Friday, December 31, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

It is another Friday!  And also New Year's Eve.  This Quick Takes is hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary.  If you are starting here, click on that link to go there and read her Quick Takes and check out some of the other blogs that post there.  If you started there, welcome to my blog!  Please look around and make yourself comfortable.

1.  It was unseasonably warm yesterday and will be again today, with the highs in the low 60's.  The average high is 42.  This time last year, it only got up to the mid 30's.  This has created a problem for my wardrobe, as I wake up in the morning cold but come home without a jacket.  Many are the trials of my life!  ;-)

2.  Last weekend was Christmas, in case you missed it.  I had a wonderful time at my sister's house eating, reading, sleeping, and chatting with family.  I'm not sure what other four activities I would put in a weekend if I got to plan a perfect weekend, save for chatting with friends.

3.  I read The Giver, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also read The Glass Castle: A Memoir, which I did not enjoy quite as much.  Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, which is a book aimed at teens, was very good.  It has only been recently in human history we had a subset of humans called teens - before that you were a child or an adult.  Finally, I read Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, which had some very interesting thoughts.  Unfortunately, it also had some off the wall stuff I just could not figure out.  The author does not like the war metaphor in our faith life, even though it was given to us by God and it is what it is.  I'm a soldier in the army now - give me my sword!

4.  I love this entry at Pursuing Titus 2, which was pointed out in Conversion Diary's 12 Best Links of 2010.  It is all about God and horrible situations, and why we shouldn't worry about stuff ahead of time.  Or to quote the best links post, "God gives grace for the situation, not the imagination."

5.  Another goal for 2011 is to give up soda.  I will have my last Mountain Dew today.  To quote someone off Facebook, I could write poetry about the love I have for soda.  This will be an interesting challenge.  I'm first going to just abandon the soda with caffeine like Coke and Mountain Dew, but allow myself some Sierra Mist.  Then it is bye bye to the empty calories!

6.  Tomorrow, I will start my participation in this other little challenge, a scripture memorization plan for 2011.  Two verses per month for a total of 24.  Not very daunting, but as I've never really memorized scripture before, it will be very rewarding.

7.  "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."  That's the 10th Amendment.  I was not surprised one of my nieces did not know it, or understand even the concept of it.  It was never really explained to me in high school.  That particular amendment is why so many folks get testy about a larger federal government.  It also explains why nobody ever really focused on it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Philippians

Php 4:10  But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
Php 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Php 4:12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


Paul is again thanking them for their kindness, and also pointing out he will survive regardless.  He knows how to be content and joyous in Christ, regardless of what is going on in his life.

I saw an interesting misapplication of the last verse in some documentary a few years ago.  A woman with severe physical handicaps was attempting to do something that most completely healthy people can't do, and she used this verse as evidence of why she would succeed.  She failed.  Of course, anything is possible with God, but it must be God's will, and not our own.  If God willed it, I could sustain an impact from a semi in my street.  He can do anything, because He is God.  It would still be incredibly stupid of me to go stand in front of a semi though, because I have no evidence God's will towards the laws of physics have changed for me today.  Barring any divine communication, I have to assume that the will of God toward rules like gravity, force, inertia, etc is the same as it is the rest of the time.  We can't force God's will to comply with our will.  It doesn't go that way.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Proverbs 17

Pro 17:13  Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
Pro 17:14  The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
Pro 17:15  He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
Pro 17:16  Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
Pro 17:17  A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Pro 17:18  A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.


I like the imagery in verse 14, as it describes water flowing free from a container or perhaps from a dam of some sort.  Once it starts, it won't stop.  Strife is similar, in that once it starts, it does not stop.  It just gets worse and worse.  And so the advice is simply just not to go there.  Don't let out the water.  Let it go, and be on your way.

Philippians

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Php 4:9  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 


We're told to think about good things in life, and there are so many good things!  So often, I can find myself getting anxious about all the bad things going on or even bad things that might happen.  But we're surrounded by God's goodness!  Anything good comes from God, and Paul tells us to think about these things.  Frequently, he also tells us to rejoice and have joy over God, and this is one way to help that.  Hard to rejoice if we're just bummed out. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Proverbs 17

Pro 17:7  Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
Pro 17:8  A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
Pro 17:9  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
Pro 17:10  A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
Pro 17:11  An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Pro 17:12  Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.


I try to remember verse 9 when I'm angry with my friends.  If we love, we forgive, and that breeds more love.  If we repeat the offense to all, then we're just upsetting that friend and showing them we are not worth their friendship.  Even if we're right, does it really matter?

