21 July 2007

Today's Reading July 21

It is Saturday, around a quarter after 05:00. The house is quiet for a moment, my beloved has had a bad night and has finally fallen back asleep for a while.
This morning's reading is Psalms 34 and 35
Memorable phrases here, and phrases that appear later in the New Testament

11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
1 Pet 3:10
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
1 Pet 3:10
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
1 Pet 3:11
15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
1 Pet 3:12
16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
1 Pet 3:12
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

This evening's reading is chapter 22 of the book of the Acts.
Paul is standing on the steps of the castle in Jerusalem, and speaks to the people, a great crowd. In essence, his speech consists of his own personal testimony, something every one of us should be able to give. His words are listened to, right up to the point that he relates that the Lord has sent him as a missionary to the Gentiles. That was the limit of their patience - they were not prepared to go along with that. And a riot ensues, and now we see the first stages slowly unfolding that will sent Paul to Rome.

20 July 2007

Today's Reading July 20

Good morning and happy Friday to all. It's still dark here at 5:30, but we know the sun is coming.
this morning we get into Psalms 31, 32, and 33
These are great. As you probably know, most of the Psalms - not all - were written down by David. David had a tumultuous life. He spent a good while running from those who would take hia life, he spent a good while in warfare against fierce enemies, he spent a good while as a ruler of a stiff-necked nation, and he spent some time in public and private sin. Yet he came back to the Lord. These psalms often reflect the turmoil and experiences in his own life. When he refers to being surrounded by enemies, it's not an exaggeration: it often happened. And when he speaks of the grace and mercy of the Lord, that is also not an exaggeration. It's a testimony.
We recognize, perhaps, some of the phrases in these Psalms.
From Psalm 33,

2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
0 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.

and all of Psalm 32

Chapter 32
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Rom 4:7
2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Rom 4:8
3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

This evening we turn to Acts, chapter 21, verses 15 through 40.
Paul and company come to Jerusalem, and trouble erupts almost immediately. The city erupts in what sounds like a riot, and soldiers are summoned.
There are those who have a warm and fuzzy idea of the faith, that suddenly everyone is kind and loving, that virtue is rewarded in this life, and that peace will come about. Would that it were so, but that is not what the record indicates. The fact is that the Gospel is controversial. There are a host of reasons for this, true ones. But one is this - that the Lord makes distinctions. He is, in fact, practicing discrimination. That is an emotionally loaded term these days, but in fact it's accurate. God expects some things and forbids others, does not really care what someone's private opinion may be, and is not pleased when we put other gods before Him. Allah is not the Lord Almighty, and saying otherwise won't make it so.
That causes a fuss. It did then, it still does.

19 July 2007

Today's Reading July 19

Today's readings continue as we have been, in the Psalms and in the Acts.
The morning brings us Psalms 28, 29, and 30
These are relatively brief, but with great passages, good things to sing.
from 28, for example

7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

Acts 21, verses 1 through 14
Paul is with his companions going back to Jerusalem, despite the warnings of danger.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

18 July 2007

later -- updated for July 18th

am rushing to airport. Will post later

THAT was a very long day. A 6:10am flight out, two hops, a tag team series of interviews, a quick lunch that was really a panel interview, a recap, a dash to the airport, two more hops, and a drive home. But a safe trip and enjoyable for all of that. Nice people, too.
The readings were good too.
Psalms 25, 26, and 27 and Acts chapter 20, verses 17 through 38.
I regret not having been able to comment on these earlier, this is actually some of my favorite passages.
Psalm 27 in particular has always spoken to me, and is one of my favorites

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

The passage from Acts is Paul showing that he takes his calling seriously and is saying a final farewell (on this earth) to some of the believers
18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
19 Serving the LORD with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

17 July 2007

Today's Reading July 17

Sorry for the lateness of the hour, the day started badly and has gotten no better along the way. And I have an early flight out in the morning and a late flight back. I will be traveling a good bit over the next week as I continue to job-hunt. Please pray for us. This is hard on the family, hard on me, hard on my beloved wife particularly. One of our pastors once referred to me as a Job. I don't know about that - the Bible refers to him as a righteous man and I have far to go in that regard. So pray for us.
The day's Old Testament sections include some of my very favorites from the Psalms, we have today Psalm 22, 23, and 24. The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar passages in all of Scripture, certainly in the Old Testament. Perhaps less familiar are those flanking it. I had the assignment when a much younger person to memorize the 24th Psalm. In that time, in that denomination, memorization of portions of the Bible was just something we did, and I am grateful for it. Those passages have a way of coming to the fore when circumstances are appropriate, but are only in your mind if you put them there and were intentional in doing so. Hence, from Psalm 22:

1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Matt 27:46 Mark 15:34
Sound familiar? as in, the words of Jesus on the cross? or
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Matt 27:35 John 19:24
Enjoy these, they have often been a great comfort to me.
Our New Testament portion is from the Acts, chapter 20, verses 1 through 16. This contains the account that we learned of as kids, Paul preaching and a young man sitting in a high place to hear, falling asleep, falling down to his death. And God, working through the Apostle, brought him back to life.

16 July 2007

And immigration again, legal and illegal

You will go a long time before getting a more cogent exposition of some of the issues than you will get from this at NumbersUSA .
Bluntly, this can't go on without utterly destroying the nation. Some of us might, being suspicious of the motives of certain public officials, believe that to in fact be the objective of the exercise.

Today's Reading July 16

No matter what the day may bring, God is good and I praise His name forever. His presence and His love and mercy are all that have brought me through some very difficult times and for that alone He deserves praise and thanks.

This morning's reading from the Old Testament continues with Psalms 19, 20, and 21.
When I was a young man, up in rural northeast Ohio, the 19th Psalm was one that I chose to memorize - something strongly encouraged in that tradition. I've been grateful for that, because this is one of those passages that have helped me. Perhaps it, or one like it, is an encouragement to you as well. These Psalms are often intensely personal: they were personal to the writer and some of us hold on to one or more of them as personal to our life. This is one of them for me.

Chapter 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Rom 10:18
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

The day's New Testament passage is Acts, chapter 19, verses 21 through 41.
Paul and his companions have been in Ephesus preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. And he encounters opposition. We get upset when that happens, but in fact it is part of a very old tradition. If the world crucified Jesus, what makes us to think His followers will be received any better? Indeed, it is a testimony to God's provision that such is not more frequent and more violent. Then, as now, the Gospel turns the town upside down.

15 July 2007

Today's Reading July 15

Another late start, for which I will apologize.
And I will begin with a few prayer requests.
This morning the pastor of our little church announced his resignation, leaving both his bi-vocational position and his ''day job'' with a local organization. We wish him and the family well, and also seek God's providence as we seek the man God has in mind for us. This was a very emotional moment for all, as some of you know from your own experiences.
I also request prayer. I have now been unemployed for about two months and things are not good. I have gone on several interviews but still have no clue whatever what God has for us, or where, or when. But I need to be working very soon as things are not good financially.

The day's portion from the Old Testament are Psalms 17 and 18.
Great stuff here, a lot of books, songs, sermons, encouragement have come from these. For example, from Psalm 18

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

36 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

Praise the Lord. He deserves it.

- - -
Acts chapter 19, verses 1 through 20
More adventures as the Good News is preached abroad.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve.
8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

And the result is well summed up in verse 20
20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

And that is still true today.