30 July 2016

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 30 July 2016

This has been, as I've said, a very very hard week.  The daughter of two long-time friends passed away Sunday evening after a very long and difficult illness.  Family is scattered all over, from NE Ohio to Florida, Paris (France, not Texas), New Jersey, northern Pennsylvania, west Tennessee, and perhaps elsewhere as well.  I knew her parents before they knew each other, and, while I'm not technically family, am about as close as you be without the blood connections.  There were and are a lot of pains and strains as is perhaps inevitable in our world.  There is no good way to bury one's child.  Thank the Lord I've not been faced with that.  Her illness and passing have been a strain.  Now, we go on.

Thursday morning, Wife was heading next door around 06:45 to "watch" the Beloved Great Niece.  I got one of those "get over her right now" messages from her moments later, so I did.  Background:  we live in the Rust Belt.  About 2 years ago, the house on the other side of niece's house burned.  Not to the ground, but heavy structural damage.  The shell still stands, as is too often the case in this area.  Vandals and such have, I'm told, stripped the copper plumbing and wires.  And it's become a lair of chipmunks, raccoons, and feral cats.  So.  Apparently, some of those feral cats seek other night time lairs.  As in, on top of the tires of parked cars.  And niece started up to go to work.  Two young kittens got squashed.  Niece's husband and I got detailed to deal with the squished bodies.  Fortunately, Thursday morning is when the trash is collected here, so the remains were put in used grocery bags, and placed in the trash cans.  Momma cat and 3rd kitten were nowhere around.  Or so we thought.  Yesterday, nephew found the remains of momma cat, who had been mortally wounded and crawled off to the unmowed lawn in front of the burned-out house and died there.  Baby kitten, the 3rd one, appeared by niece's place.  And, this morning, niece came to us.  Neither her existing 3 cats nor her husband are willing to take in the baby.  So, I guess, she's staying here until my sister-in-law bestirs herself to come for it.  The ears are "tipped", which implies a patient of a "spay and release" program.  She's filthy, flea-infested, and starving- just matted fur skin and skeleton.  We've fed her, with some flea killer in the food.  Wife bathed her and clipped some of the matted fur off and given her a good brushing.  We already have two male cats, one fixed, one not, which is three too many for me (a joke, ok?) but what else can we do?  Not that I have a vote.


The Old Testament reading is Psalms 59, 60, and 61

Psalm 59
1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. 2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. 3 For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. 4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. 5 Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah. 6 They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. 7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear? 8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. 9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence. 10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies. 11 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield. 12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak. 13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah. 14 And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. 15 Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied. 16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. 17 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. 

Psalm 60
1 O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again. 2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. 3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. 4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. 5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me. 6 God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. 7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; 8 Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me. 9 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? 10 Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies? 11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. 12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. 

Psalm 61
1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. 5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. 6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations. 7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. 8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.


The New Testament reading is verses 16-31 of Acts 28.
This concludes this year's journey through the Acts.

Acts 28:16-31
16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.  
17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.  
18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.  
19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.  
20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.  
21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.  
22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. 
23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  
24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.  
25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,  
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:  
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  
28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.  
29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.   
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

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