17 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Tuesday, 17 January 2017

We are well into the last half of January now.  The first day of Winter is nearly a month behind us, the first day of Spring is just over two months hence.  We shall look forward to that milestone, though we fully expect winter weather for at least a month thereafter, and on occasion have seen it for longer than that.  But it is some sort of progress, and we are hopeful.

Dear Wife is doing the "watching" of the next-door Great Niece today.  If the plans made hold true, then the second great niece, the daughter of wife's sister's son, will be appearing for the next round of this on Thursday.  Wife has been asked to deal with her, as the child's parents are in court that day.  As previously noted, a little while back, just before Thanksgiving, a drunk driver ran off the road, ran into their porch then their vehicle in the driveway, and then left the scene.  Police caught up with him, and he spent the weekend in jail.  But now comes the follow-up.  Nephew's wife had let ALL their insurance policies lapse.  So the damage to the porch is essentially unfixed.  Efforts continue to find rear window and hatch to repair the damage to their van, but to do so on the cheap.  They live in a pretty down-at-the-heels section, (comparable to ours but with more use of alcohol and drugs), and their house is barely off the street, such that there is just, barely, room to park a vehicle parallel to that front porch and to be -- mostly -- off the street.  Which is how the drunk managed to hit their house's porch.  Been no fun, and they are hoping to squeeze some money out of the guy.  So we're watching the little one, as parents sit at the courthouse.
We hope to be able to take the great niece next door to the "story time" thing at the local public library. I have some books to go back.  Gives me a chance to do that.  The books were not that good, looked a whole lot better on the shelf than when I set myself to read them.  Often the case.  Does the Little One good to be at home with books: that does not often seem to be the case in this area.

Wife was doing a teeny bit better yesterday, though progress is very slow and sometime does not occur at all.

I see that the political squabbles also continue.  The inauguration of the President is scheduled for a few days from now, but one seriously doubts that it will end the fights going on.  And, of course, some of the nastiest fights are at the state and local levels.

Some day, I hope, we shall look back at all of this and laugh.  I hope so.

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The Old Testament reading for this morning is chapter 41 of the Genesis.
This is more of the story of Joseph.  Joseph begins this account as a prisoner, falsely accused of a terrible crime.  It ends with him in an incredibly powerful position in Egypt, directly under Pharaoh.  And, by virtue of the Lord's leading, able and active in preserving the lives of many.  Who could have imagined that a poor shepherd boy, one of many sons, could somehow be transported into such a position?  A position that no one could have imagined, but now in a position to do great good for a great many.  As we shall see.    I guess the Lord was up to something.  You think maybe??

Genesis 41
1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. 2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favored kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. 3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favored and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. 4 And the ill favored and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. 5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. 6 And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. 7 And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. 8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh. 9 Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: 10 Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker: 11 And we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. 12 And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. 13 And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged. 14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. 16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. 17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: 18 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favored; and they fed in a meadow: 19 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favored and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: 20 And the lean and the ill favored kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: 21 And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22 And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: 23 And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: 24 And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me. 25 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. 27 And the seven thin and ill favored kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. 28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he showeth unto Pharaoh. 29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: 30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; 31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. 32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. 37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. 45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. 46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. 49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. 50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. 52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. 56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. 57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.




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The New Testament reading is verses 1-32 of the 13th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 13:1-32
 
1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.  
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:  
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:  
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.  
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.  
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:  
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.  
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.  
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;  
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.  
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:  
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.  
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?  
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.  
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:  
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.


16 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Monday, 16 January 2017

We seem to have survived the weekend and made it into another Monday.  Not the stuff of legend and movies, but we'll take it.  Not everyone did survive the weekend.  We take it on faith that there is some reason for both realities. 

Dear Wife was able to get up and sit a while in a steamy shower, letting the warm moist air in it hydrate her concretized sinus passages and such.  Makes the achy joints feel a little better, temporarily anyway.  Seems to have helped, some, at least temporarily.
 
This place is extraordinarily dry during the heating season, and her physical ailments tend in that direction anyway, so the two realities play off of each other.  I get pretty dry myself, I went through 1-1/2 bottles of water during the night, several times being wakened.  During the night, we keep on of those Vick's Vaporizers going in the bedroom, on a dresser right by her side of the bed.  It helps, some.  During the day, we keep a kettle of water going on the stove.  Which also helps, some.  But it certainly makes a person long for the warm weather that, all too briefly, graces this region.  Several months off by the calendar reckoning.
The one "pain" that goes with that is cleanup.  The water coming from the municipal system is notoriously high in lime.  Which deposits on everything, notably to include the inside of that kettle, the heat element of the vaporizer, and, of course, things like the water heater.  I have the vaporizer element soaking in white vinegar, which helps a little bit.  Might try some lemon juice also, which supposedly will work.  If not, then next time I have some money, intend to buy a jug of CLR or Lime Away or something.



