30 June 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Friday, 30 June 2017

Very last hours of June, and they are slipping away.  June, and the first half of the year, near enough.  And entering the last of the months with short names.  I realize it's weird, probably, but I do not like and have never liked the months with long names.  The names that end in -ber (reminds me of "brrrr") or -ary.   Just don't.  Probably never will.  Don't like March much either.  I'm a Spring person, and always will be, even now in the autumn of my life.  Not much to harvest, which is a bitterness and a reproach on me and a generally wasted life.  But I still have it, life, for a while at least.

Wife made the phone calls looking for a decent-at-low-cost dental surgeon.  About three years ago, right after her Disability FINALLY kicked in, she was to a dental surgeon who removed almost all of her teeth in both jaws, leaving five in the lower jaw, front.  One -- at least -- is bad and Must come out.  Now we wish we'd had all of them out back then, we'd not have this issue now.  But we didn't know that at the time.
She was, finally, able to find the oral surgeon who was both on our insurance plan AND had an opening before September.  It is, in fact, the same one who did her work back in 2014.  As a "returning patient', she did/does have a bit of an "in".  So, they got a spot for us.  July 18th.  NOT exactly "today", but certainly an improvement over September.  So we have that on the schedule.
Bad thing, is that we were scheduled to go that very day to our first appointment with what we hope will be our new Primary Care doctor, to succeed the one who scrammed  out of town.  The appointments would have been about 45 minutes apart and 10 miles apart (not counting the delays exacted by traffic signals orchestrated by rabid cockroaches which can confidently be estimated to add roughly 40% to that travel time, and often more).  So we then had to re-schedule the Primary Care visit to later that same week.  So, on Tuesday, the oral surgeon.  On Wednesday, the rheumatologist.  On Friday, the Primary Care.  The following Tuesday, the new enocrinologist.
And I am the chauffeur throughout.  I dearly want to go back to work.  This sort of thing is what prevents it. 

Rain last night, with storms.  Rain today, ditto.  Guess I won't be painting that table outside today after all.  Might be this coming Wednesday before I can.

Two songs of the day, both came to mind during the night and the early pre-dawn hours
Abide With Me. 
Need I say more?  Yes, "I need Thy presence every passing hour" as it says.  Not something we can argue, is it?  Abide with me, no matter what.  As this other version (sorry for the ad at the start) shows on the screen, this was written as the author was dying of tuberculosis, and watching a sunset, not only of the day but of his life on this earth.  This is a song of those who have walked with the Lord and are intimate with him, through it all.
This is, by the way, one of the most loved and best-known hymns.  It was even a favorite of Mahatma Ghandi.  And has been played and sung at quite a few funeral services.


Rock of Ages
 I break a lot of the songs and hymns of the faith into two groups.  The one group is songs about the Lord.  The other is songs and praises TO the Lord.  These two fall primarily in that second group.

Both are, of course, old favorites, the ones that sometimes become part of us, and are there to come to mind when needed.  Both of them, in their own ways, cries of the heart, which is what many of our favorites are.


Our reading from the Old Testament is chapters 19 and 20 of Job.

Job 19
1 Then Job answered and said, 2 How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me. 4 And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. 5 If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach: 6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. 7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. 8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. 9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. 10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. 11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. 12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. 13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. 14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. 15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. 16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. 17 My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. 18 Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. 19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. 20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. 21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. 22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? 23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. 28 But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? 29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Job 20
1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2 Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. 3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer. 4 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, 5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? 6 Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; 7 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? 8 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. 9 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him. 10 His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods. 11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. 12 Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; 13 Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: 14 Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him. 15 He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. 16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him. 17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter. 18 That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein. 19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; 20 Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired. 21 There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods. 22 In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him. 23 When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. 24 He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through. 25 It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him. 26 All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle. 27 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. 28 The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath. 29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.


Our New Testament passage is verses 23-43 in chapter 9 of the Acts of the Apostles.
I've heard TV preachers tell the viewers that a decision for Christ (or at least support of that preacher) will inevitably make  you wealthy and happy and health and all of that.  It's a lie, and has always been a lie.  A "go along to get along" with the world may be many things, but Christianity it's not.
And we do wrong to seek happiness.  JOY is another matter, but one can have joy in the midst of miserable circumstances.

By the way, get into some maps.  These places being named cover quite an area, and travel was by no means fast, easy, or safe.  Tarsus, for example, is now in Turkey, about 24 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.  Lydda is now called Lod, and is about 15 km from Tel Aviv, Israel.  Joppa is a port city in Israel now called Jaffa.
These are places generally reached on foot, over bad roads infested with bandits, and there's no Motel 6 hand, and, as carriers of a foreign and controversial religion, probably wouldn't be lodging overnight in the homes of believers nor of member of far-flung synagogues.  Yet they not only persevered, they grew!

Acts 9:23-43
23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. 26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. 32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord. 36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. 43 And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

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