the church fathers and see if they mention this verse. Eusebius, who lived from the 3rd to the early 4th century (300s) did not know about this verse. But all the guys from later on in the 4th and into the 5th did. That would be enough to surmise that after Eusebius and in the middle of the 4th century this reading was introduced.
Unfortunately, Origen (who didn’t make it out of the 3rd century and predates Eusebius) seems to have known about the verse, which could make the whole thing somewhat confusing! And on top of that it seems that the Diatessaron of Tatian, which dates to the 2nd century, had the verse also. So how can we know? These witnesses are actually less reliable, since they are just mentioning verses in passing and not copies of Scripture. Also, you have to remember that a copy of a book of Origen is not likely to be from Origen’s time: they are examining copies of copies, and there is always a chance that an older book gets harmonized to match the text the guy copying expects. So there is more to study there, but there is not enough evidence to throw out the strong likelihood of the verse being inserted in the middle of the 300s.
There are other places to look: the old translations of Scripture that we still have. It looks like the verse starts appearing in the 300s first in the Latin translations. There are Latin translations that omit it, however, along with translations into Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopian. So that also suggests it was originally missing.
And here is the conclusion the experts draw: “Since there is no satisfactory reason why the passage, if originally present in Matthew, should have been omitted in a wide variety of witnesses, and since copyists frequently inserted material derived from another Gospel, it appears that most manuscripts have been assimilated to the parallel in Mk 9:29.” In other words, when someone was copying Matthew, knowing what it says in the parallel passage in Mark, he slipped what Mark says into Matthew, and it spread from there.
 Metzger, B. M., A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, second edition a companion volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th rev. ed. Logos Bible Software), 35.
These sessions about sexual ethics are timely and thoughtful, complete and inspiring. Highly recommended. Matthew Mason of the London Seminary Pastors' Academy delivers them.
Here is the website:
Here is the handout:
Here is the audio for the first talk:
Here is the audio for the second:
Wildflower Tea August 11th 2020
Under the direction of Karla Myers, the basement was once again transformed into a beautiful tea room. This year, due to the pandemic, she and her team of planners were confronted with the added challenge of considering how to adjust the seating and serving arrangements. By placing fewer seats at larger tables, extra space was provided without destroying the friendly atmosphere. Plastic gloves were available at the head of the serving table.
Several ladies spent Saturday and/or Monday at the church. The hours setting up tables, hanging decorations, folding napkins, etc. were well spent. Conversation sweetened the work, and many hands made the load lighter.
Maurina served the ladies by planning the menu. The recipes were easy to follow, and the dishes were pretty and packed with flavor. Bonnie’s Hibiscus tea was refreshing, especially at the end of a hot and humid August evening.
Friendship was the theme of the program. Most of the ladies contributed by reading selected quotations. Julie and Jacquie sang an arrangement of the hymn, “Fairest Lord Jesus”.
Our special speaker was Joie Fitzpatrick, who spoke to us about the Best Friend, Jesus Christ. She reminded us that he is our Familiar, Faithful & Forgiving friend who desires our Fellowship. We were challenged to find Christ’s counsel for our good and our growth in His word. We need to read, to love, to listen, and to hide His word in our hearts. It will teach, help, encourage, chide, correct, and show us our need of repentance, as well as reveal the glory of His grace.
Bonnie closed the meeting by thanking the ladies and inviting all to join the church group as they plan to begin a Bible study on subject of Joy this September.