She and I have been through rough situations before.  Individually and in our years together.  The Lord carried us through.  Always, or I wouldn't be writing this.  Not by much sometimes, but always.  Her health, and, in earlier years, that of our daughters', has made for some difficult moments.  It has changed us in several ways, some of which don't show up to even close observers.  But long-term and serious health issues change one's life, and that includes those around as well as those with the maladies.

We are supposed to have several days of relatively warm weather.  "Warm" being defined here as being above the freezing point.  We'll take it.  I saw a projected rainfall map, just for today, a region that covers pretty much all the areas that we lived in during our times in the South. Some of those areas are projected to get 3 inches to 4 inches of rain. TODAY!  Others are expected to get MORE than 4 inches of rain. TODAY!  That's after last week's ice storms in the general area.  Wow!  We lived in central Alabama that day back in, I believe, 2008 or 2009 when we got about 3-1/2 inches in one day.  No fun, none at all. Took me nearly two hours and numerous detours to make the usual 20 minute commute home from work.  Much damage and loss of life too.  Today's downpour is likely to be worse. 

This will be a momentous week on the American political scene.  A new President is expected -- Lord willing -- to be inaugurated late this week.  Has been an extremely contentious election season, one that seems to have occupied too much attention for the last two years.  Fasten your seat belts, this may be a bumpy ride.  There are people, including close family members and friends of more than 50 years' standing, who have cut all, and I do mean ALL, contact as a result of disagreements with respect to the political and social scene.  I do not think that the inauguration will heal those wounds.

Had one great thing yesterday.  The little church we've been attending is in an older building.  Which can have its own charms, but sometimes and older building and and older congregation don't mix well.  The sanctuary is well above ground level, which was normal construction techniques for brick structures in the area at the time, possible avoiding heavy costs for excavating the basement and foundations, possibly avoiding some flooding, and possibly in an effort to be more prominent.  It does have the single benefit of making the trek from the outside ground level to either level be half that distance that a different design layout might yield.  But the result is that there are a lot of steps to go up, coming from the outside into the sanctuary.  Those with mobility issues, notably to include one woman in a wheelchair, are in a rough situation.  Yesterday, as ever, three of us dragged her in her wheelchair up those steps.  Getting to the basement, where the restrooms are, would be impossible, the stairs are too narrow and steep.  Well, about six weeks ago, a chair lift was installed on those basement steps going from ground level to the basement.  Due to a 90° turn at the ground level landing in the run from the main floor to the basement, they could not make a single run from the "main floor" to the basement.  Now, as of last Friday, there is an exterior chair lift that goes from ground level to the Sanctuary / main level.  Once some finish work is done, and the state inspectors give an "OK to use" certificate in two weeks' time, a person will be able to go from car up a (new) sidewalk, onto the lift, up to the outside landing, and thence to roll right in.  Sounds good!  Of such things are progress made.  Not probably often mentioned in seminary classes, but needed. This will help Dear Wife a lot.  And others too, hopefully many who have felt physical limits prevent regular attendance.

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The Old Testament reading today is chapters 38, 39, and 40 of the Genesis. 
Several things are going on here.   The latter, shown in chapter 40, is the issues of Joseph in Egypt.  Going from being his father's favorite, to a captive in a pit, to a slave hauled far away, to a slave sold off.  To a servant in a household, being commanded to become sexually intimate with the master's wife.  To being falsely accused, and thrown into prison.  Which put him in direct contact with out-of-favor servants of Pharaoh, at that time arguably the most powerful ruler on Earth.  Which will, in a few more chapters, lead to other things, things that affect our world to this very day.
Some other things are going on as well, things that don't reflect well on anyone.  The sons of Jacob were not always well behaved, acting much like that cultures around them.  Lousy cultures at that.  Here we see Judah, a name of one of the children of Israel, one we will be seeing throughout the Bible, behaving badly.  The result has, among other things, given us the name of a practice we now sometimes clinically refer to as "Onanism".    But there is bad behavior, yet the Lord brought something good out of it.  Out of that bad behavior came the other son, whose name was Pharez, sometimes rendered Perez.  Who was one of the ancestors of David, and thus of Jesus.

Genesis 38
1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her. 3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. 6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. 8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also. 11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house. 12 And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. 14 And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. 16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not. 21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place. 22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place. 23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. 24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. 26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. 27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. 28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. 29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez. 30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

Genesis 39
1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored. 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. 13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. 16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: 18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. 19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. 20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. 21 But the LORD was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.

Genesis 40
1 And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. 3 And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. 4 And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. 5 And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. 6 And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. 7 And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? 8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. 9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: 11 And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. 12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: 13 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. 14 But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: 15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. 16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: 17 And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. 18 And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: 19 Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. 20 And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. 21 And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: 22 But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.