Philippians

Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Php 4:5  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 


Moderation in verse 5 refers to restraint from excess, which is just as important, if not harder, now than it was then.  Not only is Paul suggesting they be moderate in their passions, but they do so publically.  This faith and moderation is not a private affair or one to hide where it might be less popular.

He goes on to say be careful for nothing, which is translated in other places as be anxious for nothing, or not to worry.  We are told many times not to worry or be anxious, and here Paul gives us what to do instead - pray.  Instead of worrying about something, we're simply to pray and give it to God.  If we pray and truly trust in God, He will keep us and our minds and hearts in His peace and take away our worry.  I try to remember when I am worried that this wasn't presented as an option.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Proverbs 17

Pro 17:1  Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
Pro 17:2  A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.
Pro 17:3  The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
Pro 17:4  A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
Pro 17:5  Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
Pro 17:6  Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.


Strife and contention are the opposite of peace.  It would be better to be hungry than have all that we want if it comes with strife and anger.

Philippians

Advent and Christmas are done, and I am back at home, and able to blog!  When we last left Paul and his letter to the Philippians, he was encouraging them to follow Christ in their behavior and to strive for holiness.  Moving into chapter 4, we are heading toward the end of the letter.


Php 4:1  Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
Php 4:2  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
Php 4:3  And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.


He is now asking two people to agree and not be contentious with each other about things of the Lord, and asking the community to help the two women in their problem.  Must be a pretty big argument that a guy in prison in a completely different town has thought it wise to include it in a letter!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Psalm 21 and the Holy Family

Today we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  Readings are here.  Regardless of your theology regarding the finer details of Mary, I think we can all agree that the family is a great model.  I don't think Joseph gets enough attention - imagine how hard of a job he had!

I also like the first reading.  No matter how crazy my dad gets as he ages, God still wants me to be nice to him.  Not that he's going crazy, but the idea humors me.

This week I should be back in the game and we'll return to Philippians tomorrow!

Psalm 21
Psa 21:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
Psa 21:2  Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.
Psa 21:3  For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.
Psa 21:4  He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.
Psa 21:5  His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
Psa 21:6  For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
Psa 21:7  For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.
Psa 21:8  Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
Psa 21:9  Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.
Psa 21:10  Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.
Psa 21:11  For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
Psa 21:12  Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.
Psa 21:13  Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Psalm 20 and Pause

This week is a bit too busy for blogging!

Here is Psalm 20, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Psa 20:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
Psa 20:2  Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
Psa 20:3  Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
Psa 20:4  Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.
Psa 20:5  We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
Psa 20:6  Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Psa 20:7  Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Psa 20:8  They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.
Psa 20:9  Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Proverbs 16

Pro 16:29  A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
Pro 16:30  He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
Pro 16:31  The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Pro 16:32  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Pro 16:33  The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.


From 32, we see that self control and self discipline are of greater value than power and might.

Philippians

Php 3:20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 


Now that he's warned against being worldly, he goes back to his main point of striving toward God and following the examples of more mature Christians.  Conversation here, again, can mean just general behavior and standing in the community.  Our behavior should be in heaven and not of this world, because we're looking toward the next life with our King and Savior, Jesus.  We're to be distracted by Him to the point we don't get distracted by the evils of the world!  He is able to change our sinful desires of the flesh and make us part of Him.


Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Proverbs 16

Pro 16:22  Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
Pro 16:23  The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
Pro 16:24  Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Pro 16:25  There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Pro 16:26  He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
Pro 16:27  An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
Pro 16:28  A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.


Verse 25 is all about God's wisdom again.  We can fool ourselves into just about anything.  Our logic and feelings and experiences simply aren't sufficient in the grand scheme of things to be proper.

Verse 26 made me think of welfare.  People work because they need to sustain themselves.  We need water, food, and shelter, at a minimum.  When those things are provided for us, is it any surprise the will to work disappears?

Philippians

Php 3:18  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Php 3:19  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)



And here's a happy parenthetical regarding those who are walking along with us but aren't really following Jesus.  He's talked about them before and he's quite upset on their account, because their end is in destruction.  We should weep for them as we care about them and their souls, and what will happen to them after this life. 

He cautions against minding earthly things, and placing more importance on the flesh (what our bodies want) than on God (and His perfect wisdom).  They glory in things that should be found shameful.  Turn on MTV to see what this looks like.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Philippians

Php 3:15  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Php 3:16  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Php 3:17  Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 



Paul continues here to exhort those who are more mature in the faith to be like minded in the goal earlier described of running the race toward Heaven.  Those who don't yet see the benefit will learn it, as God will let them know.  He also encourages them to remember what they have already learned and the part of the path they have already run and stick to it.  He also tells them to follow his example, as he did set a very good one while he was among them.

