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Books, David’s Book and the Bible 110713

English: John Clare (1793-1864), Poet.

English: John Clare (1793-1864), Poet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 17:1-9 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2017:1-9&version=MSG

 

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%2025:5-10&version=MSG

 

Acts 22:22—23:11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2022:22%E2%80%9423:11&version=MSG

 

Books, David’s Book and the Bible 110713

Today, the word of the day, and the topic of the day has been books, and I’m thankful for it. I thought about a book I’d shared with a friend, and wondered about both the intellectual and relationship content of it.

I had requested some books from a college library and they had in turn requested the books from a larger university and from a seminary. Books I had requested by one author have been a subject of my curiosity for over 40 years, and despite occasionally searches for work by this author—a minor Romantic poet named John Clare—I had never connected with work by John Clare.

Finally, this time, my loyal library located and borrow 10 books for me by the author/poet John Clare. John Clare was known and described as the ‘peasant/poet’, and my recent renewed interest in him springs from a book I’m reading named ‘Luke; Peasant/Poet’ and refers to the Gospel of Luke as telling the story of Jesus from the unique perspective of a peasant and poet, and I love it!

Well, what brought all these ideas and considerations to reality was reading today’s Psalm 17. It begins by explaining that this, as with many others, is a Psalm of David.

‘Experts’ discuss whether there even was a real person named King David, or whether it is all a legend. In the matter of David, this, to me, is a silly discussion. Of course there really was a David, who shepherded sheep, played the lute and wrote the most amazing songs imaginable. I’ve been reading the Psalms for maybe 55 years, and each day they surprise, shock me, and carry me away in song and tune.

Sing the poet David’s songs, and pray for 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 17:1-9

The Message (MSG)

A David Prayer

17 1-2 Listen while I build my case, God,
the most honest prayer you’ll ever hear.
Show the world I’m innocent—
in your heart you know I am.

3 Go ahead, examine me from inside out,
surprise me in the middle of the night—
You’ll find I’m just what I say I am.
My words don’t run loose.

4-5 I’m not trying to get my way
in the world’s way.
I’m trying to get your way,
your Word’s way.
I’m staying on your trail;
I’m putting one foot
In front of the other.
I’m not giving up.

6-7 I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.
So—answer! bend your ear! listen sharp!
Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from the neighborhood bullies
straight to you.

8-9 Keep your eye on me;
hide me under your cool wing feathers
From the wicked who are out to get me,
from mortal enemies closing in.

Deuteronomy 25:5-10

The Message (MSG)

5-6 When brothers are living together and one of them dies without having had a son, the widow of the dead brother shall not marry a stranger from outside the family; her husband’s brother is to come to her and marry her and do the brother-in-law’s duty by her. The first son that she bears shall be named after her dead husband so his name won’t die out in Israel.

7-10 But if the brother doesn’t want to marry his sister-in-law, she is to go to the leaders at the city gate and say, “My brother-in-law refuses to keep his brother’s name alive in Israel; he won’t agree to do the brother-in-law’s duty by me.” Then the leaders will call for the brother and confront him. If he stands there defiant and says, “I don’t want her,” his sister-in-law is to pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and say, “This is what happens to the man who refuses to build up the family of his brother—his name in Israel will be Family-No-Sandal.”

Acts 22:22-23:11

The Message (MSG)

A Roman Citizen

22-25 The people in the crowd had listened attentively up to this point, but now they broke loose, shouting out, “Kill him! He’s an insect! Stomp on him!” They shook their fists. They filled the air with curses. That’s when the captain intervened and ordered Paul taken into the barracks. By now the captain was thoroughly exasperated. He decided to interrogate Paul under torture in order to get to the bottom of this, to find out what he had done that provoked this outraged violence. As they spread-eagled him with thongs, getting him ready for the whip, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is this legal: torturing a Roman citizen without a fair trial?”

26 When the centurion heard that, he went directly to the captain. “Do you realize what you’ve done? This man is a Roman citizen!”

27 The captain came back and took charge. “Is what I hear right? You’re a Roman citizen?”

Paul said, “I certainly am.”

28 The captain was impressed. “I paid a huge sum for my citizenship. How much did it cost you?”

“Nothing,” said Paul. “It cost me nothing. I was free from the day of my birth.”

