26 June 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Monday, 26 June 2017

Happy Monday! to all.  This is the last Monday in June.  Lord willing, a week from today we will have embarked upon July.  😕  Some may like this.  Wife doesn't, she prefers the cooler weather.  My morose nature causes me to realize that the days are getting progressively, if slowly at first, shorter and shorter, a lousy condition that will extend into late December and the bitter cold of NE Ohio.  But we'll accept it as we have little choice.

She slept pretty well.  And, first thing she did today, while still in bed, was to call the dentist office and advise of the VERY painful boil on her gum by the bad tooth, and to inquire/suggest about different antibiotics to deal with the very obvious infection.  Dentist agreed, and was to call in a  prescription for a more specialized antibiotic to the pharmacy.  So, after eating a bit and getting her situated, I headed out to the pharmacy.  Only to discover that they hadn't gotten around to checking all their voicemails (the dentist office opened before the pharmacy did) so they didn't have it yet.  I waited.  20 minutes later, I was told that they had gotten the message, but only had enough of the drug to partially fill the prescription.  "half a loaf" I thought, and told them to go ahead.  Half an  hour later, they let me know it was ready, two days' worth anyway, and the rest would be delivered to them tomorrow so I have to go back.  So all that is done and I finally made it home.  All of which pretty well ate up the morning.  So much for all of the stuff on my personal "to-do" list. 

But while there and waiting, I was able to use the "Blue Letter Bible" app on my phone, and to read the days' passages in several other versions, in addition to my "normal" KJV and NKJV version, at least one does a better job on today's.

Today's "high" temperature is supposed to be 67°.  Yes.  In the 60's in late June. That is 20° colder than our former home in central Alabama, 14° lower than our former home in East Tennessee, and 20° below our former home in western Arkansas.  Oh, well.


Today's reading in the Old Testament is chapters 7, 8, and 9 of the book of Job.
Lots of us can "identify" with Job.  Most of us have had Bad Things happen with no apparent good reason.  Most of us have looked towards Heaven and cried "WHY?????".  Job was not the last.  So, to an extent, his plight is universal.
But, sadly, many of us, and I include myself, have also been like his "friends".  Full of "wise" words that are both unhelpful and unloving.  Full of .... well, something.  I've been guilty, certainly. 
And it is certainly possible to be both honest and wrong.  Examples are not hard to find.

As noted above, I really think that this passage, at the least, is better rendered in the Holman version than in the KJV, at least so it seems to me.
(by the way, there are some great and free, Bible study links available on-line here).

Job 7 

1 Isn't mankind consigned to forced labor on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired hand?
2 Like a slave he longs for shade; like a hired man he waits for his pay.
3 So I have been made to inherit months of futility, and troubled nights have been assigned to me.
4 When I lie down I think: When will I get up? But the evening drags on endlessly, and I toss and turn until dawn.
5 My flesh is clothed with maggots and encrusted with dirt. My skin forms scabs and then oozes.
6 My days pass more swiftly than a weaver's shuttle; they come to an end without hope.
7 Remember that my life is [but] a breath. My eye will never again see anything good.
8 The eye of anyone who looks on me will no longer see me. Your eyes will look for me, but I will be gone.
9 As a cloud fades away and vanishes, so the one who goes down to Sheol will never rise again.
10 He will never return to his house; his hometown will no longer remember him.
11 Therefore I will not restrain my mouth. I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I the sea or a sea monster, that You keep me under guard?
13 When I say: My bed will comfort me, and my couch will ease my complaint,
14 then You frighten me with dreams, and terrify me with visions,
15 so that I prefer strangling, death rather than life in this body.
16 I give up! I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
17 What is man, that You think so highly of him and pay so much attention to him?
18 You inspect him every morning, and put him to the test every moment.
19 Will You ever look away from me, or leave me alone until I swallow my saliva?
20 [If] I have sinned, what have I done to You, Watcher of mankind? Why have You made me Your target, so that I have become a burden to You?
21 Why not forgive my sin and pardon my transgression? For soon I will lie down in the grave. You will eagerly seek me, but I will be gone.