Proverbs 16

Pro 16:15  In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
Pro 16:16  How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
Pro 16:17  The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Pro 16:18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Pro 16:19  Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Pro 16:20  He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
Pro 16:21  The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.


Wisdom is seen here as being superior than pride.  Wisdom from God is more important than gold or silver or any other earthly treasure, and keeps us on the proper path away from evil as it helps us guard our way.  Pride, which is opposed to God's wisdom, occurs before we are destroyed.  It leads us away from God's will, and anything outside of God's will is trouble for us, and for those around us.  It is better to not even associate with the proud, lest we follow them.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Philippians

Php 3:12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 


A different translation is from the RSV:

Php 3:12  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Php 3:13  Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
Php 3:14  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 


Paul has previously stated his goal is to become like Jesus in life and death, and here he comments that he is not there yet.  He still strives for it though, cooperating with the work of God within him because Jesus has made Paul his own.  It is a loyal and faithful response to being taken in by a merciful God.

Proverbs 16

Pro 16:8  Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
Pro 16:9  A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Pro 16:10  A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
Pro 16:11  A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work.
Pro 16:12  It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
Pro 16:13  Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
Pro 16:14  The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. 


This talks about proper leadership for a king or ruler as well as his staff and advisers.  It doesn't do him much good if all of his people are "yes men" and aren't honest, and it is also a reflection of poor leadership if all the staff are corrupt and evil.  Brings a lot of confidence regarding our government, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Proverbs 16

I'm a day behind this week in Proverbs.  That's what happens around Christmas I guess!

Pro 16:1  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 16:2  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Pro 16:3  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Pro 16:5  Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Pro 16:6  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Pro 16:7  When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Philippians

Php 3:7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Php 3:9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.


3:7 is so important I have it there again.  Paul goes on to discuss why he counts it all as a loss compared to Jesus.  He counts all the things he's lost as "dung" that he might wing Christ.  Why?  He wants to attain the resurrection of the dead.  He wants to join Jesus in Heaven forever.  He's done some long term analysis and sees that that's really the way to go.

We can lose everything here from our homes to our jobs to even those we love, and we still have God.  We still can have Heaven to look forward to.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Philippians

Php 3:4  Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Php 3:5  Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Php 3:6  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Php 3:7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.


Just in case his readers were confused about his qualifications regarding the matters of the Judaizers, he points out he's a really great Jew.  If one was going to place all of their trust on the old works and their heredity and training, it'd be Paul.  He was a Jew by birth and a Pharisee or student of the Law.  He was full of zeal for the Lord, but was initially misguided, persecuting the Christians.  He even watched over the coats of the people who stoned Stephen, the first martyr.  Paul was an outstanding Jewish man, and if there was a checklist of things to do to be a good Jew, his was filled.  He was probably quite powerful and influential.

And he counted it all as nothing compared to Christ.  When Paul learned who Christ was, he could throw all of that away.  Nothing was important by comparison.  Any riches, influence, power, whatever he had was meaningless compared to Jesus.

Mat 16:26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

We can have everything we want here on Earth, but without Jesus we really have nothing in the long term.  Eternity is a very, very, very, very long time compared to the 70-100 years we might be blessed with here.  The riches of this world and all the things we can buy or have or do are nothing compared to what awaits for us in Heaven.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Philippians

Php 3:1  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
Php 3:2  Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.


Now Paul goes on to warm them against some bad teachers, known as the Judaizers.  These people would demand actual circumcision and following the old Covenant to become a Christian.  This was addressed by the apostles in Acts 15.  It was not required to first become Jewish to become a Christian for salvation. 

Also of note, he still wants them to rejoice in the Lord.  To be happy about God!

Psalm 19 and the THIRD Sunday of Advent

Christmas is almost here!  Today is the THIRD Sunday of Advent.  Readings are here

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.


James 5:7-10 (Second Reading for today)

On to this week's Psalm!
Psalm 19
 Psa 19:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Psa 19:2  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
Psa 19:3  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Psa 19:4  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Psa 19:5  Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Psa 19:6  His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Psa 19:8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psa 19:9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psa 19:10  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psa 19:11  Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psa 19:12  Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
Psa 19:13  Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Psa 19:14  Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.


I think that last verse is one of verses in my random verse generator.  I love it, and it is a fine prayer to God!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Philippians

Php 2:25  Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
Php 2:26  For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
Php 2:27  For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
Php 2:28  I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
Php 2:29  Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
Php 2:30  Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.


