20 November 2014

Today's Radings and Stuff -- Thursday, 20 November 2014

Still dark here, sunrise is expected in about 20 minutes.  Dear Wife is already next door to "watch" the Beloved Grand-Niece as Nifty Niece heads off to work.  She hadn't been working more than about two days a week since having the baby not quite two years ago, and in the spring-summer period was down to one day, or sometimes two shifts of  four or five hours.  As a former manager in that system, she draws an hourly rate above that of some, so the store manager was trying to cut costs by cutting the more expensive hours.  Now, for some reason, she's working four shifts of 7-8 hours every week.  Helps with Christmas and cold weather expenses, but it means arranging sitters.  We live next door, mother lives a few miles away, and mother-in-law lives two doors up.  Cousin lives across the back yards.  So it's not like she has to look too hard, but she's good about spreading the load around.  And no one's getting paid for this, so it's not a deal like that.  But she's also fighting with both her own mom, AND her mother-in-law, so there's always that.  Living out of the area so long as we were, we avoided a lot of these in-house wars and that was fine by me.  Moving back last year, we found ourselves in the midst of them.  So, while we are glad to see the Little Ones, sometimes the rest of the package is a bit much.
Yet perhaps that's part of our mission here: to be the peacemakers and witnesses for our faith.  Wife's mother was an embittered atheist.  Wife's brother is hiding out from the law, and her sister is much like her mother was.  We are attempting, poorly but trying, to be a witness to the nieces and nephews and cousins and their entourages.  Not sure we're doing any good, but our job is planting the seed.
24 degrees here now, the "high" for the day predicted for 27 and around 12 tonight and tomorrow.  By Monday should be around 60.  Easier to take, and takes a load off the gas bill.

------

The Old Testament reading is chapters 22 and 23 from Eziekiel.  These are warnings, dire warnings, against a nation that was already in desperate straits, and clearly the lessons had not taken hold.

1
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2
Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations.
3
Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.
4
Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.
5
Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.
6
Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.
7
In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
8
Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.
9
In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.
10
In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.
11
And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter.
12
In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.
13
Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.
14
Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
15
And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
16
And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
17
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
18
Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.
19
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
20
As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
21
Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst therof.
22
As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.
23
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
24
Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.
25
There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
26
Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
27
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
28
And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
29
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
30
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
31
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.


1
The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2
Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:
3
And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.
4
And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.
5
And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,
6
Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.
7
Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.
8
Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.
9
Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted.
10
These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her.
11
And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in her whoredoms.
12
She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbours, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.
13
Then I saw that she was defiled, that they took both one way,
14
And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion,
15
Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:
16
And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea.
17
And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them.
18
So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister.
19
Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
20
For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
21
Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth.
22
Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;
23
The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses.
24
And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.
25
And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.
26
They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels.
27
Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more.
28
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated:
29
And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.
30
I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols.
31
Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand.
32
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.
33
Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.
34
Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
35
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast forgotten me, and cast me behind thy back, therefore bear thou also thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.
36
The LORD said moreover unto me; Son of man, wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations;
37
That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.
38
Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.
39
For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.
40
And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments,
41
And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.
42
And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.
43
Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?
44
Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women.
45
And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.
46
For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled.
47
And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.
48
Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.
49
And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.



==============================

The New Testament reading is James chapter 2.


1
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2
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;
3
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:
4
Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5
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?
6
But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
7
Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
8
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11
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.
12
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
13
For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16
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?
17
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18
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.
19
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23
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.
24
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25
Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

19 November 2014

Today's Readings and Stuff - Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Happy Wednesday.  Mid-week and all that stuff.
Streets,etc. were clear enough that we could go out, briefly, and make the major monthly grocery run.  Retirement check hit the bank yesterday, but were not up to a run, and in any event Dear Wife was occupied next door with Beloved Great-Niece until about 4:40 p.m. when Wonderful Niece got home from work.  This time of year, that's altogether too close to sundown, and with the roads in their icy state and more snow due any minute, we chose to exercise caution and do it today.  So we went off to the Wally Mart and dropped nearly $200 there on a raft of things like potatoes and flour and veggies.  We're kind of old-style and basic -- no baked goods or candy or convenience meals.  That doesn't include the expenses of the seven prescription refills for Dear Wife, or the one for me.  Would have been more, but the physician had not gotten around to renewing the OK to fill three other of her prescriptions.  And as of this minute, still hasn't.  Should be no problem, but the ropes of red tape that seem to hinder almost every issue have cropped up once again.  These are NOT Schedule 5 painkillers or something of the like.  So we'll be making a follow-up run in a few days.  And then sit tight until her Disability check hits the bank NEXT week.  Which will have to see us through for the next three weeks.  Not unknown for us to be looking at a three week long stretch with $32 to our names.  Or less.  Not what I'd planned for this stage in our lives, but it is what it is.
And we just got some unwelcome mail.  Dear Wife's mother passed away in 2007.  Her husband had died in 1992 and she had been in poor health fro some time.  She ended up in a nursing home on Medicaid.  Sad, but it is what it is.  Now, courtesy of some of the hidden minefilelds of Obamacare, Dear Wife -- and I as spouse -- are being sued by the state for recovery of the state's Medicaid outlay.  We were a thousand miles away during all of it, kept out of ANY decision making or even timely information, and in tight financial straits ourselves.  How they expect us to pay is a mystery.  Dear Wife and her mother were at odds most of her life, Dear Wife moved out officially at 17 and in reality moved in with aunt & uncle several years before that.  Not exactly a tight family situation.  Not sure how to deal with this.
But we'll get through somehow.