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The New Testament reading is verses 22-50 of Matthew chapter 12.
Is anyone here still thinking that good deeds will always bring approval and support?  Well, doesn't happen. Then, or now.  Jesus was doing some wonderful things for those with no other hope.  They themselves were grateful.  Those around them, not so much.  The phrase, "no good deed goes unpunished" has been around for a good while.  Sometimes, we think and say, "I wish that I had been there".  But it's at least possible that our reaction would have been no better.  Unfortunately.  There's a song about that, incidentally.  But some of the ones who saw Him heal the sick and do wonderful things, were also in the crowd shouting "Crucify Him!". Sad.  True.


Matthew 12:22-50
 
22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.  
23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?  
24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.  
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:  
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.  
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.  
30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  
33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.  
38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.  
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:  
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.  
42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.  
43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 
44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  
45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.  
46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.  
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.  
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

15 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Sunday, 15 January 2017

This is late and short.
Today has been a rough one for several reasons.
The problems that Dear Wife has been going through are no better.  We can quibble about whether they are about the same, slightly better, slightly worse, or worse, than they were a week, a month, a year, five years earlier.  Different, certainly.  So there is that.   And, yes, since it is now more than eleven years after the point at which the "experts" assured us that she would be dead within five years from then, we'll take it, gratefully.  Every day is another chance.

And today would have been my late mother's birthday.  She will have been gone from us for ten years this spring..That was hard.  We were living nearly a thousand miles away, so we'd had very very little "face time" for years.  Her mind had been seriously harmed by the age-related senility: she really didn't know us that last couple times we'd been up during my all-too-brief holiday / vacation times.  Since Yours Truly often had to work all day, and then be the sole driver for 18 or 19 hours on the road, a one-week vacation sometimes meant two days back and forth, one day (hopefully but not always) recuperation, and a few days seeing my mom, Wife's mom, my brother(s), her sister and brother, uncles aunts cousins friends, the "sights" (such as they are here), and generally "vacationing".  So it was anything but restful, at least for me, frequently accented with long-standing tensions and family squabbles, and all of that.  Sometimes we simply could not get around to see everyone.  Couldn't.  And it gets expensive to haul a family of four around and eat at restaurants every meal.  But we would always try to see mom and dad, and her mom.  (Her dad had passed about two weeks before we'd moved out of the area).  And both mothers passed within the space of a month.  Rough spring that was, truly.
So a day like today that marks her birth reminds me of those times when I was much younger.  I was not a model child, not at all, and while I never doubted her love, circumstances just hindered the sort of reconciliation heart-to-heart I dearly wanted.

But we shall get through, and I doubt that the issue troubles her right now.

Some other issues intruded today.  None super big, but all just eating time, attention, and overall personal energy.

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The reading for the day from the Old Testament has been chapters 36 and 37 of the Genesis.  We see some names here.  The record of the descendants of Esau pretty much takes up all of chapter 36. We'll see some of those names and places again, later. These are the Edomites, and there is Bad Blood between them and the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob, the "other" son of Isaac.
In 37, we see fights between brothers of Jacob / Israel.  With Joseph, deemed a "favorite", hated by his brothers. We capture him and sell him as a slave into Egypt.  The first slave traders were Ishamelites.  Remember Ishmael?  The Arabs to this very day consider themselves to be the descendants of Ishmael.  Oh, and the slave traders?  They are Midianites.  Remember Midian?  Midian, like Ishmael, was a son of Abraham but NOT a son of Sarah.  Midian and Ishmael were some of the offspring when Abraham tried to "help" the Lord along with respect to descendants.  Trying to hurry the matter along.  Bad idea!  And they are still around, and not real hospitable either.
But the story of Joseph and Egypt is just beginning.

Genesis 36
1 Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. 2 Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3 And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth. 4 And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; 5 And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan. 6 And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. 7 For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. 8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom. 9 And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: 10 These are the names of Esau's sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. 11 And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife. 13 And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau's wife. 14 And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau's wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah. 15 These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, 16 Duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah. 17 And these are the sons of Reuel Esau's son; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Bashemath Esau's wife. 18 And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau's wife; duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau's wife. 19 These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes. 20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, 21 And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom. 22 And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan's sister was Timna. 23 And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24 And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. 25 And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah. 26 And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran. 27 The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan. 28 The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran. 29 These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah, 30 Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir. 31 And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. 32 And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. 34 And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. 35 And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith. 36 And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. 37 And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. 38 And Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead. 39 And Baalhanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife's name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. 40 And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth, 41 Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon, 42 Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar, 43 Duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites.

Genesis 37
1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. 5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. 12 And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. 17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. 18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. 21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. 22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. 23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; 24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. 29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? 31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; 32 And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no. 33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. 34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. 36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.


