07 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 07 January 2017

Was awakened this morning by the plaintive howls of three cats who were certain of imminent starvation if someone, meaning Yours Truly, did not immediately arouse himself and provide canned food.  This was, mercifully, at around 06:20, not the 04:55 as has sometimes been the case.  So I did get a bit of needed rest, before walking on bare feet over a cold floor to Do The Deed.  Noting, throughout, that the bowl of rather expen$ive dry food that I'd put out before retiring was little disturbed.  Whatever.  Came back, tried to rest a bit more in a concession to the toasty warm +2° F.  Not sloth, surely not.  And Dear Wife was, finally, sleeping soundly, and has told me that my body gives off a LOT of heat which keeps her warm and is a bit of a comfort too.  As it is for me.  So I stared at the ceiling, read the passages copied below, counted some blessings, and thought of the state of the world and the people within it.  NONE of which is conducive to sleeping in, so I arose and "nuked" a cup of coffee left over from yesterday.
She's up now, and we have something in the oven for a brunch.  Cats have taken over the bed:  they mostly lie on it all day, until they want our chairs in the evening and fret  until we go to bed.  In the morning, after breakfast, they want the bed back, and "encourage" us to rise and be about our business.  It is sometimes said that, "dogs have owners.  Cats have staff".  Which is probably both true and an indication of the relative power structure here.

We see some interesting things out of mass murder at the Orlando Airport yesterday.  "interesting".

Like, for example, that CNN, wobbling between the "Communist News Network" / the "Clinton News Network" / and the "Crappy News Network", has put out photos of the shooter that have been photoshopped to make this person of Puerto Rican origins appear to be much "whiter" than he really is, therefore lending credence to the usual "white Hispanic" lines they  push.  A bit of editorial propagandizing, in other words, which is the new normal for the Fake Stream Media.
Or the reports that there are photos of him wearing a keffiyeh in a design and pattern suitable for members of ISIS, the army of the "Religion of Pieces", and that he'd been claiming some sort of leanings in that direction.  Reports, by the way, that the Fake Stream Media have been "sitting" on.
Or that the FBI was supposedly "aware" of this guy, but chose to do nothing about it.
Or the like.
Perhaps it's "jihad comes to America", except that jihad has been in America at least since the time of the FIRST bombing of the World Trade Center, back in 1993. when Clinton, the Rapist-in-Chief, was running things.  With many attacks since then, all of them hurriedly reclassified as things like "workplace violence" or "attacks on the LGBTQWERTY community" or the like.
Trust.  It's an important thing.  Hard to gain, easy to lose, nearly impossible to regain.  Trust.  I don't, and no one should, trust the media at all.  Not one bit.  And the same is true of the once-honored tax-funded agencies that are tasked with the protection of the nation.  Like the FBI.  Like the CIA.  Like the NSA.  Like ICE.  Like TSA.  Like IRS.  Like DOD.  Like DIA.  Like DOJ.  Like HSA.  Like ........  too many others.
It's not just another case of the "who will watch the watchers?" issue, a question that dates back to the Roman poet Juvenal around the 1st century.  It's more like the "what is truth?" question/sneer that we associate with Pilate.  Increasingly, "truth" is redefined as being "whatever the powerful, the in-crowd, the politically correct-politically connected say it is".  So it is perfectly OK, indeed nearly required, to ensure that the REAL enemies of All That Is Good are understood to be white Christian males without degrees in Wymyn's Studies or Gender Grievances.  Deviations are either to be ignored or punished as Hate Speech.  Which is one thing on the 4th grade playground, something very different when it is mandated in the elementary school classrooms, the TV news studio, the Congress, the White House, the United Nations, or, sadly, in more than a few pulpits.  Need examples?
Richard Fernandez, a columnist always worth the read, gets into this and related matters, particularly in his most recent,   Fernandez, by the way, has had some practical personal experience in some things, having originated in the Philippines.

I'll try to pry the semi-frozen door open in a bit and check things out.  Perhaps some mail went.


Today's Old Testament reading is chapters 18 and 19 of the Genesis.
This will contain the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which most of us know.  The nature of the wicked behavior in those towns that earned this destruction has, particularly in recent years, become a matter of some controversy.  At one time, certainly in my younger days, it was understood and agreed that it was male-on-male homosexual practices, hence the word "sodomy".  As that particular sin is being "decriminalized" in many places, sadly in more than a few church denominations, there's been a concerted effort to redefine the sin as being one of "lacking hospitality" or "discrimination against migrants" or the like.
Also rarely remarked upon, and certainly NEVER in my youth, is the mention of the later conduct of Lot and his daughters.  Having just been rescued by angels! from the destruction, they took him aside, got  him drunk, and committed incest with him!  Perhaps that had been part of the permissive culture of Sodom, I don't know.  But the outcome of that behavior was the origins of two nation/tribes that would long trouble the Hebrews: the Amorites and the Moabites.  Bad things normally result from bad conduct, and bad conduct from bad beliefs and attitudes.  Just another example.  Most of us can think of more.

Genesis 18
1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My LORD, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Genesis 19
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. 30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

incidentally, the town named Zoar here, still exists under the name of "Zoara" and is one the so-called "East Bank" of the Jordan River, southeast of Aqaba, in an area where the nations of Jordan and of Saudi-infested Arabia collide.


Our New Testament reading is chapter 6 of the Gospel of Matthew.  This continues Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount", part of the whole, and something fit for consideration every day.  These are not "handy suggestions for personal fulfillment", they are His commands as well.  And a key to the kind of people that we should, with God's moment-by-moment help, aiming to become.

Matthew 6
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  

9 After this manner therefore pray ye:  
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 
11 Give us this day our daily bread.  
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.  
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

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