Epaphroditus was sent to Paul by the Philippians to carry their gift and now he was sending him back with this letter.  The man had apparently been ill while with Paul, and they were aware those in Philippi had heard about it.  Paul speaks highly of him and his work.

Friday, December 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

Hello and Happy Friday again!  It is yet another installment of 7 Quick Takes Friday, hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary.  For my readers, click the link to go there to read her 7 Quick Takes and read some of the other blogs linked.  If you are visiting from there, hello and welcome!

1.  This week, I had the opportunity to work from home a few days as they are remodeling my office.  Sometimes I get to do this, but this was for a few days.  I really enjoyed it and need to find some way to make money without working so I can do it more often! And no, it isn't that they don't need me there.  I am an engineer and play with spreadsheets mostly, so I can do that from anywhere.  They like having me around in person though for questions and just to keep in the loop.  I am also the only one in the building who can fix their computers if the tech guy isn't visiting.

 2.  The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception was on Wednesday.  Somehow I nearly managed to forget it, even though I had plans on which Mass to attend.  I think it was because I was up early for work, but oh well.  I attended the Latin Mass that evening, and it was wonderful.  I think I've discovered a love of pretty vestments, and the priest's were very nice indeed.  I'd also always kind of thought of the Latin Mass community as somewhat, well, stuffy.  But there were several people there who had never attended a Latin Mass, and I watched from the back as these "stuffy" people shared their missals and quietly explained what was going on to the new people and encouraged them.  I felt bad for the new people I was sitting next to, as all I could offer was information such as "We're on page 7."

3.  I had a 7 month old give me a nosebleed this week.  After I'd given him a gift!


4.  If you haven't seen it yet, this rates fairly high on the awesome meter, especially if you know the original song.



5.  I think my brain is revolting against the overabundance of Christmas music.  For the past four days, I've had Tik Tok, Just Dance, and Dynamite stuck in my head.  What's worse, I don't know all the words (well, that may be a good thing, really), so the chorus just plays over and over again in my head.  At least they are catchy and upbeat.

6.  Last week I found out I'm low on Vitamin D.  This is not particularly concerning to me, as it is apparently fairly easy to fix and my doctor hooked me up on the same day with a super high does for three months.  What is interesting is all the information on the web about it.  I don't think they have any idea how much we're supposed to have each day, the best of the various ways to get it, what the blood test should show, or even all the things that it does.  All do agree I am low on it, so I don't mind, but I think this is further evidence that "they" should not actually be in charge of everything.

7.  "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  That's the 4th Amendment, and now you can get it on a t-shirt to wear so the TSA agents can know what you think about their searching of you.

Philippians

Php 2:19  But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
Php 2:20  For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
Php 2:21  For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
Php 2:22  But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
Php 2:23  Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
Php 2:24  But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.


Paul is now telling them he's going to send Timothy to them.  Paul himself would like to come, but wants to hear how they are doing before then.  He speaks highly of Timothy and points out not all are as diligent as he in their duties.  Some things never change, I suppose.

Proverbs 15

Pro 15:26  The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
Pro 15:27  He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
Pro 15:28  The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Pro 15:29  The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Pro 15:30  The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.
Pro 15:31  The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
Pro 15:32  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
Pro 15:33  The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.


I think it'd be good for me to remember 28 a lot more!  It is important to think before talking, and too frequently I just blurt things out.

Back to counsel, reproof, and instruction in the final three verses.  Without humility, one will not accept instruction in the things of God and change one's life to be pleasing to God.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Proverbs 15

Pro 15:19  The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
Pro 15:20  A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Pro 15:21  Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
Pro 15:22  Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
Pro 15:23  A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Pro 15:24  The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
Pro 15:25  The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow. 


Lazy people have a harder life, while the upright's way is made plain.  Laziness causes more problems than it solves, which of course we know.  Yet I love my snooze button!

Over and over Proverbs has mentioned accepting instruction, correction, and counsel.  Apparently, left to ourselves, we will not make good decisions.  That's kind of anti-individualism, isn't it?  It is pretty easy to delude ourselves and to imagine things the way we want them.  We rationalize things we want to do and find reasons or excuses for things we should not.  That's why it keeps telling us to accept instruction, correction, and advice from others.  Of course, we need to be careful who those other people are.  They should be focused on God as well, so they give us good information.

Philippians

Php 2:17  Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Php 2:18  For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.


Paul considers his work, referenced in the previous verses, as a sacrifice unto God.  If he should die in that cause, he's still happy, and wants them to be happy too.

