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“An Upright Heart”

February 16, 2014 –– Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm 119:1-8 (3)
1Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
2Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart,
3who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.
4You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
5O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
6Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances.
8I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.

1 Corinthians 3:1-9
And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? 4For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?
5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. 9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Matthew 5:21-37
21“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. 31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

COMMENTARY

The Deuteronomy text emphasizes choosing life, God’s way, as the people settle in a land with settled ways. Those settled ways demand allegiance and loyalty, perhaps even worship. The freedom of desert ways is often forgotten in the markets and thoroughfares of the empire’s systems. The ways of empire violate human dignity and nature’s ability to maintain equilibrium. When we are weighed down with empire living and its systems of oppression we find it find it difficult to manage shorelines, power grids, food security and wetlands. Our fears and concerns consume us and we forget the simplicity of communing with God.

Psalm 119 celebrates the vision of living in communion with God and remaining focused on Godly living. I often find the psalms to be hymns of confidence and yearning. “I will praise you with an upright heart…do not utterly forsake me.”

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth counsels the congregation to stay focused on allegiance to God and not to be distracted by church politics and personalities. The agricultural metaphors help us think systemically. It is more productive to think of our spiritual journey and the life of the church in organic ways. The last sentence essentially is saying that we, as Christ-followers, have a synergistic relationship with God’s activity in the world.

Matthew’s Gospel gives us Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount where, as usual, he digs deeply into human motivation. Reconciled, restored human relationships is top priority. Retribution is not an option. Violence is out of the question. The adversarial court system is not the way to settle disputes. Not seeing women as human beings is a severe dysfunction. Women are not property, they are covenant partners. Relational covenants are to be taken very seriously. It should be troubling for men to hear Jesus’ words addressed only to men. We are called to keep our word without having to swear an oath or put our hand on a Bible.

Andromeda, Far Off 012913

M31, the Andromeda Galaxy

M31, the Andromeda Galaxy (Photo credit: write_adam)

 

Andromeda, Far Off 012913

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

 

 

 

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 119:89-96 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20119:89-96&version=MSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremiah 36:11-26 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2036:11-26%20&version=MSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 7:2-12 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%207:2-12&version=MSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andromeda, Far Off 012913

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this evening, I saw a picture of the galaxy Andromeda. The caotion noted that the galaxy has about 1 billion stars, and this galaxy is only one of a trillion galaxies we can see, and apparently they go on forever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But for us to night, it all is very close, because the skies have opened and finally we have some very good rain. It could be the start of enough rain for us to recover two hard years or more of drought. We’re praying that the entire world gets the rain it needs, but not too much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gentle mix of the finite and the infinite leads me, a very small speck in all of this to wonder—what is God doing in all this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes when I’m half asleep, or half awake, I wonder if God didn’t create all of this as a sort of infinite training camp, where humans, and maybe all life forms could earn, fail to learn, try and not succeed, in learning how to be God-like. Maybe all the spoiling of our planet, the killing and waste of ourselves, our children and every living and inanimate thing may not make a difference. Maybe the living things on several distant planets are learning better how to live in the love and light of God; maybe our failure is part of an infinite learning plan, a set of lessons with which we are not doing so well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One’s delight in all this is that what you and I do to love God and to accept the love of God is not enough, yet in this small thing we know in our hearts we’re doing this part well. The daily love from God and Jesus tells us this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as Andromeda shines, our soul somehow keeps shining also. Maybe we’re otherwise getting it all wrong, maybe this love is all we can do that’s right.

 

 

 

Prayer for all our peace,

 

 

 

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

 

 

 

Pray with us!

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

 

 

 

Psalm 119:89-96

 

 

 

Jeremiah 36:11-26

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 7:2-12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 119:89-96

 

 

 

The Message (MSG)

 

 

 

89-96 What you say goes, God,
and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

 

 

 

Jeremiah 36:11-26

 

 

 

The Message (MSG)

 

 

 

11-12 The moment Micaiah the son of Gemariah heard what was being read from the scroll—God’s Message!—he went straight to the palace and to the chambers of the secretary of state where all the government officials were holding a meeting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other government officials.

