Sunday, July 31, 2011

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 30

I apparently missed last Sunday!  Horrible, I know.  This week is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and readings can be found here.

We're on to Psalm 30:
A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David. I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sin to Salvation

Loads of family drama in Genesis.  We haven't even gotten to the part where Joseph's brothers sell him as a slave and pretend he's dead to their dad. HA!

It is really amazing what God can work in the most problematic families.  There is nothing God can't do.  Thats really important to remember.  Not that I have a problematic family (though the sister that reads this blog is quite a handful - HI!), but it is true for all problematic situations.

Later, when Joseph's brothers find him running Egypt and saving a bunch of people from famine through his wisdom, including them, he tells them:

Gen 50:20  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 

God brought good from their evil.  God used this evil against Joseph as a method to save His people.  I think that may be what they call a prefiguring - think of the evil done to Jesus and the great saving of His people!  While the evil done to Joseph led to the salvation from famine, the evil done to Jesus led to the salvation from sin!

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Awkward

So now Jacob has two women, Rachel and Leah.  He loved Rachel, but had no issues sleeping with Leah too since they were married.  Notice it doesn't say in the Bible this is a good thing to marry more than one woman - it just was what it was and God still used it!  Leah started conceiving first, providing Jacob with his first sons.
And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
(Gen 29:30-35)
Now, Rachel wasn't happy about the lack of children thing. She still wasn't conceiving though, so she came up with an epic plan for children:
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
(Gen 30:1-8)
So through Rachel's maid we get more sons for Jacob.  Keep in the back of your thoughts here this little drama is producing Israel, God's own chosen people, of which would come forth our Savior.

Seeing this all unfold, Leah wanted to provide more babies.  Using the maid was such a good plan for Rachel...
When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
(Gen 30:9-13)
Well this just gets more and more interesting, doesn't it?  Rachel isn't quite done yet.  She needs to involve some of the children in the drama, now that they are older and can participate.  It didn't really turn out in her favor this time though as she trades a night with her husband to get some mandrakes.
And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes. And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
(Gen 30:14-21)
But then finally, Rachel conceives.  She'll later have Benjamin as well, but we'll stop here with Joseph.
And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
(Gen 30:22-24)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Proverbs 23

Pro 23:29  Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
Pro 23:30  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Pro 23:33  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Pro 23:34  Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
Pro 23:35  They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.


Even then, they knew not to mix their alcohol.  This section discusses the danger of drinking in excess, which is sinful. It leads one to do all sorts of things (33).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jacob Moves Out

Isaac, the child of the promise of Abraham and Sarah, has given his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau through trickery.  Jacob now flees to the land of Abraham to find himself a wife.  He finds a lovely young woman, Rachel.  In exchange for Rachel, Jacob offers her father 7 years of hard labor.  SEVEN YEARS of working and waiting for this woman in marriage.

Gen 29:20  And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

Aww, how sweet!  I can't wait to see how this turns out!

And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
(Gen 29:21-30)
Not exactly what we were hoping for here, either.  Can you imagine?  Working seven years to marry one person and then getting duped into marrying the sister?  Then her dad has the nerve to tell you that you can have the one you wanted, so long as you agree to another seven years?

Is this really the family God will work through to save all mankind?  Is this the kind of drama and chaos that will produce Israel?  Is this the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Yep.  God can do a lot with us screwed up humans.  Just wait to see the adventures Rachel and Leah cause!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Proverbs 23

Pro 23:20  Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
Pro 23:21  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Pro 23:22  Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
Pro 23:23  Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Pro 23:24  The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
Pro 23:25  Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
Pro 23:26  My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Pro 23:27  For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
Pro 23:28  She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.


We're still on gluttony at the start, and then it extols wisdom.  Wisdom is contrary to gluttony and sexual sin (the last part).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Better than Jerry Springer

Let's go back to the book of Genesis for a bit and examine Jacob.  Abraham's son Isaac was married to Rebekah, who bore him Esau and Jacob.  Esau was the favorite of Esau, while Rebekah favored Jacob.