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 


None of this is particularly "normal" by most standards.  Giving ourselves up for others or for God and refusing to run with the crowd sounds contrary to common sense.  And yet that's what we're asked to do by God.  Better yet, it works!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Philippians

Php 2:14  Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Php 2:15  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Php 2:16  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.


He's asked them to have the mind of Christ, which is of course no small matter.  He wants them to do things without complaint or argument.  How hard is that!  And not just some things, or things related to the church, but ALL things.  I can't even get out of bed in the morning without having a complaint about the temperature or an argument with myself about the snooze button.

Yet it is important, so that we might be blameless among those around us.  Lights in the world.  All of our talking and theology is meaningless to most people, but if we can show forth the joy and good works that would take place if we let God rule our lives, then we wouldn't have to talk much about theology.  "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."

It is amazing how contagious we can be with our faith if we let it shine though.  God has placed such shiny happy people on my path for me to find and to infect me with His love, even when I wasn't looking for it.  We do not live in a peaceful world, but we can help bring peace to those around us.

Look at this woman, sentenced to die for being a Christian.  How did she get caught?

It all began a year and a half ago, with a quarrel over a bowl of water. A group of women farm workers were suffering in the heat near a village in Pakistan's Punjab province. Aasia Noreen, an illiterate 45-year-old mother of five, offered them water, but was rebuffed. Noreen was a Christian, they said, and therefore her water was unclean — sadly, a common taunt hurled at Pakistan's beleaguered Christians. But rather than swallowing the indignity, she mounted a stout defense of her faith.
 Where's the light you ask?  The article continues:

Noreen's case has spurred the first genuine debate over some of Pakistans most controversial laws.
This woman, by standing up for her belief, AFTER being a good Christian to begin with by offering the water, is bringing international attention to their unjust laws and to the light of Christ though her behavior.  She is infecting people with His love she will never meet or see.

Paul is asking his readers, and us, to do the same.  No, we'll never have to face the death penalty here in America for being Christians (hopefully), but maybe we can stop complaining about the temperature and be a bit more contagious in our joy and good works.

Proverbs 15

Pro 15:13  A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Pro 15:14  The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
Pro 15:15  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Pro 15:16  Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Pro 15:17  Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
Pro 15:18  A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.


Fools allow themselves to be appeased with whatever is in front of them, even if it is unproductive or evil.  How often do we sit in front of the TV or computer watching mindless entertainment when there is work to be done?  Rest is good, but not to exclusion of accomplishing our tasks and serving God.

With a happy heart set on God, even suffering can bring moments of joy.  I read somewhere once a quote by a bishop who had been imprisoned in solitary confinement.  He noted there is no way they can deny you prayer.  God is always available and there isn't anyway to contain Him.  This man was able to find joy in an joyless and helpless situation.

16 and 17 obviously go together, and is something I have to remind myself when anxious over what to feed guests.  My guests are more important than the food!  If all I could afford for them was ramen noodles, my friends would still come and still love me.  I just recently accused one of them of only liking me for my fudge, and they pointed out I didn't know how to make that when they became friends with me.

And finally, we're back to anger.  They do such a good job in the movies portraying the one that gets thing done as the one who can yell the loudest and put the others in their place.  That may work in the short term, but it breeds contention.  The one that is slow to anger and can remain calm reduces contention among others.  Oh, that I could remember this one more often!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Philippians

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 


Paul is asking them to continue on the right path, even if he is not there.  He doesn't want them to be dependent upon him for staying true.  One can take these verses a lot of ways.  Haydock has "That is, be equally upon your guard against presumption and despair.  St. Paul is anxious to inspire a just confidence in Jesus Christ, but he is not less solicitous to root out all self-confidence arising from our supposed merits or excellence."

There's nothing we can do to earn salvation.  That's all on Jesus and is a gift from God.  We are called to respond to that to the best of our ability, and Paul is hoping to keep them focused and also reminding them it is no less than the Creator of the Universe working in them, if they allow.

Proverbs 15

Pro 15:7  The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
Pro 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
Pro 15:9  The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
Pro 15:10  Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
Pro 15:11  Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
Pro 15:12  A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.


Every chapter, it seems, has words regarding taking advice from others, even if it isn't pleasant.  Of course I tell my friends I want them to say something if I'm doing something stupid, but do I really mean it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Proverbs 15

Closing in on halfway though Proverbs (31 Chapter).  I wonder what we'll do next?

Pro 15:1  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Pro 15:2  The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Pro 15:3  The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Pro 15:4  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Pro 15:5  A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Pro 15:6  In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.