=================

The Old Testament reading is chapters 20 and 21 of the book of Ezekiel.


1
And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me.
2
Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying,
3
Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
4
Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers:
5
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God;
6
In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:
7
Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
8
But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
9
But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
10
Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
11
And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.
12
Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
13
But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
14
But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.
15
Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands;
16
Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
17
Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
18
But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:
19
I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them;
20
And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.
21
Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.
22
Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth.
23
I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries;
24
Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.
25
Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;
26
And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.
27
Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
28
For when I had brought them into the land, for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savour, and poured out there their drink offerings.
29
Then I said unto them, What is the high place whereunto ye go? And the name whereof is called Bamah unto this day.
30
Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
31
For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
32
And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
33
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
34
And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
35
And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
36
Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.
37
And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
38
And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
39
As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.
40
For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
41
I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.
42
And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers.
43
And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.
44
And ye shall know that I am the LORD when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
45
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
46
Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field;
47
And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
48
And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.
49
Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?


1
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2
Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,
3
And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.
4
Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:
5
That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.
6
Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes.
7
And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD.
8
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
9
Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:
10
It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree.
11
And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.
12
Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.
13
Because it is a trial, and what if the sword contemn even the rod? it shall be no more, saith the Lord GOD.
14
Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together. and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers.
15
I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter.
16
Go thee one way or other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set.
17
I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it.
18
The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,
19
Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city.
20
Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defenced.
21
For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver.
22
At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.
23
And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken.
24
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, I say, that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.
25
And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,
26
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.
27
I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
28
And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering:
29
Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end.
30
Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.
31
And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.
32
Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it.




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The New Testament reading is chapter 1 of the book of James.  James is quite a change from the Pauline epistles, and that's an understatement, if anything.  Very down-to-earth and practical.  Good reading, actually.  Certainly deals with the issues of the practical day-to-day disciplines of the Christian life.  Some of it is not easy. 


1
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5
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.
6
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.
7
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
9
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
10
But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
11
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.
12
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.
13
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:
14
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16
Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17
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.
18
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23
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:
24
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25
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.
26
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.
27
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.



18 November 2014

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Cold here.  VERY cold, unseasonably so, the kind of weather the area normally doesn't see until the latter part of December or mid-January.  Ice on Lake Superior and below freezing temperatures in all 50 states.  Must be that Global Warming stuff, right?  As I type this, the themometer shows 12.8 degrees with a "high" of 20 for the day.  Forecast says we might get above freezing by Saturday and thence into the weekend, which is scant comfort right now.  Yes, I do miss living in the Deep South, but even there it is unseasonably cold:  the site of my former employer is showing 29 right now, in central Alabama.  Probably won't be wearing shorts there today either.  So I'm dressed warmly, sitting a few feet from the gas fireplace that heats this hovel, regarding the $$$ heading out.
Dear Wife is next door, "watching" the great-niece while niece and husband are off at work.  She enjoys that, and she should.  Gives her a sense of worth and of purpose, and that is necessary for any person.
I need to make a run to the pharmacy later, but probably not until after noon -- one of her prescription refills is awaiting a go-ahead from the doctor and the doctor's office is just opening now, so, given the time lags between the "OK" and the filling, I may hold off until then, no point in standing around for two hours.  No fun, I've done it and do not recommend it to anyone.

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The Old Testament reading for the day is chapters 17, 18, and 19 in Ezekiel.  Lots of imagery here, lots of parable-like images.  Israel has been taken, and its people marched off to exile.  Much pain and death and slaughter.  Not a whole lot of repentance, probably, which has some bearing on the reason for their situation.  Willful sin.  Not pretty to see, not fun when the consequences come crashing in.  It happened to them.  It can happen to us too. 


1
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2
Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;
3
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:
4
He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants.
5
He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree.
6
And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs.
7
There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation.
8
It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.
9
Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof.
10
Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.
11
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12
Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;
13
And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land:
14
That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand.
15
But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?
16
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.
17
Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:
18
Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape.
19
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head.
20
And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me.
21
And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the LORD have spoken it.
22
Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:
23
In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.
24
And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.


1
The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,
2
What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?
3
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.
4
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
5
But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,
6
And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,
7
And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;
8
He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,
9
Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
10
If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,
11
And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife,
12
Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,
13
Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
14
Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,
15
That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife,
16
Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,
17
That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.
18
As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.
19
Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
21
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22
All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
24
But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
25
Yet ye say, The way of the LORD is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
26
When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
27
Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28
Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
29
Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the LORD is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
30
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
31
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
32
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.


1
Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
2
And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
3
And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
4
The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
5
Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
6
And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.
7
And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring.
8
Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit.
9
And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
10
Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
11
And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
12
But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
13
And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
14
And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.




===================================

The New Testament reading is chapter 13 of the letter to the Hebrews, completing the epistle.  This amounts to the summation and closing of a sermon that was written and sent, rather than personally delivered.  A good thing, it was for them, but it's for us as well.

1
Let brotherly love continue.
2
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
3
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
4
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
7
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
18
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
19
But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
22
And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
23
Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
24
Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
25
Grace be with you all. Amen.