28 June 2016

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Tuesday, 28 June 2016

been running a bit behind here for reasons beyond the scope of this site.  My apologies.  Will make good faith effort to catch up, but that may take a few days, assuming no further blips in our lives around here.

As a reminder, we spent most of yesterday in a not-too-far-off town attending a funeral.  The deceased was the natural brother of Dear Wife's foster sister (long story).  He'd been in bad health since birth:  mother had contracted some form of measles while carrying him, he had a variety of birth defects though he did make it to the age of 50.  Never grew past around 4'-10" in height, couldn't do much physically though he was alert in the mind.  Found dead week ago.  Wife's foster sister had to come up from Florida to attend, and had to borrow the funds from her son and another relative.  A tough time for the whole family.  He was a believer, though most of the family are not.  Perhaps they drew some comfort from the service and certainly the Gospel was presented, perhaps a few seed were planted.  We hope so, anyway.

Dear Wife's been next door all day, "watching" the beloved great-niece.
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The Old Testament reading is chapters 13, 14, and 15 of the book of Job.  This is not easy reading, especially for those who have been immersed in the "wealth and prosperity" beliefs.  Job did not have it easy, and, like any of us might (and most of us have), he asked the "why me???" questions.  And he never did get a real answer.  The Lord moves in mysterious ways, and they're not always easy.


1
Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.
2
What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
3
Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
4
But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.
5
O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.
6
Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.
7
Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
8
Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
9
Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?
10
He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
11
Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?
12
Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.
13
Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.
14
Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
15
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
16
He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
17
Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.
18
Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
19
Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.
20
Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee.
21
Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.
22
Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.
23
How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.
24
Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
25
Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
26
For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.
27
Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.
28
And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.


1
Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
2
He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
3
And doth thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
4
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
5
Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
6
Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.
7
For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
8
Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
9
Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
10
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?
11
As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:
12
So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
13
O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
15
Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
16
For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?
17
My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.
18
And surely the mountains falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.
19
The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.
20
Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.
21
His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
22
But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.


1
Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
2
Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
3
Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
4
Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.
5
For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.
6
Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.
7
Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?
8
Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
9
What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
10
With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
11
Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
12
Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
13
That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
14
What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15
Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
16
How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
17
I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;
18
Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
19
Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
20
The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.
21
A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.
22
He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
23
He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
24
Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.
25
For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.
26
He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:
27
Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.
28
And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
29
He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
30
He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
31
Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
32
It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
33
He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.
34
For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.
35
They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.




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The New Testament reading is verses 26-40 in the 8th chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
Some things going on, in some very unexpected places and routes, as the Gospel message goes out into all the world.


26
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
27
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35
Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
40
But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.



27 June 2016

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Monday, 27 June 2016

short shrift here, we're about to jump in the car and (hopefully) attend a funeral for a friend of wife's family.  A tough day, and likely to be a long one.

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The Old Testament reading is chapters 10, 11, and 12 of the book of Job.  Tough reading.

1
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
2
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.
3
Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
4
Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?
5
Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days,
6
That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?
7
Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
8
Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.
9
Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
10
Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
11
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
12
Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
13
And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.
14
If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
15
If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
16
For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.
17
Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.
18
Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!
19
I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
20
Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,
21
Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
22
A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.


1
Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
2
Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
3
Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?
4
For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
5
But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;
6
And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
7
Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
8
It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
9
The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.
10
If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?
11
For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
12
For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.
13
If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
14
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
15
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
16
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
17
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
18
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
19
Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.
20
But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.


1
And Job answered and said,
2
No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
3
But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
4
I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
5
He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.
6
The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.
7
But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
9
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?
10
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
11
Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?
12
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
13
With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.
14
Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.
15
Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.
16
With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17
He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.
18
He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.
19
He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.
20
He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.
21
He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.
22
He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.
23
He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.
24
He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.
25
They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.




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The New Testament reading is verses 1-25 of Acts chapter 8


1
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2
And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8
And there was great joy in that city.
9
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10
To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
11
And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17
Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19
Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23
For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24
Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the LORD for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25
And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.



26 June 2016

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Sunday, 26 June 2016

Last Sunday in June.  We had a substitute preacher / teacher in church this morning, our pastor and wife have taken a week off.  I think they both needed it. 
The week to come will be a bit haphazard -- wife's foster sister's natural brother died suddenly this last week.  He had never been in good health, never since birth, but this was sudden and hard on people.  He was "only" 50, which sounds younger all the time, and his mother is still living, as is his sister.  She flew in from Florida on Friday, hadn't been up in these parts for a number of years (for which I don't blame her), and will be flying back the day after the funeral, or so I gather.  She may only get to see Dear Wife at the funeral, which is not ideal but it's what it is.  So a tough week behind us and another before us.

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The Old Testament reading is chapters 7, 8, and 9 of Job.  Also a tough scene.  We all go through some.  If you haven't, just wait, you will.