29 That put a stop to the interrogation. And it put the fear of God into the captain. He had put a Roman citizen in chains and come within a whisker of putting him under torture!

30 The next day, determined to get to the root of the trouble and know for sure what was behind the Jewish accusation, the captain released Paul and ordered a meeting of the high priests and the High Council to see what they could make of it. Paul was led in and took his place before them.

Before the High Council

23 1-3 Paul surveyed the members of the council with a steady gaze, and then said his piece: “Friends, I’ve lived with a clear conscience before God all my life, up to this very moment.” That set the Chief Priest Ananias off. He ordered his aides to slap Paul in the face. Paul shot back, “God will slap you down! What a fake you are! You sit there and judge me by the Law and then break the Law by ordering me slapped around!”

4 The aides were scandalized: “How dare you talk to God’s Chief Priest like that!”

5 Paul acted surprised. “How was I to know he was Chief Priest? He doesn’t act like a Chief Priest. You’re right, the Scripture does say, ‘Don’t speak abusively to a ruler of the people.’ Sorry.”

6 Paul, knowing some of the council was made up of Sadducees and others of Pharisees and how they hated each other, decided to exploit their antagonism: “Friends, I am a stalwart Pharisee from a long line of Pharisees. It’s because of my Pharisee convictions—the hope and resurrection of the dead—that I’ve been hauled into this court.”

7-9 The moment he said this, the council split right down the middle, Pharisees and Sadducees going at each other in heated argument. Sadducees have nothing to do with a resurrection or angels or even a spirit. If they can’t see it, they don’t believe it. Pharisees believe it all. And so a huge and noisy quarrel broke out. Then some of the religion scholars on the Pharisee side shouted down the others: “We don’t find anything wrong with this man! And what if a spirit has spoken to him? Or maybe an angel? What if it turns out we’re fighting against God?”

10 That was fuel on the fire. The quarrel flamed up and became so violent the captain was afraid they would tear Paul apart, limb from limb. He ordered the soldiers to get him out of there and escort him back to the safety of the barracks.

A Plot Against Paul

11 That night the Master appeared to Paul: “It’s going to be all right. Everything is going to turn out for the best. You’ve been a good witness for me here in Jerusalem. Now you’re going to be my witness in Rome!”

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Lost Stars in Outer Space 110513

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 50 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%20Psalm%2050%20&version=MSG

 

Zechariah 7:1-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah%207:1-14%09&version=MSG

 

Jude 5-21 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jude%205-21%20%09&version=MSG

 

Lost Stars in Outer Space 110513

Today’s Gospel reading from the Book of Jude is fantastic, and not to be missed. Jude 1:12 in particular is beautiful poetry, and as postmodern as most of what I’ve read lately, but is also 100 years in the past or a 1,000 years.

Get outside and breath clean air when you can. Pray in the late fall sunshine (or early spring south of he equator.

But don’t be another lost star in outer space, but a found star, found at home.

Pray for 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 50

The Message (MSG)

An Asaph Psalm

50 1-3 The God of gods—it’s God!—speaks out, shouts, “Earth!”
welcomes the sun in the east,
farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
From the dazzle of Zion,
God blazes into view.
Our God makes his entrance,
he’s not shy in his coming.
Starbursts of fireworks precede him.

4-5 He summons heaven and earth as a jury,
he’s taking his people to court:
“Round up my saints who swore
on the Bible their loyalty to me.”

6 The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court,
that here God is judge.

7-15 “Are you listening, dear people? I’m getting ready to speak;
Israel, I’m about ready to bring you to trial.
This is God, your God,
speaking to you.
I don’t find fault with your acts of worship,
the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull,
or more and more goats from your herds?
Every creature in the forest is mine,
the wild animals on all the mountains.
I know every mountain bird by name;
the scampering field mice are my friends.
If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you?
All creation and its bounty are mine.
Do you think I feast on venison?
or drink draughts of goats’ blood?
Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”

16-21 Next, God calls up the wicked:

“What are you up to, quoting my laws,
talking like we are good friends?
You never answer the door when I call;
you treat my words like garbage.
If you find a thief, you make him your buddy;
adulterers are your friends of choice.
Your mouth drools filth;
lying is a serious art form with you.
You stab your own brother in the back,
rip off your little sister.
I kept a quiet patience while you did these things;
you thought I went along with your game.
I’m calling you on the carpet, now,
laying your wickedness out in plain sight.

