Friday, September 30, 2011

Universalis

I have this great app on my phone that provides information about the day in the Church calendar, the readings for the day, and then the six prayers and office of readings known as the Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office).

I love reading from this as it is far more convenient than the book I have for it.  I can read it in bed before I go to sleep and at the kitchen table over breakfast.  If I have time at lunch or elsewhere during the day, I can open it up and catch the readings for the day or the prayer for that hour.

The prayers consist primarily of Psalms with some other readings, as well as a few prayers.  The version on my phone also has a hymn.  I think those were also in the book but I’d get lost looking for them.  The app is a lot simpler.  I would say each takes no more than 5-10 minutes to read.

It is nice because we’re praying the same thing and meditating on the same ideas that all others reading are that day as well.  One definitely gets a sense of communion.



You can find it online here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mainstream Media

I avoid most mainstream media.  It used to be because I did not like their bias.  Now I can't even go there to skim because a lot of their content is not safe for work.  Seriously, FOX News, I do not need to know how to have better sex.  I don't think the news should comment on such things.  Normally, the news covers new or unknown information.  Sex is not new, or unknown.  Adam and Eve did it, and unfortunately, even most teenagers can figure it out.

What does it say about our society that an article about sex life improvement shares space with an article on the government not shutting down?  Or Obamacare?  Or war, famine, disease, etc?  I mean, are those even comparable? 

And they wonder why we don't trust them.  Not that they care, since we apparently keep clicking back.

Proverbs 29

Pro 29:8  Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
Pro 29:9  If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
Pro 29:10  The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
Pro 29:11  A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
Pro 29:12  If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
Pro 29:13  The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.
Pro 29:14  The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.


The first few verses here address contention which we’ve been talking about some.  It isn’t productive and is not wise.  A fool shares all his thoughts, not a smart man.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Works of the Flesh

I’ve started to feel strongly perhaps all the contention and drama in my life isn’t there for Godly purposes and I need to change my attitude and behaviors and thoughts.  I tried escaping this feeling as all that excitement in life is, well, exciting.  What would I do without that excitement and stimulation?  But I can’t escape the truth.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
(Gal 5:16-26)
Doesn’t get simpler than that.  How easy it is to hang onto the works of the flesh!  Granted, I don’t do any adultery, fornication or witchcraft.  I don’t get drunk unless my sister tricks me.  But wrath and strife?  I’m all over that.  Envy?  Probably.  Emulations would be zeal for things other than God – check.  Variations is translated elsewhere as strife or contentions, which again I can do a pretty good job at in my heart.

We compare that to the opposite list and I really start to notice where I’m falling short.  I love people, but longsuffering just sounds boring.  I don’t think anyone would confuse me for gentle.  And what makes it worse is I don’t even want to be longsuffering!

So there we have the problem.  Flesh versus the spirit and what we think we want versus what we want for God.  It isn’t presented as an optional choice though.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
(Rom 13:12-14)
Make no provision for the flesh.  Sounds like make no provision for the enemy.  There should not be any room there for the flesh.
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. 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.
(Rom 12:1-2)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Proverbs 29

Pro 29:1  He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Pro 29:2  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Pro 29:3  Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
Pro 29:4  The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
Pro 29:5  A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
Pro 29:6  In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
Pro 29:7  The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.


The king has a lot of impact on the nation.  Our leaders can mean the rise or fall of our country and our lives.  We should keep them in prayer and ask God to give them wisdom.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Called to be Holy

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
(1Pe 1:13-16)
We’re called to be holy as God is holy.  That is no small task, but we’re called to do it anyway.  You’ll notice normal people don’t have this call.  “Former lusts” refers to the time in our lives where we didn’t know God and therefore thought we didn’t know better.  We know better now.

We’re to be obedient, following God.  Note that it says here following God is opposed to our former lusts or desires.  The things of this world that others desire are not for us to desire.  The things that this world wants are not always want God wants and so we must be careful.

We aren’t called to be normal.  We’re not called to desire what others desire.  We’re not called to want for ourselves.  Just because something sounds hard or abnormal or opposed to what we’re used to doing doesn’t mean we’re not called to do it, and in fact, many times we are.

Jesus said to follow Him, we’d have to take up our cross first.  It isn’t meant to be easy.  I have to try to remember that as I ponder what God is asking of me, as it isn’t always or even usually easy.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
(1Pe 3:8-11)
Compare the above with what we see on the news or even on the playground.  This is not what we want to do or what we end up doing and it is precisely what we’re called to do.  Though there is drama in the Bible, drama for the sake of drama is not from God.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time & Psalm 37

Today is the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  You can find the readings here

I have been told I should have more opinions on these posts, but I really don't have any for the readings.  I do, however, have an excellent link for you.  It comes from a feature called "Ask a Carmelite Sister" at the Integrated Catholic Life.

