Sometimes gaining, Sometimes losing 083112
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:
This week’s guest blogger is Jackie Casteel, a member of our congregation and a true friend to all.
Sometimes gaining, sometimes losing 083112
I prefer not to dwell on this selection from Exodus, but I do want to share that until this week, I knew nothing of Moses ordering the people to kill brother, sister and neighbor over this calf situation. So the tablet breaks, and it means they should do exactly what God just said not to do? I am thankful for Jesus and his message.
James 1:9-16 reminds me of something that took me several years to learn, but as with yesterday’s post, I know I am stronger for the experience.
There will always be hard times, just as there will always be wonderful times. There is a cycle of experience like the expanding and contracting of breath, where both are always happening across all human beings. Some gaining, some losing, but always getting a turn at each.
The best way to live, as we’ve learned previously, is to love one another. This goes for yourself too. Even with the ebb and flow, the world is good, and not evil. We make evil, inside of ourselves – our hearts and minds. That is a choice we make everyday, to allow what we encounter to bring us to tears, or hurtful attitudes, or to recognize what we witness and meet it head on with love, a loving attitude. Not anger or tears or depression. Meet it with grace.
I believe grace is being able to meet every experience with love. Find Love.
This week’s guest blogger: : Jackie Casteel considers herself a perpetual student of spirituality on this incredible journey of life. For many years she has been amazed by the ever changing, infinite possibilities in every moment, but has only in recent years started seeking the wisdom held within the bible. She continues to be amazed.
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).
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A David Psalm
1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?
2 “Walk straight,
tell the truth.
3-4 “Don’t hurt your friend,
don’t blame your neighbor;
despise the despicable.
5 “Keep your word even when it costs you,
make an honest living,
never take a bribe.
“You’ll never get
if you live like this.”
The Message (MSG)
15-16 Moses turned around and came down from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of The Testimony. The tablets were written on both sides, front and back. God made the tablets and God wrote the tablets— engraved them.
17 When Joshua heard the sound of the people shouting noisily, he said to Moses, “That’s the sound of war in the camp!”
18 But Moses said,
Those aren’t songs of victory,
And those aren’t songs of defeat,
I hear songs of people throwing a party.
19-20 And that’s what it was. When Moses came near to the camp and saw the calf and the people dancing, his anger flared. He threw down the tablets and smashed them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made, melted it down with fire, pulverized it to powder, then scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
21 Moses said to Aaron, “What on Earth did these people ever do to you that you involved them in this huge sin?”
22-23 Aaron said, “Master, don’t be angry. You know this people and how set on evil they are. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. This Moses, the man who brought us out of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him.’
24 “So I said, ‘Who has gold?’ And they took off their jewelry and gave it to me. I threw it in the fire and out came this calf.”
25-26 Moses saw that the people were simply running wild—Aaron had let them run wild, disgracing themselves before their enemies. He took up a position at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is on God’s side, join me!” All the Levites stepped up.
27 He then told them, “God’s orders, the God of Israel: ‘Strap on your swords and go to work. Crisscross the camp from one end to the other: Kill brother, friend, neighbor.'”
28 The Levites carried out Moses’ orders. Three thousand of the people were killed that day.
29 Moses said, “You confirmed your ordination today—and at great cost, even killing your sons and brothers! And God has blessed you.”
30 The next day Moses addressed the people: “You have sinned an enormous sin! But I am going to go up to God; maybe I’ll be able to clear you of your sin.”
31-32 Moses went back to God and said, “This is terrible. This people has sinned—it’s an enormous sin! They made gods of gold for themselves. And now, if you will only forgive their sin. …But if not, erase me out of the book you’ve written.”
33-34 God said to Moses, “I’ll only erase from my book those who sin against me. For right now, you go and lead the people to where I told you. Look, my Angel is going ahead of you. On the day, though, when I settle accounts, their sins will certainly be part of the settlement.”
35 God sent a plague on the people because of the calf they and Aaron had made.
The Message (MSG)
9-11When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
12Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
13-15Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
16-18So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
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