22-23 “Time’s up for playing fast and
loose with me.
I’m ready to pass sentence,
and there’s no help in sight!
It’s the praising life that honors me.
As soon as you set your foot on the Way,
I’ll show you my salvation.”

Zechariah 7:1-14

The Message (MSG)

“You’re Interested in Religion, I’m Interested in People”

7 On the fourth day of the ninth month, in the fourth year of the reign of King Darius, God’s Message again came to Zechariah.

2-3 The town of Bethel had sent a delegation headed by Sarezer and Regem-Melech to pray for God’s blessing and to confer with the priests of the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and also with the prophets. They posed this question: “Should we plan for a day of mourning and abstinence next August, the seventieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s fall, as we have been doing all these years?”

4-6 God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: “When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.

7-10 “There’s nothing new to say on the subject. Don’t you still have the message of the earlier prophets from the time when Jerusalem was still a thriving, bustling city and the outlying countryside, the Negev and Shephelah, was populated? [This is the message that God gave Zechariah.] Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now:

“‘Treat one another justly.
Love your neighbors.
Be compassionate with each other.
Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor.
Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’

11-13 “But did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God’s revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons preached by the earlier prophets by order of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. And God became angry, really angry, because he told them everything plainly and they wouldn’t listen to a word he said.

13-14 “So [this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said] if they won’t listen to me, I won’t listen to them. I scattered them to the four winds. They ended up strangers wherever they were. Their ‘promised land’ became a vacant lot—weeds and tin cans and thistles. Not a sign of life. They turned a dreamland into a wasteland.”

Jude 1:5-21

The Message (MSG)

Lost Stars in Outer Space

5-7 I’m laying this out as clearly as I can, even though you once knew all this well enough and shouldn’t need reminding. Here it is in brief: The Master saved a people out of the land of Egypt. Later he destroyed those who defected. And you know the story of the angels who didn’t stick to their post, abandoning it for other, darker missions. But they are now chained and jailed in a black hole until the great Judgment Day. Sodom and Gomorrah, which went to sexual rack and ruin along with the surrounding cities that acted just like them, are another example. Burning and burning and never burning up, they serve still as a stock warning.

8 This is exactly the same program of these latest infiltrators: dirty sex, rule and rulers thrown out, glory dragged in the mud.

9-11 The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn’t have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, “No you don’t. God will take care of you!” But these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them! They’ve gone down Cain’s road; they’ve been sucked into Balaam’s error by greed; they’re canceled out in Korah’s rebellion.

12-13 These people are warts on your love feasts as you worship and eat together. They’re giving you a black eye—carousing shamelessly, grabbing anything that isn’t nailed down. They’re—

Puffs of smoke pushed by gusts of wind;
late autumn trees stripped clean of leaf and fruit,
Doubly dead, pulled up by the roots;
wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach
but the foam of their shame;
Lost stars in outer space
on their way to the black hole.

14-16 Enoch, the seventh after Adam, prophesied of them: “Look! The Master comes with thousands of holy angels to bring judgment against them all, convicting each person of every defiling act of shameless sacrilege, of every dirty word they have spewed of their pious filth.” These are the “grumpers,” the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.

17-19 But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!

20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

Looking to the Hills—Music and Meaning 101713

Columbia Mountains as seen from the Rocky Moun...

Columbia Mountains as seen from the Rocky Mountain Trench (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bucegi mountains (on the right is Car...

English: Bucegi mountains (on the right is Caraiman Cross) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 121 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20121&version=MSG

 

Isaiah 54:11-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2054:11-17&version=MSG

 

Acts 17:22-34 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2017:22-34&version=MSG

 

Looking to the Hills—Music and Meaning 101713

Psalm 121 provides the inspiration for today’s blog post. If we read the Psalm from The Message restatement or translation, it sounds like this:

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from
God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

I do not know if this is the correct translation or whether the King James Version below is better:

Psalm 121

King James Version (KJV)

121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

 

In this version, the King James Version, the hills and God seem to be the same being, a being that provides our strength. But in The Message the hills and God are two distinct beings, and we are mistaken for thinking our strength might come from the hills.