 

 

 

13 Micaiah reported everything he had heard Baruch read from the scroll as the officials listened.

 

 

 

14 Immediately they dispatched Jehudi son of Nethaniah, son of Semaiah, son of Cushi, to Baruch, ordering him, “Take the scroll that you have read to the people and bring it here.” So Baruch went and retrieved the scroll.

 

 

 

15 The officials told him, “Sit down. Read it to us, please.” Baruch read it.

 

 

 

16 When they had heard it all, they were upset. They talked it over. “We’ve got to tell the king all this.”

 

 

 

17 They asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you come to write all this? Was it at Jeremiah’s dictation?”

 

 

 

18 Baruch said, “That’s right. Every word right from his own mouth. And I wrote it down, word for word, with pen and ink.”

 

 

 

19 The government officials told Baruch, “You need to get out of here. Go into hiding, you and Jeremiah. Don’t let anyone know where you are!”

 

 

 

20-21 The officials went to the court of the palace to report to the king, having put the scroll for safekeeping in the office of Elishama the secretary of state. The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He brought it from the office of Elishama the secretary. Jehudi then read it to the king and the officials who were in the king’s service.

 

 

 

22-23 It was December. The king was sitting in his winter quarters in front of a charcoal fire. After Jehudi would read three or four columns, the king would cut them off the scroll with his pocketknife and throw them in the fire. He continued in this way until the entire scroll had been burned up in the fire.

 

 

 

24-26 Neither the king nor any of his officials showed the slightest twinge of conscience as they listened to the messages read. Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah tried to convince the king not to burn the scroll, but he brushed them off. He just plowed ahead and ordered Prince Jerahameel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Jeremiah the prophet and his secretary Baruch. But God had hidden them away.

 

 

 

2 Corinthians 7:2-13

 

 

 

The Message (MSG)

 

 

 

More Passionate, More Responsible

 

 

 

2-4 Trust us. We’ve never hurt a soul, never exploited or taken advantage of anyone. Don’t think I’m finding fault with you. I told you earlier that I’m with you all the way, no matter what. I have, in fact, the greatest confidence in you. If only you knew how proud I am of you! I am overwhelmed with joy despite all our troubles.

 

 

 

5-7 When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn’t settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn’t relax because we didn’t know how it would turn out. Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus. We were glad just to see him, but the true reassurance came in what he told us about you: how much you cared, how much you grieved, how concerned you were for me. I went from worry to tranquility in no time!

 

 

 

8-9 I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.

 

 

 

10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.

 

 

 

11-13 And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That’s what happened—and we felt just great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Same Sinking Boat! 091712

boat

boat (Photo credit: pupski)

The Same Sinking Boat! 091712

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also:

 

Psalm 119:169-176 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20119:169-176&version=MSG

1 Kings 13:1-10 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2013:1-10&version=MSG

Romans 3:9-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:9-20&version=MSG

 

The Same Sinking Boat! 091712

 

One has the tendency to want Monday morning’s blog to be calm, reassuring and encouraging as we start the world’s work week. But the power and force of Romans 3 does not permit this.

 

Romans includes us with the sinners, the Jews and the Romans. We’re in as much trouble with God and sin as the rest, and maybe worse. We depend on personal salvation, even though it’s a gift, to keep us safe from sin.

 

But we are part of the world’s sin. Cleaning up our own act is not enough! We also share in the world’s sin, in which we are co-conspirators and complicit.

 

Steel yourselves, disciples. The struggle is not over until all are freed from sin and despair through Jesus, and if one is not—it is our fault.

 

Pray for peace

Bill

 

 

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

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

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

Psalm 119:169-176

1 Kings 13:1-10

Romans 3:9-20

 

 

 

Psalm 119:169-176

The Message (MSG)

169-176 Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.

 

1 Kings 13:1-10

The Message (MSG)

13 1-3 And then this happened: Just as Jeroboam was at the Altar, about to make an offering, a holy man came from Judah by God’s command and preached (these were God’s orders) to the Altar: “Altar, Altar! God’s message! ‘A son will be born into David’s family named Josiah. The priests from the shrines who are making offerings on you, he will sacrifice—on you! Human bones burned on you!’” At the same time he announced a sign: “This is the proof God gives—the Altar will split into pieces and the holy offerings spill into the dirt.”