1
Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?
2
As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:
3
So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.
4
When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.
5
My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.
6
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.
7
O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.
8
The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.
9
As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
10
He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.
11
Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12
Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?
13
When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaints;
14
Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
15
So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
16
I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.
17
What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
18
And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?
19
How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
20
I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
21
And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.


1
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
2
How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?
3
Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?
4
If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;
5
If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;
6
If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
7
Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.
8
For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:
9
(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)
10
Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?
11
Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?
12
Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.
13
So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:
14
Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.
15
He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.
16
He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.
17
His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.
18
If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.
19
Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.
20
Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:
21
Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.
22
They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.


1
Then Job answered and said,
2
I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?
3
If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.
4
He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
5
Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.
6
Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.
7
Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
8
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
9
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
10
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
11
Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
12
Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?
13
If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
14
How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?
15
Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.
16
If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
17
For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
18
He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
19
If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
20
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
21
Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
22
This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.
23
If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.
24
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?
25
Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
26
They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
27
If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:
28
I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.
29
If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?
30
If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
31
Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.
32
For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.
33
Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.
34
Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:
35
Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.




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The New Testament passage is verses 44-60 from the Acts.  Stephen, the first-named deacon, is speaking.  Not a very receptive audience to say the least.  But he was faithful to the very end.  May we do as well.


44
Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
45
Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
46
Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
47
But Solomon built him an house.
48
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50
Hath not my hand made all these things?
51
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53
Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
54
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
59
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.



21 June 2016

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Up early this morning, had to get Dear Wife off to the trek across the back yard to "watch" the great-niece.  She needed to be over there by 07:00, which meant up and showered and dressed and fed and off.  Then I had to water the garden(s) we have: niece has one, we have a smaller one.  We  had been promised, warned even, of a big storm that would have its Phase One arrive around 8 p.m. last night.  Never did.  Then Phase Two, which was pushed back from 10 p.m. to 11 to midnight to 01:00.  So far as I can tell, it never did arrive.  I had planned to water the plants but if the rain came, saves the trouble.  Didn't happen, so I had to.  Beans OK, one tomato plant has a bunch of pea-sized baby tomatoes beginning, and one pepper plant has a baby pepper.  They can't recall what that plant is, but what we see developing is green.  May or may not be one that turns red.  Anyway, the potatoes are not showing a all.  Zucchini is ok.  We have half a dozen cucumber plants showing life, though I'd planted twice that many seeds.  And three of the dill, though I'd planted about a dozen.  We shall see, I guess.

Went to the Big Box store this morning, needed dry cat food and some heartburn over-the-counter stuff.  Went by the ATM and got the cash out that we pay to rent this place from niece, a good deal for both, actually.  Back home, did some stuff around here.  Started load of laundry, had some non-cooperation from the washing machine, so THAT might become the Next Big Problem.  It just never ends.

And then got a reminder call of a doctor appointment in the morning, one we'd forgotten.  We had to tell them to cancel and we'll call later to reschedule.  Fact is, we don't have the funds for the co-pay.  (thanks for nothing, Obamacare).

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The Old Testament passage today is chapters 1, 2, and 3 from the book of Esther.  Esther, sometimes called Hadassah, is one of those unlikely people who turns out to be the right person in the right place at the right time.  You couldn't choreograph that, it wouldn't pass the editor's pen in a mystery novel.  Except that it's true and through her, the Lord did something marvelous. And the Jews celebrate that memory every year, at Purim  That celebration took place beginning the evening of March 23 and ended the evening of March 24, 2016.  It's a good thing to remember these great things that the Lord has done.
The Persian king reference here is generally considered to be identical to Xerxes.  The capitol city in which this takes place is considred to be the same as modern-day Shush, in western Iran, or adjacent to it.  The river Karkeh runs beside it, on its way to the Persian Gufl.


1
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
2
That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
3
In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:
4
When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.
5
And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;
6
Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.
7
And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.
8
And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.
9
Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.
10
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,
11
To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.
12
But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.
13
Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment:
14
And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;)
15
What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?
16
And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.
17
For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.
18
Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.
19
If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.
20
And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small.
21
And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:
22
For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people.


1
After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
2
Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:
3
And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
4
And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
5
Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
6
Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
7
And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
8
So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9
And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.
10
Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.
11
And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
12
Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)
13
Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.
14
In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.
15
Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
16
So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18
Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
19
And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.
20
Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
21
In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.
22
And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.
23
And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.


1
After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
2
And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
3
Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?
4
Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
5
And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
6
And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
7
In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
8
And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
9
If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
10
And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews' enemy.
11
And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.
12
Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
13
And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
14
The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.
15
The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.




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The New Testament reading is verses 1-16 of Acts chapter 5.  All was not sweetness and light, not even in the church.  Some things haven't changed, have they?  But great things were happening, nonetheless.

1
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4
Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6
And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8
And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9
Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11
And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
12
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
13
And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
14
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
15
Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16
There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.