Despite, The Message’s question, I never thought that my strength could come from the hills. As long as I’ve had enough strength to even consider, I knew this all had to come from God.

This meaning, this harmony and resonance as the words of King James bounce through us, says that there also a meaning to the music of the words. And I love to admit it, I believe in part because these words are music, with a meaning heard deep below.

Pray for 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 121

The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

Isaiah 54:11-17

The Message (MSG)

11-17 “Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
far from terror—it won’t even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
who fires up his forge
and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
God’s Decree.

Acts 17:22-34

The Message (MSG)

22-23 So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.

24-29 “The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

30-31 “God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Taking Me Seriously 101513

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринск...

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринской плащанице (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 61 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2061&version=MSG

 

2 Kings 5:19b-27 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%205:19b-27&version=MSG

 

Ephesians 6:10-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%206:10-20%09&version=MSG

 

Taking Me Seriously 101513

Each time I re-read a Bible selection I notice something new. Even when I think I’ve studies, taken apart and reassembled a verse or a selection, each time I re-read it I notice something new.

Partly this may be because I need to hear something unique, whenever I read it and so my attention is drawn to the new selection I need to hear. But how does one know as one who does not know, search and find anything?

Today the following words from Psalm 61:

You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

Pray for 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 61

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

61 1-2 God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”

3-5 You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

6-8 Let the days of the king add up
to years and years of good rule.
Set his throne in the full light of God;
post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
And I’ll be the poet who sings your glory—
and live what I sing every day.

2 Kings 5:19-27

The Message (MSG)

19-21 Elisha said, “Everything will be all right. Go in peace.”

But he hadn’t gone far when Gehazi, servant to Elisha the Holy Man, said to himself, “My master has let this Aramean Naaman slip through his fingers without so much as a thank-you. By the living God, I’m going after him to get something or other from him!” And Gehazi took off after Naaman.

Naaman saw him running after him and jumped down from his chariot to greet him, “Is something wrong?”

22 “Nothing’s wrong, but something’s come up. My master sent me to tell you: ‘Two young men just showed up from the hill country of Ephraim, brothers from the guild of the prophets. Supply their needs with a gift of 75 pounds of silver and a couple of sets of clothes.’”

23 Naaman said, “Of course, how about a 150 pounds?” Naaman insisted. He tied up the money in two sacks and gave him the two sets of clothes; he even gave him two servants to carry the gifts back with him.

24 When they got to the fort on the hill, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants, stored them inside, then sent the servants back.

25 He returned and stood before his master. Elisha said, “So what have you been up to, Gehazi?”

“Nothing much,” he said.

26-27 Elisha said, “Didn’t you know I was with you in spirit when that man stepped down from his chariot to greet you? Tell me, is this a time to look after yourself, lining your pockets with gifts? Naaman’s skin disease will now infect you and your family, with no relief in sight.”

Gehazi walked away, his skin flaky and white like snow.

Ephesians 6:10-20

The Message (MSG)

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each others spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

19-20 And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

A Simple Matter 101413

 

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 61 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2061&version=MSG

 

2 Kings 5:15-19a http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%205:15-19a&version=MSG

 

Acts 26:24-29 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2026:24-29&version=MSG

 

A Simple Matter 101413

 

A few moments ago, as I was riding my bicycle on a bike trail, I began to think of what I’ve been reading lately, and its effect on my belief and life as a disciple of Jesus. I couldn’t come up with an answer!

 

In short, I couldn’t answer the simple question of my belief as a disciple of Jesus, or what effect this or that treatise or article or book would have upon my faith. In fact, I’m believing that my faith and my life as a disciple of Jesus are very, very simple, and I like it that way. For all the learned, educated and intellectual questions I’ve raised in this blog over the years, I’m really learning to simplify, and simplifying my faith is an important part of this. I want to follow Jesus on a daily basis, read the Bible and pray, and I’m tending to believe that beyond that, my ideas are senseless complications that upset me, that confuse me and in the end, do not help me live my life in any way. Being a disciple of Jesus is not an intellectual exercise; it is in me, but like a heartbeat and not like a headache.

