28 April 2007

Today's Reading April 28

The morning's reading from the Old Testament, is 2nd Samuel, chapters 19 and 20. This finishes the immediate aftermath of the Absalom rebellion, but goes on to relate the aftershocks and other rebellions. It begins with David mourning his son. One should mourn his son and I understand that, but David helped to create the problem in the first place and his subjects rightly felt that he would have gladly traded Absalom's life for the lives of his faithful servants and all their families. Which led to further problems.

Yet it is not possible to be sympathetic to
2 And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.

The evening reading is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 21, verses 20 through 38. This is Jesus continuing to speak on end times matters. We do well to study it.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Hosea 9:7

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Dan 7:13 Matt 24:30 Mark 13:26
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

I am not one of those who sees the end of the age with every earthquake. I have not forgotten that the woman who was to sing at our wedding in 1988 did not show up. She was involved in one of those tiny cults that had calculated that the day of the Rapture was the same day as the wedding, so she stayed home to pack or something. (true story). But while I recognize that ''no man knows the day or the hour'', events do seem to be moving towards some sort of finality. I have believed my entire life that I will see The Day. I believe it now, though I could not tell you why. And may well be wrong.

27 April 2007

Today's Reading April 27

Good morning.
This morning's reading in our through-the-Bible-in-a-year path, from the Old Testament is Second Samuel chapters 17 and 18. The struggle between David the king, and Absalom, his own son who sought to kill his father and seize the crown, reaches the end. Absalom dies. His father mourns him.
One translation of the name of Absalom is ''father of peace''. Well, we all want good things for our children, and perhaps the names we give them are indicative of our hopes for them. This one went wrong, real wrong. It is not possible to excuse his actions. But David his father bore some guilt. Plural marriages were part of the problem. Whether that is the displayed as the ''serial monogamy'' of our own time, which leads to ''blended families'' and similar problems, or the polygamy we see in the failed societies of the Islamic heathens, nothing good comes of it. David's refusal to take seriously the issues of his other children also was part of the problem. Sound familiar? Finally, patricide, matricide, fratricide, etc. are and have long been part of mideastern ''culture''. Some of the ''celebrate diversity!'' flaks really ought to be aware of this.
At any rate, a fight took place that should never have happened and there was a lot of ''collateral damage'' landing on those who had no guilt in the matter. That often happens, by the way. The ''it's my life!'' folks never seem to own up to that.


This evening's reading, from the New Testament, comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 21, verses 1 through 19. Luke's Gospel always seems to be packed full of good stuff, and this passage is no different, and contains a few things we often overlook.
Verses 1 through 4 recount in a few words the offering of the widow's mite in the Temple. Jesus saw her acts, and her heart. The Lord still does, by the way. Something for us all to consider. More than 2000 years later, her act is still celebrated. The money was not the issue, her heart was.
Verses 5 through 19 get into a teaching moment on future cataclysmic events. There is here no polite easy path predicted.

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.

And, yet, I nearly overlooked verse 19:
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

Hang on, hold fast. It ain't over yet. See past the moment to the reality. God is still in control. Lean on him. Good words.

26 April 2007

Further bleg

I ask that the family and I be in your prayers. It appears certain that my position with my current employer is ending. We have endured so much over the last years - plant closings, buyouts, mergers, downsizings, etc. Since 1992, we have moved across state lines four times and have endured terrible privations. And I'm considered to be a valued professional, respected and accomplished in the area of manufacturing engineering. Perhaps I would have done better to train as a machinist or plumber - such people are in high demand. Which is not always the case with those of us in the so-called ''STEM'' areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

While I believe in the sovereignty and presence of Almighty God in the world, and I know that He not only cares for us but knew long ago that this would be our lot, I confess to a hope that we might achieve a less tumultuous life - something we've never had. I'm getting tired of job hunting and relocations.

Well, it is official. I have now rejoined the ranks of the unemployed. This is not what I hoped to be reporting at this stage in my life, but that's the reality of the matter.
Having said all of that, I am aware that God knew a million or so years ago that this would happen. And He sent me into this situation knowing that. He has always been faithful, despite having pretty poor stock to work with.
If you happen to be surfing around on the 'Net, you might want to check out a piece of music I'm listening to right now, created by Mike Speck of the Specks, called '' Till the Storm Passes By''. URL is http://www.mikespeckministries.com/MP3/Till%20The%20Storm%20Passes%20By.mp3
It expresses the moment pretty well. I was privileged a few years ago to be a member of a backup choral group for one of the Speck's performances in Tennessee. They have a powerful message.