Job 8

 Bildad Speaks

1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 How long will you go on saying these things? Your words are a blast of wind.
3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 Since your children sinned against Him, He gave them over to their rebellion.
5 But if you earnestly seek God and ask the Almighty for mercy,
6 if you are pure and upright, then He will move even now on your behalf and restore the home where your righteousness dwells.
7 Then, even if your beginnings were modest, your final days will be full of prosperity.
8 For ask the previous generation, and pay attention to what their fathers discovered,
9 since we were [born only] yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not teach you and tell you and speak from their understanding?
11 Does papyrus grow where there is no marsh? Do reeds flourish without water?
12 While still uncut shoots, they would dry up quicker than any [other] plant.
13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God; the hope of the godless will perish.
14 His source of confidence is fragile; what he trusts in is a spider's web.
15 He leans on his web, but it doesn't stand firm. He grabs it, but it does not hold up.
16 He is an amply watered plant in the sunshine; his shoots spread out over his garden.
17 His roots are intertwined around a pile of rocks. He looks for a home among the stones.
18 If he is uprooted from his place, it will deny [knowing] him, saying, "I never saw you."
19 Surely this is the joy of his way of life; yet others will sprout from the dust.
20 Look, God does not reject a person of integrity, and He will not support evildoers.
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with a shout of joy.
22 Your enemies will be clothed with shame; the tent of the wicked will exist no longer.

 Job 9

Job's Reply to Bildad

1 Then Job answered:
2 Yes, I know what you've said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?
3 If one wanted to take Him to court, he could not answer God once in a thousand [times].
4 God is wise and all-powerful. Who has opposed Him and come out unharmed?
5 He removes mountains without their knowledge, overturning them in His anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place so that its pillars tremble.
7 He commands the sun not to shine and seals off the stars.
8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He makes [the stars]: the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern sky.
10 He performs great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.
11 If He passes by me, I wouldn't see Him; [if] He goes right by, I wouldn't recognize Him.
12 If He snatches [something], who can stop Him? Who can ask Him, "What are You doing?"
13 God does not hold back His anger; Rahab's assistants cringe in fear beneath Him!
14 How then can I answer Him or choose my arguments against Him?
15 Even if I were in the right, I could not answer. I could only beg my judge for mercy.
16 If I summoned [Him] and He answered me, I do not believe He would pay attention to what I said.
17 He batters me with a whirlwind and multiplies my wounds without cause.
18 He doesn't let me catch my breath but soaks me with bitter experiences.
19 If it is a matter of strength, look, He is the Mighty One! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?
20 Even if I were in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, my mouth would declare me guilty.
21 Though I am blameless, I no longer care about myself; I renounce my life.
22 It is all the same. Therefore I say, "He destroys both the blameless and the wicked."
23 When disaster brings sudden death, He mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 The earth is handed over to the wicked; He blindfolds its judges. If it isn't He, then who is it?
25 My days fly by faster than a runner; they flee without seeing any good.
26 They sweep by like boats made of papyrus, like an eagle swooping down on [its] prey.
27 If I said, "I will forget my complaint, change my expression, and smile,"
28 I would still live in terror of all my pains. I know You will not acquit me.
29 Since I will be found guilty, why should I labor in vain?
30 If I wash myself with snow, and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 then You dip me in a pit [of mud], and my own clothes despise me!
32 For He is not a man like me, that I can answer Him, that we can take each other to court.
33 There is no one to judge between us, to lay his hand on both of us.
34 Let Him take His rod away from me so His terror will no longer frighten me.
35 Then I would speak and not fear Him. But that is not the case; I am on my own. 

Our New Testament reading (KJV by the way) is verses 44-60 from chapter 7 in the Acts of the Apostles.  This is the completion of Steven's address to the religious authorities, and his (earthly) death.  He was faithful to the end. 

Acts 7:44-60
44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.  
45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;  
46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 
47 But Solomon built him an house.  
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,  
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?  
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?  
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.  
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:  
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.  
54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.  
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,  
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.  
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

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