Question: Dear Sister, My prayer experiences don’t seem good enough or holy enough, long enough or intense enough. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can pray better?  


I actually wonder that all the time.  I think I have ADD when it comes to praying.  Find the excellent answer to this question here.

Onto Psalm 37.  

A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
(Psa 37:1-40)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Proverbs 28

Pro 28:17  A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
Pro 28:18  Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
Pro 28:19  He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
Pro 28:20  A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
Pro 28:21  To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
Pro 28:22  He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
Pro 28:23  He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Pro 28:24  Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
Pro 28:25  He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
Pro 28:26  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Pro 28:27  He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Pro 28:28  When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

Check that out, verse 19 talks about working for your wage.  If we want to make sure we have enough to eat, we have to do something for it.  I’m not talking about those who are incapable of work, I’m talking about the lazy.  Paul says not to feed the lazy in one of his latters.

On the other hand, we’re not to make haste to be wealthy.  The love of money is the root of all evil, and we know that seeking out the riches of this world won’t lead us to the riches of the next.  You can’t take it with you.

And these verses also talk about trusting ourselves, which we’ve covered before.  We’re not to be trusted.  We deceive ourselves faster than a 2 year old lies about taking the candy.  We’re pretty awesome at it.  We have to trust God if we want to go the right way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Birthday

Today we celebrate the birth of my mother, and also note her departure from this world for the next.  We do joke that she picked the same day so we could remember the date.  We joke about a lot of things many don't, but we get our sense of humor from our parents and they make odd jokes.  She'd think it was funny.

About a year after she died, my dad had quadruple bypass surgery at the same hospital she'd had a surgery at.  He drove himself, and actually went to the second closest hospital (we're stubborn in addition to being funny).  We were sitting there in the family waiting room and the nice lady who was assigned to come talk to us, an ambassador I think they called her, came over.  We realized she was the same one we'd had the year before for our mom.  Clearly she did not remember us, but that didn't stop us.  We started asking for frequent flier miles, seat upgrades, and discounts at the cafeteria.

"Oh, you've been here before?"
"Yes, with our mom last year.  You were our ambassador then too."
"Oh!  Well, how is your mother?"
"She died."

Now you have to picture this in just the right way.  We were trying not to snicker, but that poor woman was horrified and didn't know what to say.  We shouldn't pick on people so.  We're way worse under stress.  Again, I think it runs in the family.

(Dad's okay, if you're wondering.  Well, "okay" in the typical sense of the word.  We think he's pretty awesome.)

In any event, I miss my mom and wish she was here to talk to about the stuff I write about on this blog.  She'd have a lot to say for sure.  And it'd be funny too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverbs 28

Pro 28:8  He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
Pro 28:9  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
Pro 28:10  Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
Pro 28:11  The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
Pro 28:12  When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
Pro 28:13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Pro 28:14  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
Pro 28:15  As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
Pro 28:16  The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.


Here we see God being not politically correct by pointing out the bad things that will happen to the wicked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Normal Bad

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.
(Jas 1:19-20)

We all get angry sometimes.  It is a normal response.  We should share our feelings.  Sound familiar?  We’re told this about our anger.  We’re supposed to let it go and let someone have it.  We cheer with the hero on the TV show verbally trounces an opponent.  But is this supposed to be what we’re doing?

God is not politically correct and does not call us to be popular or do what we see on TV.  The more I study the Bible the more I am sure our “normal” reaction to everyday events and what we see as “normal” responses on TV are not meant to be normal at all. 

James says to be slow to wrath.  When was the last time I was slow to wrath?  I can get to wrath pretty quickly.  Sometimes I get angry before someone even does something to me, as I’m anticipating it.  Aren’t I smart?!

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.
(Jas 3:6-10)

That’s what God thinks about our ability to verbally lash an opponent.  We bless God with the same mouths we curse men, who are made in the image and likeness of God.  Think about that for a moment – we probably wouldn’t dare to think about God or tell God what we tell some people or think of some people, yet they are God’s children as well.  And we’re somehow superior?

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
(Pro 10:19)

Notice it doesn’t say the more we talk, the better we’re doing.  It doesn’t say the better our point in an argument, the more God loves us.  We’re not more blessed if you are the top verbal defender of the truth, be it our truth or even God’s.

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.
(Jas 3:13-18)

Those endowed with wisdom and knowledge are not exhorted to great speaking but of meekness of wisdom.  If we are bitter or have strife, it isn’t from God.  Envy and strife go with confusion and evil, not a prize.  We need to remember what it says about the wisdom from above – first pure and then peaceable and then gentle etc.  Ever see that on a TV show?

