An Ever Steady God 071712
It makes sense to some to observe that for scripture such as that found in Psalm 142, that bemoan and grieve one’s lot in life, contrasted with scriptures that celebrate the joy and gladness of walking with God are proof of God’s constancy. Since the two examples of scripture are the extremes of sadness versus joy they serve as the extremes of the human condition. God is a steady force in the universe despite the extremes of human mood, and human affairs.
In reading Psalm 142, grieve with those in grief, despair and pain, but remember, there is the same God now as when we are filled with joy at the presence of the Lord.
Pray for peace
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We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
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Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
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1With my voice I cry to the Lord; with my voice I make supplication to the Lord.
2I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.
3When my spirit is faint, you know my way. In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
4Look on my right hand and see— there is no one who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for me.
5I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
6Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low. Save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.
7Bring me out of prison, so that I may give thanks to your name. The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.
9I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said: Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake, and shatter them on the heads of all the people; and those who are left I will kill with the sword; not one of them shall flee away, not one of them shall escape. 2Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. 3Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search out and take them; and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the sea-serpent, and it shall bite them. 4And though they go into captivity in front of their enemies, there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them; and I will fix my eyes on them for harm and not for good.
12In the morning the Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty who joined in this conspiracy. 14They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food until we have killed Paul. 15Now then, you and the council must notify the tribune to bring him down to you, on the pretext that you want to make a more thorough examination of his case. And we are ready to do away with him before he arrives.” 16Now the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush; so he went and gained entrance to the barracks and told Paul. 17Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to report to him.” 18So he took him, brought him to the tribune, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.” 19The tribune took him by the hand, drew him aside privately, and asked, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20He answered, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly into his case. 21But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him. They have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they kill him. They are ready now and are waiting for your consent.” 22So the tribune dismissed the young man, ordering him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of this.” 23Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, “Get ready to leave by nine o’clock tonight for Caesarea with two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen. 24Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Felix the governor.” 25He wrote a letter to this effect: 26“Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. 27This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, but when I had learned that he was a Roman citizen, I came with the guard and rescued him. 28Since I wanted to know the charge for which they accused him, I had him brought to their council. 29I found that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but was charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” 31So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him during the night to Antipatris. 32The next day they let the horsemen go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34On reading the letter, he asked what province he belonged to, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod’s headquarters.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.