11 May 2007

Today May 11

We are so grateful for the prayers, financial support, and many expressions of kindness we have been receiving during our current struggles. As some may be aware, Sunday has been designated as Mother's Day. We will, however, be spending tomorrow, the day before, in funeral services for my mother in law, who passed away this week. This has led to a road trip of nearly 2000 miles, just six weeks after we buried my mother, and two weeks after my job was eliminated. It has not been a great couple of months for us.
Please keep us in prayer as we go through this process and then head back home so that my beloved can be at work Monday morning.

09 May 2007

Slight update and such

Posting will be light for the next few days. As I posted earlier, my wife's mother passed away this morning. In the early morning hours we will be undertaking another 2000-mile trip by car. Burying your mother on the day before Mother's Day is a very tough thing to have to do, but that is what faces us. Doing so a mere 6 weeks after MY mother's funeral makes it no better. Doing so in the midst of our economic catastrophe does not make things any better. We borrowed some money from the church tonight to pay for gasoline etc., or we could not make the trip and it will be a tight issue even then. The church's generosity and love just choked me up. I can not express my thanks adequately.

Pray for us, please. We've had a very bumpy road. God is still in this, somehow, which means a lot. But it's still bumpy.

Today's Reading May 09

This morning's reading from the Old Testament continues in First Kings, chapters 19 and 20. This is depressing, at least to me. We begin with more of the Elijah vs. Jezebel and Ahab row. Jezebel is seeking Elijah's life after he slaughtered the Baal prophets at the Kishon, and he's running for his life. The chapter ends with his commissioning of Elisha as his successor. Chapter 20 is more of the account of Ahab and his fights with the Syrians (yes, that's a very old war and it continues even today). From the outward signs, Israel has become just another kingdom in the area. While Ahab was by all accounts remarkably wicket, that would make him fit in well with the other kings in the area, he'd be just like everyone else. That too is an old problem.
The evening reading is from the Gospel of John, chapter 2. It begins with Jesus' first recorded miracle, the changing of the water into wine. This an episode that has drawn much commentary and I'll remain silent on the subject of whether the wine was actually wine or just unfermented grape juice. But I suspect it was wine. The chapter then records Jesus driving the moneychangers and vendors out of the Temple area.

Today May 09

Today is a tough one.
We have just a short while ago received word that my mother-in-law has passed away. Since my mother passed away just 6 weeks ago, this is a double blow. What makes it even more difficult are some things that come with it
- my job was eliminated about 10 days ago and we were already in a financial bind. We do not have the money to make another 2000=mile trip for another funeral
- my daughter was able to accompany us last time as her home was on the way. But she moved since then and her new home is about a 500-mile detour. And the job she was promised as part of the move did not materialize, so she has no traveling money either.
- Rhoda, my mother-in-law had never given any evidence of a real Christian relationship. She was at best a nominal Episcopalian but hadn't darkened the door of a church in at least 15 years and very little before then. So that's an issue.

08 May 2007

Today's Reading May 08

Good morning and Happy Tuesday.
This morning's reading from the Old Testament is from First Kings chapters 16, 17, and 18
More of the decline of the divided kingdom. We do see here the beginnings of Samaria, from whence came later the references to the Samaritans. (by the way, there is a small remnant of them even today).
And yet, and yet .... yes there was great evil. The story of Ahab and Jezebel is in this section. But so is Elijah, to my mind the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. God sent him because, even in their wickedness, God had not forgotten His people. If you ever have the chance, you really need to study Ray Vanderlaan's ''That the World May Know'' (though I think it's now retitled as ''Faith Lessons'') series on video, with particular attention to the Elijah story - it used to be in the section entitled ''Who is God?''. I recommend it highly and dearly wish I could have been part of that effort.
I have to say that the evil described in the passage is little different from what exists in our world today.
This evening's reading comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 29 through 51.
This is great stuff, and begins very well in verse 29. John is preaching and teaching by the sea, and, seeing Jesus, proclaims

''...Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.''

and continuing on to verse 34, says
''34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.''

and much more.
All the Bible is important, but I'll admit that some sections just hit me more than others do. These passages, this Gospel, hit me hard. And should. Every time I hear and read this section, I'm reminded of a favorite song, ''Behold the Lamb'' which I believe was originally done by Dottie Rambo. If you have ever had the chance to sing it as part of a group, you will understand the impact that it has.

07 May 2007

Today's Reading May 07

Happy Monday to all.
This morning's reading continues in First Kings, chapters 14 and 15.
Things are going downhill with few interruptions (like Asa) as succeeding generations seem determined to be more wicked than the generation before.
This is sad reading. When you think back to the time of the Exodus, the release from bondage in Egypt, through all the history of the people back to Abraham, and see what has gone on, one just shakes his head in disbelief.
Until we look around us. Or, worse, look in the mirror.
I am not a hyper-Calvinist. But the doctrine of Total Depravity is one that proves itself without recourse to complex exegesis. It is all too clearly the human characteristic that we least like to admit to while it shows itself on every corner.
This evening's reading begins the Gospel of John. We begin in chapter 1, verses 1 through 28. This is some fairly familiar Scripture, but I urge readers to to skim past on the run. I get something more out of it every time.

06 May 2007

Today's Reading May 06

Good morning!
This morning's Old Testament reading comes to us from First Kings, chapters 12 and 13.
Solomon has died and now the trouble really comes. Rehoboam, his son, has come to sit on the throne. His attitude, and the attitude of his cronies, result in the split of the kingdom into Judah and the other 10 tribes uniting as Israel. And nothing good comes of this - we see idol worship set up almost immediately. And a prophet sent by God as a warning fails to fully carry out his mission and dies as a result.

This evening's reading from the New Testament, is the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, verses 36 through 53. This completes the Gospel of Luke. The passage takes up from yesterday. The apostles who encountered the risen Christ along the road have gotten up and gone back to Jerusalem as fast as they could. Who would not? Such an amazing and wonderful story, such good news, needs to be shared. And, right in the middle of sharing this good news, this Gospel if you will, there was Jesus right in the middle of them. He still is at such times, by the way, even if not visible. The chapter ends with Jesus' ascension into Heaven.
But He's coming back!