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?
(Jas 4:11-12)

Speak not evil one of another.  Sounds like gossip.  I think this is an outstanding example of where we can deceive ourselves.  I do it all the time.  I have a purpose for telling so and so about such and such, so it must be okay!  Even if my purpose is weak.  I’m speaking evil of another.  I’m passing judgment.  I’m deciding I’m right.

We’ve been lied to by the TV.  We’ve been lied to by our own flesh.  We think we know more than God and elect to ride our anger out as we lash out at others, all so we can be right.  There’s a lot in the Bible about being righteous, but nothing about proving we’re right.

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.
(Jas 5:8-11)



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Proverbs 28

Pro 28:1  The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Pro 28:2  For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
Pro 28:3  A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
Pro 28:4  They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Pro 28:5  Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Pro 28:6  Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Pro 28:7  Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

Those that do not follow God will praise the wicked.  We can see this now as people find reason to be okay with various sinful behaviors out of political correctness.  God is not politically correct.  He’s not an equal opportunity employer.  I guess we could be politically correct and label the Creator of the Universe a bigot, but that seems rather unintelligent.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hello Fall

I keep disappearing.  What a bad blog author!  It was a busy week last week, as I started my Bible Studies class as well as helping with RCIA at church.

The Biblical Studies class was quite interesting once we got to discuss Exodus.  The instructor also brought up a lot of points regarding Moses as the author of the entirety of the first five books of the Bible, and I’m going to have to look into that more.  Aside from the details like that, the class was nice as the homework pushed me outside the thoughts I normally have on Exodus. 

Several of the questions made me think about the plight of the Egyptians to minorities and those persecuted throughout the ages.  While the times and tools may change, the motives and methods remain the same.  Some group wants power and wants what they want.  They find some other group to dehumanize and use.  It hasn’t really changed at all.

RCIA was also good, as I was able to meet with the small group I’ll be assisting this year.  They are all previously baptized and wishing to make a profession of faith to enter the Catholic Church, prior to being Confirmed.  I would ask you keep them in your prayers as they make this journey, especially given they have to make it with me!

I found this link regarding yesterday's Gospel readings and thought it interesting.  Check it out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The List

When I first starting caring about what God wanted me to do, I thought I had one thing to fix.  Just one.  I didn't even know to ask His help with it.  I just plowed full speed ahead hoping for the best to overcome the problem.  It went okay.  I can only assume that I was given additional grace due to the fact it was the first thing I tackled.

Later, I realized the list of things to fix was somewhat longer.  I spent over a year attempting to charge through a problem, much like I'd approached the one before.  I threw every bit of psychology I knew (and the internet could provide) at it, all with no luck.  I gave up, and no sooner had I left it to God, God fixed it.

I've since figured out the list is pretty big.  I'm not aware of all I do that needs to change; of everything I do that offends God.  He knows though, and my prayers to fix whatever are not ignored.  Recently, I realized He made a problem I didn't even know, or at least fully recognize, that I had go away without telling me about it.

Just like the parent who guides a bike as the training wheels come off, or steps in to fix a broken toy, or takes care of a problem before the child even notices, God is always taking care of us.  God is looking out for us even when we're not looking to Him in that specific instance.  He's awesome like that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Proverbs 27

Pro 27:19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man. 
Pro 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. 
Pro 27:21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise. 
Pro 27:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him. 
Pro 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. 
Pro 27:24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? 
Pro 27:25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 
Pro 27:26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 
Pro 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. 

Praise tests us like the firing pot tests silver and the furnace tests gold. How do we accept praise?

Are we doing what we're doing for the praise of others?  Is that our motivation?  I've discovered in the last week that feeding my ego is a lot like drinking soda.  It really is exciting in the short term.  Way more exciting than herbal tea.  But a lot less healthy in the long term.  We have to remember our eternal destination when considering our motivation.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 36

Today is the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings are here.

The first reading is from Sirach, one of my favorite books.  This is not the whole reading, but good to remember.
Remember thy last things, and let enmity cease: For corruption and death hang over in his commandments. Remember the fear of God, and be not angry with thy neighbour. Remember the covenant of the most High, and overlook the ignorance of thy neighbour. (Sir 28:6-9)
We also have the parable of the ungrateful jerk, which I think probably has a more official title, but that's what I go with.  I think it might also apply to more than one parable, but for this week it works.

Psalm 36

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise. (Psa 36:1-12)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Proverbs 27

Pro 27:13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. 
Pro 27:14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him. 
Pro 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. 
Pro 27:16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself. 
Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 
Pro 27:18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. 

