12 August 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 12 August 2017

Good day to all.
Wife had a semi-rough night last night.  Not the worst we've had, but not that great either.  There is a picnic going on right now at the church we've been attending, and she had wanted to go, but just isn't up to it, so I stayed home to be with her.
If she's not doing a bit better by Monday morning, we'll make some calls to see if our new Primary Care doctor can fit her into the schedule.

Taking some measurements in the back bathroom, the one we NEVER use except to store winter coats and cat litter, etc.  About six weeks ago, we purchase some lumber that we intend to use to reinforce the soft and sagging floor.  When the retirement hits this next week, she's arranged to purchase a used-but-in-good-condition shower base and surround, and the intention is to use it in that back bath.  Reinforcing the floor would mean we could use the toilet and sink in there as well; I'd turned off the water to the toilet because it had developed a very noticeable lean and that is not a good sign of anything.  We want the shower installed, because the ABS tub/shower in the main bath has numerous cracks in it, the underlying flooring is decaying fast, and we're afraid of falling through.  Having a safe-to-use shower doesn't sound like much, until you don't have it.  The base is small enough that I can bring it in the door and the surround is separate, so I should be able to maneuver it and get it installed.  I have a few days' work ahead to clear out the commode and sink/vanity, etc. to prepare for it all, and then to start putting the lumber down to do the floor.  Be nice to get that fixed.
One issue: the overhead light no longer works, and no, it's not the bulb.  The light switch shares a outlet plate with a dual-outlet that is, as is wise in a bathroom, a GFI protection.  Which does not want to reset.  I have a GFI analyzer gizmo, but it tells me nothing whatever.  No blown breakers in the box, so I don't know what the issue is nor where to look next.  Bummer!

Got an e-mail from my sister and her husband.  They're intending to be passing through the area Monday morning and want to meet.  Briefly.  They're both on staff at a Christian college in central Virginia and have been coming through the area twice a year -- usually during the college's break.  But both have been offered early retirement buyouts, and are planning to leave their positions at year's end.  What happens next I imagine they'll tell me.  Perhaps.  Their college, nominally part of a once very conservative Protestant denomination, has been going further and further afield for as long as I can remember, as so many have.  I suspect that some of my opinions on things are not in accordance with theirs, and so may account for some of the rather aloof attitudes.  But I love them both, notwithstanding.  Will be nice to see them, even if only for an hour or so.  And perhaps something good can come of it.

Another "song of the day" that came to mind, unbidden, has been forcing some questions there in my mind since that moment.  This is one of those that I remember from my youth, but have heard only very rarely since that time.
I Gave My Life For Thee is the title.
We know that we can neither earn our salvation, nor buy it, not at all.  But, having received forgiveness and a new life in Christ, what is our reasonable response?  That's a question that has been around for a good while.  But it is still one that we, individually I believe, must answer.
He gave His life for us.  What have we done for Him?  It's an uncomfortable,disquieting question.  And, perhaps, it should be.  The modern-day church in the West has struggled with this, and continues to do so.  I believe that the answer varies from one individual to another.  But I also believe that the Lord has a call on each of us.  The details of that call will vary from person to person, and from time to time.  But a call, certainly.


Our passage in the Old Testament is Psalms 93, 94, and 95.  These, particularly 93 and 95, would be suitable for singing or chanting in a service of worship.  Indeed, that is still the case today, including in at least one Protestant denomination that I know of.  Like so many of the Psalms, these should really be read aloud.   Try it.

Psalm 93
1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. 2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. 4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. 5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

Psalm 94
1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. 2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. 3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? 4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? 5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. 7 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. 8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? 9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? 10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? 11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. 12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; 13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. 14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. 15 But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. 16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? 17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. 18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. 20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. 23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

Psalm 95
1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. 3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. 5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.


The passage in the New Testament before us is verses 22-36 in chapter 11 of the Epistle to the Romans.  Remember that, Paul is here addressing primarily Gentile converts.  I believe that many had sufficient grounding in Judaism, possibly had been converts before, to understand the background of his discussion.  There would certainly be some culture clash if so.  But those spreading the Gospel, the Good News, would necessarily have been referring to what we call the Old Testament: the New Testament as we know it didn't exist yet, and certainly there would not have been widely distributed copies of such even if there had been.  Yes, there was a LOT going on at the time.
So Paul is explaining patiently some of the background and the great change and opportunity of the New Covenant in Christ.  It turned the world upside down, and still does.

Romans 11:22-36
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

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