03 July 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Monday, 03 July 2017

Happy Monday to all.
It was pretty noisy around here last night.  "Private enterprise" fireworks, many quite loud, going off all around us.  Likely to be the same this evening, and probably tomorrow night for sure.  After that, some people will hit the fireworks stands seeking remaining stock closeout bargains, and we'll probably have some occasional stuff going off for a week or two, probably lubricated with various sorts of beverage alcohol.  Typical.  And, as ever, there will be injuries, some quite serious, as a result.  The drinking will, probably, result in some arrests, some traffic accidents with consequential injuries, some quite serious.  And, almost certainly, some bad behaviors that will lead to divorce court, drunken brawls that will demand a police presence, and all the rest. 
 This is known as "having a good time". 

Wife and Niece-next-door are apparently planning a "yard sale" this coming weekend.  The one that they were involved in a few weeks ago at Sister-in-law's place turned into a family squabble (no punches thrown but it wouldn't have surprised me).  That same sister-in-law is promising to come by tomorrow some time with a canopy, something like an open-sided tent, that they can use to provide a space for the goods.  No doubt I will be dragooned into rendering some sort of assistance on the matter.  Whee!  Anyway, that will provide some sort of activity for them over the next few days.  The new great-nephew is about two weeks' old now.  Niece has not revealed when she is planning to return to the world of work, but I figure that it will be another few months.  At which point, Dear Wife will be pressed into the childcare role as a Great Aunt.  Should be "fun" I guess.  When the Great-Niece was born, we were still living nearly a thousand miles away, and didn't arrive until the urchin was about 10 months old.   So now Wife/ Great Aunt has been able to be part of the matter from the night he was born.  Great Stuff! I guess.  So wisdom dictates that I sew the mouth shut.  And there are some benefits for us as well.  Wife has some stuff, clothes that she outgrew and such, that she figures to turn into money.  And when we went through our series of downsizings, we found ourselves with a bunch of stuff we have no use for, nor good place to keep.  We went from a respectable-but-not-fancy house in western Arkansas, to a 3-bedroom 2-bath mobile home in east Tennessee and then central Alababama, to a 25-year-old mobile home in less-than-great condition, of 2-bedroom 2-bath (but only one of each usable) in this area.  The excess "stuff" is stored in the unused bedroom, and some of that "stuff" needs to go.  A headboard and frame for an unused bed.  A cabinet with drawers, suitable for placement along a window wall.  LOTS of computer stuff of various generations.  The space bags that hold the out-of-season clothes and coats.  And much much else.  We'd like to have the money to fix up the back bathroom so that we have a tub usable as such, or at least a shower stall with enough structural integrity that we're not fearful of falling through.  And a few other items.  So perhaps we can reduce the footprint of all this stuff.  Stuff that was useful, indeed very necessary, at one point in our lives, but is no longer.  So it's not all bad.

In the meantime, tomorrow is July 4th, celebrated in the United States as Independence Day.  We've been hearing the home use fireworks for days, and tomorrow, especially the evening, should be the high point --- though not the end -- of these activities.  We hope no one is killed or injured, and there are no bad fires.  All of these bad things are "normal", here and around the country, as some of us have had reason to know. 

The "song of the day" is a repeat.  I had it in mind during the night and all day.  A good one, a long time favorite of many, myself included.
"Rock of Ages".  Indeed.  Hang on to the Rock, its name is Jesus.


The Old Testament passage for the day is chapters 26, 27, and 28 of Job.
Sometimes, we like to think we understand the mind of the Lord.  To the extent that we imagine that we know the limits of what He will (and can) do.  NOT a good idea.

Job 26
1 But Job answered and said, 2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? 3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? 4 To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee? 5 Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. 6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. 7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. 8 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. 9 He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. 10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. 11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. 12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. 13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. 14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

Job 27
1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2 As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; 3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; 4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. 5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. 7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous. 8 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? 9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? 10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God? 11 I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal. 12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain? 13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty. 14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. 15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep. 16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; 17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver. 18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh. 19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. 20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. 21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. 22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. 23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

Job 28
1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone. 3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death. 4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men. 5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. 6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. 7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: 8 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. 9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. 10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. 11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. 12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. 14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. 15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. 16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. 17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. 18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. 19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. 20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. 22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. 23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. 24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; 25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. 26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: 27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. 28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.


Our New Testament reading is chapter 11 of the Acts of the Apostles.
The outreach to the Gentiles starts out pretty controversial.  But picks up steam, to be sure.  I'm grateful for that.

Acts 11
1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. 4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, 5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: 6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. 8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. 11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. 12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house: 13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. 19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. 25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: 26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. 27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

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