 

Have joy this evening. Have joy in your life and heart, and rise to the sun tomorrow with this same joy in Jesus.

 

Pray for 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 61

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

61 1-2 God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”

3-5 You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

6-8 Let the days of the king add up
to years and years of good rule.
Set his throne in the full light of God;
post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
And I’ll be the poet who sings your glory—
and live what I sing every day.

2 Kings 5:15-21

The Message (MSG)

15 He then went back to the Holy Man, he and his entourage, stood before him, and said, “I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God anywhere on earth other than the God of Israel. In gratitude let me give you a gift.”

16 “As God lives,” Elisha replied, “the God whom I serve, I’ll take nothing from you.” Naaman tried his best to get him to take something, but he wouldn’t do it.

17-18 “If you won’t take anything,” said Naaman, “let me ask you for something: Give me a load of dirt, as much as a team of donkeys can carry, because I’m never again going to worship any god other than God. But there’s one thing for which I need God’s pardon: When my master, leaning on my arm, enters the shrine of Rimmon and worships there, and I’m with him there, worshiping Rimmon, may you see to it that God forgive me for this.”

19-21 Elisha said, “Everything will be all right. Go in peace.”

But he hadn’t gone far when Gehazi, servant to Elisha the Holy Man, said to himself, “My master has let this Aramean Naaman slip through his fingers without so much as a thank-you. By the living God, I’m going after him to get something or other from him!” And Gehazi took off after Naaman.

Naaman saw him running after him and jumped down from his chariot to greet him, “Is something wrong?”

Acts 26:24-29

The Message (MSG)

24 That was too much for Festus. He interrupted with a shout: “Paul, you’re crazy! You’ve read too many books, spent too much time staring off into space! Get a grip on yourself, get back in the real world!”

25-27 But Paul stood his ground. “With all respect, Festus, Your Honor, I’m not crazy. I’m both accurate and sane in what I’m saying. The king knows what I’m talking about. I’m sure that nothing of what I’ve said sounds crazy to him. He’s known all about it for a long time. You must realize that this wasn’t done behind the scenes. You believe the prophets, don’t you, King Agrippa? Don’t answer that—I know you believe.”

28 But Agrippa did answer: “Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me!”

29 Paul, still in chains, said, “That’s what I’m praying for, whether now or later, and not only you but everyone listening today, to become like me—except, of course, for this prison jewelry!”

 

Where are the Nine? 101313

Gospel Lectionary, Luke seated, writing, with ...

Gospel Lectionary, Luke seated, writing, with his symbol the calf, Walters Manuscript W.535, fol. 158v (Photo credit: Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts)

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/

 

2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%205:1-3,%207-15c&version=MSG

 

Psalm 111 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20111&version=MSG

 

2 Timothy 2:8-15 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Timothy%202:8-15&version=MSG

 

Luke 17:11-19 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2017:11-19&version=MSG

 

Where are the Nine? 101313

Luke provides a sad narrative for this day, this Sunday, the Lord’s Day.

10 Lepers are healed, at a distance, by Jesus. He does not touch them or wash them and they are not together physically when the healing occurs.

But of the 10 only one turns around and comes back to express gratitude to Jesus. There are at least two wasy of looking at this. We can wonder why the message of Jesus touches 10 but spiritually connects perhaps with only one. What can we do to connect with 10 of 10?

Or we could see today’s story from Luke to ask the question ‘Why am I one of the 9, who fails to tell Jesus of our gratitude for our being healed by him?

This Bible selection is about gratitude. What happens when we pray with gratitude?

Pray for 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.

2 Kings 5:1-3

The Message (MSG)

5 1-3 Naaman was general of the army under the king of Aram. He was important to his master, who held him in the highest esteem because it was by him that God had given victory to Aram: a truly great man, but afflicted with a grievous skin disease. It so happened that Aram, on one of its raiding expeditions against Israel, captured a young girl who became a maid to Naaman’s wife. One day she said to her mistress, “Oh, if only my master could meet the prophet of Samaria, he would be healed of his skin disease.”

