05 May 2007

Today's Reading Mat

This morning's reading from the Old Testament is from First Kings, chapters 10 and 11. This is more of the account of the reign of King Solomon. Solomon is listed as the wisest man ever. But sometimes I wonder. 700 wives and 300 concubines? This is wisdom? Even I'm smarter (and poorer) than that.

Here is a man to whom the LORD has appeared, twice. Yet what do we see? We see a man amassing gold, in disobedience to the Lord's commands to the contrary. We see a man making alliances with foreign nations, including taking Pharaoh's daughter as wife, in disobedience to the Lord's commands. We see Solomon allowing the worship of false gods, like Chemosh, in Israel, in disobedience to the Lord's commands. In fact, Solomon took part in these rites! By the way, this was not something like a Lutheran going to a Presbyeterian or even a Russian Orthodox church. The sacrifices to some of these demon-gods involved little things like ritual prostitution and human sacrifice.

Nothing good comes from this, and it didn't. The second chapter, and part of the first, get into the process that led to the separation of Judah (under Solomon's descendants) form the other 10 tribes of Israel. Part of that led to what is listed later on as Samaria, a remnant of which still exists.

Sad to watch the debasement of such a great promise.
The evening reading is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verses 1 through 35.
After the storm comes the morning. This is Luke's account of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty. I love this whole passage. There is just so much rich encouragement here, you hardly know where to pick a part. But there is one that hit me again this morning as it always does, though it seems to conflict a bit with the Solomon account earlier.

2 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

When you meet the Lord, when He speaks to you, it should 'make your heart burn within'. Absolutely. Some of us have had the great good fortune to experience this, and it is worth more than pearls and gold. And here is the conflict: Solomon had the enormous good fortune to have had the LORD appear to him, twice! Yet he followed after strange women and sacrificed to idols. No matter how the Lord has graced us, we still go astray - I certainly have. The issue is how to hold on to the realization of the Lord's presence the day after, and the day after that, every moment.

04 May 2007

Today's Reading May 04

Firstly, I am remiss in not making mention yesterday of the annual event known as the National Day of Prayer. That was my failure. While indeed we all ought to pray without ceasing, it's not a bad idea to make this an annual observance as an encouragement and as a reminder. I really think that nothing good comes without prayer and I have seen prayer work miracles in people's lives.
Today's Old Testament reading continues in First Kings, chapters 8 and 9. This is first of all about the dedication of the Temple that Solomon has had built. Good stuff in here, I do wish I'd been there.

8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Must have been something!
Much here also about the prayers offered that day.
Chapter 9 deals with some other issues Solomon had going. I'm not convinced that all of them served as proof of his wisdom.

The evening New Testament portion continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 23, verses 39 through 56. The final stage of the crucifixion. This includes the marvellous account of the thief on the cross. Even at the end of life, there is hope for those who call upon Him.

03 May 2007

Today's Reading May 03

As we continue the journey
By the way, have you noticed how far we've come in only a few months, with just a few minutes' reading each day?
This morning's passage from the Old Testament continue in the book of First Kings, chapters 6 and 7. Solomon is at last building the Temple in Jerusalem, what we refer to as the First Temple. There is quite a lot of detail here, and since the Temple is believed to be a representation of Heaven, there is significance to everything. I don't understand all of it, and on this side of Glory it's possible that I never will. But I know that the details are important, because God ordained them.
A great section is in the middle of it all:

11 And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying,
12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:
13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.

The evening's reading is from the Gospel of Luke chapter 23, verses 27 through 38
This is not easy reading, this is Luke's account of the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior. I never take it lightly and no one should. This is the most important period in all history. Without the Cross, we have nothing but dust and ashes. Without the Cross, there is no Atonement and no Resurrection either.

02 May 2007

Today's Reading May 02

Continuing in the Old Testament, today's passage comes from First Kings, chapters 3,4, and 5. Solomon is king now, and the results are both good and bad.
Bad - he is buddies with Pharoah of Egypt and marries one of his daughters. Bad move.
Good - he is visited by the Lord, and granted great wisdom.


