Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity.
The Baths of Caracalla
Elaborate public baths constructed by the Emperor Caracalla around 216 CE, were a center of Roman social life and one of the great engineering triumphs of the 3rd Century. Sprawling over some 33 acres on Rome’s outskirts, the baths were a vast complex of business and entertainment establishments. At the center of everything were the baths themselves - a “frigidarium” (cold bath), several “tepidaria” (warm baths) and a “calidarium” (steam bath); most bathers passed through them in that order. Aqueducts fed thousands of gallons of mountain water into the system. Water for the tepidaria and calidarium was heated by the wood-burning furnaces connected to a network of steam pipes beneath the floors. The baths would remain in use until the 6th century when Goths destroyed aqueducts that supplied the baths with water.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Education is the transmission of civilization.
God Only Cares About Our Heart
‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
Too often, we’re defined by all the wrong things and we think who we are or what we’ve done actually matters. The unfortunate truth is that none of that matters to God. In this case, the Pharisees thought they were saved because they were Israelites, but Jesus makes it clear that none of that matters before God. The only thing that matters is a repentant heart. The issue of the heart is where it becomes so apparent that God is infallible and we are fallible because he is able to see into the darkest recesses of our heart while we can basically only judge on outward appearance. We see this played out many times in the Bible. Many major people in the Bible make some pretty major mistakes that would make it easy for us to dismiss them, but God forgives. Other times, people make seemingly minor mistakes and God brings his wrath upon those people where we might have been more forgiving.
I say all this to both encourage and warn you. I offer it as a word of encouragement because when we have a repentant heart, God forgives our mistakes. As a disclaimer, this is by no means a license to sin. In fact, if you view God’s mercy in that way, it’s clear that you do not have a truly repentant heart. A truly repentant heart no longer desires to sin. Though already a bit of the warning, I offer this as a warning because we should not be so foolish to think that we can pull one over God. In our naive human hubris, we sometimes think we can outfox him or that we’ve figured out some loophole. Unfortunately, that’s a major mistake with the consequence being eternal damnation. The theology of the Bible can get complicated, but at its core, salvation is simple. Jesus desires a truly repentant heart that acknowledges him as God and seeks to serve him.
If you’re not walking right with the Lord today, I encourage you to get right with him. The good news is that it’s never to late. The bad news is that we never know when we’ll breathe our last breath and to delay repentance can have eternal ramifications. I encourage you to rejoice for today is the day of salvation.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Can we all agree that’s one of the biggest understatements in history? I know I would be freaking out at that point, but it makes a big difference when you’re relying on the Spirit to sustain you. We, of course, don’t have very detailed information but it would be a major struggle for me to fast that long and Jesus acts like it’s no big deal. Maybe it’s because he knew angels were going to attend to him.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.