4-5 When the king heard the message the holy man preached against the Altar at Bethel, he reached out to grab him, yelling, “Arrest him!” But his arm was paralyzed and hung useless. At the same time the Altar broke apart and the holy offerings all spilled into the dirt—the very sign the holy man had announced by God’s command.

The king pleaded with the holy man, “Help me! Pray to your God for the healing of my arm.” The holy man prayed for him and the king’s arm was healed—as good as new!

Then the king invited the holy man, “Join me for a meal; I have a gift for you.”

8-10 The holy man told the king, “Not on your life! You couldn’t pay me enough to get me to sit down with you at a meal in this place. I’m here under God’s orders, and he commanded, ‘Don’t eat a crumb, don’t drink a drop, and don’t go back the way you came.’” Then he left by a different road than the one on which he had walked to Bethel.

Romans 3:9-20

The Message (MSG)

We’re All in the Same Sinking Boat

9-20 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:

There’s nobody living right, not even one,
nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They’ve all taken the wrong turn;
they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.
No one’s living right;
I can’t find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year,
litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don’t know the first thing about living with others.
They never give God the time of day.

This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.

 

Aside

The Season of Creation, Week 2 Holy Cross, The Whales

Gray Whale Tail

Gray Whale Tail (Photo credit: Images by John ‘K’)

The Season of Creation, Week 2 Holy Cross, The Whales

 This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also:

Isaiah 38:10-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2038:10-20&version=MSG

Joshua 6:1-21 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%206:1-21&version=MSG

Hebrews 11:29—12:2 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2011:29%E2%80%9412:2&version=MSG

 The Season of Creation, Week 2 Holy Cross, The Whales

This week is the week of the day of the Holy Cross, in western orthodox celebration, but is also the 2nd week of The Season of Creation, celebrated and commemorated in Australia more than in the US, Canada, Europe or elsewhere.

Our local church has been discussing the environment, and what our role as a church should be in protecting the environment and seeking to restore the environment and our realtionship to God. We’ve been in this discussion for a long time—how does a church say to the world that to what Jesus commanded us to do: to feed the poor, to free the oppressed, to make peace we must do something to protect the environment. We cannot feed the poor, free the oppressed and make peace in an environment of shrinking resources, polluted water polluted air, and polluted food.

We also realize that the world does not believe what Christians say—when we say we love one another, but kill others, let people go hungry and accomplish so little of what Jesus told us to do—the world does not believe Christianity. It is time for Christians to really do something in the world.

But, while calling for justice, this week reminds us that discipleship and seeking justice for all is just part of what Jesus and his life mean. This is also the week of the Holy Cross.

Hebrews 12:2 from today’s scripture is to this point:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.”

 Pray for the whales of the world during this season of creation, and pray for our peace with all the earth,

Columbia River at Quincy Wildlife Refuge

Columbia River at Quincy Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: Pictoscribe – Home again)

Bill

Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

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

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

Isaiah 38:10-20

Joshua 6:1-21

Hebrews 11:29—12:2

Isaiah 38:10-20

The Message (MSG)

9-15 This is what Hezekiah king of Judah wrote after he’d been sick and then recovered from his sickness:

In the very prime of life
I have to leave.
Whatever time I have left
is spent in death’s waiting room.
No more glimpses of God
in the land of the living,
No more meetings with my neighbors,
no more rubbing shoulders with friends.
This body I inhabit is taken down
and packed away like a camper’s tent.
Like a weaver, I’ve rolled up the carpet of my life
as God cuts me free of the loom
And at day’s end sweeps up the scraps and pieces.
I cry for help until morning.
Like a lion, God pummels and pounds me,
relentlessly finishing me off.
I squawk like a doomed hen,
moan like a dove.
My eyes ache from looking up for help:
“Master, I’m in trouble! Get me out of this!”
But what’s the use? God himself gave me the word.
He’s done it to me.
I can’t sleep—
I’m that upset, that troubled.

16-19 O Master, these are the conditions in which people live,
and yes, in these very conditions my spirit is still alive—
fully recovered with a fresh infusion of life!
It seems it was good for me
to go through all those troubles.
Throughout them all you held tight to my lifeline.
You never let me tumble over the edge into nothing.
But my sins you let go of,
threw them over your shoulder—good riddance!
The dead don’t thank you,
and choirs don’t sing praises from the morgue.
Those buried six feet under
don’t witness to your faithful ways.
It’s the living—live men, live women—who thank you,
just as I’m doing right now.
Parents give their children
full reports on your faithful ways.

