10 July 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Monday, 10 July 2017

Monday has come upon us, with both feet stomping.  Ah, well.  We lived through the night once again, which is not the case for all.  A small blessing, perhaps, or a gigantic one, a matter of perspective.  Not something we should take for granted, truly.


Today we begin a long period in the Psalms.  We'll be in the Psalms for a while.  MANY of these came from David.  Yes, the warrior and king and shepherd boy was also a poet.  And quite a few came out of the times when he was in trouble, sometimes running for his life.  Others related what the Lord had done and was doing for him in those times.  Can you relate?  Most of us can.  And many, perhaps most, can look back at the times that, somehow, the Lord brought  us out of or through some truly awful circumstances.  He's been doing that for a while.  David was neither the first nor the last.  David did not hide that.  Neither should we.
Any one of these three today would be a good one to commit to memory and daily meditation.  Or all of them.  Scripture memorization, once a respected, valued, and frankly expected discipline, seems to have fallen out of favor.  Unfortunately.

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Psalm 2
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Psalm 3
1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

So our "song of the day" comes straight from Psalm 3.  This is brought to us by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.  (sorry about the ad at the start).  I was at various times privileged to be part of good sized choral groups that had this arrangement.  I've only ever heard it in choral settings, never as congregational singing.  And it's been done by solo gospel singers as well.
Yes, He is a shield for me and for others, and yes He hears our cries.  A good thing.



Our New Testament reading is verses 1-15 in chapter 16 of the Acts of the Apostles.
Here we first see mention of Timotheus, a.k.a. Timothy.
And now the Gospel comes to Macedonia.  That area includes what is now mostly Greece and Turkey.   The city of Thyatira shown here is now known as Akhisar and is in western Turkey.
Now, most of us would consider Turkey to be in Asia, an area that Paul was barred by the Spirit from entering.  Chalk it up to changed definitions.
And the nation now known as Macedonia is a good distance from there.  It's north of Greece, in that Balkan region that has been a site of warfare just about as long as there have been people in the area.  The ancient land of Macedonia, point of origin of Alexander the Great, had rather different boundaries as here shows.
And the Gospel was preached, and the church grew again.  FAR from Jerusalem, and definitely not limited to the Jews.
That general area, what we now call Turkey, has groaned under the heel of the evil that is Islam for many centuries.  That was not always the case.  Indeed, the city of Istanbul was long known as Constantinople, and was for centuries the home base of the church east of Rome.  That ended in 1453.  And that Christian presence was in no small part due to the the seeds planted in the journeys of Paul and Timothy, as we see here.  

Acts 16:1-15
1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. 6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. 13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

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