Oh how we know the first one is true and chuck it right out the window when mad!  I always, always, always get a better response from being polite than from flipping out.  Yet it would appear I'd rather flip out.  and it never works!

Philippians

Php 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Paul had asked his readers to esteem others as better than themselves, and pointed to Jesus as the example.  Jesus, who so humbled Himself, is exalted by God the Father.  It is not considered successful to die on a cross.  It is not considered "wise" to die for others.  We might consider it insane, actually, that GOD did this for us.  Surely such a tragic life was in vain, but God's wisdom is better than ours, and instead His humility leads to his exaltation. 

This is also a reference to Isaiah:
Isa 45:22-25  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.  I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.  

Philippians

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.


Let this mind be in us... What mind is that?  Well it is the mind that was in Jesus, so it must be a very good mind.  In the context of what was before and after this mind is a mind of humility.  I find humility to be uncomfortable, as I think pride is one of my most prized and practiced sins.

Humility is not a lack of self confidence.  It does not mean we think we're worthless and have no particular use to anyone else, ourselves, or society.  We can be aware of the gifts we have, either through birth or development and training, because how else would we put them to good use?  Jesus had humility, and He probably did not think Himself useless to society.  It does mean that we are not prideful, and understand all good things like our good talents come from God and not from within ourselves.

Of course, all of that is easier said than done.  There are plenty of people with no self confidence, and there are plenty of people with way too much pride.  That's why Jesus is our example and not the person we see in the mirror.  Jesus could have easily (and rightfully) deemed Himself way too worthy to be killed on a cross, and yet He did it for our salvation.  Paul is asking in the letter for his readers to try and do the same, to be of that same humble mind and do the things asked of us, which include esteeming others as better than ourselves.  Seems a lot easier than a brutal death on a cross...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Philippians

Onto Chapter 2!

Php 2:1  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Php 2:2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Php 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Php 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 


In John 17, Jesus prays for unity as well:

Joh 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


This hasn't ever really happened, unfortunately.  There are only one or two churches who claim to even have this as an ultimate goal, to bring all Christians into unity.  I'm sure all churches want the local level to get along well, but that happens little too.

Esteem others better than ourselves?  That sounds nice, but of course nobody does it, with the possible exception of one or two people we really like.  But they're only better than us in some areas, surely.    And look after others' things in addition to my own?  That's starting to sound a lot like being my brother's keeper.  Maybe He is serious about that after all.

In any event, these are things we are supposed to be doing, even if we fail at them regularly.  They are entirely contrary to what we want to do, and contrary to what the world says we should do.  Counting others as better than myself is no way to get ahead in my career, and being of one mind with others would clearly be contrary to me being right all the time.  Of course, doing such things is what we are called to do anyway, and what an example it would set for people if we would.

Psalm 18 and the Second Sunday of Advent

Psa 18:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
Psa 18:2  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Psa 18:3  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 



Psa 18:4  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
Psa 18:5  The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.


Psa 18:6  In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.


Psa 18:7  Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
Psa 18:8  There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
Psa 18:9  He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
Psa 18:10  And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
Psa 18:11  He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Psa 18:12  At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
Psa 18:13  The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
Psa 18:14  Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
Psa 18:15  Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.


Psa 18:16  He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
Psa 18:17  He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
Psa 18:18  They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
Psa 18:19  He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.


Psa 18:20  The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
Psa 18:21  For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
Psa 18:22  For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.
Psa 18:23  I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.
Psa 18:24  Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.


Psa 18:25  With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
Psa 18:26  With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
Psa 18:27  For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.
Psa 18:28  For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
Psa 18:29  For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
Psa 18:30  As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.


Psa 18:31  For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
Psa 18:32  It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
Psa 18:33  He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
Psa 18:34  He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Psa 18:35  Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Psa 18:36  Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
Psa 18:37  I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.
Psa 18:38  I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.
Psa 18:39  For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.
Psa 18:40  Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.
Psa 18:41  They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
Psa 18:42  Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.


Psa 18:43  Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.
Psa 18:44  As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
Psa 18:45  The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.


Psa 18:46  The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
Psa 18:47  It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.
Psa 18:48  He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.


Psa 18:49  Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
Psa 18:50  Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore. 


This same Psalm is also found in the 22nd chapter of 2 Samuel.




Today is the Second Sunday of Advent.  Readings are here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Philippians

Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Php 1:29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Php 1:30  Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. 


Here Paul exhorts them to do well, asking of them that their conversation be worthy of Jesus.  "Conversation" now means primarily oral conversation, but at the time it would have involved all of their conduct.  The Thayer definition has it as "to be a citizen," or "to administer civil affairs, manage the state."  So in all that they did, he wanted them to do it in a manner to glorify God.  He asks them to work together for the faith.

