Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

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What if God Means Us? 051112

Concertina razor wire at a prison

Concertina razor wire at a prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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

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What if God Means Us? 051112

Isaiah 42:6(b) today says:…. I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, 7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

Many have understood this to mean that God was to send Jesus, the Messiah to the people, etc.

But what if God meant he was sending you and I, as disciples of Christ, to do all these things? The Message restatement says:

I have set you among my people to bind them to me,
and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations,
To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light:
opening blind eyes,
releasing prisoners from dungeons,

So, what does it mean if God is referring to us also, and not just Jesus? It is one of those moments that remind me when one says ‘Oh no, I didn’t know that was in my job description!’

This can remind one that a horrible contradiction continues to exist on this planet. Christian disciples are the followers of the most peace loving, peaceable, peace-making ‘person’ to walk the earth. Yet Christians continue to be the source of most military force. I don’t know whether there is some justification for this or not, but we still are the source of the weapons for the world, and since we Christians also have so much wealth, we are in the place of thinking we need to protect the wealth, and protect it all over the globe. Based on numbers, Christians are wealthy people who carry guns around the world.

I personally don’t know what the truth of this is, or what to do about it, but it should trouble all Christian disciples in some way deeply.

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/

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Psalm 98

Isaiah 42:5-9

Acts 10:34-43

Psalm 98

1O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.

2The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

3He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

4Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

6With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

7Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.

8Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy

9at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Isaiah 42:5-9

5Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, 7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. 9See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Acts 10:34-43

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

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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Meditation 032712

 

St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church.

St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Meditation 032712

We seldom talk openly about the practice of Christian meditation. There are few schools, seminars groups, etc that meet and teach Christian meditation, but maybe there should be. Psalm 119:15 talks of meditating on the precepts of God.  Maybe I should meditate on what those precepts are exactly!

But the idea of meditation is foreign to many of us, or at least foreign in a Christian context, but it is mentioned as a practice of the monastic community, whether historical or modern and current. Meditation is also listed often as one of the spiritual disciplines within the category of Christian spiritual formation.

While we recommend meditation as a practice, there is a wide difference between Christian meditation and other meditation practice.

The big difference (that I see) is that within Christianity there is nogoal to be achieved. We are not seeking to be more ‘saved’, more ‘holy’, or even better , richer or more flexible Christians.

Instead, each of us received the full measure of God’s grace. We did not earn it; I cannot get more of it than you (or less), and probably none of us ‘deserve’ it. When we pray, or sing, or walk in a maze or labyrinth, or serve soup to us poor people, the goal is the same (and it is not so selfish). When we practice spiritual practices, we seek to know our beloved God, and to know Jesus better. God and Jesus are ready to be known more; it is we who must be ready to hear what they have to say to us.

We all should meditate on the grace we have received already. Who couild desire more?

Pray for peace,

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/

 

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Psalm 119:9-16

Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23

John 12:34-50

 

Psalm 119:9-16

9How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

10With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.

11I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

12Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes.

13With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.

14I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.

15I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.

16I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23

2In the second year of King Darius, in the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: 2Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, and say, 3Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Is it not in your sight as nothing? 4Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, 5according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear. 6For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7and I will shake all the nations, so that the treasure of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the Lord of hosts. 8The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. 9The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts.

20The word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders; and the horses and their riders shall fall, every one by the sword of a comrade. 23On that day, says the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.

John 12:34-50

34The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

37Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said, 40“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.” 41Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him.

42Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.

44Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, 49for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

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.

 

 

Forgiveness 032312

 

 

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

 

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Forgiveness 032312

I recently have been enjoying reading Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. (It is called ‘three thousand years because it lays a foundation in world history prior to Jesus’ time).

 

An understanding of Christian history enlightens each of us. This week’s revelation for me was the early church practice of selling forgiveness to Christians. For some reason I thought the practice had originated in Rome, where Popes had set a range of money penances, varying for each sin.

Perhaps my old belief was anti-pope, or anti-Rome. The practice originated in Ireland, and became a standard practice because the Christian congregations demanded it. The common people appreciated knowing exactly what it would cost one to be forgiven by the church (as it represents God).

You and I, however, cannot buy our way into forgiveness. The ‘cost’ is much higher and much more valuable than mere money. We have to ask forgiveness, and talk to God about it. This is not at all like talking to one’s father, and admitting to an error. This is talking to GOD. In some ways this is very easy, and in some ways it is the most difficult thing to accomplish. But God is ready, I believe.

Psalm 51 is a guide for us all. One clue,  the herb ‘Hyssop’, was an important herb in Jerusalem and the only herb the tax collector Matthew could not tax. It grows wild in many locations, and is easy to find seed for, and to grow yourself.

But even without hyssop, Psalm 51, leads us each to forgiveness.

And it is good to be forgiven, finally.