When it came near time for Isaac to die, he sent his son Esau to go hunting and bring him some food and then he was going to bless Esau.  The father's blessing was a BIG deal.  HUGE.  So Esau goes to hunt and bring back the meal so he can get his blessing.  Isaac by this point was blind, so Rebekah sees her chance.  Here's where we get the drama...


And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.

And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.

And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.

And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.

And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him. And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.

And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me.

And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?

And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?

And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
(Gen 27:6-41)
What a warm, family tale to tell by the fire!  Mother is not a fan of the oldest, so she does everything possible to ensure success of the second one.  It isn't as if Jacob is a really upstanding guy himself - he goes for it.  Isaac is duped and Esau loses his blessing.

Is this a tragic tale?  Is this the end?  Could these people go on Jerry Springer?  Is this not a screwed up family?  I mean, c'mon, this is pretty bad.  And it only gets worse as we keep going.  Just wait to find out the problems Jacob gets himself into with his wives...  And then their kids!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Proverbs 23

Pro 23:9  Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
Pro 23:10  Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
Pro 23:11  For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
Pro 23:12  Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Pro 23:13  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
Pro 23:14  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Pro 23:15  My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
Pro 23:16  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
Pro 23:17  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
Pro 23:18  For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Pro 23:19  Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.


I love the last three verses there.  We're not to envy sinners, though they may look successful now.  Our expectation and our hope isn't in this world but the next.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Graphs

I love a good graph, as you know.  One of my favorites is at the top here, and it shows cross references across the Bible.  It has been my desktop screen image multiple times.  He has some other work beneath it that is also interesting.

There are plenty of Biblical charts and graphs available online if one searches for them.  That one is the most beautiful one I've found, but not really the most useful.  This one shows the leaders of the two kingdoms and the prophets that assisted them or called them to task.

If charts and graphs aren't your thing, there is still plenty of geekery applied to the Bible.  Check out The Brick Testament, which tells the story of salvation with Legos.

Final Chapter of James (5)

 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. 

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. 

But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. 

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proverbs 23

Pro 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
Pro 23:2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
Pro 23:3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Pro 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Pro 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Pro 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
Pro 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Pro 23:8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.


This passage is against overindulging.  One of the commentaries makes note of the story of Esther, when Haman thought he was in quite the honor to be invited to the Queen's table.  It was a trap though, as he found himself dead by the next day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fourth Chapter of James

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? 

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Proverbs 22

Pro 22:22  Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
Pro 22:23  For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Pro 22:24  Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
Pro 22:25  Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Pro 22:26  Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
Pro 22:27  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Pro 22:28  Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
Pro 22:29  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

24 and 25 talk about being friends with bad influences.  An angry man will share his ways with you and make you angry as well.  I recently read Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God's Deliverance by Beth Moore, and it talks about how people in a pit do not like to see you out of it. They will try to drag you back in with them. The pit of poor behavior, contention, and anger can be very compelling for some (myself included). We must pray for aid, and try to overcome that with God's grace. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 29

Readings can be found here.  Jesus shares another parable in this week's Gospel reading.

This week we're on to Psalm 29:

A Psalm of David. Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 

The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. 

The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. 

The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. 

The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. 

The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Proverbs 22

Pro 22:13  The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
Pro 22:14  The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Pro 22:15  Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Pro 22:16  He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

I've been reading To Train Up A Child and it talks a lot about disciplining children, which it is careful to point out is not the same thing as training.  You can't beat a child into being a good person.  Some people get confused and try to do this, and some people go completely the other way.  Both have disastrous results.

Pro 22:17  Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
Pro 22:18  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
Pro 22:19  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
Pro 22:20  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
Pro 22:21  That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Third Chapter of James

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

"Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."  This is a good one to remember when we use our mouths to say improper things.  The same mouth we use to bless God should not be the same mouth we curse other people.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Divine Graph

courtesy of Father Z on this post.