He says not to be afraid of those who persecute them, as that persecution will take their enemies to perdition and them to salvation.  Christians are called to suffer for the sake of the truth and for Jesus.  Paul is living that out at the time of the letter.

End of 14

Pro 14:30  A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
Pro 14:31  He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
Pro 14:32  The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
Pro 14:33  Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
Pro 14:34  Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Pro 14:35  The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.



Here again we see the poor.  All men are created in the image of God, so to oppress them insults God Himself.  Jesus is to be found in the poor, and He left specific instructions to be kind to them.

Friday, December 3, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

This is 7 Quick Takes Friday, where I talk about 7 random things and you head to Conversion Diary to check out that blog and all the other cool blogs linked there.  Go now!  If arriving here from there, hello!

1.  I had a really great Thanksgiving week.  Good friends came over early in the week, my Dad came for the weekend, and more good friends (with a baby!) came Thursday night.  We watched about half a season of Lie to Me, did not shop, and had steak instead of turkey.  Life is good.

2.  There are few pictures on my blog.  I'm noticing that more and more.  Other people have pictures, even relevant ones!  I find when I search out a picture to add it seems fake, or maybe I don't know how to find one that is relevant.  Also, finding pictures online brings up questions of credit and legality and it gets kind of confusing when trying to do it quickly.  And what would I put with Bible verses?

3.  I am seriously enjoying blogging about Philippians, even if I have to double check the spelling each time I type it (one l, two p's).  It is such a very happy book!

4.  This week, I read Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, by Archbishop Chaput.  I learned a lot of things about early American history and the Catholic Church, and he had a lot of good points regarding our role in the public sphere and the country.  I loved quite a few quotes, but will just give you one:

People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith.  They will often disagree about doctrine or policy, but they won't be quiet.  They can't be.  They'll act on what they believe, sometimes at the cost of their reputations and careers.  Obviously the common good demands a respect for other people with different beliefs and a willingness to compromise whenever possible.  But for Catholics, the common good can never mean muting themselves in public debate on foundational issues of faith or human dignity.  Christian faith is always personal but never private.  This is why any notion of tolerance that tries to reduce faith to a private idiosyncrasy, or a set of opinions that we can indulge at home but need to be quiet about in public, will always fail.  As a friend once said, it's like asking a married man to act single in public.  He can certainly do that - but he won't stay married for long.
I am reading Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict.  I've read it before, and it is just as good the second time through.

5. I realized this week I get aggravated by church services that want to tell me what other people are doing wrong, giving that pleasant pat on the back feeling of thank God we're not them.  I was listening to an audio service from somewhere else, on a topic that has nothing to do with apologetics, and five minutes in the guy starts bashing Catholicism.  Aggravated, I shut it off.  I thought at first I was aggravated he was taking issue with my church, but I take issue with his doctrine so I guess that's fine.  The problem is, what does he care what I think when I'm not there?  He's not even telling his people how to talk to me about how I think, in the loving hope of changing my mind.  He's just happy he knows we're wrong.  I've had this happen at Mass too.  My favorite was when it was subtly hidden with some talk about how we have more responsibility, because we're better than they are.  I'm not suggesting we shouldn't be confident in what we believe, but I don't think being jerks about it is really going to win any converts, and it certainly does nothing to increase our holiness. 

That said, I wonder what it means about me I got so aggravated.  We do tend to get maddest about the things we find in ourselves.

6.  This number six has been quite blank as I attempted to think of 7 random and witty or informative or otherwise funny to me items.  I believe it will remain without a topic.

7.  This weekend is going to be great.  Tomorrow morning, I'm teaching for three hours on leadership to the volunteer organization I work with.  Then off to the homeschool orchestra Christmas concert, followed by friends for dinner and Christmas present opening.  Hey, it is December!  We can open them!  We have a hard time finding time later in the month, so early presents for us!

Philippians

Php 1:22  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Php 1:23  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Php 1:24  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Php 1:25  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
Php 1:26  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.


Paul continues his discussion regarding if he'd rather die and meet Christ now or remain alive to further the Gospel and continue to teach those whom he dearly loves at Philippi and other places.  He knows that by living, he'll be able to further their education and joy.

Proverbs 14

Pro 14:23  In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
Pro 14:24  The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.
Pro 14:25  A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
Pro 14:26  In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Pro 14:27  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Pro 14:28  In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
Pro 14:29  He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. 