20 God saves and will save me.
As fiddles and mandolins strike up the tunes,
We’ll sing, oh we’ll sing, sing,
for the rest of our lives in the Sanctuary of God.

Joshua 6:1-21

The Message (MSG)

Jericho

6 Jericho was shut up tight as a drum because of the People of Israel: no one going in, no one coming out.

2-5 God spoke to Joshua, “Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you, along with its king and its crack troops. Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.”

So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and told them, “Take up the Chest of the Covenant. Seven priests are to carry seven ram’s horn trumpets leading God’s Chest.”

Then he told the people, “Set out! March around the city. Have the armed guard march before the Chest of God.”

8-9 And it happened. Joshua spoke, the people moved: Seven priests with their seven ram’s horn trumpets set out before God. They blew the trumpets, leading God’s Chest of the Covenant. The armed guard marched ahead of the trumpet-blowing priests; the rear guard was marching after the Chest, marching and blowing their trumpets.

10 Joshua had given orders to the people, “Don’t shout. In fact, don’t even speak—not so much as a whisper until you hear me say, ‘Shout!’—then shout away!”

11-13 He sent the Chest of God on its way around the city. It circled once, came back to camp, and stayed for the night. Joshua was up early the next morning and the priests took up the Chest of God. The seven priests carrying the seven ram’s horn trumpets marched before the Chest of God, marching and blowing the trumpets, with the armed guard marching before and the rear guard marching after. Marching and blowing of trumpets!

14 On the second day they again circled the city once and returned to camp. They did this six days.

15-17 When the seventh day came, they got up early and marched around the city this same way but seven times—yes, this day they circled the city seven times. On the seventh time around the priests blew the trumpets and Joshua signaled the people, “Shout!—God has given you the city! The city and everything in it is under a holy curse and offered up to God.

“Except for Rahab the harlot—she is to live, she and everyone in her house with her, because she hid the agents we sent.

18-19 “As for you, watch yourselves in the city under holy curse. Be careful that you don’t covet anything in it and take something that’s cursed, endangering the camp of Israel with the curse and making trouble for everyone. All silver and gold, all vessels of bronze and iron are holy to God. Put them in God’s treasury.”

20 The priests blew the trumpets.

When the people heard the blast of the trumpets, they gave a thunderclap shout. The wall fell at once. The people rushed straight into the city and took it.

21 They put everything in the city under the holy curse, killing man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey.

Hebrews 11:29-12:2

The Message (MSG)

29 By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.

30 By faith, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.

31 By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.

32-38 I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

39-40 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

Aside

The Joy Of The Psalms 071012

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stut...

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

The Joy Of The Psalms 071012

Of the Psalms and the different kinds of songs in the Psalms, the most satisfying type are the Psalms of praise. Psalm 65 is a song of praise. Somehow it starts off slow or clumsy to my ear, then towards the ending lines finally finds its voice:

 9You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.

10You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.

11You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.

12The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,

13the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

One could argue that whoever wrote this had spent time behind a plow, had loaded a wagon with grain and hauled it in to storage, and had tended flocks of sheep and goats on the hillsides. The lines above are filled with first hand details of each occupation therefore sound like lines written by a peasant or laborer in the fields.

In our time, few people share these natural, pastoral scenes. If people in the city never see a pastoral scene, a field in cultivation or sheep on a green hillside will these Psalms ring true? Are there comparable scenes of beauty and of God’s hands in other settings? Do we see the beauty of God in a homeless shelter, in a charity hospital emergency room, or at the city’s garbage dump? Where can we not see God at work?

Pray for peace

brother Bill

 

 

 

PeaceMennoniteChurchkeeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

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

 Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.PeaceMennoniteChurchofColumbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

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Psalm 65

Exodus 9:13-35

Acts 27:39-44

 

Psalm 65

1Praise is due to you, O God, inZion; and to you shall vows be performed,

2O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come.

3When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions.

4Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.

5By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.

6By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.

7You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.

8Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

9You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; theriver ofGod is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.

10You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.

11You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.