Proverbs 22

Pro 22:7  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Pro 22:8  He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
Pro 22:9  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Pro 22:10  Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
Pro 22:11  He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
Pro 22:12  The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.


The Lord will overthrow the words of the transgressor.  I like that promise!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

James Chapter Two

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. 

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Proverbs 22

Pro 22:1  A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Pro 22:2  The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
Pro 22:3  A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Pro 22:4  By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Pro 22:5  Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Pro 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 


We're back into Proverbs, now chapter 22.  Verse 1 reminds us that our reputation is worth more tahn silver and gold and to be picked.  Of course, reputation is built on character and good conduct.

The last one reminds parents of their duties toward children.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Walking on Water with Jesus

Matthew 14 recounts the story of Herod having John killed.


At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
(Mat 14:1-12)

I’ve always found this story just so odd. Not that Herod would kill him – but the whole head in a charger (or on a platter). Whatever. What does one do with a head? It isn’t like it would keep very well.

After feeding the 5000, Jesus sets off to pray and sends his disciples across the sea.

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
(Mat 14:22-33)



I’ve always liked this picture of Jesus and Peter on/in the water. This is also an apt description of much of our lives as well. We have the initial faith to do something, but doubt partway through. I’ve wondered if Jesus’ words to Peter were annoyed or lovingly chiding. What was the tone?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 28

Readings for today can be found here.  I didn't realize that when I wrote on the parable in the Gospel reading last week, but again, I really like it.

I really like Psalm 27 as well, but it is time to move on to Psalm 28:

A Psalm of David. Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts. Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert. Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up. Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hearing Jesus

In Matthew 13, we see Jesus explain why the people of His day did not understand His parables or His purpose.

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
(Mat 13:14-15)

People may not have been actively deciding to ignore Him, but their entire life was set in a manner to prevent proper hearing. This is still true today. How much society trains us to ignore God’s word. We may not engage in an active, conscious effort to ignore God, but our lives may be set in such a way He is hard to hear. This can be with truly disastrous results, as with those who deny God. For those of us who believe, this block to hearing God can still be very problematic.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Chapter of James

Unlike many of Paul's letters, James' letter is not to a single congregation or city but to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad."

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.


My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

This is hard for me to remember and understand.  The trying of our faith and temptations leads to patience.  God can work all for good, but it is hard to see in difficult times.



If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

I love that we can just ask God to give us wisdom.  It is a prayer God will say yes to if we approach Him with faith.



Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.


Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.


Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.


Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 

Another reminder that all of our anger is not toward the same end as God's.  It isn't sinful to be angry about some things, and in fact, is good to be angry about a few things.  But we're probably not always angry about the right things and this doesn't do anything for God.


But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.


If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Parable of the Sower

My favorite parable of Jesus is the parable of the sower.

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
(Mat 13:3-9)

The sower is going out to cast out seed. They didn’t have all the fancy equipment we have, so some of the seed ended up in places it wouldn’t grow or grow well. In the first case, it ends up off to the side of the good ground, and birds came and ate it. In the second case, it fell on rocks (not good for gardens even today) and died shortly after growing out of the soil as there was no depth of dirt to support them. In the third case, the seeds fell among other plants with thorns, and those plants choked them out (much like if we fail to weed our gardens today). In the last case, the seed falls onto good ground and grows well for the harvest.

Jesus’ disciples asked him, among other things, to explain this parable, which he does later in the chapter:

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
(Mat 13:18-23)

We must pray that good soil will be found in us so that we may bear fruit for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 27

I’ve been off having fun in the country with friends for the 4th of July, so I am behind on my blog!

The readings for last Sunday are here.  

The Psalm for us this week is Psalm 27, one of my favorites. By the way, that isn’t an official ruling of someone else other than me. I’m just going in order.

A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 

 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.