New Testament portion, Luke chapter 23 verses 1 through 26 . The Romans sentence Jesus

01 May 2007

Today's Reading May 01

This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, comes from First Kings, chapters 1 and 2. Samuel has died, and David is at the end of his life. Now come the succession issues. Having multiple wives and therefore a multiplcity of claimants for the throne has never been a good thing, and here you see some of the reasons why it is not a good thing. Solomon wins out. As per David, some old scores are settled very early in his reign, others take a little while.
The evening reading comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verses 54 through 71.
Jesus has been arrested in the garden, everyone fled. And at the house of the high pries, Peter denies Christ, 3 times.

60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Verse 62 always gets me. I too have denied the Lord, yet He has forgiven me. I take it personally.

30 April 2007

GOP Straw Poll

My conservative preferences are no secret. Here is a straw poll making the rounds.
I will make no secret of the fact that I regard Giuliani, McCain, and Pataki as being utterly unacceptable. I would go so far as to say that I will actively oppose Mr. Giuliani, no matter who his opponent might be. Your mileage may vary.

Today's Reading April 30

Today is the last day of April. I hope that things are good wherever you are.
It is also, as we continue our journey through the Bible, the final reading out of 2nd Samuel. We're looking today at 2nd Samuel, chapters 23 and 24.

Chapter 23 is largely a retrospective, and it give the names and a few details of a group of David's close companions in warfare, the three mighty men, and the thirty. I haven't studied these individuals, I don't know whether or not they left a good legacy of faith for their descendants. I know that they were there for David when he needed them, and that some 3000 years or so later we still can read their names. Sometimes the good we do dies with us and is soon forgotten. What we do for God is not forgotten, and He knows our names.

Chapter 24 starts with a plague against Israel as a result of David's sin. The effects on others that result from our personal sin is a very large subject. But the plague ends at a particular place, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (resident of Jerusalem). That floor, that VERY place, became the location of the Temple in Jerusalem. And that very place remains the holiest spot in the world for the Jews and the war over its control remains a very great part of the war between the Jews and the Islamo-heathens. But - and note this - David acquired that ground for a price. As he wisely said, ''Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.''


The evening's reading from the New Testament continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verses 31 through 53. For those who saw ''The Passion of the Christ'', the narrative follows the movie pretty well, and the movie brought the reality to home perhaps so clearly that it makes us uncomfortable (as it should). The account begins with Jesus warning Peter that he will deny Christ that very night. It goes on to the Garden, the betrayal by Judas, and the taking of Jesus by the Temple soldiers.

Tough reading.

29 April 2007

Today's Reading April 29

Sorry for the lateness of the post, it's been an ''interesting'' day already.
The morning reading for today, coming from the Old Testament, is from 2nd Samuel, chapters 21 and 22. This is our next-to-last reading from 2nd Samuel.
These are rather different passages.
Chapter 21 begins with a famine in Israel, and the revelation that it was sent by God, as punishment for Saul's oath-breaking campaign against the Gibeonites. To expiate this, seven of Saul's descendants are handed over the the Gibeonites, who kill them and expose the remains to the elements. I struggle with this section.
Chapter 21 continues with the exploits of David's servants who, having decided that it is too risky for the King to be engaged in personal combat, leave him out of the fray and continue to battle Israel's enemies, many of them Philistines (that hasn't changed) and many of them counted as giants (that hasn't either).

Chapter 22 is altogether different. It is one of the praises for which David is remembered even now. I love it:

... And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
Heb 2:13
I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.
I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.
With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt show thyself upright.
With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself unsavory.
And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.
For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.
For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.
Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.
Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.
Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.
Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.
The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me.
And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.

It just doesn't get much better.

The evening portion from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verses 1 through 30.
We begin Luke's account of the Last Supper, Jesus and His disciples.