Pray for our peace,

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/

 

 

 

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Psalm 51:1-12

 

Exodus 30:1-10

 

Hebrews 4:14—5:4

 

 

 

Psalm 51

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

 

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

 

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

 

Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.

 

Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

 

You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

 

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

 

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

 

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

 

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

 

Exodus 30:1-10

 

You shall make an altar on which to offer incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. It shall be one cubit long, and one cubit wide; it shall be square, and shall be two cubits high; its horns shall be of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around and its horns; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around. And you shall make two golden rings for it; under its molding on two opposite sides of it you shall make them, and they shall hold the poles with which to carry it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall place it in front of the curtain that is above the ark of the covenant, in front of the mercy seat that is over the covenant, where I will meet with you. Aaron shall offer fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall offer it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall offer it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations. You shall not offer unholy incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. Once a year Aaron shall perform the rite of atonement on its horns. Throughout your generations he shall perform the atonement for it once a year with the blood of the atoning sin offering. It is most holy to the Lord.

 

Hebrews 4:14—5:4

 

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

 


 

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.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Reading a Good Book for Lent 030912

Russian icon of St. Athanasius the Athonite (S...

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

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Reading a Good Book for Lent 030912

I decided it was time to start a new book for my daily reading besides the Bible, that is.

I am looking for a book that will bring me closer to God, and closer to Jesus for the season of Lent. I realize Lent is a man made holiday season, but we have to remember that holidays are HOLY-Days.

I tend to look for books that expand my sense of what it means to be a Christian disciple. I fear that the ‘modern church’, whatever that is, has taken a suggestion from modern media experts and tried to simplify or worse abbreviate the experience of a Christian disciple. I think that the relationship between God and man is so much more diverse and wonderful than any normal Sunday morning preacher normally discusses, and sometimes a simple direct sellable notion of who God and Jesus are to us has become predominant in the world’s Christian churches. Modern Christianity may be more sellable or saleable (capable of being sold—you know what I mean) but is also more flat, has less passion and doesn’t cause us to sell all we have and follow him.

So, for Lent, as part of one’s efforts to deepen the relationship with God and Jesus, I’m seeking a new book to read. Luckily, we have so many (neglected) books and writers. On my bookshelf are books by Thomas Merton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard de Bingen, and other writers. Luckily, the works of older writers may be online for free and all these writers are at the library for free (this makes old German skinflints very happy). The book called The Life of Anthony by Athanaius (313 AD)

 

is available free at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.xvi.ii.i.html

and could be a good choice for Lent reading.

As and result, we should consider that some human institutions may not encourage us to learn and be all we can be as disciples of Christ. After all, what happens to our Facebook account if we go barefoot, wear long robes and walk a great deal?

As Romans 8 says today:  38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 For Lent, look at human institutions that may be keeping you from God, like the church for instance, or the media, or the….

Pray for the health of your relationship with God, and each other. Pray for this peace.

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/

 

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Psalm 81:1-10

Leviticus 23:1-8

Romans 8:31-39

Psalm 81

1Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

2Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.

3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.

4For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:

6“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.

7In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

9There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

10I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

Leviticus 23:1-8

23The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: These are the appointed festivals of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed festivals. 3Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work: it is a sabbath to the Lord throughout your settlements.

4These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall celebrate at the time appointed for them. 5In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to the Lord, 6and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 8For seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation: you shall not work at your occupations.

Romans 8:31-39

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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.

 

 

Studied By All Who Delight And Are Selfish 020212

Psalm 121

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This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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/

 

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Psalm 111

Deuteronomy 3:23-29

Romans 9:6-18

 

Studied By All Who Delight And Are Selfish 020212

 

Psalm 111 is mainly a praise Psalm, and I can almost hear choirs in the temple of Solomon, singing these choruses, but in Verse 2, Psalm 11 says : 2Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.

This is a curious idea for the Psalmist to write because it suddenly talks about you and me in the midst of a praise song.

But it is true for me I confess, and maybe for many of you. It is true that one reason I pray, study the Bible, try to live as a Christian disciple, contemplate, fast, meditate, etc is that I am absolutely pleasurably thrilled by all of it. My ‘study’ is really fun, and it feels very, very good.

In fact, I’ve heard from an ex-junkie, an alcoholic and a scholar that the study of God, and of Jesus is the most fun they’ve had in their lives, and that they walk through life on a cloud of serenity and joy.

But this is the amazing part: they all say that their prior lives and choices resulted from the very same thing that causes them to be a Christian pleasure junky—they like to get high, on heroin, alcohol, or Jesus, but now prefer Jesus.

Is our faith selfish? Are we concerned about getting our own personhood to heaven, and mainly concerned about our self?

Pray for peace, although we hope we disturbed it this morning.

(brother) Bill

 

Psalm 111

1Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

2Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.

3Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.

4He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.

5He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.

6He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.

7The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.

8They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

9He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.

10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

Deuteronomy 3:23-29

23At that time, too, I entreated the Lord, saying: 24“O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your might; what god in heaven or on earth can perform deeds and mighty acts like yours! 25Let me cross over to see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and the Lebanon.” 26But the Lord was angry with me on your account and would not heed me. The Lord said to me, “Enough from you! Never speak to me of this matter again! 27Go up to the top of Pisgah and look around you to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. Look well, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. 28But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, because it is he who shall cross over at the head of this people and who shall secure their possession of the land that you will see.” 29So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.

Romans 9:6-18

6It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” 10Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12not by works but by his call) she was told, “The elder shall serve the younger.” 13As it is written, “I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.”

14What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.

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.

 

 

Sing To The Lord; Praise The Lord! 012712

English: Poverty Русский: Нищенство

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This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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/

 

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Psalm 62:5-12

Jeremiah 20:7-13

2 Peter 3:1-7

 

Sing To The Lord; Praise The Lord! 012712

 

From Jeremiah 20:13 comes our day’s title, but the writer continues and says ‘For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers’. I am reminded that for Christians and Jewish devotees share a heritage being the oppressed, of being the victim, of being the needy.

Modern statistics might show something very different now, in that Christians (or citizens of formerly Christian nations) enjoy the status of being the most wealthy and consuming people in the history of the world. Globally, these statistics are clear for Christians (and North American Christians and European Christian nations outweigh the wealth of other Christians globally).

This causes a conflict, because some think you have to twist and restate Christianity in a big way to get Christianity to be the faith of the wealthy, the white and the male Christians of a few Northern hemisphere nations.

But what kind of Christians are you and I? Do we share our faith as humble, simple and poor Christians, sharing our meager resources with the poor of the world, or are we those rich Christians who believe (even when unacknowledged) that we believe Jesus has blessed us with wealth, material goods in excess, good food, good water and good health care (or sort of good) because we are Christians and that we somehow deserve these things, even if we must use force and death to keep them.

Pray for peace,

(brother) Bill

 

 

 

Psalm 62:5-12

5For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.

6He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

7On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

8Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

9Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.

10Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

11Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,

12and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.

Jeremiah 20:7-13

7O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. 8For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. 9If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. 10For I hear many whispering: “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him.” 11But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. 12O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. 13Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.

2 Peter 3:1-7

3This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you 2that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles.

3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” 5They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 6through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

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.

 

Responsible Christians 111611

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...

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This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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 83:1-4, 9-10, 17-18

Job 16:1-21

Matthew 24:45-51

 

Responsible Christians 111611

The book of Matthew brings us the gospel, the good news, but in today’s verses, we should be feeling the weight of our mission on our shoulders. As Christians, Jesus us asks us to care for others, (even non-Christians!). And if Christians ever appear somber and serious, it is because we have felt the trust and love Jesus has put in us to carry forward the kingdom.

This might be in conflict with the modern institutional church, that directs young Christians to be called to a career as ministers and clergy. But it’s not like a regular career, I think. First, it often does not pay money, and all Christians are called to care for Jesus’ people, not just a select few. We are a ‘priesthood of all believers’ as Martin Luther said.

Instead of expecting a few called men and women to lead us as Christians, maybe all Christians should reappraise their belief, as Matthew 24 calls us. Maybe we all should see ourselves as called to be monks, and live out our Christianity (perhaps in the spirit of Shane Claiborne’s New Monaticism.

Meanwhile, while considering this and considering what should be the mission of Christians in this world, today, it occurs to me (and to many others) that unless we all take environmental damage seriously, quickly! the fatal crush of too many people, not enough food and water and weather uncertainty and alarm, too many wars and conflicts may bring the end of time, or be the end of time. What should be a Christian’s response to all this?

Pray for peace, and keep praying,

(brother) Bill

 

Psalm 83

1O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!

2Even now your enemies are in tumult; those who hate you have raised their heads.

3They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against those you protect.

4They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more.”

9Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the Wadi Kishon,

10who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the ground.

17Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace.

18Let them know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

Job 16:1-21

16Then Job answered: 2“I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. 3Have windy words no limit? Or what provokes you that you keep on talking? 4I also could talk as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you. 5I could encourage you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

6“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me? 7Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company. 8And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me; my leanness has risen up against me, and it testifies to my face. 9He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me. 10They have gaped at me with their mouths; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me. 11God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked. 12I was at ease, and he broke me in two; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target; 13his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; he pours out my gall on the ground. 14He bursts upon me again and again; he rushes at me like a warrior. 15I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust. 16My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids,

17though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. 18“O earth, do not cover my blood; let my outcry find no resting place. 19Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high. 20My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, 21that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbor.

Matthew 24:45-51

45“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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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