Psalm 111

The Message (MSG)

111 1-10 Hallelujah!
I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got—
Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.
God’s works are so great, worth
A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!
Splendor and beauty mark his craft;
His generosity never gives out.
His miracles are his memorial—
This God of Grace, this God of Love.
He gave food to those who fear him,
He remembered to keep his ancient promise.
He proved to his people that he could do what he said:
Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift!
He manufactures truth and justice;
All his products are guaranteed to last—
Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.
All that he makes and does is honest and true:
He paid the ransom for his people,
He ordered his Covenant kept forever.
He’s so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.
The good life begins in the fear of God—
Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God.
His Hallelujah lasts forever!

2 Timothy 2:8-18

The Message (MSG)

8-13 Fix this picture firmly in your mind: Jesus, descended from the line of David, raised from the dead. It’s what you’ve heard from me all along. It’s what I’m sitting in jail for right now—but God’s Word isn’t in jail! That’s why I stick it out here—so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory. This is a sure thing:

If we die with him, we’ll live with him;
If we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him;
If we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us;
If we give up on him, he does not give up—
for there’s no way he can be false to himself.

14-18 Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples, throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with.

Luke 17:11-19

The Message (MSG)

11-13 It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14-16 Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

17-19 Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”

 

Gospel Book, Title page to the Gospel of Luke,...

Gospel Book, Title page to the Gospel of Luke, Walters Manuscript W.528, fol. 116r (Photo credit: Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts)

Reading the Bible 093013

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

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 62 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2062&version=MSG

 

Amos 6:8-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Amos%206:8-14&version=MSG

 

Revelation 3:14-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%203:14-22&version=MSG

 

 

Reading the Bible 093013

 

A problem with our religion, this Christianity, is us. We like to make things complicated, then tear and gnash them into pieces, and complain we can’t piece it all back into one.

 

But as Anabaptists, Mennonites, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we simply must read the Bible often, at least daily. It is not a hurried thing to do, to sit quietly, probably alone, and carefully outloud speak each syllable, word and phrase.

 

Take a look at our Mennonite USA conference website http://mennowdc.org/year-of-the-bible/ and their program for the year.

 

Of all the things I would wish for my family, my friends, my enemies, the world is the joy of reading the Bible daily.

 

Pray for 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 62

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

62 1-2 God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I need comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.

3-4 How long will you gang up on me?
How long will you run with the bullies?
There’s nothing to you, any of you—
rotten floorboards, worm-eaten rafters,
Anthills plotting to bring down mountains,
far gone in make-believe.
You talk a good line,
but every “blessing” breathes a curse.

5-6 God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.

7-8 My help and glory are in God
—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—
So trust him absolutely, people;
lay your lives on the line for him.
God is a safe place to be.

9 Man as such is smoke,
woman as such, a mirage.
Put them together, they’re nothing;
two times nothing is nothing.

10 And a windfall, if it comes—
don’t make too much of it.

11 God said this once and for all;
how many times
Have I heard it repeated?
“Strength comes
Straight from God.”

12 Love to you, Lord God!
You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work!

Amos 6:8-14

The Message (MSG)

You’ve Made a Shambles of Justice

8 God, the Master, has sworn, and solemnly stands by his Word.
The God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:

“I hate the arrogance of Jacob.
I have nothing but contempt for his forts.
I’m about to hand over the city
and everyone in it.”

9-10 Ten men are in a house, all dead. A relative comes and gets the bodies to prepare them for a decent burial. He discovers a survivor huddled in a closet and asks, “Are there any more?” The answer: “Not a soul. But hush! God must not be mentioned in this desecrated place.”

11 Note well: God issues the orders.
He’ll knock large houses to smithereens.
He’ll smash little houses to bits.

12-13 Do you hold a horse race in a field of rocks?
Do you plow the sea with oxen?
You’d cripple the horses
and drown the oxen.
And yet you’ve made a shambles of justice,
a bloated corpse of righteousness,
Bragging of your trivial pursuits,
beating up on the weak and crowing, “Look what I’ve done!”

14 “Enjoy it while you can, you Israelites.
I’ve got a pagan army on the move against you”
—this is your God speaking, God-of-the-Angel-Armies—
“And they’ll make hash of you,
from one end of the country to the other.”

Revelation 3:14-22

The Message (MSG)

To Laodicea

14 Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:

15-17 “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.

18 “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.

19 “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!

22 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

 

Buckham Mennonite Church

Buckham Mennonite Church (Photo credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives)

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