Several days ago, I woke to temperatures down in the 40's. Today, we hit about 88. In a few days, the predicted "high" will be 72 degrees. After that, in the upper 80's for a while. Never a dull moment. Expecting storms for the next two days also. The all-wise weathercasters told us, just a few months ago, that this area should expect MUCH warmer than normal temperatures and almost no rain. So far, their august prognostications have been, well, less than correct. To say the least. For this we are paying high taxes???
We have now two weeks before my retirement check hits. We have $20 and change to last. About 3 eggs and 10 slices of bread. 20 pounds of rice though. And so, we'll get by. Not by much, but by the grace of God, we will get through. I have a meeting Saturday noon with the head of a locally-based international missions organization. Perhaps it will be a useful meeting, but we shall see.
And I am reminded that today is my "little brother" (ok, he's the middle one, I'm the oldest), but it's his birthday. Number 61. He was quite ill as a child, seems to have come through it and made a life for himself, been at the same job for more than 20 years now. Needed to: his ex-wife stayed with him until the last kid from her first marriage was out of school, then she filed for divorce and she took him for everything. A couple of the kids stay in touch with him, they're fonder of him, their long-term step-dad than they are of their mother. An awful situation, but brother seems to handle it, better than I could.
The Old Testament reading is chapters 33 and 34 from the book of Job.
Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.
Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
Therefore hearken unto me ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.
In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:
So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.
Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.
The New Testament reading is verses 24-52 in chapter 13 of the Acts.
When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
But God raised him from the dead:
And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.