13 June 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Yesterday had some moments.  [By the way, I have revised yesterday's posting to take out some semi-salacious stuff.  There is no halo floating over my head either.  Some of what I have to notice Ain't Right, but doesn't need to be advertised.  My bad.]
The day began, as it too often does, as it did this morning, with a small black "rescue" cat,running back and forth over me at around 06:00, wanting to be fed.  NOT my every dream come true, believe me.  So I shut her out of the bedroom, with the notion of a few more minutes of shut-eye.  Not to be.  The matter had woken Wife, who decided that consciousness had returned, and headed into the shower.  Meaning, of course, that I was more-or-less animated too, by order.  So I got going.  Place still way out of kilter, we had to let the new flooring dry, so we had a washing machine in the already narrow area between the refrigerator, stove, and our little "dining" table.  Wife used all the hot water, so I was smelly until I could get things clear for my own venture.  (As she did today also, so I am waiting for water heater to work).

We drummed up something to eat, I did the last night's dishes, sat down to read the news.

Then another Call.  From the Doctor's office.  We were scheduled to attend some sort of a confab there this morning, the office a good 30 minutes or more from here.  Well, the confab is cancelled.  OK.  Cancelled because the doctor has left that practice as of last Friday afternoon.  NOT what we wanted to hear: he's been the best Primary Care physician we've ever had, by a fair margin too, and with Wife's "complex conditions", that's very important.  But it is what it is.  So then a rather tense period of numerous phone calls, interactions with poorly-done "computerized"  phone answering systems, humans both friendly and helpful, and those not so described.  We think we've found one, at least to start, and have an appointment, two actually (for both of us), set for about 3 weeks from now.  We hope this will work out OK.  These medical things stress out everyone.

And then ,,,,,,,,,,,,
God is SO good!!
Ok, that's true all the time, regardless of the circumstances or our (my) attitude or any of that.  He just is, it's His nature.  The phrase, "God is love" is true without reservation.
But sometimes the circumstances aren't.
And then ....
We're in a tight spot now.  Not terrible, what we went through the Winter-early Spring of 2014 was much worse. As were several others.  But tight.  We're eating and we'll make it through, but without much to spare.
And then ...
We're geeks, both of us, have long been.  (Wife was about the very first female I.T. student at Carnegie-Mellon, back in the Dark Ages).  We have some stories.  So she was on a site in social media for local flea markets, etc.  Came across one notice from just across the state line.  Someone moving, and had a box of food, free.  Wife contacted her.  Food available.  We headed over.  BIG box of canned stuff.  Beans, etc.  Stuff we use.  Other stuff we could give away (and have).  And then the lady asked if we could take some frozen stuff too: they were moving LAST NIGHT, and HAD to clear the place out.  Making a 1100-mile relocation, so frozen food is not an option to transport.  Naturally, we said OK!  She hauled out about 8 WalMart bags stuffed with all kinds of stuff.  Half a dozen frozen pizzas.  Pierogies (a dumpling highly valued among East European cultures).  Several pounds of 90% lean ground beef.  And lots more.  We took it all.
We have no place to store most of it, the frozen stuff I mean, and most of the "prepared food" has MSG in it, which renders Wife violently ill.  But Niece can use it, and has a chest freezer to hold the overflow.  So we filled her pantry and freezer.  We sent some over to sister-in-law as well.  Some other items are going elsewhere to some people who need them.
So, we were blessed, very definitely.  And were able to be a blessing to some others, which is always wonderful.  Niece is not working any more, she looks like that baby is about to "pop" out any second now, so their income will be way down for several months, so every little bit helps.
God is SO good!! 

>>  If I may be so bold, please check out this column at Desiring God today, entitled "God Chose This Trial For Me".  Probably not a theme the "prosperity 'gospel' " types will like, but so what.  Check it out, please.

Today's suggested "song of the day" came to me yesterday as I was reading an article out of a newspaper in Lancaster, PA.  As some know, much of my VERY extended family is Anabaptist, meaning a range from Old Order Amish through all the gradations into the various conferences of the Mennonite and Brethren churches, some excessively "liberal" by my standards.  My parents grew up speaking "Pennsylvania Dutch" at home, though wouldn't teach it to us.  And I've been in some truly unusual churches and meeting houses, trust me.  But have also been privileged to be part of various music ministries in several parts of the country, with a variety from Bluegrass to High Church, contemporary Christian, some various sorts of Southern Gospel and Gospel, etc.  But I also have fond memories of the simple congregational singing in various languages.  Ever hear hymns in Vietnamese?  Or Tagalog, courtesy of persons of Philippine origin?  Ukrainian?  Russian?  Greek?  Or others?  I have.  And, yes, I have heard the chants and singing of the various grades of Ashkenazi Jews as well.  Oddly enough, none of the Messianic Jewish community.
So the article mentioned dealt with the various music traditions, a good article, found here.  Worth listening.  The music linked is on SoundCloud and it's pretty neat.  The article is here.
I went looking for some equivalents on YouTube.  Found this one.  Kind of "high church" being Lutheran and all and with an organ as well.  But the Lutherans, though I think their theology shaky at best, share the Germanic ethnic heritage of my Amish/Mennonite/Brethren Anabaptist relatives, and this one is nice.  Check it  out.  The words are important, very.
A less "high church" one is here, I favor it frankly.


Our reading from the Old Testament today is chapters 3, 4, and 5 of Ezra.
The people have returned from their captivity, and are rebuilding the Temple and reinstituting the worship.  Number one priority, which is proper.
And then, as it always does, opposition comes.

Ezra 3
1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3 And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening. 4 They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; 5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD. 6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. 7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia. 8 Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD. 9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites. 10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: 13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

Ezra 4
1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; 2 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. 3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. 4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. 6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. 7 And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue. 8 Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort: 9 Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites, 10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnapper brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and at such a time. 11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at such a time. 12 Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. 13 Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. 14 Now because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king; 15 That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. 16 We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river. 17 Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time. 18 The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me. 19 And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. 20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them. 21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me. 22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings? 23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. 24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 5
1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. 2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them. 3 At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall? 4 Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building? 5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter. 6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king: 7 They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace. 8 Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands. 9 Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls? 10 We asked their names also, to certify thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them. 11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up. 12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. 13 But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. 14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; 15 And said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place. 16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem: and since that time even until now hath it been in building, and yet it is not finished. 17 Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.


The New Testament reading for the day is chapter 20 of the Gospel of John.
Yesterday was the Crucifixion.
But today is another day.  The tomb is empty!  Jesus is alive!  Alive forevermore.

John 20
1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her. 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

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