15 July 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 15 July 2017

Another quiet day here.
This week has been the week of the county fair in our county.  Wife had looked forward to it for the last year, and we'd semi-planned to attend, briefly at  least, either today or tomorrow.  But upon arising, she decided that she's really not up to it.  And I agreed. 
The fair means a lot to her. As a kid she would have entries in the 4-H exhibits and contests. Her father, at least when sober, was heavily involved in the Fair Board, and she has good memories of those days.  Some of the few good memories she does have, actually.  And friends and family from Those Days would be at the Fair now with, generally, their grand-children or on some occasion, great-grands.  Some of them she's seen little of in the last 35 years or more.  So it hurts.
Today is also the day that a Big Event starts up right across the Ohio-PA state line, which is (for me) in walking distance from home.  (The line, not the event).  That would have been the fall-back option, but she's not up to that much walking.  So that's a no-go as well.

She did feel well enough to go with me to the grocery in the near-by town, got some sweet corn and salad stuff, some milk, stuff like that.  No non-essentials, but that's OK.  We're eating regularly and there have been times in both our lives, mostly before we met, where that didn't always happen.  God is good and we are grateful for what we have.  We know quite well what having nothing is like.
We came home and ate the sweet corn, she retired to the recliner with feet propped up above the footrest.  I did dishes (by hand, natch) and sat down here.

And it's also a day for reflection.  Today marks the anniversary of the death of one of my uncles.  Homer passed while I was still in high school, joining his father (who I never met) and a brother (who I also never met) on the Other Side. Homer never married, he took care of grandmother after grand-dad died, and the farm and the two kids his departed brother had left after his untimely death, and such  things.  After my cousins were grown and gone and grandma had passed, he retired and spent several years in foreign missions work, primarily using his carpentry skills to build churches and clinics in places like Uruguay.  Not a bad finish, actually.  But he's been gone for nearly 50 years now, and other than our memories and a neglected headstone in the cemetery behind the church house, there's little on this earth to mark his time here and the life he touched.  Mine being among them.
May I have done as well.

The song of the day is a repeat but worthy regardless.  "Lift Your Glad Voices".

Sad were the life we may part with tomorrow
If tears were our birthright
And death were our end

But Jesus has cheered the 
Dark valley of sorrow 
And made us immortal to Heaven ascend

We have the hope.  This would be good in a funeral service.


The Old Testament reading is Psalms 17 and 18.
We forget it often, but many of these Psalms are in fact poetry.  In Hebrew, certainly, not in English.  And I am told that in Hebrew poetry, at least of that era, the rhyme was at the start of a  phrase, not the end as is in the case of most English language poetry. 
There are, I am told, denominations that forbid the use of any hymns other than the Psalms. 

Also, there is a strong candidate for "song of the day", take, right from Psalm 18.  " I Will Call Upon The Lord".

Psalm 17
1 Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. 2 Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal. 3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. 4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. 5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. 6 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. 7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, 9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. 10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. 11 They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; 12 Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. 13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: 14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. 15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Psalm 18
1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. 6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. 7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. 8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. 10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. 12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. 13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire. 14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. 15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils. 16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. 18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. 19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. 23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. 24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. 25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; 26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. 27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. 28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. 29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. 30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. 31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? 32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. 33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. 34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. 35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. 36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. 37 I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. 38 I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. 39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. 40 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. 41 They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not. 42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets. 43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. 44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. 45 The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. 46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. 47 It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. 48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. 49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. 50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.


The New Testament reading is verses 1-20 from chapter 19 in the Acts of the Apostles.
I hesitate to make any comment whatsoever on this.  This deals with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is and has been a contentious issue within much of Christendom for a long while, certainly during my lifetime.  I have friends and family is some very staid denominations, like Amish, Mennonites of the various shades, Roman and Orthodox Catholics, and even a few LCMS Lutherans.  Passages such as this bring out contention of the dangers of what they, disparagingly, refer to as pentecostalism.  I have other friends who are heavily involved in what I will call Pentecostals.  Like the various Church of God, Church of Christ, parts of the Nazarene Church, and numerous others.
I understand at least some of the arguments and issues raised.  I have heard the claims for some to be titles as "prophet" or "prophetess" in today's world.  Color me skeptical.  I've heard the "I know the Bible says thus and so, but we've had new revelation!".  Color me rejecting that.  But I'm also skeptical of the "God would never do" this or that.  God invented light, I think we err in presuming to tell Him what He can't do.
Verse 20 is the important one.

Acts 19:1-20
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve. 8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

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