Today's Reading April 26

This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, comes from Second Samuel, chapters 15 and 16.
This is another segment in the account of David's son, Absolom, who is attempting to take the kingship away from his father. It is not a pleasant account. David allowed the situation to develop in his own family and did not deal with it when he might have, and didn't set a particularly good example himself. The passage for today concludes with Absolom raping his father's concubines in a more-or-less public spectacle. One might note, of course, that David might have been wiser not to HAVE concubines. And having multiple wives led to a pack of half-brothers and half-sisters, which developed into the situation you see here. Yet the concubines were not guilty here, it's likely that they had no influence in their situation. Yet David's failures hurt them as well.

The evening's reading comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 20, verses 27 through 47.
Jesus is contending with the Sadducees on the issue of resurrection.

25 April 2007

A Personal Bleg

I was officially/unofficially advised yesterday that my relations with my current employer are about to cease, probably today. I will not go into the internal dynamics of the organization or detail in any other way what's really leading to all of this, but I can honestly say I've done my very best for the organization and wish it well. There are some good people there and some good products, but I have not been able to find a way to make the kind of improvements that they said they wanted while at the same time not making any changes, something they have an institutional resistance to. Attempts to do so have evidently stepped on some toes.

However, I will be job hunting starting now. After 20-some years in a variety of positions that essentially mean engineering activities in support of manufacturing, I am looking at alternatives. Any suggestions or recommendations are welcome and invited.

Today April 25

This morning's reading from the Old Testament comes out of Second Samuel, chapters 13 and 14. This gets into the matter of David's son Absolom. When David's daughter is raped by one of her half-brothers and David takes no action, Absolom sets a pattern of taking matters into his own hands. The result is disaster for all, and this section shows only part of it.
This evening's reading from the New Testament is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 20, verses 1 through 26. This passage contains, among other things, the parable of the vineyard, and the memorable verse,

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's

24 April 2007

Today April 24

This is a two item posting. Taking things in reverse order of importance, I am asking for prayers for my family and I. Rumor has unofficially reached me that my employment may be ending soon, perhaps even today. The reasons for this are beyond the scope of this discussion, involving business levels, internal politics, and a host of other factors. This, if true, is something that I can scarcely handle after the events of the last 3 years. Please keep us in prayer.
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, continues in 2nd Samuel, chapters 10, 11, and 12. David defeats the Syrians again (sounds like modern times), sees Bathsheba, arranges the death of Uriah her husband, has a child by her who dies, and then has Solomon by her. And much else besides - this is a passage with a lot in it.
This evening's passage, from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19, verses 29 through 48. Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph, a Palm Sunday record, and throws the moneychangers out of the Temple.

23 April 2007

Today's Reading April 23

Good Monday morning to you.
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, continues in the 2nd Book of Samuel, chapters 4, 5, and 6. These are the accounts of the early part of the reign of David the King. He is denied permission to build a temple, smites the Syrians, and arranges for Jonathons's son to be treated as one of his own.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19, verses 1 through 28. Jesus is approaching Jerusalem as the climax of His ministry approaches. While on the way, He encounters Zaccheus and makes of it a teaching moment. He goes on the teach the parable of the talents.

22 April 2007

Today's Reading April 22

This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, is 2nd Samuel, chapters 4, 5, and 6.
Most of this recounts David's accession to the kingship of all of Israel, the evil things that were done by those attempting to curry favor with him, and ends with the relocation of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. This also contains a short passage that some find controversial:

4 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

For those who are, like myself, of the Southern Baptist persuasion, mention of dancing in a positive light is often viewed as akin to gross sexual immorality. But as David Jeremiah remarked once, ''I've done a very careful word study on this passage. The word means 'danced'.''
Take that for what it's worth.
The evening's reading, from the New Testament, is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, verses 18 through 43.
I love this passage, I really do. It contains two accounts that have spawned numerous sermons, discussions, books, and programs.
The first is of a rich man who comes and asks a very good question
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
(Ex 20:14,13,15,16,12)
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

Even within the church, unfortunately, those with money sometimes are presumed to be somehow more respectable. (and, yes, I've seen the opposite presumption as well. Neither is correct).

The second part here that I really love is
35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Here's what's important. The man cried out to Jesus and would not be silenced. He knew from Whom healing came and NOTHING could keep him silent. How often are we too polite to single-mindedly call out to the Lord in our distress? And how often, when He helps us, do we forget to give thanks?