17 December 2016

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 17 December 2016

Happy Saturday to all.
Hard to believe that in just two weeks, we'll be looking across a narrowing divide between two years.  Christmas (in the Western tradition at least) will be in just a week from tomorrow.  Where has the time gone?  I can not honestly that I've spent much of it very well, which is a heavy burden on me.

Dear Wife is across the back yard, at niece's place.  Today is the Great Occasion of The Year, as Wife's namesake great-niece has her 4th birthday, and party, today.  So the ladies are over there putting sugary frostings on cakes and cupcakes and all sorts of stuff that will get all the kids "sugared up" and hyperactive and all which that entails.  Such fun!  (I guess).

Ever have a song running through your head as you are in that in-between time between sleep and waking, or even, as in this case, in those "light" sleep periods during the night?  I have that, more often these days than once was the case.  Not every night, but last night surely, and the night before.  Don't know what it means, not for sure.  But it is interesting and grabs your attention, and perhaps help sets the mood for the day.  Not a bad way to start, I think.  Here is the one that had a hold on to my attention, a version of "I Will Sing of my Redeemer".  A good attitude and intent to carry through the day, and the year for that matter.  And it's one of those "I wish I could have been there" moments.  It's an appropriate testimony, an appropriate response to what He has done and is continuing to do.  Focusing on Him rather on the all-too-frequently lousy circumstances is the right thing to do.

And there was a second song that came in behind it.  Means a lot to me, personally: they both do.  Some may know the name of JD Sumner, he had one of the deepest bass voices that I know of, and bass voices resonate with me.  Mine is also in that range though not --quite -- as low as JD's.  His son, Donnie, also sings in that general range, certainly not a tenor.  This song, "The Anchor Holds" has quite a story behind it, being borne out of some tough times of the writer, Lawrence Chewning.  Ray Bolz popularized it, but others have brought it to us.  I like Donnie's version, and it also reminds me of some things that I've gone through, somehow, and others that I'm in the midst of.  Yes, the anchor holds in spite of the storm, as we face the raging seas.  Been there.  AM there.  So is He.  Perhaps you are as well.


The reading for today from the Old Testament is the short book of Obadiah.

Obadiah 1
1 The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. 2 Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. 3 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? 4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. 5 If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? 6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up! 7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; that they eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. 8 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? 9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. 11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them. 12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress. 15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. 19 And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. 21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.


The New Testament reading is chapter 8 of the Revelation.  Some may be familiar with this, it's one of those many passages in the Revelation that speaks of judgement and woe to come.

Revelation 8
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

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