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The New Testament reading is verses 1-21 from the 12th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 12:1-21
 
1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.  
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.  
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;  
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?  
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?  
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.  
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.  
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.  
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:  
10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.  
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.  
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.  
14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.  
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;  
16 And charged them that they should not make him known:  
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  
18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.  
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.  
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.  
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.




14 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 14 January 2017

Happy Saturday and welcome to the day book.  We, or at least I, seem to have survived yet another "Friday the 13th".  And no, if the movie was on TV somewhere I did not watch it, or seek it.  Has no attraction for me.  Your mileage may vary, of course.
I trust and hope that the day finds you well.  We are "enjoying" a torrid 25° here, with an assurance that we may actually make it up to 35° today!  Wow!  Heat wave!!  I was archly informed a few days ago that this constitutes ironclad evidence of Catastrophic Global Warming.  I reminded him that the heat record for that particular day was set in 1898 and was about 8 degrees warmer than the "unseasonably warm" temperatures we were seeing that day.  Haven't heard much from him since then.  Data has a way of doing that.

Dear Wife has had yet another bad night.  Up most of the night.  She went to bed same time I did, but lay there awake for more than an hour (so was I), then got up, hungry finally, and made herself something (pancakes) while I slept.  She finally came back to bed, hours later, slept fitfully off and on,  After I got up two hours before dawn to feed cats, she drifted off.  And is still sleeping now.  She had visions of another attempt to cut my hair today, but we shall see.  It may be time to get her to coach me in how I should do it myself.  I know other guys who do it, and as homely as I am, it couldn't make me look much worse.  She just likes to do it, in part I think, because it makes her feel useful after long periods when she really can't do very much at all. That feeling is worth something, surely.  To both of us.

Neighbor (not the niece, the other one, the one whose husband died a few weeks ago) has their dog out in a big enclosure.  Large dog, part Rottweiler I think (I can barely distinguish between a Chihuahua and a collie), and he's out there barking at birds, passers-by, the wind,  etc.  Good for him to be outside at least for a little while.  And at least she doesn't let him run loose like some nitwits do.  Pet peeve of mine, ok?  Everyone has a few, I've noticed.  But listening to the "chorus", particularly in the all-too-brief warm season of this area, as the various neighbors let their dogs outside, there to compete in vocal efforts, gets real old, real fast.  At least cats don't bark.

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The morning's reading from the Old Testament is chapters 33, 34, and 35 of the Genesis.
Big changes here, as Jacob and his family return to the area of his father and brother.  Some long-standing animosities and other issues, some serious.
And, at the end, Isaac dies. In Hebron, the so-called "Palestinian West Bank", the area that the Moslem heathens claim no Jew ever lived.  One of the multitude of lies that constitute the evil demon cult of Islam.
Much here in this passage.  Have you ever tried to repair a family feud that stretches back over decades?  It is as tough a thing as exists, even IF both sides desire it, which is not always the case.  And sometimes too there are more than two sides.  Happens.  We've been seeing some of it since our return to this area where we now live.  On both sides of the family.  I have a sister-in-law who would open fire if she saw me near their house, the one I lived in for many years.  I have cousins who will not acknowledge my very existence.  Dear Wife has similar situations, with various relatives still angry over something that my late mother-in-law or father-in-law did in the 1940's!  To this very day!  And violence is always an available option -- late mother-in-law was a cousin to a notorious Sicilian Mafia figure in this area, who was assassinated causing her much grief.  And there are other "family (or Family, la Famiglia) associations here and there.  So some of these rivalries are quite real.  And the the old dispute between Jacob and Esau very nearly became just as nasty.  Remember that Cain and Abel were brothers too.

Genesis 33
1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. 2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. 5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. 6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. 7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. 8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. 9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. 10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. 11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it. 12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. 13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. 15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord. 16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. 17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. 18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. 19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 20 And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.


Genesis 34
1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. 5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter: which thing ought not to be done. 8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. 13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: 15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. 18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honorable than all the house of his father. 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. 24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. 25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. 30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. 31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?


Genesis 35
1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. 5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. 7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. 9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. 10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. 11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. 13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel. 16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. 21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: 23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: 25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: 26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram. 27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arba, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. 28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.


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The New Testament reading is chapter 11 from the Gospel of Matthew.
This is taking place in that period after Jesus had sent forth the Twelve to proclaim the Good News, and He was still dealing with questions and issues in the area He was in.  Some of those questions came from the followers of His earthly cousin, John the Baptizer.  Good questions at that, important ones, and the answers were, and remain, equally important. For them and for us as well.

Matthew 11
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,  
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?  
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.  
7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?  
8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 
 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.  
10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 
14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.  
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  
16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,  
17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.  
19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.  
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:  
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.  
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. 
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  
26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.  
27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.  
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.