I personally take verse 14 to mean that one shouldn’t wake me up in the morning. Disruption of sleep is against the Bible! One of my good friends woke me up yesterday.  Clearly opposed to God's plan!

The commentators disagree, though. Sad. Clarke:
He who makes loud and public protestations of acknowledgments to his friend for favors received, subjects his sincerity to suspicion; and remember the Italian proverb elsewhere quoted: - “He who praises you more than he was wont to do, has either deceived you, or is about to do it.” Extravagant public professions are little to be regarded. 

In 15 we see one of the verses about contentious. In Proverbs, men can be angry and violent a lot, but women are the contentious ones. And we know it is true. Boys will be mean and much more up front than we passive aggressive women. God says it is more annoying than a continual dropping of rain…

Friday, September 9, 2011

Proverbs 27

Pro 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 
Pro 27:8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. 
Pro 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. 
Pro 27:10 Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off. 
Pro 27:11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me. 
Pro 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. 

This set has some great stuff about friendship. I truly am blessed by some really great friends.

If the simple seem stupid, remember we're all simple a lot.  We're all very messed up at following God and fleeing from the dangers He seeks to protect us from.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Proverbs 27

Pro 27:1  Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Pro 27:2  Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
Pro 27:3  A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.
Pro 27:4  Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Pro 27:5  Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Pro 27:6  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

These are some good ones!  Really, we do need to remember that first one.  We can't brag about tomorrow as we're not sure what might happen.  Only God knows.

And the second one is hard to hold in my head and heart sometimes as well.  Much better to receive praise from someone else.

That last one can be hard to remember, and to take.  It is much harder to accept correction from a friend than friendliness from an enemy, but it is for our own good.  We should appreciate our friends when they care enough to correct us.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 35

Today we celebrate the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here.  We should love our neighbor as ourselves.  We love ourselves plenty, so this should be quite a task.  If we think we are meeting it, we probably out to reevaluate.

Psalm 35.
A Psalm of David. Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul. Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land. Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me. Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me. Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
(Exo 32:1-6)

We’ve looked at some of the epic fails of the people of God before, and here’s another one.  Moses to go up to talk with God, the people grow weary of waiting for him, and then Moses’ own brother attempts to make them happy by making an idol.  Fail, fail, fail.

By this point, the people had seen all that God had done to Egypt to win their freedom with the plagues.  They walked through the Red Sea, parted by God, to escape their enemies.    God has brought them water from a rock, given them victory in battle, and given them meat and bread from nothing.  In short, they have every reason to believe in God and do what He says.

And off they go, making and worshipping an idol.  Aaron, the man to be the head priest for God, helps them out.  What a problem!

Of course, we would never be so lame as to recognize some blessing from God and then go out an immediately do something in opposition to His will… Or would we?  If Israel would do so after all of these miracles, how likely is it you and I will do the same?  It is so easy to be distracted and to forget God.  There are things to do and people to see and stuff to buy.  And surely it won’t hurt anything to look at that one thing or do this other thing that may perchance include something God isn’t a fan of.  What’s the harm?  We’re just as dense as they are.

And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
(Exo 32:20)

Moses showed the true power of their new God.  It was easily destroyed and then even consumed by its “followers.”  The power of this world has no power over us next to the power of the true God.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Talents from God

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee
(Exo 31:1-6)

God has just told Moses how to build the Tabernacle and everything to go in it, including the Ark; as well as the proper garments for the priests.  After giving him these instructions, God tells Moses that God has given the talent to make all of this to various people.

Sometimes we think that knowledge from God is somehow limited to the tasks we consider religious.  Really, all talent for workmanship comes from God.  I look at things in a very logical matter, and I can problem solve extremely well.  I’m good at math.  These are all gifts from God for my use.  It is good to be thankful for the skills we have from God. 

It is okay to know we’re good at them!  All of our skills from God can be used to help others, so it is actually wise to know what we’re good at so we can better apply it.  Our skills combine with others to make the world work for God.

If we use our skills just for ourselves, or attempt to make the world work for ourselves, we run into problems.  Gifts from God can be easily turned into sins for us if we do not remain focused on God and His plan.  What are we doing today to use our skills from God for God?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Proverbs 26

Pro 26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Pro 26:21  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
Pro 26:22  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Pro 26:23  Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
Pro 26:24  He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
Pro 26:25  When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
Pro 26:26  Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
Pro 26:27  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
Pro 26:28  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin. 


Here we're back to contentiousness, gossip, and strife.  They all go well together.  When we cease to engage in that type of behavior, the strife ends and the drama concludes.  We'd all be so much happier.