Penury from verse 23 = Poverty.  Work will lead to gain, but just sitting around talking leads to poverty.  I don't think Proverbs envisioned the advent of welfare...

The fear of the Lord involves an understanding of His might and power, which gives us confidence in our leader.  We know that He will never leave us or fail.  This fear is a source of life for us, as it also keeps us out of trouble by reminding us He knows everything.  Fear of the Lord is also the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom keeps us on the right path.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Philippians

Php 1:19  For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
Php 1:20  According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Php 1:21  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.



Paul just finished telling them that his imprisonment was not a bad thing, and that he was able to share Jesus in the palace.  He's aware that his imprisonment is making others more bold in proclaiming the Gospel, though some do it out of envy.  He doesn't care though, so long as they're preaching Jesus.

He's counting on Jesus and their prayers to see him through this, whatever the result.  And whatever the result, should he live or should he die, he knows it will be for good.  To live and to die are both good and valid options for Paul.  That's pretty bold!  It is one thing to know God works everything for good, and quite another to readily accept the prospect of death as equal as the prospect of life, should that be what God wills.  Paul's only goal in life is to glorify God.

I don't think we frequently face the possibility of death for Christ, but every day we make the choice if we are living for Him or ourselves.  This world would have us believe we're just here for ourselves, that what we want or deserve is important, that we're due some happiness.  And while we know that isn't true, those feelings are pervasive and we do spend a lot of time making sure we're happy, don't we?  Of course, there's nothing wrong with being happy.  We just shouldn't do it at the expense of being holy, which is what we're called to be.  I find that the people who seem to be striving for holiness are also very happy, contrary to the expectations of the world.  The world gets it wrong in everything else, and this isn't different.

I read a quote yesterday from the book Blue Like Jazz.  No idea if it is a good book, but I loved the quote.  "The most difficult lie I ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me."

Read all of Philippians here.

Proverbs 14

Pro 14:19  The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
Pro 14:20  The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
Pro 14:21  He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Pro 14:22  Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.


Verses 20 and 21 compare what happens in the world with what should really happen and what would be wise.  Everyone hates the poor and loves the rich, but really we should love the poor and our neighbor.  It is a sin to hate our neighbor as we do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Proverbs 14

Pro 14:13  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
Pro 14:14  The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
Pro 14:15  The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
Pro 14:16  A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
Pro 14:17  He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
Pro 14:18  The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 


The simple will believe every word they are told by the word without a second thought.  If science says it, it must be true.  If my friend says it, I should go for it.  If my friends jump off a bridge...  Prudence is a gift from God that keeps us on the right path and turn our feet away from evil.  The foolish jump recklessly into sin, and receive the consequences as a result.

I think it is important to note here that the "foolish" in all of these verses can very easily reference us.  We are sinners and do not turn toward God in all we do, and that's why we need Jesus.  This upright person Proverbs speaks of, with wisdom and prudence and an abundance of trust in God rarely describes us and certainly doesn't all the time.  I'm not this upright person they're talking about.  I'm not always facing toward God.  When I am, it has to be due to Jesus because I barely have the self discipline to remember to thank God before meals, much less think of Him too much any other time in the day.  That's why Jesus had to die on the cross.  It wasn't for the sins of all these other unrighteous people - it was for me.

Advent is when we prepare for Christmas, which is not just a time of gift giving and shiny lights.  We're preparing for the date we celebrate for Jesus' entering in the world so He could later be a sacrifice for us on the cross.  God became man out of His endless mercy to satisfy His perfect justice, which is the only gift that matters.

Philippians

Php 1:15  Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
Php 1:16  The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
Php 1:17  But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
Php 1:18  What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.


Paul is aware that some people preaching Christ are only preaching because the are jealous of him and his success.  Perhaps they are hopeful as the message spreads it will add to his imprisonment.  There are also people preaching for the right motives.  Whatever their reason, Paul is happy they're talking about Jesus.

The commentaries note he's probably not talking about serious doctrinal error on the point of the people with the bad motives, or he wouldn't be so happy they're sharing.  He's just pointing out they may be doing it for the wrong reasons, but in the end, our Savior is taught and that's reason enough to rejoice.

I think it would be really hard to be happy about someone doing something just to spite me, especially if I wasn't in a position to do it myself (better, of course).  Actually, if I was to say I understood one group over the other, it'd be the group Paul is talking about and not him.  I don't recall anytime recently I've done something good just out of spite toward someone else, but that thought does pop up sometimes while I'm doing it.  I think, if I could somehow know that the other person thought as he did, I'd feel pretty bad about it.

Read all of Philippians here.