12The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,

13the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

Exodus 9:13-35

13Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth. 17You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go. 18Tomorrow at this time I will cause the heaviest hail to fall that has ever fallen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19Send, therefore, and have your livestock and everything that you have in the open field brought to a secure place; every human or animal that is in the open field and is not brought under shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them.’“ 20Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place. 21Those who did not regard the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the open field.

22The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that hail may fall on the whole land of Egypt, on humans and animals and all the plants of the field in the land of Egypt.” 23Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; 24there was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25The hail struck down everything that was in the open field throughout all the land of Egypt, both human and animal; the hail also struck down all the plants of the field, and shattered every tree in the field. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail. 27Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28Pray to the Lord! Enough of God’s thunder and hail! I will let you go; you need stay no longer.” 29Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30But as for you and your officials, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” 31(Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they are late in coming up.) 33So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and stretched out his hands to the Lord; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured down on the earth. 34But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned once more and hardened his heart, he and his officials. 35So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.

Acts 27:39-44

39In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. 40So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. 42The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; 43but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

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.

 

 

Aside

Where There Is Water 061312

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Where There Is Water 061312

In the verse selection from John 3 (below) says John (the baptizer) was baptizing where he was because of the availability of water. If any slang word or nickname should be given to Christians, maybe it should be ‘the baptizers’, because of all the stories in the Bible that revolve around water, whether in wells, rivers, streams, springs or in water jugs, sometimes turned to wine, the most unique, wonderful and amazing fact about Christianity is that we are baptize and we baptize others. People come up out of the water (whether a bathtub full, a horse tank full, or a handful as a new person, now reconciled to God.

I often try to find parallels between Christianity and other spiritual traditions, but I don’t know of a similar belief or awareness in other traditions: where an individual person (you or me) becomes reconciled to the individual person of God.

As the ‘baptizers’ perhaps Christians should always make a point to dig a well or a local water system wherever they baptizers, so that we become the ‘people who baptized us in our own clean water from our well’. Since the majority of human disease is caused by unclean water, imagine what it means to not lose babies to diarrhea, and not loose relatives and friends from cholera and dysentery.

My only point here is that Christians are not people only of ‘being’, we are people of doing.

Pray for peace

brother Bill

Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

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

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

 

Psalm 45:6-17

6Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;

7you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;

8your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;

9daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house,

11and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him;

12the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people

13with all kinds of wealth. The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;

14in many-colored robes she is led to the king; behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.

15With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.

16In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.

17I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.

Isaiah 62:1-5

62For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. 2The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. 3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. 5For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

John 3:22-36

22After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. 23John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized 24—John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison. 25Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.” 31The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. 33Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. 34He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

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.

 

Aside

Where There Is Water 061312

 

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

Where There Is Water 061312

In the verse selection from John 3 (below) says John (the baptizer) was baptizing where he was because of the availability of water. If any slang word or nickname should be given to Christians, maybe it should be ‘the baptizers’, because of all the stories in the Bible that revolve around water, whether in wells, rivers, streams, springs or in water jugs, sometimes turned to wine, the most unique, wonderful and amazing fact about Christianity is that we are baptize and we baptize others. People come up out of the water (whether a bathtub full, a horse tank full, or a handful as a new person, now reconciled to God.

I often try to find parallels between Christianity and other spiritual traditions, but I don’t know of a similar belief or awareness in other traditions: where an individual person (you or me) becomes reconciled to the individual person of God.

As the ‘baptizers’ perhaps Christians should always make a point to dig a well or a local water system wherever they baptizers, so that we become the ‘people who baptized us in our own clean water from our well’. Since the majority of human disease is caused by unclean water, imagine what it means to not lose babies to diarrhea, and not loose relatives and friends from cholera and dysentery.

My only point here is that Christians are not people only of ‘being’, we are people of doing.

Pray for peace

brother Bill

Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

Pray with us!

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

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

Subscribe to our blog! Delivery daily by e-mail. Click the button on the right.

 

Psalm 45:6-17

6Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;

7you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;

8your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;

9daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house,

11and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him;

12the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people

13with all kinds of wealth. The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;

14in many-colored robes she is led to the king; behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.

15With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.

16In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.

17I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.

Isaiah 62:1-5

62For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. 2The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. 3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. 5For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

John 3:22-36

22After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. 23John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized 24—John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison. 25Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.” 31The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. 33Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. 34He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

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.

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